Tuesday, February 28, 2006
During the Bush administration's initial review of the $7-billion United Arab Emirates ports deal, the Coast Guard sounded the alarm by citing "intelligence gaps" that made it difficult to determine if the Dubai Ports World company--the state owned UAE entity which bought the port operations from Britain's Peninsula & Oriental Steam Navigation Co--could safeguard America's homeland security and prevent terrorists from infiltrating its ranks.
"There are many intelligence gaps concerning the potential for DPW or P&P assets to support terrorist operations, that precludes an overall threat assessment," the Coast Guard report said. The document was part of a report by the inter-agency panel with the unwieldy acronym of CFIUS--the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (which includes Homeland Security, Treasury and other departments)--which approved the sale. The report was released Monday at a Senate briefing.
So lo and behold, the Bushies have lied once again. They approved the deal, they said, because it met the rigorous scrutiny of CFIUS and has been deemed a non-threat to the United States. Yet all the while it knew about the Coast Guard's major concerns and failed to tell us about it. Another bungled affair? You betchya.
As for the Bushies' assessment of the Coast Guard itself, the truth is mangled even further. The president keeps telling us it's not the UAE or Dubai Ports World that will be charged with safeguarding America's gateways, but the Coast Guard. True. The Coast Guard is principally responsible for protecting our ports and the roughly 100,000 miles of waterways. But according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, the Coast Guard has been faced with resource challenges that leave our ports quite vulnerable. According to Kim Petersen, president of SeaSecure LLC, the nation's largest maritime-security consulting company, the Coast Guard cannot fulfill all of its regulatory, security and search-and-rescue missions. He said the Coast Guard "doesn't have either the people or the necessary physical resources to provide the in-water patrols that are so desperately needed."
It's utterly mind-boggling that Bush has for 4 1/2 years now drilled into our heads that we're fighting a war on terror, and that "we must fight the terrorists over there so that we don't have to fight them over here", yet he's approved the sale of port operations to an Arab nation--one with a drug-trafficking, money-laundering, terrorist-connected recent past--under the flimsiest of circumstances while lying about the true risk.
Campaigning in 2000, George W. Bush styled himself the "CEO president," promising to run the country as a business, governing like a disciplined corporate executive, and delegating key day-to-day functions to a skilled team beneath him. To many, it was an interesting departure form politics-as-usual. But 5 1/2 years later, measured by any yardstick, Bush finds himself with a record that screams miserable failure. In corporate America, the CEO reports to the board of directors. A CEO's failure in the corner office often results in trouble in the boardroom. And therein lies the problem. The United States is not a business, Bush is not a CEO, and there is no board of directors. He clearly lacks accountability. There's no one to report to, and no one to show him the door.
What's more, a new CBS poll released today shows the president's approval rating at an all-time low 34%. His hatchetman Cheney's rating is even more pathetic at 18%. In Bush's corporate fantasyland scenario, voters are therefore shareholders. Well, the shareholders have just rendered a vote of no confidence.
The Bush administration has conducted its business in the most secretive manner in the history of the presidency. It has defiled the Constitution, thumbing its nose at the sacred principles of checks and balances, the separation of powers, and the rule of law. In fact, in the Bush monarchy, King George's mantra is, "I am not above the law, I am the law." What happens in a Democracy when its leadership--those duly elected to carry out the will of the people--violates its owns rules? What message is sent to the American people when the president continuously demonstrates that our nation's laws are mere instruments that he can twist and mangle to further his own political agenda?
That is what we've seen from this president. He lied to Congress about WMD and the need to invade Iraq. He broke the law by leaking, or allowing others to leak, the identity of a covert CIA agent. He broke the law by illegally spying on U.S. citizens. He broke the law by not conducting a Congressionally mandated 45-investigation of the Dubai Ports deal.
Ok, those are some of the more egregious crimes he's committed since 2000. What about sheer performance in office? The black hole in Iraq; the failure to capture Osama bin Laden; allowing N. Korea and Iran to expand nuclear weapons programs; the sagging economy with record deficits, gas and oil prices; rising interest rates and inflation; the dreadful response to Katrina and Rita; the ineptitude of hired hands like Cheney, Rumsfeld, Libby, Chertoff, 'Brownie' Brown and others; the Medicare prescription drug failure. The list seems endless.
CEO presidency? That's laughable. With his abysmal record, Bush deserves to follow in the paths of Ken Lay, Bernie Ebbers, Sam Waksal and other former corporate titans who left devastation and destruction in their tracks.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
In a newly released Rasmussen Reports poll, 43% of Americans said they want Congressional Democrats handling national security while only 41% prefer the Bush White House. Additionally, 64% said they are opposed to the Dubai Ports World deal to take over operations at six major U.S. ports.
As for the highly controversial deal itself, DPW, the state-owned United Arab Emirates company that's paying $7-billion for the Miami, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York and New Orleans gateways, has requested a 45-day investigation in order to allay Americans' concerns. After a week of intense battling on the Hill between the Busheviks and Congress, the UAE has requested something that's already been mandated by law. There's a twisted irony to this whole mess. That four years after the 9/11 attacks an Arab nation has to volunteer for a legally mandated review in order for it to happen at all only goes to show the colossal flaws in our homeland security.
How is it possible that the mandatory 45-day investigation was not carried out? How is it possible that this administration is once again allowed to arbitrarily decide whether or not to obey our nation's laws? For four years they've drilled into our heads that we're at war with radical Islam; that the war on terror is our number-one priority. And then without any significant investigation whatsoever the Busheviks go ahead and approve the sale of operations at six major ports to an Arab nation that's had ties to Al Qaeda; has supported the Taliban; has failed to recognize Israel; and has been a stopover for drug traffickers and money-launderers. This was and is a blunder of epic proportions. No wonder Americans are losing faith.
Friday, February 24, 2006
The sheriff that had been investigating Dead-Eye Dick and The Birdseed Incident down in Texas has finally released the six eyewitness accounts of the accidental shooting. As reported by The Smoking Gun (TSG) this week Kenedy County Sheriff Ramon Salinas finally made public the statements given to police by ranch owners Katharine Armstrong and Sarita Armstrong Hixon, ranch employees Gerardo Medellin, Michael Hubert, and Oscar Medellin, and guest Pamela Willeford, the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland. The full eyewitness statements are available on TSG website.
But the question still remains over whether Cheney was drinking prior to the shooting, and whether or not his victim and/or other members in his party has consumed alcohol as well. The eyewitnesses, as well as the veep himself, have given conflicting accounts of wine and beer consumption at certain points during the day. And a common disclaimer to their statements is "To the best of my knowledge..." Now we all know that that's a legal-cover-your-ass maneuver. Can people not really know whether they and/or their day-long companions were drinking or not? Highly doubtful.
Now of course, a few brewski's and perhaps a few shots of Jack Daniels might fully explain this bizarre incident now, wouldn't it?
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Just when you thought the situation in Iraq could not get any worse, insurgents dressed in paramilitary uniforms entered the Golden Mosque in Samarra, handcuffed guards and set off explosives that blew apart one of the most sacred Shiite shrines. Violence erupted in the streets, as angry Shiite mobs vowed revenge against Sunnis. The country, already as frail as can be, is on the verge of civil war. Furthermore, the Shiite cleric and political leader, Moqtada al-Sadr, the Mahdi militiaman at the center of the U.S.'s most violent battles, appears poised to emerge as the country's most powerful figure. Nice job, George. Keep telling the mothers and fathers of dead soldiers that their sons and daughters have died for a good cause. To the contrary, your ill-conceived and colossally-botched experiment has caused the needless death of tens of thousands of people.
Sadr, the 33-year-old cleric has joined the powerful United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), which won 128 of 275 seats in parliament in Dec 15 polls. His support resulted in the re-nomination of the Dawa party's Ibrahim al-Jaafari as prime minister last week. Sadr also came out strongly against the country's new Constitution and wants an immediate withdrawal of foreign troops.
"I reject this constitution which calls for sectarianism and there is nothing good in this constitution at all," he told al-Jazeera television. He added that the withdrawal of foreign forces "should be the priority of the future Iraqi government."
Sadr's right. Sadly, the U.S. has squandered hundreds of billions of dollars and too many lives naively trying to turn this country into a Democracy. Instead, we'll likely end up with a radical Muslim state and/or a country heavily influenced by "Axis of Evil" Iranian clerics. Either way, the U.S.'s mission, whatever that was, has clearly failed. It's time to be the troops home.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
The NY Times Wednesday reported that under a 1993 amendment to existing foreign investment law, the U.S. government is required to conduct a mandatory 45-day investigation if the investing company is owned and/or controlled by a foreign government. The key word here is mandatory. During this period, Defense, State, Commerce and Transportation department officials, along with the National Security Council and others, would get to put the deal under a microscope, ultimately reporting its findings back to the president. And, Congress would also have the opportunity to more deeply vet the transaction. But the great Bushevik Monarchy once again skirted the law. King Bush once again declared that "I am not above the law, I am the law." The most secretive administration in United States history has once again just flexed its unitary powers, telling Americans and Congress to screw off. So much for mandatory.
Last time I checked, there are three equal branches of government. Yet this is something the Busheviks have yet to recognize and respect. They govern unilaterally, with reckless abandon and with blatant disregard for the rule of law and a general disdain for checks and balances. On an issue so sensitive as homeland security, it's unfathomable that Bush did not confer with Congress prior to authorizing the sale of operation at six major U.S. ports to a state-owned company of the United Arab Emirates. This administration has consistently circumvented the legislative branch in order to push through its aggressive agenda. This time it's backfired big time, as leaders on both sides of the aisle are in a state of furor over this sale. Everyone from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has lined up against the president, who vows to veto any legislation to stop the deal. But it would seem likely that Congress would have the necessary votes to overturn such a veto.
What is with this administration, and when will it stop the lunacy? Just when you think it'd learn its lesson--i.e. WMD, the Katrina response, Harriet Miers, NSA warrantless wiretappings, Cheney's four-day post-shooting silence--they bungle yet another matter. Either they just don't give a shit, or they're the most inept group of politicians to ever hit Washington. I'm not sure which is more dangerous.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
When it comes to securing our nation's borders and ports of entry, America will never be truly safe until we start following the lead of the Israelis and use racial profiling. Up until now we as a government have been much more concerned with appearances and with being politically correct. That was never more abundantly clear than Tuesday evening on MSNBC's "Hardball" with Chris Matthews.
In a discussion of the raging controversy in Washington over the Busheviks' decision to approve the sale of six major U.S. port operations to a state-owned company of the United Arab Emirates, Matthews' guests were Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley (D). All three blasted the decision on the grounds that no foreign government should be allowed to own and operate our ports. Despite repeated goading from Matthews as to whether they'd have a problem with an Arab company controlling the ports, all said they'd be ok with that provide certain precautionary measures and safeguards were met. Not one of them would admit to it being an Arab issue per se. And herein lies the simple truth about America's homeland security effort. It's based on bullshit.
Each of the politicians Matthews interviewed knows deep down exactly what this problem is, but they're too afraid to speak the truth for fear of being branded a racist and perhaps losing a few votes from their Arab constituents. Yet it's utterly contradicting and hypocritical to lash out at Bush for allowing an Arab country to own the ports but then say it'd be just dandy for an Arab company to do so. In fact, I would think we're actually quite safer having a legitimate government watch over the ports than a company controlled, financed and/or influenced by god-knows-who in the Middle East. But that's besides the point.
It wasn't until Matthews brought on outspoken Philadelphia radio talk show host Michael Smerconish, a moderate Republican, that someone finally spoke the truth:
"You've been waiting so far into the program for someone to say we should not empower Arabs to control our ports. Well, I'm your man. We shouldn't do that," he told Matthews. "We're talking about a government here that would recognize the Taliban but wouldn't recognize Israel. Period. End of story."
Not only has the UAE backed Afghanistan's repressive Taliban regime, it's funded Hamas, is known as a pit stop for drug traffickers on the way to the West, and it was home to two of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. A model for U.S. port security? Hardly.
Matthews: "So you're making this an ethnic issue? You're making this an ethnic thing?"
Smerconish: "Chris, it is an ethic thing. For goodness sakes, go back and look at the mugshots of those nineteen guys. Why do we have to be embarrassed to say we're at war with radical Islam, and there are common denominators--race, gender, religion, ethnicity--and guess what, they are the last people we're gonna put in charge of our ports."
Give the guy credit for speaking what is the obvious. And the U.S. government should start listening and learning how to truly defend itself. The Israelis don't care how they look. Israel doesn't care about who it offends. It is at war, and it has identified its enemy, and the country will do whatever it takes to keep its citizens and its borders safe and secure. And it is not wasteful or gratuitous in its defense of its people.
"Let's stop spending all this time with the blue-haired old lady with the aluminum walker when she's going through the airport," Smerconish continued. "We know who the enemy is. Let's acknowledge it."
When challenged by Matthews over whether profiling therefore eliminated the chances of any Arab entity from doing business in the U.S., Smerconish said "I've eliminated any chance for an Arab to control American ports in the aftermath of September 11. Don't trust Arabs...to protect what are the doorways to our country. Now I'm sorry if that sounds alarming to some, but this administration has avoided this subject since 9/11. They should be profiling at airports, that means we all get scrutiny, some more than others, and it also means we close the porous borders, and it also means we don't entrust control of our ports to people who potentially are our enemy."
I'm sorry, but this guy is dead on. It's time our politicians start speaking the truth as well.
The war in Iraq, the NSA warrantless wiretappings, Dead-Eye Dick, the Ports controversy, Bush's plummeting approval ratings.....there's no shortage of hot topics to discuss with the irreverant, insightful Mark Karlin, editor and publisher of BuzzFlash.com. Karlin will be this Wednesday evening's guest on The Ostroy/DeLaite Report...Where Democrats Play Rough. BuzzFlash.com provides headlines, news, and commentary to over 5-million readers monthly.
The Ostroy/DeLaite Report...Where Democrats Play Rough, is a weekly political call-in talk show that tackles the Right Wing spin machine head on (www.OstroyDeLaiteReport.com). It covers the ever-changing political landscape with guests that include WABC Radio's Ron Kuby, radio host Marc Maron, author Mark Crispin Miller and The Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel. The show airs every Wednesday at 6:30PM in NYC on Time Warner channel 67. It can also be viewed live over the internet at MNN.org. Just follow the steps to "Watch MNN/ch 67."
Next week's guest will be syndicated progressive radio talk show host Stephanie Miller www.StephanieMiller.com.
Several events have gotten me riled these past few days. To begin with, I'm flabbergasted by Fmr. President Jimmy Carter's comments about Israel cutting off financial aid/payments to the Palestinians now that the terrorist organization Hamas is running the show. Israel has stopping the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax money, branding the Palestinian government a "terrorist authority."
Speaking Monday on CNN's "The Situation Room" with host Wolf Blitzer, Carter said: "My concern is that in order to try, on behalf of the United States and Israel, to punish Hamas, we'll actually going to be punishing the Palestinian people who are already living in deprivation. And it's going to turn the Palestinian people even more against the West and against Israel, against us and make Hamas seem to be, you know, their only friend. So this will strengthen Hamas and weaken the Palestinian people. I think it's a counterproductive ploy to try to punish Hamas."
One question, Mr. Carter: would you ever in a million years go on CNN and suggest that the United States should continue sending funds to Iraq, Afghanistan or any other country that would be run by Al Qaeda? Until you walk in the Israelis' shoes, which have for twenty years stepped over the blood of innocent Israeli children brutally spilled at the hands of Hamas, your comments will be considered misguided, naive and highly insensitive.
My next beef is with the Bush administration's brilliant idea to authorize the sale of operations at six major U.S. ports to the United Arab Emirates. Yes, you read that correctly. A state-owned UAE company will be in charge of ensuring Americans' security at ports in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia. The ports were previously controlled by London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, which was bought last week by the Dubai Ports World. The Bushies claim they've properly vetted the deal and have required strict adherence to several security conditions and measures.
But the decision has caused an uproar in Washington, attracting criticism from leading Republicans like Sen. Lindsay Graham (SC), who said the decision to give the UAE control of the port operations was "unbelievably tone deaf".
I ask, how on earth can the UAE weed out the honest laborers from the suicide bombers who might infiltrate the company, pose as workers and enter the U.S. for the sole purpose of wreaking havoc? (the UAE, mind you, was home to two of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers). Until this question is answered without a shadow of a doubt, this was surely a bone-headed decision indeed.
Lastly, this brings us to the decision by Paul Hackett to drop out of the Senate race in Ohio. Not because this war veteran lost his courage to wage battle, but because the namby-pamby Democratic leadership--including Sen. Chuck Schumer(NY) and Sen. Harry Reid (NV)--pushed him to do so to make way for Congressman Sherrod Brown, a longtime member of Congress, to take on Senator Mike DeWine, the Republican incumbent. According to Hackett they pressured his key supporters to stop aiding his candidacy. It came down to two things: money and balls. Brown has about $2.5-million in his campaign war chest, about ten times that of Hackett. Hackett, you'll recall, came within a nose hair of winning the House seat last year in his race against Jean Schmidt (yes, the "Murtha's a coward" Jean Schmidt) in the 2nd district, the most heavily Republican district in the state. The Dem's were also concerned with Hackett's outspokenness over the war, Bush and the right-wing in general.
Finally, we get a guy who speaks the truth and has a clear message. Someone who speaks without reservation and is not an apologist like Reid. New blood that can fight the battle with the GOP the way it needs to be fought, not operate business as usual. We need more candidates like Hackett, not less. And when push came to shove, the Dem's lost their balls and went the conventional route. Hackett was railroaded by his own party. It's one thing to get your ass kicked by the other side. It's another when it's by one of your own. Let's hope candidates like Paul Hackett remain motivated to stay in politics and help lead the battle. We all know the current Democratic leadership couldn't fight its way out of a paper bag.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
In the 2004 election, Karl Rove masterfully used gay marriage as the catalyst to drive normally apathetic voters to the polls and achieve historic turnout. It worked. Republicans of all ages, shapes and sizes who couldn't care less about manufactured WMD intelligence, record deficits and gas/oil prices, CIA leaks and warrantless wiretappings raced to polling places across America just to keep homosexuals from tying the knot.
Well, the Democrats have an even better weapon this year: impeachment. If they're smart, they'll make it the linchpin turnout strategy and the single biggest motivator for liberal voters. To be sure, it'll be hard for individual candidates to make this message the cornerstone of their campaigns. They'll need to run on more than that if they want to be taken seriously. But the impeachment issue could be our Swift Boat weapon. Organizations like MoveOn.org, as well as individuals like billionaire George Soros who heavily back such groups, should pull out all stops and launch a massive campaign. I can hear the 30-second spot now:
"President Bush has lied about WMD and caused a deadly war. He's lied about the connections between Saddam and Al Qaeda; about Uranium in Niger. He's lied to us about the war's true cost and its progress; about nation-building; about torturing prisoners. He's lied to us about the true cost of health care; about Social Security's solvency. He's broken the law with warrantless wiretappings. Isn't it time to stop George Bush from lying and breaking the law? Isn't it time Democrats take back control of the House and impeach George Bush? You can make this a reality. Make sure you vote next November."
A very effective message indeed. Howard Dean, Rahm Emanuel, are you listening?
Friday, February 17, 2006
Vice president Dick Cheney's back in Wyoming, Harry Whittington's back home in Texas, and everything's back to normal, right? Guess again. The Birdshot Incident clearly drove the wedge further between Cheney and President Bush. My bet is that these two make Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger seem like lovebirds.
The Iraq war is a disaster, and many Bush insiders blame Dick Cheney & The NeoCons (unfortunately, not a rock band) for getting them in this mess. The CIA leak case is far from over, and new allegations have recently been made by Scooter Libby accusing Cheney of ordering him to leak classified WMD data to the press. All of this has kept the president from being able to get out there and push his political agenda. As icing on the cake, Bush's approval rating has slipped back below 40% as result of the lingering controversies and scandals, all of which have Dead-Eye Dick at the epicenter. Do we need to even ask if Bush is happy with Cheney?
The most powerful vice president in the history of the office is perhaps too damned powerful for his and Bush's own good. He acts with complete autonomy, and appears uncontrolled by the president. Speaking on MSNBC's Hardball Friday night, commentator Joe Scarborough said "this is one of the most disturbing parts of the story, that the vice president has so much power that he doesn't feel like he needs to tell the president of the United States that he blasted a man in the face with a shotgun!"
And in the Wall Street Journal Thursday, conservative columnist and contributing editor Peggy Noonan wrote that Bush insiders are most likely already planning for the day when they seek to replace Cheney. "I suspect what they're thinking and not saying is, 'If Dick Cheney weren't vice president, who'd be a good vice president?' They're thinking, 'At some time down the road we may wind up thinking about a new plan.' And one night over drinks at a barbecue in McLean one top guy will turn to another top guy and say, 'Under the never permeable and never porous Dome of Silence, tell me . . . wouldn't you like to replace Cheney?'
She added, "Why would they be thinking about this? It's not the shooting incident itself, it's that Dick Cheney has been the administration's hate magnet for five years now.... But, at a certain point a hate magnet can draw so much hate you don't want to hold it in your hand anymore, you want to drop it, and pick up something else."
And that something could look very much like Rudy Giuliani.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Speaking to reporters Thursday afternoon about The Birdshot Incident, President Bush said, "I thought the vice president handled the issue just fine." Sound familiar? Can you say Michael "Brownie" Brown? The president sure has a knack for rewarding colossal ineptitude, doesn't he?
Bush's praise of Dead-Eye Dick continued: "I thought his explanation yesterday was a powerful explanation....a very strong and important explanation to make to the American people." The only problem with all of this political poppycock is that the president's body language during all this screamed miserable and irritated. He's clearly miffed at his underling for waiting so long to personally inform him of the accidental shooting Saturday afternoon in Texas. And the ensuing four days of Cheney's bizarre silence added insult to injury.
I'm not so sure Bush's misguided support for his veep, in the end, will be remembered as such a good thing for Cheney. We all know what happens to administration officials who reap Bush's praise. If this were the Mafia, it'd be the Kiss of Death. It's like Michael Corleone to his brother Fredo: "I know it was you, Dickie. You broke my heart. You broke my heart."
The post-shooting handling was a botch-job in true Bush & Co. fashion. Think about how they've handled the war, Katrina, Rita, FEMA, the budget deficit, social security reform. Is it any wonder they've failed miserably with Birdshot damage-control as well?
If you listen to the Bushies and their nauseating legion of ass-kissing conservative spin-monkeys, the whole episode makes perfect sense. Cheney had to wait all that time to inform his boss and the media because his first priority was "the care of Henry Whittington," as The National Review and others stated. Additionally, the veep had to wait because there were "too many conflicting accounts" of the accident, as Cheney's flak Mary Matalin claimed. Bullshit, I say. Double-bullshit, in fact. This crap is an insult to our collective intelligence.
First off, exactly which medical school did Cheney go to? Will someone on the right please tell me how a speedy statement to the president, police and press would've harmed Mr. Whittington in any medical way? There are doctors to care for your victim, Dick. Your job is to level with Americans and leave the medical care to the professionals.
Next, can someone on the right also please explain to me how this "conflicting accounts" excuse forced the almighty vice-president of the United States to remain mum, yet ranch host Katharine Armstrong was more qualified than Cheney to handle the "confusion" with the media? Do these talking heads ever listen to the unsubstantiated nonsense that spews from their mouths?
And as for the overall credibility of Armstrong, who was presented as an "eyewitness" to the shooting, she later slipped up when saying she saw Cheney's Secret Service detail rushing towards the veep: "The first thing that crossed my mind was that he (Cheney) had a heart problem." Now had she truly seen the accident she of course would not be worrying about a Cheney heart attack.
On a curious side note, by the way, the ranch is owned by Armstrong's mother, a Halliburton board member who just happened to be among those who hired Cheney as CEO back in the 90's. Oh, what a tangled web the Repugs weave.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
You know you're in serious trouble when you earn the wrath of those in your own family. That's just what's been happening to VP Dick Cheney over his bizarre handling of his accidental shooting of hunting pal, 78-year-old Harry Whittington, in Texas over the weekend. Cheney waited 36 hours to speak with President Bush personally about The Birdshot Incident, and took four days to address the nation. A PR disaster? To say the least.
"It would have been better if the vice president and/or his staff had come out last Saturday night or first thing Sunday morning and announced it...it is beyond me why it was done this way," said former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer.
"The vice-president ignored his responsibility to the American people, " said Marlon Fitzwater, press secretary under President George H.W. Bush. He added he was "appalled by the whole handling of this."
Republican Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said "I don't know what their thinking was in not saying anything about it."
In his Thursday column, Conservative pundit John Podhoretz asked, "Why on Earth did the White House wait nearly a day before informing the American people that Dick Cheney inadvertently shot someone? It's absurd to claim this was and is merely a private matter."
The right-wing National Review wrote that "It was a mistake not to alert the national press of the incident immediately...not talking only feeds the speculation."
In his much-awaited public mea culpa Thursday evening on carefully selected (and "fair and balanced") Fox News, Cheney took full responsibility for the accident (unlike his ranch host Katharine Armstrong and White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, both of whom have placed the blame squarely on Whittington) but failed to apologize for his subsequent bungled, and arrogant, handling of the incident. Surprise, surprise.
So what do we have now? We have a case that grows more bizarre and mysterious with each passing day. Questions: Was Whittington shot in the heart (and possibly lung and liver) as independent doctors are speculating? Did the White House and the veep's office attempt to cover this up? Just how much did Cheney really drink either before and/or during the hunting outing? Was Whittington much closer to his shooter than 30 yards (like a few feet?) Why was the local Sherrif's Department kept away after the accident? Why do several key details of Katharine Armstrong's story keep changing? Did she even see the shooting, or were the initial details of the accident fed to her by Cheney's people and/or Karl Rove? Why was the veep and Whittington on a hunting "double-date" with two women, one of whom is the attractive Lynne Cheney lookalike, Pamela Willeford, ambassador to Switzerland. The rumormill is abuzz that Willeford is quite possibly "Cheney's Lewinsky."
Reckless? Drunk? Adulterous? Even if all this is untrue, which it very well may be, the vice president's curious silence these past four days, and his obvious distance from the president throughout, have justified the media's voracious appetite for the truth. This story has longer legs than Giselle Bundchen. Stay tuned.
I am going to go out on a limb here, just as I did last year when predicting that Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist would have to be carried out of the Court before he'd let illness force his retirement. On the heels of The Birdshot Incident, I hear the clock starting to tick loudly for Vice President Dick Cheney. The PR, political and ethical fallout over this mess is mounting, and it will be impossible for Dead-Eye Dick to overcome. The office of the vice president has become a joke, and Cheney is no longer able to efficiently perform his duties with any legitimacy. There's a dark cloud hanging over the Dwight
D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
To be sure, President Bush must be downright livid at the way the veep handled the post-shooting damage control process. In fact, it was no process at all. No damage control. Just lots of mystery shrouded in secrecy and with a layer of the all-too-familiar Cheney arrogance thrown in for good measure. The veep has made the prez look like a fool who cannot control his renegade subordinate. And we all know that Bush likes things his way.
Cheney's been on the hot seat for a long while now. He's taken heat over his obsessive pre-9/11 war mongering which led to the Iraq invasion. He's been taking heat over his purported role in the CIA leak case. More recently, he's at the center of new allegations by ex-aide Scooter Libby over his directive to leak classified data about Iraq's WMD to counter the negative press spawned by Joe Wilson's NY Times Op-ed which disproved the Busheviks' weapons claims. The Birdshot Incident will be the last straw, mark my words.
I'm not sure how long it will take Rove & Co. to concoct the perfect out, but Cheney will soon be replaced with someone who will not just divert the heat away from Bush over this matter, but who, more importantly to the GOP as a whole, will also help set the stage for the 2008 presidential election. Can you say Rudy Giuliani?
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
In the wake of the now-infamous Dick Cheney Birdshot Incident, it's beginning to look as though King George is really the prince in this monarchy, and Cheney is king. The veep's defiant silence is taking its toll on the president. Bush seems powerless. Embarrassed. The boss whose employee walks all over him. How else can you explain the near 48-hours it took King Dick to alert Bush to Saturday's accidental shooting of his 78-year-old hunting partner? How else do you explain why, almost four days later, Dead-Eye Dick still has yet to go before the press and the American public to explain the incident? You would think Bush would've compelled him to do so by now. Perhaps. But the truth is, Cheney doesn't give a rat's ass. About Bush, about the presidency, about the public. He marches to the beat of his own drummer. Always has, always will. And all this joking over the past five years about Cheney being the real president, well, it's clearly no joke. We're witnessing it firsthand right now as The Birdshot Incident unfolds. The most powerful vice president in the history of the United States has basically just told everyone, including the president, to fuck off.
It's time for the president to send the veep back to Wyoming. Cheney's blind ambition and duplicitous war-mongering has caused tens of thousands of deaths in Iraq. And now his bizarre actions damn near killed someone here at home. He's lied, and he's authorized leaks of classified data in a revenge act against a political foe. He's a walking time bomb.
Aerosmith, eat your hearts out....
"Cheney's Got a Gun"
by Andy Ostroy
Cheney's Got A Gun
Cheney's Got A Gun
His whole world's come undone
From shooting Witting-ton
What did our VP do
What did he put us through
They say that Cheney saw a quail
But turned and shot old Wittington instead
He never saw it comin'
Now that Cheney's got a gun
The next old geezer could be dead
Cheney's Got A Gun
Cheney's Got A Gun
The Birdshot saga's done
Now Bush ain't havin' fun
Tell the VP that's he's through
That's what your daddy'd do
He shot a man who's almost eighty
The veep has got to be insane
They say the spell that he was under
The Reid/Pelosi thunder
Was causing old Dick Cheney some pain
Run away, run away from the pain
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Run away, run away from the pain
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Run away, run away, run, run away
Cheney's Got A Gun
Cheney's Got A Gun
The Birdshot saga's done
bin Laden's still on the run
Al Qaeda's spoiling all the fun
And Scooter's giving him the runs
Bush should take him down easy
And send him back to Wyoming's plains
He said 'cause dead-eye Dick seems crazy
The man is such a sleeze
He ain't never gonna be the same
Run away, run away from the pain
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Run away, run away from the pain
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Run away, run away, run, run away
Cheney's Got A Gun
Cheney's Got A Gun
Cheney's Got A Gun
The Bushies are on the run
Cheney's Got A Gun
The Birdshot saga's done
The Busheviks are on the run (Dickie, Dickie what's your problem)
'Cause Cheney's Got A Gun (My pappy says it ain't right)
Cheney's Got A Gun (Was it those five deferments)
The Birdshot saga's done (That made you scream at night)
Cheney's Got A Gun
The Birdshot Saga's done
The Bushies are on the run
Cheney's Got A Gun
In a statement released Tuesday morning, the White House said that the accidental shooting by VP Dick Cheney of 78-year-old Republican lawyer Harry Whittington was no accident, and that the near-octogenarian is really Ibin al Quaili, the #3 leader in Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terror network. Bush officials also explained that the almost 24-hour delay in officially issuing a statement on the shooting was intentional and necessary, and in the interest of national security, "something those wussy Democrats don't understand," said President Bush, who added that the delay was also crucial in allowing law enforcement officials to confirm al Quaili's identity and conduct bedside questioning of the heretofore elusive terrorist.
"Dick Cheney's a hero, for God's sake," said President Bush. "He first learned of al Quaili's true identity a day before the Texas hunting trip and insisted on personally overseeing the covert mission to capture and kill the dangerous terrorist. When al Quaili lunged for the veep, Dick turned quickly and shot the crazy A-rab full of good ole' fashioned Texas birdshot!"
The Bushies said that the membership ranks of the Al Qaeda terror network have been swelling lately with non-traditional operatives hellbent on carrying out the sadistic suicide missions masterminded by bin Laden. Both the CIA and FBI, as well as the Department of Homeland Security, report an appreciable increase in suspicious activity and "chatter" by pasty old white middle-America-looking senior citizens suspected of having ties to the Al Qaeda leader. You see them at the airports, where, thankfully, these wrinkly Depends-wearing 90-year-old fakes are stopped and interrogated time and time again at the X-ray machines before they can do any harm to us. The White House said that Wittington/al Quaili was the leader of this extremely ruthless new senior-cell.
A foolish accident caused by a semi-senile unlicensed vice president who then botches the reporting of it? Yeah, right. Guess again. It's the tough-as-nails Bushies fighting to protect America once again. God bless them, and God bless Dick Cheney.
BTW, Congress has just approved the Bush request for full-scale wiretapping of the nation's nursing homes.
Monday, February 13, 2006
Ok, so the vice president accidentally shot someone while on a hunting outing South of San Antonio, Texas. Accidents happen all the time, right? And besides, it's not like he offed someone during a liquor-store hold-up. So what's all the fuss about you ask? It's simple. It took the Bush administration almost 24 hours to issue any sort of statement about the accidental shooting which occurred 5:30 PM Saturday. The vice president of the United States shoots someone, even accidentally, and all we got was a statement released by the ranch owner, Katharine Armstrong, to a small town newspaper, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. It wasn't until Sunday afternoon that Armstrong called the paper. She did not notify the national media or the White House press corps. The vp's office commented thereafter.
In keeping the public and the press in the dark for so long, Cheney's general disdain for average Americans and the media was never more evident. It's incredible to me that he felt it was acceptable to have as the only reporting of the episode a private citizen's tip-off to a local newspaper. That Cheney did not think he owed the public and the press an immediate direct statement and explanation only further demonstrates the secrecy with which this administration operates, and its general belief that it operates above the law. This was a shooting, for craps' sake, involving the vice-president of the Unites States; the person next-in-line for the presidency. It's truly unfathomable how the news was broken, and by whom.
In the days and weeks following Howard Dean's now infamous "I Had A Scream Speech" Republicans and the right-wing media machine had a field day tearing him apart as some angry little crackpot not worthy of a McDonald's job let alone the highest office in the land. When John Kerry was photographed windsurfing the Repug's demonized him as an elitist buffoon. Time after time, in response to a statement, picture, event, etc, conservatives in this country mock those on the left through highly disparaging and vituperative comments designed for one purpose only: exploitation, denigration, character assassination.
As luck would have it, some might say, VP Dick Cheney handed the left a gift horse over the weekend by shooting his hunting buddy, 78-year-old Harry Wittington, in the face, neck and upper torso with a 28-gauge shotgun, apparently mistaking the major GOP donor for quail on a friend's South Texas ranch. Too good to be true, right? Ya can't make this stuff up right? But what's the point? Democrats will leave Cheney unscathed, relegating this episode to just what it is: an unfortunate mistake. Why? Because we're civil. Because we do not subscribe to the school of personal attack. And because some things, like the near-tragic shooting of an elderly man, are not to be exploited or mocked simply for political gain.
But, can you imagine if the proverbial shoe was on the other foot and it had been a controversial Democrat who pulled the trigger instead? A lefty lightening rod like Dean, Kerry, Ted Kennedy or, heaven forbid, Hillary? He/she'd be vilified and hung out to dry by a venomous right wing conspiracy. The classless jokes and mockery would be relentless and merciless.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Through former FEMA head Michael Brown's testimony last week in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearings we've learned of yet another case of Bushevik amnesia. Brown told committee chair Susan Collins (R-ME) that he sent urgent reports to White House officials on Monday August 29, the day the hurricane hit, that New Orleans' levees were failing and that there was potentially disastrous flooding already underway. The next day, Aug. 30, President Bush incredulously went before the press to declare that New Orleans had "dodged a bullet."
This prompted yet another chapter in the Ignorance is Bliss defense by the Bushies whenever they find themselves under attack. On the September 1 broadcast of ABC's Good Morning America, Bush said "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees." But we now know he in fact knew beforehand. And as for his lack of knowledge until Tuesday that New Orleans was facing severe conditions, Brown called that "just baloney" and "a little disingenuous."
We also learned this week that VP Dick Cheney, who's on record as saying that leaking classified information hurts national security, had authorized indicted former chief of staff Scooter Libby to leak classified information on Iraq's WMD to the press.
We also now know that despite Bush's repeated denials about knowing embattled former GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff, they actually met a dozen times, according to Abramoff, and he was invited in 2003 to spend a weekend at the Crawford ranch. Hannukah party, shmannukah party.
These are just a few new examples of the well-oiled Bush deception machine in action. The pattern of lies has been clearly evident since the terrorist attack on 9-11. On May 16, 2002 Condi Rice said "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon, that they would try to use an airplane as a missile." But that assertion was later proven false when news broke at the 9-11 Congressional hearings of the August 8, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S," and which includes the following explicit warning: "Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other type of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York."
Or how about all the rhetoric about "mushroom clouds" and Iraq's massive WMD build-up? All of which proved unfounded. And now we learned just this past week that, according to former senior CIA official Paul Pillar, the Busheviks were intent on invading Iraq, ignored the lack of evidence of WMD, and then misleadingly used intelligence to justify the war.
Or what about the now infamous "16 words" in President Bush's Jan. 28, 2003 State of the Union address concerning the alleged Iraq/Niger uranium connection which Bush knew a year earlier to be untrue as investigated and written about by former Ambassador Joe Wilson.
Or what about Bush's assertion that "we don't torture" just as horrific photos of torture at Abu Ghraib flooded the media.
They lie, they deceive and they play dumb and say "we didn't know." But we know. And we're not gonna stop hammering away at this corrupt president and his posse until heads roll down Pennsylvania Avenue.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
The Democrats Need Help to See the Awesome Domestic, Foreign Policy and National Security Platform That's Right in Front of Them
Is there anyone out there who could connect me to someone influential in the Democratic Party? I can no longer watch my fellow Democrats floundering in a sea of ineptitude. My beloved party is lost, and it's painful to witness. We're a ship without a captain, and we seemingly have nothing important to say. I can no longer accept our party's leaders not screaming what should be a very clear message, one that seems so obvious to me. I can no longer watch the party blow one of the most incredible opportunities to regain power in modern political history.
I want to help shape the party's message this year, and I want to help us win back the House. Given the GOP's growing turmoil and voters' clear dissatisfaction with the Bushies and the overall direction of the country, this should be a cake-walk. Unfortunately, the party right now seems incapable of fighting its way out of a paper bag, let alone go head-to-head with Karl Rove. So I'm scared; scared that we are following the same path as 2000 and 2004.
I've never been a political consultant, and that's exactly why I can be an asset to the party. The Dem's--from Gore to Kerry--have already had way too much bad advice from the "professionals". What the party needs is a marketer who understands merchandising and branding. And someone who can craft an exciting, coherent message. A message that speaks the truth and resonates with voters. Call me cocky, but I can do that. And marketing is my business, and has been for 24 years. And let's face, I can't do any worse than the "pro's."
We as a party have a lot to be proud of. We have always been the people's party. We create jobs, and protect workers. We help Americans put food on their tables; provide medical coverage; educate their children; care for them in retirement. We protect the environment, and cherish the arts and diverse cultures. We respect freedom, and hold sacred the separation of church and state; the separation of powers; and the rule of law. We are a party whose sons and daughters fill the ranks of the U.S. military, while many others use wealth and family connections to avoid service. So what's the problem here? Why can't we convey all this to voters in a manner that drives them to our polls? Especially as the GOP dwells on lower taxes for the rich, more war and banning gay marriage.
As the NY Times reports on Wednesday's front page, high-ranking Democrats are worried. And they should be. They are being handed the House on a silver platter, and they still can't grab the prize. The Republican Party is rocked with scandal, corruption, cronyism, failed war, illegal spying, sagging economy, runaway gas and oil prices, record debt and Osama bin Laden tapes. Can't get much worse for them, right? Well then what the hell is the Dem's problem?
The Times says party officials believe the GOP has the leg up on national security, a major problem for the Democrats. Why should this be? Bush has made Americans less safe, not more. And every time we see bin Laden's mug on TV it's a painful reminder of that vulnerability. Let's once again re-visit the Bush/Cheney track-record on "protecting" Americans:
1. It was on Bush/Cheney's watch that the worst terrorist act in our history occurred
2. It was Bush/Cheney who fought against having a 9-11 commission
3. It was Bush/Cheney who fought against having a Homeland Security Department
4. It was Bush/Cheney who foolishly rushed to war over inaccurate intelligence
5. It was Bush/Cheney who grossly underestimated the insurgency
6. It was Bush/Cheney who defied experts like Gen. Shinseki and sent too few troops
7. It was Bush/Cheney who sent soldiers into battle without proper body armor and protective equipment
8. It was Bush/Cheney who've been wrong about every milestone in Iraq--fall of Saddam; death of Uday/Qusay; handing over of sovereignty; elections, etc--serving as the catalyst for reduced violence
9. It is Bush/Cheney who are the cause of over 2200 US Soldiers' deaths
10. It is Bush/Cheney whose actions have injured and/or maimed some 20,000+ soldiers
11. It is Bush/Cheney who've started a war that's spiraling out of control with no end in sight
12. It is on Bush/Cheney's watch that we've seen increased acts of terrorism around the world: London, Madrid, Egypt, Iraq and elsewhere.
13. It is Bush/Cheney whose grand plan for a Democratized Middle East has actually resulted in more U.S-hating radicals being elected in places like Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and the Palestinian territories
14. It is Bush/Cheney who promised to capture Osama bin Laden "dead or alive" and bring him to justice
15. It was Bush and Cheney who let bin Laden escape the hills of Tora Bora
16. It is on Bush/Cheney's watch that bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri's audio and video tapes are a constant reminder of how safe we are not
17. It is on Bush/Cheney's watch that N. Korea and Iran, largely unchecked by the U.S., have defied the Western world by restarting their nuclear weapons programs
18. It is Bush/Cheney's policy of torture that has made the world less safe for Americans and U.S. servicemen abroad
19. It is Bush/Cheney who've alienated us from virtually all of our allies
20. It is on Bush/Cheney's watch that U.S. popularity has sunk to unprecedented lows around the globe
My God, is this not enough of a miserable record on which the Dem's can mount a successful offensive against the Busheviks? What's missing, martians invading the Capital?
Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), in a speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, suggests that homeland security, which has been Bush's campaign strength since 9-11, become our calling card as well. "I think the Republicans are ripe for the taking on this issue, but not until we rehabilitate our own image. I think there's a certain element of denial about how we are viewed, perhaps incorrectly but viewed nonetheless, by many Americans as being deficient on national security. As Democrats, we have a patriotic duty and political imperative to lay out our ideas for protecting America. Frankly, our fellow citizens have doubts about us. We have work to do." Amen, brother. Now let's get to work. I am ready for service.
Monday, February 06, 2006
The Bush administration is hiding behind the Constitution in justifying its five- year campaign of warrantless wiretapping of American citizens under the pretense that it's been intercepting phone and email transmissions from individuals with links to terrorist organizations.
"We must be able to quickly detect when someone linked to al-Qaida is communicating with someone inside of America," Bush said last week speaking at the NSA headquarters.
But since 1978, following the corruption of the Nixon administration, this type of eavesdropping has been regulated by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA, to safeguard against abuses of power and violations of the separation of powers doctrine. The purpose of FISA, in the words of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was "to curb the practice by which the executive branch may conduct warrantless electronic surveillance on its own unilateral determination that national security justifies it."
With the Bushies' argument that the president has inherent constitutional authority to conduct warrantless surveillance, the administration is, in effect, claiming that the FISA regulations are unconstitutional. And this debate will go on for while at the Judiciary Committee's hearings which began today.
The real question that begs to be asked is whether Bush & Co's controversial spying is more far-reaching than anyone currently imagines. For example, did the NSA wiretap any Democratic politicians and or staffers? This question must be asked. And it needs to be asked directly, under-oath, to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former AG John Ashcroft, and all other Bush administration officials that have been and/or are currently party to this ongoing wiretapping campaign.
We must fully understand the breath of this operation, and punish to the fullest extent of the law all those who are indirectly and directly involved, including Gonzales, Cheney and perhaps the president himself. Let's remember what got Clinton impeached. I think it's safe to say Bush should face a similar fate if he is found guilty of breaking the law by flagrantly violating FISA restrictions in spying illegally on innocent U.S. citizens, or worse, spying on Democratic politicians for purely political purposes.
Saturday, February 04, 2006
In the House Leadership wars, Tom DeLay's gone, his protege Roy Blunt's been defeated, and the GOP's anointed Rep. John Boehner (OH) as the new face of the party. It's all about reform, right? Guess again. The new guy's no prize either.
According to the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), Boehner's record documents his support for measures that have run counter to the best interests of the vast majority of American Jews. As reported by the NJDC:
1. For School Prayer and Amending the Constitution: Boehner supported a school prayer amendment to the United States Constitution in 1997 (H.J.Res. 78), 1999 (H.J.Res 66), and 2001 (H.J.Res. 52); voted to permit school prayer "during this time of struggle against the forces of international terrorism" (House Roll Call Vote 445, Nov. 15, 2001); and voted to only allow federal aid to schools that allow prayer (House Roll Call Vote 85, March 23, 1994).
2. For Forced Religion in Anti-Poverty Programs: Boehner voted to permit taxpayer-funded anti-poverty programs to require aid recipients to join in religious activities. (House Roll Call Votes 16 and 17, Feb. 4, 2004)
3. 100% Against a Woman's Right to Choose: Boehner received a "0%" pro-choice score from NARAL Pro-Choice America in 2005.
4. For Religious Employment Discrimination: Boehner voted to permit taxpayer-funded anti-poverty programs to engage in federally-funded employment discrimination. (House Roll Call Votes 15 and 17, Feb. 4, 2004)
5. Against the Rule of Law in Ten Commandments Case: Boehner voted to prevent the Justice Department from enforcing a court order to remove a 5,000 pound Ten Commandments monument from Alabama's state supreme court. (House Roll Call Vote 419, July 23, 2003)
6. Against Common-Sense Environmental Safeguards: Boehner voted for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (House Roll Call Vote 122, April 20, 2005); voted to gut the Endangered Species Act (House Roll Call Vote 506, September 29, 2005); and voted to weaken the National Environmental Policy Act (House Roll Call Vote 242, June 15, 2004).
7. For More Religious Employment Discrimination: Boehner voted to permit taxpayer-funded job training programs to engage in religious discrimination when hiring and firing employees with federal funds. (House Roll Call Vote 46, March 2, 2005)
8. Against Confronting Proselytizing at the Air Force Academy: Boehner voted against an amendment to squarely address religious coercion and proselytizing at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado. The amendment criticized "coercive and abusive religious proselytizing" of cadets at the Academy while observing that "expression of personal religious faith is welcome" throughout the military. (House Roll Call Vote 283, June 20, 2005)
9. Led the Effort to Inject Religious Employment Discrimination into Head Start: Boehner added a controversial amendment in September to a previously bipartisan School Readiness Act which would "allow federally funded early-child-care providers to discriminate on religious grounds," according to The Forward. The Forward notes, "The federal government transfers about $6.7 billion annually to 19,000 Head Start providers in 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia." Jewish groups opposed to the measure, according to The Forward, include the "Anti-Defamation League, the Union for Reform Judaism, the American Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee and the National Council of Jewish Women."
10. Pushed Ohio Schools to Embrace "Intelligent Design:" People For the American Way reports that Rep. Boehner and fellow Ohio Republican Rep. Steve Chabot wrote to the Ohio school board claiming that legislative language required that references to "Intelligent Design" be included in Ohio's science standards. In fact, such language was removed from the relevant education bill before it became final.
While he may not be corrupt like DeLay, or a member of DeLay's posse like Blunt, Boehner comes with lots of baggage; baggage that should not only make American Jews nervous, but Democrats everywhere who cherish freedom of choice.
Friday, February 03, 2006
President Bush has now officially progressed beyond simple lies and deception and has graduated to much more complex psychobabble. During his State of the DisUnion address Tuesday, the commander-in-chief warned of a frightening new enemy that could infiltrate American society if left unchecked. The new terrorists. Yes, I'm talking about the dreaded Human-Animal-Hybrid. A beast so threatening it'll make BigFoot seem like Barney.
Our president fears scientists almost as much as he fears Al Qaeda. Oh, these Dr. Frankensteins are a scary bunch indeed, says Bush. Roaming around the lab, in their smug white coats, cooking up all sorts of terror in those pesky little test tubes. No siree. He's not going to let them turn America into a scene from Night of the Living Dead. Not this tough guy from Texas. Not on his watch.
Discussing ethics in science and medicine, Bush asked legislators in a packed House chamber to help him protect our society from these dreaded man-beasts:
"Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research: human cloning in all its forms, creating or implanting embryos for experiments, creating human-animal hybrids, and buying, selling, or patenting human embryos. Human life is a gift from our creator, and that gift should never be discarded, devalued or put up for sale".
And there you have it. The president once again rushing to protect us from the enemy. And if he also wants to bypass Congress and the courts and start bugging all the lab phones in this country, I say go for it. Look, I've never seen Sasquatch up close and personal, but I've watched countless documentaries featuring those who have. It's a horror they'll never forget. So let me tell you, I never want to encounter one of these nightmarish man-beasts the president warns of. President Bush, I implore you. Please continue to do everything in your power to make America's men, women and children safe from human-animal hybrids. America, be afraid. Be very, very afraid.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
New York City-based cable TV political talk show The Ostroy/DeLaite Report...Where Democrats Play Rough, announced its February guest line-up this week. Wednesday's show welcomed back The Nation editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel, who provided her keen insights into the State of the Union address, Bush and the GOP, and Democratic politics in America today.
The February 8th show will feature nationally-syndicated progressive radio talk show host Stephanie Miller. Her fresh and funny morning show is on dozens of affiliates, including major markets like Los Angeles, Boston, and Washington, D.C. This will be Stephanie's first appearance, and we're excitedly looking forward to it.
Mark Crispin Miller, another frequent guest, will be back with us February 15th. Miller is the author of Boxed in: The Culture of TV; The Bush Dyslexicon: Observations on a National Disorder; Cruel and Unusual: Bush/Cheney's New World Order; and his latest, Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They'll Steal the Next One Too.
And February 22nd will feature BuzzFlash.com editor and publisher Mark Karlin for another return appearance. BuzzFlash provides headlines and news to over 150,000 readers daily.
The Ostroy/DeLaite Report...Where Democrats Play Rough broadcasts live every Wednesday at 6:30 PM EST over Time Warner Cable channel 67 in Manhattan. It can also be viewed online at MNN.org by clicking "watch MNN/ch 67." Viewers can call the show at 212-757-2076.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Samuel J. Alito was confirmed 58-42 on Tuesday, and sworn in as the nation’s 110th justice on the Supreme Court, thus joining John Roberts Jr., Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy to comprise the most right-wing majority in the high court's modern history. Note the 42 votes. That's one more than was needed to filibuster this extremist judge. I cannot for the life of me fathom how these Senators (all Democrats save RI's Republican Lincoln Chafee) could vote "no" for confirmation but not support a filibuster. But then again, it's been a very long time since I understood the Democrats' overall strategy.
You'd think that after doing this State of the Union thing five times he'd finally get it right and say something new and meaningful. Instead, what we got was another dose of some good ole Texas drivel. Nothing more than a bunch of Rovian talking points mixed in with a few lies and lots of deception. And empty promises. And sugar-coated liberal-bashing. And I gave up "Queer Eye" for this?
This speech was classic King George. In the same chamber that he pays homage to civil rights leader Coretta Scott King, who died yesterday, he has Iraq anti-war lightening rod Cindy Sheehan tossed for wearing a t-shirt that showed the number of dead U.S. soldiers. Ain't protesting a bitch?
For openers, since when did the United States become "isolationist?" Bush used this term repeatedly in a not-so-thinly veiled attempt to thwart his detractors on Iraq. To Bush, pulling out of an unjust war that has no clear purpose and no end in site--a war that's cost 2243 US military lives and hundreds of billions of dollars--equates to "isolationism." It's just more of the Bushevik double-talk designed to twist and distort the truth. The same Crawford gobbledygook that says "you don't support the troops" if you're against the war. Or that you "want bin Laden to operate freely inside the U.S." if you're against warrantless wiretapping on Americans. No George, that's not what we're saying.
The SOTU speech was long on Iraq, 911 and keeping terrorists from moving "the battlefield to our own shores." It only took him about 320 words out of a 5000+ words speech to bring up the 911 tragedy. He invoked Osama bin Laden's name twice, the first time he's ever mentioned the Al Qaeda leader in a SOTU address. He boasted of all the terrorist masterminds captured and killed, and vowed that "for the others, their day will come." Can you say, "Dead or Alive?"
We heard a lot about how successfully the war in Iraq is progressing. Give him credit. Bush may be delusional, but he does have conviction. He's staying on message no matter what. You can almost hear him in the future, when the country implodes from civil war, boasting of how America has created an exciting new open, free society where ordinary citizens now have the right to kill each other on the streets. Welcome to Bush's modern middle-eastern democracy. Ya know, the kind of democracies "that will not look like our own, because they will reflect the traditions of their own citizens." You got that right.
And on the issue of freedom throughout the middle east, the president also boasted of gains made in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and in the Palestinian territories. Huh? Wha? Come again? Can you say, "Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas?" This is progress? The Muslim Brotherhood, certainly the type of "radical islamist" group the president warned of, is Egypt's main opposition group and its members won nearly a fifth of the seats in parliament in elections last year, their biggest ever bloc. Hamas is a violent terrorist organization hellbent on the destruction of Israel. And just exactly which "steps to reform" have the Saudis taken, as Bush stated? And while we're at, shall we even bring up Lebanon's Hezbollah? Oh, what's the use.
Mr. Texas tough guy also had some harsh words for Iran, vowing not to let them gain "nukular" (oy vey) weapons. What are you gonna do George, attack them too? As we used to say in the schoolyard, "you and what army?" Because we all know the U.S. military is stretched so thin that we can hardly fight the battles we're currently in.
Let's move to the domestic front. All we got on education, health care and the environment was, well, nothing. Bush has this uncanny ability to tell us how he's going to shore up all these areas at precisely the same time he's cutting them. It's pure Rovian theatre: Tell 'em what they want to hear, and then do what you want anyway. They're too dumb and uninformed to know the difference. Regarding the economy, as always, everything's great. Record deficits, record gas and oil prices, declining real wages, lackluster consumer spending, rising inflation and interest rates, and declining GDP...yup, that's just the way we like things. Thanks George.
And out of a 500+ word speech, Bush talked about Hurricane Katrina and repairing the Gulf Coast for a mere 160 words. At the end of his speech. This is how he addresses the worst natural disaster in America's history? Vague promises about aid and rebuilding, and poetic talk of all Americans "protected by justice, equal in hope and rich in opportunity." But ask most local politicians down there and what you'll get is nothing but anger and frustration over the government's abysmal response to the disaster and it's aftermath.
Or what about his profound declaration that "America is addicted to oil?" Considering that he, his family and people like Dick Cheney are the biggest pushers of this drug, can he honestly be taken seriously here? The Busheviks have given the oil companies carte blanche to not only self-regulate, but to earn staggering mega-profits like the $34 billion (yes, you heard that right) Exxon Mobil reported Tuesday. As long as there's a Bush and Cheney, there'll be an addiction to oil.
Another year of Bush, another SOTU speech and another opportunity for the mainstream media to take apart the lies and deception and hold up a mirror to this inept presidency. Think they'll do it? Not a chance.