Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Roundup

Interesting new developments in the pre war lies and smears about Valerie Plame, aluminum tubes and other stuff. Do we now have irrefutable proof that Bush and his crew knew and lied?

Glad to see that Jill Carroll was released. Too bad those lovely folks at the rightie blogs are showing their true colors again.

I'm glad that the NBA is focusing on the important things. But it does look silly....

I thought the Onion was supposed to be fake news. Watch this come true 35 games into the season if the Yankees don't get off to a 25-10 start.

Next time you find yourself in the hospital, you may be getting "special services"...

This is too hysterical. If you scroll through the comments, there are others that are just as good too.

Now, I have been here, and it is huge - you can't miss it, even if you try. Unless you are just stupid.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A few things everyone should know about Andy Card

Before (or while) everyone starts to speculate why Andy Card stepped down as White House Chief of Staff, maybe we can lay a few things out that could let us make educated guesses.  Obviously, unless he is indicted within the next week or 2 (hat tip to seesdifferent), everything will be speculation.

But as far as speculation goes, we do know that he goes way back with the Bushies and we know that you can screw everything up royally and still be just a-ok with Bush crime cartel.  And we also know that Rumsfeld said that he tendered his resignation twice, only to have Georgieboy say no way.

So yes, something seems rotten here.  But let's try to separate the pure wild speculation from the facts.

Personally, I think that this is directly related to the CIA leak investigation, as opposed to his role with the illegal and unconstitutional wiretapping since that doesn't seem to be an issue that concerns Dear Leader and his merry band of criminals.  Additionally, while I am not sure whether Rove would turn against Card (not that I don't think that Rove has it in him, I just don't know if he has any additional "goods" on Card).  I also find it difficult to see Fitzgerald NOT indicting Rove, regardless of how much he is cooperating.  After all, we know that Rove was one of the leakers and he most likely lied under oath to Fitzgerald as well.  And we know how much Fitz hates having sand kicked in his face.

That is not to say that there was some bad blood between Card and Rove.  But Rove is fiercely loyal to Chimpy, and with Card as the Chief of Staff, anything that is between Rove and Card wouldn't be the best reflection on Dear Leader either.  This, to me, seemed more of a "Bush camp" vs. "Cheney camp" issue, although Rove's sliminess can't be disregarded.

So, back to Card.  The man was initially part of Poppa Bush's administration and this doesn't seem to be the "I want to run for office" or "I want to work in the private sector" or "I want to spend more time with my family" situation.  To me, it seems just as "coincidental" as Ari's resigning around the time that the CIA leak investigation started in full force.

My guess:  Card has been cooperating with Fitzgerald for a while, and it is high time that he gets out to avoid jail time, or an indictment or whatever else.  So what do we know about Card?

Well, thanks to the good folks at thinkprogress, we know quite a bit.

For starters, Card was the founder of the White House Iraq Group.

Systematic coordination began in August [2002], when Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. formed the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG, to set strategy for each stage of the confrontation with Baghdad. A senior official who participated in its work called it "an internal working group, like many formed for priority issues, to make sure each part of the White House was fulfilling its responsibilities."

In an interview with the New York Times published Sept. 6, Card did not mention the WHIG but hinted at its mission. "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August," he said.

The group met weekly in the Situation Room. Among the regular participants were Karl Rove, the president's senior political adviser; communications strategists Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin and James R. Wilkinson; legislative liaison Nicholas E. Calio; and policy advisers led by Rice and her deputy, Stephen J. Hadley, along with I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's chief of staff.

We also know that at the very beginning of Fitzgerald's investigation, Card and Abu Gonzalez were involved in a very questionable situation regarding the preservation of documents related to the CIA leak investigation.  According to a report by Frank Rich of the NY Times,

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said that he spoke with White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. immediately after learning that the Justice Department had launched a criminal investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's identity. But Gonzales, who was White House counsel at the time, waited 12 hours before officially notifying the rest of the staff of the inquiry.  

"I specifically had our lawyers go back to the Department of Justice lawyers and ask them, 'Do you want us to notify the staff now, immediately, or would it be okay to notify the staff early in the morning?' And we were advised, go ahead and notify the staff early in the morning, that would be okay." He said most of the staff had left by the time the Justice Department called and that "no one knew about the investigation."

But he acknowledged telling one person: "the chief of staff. And immediately the next morning, I told the president.  And shortly thereafter, there was notification sent out to all the members of the White House staff," Gonzales said.

Now, for some speculation on my part.  We know that this administration is not to be trusted.  And we don't know who Card spoke with, if anyone, in that 12 hour period.  But we do know that there were 250 pages of emails that were originally deleted and recently turned over to Fitzgerald.  It certainly is feasible that these records were deleted in that 12 hour period, among who knows what else.

Here is a good timeline about the WHIG's activities between 2002 and 2004.  Although not confirmed as to what he said or to whom, it is believed that Card was questioned with respect to the CIA leak investigation.  Card is also one who spoke with Bob Woodward during the June - August 2003 time period, but of course Woodward says that it is nothing to be concerned with:

White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. said that he was a source whom Woodward testified he spoke with during that period. But Woodward said that neither Plame nor Wilson came up during that conversation.

We also know that Card was on the infamous "trip to Africa" aboard Air Force One where the classified State Department Report regarding Plame was circulated.  According to reports:

His inner-circle of confidants is also accompanying him on the tour.

They include Foreign Secretary Colin Powell, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Chief of Staff at the Whitehouse Andrew Card and Deputy Foreign Secretary for Africa Walter Kansteiner.

Card also initiated a conversation between Dear Leader and then-CIA Director George Tenet in late 2003, just as Fitzgerald's investigation was getting underway.  Tenet resigned around 8 months later, and had taken the blame for the Africa uranium lie in the State of the Union speech just two months earlier.

So what does this all mean?  Well, Card goes back to Poppa Bush, and we know what Poppa Bush thinks of Rove.  So my guess is that Card isn't as sleazy as Rove, et al.  However, I think that he is one of the people (like Ari) that was targeted by Fitzgerald early on and has been cooperating with Fitz.  Whether Fitz has the goods on him for directing the deletion of emails, destruction of documents, obstruction of justice or something way bigger such as the lies peddled to the world about Iraq is beyond me at this point (and I would love to see what emptywheel's thoughts are on this).

But Card certainly isn't an innocent figure here - he founded the WHIG, for starters.  He was the only one other than Abu Gonzalez that knew about the document preservation order for 12 hours before anyone else did, and there were emails that were improperly deleted.  He pops up in a number of situations that are questionable, including talking to Woodward around the time that others were leaking Plame's name to him.  He was on Air Force One when the classified State Department document was discussed.  He met with Tenet and Chimpy around the time that all this was coming to a head.

My guess?  Card has been getting the squeeze from Fitzgerald and it is high time that he gets away from the fire.  Just like Ari did.  Just like Matalin did.  Just like Tenet did.  Just like Powell did.

We shall see, but at least we have a good picture of how much he was involved in the CIA leak and the formulation and peddling of the Iraq war lies.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Roundup: March Madness edition

holy shit - George fucking Mason. Somehow, even with picking UConn to win it all, I can still come in 2nd if UCLA loses in the finals.

No #1 seeds. Big East goes 0 for the Final Four. daaaaaamn.

How many buzzer beaters does UConn think they have in them? How great was it to see Duke be the first #1 seed to fall?

Even better is the estimated $3.8 billion (yes, with a "b") in lost productivity due to the tourney.

Well, what have we here? Seems like SOMEONE had his mind set on invading Iraq, come hell or high water. And it looks like both hell and high water have come.

This is pretty fucked up, so to speak. Crazy republican supreme court justice giving the finger to people. In church.

I guess it could be a good thing that videophones are not standard. Depending on who is on the other end, of course.

So, states should be able to make their own decisions and laws. Unless it is inconvenient for the feds. Like when the states want to make food safer.

Those smart law enforcement folks in Texas sure know how to hunt down drunks. Just go to the bars and arrest them there for being, um, drunk.

Now, I like meat as much as the next guy, but not THIS much....

"trickle down economy" my ass. Wage gap widens

If the WSJ is talking about bad wage news, then you know things have gotten real bad.

And in a "Duh!!" moment, the brainiacs at WSJ came up with this realization (only a couple of years too late):

Since the end of 2000, gross domestic product per person in the U.S. has expanded 8.4%, adjusted for inflation, but the average weekly wage has edged down 0.3%.

That contrast goes a long way in explaining why many Americans tell pollsters they don't believe the Bush administration when it trumpets the economy's strength.

Well, since basically everyone living in the reality based community is at odds with the cheery but inaccurate projections of Bu$hCo, this is hardly a shocker.

We have seen a number of articles that discuss how many more people are living in a dire financial situation.  We have seen states take the lead on raising the minimum wage.  And we have seen some very good analyses by bonddad and Jerome a Paris on these items.

Hell, we saw articles and studies in 2005 and in 2004 that say how wages haven't kept up with inflation and consumer costs.

But surprise, surprise, the Bush tax cuts have had the effect of WIDENING the gap between high and low wage earners.  And guess what one of the biggest culprits is - health care costs and other payroll related costs, which in turn gets passed along to the employees in the form of crap raises.

Another factor holding down wages is that employer-paid health benefits, pensions and payroll taxes have risen almost 16% since 2000, making employers less generous with wages.

In addition, it appears that the highest-salaried workers -- executives, managers and professionals -- are widening their lead on the typical worker.

The Bush tax cuts appear to have widened the income gap, according to many analyses. They increased take-home pay of almost all working Americans, but boosted it most for those at the top. Mr. Swagel, acknowledging that cuts in taxes on capital gains and dividends benefit the affluent in the short run, argues that they will benefit all workers in the long run as they spur investment and higher productivity.

Still, the gap between the wages of the highest- and lowest-paid workers has continued to widen. Based on Labor Department data, Mr. Bernstein estimates the weekly wage of the worker at the 10th percentile -- the one earning less than 90% of all workers -- fell 2.7% from 2000 to 2005, adjusted for inflation. The wage of the worker at the 90th percentile rose 5.3%.

Of course, the overlooked part of this is that for all but a small portion of the population, BOTH weekly wages and total income has dropped since 2000.  

This chart pretty much summarizes it:

But don't worry, say trickle down apologists and other greedy bastards - it will eventually work our for the worker as well.  Just maybe not in time for the next hurricane, unexpected illness, car breakdown, gas price increase or other unexpected event.

According to Treasury Secretary John Snow:

[he] argues that inequality has narrowed since Mr. Bush took office. His staff calculates that the richest 20% of U.S. taxpayers saw their average after-tax income, defined broadly to include capital gains, fall 9.4% from 2000 to 2003, the latest year for which data are available. The middle 20% had a drop of 0.2%; the bottom 20% had a rise of 1.6%.

Either way, no matter how you slice it, those are pretty shitty numbers to be "touting" as part of an economic expansion.  And leave it to the good folks at the WSJ to put a shiny happy spin on it:

History suggests that with unemployment low and growth steady, the typical family will see its income rise noticeably. As that happens, Americans' spirits will rise, as well.

Um, too bad history doesn't have much of a reference point for the total and utter destruction of the economy, the environment and the world trust in the US and the US dollar.  Add that to the fact that the US doesn't "make stuff" anymore, and you wonder if history even has a frame of reference here.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Neil Bush: the link between Bush crime cartel and Dubai ports deal?

Cross-posted and recommended at Daily Kos

Since the Dubai Ports World deal was announced, there was lots of speculation as to the motives behind it. More specifically, many people (myself included) thought that this reeked of cronyism and that there was obviously something that would be a direct benefit to the Bush crime cartel.

It was reported how there was a connection between Dubai Ports World, Treasury Secretary John Snow, Carlyle and others.

But now, the dots seem to be connected right back to the Bush family via Carlyle and little brother Neil and his educational software company, Ignite!

After a comment in my diary from yesterday, I wanted to see if there was a direct path from a member of the Bush family to Dubai Ports World. And, even though it is a semi-long line, there certainly appears to be a direct line from one to the other. What tipped me off is the numerous accounts of Neil Bush and his trips to the UAE, as well as the willingness of some high-level international businessmen to throw money at someone who has been a colossal failure in every business venture he has undertaken.

I'll try to connect the dots in a cohesive manner below. It's a bit long, but hopefully not too long winded.....

Neil Bush and the UAE

Neil Bush has been, by all accounts, a horrible businessman. Just read the article linked above for proof. However, he has been doing business in the UAE since 2000:

According to the Emirates News Agency, Neil Bush visited the United Arab Emirates and met with Dubai Crown Prince, General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on October 7, 2000, and in October and November 2001. It is also known that Neil Bush was in the UAE in 2002 trying to secure financing for another Bush venture - an educational software company called Ignite! Inc. Ignite! Inc. is a private company headquartered in Austin, TX. Neil Bush is listed as the Chairman and CEO. As of February 16, 2001, Ignite! Inc. had raised $10 million from private investors

While some of the information remains unavailable, we do know that some of the financing for Ignite! was from UAE businessmen.

We also know that Neil Bush has been a paid speaker at the Zayed Center, which was under fire because of its chief funder, former UAE President, Sheik Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The controversy was over the Zayed Center's offering of programs such as "Zionist Collusion With the Nazis," and "Jewish Control of the American Government and Media." And its executive director began a symposium at the center, by calling Jews "the enemies of all nations."

Neil has a great relationship with the UAE. According to this article by

Neil Bush seems to be in constant pursuit of investors and government contracts in the Emirates, and is treated there with a respect and deference that have always eluded him in his own country. For reasons that must be painfully obvious, UAE royals have been quite eager to engage the former Silverado Savings and Loan director ever since his eldest brother entered the Oval Office. That embrace only intensified after 9/11.

In October 2001, only a month after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, Neil Bush showed up in Dubai to attend a technology trade fair -- and to meet with Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. While peddling the products of Ignite!, his educational software company, Bush was feted as the guest of honor at a gala dinner for a charitable foundation, also hosted by the crown prince. (Former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore, who had been scheduled to travel to the Emirates around the same time, both canceled their attendance at those events.) According to the UAE's official news agency, Bush's discussions with Sheikh Mohammed and with Information Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan focused on "the world economy in light of recent events." During that visit Bush also met with the UAE's finance industry minister.

Exactly how much money Neil Bush raised in the Emirates as CEO of Ignite! isn't clear, but he managed to acquire a local partner, known as Trans-Data Systems, which is required for doing business there. He returned to Dubai in January 2002 to deliver a lecture on educational reform to a "select" audience of 200 government and education officials from the seven emirates that comprise the UAE. The signs of state patronage could not have been more plain. The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry sponsored his seminar, and the official news agency made sure to note that "the younger brother of U.S. President George W. Bush ... agrees with the vision of General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Defense Minister, about adopting new ideas into the existing education system."

Pretty good for a failure in business.

Dubai Holdings and Carlyle

This is a fairly well documented link. We can see from Dubai Holdings' website that they own both Dubai International Capital and Dubai Investment Group. And we also know that Dubai International Capital is a good friend of the Carlyle Group.

The oil-rich United Arab Emirates is a major investor in The Carlyle Group, the private equity investment firm where President Bush's father once served as senior adviser and is a who's who of former high-level government officials. Just last year, Dubai International Capital, a government-backed buyout firm, invested in an $8 billion Carlyle fund.

And how much did they invest? Only around $100 million.

Not only that, but the potential for future business is tremendous:

Last year, to cite only the most recent example, Carlyle's newest buyout fund won an infusion of at least $100 million from the Dubai Investment Corp. -- another state-owned outfit created by the ruling families to reinvest the enormous inflows of capital from rising oil prices and oil consumption. If that individual deal with Carlyle represented only a small fraction of the Emirates' investments, the upside potential of the relationship could be far greater in the future. The directors of Dubai Investment expect to invest as much as $5 billion every year for a long time to come.

The ties between Carlyle, James Baker III, the UAE and the Bush family (especially HW's financial dealings) run deeper, and there are numerous other examples that I won't get into for purposes of this diary. Suffice to say, they go back more than a few years and are not of the "few and far between" variety. Additionally, Carlyle's sole middle east office is in Dubai.

We also know that Dubai Ports World is owned by the government of the UAE.

The Iraq War Connection

Around the time of the Iraq invasion, New Bridge Strategies was formed. According to its website:

New Bridge Strategies, LLC is a unique company that was created specifically with the aim of assisting clients to evaluate and take advantage of business opportunities in the Middle East following the conclusion of the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

The principal officers in New Bridge included Joe Albaugh (Chief of Staff to then-Governor Bush of Texas and was the National Campaign Manager for the Bush-Cheney 2000 presidential campaign), Ed Rogers, John Howland and Jamal Daniel, 2 people who have been involved financially with Neil Bush for many years.

Jamal Daniel also heads up a company called Crest Investments and is the co-chairman. The other co-chairman is none other than Neil Bush.

Daniel is a Syrian-American businessmen with an interesting story:

Mr Daniel started cultivating his relationship with the Bush family at about the time that Neil was caught up in the Silverado scandal and facing a lawsuit, according to a US businessman who knows him.

"Jamal likes to ingratiate himself with family members of whoever's in power," the US businessman says. "He squired Neil Bush around . . . Then he also got close to Pappa Bush, George H., when he came back to Houston . . . Socially there were pictures together and he was very supportive of George W's campaign when he ran for governor."

Mr Daniel's family, Christians originating from northern Syria, is said to have been involved in the founding of the Ba'ath Party and sustained links with it in both Syria and Iraq even after being expelled from Syria in about 1966 after Hafez al-Assad came to power. Mr Daniel has told friends that when he was young Tariq Aziz, later foreign minister of Iraq, was a visitor to the family home.

According to businessmen who know him, Mr Daniel boasts connections with the families of the rulers of at least five Middle East countries: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon. At a conference in Washington in April 2000, Mr Daniel was introduced as a person "proud to call (Yemeni) President Saleh a friend."

Besides the fact that these aren't the friendliest regimes in the "War on TerrahTM", Saddam's buddy Tariq Aziz used to come to his family's house, and he was one of the founder of the Ba'ath Party - that of Saddam which was so evil that we had to make up a reason to invade.

As for John Howland, let's just say he has quite the checkered past, and has been financially linked to both Neil Bush and Jamal Daniel for quite some time.

A Big and Tangled Web of High Level Business Connections

Ed Rogers, vice Chairman and Director of New Bridge Strategies and former Deputy Assistant to George HW Bush, also happens to be a director of a company called Diligence, Inc.

Ed Rogers and Lanny Griffith are Chairman and CEO respectively, of Barbour, Griffith and Rogers (BGR). BGR is a republican lobbying firm who has strong connections in the Republican Party.

Lanny Griffith is also a Director at New Bridge and was an assistant to George HW Bush.

Ed Mathias, one of the partners and managing directors of Carlyle is also on the Advisory Board of Diligence, Inc.

Diligence Middle East, Inc. is a joint venture between Diligence, Inc. and New Bridge Strategies.

Diligence's current Chairman is Richard Burt, who is also an International Director of BGR and an advisor to Carlyle.

Joe Allbaugh, Chairman and Director of New Bridge Strategies is a Deputy Chairman of Diligence.

The address in DC for BGR is 1275 Pennsylvania Avenue, 10th Floor NW

The address in DC for Diligence was 1275 Pennsylvania Avenue, 10th Floor NW.

The address in DC for New Bridge was 1275 Pennsylvania Avenue, 10th Floor NW.

BGR provided the initial financing for Diligence.

So, at a minimum, there is MAJOR overlap between Diligence LLC, New Bridge Strategies and Barbour, Griffith and Rogers, and much of the same people have strong business, political and financial ties to at least one or 2 members of the Bush family.

Back to Neil Bush

Well, we know that Jamal Daniel and Neil Bush have a history. Neil said that he was a co-chairman of Crest Investments with Daniel. We also know that:

[h]e received $15,000 every three months for a average 3 or 4 hours of work a week doing "miscellaneous consulting services." "Such as?" his ex-wife's Attorney asked, "Such as answering phone calls when Jamal Daniel, the other co-chairman, called and asked for advice," Neil answered.

Not too shabby for 10 hours of work per month. Doing the math, that is a $500 per hour job answering phones.

Of course, there is much more that Neil does for Crest than answer the phones. According to the article:

Neil...attached his signature to letters soliciting business for New Bridge in obtaining contracts in Iraq, and two, he attached his name as a reference for an extremely lucrative proposal submitted by Crest to obtain a lease on a parcel of property located on the island of Quintana, Texas, that will result in payments of at least $2 million a year to Crest.

We also know that both Daniel and John Howland used Neil to get business for themselves:

John Howland, the company president, and Jamal Daniel, a principal, have maintained an important business relationship with Neil Bush stretching back several years. In Mr Daniel's case, the relationship spans more than a decade, with his French office arranging a trip for Mr Bush's family to Disneyland Paris in 1992, while his father, George H.W.Bush, was president.

On several occasions, the two have attempted to exploit their association with the president's brother to help win business and investors.

Three people contacted by the FT have seen letters written by Neil Bush recommending business ventures promoted by Mr Howland, Mr Daniel and his family in the Middle East. Mr Daniel has also had his photograph taken with the elder Mr Bush. Such letters and photographs can be valuable props when doing business in the Middle East.

And with respect to Ignite!, we know that Daniel would tout his connections:

There is evidence that Mr Bush has received financing and contacts for his personal business ventures from Mr Daniel. Crest's company secretary, Joseph Peacock - a man involved in many of Mr Daniel's other companies - was listed as one of the original investors in Ignite!, Mr Bush's educational software company.

According to a businessman in the Middle East, Mr Daniel sometimes introduces himself as one of the founding members of Ignite! and has lobbied potential investors on Neil Bush's behalf. Mr Bush went on a Middle East trip in early 2002 to seek contributions for his company. He has successfully secured funds from people connected to at least three ruling families in the Middle East.

Tying It All Together

As with most things that the Bush crime cartel are involved with, there are a number of layers to peel back before the vile stench shows through. With HW Bush, Carlyle is always a good place to start, but the direct connection wasn't there for the Dubai Ports deal - just the investments by Dubai in Carlyle. And as it seems with this family, there is always someone that can grease the skids for another. Witness the NCLB law signed by DumbYa leading to Jeb wanting brother Neil's Ignite! software in the FL schools as the latest example.

But it looks like Neil's longstanding and strong ties to the UAE has let him leverage his name (for his benefit) and get millions for himself and his latest business venture.

And those who are financing Neil (who gives Dear Leader a run for his money in the race to see which Bush brother can be exploited the most) certainly seem to be benefiting from his connections to the UAE.

So by following the money and the links, the same people's names keep popping up. Not only from Iraq war contracts coordinated by Diligence LLC or New Bridge Strategies, but also other billions of dollars per year revenue streams from the UAE.

Neil's contacts at the UAE make it easier for Dubai International and its subsidiaries to funnel money to Carlyle for "business ventures". And those same people at top positions at Carlyle hold top positions in multiple DC and Houston based lobbying and consulting firms that happen to also employ the services of a Mr. Neil Bush. Whose relationships with high level government officials in the UAE makes it easier for companies like Carlyle to do business in a country that happens to be the home of it's sole middle east office.

It is quite the tangled web they weave. Neil either doesn't know or doesn't care that he is being used because he gets lots of money for doing very little. And those who are using him (both the UAE and his business associates here in the US) set themselves up for millions, if not billions of dollars in business deals.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Barbara Bush was an INVESTOR in son's company

Cross posted and recommended at Daily Kos

holy shit - this is just insane.....

We saw the other day how Barbara Bush's Katrina donation stipulated that it be spent on purchases from her son's company (hat tip to Bouwerie Boy at Daily Kos).

Well, now we find out the one with the "beautiful mind" is an investor in the very company that she directed her own donation to.

Hat tip to Josh Marshall for first pointing this out.

And while none of the original news indicated this little nugget, we have this article from a few years ago:

For the last several years, Bush's main business interest has been Ignite!, the educational software company he co-founded in 1999. To fund Ignite!, Bush has raised $23 million from U.S. investors (including his parents), as well as businessmen from Taiwan, Japan, Kuwait, the British Virgin Islands and the United Arab Emirates, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

OK - take a second there. Not only were his parents invested in this company but there were investors from the UAE, which at that time wasn't all that friendly towards us Merkins.

(and by the way - if you read that WaPo article), you will see that Neil rivals DumbYa for worst businessman ever).

So now Babs is donating money to an organization that is not only run by her son but also partially owned by her.

And the UAE.

These people are vile scum.

Friday, March 24, 2006

LA hospitals dumping homeless patients on the streets

This just makes me want to puke.  I saw this on Good Morning America earlier today and couldn't believe what I was hearing.

But sure enough, LA area hospitals, including Kaiser Permanente, have been caught kicking out paitents who are homeless, putting them in cabs and directing the cabs to dump the patients off on the streets of one the most dangerous areas of LA.

Even better is the fact that is not only "area hospitals" but also jails that are overcrowded.

How far has this country sunk?

The stories are heartwrenching, especially when you consider the mental health of many homeless (not to mention how many people become homeless due to factors outside of their control, including many veterans who are mistreated by the system that they so bravely served for).

And yes, this is criminal.  Consider these two stories:

Carol Ann Reyes, 63, was loaded into a cab by Kaiser Permanente hospital staff and dumped on Skid Row, wearing nothing more than a hospital gown and socks, police said.

"She was very disoriented. She didn't know where she was or what she was doing," said Regina Chambers, who works at the Union Rescue Mission. "All she knew is that she had been to a hospital. She didn't know which one."

A 63 year old woman, treated like yesterday's rotten meat.  No shoes, no clothes, and no memory of what had happened to her.  

Just disgusting.

It seemed things couldn't get much worse for Marveil Williams. He was selling drugs and living on the streets of Los Angeles' Skid Row.

Then one night he got a beating he won't forget. "I just know I woke up in the hospital," Williams said.

But with no insurance, no family and no home, Williams says the hospital just wanted him out.

"They told me I needed to get out that hospital bed and go find somewhere to stay," he said.

His head and eyes still swollen, Williams was dumped on the doorstep of Skid Row's Union Rescue Mission.

And what does Kaiser hospital say to this?  

Diana Bonta, vice president of public affairs for Kaiser Southern California, told The Associated Press the incident violated hospital policy and would not occur again.

Oh good - "we won't do it again".  And with such a compassionate statement like that, you wonder how many times this was done already.  Officials are saying that hospitals that are caught dumping people against their will in a dangerous neighborhood could be sued or face criminal charges.

But as we know from the Government's recent track record on fines or other punative action, I wouldn't hold my breath for anything of substance.

Even more important is the neglect for our own people here - aren't these the ones that are most in need of treatment?  And don't hospitals have a higher duty to treat people that are in need?  

Certainly, if there is some sort of mental health need or drug addiction that would need treatment, aren't hospitals REQUIRED to take steps to help, as opposed to dumping sick, unstable, elderly or other people in need out on the streets?

Especially in such a bad area.  And ESPECIALLY with only a hospital gown and socks.

Just another example of "compassionate conservatism" at work.

What happened to my country?

Thursday, March 23, 2006


To all you Dukies out there, I have one thing to say:


My favorite game of every tourney is the one that Duke loses.

Nice choking down the stretch. Nice d at the end by letting LSU get the rebounds on their missed free throws. Nice that Reddick is done - he will be a shitty pro.

Just like the rest of the shitty Duke pros (other than Brand).

Fuck them. And if you picked them to win, well, I told you so.


Dubya's uncle nets $3 million from war profiteering

The LA Times is reporting today that "Uncle Bucky" William H.T. Bush, younger brother of Bush 41, has just made close to a cool $3 million from the sale of a company that profited from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Just another coincidence like Bill Frist's "non-insider trading blind trust profits" or Halliburton just happening to get record profits and no-bid contracts or Carlyle Group profiting handsomely or Karzai's coincidental connection to Unocal before being installed as puppet leader in Afghanistan....

And if that wasn't enough to make you want to throw something out the window, the company is the target of not one but two SEC investigations.

According to the LA Times article, Engineered Support Systems Inc. had recently seen record growth as a result of increased US military contracts (some no-bid contracts as well), mostly for the war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

But don't worry, says Uncle Bucky - everything is on the up and up:

in an interview last year, he said he played no role in ESSI's winning federal contracts.

"I don't make any calls to the 202 [Washington, D.C.] area code," he said.

Um, you probably don't have to make any calls to the 202 area code when you can just call Crawford or big brother (irony not lost there) himself.

As for the SEC investigations, we have a nice juicy inquiry about faulty equipment and the selling of stock and stock options before the public was made aware of the faulty equipment.

SEC filings show that two federal investigations of ESSI are underway. One inquiry involves a stop order from the government on the field generators. The order was issued because the units didn't operate properly.

The generator contract was a major source of revenue. SEC files show that ESSI did not tell stockholders about the stop order until last June, about seven months after it was issued.

During the interim, several ESSI executives, including Bush's uncle, cashed in stock and stock options worth millions of dollars, the filings show.

According to one recent filing, the SEC and the U.S. attorney in St. Louis are investigating the delayed disclosure and other matters.

Unnamed members of the ESSI board and corporate officers have been subpoenaed in the inquiry, according to documents.

SEC filings show that William Bush, 67, exercised options on 8,348 shares of ESSI stock on Jan. 18, 2005, about two months after the stop order was issued and six months before it was disclosed. He collected about $450,000 in cash.

And now, the sale of ESSI to DRS Technology at the end of January has netted Uncle Bucky $800,000 in stock and just under $2,000,000 in cash.

Does anyone want to guess how quickly this scandal will get brushed aside?

Just unbelievable.  But par for the course with these criminals.  And how many people don't have healthcare?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

“Kick the can” is not an acceptable Iraq plan

"The strategy is working" - Bush, March 21 2006


"most of the country has remained relatively peaceful." - Bush, March 21 2006


"We're making progress because we've got a strategy for victory"


Kicking the can down the road is not a strategy for victory.

I can’t tell you how sick I am of the increased violence and deaths of innocent people in Iraq. But I am more sick of the free pass that the Busheviks are getting on the “Iraq victory strategy” while the Democrats are saddled with the task of either coming up with a plan to get out of a mess that we were lied into in the first place or being told that they have no plan.

Hell, when even Bush lackey Allawi says that Iraq has fallen into civil war, you know that things are real REAL bad over there.

You know what, when thousands of lives are lost, thousands of families are torn apart and the world falls to shit, this happy talk has got to stop. Bush says he has a plan for victory – let’s hear it.

If he wants to wear the Commander in Chief hat (and bomber jacket), then he has to play the part for real, not just pretend like he is on the playground playing soldier. We were told just last month by the [Moonie Times] that there never was any post-invasion plan. And [when 70% of people polled] say that there is no clear plan in Iraq, well, I think you better do more than say “we have a plan”.

*Well then, what the fuck is that plan, genius???*

I think the first step is to make sure a civil war doesn't break out. And that's why we're working with the leaders there in Baghdad to form a unity government.

Obviously, if there is difficulty on the streets, *the first line of defense for that difficulty will be the Iraqi forces, which have proved themselves in the face of potential sectarian violence, right after the bombing of the mosque in Samarra.*

The forces are – part of our strategy for victory is to give the forces the skills and the tools and the training necessary to defend their own country, whether it be against Zarqawi and the killers or whether it be those who are trying to spread sectarian violence. And they have proven themselves.

And so our position is, one, get a unity government formed; and secondly, prepare the Iraqi troops, and support Iraqi troops if need be, to prevent sectarian violence from breaking out.

Well, it is pretty tough to have a first line of defense as the Iraqi forces where there are [ZERO Iraqi battalions ready to fight alone].

So, Chimpy – you wanted to invade Iraq since before you were installed as President. You ignored all the warnings about a civil war, about not having enough troops, about reconstruction, about the pre war intelligence, about the cost in dollars and lives, and years. Yet, you say you have a “victory plan”. Then, at a minimum, tell us all how you are going to:

- Quell the violence between Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds;
- Quell the violence against American troops;
- Deal with a withdrawal plan to get our troops out of harm’s way, when even the Green Zone isn’t safe anymore;
- Deal with reconstruction – not just everything that you bombed to hell, like hospitals and homes but also to get electricity back, clean water back and stop the spread of disease;
- Deal with the medical issues that you caused by using white phosphorus and depleted uranium;
- Transition a government that is accepted by the Iraqis and recognized as legitimate by the Middle East;
- Reverse the anti-American sentiment that is felt around the entire world;
- Deal with the threat that is now on us by having the potential for civil war to spill over into Iran’s borders (or being encouraged by Iran);
- Deal with the PTSD of the veterans coming back to the US;
- Deal with the medical care that the veterans need when they return.

I am sure there are many more – so feel free to add any others in the comment section.

But we deserve way more than you have given us. The troops deserve way more. Their families deserve way more. This is YOUR problem that YOU created. Not the Democrats’ problem in 2009.

You say you have a victory strategy. Well, we are all ears.

I can't tell you how sick I am of the increased violence and deaths of innocent people in Iraq.  But I am more sick of the free pass that the Busheviks are getting on the "Iraq victory strategy" while the Democrats are saddled with the task of either coming up with a plan to get out of a mess that we were lied into in the first place or being told that they have no plan.

Hell, when even Bush lackey Allawi says that Iraq has fallen into civil war, you know that things are real REAL bad over there.

You know what, when thousands of lives are lost, thousands of families are torn apart and the world falls to shit, this happy talk has got to stop.  Bush says he has a plan for victory - let's hear it.

If he wants to wear the Commander in Chief hat (and bomber jacket), then he has to play the part for real, not just pretend like he is on the playground playing soldier.  We were told just last month by the Moonie Times that there never was any post-invasion plan.  And when 70% of people polled say that there is no clear plan in Iraq, well, I think you better do more than say "we have a plan".

Well then, what the fuck is that plan, genius???

I think the first step is to make sure a civil war doesn't break out. And that's why we're working with the leaders there in Baghdad to form a unity government.

Obviously, if there is difficulty on the streets, the first line of defense for that difficulty will be the Iraqi forces, which have proved themselves in the face of potential sectarian violence, right after the bombing of the mosque in Samarra.

The forces are - part of our strategy for victory is to give the forces the skills and the tools and the training necessary to defend their own country, whether it be against Zarqawi and the killers or whether it be those who are trying to spread sectarian violence. And they have proven themselves.

And so our position is, one, get a unity government formed; and secondly, prepare the Iraqi troops, and support Iraqi troops if need be, to prevent sectarian violence from breaking out.

Well, it is pretty tough to have a first line of defense as the Iraqi forces where there are ZERO Iraqi battalions ready to fight alone.  

So, Chimpy - you wanted to invade Iraq since before you were installed as President.  You ignored all the warnings about a civil war, about not having enough troops, about reconstruction, about the pre war intelligence, about the cost in dollars and lives, and years.  Yet, you say you have a "victory plan".  Then, at a minimum, tell us all how you are going to:

  • Quell the violence between Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds;

  • Quell the violence against American troops;

  • Deal with a withdrawal plan to get our troops out of harm's way, when even the Green Zone isn't safe anymore;

  • Deal with reconstruction - not just everything that you bombed to hell, like hospitals and homes but also to get electricity back, clean water back and stop the spread of disease;

  • Deal with the medical issues that you caused by using white phosphorus and depleted uranium;

  • Transition a government that is accepted by the Iraqis and recognized as legitimate by the Middle East;

  • Reverse the anti-American sentiment that is felt around the entire world;

  • Deal with the threat that is now on us by having the potential for civil war to spill over into Iran's borders (or being encouraged by Iran);

  • Deal with the PTSD of the veterans coming back to the US;

  • Deal with the medical care that the veterans need when they return.

I am sure there are many more - so feel free to add any others in the comment section.

But we deserve way more than you have given us.  The troops deserve way more.  Their families deserve way more.  This is YOUR problem that YOU created.  Not the Democrats' problem in 2009.  

You say you have a victory strategy.  Well, we are all ears.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

DISGUSTING: Corporations stiffing Gov’t on billions in fines

I'm so glad that I got hounded and threatened to pay a $75 ticket a couple of years ago that I received for being waved through a red light by a cop (no kidding). Because it seems as though that $75 I had to pay was way more important than the $35 BILLION (yes, with a "B") that was owed to the government as of 2004 for white collar crimes and corporate violations.

As originally reported in the WaPo but also last night by Anderson Cooper, a recent AP report determined that corporate and criminal fines are being levied but not collected upon.

The result is that We the People get screwed yet again while criminals and corporations skip out on billions of dollars in fines each year for a variety of reasons - and are either waived or reduced further.

Just another "thank you" from Bu$hCo to corporations for negligence, fraud, safety violations and other actions. And just another "fuck you" to the rest of us who have to pick up the tab.

Below is a map breaking down the amount of fines that were unpaid in 2004 by state (I am so proud of my home state of NY leading theway):

Since we are talking in billions of dollars, a frame of reference would be nice...

This is almost five times the amount uncollected 10 years ago -- and enough to cover the annual budget of the Department of Homeland Security. A decade ago, Congress mandated that fines be imposed regardless of defendants' ability to pay, which has added tremendously to outstanding debt.

And what are these fines for? Well, according to the report, here are some examples:

  • When a gasoline spill and explosion killed three young people in Washington state, officials announced a record penalty against a gas pipeline company: $3 million to send the message that such tragedies "must never happen again." When the pipeline burst, the fuel exploded into a fireball that ravaged the surrounding woods. And it killed two 10-year-olds playing in the woods and an 18-year-old who had gone to the stream to fish.
  • When nuclear laboratories around the country were found exposing workers to radiation and breaking other safety rules, assessments totaling $2.5 million were quickly ordered.

    When coal firms' violations were blamed for deaths, injuries and risks to miners from Alabama to West Virginia, the companies were slapped with more than $1.3 million in penalties.

What happened next with these no-nonsense enforcement measures? Not much. The pipeline tab was eventually reduced by 92 percent, the labs' assessments were waived as soon as they were issued, and the mine penalties largely went unpaid.

With respect to the coal mines, the egregious violations are still happening.
The recent West Virginia coal mine deaths focused new criticism on enforcement tradeoffs made by mine safety inspectors.

During hearings in January, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., voiced outrage at how coal operators can whittle down fines. He cited assessments by the Mine Safety and Health Administration against a company in an Alabama mine where 13 people were killed in 2001 -- penalties reduced from $435,000 to $3,000 in what he called "a decision that harms workers and erodes MSHA's authority."

The Labor Department later announced plans to raise fine amounts, and in a case it called "precedent-setting" sought an injunction against a Kentucky mine operator and two companies he owns, which paid nothing on $200,000 in penalties.

And it isn't just large corporations either. This administration's favorite type of person - the white collar criminal - accounted for the largest percentage of unpaid debt, with just 7% of the fines paid.

Of course, in typical Bush administration fashion, the fines are touted as proof that they are being tough, while the fines are then quietly waived, reduced or abated.

Documents provided to the AP by the Labor Department's Employment Benefits Security Administration, whose job is to protect pension and welfare benefits, showed that $2,000 was the maximum amount paid on nearly a dozen penalties ranging from $86,500 to $180,000; these were for various violations, from failure to file reports to self-dealing by pension fund managers.

Why the reductions? Officials explained that compliance is the agency's goal, and that the law allows penalties to be reduced when companies make amends. Violators who don't comply risk being referred to the Treasury Department, which can collect by seizing federal benefits.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's written policy explains to inspectors that they can reduce penalties by as much as 95 percent, "depending upon the employer's 'good faith,' (25 percent) 'size of business,' (60 percent) and 'history of previous violations.' (10 percent)"

Internal documents from U.S. Customs show that dramatically large fines may be cut sharply. Agency files released under AP's FOIA request listed, for example, a $60,911,316 "commercial fraud" assessment for one company -- but the case ended with a $15,000 collection by Customs. The company explained some paperwork was simply not in order: "no major problem."

So I guess I should have offered to pay $5 on my $75 ticket....It is real nice that we have to pay 100% of fines or fees (that we may not even deserve to get in the first place), while actual laws and regulations can be broken and violated by white collar criminals and corporations who poison the environment, endanger their workers or residents of the general area, only to get drastically reduced if they promise to "do better the next time".

Just another criminal giveaway to criminals by the criminals who are running this country into the ground.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Another nail in the "Straight Talk Express" coffin...

For someone that billed himself as the "maverick anti-republican establishment candidate", McCain has now completely sold the last remaining fiber of his rapidly deteriorating soul to the devils that run the republican party.

If all of the sucking up to Bu$hCo over the past few years wasn't enough, then how is he going to explain how ethical he is when he hires a key player in the Tom DeLay money laundering crimes as a top advisor to his PAC?

There was a time where I was genuinely worried that McCain, a wolf if wolf's clothing but calls himself a sheep, would be able to pull the wool over enough people's eyes to be a threat in 2008.

I no longer think that.

Of course, the Washington Post misses the biggest part of this story in their article, but we now have something that cuts right to the heart of the nonsensical "straight talk" crap that McCain has been peddling while doing everything he can to appease the lunatic fringe that is running the republican party.

But, according to Josh Marshall's crew at TPM, the story reported about Terry Nelson isn't that he is the former political director for Dear Leader, or that he is the former deputy chief of staff of the Republican National Committee.  No, the story here is that Mr. Campaign Finance Reform and "straight talker" is hiring someone to act as his top advisor who not only had a crucial role in the DeLay money laundering crimes, but also was named in the indictment.  

According to SourceWatch:

Nelson was RNC Deputy Chief of Staff when, on or about September 11, 2002, Jim Ellis requested and proposed that contributions from the Texans for a Republican Majority PAC (TRMPAC) be exchanged with the RNC and the Republican National State Elections Committee (RNSEC) for contributions to "several candidates for the Texas House of Representatives that were supported by" TRMPAC.

On September 13, 2002, Ellis delivered a check from TRMPAC for $190,000 and a list with 7 "names of several candidates" to Nelson. On October 4, 2002, the RNC and RNSEC issued checks to the 7 candidates itemized on the list provided by Ellis.

"The donations to each candidate were made on the same day two weeks after Texans for a Republican Majority, created by U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, sent $190,000 in corporate money to the RNC group.

"Under state law, DeLay's political committee could not legally give corporate donations to candidates."

Of course, team McCain's hearts are all aflutter with their new top advisor:
Of Nelson, McCain said: "Straight Talk is fortunate to have the strategic guidance of one of the country's most seasoned professionals."

A McCain adviser described Nelson as the "best bricklayer in the business" for his ability to build and implement a massive grass-roots political organization.

So now, McCain not only has to explain why, while the Gulf Coast drowned, he was posing for this photo with Dear Leader like two peas in a pod:

He also now has to explain how the "Straight Talk Express" can run with someone that enabled illegal money laundering schemes and undercut the one piece of legislation that he is known for.

To us, McCain was exposed as a fraud a long time ago.  To many others, even intelligent people, they still see him as "the reformer" from 2000.  This decision to hire a money launderer, along with his "let them eat cake" moment while thousands of people were stranded or dying, should be his political death sentence.

We must make sure of that.

Sweet 16: A Big East Feast

after the 0-3 start in round 1, I was getting a bit embarrassed for the Big East. Then the next 5 teams to play all won, leaving a respectable 5-3 showing.

But when Pitt got creamed in the 2nd round, and Nova and UConn both went down to the wire, it was looking like an ugly #1 seed embarrassment, twice over.

Of course, both UConn and Nova ended up winning, but the biggest of the Big East wins in the 2nd round belonged to my Hoyas - crushing #2 Ohio State, and not only left the Big 10 out of the Sweet 16 for the first time in years, but making 1/4 of the Sweet 16 teams from the Big East.

And a 9-4 record so far in the Tourney.

And leaving my final 4 still intact.

Go Hoyas!!!

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Delusion (n):

1: (psychology) an erroneous belief that is held in the face of evidence to the contrary 2: a mistaken or unfounded opinion or idea; "he has delusions of competence"; "his dreams of vast wealth are a hallucination"

3: the act of deluding; by creating illusory ideas

Over the past few days, both Dear Leader and Darth Cheney gave speeches discussing Iraq, the military, Medicare D, Afghanistan, NSA wiretapping and other areas. And as I read through the steaming pile of crap that they both served up, I couldn't help but remember George Costanza's great line, "it's not a lie if YOU believe it".

But then, the "reality based community" part of me kicked in and I realized that lying, while a wholly appropriate term, isn't the best to describe what these assclowns are.

Delusional is a much better term.

Witness a few choice examples of the great deluders at work:

I'll start you off with an easy one by Dear Leader:

You know, mine is an interesting job. I get to make a lot of decisions, and I have to rely on people to give me good, sound, steady advice. And Vice President Dick Cheney gives me good, sound, steady advice. The country is lucky to have him as the Vice President of the United States.
Let's start with the fact that every "decision" made (or made for him) has turned out to be a collosal and catastrophic mistake - see Iraq, Medicare D, lying to the American people, Congress, the UN and the world, cutting taxes on the very very rich at the expense of We the People, hell, see this for a littany of "sound decisions"...

Or how about this one from Colonel Blackheart himself:

The authorization the President made after September 11th helped address that problem in a manner that is fully consistent with the Constitution and with the legal authority of the President and the civil liberties of the American people. The activities conducted under this authorization have helped to detect and prevent possible terrorist attacks against our nation. They are within the President's authority under the Constitution and the laws of the land. And they are vital to the security of our country.

We are talking here about a wartime measure, limited in scope to surveillance associated with terrorists, and conducted in a way that safeguards the civil liberties of the American people.

Obviously, there has already been numerous legal issues with this and numerous legal challenges already. Even the Congressional Research Service issued a release indicating that:

"it appears unlikely that a court would hold that Congress has expressly or impliedly authorized the NSA electronic surveillance operations" and that the Administrations reliance on executive power was not "well-grounded."

The Liar-in-Chief:

We understand that if somebody harbors a terrorist, feeds a terrorist, houses a terrorist, they're equally as guilty as the terrorist, and they will be held to account.

But I guess it is ok if your father who also happened to be President pardoned a terrorist who was backed by the CIA and remains in the US.


We have faced, and we are facing today, enemies who hate us, who hate our country, and hate the liberties for which we stand. They dwell in the shadows, wear no uniform, have no regard for the laws of warfare, and feel unconstrained by any standards of morality.

You mean these liberties that were taken away by the Patriot Act? Or these liberties that the unconstitutional wiretapping is "protecting"? And the laws of laws that don't let you do this? Or this? Or this either? Or this, this and this...

More Chimpy delusions:

- "We have a strategy for victory in Iraq." Too bad noone thinks you do.

- "And we've got a strategy to train Iraqis so they can defend their freedom." Except for the fact that there are ZERO battalions ready to fight on their own.

- "My message to Debbie and the message from people here from the United States Congress is the same: We will complete the mission."But I thought that happened nearly three years ago.

- "But as we did so, we not only provided prescription drugs for our seniors, but we had a uniquely Republican idea as a part of that bill, and it said that we ought to give our seniors choices." Of course, no thought was given to the roll out, which predictably was a mess.

- "Thanks to the leadership of the people up here on this dais, the Patriot Act passed and the homeland is more secure." But last week, Republicans in Congress voted down a Democratic amendment that would increase port and homeland security as well as disaster funding where it is most needed and grossly underfunded.

- "If the tax relief is not made permanent, the American people will get a mighty tax increase they do not want and they do not deserve." But according to this study,

Half of all Americans will receive less than $100 from the tax cut in 2003, according to Citizens for Tax Justice. But Americans making $1 million or more will receive $93,500 from the tax cut, according the Tax Policy Center. [Further,] half of all Americans will receive less than $100 from the tax cut in 2003, according to Citizens for Tax Justice. But Americans making $1 million or more will receive $93,500 from the tax cut, according the Tax Policy Center.

So there it is, we have been calling them liars, which is clearly true. But when you are lying and you know you are lying, or if there is overwhelming and incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, the lies morph into delusions. And that leaves us stuck with a delusional President and a delusional Vice President.

Which is a pretty scary thought.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Roundup: Big East redemption edition

At least my Hoyas and Jen's Wildcats have made up for the embarrassing 0-3 start that the Big East got off to this week. Tough next game for G'Town who has Ohio State at a virtual home game in Dayton. Fucking NCAA selection committee.....

This is a bit much
. I wonder if they can ask him whose idea it was to make up a rumor that Paul was dead...

Let me guess....despite this, no Olympics medals in hockey AND basketball, we still have the best athletes in the world. Well, maybe so, but they are rich guys that don't really care about representing our great country.

Or maybe it is because of this?

Or this, this, this or this?

Now, I like Tiki, especially in fantasy leagues that give points for receptions, but this is just a dick thing to say.

What to do when your approval ratings hit the low 30s (and if you look at the question asking what word you would use to describe Dear Leader, "incompetent" came in first and "ass" came in 10th. I kid you not)? Stage a bombing campaign, of course.

21 US airports fail bomb screening test

Gee, I'm real glad I have to take off my shoes, unpack my computer, get patted down and have things like my shaving cream confiscated when I go to the airport.

And that is nothing compared to the horror stories that have been reported about people being detained indefinitely without charges, being molested by TSA employees and other disasters.

All in the name of "keeping us safer", right.

Yeah, right.....

As reported earlier today on Good Morning America, we find that undercover tests at 21 US airports resulted in a big fat F for the TSA and its molestation tactics when it comes to actually finding bomb parts. According to the test:

Government investigators conducting undercover tests at 21 U.S.airports were able to get bomb materials through screening machines at all of them, ABC News has learned.

The investigators sent through components of an improvised explosive device, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office, the watchdog arm of Congress.

These tests were actually ordered by Republican Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., who said he wanted to see "how penetrable the passenger screening system is to explosive devices."

Don't worry, says the TSA, because noone would think of smuggling bomb parts onto a plane or try to blow up a plane. And why try to address the colossal failure of the only thing that is being done at airports when you can just brush it aside as if there is nothing to see:

"While random items commonly found under a kitchen sink could conceivably be concocted into an IED, there are so many things that could go wrong with this hypothetical scenario that we find it highly implausible," [the TSA] said.

"Detecting explosive materials and IEDs at the checkpoint is TSA's top priority." The agency also said screeners are now receiving added training to help identify these materials.

But at least the TSA people were doing their job and that these materials still got through, right? Um, guess again:

In all 21 airports tested, no machine, no swab, no screener anywhere stopped the bomb materials from getting through. Even when investigators deliberately triggered extra screening of bags, no one discovered the materials.

Ok, maybe not....but at least the materials won't be able to do much damage or if so, they are too voluminous to not get noticed, right? Um....nope sorry:

Lee Hamilton, the vice chairman of the 9/11 commission, says the fact that so many airports failed this test is a hugely important story that the American traveler is entitled to know.

NBC News asked a bomb technician to gather the same materials and assemble an explosive device to determine its power. The materials for the bomb that exploded a car's trunk fit in the palm of one hand. NBC News showed the results to Leo West, a former FBI bomb expert. "Potentially, an explosion of that type could lead to the destruction of the aircraft," said West.

Homeland security. Protecting We the People.....more like protecting their own asses. What a joke, except that the joke is on us and none of us are laughing.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

"treason" vs. TREASON



1. Violation of allegiance toward one's country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one's country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.

2. The offense of attempting to overthrow the government of one's country or of assisting its enemies in war.

Just because we have seen this term thrown around so much lately by the fundies, the right wing noise machine, hell, even Senators and other elected officials, I figure that a definition is helpful. And of course, it is always interesting to see how the "reality based community" and the crazy lunatic fuckwad fringe wingnuts approach this term.


O'REILLY: Well, I have to say that she obviously does because she's the lead story on Michael Moore's Web site on an almost daily basis. And she knows -- I mean, Michael Moore isn't a subtle guy. Everybody knows where he stands.

So I mean, I think Mrs. Sheehan bears some responsibility for this and also for the responsibility of other American families who have lost sons and daughters in Iraq, who feel that this kind of behavior borders on treasonous.


Ginsburg revealed in a speech in South Africa last month that she and O'Connor were threatened a year ago by someone who called on the Internet for the immediate "patriotic" killing of the justices.

According to Ginsburg, someone in a Web site chat room wrote: "Okay commandoes, here is your first patriotic assignment ... an easy one. Supreme Court Justices Ginsburg and O'Connor have publicly stated that they use (foreign) laws and rulings to decide how to rule on American cases. This is a huge threat to our Republic and Constitutional freedom. ... If you are what you say you are, and NOT armchair patriots, then those two justices will not live another week."


"Has The New York Times declared itself to be on the front line in the war against the War on Terror? The self-styled paper of record seems to be trying to reclaim the loyalty of those radical lefties who ludicrously accused it of uncritically reporting on Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

"Yet the paper has done more than merely try to embarrass the Bush administration these last few months. "

It has published classified information -- and thereby knowingly blown the covers of secret programs and agencies engaged in combating the terrorist threat."

While the New York Post stopped short of calling the New York Times' actions treasonous, I for one won't. I believe that the Times should be investigated, prosecuted and suffer the consequences of their actions in a time of war.


Conservative commentator Ann Coulter, speaking at a traditionally black college, joked that Justice John Paul Stevens should be poisoned. Coulter had told the Philander Smith College audience Thursday that more conservative justices were needed on the Supreme Court to change the current law on abortion.

Stevens is one of the court's most liberal members. "We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee," Coulter said.


“This is a political stunt,” Frist said of Feingold’s resolution, after he walked on the Senate floor just before Feingold was about to speak.

“It is addressed at attacking the president of the United States when we’re at war, when the president is leading us with a program that is lawful, is constitutional, that is vital to the safety and security of the American people.”


Fox News host Bill O'Reilly declared on the November 8 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, "[I]f Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off-limits to you, except San Francisco."


On the December 7 edition of Christian Broadcasting Network's The 700 Club, host Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition of America, said Democratic criticism of the Iraq war "amounts to treason" and that "carping criticism ... just doesn't cut it."

TREASON (even more important now that the Iran war drums are beating)

Three intelligence officials who spoke under condition of anonymity told reporter Larisa Alexandrovna of The Raw Story that while Plame was undercover she was involved in an operation identifying and tracking weapons of mass destruction technology to and from Iran, suggesting that her outing "significantly hampered the CIA's ability to monitor nuclear proliferation".

They also stated that the outing of Plame also compromised the identity of other covert operatives who had been working, like Plame, under non-official cover status. These anonymous officials said that CIA work on WMDs has been set back "ten years" as a result of the compromise.

"treason" (have to get Dear Leader in here too - bonus for tying him to Joementum....)

Some are calling for a deadline for withdrawal. Many advocating an artificial timetable for withdrawing our troops are sincere -- but I believe they're sincerely wrong. Pulling our troops out before they've achieved their purpose is not a plan for victory. As Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman said recently, setting an artificial timetable would "discourage our troops because it seems to be heading for the door. It will encourage the terrorists, it will confuse the Iraqi people."

Senator Lieberman is right. Setting an artificial deadline to withdraw ould send a message across the world that America is a weak and an unreliable ally. Setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would send a signal to our enemies -- that if they wait long enough, America will cut and run and abandon its friends. And setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would vindicate the terrorists' tactics of beheadings and suicide bombings and mass murder -- and invite new attacks on America.


During an August 2002 interview, Ann Coulter told Gurley: "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."


Mr. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, has been leading his party's opposition to the war, calling it a "fraud" cooked up for political reasons. On Friday, Mr. Kennedy went further, accusing the president, in effect, of killing American troops through poor planning. "The tragedy is that our troops are paying with their lives because their commander in chief let them down," he said.

"He should be arrested and tried for treason," said Republican pollster Michael McKenna.

Funny how that word gets thrown around so, um, "liberally" by the right wing extremists. Something about projection or those who live in glass houses.

I'm just sayin'.....

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Deja Vu all over again

As we have heard quite a bit lately, Iran is getting nukes and is a grave threat to our national security. Second verse, same as the first (except for the last letter)....

And just as there were lies about Iraq's WMD capability, we now find that John Bolton is lying about Iran. Now, don't get me wrong, Iran's leader is a pretty fucked up dude, who wants Israel "wiped off the map".

But let's not go down the same road as we did with Iraq - lies, poor planning and a "yee-haw" attitude.

Gee, I'm real glad he is representing the US at the United Nations. What a jackass.

On (re)building the Democratic party

Cross posted at Daily Kos

Well here we go again....just as predicted and right on schedule. Once again, the national (Senate or House) Democrats have let the country down by not calling bullshit on the crimes of this administration, or by not being on the same page. And all that is parroted by the SCLM is that the "Democrats have no plan" or "Democrats fighting again".

So that leads to the just as predictable (and justified) anger at the incompetence and disarray that our leaders in DC are portraying. And unfortunately, it also leads to they typical "time to form a third party" call, "I'm not voting for anyone that didn't support {XYZ issue}" and "kick them all out".

While it is good to see this anger and passion, it really isn't anything other than counterproductive in the long haul. What needs to be done, and more importantly, what is going on right now because of us, is that the Democratic Party needs to be transformed or taken back and rebuilt. And as Rome wasn't built in a day, the disfunctional Democratic Party won't be rebuilt in a few months.

But the pendulum is swinging back in the right direction. Slowly - and to many, too slowly (especially since there are so many major crises in this country) but a lot has been done in a relatively short period of time.

For starters, and just a frame of reference here - by 2008 the Republicans will have held the White House for 28 of the last 40 years. However, between 1950 and 1994, the Democrats had control of the House the entire time, and controlled the Senate for all but 8 years.

Not only that, but the "conservative movement" has been around for quite a while. Pat Robertson's "Christian Coalition" was started back in 1989, but its roots go back to 1964. The "right wing noise machine" started back in the late 80's as well, with Rush Limbaugh's radio show being syndicated. Fox News was started in 1996. The neoconservative movement started back in the 1970's.

And the 1994 "Congressional revolution" was certainly helped by, yup, corruption on the Democratic side of the aisle.

So, what is my point? It took nearly 30 years to get from Point A to the decrepit state of affairs of the past few years. And as we have seen from many many poll numbers and other stories, many many many people are fed up with this. Ratings have declined for O'Reilly. Stations are cancelling Limbaugh. The masses are slowly waking up from their decades-long slumber.

Back in 2000, after 8 years of Clinton in the White House, a popular vote win by Gore and no real foreknowledge of the hell that was about to be wreaked upon this country and world, the Dems in DC thought that they were on the right track to stay competetive or take back one or both houses in 2002 or 2004.

The netroots weren't around back then. Air America wasn't around back then. Not many people even heard of Markos, let alone Daily Kos or other ways that the online community can reach out to each other and to our elected officials. Howard Dean wasn't a known name. The national Democratic party was a mess. There wasn't focus on local Democratic party infrastructure. Or running candidates in all jurisdictions, let alone good solid progressive ones.

And in a few short years, we have popular opinion turning against conservatism. We have people wanting a form of national health care. We have this little nugget from Gallup just out today:

The latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll finds the Democratic Party leading the Republican Party 55% to 39% among registered voters in the generic Congressional ballot. Gallup asks this question to get a sense of how people will vote in this year's elections for the U.S. House of Representatives.

This is the largest lead Democrats have held over Republicans in the 2006 campaign thus far, and the largest lead Democrats have enjoyed among registered voters in a midterm election since 1982.

We have politicians posting regularly on Daily Kos, and getting very good feedback. We have Dean putting the infrastructure in place to be competetive in all 50 states. We are running and have run progressive candidates in primaries or special elections in TX, OH, CT and have Iraq war veterans running in many jurisdictions as well. We have Air America in many many cities - certainly more in a shorter period of time than Rush Limbaugh and the RWNM. We have Kos' book about the rise of the netroots generating buzz and good reviews.

We have an online community at DKos (and other blogs) where activists, politicians, progressives young and old(er) come to give support, become active, learn about becoming active are coming together to help reshape the Democratic Party for the future. Hell, we have helped Joe Lieberman start to run scared!! We have teenagers and other "young Democrats" interested in getting involved in local politics or the local chapter of the Democratic party. Or even starting a "young Democrats" club or committee (we saw this diaried a few days ago).

A few years ago, the Dems in DC didn't know or care who We the People are - right, wrong or other. They didn't think that "politics as usual" was a bad thing. Hell, they may have actually thought that was what the masses wanted. But that has changed. Daily Kos is getting press. Some of the people in this community have been quoted. The RWNM is taking notice (and doing what they do best - mocking and flaming). But most of all, the Democrats in DC and around the country are taking notice.

Slowly, and certainly not as fast as any of us would like to. But the tide is turning. And while we haven't seen the big wins yet (hell, even Bill Clinton lost his first election in Arkansas), we have to recognize that the movement to reshape the Democratic party is well underway. And working. The "leaders" in DC aren't going to notice and change their ways immediately. It didn't happen with the republicans or the neoconservative movement, and it certainly won't happen here.

But it took them 30 years. It has been less than 5 for the progressive movement. And a lot has been accomplished in a short period of time. There was a helluva lot to do to reverse and rebuild the rubble that was the national Democratic Party, which really has been in steep decline for the past 10 -12 years.

We can be pissed. Hell, we SHOULD be pissed when we see this happening, especially since we have seen the damage done to this country in the last 5 years. And there is alot of work to do.

But to desert or not support/vote for any Dems that did or didn't do {X} or {Y} at all is completely counterproductive. The foundation is being laid for the reshaping of the Democratic Party. But we aren't going to get progressive candidates to beat Hillary, Schumer, Nelson (take your pick) or many other Dems right now. And they aren't going to step aside and let one run instead.

The first step is to take back Congress. As soon as this November, if possible (and the situation is right for it as well, even with all of the Congressional Democratic fuck ups and missteps). A Democrat as Majority Leader or Speaker of the House is much better than a Republican in that position. Regardless of who that Democrat is.

Then we can continue to get more progressive candidates to run in primaries, or in other elections. But without that first step, we aren't going to get to step 2. The "leaders" in DC certainly don't have a problem eating their own. Hopefully, they will be irrelevant in a few years (not the party but the people) as more progressives and a new generation takes over.

But we shouldn't be staying home on election day and let a less than ideal democrat lose. And starting a third party or even supporting a third party candidate in some instances is certainly not the way to reverse the horrific path that most of this country thinks we are on. Even a less than ideal Dem will vote for a Dem for majority leader (or Speaker of the House). And more importantly, the Committee leadership and legislative agenda will be controlled.

That, is way bigger than doing something stupid that will keep the Republicans in power and the status quo.

But things are moving in the right direction. It just takes patience.