Saturday, December 31, 2005

Why Bush Decided to Blow Off the FISA Court

Under existing law, the Government could wiretap FIRST and obtain court permission LATER (within 72 hours after the wiretap). So why did Bush decide to break the law and violate his oath to defend the US Constitution?

I believe I have found the answer on the NYTimes Forum.

Direct quote:

The other reason I think they decided to pursue NSA eavesdropping without warrants is that it turns out they were having trouble with the FISA court.

The factlet that has been thrown around is that the FISA court had only turned down a small number of requests (4 I believe) in its entire history. However, you probably saw the story that revealed that many FISA warrant requests from the Bush administration were edited, essentially rewritten by the court.

I interpret this to mean that the Bush administration requests were sloppy or overly broad or perhaps both.

I think they got tired of following correct procedures and so, believing as you say, that they could never get caught, they just decided to blow off the FISA court entirely.

Bush Seems to Be Challenging Congress to Impeach Him

An article in today's NYTimes opens with:

"The Justice Department said on Friday that it had opened a criminal investigation into the disclosure of classified information about a secret National Security Agency program under which President Bush authorized eavesdropping on people in the United States without court warrants."

Later, the article states:

"President Bush broke the law and lied to the American people when he unilaterally authorized secret wiretaps of U.S. citizens," said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. "But rather than focus on this constitutional crisis, Attorney General Gonzales is cracking down on critics of his friend and boss. Our nation is strengthened, not weakened, by those whistle-blowers who are courageous enough to speak out on violations of the law."

Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, said his group believed "the priority at this point for the Department of Justice should be the appointment of an independent prosecutor to determine whether federal wiretap laws were violated" by the security agency program, not the leak inquiry.

What gall! First Bush violates the Constitution and then he goes after the whistle blower. Will Congress take this lying down?

Friday, December 30, 2005

Book: "Clueless George Goes to War"

I have just ordered a copy of the book from

Check it out. You may want a copy, too.

Bush Math and Bush Science

This example of Bush Math came in the e-mail from my son, David:
Donald Rumsfeld is giving the president his daily briefing. He concludes by saying: "Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed." "OH NO!" the President exclaims. "That's terrible!" His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the President sits, head in hands. Finally, the President looks up and asks, "How many is a brazillion?"

Comment on Bush Science in Sargent cartoon.

Krugman's Review of Bush 2005 Performance

Title: "Heck of A Job, Bushie"
Some highlights:
1. Social Security fiasco.
2. Bush response to Katrina.
3. National punch line: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job"
4. Tom DeLay's legal troubles.
5. Cheney's "last throes" evaluation.
6. Pundit attacks on Bush's veracity are now commonplace.
7. The wire-tap disclosures.

Krugman did not include this one, but it's real:
8. Frequent mention of the I-word in the press.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Peace In The Middle East

In Jerusalem, a female CNN journalist heard about a very old Jewish man who had been going to the Wailing Wall to pray, twice a day, everyday, for a long, long time.

So she went to check it out. She went to the Wailing Wall and there he was! She watched him pray and after about 45 minutes, when he turned to leave, she approached him for an interview.

"I'm Rebecca Smith from CNN. Sir, how long have you been coming to the Wall and praying?"

"For about 60 years."

"60 years! That's amazing! What do you pray for?"

"I pray for peace between the Christians, Jews and the Muslims. I pray for all the hatred to stop and I pray for all our children to grow up in safety and friendship."

"How do you feel after doing this for 60 years?"

"Like I'm talking to a f*&@%$g wall."

Bush Incompetence (Continued)

Attacks On Chemical Plants. In an editorial the NYTimes states: It is hard to believe, but more than four years after the Sept. 11 attacks, Congress has still not acted to make chemical plants, one of the nation's greatest terrorist vulnerabilities, safer. Last week, Senators Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, and Joseph Lieberman, a Connecticut Democrat, unveiled a bipartisan chemical plant security bill. We hope that parts of the bill will be improved as it works its way through Congress, though even in its current form the bill would be a significant step.

If terrorists attacked a chemical plant, the death toll could be enormous. A single breached chlorine tank could, according to the Department of Homeland Security, lead to 17,500 deaths, 10,000 severe injuries and 100,000 hospitalizations. Many chemical plants have shockingly little security to defend against such attacks.

Break Up of Iraq. Tom Lasseter reports imminent civil war in Iraq:
KIRKUK, Iraq - Passions run deep for the Arab and Kurdish soldiers who wear the Iraqi army uniform.

Kirkuk lies just a few miles from one of the nation's largest oil fields, worth billions of dollars. Arabs figure that the city's oil wealth should belong to Iraq, while ethnic Kurds see it as part of a future nation of Kurdistan. Almost all the Kurdish soldiers interviewed expressed that sentiment.

Why Did US Invade Iraq? One More Time. Helen Thomas faults Bush for defending his Iraq invasion in spite of the absence of WMD. Quoting Thomas:
"We removed Saddam Hussein from power because he was a threat to our security, pursued and used weapons of mass destruction," Bush said. "He sponsored terrorists."
But, Bush granted, "much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong." The president hesitantly has come to grips with a fundamental truth that has been long established by independent commissions and congressional committees.
The president continued: "Yet it was right to remove Saddam Hussein from power."
In his own world, Bush apparently doesn't see any clash between those statements.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Democracy on the Run - World Wide

Russia, Iraq and the United States

A senior adviser, Andrei N. Illarionov has resigned, saying: "Six years ago, when I took up this post, I devoted my work to creating the conditions for increasing economic freedoms in Russia," he said, according to the ITAR-TASS news agency. "In the last year it has become clear that not only has economic policy become different, but the economic model itself in the country has, too."

Mr. Illarionov also struck at the Kremlin's centralization of power and muzzling of critics. "There has been a change in the political regime," he said. "It is one thing to work in a partially free country such as Russia was six years ago. But it is quite another when the country has ceased to be politically free."

The Sunnis continue the insurgency to protest their inability to resume the power they had under Saddam Hussein and the Shiites concentrate on squashing the Sunni insurgency. By any measure, the civil war is no longer a threat. It is here and now and the US has no strategy for ending it. See, just as an example of the many news stories coming out of Iraq, US-Shi'ite Struggle Could Spin Out of Control

The United States (1)
Prison inmates, who are not allowed to vote, are counted as residents, giving upstate, Republican districts undeserved representation. See: Phantom Voters. Highlights:

The first Constitution took for granted that enslaved people could not vote, but counted each slave as three-fifths of a person for the purpose of apportioning representation in Congress. This inflated the voting power of slaveholders and gave them much more influence in legislative matters than their actual numbers warranted. No American would knowingly tolerate such an arrangement today. But a glitch in the census that inflates the populations of some state legislative districts - thus exaggerating their voting power - has led to a contemporary version of that problem. It involves counting prison inmates in the district where they are confined rather than where they actually live. The Census Bureau could fix this problem in a heartbeat, so it needs to get a move on.

The United States (2)
Attemping to defend Bush's eavesdropping on American citizens, in the United States an op-ed piece in the NYTimes tortures the facts and has the gall to say that: The fact that the statutory language does not specifically mention intelligence collection, or that this matter was not raised by the White House in negotiations with Congress, or even that the administration had sought even broader language, all points recently raised by former Senator Tom Daschle, is irrelevant.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Incompetence of the Bush Presidency

An article in the Book Review section of the Sunday NYTimes lists the failures of the Bush administration with respect to the "War on Terror." Briefly, Bush did not:

1. Pay attention to intelligence warnings before 9/11.
2. Hunt Osama bin Laden until he was caught.
3. Think twice before invading Iraq and review his father's book.
4. Send enough troops to establish security.
5. Recognize the growing insurgency until it was too big to crush,
6. Begin building an Iraqi Army and police services in a timely manner.
7. Foresee that a war in Iraq would draw jihadists from every corner of the Islamic world.
8. Ever come clean on his true objective for invading Iraq.

The mess Bush and his cronies have created is so profound that no one, least of all Bush, has been able to suggest a way of achieving any kind of success.

On the homeland security front in Bush's "War on Terror" his incompetence has shown itself to be just as thorough. An editorial in today's WP, starts as follows:

IN THE WAKE of the catastrophic performance of the Federal Emergency Management Agency during Hurricane Katrina, it was hard not to heap opprobrium on the head of Michael D. Brown, the FEMA boss who sent joking e-mails to an aide in the middle of the storm ("Can I quit now? Can I go home?") as well as his boss, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who seemed to know less about the plight of New Orleans than the television reporters asking him questions about it. But as Post reporters Susan B. Glasser and Michael Grunwald showed in their two-part series last week ["Prelude to Disaster," Dec. 22-23], the failures of FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security predate Hurricane Katrina by several years. Although both Mr. Chertoff and Mr. Brown made mistakes during the storm, far more fingers should have been pointed at the haphazard, irrational and unabashedly political process that led to the creation of DHS, as well as the inept leadership of the department's first boss, Tom Ridge.

The last sentence of the editorial is:

Will incompetence be remembered as the salient characteristic of the Bush presidency?

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Cato Institute De-bunks Bush Worst Case Scenario

In making the case for an open-ended American military presence in Iraq, the Bush administration and its supporters have deployed various worst-case scenarios of what will occur in the event of a military withdrawal. The most important of these is the assertion that Iraq will become a terrorist haven if the United States leaves.

There is ample reason to doubt these claims. In a recent essay in The Boston Review, MIT's Barry Posen explained that the U.S. could not even be certain that a civil war, if one were to occur, would be a strategic boon for Al-Qaeda. More to the point, the U.S. does not need 150,000 troops in Iraq to pursue Al-Qaeda. The Zarqawi network is not going to be defeated by civil policing and neighborhood patrols.

The vast majority of Iraqis do not support Al-Qaeda's methods or objectives, and they would be even less likely to do so after the U.S. military left Iraq. As the president explained in his Naval Academy speech, Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists comprise the smallest of the three groups that make up the current insurgency. There is strong evidence that the other larger insurgent groups - Sunni Arab rejectionists, and pro-Saddam loyalists - would turn against the small number of foreign fighters currently waging the most deadly terrorist attacks. An Iraqi insurgent leader, Abu Qaqa al-Tamimi, recently told Time magazine: "One day, when the Americans have gone, we will need to fight another war, against these jihadis."

See Cato article.

How's This for Irony?

On one hand the super-Christians are howling all over the media about the substitution of "Happy Holidays" for "Merry Christmas" and on the other hand the same super-Christians, including the born-again genius in the White House seem to have forgotten about the Katrina victims. Some Christmas spirit.

See Grisham's column in today's NYTimes. Yes, that Grisham.

See also WP article on FEMA deadlines.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Contradictory Views of the Bush Spin Machine

1. The Bush Spin Machine is working as well as the Titanic and the Hindenburg. See
Sargent cartoon.

2. The Bush Spin Machine is still deceiving the American public. See article
Why the War Has Already Been Lost.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Biggest Bush Lies of 2005

Eleanor Clift has compiled a list of the biggest lies of the Bush mob during 2005.

See: Clift

Highlights include:

1. The White House declaration that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby had nothing to do with leaking the identity of a covert CIA agent.

2. Another favorite—heard all the time from the White House—is that "everybody saw the same intelligence we did."

3. Bush is good at stating the obviously untrue. "We do not torture," he declared despite ample evidence to the contrary from Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo to secret prisons in Eastern Europe.

4. Cheney's "the insurgency is in its last throes."

5. The revelation that President Bush authorized spying on American citizens without warrants is a late entry to the year’s “Biggest Lies” list. Bush says he bypassed the law because of the need for speed. He may believe that, but the facts say otherwise.

Also, note this:

Conservatives' Conniptions Over Bush's Follies

On Tuesday, December 20, 2005; Page A31 of the WP, George F. Will concludes:

Charles de Gaulle, a profound conservative, said of another such, Otto von Bismarck -- de Gaulle was thinking of Bismarck not pressing his advantage in 1870 in the Franco-Prussian War -- that genius sometimes consists of knowing when to stop. In peace and in war, but especially in the latter, presidents have pressed their institutional advantages to expand their powers to act without Congress. This president might look for occasions to stop pressing.

see Why Didn't He Ask Congress?

And Charles Krauthammer starts his column with:

2005 was already the year of the demagogue, having been dominated for months by the endlessly echoed falsehood that the president "lied us into war."

Krauthammer concludes:

Contrary to the administration, I also believe that as a matter of political prudence and comity with Congress, Bush should have tried to get the law changed rather than circumvent it. This was an error of political judgment. But that does not make it a crime. And only the most brazen and reckless partisan could pretend it is anything approaching a high crime and misdemeanor.

Tom Daschle, who was there, contradicts these claims:

In Power We Didn't Grant, Daschle, who was majority leader of the Senate states that Bush asked Congress for power to eavesdrop on Americans in the United States without a judge's permission and the Senate refused such power.

Daschle writes:

If the stories in the media over the past week are accurate, the president has exercised authority that I do not believe is granted to him in the Constitution, and that I know is not granted to him in the law that I helped negotiate with his counsel and that Congress approved in the days after Sept. 11. For that reason, the president should explain the specific legal justification for his authorization of these actions, Congress should fully investigate these actions and the president's justification for them, and the administration should cooperate fully with that investigation.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Two NYT Op-Ed Pieces Underline the Cluelessness of the Bush Crowd

In the Friday, December 23, 2005 New York Times

Krugman's column, "The Tax-Cut Zombies" concludes that:

. . .the starve-the-beast theory - like missile defense - has been tested under the most favorable possible circumstances, and failed. So there is no longer any coherent justification for further tax cuts.

Yet the cuts go on. In fact, even as Congressional leaders struggled to pass a tiny package of mean-spirited spending cuts, they pushed forward with a much larger package of tax cuts. The benefits of those cuts, as always, will go disproportionately to the wealthy.

Here's how I see it: Republicans have turned into tax-cut zombies. They can't remember why they originally wanted to cut taxes, they can't explain how they plan to make up for the lost revenue, and they don't care. Instead, they just keep shambling forward, always hungry for more.

Friedman's column, "A Shah With A Turban," concludes as follows:

After the U.S. invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, the Iranians knew they needed an insurance policy. So they did two things: they concentrated on developing a bomb and went out and struck gas deals with one-third of humanity - India and China, the world's two fastest-growing energy consumers. So it is highly unlikely that China would ever allow the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran.

The whole world seems to be getting bought off these days by oil. Gerhard Schröder, the former German chancellor, just became chairman of a Russian-German gas pipeline project - controlled by the Russian government - that he championed while in office. The man just stepped down as the leader of Germany and now he's working for the Russians! I guess Jack Abramoff was not available.

The word from the White House is that President Bush is trying to figure out a theme for his State of the Union speech and for his next three years. Mr. President, what more has to happen - how many more Katrinas, how much more reckless behavior by Iran, how many more allies bought off by petro-dollars - before you realize that there is only one thing to do for the next three years: lead America and the world in an all-out push to conserve energy, reduce dependence on oil and develop alternatives?

Because three more years of $60-a-barrel oil will undermine everything good in the world that the U.S. wants to do.

The NYTimes Seems to Advise Bush Impeachment

Today's leading editorial concludes:

President Bush defended the program (allowing the NSA to spy on American citizens without obtaining a warrant) yesterday, saying it was saving lives, hotly insisting that he was working within the Constitution and the law, and denouncing The NYTimes for disclosing the program's existence. We don't know if he was right on the first count; this White House has cried wolf so many times on the urgency of national security threats that it has lost all credibility. But we have learned the hard way that Mr. Bush's team cannot be trusted to find the boundaries of the law, much less respect them.

Mr. Bush said he would not retract his secret directive or halt the illegal spying, so Congress should find a way to force him to do it. Perhaps Congressional leaders should . . . get the ball rolling.

See the editorial.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Bush Gets It All Wrong, All the Time

First, Bush should have prevented 9/11. The August 6, 2001 briefing was sufficiently specific to enable an ordinary executive to order armoring of airliner cockpits and thus prevent all hijackings. Bush, a Harvard Business School Graduate was evidently not up for that. He was on vacation and he stayed on vacation.

Second, once 9/11 happened, the first requirement was to identify the major weak spots in our systems and protect them. Included would be the following: transportation of people and goods; power plants, chemical and petroleum factories and refineries, storage tanks and pipelines; food production and distribution and water storage and distribution.

Instead, the Bush went to war, initiated major imprisonment and torture and started spying on us. (See today's NYTimes: "Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts")

The net result is that we have lost our freedoms and are more vulnerable than ever to man-made and natural disasters.

What did we do to deserve George W. Bush?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

One of the Saddest Things I Have Ever Read

In the current issue of the New Yorker, Orhan Pamuk, leading Turkish writer and fighter for democracy, closes his article, "On Trial" about his current troubles with Turkish authorities with this statement:
"But these days the lies about the war in Iraq and the reports of secret C.I.A. prisons have so damaged the West’s credibility in Turkey and in other nations that it is more and more difficult for people like me to make the case for true Western democracy in my part of the world."

*If you get an error message on the second link, click on The Talk of the Town and then on On Trial

Torture Is Here to Stay

The Bush administration accepts that the FBI may use waterboarding, painful stress positions, forced nudity and other methods on Americans, in American prisons, "in certain circumstances." That's why the Justice Department has classified its memos on the subject and kept its conclusions secret. That's why President Bush and Vice President Cheney have worked so hard to stop the McCain amendment, which would pave the way for legal challenges to their interpretation. They want to give themselves the authority to commit human rights abuses without having to explain or justify themselves to the public, the world -- or an impartial court.

See the whole article here.

It's Time to Rebuild America

Private investment has led U.S. economic growth for two centuries, but it could not have done so without a series of complementary public investments in canals, railroads, roads, the airspace system, water projects, public transportation, public schools and the like, which improve business productivity and our standard of living while generating significant increases in private-sector employment. But these investments have been badly neglected in recent years. A biannual survey by the American Society of Civil Engineers, grading all categories of infrastructure from schools to sewers, indicates a gap of $1.6 trillion over five years between what is needed to bring national infrastructure up to reasonable standards and what is now in prospect. School buildings alone would require $125 billion to reach a minimal standard of safety and soundness.

See the whole article here

Monday, December 12, 2005

Do You still Support Bush?

Here are some questions you should consider:

Do you understand that no tangible, truthful reason has ever been given for the invasion of Iraq and that the 9/11 Commission Report – which is the de facto, official findings of our government – says there was no reason whatsoever for this war?

Do you have health insurance? Are you aware that almost 46 million Americans have no medical insurance and that the Bush administration thinks this works just fine? Most of us parents have seen our young children suffer with a common ear infection. Imagine watching your child in that pain and how you would feel being powerless to get antibiotics to ease your child's suffering. Are you comfortable with children in America living in situations like that – and worse?

See a lot more questions at:

Geiger's blog

Bush's Speech

President Bush today stood by his decision nearly three years ago to invade Iraq, despite the fact that some 30,000 Iraqis and more than 2,000 U.S. troops have been killed and he expects the violence to continue even after the country holds parliamentary elections this week.

Afterwards, Bush unexpectedly took questions from the audience. One questioner asked how many Iraqis had been killed since the war began.

"I would say 30,000 more or less have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis," the president said.

"Removing Saddam Hussein makes this world a better place and America a safer country."

Asked if the terrorist threat against the United States had been diminished by the war in Iraq, Bush said, "it's been reduced, but I don't think we're safe."

He said he realized the United States had an "image issue" around the world because of the war. He argued, though, that "success will help the image of the United States."

See the original article

Enlarge the picture of Bush.

Condi in 2008?

There is some talk in the media about Condi Rice running for President in 2008 on the Republican ticket. See for example,


Condi Rice even has a website pushing this idea:

Rice in 2008

What are the true facts?

Tradesports, the highly reliable predictor of political fortunes ranks the top ten Replican contenders as follows:

2008.GOP.NOM.MCCAIN 27.3
2008.GOP.NOM.ALLEN 15.1
2008.GOP.NOM.RICE 4.6
2008.GOP.NOM.FRIST 4.0
2008.GOP.NOM.BUSH(J) 3.7
2008.GOP.NOM.HAGEL 3.0


I recognize all the names, except Allen, but even he (whoever he is) is way ahead of Condi.

By the way, on the Democratic side, Clinton is way ahead of all other candidates, although Gov. Warner of Virginia is moving up.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

If it's not torture, then it's OK to use it on Cheney

"We do not torture."

That's what President George W. Bush said, and we can believe him, right? After all, that whole water boarding thing is just a walk in the park.

Perhaps the Justice Department could use this to speed up some investigations that are taking forever. How about that two-year investigation into who leaked Valerie Plame's CIA status?

Stick Karl Rove on the water board and we can see who really leaked what in just a couple of minutes. That would be fair, wouldn't it? After all, his boss says it's not torture, right?

And how about this whole question about whether we were lied into the war in Iraq. I bet Dick Cheney would have the answer for that one, though the water board may be tough on his bad heart. At least we would know for sure if 2,120+ brave Americans died for a lie.

See the whole article.

You may have to register to read the article.

Friday, December 09, 2005

How Can One Political Party Generate so Much Bad Publicity in One Day?

Plea Deal Near With 2nd Abramoff Associate
Kidan Has Agreed to Cooperate in Probes

Federal prosecutors have all but finalized a plea agreement with a second business partner of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff in exchange for cooperation in the ongoing criminal investigations of Abramoff, congressional aides and Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio), lawyers in the case said yesterday.

Adam Kidan, a longtime confidant of Abramoff's, has agreed to testify against Abramoff in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., next month when he is to face trial on fraud and conspiracy charges in connection with their purchase of a fleet of Florida casino boats. A Kidan plea would tie Abramoff's legal troubles in Florida more closely to the Washington investigation into his lobbying practices, pressuring Abramoff to reach a deal of his own that could implicate members of Congress and other government officials, lawyers involved in the case said. See:
Plea Deal

Time Reporter Testifies in Leak Case
Rove Lawyer Was Deposed Last Week by Special Prosecutor
A special prosecutor questioned Time magazine reporter Viveca Novak under oath yesterday about a conversation she had with the attorney for presidential adviser Karl Rove that has become part of the CIA leak investigation, according to a top editor at the magazine. See:
Rove Lawyer

Qaeda-Iraq Link U.S. Cited Is Tied to Coercion Claim
WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 - The Bush administration based a crucial prewar assertion about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda on detailed statements made by a prisoner while in Egyptian custody who later said he had fabricated them to escape harsh treatment, according to current and former government officials. See:
Fabricated Qaeda Iraq Link

The Promiser in Chief
A few months after the invasion of Iraq, President Bush promised to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure and economy. He - or, at any rate, his speechwriters - understood that reconstruction was important not just for its own sake, but as a way to deprive the growing insurgency of support. In October 2003 he declared that "the more electricity is available, the more jobs are available, the more kids that are going to school, the more desperate these killers become."

Now we're losing another window of opportunity for reconstruction. But this time it's at home. See:

Man for a Glass Booth
By Charles Krauthammer (former unequivocal Bush supporter)
Of all the mistakes that the Bush administration has committed in Iraq, none is as gratuitous and self-inflicted as the bungling of the trial of Saddam Hussein. See:

Many Words, Little Clarity From Rice
I've been trying my best to follow the "clarifications" on kidnapping and torture that Condoleezza Rice has been offering to our European allies, and there seems to be only one clear message: Shut up and don't ask too many questions.

When Rice was in Kiev, Ukraine, the other day, I thought I heard her say that the United States government has never tortured people we suspect of being terrorists -- How could anyone even think such a thing? -- or maybe she said that, in any event, we promise to stop doing this awful thing we've never done. See: Eugene Robinson's column in the Washington Post.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Wild Hogs and Bush Voters Are in the Same States

"Hogs Wild," an article by Ian Frazier in the current New Yorker reports that comparing a map of red states and counties and a map of wild hog concentrations are highly similar. Wild hogs and Bush voters are in the same places.

The South is wild hog positive and strongly supported Bush. The North East went for Kerry and has virtually no wild hogs.

If anyone has any idea why this is so, a letter to the New Yorker would inform all who might be interested.

A Bad Week for Women - Highlights of Maureen Dowd's Column

"Our secretary of state's tortuous defense of supposedly nonexistent C.I.A. torture chambers in Eastern Europe was an acid flashback to Clintonian parsing.

"But in Bill's case, he was only talking about smoking a little joint, while Condi is talking about snatching people off the street and throwing them into lethal joints.

"As Condi used weasel words on torture, Hillary took a weaselly position on flag-burning. Trying to convince the conservatives that she's still got a bit of that Goldwater Girl in her, the woman who would be the first woman president is co-sponsoring a Republican bill making it illegal to desecrate the American flag.

"Speaking of silly masquerades, who does Judge Samuel Alito Jr. think he's fooling by presenting himself as a reasonable jurist? Here's a guy whose entire career seems to be based on interfering with women's lives. He wanted to overturn Roe v. Wade, condoned the strip search of a 10-year-old girl and belonged to a conservative alumni club that resisted the admission of women to Princeton.

"All in all, a bad week for women - sheer torture to watch."

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

May God Protect the United States - Because Our Republican Government Surely Does Not

The MSM (domestic and foreign) report that the Public Discourse Project, formerly known as the 9/11 Commission, has found that the Administration and Congress have done a very poor job of protecting the United States from terrorists. Download the Summary of Grades

The only unqualified A (actually an A-) is for "Terrorist Financing." We know that this is overly generous. See my earlier "God Save America" post.

May God Protect the United States - Because Our Republican Government Surely Does Not.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

It's all Over but the Pullback

According to Jonathan Rauch, it's all over in Iraq. The withdrawal of American troops has been scheduled to begin next year.

This will neutralize Democrats and the Republicans will keep their control of Congress.

See: Rauch

Libs have been asking to have the troops brought home for some time. For this, they were labeled bed-wetters by the right wing nuts.

If Bush brings the troops home, will the right wing nuts call Bush a bed-wetter?

Friday, December 02, 2005

The "Pottery Barn Rule" Does Not Apply to Iraq

The Pottery Barn rule, "If you break it you own it," has been cited many times as a reason for our staying in Iraq. Regardless of how we got there, now that we have "broken" Iraq, we have to stay there until we fix it. First articulated by Colin Powell, this rule is repeated by may people, including many Democrats.

Is it a valid rule? Not necessarily, according to Rosen in the Atlantic Monthly.

His reasons include:

1. Supposedly, our presence is preventing a civil war. Rosen says that the civil war is already under way.

2. President Bush has said repeatedly that our departure would embolden the insurgency. On the contrary, says Rosen. The insurgency is aimed at the Americans. It is revenge for the death and destruction rained on the Iraqis by the Americans. Departure of Americans would end the insurgency.

Rosen deals with several other issues. Over all, his article is persuasive.

Bush Loses, Again

In today's NYTimes Krugman points out important deceptions in Bush's Nov 30 presentation:

1. Bush claims that Iraq's oil production is improving, when in fact it is not.

2. Bush claims that the security situation is improving, when in fact it is deteriorating.

Krugman concludes:

"The point isn't just that the administration is trying, yet again, to deceive the public. It's the fact that this attempt at deception shows such contempt - contempt for the public, and especially contempt for the news media. And why not? The truth is that the level of misrepresentation in this new document is no worse than that in a typical speech by President Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney. Yet for much of the past five years, many major news organizations failed to provide the public with effective fact-checking.

So Mr. Bush's new public relations offensive on Iraq is a test. Are the news media still too cowed, too addicted to articles that contain little more than dueling quotes to tell the public when the administration is saying things that aren't true? Or has the worm finally turned?"