Wednesday, November 30, 2005

An Agenda of Hope

Governor Dean lays it all out in The Hill today:

Americans of all political persuasions are tired of and worried about the culture of corruption that Republicans have brought to Washington and to so many statehouses around America. We will offer real ethics reform and election reform so that the Government Accountability Office can report in three years that we can have confidence in our voting machines.

We will offer a program for American jobs that stay in America and for energy independence that will create jobs and wean us off of foreign oil.

The only president to balance a budget in the past 37 years was a Democrat. We will do that again.

We will offer a real tax-reform program that helps the middle class pay for it by eliminating the shocking waste and giveaways the Republican Congress and president have added to the budget and subtracted from revenues in the past five years.

We will join the 36 other countries that manage to include all their citizens in their health-insurance systems while simultaneously balancing their budgets.

We will provide a strong public education system by avoiding bureaucratic federal mandates and taxpayer-funded puff pieces. We will rely on local control while requiring real standards that work nationally.

We will offer Americans real security. We all agree that 2006 must be a transition year in Iraq. While we may have different ideas about tactics and timing, it’s clear we must change course. The vision of strategic redeployment set forward by Brian Katulis and former Reagan Defense Department official Lawrence Korb offers a likely roadmap to success that we can coalesce around.

We will offer the American people a government that is honest in preparing for any deployment of American troops and honor their sacrifice when they come home.

Most important, we will talk about Democratic values, which are America’s values.

The vast majority of Americans believe it is immoral to lets kids go hungry. We agree. The other party cuts school lunches (they just can’t seem to leave that one alone.)

Americans believe it is immoral that not everyone has some kind of health insurance. We agree.

The vast majority of Americans believe that government overreaching into personal and family decisions is wrong. We agree.

Americans believe that it is immoral to leave huge debts to our children and grandchildren. We agree.

Americans believe that using issues to divide us as a country to win elections is bad for America. We will restore America’s sense of community.

Together, America can do better. And in 2006, the Democrats will lead America to do just that.

(emphasis mine)

Sing it Howard! Sing it loudly!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Some holiday irony served to your screen from
Click for the full size.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Jim Kolbe Retiring: Open House Seat in Tucson

This provides a big likelihood that the Democrats will add a pick-up to their tally for next year's congressional elections, Kolbe's district is definitely in the swing category.

From the Tucson Citizen

Veteran U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe - a southern Arizona political titan - will not seek re-election in 2006.

Kolbe, 63, an 11-term congressman announced his decision this afternoon after calling southern Arizona Republicans this morning and giving them the news.

Word of Kolbe's decision spread fast through local political circles and already one candidate - Democratic State Sen. Gabrielle Giffords - is preparing a bid to replace him.

Kolbe said he would have won had he run but is choosing not to seek 12th term for personal reasons.
Here's a link to Kolbe's statement.

Operation Yellow Feather: Day Three

Ladies, Gentlemen and Trolls:

I think it's safe to declare victory for Operation Yellow Feather's original objective. We have "Mean Jean" Schmidt on the run!

Schmidt, who sent Murtha a note of apology on Friday moments after her speech, said in a statement Tuesday that she never intended to attack Murtha personally.

"While I strongly disagree with his policy, neither Representative Bubp nor I ever wished to attack Congressman Murtha," she said. "I only take exception to his policy position."

Bubp said in a statement of his own Tuesday that his conversation with Schmidt "was based strictly on the proposal to immediately withdraw our troops from Iraq and the consequences of such a proposal."

Schmidt declined during an interview on Cincinnati radio station WLW to discuss her fellow Republican's denial: "I was repeating words. I am not going to get into that debate."

Neither Schmidt nor Bubp returned calls left at their offices Tuesday.

Over the past three days, we have seen this protest spread like wildfire across the lefty blogosphere. Several large blog communities joined forces to say "Enough is Enough!" to the chicken hawks.

We will not take their hateful rhetoric any longer, and if it takes something snarky like a yellow feather to shut their holes, then so be it!

An update on the protest coalition and links to the downloads below the fold:

We have expanded our reach!

RenaRF's blog entry is also gathering comments, and my site received a decent amount of hits yesterday.

Great work, now the question is: where does all of this lead?

My suggestion is, keep a lookout for any outrageous behavior by local (or national) Chicken Hawks. Here's a prime example:

On the November 21 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, host Rush Limbaugh asserted that Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) -- who on November 17 called for the immediate redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq -- is "just the useful idiot of the moment."

Limbaugh added that people "portray [Murtha] as a former hawk," and asked: "What kind of serious hawk calls for withdrawals like this?" Limbaugh then added: "I don't think he ever has been a hawk ... in his career ... as a congressman."

(emphasis mine, through uncontrollable spitting, gagging and curses)

From the pill popper's web site:
(hat tip to XicanoPwr over at ePluribus)

YOU can call The Rush Limbaugh Show program line between 12 Noon and 3PM Eastern Time at: 1-800-282-2882

You can e-mail Rush at:

You can fax Rush at: 212-445-3963

You can write Rush at:

The Rush Limbaugh Show
1270 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020

Please alert us at the Operation Yellow Feather Central Command if you have participated. Let's go hunting for some Chicken Hawks!

.pdf download list:

Send these to your least-favorite chicken hawk. They deserve ever piece of hate mail they receive.

Crossposted at Booman Tribune and DailyKos

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Day 2: Operation Yellow Feather

The Blogosphere-wide Protest is running full steam ahead. There have been several developments over the past 24 hours, BostonJoe gives us the rundown below the fold. But first, a progress report on the campaign so far:

Operation Yellow Feather

Personal Blog Entries:

Blog Communities:

  • Booman Tribune - intro diary frontpaged by Susanhu on Monday night
  • DailyKos - top of the Recommended list, then remained through early Tuesday morning, now off the list
  • My Left Wing - authored by Duke1676, on the Recommended list
  • MyDD - top of the recommended list
  • Political Cortex - top of the recommended list
  • ePluribus Media - received invitation today (and promise of frontpaging)

Notes were sent to Raw Story, Crooks and Liars, Atrios and AMERICABlog.

Day Two, where next?

From BostonJoe:

Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohip) is in deep political trouble because she called Rep. John Murtha (D-Pennsylvania) a coward. And the progressive blogosphere has played a part in ensuring that she is held accountable for her remarks.

The Cincinnati Enquirer says she skipped two local appearances Monday. She is a true Chicken Hawk. Talk the talk. But when the going gets tough -- AWOL.

It appears now that there is a split between Schmidt and her source for the cowardly comments, state Rep. Danny Bubp. (R-Ohio). According to the Enquirer, Bubp is in full retreat:

Three days after Rep. Jean Schmidt was booed off the House floor for saying that "cowards cut and run, Marines never do," the Ohioan she quoted disputed the comments.

Danny Bubp, a freshman state representative who is a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, told The Enquirer that he never mentioned Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., by name when talking with Schmidt, and he would never call a fellow Marine a coward.

"The unfortunate thing about all of that is that her choice of words on the floor of the House - I don't know, she's a freshman, she had one minute.

"Unfortunately, they came out wrong," said Bubp, R-West Union.

It is time for accountability from the Chicken Hawks. Let's continue with Operation Yellow Feather today. This time, when you send your feathers and related Chicken Hawk memorabilia, please encourage Schmidt to make a public statement on her rift with Bubp. Did she just make up her slur against Murtha out of whole cloth? Or is Bubp now lying to save his own political skin? Let's have a joint press conference and find out.

Let's keep up the pressure! Here's the .pdf download list:

Monday, November 21, 2005

Open Thread

Which type of sibling are you? Oldest, Middle, Youngest?

I'm all three at once, a.k.a. Only

Operation Yellow Feather

BostonJoe, a regular diarist over at Booman Tribune, has quickly organized a grassroots protest that will target a couple of the Chickenhawk Republicans who slandered Rep. Murtha's military service last week.

Operation Yellow Feather is in full swing!

Click this link for more information, including downloads for faxes or mailings you can send to Rep. Jean Schmidt and State Rep. Danny Bubp of Ohio.

It is time to stop this new era of McCarthyism where the Chickenhawks in power question the patriotism of any American who disagrees with the lies and horrendous leadership provided by the Bush War Council.


Please spread the word and let me know if you participated so I can alert BostonJoe and the rest of the BooActivists.

Excerpts from BostonJoe's diary below the fold...

In a effort to blunt the effect of Murtha's serious call for a withdrawal of the troops, Republicans hurriedly offered a sham Bill on the issue that had almost no support. During debate on the issue, Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio), a freshman Rep., called Murtha a coward:
A few minutes ago I received a call from Colonel Danny Bubp, Ohio Representative from the 88th district in the House of Representatives. He asked me to send Congress a message: Stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message, that cowards cut and run, Marines never do.

Schmidt's comments were heckled on the floor of our Congress, and she was forced to withdraw them from the record. But she and state Rep. Bubp deserve to know that we were watching, and that we won't stand for neo-McCarthyism, where heroic opponents of this flawed war are discredited as cowards and traitors.

You can help. Please print off one of the protest forms below and send them to the offices of Rep. Schmidt and Rep. Bubp. Take the time to write a personalized note on your form, explaining that the "chicken hawk" tactics of the Republican party will not be tolerated.
Let's bury their offices with "chicken hawk" feathers, so that the next time they feel like squawking in public, they will remember
that we are watching them.

Let's create a firestorm and support Operation Yellow Feather!

Crossposted at and Political Cortex.

This begs for a caption...

Sunday, November 20, 2005

More on Priorities

Chris Kulczycki, a diarist at European Tribune, provides some facts on how the Bush War Council spends its money. Republican priorities in action.

Number of people that starve each day: 20,000 (from The Hunger Project)

1.2 billion suffer from obesity (

Number of people suffering from malnutrition to the point where their health, productivity and life expectancy are impaired: 852 million (UN Food and Agriculture Organization)

In the US, 40 to 50 percent of all food ready for harvest never gets eaten. (

Estimated cost to feed all the world's hungry and give them basic health care: $13 billion above current expenditure. (UN Development Program 1998)

Total estimated cost of Iraq war: about $700 billion (Institute for Policy Studies)

There are a lot more statistics at Chris' diary.

You'll note that I have added an Iraq War Cost counter to the sidebar, special thanks to Limelite for the inspiration.

Dick "Dick" Cheney Approved Torture

The Bush War Council is infamous for surrounding themselves with "Yes-Men/Women" and stifling or 86'ing dissenting viewpoints. Larry Wilkerson, former State Department advisor to Colin Powell, has been trashing the warmongers and showing the world that complete madness gripped the White House and led our nation down its current dark path.

Retired U.S. Army Col. Larry Wilkerson, who served as former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff, told CNN that the practice of torture may be continuing in U.S.-run facilities.

"There's no question in my mind that we did. There's no question in my mind that we may be still doing it," Wilkerson said on CNN's "Late Edition."

"There's no question in my mind where the philosophical guidance and the flexibility in order to do so originated -- in the vice president of the United States' office," he said. "His implementer in this case was [Defense Secretary] Donald Rumsfeld and the Defense Department."

At another point in the interview, Wilkerson said "the vice president had to cover this in order for it to happen and in order for Secretary Rumsfeld to feel as though he had freedom of action."

Numerous low-level soldiers and other government personnel have taken the direct blame for incidents of torture in W's War on Terror. The truth is emerging that will hopefully someday lay the blame on the true culprits: Bush, Cheney and Abu Gonzales.

Our government has tortured in our name, we must scream "Enough is Enough" until we are assured that it has stopped. I have zero trust or confidence in this misAdministration, therefore I say:

Impeach the Fuckers.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Meltdown on Capital Hill

I didn't realize how bad it was, until I found some time to watch the videos.

Here's a link to the video of the Wicked Witch of Ohio sparking a firestorm.

Image hosted by

For the record this is the man she is calling a coward:

Image hosted by

and here is the video link to the statement by this 37-year veteran of the United States Marine Core calling on the withdrawl of troops from Iraq.

The battlelines are being drawn. Here's hoping that Peace will Prevail.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Vice President for Torture

Finally. Someone calling it like it is; pretty damning when that person is an ex-CIA director

In an interview with Britain's ITV news Thursday, Turner said the U.S. vice president was damaging America's reputation by overseeing torture policies of possible terrorist suspects, the UK's Press Association reported.

"I'm embarrassed the United States has a vice president for torture," Turner said, according to ITV's Web site. "He condones torture, what else is he?"

Turner said he did not believe U.S. President George W. Bush's statements that the United States does not use torture.

Turner ran the Central Intelligence Agency from 1977 to 1981 under former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

Now if we can just get the Democratic leadership currently in office to show that much spine, perhaps we will finally be getting somewhere productive.

Once an Oilman...

...always an oilman greedy piece of turd.
A $60 billion bill the Senate passed to continue expiring tax cuts and shelter 14 million families from higher taxes faces a White House veto threat because it also includes a hefty tax increase for oil companies.

The legislation passed by senators early Friday would spare millions of families from paying increased taxes through the alternative minimum tax. Much of the bill, passed 64-33, preserves tax cuts approved in previous years that are set to expire unless lawmakers keep them alive.

'cause you know, the oil companies are barely scraping by to make ends meet.

Republicans Screw the Poor...Again

This is the kind of crap that unnerves me. A congressional representative should be able to cast their vote based on constituency views and conscience, not arm-twisting scare-tactics by their thug leadership.

House Republicans sweated out a victory on a major budget cut bill in the wee hours Friday, salvaging a major pillar of their agenda despite divisions within the party and nervousness among moderates that the vote could cost them in next year's elections.

The bill, passed 217-215 after a 25-minute-long roll call, makes modest but politically painful cuts across an array of programs for the poor, students and farmers.

The victory on the deficit-control bill came hours after an embarrassing and rare defeat on a $602 billion spending bill for education, health care and job training programs this year. The earlier 224-209 vote halted what had been a steady drive to complete annual appropriations bills freezing many agency budgets.

The reason the vote stretched into the "wee hours of the morning" was because there were a few sane Republicans that were clearly bothered by the prospect of screwing the lower classes; they didn't feel comfortable voting for this Atrocity; but in the end enough of them caved to their greedy overlords.

The Democrats were united in opposition to this egregious act of filth, by the way. Not only do they refuse to kick the poor while they're already down, they are thinking responsibly when it comes to managing the Bush Deficit. This is open warfare in the Capitol, and we're only seeing a glimpse of the Republican's reverse-Robin Hood strategy.

The companion deficit-reduction bill also drew unanimous opposition from Democrats, who objected to both cuts in programs for the poor and the fact that the deficit-reduction bill would increase the deficit when combined with a tax slated for a vote later that would extend tax cuts on capital gains and dividend income due to expire at the end of 2008.

"Name just one religion in the world that preaches the value of asking the most of those who have the least and asking nothing of those who have the most," said Chet Edwards, D-Texas. "Sadly, that is what this budget does."

Amen to that, Chet.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Well, I'm Back...

I spent the long weekend in the remote forest area of Eastern Arizona with my dad. As I get older, I am noticing the convergence of our personalities and find that he and I can communicate better than when I was a child.

One of the big differences between us though, is our view of politics and the role it plays in everyday life. My dad has a longstanding, burning hatred for the political process. He has never voted and automatically assumes a disgusted look when he sees elected officials on t.v.

I, on the other hand, have always been intrigued with politics and governance. The thought of ideas and organization being used for the greater good has always appealed to me. For as long as I can remember, one of my "mission statements" in life was to leave the world better than I found it; whether it was among my circle of friends, at church, in my community or within the walls of my work complex. It's what has always driven me.

The thing is, my dad has every right to feel the way he does. The impact of politics has been predominately negative in his life. Union strikes due to unfair wages at the copper mines, economic packages that sucked the savings out of his bank account, or simple spats such as having to get a zoning permit to build his garage in his backyard. They are valid reasons for his dismissal, because they are valid to him.

It is my opinion that the key to winning a progressive majority in this country is to find a way to reach out to people like my dad. It is not about the issues all the time, the deeper goal should be for us to empower our fellow citizens to participate fully in the democratic process. Our elected leaders need to learn how to spark a fire in the people rather than stand at a podium and pontificate.

We have seen that "freedom" and "democracy" can be used for greed and division, but I believe that we can change the wind and reclaim those terms for the greater good. We have no choice, it is the only way to save the soul of our country.

It can be done. I believe it.

Should I laugh or cry?

A South American scientist from Argentina, after a lengthy study, has discovered that people with insufficient sexual activity read their e-mail with their hand on the mouse.

Don't bother taking it off now, it's too late.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Open Thread

Here's some stuff that caught my attention:

And one for fun:


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Veterans' Day Cold Shoulder

Why am I not surprised? (via ThinkProgress)

On Tuesday -- three days before Veterans Day -- House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Steve Buyer (R-IN) announced that for the first time in at least 55 years, "veterans service organizations will no longer have the opportunity to present testimony before a joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees."

As you can imagine, there is extreme outrage being raised from the various groups of veterans. Here is a snippet from the press release of the Disabled American Veterans group.

For several decades now, these joint hearings have been held each year to allow the elected leaders of veterans groups to discuss their organization's legislative agenda and foremost concerns with the lawmakers who have jurisdiction over federal veterans programs. Senators and Representatives who serve on those committees also get the rare opportunity to address the hundreds of constituent members from these organizations' who make the annual pilgrimage to Capitol Hill.

"The right to fully participate in the democratic process is a cornerstone of our nation," said Commander Jackson. "Eliminating these joint hearings is an insult to the men and women who have fought, sacrificed and died to protect our Constitutional rights, including the right to petition the government."

This important dialog between veterans and their elected representatives is crucial to the democratic process and a unique opportunity for the men and women who've put their lives on the line for America. Many of the veterans who take part in the hearings view it as their patriotic duty, as well as a fundamental right.

Can someone explain to me how the Republicans are the party that supports the troops? (beyond their role as cannon fodder)

This is a slap in the face to anyone who has worn a military uniform. I spoke to one of my best friends who enlisted in the Army last year and he was outraged. He's preparing for his second tour in Iraq and is disgusted at the level of disconnect between the civilian leadership and the "boots on the ground".

Here is the contact information for Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN) who is the Chairmen of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee:

Washington, DC
2230 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-5037

Monticello, IN
100 S. Main Street
Monticello, IN 47960
(574) 583-9819

Plainfield, IN
148 N. Perry Road
Plainfield, IN 46168
(317) 838-0404

Bedford, IN
1801 "I" Street
Bedford, IN 47421
(812) 277-9590

I hope you join me in expressing displeasure at the middle-finger treatment given to our veterans. They deserve the opportunity to raise concerns before their elected officials. Regardless of how fucked up Iraq has become, the politicians on Capitol Hill need to remove their ear filters and hear the truth of the damage their policies are inflicting on our military.

Crossposted at Booman Tribune

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Shake and Bake

not your conventional recipe, unless you're interested in cooking up some real-life horror.

Support the Troops...

...or if you're a Republican, only support the troops who agree with you, right? If not, then how about giving these patriots some assistance:

Nearly four years after the beginning of the War on Terror, the U.S. continues to struggle with the issue of torture. With the exception of the demotion of a Brigadier General, not a single investigation has had the scope to look beyond low ranking enlisted soldiers and junior officers.

Senate Republicans, led by Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, have proposed legislation which would restrict the United States from the abuse of prisoners. This legislation, known as the “McCain Amendment,” currently faces a veto threat from the White House.

This week a group of nearly 4,000 military veterans and family members published an open letter calling for the creation of an Independent Commission to investigate the torture scandal.

Follow the link above for contact information as well as the sign-up for their email newsletter. The rules in the Geneva Conventions exist for a reason: they protect our soldiers when they are in harm's way.

They must be reaffirmed, not blurred, as the Bush Regime has done over the past five years.

Mocking the Truth

Ya know, it's bad enough that the Republican cabal went to unprecedented lengths to sell an illegal and immoral war to the American people; but now that the truth is starting to make its way out, they are stonewalling and mocking the process.

It's in vogue on Capitol Hill these days to belong to a club. Senators negotiating a compromise over judicial nominees call themselves the "Gang of 14." When congressional leaders go to the White House, they are "the Big Five."

Then there are the half-dozen senators negotiating this week over a new intelligence committee probe: "The Sissy Six."

This unfortunate sobriquet, divulged by a committee staffer to reporters yesterday, comes from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence acronym, SSCI. As it happens, the Sissy Six are under pressure to demonstrate that they don't deserve the name (emphasis mine)

"The Sissy Six" - nice. Glad to see our government is serious about transparency and accountability.

Yesterday was the beginning of a change in tide across this country. Democrats who are fighting back against the fascists in power are winning by holding true to their values and telling the truth. Corruption is rampant throughout the Republican caucus and it's time they relinquish their death grip on this country or have it forced away from their greedy hands vote-by-vote.

Enough is Enough!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Dems Kick Ass in Tucson!

This is GREAT news for Democrats in Arizona! There were three open seats on the Tucson City Council. The Democrats ran unopposed for one of those seats and mounted strong challengers to the other two (formerly) held by Republicans Fred Ronstadt and Kathleen Dunbar.

VICTORY news from the Tucson Citizen:

Ward 3

Kathleen Dunbar (Rep): 21511

Karin Uhlich (Dem): 34395

Ward 5

Steve Leal (Dem): 40501

Ward 6

Fred Ronstadt (Rep): 19495

Nina Trasoff (Dem): 36662

Proposition 100 (Mayor & Council raises)

Yes: 27317
No: 28325

Proposition 400 (Home rule)

Yes: 30348
No: 20417

(emphasis mine)

I attended the Democratic VICTORY party at Hotel Congress and can testify that morale has never been higher for the party. This is a big win for Tucson and will change the dynamic of the council dramatically. Smile Big Dems! We are going to reclaim this country city-by-city.


Crossposted at Daily Kos

Election Day

Today's Tucson City Council election provides the Democrats a chance to pick up two seats. The party has mounted a strong challenge to Fred Ronstadt and Kathleen Dunbar with candidates Nina Trasoff and Karin Uhlich respectively.

As usual, today's election will be decided by the GOTV efforts of the various political camps. I hope enough people will be disatisfied with the direction of our country and city to show up to the polls and make some changes. It's time for some fresh blood in our government at all levels.

For full election coverage in Tucson, check out this azstarnet link.

Monday, November 07, 2005


"Intentionally Misleading" is a nice way of saying that they lied. LIED. LIED. LIED.

US military intelligence warned the Bush administration as early as February 2002 that its key source on Al-Qaeda's relationship with Iraq had provided "intentionally misleading" data, according to a declassified report.

Nevertheless, eight months later, President George W. Bush went public with charges that the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein had trained members of Osama bin Laden's terror network in manufacturing deadly poisons and gases.


In captivity, al-Libi initially told his DIA debriefers that Al-Qaeda operatives had received training from Iraq in manufacturing poisons and deadly chemical agents.

But the DIA, according to its assessment, did not find the information credible.

US military intelligence officers concluded that al-Libi lacked "specific details on the Iraqis involved, the... materials associated with the assistance and the location where training occurred," the report said.

"It is possible," the document went on to say, "he does not know any further details; it is more likely this individual is intentionally misleading the debriefers."

The DIA suggested al-Libi, who had been under interrogation for several weeks, "may be describing scenarios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their interest."

Just the same, president Bush insisted during an October 2002 trip to Cincinnati, Ohio, that his administration had learned that "Iraq has trained Al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases."

He repeated the same charge in February 2003. (emphasis mine)

Booman did a deconstruction of the Cincinnati speech here.

The lies are being exposed, which is good, but we've lost over 2000 soldiers as a result of them. It is a disgrace.

Pinch Me

Say it aint so, tell me this nightmare is not real:
The Americans are responsible for a massacre using unconventional weapons, the identical charge for which Saddam Hussein stands accused. An investigation by RAI News 24, the all-news Italian satellite television channel, has pulled the veil from one of the most carefully concealed mysteries from the front in theentire US military campaign in Iraq.

[seething with rage]

Idiot in Chief

Upon seeing a map of Brazil displayed by its President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, George W. Bush, the leader of the free world exclaimed:
"Wow! Brazil is big"

He makes us all so proud. This particular Bushism may warrant a gold star!

Cheney: Blackbelt in Torture

It is mindboggling to hear the Vice President of the United States continue to advocate for an exemption in our torture policy for CIA agents who have been implicated numerous times for violations. Cheney and the rest of the Bush War Council have ushered one of the darkest eras of our country's history.

In recent months, Cheney has been the force against adding safeguards to the Defense Department's rules on treatment of military prisoners, putting him at odds with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon R. England. On a trip to Canada last month, Rice interrupted a packed itinerary to hold a secure video-teleconference with Cheney on detainee policy to make sure no decisions were made without her input.

Just last week, Cheney showed up at a Republican senatorial luncheon to lobby lawmakers for a CIA exemption to an amendment by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that would ban torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners. The exemption would cover the CIA's covert "black sites" in several Eastern European democracies and other countries where key al Qaeda captives are being kept.

Cheney spokesman Steve Schmidt declined to comment on the vice president's interventions or to elaborate on his positions. "The vice president's views are certainly reflected in the administration's policy," he said.

Strict boundaries need to be in place with regards to our detainee policies. The Bush Administration, with the help of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, blurred the lines of acceptable interrogation techniques. This egregious move led to the incidents depicted in the Abu Ghraib photos and the Guantanamo reports (plus many more that are finally coming to the public's awareness).

The only silver lining to the torture-watch news has been the exposure of rifts within the government between the pro-torture and pro-humanity camps pitted against each other. I hope our collective conscience prevails and we stop the abuse, otherwise it is time to take to the streets.

Blowing the Whistle

The Republicans in the U.S. may follow their Dear Leader lockstep, never questioning his failures, but it looks like the international community is starting to pull back the veil of lies.

Tony Blair repeatedly passed up opportunities to put a brake on the rush to war in Iraq, a failure that may have contributed to the country's present anarchy, according to Sir Christopher Meyer, Britain's ambassador to Washington at the time, in his book DC Confidential, serialised in the Guardian from today.


Sir Christopher, highly critical of Mr Blair's performance in the run-up to the war, argues the prime minister and his team were "seduced" by the proximity and glamour of US power and reluctant to negotiate conditions with George Bush for Britain's support for the war.

The former ambassador says a delay from March to autumn 2003 could have made a significant difference: "Even if the most optimistic predictions are finally realised for Iraq, the question will still be asked: why did the Americans and British make it so hard for themselves and even harder for Iraqis? The US and the UK would have stood a better chance of going to war in good order, and of doing the aftermath right, had they planned on an autumn, not a spring, campaign."

He reveals that Karl Rove, the political adviser to the president, told him there would have been no problem for Mr Bush in waiting until the end of 2003 or even early 2004 and this would not have risked entanglement in the US presidential campaign.

Can someone explain to me why Karl Rove is negotiating war plans with the British government prior to his appointment as a policy advisor in the White House? In 2003/04 he was purely a political overlord, working on George's reelection.

Add this to the growing list of damning proof that the American public was sold a preemptive war based on a pack of lies.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Halliburton Fraud Tops $200 Million

Add this to the chorus of issues that Dick "Dick" Cheney should have tied around his neck like a millstone prior to his tossing into the lake of fire. From Saturday's NY Times:

An auditing board sponsored by the United Nations recommended yesterday that the United States repay as much as $208 million to the Iraqi government for contracting work in 2003 and 2004 assigned to Kellogg, Brown & Root, the Halliburton subsidiary.

The work was paid for with Iraqi oil proceeds, but the board said it was either carried out at inflated prices or done poorly. The board did not, however, give examples of poor work.

Some of the work involved postwar fuel imports carried out by K.B.R. that previous audits had criticized as grossly overpriced.

More outrage below the fold...

...some of the K.P.M.G. audits that were carried out, relying on Iraqi ministry documents, turned up what appears to be clear evidence of mismanagement and corruption among Iraqi officials that was apparently unrelated to the K.B.R. work. In its report on the Iraqi Oil Ministry, the auditing firm used the euphemism "nonrefundable fees" for bribes in the awarding of oil contracts. "We found two cases," the report said, "where nonrefundable fees ($10,000 and $20,000) were charged to obtain tender documents (total contract value $150,302,897)."

Other entries suggest the existence of $600,000 in ghost payrolling in the Electricity Ministry and additional evidence of bribes.

I guess that explains what happened to some of the $9 billion dollars that went missing in Iraq.

Given the spotlight this week on Cheney's extensive involvement in the fear-mongering that led up to the Iraq War, as well as the fact that he still receives dividends and stock options from Halliburton, wouldn't it be prudent for Congress to put him under oath and ask him what's up?

Oh right, that would require the Republican leadership to hold the White House accountable for their failures. That clearly isn't going to happen soon. In the meantime, we can start engaging our progressive candidates as well as contact our existing Congresscritters and demand that they do their damn jobs.

Enough is Enough! Let that become our mantra in the coming days as we fight the never ending atrocities committed by the Bush War Council.

Crossposted from Booman Tribune

Friday, November 04, 2005

I surrender

Maybe I should stop being so angry with Bush and his minions; they are too damn funny to be in charge!


Thursday, November 03, 2005

On the Record

While the tactic was overshadowed by Senator Reid's brilliant maneuver earlier in the week, it should be noted that Nancy Pelosi led a similar assault in the House of Representatives today to get the Republicans on record as being opposed to accountability and oversight of the Iraq Debacle.

From the AP:
Democrats tried unsuccessfully Thursday to force the House to take up a measure condemning Republicans for "their refusal to conduct oversight" of the Bush administration's Iraq war policy and to order investigations into it.

The House voted 220-191 to set aside a resolution offered by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

"I think it brings shame to the House for this Congress to be engaged in a cover-up when it comes to revealing what's happening in Iraq," Pelosi said.

In case you were wondering, the Roll Call vote can be found here. 220 representatives of the people decided they would rather have more of the same than finally learn the truth about the motives for our invasion of Iraq. No wonder they have such shitty approval ratings.

Torture Watch: The Bushista Debate

I can't believe this discussion is even happening...
The Bush administration is embroiled in a sharp internal debate over whether a new set of Defense Department standards for handling terror suspects should adopt language from the Geneva Conventions prohibiting "cruel," "humiliating" and "degrading" treatment, administration officials say.

Advocates of that approach, who include some Defense and State Department officials and senior military lawyers, contend that moving the military's detention policies closer to international law would prevent further abuses and build support overseas for the fight against Islamic extremists, officials said.

Their opponents, who include aides to Vice President Dick Cheney and some senior Pentagon officials, have argued strongly that the proposed language is vague, would tie the government's hands in combating terrorists and still would not satisfy America's critics, officials said.
"Tie the government's hands" - was that supposed to be punny?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A Light in the Darkness

These words just restored balance to my soul:

In my life... I have learned two great lessons -- there will always be heartache and struggle, and that people of strong will can make a difference. One is a sad lesson; the other is inspiring. I choose to be inspired.

--John Edwards

I don't like to be angry. Anger is a destructive emotion that murders the inner-purity of a person's being. It rots from the inside-out; spreading and poisoning.

...but I don't know how else I'm supposed to react to this Administration. I really don't. Their actions truly appall me. I read the news or watch T.V. and end up frothing with rage, to the point where I want to run down the street screaming at the top of my lungs.

I know it's not good for me, but I can't remain silent. I won't! So what's the solution? What the fuck should we do now? It's been exactly one year since the election. There is a cloud over the country. How do we change the wind?


Secret Chambers of Torture

The reality of this nightmare makes me physically ill:
The CIA has been holding and interrogating al Qaeda captives at a secret facility in Eastern Europe, part of a covert prison system established after the September 11, 2001, attacks, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

The Soviet-era compound is part of a network that has included sites in eight countries, including Thailand and Afghanistan, the newspaper reported, citing U.S. and foreign officials familiar with the arrangement.


The newspaper said the existence and locations of the facilities were known only to a handful of officials in the United States and, usually, only to the president and a few top intelligence officers in each host country.

The CIA has not acknowledged the existence of a secret prison network, the Post said. A CIA spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment. (emphasis mine)

I can't even be angry. My revulsion from this news is numbing. Although it does make sense now that Cheney wants an exemption for the CIA to keep torturing detainees. From the Oct. 25th WaPo:

The Bush administration has proposed exempting employees of the Central Intelligence Agency from a legislative measure endorsed earlier this month by 90 members of the Senate that would bar cruel and degrading treatment of any prisoners in U.S. custody.

The proposal, which two sources said Vice President Cheney handed last Thursday to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the company of CIA Director Porter J. Goss, states that the measure barring inhumane treatment shall not apply to counterterrorism operations conducted abroad or to operations conducted by "an element of the United States government" other than the Defense Department. (emphasis mine)

How can ANYONE with a conscience support the Bush War Council? This is beyond anti-American, it's INHUMAN.

Wake me up from this nightmare...someone...anyone...PLEASE.

Full story can be found here.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Timing is Everything

I can't tell you how utterly frustrating the past ten months have been since George's second coronation. Sure he's had a plethora of shitty news and missteps, but it gives me zero satisfaction to see his pResidency crash and burn.

I miss feeling proud of my country. Proud of what we stood for--human rights, equality under the law, a beacon of hope, etc. I grew up having a deep reverence for our flag and it depresses me that I now become enraged when I see a decal on a vehicle with its visage. I don't like feeling this way, at all; but it's where I've been driven emotionally by the continuous outrage from this gang of warmongers.

From war and torture to the demonization of immigrants and homosexuals; this Republican government has unleashed a vast scourge of hate and division across the land. It is not right. They have dodged accountability and refused to make mistakes because they put political playmaking as a priority over responsible governance.

Here is the greatest example of smoke and mirrors used to distract the American public during a Presidential election:

Has anyone noticed that the coverup worked?

In his impressive presentation of the indictment of Lewis "Scooter" Libby last week, Patrick Fitzgerald expressed the wish that witnesses had testified when subpoenas were issued in August 2004, and "we would have been here in October 2004 instead of October 2005."

Note the significance of the two dates: October 2004, before President Bush was reelected, and October 2005, after the president was reelected. Those dates make clear why Libby threw sand in the eyes of prosecutors, in the special counsel's apt metaphor, and helped drag out the investigation.

As long as Bush still faced the voters, the White House wanted Americans to think that officials such as Libby, Karl Rove and Vice President Cheney had nothing to do with the leak campaign to discredit its arch-critic on Iraq, former ambassador Joseph Wilson.

It's too late now, but my hope is that eventually the truth will be widespread and common knowledge for all Americans--Republican, Democrat, Independent, Green, whomever. These liars sold the public a war based on deception and greed. They deserve to spend the rest of their days in a prison cell. They are a disgrace.

Crazy Day Open Thread

What's goin' on today?

(I'm hosting the Froggy Bottom Cafe if you want to stop by)