Saturday, December 31, 2005

My New Years Wish

I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year.

I hope the coming year will be better for everyone.

I wish my vision of the coming year were brighter.

Honestly, my personal view of the last five years has been truly miserable overshadowed by the secrets, lies and failures of the Bush misadministration. I hold a deep fear that things will only get worse and that not only will they continue along unchecked by Congress, but that they will ultimately never be held accountable.

I hope that I am in absolute error on this account because I truly believe that the current path is leading to the end of American democracy as the sheeple sleep and believe in false dreams inspired by the lies of BushCo, like over 25% of the population that believes that Iraq had WMD when we invaded, that Saddam was involved in 9/11, and at least several of the hijackers were Iraqi.

I think the final straw that will break the back of our democracy will be if Bush’s violation of the Constitution in ordering the NSA to perform domestic surveillance goes unchecked and unpunished.

"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier...just as long as I'm the dictator..."
--George W. Bush, Washington, DC, Dec 18, 2000, during his first trip to Washington as President-Elect

Five years ago who would have thought that this man (and I use that word lightly) would have led this country to the point where he feebly attempts to tell the citizens of the Untied States and rest of the world that he is not a dictator, he believes in democracy (as long as you trust his secret executive orders and that he is above the law), that he believes in checks in balances (as long as they are not done on him), he believes in a free press (as long as they can be paid to tell only the stories he wants and coerced into suppressing any negative news of the misadministration), the United States does not torture (despite all evidence to the contrary and his threatening to veto any anti-torture legislation), the environment is being protected (just not as well as it was in the past and businesses which are major polluters know how to self-regulate), there is no corporate cronyism (even if Vice President Dick Cheney still receives compensation from Haliburton and millions of dollars of stock), and he has the right to order domestic spying on US citizens with no explanation to or oversight by Congress.

So, my New Years wish:

Please let me be wrong.
Please let the coming year bring a brighter vision through the strength of The Constitution of the United Stated, the return of a truly free press and the perseverance of our democracy.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome President Cerberus

Cerberus \Cer"be*rus\, n. (Greek mythology) A monster, in the shape of a three-headed dog, guarding the entrance to Hades

OK, so this was a weird inspiration after seeing the latest Hypnocrites post, The Puppet Master.

Help Them Find a New Name

Haha, what fun!

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo has pointed out:
Ahh the Shame! the Humanity! the pure unadulterated humor value!

Signatures, Jack Abramoff's pricey DC eatery where the beautiful people right-wingers ate well and the congressmen ate for free, is looking for a new name.

And they've set up a special page at the restaurant's website where you can sign up and suggest one.

I think I'm going to put in for 'License Plates'.
I considered the name 'Justice is Served', but decided it was a little too cliche. My submission of 'Serving Time' may not be less of a truism, but I like it.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

I support the ACLU! Do you?

I wonder how to make an anonymous contribution to the ACLU in the form of this animated GIF (suggestions are welcome):

Keep America Safe and Free

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

My Impeach Animated GIF is the Latest Image at Impeach PAC

Wow, talk about being screwed up!

Judge turfs restraining order against Letterman
A judge has lifted a restraining order against talk-show host David Letterman, which was granted to a woman who accused him of sending her coded messages through the airwaves.

The woman, who lives in the New Mexico city of Santa Fe, alleged that Letterman subjected her to "mental cruelty" for 11 years and forced her to go bankrupt.


In a legal document filed on Dec. 15, Nestler asked that Letterman be forced to stay at least three metres from her and not "think of me, and release me from his mental harassment and hammering."

Nestler said the problem started when she started sending him "thoughts of love" after the Late Show with David Letterman began airing on CBS in 1993.

She alleges that Letterman used code words, gestures and "eye expressions" to harass her and show his love for her through his TV program.

Nestler alleges that in one message, Letterman asked her to go to New York, where his show is taped, and become his co-star.

In another message, Nestler alleges that Letterman asked her to be his wife by saying "Marry me, Oprah." She said "Oprah" was one of the code names he used for her.

The judge asked her to provide evidence to back her allegations at the court hearing on Tuesday, but Nestler said she had none.

Why did the judge ever grant a restraining order in the first place?

I wonder what coded message Letterman was sending everytime he asked, "What was that song, Paul?"

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Felicitous Festitude

Friday, December 23, 2005

John Gibson's "Miracle on 34th Street"

Sanity Clause

Thursday, December 22, 2005

I Write Letters

Congressman Russ Carnahan, Missouri, 3rd District
United States House of Representatives

I am writing you concerning the revelations and admission by President Bush regarding his illegal authorization of spying on US citizens. As my Congressman, I want you to represent my support of Congressman John Conyers' resolution of censure for both President Bush and Vice-President Cheney and the creation of a select committee to investigate impeachable offenses (HR 635, HR 636, HR 637).

The following from the Articles of Impeachment against Richard M. Nixon is exactly the violation of the Constitution which President Bush has not only committed, but publicly admitted to violating and stated that he will continue to violate:

Article 2: Abuse of Power.

Using the powers of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in disregard of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has repeatedly engaged in conduct violating the constitutional rights of citizens, imparting the due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries, or contravening the laws governing agencies of the executive branch and the purposes of these agencies.

Thank you from your constituent,

Disgusted in St. Louis

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Michael Bérubé: They hate our freedoms

Michael Bérubé has an excellent post from which this great excerpt is taken. I recommend clicking though and reading his entire posting.
People who support a clandestine program of warrantless domestic spying are not “conservatives” or “libertarians.” Neither are people who support the creation of a worldwide archipelago of secret torture sites. Neither are people who support the usurpation of the functions of government by the executive branch; who espouse the theory that the executive branch is the final arbiter of the legality of the actions of the executive branch; and who call for the investigation or prosecution of a free press that dares to report on the executive branch’s secret programs of domestic spying and outsourced torture.

Those people, my friends, are called the radical right.

Forget Jesusland. Forget the War on Christmas. You don’t have to be a crazed theocrat to be a member of the radical right! All you have to do is support the right of the Leader to create secret torture and domestic spying programs, and vent your spleen at the few remaining journalists with the courage to report on them. That’s what a radical right does for a living. It’s what a radical right lives for.

WTF does Peter Daou have to be so right?

From today's Daou Report, The Dynamic of a Bush Scandal: How the Spying Story Will Unfold (and Fade):
1. POTUS circumvents the law - an impeachable offense.

2. The story breaks (in this case after having been concealed by a news organization until well after Election 2004).

3. The Bush crew floats a number of pushback strategies, settling on one that becomes the mantra of virtually every Republican surrogate. These Republicans face down poorly prepped Dem surrogates and shred them on cable news shows.

4. Rightwing attack dogs on talk radio, blogs, cable nets, and conservative editorial pages maul Bush's critics as traitors for questioning the CIC.

5. The Republican leadership plays defense for Bush, no matter how flagrant the Bush over-reach, no matter how damaging the administration's actions to America's reputation and to the Constitution. A few 'mavericks' like Hagel or Specter risk the inevitable rightwing backlash and meekly suggest that the president should obey the law. John McCain, always the Bush apologist when it really comes down to it, minimizes the scandal.

6. Left-leaning bloggers and online activists go ballistic, expressing their all-too-familiar combination of outrage at Bush and frustration that nothing ever seems to happen with these scandals. Several newspaper editorials echo these sentiments but quickly move on to other issues.

7. A few reliable Dems, Conyers, Boxer, et al, take a stand on principle, giving momentary hope to the progressive grassroots/netroots community. The rest of the Dem leadership is temporarily outraged (adding to that hope), but is chronically incapable of maintaining the sense of high indignation and focus required to reach critical mass and create a wholesale shift in public opinion. For example, just as this mother of all scandals hits Washington, Democrats are still putting out press releases on Iraq, ANWR and a range of other topics, diluting the story and signaling that they have little intention of following through. This allows Bush to use his three favorite weapons: time, America's political apathy, and make-believe 'journalists' who yuck it up with him and ask fluff questions at his frat-boy pressers.

8. Reporters and media outlets obfuscate and equivocate, pretending to ask tough questions but essentially pushing the same narratives they've developed and perfected over the past five years, namely, some variation of "Bush firm, Dems soft." A range of Bush-protecting tactics are put into play, one being to ask ridiculously misleading questions such as "Should Bush have the right to protect Americans or should he cave in to Democratic political pressure?" All the while, the right assaults the "liberal" media for daring to tell anything resembling the truth.

9. Polls will emerge with 'proof' that half the public agrees that Bush should have the right to "protect Americans against terrorists." Again, the issue will be framed to mask the true nature of the malfeasance. The media will use these polls to create a self-fulfilling loop and convince the public that it isn't that bad after all. The president breaks the law. Life goes on.

10. The story starts blending into a long string of administration scandals, and through skillful use of scandal fatigue, Bush weathers the storm and moves on, further demoralizing his opponents and cementing the press narrative about his 'resolve' and toughness. Congressional hearings might revive the issue momentarily, and bloggers will hammer away at it, but the initial hype is all the Democrat leadership and the media can muster, and anyway, it's never as juicy the second time around...

Rinse and repeat.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Senator Rockefeller refutes Bush lie on domestic spyng

(via Sen. Rockefeller's Senate web site)
Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, today released the following statement regarding the President’s decision to publicly confirm the existence of a highly-sensitive National Security Agency (NSA) program for intercepting communications within the United States. Additionally, Senator Rockefeller released his correspondence to the White House on July 17, 2003 – the day he first learned of the program -- expressing serious concerns about the nature of the program as well as Congress’ inability to provide oversight given the limited nature of the briefings.

“For the last few days, I have witnessed the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of State, and the Attorney General repeatedly misrepresent the facts.

“The record needs to be set clear that the Administration never afforded members briefed on the program an opportunity to either approve or disapprove the NSA program. The limited members who were told of the program were prohibited by the Administration from sharing any information about it with our colleagues, including other members of the Intelligence Committees.

“At the time, I expressed my concerns to Vice President Cheney that the limited information provided to Congress was so overly restricted that it prevented members of Congress from conducting meaningful oversight of the legal and operational aspects of the program.

“These concerns were never addressed, and I was prohibited from sharing my views with my colleagues.

“Now that this issue has been brought out into the open, I strongly urge the Senate Intelligence Committee to immediately undertake a full investigation into the legal and operational aspects of the program, including the lack of sufficient congressional oversight.”

The following is the text of Rockefeller's hand written of July 17, 2003. I presume that is was hand written because "Given the security restrictions associated with this information, and my inability to consult staff or counsel":
July 17, 2003
Dear Mr. Vice President,

I am writing to reiterate my concern regarding the sensitive intelligence issues we discussed today with the DCI, DIRNSA, and Chairman Roberts and our House Intelligence Committee counterparts.

Clearly the activities we discussed raise profound oversight issues. As you know, I am neither a technician or an attorney. Given the security restrictions associated with this information, and my inability to consult staff or counsel on my own, I feel unable to fully evaluate, much less endorse these activities.

As I reflected on the meeting today, and the future we face, John Poindexter's TIA project sprung to mind, exacerbating my concern regarding the direction the Administration is moving with regard to security, technology, and surveiliance.

Without more information and the ability to draw on any independent legal or techical expertise, I simply cannot satisfy lingering concerns raised by the briefing we received.

I am retaining a copy of this letter in a sealed envelope in the secure spaces of the Senate Intelligence Committee to ensure that I have a record of this communication.

I appreciate your consideration of my views.

Most respectfully,

Jay Rockefeller

Astounding that Rockefeller saw the need to retain a sealed copy!

Digby at Hullabaloo points out this:
He makes it clear that he has very serious reservations about this program and says that since he is not a technician or a lawyer, and is prohibited from speaking with staff, experts or colleagues, he cannot properly evaluate this program.

He evokes Poindexter's TIA.

I'm hosting images of the two page PDF containing the scanned image of the July 17, 2003 letter and include them here:

Letter Page 1

Letter Page 2

Monday, December 19, 2005

George Bush Spy Cams

George Bush Spy Cams

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Spies Like Us (George and Dick)

Spies Like Us (George and Dick)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

I-SPY starring George Bush

I-SPY starring George Bush

The Bush Scholastic Reader

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

FOX NEWS presents Brokeback Christmas

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Wizard of Oil

The Wizard of Oil is possibly the funniest blog post of the year. It was submitted as a diary tonight at My Left Wing by dood abides. I highly recommend clicking through and reading the entire diary .. err viewing the entire film.

It can also be enjoyed at dood's own site Dudehisattva, but you cannot post comments there.

Follow the Yellow Cake Road. Follow the Yellow Cake Road. Follow the Yellow Cake Road.

You're off to steal the Business, The Wonderful Business of Oil!

You'll find it is a Whiz of a Biz! If ever a Biz there was!

If ever o ever a Biz there was, The Business of Oil is one because,

Because, because, because, because, because.

Because of the Wonderful Bling for us!

You're off to steal the Business, The Wonderful Business of Oil!

Fun with Blog Ads

Atrios points out this Ad Fun, with the top two ads at Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo. The lower ad is for the movie The God Who Wasn't There

Monday, December 12, 2005

My New Book

Bush Administration in a Nustshell

(clicking the picture goes to the publisher's site)

If you don't recognize the animal on the cover it is a weasel.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Passion of the O'Reilly

Friday, December 09, 2005

Lieberman, Kush meer in toches

AP report appearring in Newsday, Lieberman meets with Rumsfeld amid retirement speculation:
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld hosted Sen. Joe Lieberman for a breakfast meeting Thursday amid speculation that the Connecticut Democrat could be in line to succeed him.

Lieberman, who has emerged as President Bush's staunchest Democratic defender on the Iraq war, has bucked his party and been a vocal advocate for Bush's Iraq policies.

He was tight-lipped about the 7:30 a.m. meeting with Rumsfeld and Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Lieberman aides provided few details about the breakfast, saying that their boss does not discuss private meetings.

"Secretary Rumsfeld invited Senator Lieberman to an early morning breakfast to discuss the nation's policies in Iraq," said Lieberman spokeswoman Casey Aden-Wansbury. "That's all there is to it."

Joe, maybe that's why Senate Minority Leader Harry says you're "Lonely Lieberman" (via Think Progress):
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), yesterday on the Bill Press Show: “I’ve spoken to Joe Lieberman and he knows he’s out there alone. I mean, literally alone. Joe is a fine man, he has strong feelings, but he’s just alone. Even Republicans don’t agree with Joe.”

If you would listen to me I would tell you:
Macher Lieberman, the Democratic chochem. You think you're a mayven on defense now. You might have been a mentsh 30 years ago, but now...

Kush meer in toches, du farmisht schmuck.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

O'Reilly Goes to War: Bill's True Meaning of Christmas

Inspired by Bill's favorite website Media Matters, which has more examples of Bill's holiday spirit:

O'Reilly promised to "bring horror" to alleged "anti-Christian forces" who oppose Christmas

Continuing his fight against the "war on Christmas," O'Reilly falsely claimed year-old Daily Show clip aired previous night

O'Reilly brought Christmas war to Cavuto

O'Reilly: "There's a very secret plan ... to diminish Christian philosophy in the U.S.A."

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Reason #54 against the USA PATRIOT Act.

(Subtitled: What is Old is New Again)

An article appearing in tomorrow’s New York Times reinforces the faith we should have in the FBI follow rigid guidelines in the pursuit of anti-terrorism under the provisions of the PATRIOT Act.

Report Finds Cover-Up in an F.B.I. Terror Case (via NYT)
Officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation mishandled a Florida terror investigation, falsified documents in the case in an effort to cover repeated missteps and retaliated against an agent who first complained about the problems, Justice Department investigators have concluded.

So, why should this raise concerns about the PATRIOT Act?
In one instance, someone altered dates on three F.B.I. forms using correction fluid to conceal an apparent violation of federal wiretap law, according to a draft report of an investigation by the Justice Department inspector general's office obtained by The New York Times. But investigators were unable to determine who altered the documents.

Of course this also has repercussions for the protection of whistleblowers:
The agent who first alerted the F.B.I. to problems in the case, a veteran undercover operative named Mike German, was "retaliated against" by his boss, who was angered by the agent's complaints and stopped using him for prestigious assignments in training new undercover agents, the draft report concluded.

Mr. German's case first became public last year, as he emerged as the latest in a string of whistle-blowers at the bureau who said they had been punished and effectively silenced for voicing concerns about the handling of terror investigations and other matters since Sept. 11, 2001.

And the response for protection of whistleblowers:
Robert S. Mueller III, director of the F.B.I., has emphasized repeatedly, both publicly and in private messages to his staff, that employees are encouraged to come forward with reports of wrongdoing and that he will not tolerate retaliation against whistle-blowers.

Senator Charles E. Grassley, an Iowa Republican who has been a frequent critic of the bureau, said of Mr. German: "Unfortunately, this is just another case in a long line of F.B.I. whistle-blowers who have had their careers derailed because the F.B.I. couldn't tolerate criticism."

Michael Kortan, an F.B.I. spokesman, said the bureau had not been briefed on the findings. But Mr. Kortan said that when the F.B.I. received the report, "if either misconduct or other wrongdoing is found, we will take appropriate action."

Ann Beeson, associate legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union, said that the inspector general's findings, coming just days after the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from an earlier F.B.I. whistle-blower, pointed to the need for tougher measures to protect those who report abuse. "With courts reluctant to protect whistle-blowers, it is crucial that Congress pass additional protections," Ms. Beeson said.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Honoring Rosa Parks: 50 Years Ago Today

50 years ago today, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white white man. An event which became a catalyst for the civil rights movement in the United Stated.

Rosa Parks On Bus

Rest in peace Mrs. Parks.