Thursday, June 29, 2006

Keith Strikes Back Against NYTimes Bashers

Bush has been boasting about the US search of financial records since Sept, 2001.

Keith Olbermann has the goods and Crooks and Liars has the video.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A Breakdown in Command

Sadly, it seems that we've just scratched the surface on our young soldiers who will be charged with war crimes.

When will someone actually talk about the real issue here: A breakdown in command.

When will commanders be held to account for their deadly failures in leadership?

US soldiers charged in another Iraqi killing

Saturday, June 24, 2006

GOP Strategy for 2006: If it Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

It Appears that the WH will use the same strategy in 06 that worked so well in 04: Be afraid, be very afraid!

The more we learn about the 'terrorist cell' in Miami, the more clear it becomes that these guys couldn't blow a can of Folgers, much less a building.

The prosecution should be very interesting.

From Knight Ridder,

WASHINGTON - Even as Justice Department officials trumpeted the arrests of seven Florida men accused of planning to wage a "full ground war against the United States," they acknowledged the group did not have the means to carry out the plan.

The Justice Department unveiled the arrests with an orchestrated series of press conferences in two cities, but the severity of the charges compared with the seemingly amateurish-nature of the group raised concerns among civil libertarians.
_____

The seven men are charged with conspiring to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago and FBI buildings in five cities. Prosecutors said they swore allegiance to al-Qaida after meeting with a confidential government informant who was posing as a representative of the terrorist group.

But after sweeps of various locations in Miami, government agents found no explosives or weapons. Investigators also did not document any direct links to al-Qaida.

Don't misunderstand me, these guys needed to be arrested before someone got hurt. But charging a group that doesn't even own a gun -- in Florida! -- with conspiracy to wage war on the US? The pure theater of the announcement of this arrest is as transparent as it is absurd.

Fear is all they've got folks. We keep thinking they will come up with something more, but apparently not.

And look for the 'Miami 7' to all plead to some very reduced charges in exchange for locking them up in a federal pen somewhere until this Admin is long out of office.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Inordinate Fear of N Korea

Writting at the American Prospect blog, TAPPED, Matt Yglesias gets it right on the latest N. Korean "crisis".

Regarding the recent OP/ED by Dems Bill Perry and Ashton Carter to bomb the NK missile pad Matt points out,
They say we don't need to worry that the DPRK will retaliate since "an invasion of South Korea would bring about the certain end of Kim Jong Il's regime within a few bloody weeks of war, as surely he knows." But by the same token, he surely knows that launching a nuclear missile at the United States would bring about the certain end of his regime. So what are we worried about?

It seems to me that we shouldn't let the North Koreans send us into these states of periodic panic -- it only serves to encourage them to keep acting up to get a rise out of us. Their technology is crappy, their country is dirt poor and militarily inferior to South Korea, to say nothing of Japan or the United States. There's nothing in North Korea that we could conceivably want...The serious DPRK-related policy question is what we and our allies -- notably the aforementioned South Korea and Japan -- will do once the northern regime inevitably falls.

Another War on Poverty?

Are American's ready to wage a second war on poverty?

It's my impression that most Americans have been convinced that the first War on Poverty was an utter failure, and not likely to be interested in starting again. Of course, it's not accurate the call LBJ's War on Poverty a complete failure. It had it's ups and downs and certainly had some successes, but perceptions always trump reality, and I'm afraid the perception in this case is not favorable.

John Edwards wants to try again. From today's WaPo,
Former senator John Edwards (D-N.C.), ...said yesterday that the nation should set a goal of eliminating poverty over the next three decades....

His policy proposals include raising the minimum wage to $7.50 an hour, which he said would lift a million people out of poverty. He also proposed creating a million temporary government-subsidized jobs over five years, tax credits for first-time home buyers, a radical overhaul of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, tax credits to help low-income workers establish savings accounts, and expanded opportunities to attend college.

Edwards said wiping out poverty would cost $15 billion to $20 billion a year, which he said he would pay for by rolling back President Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and preserving the estate tax, which the Republicans are seeking to eliminate.

Noting that past declarations of war on poverty have fallen short, Edwards said there are huge obstacles ahead, particularly in helping young African American men break out of the poverty cycle. He said new thinking must be part of the solution.

Hurricane Katrina revealed a level of poverty that most of us didn't know still existed in this country, and convinced me that a national dialogue on poverty had to take place. Thousands of
Americans who had never even had a bank account.

So, I'm ready for a serious discussion of a second war on poverty, but I don't think many others are with me. And in light of the utter poverty revealed by Hurricane Katrina, I'm more than a little surprised that so-called 'people of faith' are not more concerned.

The reality is that at a national level this debate is over. Our society has decided that government benefits are not a solution, and that aside for some basic, short-term benefits, people in this country will either sink or swim. Never mind that Edwards wants to talk about much more than 'handouts' as the GOP seeking to poison the well, love to refer to government aid to the poor.

I applaud Edwards for wanting to have this discussion, but lets see if he's still talking about it this time next year.

What do you think?

Springsteen Gets Political on CNN

Ann Coulter, cable TV and Pete Seeger.

Bruce Springsteen on CNN, 6/23/06

Sears Tower Plot

By now you've probably heard about the plot to blow up the Sears Tower.

And while exploiting fear is the hallmark of the Bush administration, we should all view this story with some caution.

From today's Miami Herald (which has the best coverage, by the way),
The campaign, which never advanced beyond the discussion stage, would begin with the bombing of the 110-story Sears Tower in Chicago, according to the indictment.

''What we had here were Americans who made plans to hurt other Americans,'' U.S. Attorney General Albert Gonzales said this morning during a news conference in Washington.

The group was infiltrated by a government informant who posed as an al Qaeda representative, and the seven men allegedly pledged an oath to al Qaeda, the indictment said.

They apparently never had any contact with authentic representatives of al Qaeda. They were not able to obtain explosives, federal officials said.

''It was more aspirational than operational,'' John Pistole, the FBI's deputy director, said during the Washington news conference.
So let's keep this in perspective. It wasn't the suspension of civil rights or habeas corpus that broke this case. Law enforcement deserves a big 'pat on the back' for a job well done, because despite the Bushies assertion to the contrary, it is law enforcement who broke this group, just like it was law enforcement that broke the group in Canada. Not the Patriot Act or wire taps, but in both cases, dummies who went to informants.

UPDATE: The New York Times weighs in.

Party of Lincoln?

Yet again, the GOP reminds us that the only thing they really have in common is their racism and bigotry.

Only in the GOP is an extension of the 1964 Voting Rights Act controversial.

Bigotry Beneath the Fog,
....Speaker Dennis Hastert was ready to move forward with a feel-good, election-year extension of the landmark 1965 act that guaranteed voting rights for African Americans disenfranchised by Jim Crow law and custom in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina and Virginia. In 1975 the act was expanded to cover Alaska, Texas and Arizona, where citizens with limited command of English -- Latinos, mostly -- were being treated as if they were black folks in the South.

Hastert understood that reauthorizing the act would be useful in efforts to convince voters that the Republican Party as presently constituted is just ultraconservative, not actually racist. But Hastert was sandbagged by fellow Republicans who rebelled in a private caucus meeting Wednesday. The renewal probably could have won easy approval on the House floor, since Democrats would have voted for it, but Hastert's policy is to not bring out any bill that lacks majority support from Republicans, so he had no choice but to yank it.

So much for the erstwhile "party of Lincoln."....

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Begala is Spot On!

Sorry, been away again.

I'm not a big fan of Paul Begala, but when he's right, he's right. And today, writing at TPMCafe Begala has the tonic the Ds need.

Here's the crux,
The fact is the American people want a new direction in Iraq, and the Democrats offer several. The Republicans, on the other hand, offer nothing more than a four-word strategy: more of the same.

Democrats should seize this moment to attack the rubber-stamp Republicans for their lemming-like devotion to a failed strategy and a set of incompetent and dishonest leaders. Republicans have a faith-based Iraq policy. They have faith in Donald Rumsfeld, they have faith in Dick Cheney, they have faith in George W. Bush. We don’t. They are liars and nincompoops – and the lives of tens of thousands of our best are in their hands.

Every time the GOP says “cut and run,” Democrats should say, “rubber stamp.” Every time they say we’re weak, we should say real strength is standing up to your president and your party when American lives are on the line. When they attack our patriotism, we should challenge them to sign their kids up for the military: “Since when did the sons and daughters of working people corner the market on patriotism, Senator? If this war is so wonderful, so noble, so vital, why the hell is your son throwing up on his date at Ivy League frat parties?”

The Ds need to be beating this theme like a drum!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

What Did It Cost

I understand that the President has the bully pulpit and the disposal of the military at his beck and call, but I wonder how many millions of dollars it cost for his five and a half hour publicity stunt in Baghdad this week?

I guess it doesn't matter that the country is spending at a level that is out of control and that the tax cuts he has pushed will cut revenue far into the future. It is more important to use the office of the POTUS to make sure his polling rating increase before the midterms.

Monday, June 12, 2006

This isn't the least bit surprising

The Fix -- Chris Cillizza's Politics Blog on washingtonpost.com:
The Des Moines Register released the results of a poll of likely 2008 Democratic caucus participants that established John Edwards -- not Hillary Rodham Clinton -- as the current frontrunner in the Hawkeye State. Edwards, the former North Carolina senator and 2004 vice presidential nominee, took 30 percent to 26 percent for New York Sen. Clinton.

John Kerry, the party's 2004 nominee, had the support of 12 percent of the survey's sample, while homestate Gov. Tom Vilsack had 10 percent -- the only other candidates to attract double-digit support in the poll. Other candidates expected to enter the 2008 Democratic presidential contest, like former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner and Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, garnered low single-digit support.
Actually, I'm a little surprised the Hillary did so well. Hillary as front-runner is a media creation. They just don't get it.

As I've written here before, I think Edwards has to be considered the front runner and Mark Warner is the man to watch.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Blogger's Been Down

Most of yesterday and now again today, so I've not been able to post much.

I'll try to post some stuff later today.

Zarqawi Dead?

I'd say there is a 60% chance this is true. And if it's true, good riddance although I don't think anything will change. If nothing else, this should be a morale boost for our troops which is great.

Steve Benen has a good post at The Washington Monthly. As he points out, prior to the Iraqi invasion, Bush had many chances to get Zarqawi but refused. Didn't want any reason not to invade Iraq.

How many have died because of Bush's refusal to get Zarqawi 4 years ago.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

An Estate Tax Primer

The Estate of Misguided Choices | TPMCafe

I think this fight as been lost and it's a shame. Exactly when do the Ds in Congress plan on showing some principal?

Gotta Love John Stewart

Via The Washington Monthly

Jon Stewart,while emceeing yesterday's Peabody Awards for broadcasting excellence in New York, got off a couple good quips at the press, not unlike his appearance on Crossfire in 2004.

Here's my favorite,
"Thomas Jefferson once said: 'Of course the people don't want war. But the people can be brought to the bidding of their leader. All you have to do is tell them they're being attacked and denounce the pacifists for somehow a lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.' I think that was Jefferson. Oh wait. That was Hermann Goering. Shoot."
As Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly pointed out, those are indeed the words of Hermann Goering.

It's About the Fight

Supporters lose in gay marriage ban vote

Of course, for the supporters it's really not about winning; it's about the fight.

It is the fight that raises money and brings out their supporters. Actually winning could be counterproductive.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Scientific Consensus on Global Warming

I intended to mention this earlier.

Via Think progress.
Science magazine analyzed 928 peer-reviewed scientific papers on global warming published between 1993 and 2003. Not a single one challenged the scientific consensus the earth'’s temperature is rising due to human activity.
One of the reasons we've lost the respect of the world is because too many of us, including our President, are as dumb as a box or rocks.

We are the only developed country in the world where evolution and global warming are controversial.

It's freakin embarrassing!

The 4 Stages of Global Warming Denial

Treehugger: The 4 Stages of Global Warming Denial

'Paris Hilton Tax Cut'

This is exactly the kind of 'branding' that the GOP has beat us over the head with for years. About freakin' time!

Think Progress updates us.
While the Senate prepares to debate the Paris Hilton Tax this week, supporters of its abolishment admit they are “well short of the 60 votes required to take up a full repeal measure.” If full repeal fails, Senators may vote on “compromises which are nearly as costly and unfair as full repeal.”

Today, six former White House advisers are urging Senators to oppose these costly proposals that “benefit only the wealthiest three of every 1,000 estates.”

CongressDaily reported last week that Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) may put forward a “counter offer” containing “a graduated rate structure setting rates of 15, 25, and 35 percent depending on the size of the estate.”
Think Progress has more, including why the Baucus compromise is a bad idea.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Reward for the Hereditary Elite . . .

Good column from today's WaPo on why we shouldn't repeal the estate tax.

Here's a taste,

If the abolitionists succeed, some other tax will eventually be raised to make up for the lost revenue. So which tax does Congress favor? The income tax, which discourages work? A consumption tax, which hits the poor hardest? The payroll tax, which is both anti-work and anti-poor? Really, which other tax out there is better?

The abolitionists don't respond to this question because there is no convincing answer. Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman, has written that "we would be hard-pressed to find evidence that, compared with the alternatives, a reasonable estate tax significantly discourages work or innovation or savings." ....
_____

Repealing the estate tax is like erecting protectionist barriers around the hereditary elite. It is anti-meritocratic and unfair -- and antithetical to this nation's best traditions.

(via Josh at TPM)

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Isringhausen

We're kidding ourselves if we think we can win a World Series with Jason Isringhausen as our closer.

You gonna go to Jason in game 7?

R & R

Just taking a little mental health break from here and the office. More next week.