Which Issues Is Bush Running On?

I've been trying to get a grip on this myself. Obviously Rove is going with his ridiculous "wartime president" hoakum, but what about the issues? To discover which issues Bush&Co feel strongly about, look no further than the White House website:

Making America Safer

America is safer today because of the decisive action and leadership of President Bush. The President will not allow the nation to return to a sense of false security and complacency. (False security and complacency? You mean like when we had a President and intelligence community that were actually focused on terrorism?)

Jobs & Economic Growth

In his 2004 State of the Union Address, President Bush announced Jobs for the 21st Century - more than $500 million for a series of measures to better prepare current and future workers for jobs in the new millennium. (So far Bush has been pretty good at losing jobs. In fact, he's the best since Hoover. And let me guess where these supposed "new millennium" jobs will be -- Walmart? And don't forget, Bush says that working in fast food counts as manufacturing!)

Progress in Iraq

In his 2004 State of the Union, President Bush said, "Last January, Iraq's only law was the whim of one brutal man. Today our coalition is working with the Iraqi Governing Council to draft a basic law, with a bill of rights. We're working with Iraqis and the United Nations to prepare for a transition to full Iraqi sovereignty by the end of June." (I can't wait to see how that works.)

Strengthening Healthcare

The rapidly rising cost of health care is the main reason why millions of Americans lack health insurance today. To make insurance more affordable, the President proposed measures to address rising healthcare costs and help more Americans afford insurance. (I can't even decipher what the hell they mean by this one! What "measure" has Bush proposed that would make health insurance more affordable? Bush had this to say back in January:

"Fortunately, the positive news is that we've got the best health care system in the world. And we need to keep it that way. We need to keep it that way by keeping the private market strong, by resisting efforts that are happening in Washington, D.C., to say the federal government should be running health care. See, we don't believe that. I don't believe it. I believe the best health care system is that health care system generated in the private markets. "


President Bush's plan will improve the quality of education at our Nations middle and high schools and better prepare students for success in higher education and the job market - including $100 million to help striving readers and $120 million to improve math education. (Just like he did in Texas, right?)
Most offensive quote by the Bush Administration? The envelope please ...

The winner today is Karen Hughes!

Bush advisor Karen Hughes on CNN (re: today's March on Washington for reproductive freedom) equating women who are pro-choice to al Qaeda terrorists:
"I think that after September 11, the American people are valuing life more and we need policies to value the dignity and worth of every life ... particularly at a time when we're facing an enemy and, really, the fundamental issue between us and the terror network we fight is that we value every life."
There is debate in Islam about whether abortion should be allowed, but many Islamic fundamentalists agree with Ms. Hughes that abortion is murder.

How can Ms. Hughes equate a woman wanting choice over her body with a terrorist crashing a plane into a building?
I remember hearing about the Tillman brothers last Thanksgiving. Paul Beston wrote in The American Spectator last December about "The NFL’s Lonely Hero."
Pat Tillman was the starting strong safety for the Arizona Cardinals when the 9/11 attacks occurred. He played out the 2001 season and then with his brother Kevin, a former minor league baseball player, enlisted in the Army Rangers. In doing so, Tillman walked away from a three-year, $3.6 million dollar contract with the Cardinals for an $18,000 salary and plentiful opportunities to get his head shot off. That hasn't happened yet, and God willing it won't. But the pay cut kicked in right away.
It seems that God wasn't willing. Tillman was killed in Afghanistan this week. White House spokesman Taylor Gross spoke for President Bush today:
"Pat Tillman was an inspiration both on and off the football field. As with all who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror, his family is in the thoughts and prayers of President and Mrs. Bush."
But don't expect George to attend Tillman's funeral, or that of any other soldier he's sent overseas to make the "ultimate sacrifice."

* * *

You probably know by now about the husband and wife working in Kuwait who were fired after the wife's photograph of coffins draped in US flags turned up in their local paper, or the website that published similar coffin photos after a Freedom of Information Act request. What you probably didn't know is that one network has yet to show these images. Guess who? FOX. I guess on some level they recognize that President Bush is responsible for the deaths of US soldiers serving needlessly in a conflict that he created, just so he could run as a "wartime president."

Correction: FOX did eventually show the coffin photo, but with a predictably pro-Bush slant on the story, "Bush Concerned About Privacy on Coffin Photos."
What Are 4 Points Worth?

Today's San Francisco Chronicle ran the front page, bottom-of-the-fold story, "Bad news not hurting Bush in polls."
It is hard to imagine a worse month of news for President Bush's re-election efforts than the past four weeks: 100 Americans killed in Iraq, chaos in Fallujah and wrenching public questions about the administration's pre-Sept. 11, 2001, intelligence failures.
Go on to read the story and you'll find that Bush's numbers against Kerry have gone up in the last month by 4 points, from 44% to 48% against Kerry's 48% to 43% decline.

What you'll miss unless you continue reading on page A4 is the real reason why Bush's numbers have gone up, albeit slightly.
Democrats were quick to point to Bush's $50 million advertising blitz, his domination of the news over the past several weeks and a natural post-primary cooling in support for Kerry as explanations for the president's continued strong standing in the polls. An analysis of cable news networks starting the day after California's March 2 primary through last week found that stations devoted 12 hours and 11 minutes to live coverage of Bush as compared with three hours and 47 minutes for Kerry.
$50 million for 4 points! Go ahead and spend your money, BushCo. You're still going to lose in November.
What Does Bush Have To Hide?

Why is Bush even bothering to appear before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States?

He can't answer questions without help from "Vice" President Dick Cheney. And he will not be answering questions under oath, so he is free to lie, I suppose. Not that oaths have ever stopped him from lying before. And his appearance will be made behind closed doors, so the American people won't be allowed to determine on their own whether Bush and Cheney are trustworthy.

Former US Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman has said:
"If Bush refuses to answer reasonable questions in public, the indelible impression is left that he has something to hide. That impression is reinforced by the White House's insistence that Vice President Cheney sit with Bush at the hearing. The President cannot afford to convey the image that he is afraid to appear on his own. And neither the 9/11 Commission nor the public should permit a behind-closed-door session for anything except national security information. The same principle should have applied to the testimony of former President Bill Clinton."
Bush Is Now Officially Impeachable

I hate to admit it, but I'm beginning to agree with those who are calling for the impeachment of President Bush. I've tried to resist the petty desire for vengance, to pay the Republicans back for their indecent impeachment of President Clinton. I've tried to remind myself that impeachment is an extraordinary action that our nation has undertaken just twice in its history. But the more I think about it, the more I agree with Ralph Nader:

"When you plunge our country into war on a platform of fabrications and deceptions, and you bring back thousands of American soldiers who are sick, injured or dead, and that war is unconstitutionally authorized to begin with, Mr. Bush's behavior qualifies for the high crimes and misdemeanor impeachment clause of the Constitution."

"Lying under oath is not a trivial offense, but it cannot compare with deceiving the American people night after night after night on national television, staging untruths and rejecting the advice of his advisers."
Nader said this before watching 60 Minutes last night. Bob Woodward talked with Mike Wallace on tonight's 60 Minutes about his new book, "Plan of Attack," and added to the mounting evidence that should eventually lead to the impeachment of Bush & Cheney.
"Rumsfeld and Franks work out a deal essentially where Franks can spend any money he needs. And so he starts building runways and pipelines and doing all the preparations in Kuwait, specifically to make war possible,” says Woodward.

“Gets to a point where in July, the end of July 2002, they need $700 million, a large amount of money for all these tasks. And the president approves it. But Congress doesn't know and it is done. They get the money from a supplemental appropriation for the Afghan War, which Congress has approved. …Some people are gonna look at a document called the Constitution which says that no money will be drawn from the Treasury unless appropriated by Congress. Congress was totally in the dark on this."

* * *

Did Mr. Bush ask his father for any advice? “I asked the president about this. And President Bush said, ‘Well, no,’ and then he got defensive about it,” says Woodward. “Then he said something that really struck me. He said of his father, ‘He is the wrong father to appeal to for advice. The wrong father to go to, to appeal to in terms of strength.’ And then he said, ‘There's a higher Father that I appeal to.’"
When we impeach Bush, his appeals to his 'higher Father' will fall on deaf ears, I'm certain. Incidentally, can we impeach Bush & Cheney together?

... For those who missed Bush's hilarious press conference last week, he told a great lie about mustard gas found on a turkey farm, "Bush Makes Three Mistakes While Trying to Cite One." Calling them "mistakes" is euphemistic. Call a spade a spade.

... In case the impeachment movement can't gather steam in the Republican-led Congress, there is always the election: "Bush's beatability factor". I find it disturbing and sad that many Americans actually think that Bush is doing a great job and deserves to be elected in November. If the impeachment fails, we should at least send his dumb ass back to Crawford.

Tax Day is Raid the Treasury Day for Bush&Co

President Bush took the opportunity today to once again call for making his tax cuts permanent. If there is one issue that Americans are not strongly divided on, but should be, it's taxation. There is little substantial argument over taxes. Both Democrats and Republicans have found that tax cuts go over well with voters. Their differences lie in how federal revenues should be spent, whether it's using the Army or "civilian contractors" in Iraq, whether its having social services or faith-based initiatives provide for the poor, whether its social welfare or corporate welfare. Everybody wants something from the government, and everyone seems to love tax cuts, even when they know that the rich are getting richer at the public's expense. When our lawmakers are being bought and sold by the wealthiest among us, why should we expect otherwise?

Let me make this point clear: I like paying taxes! Yes, I do. You see, the more money I make, the more I pay in taxes. It's quite simple, really. This is how we keep score. A higher rate of taxation lets me know that I'm getting ahead, and therefore have a greater responsibility to contribute to the greater good.

What I resent is that many people think that government should be paid for by poor and middle class Americans. What I resent is being sold a false bill of goods. I resent that Bush proposes tax cuts even while waging a war that costs us $1 billion a week, even while deficits are soaring. I resent being told that my federal income tax is being cut, but that my state, local and sales taxes are increasing. I resent that the rich manage to pay much less than they should thanks to unscrupulous accountants and a tax code that is written on their behalf. I resent that American corporations are getting tax breaks for sending jobs overseas. I resent that 70% of American corporations pay no federal taxes at all. I resent that George & Laura Bush got a tax cut of $30,858, while Dick and Lynne Cheney paid $88,047 less in taxes this year. The Vice President paid a tax rate of just 13.1% on his income. Guess who makes up the difference? (And yes, John Kerry got a tax cut, too.)

I understand that we live in a wonderful, free society, and that costs money. We have good roads and clean water and the best national parks system in the world, and those things cost money. We have the world's strongest military, and that costs money. We have an agricultural industry that can feed the world several times over, and that costs money. And we all should pay our fair share. But Bush&Co think the Treasury Department is their own personal bank account, to withdraw funds from as they see fit. They say they're cutting their taxes to help the economy, to create jobs, or even that they've earned it, but we know better. They're just greedy. (Isn't greed a venial sin, Mr Bush?)

There are things we can and should do better as a society, and these things cost money, such as providing universal health care, or rebuilding what was once the world's greatest public school system. We can do these things, but they will cost money. And for that I gladly pay my taxes, as any patriotic American should.

A review of Fixing Elections by Steven Hill

Have you ever read a book and thought, "I wish they would make this required reading for students?". "Fixing Elections" is one of those books. Hill argues, quite eloquently, that we're not a lazier, less civic-minded people than our grandparents were, or our great great grandparents were for that matter. Voting just seems pointless to many citizens because they recognize the truth: their votes really DON'T count.

His premise is that a vote for Nader may have been a wasted vote, but so was a vote for Gore in solidly GOP Texas, or Bush in Democratic New York, where the state's winner was a foregone conclusion. In legislatures, rigged district lines render impotent the votes of millions of Americans, Democrat, Republican and independent alike. Democrats in safe GOP legislative districts all across the West and South, and GOP voters in safe urban Democratic districts, have become "orphaned voters" with nowhere to turn, no less than third party supporters everywhere. Entire regions of the country are becoming balkanized political monocultures, dominated by one political party or the other as the political landscape fragments into the "Red and Blue America" that emerged during Election 2000.

Hill argues that our current political system is at the root of many of our worst political problems, including:

  • Single-digit voter turnout in elections all across the nation (my hometown of Dallas had 5% vote for mayor last election)
  • A Congress that doesn't look or think like America
  • National policy dangerously adrift from public opinion
  • A president who won with less than a popular majority, and fewer votes than his main opponent
  • A growing divide between city-dwellers and middle-America
  • Bitter national division and regional fragmentation that haven't been seen since the 1960s
  • Political consultants producing McCampaigns of poll-tested blandness
  • Campaign tricks and tactics (polling, focus groups, and the 30 second TV spot) sinisterly suited to Winner Take All's "divide and conquer" incentives
  • An alarming loss of innovative political ideas
For me the book is a refreshing blueprint to resurrect our Founders' democratic vision and, for better or worse (ignorance is bliss), it changed the way I think about American politics.
The War President

In case you couldn't stomach watching President Bush's inept performance last night, here are two typical answers he gave reporters.
I don't plan on losing my job. I plan on telling the American people that I've got a plan to win the war on terror. And I believe they'll stay with me. They understand the stakes.

Look, nobody likes to see dead people on their television screens. I don't. It's a tough time for the American people to see that. It's gut-wrenching.

One of my hardest parts of my job is to console the family members, who've lost their life. It's a chance to hug and weep and to console, and to remind the loved ones that the sacrifice of their loved one was done in the name of security for America and freedom for the world.

One of the things that's very important, Judy, at least as far as I'm concerned, is to never allow our youngsters to die in vain. And I made that pledge to their parents. Withdrawing from the battlefield of Iraq would be just that, and it's not going to happen under my watch.

The American people may decide to change. That's democracy. I don't think so. I don't think so. And I look forward to making my case. I'm looking forward to the campaign.

Now's the time to talk about winning this war on terror. Now's the time to make sure that the American people understand the stakes and the historic significance of what we're doing.

And no matter where they may stand on this war, the thing I appreciate most about our country is the strong support given to the men and women in uniform. And it's vital support. It's important for those soldiers to know America stands with them, and we weep when they die, and we're proud of the victories they achieve.

One of the things I'm also proud of is what I hear from our soldiers. As I mentioned, I pinned the Purple Heart on some of the troops at the hospital there at Fort Hood, Texas. A guy looks at me and says, I can't wait to get back to my unit and fulfill the mission, Mr. President.

The spirit is incredible. Our soldiers who have volunteered to go there understand the stakes, and I'm incredibly proud of them.
* * *

Look, I can understand why people in my administration are anguished over the fact that people lost their life. I feel the same way. I mean, I'm sick when I think about the death that took place on that day. And as I mentioned, I've met with a lot of family members, and I do the best to console them about the loss of their loved one.

As I mentioned, I oftentimes think about what I could have done differently. I can assure the American people that had we had any inkling that this was going to happen, we would have done everything in our power to stop the attack.

Here's what I feel about that: The person responsible for the attacks was Osama bin Laden. That's who's responsible for killing Americans. And that's why we will stay on the offense until we bring people to justice.
Where is the outrage? Where is the disgust? Where are the calls for impeachment? Or don't Bush's actions rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors? Meanwhile 683 servicemen and women are dead, and that number is growing.
What Have They Ever Done?

While the nation is focused on the self-righteous and self-serving testimony given by John Ashcroft to the 9-11 Commission today, and the inane and ham-handed press conference given by George Bush just minutes ago, I'd like to share an anecdote involving Aaron McGruder, creator of the popular comic strip “The Boondocks," at The Nation's hundred-and-thirty-eighth birthday party last December.
He told the guests that he’d called Condoleezza Rice, the national-security adviser, a mass murderer to her face; what had they ever done? (The Rice exchange occurred in 2002, at the N.A.A.C.P. Image Awards, where McGruder was given the Chairman’s Award; Rice requested that he write her into his strip.) He recounted a lunch meeting with Fidel Castro. (He had been invited to Cuba by the California congresswoman Barbara Lee, who is one of the few politicians McGruder has praised in “The Boondocks.”) He said that noble failure was not acceptable. But the last straw came when he “dropped the N-word,” as one amused observer recalled. He said—bragged, even—that he’d voted for Nader in 2000. At that point, according to Hamilton Fish, the host of the party, “it got interactive.”

Eric Alterman, a columnist for The Nation, was sitting in the back of the room, next to Joe Wilson, the Ambassador. He shouted out, “Thanks for Bush!” Exactly what happened next is unclear. Alterman recalls that McGruder responded by grabbing his crotch and saying, “Try these nuts.” Jack Newfield, the longtime Village Voice writer, says that McGruder simply dared Alterman to remove him from the podium. When asked about this incident later, McGruder said, “I ain’t no punk. I ain’t gonna let someone shout and not go back at him.”

Alterman walked out. “I turned to Joe and said, ‘I can’t listen to this crap anymore,’” he remembers. “I went out into the Metropolitan Club lobby—it’s a nice lobby—and I worked on my manuscript.”

Newfield joined in the heckling, as did Stephen Cohen, a historian and the husband of Katrina vanden Heuvel. “It was like watching LeRoi Jones try to Mau-Mau a guilty white liberal in the sixties,” Newfield says. “It was out of a time warp. Who is he to insult people who have been putting their careers and lives on the line for equal rights since before he was born?”

By the time McGruder had finished, and a tipsy Joe Wilson took the microphone to deliver his New Year’s Resolutions, perhaps half the guests had excused themselves to join Alterman in the lobby. A Nation contributor estimated that McGruder had offended eighty per cent of the audience. “Some people still haven’t recovered,” he said, sounding thrilled.

“At a certain point, I just got the uncomfortable feeling that this was a bunch of people who were feeling a little too good about themselves,” McGruder said afterward. “These are the big, rich white leftists who are going to carry the fight to George Bush, and the best they can do is blame Nader?
What Volunteer Army?

In "Time for apologies," The Capital Gang's Mark Shields shines a light on yet another Bush deception: that our soldiers are serving voluntarily.
President George W. Bush boasts of the nation's all-volunteer armed forces: "We have seen the great advantages of a military in which all serve by their own decision."

The truth is that as of last month, no fewer than 44,500 American soldiers who had fulfilled their contractual obligations, completed their enlistments and made plans to return to civilian life or retirement were frozen -- by an arbitrary "stop-loss" order -- on active duty.

A survey by the military's Mental Health Advisory Team found the suicide rate among GI's stationed in Iraq to be 35 percent higher than among Army troops wordwide.

We do not have an all-volunteer service today. The reality is that we now have a limited military draft. But the only Americans who are subjected to the current "draft" are those who have already demonstrated their patriotism by volunteering to serve in the military and have then served honorably.

There is a class difference, too, in proudly classless America. All the sacrifice of this war is being borne by the minority of our population who overwhelmingly do not go onto college. While nearly 50 percent of the U.S. adult population has some college, barely six percent of our military recruits have any college.

One of the "advantages" of the all-volunteer military the president chooses not to mention is that under the draft, which was in effect until 1973, fewer than 10 percent of the draftees failed to complete their obligation.

In the vaunted all-volunteer military, more than one out of three of today's soldiers fails to complete his initial enlistment. Among white male recruits, the failure to complete their enlistment rate is 35 percent, and among white female recruits, it is 55 percent.
Rep. Charles Rangel proposed a mandatory draft back in December 2002, himself having served honorably during the Korean War.
"When you talk about a war, you're talking about ground troops, you're talking about enlisted people, and they don't come from the kids and members of Congress."

"I think, if we went home and found out that there were families concerned about their kids going off to war, there would be more cautiousness and a more willingness to work with the international community than to say, 'Our way or the highway.' "
Not many Democrats, let alone liberals, supported Rangel then, and neither did many Republicans, for that matter. Rangel's proposal was dismissed outright, but his intentions were just, namely to encourage the Bush hawks to exercise some military restraint, and to draw attention to the inherent inequity in the volunteer army they would send so callously into harm's way.

Historically both Democrats and Republicans have shown themselves willing to use US military force as a foreign policy instrument, but at least Democrats have usually been willing to voluntarily serve themselves. This difference was clearly illustrated during the 2000 Presidential Election -- while Gore had served in Vietnam, Bush avoided combat with a stint in the Texas Air National Guard. Now the Democrats have the ideal candidate in John Kerry, who served honorably in Vietnam and protested that war when he came home with his Purple Hearts and Silver Star.

To date, 3,022 US servicemen and women have been injured, and 677 have been killed in Bush's Dirty War for Oil; 538 since he dressed up as a pilot and strutted on the USS Lincoln, declaring "Mission Accomplished."

Wouldn't we rather have a President who knows what it means to serve voluntarily, rather than a coward who likes to dress up as a soldier and volunteer other people's children to die?
Guardian of freedom?

Thomas Jefferson said," The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." Unfortunately, the Bush administration has been cavalier about the value of freedom-- trespassing on such American values as due process, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press. Examples include the excesses of the Patriot Act as well as the "freedom of expression areas" --enclosed pens for opponents, blocks away from the President's appearances, while supporters are allowed nearby. Shouldn't all of America be a "freedom of expression area"?

Bush has called Antonin Scalia his ideal Supreme Court justice. The Supreme Court is the ultimate guardian of freedom in America. Here's how Scalia treats freedom of the press.

Update: Scalia has decided to change his policy and allow tape recording of his speeches. But his denial of responsibility for the seizure of the reporters' recorders rings false. It seems unlikely that the US Marshals would have insisted on confiscating reporters' recorders without a directive from Scalia. The reporters were in the front row of the auditorium and contested the Marshal's request, so it is impossible that Scalia did not realize what was happening. If Scalia did not agree with the confiscation of the recorders, why didn't he stop them? Why were the recorders returned erased?

I am CITIZEN, Hear Me Scream!

Why are we in Iraq? The purpose has become muddled and there's no clear case for war. Yesterday, as I watched Ms. Rice defend the Bush position, I realized how sad this situation has become. Between the stonewalling and political posturing, a feeling of shame has crept over my heart. Don't get me wrong, I'm proud to be an American; so much so that I served honorably and willingly in the Army. But our dogmatic ideology of "us" versus "them" causes me shame, and I'm aggravated at the lack of empathy inherent in the American character.

Our administration will never claim wrongdoing in its handling of 9/11. Their position, as Dan mentioned earlier, is to stonewall and deny, deny, deny. This is an insult to those who died on 9/11, as well as to soldiers who are presently dying in the streets of Fallujah.

Now our allies have been dragged into a war that is more an appeasement of the hegemon than a legitimate battle against terror. They're faced with a critical decision; protection of their citizens or continued relations with the west. Unfortunately, they're choosing wrong.

Japan's PM, Junichiro Koizumi, has vowed to "stand firm on Iraq". He says, "We will not bow to any despicable threat by terrorists." So enlighten me, when have Muslim terrorists ever attacked Japanese soil or interests? When did Japan ever feel impending danger from Iraq? Yet, given the obvious answers to these questions, Koizumi is still willing to sacrifice his citizens for an indefinable war dictated by a foreign power. He's willing to wage the lives of three innocent non-combatants for the promise of gaining favor in the eyes of the Bush administration. Shame on you Koizumi. Shame on you Bush.

The White House insists that US military forces will prevail against all opponents in Iraq. Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director, said on NBC television that the US was being tested by "the enemies of democracy". Has Mr. Bartlett thought for once that Iraqis are practicing democracy in the face of an invading force? They're banding together to take back their occupied towns. They're fighting for a way of life that seems backward to us, but is a pertinent part of their culture.

Through it all our government remains resolute. Sadly, it's this resolve on which Bush is building his re-election platform. Is this the kind of blind leadership qualities that we want? Mr. Bush, thousands continue to die on your watch. Do something about it!

I'm saddened by these episodes of death and ignorance that splash there way into my life. I'm upset at my government's need to dictate the lives of people they have no desire to understand. But the shame that I feel won't serve penance for the sins of my country. Instead, my voice, my rage and my action are my only absolution.
Condeleeza Rice Stonewalls, As Expected

Kudos to the Center for American Progress for releasing a "Claim vs. Fact" analysis of Condoleeza Rice's testimony today to the 9-11 commission.
CLAIM: "While we were developing this new strategy to deal with al-Qaida, we also made decisions on a number of specific anti-al-Qaida initiatives that had been proposed by Dick Clarke."

FACT: Rice's statement finally confirms what she previously -- and inaccurately -- denied. She falsely claimed on 3/22/04 that "No al-Qaida plan was turned over to the new administration." [Washington Post, 3/22/04
The Bush administration has done such an effective job of denying the facts, discrediting their critics and changing the subject, that even those who are paying attention have difficulty seeing beyond the he said-she said, "I told you so" nature of the commission as its being reported by the media. For many viewers, the 9-11 story is just another partisan fight where no one is right and both are wrong.

Dr. Rice would have us believe that: 1) they were doing their jobs before 9-11, 2) Clinton was to blame, 3) they didn't know or believe that there was a credible threat, and 4) if there was, they could not have stopped it.

Because the evidence is against her, her strategy has been to deny, deny, deflect and deny. Today she was simply stonewalling.

John Podesta, former chief of staff under President Clinton, made a formal statement regarding Rice's testimony:
Dr. Rice's claim today that the FBI sent warnings to field offices was directly disputed by Commissioners who said they had conducted thousands of interviews and reviewed thousands of documents.

Their conclusion: no one at the FBI can recall such orders.
The US intelligence community receives countless threats, and certainly this was the case before 9-11. Some were real and demanded action. The job of the FBI, CIA, NSA, etc has always been to differentiate between real and imaginary threats and report them, and that is by no means easy. But it is their job.

The intelligence community didn't change much under the Clinton and Bush administrations, but the principals and their focus did change, and that is the problem.

The only reason why we now have a 9-11 commission is because the families of those who died in the World Trade Towers demanded it. Bush&Co have fought this investigation tooth-and-nail, and Rice's testimony was just more of the same old song and dance, just in a different key.

From the AP Wire, reported by Yahoo News
Two Reporters Told to Erase Scalia Tapes
Wed Apr 7, 9:03 PM ET By DENISE GRONES, Associated Press Writer

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Two reporters were ordered Wednesday to erase their tape recordings of a speech by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at a Mississippi high school.

Scalia has long barred television cameras from his speeches, but does not always forbid newspaper photographers and tape recorders. On Wednesday, he did not warn the audience at the high school that recording devices would be forbidden.

During the speech, a woman identifying herself as a deputy federal marshal demanded that a reporter for The Associated Press erase a tape recording of the justice's comments.

The reporter initially resisted, but later showed the deputy how to erase the digital recording after the officer took the device from her hands. The exchange occurred in the front row of the auditorium while Scalia delivered his speech about the Constitution. The deputy, who identified herself as Melanie Rube, also made a reporter for The Hattiesburg American erase her tape.

At a reception following Scalia's speech at William Carey, the justice told television reporters from Hattiesburg station WDAM-TV to leave. A member of his entourage also told newspaper photographers they could not take pictures, but a college official reversed the order after non-media guests started snapping photos.

William Carey spokeswoman Jeanna Graves later sent an apology to the media.

"I specifically asked for protocol and was told that the media would have access to Justice Scalia during the reception," Graves wrote in an e-mail. She said she was "embarrassed and angry" over the incident.

Last year, Scalia was criticized for refusing to allow television and radio coverage of an event in Ohio in which he received an award for supporting free speech.

Scalia, who was appointed to the bench by President Reagan in 1986, told students that the Constitution's true meaning must always be protected.

"The Constitution of the United States is extraordinary and amazing. People just don't revere it like they used to," Scalia told a full auditorium of high school students, officials, religious leaders. He said he spends most of his time thinking about the Constitution, calling it "a brilliant piece of work."
Dictionary.com defines irony as "Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs" - is Scalia ironic?
Democrats are the bad guys. See how mean they are

So, there was this protest in front of Karl Rove’s house, OK? Several hundred people followed Bush’s Brain all over his house to get him to back some legislation that was apparently very important to them.
The protest was organized by National People's Action, a coalition of neighborhood advocacy groups based in Chicago. Leaders said they want Bush to advocate for the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, a bill that would permit immigrants who have lived in the United States for at least five years to apply for legal resident status once they graduate from high school. The measure would eliminate provisions of current federal law that discourage states from providing in-state tuition to undocumented student immigrants.
“What?!” I can hear you asking. “Why would anyone protest in front of Rove’s house about legislation?” I know. I asked the same question myself when I first heard about it. I made the guy find it on the web before I would believe. It just didn’t make any sense. What does Karl Rove have to do with the legislative process? Why would anyone think to ask him for help with legislation? What could they possibly hope to accomplish?

And how did they know where he lives? I mean, when John Poindexter was trying to build Big Brother, there was this web site with satellite photos of his house and all kinds of information. I don’t remember hearing of anyone going to his house to protest his plan to create online paramutual betting on international political and military events. When a Pentagon appointee left his conference call notes at a Starbucks, there was a map to Rumsfeld’s house, not Rove’s. I don’t recall mass protests in Rummie’s neighborhood.

So, how is it that large numbers of people go out of their way to locate Karl Rove’s house, drive out there en masse, protest, risk being arrested for disturbing the peace, all for a guy who has no real connection to the thing they’re protesting???

Who would want to run the risk of creating the headlines –


It just doesn’t make any sense.

Selective Use of Self-Inflicted Wounds

Toward the beginning of the Qing Dynasties, an unknown scholar compiled 36 military stratagems. Titled the Secret Art of War (not to be confused with Sun Tzu's "Art of War"
34. Scheme with self-inflicted wounds

(Inflict minor injury on oneself to gain the enemy’s trust) - This is a technique particularly for undercover agents: you make yourself look like a victim of your own people, in order to win the sympathy and confidence of enemies.
Other examples of this tactic used by Rove

January 24, 2004 - Senate Republicans Hacked into Democrats Computers

February 3, 2004 - Senate leader gets ricin-laced letter
A jittery Senate faced its second attack with a deadly toxin in 28 months, this time in the form of ricin powder sent to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

February 18, 2004 - NBC: Investigators question ricin test results
Was positive reading in Senate office caused by paper byproducts?

Texas Governor's Gay Sex Scandal

Rove Outed CIA Operative Valerie Plame
In 1992, Rove was fired from the 1992 Bush Sr. campaign for trashing Robert Mosbacher, Jr., who was the chief fundraiser for the campaign and an avowed Bush loyalist. Rove accomplished this trashing of Mosbacher by planting a negative story with columnist Bob Novak. The campaign figured out that Karl had done the dirty deed, and he was given his walking papers.

The CIA has asked the Justice Department to investigate the White House regarding a matter of important national security. The wife of a former ambassador named Joseph Wilson, it has been alleged, was 'outed' as an active CIA agent to columnist Robert Novak by this White House in an act of political revenge.

Mr. Rove has done this kind of thing before, specifically using Robert Novak in that one notable attempt to cut down Mosbacher. Rove is a disciple of the undisputed heavyweight champion of political assassins, Lee Atwater, and has often reached into a deep bag of dirty tricks to accomplish his political ends. He knows no ideology beyond power, and has no bones about using it to wreak havoc on anyone who gets in his crosshairs.
This doesn’t really serve as an example of a self-inflicted wound, but I thought I’d throw it in as a reminder. On second thought, Novak is able to win sympathy points by refusing to reveal who in the administration violated federal law because "If I gave up my sources, I would get out of journalism."

Diabolical Democratic Insider Spies on Bush, Sends Video of Bush

Diabolical Democratic Spies Plant Bug in Clements’ Office

So, to review - LIBERAL EXTREMISTS demanding SPECIAL TREATMENT for ILLEGAL immigrants TERRORIZE ROVE’S CHILDREN because Rove engineered a self-inflicted wound. This is much more plausible scenario than to believe that hundreds of people would think to protest at some guy’s house who has nothing to do with the legislation. And it’s not like they haven’t done this before.
10 Year Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide

Not sure how much press this one is going to get in the short-attention span world we live in, but this week marks the 10 year anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide.

This one will really cheer you up. If you will recall it took Hutu death squads three months to murder an estimated 800,000 Rwandans. Newly released declassified materials offer more proof that the Clinton administration, which claimed ignorance of the extent of atrocities, and which only acted when it was too late, knew perfectly well what was going on. Indeed at each stage accurate, detailed reports were reaching Washington's top policymakers.

I think not all humans are human in the international context; I'm sure there would have been more reaction if someone had tried to exterminate Rwanda's 300 mountain gorillas.

It gets worse. Rwanda's courts have a different problem: the nation's prisons are filled with tens of thousands of people who took part in the genocide. Many will be released (around 40,000) because there are no resources to properly prosecute the cases, the state can't afford to maintain such a large prison population if the sentencing is carried out, and because the civilian participation in the killings was so widespread. They will move back into communities alongside the survivors of the killings and the rapes .

U.S. troops and aid committed to the much more "strategically" important region of the Middle East, it's unlikely that Africa's famines, civil wars, and AIDS crises will become top foreign policy priorities any time soon. There is a commemoration ceremony this week to mark the 10 anniversary in Rwanda. Dubya (as well as most of the Western leaders) won't attend; it is one more confirmation of their indifference to Rwanda's -- and Africa's -- tragedies. The absences are appropriate; they remind how, ten years ago, the U.N. reduced its skeleton peace-keeping force at a time when many believe that just several thousand armed troops could have stopped what would become one of the worst human rights atrocities since the Holocaust. The Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., for its part, is commemorating the anniversary with a "Remembering Rwanda 1994-2004" exhibit.

I remember an interview between ABC's Sam Donaldson and W during the 2000 presidential campaign. Donaldson asked him what he would do if "God forbid, another Rwanda should take place," W replied: "We should not send our troops to stop ethnic cleansing and genocide outside our strategic interests ... I would not send the United States troops into Rwanda."

... makes you put your crappy day in perspective, doesn't it?
Nine days after 9/11, Bush told Blair we would attack Iraq

It was September 20, 2001. The airports had just reopened. We had not yet fought the Afghanistan war to uproot al Qaeda. And George W. Bush was already telling Tony Blair, at a private White House dinner, of our intention to attack Iraq.

This is according to Sir Christopher Meyer, the former British Ambassador to Washington, who was at the dinner when Blair became the first foreign leader to visit America 9/11.

An interview with Meyer will be published in the May issue of Vanity Fair.
Former FBI Translator Calls Condeleeza Rice On Her Lies

The White House has done a good job deflecting attention away from the content of former counter terrorism advisor Richard Clarke's testimony to the 9-11 Commission. Just one of the lies they're telling is that they had no idea that terrorists were planning an attack:
The US national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, was due to deliver a national security speech on September 11 2001 that dwelt not on terrorism but on the proposed Star Wars missile defence system.

Details of the speech, coupled with fresh allegations that the Bush administration knew of plans to attack the US, piled the pressure on the beleaguered Ms Rice last night, as it was announced that she would testify under oath and in public next Thursday.

A former FBI translator who gave testimony to the commission investigating US preparedness for the September 11 terror attacks said the US should have had an "orange or red type of alert in June or July of 2001. There was that much information available".

Sibel EdmondsSibel Edmonds, who worked on the FBI's investigation into 9/11, told the online magazine salon.com: "President Bush said they had no specific information about September 11, and that's accurate.

"But there was specific information about use of airplanes, that an attack was on the way two or three months beforehand and that several people were already in the country by May of 2001. They should've alerted the people to the threat we're facing."

Ms Edmonds, an American of Turkish descent who speaks fluent Farsi, Arabic and Turkish, gave three and a half hours of testimony in closed session last week.

She also took issue with recent assertions by Ms Rice that the White House lacked information about the possible nature of an attack. "That's an outrageous lie," she said. "And documents can prove it's a lie."

Well, that was stupid.

A Pentagon appointee left notes from a conference call on how to spin Richard Clarke’s 9/11 Commission testimony on a table at a Starbucks. The Center for American Progress posted copies on their web site.

Get your copies here. According to accounts, the Pentagon says they’re real. I still have my doubts, and still don’t know quite what to make of page 5.
They were compiled for an early morning briefing for Rumsfeld before the Sunday morning talk shows, during which administration officials conducted a flurry of interviews to counter the testimony of Richard Clarke, President George W. Bush's former terrorism czar who left the post in 2003. Rumsfeld appeared on Fox and ABC.
Does any of this smell fishy to you?

Remember the video tape incident in 2000? “Someone” mailed a Democratic Rep some notes and a video tape of Dumbya prepping for a debate with Gore.
Campaign aides to George W. Bush say they are confident a videotape of their candidate preparing to debate Al Gore didn't come from their staff, but a federal law enforcement official says early evidence suggests the tape came from a person in the Bush camp.

The official refused to divulge the name of the person tentatively identified but said the early evidence appeared so far to point to someone in the Bush camp.

The incident unsettled the famously loyal Bush campaign apparatus, which has seen the GOP nominee slip in some polls and struggle to stay on message since the Democratic convention in August.
Didn’t they dust for prints?
In October of 1986, Rove was working for Republican Bill Clements in his race against then-Gov. Mark White. A few days before the candidates were to debate, Rove discovered a listening device that had been planted behind a needlepoint picture of an elephant hanging on his wall. The FBI investigated. Accusations and counteraccusations were made. But no charges were ever brought, and the matter slowly dissipated, amid general speculation that Rove had planted the bug himself.

Adding interest to the video shenanigans are a few other fun facts. In 1986, when Rove was working for Clements, the chief spokesperson for White was an idealistic young turk named Mark McKinnon. It is "outrageous and sad that Rove would suggest the White campaign would be involved in a matter like this," McKinnon told the Austin American-Statesman at the time. Calling the bugging incident "bizarre and incredible," McKinnon said the Clements campaign was "desperate and frayed at the edges."

There's more. The bug was reportedly responsible for tipping Democrats that the Clements campaign had recently hired a Washington-based consultant, whom Rove and Clements campaign manager George Bayoud had discussed hiring over the phone shortly before the matter was mysteriously leaked. The consultant was a sometime blues guitar player renowned for his facility with attack ads and dirty tricks. His name: Lee Atwater.
Oh, by the way – FUCK YOU, KARL ROVE. I know you read this blog, you jelly-jowled piece of shit.