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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Potemkin Presidency

Re: Hurricane Katrina from today's NY Times...

Mr. Bush delivered his remarks at an intersection in a working-class Biloxi neighborhood against a carefully orchestrated backdrop of neatly reconstructed homes. Just a few feet out of camera range stood gutted houses with wires dangling from interior ceilings. A tattered piece of crime scene tape hung from a tree in the field where Mr. Bush spoke. A toilet seat lay on its side in the grass.

Mr. Bush praised the optimism and grit of the people of Mississippi, and he reaffirmed his belief in neighborly cooperation as well as government help. “A year ago, I committed our federal government to help you,” he said. “I said we have a duty to help the local people recover and rebuild. I meant what I said.”

Read It:

A carefully managed photo-op, concealing the stark reality. It's a good thing nothing like this has ever happened before.


Monday, August 28, 2006

I'm From The Government And I'm Here To Help

According to Reagan, that's the scariest sentence ever spoken.

Hardcore conservatives believe that the government should be trimmed down to the bare essentials; they envision a low service, low tax Eutopia where Americans don't spend money on frivolous things like Social Security or Public Education.

Guess what happens when people who don't believe in government assume control of the goverment?

You get clusterf*cks like Katrina, that's what.

Nobody has explained the anti-democratic leanings of the conservatives better than Thomas Frank. This is required reading, and yes, this will be on the final exam.

Read It.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The "No Fly List" List

According to the Transportation Security Administration, you can only end up on a no-fly list if you're already on the Terrorist Screening Center's (TSC) Terrorist Screening Center Database (TSDB). According to the F.B.I., "...only individuals who are known or appropriately suspected to be or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism are included in the TSDB".

If recent news headlines are any indication, it would seem that the selection of individuals for the No-Fly Lists have become politicized. It would be hard to imagine a granola-based terrorist attack originating from a peace activist's commune in San Francisco, or a stealth attack from the Kennedy compound, wouldn't it? With an estimated 30,000 individuals on the list, the scent wafting through the air is reminiscent of the stench of McCarthyism.

In an effort to document this phenomenon, I've started to compile a "No-Fly List List" of dubious groundings of people who are obviously not planning terrorist attacks against the United States. Their only crime is being critical of the Administration and the war--or perhaps having a name that sounds Muslim. I'd appreciate any amendments to the list.

The No-Fly List List

Jan Gordon- San Francisco Peace Activists
Rebecca Adams - San Francisco Peace Activists
Ted Kennedy - U.S. Senator
Randi Rhodes - Radio Talk Show Host
Jesselyn Radack, Department of Justice Ethics Advisor
James Moore, Author of Bush's Brain
John Lewis (D) U.S. Congressman
Dr. Robert Johnson- Veteran Opposed to the Iraq War
James W. Walter- political activist seeking an independent 9/11 commission.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Give 'Em Hell, Howie!

Al Rodgers presents a straight talkin' Howard Dean montage:

On Katrina

"I think Katrina -- the response to Katrina was effectively the end to the President's presidency in the sense that people all of a sudden saw the small man behind the curtain.

People in America and throughout the rest of the world for a long time have believed that Americans can fix anything, that we're better organized and better managed -- managed better than anybody, and that if something really awful happens, call on the Americans.

And for the first time in our lifetime and in the world's lifetime, since World War II -- since before World War II -- we suddenly saw an American president just descend into failure.

And I don't think he's ever recovered from that."

Read It:

Friday, August 18, 2006

Thomas Kean, 9/11 Commission Chairman, Distorts History on the Daily Show

And, I'm sorry to say, Jon let it slide.

In his August 17th Daily Show interview, Kean painted a pretty picture of the committee's 2004 interview with the president:

"I'll tell you why I've got a lot of hope...When we finally got our agreement to interview the president, we had five republicans and five democrats in the oval office, l looked out at the Washington Monument out the window, and the president said 'I'll answer anything you have to ask, and stay as long as you want'."

Such candor! He was willing to answer any question they had to ask! Talk about true transparency in government!

But wait, Governor Kean, didn't you just say that the Bush Administration fought against the creation of the commission in the first place?

Didn't your commission accept the following restrictions on that interview?

* The president couldn't be interviewed without Dick Cheney present.
* There was to be no recording made of the interview.
* There was to be no stenographer in the room.
* There was to be no transcript of the session.
* Neither the vice president or president would be interviewed under oath.

...And he's full of hope?

This is the same incompetent that faults himself for not asking hard enough questions to Rudy Guiliani and the Pentagon...

"In (his) book, Kean and co-chair Lee Hamilton say they considered asking the Justice Department to investigate statements made by the Department of Defense, statements about when they knew about the hijackings on 9/11 and what their response had been - statements that proved patently false.

'There's no question they were lying. The question was whether they were doing intentionally or whether they just had the wrong information," said Kean. "We had generals and we had officials from the FAA and they just didn't tell the truth. And they didn't tell us they didn't tell the truth. We had to go and find it out for our own staff. We had to go and review tapes ourselves. We had to go and interview witnesses, and finally we pulled the story out.' "

Read It

Thanks a lot, Tom, I hope the truth you're belatedly telling on page A12 sets us all free.

The Initial CNN Piece About the Interview Here

Thursday, August 10, 2006

WEAPON OF CHOICE reports on the alleged use of cluster bombs by the Pentagon and the Israelis.

Such a wonderful way to win hearts and minds via shock and awe!

You have to wonder if the military contractors don't print an expiration date on their munitions.

Where are cluster bombs made, and what sort of sick bastard spends his days stuffing little parachute bomblets into a warhead and then goes home to the wife and kids?

Read It

Thursday, August 03, 2006


To me, it seems that the IDF strategy is this:

Use a shock and awe bombing campaign to win the hearts and minds of the Lebanese, who will undoubtedly curse Hezbollah for forcing the Israelis to blow up the infrastructure of their country. This will inevitably cause Hezbollah--and every other terrorist group in the middle east and elsewhere--to decide not to mess with Israel, because they're clearly dangerous and crazy; therefore, suicide bombings would be just too risky to carry out.

...Should I be suprised that this approach wins the Bush Administration seal of approval?

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