Saturday, June 28, 2003

Thurmond's "extraordinary" life


"Sen. Strom Thurmond led an extraordinary life," Bush said in a written statement following Thurmond's death Thursday at the age of 100. "He served his country as senator, governor and state legislator ... I saw first hand the tremendous love he had for his constituents, and the admiration the people of South Carolina had for him."

Extraordinary? I'll say.

How aWol "supports the troops"

Army Times

For example, the White House griped that various pay-and-benefits incentives added to the 2004 defense budget by Congress are wasteful and unnecessary — including a modest proposal to double the $6,000 gratuity paid to families of troops who die on active duty. This comes at a time when Americans continue to die in Iraq at a rate of about one a day.

Similarly, the administration announced that on Oct. 1 it wants to roll back recent modest increases in monthly imminent-danger pay (from $225 to $150) and family-separation allowance (from $250 to $100) for troops getting shot at in combat zones.

What what they do, not what they say...

Carl Levin stands up on Iraq WMD "exaggerations"

Ken Guggenheim of AP writes:

Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee announced Friday plans to stage their own inquiry on the credibility of prewar intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and its links to the al-Qaida terror network.

The announcement by Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the panel's top Democrat, marked an unusual split with Chairman John Warner, R-Va., on an issue with strong political overtones ahead of next year's elections. Warner and Levin are longtime colleagues on the committee and repeatedly stress bipartisan cooperation.

Levin said he has directed Democratic staff to examine the objectivity and credibility of the intelligence and its effect on Defense Department policy decisions, military planning and operations in Iraq.

He said Warner refused his request to begin such an inquiry.

The prewar intelligence has been called into question both nationally and abroad because of the military's inability to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Also, some evidence cited by the Bush administration has been discredited, including documents on supposed approaches to obtain uranium in Africa, which turned out to be forgeries.

Say, how's that 9/11 Report coming? Is aWol done censoring it yet?

DéLay and Westar

Pete Yost of the AP writes: Another Republican in Congress returns Westar campaign donations.

When will Tom DéLay give back his Westar loot?

Good cop, bad cop

Tom Raum of the AP writes:

So far, Bush seems to be having it both ways.

He publicly urged House leaders to join him in supporting a Senate-passed $10 billion, 10-year bill extending the child tax credit for minimum wage workers. But instead the House lumped it into a much more ambitious $82 billion plan of tax cuts.

Now, the House and Senate differences are so great that the child tax credit for low income families appears doomed.

Bush can thus claim credit for supporting the measure, while DeLay and other conservatives possibly can point to victory for blocking its ultimate passage.

Likewise, Bush's support of extending the assault rifle ban cheered by moderates is a largely symbolic gesture. Sentiment is strong in the GOP-controlled Congress to let the ban expire and Bush does not seem to be putting much energy into efforts to extend it.

Bush being the more "moderate" Good Cop, DéLay being the Bad Cop. You might even call it triangulation. Look for more of this as 2004 approaches ...

"What Kind Of America Do You Want To Live In?"

That question is asked and answered in the inimitable style of the Slaktivist, otherwise known as Fred Clark.

Fred's posts are difficult to describe, which is also what mesk them so worth reading. This one prods at growing inequalities of income and that Republican favorite, the politics of envy, using a newspaper skybox ad that offers homeowners the chance to own their very own luxary spa.

Frank Capra makes an appearance, along with Mr. Potter and George Bailey himself, who was living that "wonderful life" we'd all like to, and didn't know it.

Fred also links to and discusses a story, out of Alabama, I've seen little about elsewhere; seems the new Governor there is determined to bring some fairness into the way the state taxes its citizens, all the more interesting because that Governor, Bob Riley, is a Bible-thumping conservative Republican. In pressing for what you and I might think of as a liberal reform, Governor Riley "has framed his tax reform effort in explicitly moral and religious language." And that could be significant, as Fred sees it.

Check out this post, too:


A tortured, obvious and over-extended metaphor.

You'll be surprised by who and what is being metaphorized.

It's also always fun when Fred clears out his attic. Go, you'll see what I mean.

Oh Dear Indeed

It appears Ted Barlow has joined the other 402,000 new jobless this week. Go buy him a virtual drink.

Culture Clash

A couple of days ago I kept bumping into this chap wandering around this museum.


I´ve really made an effort to not post the story every time another soldier dies in Iraq. It´s a shame, really, as our media seems pretty quiet about it - these poor souls aren´t exactly getting much of a tribute by our Shocked and Awed media. But, deservedly or not it would appear that I was using their deaths to score cheap points - something only the right wing hacks of the blogosphere and the RNC are allowed to do.

But, I´m really starting to get angry.

Operation Tribute to F...

Just go to this defense department page.

Friday, June 27, 2003

McAuliffe Calling Kos

One result of Kos's participation in the ePatriot's blogger program - the DNC's head guy put a call in to talk with Kos, who tells us all about it here.

Seems to me that Kos said all the right things about the potential importance of the blogisphere to the Dems, and from his paraphrase of the conversation, one gets the clear impression so did McAuliffe.

McAuliffe asked point blank: "How do you think we should do that?"

It's a question I want you guys to weigh in on, since I promised to put together a memo with suggestions.

Kos gets the ball rolling with some excellent suggestions of his own. So far there are 130 plus comments on the thread. Pay a visit and leave a comment. And/or leave one here. We should assume that this will be an on-going discussion across blogdom.

While you're there, Kos has been doing a series on how specific Democratic candidates could put together a win; one such scenario for Howard Dean can be found here; a discussion of non CW scenarios by one of Kos's commentators is here.

Steve Gilliard has another post about Iraq and Kos has one on how complete a screwing military enlistees are getting from the Bush administration.

You could probably spend the whole afternoon there and not a minute would be wasted.

Do come back at some point, I'm working on a post about the Medicare nightmare that is about to descend upon us and our older loved ones, and whether or not we can do anything about it.

In Case You Missed It

Posts roll out of sight and therefore mind awfully quickly with more than one person posting.

So if anyone didn't catch the farmer's post in honor of "Appropriate Michael Savage's Name Day," you can just click here.

And if anyone missed the comments thread to the "Ben Franklin" post, I recommend it;lots of Franklin info, good humor, intelligent conversation, with just a soupcon of bile to add some intensity to the flavor.

The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations

As we all know, Howard Dean was savaged by Tim Russert and all responsible pundits for being off by a whopping 7% on the number of troops stationed in Iraq. Bob Somerby reminds us of the somewhat more indulgent treatment President ADHD received a mere 4 years ago.

Over at the New York Times, meanwhile, Paul Krugman continues his lonely work documenting the ongoing takeover of our political system, but then asks the faux naif question, "Why isn't the ongoing transformation of U.S. politics — which may well put an end to serious two-party competition — getting more attention?"

I can only assume that, just as he was once forbidden to use "lie" in connection with Bush Administration utterances, Krugman is constrained from using "whores" to describe a profession of which Krugman is one of the few remaining exceptions. Something tells me that rule won't be lifted anytime soon.

MoveOn Primary Results Available

Thanks to Gabe for the tip.

Here's where to find them.

No one got fifty percent. That's all I'm telling.

Getting The Attention Of Voters

There's already been some reference here to Michael Tomasky's TAP column that lays out Russert's use of statistical talking points about Bush tax cuts prepared, at his request, by the Bush administration, the better to help Russert ambush Howard Dan last Sunday.

The whole column is worth a read. More than Russert's perfidy, Tomasky's larger focus is on what kind of arguments Democrats should be making about those tax cuts.

But the more important question....has to do with Bush's line of attack in the coming presidential election, and how Democrats should respond to it.

Bush will use the campaign to hammer home two economic points: first, that the tax cuts, now scheduled to sunset after seven years (he had to agree to this position to ensure their passage) must be made permanent. And second, that attempts by Democrats to repeal the cuts, or even Democratic opposition to making them permanent, will lead to a massive tax increase on working Americans.

That won't be easy to argue against


Democrats' historical tendency is to express it in terms of equity and fairness....

Tomasky is all for that, but he thinks it's not enough. He gives three reasons why not, the third being the most important, that arguments which focus exclusively on fairness imply that self-interest is antithetic to equity.

This is a huge problem for post-1960s liberalism, which has decided that self-interest is bad. It's not. Self-interest is just fine. Selfishness is bad. There's a big difference between the two. It's the difference between the basically decent instincts of most Americans and the atrociously indecent agenda of the radical right.

I think Tomasky is onto something important here, about which there is much more to be said. See what you think.

Attention Must Be Paid

Yeah, yeah, and what else isn't news.

Gene Lyons tell us in his latest column, which the Smirking Chimp has kindly posted on his site for us.

Others have asked why General Clark's mention, on MTP, of having been urged to come to the appropriate conclusion about the "Saddam has WMD" intelligence by someone in the Bush administration, didn't get more attention, by Tim Russert at the time, and by anyone else since.

Lyons notices something else that's gone unnoticed:

After acknowledging that banned weapons may yet materialize in Iraq, although nothing resembling the "imminent threat that many feared," Clark reminded Russert of something the pundit - fixated like everybody in Washington on Bill Clinton's zipper at the time - had probably forgotten. "We struck [Iraq] very hard in December of '98," Clark said. "Did everything we knew, all of his [Saddam's] facilities. I think it was an effective set of strikes. Tony Zinni commanded that, called Operation Desert Fox, and I think that set them back a long ways. But we never believed that that was the end of the problem."

Back then, Republicans charged that Clinton bombed suspected Iraqi WMD sites to distract the public from his Oval Office sex antics, as if THAT were possible. But it's beginning to look as if economic sanctions, UNSCOM inspectors and cruise missiles may have done the job.

But you can bet we'll probably never come near to knowing, unless you think that hand-picked team of new inspectors are going to spend much time trying to figure out if some of the missing WMD and the associated infrastructure got taken out by anything associated with the Clinton administration.

Goodbye To All That

If you were wondering how to respond to the passing of Strom Thurmond appropriately, without losing your own humanity, TBogg has figured it out for you here.

Also courtesy of Tom, don't miss this Bruce Stirling piece about Rumsfeld and why this administration is giving the rest of the known world a tizzie fit.

Or this Bogg post about some bitch slapping going on between conservatives.

Or Tom's take on all the rightwing Rainsesian shock (Claude, not Howell) about Presidential executive orders, Clinton's actual EOs and Gephardt's prospective ones

Or his takedown of Hitchens on Kerry. Josh Marshall does this one, too.

And TBogg is still skank-central for all things Coulter.

Why Did Benjamin Franklin hate America?

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow discovers a delightful essay that explains why Anne Coulter ought to be asking that question. Seems that firefighters in Colonial Philadelphia worked at the behest of private insurance companies, a system which worked for no one but the companies.

Eventually, the absurdity and outright danger of this system led one prominent Philadelphia citizen to come up with the idea of a publicly funded and administered fire department.

His name was Benjamin Franklin: America’s first anti-free-enterprise commie pinko nut-case.

If a robust public sector is unAmerican, so is Ben. Wonder if he made it into "TREASON!"?

Where should the country be in twenty years?

The Republicans think they know, and they're planning for it.

What do we think?



And here.

Sens. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) and Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) returned from a quick trip to Iraq and predicted this week that U.S. forces would remain in Iraq for at least five years.

Money talks

Compare this:

The Bush-Cheney campaign says the president expects to raise $27 million to $30 million during the three-month fund-raising period that ends June 30 - and Bush didn't even launch his re-election campaign until May 16.

to this:

Seven months before the presidential primary in South Carolina, the state Democratic Party doesn't have the money to pay for it, raising doubts about whether the first-in-the-South primary will take place.

Any questions?

(Thanks to alert reader david for the pointer on South Carolina.)

Thomas Confirmation Hearing


Now, Judge, in your view, does the Liberty Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protect the right of women to decide for themselves in certain instances whether or not to terminate pregnancy?

JUDGE THOMAS: Senator, first of all, let me look at that in the context other than with natural law principles.

SENATOR BIDEN: Let's forget about natural law for a minute.

JUDGE THOMAS: My view is that there is a right to privacy in the Fourteenth Amendment.

Gay Gay Gay

I have to admit I´m rather annoyed at the limited view the media seems to be taking with the Lawrence decision. It isn´t a victory for gay civil rights - it´s a victory for civil rights period. And, an incredibly sweeping one.

Start your day with Special K


The foundations for one-party rule [in the United States] are being laid right now.

Read and discuss. (And what to do?)

Appropriating Michael Savage Day

And what a day it was, thanks to Justice Kennedy's exquisite sense of timing.

Thanks to all (see below at "Do not go to these sites") and especially to Neal Pollack.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Special operations and aWol's charade

William M. Arkin writes in the LA Times:

Since the war on terrorism began, [the] flexibility and secretiveness of [special operations forces] have made them a favorite with the Bush administration and with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who has pushed for an ever bigger role for special operations.

Even as the president was making his case to the public for going to war, special operations forces were already at work inside Iraq. When Turkey denied U.S. ground forces permission to use its territory, special ops were allowed in anyway. After Jordan and Saudi Arabia publicly restricted U.S. troops from their soil, they still privately let thousands of special operations forces work from their bases.

In the end, of course, there were no Scud missiles for Iraq to launch at Israel, and there were no weapons of mass destruction on the battlefield. At Hadithah and other dam sites, the U.S. found no firm evidence that Iraqis were preparing to blow them up. In the northern and southern oil fields, Iraqi demolition efforts were nothing like the methodical sabotage by Iraq of Kuwait's oil infrastructure in 1991. Local forces south and east of Baghdad successfully destroyed a couple of bridges, but the Iraqi command doesn't appear to have attempted a scorched-earth plan.

What special operators actually achieved on the ground is therefore difficult to confirm.

Rumsfeld's enthusiasm for special operations remains unchecked by any questions about their effectiveness.

Perhaps most discomforting, though, is the culture of special operators. Like intelligence professionals, they are attracted to the mystique associated with secret operations. They have a "desire," as one senior officer told me, "to be clandestine." Sometimes secrecy is crucial. And sometimes it's just a way of life — one that prevents operators from ever having to worry about public and media scrutiny.

Let's repeat: "Even as the president was making his case to the public for going to war, special operations forces were already at work inside Iraq."

So "making the case" was just a charade, right? So the Congressional resolution was just a charade, right? So the power of Congress to declare war is just a charade, right?

And our secret, unaccountable shadow government grows and grows and grows....



When will the casualties after aWol's infamous "Mission Accomplished" stunt equal the casualities before it?

Connecting the dots on WorldCom

It's hard to run an occupation with no phone system. And why would that be a problem? Trudy Rubin writes:

Worst of all, the Pentagon provided no communications system for the civilian occupation team - even though U.S. bombs had destroyed Baghdad's phone network. The civilians tasked with running the country couldn't even talk to each other until the end of May, let alone to the Iraqi ministries they were supposedly running. Only now are they getting a limited cell-phone network.

Why the delay? In part, due to political machinations back in Washington over the phone contract. Guess who got the $45 million no-bid deal? MCI/WorldCom, the company that bilked its shareholders out of $11 billion and has very little experience in building wireless networks.

The bungled peace in Iraq

Trudy Rubin in our own Inky editorializes:

Whoever was responsible at top levels in the Pentagon for postwar planning should be fired.

But then no one would be fired. Three weeks in Iraq makes very clear that no one in the Bush administration made serious postwar plans before the start of the Iraq war.

Back in November, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz told me he believed that the London-based Iraqi opposition (headed by Ahmad Chalabi) would return to Baghdad and assume the reins of power, just as Gen. Charles DeGaulle and the Free French returned triumphantly to postwar France.

Top White House and Pentagon officials refused to listen to warnings that Chalabi and other Iraqi exiles did not command sufficient support inside Iraq. Nor did they heed warnings that Saddam's highly centralized government structure would collapse once he was ousted.

"The expectations at the Pentagon were that [government] ministries would emerge unscathed" and take over the running of the country, one senior U.S. official told me when I was in Baghdad. No one foresaw the virtual collapse of many ministries, nor their physical destruction by looters.

"We failed in our duty on the looting," the official continued, a reference to the fact that the military failed to secure ministries, key infrastructure and suspected weapons sites. "I didn't think [the administration] would let it get so out of hand."

Starting to look like photo-ops and lying is all these guys are really good at.

Act NOW on voting machines in Washington state

Alert reader Tresy points out that contact information and suggested letters to Gov. Locke and the Elections Commission can be found at here and that the deadline for comments is TOMORROW.

Do your bit to preserve democracy, Washingtonians! (If that is the word for a citizen of the state of Washington)

What To Do About Inconvenient Facts? Edit Them Out?

Molly Ivins' latest is Molly at her best.

She starts out with the administration's answer to the problem of global warming - "edit it out."

Think of the possibilities presented by this ingenious solution. Let's edit out AIDS and all problems with drugs both legal and illegal. We could get rid of Libya and Syria this way – take 'em off the maps. We can do away with unemployment, the uninsured, heart disease, obesity and the coming Social Security crunch. We could try editing out death and taxes, but I don't think we should overreach right away. Just start with something simple, like years of scientific research on global warming, and blue pencil that sucker out of existence. Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

There's a reason why that last sentence is coming back in vogue. Denial has become a central principle of governance since Bush took office. It's almost another Bush Doctrine. And when we say governance, let us not forget that with this administration, the political is policy, policy is the political.

Inspiring as the remarkable Bush approach to resolving global warming is – the simplicity of it, the beauty of it, I cannot get over it – does it not suggest a certain cavalier je ne sais quoi about the future? What I mean is, is anybody there concerned about what happens to people?

Molly proceeds to discuss the API (American Petroleum Institute to you), AmeriCorps, and gutsy girl that she is, brings up that whole issue of the "L" word.

Sweets To The Sweet, Riches To The Richest

Thank God and President Bush for those tax cuts.

The nation's richest people paid a lower proportion of their income in federal taxes last year than in 1992, new government figures show.


Over the nine-year period, the minimum adjusted gross income to get on the top 400 list more than tripled, from $24.4 million to $86.8 million.

In 2000, the 400 paid 22.3% of their income to federal income taxes, down from 26.4% in 1992.

The richest 400 made 1.09% of U.S. income in 2000, more than double the percentage in 1992, when they accounted for just 0.52%, the IRS said.

FDR would be floored; so would his cousin, Teddy; so would Harry Truman; so would President Eisenhower; so would JFK and LBJ and my guest, make your own list.

Russert a shill for aWol, and Kurtz buries the story again

Remember how Atrios pointed out yesterday that Tim Russert of MTP actually called the White House to get his talking points when he interviewed Howard Dean? And that this was the real story of the interview?

Well, Howard Kurtz does include this material in his column, give the guy credit. Quoting Michael Tomasky:

Here, an independent news organization went to a sitting administration, asked it to work up numbers for its benefit, and then used those numbers to launch what amounted to a rhetorical sting operation on a candidate of the other party.

"Do you suppose MTP ever asked the Clinton administration to produce research proving that the Harry and Louise ad campaign against the Clinton health plan was full of lies? Or asked the Gore campaign to offer up a study debunking Bush's explanation of how he'd cut billions in taxes and keep the surplus going?

"And it goes without saying -- except it matters, so I'll say it -- that the research was selective. The analysis excluded single people and low-income couples -- the two groups that benefit least from the tax cuts."

So, a supposedly independent SCLM gets aWol to write a script for them. That's the story.

But Kurtz spins the real story away in two ways. First, his lead-in says that "Michael Tomasky says Dean was sandbagged." Not the point, Howard!

Second, he buries this material in the middle of a ton of quotes on the MoveOn primary.

With this interview, Russert propelled himself to the top of the heap as a candidate for MW of 2003, and it can't get a headline in WaPo. C'mon, Howard! How hard does Tim have to work to get a little recognition?

I'm Not Micheal Savage, I've Never Known Michael Savage, Michael Savage Is Not A Friend Of Mine, And You, Dear Reader, Are No Michael Savage

But that doesn't mean we can't take his name in vain. in honor of this glorious day when the sanctity of privacy, in order for we, the people, "to be secure in our persons," has been upheld FOR ALL AMERICANS by those funky 'Supremes,' God love'em.

And what better way than to commemorate the anniversary of the establishment of a minimum wage in this country. Okay, Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act on June 25, 1938, but I just know FDR wouldn't mind us being a day late if it means our memory of him can be included when we take Michael Savage's name in vain.

Roosevelt signed the law in order to assure American workers of "a fair day's pay for a fair day's work."

The minimum wage today is $5.15 an hour; that's a yearly income of $10,712 a year. Think about that for a moment. Think about the average rent in your neck of the woods. In mine, rental prices have gone through the roof. Think about what you pay for food. Maybe you think these minimum wage workers don't have families? Maybe you think they are mostly teenagers? Or undocumented workers who risk their lives to be able to come here and earn it? As Holly Sklar insists, think again.

Think of adult women working at checkout counters and in childcare, of healthcare aides taking care of your parents or grandparents – without employer health benefits, paid sick days or paid vacation.


A single parent with one child needs to work more than two full-time minimum wage jobs to make ends meet. It takes more than three jobs at minimum wage to support a family of four. Maybe the Bush administration's marriage promotion programs will push polygamy.

See if you can make ends meet on minimum wage with a new interactive wage and household budget calculator on the web at Or will you be choosing between food and rent, healthcare and childcare?

Think about all those single mothers who managed to find jobs after the welfare reform bill put time limits on eligibility, and think about what the unemployment rate was then, and what it is now.

So why should we care about any of this, other than for "compassion" purposes, (a word I've always thought was used wrongly in discussions of what is a just society, even before Bush got hold of it)? Turns out there's a reason that we all prosper in a society that cares about fairness for all wage earners:

Roosevelt knew that to stimulate the economy, you boost workers and their families, you don't pile on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.

For decades, the minimum wage and worker productivity rose together. Between 1947 and 1973, worker productivity rose 108 percent while the minimum wage rose 101 percent, adjusting for inflation.

Since then, workers have put in their fair day's work without getting their fair day's pay. Between 1973 and 2000, worker productivity rose 52 percent, but the minimum wage fell 17 percent and hourly average wages fell 10 percent, adjusting for inflation. Between 2000 and 2002, productivity rose 6 percent; the real minimum wage fell 4 percent.

The current minimum wage of $5.15 an hour is lower than the real minimum wage of 1950 ($5.71).

There's no surer way to stimulate an economy than to get money into the hands of families who need to spend it to make ends meet. And then there's this, too:

When the minimum wage is stuck in quicksand, it drags down wages for average workers as well. About one out of four workers makes $8.70 an hour or less. That's not much more than 1968's real minimum wage.

It doesn't have to be this way. Go see why, and in the bargain, Sklar will give you a good reason for indulging yourself in a fast food burger. Like Lambert, I'm a devotee of the Slow Food movement, but every once in a while, if I'm assured that the help is being well paid and fairly treated...

Trashing our national parks and lying about it

Elizabeth Shogren of the LA Times writes:

The Bush administration, citing a report by Yellowstone National Park's professional staff, is asking a United Nations committee to remove the park from a list of World Heritage sites that are "in danger" of losing their grandeur. ...

But there is one hitch: The professional staff appears to disagree with the administration's assessment that the government is addressing all the problems that put Yellowstone on the endangered list in 1995. A draft report by the staff earlier this year identified continuing threats to the quality of the park's streams, bison herd and cutthroat trout populations — and to visitors' overall experience of the park. ...

"Tinkering with scientific information, either striking it from reports or altering it, is becoming a pattern of behavior," said Roger G. Kennedy, a former director of the National Park Service. "It represents the politicizing of a scientific process, which at once manifests a disdain for professional scientists working for our government and a willingness to be less than candid with the American people."

Ooh, "less than candid" ... Good one!

What was that other great euphemism Rosenbaum came up with in The Newspaper of Record (not!) -- "exaggerate"?

Why not just say that they lie?

Brownshirt watch


Faux can dish it out...

... but they sure can't take it. Typical MBFs!

P.S. Any lawyers out there who want to take on Faux on behalf of the little guys? Check it out...


Kennedy writes:

Liberty protects the person from unwarranted govern-
ment intrusions into a dwelling or other private places. In
our tradition the State is not omnipresent in the home.
And there are other spheres of our lives and existence,
outside the home, where the State should not be a domi-
nant presence. Freedom extends beyond spatial bounds.
Liberty presumes an autonomy of self that includes free-
dom of thought, belief, expression, and certain intimate
conduct. The instant case involves liberty of the person
both in its spatial and more transcendent dimensions.

Food for thought. ... And noble words. Maybe our country is not entirely lost.

Sniping Aside...

This Supreme Court decision is truly a monumentally Good Thing. It´s nice to have something to celebrate for a change, Scalia´s idiocy aside.

Praise Jeebus.

This is a great legal mind?

Fat Tony sez that the Court "has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda."

The imminent threat that wasn't so imminent

John Lumpkin of the AP writes

Obeidi turned over a two-foot-tall stack of documents that includes detailed designs for centrifuges, intelligence officials said. Obeidi told intelligence officials the parts from his garden were among the more difficult-to-produce components of a centrifuge.

Assembled, the components would not be useful in making much uranium. Hundreds of centrifuges are necessary to make enough to construct a nuclear weapon in such programs.

So, no uranium (the document from Niger "proving" that was a crude fake), hundreds of centrifuges needed but parts for one found... Where was that imminent threat again? Sounds to me like the sanctions and inspection regime was doing exactly what it was supposed to be doing.

(I am still not Michael Savage, for which I am very very grateful. Though I do take his name in vain.)

Electronic voting machines

(I am not the Savage Weiner, though I do take his name in vain.)

This is one of those under-the-radar, quietly-growing-cancer-on-democracy stories...

This I didn't know:, a struggling Garden City start-up scheduled to provide online absentee ballots for U.S. military personnel in the 2004 federal election, has quietly sold controlling power to an investment group with ties to unnamed Saudi nationals, according to company correspondence.


Meanwhile, unauditable systems are being jammed through in Seattle.

My ATM transactions can be audited, but not my vote? Is there a way to insist on a paper ballot, even in an electronic jurisdiction?

UPDATE: Here is an informational site on this issue. Electronic voting must be auditable! Voting machine systems (like most of those sold today) that do not leave an audit trail are open invitations to fraud. (Not that anything like that could ever happen!) It's hard to imagine anything more corrosive to our democracy.

What has aWol got to hide on Medicare?

(I'm still not Michael Savage, though I am taking his name in vain.)
Laura Meckler of the AP writes:

The Bush administration's top Medicare accountant has calculated how millions of senior citizens would be affected by bringing private managed care into the program, but the administration won't release the information.

An earlier analysis suggested that a Republican plan to inject market forces into Medicare could increase premiums for those who stay in traditional programs by as much as 25 percent. ...

The administration's Medicare chief threatened to fire his top actuary, Rick Foster, if Foster released his calculations to Capitol Hill Democrats who requested the analysis, officials said.

"They don't have the right on the Hill to call up my actuary and demand things," said Scully, chief of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. "These people work for the executive branch, period."

Scully said he would release the analysis "if I feel like it."

Only threatened to fire? Instead of leaving a horse's head in his bed, like Unka Karl would?

Why our feckless Beltway Dems are allowing aWol to steal this issue from them is beyond my understanding. And given the tax cuts, we can't pay for it long-term anyhow, so the whole thing is an obvious charade for 2004.

And what do I tell my Mom? Is her coverage going to get better, or worse? Worse, I guess -- otherwise, they'd release the memo!

P.S. Funny thing -- I thought Scully and his actuary worked for me -- since I'm the citizen paying him. What shameless arrogance!

Harman stands up (sorta)

(I'm not really Michael Savage, OK?)

Ken Guggenheim of AP writes:

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Jane Harman of California ... said the early stages of that review found that the administration ignored doubts about Iraq's chemical and biological weapons capability. But Harman said she still believes Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction that could now be in the hands of anti-American fighters in Iraq or terrorists elsewhere.

She said the early stages of her committee's review has made clear that Iraq once had chemical and biological weapons and that these weapons were easy to hide - but administration officials "rarely included the caveats and qualifiers attached to the intelligence community's judgments."

"For many Americans, the administration's certainty gave the impression there was even stronger intelligence about Iraq's possession of and intention to use WMD," she said.

Harman said the committee was reviewing whether intelligence agencies "made clear to policy-makers and Congress that most of its analytic judgments were based on things like aerial photographs, Iraqi defector interviews - not hard facts."

Harman also said that intelligence linking al-Qaida to Iraq "is conflicting, contrary to what was claimed by the administration."

As opposed to "hard facts"-- "Faith is the subtance of things hoped for, the evadence of things not seen" (Heb 11:1). Faith-based warmongering...

Supreme Court desecrates Michael Savage day!

Anne Gearan of AP

Supreme Court Strikes Down Gay Sex Ban
The 6-3 ruling reverses course from a ruling 17 years ago that states could punish homosexuals for what such laws historically called deviant sex.

Laws forbidding homosexual sex, once universal, now are rare. Those on the books are rarely enforced but underpin other kinds of discrimination, lawyers for two Texas men had argued to the court.

The men "are entitled to respect for their private lives," Kennedy wrote.

"The state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime," he said.

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

"The court has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda," Scalia wrote for the three. He took the unusual step of reading his dissent from the bench.

"The court has taken sides in the culture war," Scalia said, adding that he has "nothing against homosexuals."

Why does Kennedy hate white males?

UPDATE: The opinion is here.

Do not go to these sites!

They take the name of the Savage Weiner in vain!

These sites are not Michael Savage sites! Do not be deceived!


More? (Thanks, alert reader SK Bubba) (thanks to alert reader Hunter) (rather tasteless from alert reader Relatively Anonymous Jerk).

UPDATE: Neal Pollack has another list and a nice note of thanks to all. I'm especially grateful I don't have to be Michael Savage any more. That was, well, kinda like that really stomach-churning scene in Alien ....

Two more from alert reader Anonymous Jerk: (not very tasteful)

And more:

Thanks to all for a happy and successful Micheal Weiner Appropriation Day!

Michael Savage day!


Why does GE hate white males?

Read the hateful propaganda on GE's site!:

In the area of diversity, the company is dedicated to developing the careers of women, and minorities by providing the right level of training and development and basing promotions on performance.

Who cares how wetbacks and homesexuals "perform," or whether they're "flexible"?

Write GE and tell them what you think!

White males who are not homosexuals or immigrants: Please do NOT contact KSTE!

This is the KSTE not to call -- it's the one in Sacramento.

Talk 650 KSTE
1440 Ethan Way, Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95825
Tel: (916) 929-5325
Fax: (916) 922-2236
A Clear Channel Station
General comments:

KSTE has already been overwhelmed by your messages of support!

And don't contact Clear Channel either! They already know how great I am!

Phone 1-210-822-2828
Public Relations


I´ve become quite a controversial figure lately due to the fact that many of my statements are misunderstood by the media and other liberals. For example, when I said:

With the [Latino] population that has emerged, since they breed like rabbits, in many cases the whites will become a minority in their own nation... The white people don't breed as often for whatever reason. I guess many homosexuals are involved. That is also part of the grand plan, to push homosexuality to cut down on the white race.

I meant it all in a good way. As I explain here, I love Latinos, particular illegal immigrant Latinos, and the more of them the merrier I say. And, I enjoy them so much that I think that cutting down on the white race is actually a good thing. White people just don´t appreciate the Savage Weiner quite as much as those wetbacks who are willing to do anything - and I mean anything! - to cross the border into our country.

So, to set the record straight - I love Latinos and homosexuals, and I hate white people.

Along those same lines, I got in a bit of trouble when I said that people like Sandra Day O´Connor had "feminized and homosexualized much of America, to the point where the nation has become passive, receptive and masochistic" I meant this unequivocally as a good thing! I mean, the more passive, receptive, and masochistic Americans are the more fun the Savage Weiner has. Especially wetback-Americans.

There, I hope I´ve cleared a few things up for you all. Now, stop writing those angry letters to MSNBC president Erik Sorensen at He considers me to be "brash, passionate, and smart" and how could anyone argue with that?

Stick It In Your Ear Michael Savage

The Savage UberOaf Circus Krone Band, announces the release of their new music CD, "Solid Waste"

"brash, passionate and smart."
The critics all agree: MSNBC president Erik Sorenson describes Michael Savage as "brash, passionate and smart."

Twenty-six soon to be classics await you on this debut music release from celebrity media bauble Michael Savage and friends.

1- You Rats, You Dirty Rats!
2- Breeding Out of Control
3- Defecate on our Country
4- Feminist Zealots Rule
5- Like Little Devils
6- Hiding in the Sewers
7- The Girls from Branson
8- Toting AK47s
9- Hormones Rage
10- At a Million Dyke March
11- Mind-Slut in a Big Pair of Glasses
12- Raped in a Dumpster While Giving out a Turkey Sandwich
13- Homosexuals Are Involved

14- Latinos Breeding Like Rabbits
15- Turd-World Cesspool
16- Freaks and Cripples and Mental Defectives
17- I'm Going to Find Out Where You Get Your Money
18- They're Not Kids They're Ghetto Slime
19- I'll Put You In Jail
20- Under John Ashcroft!
21- Roll Over Like a Pussy
22- Right-Wing Radio Folk (traditional)
23- Our National Glue
24- Savage Weiner Waltz
25- Pill Salesman
26- The Roy Masters Headshrinker Medley (instrumental)

The Savage UberOaf Circus Krone Band is:
Mike Savage - vocals, fuzz box distortion pedal
Joe "Kurly-Lip" Scarborough - 5 string guitar and backup vocals
*Rush Limbaugh - dittochord, drum beater
*Sean Hannity - mouth organ
*Bill O'Reilly - air horn
Neal Boortz - grunting noises
Anne Coulter - gongs, whistles, hissing valves

Buy the CD today. Feed your head with "Solid Waste" - or get the hell out of the country!

Available from Bigot Spigot Productions and Media Suite Neuer-Bund Cult Promotions Inc. (MSNBCP)
*Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh appear courtesy of Fox Noise Corp. and Fear Channel Worldwide.

And remember to check out all the June 26th Michael Savage Tribute Day celebration events going on right here.


Roll out the barrel...


Three U.S. officials told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell that an Iraqi scientist who was part of what Saddam called his “nuclear mujahadeen” had led intelligence officials to a barrel in the back yard of his home in Baghdad, where they found plans for a gas centrifuge and components of a uranium enrichment system.
The Associated Press, citing a U.S. intelligence official, identified the scientist later as Mahdi Shukur Obeidi, who headed Iraq’s program to make centrifuges that would enrich uranium for nuclear weapons before the 1991 Gulf War. NBC’s sources said the plans dated back to the end of the Gulf War, when Saddam was already widely known to be seeking such weapons, and came as no great surprise.
Richard Butler, the United Nations’ former chief weapons inspector, told MSNBC TV’s Lester Holt that he was “absolutely unsurprised” by the report. “We have known of [Saddam’s previous plans] for a decade,” he said.
Butler said that the discovery of components of a uranium enrichment system suggested that Iraq was far from production of actual weapons. The need for an enrichment system established that “Iraq does not have adequate sources of natural uranium,” he said. “... It has to be, above all, enriched to get weapons grade.”
“This all adds up and makes sense,” Butler said.

So the imminent threat would be where? This stuff is what, twelve years old?

MORE: From Joby Warrick of WaPo:

Mahdi Obeidi, who headed Iraq's uranium enrichment program in the late 1980s and early 1990s, turned over the documents to U.S. officials in Baghdad voluntarily and is now assisting the investigation of Iraq's former weapons program, according to officials of the Institute for Science and International Security, a nonprofit research group that advised the scientist in his decision to surrender the materials to the U.S. government.

Obeidi supplied U.S. officials with several components of a gas centrifuge, a machine used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons, along with design plans for the machines, the institute's assistant director, Corey Hinderstein, said yesterday. The scientist, who contacted the group in late April, said he buried the materials in his yard in 1991 under orders from Hussein's son, Qusay.

"If the order was given, these documents and materials could be used to restart the program," Hinderstein said. She added: "Obeidi did not receive that order."

Despite assertions by Bush administration officials before the war that Iraq was rebuilding a nuclear program, U.S. officials have so far found no evidence that Hussein had reconstituted the advanced nuclear weapons program he developed throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

So this is the best Obedi has?!

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

And Now For Your Viewing And Reading Pleasure...

Don't know about you, but about now I need a pickmeup, and this gift from Jeff Koopersmith at American Politics Journal does it for me.

American Politics Journal invites its readers to help put some fiber in Tucker "Crossfire" Carlson's Diet!

The piece is called "EAT IT, TUCKER!," and that's just what happens. Go, enjoy.

Filibuster math

Helen Dewar in WaPo:

Because of a compromise struck when the Senate last changed its filibuster rules in the 1970s, it takes a two-thirds majority -- or 67 votes -- to break a filibuster against a proposed rules change. Republicans have a 51 to 49 majority in the Senate, meaning they need 16 Democratic votes to prevail, even if they suffered no defections.

There are rarely used procedures under which a rules change can be forced by a simple majority vote, but they are dubbed the "nuclear option" because of their likely effect on the Senate's fragile comity. A number of Republicans oppose such a course. Frist has neither ruled it out nor shown enthusiasm for it. ...

"It reminds me of a spoiled child throwing a temper tantrum," [Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.)] said in a written statement. As for the nuclear option, he said, it would "vaporize every bridge in sight -- bipartisan or otherwise."

Well, since the only way Frist can get what he want is to go nuclear, that's what he and Rove must be planning on doing, right?

Spinning the story on Dean's MTP appearance

Terry Neal continues the spin at WaPo.

But guess what? Remember what Atrios called your attention to ("Nothing new") this morning? The fact that Russert actually asked the Bush campaign at the White House to create talking points for him? That's not part of the story any more.

Who would have thought? Just half a news cycle, and down the ol' MW memory hole...

More On News Cycles: What We're Up Against

The story that Lambert links to re: predator drones and slow-off-the mark use of them was called to my attention last night by veteran Eschatonista, "Dave."

This should have been a stink bomb of a story for this administration. It isn't going to be, probably. And it's worth a second look at the full, much longer AP original to try and figure out why. So, at the risk of being accused of "fisking":

Officials: U.S. Slow on Bin Laden Drones

Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) -- When President Bush took office in January 2001, the White House was told that Predator drones had recently spotted Osama bin Laden as many as three times and officials were urged to arm the unmanned planes with missiles to kill the al-Qaida leader. But the administration failed to get drones back into the Afghan skies until after the Sept. 11 attacks later that year, current and former U.S. officials say.


The disappearance in 2001 of U.S. Predators from the skies over Afghanistan is discussed in classified sections of Congress' report into pre-Sept. 11 intelligence failures and is expected to be examined by an independent commission appointed by the president and Congress, officials said.

Not holding your breath? Me neither. For all the usual reasons, but especially because the AP buried what should have been the lead of their own story.

Nearly a dozen current and former senior U.S. officials described to AP the extensive discussions in 2000 and 2001 inside the Clinton and Bush administrations about using an armed Predator to kill bin Laden. Most spoke only on condition of anonymity, citing the classified nature of the information. Two former national security aides also cite some of the discussion inside the Bush White House in a recent book they published on terrorism.

The officials said that within days of President Bush taking office in January 2001, his top terrorism expert on the National Security Council, Richard Clarke, urged National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to resume the drone flights to track down bin Laden, citing the successes of late 2000.

The drones were one component of a broader plan that Clarke, a career government employee, had devised in the final days of the Clinton administration to go after al-Qaida after the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole. Clinton officials decided just before Christmas 2000 to forward the plan to the incoming Bush administration rather than implement it during Clinton's final days, the officials said.

Okay, you got that? Bush administration briefed by top terrorism guy, from previous administration, a career govt. employee, in January, 01.

After Clarke's briefing in January, the drone plan was discussed again in late April by national security deputies and the test on the mock-up of bin Laden's home was conducted in July. A Bush administration official said Rice was generally supportive of the idea as part of a broader strategy.

At a White House meeting of Bush's national security principals on Sept. 4, 2001, senior officials discussed several ideas, including use of the drones, as they finalized a plan to accelerate efforts to go after al-Qaida amid signs of a growing threat of a domestic attack.

Among those present were Rice, CIA Director George Tenet, soon-to-be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Clarke, then Bush's anti-terrorism chief inside the White House.

You got that? When the Bush administration took office in January of 2001, it proceeded as if nothing done to counter the threat of Al Quada by the previous administration was worth consideration. It proceeded to ignore it, all of it, including the warnings from Clinton Security Advisors that Al Quada was an imminent threat. Unless you think that "broader strategy" Ms. Rice was insisting the Predator drones be part of refers to anything Clinton, rather than whatever plan emerged, eventually, from the Vice President's brand spanking new terrorism commission.

The story manages to avoid making that point clearly; the reporters are more interested in the drama of that lost moment in which Osama might have been struck down. And that’s the story Channel 4000 culls from the original, the story that CNN and MSNBC are already going with.

I'm not suggesting a conspiracy, not the way most people conceive of that word.

The story of exactly how far along the Clinton administration was, as it left office, in thwarting Osama Bin Laden and what decisions were made by whom in the Bush administration to ignore the Clinton efforts, or to pretend there hadn't been any, hasn't been told because it doesn't fit into the narrative the Washington press corps has signed off on; a "bought off" probably belongs in there somewhere.

Does anyone reading this really think that were Tim Russert to be presented with a memo signed by persons of such stature, say, as General Clark, Secretary of State Albright, Gary Hart, President Carter, or (fill in the blank), suggesting what questions this story of the predator drones journalists should want to ask representatives of the administration, that Russert would pay the least bit of attention?

Do you sometimes have the feeling that anyone who gets regular airtime takes a knightly vow never to notice, see, understand, and God forbid, mention that this administration doesn't know what the hell it's doing. Granted, it helps that what the administration does know, par all previously imagined excellence - is how to look as if it does, and as if what it's actually doing has some connection to what it claims it's doing.

What we do about this I don't yet have a ready answer to.
Knowledge of the task is a first step. Recognition precedes action. But we sure as hell need to hurry up and damn well figure it out.

Mirror, Mirror

Of Justice Thomas' dissent in Grutter v. Bollinger, Michael Dorf observes:
It is difficult to know whether Justice Thomas intends this argument to be taken seriously....

In any event, the real heart of Justice Thomas's dissent in Grutter is more personal. He harbors an almost visceral hatred for what he terms "know-it-all elites." His dissent uses the word "elite" or "elites" no fewer than twenty times. How did this graduate of Yale Law School come to despise the sort of institution that opened so many doors for him?

The answer, it seems, is that he believes affirmative action stigmatizes not only its beneficiaries, but all people of color: "When blacks take positions in the highest places of government, industry, or academia," he asserts, "it is an open question today whether their skin color played a part in their advancement." [emphasis added]
I can only think of one such black, Clarence, and the question is about as "open" as a Texas "whites-only" primary.

All quiet on the Winnebago front

We haven't heard anything from aWol in the last few days on WMDs, since the last time he changed his story to say that the WMDs had been looted.... (And if so, where the heck are they and who has them?)

It's been quiet, too quiet... Did Rove gag him? Has he fallen off the wagon? Done too much Xanax?

Is aWol waiting for the WMDs to be planted? (Can any of our military readers say whether planting WMDs is even technically possible?)

UPDATE: Check the incomparable Daily Howler for how the SCLM is spinning this one. He's on this one all week.

Just a likeable guy with a growing credibility problem

In article titled Bush credibility gap - a slow, quiet crumble, Dante Chinni of the Christian Science Monitor writes:

Bush's support doesn't come from his positions; it comes from something more personal. People like him in large part because they believe he's being straight with them. If that changes, his ride toward reelection may have more than a few twists and turns.

If the reality is that people "like" Bush, what's to be done about it in terms of 2004, strategically? I'm so baffled that anyone could be taken in by him ...

How will Rove spend the money?

Jules Witcover in the Baltimore Sun:

Evidence of Mr. Bush's desire to kill a prospective political gnat with a howitzer is seen in his hot-dogs-at-$2,000-a-plate kickoff dinner to raise as much as $200 million in campaign funds -- which would be twice his record take of $100 million -- for a primary election period in which he doesn't even have an opponent.

By not accepting federal funding for this period, Mr. Bush will be free of spending limits imposed on the Democrats who accept it under federal campaign finance law. Under the same law, however, whatever he raises can only be spent up to the Republican National Convention, which starts Aug. 31, 2004. So in that period, from January through August, the Bush campaign can be expected to bombard the eventual Democratic nominee with an unprecedented assault of negative advertising while bolstering an already solid organizational base.

Reminds me of what Gray Davis did in California--bought himself the weakest possible opponent by intervening in the Republican primary. Will Rove do the same?

Looks like 2004 will be the ugliest election money can buy. Brace yourselves. And get ready for plenty more photo ops from President Codpiece.

GOP wants to you eat tainted meat

Dan Morgan in WaPo:

Backed by meatpackers, pork producers and grocery chains, House Republicans today will try to undo legislation that requires stores to tell consumers what country their meat and meat products come from, starting in October 2004.

Some countries have mad cow disease, some don't, right? Do I have to spell this out? Slow food is looking better all the time...

Judith Miller seems confused

Izvestia trashes Pravda... Anyhow, Howie Kurtz at WaPo writes that Judith Miller of The Newspaper of Record (not!) is a little confused about who works for her, and who she works for:

New York Times reporter Judith Miller played a highly unusual role in an Army unit [MET Alpha] assigned to search for dangerous Iraqi weapons, according to U.S. military officials, prompting criticism that the unit was turned into what one official called a "rogue operation." ...

On April 21, when the MET Alpha team was ordered to withdraw to the southern Iraqi town of Talil, Miller objected in a handwritten note to two public affairs officers. It said:

"I see no reason for me to waste time (or MET Alpha, for that matter) in Talil. . . . Request permission to stay on here with colleagues at the Palestine Hotel til MET Alpha returns or order to return is rescinded. I intend to write about this decision in the NY Times to send a successful team back home just as progress on WMD is being made."

One military officer, who says that Miller sometimes "intimidated" Army soldiers by invoking Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld or Undersecretary Douglas Feith, was sharply critical of the note. "Essentially, she threatened them," the officer said, describing the threat as that "she would publish a negative story."

An Army officer, who regarded Miller's presence as "detrimental," said: "Judith was always issuing threats of either going to the New York Times or to the secretary of defense. There was nothing veiled about that threat," this person said, and MET Alpha "was allowed to bend the rules."

Times editor Rosenthal strongly disagreed, saying Miller's note sounded routine and that characterizing it as a threat is "a total distortion of that letter." ...

Miller formed a friendship with MET Alpha's leader, Chief Warrant Officer Gonzales, and several officers said they were surprised when she participated in a Baghdad ceremony in which Gonzales was promoted. She pinned the rank to his uniform, an eyewitness said ..

After returning from Iraq, Rosenthal noted, Miller and a colleague filed a report skeptical about claims that two trailers found in Iraq served as mobile germ labs.

Pinned his medals on?!

So who does Judith Miller think she works for? The Times? The Military? Officer Gonzales? Donald Rumsfeld? Maybe only Judith Miller?

Then again, since we taxpayers were paying for her, she works for us, but no one seems to bring that up.



An angry Iraqi crowd killed six British soldiers because the troops had slain four Iraqi civilians during a demonstration, police said Wednesday, a day after the shootings. ...

The violence at the police station came in the mostly Shiite south, where resentment toward Saddam Hussein’s government had been strong. There had been no substantial attacks there against U.S. or British forces since the end of the war, and British troops in the city of Basra had felt so secure that they had stopped wearing helmets and flak jackets.

The U.S. military said Tuesday there had been 25 attacks on coalition forces over a 24-hour period, including a firefight in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, that killed four Iraqis and wounded two American soldiers and two Iraqis.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, called the pro-Saddam forces “dead-enders” and said coalition troops were making progress against them.

Who'll put the "W" in qWagmire, I'd like to know...

aWol dropped the ball on OBL

Seems like bureaucratic infighting in that famously tight ship, the malAdministration, prevented action.

Sources say when President George W. Bush took office in January 2001, the White House was told that Predator drones had recently spotted Osama bin Laden as many as three times.

Officials were urged to arm the unmanned planes with missiles to kill the al-Qaida leader. But the sources say the administration failed to get drones back into the Afghan skies until after the Sept. 11 attacks. ... The sources say the administration failed to get drones back into the Afghan skies until after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Top administration officials discussed a Predator mission to kill bin Laden just a week before the suicide attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. But they didn't resolve a debate over whether the CIA or the Pentagon should handle the job, or whether Predators armed with missiles would be lethal enough to do the job.

Targeting bin Laden was legally permitted under secret orders and presidential findings signed by President Bill Clinton.

The disappearance in 2001 of U.S. Predators from the skies over Afghanistan is discussed in classified sections of Congress' report into pre-Sept. 11 intelligence failures. It's expected to be examined by an independent commission appointed by the president and Congress.

Say, what about that 911 report I keep hearing about? Some commission? Is aWol done censoring it yet?

Nothing New

People are shocked, shocked, that Tim Russert would use administration prepared talking points to go after Howard Dean. We´ve known for years that Russert and NBC would just put RNC oppo research on the air unchecked during the ´00 election.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Denial is not a river in Egypt

"America's Most Dangerous Liberal" writes:

There is no longer any serious doubt that Bush administration officials deceived us into war. The key question now is why so many influential people are in denial, unwilling to admit the obvious.

About the deception: Leaks from professional intelligence analysts, who are furious over the way their work was abused, have given us a far more complete picture of how America went to war. Thanks to reporting by my colleague Nicholas Kristof, other reports in The New York Times and The Washington Post, and a magisterial article by John Judis and Spencer Ackerman in The New Republic, we now know that top officials, including Mr. Bush, sought to convey an impression about the Iraqi threat that was not supported by actual intelligence reports.

In particular, there was never any evidence linking Saddam Hussein to Al Qaeda; yet administration officials repeatedly suggested the existence of a link. Supposed evidence of an active Iraqi nuclear program was thoroughly debunked by the administration's own experts; yet administration officials continued to cite that evidence and warn of Iraq's nuclear threat.

And yet the political and media establishment is in denial, finding excuses for the administration's efforts to mislead both Congress and the public.


Part of the answer, of course, is raw partisanship. One important difference between our current scandal and the Watergate affair is that it's almost impossible now to imagine a Republican senator asking, "What did the president know, and when did he know it?"

But even people who aren't partisan Republicans shy away from confronting the administration's dishonest case for war, because they don't want to face the implications.

After all, suppose that a politician — or a journalist — admits to himself that Mr. Bush bamboozled the nation into war. Well, launching a war on false pretenses is, to say the least, a breach of trust. So if you admit to yourself that such a thing happened, you have a moral obligation to demand accountability — and to do so in the face not only of a powerful, ruthless political machine but in the face of a country not yet ready to believe that its leaders have exploited 9/11 for political gain. It's a scary prospect.

Yet if we can't find people willing to take the risk — to face the truth and act on it — what will happen to our democracy?

Good question. Any answers?

(OT: Krugman's great, a voice of sanity, but if he's the most dangerous liberal, the country is in real trouble. I'd hope that soon the National Review would bestow its coveted "most dangerous" accolade on an elected Democrat or candidate, not a newspaper columnist.)

Kerry stands up


I am prepared to filibuster, if necessary, any Supreme Court nominee who would turn back the clock on a woman’s right to choose, on civil rights and individual liberties, and on the laws protecting workers and the environment.

What a surprise! Frist wants to eliminate filibusters, but that has nothing to do with "fairness" at all... Instead, it's a two-fer: (a) pack the courts with wingers, and the beauty part: (b) deny the Dems air time, any air time.

Dean MTP transcript

He sounds pretty good to me, but then I'm not a Kewl Kid.

don’t believe them. This administration has not been candid about the impacts of this tax cut. A few months ago they had the deficit coming in at $290 billion. It’s at $400 billion. The administration simply has not been forthcoming and factual about the impact of their tax cuts. Setting aside whatever the real numbers might be, the accurate numbers, let’s look at what the tax cuts have done. Property taxes are going up in places in New Hampshire because the president has cut services, because he has not given the right amount of money to the states for special education, for No Child Left Behind, for all these unfunded mandates that he’s passed. The real effect of the Bush tax cuts has actually been to raise taxes on most middle-class people and to cut their services. Their public schools are suffering. Health care is suffering for middle-class kids. And that’s because of these tax cuts. These tax cuts are incredibly bad for the economy. I believe their purpose is essentially to defund the federal government so that Medicare and Social Security, the icons of the New Deal, will be undone. Karl Rove and others have talked about going back to the McKinley era before there was any kind of social safety net in this country. Really that’s what the campaign’s about. It’s to undo what I consider radical Republicanism.
Russert: But in the middle of an economic downturn, Howard Dean wants to raise taxes on the average of $1,200 per family.
Dean: So says the Republican Treasury Department which I think has very little credibility in this matter. Let’s look at the record.
Russert: But you would raise taxes?
Dean: I would go back to the Clinton era of taxes because I think most Americans would gladly pay the same taxes they paid when Bill Clinton was president if they could only have the same economy that they had when Bill Clinton was president.

Have at it...

Latent Collateral Damage

This isn't going to make life any easier for our troops either.

Officials: Hundreds of Iraqis Killed By Faulty Grenades
by Thomas Frank

WASHINGTON -- Hundreds and possibly thousands of Iraqi civilians have been killed or maimed by outdated, defective U.S. cluster weapons that lack a safety feature other countries have added, according to observers, news reports and officials.

U.S. cluster weapons fired during the war in March and April dispersed thousands of small grenades on battlefields and in civilian neighborhoods to destroy Iraqi troops and weapons systems.


Unexploded grenades remain potentially lethal for weeks and months after landing on the ground, where civilians can unwittingly pick them up or step on them. Many victims are children....

More parents with more broken children, more families with injured family members = less patience, less acceptance by Iraqi's of all stripes of an occupation that this administration's policies have ensured can only be seen as an All-American one.

Hillary was in town and her book's doing great


Hillaryphiles lined up before dawn for about 500 tickets, which the store handed out at its 8 a.m. opening. (Simon & Schuster estimates that about half of Living History's press run of 1 million is gone.)

Nobody seems to be listening to the chatter from the MWs and Kewl Kids that the book's dull. Heck, how could it be dull? To be on the receiving end of the right wing coup that surfaced during the ginned-up Clinton scandals and now runs the country -- how dull could that be? Unless you're on the inside, of course, and already know the story... Then it might seem dull....

"We Are A Better Country Than This"

So says Jeanne d'Arc at Body And Soul in reaction to a disturbing story about an Iraqi father pleading for medical treatment for his three children, burned from a fire set off by a bag of explosives left over from the war, being refused by two US Army doctors.

The good news is that we know about this horror because Sgt. David J. Borell, who called for medical help for the children, was so outraged by the callousness of the response that he couldn't hide it.

The incident came to light after an AP photographer took a picture of Borell being comforted by a colleague after the doctors refused to care for the children. When Borell's wife, Rachelle Douglas-Borell, saw the photo, she contacted AP with a copy of a letter he sent her describing what happened.

This is not about two bad army doctors; it's not about the US Army being a bad institution.

I can't improve on Jeanne's formulation of what it's about:

There are very good people in our military. And what they are being asked to do is shameful...We are a better country than this.

What they are being asked to do is also becoming increasingly impossible. For the British, too. Steve Gilliard explains at Daily Kos

Six British soldiers killed, eight wounded in Iraq

This is the largest loss of life in a single attack since "major combat" ended.

These attacks took place in the Shia heartland, unlikely places for Baath Party loyalists to hang about, causing trouble.

The British have been quietly smug about how they've been getting on with the locals, despite the occasional protest at their headquarters. Now it's clear that the resistance expects to take their war beyond the Sunni belt.


CENTCOM would do well to admit that opposition in Iraq comes from many different factions, not just those pining for Saddam. Iraqis have neither forgotten nor forgiven our 1991 betrayal of the Shia or British colonialism enforced with poison gas.


The Coalition Protection Authority lives in an isolated fantasy land where they think the free market cures all. The one thing which could send Iraqis into a rage is an attempt to denationalize the oil industry. Nationalization is widely seen as the one thing the Baath party got right and to undo is could spread resistance across the country as few things could.

Read this post, too, and you'll understand why Steve is becoming indispensable to a full understanding of post-war Iraq.

Linking to a series of articles published on the same day, he's able to give us a telling snapshot of the complex and tragic terrain of this occupation.

War by other means: the "reconstruction" of Iraq

....these articles, all running today, give a picture of absolute ineptitude now taking place in Iraq. While there was some effort to depict the war as a three week affair, the reality is that the enemy has changed shape and form and is still more than willing to engage Americans.

In the meanwhile, civil life is turning into a nightmare for the average Iraqi. No electricity, no secruity, random, violent encounters with Americans. Saddam may be gone and the police may not take you for a beating, but the environment of instabity and growing rage poses an ongoing danger to American troops.

The American viceroy, Paul Bremer, why mince words, was told directly at a World Economic Forum meeting in Jordan that the US needs to form an Iraqi government, not a hand selected council to advise on running the country.

But it's the picture of the US soldiers holding the bayonets to fend off the former Iraqi soldiers which has left people wondering about our policies in Iraq.

Read the whole thing, including the linked articles. We are a better country than this.

"I am not a crook!"

Or, as Tom "Just call me French!" DéLay says:

We believe in what we're doing, and money has no influence on it whatsoever.

So no paleo believer ever took a bribe? That's like saying Jerry Falwell never... Well...

More from the the Toxic Texan:

It never ceases to amaze me that in this town people are so cynical that they want to attach money to issues, money to a bill, money to amendments. They hardly ever write that money is given to support people who think the same way.

Actually, Ol' Bug Eyes is right. And that's the frightening part, isn't it? Since in an oligarchy, everyone (who counts) does think the same way. And about the same thing. As ever, the real scandal is what isn't a scandal

Uh oh...

Senate Panel Votes to Limit Filibusters.


"Filibusters are so unfair to each individual senator, unfair to the nominees, unfair to the president and unfair to the Constitution that we must continue to use all avenues to reverse this inexcusable precedent that the Democrats are trying to set."

So much untruth in a single sentence!

Khaled Salim's Day Off

"U.S. soldiers arrested 17-year-old Khaled Salim in the southern suburbs of Baghdad Tuesday. Salim, who insulted occupying troops on his way to school, was bound and taken away as a warning to others."

Jeez, we're getting pettier than Principal Rooney. Oh, right: the adults are in charge now.

Alterman On Whiteness

If you missed Altercation yesterday, Eric has fun, (and so will you) assaulting a NYTimes article on "white studies," which he rightly deems ".the most profoundly content-less article in a major newspaper this year."

What in the world justifies this lazy article nearly 10 years after the fact? One thing: the anti-intellectualism of the U.S. media. Another is its right-ward drift. I mean, if a bunch of academics want to study “whiteness,” who cares? And what sane person cares what Horowitz thinks about anything? Why in the world is it front-page news, except to encourage an ignorant sneer on the part of readers, who then congratulate themselves on their common sense compared to those pointy-headed academics?

He then proceeds to do the same for "Fine White Whines," by which he means an old complaint by Bernard Goldberg, and a new one by Jonah Goldberg (no relation, that we know of).

Speaking of whiteness, I can’t make up my mind about something. Are white-boy conservatives the whiniest people on the planet or is there a special subset of white-boy conservatives named “Goldberg” who manage, somehow, to set an even higher standard?

Eric sorts it all out for you.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Teresa Nielsen Hayden Wishes She'd Been Wrong

Why? Because she actually cares about the contents of the Baghdad museum, and the Library, and the archeological sites, and all that type of good stuff by which humankind comes to know itself.

The new figure as of June 21, as per the Washington Post is 6000 artifacts looted.

Ms. Neilsen Hayden's blog, Making Light, hasn't let go of this story, and with wit and wisdom she gives us her latest update, including the WaPo link.

Don't miss her previous posts on the subject, which she helpfully lists for you.

Justice O'Connor Sets A Time Limit

This from TAPPED, a discussion by Jonathan Goldberg, of a surprise tucked away in Justice O'Connor's majority opinion.

"We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today," O'Connor wrote in the majority opinion that upheld the University of Michigan Law School's right to use race as a factor in its admission decisions.
Should liberals fail to understand and react to this limit, there is no doubt conservatives will come reminding us about it some 25 years from now.

Liberals need to embrace this limit as a call to immediate action: We have 25 years to remedy the root inequalities in our nation, so that race-based affirmative action -- which, however necessary right now, is, after all, no one's idea of a fair long-term way of organizing society -- can be phased out without destroying diversity in university student bodies, the military or the business world.

Interesting thought. Goldberg suggests an alliance with moderate Republicans.

I can certainly get behind that.

But what about those other folks who have the power right now? How many of those twenty-five years are going to be used up by having to fight their attempted stalls and rollbacks or by needing to expose their false claims of equality achieved? Just asking?

More on Rehnquist

Via Uggabugga:

Not that the Chief Justice is a laughing matter, but go ahead and laugh.

Rehnquist to Blacks: Bakke of the Bus, Boys

You gotta hand it to the regime: you can't fault 'em for hiding their contempt for minorities. How else to explain giving Chief Justice Rehnquist-- who

*Authored a memorandum supporting Plessy v. Ferguson;

*Drafted a constitutional amendment designed to limit the enforcement of Brown v. Board of education;

*Wrote another memo endorsing Texas' "Whites Only" primaries;

*Harassed (according to reliable witnesses) minority voters in Arizona in the 60s; and

*Was the lone dissenter in favor of granting Bob Jones University tax exempt status

-- the "honor" of writing the decision limiting Michigan's affirmative action policies in Gratz v. Bollinger?

Like all affirmative action decisions, this one claims to rest on Justice Powell's decision in Bakke, which held that race could not be a "decisive factor" in race-based admissions. The gravamen of Rehnquist's "reasoning" seems to be that, because Michigan gives 20 points for minority status vs. 5 points for "extraordinary talent", race is fatally "decisive" in Michigan's admissions process, even though all applicants need 100 points for automatic admission. How does 20 = 100? Let Rehnquist 'splain it you:
"...the effect of automatically awarding 20 points is that virtually every qualified underrepresented minority applicant is admitted." (emphasis added)
Get that? Remember when affirmative action was evil because it let in unqualified applicants? Now, the evil is that, if you are black and otherwise qualified for admission... you get in! There goes the neighborhood.

As I read it, by Rehnquist's logic, any racial factor in admissions cannot be greater than non-racial factors, if the policy is to survive scrutiny. With Gratz "decisive" now means "having any impact whatsoever."

Ginsberg and Souter, dissenting, appear to agree. After doing the elementary math that Rehnquist glosses over, they go on to observe:
"The very nature of a college's permissible practice of awarding value to racial diversity means that race must be considered in a way that increases some applicants' chances for admission. Since college admission is not left entirely to inarticulate intuition, it is hard to see what is inappropriate in assigning some stated value to a relevant characteristic, whether it be reasoning ability, writing style, running speed, or minority race.
Yes, the Supremes upheld race-based criteria in college admissions in Grutter v. Bollinger, but just as with the relentless whittling away at Roe v. Wade, this is a strategy of death by a thousand cuts. With Gratz, Rehnquist continues his life's work hamstringing minority advancement, and validates all over again Chris Rock's mordant observation: "There ain't a white person in this room who would trade places with me--and I'm rich."

Someone New To Torture

Is there a more worthy candidate for our attention than Dick Morris? I don't think so.

A friend has been listening to ABC talk radio, so I won't have to. He recently reported on a visit that Morris paid to Monica Crowley, Nixon stenographer, who has a regular radio slot. The discussion also included Ron Silver, the well known actor formerly known as a liberal activist except that 9/11 changed all that.

Morris repeated the proof of liberal bias Lelyveld story.

SUGGESTION: email Reliable Sources and ask why Kurtz hasn't covered this. Or perhaps he has. Some weeks I just don't have the stomach to pay attention to Howie.

Monica C. and Ron agreed with Morris that Bill Clinton was way over his head when it came to foreign policy, and that our current President has a clarity and a simplicity of ideas on foreign policy that is "refreshing." (full disclosure; I knew Ron when; he's a sweet guy, so I'm not angry, just disappointed)

Morris went on to list four items he'd suggested that Clinton had passed on that would have avoided 9/11. No discussion about why Morris didn't bring these four items to the attention of the Bush administration, especially in view of the promise on his website that the results of his surveys go direct to the President.

In our lifetime, has there ever been a more duplicious, puffed up, putrid, scummy, oily, mendacious, sluggish, thuggish, lying, thieving, conniving, political SOB than Dick Morris?

Why not make a daily stop at his non-partisan website, where he runs several surveys, and put the "non" back in non-partisan.

The website claims that over 53 million votes have been cast; that's over a period of years, of course. But shouldn't we be getting a little bit of that action?

I don't know about you, but I need to do something with my loathing, or it starts to eat me up alive.

A click or two a day, could keep the shrink away.

Court in Split Michigan Decision

The Supreme Court continues to confuse the issue. The Law School AA program gets a pass, O'Connor made the difference.

The undergraduate program was ruled unconstitutional; O'Connor tipped the balance the other way this time.

At least the principle is upheld that you can use race in admissions; it's just defined ever more narrowly. Pity the poor admission's officers who have to figure this one out.

Here's how NewsMax reports this; take a look at what the news would look like without that annoying liberal bias:

The Supreme Court today upheld a law school's racially discriminatory admissions policy but struck down a more blatantly biased undergraduate admissions policy.

It gets better.

Court Upholds Michigan Law Affirmative Action

That sweet speech W. gave on MLK´s birthday where he flat out lied about it just wasn´t enough.

Undergrad ruling later, apparently.

....undergrad shot down, though no info yet.

Taking his eye off the ball


The United Nations will issue a report next week showing Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda militant network has some 800 members ready to strike economic or tourist targets, a French consultant to the report said on Monday.

Roland Jacquard, head of the International Observatory on Terrorism, said bin Laden sent this "third generation of al Qaeda" from Afghanistan before U.S.-led forces toppled Kabul's Taliban leadership in November 2001.
"The report of the U.N. Security Council...which will appear next week, will show that a third generation of al Qaeda is forming," Jacquard told France 2 television.

It would show "that before September 11, Osama bin Laden anticipated the American attack and sent out about 800 fighters from Afghanistan, all top officers of al Qaeda.

"They are people with solid intellectual and paramilitary training and they have spread out to several countries where they can act on their own orders," he said.

Jacquard said it was becoming increasingly difficult for intelligence services to track these al Qaeda members, whom he described as extremely dangerous. He said they had apparently picked economic and tourist sites as their next targets.

Thailand had recently arrested suspected militants in possession of the radioactive material cesium, he said.

"If they had mixed this with any kind of explosive, that would have produced one of those famous 'dirty bombs' the Americans are so afraid of," he added.

Al Qaeda, which is blamed for the September 11, 2001, terror attacks in the United States, is also suspected of links to recent suicide bombings in the Saudi Arabian city of Riyadh and in Casablanca, Morocco.

Heck, it's a UN report by a Frenchman. What, me worry?

Of course, I'd be a lot less worried about dirty bombs if I knew our container ports and our cities were secure, which they aren't, since aWol isn't spending the money to get that job done (and they're Blue states anyhow)....

And I'd be a lot less worried if Ashcroft's current Exhibit A wasn't an Ohio truck driver who was going to take down the Brooklyn Bridge with an acetylene torch...

Apparently aWol's knees aren't so good, lately. Hope he can run for the bunker the rest of us don't have....