Saturday, January 27, 2007

Just in Case There Was Any Doubt that Bipartisanship is a Stupid Idea that Will Not and Can Not Work

One rightwing drug addict and sex pervert and someone with whom we are expected (by the wingnuts and their courtiers in Big Media) to compromise speaks:
Building Bipartisanship? Not Limbaugh's Problem


He has absolutely no interest in crossing the divide and forging compromise — and good reasons not to do so.

What I Wonder About....

I wonder... these private security personnel in Iraq... nay of them doing anything combat-like? And if so, how many? In other words, as Our Leader is about to suurrrgge, how many combat forces are already there, whether public or private? (I suppose the next thing to wonder about is how much the private forces cost and who's paying?)

Great Leadership -- None Here

Our Leaders -- W all the way down -- have been wrong on every single aspect of Iraq, they have been wrong with every decision and every "correction" just exacerbates things. Someone even agrees with me.

But in addition, in a continuing effort to show that our radical right wingnut leaders refuse to learn the correct lessons of Vietnam, still ignore all matters about winning hearts and minds. Our Leaders, as they're successfully doing here in the US of A, are succeeding in alienating people. In Iraq, that leads to more domestic terrorist violence. Which, unless I miss something, doesn't help bring stability to the country.

Really, Who Decides?

My skepticism that Our Leader actually leads continues unabated. This is as unpersuasive as anything:
If you liked George W. Bush as "the decider," you're going to love him as "the decision maker."

Meeting today with Lt. Gen. David Petraeus and other military leaders, the president said that he has "picked the plan" that he thinks is "most likely to succeed" in Iraq, and he complained -- as he has before -- that members of Congress are criticizing his new way forward "before it's even had a chance to work."

"I'm the decision maker," he said. "I had to come up with a way forward that precluded disaster."

What About the War?

I wonder about stuff like this every time I read about one of our guys getting killed: what actually happened?
When insurgents disguised as American troops attacked an Iraqi government facility in Karbala last weekend, the U.S. military issued a statement in which it said that five U.S. soldiers had been killed while "repelling" the attack. A U.S. military spokesman specifically denied a report that some U.S. soldiers had been kidnapped.

Like so much the government has said about the war in Iraq, that wasn't exactly true. As the Associated Press reports, Iraqi officials and two senior U.S. military officials now say that four of the five U.S. soldiers who died were in fact "captured and taken away from the governor's compound alive."

Thursday, January 25, 2007

"D'uh" Headline

Bush: "America Must Not Fail In Iraq"


News to me that after what we did to Iraq that there was any alternative. Thank you, Mr. President for the profound insight. This ability to open our eyes is what makes you Our Beloved Leader.

We Have Succeeded in Bringing a Healthy Democracy to Iraq!

The New York Times checks in on democracy in Iraq, where "nearly every session" of the parliament has been adjourned since November... because as few as 65 of the 275 members there showed up.

Why? It's irrelevant: "Deals on important legislation, most recently the oil law, now take place largely out of public view, with Parliament — when it meets — rubber-stamping the final decisions." Also, the country is very dangerous, and despite the $120,000 salary, the members say they can't afford adequate protection -- one member says that he uses 40 guards when he's in Iraq, and the salary only buys 20. And, well, there's the fact that the job has inevitably disappointed members who "were here for the game, for prestige, for the money,” as one puts it.

Our Leader's Wacky Supporters Show that They Love America and What it Represents

In early January, Families First on Immigration sent letters to President George W. Bush and to leaders of the new Democratic controlled Congress urging them "to adopt a grand compromise on the divisive issue that includes strong border security, an amnesty for illegals already here who are relatives of citizens and an end to birthright citizenship," the Washington Times reported.

"Our position really is consistent with Christian teachings and with the rule of law," said Manuel Miranda, chairman of the Third Branch Conference (as of January 9, the group's website "is currently under construction") a coalition of over 150 grasstop leaders, who has brought together more than 30 top shelf conservatives on this issue.

"Out of concern for keeping families together, the religious leaders propose granting citizenship to any illegal aliens in the country who are related to U.S. citizens. This would include anyone who has had a child born here, often referred to as an 'anchor baby,'" the Washington Times reported.

"In return, the federal government would end birthright citizenship, which automatically grants U.S. citizenship to anyone born here, regardless of his parents' legal status. The 14th Amendment says 'all persons born or naturalized in the United States ... are citizens of the United States.'"

"This is a real compromise," Miranda claimed. "On the one hand, there is legalization of a large number of people, but conservatives get the settlement of the thorniest issue for them in the immigration debate."

Earlier Miranda, the former judicial nominations counsel to then Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and a man who has known his fair share of controversy, told CBN: "Until now, religious leaders have been criticized for staying uninvolved in the immigration debate . . . This coalition gets them involved, they offer to come to the table and offer ideas they can eventually support. Previously, the White House did not invite their participation, and they did not offer their help. With certain results, a wider participation may get the President wider support to allow Republicans and Democrats to obtain a coherent reform. This new coalition is bigger and broader than the Secure Border Coalition that dominated the debate on the right in the last go round."


"It's a disingenuous attempt to appear to be not anti-Latino while at the same time pandering to their right wing base," Mark Potok, the Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project, told Media Transparency in a telephone interview. "These leaders are desperately trying to hold their coalition together that very likely cannot stay together. It is essentially a cynical ploy and would appear to have no chance in a Democratic controlled congress."

Handy-Dandy State of the Union Analysis

Short version: it's all too bogus to really matter anyway so why care what Our Leader was told to say?

Somewhat longer version:
There was that tongue again. When the President lies he's got this weird nervous tick: He sticks the tip of his tongue out between his lips. Like a little boy who knows he's fibbing. Like a snake licking a rat.

In his State of the Union tonight the President did his tongue thing 124 times -- my kids kept count.

But it wasn't all rat-licking lies.

Most pundits concentrated on Iraq and wacky health insurance stuff. But that's just bubbles and blather. The real agenda is in the small stuff. The little razors in the policy apple, the nasty little pieces of policy shrapnel that whiz by between the appearances of the Presidential tongue.

First, there was the announcement the regime will, "give employers the tools to verify the legal status of their workers." In case you missed that one, the President is talking about creating a federal citizen profile database.

There's a problem with that idea. It's against the law. The law in question is the United States Constitution. The Founding Fathers thought the government had no right to keep track on a citizen unless there is evidence they have committed, or planned to commit, a crime.

But the Founding Fathers didn't imagine there were millions and billions of dollars to be made by private contractors ready to perform this KGB operation for the Department of Homeland Security, tracking each and every one of us to keep tabs on our "status."

These work databases will tie into "voter verification" databases required by the Help America Vote Act. And these will tie to the databases on citizenship and so on.

Will Big Brother abuse these snoop lists? The biggest purveyor of such hit lists is Choice Point, Inc. – those characters who, before the 2000 election, helped Jeb Bush purge innocent voters as "felons" from Florida voter rolls. Will they abuse the new super-lists? Does Dick Cheney shoot in the woods?

There were several other little IEDs (improvised execrable policy devices) planted in the State of the Union. Did you catch the one about doubling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve? If you're unfamiliar with the SPR, it is supposed to be the stash of oil we keep in case the price of crude gets too high.

Well, the price of oil has been horribly high but Dick Cheney, the official who sits on the Reserve's spigots, has refused to release the oil into the market.

Instead of unleashing the Reserve and busting Big Oil's price gouging Bush will double the Reserve, which will require buying three-quarters of a billion barrels of oil. This is a nice $40 billion pay-out to Big Oil from the US Treasury. Compare this to the President's health insurance plan which will be "revenue neutral" -- that is, have a net investment of zero.

But the $40 billion in loot the oilmen will get from us taxpayers for doubling the Reserve is nothing compared to the boost in the worldwide price of crude caused by this massive, mad purchase. While the Congressional audience didn't even bother polite applause for the reserve purchase plan, there's no doubt they were whooping it up in Saudi Arabia. Clearly, the state of the Saudi-Bush union is still pretty good.

At least the smirk was back and the look of fear was gone....

How to Obey Our Leader and be a Patriotic War Supporter


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Saddam's in Heaven Now


Sheriff Andy on the PATRIOT ACT

He's ag'in it. Here's why.

The Private Sector Does a Better Job Protecting Us than Our Government Does -- Not!

"Clear" Registered Traveller Program

CLEAR, a private service that prescreens travelers for a $100 annual fee, has come to Kennedy International Airport. To benefit from the Clear Registered Traveler program, which is run by Verified Identity Pass, a person must fill out an application, let the service capture his fingerprints and iris pattern and present two forms of identification. If the traveler passes a federal background check, he will be given a card that allows him to pass quickly through airport security.

Sounds great, but it’s actually two ideas rolled into one: one clever and one very stupid.
The clever idea is allowing people to pay for better service. Clear has been in operation at the Orlando International Airport since July 2005, and members have passed through security checkpoints faster simply because they are segregated from less experienced fliers who don’t know the drill.

Now, at Kennedy and other airports, Clear is purchasing and installing federally approved technology that will further speed up the screening process: scanners that will eliminate the need for cardholders to remove their shoes, and explosives detection machines that will eliminate the need for them to remove their coats and jackets. There are also Clear employees at the checkpoints who, although they can’t screen cardholders, can guide members through the security process. Clear has not yet paid airports for an extra security lane or the Transportation Security Administration for extra screening personnel, but both of those enhancements are on the table if enough people sign up.

I fly more than 200,000 miles per year and would gladly pay $100 a year to get through airport security faster.

But the stupid idea is the background check. When first conceived, traveler programs focused on prescreening. Pre-approved travelers would pass through security checkpoints with less screening, and resources would be focused on everyone else. Sounds reasonable, but it would leave us all less safe.

Background checks are based on the dangerous myth that we can somehow pick terrorists out of a crowd if we could identify everyone. Unfortunately, there isn’t any terrorist profile that prescreening can uncover. Timothy McVeigh could probably have gotten one of these cards. So could have Eric Rudolph, the pipe bomber at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. There isn’t even a good list of known terrorists to check people against; the government list used by the airlines has been the butt of jokes for years.

Open Letter to American Big Bidness: You Don't Have to F*ck American Workers

Minimum Wage Rises, Sky Does Not Fall

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Growth of the American Democracy

Read it and weep, from a Talking Points Media site:
TPM Reader JO, on the U.S. Attorney purges:

A lot of people seem to be getting snowed by the dodge that some of the acting US Attorneys will go through the confirmation process as if it gets rid of the problem, but it really doesn't.

Before they changed the statute, the President had no effective way to put a political stooge in as US Attorney for more than 4 months without buy-in from another branch of government (or a year at most via a recess appointment). But now he can, and putting the stooge up for confirmation is a no-lose proposition. If the Senate confirms, great. If they never give the nominee a hearing, they only prolong his tenure. And if they reject the nominee, he can still stay in office until a new nominee is appointed -- which might never happen.

This is a serious blow to effective law-enforcement, and it's going to make morale plummet in prosecutors' offices all over the country.

Has anyone introduced legislation yet to strip this misguided provision from the Patriot Act?

Update: The answer is yes. Senators Feinstein, Leahy, and Pryor have introduced the Preserving United States Attorney Independence Act, which would restore to the District Courts the power to appoint interim U.S. Attorneys.
(Emphasis added.)

Well, this obscenity is still the law....

Sunday Round-Up

The 50 most loathsome people? Not quite dead on, but close.... And Our Leader is only #3.

Cheney is despised but Our Leader more so.

"Straight talk" my ass. Dunno whether Our Next Leader is particularly dishonest but he's damn close. John McLain: Certified liar -- and that's the straight talk.

Maliki thinks Condi helps the terrorists -- the insurgents -- inside his country. He isn't the most accurate person in the world about things inside Iraq but I do believe him on this one. Dissing the government in charge to the enemy's betterment and success is one of the many lessons of Vietnam Our Leaders have yet to learn.

When Slick Willy's popularity dropped below 50%, the wing nuts thought he should resign
. So I guess since he didn't, Our far less popular Leader gets a pass and needn't resign. (Not that it wouldn't accomplish anything. Policies wouldn't change. And Dick would not be any more successful selling dementia than Our Leader's been recently. A Leader no one follows....)

Our Leader's goal vis a vis Iraq? All he cares is that he's loved by the Iraqis. Such depth of purpose and intellect. Well we've a faith-based administration so Our Leader can keep dreaming.

The Key to Victory; The Plan that will Succeed!


The Face of Confidnce

Link. Is Our Leader scared of himself and his "leadership"???

Inspirational Portrait of Our Leader

The New Yorker still has a little of its cover mojo....