Saturday, June 14, 2008

Viddie Of The Day

Laff til you pee your pants!

Straight Talk From President McCain; He Does NOT Care About Bringing Any Troops Home From Iraq

Maybe it's all part of a plan to show he's the same kind of guy as Beloved Leader: possessed of ne more than below average intelligence.

While we're at it, let's shoot down (pun intended) his equating 100 years in Iraq with 50+ years in South Korea: The former pretty much is self-governing are we are not so much as a line, as it were, that North Koreans cannot cross without repercussions. As much as any, South Korea is a functional nation. Iraq has two options: A dictator (unacceptable) or the iron control of us liberators. In other words, Iraq is not a matter of providing some military muscle, like South Korea, but to have an iraq anything like what the Neocons hallucinated, we have to run the entire &**%$ing country.

Now, the next president of the United States and some straight talk (til it's no longer operative and he flip-flops):

A Wingnut Journo Gets The Tables Turned On Himself


Liberation Means Becoming A Satellite

Get "liberated" by a foreign invader. Said invader then, well, dictates to the liberated. Call it freedom. You know, like post-war Eastern Europe was composed of free nations. No ^&%$ing difference. The long version starts here.

President McCain's Fiscal Responsibility; How The Rich Get Rich

Pay Amex fee. Don't pay bills. Invest money. Make money, with extra-low interest borrowed money. Of course this is all Cindy; it would be news to the pres.
The Huffington Post says that "according to a prior disclosure form filed in May that was provided to The Huffington Post, a significant amount of the McCains' credit card debt is being held by American Express at an interest rate of zero percent."

This is not an unusual practice for American Express, especially when dealing with customers with the kind of high net worth that Cindy McCain has -- instead of collecting interest in these cases, the company charges high annual fees. And, despite appearances, this debt actually seems to make good financial sense for the McCains. In fact, they're probably making money by carrying the debt, because their return from investing the money is almost certainly higher than the interest they're paying.

President McCain: National Security Expert

I joke, and Wes Clark rips the next president a new one on yet another lie. Really, as the former general at least implicitly notes: How does being imprisoned and tortured (to a highly unknown extent) make one an expert on national security issues? On torture, yes; but the next pres has already flip-flopped on that one (albeit for political expediency, presumably).

Friday, June 13, 2008

Hail To The Chief!

Beloved Leader's Fiscal Responsibility


Something To Be Paranoid About

Did you know that the National Prayer Breakfast is sponsored by a shadowy cabal of elite Christian fundamentalists? Jeff Sharlet's new book, "The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power," offers a rare glimpse of this remarkable network, which is known variously as the Family, the Fellowship and the International Foundation.

The Family was founded 70 years ago by Abraham Vereide, a Norwegian immigrant evangelist based in Seattle. In 1935, Vereide said, God appeared to him in a vision and revealed where Christianity had gone wrong: preoccupation with the poor, the weak and the suffering.

The down-and-out were in no position to bring about the Kingdom of God, Vereide realized. Some Christians believe that the rapture is imminent, but not the Family. They're convinced that Jesus won't return until we get our collective house in order. If they were to wait for the down-and-out to remake the world in God's image, we could be here forever.

Besides, in Seattle in the 1930s, union agitators were making a play for the down-and-out. Christianity promised rewards in the hereafter, but workers in the Pacific Northwest were starting to wonder why they had to wait so long. Instead of competing for market share with the Industrial Workers of the World, Vereide sought a different niche.

His new plan was to target men who were already powerful and turn them to God -- and wouldn't you know it, God hated unions, too.

Through personal relationships and small group encounters, Vereide united captains of industry and politicians as a Biblical bulwark against the increasing power of organized labor.

In the late 1940s, the Family helped roll back key pro-labor provisions of the New Deal. Later, the Family did its part for the Cold War by cultivating anti-communist strongmen around the world, including repressive leaders like Suharto of Indonesia and Jonas Savimbi of Angola.

The roster of current and former Family members includes senators, congressmen, Fortune 500 CEOs, generals and at least one Supreme Court justice. The Family does not publish membership lists, and its members are sworn to secrecy, so a full accounting is impossible.

Sen. Hillary Clinton has been involved with the Family since 1993 when, as first lady, she joined a White House prayer circle for political wives. Clinton has also sought spiritual counseling from the current head of the Family, Doug Coe. Sharlet argues that Clinton's longtime association with the Family has helped her forge working relationships with powerful religious conservatives such as Family member and anti-abortion crusader Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas.

The Family nurtures the next generation of prayer warriors in suburban dormitories. Sharlet spent nearly a month living at Ivanwald, a dormitory in Virginia where sons of the Family are sent to immerse themselves in Jesus and clean the toilets of congressmen and senators.

The Family also runs a house on C Street in Washington, D.C. The C Street Center has housed a number of federal legislators, including Sen. John Ensign of Nevada. Residents allege that the center is just a cheap place to live, but as an Ivanwald brother, Sharlet saw firsthand that the center is a religious community. As far as the IRS is concerned, the C Street Center is a church.

Members will tell you that the Family is just a group of friends. As Sharlet discovered, 600 boxes of documents at the Billy Graham Center Archives tell a different story.

President McCain's Veep

But one of Jindal's job titles hasn't gotten much attention -- and it just might prompt a few questions if his Veep candidacy gains steam: Exorcist.

As others noted during his 2003 and 2007 gubernatorial campaigns (see update), in an essay Jindal wrote in 1994 for the New Oxford Review, a serious right-wing Catholic journal, Jindal narrated a bizarre story of a personal encounter with a demon, in which he participated in an exorcism with a group of college friends. And not only did they cast out the supernatural spirit that had possessed his friend, Jindal wrote that he believes that their ritual may well have cured her cancer.

Reading the article leaves no doubt that Jindal -- who graduated from Brown University in 1991, was a Rhodes Scholar, and had been accepted at Yale Law School and Harvard Medical School when he wrote the essay -- was completely serious about the encounter. He even said the experience "reaffirmed" his faith.

Jindal's affection for battling demons never surfaced during Jindal's failed run for governor in 2003 or his successful one in 2007. The state Dems did make an issue in 2007 out of Jindal's extreme Catholicism and his view of Protestant tenets as heretical, but the effort provoked a backlash among voters who thought the assault was religious bigotry. So Dems didn't make an issue out of Jindal's experiment.

But Jindal's battle with the dark forces may become an issue should his Veep candidacy proceed. While it's hardly a blockbuster revelation, it could provide fodder for bloggers and late-night comics to turn his candidacy into a media sideshow.

Music Viddie Of The Day

What The Big Media Journos Can't or Won't Tell You

So the wires are a twitter with the story of Chief Judge Alex Kozinski's "web site" which, from reading the stories, you'd think was filled with porn (and worse), revealing a dark soul who, some experts in legal ethics suggest, shouldn't be presiding at an obscenity trial. That, you think, is what I mean by "the Kozinski mess."

It's not. What I mean by "the Kozinski mess" is the total inability of the media -- including we, the media, bloggers -- to get the basic facts right, and keep the reality in perspective. The real story here is how easily we let such a baseless smear travel - and our need is for a better developed immunity (in the sense of immunity from a virus) from this sort of garbage.

Here are the facts as I've been able to tell: For at least a month, a disgruntled litigant, angry at Judge Kozinski (and the Ninth Circuit) has been talking to the media to try to smear Kozinski. Kozinski had sent a link to a file (unrelated to the stuff being reported about) that was stored on a file server maintained by Kozinski's son, Yale. From that link (and a mistake in how the server was configured), it was possible to determine the directory structure for the server. From that directory structure, it was possible to see likely interesting places to peer. The disgruntled sort did that, and shopped some of what he found to the news sources that are now spreading it.

Cyberspace is weird and obscure to many people. So let's translate all this a bit: Imagine the Kozinski's have a den in their house. In the den is a bunch of stuff deposited by anyone in the family -- pictures, books, videos, whatever. And imagine the den has a window, with a lock. But imagine finally the lock is badly installed, so anyone with 30 seconds of jiggling could open the window, climb into the den, and see what the judge keeps in his house. Now imagine finally some disgruntled litigant jiggers the lock, climbs into the window, and starts going through the family's stuff. He finds some stuff that he knows the local puritans won't like. He takes it, and then starts shopping it around to newspapers and the like: "Hey look," he says, "look at the sort of stuff the judge keeps in his house."

I take it anyone would agree that it would outrageous for someone to publish the stuff this disgruntled sort produced. Obviously, within limits: if there were illegal material (child porn, for example), we'd likely ignore the trespass and focus on the crime. But if it is not illegal material, we'd all, I take it, say that the outrage is the trespass, and the idea that anyone would be burdened to defend whatever someone found in one's house.

Because this is in many ways the essence of privacy. Not the right to commit a crime (though sometimes it has that effect). But the right not to have to defend yourself about stuff you keep private. If the trespasser found a Playboy on the table in the den, the proper response is not to publish an article reporting this fact, and then shift the burden to the home owner to defend the presence of the Playboy (a legal publication, harmless in the eyes of some, scandalous in the eyes of others). The proper response is to give the private party the benefit of privacy: which is, here at least, the right not to have to explain.

This analogy, I submit, fits perfectly the alleged scandal around Kozinski. His son set up a server to make it easy for friends and family to share stuff -- family pictures, documents he wanted to share, videos, etc. Nothing alleged to have been on this server violates any law. (There's some ridiculous claim about "bestiality." But the video is not bestiality. It lives today on YouTube -- a funny (to some) short of a man defecating in a field, and then being chased by a donkey. If there was malicious intent in this video, it was the donkey's. And in any case, nothing sexual is shown in that video at all.) No one can know who uploaded what, or for whom. The site was not "on the web" in the sense of a site open and inviting anyone to come in. It had a robots.txt file to indicate its contents were not to be indexed. That someone got in is testimony to the fact that security -- everywhere -- is imperfect. But this was a private file server, like a private room, hacked by a litigant with a vendetta. Decent people -- and publications -- should say shame on the person violating the privacy here, and not feed the violation by forcing a judge to defend his humor to a nosy world.

When it comes to government invasions of our privacy, we are (and rightly) a privacy obsessed people. We need to extend some of that obsession to the increasingly common violations by private people against other private people. There is nothing for Chief Judge Kozinski to defend because he has violated no law, and we live in a free society (or so he thought when he immigrated from Romania). A free society should feed the right to be left alone, including the right not to have to defend publicly private choices and taste, by learning not to feed the privacy trolls.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The TSA's Enabling Of Terrorism

Just, you know, in case there's any doubt about Our leaders' homeland security being a joke....
A new Transportation Security Agency (TSA) policy will block passengers from flying if they do not have proper ID, but only if they exhibit defiance. Passengers who merely forgot to bring ID will still be permitted to fly, but will be subjected to a physical screening and enhanced baggage screening

President McCain Does It For The Nation's Wealthiest (Just Like Beloved Leader)

Both John McCain and Barack Obama promise to cut taxes for the majority of Americans. But an Obama administration would redistribute income toward lower- and middle-class households, while a McCain White House would steer the bulk of the benefits to the wealthiest families, according to a nonpartisan analysis of the still-evolving tax plans of the presidential candidates.

Both plans risk causing more economic damage than improvement, according to the detailed study by the Washington-based Tax Policy Center. While some of Sen. McCain's tax cuts could lift economic activity, the "adverse effects of the resulting increased deficits may make the net effect of the plan economically harmful," the report says. Sen. Obama's plan similarly "would substantially increase the deficit" and could create "additional complexity" to the tax code by offering a range of targeted breaks.

Here's the side-by-side.


World's first animated porn???

President McCain, Then And Now

So which is it with all the flip-floppery?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

President McCain: His Record

I Love New York!

My city, why I love it....
More than one in four New Yorkers were infected with genital herpes, a sexually transmitted disease that can cause sores and increase the spread of HIV, as of 2004, according to the city's first measurement of the virus.

About 26 percent of New Yorkers carried the virus compared with the national average of 19 percent, the New York City Health Department said today in a statement. The rate was higher among women than men -- 36 percent versus 19 percent, and higher among blacks than whites -- 49 percent versus 14 percent, the city said.
Link (-- which comes from our mayor!!!).

More Pandering From President McCain

Whoring for telecoms; that's leadership:

If you've been wondering where all the telecom lobbyists went to lick their wounds after the House rejected retroactive immunity for wiretapping, the Electronic Frontier Foundation says it's found a bunch of them smack dab in the middle of John McCain's presidential campaign organization.
The group suggested Friday that the swell of current and former telecom lobbyists in the McCain camp might have something to do with the candidate's recent reversal on the legality of warrantless wiretapping. His most recent position "reads a lot like the talking points that a telecom lobbyist might employ," writes EFF senior staff attorney Kurt Opsahl.
McCain has long supported amnesty for telecoms who cooperated with Bush's warrantless domestic spying, but until recently questioned the legality of the program. After zig-zagging on the issue over the last few weeks, he eventually settled on a position nearly identical to President Bush's -- that presidential war-making powers trump the law when it comes to warrantless wiretapping.
That position further bolsters the phone companies' arguments for amnesty, since they could argue that they only helped out in a completely lawful surveillance.
The EFF is suing AT&T for its alleged cooperation in warrantless spying, in one of about 40 privacy lawsuits stemming from the surveillance program. EFF looked at the lobbyists who worked on a bill that would have given those companies immunity. Among the lobbyist connections the EFF found:
Charlie Black, a top McCain political adviser, worked for lobbying firm BKSH until March of this year. AT&T paid the firm $120,000 for the first three months of 2008, in part to lobby for the FISA amendments. Black was listed as one of AT&T's lobbyists.
The influential Wayne Berman, one of McCain's national finance co-chairs, works for Ogilvy, a prestigious lobbying firm which represents AT&T on FISA. Berman was listed in the first quarter of 2008 as having lobbied for the company.
John Green, also from Oglivy, lobbied on wiretap bills and amnesty for AT&T. He now reportedly works as a full-time liaison to Congress for the McCain campaign.
Dan Coats, a member of the McCain's Justice Advisory Committee, formerly lobbies for Sprint on FISA reform.
When asked about the ties, McCain's campaign declined to comment, though did say the senator would be providing comment on the matter to cable news channels Friday afternoon. But no remarks seemed to have been carried by the networks.
In remarks to reporters Friday, McCain called the legality of the program "ambiguous," but did not want to dwell on it, according to MSNBC.
Patrick Hynes, the campaign's online outreach coordinator, repeatedly declined to explain why McCain's position on warrantless wiretapping has changed, finally stating that McCain's "position on this issue has been consistent," despite stories from the conservative National Review Online, The New York Times and the liberal online magazine Salon to the contrary.
Reporter Charlie Savage -- who as a Boston Globe reporter pressed presidential contenders about their view of executive power in the fall -- added to the controversy Friday with a front page New York Times story.
Savage noted the discrepancy in what McCain said to him in December, and what his campaign told the National Review Online last Monday.
McCain oversees the telecom industry in Congress as a member of the Senate Commerce Committee.
The McCain campaign's apparent embrace of the Bush administration's legal rationale for evading court scrutiny of U.S.-based wiretaps has given fodder to Democrats' attempts to tie McCain to the unpopular president.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) poked at the issue on cable news Friday, while Senator Joe Biden (D-Delaware) issued his own written statement.
"In 1978, I helped draft the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) which made clear the exclusive legal steps the President must take in order to conduct national security surveillance," Biden's statement reads. "Senator McCain has now not only joined the company of President Bush -- but also President Nixon -– in taking the position that as President he would consider himself above the law."
The EFF's post is not the first time that the McCain campaigns ties to telecom lobbyists have been noted.
In March, USA Today reported that "people who lobbied for telecom companies on those issues include McCain's campaign manager, his deputy manager, his finance chief, his top unpaid political adviser and his Senate chief of staff. Telecom companies have paid the lobbying firms that employed those top five McCain advisers more than $4.4 million since 1999, lobbying records show."

Victory In Hanoi?

What 55,000 deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries and ruined lives have wrought? This is what we were fighting to prevent?

Hanoi crazy night traffic from v!Nc3sl4s on Vimeo.

First Notes Of The Death Knell Of Micro$oft?

Kidding; the first was Ballmer's "Developers" "dance" (or "fit"); next are these....

Evolution: Witnessed!

True believers of course, smart as they might be, are capable of denying scientific fact, but the truth is here.

35 Of Beloved Leader's Sins

Well, his and the rest of Our Leaders'.... See them here. Way to go, Bushie!

President McCain's Economic Platform? Built Of Lies

See for yourself. And more about that here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Good joke: Spell Check Poem

Music Viddie Of The Day

Insight Into Christofascism

Of course, ultimately it's a religion based on forced conversion. And if that requires lies, well, the ends always justify the means. (That, opposed to morality, where a principle is a principle.)

So see them lie....

Doing This May Be Good For Me After All....

Not that I've seen proof.... Link.

Viddie Of The Day

The legendary Henry Miller....

Monday, June 09, 2008

Wiiiiiiiiiiii!!! What Our Leaders Have Wrought: Finally Succeeding In Making America Second Rate

Me, I always thought the GOP's ideal of America was to be a banana republic, a nation with a non-democratic government, shall we say, ran for the exclusive benefit of an oligarchy.

Along those lines, there's this recent success of Our Leaders':
[Nintendo] also is shrewdly maximizing its profit by sending four times as many [Wii] units to Europe, reaping the benefits of the strong euro, said Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities.

Pachter estimated that Nintendo shipped just 500,000 copies of the game in North America but as many as 2 million units to Europe.

"The shortage demonstrates one consequence of the weak dollar. We're seeing companies ignore their largest market simply because they can make a greater profit elsewhere," Pachter said.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Leadership, Beloved Leader-Style

Is it possible to sink even lower?

Remember this?
Bush, December 28, 2007:
I am withholding my approval of H.R. 1585, the "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008," because it would imperil billions of dollars of Iraqi assets at a crucial juncture in that nation's reconstruction efforts and because it would undermine the foreign policy and commercial interests of the United States.
This was the bill that Bush claimed he was pocket vetoing, but really couldn't, because Congress was still in session.

But the important thing to remember is that he was vetoing a bill that:
1. contained a pay raise for the troops, and;

2. enabled American veterans of the first Gulf War who actually won court judgments against the Iraqi government for having been captured and tortured by the Saddam Hussein regime to recover against frozen Iraqi assets in this country.
Bush was willing to endure the horrible optics of both of those things (as though the Vestigial Media could ever be counted on to actually notice and present those optics) in order to protect those Iraqi assets he considered so critical to that country's "reconstruction." Well, that and the fact that it would have put his "administration" in the position of having to admit that people were entitled to compensation for being tortured.

Fast forward to today:
The US is holding hostage some $50bn (£25bn) of Iraq's money in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to pressure the Iraqi government into signing an agreement seen by many Iraqis as prolonging the US occupation indefinitely, according to information leaked to The Independent.

US negotiators are using the existence of $20bn in outstanding court judgments against Iraq in the US, to pressure their Iraqi counterparts into accepting the terms of the military deal, details of which were reported for the first time in this newspaper yesterday.

Iraq's foreign reserves are currently protected by a presidential order giving them immunity from judicial attachment but the US side in the talks has suggested that if the UN mandate, under which the money is held, lapses and is not replaced by the new agreement, then Iraq's funds would lose this immunity.
Yep. The same money that was so critical to long term Iraqi and regional stability one Friedman Unit ago that it couldn't even be used to compensate American soldiers who had been tortured by Saddam Hussein. Same money, now being held hostage by Bush to force the Iraqis to accept a perpetual American military presence in their country, all arranged without Senate approval by calling this treaty by another name: a "Status of Forces Agreement."

And what an "agreement," at that!


Good joke: The Perfect Career for a Writer

Moral Issue Of The Day

A mean, nasty, stupid person, through good fortune and absolutely no more, comes into a fairly large sum of money. Is this person who was previously pretty much worthless as a human being (yeah, yeah, pun intended), suddenly other than the same worthless wretch they were before their stroke of good fortune.

I say no.

But then again, I believe this (from one of my very favorite comic book stories ever!):


The Genius Of Beloved Leader

Who says he's so stupid?
Bush admits to Engel that going to war was a decision based on his personal instinct and not on any long-range strategy for the Mideast:

“I know people are saying we should have left things the way they were, but I changed after 9/11. I had to act. I don’t care if it created more enemies. I had to act.”


And he says that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is an obstacle to peace in the region:
“The problem is Olmert. This is a man who came to power on a promise that he was going to unilaterally define a Palestinian state. You can’t pressure democracies.”


“We can have meetings. Talking is not the problem. We can talk to Iran. But Iran wants nuclear weapons and I’m not going to let that happen. Not on my watch. We tried to have dialogue with Syria, right after the war, didn’t get much. * * "

What This Nation Needs; Another Drop Down The Slippery Slope Towards The Inevitable Christofascist State

First, in answer to the unasked question: Yes, it will be no good and an insult to everything this country's about. Everything.
So. Carolina's House & Senate have unanimously passed a bill allowing the creation of the faith plate. The license will feature a cross against a stained glass window with the words "I Believe" at the bottom. The ACLU, among others, is threatening suit.

A Pol One Can Almost Be Proud Of

And permit me to say, I would honestly be shocked to find this kind of honesty and lucidity amongst the GOP. Link.

Hey, wait a second! Here's the GOP's latest superstar/exemplar.


Just a reminder what a Godawful louse she's been in her jobs with Beloved leader.

Sad, Sad, Sad; Another Failure Of Big Media

By lying to us or failing to properly address what needs to be addressed, they alienate us and then cry about losing audience to the web, etc. Well, make yourself irrelevant....

This is kind of pathetic.

And, really, inexcusable.

As she points out, the truth was out there to be seen by anybody with open eyes.

Yet the professionals were blind or unwilling to see and acknowledge reality. And of what value are journalists like that?

When I first heard about Scott McClellan's charges that the Bush administration had lied and deceived Americans during the months and years leading up to the war, I burst into tears of happiness. No, nothing he wrote was new. And even if he still seems like a sleazy public relations expert in obfuscation, an insider was finally telling the truth, in one book.

My story is different from those who felt seriously constrained about raising questions about the administration's obvious lies. I worked as an editorial writer at The San Francisco Chronicle, where a liberal editorial board raised serious objections to the war. And yet, in the years following 9/11, I felt editorial restraints that never allowed us to tell the whole truth about the lies and deception that led to America's most catastrophic foreign policy disaster.

Others in the mainstream media felt far greater restraints. Jessica Yellin, a CNN journalist, for example, says she felt pressured by corporate executives at her previous network to support the Iraq War. To Anderson Cooper, she described how she and others were "under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to make sure that this was a war presented in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation and the president's high approval ratings." On the Today Show, Katie Couric, Brian Williams, and Charles Gibson also admitted feeling pressure from the Bush administration to support the war, MSNBC reported. Couric even recounted a threat from the White House Press Secretary to "block access to [the network] during the war" if she did not change the tone of her interviewing style."

So what did I experience? An editor and an editorial board who felt that, in the absence of inside sources, we could not counter the administration's lies.

Let me give you some examples. I was raised in a Republican family, but schooled by the great iconoclastic journalist I.F. Stone, who taught me that you can find the truth without inside sources, if only you're willing to see beyond patriotic fervor and examine voices in the public domain that are marginalized, So, I would read national security experts who countered Donald Rumfeld's ridiculous predictions; I would read the British, Canadian, Italian and French press; I would read the writings of experts in resource wars and weapons of mass destruction.

No, I didn't know I was right. But I was sure that the administration was lying. And, I knew that at the very least that our editorials should be asking why Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al should be believed when I had found strong evidence that they were cherry picking intelligence, and setting up their own office in the Pentagon, and acting in complete secrecy.

The rush to war drove me crazy. In the days that led up to the war, I went to my editor and told him I needed a few days unpaid leave to accept the fact that we were, in fact, going to war. In my mind's eye, I saw a baby tied to the railroad tracks and saw the train rapidly moving toward the helpless child. I saw years of quagmire, bloodshed, and tens of thousands of deaths. I needed a few days to accept that reality before I could return to writing. He understood and allowed me to regain my professional composure.

To its credit, the editorial board raised some of the toughest questions in the mainstream media. And yet....I was the only one who didn't believe Colin Powell's shameful presentation at the United Nations. Why? Not because I had special insider knowledge, but like I.F. Stone, I had found credible people who could dissect his speech and found it unconvincing and unpersuasive.

When I heard Bush's inaugural address, I heard two major lies embedded within his speech. But somehow that still wasn't enough to accuse him of plagiarism and deception.

The truth is, even a liberal newspaper, blessed with a liberal editorial board, did not engage in truth telling. We raised some good questions, wrote about supporting the troops, but failed to describe the deception that led to the catastrophe that was unfolding right before our eyes.

While I was writing editorials, I was also publishing two weekly political columns on the op-ed page. I also felt constrained as a columnist. If I wanted to discuss this country's desire to gain control and access over oil, I had to bump up against the accusation that I was a vulgar Marxist, rather than conversant with the reality of resource wars.

Finally, I am an historian, and I knew Iraq's history. I also knew that the war would end in a disastrous occupation, not a liberation, and that no country, including our own, will ever tolerate occupation by a foreign nation.

This week, I sat with a former colleague from the editorial board in a café, rather than in the room where we used to make our editorial decisions. He admitted that I had been right, but even more, that even in a liberal paper, the editor and most of the board, had felt restrained, afraid of seeming unpatriotic, afraid of saying the emperor wore no clothes, afraid of not giving the President the benefit of the doubt, afraid of truth telling without access to inside sources.

You may say, "Ho Hum, even the Senate has now, after five years, come out with a report that describes (oh, so tepidly) the years of deception.

But for me, the tears flowed because I remembered all those years when I felt passionate about telling the public the truth, but was unable to do so in a mainstream, liberal, newspaper.

Today's Read

"Goodnight Bush". An unsolicited plug. "Cause I kind of love "Goodnight Moon".

The President Speaks

Leadership That Makes Faux News Performers Gag

Cartoon Of The Day

Yeah, it's tiney but it's the story of my work-life so it's worth clicking on.... Link.

The Moral Corruption Of Our Leaders And Their Enablers

Maybe it has to do with amoral greed or something... the mise en scene seems to be the loss of a moral balance or something.


A practically current case study, as it were.

Apologies: a major moral failing that Joe Lieberman has failed to bring to light. So if Joe hasn'r ragged on it, I guess I must be wrong.

The World's Greatest Leaders

Chapter MDCXLIII of "Our Leaders' Belief In Government As A Source Of Funds To Re-Distribute For Their Benefit And The Benefit Of Their Big Wealth Supporters":
Federal prosecutors are aiming to block the sale of the home of Christopher J. Ward, former treasurer of the National Republican Congressional Committee, over allegations that he shifted over $500,000 from Senate Republicans into his personal accounts over a four-year period to make mortgage payments and fund remodeling jobs.

According to the Department of Justice and an internal NRCC audit stemming from its accusations against Ward in March, he began embezzling in 2003. $198,841 in particular has been isolated by investigators, $95,000 of which is said to be from the 2006 President's Dinner, to pay for work done on Ward's house. Also diverted, say court documents, was $72,000 to make mortgage payments.

Ward, under investigation by the FBI, has been relieved of his duties with the NRCC but has yet to be charged criminally. Five GOP-connected organizations so far have implicated Ward in the misappropriation of at least $47,000, a far cry from what could have gone missing from the NRCC; an internal audit there suggests a figure of up to $600,000, but that audit is still in progress, said Karen Hanretty, NRCC's communications director.

Ward worked for the NRCC starting in November of 1995, taking on the role of treasurer in 2003. He stepped down in July of 2007 but stayed on as a consultant until January 28, 2008, when it was discovered that he was not auditing NRCC's 2006 finances as previously believed. An internal investigation by Chairman Tom Cole revealed that the last calendar year successfully audited was 2001, with Ward fabricating reports for 2002 through 2006.

How President McCain Will Get Elected: Lies, Lies, Lies

If truth be told, however, Obama earned his Ivy League degrees the hard way, while the child of privilege in this year’s presidential contest is John McCain. McCain obtained his appointment to the U.S. Navy Academy because his father and grandfather had been there, and McCain’s path to the Senate was made easy because his predecessor, Barry Goldwater, liked his father, Admiral Jack McCain.

Yet McCain always passes over his privileged history, while making much of the fact that he finished at the bottom of his class at Annapolis to establish his bona fides as a regular guy. In addition, McCain invokes his laudable Vietnam POW experience as evidence of his physical toughness and stamina, qualities to which regular guys can easily aspire.


Overall, the Times’ report suggests that to get elected president today the candidate must “make an emotional connection [with average American voters]” which helps to win their “trust and confidence” – which are essential. Trust and confidence are not won by academic pedigree or prestigious educational success. To the contrary, for (too) many voters, it is necessary to shed such accomplishments to win this kind of loyalty. Ivy League degrees are considered by many as indicia of arrogance and privilege (whether such qualities belong to the degreeholder or not).


Dr. Westen also addressed the emotionally-loaded question of race in passing in The Political Brain. He explains that Obama, like every African-American candidate for Senate or President in the near future, needs to study the effectively-orchestrated Republican campaign run against Congressman Harold Ford (also an African-American), when he sought to win a Senate seat in Tennessee in 2006. It was a “psychologically sophisticated” undertaking built on racism. It worked. And Republicans got away with it, paying no price for their underhanded tactics, but rather winning a Senate seat.

The Democrats were fearful of talking about race in the Ford campaign, Westen observes. This was a mistake. They failed to call attention to the racist campaign being waged against them, and they did not call the GOP on its morally reprehensive decision to play to people’s prejudice. The same kid of racist campaign has already started with Obama, and if the Obama campaign and his supporters do not call attention to it, John McCain will gain an easy victory, only to bring us the third term of the Bush/Cheney Administration.