Friday, October 07, 2005

Message for Cheney

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has a message for you, Mr. Vice President: Go fuck yourself.

ElBaradei, IAEA Share Nobel Peace Prize

Dangerous times

10 Plots Foiled Since Sept. 11, Bush Declares

Not because of the threat of terrorism. Where I live, the likelihood of terrorism is nil. And I would like to think that even if I lived in NYC or DC, I would not let fear get in the way of my life.

The danger is that President Bubble Boy is in a corner. His poll numbers are in the gutter, his power brokers are being indicted, and his party and religious right supporters are turning away from him.

So we get a scary speech. "You are still in danger. Be afraid. But I will stand tall against the straw men, and act confidently even if I am actually making things worse."

The cynicism here is unmistakable. Bubble Boy needs a boost, so he plays the fear and terrorism card. He wants to corral those out there who drool over "us v. them" rhetoric.

The danger is that he will go beyond the rhetoric and make some more tragic decisions. Attacking Iran. Declaring martial law in response to an epidemic or natural disaster.

Hopefully, his political situation is such that he can't make any of these moves.

Mr. Bush used his speech, before the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, to warn that Syria and Iran had become "allies of convenience" for Islamic terror groups, appearing to step up political pressure on both countries. He said, "The United States makes no distinction between those who commit acts of terror and those who support and harbor them," and he warned that the "the civilized world must hold those regimes to account."

A senior White House official said Thursday evening that the president's 40-minute speech arose from Mr. Bush's desire to remind Americans, after "a lot of distractions" in recent months, that the country was still under threat, and had no choice but to remain in Iraq so Al Qaeda did not use it as a base to train for attacks on the United States and its allies.


Mr. Bush compared Islamic militant leaders - at one point he used the phrase "Islamo-fascism" - to Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot, and said their ideology, "like the ideology of communism, contains inherent contradictions that doom it to failure."

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Torture? What torture?

Nine Senators voted against an amendment that would prohibit "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment."

These pro-torture Senators are:

Allard (R-CO)
Bond (R-MO)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Stevens (R-AK)

I happened to see Sessions on C-Span talking about this amendment. It reduced me to stammering and cursing and fuming. Plus, I'm pretty sure I saw Lucifer in the background, whispering, "right on, Senator!" I will try to find a transcript a bit later so I can share his wisdom.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Storms Show A System Out Of Balance

Storms Show A System Out Of Balance
GOP Congress Has Reduced Usual Diet of Agency Oversight


Four hurricanes had hit Florida in 2004, and the evidence was overwhelming that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had totally botched its response.


The Florida debacle revealed serious deficiencies in FEMA operations and management, but when hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit six months later, the [two House committees with FEMA jurisdiction] still had not acted...


Due to what [Richard L. Skinner, acting inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security] called "very serious systemic weaknesses," nearly 12,600 Miami-Dade residents collected more than $31 million in payments after Hurricane Frances, although the storm hit about 100 miles to the north. The money paid for homes and cars that were not damaged, and even for funerals, when Miami-Dade reported no storm-related deaths.

Testifying then for FEMA was [then-FEMA Director Michael D.] Brown. He conceded problems in "very marginal cases" and called Skinner "just wrong" about other findings.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Bubble Boy did some presidentin' today, doing a press conference in the Rose Garden. His opening remarks about Miers were a little surprising.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Good morning.

Yesterday, I nominated an outstanding kiss-ass to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States.

Over the past three decades, Harriet Miers has built a stellar record of ass-kissing, and as I understand it, also has some experience in the law. She's been a model of ass-kissing to her country and to our citizens.

I've known her for more than 10 years. I know her character. She's a woman of creative fawning and a deep conviction about how great I am.

BUSH: She shares my philosophy that judges should strictly interpret the laws and the Constitution of the United States and not legislate from the bench.

He calmed down from there, but I found his opening to be odd.

Harriet! Har-ee-et. Hard-hearted harbinger of haggis.

If I had the patience, the discipline, and oh yeah, the talent, this is pretty much what I would have written:

The Machine Justice

Monday, October 03, 2005

The propaganda presidency

Buying of News by Bush's Aides Is Ruled Illegal

Federal auditors said on Friday that the Bush administration violated the law by buying favorable news coverage of President Bush's education policies, by making payments to the conservative commentator Armstrong Williams and by hiring a public relations company to analyze media perceptions of the Republican Party.

In a blistering report, the investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, said the administration had disseminated "covert propaganda" in the United States, in violation of a statutory ban.


The auditors declared: "We see no use for such information except for partisan political purposes. Engaging in a purely political activity such as this is not a proper use of appropriated funds."