Tuesday, January 31, 2006
From Think Progress...
CBS will air a portion of its interview with President Bush on Sunday’s Face the Nation. You can look forward to this exchange:
CBS: “Have you had time to think about what you’re going to do after you’re president?”
BUSH: “I’m beginning to think it through a little bit. I’d like to leave behind a legacy — or a think tank, a place for people to talk about freedom and liberty and the DeTocqueville model of what DeTocqueville saw in America.”
It’s curious that Alexis DeTocqueville is Bush’s inspiration for a think tank. DeTocqueville was a French political thinker who traveled extensively around America in the early 1800s and wrote famously of his perceptions of the U.S. in a two-volume set entitled Democracy In America. A review of DeTocqueville’s writings suggests that, though he wrote in the 19th Century, he may as well have been studying the politics of the Bush administration:
“I foresee that all the military rulers who may rise up in great democratic nations will find it easier to conquer with their armies than to make their armies live at peace after conquest. There are two things that a democratic people will always find very difficult, to begin a war and to end it.”
“I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.”
“The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money.”
“All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish it.”
“When an opinion has taken root among a democratic people and established itself in the minds of the bulk of the community, it afterwards persists by itself and is maintained without effort, because no one attacks it.”
Sen. Maria Cantwell
United States Senate
Dear Sen. Cantwell,
Thank you for voting to give me complete ownership of my wife's uterus. Your vote against the filibuster means a lot me. I've been eyeing Ofjoshua's uterine property for years.
I'd like to return the favor. It's a shame that your own uterus continues to be unclaimed by any man. We can't allow that--it's just too much responsibility. That's why I've decided to ease your burden by laying claim to it myself.
No need to worry about anything. Just give me a call if you want to use [your] my uterus, and I'll decide whether to allow it.
Of course, you'll need to tattoo the words "Property of Gen. JC Christian, patriot" on your abdomen or wherever it is you keep those things. Be sure to leave room for another tattoo in case I decide to sell [your] my uterus to someone else.
Gen. JC Christian, patriot
*I'm not hitting on you. It's just very important to me that people know that I'm a heterosexual. Cletis is a god damned liar!
[Click image to enlarge.]
From: Yahoo News
"President Bush's $15 billion effort to fight AIDS has handed out nearly one-quarter of its grants to religious groups, and officials are aggressively pursuing new church partners that often emphasize disease prevention through abstinence and fidelity over condom use."
"Conservative Christian allies of the president are pressing the U.S. foreign aid agency to give fewer dollars to groups that distribute condoms or work with prostitutes. The Bush administration provided more than 560 million condoms abroad last year, compared with some 350 million in 2001."
"For prevention, Bush embraces the "ABC" strategy: abstinence before marriage, being faithful to one partner, and condoms targeted for high-risk activity. The Republican-led Congress mandated that one-third of prevention money be reserved for abstinence and fidelity. "
Monday, January 30, 2006
[Click image to enlarge]
Two quotes from Daily Kos
". . . [This is o]ne of the big issues lurking beneath this Alito fight. The Republicans know very well that their future depends upon Americans continuing to see Democrats as weak and lacking in conviction. That's all they've got. . . . This may look like a ragged strategy in some respects, but it is good for us to be seen doing things that have no obvious political advantage and for which we can legitimately claim to have taken the moral high ground. Yes, the tittering congnoscenti will flutter their fans and whisper that Democrats are witless and dull, but in this case we are talking directly to the people not to them. They have no idea anymore that a world exists out here where poltical calculation is beside the point."
and, from Abraham Lincoln:
"Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT, AND IN THAT FAITH, LET US, TO THE END, DARE TO DO OUR DUTY AS WE UNDERSTAND IT."
Poverty: The number of Iraqis living below the poverty line has increased since the fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003 to one-fifth of the population, according to figures released today."
A study conducted by the (Labour) ministry in coordination with the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations Development Program shows that 20 per cent of the population is affected by poverty," Leila Kazem, director general of the department of social affairs at the Labour Ministry said.
"Some two million Iraqi families live under the poverty line, as defined by international criteria, which is fixed at one dollar per day per person."
From: Today in Iraq
[Click on image to enlarge.]
Brain drain: Iraq's top professionals — doctors, lawyers, professors — and businessmen have been targeted by shadowy political groups for kidnapping and ransom, as well as killing, some of them say. So many have fled the country that Iraq is in danger of losing the core of skilled people it needs most as it is trying to build a newly independent society.
"It's creating a brain drain," said Amer Hassan Fayed, assistant dean of political science at Baghdad University. "We could end up with a society without knowledge. How can such a society make progress?"
Professionals and businessmen with the means to escape are going to Jordan, Syria, Egypt or, if they have visas, to Western countries. Those left behind say they feel abandoned.
From: Today in Iraq
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Automaton conformity: Fearful people can gain a sense of power by acting like everyone else, holding the same beliefs and values, purchasing the same products, and believing in the same morals. They give up much of their individuality, but they feel more secure.
Along these lines, have you ever noticed how righties believe with an absolute, pure faith that their beliefs and values are the beliefs and values of the majority, even when polls say otherwise? I noticed a long time ago that being one of the herd is terribly important to righties. If you argue them into a corner, they nearly always fall back on "most people agree with me, not you looney lefties."
Authoritarianism contains a paradox - by giving up power to the powerful, the powerless feel more powerful. Put another way, we submit to a leader by submerging our individual identity with the identity of the leader, and thus become powerful like the leader. The more slavishly devoted to the leader we are, the more powerful we think we become. Or at least that's what it feels like.
Destructiveness refers to destroying people we think keep power away from us. Thus the Right's obsession with a powerful "liberal elite" that controls society in spite of the fact that it doesn't exist.
"Allegiance to charismatic leaders may be one particularly effective mode of terror management. In Escape from Freedom, Eric Fromm (1941) proposed that loyalty to charismatic leaders results from a defensive need to feel a part of a larger whole, and surrendering one’s freedom to a larger-than-life leader can serve as a source of self-worth and meaning in life. Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death, 1973) posited that when mainstream worldviews are not serving people’s need for psychological security, concerns about mortality impel people to devote their psychological resources to following charismatic leaders who bolster their selfworth by making them feel that they are valued participants in a great mission to heroically triumph over evil. "
Saturday, January 28, 2006
(Click on cartoon to enlarge)
Q. Can the president spy on me without a warrant?
A. The president would never, ever spy on you, unless you're talking to a terrorist
.Q. That sounds reasonable!
A. Or an associate of a terrorist or a suspected associate of a terrorist or a possible suspected relative of a member of an affiliate of a terrorist or someone with a name that's spelled like a terrorist's or someone who's been mistakenly identified as a terrorist by an NSA algorithm.
Q. That sounds like I should look into switching to smoke signals.
Bill of Rights
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
(Click image to enlarge.)
Kwiatkowski, 43, a now-retired Air Force officer who served in the Pentagon's Near East and South Asia (NESA) unit in the year before the invasion of Iraq, observed how the Pentagon's Iraq war-planning unit manufactured scare stories about Iraq's weapons and ties to terrorists. "It wasn't intelligence‚ -- it was propaganda," she says. "They'd take a little bit of intelligence, cherry-pick it, make it sound much more exciting, usually by taking it out of context, often by juxtaposition of two pieces of information that don't belong together." It was by turning such bogus intelligence into talking points for U.S. officials‚ -- including ominous lines in speeches by President Bush and Vice President Cheney, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell's testimony at the U.N. Security Council last February‚ -- that the administration pushed American public opinion into supporting an unnecessary war.
From "The Lie Factory"
Military discharges hundreds of medics under gay ban
Among the nearly 10,000 service members expelled under the Pentagon's antigay "don't ask, don't tell" policy over a 10-year period, hundreds have been medical specialists
and officers. According to data released on Wednesday by the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, 244 medical specialists were kicked out in the period spanning 1994 to 2003, the first 10 years the policy was in effect. The data were obtained from the Pentagon with the help of Rep. Marty Meehan, a Massachusetts Democrat who sits on the House Armed Services committee.
US Army near breaking point: The U.S. army has been overstretched nearly to a "breaking point" by frequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, risking collapse unless relief comes soon, according to a latest study commissioned by the Pentagon.
The study, which is conducted by retired U.S. army officer and military analyst Andrew Krepinevich under a Pentagon contract, concluded that the U.S. army cannot sustain the pace of troop deployments to Iraq long enough to eradicate insurgency, according to U.S. media reports Wednesday.
From "Today in Iraq"
Bush now wants a Federal Police Force. The following is included in the new Patriot Act now before Congress.
"A permanent police force, to be known as the 'United States Secret Service Uniformed Division,'" empowered to "make arrests without warrant for any offense against the United States committed in their presence" ... "or for any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing such felony."
From "Talk Left"
Friday, January 27, 2006
A lot of the WingNuts (Right Wing Conservatives) like to paint those of us who do not favor the war in Iraq as anti-Americans or terrorist sympathisers. But either they do not understand us, or they want to paint us with a broad brush stroke in order to discredit us without regard to our REAL positions. I, like many left-wingers, supported the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. I do not, and never did, support the war in Iraq because they were not an immediate threat to our country. How many more of our citizens must die fighting for "freedom" in a country which does not even want freedom?
We're all Americans:
I was just reading Gayle's Republican Blog and I
found a link to this: You probably missed it in the rush of news last week, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American. So an Australian dentist wrote an editorial the following day to let everyone know what an American is. So they would know when they found one. (Good one, mate!!!!)
"An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani or Afghan. An American may also be a Comanche, Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, Seminole or one of the many other tribes known as Native Americans. An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses. An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.
And it ends like this:
So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo, and Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, and other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself, because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American."
Read the whole letter on Sandy's Spot:
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
(Click image for a larger view.) The idiot at right is the leader of the free world and 2 days ago, this excahnge took place in a news conference..
"WOMAN IN AUDIENCE: ‘I don’t really understand. How is it the new plan going to fix the problem?’
Verbatim response: PRESIDENT BUSH:‘Because the — all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculated, for example, is on the table. Whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases There’s a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those — changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be — or closer delivered to that has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It’s kind of muddled. Look, there’s a series of things that cause the — like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate — the benefits will rise based upon inflation, supposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those — if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.’"
There is an incredible article about the Religious Right posted here. Its claims that the Religious Right is seeking to control the US government, and ultimately all of its citizens is due to the belief that this is a requirement of the Rapture. To quote the author,
"...Adams warned us against the blindness caused by intellectual snobbery. The Nazis, he said, were not going to return with swastikas and brown shirts. Their ideological inheritors had found a mask for fascism in the pages of the Bible."
This is well-worth the reading time. I will be using more quotes from this article over the next few days as I think it explains a lot about the attitude of the far-right-wing in demonizing their opponents.
"Executions at Gitmo: New US military rules mean that executions of condemned "war on terror" detainees could be carried out at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, the US Army said. The new rules authorize the army to set the location for executions "imposed by military courts-martial or military tribunals and authorized by the president of the United States."
This is an excellent website that combs dozens of news sites for ALL of the news in Iraq that we don't hear on TV or read in our local newspapers. If you really want to know what our war in Iraq is producing each day, this is the place to go.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
The US was founded to be "of the people, by the people and for the people." Our revolution declared our freedom from our oppressors - the British and the church. Today, the new oppressor is big business - and George Bush works hand in hand with the evil empire. The two recent mine tragedies in West Virgina are clearly not the fault of the Bush administration, but click on the two links below to read more about their role in the mess...
In my "not-so-humble" opinion, most of the Bushinistas are not very nice people. Despite their professed love of the Christian Church and their devotion to Jesus, they're missing something. They are in fact, mean and nasty. Pat Buchannan, referring to Osama bin Laden had this to say just 2 days ago on the McLaughlin Group...
John, I take him seriously for this reason. What Bin Laden is doing, he's been eclipsed by Zarqawi and Zawahiri. And what he is doing, he is saying with this what Clinton said. I am relevant- I am here- I am alive...
Now what purpose can there be in this - comparing the villainous, vile and murdering Osama bin Laden with an ex-President of the US? It is spiteful, vengeful and hateful speech and it doesn't even make any sense. Where is his God now?
Monday, January 23, 2006
Ann Coulter is one of those folks from the far-right-wing that I can watch. Her thoughts are so far out of the mainstream that I figure she's really got to be a put-on. It can't be that there's anyone who buys very much of what she has to say. O"Reilly, Sean Hannity, Jerry Falwell and most of the other Wing-Nuts take themselves seriously - but not Ann. Larry King says it all in this photo.
A lot of people suspect that when President Bush selected Dick Cheney to be Vice-President, he did so because Mr. Chaney knew so much more about running a country. Having served both in Congress and in Reagan's cabinet, Cheney had a much greater understanding of the Republican view of the world. Indeed, there may be many other puppet-masters behind both Bush and Cheney. Without access to the "behind-closed-door" meetings, we'll probably never really know who's running the country - be it corporations, religious leaders, Karl Rove, or any of other wealthy donors to the party. Maybe it's a bit of all.
Prsident Bush uses misinformation to mislead the American public - and a lot of people buy into his lies. His declaration that Congress had the same information he had about Iraq's threat to the US prior to our invasion is just wrong. Even Congress wasn't receiving his daily briefings - in fact, Congress got their information mostly from GWB. They only got what he wanted them to see. He's a man that can't be trusted.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
(Click the cartoon for a full-sized view.) I wish we could work our politics without the spin. If we were all honest and straightforward with each other, I suspect we could reach some conclusions that would make our country a little better. When Osama bin Laden's video tape surfaced this week, the first things the Republican attack dogs did was try to implicate Democrats and hammer home the point that Osama used some of the Democratic Party's anti-war language. Instead of attacking loyal Americans, the Republicans need to be discussing how to go about stopping the war that is ripping apart dozens of countries around the world.
Saturday, January 21, 2006
One of the more amazing aspects of the Bush administration is their ability to turn their own weaknesses into someone else's problem. Every time something goes wrong for them, they point at someone else. Just check out the way in which they attacked John Kerry's Vietnam war record, when Bush himself went AWOL from the TN Air National Guard. And now the Republicans are attacking the war record of John Murtha who has attacked the President's war policy. Chickenhawks - they've no guts to fight the battles themselves, but they'll send others off to do the job, then belittle them for doing it. Worst President ever.
I can't sleep very well at night knowing how badly he's screwed up America (Social Security fiasco, Medicare Drug Plan fiasco, Katrina recovery fiasco, etc.) and the world (Iraq, Iran, North Korea, South America, etc.). So how the hell does he get to sleep at night? Counting the dead bodies created by his policies as they jump through the Pearly Gates?
I know that I spelled dictator wrong up there in the title. There's a lot going on here. President Bush is seen by many as a dick. He's also pretty well tied to the warped sense of destiny espoused by a guy named Dick (Cheney). Bush also would like to be a dictator and he really doesn't try to hide it. The quote in the image is real. And now he's signing legislation (such as the bill passed by Congress banning torture of prisoners taken in the war on terror) and indicating as he signs it that he won't abide by it because he's above the law. What a dicktator!
Friday, January 20, 2006
...or is everything they have to say just spin on some issue? As a follow-up to the proposed rules changes being discussed in Washington following the breaking Jack Abrhamoff bribery scandal, Trent Lott is quoted as saying,
"Now we're going to say you can't have a meal for more than 20 bucks," said Senator Trent Lott, Republican of Mississippi. "Where are you going, to McDonald's?" (From the New York Times)
But this just goes back to my point - stupidity. The proposal doesn't suggest that he can't spend more than $20 for a meal; the proposal is that he can't accept a free meal from a lobbyist worth more than $20. Trent can still go out and spend anything he wants to on a meal as long as it is out of his own pocket. Just like the rest of us.
Dubya has never impressed me as someone who is very bright - and I also get the feeling he doesn't work very hard at being President. He just seems ignorant of so many issues and he never seems to be in charge. It might take some real effort, but what do you suppose could be done to finish the job of cleaning up New Orleans and the Gulf Coast if he sat down with his administrative team and really worked out the issues? I'll bet they could get the job started in just a few days. Or apply the same thought to the war in Iraq...
I think that what makes this button so remarkable is that it represents the truth about the Bush family history - they will do anything to increase their wealth and they once supported and aided Adolph Hitler. Click here for a link to one of hundreds of sites that discuss their support for facism. Or Google for more information.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Is it possible that Dubya's so popular in Utah because he's a polygamist? What makes this caption extra special is that a couple of years ago, during an interview, Condi called George her "husband." And she's never been married, so it would not be an easy gaf to explain away. Unless...
I'm not quite so sure why so many Americans who support torture of alleged-terrorists also are strong believers in a religiously-oriented government, but that seems to be the case. One of the countries to which the US has been accused of sending Iraqi prisoners for torture and questioning is Uzbekistan. And then came reports from British intelligence that the Uzbeks have been boiling their captives while they are still alive. Click here for a TV News report on the story.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
If you're old enough, you might remember some of the text adventure games of the 1980's. Some were played from floppy discs, others were played online through services such as BBS's. Click here for a view of how one of the games might play out today if you were assuming the identity of George Bush, President of the United States."
(Click the image for a larger view) Tom DeLay, former House Majority Leader and known as the Hammer for his ability to keep Republican Representatives voting the party line, is now under indictment in Texas for illegaly handling campaign contributions. He has also been implicated (although not yet indicted) in the Jack Abramoff lobby scheme wherein a number of Republican Representatives apparently accepted bribes for votes. Check out his quote under the picture at right. Lying, moralistic asshole!
Al Gore's response to Scottie's and Alberto's lies:
I got this quote from Daily Kos Blog
The Administration's response to my speech illustrates perfectly the need for a special counsel to review the legality of the NSA wiretapping program. The Attorney General is making a political defense of the President without even
addressing the substantive legal questions that have so troubled millions of Americans in both political parties.
There are two problems with the Attorney General's effort to focus attention on the past instead of the present administration's behavior. First, as others have thoroughly documented, his charges are factually wrong. Both before and after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was amended in 1995, the Clinton/Gore Administration complied fully and completely with the terms of the law.
Second, the Attorney General's attempt to cite a previous
administration's activity as precedent for theirs -- even though factually wrong -- ironically demonstrates another reason why we must be so vigilant about their brazen disregard for the law. If unchecked, their behavior would serve as a precedent to encourage future residents to claim these same powers, which many legal experts in both parties believe are clearly illegal.
The issue, simply put, is that for more than four years, the executive branch has been wiretapping many thousands of American citizens without warrants in direct contradiction of American law. It is clearly wrong and disrespectful to the American people to allow a close political associate of the president to be in charge of reviewing serious charges against him.
The country needs a full and independent investigation into the facts and legality of the present Administration's program.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Are you still one of the ignorant few that think the right-wing agenda of mind-control over the American people isn't nearly complete? In Buffalo, NY this past September, when students returned to school at Hutchinson Technical High School, they discovered that all of the students had been "automatically" enrolled in the Junior Officer Training Corps (JROTC). Each student would have to have their hair cut according to military standards and learn to march in formation. After contacting the New York branch of the ACLU, pressure was brought to bear to force the school to comply with NYS law prohibiting students from being coerced into military training. Should we begin practing our "Heil Bush!" salutes? Click here for a link the the NYCLU web page.