Blog Archive

Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Liberal Talk Radio:
AirAmerica launches today
Here's their schedule:
  • 6 a.m.-9 a.m. -- "Morning Sedition"
    Marc Maron, Sue Ellicott and Mark Riley

  • 9 a.m.-Noon -- "Unfiltered"
    Lizz Winstead, Chuck D and Rachel Maddow

  • Noon-3 p.m. -- "The O'Franken Factor"
    Al Franken and Katherine Lanpher

  • 3 p.m.-7 p.m. -- "The Randi Rhodes Show"
    Randi's website provides daily links
    that can be used to fact check all
    claims she makes during her program.

  • 7 p.m.-8 p.m. -- "So What Else is News"
    Marty Kaplan

  • 8 p.m.-11 p.m. -- "The Majority Report"
    Janeane Garofalo and Sam Seder
The weekend lineup includes Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Mike Papatanio's "Champions of Justice," as well as some best-of compilations and other shows to be announced.
Here's how to get them:

     On the radio:
  • New York - WLIB 1190 AM
  • Los Angeles - KBLA 1580 AM
    (Reaches San Diego)
  • Chicago - WNTD 950 AM
  • Portland, OR - KPOJ 620 AM
  • Inland Empire, CA- KCAA 1050 AM
  • Minneapolis MN - WMNN 1330 AM
  • XM Satellite Radio - Channel 167
San Francisco, Boston, and Philadelphia are coming soon.

     On the Internet:
Note that the RealPlayer stream is getting maxxed out currently (good for AirAmerica, they are working on the problem), and so these other feeds can get around that problem. Also, RealPlayer seems to have a problem if you are trying to listen to two streams at once (e.g., Franken and Thom Hartmann, on during the same time slot), but the Liquid Compass stream allows this.
Listen in. These web streams work fine even with dial-up (though I wouldn't try the multiple stream trick without a high speed connection).
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
No details yet. Condi will tesify in public. I'm hearing ... under oath.

The commissioners however say that Clarke and his book "politicized" this last week's hearings, and say that they will work to insure that this does not happen again.

Politicize? Who are these jokers? This White House has politicized everything they have ever done.

[Thanks to corrente for the link.]
The View from Benedict

Dr. Richard Valelly of Swarthmore College, a Harvard-trained political scientist who is expert in American party politics and elections, has said, "In our elections, we don't count everything well. We have a lot of error." This, I think, is a key factor in our sometimes inability to communicate our eVoting concerns to elections officials (and others). The fact of the matter is that these people are in an environment where they have gotten used to significant error rates, and so when the new DRE machines suddenly produce similar or even lower error rates, that is OK because these officials are used to seeing these.

Yet this is not what computers do. Computers don't care if they add two numbers together or if they add two million numbers together. They don't get bored, they don't get tired, and, properly programmed, the don't make mistakes.

Some argue that it's "impossible" to write a "perfect program", but even if this is true (and I reject it), it is easy to get pretty close, especially if the application is not that complex. Are these people then arguing that voting is a complex process? Compared to what? Your bank's accounting system? Your stockbroker's? A missile guidance system? Voting is trivial in comparison to these, and yet all of these systems, if not quite perfect, work with remarkable accuracy. Why? Because we demand that they do.

This is what we need to convey to our election officials. That the introduction of full computer automation in the voting process is an opportunity to almost eliminate completely these error rates to which they have become accustomed. That indeed computers are capable of doing this, that voting computers will do this if we demand it of them, and that to fail to implement them with this as a goal would indeed be a great mistake.

[This editorial originally appeared on Black Box Notes.]

Monday, March 29, 2004
UIGE, Angola -- Helena Kufumana makes a pathetic witch.

Far from exuding wickedness, the 13-year-old schoolgirl is nervous and shy. Her "101 Dalmatians" cartoon T-shirt is grubby and doesn't fit. She swings her bare feet beneath her chair in the hyper way that all kids do. And she cries a lot. Especially about the torture.

Last month Helena was accused by her parents of sickening two of her nieces with evil spells. In retaliation, the bewildered girl says, one of her small hands was burned on a red-hot stove. Her meager possessions, including her clothes, were torched. She was choked. And finally, to destroy her reputation in the community, she was beaten in front of a large crowd. Her mother and elder sisters administered these punishments.

* * *
"He forces them to jump and dance for hours during the hottest part of the day" in order to cleanse them of magical powers, said Leopoldina Neto, a UNICEF child-protection officer in town. "He beats them. He puts chili powder in their eyes and drips boiling palm oil in their ears."
* * *
"I cure with love," he said, clutching a Bible at his Provincial Center for Traditional Psychiatry, located in a war-ruined former pastry factory.
Christian love, no doubt.
Charley Reese
How many Americans died at the hands of terrorists during two Clinton administrations? Not many. How many have died during the first three years of the George W. Bush administration? Well in excess of 3,000, and more to come.

Facts are facts, so don't waste your time debating which of the two men did the better job. It's Bill Clinton. He is a man full of faults, but he at least engaged in efforts to solve the Middle East conflicts. Bush, on the other hand, has done nothing and, like his hero, Ariel Sharon, has no answer to anything except to bomb and kill.

"Meet the Press" Transcript:
Richard Clarke
If you missed it, ... Don't!

[Back-Up Link]

Also available: 9/11 Commission Hearings
Sunday, March 28, 2004
Richard Clarke got the full hour with Tim Russert this morning, and I'm sure that many eyes from the administration were on this interview. If they weren't too happy yesterday, you can bet that their humor has not improved today. Clarke kicked some serious butt.
From Black Box Notes:
The View from Benedict
After a week away from the black box circuit, Benedict returns to find his In-Box stuffed. Some personal comments on the discovery, and over three dozen new articles.
Saturday, March 27, 2004
The Nation: Editor's Cut
CEOs For Universal Healthcare
They are finally starting to get it. Up to now, CEOs have fairly well flown as a flock, united in their opposition to any sort of single-payer health system. (Some garbage about socialism, no doubt.) Of late however, the reality of the situation has at last started hitting home: American business simply cannot sustain the rising costs of providing healthcare coverage for their employees and remain competitive. Consider:
  • Healthcare coverage for GM adds $1,200 to the price of each car.
  • Giant and Safeway Supermarkets saw their bill for coverage rise from $112 million in 1999 to $180 million in 2003.
  • Kadant Inc. (a papermaking manufacturer) will spend $6,500 per employee for coverage in 2004.
And workers have fared equally poorly:
  • From 2000 to 2003, the average worker saw his annual out-of-pocket medical expenses rise 48% to $2,790.
  • The percentage of employers that fully subsidized health care for employees' families dropped from 27 percent in 2001 to 15 percent in 2003.
It's time, people. The current system is broken and getting rapidly worse. If you want healthcare coverage in the future, you need to understand that the only place you're going to be able to get it from is your government. And for those around you who start crying "Socialism"? Just tell them you don't care what they want to call it anymore. After all, your life may depend on it.
I shouldn't laugh, but I really can't help it. It seems that there was a mostly anti-Bush crowd protesting outside of a Bush fundraiser in Boston Thursday night. In that crowd were twin brothers Matt and Aaron Margolis, who just happened to be sign-carrying Shrubettes. No problem except that it seems they got into a little taunting match with a few of the anti-Bush folks. Now, I don't particularly recommend getting into those sorts of exchanges, but if you are going to do that, you probably shouldn't do it with members of the Ironworkers Local 7 (or any other trade union for that matter). Needless to say, the Margolis brothers had a bad evening.
Friday, March 26, 2004
Charles Krauthammer:
Sept. 11, Lies and 'Mistakes'
It's all Clinton's fault.

Can these assholes ever stop reading from Karl Rove's script? We already know what that is. Why does the Washington Post feel compeled to offer this shit as if it is some sort of independent opinion instead of the scripted crap that it is?

Listening, Chuck? Why don't you try writing your own crap? Are you really that mindless that you have to check in with Karl before you pick up your pen?

From the malibag:
An e-mail from my brother talking about Bush's I.Q. and the recent Clarke revelations. I won't print his e-mail here because it will be obvious from my response what he said.

Yeah. Thanks for sending this along. I had seen the IQ scores quite a while back, but I don't necessarily think that IQ really determines what makes a good President. Nixon, for example, was quite high, and though he did some good things, he was fatally flawed by things that did not at all relate to how intelligent he was. Similarly, I would not make a good President (though I'd like to think I would), and nor probably would you. Many things go into the making of a good President, and while intelligence can certainly add to those things, it's not what drives them.

Now as far as Mr. Pinto's comments (though I am not familiar with him), you must understand that I probably spend at least 12 hours a day on news alone, and so I am familiar with his assertions. While Richard Clarke offers much in terms of credibility and personal anecdotal evidence, almost nothing that he has said is new. Perhaps the most dramatic thing he has said was in his recent 911 Commission opening statement, during which he apologized to the 911 families for his own failures. This is of massive significance, as he is the first administration figure to ever do so. While I did not personally witness this, others who did said that you could have heard a pin drop in that room while he was saying this.

No doubt. If you had lost one of your own, a first apology would indeed be something that you would be silent through.

Now, when all of this started going down, I went into a "low posting" mode on my blog. All they other left wing political blogs went to high gear, because their certainly was a lot to cover, but I had a big problem. Yes, there was a lot of noise and it was fantastic, but I had a feeling that something was being missed in all of that noise. It was yesterday that I finally figured out what it was.

It's been quite clear for a while (at least if you follow the news as I do) that the administration was quite myopic in its hatred against Iraq. Paul O'Neill's book certainly confirmed that, but even before that, I could trace the writings of these people back through the 90's and even back to Ronald Reagan. It's been the same people running Republican foreign policy throughout these very many years. This same myopia has been a constant throughout these years, and so it is not surprising that when they regained power, they brought it with them.

Now, I certainly have different foreign policy views that these people have, but before now, these were differences of opinions, and opinions are just that. I say "white" and they say "black", and yet there is nothing to be proven by any of it.

Clarke's testimony changes that. Before 911, the administration was on a misguided foreign policy, but they were on an honest foreign policy. They really believed what they were doing was right, my opinion to the contrary. But that is all it was. My opinion vs. theirs. No proof was possible on either side.

What is so striking in Clarke's testimony (and book) is that even the day after 911, it was like 911 had never even happened. 911 was merely the opportunity (PNAC says "a new Pearl Harbor" a year earlier) to advance the already in place foreign policy. To these freaks (esp., Paul Wolfowitz), 911 was much less a tragedy than it was an opportunity. These people just did not care that 3,000 people were dead. In their myopia, they wanted Iraq.

Now as for my personal feelings about this, I've touched upon some of them above. The administration before 911 was perusing a wrong-minded foreign policy. Clarke clearly states this, and yet, this was what the administration believed and every administration has a right to act upon their own beliefs. That's just democracy.

What troubles me today so greatly is that the administration took no lesson from 911. They did not ever think to examine their own foreign policy assumption in the wake of 3,000 dead. Might there be something in their own foreign policy assumptions that was incorrect? They simply never had that moment of self-reflection during which that question might be asked.

There have been many petitions by many highly-respected people during this administration calling for impeachment. Though I've had from the start a most complete hatred for literally everything this administration has done, I've never joined any of these. Unlike the Republican fury against Clinton, I consider impeachment to be a most extreme measure. The crimes of presidents are almost always best solved by the ensuing election. Our founding fathers meant for it to be this way.

But I have to change now and advocate for the removal by impeachment and trial in the Senate of George W. Bush. While I understand that it will never happen given Republican control of all three branches, it is just and proper.

Did George W. Bush know that all of this was happening beneath him. Clarke clearly suggests this, but I personally doubt it. Paul O'Neill describes Mr. Bush as disengaged, and Bush himself in public interviews has confirmed nothing less. No, I do not think Bush was (or is today) aware in the least.

But where does the buck stop? If Bush was not aware, it was certainly his job to be aware. But even in my rosy scenario, he wasn't.

A president who is detached and unaware can be a very harmless creature, but not when the United States faces a catastrophic event like 911. And yet that it what we had on that day. George Bush deserves impeachment, not because 911 happen on his watch. He does not deserve it because his wrong-minded policies facilitated it. He deserves it because of his response to it; a response that did not lessen but rather increased our exposure to future terrorist attacks.

As Helen Thomas said before she was banished to the back of the room, George Bush is the worst President we have ever had.

Derrick Z. Jackson:
A fatal distraction
IN APRIL OF 2001, Richard Clarke said he raised the specter of Adolf Hitler with Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to explain how serious a threat Al Qaeda was. In his book "Against All Enemies" Clarke said he told Wolfowitz, "sometimes, as with Hitler in `Mein Kampf,' you have to believe that these people will actually do what they say they will do." Clarke said Wolfowitz responded, "I resent any comparison between the Holocaust and this little terrorist in Afghanistan."
Boston Globe Op-Ed:
A reckoning with terror
THEY WERE NOT alone, those families of Sept. 11 victims who cheered when former White House counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke apologized for failing to protect their loved ones. Too many politicians and policy makers seem not to understand that Americans have little patience for the partisan blame game played in Washington. What Clarke said Wednesday to the bipartisan commission on terrorism needed to be said by someone who knew what had gone wrong and had the decency to ask for forgiveness.
Bob Herbert:
The Wrong War
[Richard Clarke] remembers taking a short break for a bite to eat and a shower, then returning to the White House very early on the morning of Sept. 12. He writes:

"I expected to go back to a round of meetings examining what the next attacks could be, what our vulnerabilities were. . . . Instead, I walked into a series of discussions about Iraq. At first I was incredulous that we were talking about something other than getting Al Qaeda. Then I realized with almost a sharp physical pain that Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were going to try to take advantage of this national tragedy to promote their agenda about Iraq."

September 11th facts:
  • From April through June of 2001, 13 of the 19 9-11 hijackers entered the U.S.

  • During the 9-11 attacks, the White House was essentially abandoned by administration officials. Left in charge there on that day and never abandoning the it? Richard Clarke.
No matter how reckless or lunatic their policies ...Chris Floyd:
"I have a strategy. You're not in it."
-- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Operation Anal Cover began in 1981, after affable frontman Ronald Reagan and CIA headman George H.W. Bush took office. The Reagan-Bush team immediately began serious preparations for nuclear war with the Soviet Union, including a first-strike "decapitation" plan to take out the Kremlin leadership in one swift blow. Naturally, they feared the Red dastards were thinking along similar lines, hoping to turn the fabulous Ron into a little spot of hair dye and rouge on the Oval Office carpet.

Thus was born an elaborate scheme to set up a secret government, hidden in hardened bunkers, capable of waging war and controlling the civilian populace -- without any fussy bother from Congress or other elected representatives of the suckers out there. Instead, three separate teams of insiders were formed, each with a figurehead Cabinet member -- placemen like the Agriculture Secretary -- who would be "guided" by an all-powerful chief of staff. Dispersed around the country, the teams would use special communications links to rule the nation, for as long as the appointed ßber-chiefs saw fit.

No matter how reckless or lunatic their policies -- first strikes, illegal wars, targeted assassinations -- the bunkered elites will be safe from the burning and howling they provoke.
The American Prospect:
Counter Intelligence
After taking office, President Bush could have done more
   to stop al-Qaeda and terrorism. Here's why he didn't.
Matt Yglesias gets to the crux of the problem regarding the administration and 9-11. As bad as the administration's myopic fixation on Iraq was before 9-11, it really can only be proven as such in retrospect. It was a mistake, but it was a mistake made with honest intentions.

Far worse however (and in my mind, impeachable), is the fact that 9-11 did nothing to alter this myopia. But for providing an excuse to invade Iraq, it was almost as if 9-11 had never happened.

Matt's analysis is excellent, as is his important conclusion:

Bush won praise after 9-11 for his moral clarity. This is a fine thing to have. Nevertheless, it is useless unless accompanied by some factual clarity as to the nature of the problem. Unfortunately for us all, neither Bush nor his team seems to have it.
The criminal law has, from the point of view of thwarted virtue, the merit of allowing an outlet for those impulses of aggression which cowardice, disguised as morality, restrains in their more spontaneous forms. War has the same merit. You must not kill your neighbor, whom perhaps you genuinely hate, but by a little propaganda this hate can be transferred to some foreign nation, against whom all your murderous impulses become patriotic heroism.
~ Bertrand Russell, 1951
Two from The Guardian:

Mr Clarke is the latest of several witnesses who have charged that the obsession with overthrowing Saddam warped the whole US response to 9/11, with catastrophic consequences for America's standing in the world, especially among Muslims. Some outlines of this picture first appeared in Bob Woodward's book Bush at War, published in 2002. Since then, the details have been increasingly coloured in by several hands, including Mr O'Neill's and now Mr Clarke's.

Clarke's claims have shaken the White House to its foundations
The administration's furious response to Clarke only underscores his book. Rice is vague, forgetful and dissembling. Cheney is belligerent, certain and bluffing. In Clarke's account, as in the memoir of former secretary of the treasury Paul O'Neill, Bush is disengaged, incurious, manipulated by those in the circle around him; he adopts ill-conceived strategies that he has played little or no part in preparing. Bush is the Oz behind the curtain, but unlike the wizard, the special effects are performed by others. Especially on terrorism and September 11, his White House is at "battle stations" to prevent the curtain from being pulled open.
Alan Bisbort:
Too Bad to Be True
Alan Bisbort finally solves the problem of why so many people (and the press) keep giving Bush the pass: the "Too Bad to Be True" syndrome. People simply can't believe anyone, or any government, could be this bad.
Bush is too bad to be true on EVERY SINGLE ISSUE. Or, rather, he is too bad to be believable but his badness is indeed true. Can you think of any on which he is not wretchedly bad?

Are you better off financially under Bush? Are you safer? Are your skies and waters and food supply cleaner, or even free of arsenic, mercury, carbon dioxide, carcinogens and mad cow disease prions? Are your civil liberties more secure? Are taxes even going down, the mantra that serves as the fig leaf for this obscene neo-conservative beast? Is there even a clearly defined vision for the next four years, let alone next four weeks or days, which we can examine?

No, to all of these things.

No, a thousand times over, in fact.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

I'm regrouping. Too much too fast. I'm actually stunned by the last few days, and have to sort it all out in my own mind before I get back to trying to make sense of it for you. To me at least, it's been an avalanch, and I'm still trying to pick through the newly-placed snow to find the buried bodies.

Those bodies are there, and they need to be found. Otherwise, some of us will be there under the next one.

I'm working on it.

Mass hysteria is a phenomenon not confined to human beings; it may be seen in any gregarious species. I once saw a photograph of a large herd of wild elephants in Central Africa seeing an aeroplane for the first time, and all in a state of wild collective terror. The elephant, at most times, is a calm and sagacious beast, but this unprecidented phenomenon of a noisy, unknown animal in the sky had thrown the whole herd completely off its balance. Each separate animal was terrified, and its terror communicated itself to the others, causing a vast multiplication of panic. As, however, there were no journalists among them, the terror died down when the aeroplane was out of sight.
~ Bertrand Russell, 1951
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Absolutely amazing!
No, I don't have any links, but this just came over internet radio.

Bush was speaking to a Spanish group today and he said the economy has suffered because the press portrayed the run-up to Iraq as a "march to war". Well, duh? The man is saying that the economy suffered because its press told the truth? Better that they lie? Better that they tow the line of the administration because if they tell the truth, it might hurt the economy?

This is madness.

The Guardian (UK):
Interview: Richard Clarke
Julian Borger in Washington talks to former White House
insider Richard Clarke about US's vulnerability to al-Qaida
before the September 11 attack.
JB: Condoleezza Rice wrote today in response to your book - that the Bush administration did have a strategy for eliminating al-Qaida and that the administration worked on it in the spring and summer of 2001? Is that true?

RC: We developed that strategy in the last several months of the Clinton administration and it was basically an update on that strategy. We briefed Condi on that strategy. The point is that it was done before they came to office and she never held a meeting on it. It was done before she asked for it.

JB: What about the claim that the administration did work hard on the issue?

RC: Its not true. I asked - on January 24 in writing to Condi - urgently for a meeting on cabinet level - the principal's committee - to review the plan and I was told I can't have that. It had to go to the deputies. They had a principals meeting on September 4. Contrast that with the principal's meeting on Iraq, on February 1. So what was urgent for them was Iraq. Al-Qaida was not important to them.

Bastards! Lying bastards.
American Family Voices:
 Daily Reality Check
Clarke Barred: Bush Team
Flubs Attack Response
As expected, the administration organized a rapid-fire assault on Clarke's character and credibility. But the Bush team has gone to the well one too many times with this type of ad hominem attack. The American public has watched it happen to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson when he spoke out against the yellowcake claim, former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill when he charged that the administration was putting too much focus on Iraq, and now Clarke. The pattern is clear: slime the opponent and wrap yourself in the American flag. At this point it is disturbingly obvious that the administration's quiver is out of arrows – Bush officials are reduced to making the talk show rounds armed only with the grownup equivalent of schoolyard taunts like, "I know you are, but what am I?"
Howard Stern Presents:
Bad American Presidents: GWB
[ 1:14, 2.3 MB, MP3 ]
Here come those FCC fines again.
Faltering Neo-Cons Still Dangerous
How They Might Influence the Election
By Bill Christison, Former CIA Analyst
Finally! A CIA analyst who agrees with
   me on who is and is not a Neocon!
To start with, let's spend a minute or two on definitions -- who's a neocon and who is not? Specifically, President George W. Bush and his very highest-level foreign policy advisers are not neocons. Bush himself, as well as Vice-President Richard Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, are all just plain conservatives and always have been, with nothing "neo" about them.
Of course, this article is not about re-affirming my beliefs about who the real Neocons are. But in recognizing them as he has, Christison is then free to connect the proper dots, and, to a quite great extent, they connect to Ariel Sharron's Lukid Party.
Monday, March 22, 2004
If you're against Bush, you're against America.
If you oppose George Bush's policies, or if you're supported by anybody who opposes George Bush's policies, you're anti-American.

That was the message of the 1988 presidential campaign of George H.W. Bush, who suggested that his opponent from Massachusetts was against the Pledge of Allegiance. Now it's his son's campaign message, too.

Facts don't matter when you run on this theme.

Obviously, not a pro-Bush article. Rather, a look at how the Bush campaign warps Kerry's statements and voting record, drawing from them "conclusions" that are simply not supported when Kerry's actions are viewed in context.
A pair of articles by John Pilger:

The Age (Australia):
The crime committed in our name
The coalition of the willing perpetrated an act of terrorism on the Iraqi people
The invasion of Iraq, which began one year ago today, was "organised with lies", says the new Spanish Prime Minister. Does anyone doubt this any more?

And yet these proven lies are still dominant in Australia. Day after day, their perpetrators seek to obfuscate and justify an unprovoked, illegal attack that killed up to 55,000 people, including at least 10,000 civilians; that every month causes the death and injury of 1000 children from exploding cluster bombs; that has so saturated Iraqi towns and cities with uranium that American and British soldiers are warned not to go where Iraqi children play, for fear of contamination.

Set that carnage against the Madrid atrocity. Terrible though that act of terrorism was, it was small compared with the terrorism of the American-led "coalition". Yes, terrorism. How strange it reads when it describes the actions of "our" governments. So saturated are we in the West in the devilry of Third World tyrants (most of them the products of Western imperialism) that we have lost all sense of the enormous crime committed in our name.

What starts out as an anti-Zionist essay soon morphs into an anti-Kerry rant.
The current threat of attacks in countries whose governments have close alliances with Washington is the latest stage in a long struggle against the empires of the west, their rapacious crusades and domination. The motivation of those who plant bombs in railway carriages derives directly from this truth. What is different today is that the weak have learned how to attack the strong, and the western crusaders' most recent colonial terrorism (as many as 55,000 Iraqis killed) exposes "us" to retaliation.

The source of much of this danger is Israel. A creation, then guardian of the west's empire in the Middle East, the Zionist state remains the cause of more regional grievance and sheer terror than all the Muslim states combined. Read the melancholy Palestinian Monitor on the Internet; it chronicles the equivalent of Madrid's horror week after week, month after month, in occupied Palestine. No front pages in the West acknowledge this enduring bloodbath, let alone mourn its victims. Moreover, the Israeli army, a terrorist organization by any reasonable measure, is protected and rewarded in the west.

Al Franken
New York Times Magazine:
Al Franken, Seriously
An excellent (and quite lengthly - 10 pages) article from the Sunday magazine, well worth the time if you're interested in what Al has been up to lately. Lots of good annecdotes (O'Reilly (of course), the "body slam", how he personally "turned around" the Kerry campaign), as well as some good detail on the Air America Radio project.

You can also submit a question for Al to answer (good luck - I think he's just looking for program ideas!) and read a excerpt from his new book.

Sunday, March 21, 2004
Washington Post - Letter to the Editor:
Smear on a Soldier for the Truth
Karen Kwiatkowski bitch slaps George Will for playing fast and loose in quoting her. (Here's George's article.)
Had Will bothered to read what I wrote, he would have recognized that I was listing one of many reported criticisms circulating in 2002. Also, Will -- by inserting his own words in a discussion of my writings -- intends to communicate that I am anti-Semitic. Will's abominable phrase, "those E-Ring Jews," is placed such that it seems as if I either wrote such a term or intended to. I did neither. Suggesting this is a vile, despicable smear.

I understand that my speaking out about what I saw in the Pentagon during the run-up to the Iraq war is disconcerting to people who support the Bush administration's foreign policy. I expected to be questioned on the merit and detail of my observations and memories. Surprisingly, not one defender or advocate of our actions in Iraq and associated propaganda has done that. Instead, people so in love with war without having spent a single minute in a military uniform attack me for standing up to be counted. Vituperative? Try cowardly.

Bad Georgie!
America went to war in a dishonest way that alienated key allies, divided and weakened the United Nations, outraged the world community, made us more hated in the world and made the war on terrorism more difficult to win.
"George Bush is proving to the American people that
he is incapable of solving our economic problems for
the simple reason that he doesn't see them."
"Remember in November."
"I'm here to eat dinner."
Saturday, March 20, 2004
You're not going to believe what happened to this voter from SanDiego!
I signed in, cast my vote and gave them the card back. Before taking off to work, I asked the woman how safe this new voting system was. She said "Oh it's REALLY safe! Your vote goes into a microchip and is stored with all the other votes and then at the end of the day, we bring all the microchips to the sheriffs department and they gather them and bring them to the Registrar in San Diego". "But what about a paper trail? Is there a hard copy somewhere?" Said I. "Oh Yes!" She said, "There's a printer inside each machine that records the vote of each and every person on a strip of paper!" I guess I looked a bit skeptical because she said "Here! Let me show you!"

We walked over to one of the machines and she opened a little door in the front and there was the printer.... with NO PAPER." "GASP!" she says and then quickly moves to the next machine... no paper in the printer.

This is INCREDIBLE! As minimal an audit as these printers provide, it is the only hardcopy audit that these eVote machines provide. As such, these machines should be programmed to not even work without a functional printer with paper! [Yes, it is not only possible to program these machines to do this, it is a trivial couple of lines of code.]

O.K., but what does all this mean? Well, I downloaded the election procedures manual for San Diego County [133 pages, 12 MB, .PDF], and the "zero-sum" check (making sure that the PCM card that stores the votes is set to zero) required prior to the openning of polls can be done on the eVote screen itself. This differs from the Maryland procedure reported by Avi Rubin, where the zero-sum check is actually checked on the print-out from each terminal. Per the SanDiego elections manual, this screen check is sufficient, and clearly, this is why these San Diego poll workers were not aware that their machines did not in fact have any paper loaded in them.

But (and this is critical), according to San Diego's shut-down procedures (page 82 of the .PDF):

It is critical that three items are available for you to hand directly to the Collection Center staff:
  1. The sealed Official Ballot Pouch which contains the Zero & Summary Reports, the Ballot Memory Cards, Certification of Votes, & the Supervisor Cards.
In other words, for at least two eVote terminals from this precinct in San Diego, there was no zero-sum report produced, and what little audit that report provides was simply not available.

It is of course important to note that this voter only saw two eVote terminals, both without paper. But one must wonder: How many of the eVote terminals in San Diego did not have paper in their printers? It's almost rediculous to suggest that that this voter who witnessed only two saw the only two that did not have it.

What this all means of course is that even the most minimal audit checks in the San Diego primary vote were not performed. That this was not reported reaks of cover-up.

Look, I understand that no voting supervisor wants a spotlight on them like Teresa LaPore had back in 2000. But to gloss over eVote failures such as this merely to avoid that is a violation of the public trust.

This was a mistake, and nothing more than that. But it is important that all election officials around the country are aware of this problem. This is nothing that procedures cannot handle, and nothing that a sinple coding change cannot prevent. But our election officials need to be honest about the problems they have individually had so that all of them can mutually benefit from each of their own individual experiences. This cover-up is a disgrace to that.

This article originally appeared on Black Box Notes.

Can't They See?
by Becky Burgwin
When are we going to realize that we are under the control
of a bunch of lying, greedy thugs who believe that they are
getting their marching orders from God?
The entire world is now under the threat of terrorism and all they can say is, "It means we’re winning. We have them on the run." Are we all a bunch of children that we can hear that and not think, "My God. These people are INSANE !!!"
No, Becky. They can't see.
Visit Project for the Old American Century
Friday, March 19, 2004
George W. Bush's back-door political machine
It's anti-democratic, anti-Constitutional, and is
working to create a one-party America

The right wing is all upset about this or that $5 million donation to MoveOn and others. "Illegal!" they quickly proclaim. How dare those Democrats allow a billionaire to so finance them!

Well, here's what they don't say. They've been sucking at the teat of billionaires for a long time. Try these "independent foundations" that their billionaires have been financing:

Money from right wing philanthropy foundations since 1985
Heritage Foundation
Heritage Foundation
$45 million
American Enterprise Institute
American Enterprise Institute
$32 million
Cato Institute
Cato Institute
$16 million
Manhattan Institute
Manhattan Institute
$12 million
Hudson Institute
Hudson Institute
$13 million
Hoover Institution
Hoover Institution
$17 million
Federalist Society
Federalist Society
$9.7 million
Citizens for a Sound Economy
Citizens for a Sound Economy
$17 million
Free Congress Foundation
Free Congress Foundation
$24 million
American Legislative Exchange Council
American Legislative Exchange Council
$2.9 million
Intercollegiate Studies Institute
Intercollegiate Studies Institute
$13.5 million
National Association of Scholars
National Association of Scholars
$8.6 million
Reason Foundation
Reason Foundation
$5.3 million
Click the foundation's icon for a review of them. Click the
money amount to find out who contributed that money.

And these are just the big ones. There are over 350 tax-exempt, ostensibly non-partisan organizations within the right-wing's activist front. They have penetrated the three branches of the federal government, and dominate the political debate. They guide and oversee the agenda that directs White House action (or inaction).
Paul Krugman:
Taken for a Ride
  "That they deceived us about the weapons of mass
   destruction, that's true. We were taken for a ride."
When the government rushed to blame the wrong people for the attack, tried to suppress growing evidence to the contrary and used its control over state television and radio both to push its false accusation and to play down antigovernment protests, it reminded people of the broader lies about the war.

By voting for a new government, in other words, the Spaniards were enforcing the accountability that is the essence of democracy. But in the world according to Mr. Bush's supporters, anyone who demands accountability is on the side of the evildoers. According to Dennis Hastert, the speaker of the House, the Spanish people "had a huge terrorist attack within their country and they chose to change their government and to, in a sense, appease terrorists."

So there you have it. A country's ruling party leads the nation into a war fought on false pretenses, fails to protect the nation from terrorists and engages in a cover-up when a terrorist attack does occur. But its electoral defeat isn't democracy at work; it's a victory for the terrorists.

... led by fundamentalist sons of
two financially linked elitist clans.Chris Floyd:
Now [the British Guantanimo detainees are] free, as the Regime flushes the most embarrassing cases out of the system before the Supreme Court rules on the "legality" of the Bush gulag this summer. The treatment of these three innocent men, chained and beaten for two years, is not just a crime, but also -- like that other crime, the invasion of Iraq -- an enormous waste of time and resources in the "war on terrorism." We saw the grim fruit of this waste in Madrid last week.

But of course, the Pentagon Archipelago wasn't designed to fight terrorism; it's designed to advance terrorism -- state terrorism. Its purpose is to establish the principle of arbitrary rule -- in the name of "military necessity" -- above the rule of law, in America and around the world. It's part of an overarching system of terror -- aggressive war, assassination, indefinite detention, torture -- employed to achieve the Regime's openly stated ideological goal: "full-spectrum dominance" of global politics and resources, particularly energy resources. Al-Qaida has the same goal, and uses the same methods, albeit on a smaller, "asymmetrical" scale.

Now we are all at the mercy of these entwined terrorist factions -- both led by fundamentalist sons of two financially linked elitist clans. We will see more Guananamos, more Madrids, before this long, dark night is over.
Thursday, March 18, 2004
One year ago today on Benedict@Large:
We are going to be in such a fix when this war is over, or before this war is over. Our grandchildren's grandchildren are going to be paying for this war. I look at our future as, I'm sorry, being very, very dark.

Walter Cronkite

"Where are the leaders of our country?"
The Courage to Do What's Right for America
This is an awesome video (11:40, streamed) from the Kerry campaign. Sure, it's a "best light" video, but if he can carry this type of stuff through to the election, BushCo will have to steal it again.

Windows MediaReal Player
WARSAW (AFP) - Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski said that his country had been "taken for a ride" about the alleged existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

"That they deceived us about the weapons of mass destruction, that's true. We were taken for a ride," Kawsniewski said Thursday.

He argued however that it made no sense to pull US-led coalition troops out of Iraq.

Poland heads up a 9,000-strong multinational force patrolling a swathe of Iraq south of Baghdad.

from The BLACK CoMMentator
In the year 2000 America was treated like a pesky third world nation in need of regime change. Those who had been out of power for eight long years chose not to endure that humiliation any longer. They decided to win and they weren’t going to let something as insignificant as democracy stand in the way.

As usual the media gave us the wrong story. We were told that the disputed election was caused by hanging chads and butterfly ballots that led Jews to vote for Pat Buchanan. Of course the coup plot was hatched in May of 2000 when 57,000 Floridians eligible to vote were purged from the rolls.

Not only was the real story unreported, but the media feeding frenzy over the wrong issue led to the establishment of new and more insidious forms of voting fraud in the United States. When the story of punch cards and touch screens was reported over and over the solution seemed simple. America needed new voting mechanisms to prevent a Florida repeat in future elections. The media said that Congress had to act. The American people joined in the demand for action. However, the result has made vote manipulation easier than ever before. In 2004 voter purges will be only one weapon in the vote thieves’ arsenal. The technology that was supposed to assure the integrity of the electoral process has already undermined it.

April 1, 2004:
Are you embarrassed by the arrogance, greed, shortsightedness, selfishness, and outright lies told by George W. Bush?

Join tens of thousands of others across the country and world and wear a brown armband or ribbon to symbolize all the BS coming out of the White House.

Maureen "Aren't politican's Cute?" Dowd
Pride and Prejudice
Mr. Kerry is Pride.   Mr. Bush is Prejudice.   Cute.

But Mo also has an idea about why the Cons are really mad at Spain: "The Republicans certainly don't want anyone here to think about throwing somebody out of office because he was misleading about Al Qaeda."

Probably not.

Tom "I still don't quite get it" Friedman
Axis of Appeasement
Let me see if I can help you out, Tom.

You did O.K. about the elections part. Unlike your fellow writer, David Brooks, at the NY Times (who thinks that elections ought to be suspended everytime something bad happens) and Shawn Hannity (who thinks that elections should be suspended because something bad might happen), you figured out that it was O.K. for the Spanish people to throw out the conservatives for lying. Good boy so far, but then you messed up. You went right off into that "victory for terrorism" meme that the Mighty Wurlitzer ( 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 ) has been so busy tossing around. Nice spin if you're a "War Against Terror" type of guy licking your wounds over the Spanish vote, but as usual, it's WRONG.

Remember a year ago, Tom? Remember Madrid? Two million people on the streets opposing the Iraq War? 93% of the Spanish people against a war in Iraq? They never wanted that war, Tom. They never wanted Mr. Bush's war. Like ten million other people around the world that day who went to the streets that same day, they believed that Mr. Bush's war would increase terrorism. And it did. And the Spanish people were the sitting ducks this time.

Ya know, Tom, Mr. Bush and his Neocon chickenhawks are back there in Washington sitting behind tons of security. The terrorists aren't going to get them. Mr. Bush knows that. But it's different out here on the streets, Tom. Out here, we're the targets. Mr. Bush knows that too. Mr. Bush thinks that by killing lots of things, he can make the world better for us. But of course, he's always thought that way, from laughing as he signed death warrents back to blowing up frogs as a kid. Well, Tom, people are getting kind of tired of that, and the people of Spain just got totally fed up with it.

You see, Tom, the message from Spain wasn't appeasement at all. It was rejection; the rejection of Mr. Bush. The people of Spain will go on fighting terrorism. They just won't be listening to Mr. Bush anymore while they do. And if Mr. Bush was smart, he'd be listening to them, but of course, that's never been his strong suit.

Josh Marshall:
Priceless . . .
Again and again I read -- or hear directly from administration supporters -- this excuse that any questioning of the administration's record in foreign affairs, or Iraq, or even on other matters is just a deplorable focusing on the past, a distraction, when the nation faces grave challenges which we need to focus on solving.

This is more than just simple buck-passing. It is a sort of through-the-looking-glass version of how problem-solving and accountability are supposed to work. It also has the perverse benefit of allowing the scope of the administration's failures to become reasons for not discussing those failures -- a sort of self-reinforcing anti-accountability causality loop, with all manner of moral hazards built in.

We've created such a mess that we don't have the time or the luxury to start second-guessing how badly we screwed things up!

I've always been strict about keeping four-letter words off this site. So I apologize for the graphic nature of this analogy. But this is like I come back to my office to find my new employee has taken a crap right on my desk.

Puzzledly and not happy, I say, "What, umm ... what happened here?"

To which he replies, "There you go again, always focusing on the past, how this or that could have been done differently, when what's really important is the future, how we deal with this and other challenges we're going to face."

To which I would reply, "No. The future is exactly what I'm thinking about. And that's why you're fired. Because in the future I can't afford to have anyone working here who craps on my desk, and then when I confront them about it all they can do is dodge responsibility with moronic excuses and try to put the blame on me for asking what the hell is going on."

These guys should be fired too.

And, no, I wouldn't advise the Kerry campaign to base a 30 second ad on this analogy.

But I would, Josh. You've only got 30 seconds, and you've got to get their attention.
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Truce with Spain, but . . .
Al Qaeda Endorses Bush !
I kid you not. If you haven't heard, a letter claiming to be from Al Qeada has promised to stop all actions against Spain while it waits to determine if Spain's promise to withdraw from Iraq is genuine. But if you'll read down, there's also this:
The statement said it supported President Bush in his reelection campaign, and would prefer him to win in November rather than the Democratic candidate John Kerry, as it was not possible to find a leader "more foolish than you (Bush), who deals with matters by force rather than with wisdom."

In comments addressed to Bush, the group said:

"Kerry will kill our nation while it sleeps because he and the Democrats have the cunning to embellish blasphemy and present it to the Arab and Muslim nation as civilization."

"Because of this we desire you (Bush) to be elected."

The group said its cells were ready for another attack and time was running out for allies of the United States.

"Whose turn is it next? Will it be Japan or America, or Italy, Britain or Oslo or Australia?" the statement said, adding Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were also targets.

And I thought Kerry got all of the foreign endorsements. Silly me.
Lariam: Mother's Little helper
Karen Kwiatkowski:
Election Year Predictions
"You cannot step twice into the same river."
Some election watchers remember past vicious presidential campaigns and look for signs. Others wonder about third-party effects, or targeted mini-campaigns for a small number of electoral votes in single-issue districts. Still others read the tea leaves of national economic and battlefield woes to determine whether an incumbent will be asked to stay on. Some may wonder how another terrorist attack on us, or another US attack on a third country might affect the election outcome.

But as Heraclitus observed, you can?t step into the same river twice. The next major terrorist attack on the US, at home or abroad, will not be 9-11. Even if every aspect of it were identical, it will be a different attack, against a wiser nation, a changed President, and by an evolved group of attackers. This means that the national political reaction to 9-11 won?t be duplicated after the next attack, if there is a next attack.

In the same way, any retaliatory attack on another country by the Bush Administration will be seen in the light of the discoveries by average Americans, soldiers and marines, and the U.S. Congress of what Bush?s last attacks were all about, or not about, as the case may have been.

A little plug for Thom Hartmann's "Talk Radio for the Rest of Us" program. I've been a fan of his internet stream (Noon-3 PM EST weekdays) for a while, and just waded through the sign-up for his interactive chatroom. It's a lot of fun.

If you haven't listened to Thom, his stream works quite well on dial-up, and to join the live chat, just go to his website and click on "Chat Room".

The Bush administration has coerced virtually every branch of western Christendom in America back into the fold of Old Testament fundamentalism, the entirety of which is pre-Christian in origin, largely anti-Christian in content and historically anti-Christian in practice. Bush's polarization has driven American Christendom into two diametrically-opposed camps. These two camps are separated entirely by moral ground, those preferring a conservative Old Testament vengeance-based morality and those preferring a liberal New Testament compassion-based ethical morality.
Dr. Lower has spent his life in the fields of Molecular Epidemiology and Bioethics. He is also the author of Jefferson's Eyes: A Book for the People, from which he drew material for this article.
This silly question is being asked by billionnaire Rupert Murdoch's and Conrad Black's media outlets all over the world in blazing headlines. For some strange reason, the billionnaires aren't happy that the Socialist Workers' Party won the elections in Spain, and are trying to portray the outcome as cowardice on the part of the Spanish public.

The entire argument is specious from beginning to end. ...

Juan Cole makes the case in this and his follow-up post. The only thing I might add to it is that those who are suggesting that the Spanish election was a victory for al-Qaeda are clearly showing themselves to be distrustful of democracy itself.
They're at it again!
Gutting Marbury v. Madison
H.R.3920 would gut Supreme Court power

Short Title: Congressional Accountability for Judicial Activism Act of 2004

Official Title: To allow Congress to reverse the judgments of the United States Supreme Court.

H.R.3920 was introduced in the House on March 9th by Rep. Ron Lewis [R-KY] and currently has 11 co-sponsors, all Republican. H.R.3920 would allow Congress to override any Supreme Court ruling with a two-thirds super-majority of both houses. In introducing the bill in the House, Rep. Lewis specifically referred to the recent Massachusetts Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, but cited it as merely part of a larger problem of "judicial activism". Lewis also specifically cited Marbury v. Madison as "extraordinary".

This is a dangerous bill and clearly demonstrates that Lewis and his co-sponsors do not understand that that the Constitution already provides for Congressional relief from "judicial activism" in the form of impeachment. Specifically, the bill provides:

The Congress may, if two thirds of each House agree, reverse a judgment of the United States Supreme Court--
  1. if that judgment is handed down after the date of the enactment of this Act; and

  2. to the extent that judgment concerns the constitutionality of an Act of Congress.
But the bill also has several other ramifications beyond its obvious text:
  • Any bill passed by both Houses by a two-thirds majority would be effectively immune from judicial review, and

  • Any "latest right'' (Lewis' term) provided by a Supreme Court decision would be at best temporary, and

  • At any time in the future, Congress could go back and reverse any Supreme Court ruling it pleased, making all Supreme Court rulings after the bill's enactment subject to the future whims of an as yet unelected Congress. (Among other things, this could make for ex poste facto conflicts and could terminate then active appeals mid-stream.)
The full text of Lewis' remarks upon introducing this bill (difficult to track down):
Madam Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to speak about judicial activism, a grave and growing problem in our current national discourse that is threatening our democratic principles, eroding the consent of the governed, and radically altering the social fabric of our American society.

It should be of little surprise that the impetus of this debate, and the modest solutions I intend to set forth, stem from the November ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Court to allow same-sex marriages and the subsequent rulings on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act that have followed.

I am a strong supporter of numerous legislative measures currently being considered by this Congress, aiming to define marriage as an exclusive union between one man and one woman. However, I believe a more comprehensive solution is necessary to address the broader, troubling trend toward judicial activism, a development with definitive implications beyond just the issue of marriage.

America's judicial branch has become increasingly overreaching and disconnected from the values of everyday Americans, many of whom I represent in the Second District of Kentucky. The recent actions taken by courts in Massachusetts and elsewhere are demonstrative of a single branch of government taking upon itself the singular ability to legislate. I believe these actions usurp the will of the governed, circumvent representative government by allowing tribunals of a select few, not elected or otherwise politically responsible, to conclusively rule on issues that are radically reshaping the societal traditions of our great Nation.

Clearly, this issue is one about power, not in the raw political sense but in terms of the allocation of government authority between each branch of government, specifically between Congress and the Judiciary, in a federal system that relies on checks and balances to protect our liberty. This is a debate that has been taking place since our founding.

At no point is the tension between Congress and the courts greater than in the realm of constitutional interpretation. The Constitution does not expressly provide for judicial review. Instead, the right of judicial review is a practice with origins from the bench itself, established in 1803 when Chief Justice John Marshall ruled, "It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Branch to say what the law is.''

The Marbury v. Madison case decision provides an extraordinary recognition of judicial power in a constitutional form of government. The exercise of such broad authority, expanded over time through political tradition, clearly has a growing adverse effect on the relationship between coequal arms of our national government. As judicial power expands, congressional power contracts. This is especially true when the power to interpret the Constitution rests in the hands of activist judges anxious to find the latest "right'' hiding between the lines of our founding document.

Our Founding Fathers created three separate branches of government, each with equal checks and balances on the other. Our founders also ensured that each branch, including Congress, play a role in constitutional interpretation, requiring officials in each branch to take an oath to support and defend the Constitution.

The framers did not give authority to one branch over the other. Certainly each branch has its separate functions, but debating, defending, and upholding the tenets of the Constitution involve the decision and duties of each branch. As a Congress, we must change our thinking and reaffirm our authority to interpret constitutional issues in concert with, and independent from, the courts.

The framers of the Constitution were advocates of serious debate who believed that the deliberation of the political process should always be open to the people. If the courts continue their dramatic move toward self-proclaimed interpretive power, I believe Congress, as the people's branch of representative government, should take steps to ensure equal balance and authority to check the final results.

I am introducing legislation today to address these serious, pressing issues in a direct and forceful manner. The bill that I have authored, if enacted, will allow Congress, by a two-thirds majority of each House, to reverse a judgment of the Supreme Court. This additional check may only be enforced on rulings concerning the constitutionality of an act of Congress following the enactment of this bill.

In his first Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln warned, "The candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.''

It is my hope that the people and the courts will see my position and recognize the serious problems arising from this growing imbalance of constitutional authority. I urge my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to redress judicial activism, protect the equal dignity of this governing body, and preserve the majority will of the governed by supporting this legislation.

An unadulterated power grab. In Lewis' mind, we clearly must not be going around granting the people any "new rights" without his permission.
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) has some choice words for the White House.

Note: Above link is Windows Media. This is the Real Player link.

[ Via Kicking Ass.]

The shorter David Brooks:

People shouldn't be allowed to vote right after a terrorist attack.

Have I mentioned lately how much I hate this guy?

Paul Krugman:
Weak on Terror
My most immediate priority," Spain's new leader, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, declared yesterday, "will be to fight terrorism." But he and the voters who gave his party a stunning upset victory last Sunday don't believe the war in Iraq is part of that fight. And the Spanish public was also outraged by what it perceived as the Aznar government's attempt to spin last week's terrorist attack for political purposes.

The Bush administration, which baffled the world when it used an attack by Islamic fundamentalists to justify the overthrow of a brutal but secular regime, and which has been utterly ruthless in its political exploitation of 9/11, must be very, very afraid.

Polls suggest that a reputation for being tough on terror is just about the only remaining political strength George Bush has. Yet this reputation is based on image, not reality. The truth is that Mr. Bush, while eager to invoke 9/11 on behalf of an unrelated war, has shown consistent reluctance to focus on the terrorists who actually attacked America, or their backers in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

*   *   *

So when the Bush campaign boasts of the president's record in fighting terrorism and accuses John Kerry of being weak on the issue, when Republican congressmen suggest that a vote for Mr. Kerry is a vote for Osama, remember this: the administration's actual record is one of indulgence toward regimes that are strongly implicated in terrorism, and of focusing on actual terrorist threats only when forced to by events.

A brilliant editorial:
"IT MUST BE considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things." This warning is from Niccolo Machiavelli, yet it has never had sharper resonance.

More than a decade ago, after Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, President George H. W. Bush explicitly sought to initiate, as he put it to Congress, a "new world order." He made that momentous declaration on Sept. 11, 1990. Eleven years later, the suddenly mystical date of 9/11 motivated his son to finish what the father began. A year ago this week, Bush the younger launched a war against the man who tried to kill his dad, initiating the opposite of order.

*   *   *

In that lies the irony. The Bush dynasty has in fact initiated a new order of things. The United States of America has become its own opposite, a nation of triumphant freedom that claims the right to restrain the freedom of others; a nation of a structured balance of power that destroys the balance of power abroad; a nation of creative enterprise that exports a smothering banality; and above all, a nation of forcefully direct expression that disrespects the truth. Whatever happens from this week forward in Iraq, the main outcome of the war for the United States is clear. We have defeated ourselves.

It wasn't the bombs; it was the lies
In an atmosphere of horror and anger, Spanish voters managed to sort through their emotions over the weekend to deliver a surprisingly clear message to their government. Perhaps we should listen in the United States.

Governments that lie and cover up on matters not only central to national security but also to the commitment of armed forces abroad are inviting rejection.

And not only did Spain's government lie to their citizens about the bombings, Washington covered for them on this side of the Atlantic.

Of course, this is all right up the alley of the Neocons and their "noble lie" philosophy. Yet there is a lesson in the election results from Spain for the Neocons, although one that they will likely miss: That their noble lie philosophy depends on being able to fool all of the people all of the time. And that assuming that is in the end a fool's bet.

But what I want to know is this: If Karl Rove is effectively Bush's full-time
campaign strategist, why in hell are we paying him $151,000 per year?
Must see:

Via Take Back the Media
[ 3.8 MB, .SWF ]

Monday, March 15, 2004
The Power of Prophesy:
Fire Paul Wolfowitz
This is from Jude Wanniski, whom I've featured here on a number of occasions. The date on this article is four weeks to the day after 9/11. Jude's claim is that Wolfowitz has taken over the Department of Defense.

How very prophetic.

Jude's also got his "Invasion Anniversary" post just up, "Anniversary of an Unnecessary War". As always, worth while.

Update to my earlier post today on Donald Rumsfeld's Sunday funnies.

The Center for American Progress provides this video [2.1 MB, WMV] of Rummy getting caught lying. This was a clear set-up job. Tom "I always say nice things" Friedman was sitting there armed to the teeth waiting for Rummy's response to Bob Schieffer's question.

This is where BushCo is coming apart. Everyone knows their games, and they've simply run out of new ones. They knew in advance what Rummy's answer was going to be. They set him up.

And Friedman? Looking down at his "notes" studiously, pointing to each word in the quotes as he read them? A true Hollywood moment. That Rummy was not fooled by what they had just done to him? Priceless.

"Hollywood" Tom Friedman. Who would'a thunk it?