New George W. Bush Coin Released!

The Department of the Treasury releases possible George W. Bush coin prototype:

George W. Bush Coin

A token coin for a token preznit.


Union Busting - GOP Style

You have GOT to hear this:
mp3 Audio - 1.2 meg

The Stephanie Miller Show caught this ad being run on FOX attempting to demonize Unions.
I thought this was a parody ad when I first heard it. Incredible.


Don't Be Afraid Of The Neocons

One of my favorite acoustic guitar players as a youth was the great folkie Norman Blake. His sound was ancient and it felt like his song were written for an earlier age. Litz, one of the posters at Eschaton turned me on to this incredible protest song performed by Norman and his wife Nancy. It's called:

"Don't Be Afraid Of The Neocons"

It's the kind of comprehensive song that you could imagine being unearthed in a generation to sum up these horrific times. I'd link to the CD for purchase but I haven't yet found the source.

Here's a sample of the lyrics:

And away down yonder in the Florida sand/Old Jeb Bush is a mighty man
He told little brother, don't be blue/For I'ma gonna hand this thing to you......

The churches all got on board/In the Holy name of our Lord
They took him for their favorite son/And they sent him away to Washington.......

Now Georgie Bush, he is the man/He landed in Afghanistan
We'll get Osama, was his crack/And now we're stranded in Iraq

He told ole' Rumsfeld on the green/Now you're the best I've ever seen
Just heed my words and you'll go far/And help me win my daddy's war....

God bless the talented artists of our time.
They define our generation.


The Iran Desk

Good bye "Office Of Special Plans"

Hello "The Iran Desk"

The propaganda continues.


Two Paragraphs - Dead On

via Matt Yglesias
Bush, Cheney, and those around them remind me of Nietzsche's line about staring too long into the abyss. They've become transfixed, hypnotized almost, by the evils they believe themselves to be fighting. Obsessed to the point where they've clearly developed an admiration for the brutal methods, ruthless dishonesty, and utter secrecy with which the enemies of liberalism conduct themselves.

Liberal democracy isn't a fluke occurrence that just so happens to have survived despite its drawbacks. It's actually a superior method of organizing a state. The idea that the country is being run by people who don't understand that is sad and frightening. The idea that the very same people claim to be embarked upon a grand mission to spread our system of government around the world is like a horrible tawdry joke.

"Abyssus abyssum invocat!
What is abyssus abyssum?
lt means the abyss calls the abyss."
- Diva


Finally....

A great report from the AP on Bushs' use of the straw man in this speeches. It actually does a nice job explaining it's usage.

When the president starts a sentence with "some say" or offers up what "some in Washington" believe, as he is doing more often these days, a rhetorical retort almost assuredly follows.

The device usually is code for Democrats or other White House opponents. In describing what they advocate, Bush often omits an important nuance or substitutes an extreme stance that bears little resemblance to their actual position.

He typically then says he "strongly disagrees" — conveniently knocking down a straw man of his own making.

This is definitely a good sign. I'm fairly optimistic today... but then I just got back from "V For Vendetta". Excellent movie. Let the straw men burn......


Politics. Gossip. Audio.

Starting April 3rd, the Christy Harvey and Center for American Progress will be starting up a new media resource service called Mic Check. According to Christy on the Bill Press show today it will host audio clips for use by other radio shows to help get inportant (or interesting at least) information out to the public. Here's their blurb:

Mic Check will offer news, facts, gossip and audio clips for use in your shows. We’ll bring you the latest in foreign relations, from the Axis of Evil to the Paris-and-Paris breakup.

The bad part is that Christy will no longer be a full time part of the Bill Press Show. She will be missed there. Good luck on the new venture CAP.


US Does NOT Need You

According to most of our media here in the States, Dubai has been staying quiet about the whole ports deal. One of my co-workers was in Dubai during this whole uproar and brought back the Dubai paper. The image below was an advert in the Dubai paper that took up most of the page with an article strongly defending the deal.

Click on picture for the full scan.

It sure seems to me that Dubai has rather a strong opinion about the deal.
Go figure.


Why Do Reaganomics Hate America?

Bruce Bartlett, author of Reaganomics and member of the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations, has a new book out.

Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the American Legacy

Maybe this will wake up a few Republicans...

Bartlett's attack boils down to one key premise: Bush is a shallow opportunist who has cast aside the principles of the "Reagan Revolution" for short-term political gains that may wind up hurting the American economy as badly as, if not worse than, Nixon's did. As part of a simple, point-by-point critique of Bush's "finger-in-the-wind" approach to economic leadership, Bartlett singles out the Medicare prescription drug bill of 2003- "the worst piece of legislation ever enacted"-as a particularly egregious example of the increases in government spending that will, he says, make tax hikes inevitable. Bush has further weakened the Republican Party by failing to establish a successor who can run in the next election, Bartlett says. If the Reaganites want to restore the party's tradition of fiscal conservatism and small government, he worries, let alone keep the Democrats out of the White House, they will have their work cut out for them.



Our Vice-President's Vice

nuf said....


The Prince Of Darkness Is Back

Right on time for the next run up to war. The question is... will the same idiots buy this steaming pile of crap.

This from Reuters:

Richard Perle, a key architect of the U.S.-led war against Iraq, said on Saturday the West should not make the mistake of waiting too long to use military force if Iran comes close to getting an atomic weapon.

"If you want to try to wait until the very last minute, you'd better be very confident of your intelligence because if you're not, you won't know when the last minute is," Perle told Reuters on the sidelines of an annual security conference in Munich.

"And so, ironically, one of the lessons of the inadequate intelligence of Iraq is you'd better be careful how long you choose to wait."
.....

Perle is one of the top U.S. neoconservatives who advocated a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam and seize alleged stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. No such stockpiles were found after the war and U.S. President George W. Bush has acknowledged that the intelligence was bad.

I really don't think that Bush and company are really that stupid to start slapping around the beehive that is Iran right now, unless they really do want the next world war to break out. (are they that crazy?) To me this is clearly meant to keep the voters scared and use the talk of war to pump up the Republicans and minimize the Democrats for the election in 2006. I just hope that America will wise up fast enough to see through this charade.

This guy really creeps me out.

Update: Of course Perle's keeper Baron von Rumsfeld wasn't far behind in Munich. I'm sure they were meeting to discuss the next round of the propaganda offensive.


Another Talking Point Destroyed

Excellent!

Knight Ridder just picked up Glenn Greenwald's post about NSA spying and how in 2002 the Justice Dept said they did not want the changes that they now claim were so essential.

In 2002, Justice Department said eavesdropping law working well

WASHINGTON - A July 2002 Justice Department statement to a Senate committee appears to contradict several key arguments that the Bush administration is making to defend its eavesdropping on U.S. citizens without court warrants.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the law governing such operations, was working well, the department said in 2002. A "significant review" would be needed to determine whether FISA's legal requirements for obtaining warrants should be loosened because they hampered counterterrorism efforts, the department said then.

President Bush, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and other top officials now argue that warrantless eavesdropping is necessary in part because complying with the FISA law is too burdensome and impedes the government's ability to rapidly track communications between suspected terrorists.

The research being done by bloggers these days is stunning.


Fighting For Your Vote

Diebold says it OWNS your vote.
via Lisa Demer
Anchorage Daily News

The state Division of Elections has refused to turn over its electronic voting files to the Democrats, arguing that the data format belongs to a private company and can't be made public. The Alaska Democratic Party says the information is a public record essential for verifying the accuracy of the 2004 general election and must be provided.

The official vote results from the last general election are riddled with discrepancies and impossible for the public to make sense of, the Democrats said Monday. A detailed analysis of the underlying data could answer lingering questions about an election many thought was over more than a year ago, they say.

"Basically what they say is they want to give us a printout from the (electronic) file. They don't want to give us the file itself. It doesn't enable us to get to the bottom of what we need to know," said Kay Brown, spokeswoman for the party. .....

Democrats also contend more than 2,000 Alaskans cast valid absentee ballots that weren't counted in official totals. Unless they get the entire file, they won't be able to understand what caused the "bizarre and inaccurate reports" from Alaska's 2004 election, they say.

"These votes belong to us," Brown said. "These are all public record. It's wrong that a contractor like Diebold can keep us from seeing the record."

It's way past time for Congressional hearings on voting systems. If there's ONE issue that Democrats should jump on and own it's this issue. It would also be fun watching the GOP take the other side of this issue.


Laughter Training Specialist

Astounding... Your tax dollars hard at work.
Finally some real help for our military families from this administration.

Pentagon to families: Go ahead, laugh

When the stress of the war in Iraq becomes too severe, the Pentagon has a suggestion for military families: Learn how to laugh. With help from the Pentagon's chief laughter instructor, families of National Guard members are learning to walk like a penguin, laugh like a lion and blurt "ha, ha, hee, hee and ho, ho."

No joke.

"I laugh every chance I get," says the instructor, retired Army colonel James "Scotty" Scott. "That's why I'm blessed to be at the Pentagon, where we definitely need a lot of laughter in our lives."

Scott, 57, is certified as a laughter training specialist by the Ohio-based World Laughter Tour, a group that promotes mirth as medicine. It touts scientific research that suggests chuckling can boost the body's immune system and decrease stress hormones.

There's funny and then there's not so funny.... I ain't laughin'.


The Power Grab From Hell

Unitary Executive Authority

I'll be waiting for hour-long shows on prime time Corporate Media Outlets (CMOs) to explain why the Bush Administration is completely changing how American laws are written and carried out. Since 2002 George Bush has been adding a "Signing Statement" to many of the bills (~90) that have been passed through Congress and signed by him. These Signing Statements are published all over the White House website as kind of "riders" to the signitures to the bills passed and signed.

Signing Statements have been used in the past by other Presidents but it was mainly meant to layout the Presidents understanding of what the bill meant. The Signing Statements added in by George Bush however are different. They are written in legalese but basically say that even though he has signed this bill he is not bound by anything in it. This is the first time this term the unitary executive branch is used.
It usually reads something like this:

Further, the executive branch shall construe section 1913 as amended in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority to conduct the Nation's foreign affairs, to supervise the unitary executive branch, and to recommend to the consideration of the Congress such measures as the President shall judge necessary and expedient.

or another version...

The executive branch shall construe this provision in a manner consistent with the constitutional authorities of the President to supervise the unitary executive branch.

Sometime back in 2002 Bush and his laywers started using this language to redefine the Presidential powers. The theory is basically like this:

Several scholars have recently rearticulated the "unitary executive theory" of Article II, arguing that Article II vests the power to execute federal law solely in the President of the United States. Unitarians do not maintain that the President must personally execute all laws; Congress may establish an administrative bureaucracy and identify particular officials to assist the President in carrying out legislatively prescribed tasks. But, unitarians argue, such officials must always remain subject to the President's direction. On the surface, this unitary executive theory appears to be implicated when Congress conscripts or even authorizes state officials to implement federal programs. Unless these state officials are subject to presidential supervision, Congress violates Article II by cutting the President out of the execution loop. Thus, principles of separation of powers, in addition to principles of federalism, govern the validity of state administration of federal law.
There's been quite a bit written in the legal community about it but in laymen terms it means that the President is not bound by any laws that limits his power. It's an incredible statement. The President basically becomes the unquestionable Ruler without any laws that can control his actions. This is a slap in the face to a country bound by the rule of law and the antithesis to the separation of powers that is built into our Constitution.

  • Here's a paper (PDF Format) written last year by Chrisopher Kelley on the subject.
  • (I've converted it to a Word Doc here
  • Raw Story has a good write up on this.
  • Great post by Media Watch on the subject.

    Alito Watch: - Samuel Alito is one of the formost advocates of expanding presidential power. I hope that the Senators on the review committee bring this subject up. It's a great opportunity to get this out in the open and into public discourse.
    It's a discussion that can define our country.


  • Linch Pin Emily

    Read about Emily Miller and how she may have been the start of the unraveling of DeLay, Scanlon, Abramoff and the GOP.

    Wild story.... True?... Maybe.
    Someone should buy up her story lickity split.


    Piss-Poor Propaganda Pirates

    It sure seems that even the right-wing blogs are having problems spiting out the words to defend this administration's ham-handed attempts to use propaganda to further their agenda, (whatever the hell that is...) but of course that isn't stopping LGF, Instapundit and their ilk from trying. One thing you would think the right and the left could agree on is that this administration is just so freakin' BAD at it.

    Tony Pierce lists the wonderful achievments by Bush's "Information Disbursal Team".

  • BushCo did pay off pro journalists, and got caught.
  • BushCo did sneak in a gay male hooker into the White House press corps and got caught.
  • BushCo did create videopropaganda disguised as news and sent it to tv news stations and got caught.
  • BushCo did leak classified information to the press regarding a CIA agent, lied about it under oath and got caught.
  • And now BushCo got caught paying off Iraqi newspapers to run "news" stories secretly written by the US Military.
  • Mr. Pierce also wonders whether Pajama Media isn't just the latest project being issued from the crack team of propagandists. It sure would be interesting to follow that money trail to see where it leads.




    Want to earn a BILLION dollars?

    Here's your chance. The Agency for International Development has posted that they will be accepting proposals for grants to help stabilize ten Iraqi cities.

    The United States Agency for International Development is seeking applications for an Assistance Agreement from qualified sources to design and implement a social and economic stabilization program impacting ten Strategic Cities, identified by the United States Government as critical to the defeat of the Insurgency in Iraq. The number of Strategic Cities may expand or contract over time. USAID plans to provide approximately $1,020,000,000 over two years to meet the objectives of the Program. An additional option year may be considered amounting to $300 million at the discretion of USAID. Funds are not yet available for this program.
    This administration really has to dig to find ways to piss away our freakin' money. I didn't even know there was such an agency.

    Let me guess who will get the contract... Halliburton and/or Bechtel maybe?

    Please contact:
    Feurtado, Yvette, Phone 962-6-590-6477, Fax 962-6-590-6333, Email yfeurtado@usaid.gov
    ...for more information and to get some of your hard earned tax money back.


    When a Door is Not a Jar

    Posted without comment.
    What more is there to say?

    Yahoo has more on the door incident.


    Oh Joyous Day

    Times and Reporter Reach Agreement on Her Departure

    The New York Times and Judith Miller, a veteran reporter for the paper, reached an agreement today that ends her 28-year career at the newspaper and caps more than two weeks of negotiations.

    About damn time.
    Keller should be next.


    Best News All Month

    ... and it's been a busy month.

    Kenneth Tomlinson Quits Public Broadcasting Board

    The CPB's inspector general has been investigating Tomlinson's practice of using agency money to hire consultants and lobbyists without notifying the agency's board. Tomlinson last year hired a little-known Indiana consultant to study the political leanings of guests on such programs as "Now With Bill Moyers" and "The Diane Rehm Show" on National Public Radio. He also hired lobbyists to defeat legislation that would have changed how CPB's board is structured.

    The inspector, Kenneth Konz, also had been looking into whether Tomlinson violated agency procedures in his recruiting of former Republican National Committee co-chairman Patricia de Stacy Harrison to be CPB's chief executive, and into possible White House influence in the hiring of two in-house ombudsmen to critique news programs on NPR and PBS.

    now the bad news...

    Despite his departure, the CPB remains firmly controlled by conservatives. Tomlinson's successor as chairman, Cheryl F. Halpern, is a longtime contributor to Republicans, including President Bush and Sen. Trent Lott (Miss.). Its vice chairman, Gay Hart Gaines, another Republican contributor, was a founder and former chairman of GOPAC, a powerful GOP fundraising group.



    Plame Game

    Excellent piece on the Plame Affair on 60 Minutes this week.

    The Daily Dissent is kind enough to host the video and transcript.


    American Reality Check:

    This is the view of America from our friends the Canadians and the results of the policies of our "leaders":

    Do you agree with Condoleezza Rice's assertion that the word of the United States is 'as good as gold'?
    Yes - 1827 votes (8 %)
    No - 21029 votes (92 %)

    Total Votes: 22856

    Thanks Condi...


    Can you say Propaganda?

    It's hard to believe that we have to investigate things like this in our America.

    These papers: Here, Here, Here, Here , and Here all have unsigned editorials that contain the following paragraph:

    "One of the smartest things President Bush did to reduce recovery costs in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita was to suspend Davis-Bacon Act rules in the hardest hit states. But Congress is frantically trying to overrule the president, which would add billions of dollars to the already staggering recovery costs. Amazing that newspapers from California, Colorado, Indiana and North Carolina could be channeling, simultaneously and in complete harmony, the Bush administration line for cutting wages for workers rebuilding the Gulf coast."
    I find it pretty implausable that papers in California, Colorado, Indiana and North Carolina all could be channeling the Bush administration line for cutting wages for workers rebuilding the Gulf coast.

    It looks like most of these papers running the editorials are own by the same company Freedom Communications Inc..

    WTF!

    Link via Facing South


    The Turn of the Screw

    John Hannah flipped?

    Hannah's history in the Wilson affair


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