Sunday, May 14, 2006

Syndrome of Decay

Think Win/Win

The other night I had one of those moments of clarity when I should have started writing but didn’t. Now, I’m trying to reconstruct what seemed brilliant at the time. Clouding the issue was accidentally catching a PBS show last night on the impact of Masonic thinking upon early (and later) American political life. Further muddying the water was the arrival of the latest Harper’s. Then, to top it off was discovering I have a copy of Carl Becker’s study of the Declaration of Independence, complete with pithy comments about Rousseau’s influence on Jefferson’s thinking.

Here goes. I returned, you guessed it, to Erich Fromm and The Heart of Man earlier in the week and came across this passage:

"I shall single out three phenomena which, in my opinion, form the basis for the most vicious and dangerous form of human orientation: these are love of death, malignant narcissism, and symbiotic-incestuous fixation. The three orientations, when combined, form the ‘syndrome of decay,’ that which prompts men to destroy for the sake of destruction, and to hate for the sake of hate. In opposition to the ‘syndrome of decay’ I shall describe the ‘syndrome of growth’; this consists of love of life (as against love of death), love of man (as against narcissism), and independence (as against symbiotic-incestuous fixation). Only in a minority of people is either one of the two syndromes fully developed. But there is no denying that each man goes forward in the direction he has chosen: that of life or that of death; that of good or that of evil."

Fortunately, most of the people I personally know are oriented toward good. I suspect this is true for most of us; I hope so. While I feel safe in making this assumption, I also feel safe in stating that we now know the people leading the nation have a different orientation. For me, just observing them to be world class liars would be sufficient, but it goes deeper than that; they suffer the syndrome of decay and inflict their orientation upon the planet. Virtually everything they touch turns to merde or mort. What they might characterize as accomplishments benefit the few at the expense of the many.

I referenced Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People last week, and when I read the above quotation of Fromm’s, I was reminded of one of Covey’s habits relating to this discussion. When the Evil Moron made the inane comment early in his administration about how it was important to "make the pie higher," he doubtless was told something about the benefits of non zero sum thinking in solving complex world problems.

Covey explains zero sum and non zero sum orientations clearly when he speaks of scarcity and abundance mentalities. He writes:

"Most people are deeply scripted in what I call the Scarcity Mentality. They see life as having only so much, as though there were only one pie out there, And if someone were to get a big piece of the pie, it would mean less for everybody else. The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life."

Think about the Bush administration when reading the following as Covey elaborates on the Scarcity Mentality:

They "want other people to be the way they want them to be. They often want to clone them, and they surround themselves with ‘yes’ people – people who won’t challenge them, people who are weaker than they.

"It’s difficult for people with a Scarcity Mentality to be members of a complementary team. They look on differences as signs of insubordination and disloyalty." Well, that’s the way uber narcissists operate, isn’t it?

Regarding non zero sumness, Covey says:

"The Abundance Mentality, on the other hand, flows out of a deep sense of personal worth and security. It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It results in sharing of prestige, of recognition, of profits, of decision making. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives, and creativity."

He then says, "Public Victory does not mean victory over other people. It means success in effective interaction that brings mutually beneficial results to everyone involved. Public Victory means working together, communicating together, making things happen together that even the same people couldn’t make happen by working independently. And Public Victory is an outgrowth of the Abundance Mentality paradigm."

In my opinion, it is the opportunity for "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" instead of death, suppression, and the acceptance of misery: enlightenment versus darkness; inclusion versus exclusion; the founders versus Bush and the GOP.

Covey offers the comparison between abundance and scarcity mentalities as he explains the basis for Habit 4: Think Win/Win. BushCo, on the other hand, is all about win/lose outcomes. Essentially, the haves are the winners while the have nots are the losers. Just this past week, for example, the extended tax cuts have indeed made the pie higher for the haves.

One of my favorite Covey comments is, "You cannot act independently in an interdependent world." Well, as BushCo illustrates, you really can – for a while. Covey really means you can’t be effective in doing so. And BushCo has shown that in spades. Their ineffectiveness has led to the deaths of thousands in order to make the BushCo pie higher. In reality, when one factors in the rollback of over 400 environmental laws, millions are going to suffer and die. Some, less than 30%, delude themselves into thinking their leadership cares, but like death oriented leaders throughout history, there is no concern about consequences. BushCo, and others like them get their noses as deeply into the trough as possible while elbowing outsiders aside.

There must be an accounting, and it must come immediately. Each second of BushCo malfeasance brings all of us closer to greater harm. In the June, 2006, Harper’s, Ben Metcalf in "Notebook" writes, "I hardly mean to imply that George W. Bush is a delusional party hack whose aim is to rob and mislead us for the benefit of his friends. That idea deserves to be stated outright: George W. Bush is a delusional party hack whose aim is to rob us for the benefit of his friends."

Picks of the Week:

Harper's Weekly Review

Save the Internet

War on the Web

"This week, the House is expected to vote on something termed, in perfect Orwellian prose, the 'Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006.' It will be the first real battle in the coming War of Internet Democracy."

Is Stephen Colbert the last one to know how amazingly funny he was?

Almost two weeks later, the Internet is still buzzing about Stephen Colbert's already legendary scorched earth performance at the White House Correspondent's dinner.

Karl Rove indicted on charges of perjury, lying to investigators

"During the course of that meeting, Fitzgerald served attorneys for former Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove with an indictment charging the embattled White House official with perjury and lying to investigators related to his role in the CIA leak case, and instructed one of the attorneys to tell Rove that he has 24 business hours to get his affairs in order, high level sources with direct knowledge of the meeting said Saturday morning."

As I write this, this is the only source reporting this that I'm aware of.

Hawks looking for new and bigger enemies?

"At the same time, however, a more aggressive stance toward the two powers [Russia and China] risks driving them further together in opposition to U.S. geo-strategic designs, particularly isolating Iran and asserting more control over the flow of oil and gas out of Central Asia and the Caucasus."

Putin chastises US on democratic ideals

"President Vladimir Putin took a swipe at the United States in his state of the nation address Wednesday, bristling at being lectured by Vice President Dick Cheney and comparing Washington to a wolf who 'eats without listening.'

"During an emotional moment in the nationally televised speech, Putin used the fairy-tale motif on the need to build a fortress-like house and to illustrate Russia's need to bolster its defenses. He also suggested that Washington puts its political interests above the democratic ideals it claims to cherish."

Forgive my obsession with Erich Fromm; however, in The Heart of Man, his first chapter is "Man -- Wolf or Sheep?" Here is a passage that caught my eye: "The ordinary man with extraordinary power is the chief danger for mankind -- not the fiend or sadist. But just as one needs weapons in order to fight a war, one needs the passions of hate, indignation, destructiveness, and fear in order to get millions of people to risk their lives and to become murderers. These passions are necessary conditions for the waging of war; they are not its causes, any more than guns and bombs by themselves are causes of war."

But what happens when you have sociopathic criminals misleading very ordinary people?

Russia aims to counter US with bigger arsenal

"President Vladimir V. Putin, in a blunt response to U.S. criticism of his domestic and foreign policies, declared Wednesday that Russia would boost its military strength to ensure its ability to resist foreign pressure."In an annual address to parliament, Putin said new nuclear and high-precision weapons would enable the country to maintain a strategic balance with the United States, which he compared to a wolf — the archvillain of Russian fairy tales — doing as it pleases in the world."

Personally, I've missed the cold war, and US weapons builders will be very happy.

China, Russia welcome Iran into the fold

"The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which maintained it had no plans for expansion, is now changing course. Mongolia, Iran, India and Pakistan, which previously had observer status, will become full members. SCO's decision to welcome Iran into its fold constitutes a political statement. Conceivably, SCO would now proceed to adopt a common position on the Iran nuclear issue at its summit meeting June 15."

Let's not forget that, in addition to being "The Decider," the Evil Moron is also The "Uniter".

Global eye

"Keep in mind why this is happening. Iraq's bloody 'regime change' was engineered in order to implement a thorough-going economic rapine plan drawn up for the Bush administration in early 2003 by the corporate consulting group BearingPoint, as Antonia Juhasz reports in her new book, 'The Bush Agenda.' BearingPoint, headquartered in the CIA company town of Maclean, Virginia, provided a detailed blueprint for opening up Iraq to predatory foreign 'investment' on terms that allowed the wholesale looting of the nation's wealth while acing Iraqi companies out of the action."

Rice, Rumsfeld block access to secret detainees - ICRC

"The United States has again refused the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) access to terrorism suspects held in secret detention centers, the humanitarian agency said on Friday."

Not on the side of angels. War criminals.

Full text of [Iran's] President Ahmadinejad's letter to George Bush

"Can one be a follower of Jesus Christ (PBUH), the great Messenger of God, feel obliged to respect human rights, present liberalism as a civilization model, announce one’s opposition to the proliferation of nuclear weapons and WMDs, make 'War on Terror' his slogan, and finally, work towards the establishment of a unified international community – a community which Christ and the virtuous of the Earth will one day govern, but at the same time, have countries attacked. The lives, reputations and possessions of people destroyed and on the slight chance of the presence of a few criminals in a village, city, or convoy for example, the entire village, city or convoy (are) set ablaze."

How Iran will win a sanctions war

"Though this strategy worked to unseat Iraq's Saddam Hussein, it has been a military disaster that will produce another regime ill-disposed toward Washington. The diplomacy of the Bush administration has accelerated Pyongyang's nuclear-weapons program and set US relations back about 20 years. As in Iraq and North Korea, the application of US diplomacy to Iran will create the opposite of its intended goal."

US should be aware of the risks of Bush's war talk

"But the odor of something rotten in Washington cannot be cleared by such resignations; the problems are much deeper: Bush’s approval ratings are hitting record lows and calls for his impeachment for lying and launching an illegal war are getting louder. But it is precisely at such a time that he may strike elsewhere to divert attention from his crimes. The threats against Iran are also seen as psychological warfare to force Iran to submit to the US’s demands. Such threats have been heard before, but it was not until Seymour Hersh’s article in the New Yorker on April 17 that the threat of war was made explicit. The US’s threats to use nuclear weapons to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, as is its right under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), are unbelievably hypocritical."

The US's geopolitical nightmare

"The chance was to deliver on the US strategic goal of control of petroleum resources globally, to ensure the US role as first among equals over the next decade and beyond. Not only have they failed to 'deliver' that goal of US strategic dominance, they have also threatened the very basis of continued US hegemony, or as the Rumsfeld Pentagon likes to term it, 'Full Spectrum Dominance'. "The move by Bolivian President Evo Morales, after meetings with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Fidel Castro, to assert national control over oil and gas resources is only the latest demonstration of the decline in US power projection."

US newborn survival rate ranks low

"America may be the world's superpower, but its survival rate for newborn babies ranks near the bottom among modern nations, better only than Latvia.

"Among 33 industrialized nations, the United States is tied with Hungary, Malta, Poland and Slovakia with a death rate of nearly 5 per 1,000 babies, according to a new report. Latvia's rate is 6 per 1,000."

The above two articles cause me to repeat something I've said before. The US reminds me of Gloria Swanson's role in Sunset Boulevard. The former superstar confined mainly to her decaying mansion, surrounded by memories of her former life. Isn't this the situation the US is rapidly moving toward? Or is already there? "We used to be a superpower!" Lights dim.

General discontent with Hayden

"On Friday, Porter Goss unexpectedly resigned as head of the CIA, leaving behind an 'utterly irresponsible' 18-month tenure at the agency and unanswered questions about his hurried departure. Today, the White House nominated deputy director of national intelligence Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden as Goss's successor. 'Bottom line, I believe he's the wrong person, the wrong place, at the wrong time. We should not have a military person leading a civilian agency at this time,' said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) yesterday on Fox News Sunday, voicing the bipartisan concerns of lawmakers. Hayden has demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding of the Constitution and has misled Congress under oath. His close ties to Vice Presidency Cheney, Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, and the Department of Defense have led many members of Congress to conclude he is wrong man to gain the trust of the intelligence community and clean up the CIA after the 'chaos' left by Goss."

While Bush's new CIA nominee preps for a tough nomination battle, agency no. 3 Dusty Foggo is leaving the agency

"As NEWSWEEK first reported, the CIA’s inspector general has been investigating whether Foggo helped steer agency contracts to companies run by Brent Wilkes, a defense contractor who was identified as an unindicted co-conspirator when former San Diego congressman and ex-Navy air ace Randy (Duke) Cunningham pleaded guilty in a Congressional bribery scandal. The CIA has acknowledged that its internal watchdog is investigating whether Foggo helped steer any contracts to Wilkes, an old friend. The inspector general was looking into at least one specific contract, worth between $2 million and $3 million, which a CIA base in Germany granted to a company run by a relative of Wilkes. At the time the contract was issued, Foggo headed the CIA base’s logistics office, though he did not sign the contract."

The spies who shag us: The Times and USA Today have missed the bigger story -- again

"This is [The bigger story]: the snooping into your phone bill is just the snout of the pig of a strange, lucrative link-up between the Administration's Homeland Security spy network and private companies operating beyond the reach of the laws meant to protect us from our government. You can call it the privatization of the FBI -- though it is better described as the creation of a private KGB." . . . .

"Worried about Dick Cheney listening in Sunday on your call to Mom? That ain't nothing. You should be more concerned that they are linking this info to your medical records, your bill purchases and your entire personal profile including, not incidentally, your voting registration. Five years ago, I discovered that ChoicePoint had already gathered 16 billion data files on Americans -- and I know they've expanded their ops at an explosive rate." (Read it through.)

This time, it really is Orwellian

"But Bush made two parse-able points in reacting to USA Today’s story about the National Security Agency building a vast database of domestic phone calls. 'We’re not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans,' Bush said, adding 'the privacy of ordinary Americans is fiercely protected in all our activities.'

"In his brief remarks, however, Bush didn’t define what he meant by 'ordinary Americans' nor whether the data-mining might cover, say, thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people, just not 'millions.'"

Reach out and tap someone

"Just five months after the New York Times revealed that the Bush administration was conducting a domestic wiretapping program without court approval, USA Today reported an equally explosive story yesterday stating that the administration's reach into the private lives of Americans is more expansive than previously believed. Not only has President Bush's National Security Agency (NSA) been eavesdropping on domestic telephone conversations and e-mail messages, but it has "also induced telephone companies to turn over the records of billions — that's with a 'b' — of domestic calls." The new revelations engendered immediate bipartisan criticism. House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) questioned 'why it would be necessary to keep and have that kind of information.' Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told the Fox News Channel: 'The idea of collecting millions or thousands of phone numbers -- how does that fit into following the enemy?' More than 50 House Democrats signed a letter demanding an investigation by a special counsel. Bush's response was to politically demagogue the issue, claiming that the effort was part of an effort to track al Qaeda. 'That turns out to be far from the whole truth. ...[The] surveillance program [is] of enormous magnitude, involving not just al-Qaeda suspects but also the presumptively private data of almost all Americans.' Faced with legitimate concerns, Bush's response indicated he has a greater allegiance to Karl Rove's political playbook (which calls for politicizing the administration's domestic spying efforts) than to crafting and refining effective counterterrorism policies."

NSA has massive database of Americans' phone calls

"The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans — most of whom aren't suspected of any crime. This program does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations. But the spy agency is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity, sources said in separate interviews."

I believe it's a benign program; don't you?

Constitutional skin

"Turley: Well, first of all this President's theory of his power I think is now so extreme that it's unprecedented. He believes that he has the inherent authority to violate federal law. He has said that. Not just the signing statements and the infamous torture memo-that Alberto Gonzales signed. It was stated that he could in some circumstances order federal officials to violate federal law and this is consistent across the board with this President. Frankly, I'm not too sure what he thought he was swearing to when he took the oath of office to uphold the Constitution and our laws. I've never seen a President who is so uncomfortable in his constitutional skin."

Excerpt from excellent Keith Olbermann interview with Jonathan Turley, a Constitutional scholar. You can link to the video. Watch at least the first half hour of Countdown Monday through Friday.

Bush defends NSA data collection program (Video)

"'We're not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans,' he said. Instead, the NSA's efforts 'strictly target al-Qaeda and their known affiliates.'"

Translation: "We're profiling everyone, collecting account information, figuring out ways to subvert future elections, stealing intellectual property, gathering blackmail material on our political enemies. Heh, heh." If you ask yourself what BushCo is NOT capable of, it would be a very short list, and I doubt it would include destroying the World Trade Center for political gain.
The NSA has your number: This sounds like a vast and unchecked intrusion on privacy (From the conservative Chicago Tribune)

"This sounds like a vast and unchecked intrusion on privacy. President Bush's assurance Thursday that the privacy of Americans was being 'fiercely protected' was not at all convincing.

"We need to know more about this. The government, though, didn't offer confirmation or elaboration on Thursday. Based on the newspaper's reporting, this effort appears to go far beyond any surveillance effort that would be targeted at terrorist operations."

The MSM rallied around Evil Moron and crew Sunday. The local paper barely touched it, and Meet the Press gave BushCo a pass. Plus Laura was on. Guess what, she doesn't believe the polls. Well, how could she; she has to live with the moral cretin. Not only that, she has to sleep with him . . . ewwww!

Cheney pushed US to widen eavesdropping

"In the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney and his top legal adviser argued that the National Security Agency should intercept purely domestic telephone calls and e-mail messages without warrants in the hunt for terrorists, according to two senior intelligence officials."

Wiretap whistleblower's statement: What I observed first - hand

"While doing my job, I learned that fiber optic cables from the secret room were tapping into the Worldnet circuits by splitting off a portion of the light signal. I saw this in a design document available to me, entitled 'Study Group 3, LGX/Splitter Wiring, San Francisco' dated Dec. 10, 2002. I also saw design documents dated Jan. 13, 2004 and Jan. 24, 2003, which instructed technicians on connecting some of the already in-service circuits to the 'splitter' cabinet, which diverts some of the light signal to the secret room. The circuits listed were the Peering Links, which connect Worldnet with other networks and hence the whole country, as well as the rest of the world."


NSA whistleblower alleges illegal spying

"But now, Tice tells ABC News that some of those secret 'black world' operations run by the NSA were operated in ways that he believes violated the law. He is prepared to tell Congress all he knows about the alleged wrongdoing in these programs run by the Defense Department and the NSA in the post-9/11 efforts to go after terrorists."

NSA whistleblower to expose more unlawful activity: 'People . . . are going to be shocked'

"A former intelligence officer for the National Security Agency said Thursday he plans to tell Senate staffers next week that unlawful activity occurred at the agency under the supervision of Gen. Michael Hayden beyond what has been publicly reported, while hinting that it might have involved the illegal use of space-based satellites and systems to spy on U.S. citizens."

US plans massive data sweep: Little-known data-collection system could troll news, blogs, even e-mails. Will it go too far? [February 9, 2006, article]

"The US government is developing a massive computer system that can collect huge amounts of data and, by linking far-flung information from blogs and e-mail to government records and intelligence reports, search for patterns of terrorist activity."

Benign. Move along . . . nothing to see here.

Potential evidence surfaces of Bush's illegal spying: An Oregon attorney may have proof of Bush's domestic spying operation -- which means the illegal program's days may be numbered.

"Thomas Nelson has been practicing administrative law for most of his professional life, but after Sept. 11 he first began offering pro bono work for immigrants detained in broad FBI terrorism sweeps. He is currently leading a little-discussed case that may contain the first documented evidence of an illegal wiretap and believes that, as a result, he himself has been subjected to warrantless -- and therefore illegal -- wiretaps and physical searches, the kind of clandestine operation that Nixon referred to as "black bag jobs." And as a result of extreme carelessness by the FBI, Nelson may have his hands on the only solid evidence of these searches."

Security issue kills domestic spying inquiry: NSA won't grant Justice Department lawyers required security clearance

"The inquiry headed by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, or OPR, sent a fax to Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., on Wednesday saying they were closing their inquiry because without clearance their lawyers cannot examine Justice lawyers’ role in the program."

Questions raised for phone giants in spy data furor

"Legal experts said the companies faced the prospect of lawsuits seeking billions of dollars in damages over cooperation in the program, citing communications privacy legislation stretching back to the 1930's. A federal lawsuit was filed in Manhattan yesterday seeking as much as $50 billion in civil damages against Verizon on behalf of its subscribers."

I urge you to reach out and touch someone. Maybe start with the ACLU, asking them to file a class action suit. And they have a process for complaining to your carrier and for staying abreast of action items.

Why did Bush revoke Executive Order 13011 today?

"I find it very strange that, of all days or weeks in this administration and in the midst of a storm over the possible information abuse of private ciitizens, today would be the day Bush would mess with a previous Executive Order on information technology management. Will Bush push a broader information technology mandate for the federal government in the form of a new Executive Order? Is there something lethal to the administration in 13011, perhaps something that calls for oversight or review and that possibly places the legality of the NSA's phone number database in question?"

New security glitch found in Diebold system

"The hole is considered more worrisome than most security problems discovered on modern voting machines, such as weak encryption, easily pickable locks and use of the same, weak password nationwide.

"Armed with a little basic knowledge of Diebold voting systems and a standard component available at any computer store, someone with a minute or two of access to a Diebold touch screen could load virtually any software into the machine and disable it, redistribute votes or alter its performance in myriad ways."

Scientists call Diebold security flaw 'worst ever'

"Computer scientists say a security hole recently found in Diebold Election Systems' touch-screen voting machines is the 'worst ever' in a voting system.

"Election officials from Iowa to Maryland have been rushing to limit the risk of vote fraud or disabled voting machines since the hole was reported Wednesday."

E-mails: Bush aide offered Abramoff help

"The Bush administration's top procurement official offered his assistance to now-disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff as his lobbying empire began to crumble, according to e-mails released Wednesday by the White House.

"'Let me know if there is anything I can do to help with damage control,' David Safavian, who is now under indictment, messaged Abramoff on Feb. 22, 2004."

Bush crime family

Abramoff's NSA and domestic spying scandal

"We now learn that Abramoff is at the center of a much wider web of criminal activity involving private-sector NSA contractors and GOP lawmakers. Abramoff served as a conduit between the NSA and private companies that have become the focus of multiple criminal prosecutions and national security investigations, including the abuse of prisoners abroad, and alledged spying on Capitol Hill lawmakers by Abramoff clients."

The Medicare and Social Security hoax

"When the media reports, as the Post did this morning, that the problem is not with discretionary spending, 'but with entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security, which will grow by 23 percent through 2010,' they badly mislead readers. The cost of Social Security is rising only slightly faster than GDP. Over the next decade, Social Security spending is projected to increase by just 0.2 percentage points as a share of GDP. By contrast, spending on Medicare and Medicaid is projected to increase by a total of 1.5 percentage points of GDP."

It's only $300 billion: If we can fund the war in Iraq, why can't we fund the Kyoto Protocol?
"The worldwide cost of the war now exceeds $500 billion, a figure that includes the cost to Iraq (more than $160 billion) and to non-American coalition countries (more than $40 billion). For the Kyoto Protocol, full compliance is projected to cost less than $400 billion, because the United States would bear most of the aggregate costs."

But how would life benefit from the Kyoto Protocol? Sure, clean air and water, but at what cost? Look at the benefits we're already garnering from Operation Iraq Freedom?

Are you ready for the energy crash?

"Kunstler's rage and disdain was righteous and unsparing. He was pissed and he was eloquent: 'We've turned into this nation of overfed clowns, riding around in clown cars, eating clown food, watching clown shows,' he said. We're 'a nation of cringing, craven fuckups.'

"Kunstler singled out one element of the psychological dimension in American life: 'The idea that when you wish upon a star, your dreams come true. It's not a good thing for adults to wish upon a star. Right now, this is a normative belief -- that you can wish for things, and you'll get them.'"

Foreclosures up 72 percent from last year: Georgia, Colorado and Indiana [red states] post nation's highest first-quarter foreclosure rates

"Texas reported the most first-quarter foreclosures of any state, 40,236, and Florida reported the second most with 29,636."

Think about it. In 2002, Molly Ivins said to look at Texas (then), because what Smirk did there as governor was going to happen to the rest of the nation. And Florida? Well, it's run by another Bush.

Bush backs brother Jeb for White House

"The president said Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is well-suited for another office and would make 'a great president.'"

It would be as tasty as adding fermented bean curd to dog poop . . . mmmmmmm! Poppy Bush said the Jebster would be "awfully good" as president. How about "goodly awful?"

Rupert Murdoch backs Hillary Clinton: by their friends you shall know them

"When it comes to politics, Murdoch, known in media circles as the 'dirty digger,' is equally adaptable in pursuing his personal gain. The most loyal right-wing Tory and friend of Margaret Thatcher during the 1980s, as he built up his media holdings in Britain, he switched his loyalties to 'New Labour' when he saw that Tony Blair could provide a fresh face for even more reactionary politics and was more than willing to further Murdoch’s interests in return for editorial backing. He made similar swings in his native Australia between the Labor and Liberal parties to further his efforts at monopolizing the print and broadcast media."

The welfare kings

"This temporary assistance to the needy rich (TANR) takes the form of a 2-year extension of a tax cut that made the maximum tax rate on stock dividends and capital gain income 15 percent. While tens of millions of ordinary workers pay income tax rates of 25 percent on their wages, the Republicans argue that Bill Gates and his billionaire friends shouldn’t have to pay taxes at more than a 15 percent rate. Most of this tax break goes to the richest 1 percent of the population. This is because they hold most of the country’s stock—and even when middle income people hold stock, it is usually in retirement accounts, which are not affected by this tax cut."

Stop the fiscal insanity

"Yesterday in the House of Representatives, 229 Republicans joined 15 Democrats to pass another $70 billion in tax cuts, almost all of which would benefit the wealthy. The bill 'extends the low 15% rates on capital gains and dividends for two years -- from the end of 2008 through 2010' and 'gives about 15 million taxpayers relief for just 2006 from the dreaded Alternative Minimum Tax' (AMT). According to the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities, 'The average tax cut for the 20 percent of households in the middle of the income spectrum would be just $20.' Meanwhile, 'For those with incomes above $1 million, the average tax cut would be $42,000.' Overall, 'the three-quarters of households with incomes below $75,000 would receive just 5 percent of the benefits' (no more than $110 each). Today, the package will move to the Senate. The Washington Post sums up the impact: "Budgetary dishonesty, distributional unfairness, fiscal irresponsibility -- by now the words are so familiar, it can be hard to appreciate how damaging this fiscal course will be.' (Had enough? The Center for American Progress has a plan for a fair, responsible, simple tax system.)"

Cities and commerce are designed for the driver, not the transit passenger. A dozen miles to work, 10 to the kids' school, four miles to the market, all on different points of the compass."And our consumer economy loves cheap labor. In the sprint to the bottom in labor costs, American companies that can't outsource their work abroad outsource it right here, to desperate foreign workers. Either way, we can afford to get just about everything that we think we want. And the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful."

Top corporate air polluters named

"The Toxic 100 index is based on air releases of hundreds of chemicals from industrial facilities across the United States. The rankings take into account not only the quantity of releases, but the relative toxicity of chemicals, nearby populations, and factors such as prevailing winds and height of smokestacks. The Toxic 100 index identifies the top air polluters among corporations that appear in the 'Fortune 500,' 'Forbes 500,' and 'Standard & Poor's 500' lists of the country's largest firms. The Toxic 100's top five companies are E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co., US Steel, ConocoPhillips, GE, and Eastman Kodak."

Iran: Euro to replace dollar as oil currrency

"In July Iran will ditch the dollar in favour of the euro as the currency in which it will accept payments for its oil and natural gas exports, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced Friday.

"The switch, first mooted months ago, was expected but Ahmadinejad's decision comes just as Washington is stepping up pressure on other United Nations Security Council members to act against Tehran for flouting agreements taken with the UN's nuclear watchdog."

War assured.

Quotes from

"I didn't want to start a movement. I just wanted to be heard and have understand that this war, preemptive war, torture, holding people indefinitely without trial, all have shocked my conscience. It's not the way this country should be. Giving them up makes me cry for my beloved country" -- Joseph Durocher, returning the medals he earned in the Vietnam War, Link
"I'm saddened to give up my hard-earned medals, but the hate, torture and death you have instrumented in this world tarnished the symbolism they carry. ...the whole thing is about betrayal." -- David Patterson, Vietnam Vet, in a letter to Dubya on why he was returning his medals, Link

"The Canadian and U.S. leaders could not be more different. Stephen Harper is a genuine intellectual, brilliant in his understanding of issues. I think I'll leave it at that." -- Frank Luntz, Republican pollster Link

"Facing a storm of criticism over a report that the NSA is seeking data on every phone call made in the United States, Bush stepped before the TV cameras to launch a defense. The short version: 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, and leaks are really bad things." --Tim Grieve, Link

"Republicans talk about cutting spending, but they increase it -- a lot. They stand for making government smaller, but they keep making it bigger. They say they're concerned about our borders, but they're not securing them. And they seem to think we're slobs for worrying." -- Peggy Noonan, turning on Der Monkey? Link

"A President has got to be able to say to the American people, 'diplomacy didn't work.' " -- Dubya, trying to explain Iran, Link Bush has the diplomatic skills of a masked mugger holding a butter knife.

"In the Bird Flu TV movie, America's competent (fictional) leaders were incapable of doing anything to stop an impending 300 million dead worldwide (give or take 1.5 million dead in the US alone) and the entire dissolution of the American economy and society as we know it. In the real world, add Bush to the mix, and we're basically dead." -- John Aravosis, Link

"Deadlines are important. Deadlines help people understand there's finality." -- Dubya, either explaining his May 15 deadline for his failed Medicare plan or why he won't put 'finality' on his bloody debacle in Iraq, Link

"This is much bigger and wider than just ‘Duke’ Cunningham. All that has just not come out yet, but it won’t be much longer and then you will know just how widespread this is." -- Rick Gwin, the top investigator into Cunningham's money and hooker scandal, Link

"We have no better friend in meeting these challenges than our friends in Greece." -- Condi, lying again, Link

"We have no better friend than Italy and it is a great pleasure, Gianfranco, to have you here." -- Condi, lying again, Link

"The United States has no better friend than Australia..." -- Condi, lying again, Link

"We have no better friend than the United Kingdom, going back in many years." -- Condi, lying again, Link

"We have no better friend than Jordon, a good friend..." -- Condi, lying again, Link

"We have no better friend than Japan." -- Condi, lying again, Link

"We don’t create enemies and terrorists by fighting back. We defeat the terrorists by fighting back." -- Der Monkey, during the 2004 presidential campaign, Link

"For every insurgent that I kill, I create almost 10 more." -- Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the U.S. commander in charge in Iraq, Link

"It is a reasonableness standard in the Fourth Amendment. What you've raised to me is, in terms of quoting the Fourth Amendment, is an issue of the Constitution. The constitutional standard is 'reasonable.' And we believe -- I am convinced that we are lawful because what it is we're doing is reasonable." --Gen. Michael Hayden, Bush's CIA nominee, on why the Fourth Amendment no longer counts, Link

"Bush replacing Colin Powell with Condi Rice was confusing enough. Replacing John Ashcroft with Al Gonzales was even stranger. His initial pick for head of the 9/11 commission was Henry Kissinger -- that didn't last too long, did it? And picking Harriet Miers to replace Sandra Day O'Connor was simply funny. But the idea of replacing Porter Goss with Michael Hayden -- now that's vintage Bush. Take the guy who oversaw the nsa's illegal wiretapping program and put him in charge of the cia. If this isn't a vote of 'no confidence' in congress, the intelligence community, and the american public, then I don't know what the friggin' hell is." --Mimus Pauly, Link

"People say we cannot 'cut and run.' Cut and run was what got us out of Vietnam." -- Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., 88, Link

"Goss' primary roll at the CIA was to execute partisan purges on Bush/Cheney's behalf." -- from the Randi Rhodes newsletter Link

"What's the difference between Iraq and Iran? When it comes to Iran, the nature of the catastrophe will be evident on day one." -- Eric Alterman, Link


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