Picks Commentary

Sunday, June 25, 2006

At a loss

There's really nothing I can add to this week's news items. Corruption and incompetence are so pervasive and complete that it's safe to say the US is a failed nation led by failed politicians operating unchecked while its comatose citizens sleep.

Picks of Week

And for which it stands

"The U.S. Congress is closer than ever to passing a constitutional amendment that would criminalize desecration of the U.S. flag. If successful, it will mark the first time in 214 years that the Bill of Rights has been restricted by a constitutional amendment, and will place the United States among a select group of nations that have banned flag desecration, including Cuba, China, Iran, and Iraq under Saddam Hussein. The amendment has already been approved by the necessary two-thirds majority in the House of Representatives, and last week it passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a near-party line 11-7 vote. Now, aided by a handful of Democrats, the amendment has gathered 66 votes in favor, just one shy of passage. "Whether advocates can find the 67th vote to send the flag amendment to the states for ratification remains unclear." The Senate vote is expected next week. Take a stand now by signing up with Veterans Defending the Bill of Rights."

Several years ago, a Canadian website posted, "It's time for Americans to put down their flags and picks up their brains." PS, the Constitution is being used for toilet paper by BushCo.

American democracy in decay: US Congress debates the Iraq war

"Neither the Republicans, who hold a narrow majority in both the House and Senate and generally support the Bush administration’s conduct of the war, nor the Democrats, the nominal opposition party, could tell the truth to the American public. Neither side in the debate could admit what the vast majority of the world’s politically conscious population, including millions of Americans, already knows: that the US invasion and occupation of Iraq constitute a crime of historic proportions."

The right redeploys politics

"For the past two weeks, both the House and Senate have been engaged in the 'first extended debate on whether the time had come to end that war.' The House voted for a sham resolution linking Iraq to the "war on terror" while opposing a timetable. Yesterday, the Senate gave an 'endorsement to President Bush's Iraq policy,' and voted down two amendments calling for redeployment of our troops out of Iraq. The debates made clear that 'rather than engage in a serious debate about America's future course in Iraq,' conservatives 'have again opted for sound bites.' (Take, for example, President Bush's claim that those who disagree with him on Iraq 'wave the white flag of surrender in this war on terror.') As war veteran Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) said yesterday, 'War should not be drug down into the political muck. America deserves better. Our men and women fighting and dying deserve better.' However, a positive development has emerged. 'Progressives,' writes the Center for American Progress' Brian Katulis, 'are offering sensible policy ideas to change direction and the chance for accountability.' Meanwhile, 'White House allies are stuck on tired attempts to politicize national security, offering more of the same and serving as a rubber stamp for failed policies.'"

Some 85 Iraqi workers abducted by gunmen

"The workers were thought to be mostly Shiite and the plant is located in a predominantly Sunni Arab area."

Thank God, the insurgency is in its last throes; otherwise it might've been 170.

Prosecutor demands death penalty in Hussein show trial

"The prosecution in the trial of Saddam Hussein has demanded the execution of the former president, along with three other top officials, for his part in the 1982 repression of Iraqis—including torture and killings—whose sole crime was opposing the Baghdad regime. The denouement of the case is taking place while the US is engaged in mass repression of Iraqis—including torture and killings—whose sole crime has been resisting the occupying forces and their puppet government.

"This elementary reality exposes the hypocrisy and fraudulent nature of the legal proceeding."

In fairness, a similar trial against Bush should be taking place concurrently with Hussein being the lesser of two weasels.

Specter to grill officials on Bush ignoring laws

"The Bush administration will have to explain why it thinks it can ignore or overrule laws passed by Congress in a hearing next week, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter said on Wednesday."

Short answer? That's what dictators do.

Washington escalates slaughter in Iraq

"Well before the discovery of the bodies of the young soldiers, reportedly bearing the marks of torture and mutilation, there were already mounting indications that the Bush White House and the Pentagon were implementing a shift in military tactics that spells a dramatic escalation of US violence in the occupied country."

Iraq: US may be asked to leave

"THE level of violence in some areas of Iraq is worsening dramatically and US forces may soon be asked to leave by the Iraqi Government.

"In an exclusive interview with The Australian, former US deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage has given a gloomy assessment of the situation."

Senate rejects calls on Iraq troop pullout

"Vice President Dick Cheney criticized the Democrats' position, saying on CNN, 'Absolutely the worst possible thing we could do at this point would be to validate and encourage the terrorists by doing exactly what they want us to do, which is to leave.'"

There seems to be a disconnect here. Could a person go crazy following this insanity? Don't ask.

Leaked memo reveals plight of Iraqis

"A leaked cable from the US embassy in Baghdad signed by the ambassador paints a grim picture of Iraq as a country disintegrating in which the real rulers are the militias, and the central government counts for nothing."

Residents struggle, in and out of Ramadi

"A week spent in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province west of Baghdad, reveals that residents are suffering from lack of water, electricity, cooking gas and medical supplies for the hospitals. The streets are eerily empty, and it appears that many people have now left the city, although possibly as many as 150,000 still remain in their homes, either because they are too afraid to leave or they have nowhere to go."

I would guess Hussein looks pretty good right about now.

War's Iraqi death toll tops 50,000: Higher than the U.S. estimate, the tally likely is undercounted. Proportionately, it is as if 570,000 Americans were slain in three years.

"At least 50,000 Iraqis have died violently since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, according to statistics from the Baghdad morgue, the Iraqi Health Ministry and other agencies — a toll 20,000 higher than previously acknowledged by the Bush administration."

Without question, this places BushCo in the war crimes arena.

Federal contracts up 86% under Bush; Halliburton rises 600%: Top contractor Lockheed got contracts larger than budget of Congress, Dept. of Interior

"A new report claims that a 'shadow government' of federal contractors has exploded in size over the last five years.

"The document, compiled at the request of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and distributed to RAW STORY, indicates that procurement spending increased by over $175 billion between 2000 and 2005, making federal contracts the fastest growing component of federal discretionary spending."

Win as Much as You Can. The Hog in Trough game. Ever watch pigs on a farm at feeding time? They're at the trough, stepping on one another, squealing, elbowing one another as they get their noses in the chow. Pigs are smart animals; so are we, in a greedy, short sighted way.

GOP kills bill to police Halliburton: Republicans in Congress have made it clear they're willing to fight for military contractors' right to lie, cheat and defraud taxpayers.

"And, while Democrats have been complaining for years about the GOP-led Congress abandoning its oversight of the executive branch's wrongdoing, a vote that took place in the Senate last week shows how the Republican desire to ignore fraud and abuse extends right into killing legislation that would help stop defense contractors from ripping off the American people."

Iran rejects US 'pressure' on nuclear issue

"The US is determined to topple Iran's Islamic government whether or not the crisis over the country's nuclear activities is resolved, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, said today."

He's got that right.

Global Eye (Iran)

"This week an interesting story appeared in The Washington Post -- buried on page 16, of course, lest anyone think it was of the slightest importance. It revealed that documentary proof has now emerged confirming the fact that in the spring of 2003, the regime of President George W. Bush -- flush with its illusory 'victory' in Iraq -- spurned a wide-ranging peace feeler from Iran that offered "full cooperation" on every issue that the Bushists claim to be concerned about in regard to Tehran: 'nuclear programs, acceptance of Israel and the termination of Iranian support for Palestinian militant groups.'

"In other words, everything that Bush says he wants from the Iranians now, he could have had for the asking -- three years ago. What then can we conclude from the rejection of this extraordinary initiative? The answer is obvious: The Bush faction is not really interested in curbing nuclear proliferation or defusing the powder keg of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the regional and global terror that it spawns."

iI you have time, it's interesting to check the annotations Floyd provides at the end of his essays.

US: Danger, danger everywhere

"To a large degree, the evolution of the CPD reflects the post-World War II course of US foreign and military policy. Whenever the country has started to move from a wartime footing to a period of decreased support for the military and increased isolationist sentiment, the foreign-policy hawks in both parties have organized fear-mongering campaigns to expand the global reach of US troops and weapons."

Tom Ridge: War on terror to last decades

"Former Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge, speaking at the opening of a new RAND Corp. office, said the war on terror is likely to last for decades, much like the Cold War.

"'For every (Osama) bin Laden, there's a bin Laden wannabe. And for every al-Qaida, there's a like organization,' Ridge said Wednesday in Pittsburgh."

For every Evil Moron, there's an Evil Moron wannabe. And for every neonazi. there's a like organization.

Torture of mentally ill prisoner led administration to pursue false leads

"In his new book 'The One Percent Doctrine,' Ron Suskind details the story of Abu Zubaydah - a man President Bush once described as 'one of the top operatives plotting and planning death and destruction on the United States.' Suskind writes that Bush made this claim despite CIA and FBI analysis that showed Zubaydah was 'mentally ill and nothing like the pivotal figure they supposed him to be. '(“This guy is insane, [a] certifiable, split personality,' the FBI’s top al-Qaeda analyst said.)"

Terrorists in Miami, oh my!

"For longtime observers of political terrorism in South Florida, the aggressive reaction to what may have been the Miami group’s loose talk about violence, possibly spurred by an FBI informant posing as an al-Qaeda operative, stands in marked contrast to the U.S. government’s see-no-evil approach to notorious Cuban terrorists who have lived openly in Miami for decades."

The good terrorists support US policies, the bad ones don't.

Newspapers reject government request to kill story

"The Risen-Lichtblau story reveals: "The Bush administration has made no secret of its campaign to disrupt terrorist financing, and President Bush, Treasury officials and others have spoken publicly about those efforts. Administration officials, however, asked The New York Times not to publish this article, saying that disclosure of the Swift program could jeopardize its effectiveness. They also enlisted several current and former officials, both Democrat and Republican, to vouch for its value."

Congress may bestow unchecked spying powers on president

"While dozens of lawsuits challenging the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance of Americans slowly move through the courts, the Senate Judiciary Committee is poised to consider legislation that would effectively legalize the practice."

Not that long ago, Evil Moron said, " I wouldn't want anyone readin' my private stuff."

House clears $427.6 billion for Pentagon

"The House voted 407-19 for the defense bill, which includes another $50 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The Senate has not taken up its version of the bill."

Hastert's corruption junction

"Your hard-earned tax dollars may be funding pork-barrel projects that personally enrich House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL). In August 2002, Hastert and his wife purchased 195 acres of isolated farmland -- much of it with no access to roads -- located in his home district (IL-14). A year and a half later, with the help of two partners, he purchased another 70 adjacent acres. At the same time, Hastert aggressively pushed for federal funding to build the 'Prairie Parkway' through the district. (The Chicago Sun-Times described it as Hastert's 'pet project.') In August 2005, Hastert succeeded. President Bush signed a transportation bill that included $207 million for the 'Prairie Parkway .' Thanks to the parkway, Hastert's isolated parcels would soon have access to major cities. Just four months later, Hastert sold a portion of the land to a real-estate developer, earning a profit of at least $1.5 million."

What a stroke of luck! Whenever you see a politician, envision a hog with dollar signs for eyes. My apologies to the swine family.

Lawmakers' profits are scrutinized

"In all three cases, Hastert and Reps. Ken Calvert and Gary Miller say that they were securing funds their home districts wanted badly, and that in no way did the earmarks have any impact on the land values of their investments. But for watchdog groups, the cases have opened a fresh avenue for investigation and a new wrinkle in the ongoing controversy over earmarks -- home-district projects funded through narrowly written legislative language."

E-mails detail Abramoff requests, contacts

"Wanted: Face time with President Bush or top adviser Karl Rove. Suggested donation: $100,000. The middleman: lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Blunt e-mails that connect money and access in Washington show that prominent Republican activist Grover Norquist facilitated some administration contacts for Abramoff's clients while the lobbyist simultaneously solicited those clients for large donations to Norquist's tax-exempt group."

Senate defeats Democrats minimum wage increase

"Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, unsuccessfully tried to attach the proposal raising the wage for the first time since 1997 to a defense authorization bill that is expected to be passed by the Senate soon."

Ed Shultz was saying today that the Senators (I think) have given themselves a 23% salary increase in the last five or so years. Something like a $30,000 increase.

GOP rebellion stops Voting Rights Act

"House leaders abruptly canceled a vote to renew the 1965 Voting Rights Act yesterday after rank-and-file Republicans revolted over provisions that require bilingual ballots in many places and continued federal oversight of voting practices in Southern states."

Don't mess with the base! 'Sides, do the nig . . ., I mean Negroes really have to vote?

Voting Rights Act nailed to burning cross: Behind the “Delay” in Renewing Law is Scheme for Theft of ‘08 -- White Sheets Changed for Spreadsheets

"In the 2004 Presidential race, the GOP ran a massive multi-state, multi-million-dollar operation to challenge the legitimacy of Black, Hispanic and Native-American voters. The methods used broke the law — the Voting Rights Act. And while the Bush Administration’s Civil Rights Division grinned and looked the other way, civil rights lawyers are circling, preparing to sue to stop the violations of the Act before the 2008 race.

"Therefore, Republicans have promised to no longer break the law — not by going legit… but by eliminating the law."

Kicked out of Gitmo: A Times reporter's struggle to get the truth about America's island prison just got tougher.

"Rumsfeld's gatekeepers have long made clear that they view outside scrutiny of the detention operations as a danger to the Bush administration's secretive and often criticized campaign to indefinitely detain 'enemy combatants.' But this time, their actions seemed counterproductive because booting out the Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald and Charlotte (N.C.) Observer only provoked fresh demands to learn what the government is hiding."

The US Supreme Court's "no-knock" decision: a frontal assault on democratic rights

"The lead opinion, authored by Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, the ideological leader of the high court’s right wing, lays the groundwork for eliminating the 'exclusionary rule' altogether, rendering the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against “unreasonable searches and seizures”—a key provision of the Bill of Rights—a dead letter. Scalia was joined by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, and both of Bush’s new high court appointments, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. and Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr."

AT&T revises privacy policy

"AT&T Inc. said on Wednesday it was revising its privacy policy, explaining to customers that it owns their phone records and can hand them over to law enforcers if necessary.

Oh, OK . . . thanks for sharing.

Bank data secretly reviewed by US to fight terror

"Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and industry officials."

Trusting BushCo with your bank records is riskier than giving your checkbook to a John Gotti.

'Big Brother' Bush and connecting the data dots: The Total Information Awareness program was killed in 2003, but its spawn present bigger threats to privacy.

"Civil liberty-minded citizens may recall the president's plan to create the Total Information Awareness program, a massive databank with the ability to follow citizens in real time by their check-card purchases, bank transactions, medical bills and other electronic means. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, was assigned this task, but after its work was made public, Congress put a stop to it in September 2003 as a danger to privacy and civil liberties."

FBI: Data brokers probably act illegally

"Despite the use of private data brokers by federal and local law enforcement agencies, the FBI said Thursday that practices by such companies to gather Americans' private telephone records without warrants or subpoenas are almost certainly illegal."

Since BushCo is an illegal administration, in makes sense it makes sense for it to use illegal methods to terrorize the country. Let's get real.

Defense lawyers shut out as war on terror spawns courtroom secrecy

"Witnesses used bogus names, the public was barred from the courtroom and part of the hearing was behind closed doors in the judge's chambers _ with defense lawyers shut out. "'I don't know what took place back there,' grumbled Michael E. Deutsch, chief defense lawyer for Muhammad Salah, a Chicago man charged with laundering hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for murders, bombings and other acts of terrorism by the Palestinian militant group Hamas."

The bogus war on terror is an excuse to terrorize others.

US learns to live with less freedom

"But even a man who makes it his business to protect individual liberties in a state where no government would dare collect a sales tax or personal income tax — or force a seatbelt around a driver or a helmet on a motorcyclist — has to face some harsh realities in George W. Bush's America.

"'People are more afraid of terror than having their privacy violated,' says Tomasso, chair of the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance. 'For so long the rhetoric has been about fear, not hope and more traditional American values.'"

"Give me liberty or give me death" has become "I'm surrendering my freedom for my own safety against something that may or may not exist." Better safe than sorry.

BYU physics prof finds thermate in WTC samples, building collapses an inside job

"Dr. Jones in earlier work pointed to thermate as the likely explosive that brought down the WTC1, WTC2, and WTC7 skyscrapers. But only recently was physical material analysed in the lab and the presence of thermate announced. The samples were provided Dr. Jones team from redundant sources."

Japan seizes control of whaling group after historic vote

"The environment movement suffered one of its greatest reverses late last night when pro-whaling countries, led by Japan, gained control of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and immediately began undermining the 20-year-old international whaling moratorium."

A blue whale has a length of 80 to 85 feet and weighs 100 tons and is the largest creature to have existed on this planet. Nothing special, really, or worth preserving and cherishing.

Norway to begin work on Arctic vault for seeds in case of global disaster

"It sounds like something from a science-fiction film -- a doomsday vault carved into a frozen mountainside on a secluded Arctic island ready to serve as a Noah's Ark for seeds in case of a global catastrophe."

About ten years ago I did volunteer work at the Abundant Life Seed Coop in Port Townsend, Washington. It was very pleasant being around people diligently cataloguing seeds from around the world.

Meanwhile, back in 'Merica, White House, GOP leaders plan all out assault on federal protections

"Apparently rushing to lock in a long-sought goal before the fall elections, GOP congressional leaders may bring to a vote within weeks a proposal that could literally wipe out any federal program that protects public health or the environment--or for that matter civil rights, poverty programs, auto safety, education, affordable housing, Head Start, workplace safety or any other activity targeted by anti-regulatory forces."

The pro-life neonazis wage a pro death campaign against life on the planet. "Save the fetus, kill the rest!"

Clean water at risk

"The United States Supreme Court issued a decision on wetlands yesterday whose main virtue is that it could have been much worse. It sided with two developers who want to build on endangered wetlands, but the court's conservatives could not muster the fifth vote they needed for a very restricted view of the Clean Water Act. Still, the signs are ominous. Right now, Justice Anthony Kennedy, the swing vote in the case, is all that appears to stand in the way of gutting critical environmental protections."

Is global warming fueling western wildfires?

"This year, wildfires have already burned more than 3 million acres — more than three times the average at this time of year.

"Many scientists say that these fires fit exactly into the pattern predicted for global warming and that it's likely to get, on average, even drier and hotter."

The most powerful force on earth

"The population explosion is beyond control. It has emerged as the single most powerful, immutable force on Earth, driving geopolitical change, stimulating economic growth and generating global inflation."

Foreclosures may jump as ARM's reset

"As more ARMs adjust upward and housing prices begin to dip, many Americans like Britten can't refinance and are finding themselves trapped in too-high monthly payments. For those who can't make their payments, foreclosure -- the legal process by which the lender reposseses the house because the owner has defaulted on payments -- is the only way out."

US losing its middle-class neighborhoods: Metro area show widening gap between rich and poor sections

"Middle-class neighborhoods, long regarded as incubators for the American dream, are losing ground in cities across the country, shrinking at more than twice the rate of the middle class itself."

A look at Republican priorities: Comforting the comfortable

"Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed an estate-tax cut that is a repeal in everything but name. The so-called compromise would exempt more than 99.5 percent of estates from tax, slash the tax rates on the rest and cost at least $760 billion during its first full decade. Of that, $600 billion is the amount the government would have to borrow to make up for lost revenue from the cuts, which would benefit the heirs of America's wealthiest families, like the Marses of Mars bar and the Waltons of Wal-Mart Stores. The remaining $160 billion is the interest on that borrowing, which would be paid by all Americans."

Will there be a tipping point where the majority of well armed 'Mericans say enough is enough?

CEOs earn 262 times pay of average worker

"Chief executive officers in the United States earned 262 times the pay of an average worker in 2005, the second-highest level in the 40 years for which there is data, a nonprofit think-tank said on Wednesday.

"In fact, a CEO earned more in one workday than an average worker earned in 52 weeks, said the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C."

Yes, but he/she does 262 times more work in one day.

Inflation jitters?

"If anything, there’s too much capacity relative to demand. This is a recipe for deflation. Prices can begin to drop because buyers hold off, expecting further price decreases. It happened in Japan in the 1990s. It’s already starting to happen in certain housing markets in the United States that had been red-hot, but are now cooling so fast home prices are dropping. Deflation is often accompanied by stagnant or falling wages, which make it harder for consumers to afford to buy. Look at what’s been happening to American wages."

Drug prices up sharply this year

"Prices of the most widely used prescription drugs rose sharply in this year's first quarter, just as the new Medicare drug coverage program was going into effect, according to separate studies issued yesterday by two large consumer advocacy groups."

Gosh, what a surprise! Why, one would think that BushCo and the drug companies were somehow working together to help 'Merica.

How to fix our health care mess: Bush's prescription-drug program is a boondoggle for America's fraud-ridden health-industrial complex. A better choice is available, and it's time to fight for it.

"Over 16 percent of our economy ($1.9 trillion last year) goes into our corporatized [health care] system -- 50 percent more than Switzerland's universal system, which ranks second in spending per person. Not only does the United States drastically outspend everyone else, but it does so while leaving tens of millions of Americans outside the system. In contrast, Canada puts only 10 percent of its economy into health care, Australia 9 percent, and England 7 percent, and these countries manage to provide care for every one of their people."

I had 12 years experience in a universal healthcare system. The US system simply sucks.

Quotes from www.bartcop.com and others:

"It's so hot today that Bush met with European leaders just for the chilly reception." -- Letterman

"I come NOT to bring peace, but a sword." "If you don't have a sword, sell your coat and buy one." "Those mine enemies that would not have me reign over them, bring hither and slay them before me." -- Jesus Christ, according to Mike M I've never heard those quotes before. "Sell your coat and buy a sword?" Was Jesus in the NRA?

"It is important to have members of Congress who will not wave the white flag of surrender in this war on terror." -- The Murder Monkey, pretending that has happened, Link

"This debate should be taken more seriously than to simply retreat into catchy political slogans that debase the seriousness of war." -- Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-LessNazithenSome), Link

"Why are the Democrats so conservative on this war? Is money steering the Democratics to a more conservative position on the war? I don’t hear 200 Democrats out there talking against the war the way you are." -- Chris Matthews, (R-Scumbag) to John Murtha, Link

"According to scientists ... one day we may have sex with robots. And if you want to know what that's like, just ask Maria Shriver." -- David Letterman

"Iraq is the greatest strategic disaster in US history." -- Retired General William Odom, Link

"The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda is because (smirking) there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda." -- Dubya, November 1, 2002, Link

"The president back then said there's no demonstrated link between Saddam and 9-11, and we're never going to make that argument, and he never has." -- Tony Snow, claiming Dubya never linked 9-11 and Saddam, Link

"The book's opening anecdote tells of an unnamed CIA briefer who flew to Bush's fake ranch in the summer of 2001, amid reports of a pending al-Qaeda attack, to call Bush's attention to the 'Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US' memo. Bush reportedly heard the briefer out and replied: 'All right. You've covered your ass, now.'" -- Barton Gellman, in a review of Ron Suskind's book: "The One Percent Doctrine", Link If this was a sticky blue dress, the whore press would be all over this story. But it's just Bush sleeping thru the 9-11 warnings, so they don't see a story there.

"House Republicans forced everyone to spend an entire day discussing a non-binding resolution praising the troops. Later they will debate a resolution declaring kittens 'adorable.' " -- Jon Stewart

"I don't think anybody anticipated the level of violence that we have encountered." -- Dick Cheney, (R-Liar) at the National Press Club, Link

"If we're going to invade, we need to prepare for a worst-case scenario involving street-to-street fighting, with farmers taking potshots at our troops. Is America prepared for hundreds of casualties, even thousands, in an invasion and subsequent occupation that could last many years?" -- Nicholas Kristof, New York Whore Times, Sept. 2002, Link

"Taliban no longer is in existence. And the people of Afghanistan are now free. In other words when you say something as President you better make it clear so everybody understands what you're saying, and you better mean what you say." -- The Retarded Murder Monkey, lying again, Link

"I think what the Taliban is doing - and it's predictable - the Taliban fighters have been losing. Now, you can expect there to be pushback by the Taliban." -- Tony Snow, calling his boss a liar on CNN, Link

West Texas Cowboy

A West Texas cowboy was herding his cows in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud towards him. The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leans out the window and asks the cowboy, "If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?" The cowboy looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure, why not?"

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite navigation system to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo. The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photo Shop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany. Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses a MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response. Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer and finally turns to the cowboy and says, "You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves." "That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves," says the cowboy.

He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on amused as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car. Then the cowboy says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?"

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay, why not?" "You're a Congressman for the U.S. Government", says the cowboy. "Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"

"No guessing required." answered the cowboy. "You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You tried to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don't know a thing about cows........now give me back my dog."

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Fascism hasn't been far from my consciousness since 2000, and I possibly use the term carelessly. I don't care. Several years ago, I mentioned to a German fellow, who still thinks highly of Hitler, that the main difference between Hitler and Bush is that Hitler was smarter. I thought Helmut was going to blow coffee out of his nose.

I have a Cambridge University text (1999), Fascism. Some place along the line, I'm sure I've referenced it. The past couple of days, I've been idly thumbing through it, wondering what might catch my eye. This morning some lines stood out:

"In fact, fascism, both as an electoral and a paramilitary force, seems destined to remain highly marginalised as long as the existing socio-economic conditions of relative stability prevail. Nevertheless, the neo-fascist 'new right's' celebration of cultural difference has provided intellectual fascists with many effective euphemisms with which to attack liberalism, multi-culturalism and universal human rights."

Introduce 9/11 and never ending war and, voila, relative stability disappears, enhancing the ability to attack liberalism, etc. In retrospect, think back to the Clinton years and the sense of relative well being that existed. It never would've occurred to me to spend my time ranting about the failure of the times.

In another part, the author, Richard Thurlow, talks about the unlikelihood of a resurgence in Europe occurring. He hastens to add:

"Yet fascism, and in particular Nazism, had left a disturbing legacy in one important area. The resentment of mass immigration in parts of Europe, the widespread nostalgia for a pure 'cultural identity' and the readiness to resort to 'ethnic cleansing' in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s perpetuated some of the most dangerous fascist fantasies about a racially and culturally homogenous 'national community' and displayed both a direct imitation of.and linkage to, some of the more dangerous and intellectually spurious aspects of Nazism. Racism and extreme nationalism have not disappeared -- as long as the fabric of society is not torn apart by socio-economic tensions they just remain dormant"

The quick rejoinder would be that this isn't Europe. But we have a history of racism and paramilitary right-wing hate groups. And I believe the immigration brouhaha is a fascist wedge issue designed to inflame the right wing base in the US while marginalizing the namby pamby liberals who embrace human rights and multi-culturalism.

Reading two articles in the local Sunday paper may have caused me to think about the selections from Fascism. One is by a local writer commenting upon the state GOP approach to immigration:

"Still, Colorado Republicans can be forgiven for wanting to seize the moment. Veteran political analysts say that illegal immigration has grabbed voters' attention more quickly and powerfully than any issue in recent memory."

Given its divisive power, immirgation is certain to be effectively diversionary.The GOP may be betting that the interest in keeping 'Merica somewhat white offsets the risk of alienating the Latinos:

"Many of those [Latino] marchers are not citizens and can't vote. And Republicans appear to be betting that Latino voters, who typically turn out in low numbers anyway, won't be motivated by the immigration issue to vote in November."

In the same paper, George Will writes about the immigration issue and comes to the same conclusion:

"The cost of this, paid in the coin of lost support among Latinos, the nation's largest and fastest-growing minority, may be reckoned later, for years. Remember this: Out West, feelings of all sorts about immigration policy are particularly intense, and if John Kerry had won a total of 127,014 more votes in New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado, states with burgeoning Latino populations, he would have carried those states and won the election. But for now, the minds of Republican candidates are concentrated on a shorter time horizon -- the next 4 1/2 months."

This type of expediency has little to do with what is morally defensible. It's more about expedience and winning to ensure the continuation of a new order for 'Merica.

Picks of the Week:

Harper's Weekly Review

Big Brother to citizens: Trust me

"In other words, the government’s case is: Trust us.
"But the Constitution doesn’t provide a chief executive with a 'just trust me' clause. The country was founded on the opposite principle: accountability, full disclosure, checks and balances, no man or woman above the law."

Government increasingly turning to data mining: Peek into private lives may help in hunt for terrorists

"Industry executives, analysts and watchdog groups say the federal government has significantly increased what it spends to buy personal data from the private sector, along with the software to make sense of it, since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. They expect the sums to keep rising far into the future.

"Privacy advocates say the practice exposes ordinary people to ever more scrutiny by authorities while skirting legal protections designed to limit the government's collection and use of personal data."

US defends warrantless domestic spying

"The ACLU said the state-secrets argument is irrelevant because the Bush administration already has publicly revealed enough information about the program for Taylor to rule."

BushCo takes the morally reprehensible position on every issue.

ACLU sues Pentagon over anti-war group monitoring

"The group says the Pentagon has been monitoring anti-war groups and individuals and has compiled lists on people it sees as potential threats but who the ACLU says are exercising their free-speech rights."

NSA blocking whistleblower from telling committee about shocking, illegal activities

"Tice said his information is different from the terrorist surveillance program that President Bush acknowledged in December and from news accounts last month that the NSA has been secretly collecting phone call records of millions of Americans. Because he worked on special access programs, however, it has not been clear on Capitol Hill which committees have jurisdiction to debrief him. Shays and Kucinich gave the NSA until Friday to explain any legal reason why they cannot interview him. But that deadline passed without a response, and a subcommittee aide today called the missed deadline troubling."

NSA train wreck: An effort to get NSA surveillance under control is morphing into a license to spy.

"But the bill, which the committee could take up this week, does a whole lot more, just about all of it bad. In an effort to win votes, Mr. Specter has turned it from a flawed accountability measure into one that rewrites the rules of domestic surveillance and gives the administration an all but blank check to spy."

A leap of faith, off a clifff

"On Monday, the Bush administration told a judge in Detroit that the president's warrantless domestic spying is legal and constitutional, but refused to say why. The judge should just take his word for it, the lawyer said, because merely talking about it would endanger America. Today, Senator Arlen Specter wants his Judiciary Committee to take an even more outlandish leap of faith for an administration that has shown it does not deserve it."

Officials sued over phone records access

"The federal government sued the New Jersey attorney general and other state officials Wednesday to stop them from seeking information about telephone companies' cooperation with the National Security Agency."

Top court upholds no-knock police search

"The court's five-member conservative majority, anchored by new Chief Justice John Roberts and Alito, said that police blunders should not result in 'a get-out-of-jail-free card' for defendants."

Roberts and Alito are paying off for the neofascists.

The worst ruling of the week

"Calling the decision 'profoundly disturbing,' Rachel Meeropol, an attorney for the center, said it gives the green light to detentions of noncitizens 'at the whim of the President.'"

Some whim . . . some president.

Former antiterror officials find industry pays better

"Dozens of members of the Bush administration's domestic security team, assembled after the 2001 terrorist attacks, are now collecting bigger paychecks in different roles: working on behalf of companies that sell domestic security products, many directly to the federal agencies the officials once helped run."

Pardon talks for Libby begin

"Now that top White House aide Karl Rove is off the hook in the CIA leak probe, President George W. Bush must weigh whether to pardon former vice presidential aide I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, the only one indicted in the three-year investigation."

And a Medal of Freedom, no doubt.

FBI says, it "has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11"

"Surprised by the ease in which this FBI spokesman made such an astonishing statement, I asked, 'How this was possible?” Tomb continued, “Bin Laden has not been formally charged in connection to 9/11.' I asked, 'How does that work?' Tomb continued, 'The FBI gathers evidence. Once evidence is gathered, it is turned over to the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice than decides whether it has enough evidence to present to a federal grand jury. In the case of the 1998 United States Embassies being bombed, Bin Laden has been formally indicted and charged by a grand jury. He has not been formally indicted and charged in connection with 9/11 because the FBI has no hard evidence connected Bin Laden to 9/11.'"

This gives one pause. It would seem, however, there is hard evidence linking The Dick to 9/11.

The Toronto terror plot and the Canadian establishment's political agenda

"By conjuring up the image of a Canada under siege from al-Qaeda and 'homegrown' Islamicist terrorists, the Conservative government, the national security establishment, the corporate media, and a pliant official opposition are seeking to overcome popular resistance to Canada’s participation in wars, closer collaboration with the Bush administration, further economic and geo-political integration with the United States, and increased repressive powers for the state."

A note on the death of Abu Musen al-Zarqaawi

"Let us again suppose that he was a ruthless serial killer of Americans here in the U.S., and that law enforcement trapped him in a remote house in a California date palm orchard along with his minister and an unknown 'woman and child.' And that they were all surrounded by law enforcement (as was Al-Zarqaawi in Iraq surrounded by U.S. and Iraqi military).

"Would we not be horrified and outraged to learn that instead of waiting out a surrender or at least offering to wait until the hostages/innocents could be safely extricated, that the U.S. government decided to drop two 500 lb. bombs on this surrounded house? Killing everyone inside instantly, except for Mr. Big, who somehow survived a bit longer?"

Global Eye

"It was this video -- which featured five surprisingly chubby terrorists, masked, one wearing a gold ring forbidden by extremist Islam, another reading in halting Arabic -- that made Zarqawi the Pentagon poster boy for the insurgency. Pentagon documents unearthed by The Washington Post this April revealed that the elevation of Zarqawi's profile was a deliberate, multimillion-dollar propaganda campaign aimed at the U.S. people to foment the lie that the insurgency was largely an al-Qaida terrorist operation, not a native rebellion against the occupation. As one Pentagon general put it: 'The Zarqawi Psy-Op program is the most successful information campaign to date.' One can only hope that the timely beheading of Nicholas Berg was not part of this 'information campaign.'"

Michael Berg: Father's Day reflections on a lost son

"I want to make sure no father suffers the loss of their son or daughter in Iraq or a future illegal war of aggression. I urge all those who oppose the military occupation of Iraq and do not want to see future wars of choice to sign the Voters' Pledge at http://www.votersforpeace.us/. Nearly fifty thousand people have already signed. It will let politicians know that we will not support pro-war candidates in the future."

Good news for America and the world, bad news for Hillary Clinton.

'Killing themselves was unnecessary, but it certainly is a good PR move'

"'It does sound like this is part of a strategy - in that they don't value their own lives, and they certainly don't value ours; and they use suicide bombings as a tactic,' Colleen Graffy, the deputy assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy, told BBC's Newshour yesterday. 'Taking their own lives was not necessary, but it certainly is a good PR move.'"

That is, they're simply brutish scum; however, they're brutish scum with public relations moxie. I guess it could translate to TV. "If you don't buy from us, we'll hang ourselves."

Dead detainee 'was to be freed'

"Mark Denbeaux, who represents some of the foreign detainees said the man was among 141 prisoners due to be released.

"He said the prisoner was not told because US officials had not decided which country he would be sent to."

He was probably going to experience freedom via extraordinary rendition.

Pentagon details US abuse of detainees

"A human rights group called the reports a whitewash that ignored countless documented accounts of detainee abuse."

The bar is set so low for Bush that anything short of drooling and babbling is considered a monumental success

"Repuglicans across the land are rejoicing over President Bush's alleged resurgence. 'He's back,' they say. 'The Comeback Kid,' they're calling him. One right wing columnist, Clark S. Judge, went so far as to say that 'the president just had the best week of his second term, perhaps of his entire presidency....' and talks of Bush's 'stunning new momentum' that's 'proving a transformative success on the domestic as well as international front.' Excuse me, but I seem to have missed the memo outlining Bush's big accomplishments this past week. As usual, the bar is set so low for this president that all he needs to do is show a pulse and we're supposed to declare a national holiday in his honor."

Austria's Haider says Bush is a war criminal

"Austrian right-wing populist Joerg Haider called President Bush a war criminal on Saturday, days before Austria's government hosts Bush and European leaders in Vienna."

This is amazing to me . . . Haider is far to the right.

From the embassy, a grim report

"This cable, marked 'sensitive' and obtained by The Washington Post, outlines in spare prose the daily-worsening conditions for those who live outside the heavily guarded international zone: harassment, threats and the employees' constant fears that their neighbors will discover they work for the U.S. government."

10 workers kidnapped from Baghdad bakery

"The scattered attacks came after a day of unrelenting violence that killed more than two dozen people as insurgents foiled heightened security measures, dealing a blow to the Iraqi government's pledge to bring peace to the capital."

A long road ahead in Iraq

"While Mr. Bush holds out visions of Iraqi security forces standing up so that Americans can stand down, Iraq's deputy justice minister more candidly told The Washington Post last week that 'we cannot control the prisons; it's as simple as that.' He added that 'our jails are infiltrated by the militias from top to bottom, from Basra to Baghdad.'"

Keeping Iraq's oil in the ground

"World oil production today stands at more than twice the 15-billion a-year maximum projected by Shell Oil in 1956 -- and reserves are climbing at a faster clip yet. That leaves the question, Why this war?

"Did Dick Cheney send us in to seize the last dwindling supplies? Unlikely. Our world's petroleum reserves have doubled in just twenty-five years -- and it is in Shell's and the rest of the industry's interest that this doubling doesn't happen again. The neo-cons were hell-bent on raising Iraq's oil production. Big Oil's interest was in suppressing production, that is, keeping Iraq to its OPEC quota or less. This raises the question, did the petroleum industry, which had a direct, if hidden, hand, in promoting invasion, cheerlead for a takeover of Iraq to prevent overproduction?"

Palast provides a perspective unknown to me. It's worth reading through. Looks like BushCo has the US gas price point at $2.75, ensuring double profits for Big Oil.

US 'planning to keep 50,000 troops in Iraq for many years'

"Military analysts have noted that significant American spending is already being committed to permanent bases in Iraq. They say Iraq's military may soon be able to fight by itself, but it cannot feed or supply itself and it has no air force to speak of."

Plus, there's the oil to protect. That's why there are 17 permanent bases and a Taj Mahal US embassy.

Iraqis in Al Anbar province leaving army in droves

"Iraqi soldiers in Al Anbar province are leaving their army in droves, draining much-needed manpower from fledgling Iraqi security forces and preventing U.S. troops from reducing troop strength in the volatile region, U.S. and Iraqi military officials say."

Germany says no to Rumsfeld request for help

"US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is reportedly looking for Germany to provide more assistance in Iraq. The German government, however, has declined the invitation."

Troops refusing Iraq duty get a haven

"Prompted by a Fort Lewis Army officer's decision to refuse to fight in Iraq, the First United Methodist Church of Tacoma has declared itself a sanctuary for servicemen and servicewomen who also don't want to go to Iraq."

Stay the course? What course?

"Fresh from his triumphal visit to Baghdad -- a place so dangerous he had to sneak in without even telling the Iraqi prime minister -- George W. Bush is full of new resolve to stay the course in his open-ended "global war on terror." That leaves the rest of us to wonder, in sadness and frustration, just what that course might be and where on earth it can possibly lead."

On the Lehrer Report this week, Zbigniew Brzenski (sp?) offered a great perspective on this bogus visit. He said that Bush didn't visit Baghdad, he visited the fortified Green Zone and therefore has no sense of what is or isn't going on in Iraq.

Ready or not: Three nations to transfer security in Iraq

"British, Australian and Japanese troops will transfer security responsibilities in southern Iraq to Iraqi authorities next week, and withdraw from the area soon afterward, Kyodo News said Friday."

A US view: How many dead Iraqis will it take?

"One line that I hear constantly from people here in Iowa is that our boys and girls are good boys and girls but that having to exist in Iraq would turn anyone a little nuts.

"And for that, they can and should be, forgiven.

"But this always raises a sore point with me and one most Americans don't want to face and it is simply that Americans aren't the only species on the human globe."

The Marine who saw too much

"Fighting in the war flipped Daniel's political beliefs. 'I came back very anti-Bush. I used to be a Republican before I joined the military. Not any more.' His experiences on the ground, he says, convinced him he'd been lied to. The Iraqis 'are a defeated people,' he says, not a threat to America. 'It's a third-world country. These people walk around with no shoes, nothing. These guys are working for a dollar a day. The military would pay the village people to come on base and build sandbags so that they can be more comfortable in their tents and pay them a dollar a day, and these guys will work making seven dollars a week just to feed their family.'"

Iraq conflict fuels rise in global refugess to 12 million: Survey

The global refugee population has begun to rise for the first time in four years, largely due to instability in Iraq, a US group said in a survey, which saw refugee protection deteriorating by all measures.

Former Saddam aide dragged from court

"The trial was further thrown into confusion when a judge read out what were said to be confessions by four defence witnesses who were arrested after giving their testimony two weeks ago. In the confessions, they admitted to committing perjury."The defence said the witnesses were made to sign confessions they hadn’t read. Two of the witnesses said they were beaten and forced to give the confessions."

BushCo justissssss.

Judicial Watch obtains documents from Army related to Halliburton subsidiary's no-bid Iraq contract

"Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that the Department of the Army, per order of U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo M. Urbina, has released to Judicial Watch approximately 100 pages of documents which detail the multi-billion dollar, no-bid contract awarded in 2003 by the Army to Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), a subsidiary of Halliburton Co. One document uncovered by Judicial Watch suggests the United States Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) may have publicly lied regarding the involvement of the Vice President’s office in awarding the contract.

We'd be better off if the Cosa Nostra were running the country.

The day the US took a beating over Iran

Despite claims that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has regained the diplomatic initiative from Iran with a conditional offer to join multilateral talks with Tehran, the real story behind the policy shift is that the US administration has suffered a decisive defeat of its effort to get international sanctions for possible military action against Iran.

The tripolar chessboard (scroll down)

"For months, the American press and policy-making elite have portrayed the crisis with Iran as a two-sided struggle between Washington and Tehran, with the European powers as well as Russia and China playing supporting roles. It is certainly true that George Bush and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are the leading protagonists in this drama, with each making inflammatory statements about the other in order to whip up public support at home. But an informed reading of recent international diplomacy surrounding the Iranian crisis suggests that another equally fierce -- and undoubtedly more important -- struggle is also taking place: a tripolar contest between the United States, Russia, and China for domination of the greater Persian Gulf/Caspian Sea region and its mammoth energy reserves."

Iran, Syria sign defense agreement

"In a joint press conference, Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar and visiting Syrian counterpart Hassan Turkmani said their talks had been aimed at consolidating their defense efforts and strengthening support for one another."

Global image of the US is worsening, survey finds

"Other countries where positive views dropped significantly include India (56 percent, down from 71 percent); Russia (43 percent, down from 52 percent); and Indonesia (30 percent, down from 38 percent). In Turkey, only 12 percent said they held a favorable opinion, down from 23 percent last year."

House accepts a $3,300 raise

"Despite record low approval ratings, House lawmakers Tuesday embraced a $3,300 pay raise that will increase their salaries to $168,500."

This doesn't include corporate kickbacks.

Florida House candidate to face litany of criminal charges after alleging vote fraud

"In this exclusive interview with RAW STORY on June 11, 2006, Grapski reveals startling details of his situation and updates regarding an election outcome allegedly changed by absentee ballot manipulation. He also levels serious allegations of abuse of power by public officials, including officials linked to President George W. Bush's brother, Florida Governor Jeb Bush."

Call to decision

"Attorney Elsebeth Baumgartner is facing 66 years and 6 months in jail in a political payback case for uncovering serious corruption in Cuyahoga Country, OH, which leads directly to the White House. She faces 109 years for emailing a ranking Ohio judge and running a controversial website accusing high-ranking Ohio officials of serious crimes. She is now being held in jail as a political prisoner."

Something appears to be amiss in 'Merica.

African-American voters scrubbed from secret GOP hit list

"The Republican National Committee has a special offer for African-American soldiers: Go to Baghdad, lose your vote."

Security breaches for 'sleepover' voting machines used in Busby/Bilbray race invalidated, decertified their use in the election!

"Based on the review of several different very specific state and federal requirements, laws and provisions, the unsecured overnight storage of Diebold voting machines and their memory cards in poll workers houses, cars and garages in the days and weeks prior to the closely watched election between Republican Brian Bilbray and Democrat Francine Busby violated several federal and state provisions which, if not followed, would revoke the certification of use for the voting systems in any California election."

More E-voting concerns surface with state primaries underway

"From serious security flaws that could allow hackers easy access to electronic voting systems, to routine computer malfunctions and undelivered software, state and local officials are one-by-one joining voter-access groups and computer scientists in questioning the reliability of the three major suppliers of electronic voting machines."

EPA quietly attempts to radically change pollution rules

"Until a few weeks ago, the inventory was to be slashed to comply with the Federal Paperwork Reduction Act. The EPA said they were gutting the 20-year-old database to save paper. What they didn't say was that the decision would dramatically reduce pressure on polluters."

Bill aims to make national water standards voluntary

"Half of the country's water systems are making a potentially hazardous switch, while a bill aims to make national safe drinking water standards voluntary, RAW STORY has learned."

Why a global economic deluge looms

"People who know the most about the world financial system are increasingly worried, and for very good reasons. Dire warnings are coming from the most 'respectable' sources. Reality has gotten out of hand. The demons of greed are loose."

Delta to request end to pilots' pensions

"Delta Air Lines Inc. will file a request Monday to terminate its pilots' pension plan, the company's chief executive said Friday. But the nation's third-largest carrier still holds out hope pension reform will save other employees' retirement plans."

A socialist's guide to the World Cup

"In many countries, soccer is a terrain of political and ideological struggle like the media or the education system. Teams in Europe often have decidedly partisan political followings. Lazio of Rome was the club of Mussolini and retains a large fascist following today. Italian club A.S. Livorno has long been associated with communism and banners of Che Guevara can be seen waving in the stands at the team's home games. Clashes between Livorno's supporters and the fans of right-wing teams can dominate match day in this picturesque Tuscany town."

Quotes from www.bartcop.com and others:

Heard this on the Colbert Report Thursday re: the House debate on the Iraq war. Colbert said, "Shoot first, ask questions four year later."

Came across a good quote from Warren Buffett on Social Security in the local paper Monday. "Anything that reduces Social Security payments below the current levels is a mistake. We could raise the payroll tax cap from $90,000. I (Buffett) don't understand why the administration worries about the size of the deficit in 25 years when it doesn't seem to care much about the size of the deficit now." The perfect response to Evil Moron's plans.

"I’m a Democrat. I want to run as a Democrat. I will be the Democratic nominee and I will win the primary." --Joe Lieberman, 04/11/06, Link

"I am not going to close out any options." --Joe Lieberman, 06/14/06, saying he might leave the party, Link

"Are you going to ask that question with shades on? I’m interested in the shade look, seriously." -- Der Monkey, to a legally-blind reporter from the LA Whore Times, Link We saw that on Jon Stewart last night, and I told Mrs. Bart,

"You're married to a man who's smarter than the president of the United States."

She replied, "The cat in your lap is smarter than the president..."

"They have a live sex show in New Zealand. They have actual bulls mounting a simulated cow. Good to see Ann Coulter getting some work." -- David Letterman

"They may be with you for the first few bullets but they won't be there for the last tough battles." -- Karl Rove, attacking John Kerry and John Murtha, Link (Rove has no medals, Kerry and Murtha have five)

"Selective Service records show Karl Rove escaped the draft for nearly three years at the height of the Vietnam War using student deferments." --Rebecca Walsh, Link

"Tom DeLay left Congress this week. He said he's leaving with no regrets, no shame and no ethics." -- Jay Leno

"Bush said that any attempt to deport 11 million illegal aliens 'ain't gonna work.' Then, when reporters asked Bush what he was going to do for the rest of the afternoon, he said, 'Ain't gonna work.'" -- Conan O'Brien

"New info about Zarqawi's death. Zarqawi survived the initial air strike for 52 minutes. Even hours later, Bill Frist was saying, 'The man seems to respond to visual stimuli.'" -- Jon Stewart

"She made news, ...she's good television." -- Today Show producer Jim Bell, on why Ann Coulter was given time on NBC to slander the 9-11 widows Link

"By rounding up men from all over the world and confining them without charge or trial, the United States has violated several U.S. and international laws and treaties." -- Jumana Musa, of Amnesty International, Link

Everybody knows that's true, but we're now living in 1939's Germany. We know what our government is doing, but we choose to lie to ourselves. We know what Bush is doing is illegal, but we're hoping other countries don't notice. We're stuck in this real-life nightmare and we can't wake up.

"Bush went into this war with a gung-ho, Wild West mentality and it has blown up in his face. The neo-Cons are emotionally-retarded people in what is becoming an increasingly soulless country. Every minute that Bush is in power, the USA becomes less credible." -- Jane, speaking for the world, in London, Link

"What the difference between Gitmo and Auschwitz? At Auschwitz, they had hope."

Sunday, June 11, 2006


No dazzling or dull essay this week. House guests and a high school reunion were the focus of attention. Although, the reunion brought up an item worthy of note.

If you'll remember, I wrote a book review of Rock 'n' Roll Radical: The Life & Mysterious Death of Dean Reed by Chuck Laszewski a while back. And Reed, if you recall, was a classmate of mine in high school. As luck would have it, at the reunion get together I was able to spend time reminiscing with a friend I hadn't seen for 40 years who happened to be on the reunion committee and walked to school with Reed on a regular basis, back in the day.

Apparently, Laszewski, the author, was willing to come to the reunion for additional background material and to meet some of Reed's contemporaries. But the majority of the committee didn't want to taint the proceedings with memories of a commie.

My old friend and I found it amusing that a person who lived a large and interesting life, would be looked down upon by good people whose lives, by comparison, have been pedestrian for the most part. Not having the author in attendance comes under the heading of Missed Opportunities. Fitting, considering the occasion.

By the wayu, seeing people for the first time in 40 to 50 years came as a shock. A bunch of old people . . . myself and a handful of others excluded, of course.

Picks of the Week:

"Both parties selling country to highest bidder!"

"Zeese said, 'We know that both parties are selling the country to the highest bidder. So, in a historical context, where do you want to be? Republicans controlled by corporations? Democrats controlled by corporations? Or, with some independent movement that is going to challenge the lack of representation of the people. I think in a historical context, we know where we want to be...What we do now will have an effect. We make a difference. So, waking people up to make a difference is very important to moving things forward electorally.'"

And the same thing is happening in Canada. The Liberals and Conservatives are both controlled by corporations.

More Democrats want their leaders to stand up against, Bush, war

"Anti-war and anti-Bush fervor is growing among rank and file Democrats, threatening to pull the party to the left and creating a rift between increasingly belligerent activists and the party's leaders in Washington."

The corporate constituents of the Party leaders would not take kindly to this.

Bankruptcy law in shambles: What happens when the credit card industry writes congressional legislation? According to the judges who have to enforce it, anarchy

"Although Sosa had taken the class by the time they got back to court, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank R. Monroe quickly dismissed their case, leaving the Sosa trailer open to foreclosure.

"Monroe was furious, not with the Sosas, but with Congress for tying his hands. 'Can any rational human being make a cogent argument that this makes any sense at all?' he wrote in his opinion. He even accused Congress of colluding with the nation’s credit industry 'to make more money off the backs of consumers in this country.'"

The Medicare drug bill is another example of Congress allowing an industry to write the legislation. Taking care of their constituents . . . one bill at a time.

Lieberman faces showdown over Iraq

"Lieberman, the party's vice presidential nominee in 2000, faces a growing challenge from a political neophyte who has rallied Democrats angered by the senator's enthusiastic backing of the war and willingness to support Republican President George W. Bush on other issues."

Normalizing the unthinkable: John Pilger, Robert Fisk, Charlie Glass, and Seymour Hersh on the failure of the world's press

"Despite the fact that the war in Iraq is reported daily in most U.S. newspapers and networks around the world, Pilger didn’t think the world’s press accurately conveyed the reality of life for Iraqi civilians. 'We get the illusion that we are seeing what might be happening in Iraq. But what we’re getting is a massive censorship by omission; so much is being left out,' he said. 'We have a situation in Iraq where well over 100,000 civilians have been killed and we have virtually no pictures. The control of that by the Pentagon has been quite brilliant. And as a result we have no idea of the extent of civilians suffering in that country.'"

Fear of big battle panics Iraqi city

"The image pieced together from interviews with tribal leaders and fleeing families in recent weeks is one of a desperate population of 400,000 people trapped in the crossfire between insurgents and U.S. forces. Food and medical supplies are running low, prices for gas have soared because of shortages and municipal services have ground to a stop."

US specialists finish al-Zarqawi autopsy

"An Iraqi man raised questions about al-Zarqawi's death, telling AP Television News that he saw U.S. soldiers after the airstrike beating an injured man resembling the dead terrorist until blood flowed from his nose.

"Casey said the claim was 'baloney.'

'''He died while American soldiers were attempting to save his life,' Casey told 'Fox News Sunday.' 'So the idea that there were people beating him is ludicrous.'''

This wasn't Haditha, he said . . . winking.

Unreported: The Zarqawi invitation by Greg Palast (must read through)

"General Garner, watching the insurgency unfold from the occupation authority’s provocations, told me, in his understated manner, 'I’m a believer that you don’t want to end the day with more enemies than you started with.'

"But you can’t have a war president without a war. And you can’t have a war without enemies. 'Bring ‘em on,' our Commander-in-Chief said. And Zarqawi answered the call."

So, the noxious headlines of the past week should've read, "We created him, and we got him!" God bless America and its wonderful foreign policy.

Father of beheaded man blames Bush, not Zarqawi

"'I don't think that Zarqawi is himself responsible for the killings of hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq,' Berg said in a combative television interview with the U.S. Fox News network. 'I think George Bush is.'

"'George Bush is the one that invaded this country, George Bush is the one that destabilized it so that Zarqawi could get in, so that Zarqawi had a need to get in, to defend his region of the country from American invaders.'"

On the one hand we have Michael Berg, religious affiliation unknown. On the other we have George W. Bush, professed Christian who gets his direction from God. Which of them has the truer moral compass?

Cheney's office declares exemption from secrecy oversight

"Thickening the haze of secrecy surrounding the executive branch, the Office of Vice President Dick Cheney has declared itself exempt from a yearly requirement to report how it uses its power to classify secret information."

Blind man's bluff

"For more than six months, a few senators have been fumbling around in the dark, trying to write laws covering a domestic wiretapping operation that remains a mystery to most of them. Their ideas are far from radical; some just want to bring the White House back under the rule of law by making the spying retroactively legal. But Vice President Dick Cheney, who is in charge of both overseeing the spying and covering it up, has now made it crystal clear that the White House does not intend to let anything happen. It's time for the Senate to stop rolling over and start focusing on uncovering the extent of the spying and enforcing the law."

Judge may decided if US eavesdropping is legal

"Oral arguments are set for Monday at U.S. District Court in Detroit at which the American Civil Liberties Union will ask Judge Anna Diggs Taylor to declare the spying unconstitutional and order it halted."

From logistics to turning a blind eye: Europe's role in terror abductions

"The full extent of European collusion with the CIA during operations to abduct terrorism suspects and fly them to countries where they may be tortured is laid bare today by the continent's most authoritative human rights body."

The fax that reveals the US is flying terror suspects to Europe's secret cells

"The discovery of the fax seriously undermines the US’s denial that it has ever used secret detention facilities, breaching international law. It also adds to the pressure for the release of information on 'extraordinary renditions'. These rendition flights see kidnapped terror suspects taken by the CIA to countries where torture is common, such as Uzbekistan. British intelligence has supported this practice and UK airports, particulary Prestwick, have given CIA jets logistical support."

Pentagon limits medical role in questioning

"The military's use of medical professionals in interrogations has drawn fire from human rights groups and medical ethicists. They have charged that doctors have been used unethically at the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to force-feed detainees on hunger strikes and provide medical advice to help interrogators."

These quacks must be guided by the Hypocritical Oath.

Big pharma's deadly experiments

"A newly surfaced report alleges that in 1996, drug monolith Pfizer gave an unproven drug to Nigerian children and infants suffering from meningitis -- without the authorization of the Nigerian government. Completed five years ago and coming to light in a May 7 Washington Post investigation, the confidential report, written by a panel of Nigerian health experts, concluded that administering the drug Trovan to 100 patients suffering a deadly strain of meningitis was 'an illegal trial of an unregistered drug.' The drug was ultimately shown to be ineffective. A lawsuit against Pfizer claims some of the children in the trial died and others suffered brain

Human experimentation: A rule gone awry?

"The U.S. EPA’s new Protections for Subjects in Human Research rule, which came into force on 7 April 2006, was born of a need to tighten the ethical guidelines controlling nonmedical human experimentation. The rule was ostensibly designed to offer people greater protection in pesticide toxicity experiments. But just two weeks after its coming into force, a coalition of labor and environmental interest groups filed suit against the EPA, challenging the rule’s legality and ethics. Against a backdrop of claims of industry influence, financial interests, and bipartisan rhetoric, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City must now determine whether this rule safeguards Americans against unethical experimentation or sells them out to big business."

GOP family values in play. Maybe the notion of Soylent Green isn't farfetched after all.

Was Canadian terrorist raid a PR hoax?

"Items are shown on display during a press conference. The bag of fertilizer, right, was not seized during the raid and was there for display purposes only."

It's the same bag shown on US news. Interesting, isn't it, that this raid happened at this time under a pro-Bush regime. Just last week the UK police raided a terrorist bomb making hideout, and it looks questionable as well. Trying to hype the upcoming Iran invasion?

RCMP behind bomb material

"Speaking in Ottawa at an enrolment ceremony for 225 new Canadian military recruits, Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered his views.

"'As at other times in our history, we are a target because of who we are and how we live, our society, our diversity and our values — values such as freedom, democracy and the rule of law — the values that make Canada great, values that Canadians cherish.'"

BushCo sent Harper these talking points. In this article it says there is no known connection to Al Qaeda. Interestingly, a CBS radio news broadcast said Monday that some US experts said the next terrorist attack in the US won't be as spectacular as 9/11 and would be carried out by people with no Al Qaeda ties using homemade bombs. If you smell a rat, you'd be right. In other words, after carrying out 9/11, BushCo is going to do something different between now and the November elections. Maybe Harper's government will create something north of the border as well.

Police planted evidence: Terrorists' arrest in Toronto was a sting operation

"Aly Hindy, a Toronto imam, said he knew several of the accused because they prayed at his mosque but said they were not terrorists. 'The charges are to keep George Bush happy, that’s all,' he added sardonically. The Globe and Mail did not mention that all incriminating evidence had been planted on the suspects."

Why did Canada's security agencies allow the alleged terror plot to grow?

"Media reports, largely based on government, police and Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) sources, indicate that Canada’s security forces allowed the alleged Toronto terror plot to take shape and grow over many months, even years, and that they did so with the approval of their political superiors.

"These reports, and the record of Canada’s police-security forces, strongly suggest that the alleged terrorists, almost all of them young men and boys, were manipulated by one or more agent provocateurs."

The stealth man cometh

"In a May 24 speech, Harper laid out his vision of the new Canadian government. 'And our spending is focused on areas of federal jurisdiction, like enforcing public security and the surveillance of our borders, toughening criminal justice and re-staffing the RCMP [the Royal Canadian Mounted Police] and rebuilding the armed forces of Canada. When we do spend, we want to spend in ways that reflect the real priorities of ordinary Canadians,' he said."

Same sex diversion: Bush and Harper trying to duck important issues by attacking gays and lesbians

"North of the border, Stephen Harper has enough problems to keep a prime minister busy, although none, thankfully, on the scale of Bush's. Yet there was Harper on Friday announcing that there will be a debate and free vote in Parliament in the fall on (wait for it, please) same-sex marriage."

A solution without a problem

"Marriage is 'under attack' by 'activist judges,' and according to the right wing, the only way to save it is by passing the Marriage Protection Amendment, a federal amendment that would take the unprecedented step of writing discrimination into the U.S. Constitution by banning gay marriage. As the Senate debates -- and possibly votes -- on the amendment this week, President Bush yesterday called on Congress to pass the amendment in order to 'take this issue out of the hands of overreaching judges and put it back where it belongs: in the hands of the American people.' But in reality, the federal marriage amendment (FMA) will 'remove the issue from the democratic process by preventing states from allowing same-sex marriage if they choose.' A constitutional amendment requires approval by two-thirds of Congress and three-fourths of the states. Both liberals and conservatives believe the amendment is unlikely to pass, with some conservatives calling it nothing more than a political ploy. But in the meantime, the right wing continues to push myths to fabricate an urgency that the public isn't buying."

Flag burning and other dubious epidemics

"Thank goodness the Republicans are around to tell me what to worry about. The flag-burning crisis—here in Austin, there’s that pall of smoke rising from the west every morning (it’s from an area called Tarrytown, where they burn hundreds of flags daily)."

Senate rejects amendment on gay marriage

"The Senate rejected a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage by a wide margin Wednesday, delivering a stinging defeat to President Bush and other Republicans who had hoped the issue would rally GOP voters for the November elections."

Police fear bomb has been moved (UK)

"Anti-terrorist police hunting for a suspected chemical-based bomb after a raid on a house in east London fear that the device may have been moved and could still be used.
"Two days after a man was shot as armed officers stormed the house in Lansdown Road, Forest Gate, a search has failed to yield any evidence of a bomb."


Understanding Haditha

"President Bush acknowledged last month that the United States has been paying for the acts committed at Abu Ghraib 'for a long period of time.' But Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), who served for 37 years in the Marines, said recently that the acts committed in Haditha in Nov. 2005 could be 'worse than Abu Ghraib.' Similarly, one Defense Department official said that the alleged massacre by U.S. Marines of at least 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians could be 'really, really bad -- as bad or worse than Abu Ghraib.' Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes, who is engaged in an effort to dispel hostile opinions of the U.S. held by the Muslim world, said, 'The incident makes (the mission) difficult.' The military has launched two separate investigations to explain what happened at Haditha. The investigation that will be completed first is examining whether the Marines in Haditha or their commanders tried to cover-up what happened. A second will examine whether crimes were committed, an investigation that could result in murder charges being brought against U.S. soldiers. Meanwhile, 'senior Iraqi officials demanded an apology and explanation about Haditha from the United States and vowed their own inquiry.' It's time for the administration to acknowledge that the U.S. military presence is preventing progress from being made against the growing insurgency. A responsible redeployment of troops out of Iraq offers the best incentive for Iraqis to take over their country while allowing the U.S. to refocus on a balanced global strategy that will make Americans safer."

Global Eye

"Indeed, as the tormented land flails in agony -- racked by civil war, unbounded corruption, religious repression, infrastructure collapse, the violent subjugation of women and all the other evils introduced by Bush's war of aggression -- U.S. forces seem to be gripped by an increasing frenzy of their own. In just the last three months, a string of incidents has seen Iraqi civilians gunned down by U.S. soldiers in outbursts of fury and panic, as Scotland's Sunday Herald reports. The innocent victims include unarmed women (one of them a pregnant woman trying to reach a hospital), infants, children, the elderly and the mentally handicapped. There will be more such killings brought to light as Iraqis, incensed by the Haditha massacre and emboldened by the new government's apparent willingness to confront their colonial overseers, come forth with new allegations."

Army manual to skip Geneva detainee rule

"The decision could culminate a lengthy debate within the Defense Department but will not become final until the Pentagon makes new guidelines public, a step that has been delayed. However, the State Department fiercely opposes the military's decision to exclude Geneva Convention protections and has been pushing for the Pentagon and White House to reconsider, the Defense Department officials acknowledged."

You're doing a heck of a job, Rummy.

Rumsfeld warns China on defence modernisation

"United States Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Saturday warned China for its perceived lack of transparency in defence spending, while showering praise on Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf for 'courage' and 'leadership' in the global war against terrorism."

Isn't it risky threatening one's banker when foreclosure is imminent?

Emery County: Ex-clerk at center of machine politics

"One thing appears certain: Funk is the only election official in the country skeptical - Diebold would say, credulous - enough to invite computer scientists from Black Box Voting, a Washington state-based nonprofit group critical of electronic voting, to examine one of his units. Data gathered during that examination in tiny Emery County has generated concern by some computer experts, whose findings have been reported in The New York Times and Washington Post. Election officials in California and Pennsylvania have called for an immediate security fix."

Bush - Most hated president ever stole both elections

"The latest polls say Americans now dislike Bush more than any other president including even Tricky Dick. It only took the public five and half year to see through him. "That said, I wonder how long it will take people to accept the news that Bush never won either election and the country is in such a mess that it will take 50 years to get back to how it was when Bush took office."

Public interest in news topics beyond control of mainstream media

"The blogosphere has been abuzz. But in the days since Rolling Stone magazine published a long piece that accused Republicans of widespread and intentional cheating that affected the outcome of the last presidential election, the silence in America's establishment media has been deafening."

Diebold lobbyist donates $10,000 to Blackwell campaign

"Forty-nine of the 85 people who this year have given Republican Ohio secretary of state Kenneth Blackwell the maximum $10,000 allowed an individual donor have done so since May 2. Members of Cincinnati financier Carl Lindner's family led the way by combining for $90,000. The maximum-donor list also includes Mitch Given, who is a registered lobbyist for Diebold Election Systems, one of the vendors of voting machines for election boards in Ohio."

Power grab

"The public scenes of the President surrounded by smiling legislators whom he praises for their wonderful work as he hands out the pens he has used to sign the bill are often utterly misleading. The elected officials aren't informed at that time of the President's real intentions concerning the law. After they leave, the President's signing statements—which he does not issue verbally at the time of signing— are placed in the Federal Register, a compendium of US laws, which members of Congress rarely read. And they are often so technical, referring as they do to this subsection and that statute, that they are difficult to understand."

Bar group will review Bush's legal challenges

"The board of governors of the American Bar Association voted unanimously yesterday to investigate whether President Bush has exceeded his constitutional authority in reserving the right to ignore more than 750 laws that have been enacted since he took office."

Data in nuclear agency workers hacked: lawmaker

"The incident happened last September but top Energy Department officials were not told about it until this week, prompting the chairman of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee to demand the resignation of the head of the NNSA."

This here Homeland Security scam is workin' real good!

Medical privacy law nets no fines

"In the three years since Americans gained federal protection for their private medical information, the Bush administration has received thousands of complaints alleging violations but has not imposed a single civil fine and has prosecuted just two criminal cases.

"Of the 19,420 grievances lodged so far, the most common allegations have been that personal medical details were wrongly revealed, information was poorly protected, more details were disclosed than necessary, proper authorization was not obtained or patients were frustrated getting their own records."

Imagine our surprise!

Desert cities are living on borrowed time, UN warns

"Desert cities in the US and Middle East, such as Phoenix and Riyadh, may be living on borrowed time as water tables drop and supplies become undrinkable, says a report coinciding with today's world environment day."

Democrats try to save poverty survey

"Democratic lawmakers say Congress will be working in the dark on big issues such as Social Security and Medicaid if the Census Bureau eliminates a unique survey of poverty and income.

"The Bush administration has proposed cutting the Survey of Income and Program Participation. It is the government's only survey that repeatedly questions thousands of people over time about how income changes affect their poverty status, health coverage and use of government services."

American democracy in action . . . "Poverty. what poverty?"

GOP takes aim at PBS funding

"House Republicans yesterday revived their efforts to slash funding for public broadcasting, as a key committee approved a $115 million reduction in the budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting that could force the elimination of some popular PBS and NPR programs."

How to watch the World Cup: Politics and war by other means

"The billions who tune into the World Cup are watching a game that, at the highest level, largely negates all advantages of social class or even physical stature -- the combination of speed, skill, imagination and organization required to prevail is a great leveler. But at the World Cup, soccer is far more than a game."

Quotes from www.bartcop.com and others:

The First Dog

The train was quite crowded, so the Navy Seal walked the Entire lengthlooking for a seat, but the only seat left a well-dressed, middle-aged, woman's pet dog.The war-weary Seal asked, "Ma'am, may I have that seat" The woman just sniffed and said to no one in particular, "Don't be rude. . My dog is the first dog, the pet of the President."

The Navy Seal walked the entire train again, but the only seat left was under that dog."Please, ma'am. May I sit down? I'm very tired." She snorted, "Not only are you rude, you are not patriotic." This time the Navy Seal didn't say a word, he just picked up the dog, tossed it out the train window, and sat down. The woman shrieked, "Someone must defend my honor! Put this peasant in his place!" A gentleman sitting nearby spoke up, "Sir", He said "You soldiers often seem to have a penchant for doing the wrong thing. You believe anything the President tells you. You will sacrifice yourself for an unjust war. And now, sir, you've thrown the wrong bitch out the window.

"Nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes...’ -- No hammer-having Tom DeLay Link

"There's no issue more important than banning gay marriage." -- Sen. David Vitter Link

"Within hours of Zarqawi’s death, John Murtha was on CNN saying we should leave Iraq and let the Iraqis work out their civil war just the way we worked out ours ... From beyond the grave, Zarqawi can only wish that the Democrats for a pullout had been able to affect their preferred policy already. Then this loathsome man who so needed killing would instead still be working his evil will." -- Rich Lowry, Link

"Frankly, I'm not a big fan of the First Amendment." -- Ann Coulter, Link Can you name any Republican who supports the US Constitution?

"Now Zarqawi has met his end, and this violent man will never murder again..." -- The Murder Monkey, Link When our Worst President Ever is forced to leave the White House, he will never again be able to order our military to attack a helpless, third-world country and steal their oil.

"We have been slandered. Contrary to Ms. Coulter's statements, there was no joy in watching men who we loved burn alive. There was no happiness in telling our children that their fathers were never coming home again. We adored these men and miss them every day..." -- Kristen Breitweiser, Lorie Van Auken, Mindy Kleinberg and Patty Casazza, Link

"The next time a Republican wraps himself in 9/11 or uses a soldier as a prop -- the next time Bush watches a 9/11 movie with 9/11 families, the next time he invites the father of a fallen soldier to join him in throwing out a first pitch, the next time he participates in a staged chat with troops in the field, the next time his party holds its national political convention within shouting distance of ground zero, the next time the mother of a fallen soldier turns up in Laura Bush's box at the State of the Union address, the next time Cheney suggests that questioning the president's Iraq policy somehow equates to undercutting the troops -- remember this: It's the Democrats, not the Republicans, who do this sort of thing. Just ask Ann Coulter." -- Tim Grieve, Link

"How do we know their husbands weren't planning to divorce these harpies? Now that their shelf life is dwindling, they'd better hurry up and appear in Playboy." -- Ann Coulter, on the 9-11 widows, Link

"Where would the GOP be if it didn't have gay men to run against?" -- xarker, Link

"A constitutional amendment should never be undertaken lightly -- yet to defend marriage, our nation has no other choice." -- Dubya, July 10, 2004, Link

"51 percent of Americans disapprove of gay marriage, but 70 percent disapprove of the president, so gay marriage is actually more popular than Bush." -- Jay Leno

"Iraq's a bigger mess than ever, Iran's digging in its heals on nukes. What's 'the decider' focused on? Same-sex marriage." -- CW Link

"Bush is strong, and he doesn't waver. I like that he is for the family, that marriage should only be between a man and woman. And the war, we need to finish what we started." -- Jaren Olsen, 18, so far unable to find time to join Der Monkey's hopeless quagmire, Link

"I'm distrustful of news media portrayals of Dubya because they concentrate too much on the negative and certain small things." -- Ron Craft of Provo, calling Iraq, Katrina and the missing 20 trillion dollars "small things" Link

"I'm not sure of anything he's done, but I like that he's religious - that's really important." -- Danielle Pulsipher, insane at Brigham Young, Link

"God wrote the Bible in English for a reason: So it could be taught in our public schools." -- Stephen Colbert, in his commencement speech at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., Link