Friday, March 03, 2006

Supporting George W. Bush is anti-American

Let me make it as clear as I can - if you still, today, after learning everything we currently know about George W. Bush, think he's a good man and a good President (forget elections, forget party affiliation, try and be human), then you, sir or madam, might as well go out and start murdering children and raping nuns, because you have no soul and there isn't a divine being one could conceive of who would forgive you. The king of the king of all hells won't even take your call anymore - he's sick of needing to shower just from talking to you.

To wit:

U.S. Cites Exception in Torture Ban
McCain Law May Not Apply to Cuba Prison

By Josh White and Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, March 3, 2006; Page A04

Bush administration lawyers, fighting a claim of torture by a Guantanamo Bay detainee, yesterday argued that the new law that bans cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees in U.S. custody does not apply to people held at the military prison.

In federal court yesterday and in legal filings, Justice Department lawyers contended that a detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, cannot use legislation drafted by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to challenge treatment that the detainee's lawyers described as "systematic torture."

Government lawyers have argued that another portion of that same law, the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, removes general access to U.S. courts for all Guantanamo Bay captives. Therefore, they said, Mohammed Bawazir, a Yemeni national held since May 2002, cannot claim protection under the anti-torture provisions.
When you reach a point where you're arguing in court for the right to torture another human being, you've crossed a line into a very dark place from which there is no return. If you still support this thing masquerading as a human, enjoy your visit to the black hole of evil, folks.

He embarrasses ALL of us


Ethnic groups:
Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtun (Pathan), Baloch, Muhajir (immigrants from India at the time of partition and their descendants)

Punjabi 48%, Sindhi 12%, Siraiki (a Punjabi variant) 10%, Pashtu 8%, Urdu (official) 8%, Balochi 3%, Hindko 2%, Brahui 1%, English (official and lingua franca of Pakistani elite and most government ministries), Burushaski, and other 8%


I believe that a democratic, prosperous Pakistan will be a steadfast partner for America, a peaceful neighbor for India and a force for freedom and moderation in the Arab world.

George W. Bush

For a much better take, see:

High crimes...

In 1974, the House Judiciary Committee examined the question of what constitutes a high crime or misdemeanor within the context of impeachment. From the excerpts below, you can see that the committee considered impeachment to be a political remedy to POLITICAL ABUSES rather than criminality.

Impeachment is a constitutional remedy addressed to serious offenses against the system of government. The purpose of impeachment under the Constitution is indicated by the limited scope of the remedy (removal from office and possible disqualification from future office) and by the stated grounds for impeachment (treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors). It is not controlling whether treason and bribery are criminal. More important, they are constitutional wrongs that subvert the structure of government, or undermine the integrity of office and even the Constitution itself, and thus are "high" offenses in the sense that word was used in English impeachments.

The framers of our Constitutional conspicuously adopted a particular phrase from the English practice to help define the consitutional grounds for removal. The content of the phrase "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" for the framers is to be related to what the framers knew, on the whole, about the English practice-- the broad sweep of English constitutional history and the vital role impeachment had played in the limitation of royal prerogative and the control of abuses of ministerial and judicial power.

While it may be argued that some articles of impeachment have charged conduct that constituted crime and thus that criminality is an essential ingredient, or that some have charged conduct that was not criminal and thus that criminality is not essential, the fact remains that in the English practice and in several of the American impeachments the criminality issue was not raised at all. The emphasis has been on the significant effects of the conduct-- undermining the integrity of office, disregard of constitutional duties and oath of office, arrogation of power, abuse of the governmental process, adverse impact on the system of government.

Clearly, these effects can be brought about in ways not anticipated by the criminal law. Criminal standards and crimnial courts were established to control individual conduct. Impeachment was evolved by Parliament to cope with both the inadequacy of criminal standards and the impotence of courts to deal with the conduct of great public figures. It would be anomalous if the framers, having barred criminal sanctions from the impeachment remedy and limited it to removal and possible disqualification from office, intended to restrict the grounds for impeachment to conduct that was criminal.

The longing for precise criteria is understandable; advance, precise definition of objective limits would seemingly serve both to direct future conduct and to inhibit arbitrary reaction to past conduct. In private affairs the objective is the control of personal behavior, in part through the punishment of misbehavior. In general, advance definition of standards respecting private conduct works reasonably well. However, where the issue is presidential compliance with the constitutional requirements and limitations on the presidency, the crucial factor is not the intrinsic quality of behavior but the significance of its effect upon our constitutional system or the functioning of our government.

Not all presidential misconduct is sufficient to constitute grounds for impeachment. There is a further requirement-- substantiality. In deciding whether this further requirement has been met, the facts must be considered as a whole in the context of the office, not in terms of separate or isolated events. Because impeachment of a President is a grave step for the nation, it is predicated only upon conduct seriously incompatible with either the constitutional form and principles of our government or the proper performance of constitutional duties of the presidential office.

You've got to start somewhere

Apparently, there is a little-known legal provision which allows state legislatures to ask the House of Representatives to impeach a President. I don't think it's binding, but none the less. From Rutland County Vermont:


WHEREAS, Section 603 of the Manual of the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives provides for impeachments to be initiated on a motion based on charges transmitted from a state legislature, and

WHEREAS, George W. Bush has committed high crimes and misdemeanors as he has repeatedly and intentionally violated the United States Constitution and other laws of the United States, particularly the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Torture Convention, which under Article VI of the Constitution is a treaty as part of the “supreme law of the land”,

WHEREAS, George W. Bush has acted to strip Americans of their constitutional rights by ordering indefinite detention of citizens, without access to legal counsel, without charge and without opportunity to appear before a civil judicial officer to challenge the detention, based solely on the discretionary designation by the President of a U.S. citizen as an “enemy combatant”, all in subversion of law, and

WHEREAS, George W. Bush has ordered and authorized the Attorney General to override judicial orders for the release of detainees under U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly INS) jurisdiction, even though the judicial officer after full hearing has determined that a detainee is held wrongfully by the Government, and

WHEREAS, George W. Bush has ordered at least thirty times the National Security Agency to intercept and otherwise record international telephone and other signals and communications by American citizens without warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, duly constituted by Congress in 1978, and designated certain U.S. citizens as “enemy combatants”, all in violation of constitutional guarantees of due process, and

WHEREAS George W. Bush has admitted that he willfully and repeatedly violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and boasted that he would continue to do so, each violation constituting a felony,

NOW THEREFORE the Rutland County Democratic Committee submits that his actions and admissions constitute ample grounds for his impeachment, and that the General Assembly of the State of Vermont has good cause for submitting charges to the U.S. House of Representatives under Section 603 as grounds for George W. Bush’s impeachment.

The County Committee further submits that Articles of Impeachment should charge that George W. Bush has violated his constitutional oath to execute faithfully the office of President and to the best of his ability to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

In all of this George W. Bush has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President, subversive of constitutional government to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of the State of Vermont and of the United States.

WHEREFORE, George W. Bush, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any offices of honor, trust or profit under the United States.

February 28, 2006

Adopted: February 28, 2006

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Vintage port

On the port thing--

Yes, there are many things not to like about Dubai Ports and the UAE. You can list things from 9/11 connections, the recognition of the Taliban, human trafficking, forced hormone treatments of homosexuals, boycotts of Israel, etc. etc.

Even with all that (and so much more unmentioned), we can miss a lot if we become absorbed in the "port security" angle. Let's face it--"port security" is practically an oxymoron (you saw On the Waterfront, right?) Containers are almost never inspected, and it honestly would be hard to imagine how security could be LESSENED from the status quo by having DP on site.

But what is really important here is that this is just more of the same--just more Bush corporate greed. Look at the connections:

First of all, we have the drunken, stupid, criminal embarrassing Bush...that would be NEIL Bush, whose latest pyramid sche---ooops, I mean "software venture", is heavily bankrolled from the UAE. And of course, Treasury Secretary John Snow has done HUGE business with the company in the past.

It also goes back to Shrub himself. Remember that he is the Texas "oil man" who couldn't find oil at Jiffy Lube. But yet he kept getting money for his failed ventures. And why? Well, he happened to be the son of the vice president, and by hard work, pluck and determination, gosh darn it, he became the son of the president! And guess who bankrolled part of his "oil" ventures? Why, look at the UAE.

It looks like the markers are being called in.

Beltway Legend?

Washington, DC (INN) Last week, as the situation in Iraq devolved closer and closer to civil war, President Bush received some bad news during a briefing by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was told that a Brazilian soldier had been killed and two others wounded by insurgent attacks on coalition troops in and around Baghdad. According to one witness, at first the president just stared into space, silently mouthing something. Then, he suddenly started wringing his hands while wailing and gnashing his teeth. This display took several of the seasoned military leaders by surprise, leading one to ask the president what was wrong. Again, according to the witness, the president, with a pained and ashen look on his face, repeatedly mumbled, "That's three Brazilian soldiers...three Brazilian soldiers." At this point, another member of the staff was said to have told the president that the casualties were tragic but unavoidable and that men had served their country well and with honor.
To which Bush was reportedly quoted as saying, "Well that's all well and good, but the American people will never stand for these kinds of losses, and with my popularity at an all-time low this latest news will just give credence to what all the liberals have been saying - that I'm not engaged, that I'm not smart enough to lead this country through this perilous time. And will someone please tell me: just how much is a brazilion?"

Mr. President, that is what we in the reality based community call a lie

Yes. You are a liar.

"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did anticipate a serious storm. But these levees got breached. And as a result, much of New Orleans is flooded. And now we are having to deal with it and will."

"I also make absolutely clear to everyone that there is the potential for a large loss of life in the coastal areas from the storm surge" and "I don't think anybody can tell you with any confidence right now whether the levees will be topped or not, but that's obviously a very very grave concern."

The first quote is from an interview the liar in chief did with ABC a few days after Hurricane Katrina hit. You know, the one he did after he left Crawford, played guitar in San Diego, and flew over the devastation in Air Force One. The second and third quotes are from a meteorologist named Max Mayfield, and they're from a briefing that he gave the liar in chief only 19 hours before Katrina hit. Crooks and Liars has the video, which is being distributed by the AP.

The profoundly incurious liar in chief failed to ask any questions during the briefing, which even shows Michael Brown attempting to act like someone with a brain.

Of course, Karl and the boys need to respond. During the congressional hearings, questions were asked about a meeting that supposedly took place before the meeting on video. There's more, in a well-presented piece at The Moderate Voice. It is a response filled with more lies, deceit, and a pathetic attempt at covering their asses, which requires them to lie to congress, the American people, and to history in different ways at different times.

I still have yet to find words that convey my rage at the abysmal and deplorable failures of leadership that took place related to that hurricane. Mr. President, the danger was known to you and yet you did nothing. You promised help that didn't come. You ignored advice from those who you are supposed to trust. You gave platitudes to the American public that you knew were bold-faced lies. Would immediate action hours before the hurricane have prevented loss of life in their entirety? No, of course not. But how many lives could have been saved? One? A few? We'll never know, of course. However, I think an appropriate punishment for you, sir, in the afterlife, should their be one, would be for you to be eternally waterboarded by those who did die whom you could have saved.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Little Dance

How my undergraduate alma mater made it into the NCAA's "Little Dance"…

61-Foot Shot That Sent Men to NCAA Basketball Tourney is ESPN's 'Play of the Day'

Cognitive dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is a psychological phenomenon which refers to the discomfort felt at a discrepancy between what you already know or believe, and new information or interpretation. It therefore occurs when there is a need to accommodate new ideas, and it may be necessary for it to develop so that we become "open" to them. If someone is called upon to learn something which contradicts what they already think they know--particularly if they are committed to that prior knowledge--they are likely to resist the new learning.

CASE STUDY: "We're helping Iraqis build a strong democracy so old resentments will be eased and the insurgency marginalized. On the economic side, we're continuing reconstruction efforts and helping Iraqis build a modern economy so all Iraqi citizens can experience the benefits of freedom. And on the security side, we're striking terrorist targets, and at the same time, training Iraqis which are becoming increasingly capable of carrying the fight to the enemy. Our strategy in Iraq is, as the Iraqis stand up, we'll stand down."

The military revises estimated number of trained Iraqi battalions downward

Downward from their previous estimate of one.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Baghdad Bob, or your old Uncle Morty?

I really am trying to figure the president out. He keeps giving us things like
"Iraq, though, does have a thriving free press, with hundreds of independent newspapers and magazines and talk radio shows where Iraqis openly debate the future course of their country. In spite of the difficulties, Iraq does have a emerging free market with an independent central bank, and thousands of small businesses operating across the country. Iraq is building an independent judiciary that is replacing the rule of a tyrant with the rule of law. .....And we're helping Iraqis build a strong democracy so old resentments will be eased and the insurgency marginalized. On the economic side, we're continuing reconstruction efforts and helping Iraqis build a modern economy so all Iraqi citizens can experience the benefits of freedom."

Does this man even read a newspaper? Watch the 10/11 o'clock news? Has he heard that talk radio `or newspaper publication is difficult when you electricity? How does that "central bank" work without power, other than in the green zone with all of the graft money?

He talks about building a "strong democracy" when even George Will says there is no government. He says that "free elections" are a first step while an introductory political science class would tell you that elections EMERGE from self-government, they don't begin it.

And has he read his own budget that cuts off the "reconstruction" money?

Focus for a second not on the "administration," but on the man--a not very bright, coasted through every scrape "man" and just ask what is he thinking?

Is he a shameless liar? Is he Baghdad Bob, willing to say anything to promote the cause? Or is he your old Uncle Morty, who keeps telling the same stories over and over and for a while you politely listen?

He is the most pathetic president ever.

Dueling dispatches

BIZARRO WORLD, Feb. 24--Critics argue that our policies of promoting democracy are backfiring and destabilizing the region. I strongly disagree.

BAGHDAD, Feb. 27 -- Grisly attacks and other sectarian violence unleashed by last week's bombing of a Shiite Muslim shrine have killed more than 1,300 Iraqis, making the past few days the deadliest of the war outside of major U.S. offensives, according to Baghdad's main morgue. The toll was more than three times higher than the figure previously reported by the U.S. military and the news media.

Hundreds of unclaimed dead lay at the morgue at midday Monday -- blood-caked men who had been shot, knifed, garroted or apparently suffocated by the plastic bags still over their heads. Many of the bodies were sprawled with their hands still bound -- and many of them had wound up at the morgue after what their families said was their abduction by the Mahdi Army, the Shiite militia of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

"After he came back from the evening prayer, the Mahdi Army broke into his house and asked him, 'Are you Khalid the Sunni infidel?' " one man at the morgue said, relating what were the last hours of his cousin, according to other relatives. "He replied yes and then they took him away."

Those coattails are going to be awfully small in November

Poll: Bush Ratings At All-Time Low

NEW YORK, Feb. 27, 2006

(CBS) The latest CBS News poll finds President Bush's approval rating has fallen to an all-time low of 34 percent, while pessimism about the Iraq war has risen to a new high.

Americans are also overwhelmingly opposed to the Bush-backed deal giving a Dubai-owned company operational control over six major U.S. ports. Seven in 10 Americans, including 58 percent of Republicans, say they're opposed to the agreement.

CBS News senior White House correspondent Jim Axelrod reports that now it turns out the Coast Guard had concerns about the ports deal, a disclosure that is no doubt troubling to a president who assured Americans there was no security risk from the deal.
For the first time in this poll, most Americans say the president does not care much about people like themselves. Fifty-one percent now think he doesn't care, compared to 47 percent last fall.

The latest CBS poll

Note Doc's post above about the CBS poll and the 34% approval rating.

What I want to know is...who are these 34%? So I have narrowed it down, I think, with one more poll question.

If you continue to support the president, please identify which statement below best describes you:

I am

a) a billionaire CEO who (like Ebenezer Scrooge) believes that the poor should die quickly to "decrease the surplus population;"

b) a simplistic fool fascinated by small shiny objects;

c) a religious fanatic who decides not to mow the lawn today because "the rapture's a'comin" [NOTE--one can be BOTH (b) and (c)--and (d) for that matter!]


d) Laura Bush.

How right you were, Mr. Adams....

I have been reading H.W. Brand's new biography of Andrew Jackson. He begins with a reluctant and grim John Quincy Adams about to leave the White House as Jackson comes to power. The younger Adams remembers his father's desire to "keep power out of the hands of the unlettered and incompetent."

See below.

Meanwhile, back in Frostbite Falls...

Monday, February 27, 2006

Only on Fox News..


Douse the Olympic flame--permanently

The Olympics are gone--finally.

Good riddance.

I heard that the closing ceremonies were going to have a circus theme. Perfect--the bobsled crews and the lugers can join the dog-faced boy and the bearded lady and other denizens of the freak show and get back on the train out of town.

I have been wondering why exactly I have had such animus this time around for this over-indulgent spectacle. First of all--who cares about these "sports?" Please don't expect me to awaken from 3 years and 50 weeks of blissfully not knowing that a "skeleton" is anything more than a collection of bones with two weeks of "U-S-A--U-S-A"' frenzy.

That's another problem, the phony jingoism. I certainly don't care about some obscure winter sport just because the "Americans" are competing. It was fun in 1980 when our scrappy Olympians were competing against the international bad guys. Unfortunately--WE'RE the international bad guy now.

And NBC or whoever has to understand the realities of the Internet age. If this is "sport," you just can't be compelling on tape delay. It is IMPOSSIBLE to avoid knowing the outcome, and what is sport without the aspect of winning and losing? If it is not sport, but rather pageantry and drama--I've got better things to do.

Goodbye, Olympics. If you come back, try not to disturb me--OK?

Attention all rats: Please leave the sinking ship in an orderly fashion, no jumping, please!

"One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed."

Just another cranky liberal who hates our glorious president, right?

Guess again. That is none other than William F. Buckley.

I believe I can bear this agony with much grace

NEW YORK ( - Former Enron Chairman and CEO Ken Lay has seen his personal fortune eaten away by the collapse of the energy trader and his legal problems, and he could be forced to file for bankruptcy protection, according to a published report.

The New York Times reported that Lay's stated net worth is now less than $650,000, down from as much as $400 million before Enron's downfall in 2001.

Awww, poor Kenny Boy. Of course, he'll never truly be broke, not with the contacts he has, but it would be wonderful to see him working the night shift at WalMart after flipping burgers all day just so that he could eat, like the people he and his buddies screwed over. Few deserve a good case of schadenfreude up the ol' giggy more than Lay and his partners.

Programming note from Fox News

Fox News announced that they are seeking a replacement for "liberal" host Alan Colmes. Apparently, Fox is seeking a host that will speak more often, participate more and challenge conservative Sean Hannity more often than does the timid Colmes. The finalists for the position include:

Deceased mime Marcel Marceau

Silent comic Teller

Semaphore flagmen

and random human infants

We have been advised that both Silent Bob and "Silent Cal" Coolidge have withdrawn from consideration.


Army to pay KBR for most disputed Iraq costs: NYT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Army has decided to reimburse a Halliburton Co. subsidiary for nearly all of the $263 million in disputed costs over a contract to deliver fuel and repair oil equipment in
Iraq, the New York Times reported on Monday.

Citing Army officials, the Times said the military had decided to pay Halliburton engineering and construction unit Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) all but $10 million of the costs which Pentagon auditors had identified as potentially inflated or unsupported by documentation.

Halliburton, formerly led by Vice President Dick Cheney, has been criticized for its work in Iraq, particularly for some contracts awarded on a "no-bid" or noncompetitive basis.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Worth a look...

Take a look at

Remember, since it is based on appropriations, these are only the costs they've admitted to.

Look also at the opportunity costs on the site--education, housing, etc.

A pretty picture from last week's gun discussion

Shown below is the historic "Magazine" building from Williamsburg:

Ah a lovely and idyllic spot. And here is the informative historical caption to the photo:
The spark that ignited the Revolution in Virginia was struck where the colony stored its gunpowder, the Magazine in the middle of Williamsburg. The night of April 20, 1775, Lieutenant Henry Collins stole toward the capital with a squad of royal marines from the H.M.S. Magdalen anchored in Burwell's Bay on the James River. Their orders, straight from Governor Dunmore, were to empty the arsenal and disable the muskets stored there.

Wait, wait, there must be some mistake. Muskets stored COLLECTIVELY? How could that happen, because the colonies were all about INDIVIDUAL ownership?

Damn pesky facts.

But wait, there's more:

In 1715 he (the governor) had erected a tall octagonal tower admired by a visitor, Sir William Keith, as "an elegant safe Magazine, in the Centre of Williamsburgh." [Governor] Spotswood also designed Bruton Parish Church and landscaped the Governor's Palace. His Magazine safeguarded shot, powder, flints, tents, tools, swords, pikes, canteens, cooking utensils, and as many as 3,000 Brown Bess flintlocks--equipment needed for defense against Indians, slave revolts, local riots, and pirate raids.

Just think--3,000 muskets held COLLECTIVELY for the MILITIA.

Damn pesky facts.

The flip side of "I told you so."

Reflecting on the post below......

Three years ago, I sent a note to a mailing list I belong to (and Doc Magoo can verify this) in which I argued that Saddam Hussein posed no imminent threat, and I also rather accurately predicted that W's imminent invasion of Iraq would end up as the nightmare it has become.

I say that not to show that I am Nostradamus or a particularly insightful pundit--I say that because it was SO DAMNED EASY to see this train wreck dead ahead. I'm no Middle Eastern or geopolitical specialist (American constitutional and Civil War history is my area), but with some general background and a little common sense, anyone could have predicted the horrific result we've spawned--talk about your low-hanging fruit. My question is, if it was so easy for me to see--

1) Why did our supposed "free press" fail so miserably? Myriad reasons, but primarily they let themselves be bullied, bought and sold. They think, if I ask a hard question, I won't get access. Judy Miller of the New York Times was so damned happy that the White House returned her calls that she turned the "newspaper of record" into the White House PR firm. I can just see her as Sally Field saying "They like me, they really like me!" If it was up to me, she would still be rotting in prison--and

2) What the hell happened to Congressional Democrats? They can try to weasel out by saying that "we didn't see all the intelligence" or claim that the books were otherwise cooked, but folks, how about exercising a little independent judgment and as I said above, a little common sense? Why didn't more of you have the guts to say, "Excuse me, but this is bullshit?"

Oh, that's right, I remember. You were afraid. You were afraid that Karl Rove would say mean things about you and call you "weak on defense." You had a chance to at least voice your opposition to the worst foreign policy disaster in perhaps all of American history and you blew it. You meekly went along and now you have to do this agonizing contortionist routine to maintain a phony consistency while American soldiers, and perhaps America itself, are dying.

Sometimes I really do hate to say "I told you so."

We must destroy Iraq in order to save it...

Robert Dreyfuss has a thoughtful piece over at

With Iraq perched at the very precipice of an ethnic and sectarian holocaust, the utter failure of the Bush administration’s policy is revealed with starkest clarity. Iraq may or may not fall into the abyss in the next few days and weeks, but what is no longer in doubt is who is to blame: If Iraq is engulfed in civil war then Americans, Iraqis and the international community must hold President Bush and Vice President Cheney responsible for the destruction of Iraq. The CIA, the State Department, members of Congress and countless Middle East experts warned Bush and Cheney—to no avail—that toppling Saddam could unleash the demons of civil war.

I certainly have no quarrel with anything he said there. I would just like to add that beyond intelligence experts and Middle Eastern scholars, anyone who had taken a 100-level course in world history would have seen this result as a virtual certainty. Any observer not deluded by neocon fantasies realized that Iraq was a pressure cooker with a roiling, toxic soup inside that was kept in place by a tightly-clamped lid.

You know what happens if the pressure cooker lid is removed--right?