Friday, December 30, 2005

Calculated Risk: Looking Forward: 2006 Top Economic Stories

Calculated Risk: Looking Forward: 2006 Top Economic Stories:
"Like most investors, I expect the Fed to raise the Fed Funds rate 25 bps at each of the next two meetings to 4.75% in March. . . .

"And like many observers, I expect the Fed to start lowering rates later next year as the economy slows. But here is the surprise, I think long rates will start to rise when the Fed starts cutting the Fed Funds rate.

This will be Bernanke's 'conundrum'! As the economy slows, this will reduce the trade deficit and also lower the amount of foreign dollars willing to invest in the US - the start of a possible vicious cycle."

I think Calculated Risk is particularly clear-eyed, in this respect. The transition from Greenspan to Bernanke will raise the anxieties of investors; crisis almost always follows the advent of a new Fed chairman. And, so, March 2006 will mark a moment of anxiety. When the Fed rate is pushed from 4.5% to 4.75% at that time, or not, it will make investors nervous. The Federal debt ceiling will have to be raised in February, and there will be a political stink about that, further raising anxiety. The Treasury will start issuing 30-year bonds again, for the first time in a decade (?); a hiccup in the 30-year issue will make everyone anxious. Other things might add to the maelstrom: bankruptcy at a major corporation, civil war heating up in Iraq, etc.

Politically, Bush's support has been resting up against the dam of Republican partisanship. If you are a Democrat or an independent, you've already come to grips with the fact that the President is an incompetent, corrupt moron; if you are a Republican, you've been hiding from this essential truth. That's the meaning of Bush's persistent ~40% approval ratings. 40%: that's the bedrock Republican "majority". A creeping suspicion that the President is not just an incompetent, corrupt moron, but a weak, incompetent, corrupt moron, is eroding that dam. I don't know that the dam will burst in March 2006, but I think March 2006 will indeed witness a turning point on the economy, and possibly a dramatic turning point, that people notice. An economy that is not even "good" for Republicans will be the beginning of the Perfect Storm.

Update: It is now 2008, and I am looking back. The crack-up in the economy did not come until late 2007, but it looks to be a doozy, and, indeed, the economy's crackup seems likely to finally drive Bush's 30% approval ratings into record territory.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 - Iraq: Game Over - Iraq: Game Over: "'I hate to say, 'Game over,'' says Wayne White, who led the State Department's intelligence effort on Iraq until last spring. 'But we've lost it.' "

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Reality-Based Community: Hubris and the republican order

The Reality-Based Community: Hubris and the republican order: "Any given individual, institution, or party can gain at least temporary advantage by exercising less self-restraint than its rivals. But that's a risky game to play, both for the system and for the entity that chooses to push its envelope. Since an un-self-restrained power center is a threat to the entire order, the other power centers will tend to gang up against the aggressor. That, of course, is the Madisonian formula: to 'let ambition check ambition.'

So a republican political culture has the tragic hubris-breeds-nemesis dynamic built in. As Richard Neustadt said of Nixon in what seemed to be the flush of his power, just after his re-election: 'He has no sense of limits. He will be destroyed.'

No Administration, not even Nixon's, has sailed closer to the wind than Bush II. That helps explain the reaction it is now facing: from the Fourth Circuit, from the FISA Court, from various parts of Capitol Hill, and even from some parts of the conservative media-intellectual complex. I make no prediction; events are inevitable only in retrospect. But I find Neustadt's words both comforting and energizing in the current darkness."

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Congress Extends Patriot Act for One Month - Yahoo! News

Congress Extends Patriot Act for One Month - Yahoo! News: "Congress on Thursday approved a one-month extension of the Patriot Act"

I think the Republicans may have made a tactical error on this one. The Senate comes back on Jan 18 and the House on Jan 26. Chances are good that the Senate will come back and punt the ball back at the House, with another extension.

The chances are also good that the Patriot Act extension will combine with the FISA controversy and Alito into a three-ring circus, with additional fireworks from Iraq or Abramoff or Plame illuminating the night sky. By shortening the extension to, effectively only a few days, the controversy is guaranteed to be overheated. - Daou Report

The storm may come and go, but Bush may be forever - Daou Report: "The third button on the Daou Report's navigation bar links to the U.S. Constitution, a Constitution many Americans believe is on life support - if not already dead. The cause of its demise is the corrosive interplay between the Bush administration, a bevy of blind apologists, a politically apathetic public, a well-oiled rightwing message machine, lapdog reporters, and a disorganized opposition. The domestic spying case perfectly illuminates the workings of that system. And the unfolding of this story augurs poorly for those who expect it to yield different results from other administration scandals."

Peter Daou concludes his piece:

"t's a battle of attrition that Bush and his team have mastered. Short of a major Dem initiative to alter the cycle, to throw a wrench into the system, to go after the media institutionally, this cycle will continue for the foreseeable future."

Daou is right.

If the Democrats do not use the Storm to go after the Media institutionally, there will be no lasting impact. Too many liberals and moderates keep waiting for the press corps to begin acting like hunting dogs with smell of blood in their nostrils. Ain't goin' happen.

Our political system's foundation is the absolute need for money to advertise. The money is spent with the Media. The need for the money corrupts every politician, in the interests of the wealthy and, especially, large corporations. "It" not Bush is the heart of this corrupt, decaying system.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Carpetbagger Report: "the president can do whatever he wants"

The Carpetbagger Report "The warrantless-search story is now in its fifth day and I keep waiting for the vaunted White House political machine to come up with a compelling defense that doesn't include, "the president can do whatever he wants." I've seen these guys spin some pretty ugly facts — Bush, after all, won a second term despite an indefensible record on pretty much everything — and I've assumed it's only a matter of time before this NSA surveillance program had a set of talking points Republicans can repeat with a straight face.

"Except it hasn't happened. The administration has tried offering a few justifications for their decisions, but to date, none of them make any sense."

I remember someone telling me a story about an analysis he had read, concerning the revolution, which overthrew the Shah of Iran. The core of the story was a moment when Iranians looked around at one another and realized that they all wanted the Shah to go; all of a sudden, safety in numbers took over from fear.

That's what is bubbling under the surface of this "scandal": it is not just that there are no talking points, it is that there are damn few dittoheads to repeat them. The discipline of the Republican Party is giving way at this one point. Like a dam, beginning to break.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Blogging of the President: Bush's "credulability" is eroding

Stirling Newbery, truly a national treasure, notes that Bush's "credulability" is eroding. Yes, indeed, it is . . . it certainly is.

The Blogging of the President: "The domestic spying revelations are everywhere, and rightfully so. It is one step closer to the 'Gestapo Line', that invisible division between American's believing that Bush is dealing with an extraordinary crisis. and believing that there has been an unconstitutional usurpation of our liberties. But to convince them, it requires two important perceptions be established. The first is a long train of abuses and failures, which, added together, erode Bush's credulability in the eyes of the American public.

"The second is a single example which is so vivid that even the most dedicated of right wing apologists cannot get it out of their eyes. An example that stands starkly beyond the range of acceptability. At that point, we will have crossed the Gestapo Line, and suddenly comparisons to the the most wicked regimes of the past will no longer seem specious, hyperbolic or fatuous excess, but dark warnings.

"There are three parts to this reality, the first is the obvious: that there is a moral case, not merely for ending Bush's ability to damage America, her reputation and her people, but for branding his reign as one of illegal excess that is not to be repeated. The second, flowing from the first, is the political case for ending Bush's power and position. As more people realize that no President has been given more power and achieved fewer results, that his tenure in the White House has been the most corrupt since Warren G Harding's, that he has created a government which is vast, loose and out of control - the pressure to send a signal, to ourselves and to the world will grow. This political case includes the already visible signs of public support for impeachment - currently at 32%, nearly what it was for Clinton at the very height of the trial in the Senate.

"The final piece is, of course, a legal case, that is, a way to get from here to there. "

I think his analysis is basically correct, though his optimism about the prospect of a criminal investigation to bring Bush down is unjustified.

The Democrats will need to take control of at least one house of Congress, before a serious investigation becomes a live possibility. Maybe, even then, Bush will be able to tuff it out, having Alito on the Supreme Court to approve any outrage.

Seriously, though, what the country needs is the Capone "out" -- a "sin" that the conservatives nutjobs recognize as an unpardonable outrage and involves no political controversy. A bit of corruption or rank incompetence, which the American people find unforgiveable.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Daily Kos: Bush and the Will to Power

Daily Kos: Bush Vows to Continue Secret Eavesdropping: "There appears to be no acknowledgement whatsoever of concerns voiced by critics of the program. There is the feeling in the air about all this - and perhaps it's just me - that we are being forced to a constitutional crisis by a president who no longer believes he needs to wear a mask to court public opinion. This reeks of raw will and power."

If we had a political storm and it wasn't reported, did it happen?

The one thing worse than a political storm is not having a political storm when one is desperately needed.

The truth is, Bush has to be impeached. If Bush is allowed to get away with all that he has done, without being impeached and removed from office, the American Republic is pretty much finished.

Sirotablog: How the media "authorizes" the abuse of government power: "How the media 'authorizes' the abuse of government power"

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Brad DeLong: Bad Trade Deficit News

Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal: Bad Trade Deficit News: "This is a much bigger piece of news than one usually gets with a monthly release--and it's not good news. Each month the trade deficit gets bigger makes it more and more likely that we will have serious macroeconomic trouble when America's savings and investment flows start to come back into balance."

Economists tend to believe in a tendency toward general equilibrium, even when the data repeatedly show them something else. And, we common people tend to interpret the "trade deficit" as an indicator of some things, which it is not. In fact, the trade deficit is a mirror of the budget deficit. The underlying reality is that the U.S. is living high on the hog, courtesy of China, who is willing to sell us all manner of manufactured goods, cheap. Anyone, who has been to Wal-Mart or Ikea or J.C. Penney's knows just how cheap. The downside to this is that manufacturing in the U.S. has been made artificially unprofitable, and manufacturing employment and investment is declining rapidly.

Will there be a day of reckoning? That, of course, is what we fear/hope on the "Coming Perfect Storm" -- that the profligacy of our ways and its unwisdom is brought home to the American People in a dramatic event. Some of us know that President Torture is the Worst President Ever(tm), but the popularity of Bush is tied very much to the price of gas and what people see on Fox News and CNN. Trade deficits sometimes do end badly, especially for "small" countries like Argentina. For the U.S. -- not so likely. This is more of a boiling lobster kind of thing -- the increasing, relative poverty of the vast majority is a gradual trend, and the vast majority is not even aware that it is a result of deliberate political choices made by people the majority [foolishly] elected.

If a crisis were to occur, it would be most likely to be caused by a clumsy attempt to change course. Sadly, Bush will most likely never be called to account for impoverishing America, except by wonky historians, who, in turn, will be marginalized as leftists in the academy. If a crisis comes, it will be because a Democratic President attempts to return the country to fiscal sanity, and the attempt goes wrong. The American People, in their wisdom, would, of course, not blame Bush.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Time quotes the White House: "The Perfect Storm has receded . . ." His Search For A New Groove -- Dec. 19, 2005 -- Page 2: "The perfect storm has receded. We have better news in Iraq, oil prices are down, and Katrina has kind of fallen off the radar screen in terms of public concern."

Storm over? Not a chance.

3 more years, suckers!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Presstitutes: Pre$$titutes Salivating Over Bush's 'Rising' Poll Numbers

Presstitutes: Pre$$titutes Salivating Over Bush's 'Rising' Poll Numbers: "look at the larger media landscape and you'll understand how Republicans keep winning elections and how a bumbling frat clown can be president despite a mountain of scandals and failed policies. First, there's the massive rightwing echo chamber (FOX, talk radio, a large think-tank-trained punditry, Drudge, etc.), unmatched by the left. Second, and more importantly, there's a flock of 'neutral' reporters (Russert, Mitchell, Woodward, Blitzer, Matthews, Schieffer, Fineman, and so on) who have mastered the art of insidiously pushing pro-Bush and anti-Democratic narratives. And last but not least, there are the many clueless Democrats who still haven't figured out that those mainstream narratives are sinking their party.

And all this against a backdrop of the right assailing the 'liberal media.'

The scary question is this: is there any hope of cleaning up this fetid environment? Is there some way of altering the dynamic, of changing the pro-Bush storyline? Not if the Democrats keep acting like the media issue is a sideshow..."

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Iraq Strategy: What this means

My intuition about the game Bush is playing in Iraq is that it will blow up in his face. The Iraqi Army is not being properly trained or equipped, because Bush & Co. is not planning to withdraw. The American People intend to withdraw, however, so Bush is going to pretend to withdraw, hoping things get better.

Exactly how and why this "strategy" is so dangerous, I sense, without being able to articulate the details. John Robb can articulate the details, though, which is why what he says is scary. He does not focus his attention on the kabuki dance of the PNAC (Project for a New American Century) team in Washington, as I do. He's looking at counter-insurgency strategy in Iraq, including "Iraqization" or whatever they call the idea of sending the sectarian militias in to fight the civil war against the Sunni insurgency, nee former Iraqi Army.

What this means:
"The likely outcome will be that the US will have little real value (a decrease in violence) to show for its efforts over the next year. If we do it flawlessly (which is going to be very difficult given a thinking enemy), the controlled chaos may hold long enough for the US to get most of its troops out. Here's what it means:"

What it means, according to John Robb is imminent moral collapse, meltdown, and unexpected events triggering radical policy collapse.

Sounds the political storm of 2006 is going to make Katrina look like child's play.

Fixing the Game - New York Times

Egad! This is a N.Y. Times editorial. Brad DeLong would call this shrill.

Fixing the Game - New York Times: "Mr. Bush and his team don't understand that they merely hold the current majority in a system designed to bring periodic changes in the governing party and to protect the rights and values of the minority party. The idea that the winners should trash the system to make sure the democratic process ended with them was discredited back around the time of the Bolsheviks."

Some would say that the following is actually the most shocking thing about the N.Y. Times editorial: "The Washington Post's Dan Eggen reported last week . . . "

Yes, that's right. The editorial page of the N.Y. Times has been reduced by Bill Keller to drawing upon its rival's reporting, the paper of record having no actual reporting of its own.

Getting to Yes - Why Alito needs to talk to us about the war on terror. By Dahlia Lithwick

Bork's nomination caused a political storm, and for good reason. Bork helped his storm, by being a weird, loud-mouthed jerk. Unfortunately, Alito is a mild-mannered fascist, sort of like one of those mass-murderers next door, whom stunned neighbors always describe as "quiet".

Getting to Yes - Why Alito needs to talk to us about the war on terror. By Dahlia Lithwick: "My fear is that we are all snoozing through an elaborate plan to pack the court for the Bush administration's war on terror."

Blame Bush, before he blames You

Left blogistan continues to beat up on the war Democrats and the psuedo-liberal pundits, who gave Bush cover for his war in Iraq. I fear this campaign is, itself, an instance of bad judgement. It does not anticipate the Right-wing narrative -- in fact, it may enable the Right-wing "cut-and-run" narrative, by making Democrats critical to the decision to go to war, and by minimizing the importance of Bush's incompetence and corruption in making the Iraqi reconstruction an abject failure.

In my opinion, the opposition to Bush needs to emphasize the failure of the Iraqi reconstruction as THE critical factor in making Iraq unwinnable. The Democratic thesis should be: Bush made Iraq unwinnable by his corruption and incompetence, and the U.S. must withdraw because winning is no longer an option thanks to Bush and the Republican Right.

Criticizing the bad judgement of pundits is a distraction, which will end up enabling the "cut-and-run" narrative of the Right-wing, which will blame Democrats and Iraqis for the failure in Iraq, a failure, which ought to be entirely their own.

Unfortunately, many able Left bloggers continue to focus on the bad judgement of psuedo-liberal pundits and moderate Democrats, who went along with Bush. Atrios quotes Gary Sargent, who, in turn, is responding to Kevin Drum. All are engaging in this critique of the judgement of Democrats and non-Republican pundits on the decision to go to war. The critique is spot on, on its own terms; I would not call it pointless, since it has a very sharp point; but, it is ultimately going to be strategically misguided, dividing the Left, as the larger dialogue with the Right goes on its merry way.

Atrios quoting Gary Sargent: "The decision to support or oppose the Iraq war wasn't about doctrine. It was about judgment. Many of those who backed the war fell prey not to ideology, but to a massive judgment failure."

Here's the thing: the political problem of the moment is to assemble a stable political majority, who reject Bush and the Republican Right along with him. That means finding a position, which people with radically different temperments, ideologies and points of view can arrive at and agree upon; moreover, it means establishing as "givens" (axiomatic conventional wisdom) certain facts about the past, which will prevent a majority from coalescing around the opposite political pole.

The opposite political pole is obvious, even if its actual, material existence is a couple of years in the future. It is the view that "we lost Iraq" because the Democrats did not have the will to win, and forced the country to "cut and run". It is a variant of the age-old stab-in-the-back theory, which has served right-wing causes since the beginning of time.

Focusing on the role of Bush corruption and incompetence in "losing Iraq" serves a prophylactic purpose, with regard to the Democrats-made-us-do-it cut-and-run thesis.

"Democrats supported the war and then Democrats changed their minds, we cut and ran, and lost Iraq" is the narrative sequence, which the Republican Right will use. We absolutely need to push "Bush corruption and incompetence made Iraq unwinnable", because universal knowledge of Bush corruption and incompetence in Iraq, and its role in making Iraq a hopeless cause, innoculates against "cut-and-run".

I know that many people wish that we could innoculate, instead, against foolish arrogant adventurism, or even against war and aggression. Iraq will serve that purpose as well as it can for a generation, regardless of whether the poor judgement of pundits, press and war Democrats is sufficiently indicted, or not.

But, a lot of people are tempermentally unprepared to endorse the thesis that anything is impossible. It is practically un-American to embrace the idea that something, anything is so impossibly difficult, that it is better not tried, especially if that nearly impossible thing is something idealistic and heroic in scope. To buy into the idea that the Iraq project should not have been tried, a person has to be willing to overcome this deep, cultural committment to a mythic ideal of the impossible dream. We are not going to overcome that cultural committment, that ideological tenet of Americanism, in a majority. A thesis, which requires the embrace of Iraq-was-impossible-and-should-never-have-been-tried, however accurate and practical and sensible, is a non-starter with some people, because of their psychological committment to the idea that "nothing is impossible."

In the case of the Iraq war, it may be that it was a bad idea from the outset, and it may be a good thing, if the American historical memory absorbs the wisdom that some things are not worth gambling on. Caution may need to be re-transplanted into the American character, and certainly into American foreign policy. But, whether Iraq was a bad gamble from the outset, it was made a failure with certainty by the conduct of the Bush Administration. Corruption and incompetence made failure in Iraq inevitable, even if failure was not inevitable from the outset.

Ultimately, it was right-wing Republicans, who made this war, and made it unwinnable. Better to attack them. They are the enemy. Democrats with poor judgement are, sadly or not, among the good guys.

Monday, December 5, 2005

Deja Vu: Propaganda 101 -- Stoking the Hysteria

Arthur Silber sights additional storm clouds on the horizon:

Once Upon a Time...: Deja Vu: Propaganda 101 -- Stoking the Hysteria: "when recourse to another foreign policy 'crisis' may be the only life raft Bush will be able to find, a 'limited' nuclear war may be the 'solution' to his problems Bush finally decides to utilize."

Now that Bush twisting slowly in the wind, are we in for a prolonged, simmering crisis of unpopularity? Or, something more dramatic.

But, Silber brings up another, more lurid possibility. All rewarding behavior is potentially addictive. Bush's biggest thrill in life was becoming a popular, war-time President. Could he go for a repeat? Is a confrontation with Syria or Iran on the agenda?

There have been reports of talks with the Israelis about overthrowing the government of Syria. And, now rumblings about Iran?

I doubt that either project will ever come off, but serious moves in either direction are likely to raise a renewed firestorm over the Iraq War policy.

Sunday, December 4, 2005

The Washington Monthly

Corruption and incompetence rule the day, but night is coming.

The Washington Monthly: "SUNDAY'S NEWS....Today, the Washington Post revisits the story of Khaled Masri, a German citizen who was arrested, beaten, and imprisoned by the CIA for five months because his name was similar to that of an actual terrorist. Turns out he's just an ordinary schmoe.

Meanwhile, the New York Times tells us that security at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan is so bad that genuinely dangerous al-Qaeda members held there can pick the locks on their cells and sneak out through the fence.

Finally, the Los Angeles Times confirms last week's Telegraph story that private contractors are shooting 'scores' of Iraqis just for the hell of it and pretty much doing it with impunity."

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Is this president going to be capable of responding to reality?

Daily Kos: Sy Hersh's new New Yorker article "Up in the Air": "is this president going to be capable of responding to reality? "

Very interesting article on Daily Kos, quoting a Sy Hersh/Wolf Blitzer interview, concerning Hersh's latest New Yorker article.

Hersh has extensive sources, and great personal values. He is truly a great reporter; what he reports about the past, is usually scrupulously accurate. What he says, in television interviews, about future prospects, "where things are headed" is often a tad overdramatized.

Nevertheless, what he says, is worrisome. The great political storms feed off of the obtuseness of those in power. The country has decided that it wants out of Iraq. The Army has concluded that it has to get out of Iraq soon, to survive as an effective force. A President, who was awake, would lead the country out of Iraq. This President may well not be aware that the country and the Pentagon have made this decision to withdraw from Iraq.

The policy of this Administration has not been to withdraw from Iraq, ever. No preparations for withdrawal have been made. The training of Iraqi forces has been little more than P.R.; the Iraqi forces are not capable of operating independently of U.S. forces. This is by design. And, this design, which is the President's design, is going to make the withdrawal, which the country and the Pentagon want, into a catastrophe.

The Congress, before or after the 2006 elections, will step in, and force withdrawal. But, Congress does not do a good job of leadership. The Congress cannot force the President to lead, to plan a sensible withdrawal.

The President may permit a token withdrawal, but all that will accomplish is to weaken the U.S. position.

The whole house of cards, which is the Iraqi puppet government, may well collapse.

Hullabaloo contemplates the cleansing power of the perfect storm

Hullabaloo contemplates the cleansing power of the perfect storm:

"I've always thought that in order to really put a monkeywrench into the modern GOP's political machine it was important to take out prime movers Rove, Delay, Reed and Norquist. The CIA leak scandal has wounded (perhaps mortally) Karl Rove. Ronnie Earle has weakened Delay in preparation for the coup de grace Abramoff scandal that may just take down him, Reed, Norquist and a bunch of others in short shrift.

"It doesn't mean that the machine will be irreparably broken, but it won't work as smoothly as it did with the original parts. Those men have unique gifts that they honed over a long period of time to create a very efficient political mechanism. It may not be that any one of them going down would make the difference, but all of them going down at virtually the same time certainly does. "

A Note of Caution: whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. works both ways.

Friday, November 25, 2005

It's kind of snowballed

Even Supporters Doubt President as Issues Pile Up - New York Times: "'I don't know if it's any one thing as much as it is everything,' said Ms. Martin, 49, eating lunch at the North Market, on the edge of downtown Columbus. 'It's kind of snowballed.'

Her concerns were echoed in more than 75 interviews here and across the country this week, helping to explain the slide in the president's approval and trustworthiness ratings in recent polls.

Many people who voted for Mr. Bush a year ago had trouble pinning their current discontent on any one thing. Many mentioned the hurricane and the indictment of a top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, which some said raised doubts about the president's candor and his judgment. But there was a sense that something had veered off course in the last few months, and the war was the one constant. "

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall: "there is no debate about withdrawing American troops from Iraq. That's over. What we have is posturing and positioning over the political consequences of withdrawal. The White House and the president's partisans will lay down a wall of covering fire, calling anybody who considers withdrawal an appeaser, to allow the president to go about the business of drawing down the American presence in Iraq in time to game the 2006 elections."

See, for comparison, Digby from Hullabaloo, who thinks Bush will game the 2006 elections, but never actually withdraw from Iraq.

Blaming the Democrats for "losing Iraq" is the game, here. But, it is very risky business for Bush. He really could lose Iraq, in the process.

The Washington Monthly: the Storm passes over hot water

The Washington Monthly: "With Scanlon squealing and a couple dozen other officials getting nervous, there's no telling how far this could go. Once these guys start ratting each other out, the sky's the limit."

The War on Liberals

Not so long ago, the Bush Administration was conducting a campaign of intimidation against those, who opposed the War in Iraq.

"We've been hearing for some time now
, from the likes of Rush Limbaugh and James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal, that Americans who dissent from Bush's war strategy are being 'treasonous,' 'pro-Saddam' and 'anti-American,' and from the likes of Andrew Sullivan and David Horowitz that liberals now represent a 'fifth column' of potential traitors who would aid the enemy. Now, from the repulsive Michael Savage sector, we're also hearing that such dissenters are a threat and should be arrested."

But, there was no anti-war movement to speak of, for a long-time. Those, who had sincere doubts, kept quiet. And, there is still no "movement" per se, just a consensus, that the war was a mistake and is a mistake.

The Political Storm has come, and the reality that Bush is incompetent can now be freely admitted.

But, now we can revisit the earlier analyses, and wonder what shoe will drop next. What was the point of demonizing an anti-war left, which did not exist?

Rush, Newspeak and Fascism: An exegesis: XIV: The War on Liberals: "What hasn't happened yet is that the thuggishness has not directed itself on any kind of large scale at all (there have only been a few isolated incidents); neither has the Bush regime made any kind of open signal that such activities are viewed approvingly.

"If they do signal such an alliance, however, then I am convinced that the nation is in serious danger of submerging under a tide of genuine fascism."

There's a scary thought. The cited article is an old one. I am citing it, because I was thinking about fascism and Bush's fascist ambitions.

The Great Political Storm, which has already begun -- which began with Katrina -- is bigger than anyone yet realizes. The corruption scandals are like the warm water of the Gulf, which fueled Katrina and Rita -- they are just waiting to wind things up.

But, other alternative futures are also out there. Another terrorist attack? A more or less fake attack, for political purposes?

Cheney's resignation would signal that the grown-ups in the Republican Party have stepped in. But, if he sticks around . . . ?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Hullabaloo asks if the storm will be over soon.

There are still many pundits and politicians, who think the political storm will be over soon. Bush will recover some of his popularity. In the interest of political self-preservation, the Bush Administration will start withdrawing troops from Iraq, and the American public will be placated. The economy is still strong. Move along folks; the show's over; nothing to see here.

Digby challenges the idea that Bush will ever withdraw from Iraq:

Hullabaloo: ". . . Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsefeld and George W. Bush . . . honestly believe that we have been perceived as weak by the rest of the world. They've always thought this. This isn't a political calculation, they really believe it. They went into iraq with the idea that they had to show those hinky arabs that we are not going to be pushed around. When they say that everyone from Nixon on down behaved like cowards, they really mean it. This is their world view. "

"It is a deep article of faith that the reason we were hit on 9/11 is because we failed to respond to the terrorists and others . Therefore, we must make them respect and fear us by being violent and dominating.

"I am of the opinion that alienating our allies, exposing ourselves as having an intelligence community that can't find water [when] they fall out of a boat and then screwing up Iraq in spectacular fashion, we have destroyed our mystique and have made this country less safe. We were much better off speaking softly and carrying the big stick than flailing around like a wounded, impotent Giant.

"I see no reason to believe that these people see that. They believe that to "cut and run" is the equivalent of emasculating this country and that is what puts us at risk. George W. Bush is not bugging out."

Here's the thing about Iraq. Doing it at all was a mistake. Doing it with too few troops was a mistake. Following up the invasion with a corrupt and incompetent reconstruction was a mistake. And, all of these mistakes were made with deliberate determination by the same people, who will continue to be in charge for the next three years.

And . . . and, these morons will never see that they have made a mistake. That is, ultimately, the source of all political storms. Political storms are dramatic events, which function to teach the nation what it refuses to learn by the processes of consideration and deliberation. Political storms are ill-conceived worldviews colliding with reality, with consequences. In America's Iraq War, a swaggering, arrogant, ignorant attitude toward the rest-of-the-world has become manifest as foreign policy and war, and it is a disaster. And, it will continue (for America) until our body politic learns something from it.

[Of course, the Iraqi Civil War is a political storm for Iraqis, too; for them, it is much, much darker, exposing a level of corruption, frustration, ignorance, violence and hatred, which is appalling. Whatever the Iraqis learn, whatever they salvage, it will not redeem America.]

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Corruption Inquiry Threatens to Ensnare Lawmakers - New York Times

Corruption Inquiry Threatens to Ensnare Lawmakers - New York Times: "The Justice Department has signaled for the first time in recent weeks that prominent members of Congress could be swept up in the corruption investigation of Jack Abramoff, the former Republican superlobbyist who diverted some of his tens of millions of dollars in fees to provide lavish travel, meals and campaign contributions to the lawmakers whose help he needed most."

The Daily Howler

The Daily Howler: "a spell has been lifting around this conduct—conduct which has bamboozled press and public for years. In film, we see such a spell lift at the end of The Natural, and earlier, at the end of On the Waterfront. Sometimes, after too many years, people see through the tricks of bosses. And yes, such a spell seems to be lifting now, after these past several years."

TPMCafe || Following the country, some distance behind

TPMCafe || Following the country, some distance behind: "is the basic Democratic Party strategy. The elected officials are afraid, for good reason, to be ahead of public opinion. Out there, in the zone of leadership, they know they will be assaulted by the Administration and its agents in the media, from Fox to Woodward. They know that the mainstream media will be witnesses to alleged crimes and cover them up in the name of a privilege that the courts do not recognize. They know that the media will report whatever is dictated by the White House. They note that careers are destroyed by getting in the way of the political attacks mounted by the right. Their hope is that by following, instead of leading, public opinion they will be handed a majority in the Senate or the House, or at least some more seats, and then in 2007 they can gain a little more influence over political power. The Presidential election will commence in earnest at the beginning of 2007, and in that context they hope that the R's will pick a nominee like Goldwater in 64 -- that is, someone who is certain to lose. This strategy is not ill-informed. It is fairly common in politics. It reflects lessons of America as it exists today. "

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Edge: TURING'S CATHEDRAL by George Dyson

Even while the political storm gathers and blows, it may be that innovation and progress is leading inevitably to something more transcendant than climate change.

Edge: TURING'S CATHEDRAL by George Dyson: "My visit to Google? Despite the whimsical furniture and other toys, I felt I was entering a 14th-century cathedral — not in the 14th century but in the 12th century, while it was being built. Everyone was busy carving one stone here and another stone there, with some invisible architect getting everything to fit. The mood was playful, yet there was a palpable reverence in the air. 'We are not scanning all those books to be read by people,' explained one of my hosts after my talk. 'We are scanning them to be read by an AI.'"

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Carpetbagger Report � Blog Archive � When the wheels come off

The first great Storm has passed over this Administration and left it waterlogged and gasping for air.

For the Great Republic, a period a prolonged weakness in the Executive may be a tonic, as Congress regains its accustomed independence and power. That, in addition to the weakness of Bush, is what I read in the litany quoted below:

The Carpetbagger Report � Blog Archive � When the wheels come off: "Bush purports to be on the comeback trail, in large part because, unless he's impeached, he has nowhere to go but up. So, how's this week gone for the beleaguered president? Let's see…

"* The Republican House rejected Bush-backed spending cuts.

"* The Republican majority of the Senate Finance Committee rejected Bush's capital gains tax cuts.

"* The Republican House rejected Bush's demands to drill the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

"* A growing, bi-partisan consensus emerged to ignore Bush and curtail the Patriot Act.

"* The Republican Senate rebuffed the White House on torture and the Republican House is poised to do the same.

"* The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee said Bush's call to make his first-term tax cuts permanent has practically zero support.

"* Bush's drive to privatize Social Security was declared dead.

"* Bush's trip to the Summit of the Americas really didn't go well.

"* And voters in a reliably 'red' state rebuffed the president and elected a Democratic governor, fairly easily."

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

The Washington Monthly

The Washington Monthly: "THE NEW PROGRESSIVISM"

It is an odd aspect of the nation's current state of being, that up to two-thirds of the population agrees that things are seriously out of whack with the country, that the country is headed in the wrong direction, etc, BUT there is no agreement whatsoever on what should be done. We have a consensus on problems, but no consensus that any of our problems should be addressed with an actual solution.

Iraq is exhibit 1: more than 60% of the population appears to agree that Iraq was a bad idea from the get-go, and/or that our present policy there is a waste of blood and treasure. Iraq is a problem.

But, do we agree on a solution to our Iraq problem, or even agree that a solution might be desirable or feasible?

There are two obvious possibilities. We cut our losses by getting out. The other is, we summon whatever resources are necessary to achieving some worthy goals.

People fear to embrace withdrawal, because it might make things even worse.

People are unwilling to make the additional sacrifices and effort, which would be necessary to achieve much of anything in Iraq.

Futility appears to be the order of the day.

Sunday, November 6, 2005

The Daily Howler

The Political Storm is upon us. Bush has Nixon-like approval ratings. But, the Democrats cannot seem to pull themselves together. The Daily Howler explains, why Hurricane Plame is not rising to Category 5 status anytime soon:

The Daily Howler: "“One bright spot for the Republicans is the low regard in which many Americans hold the Democrats. The public sees the Democrats as disorganized, lacking in clear ideas or a positive alternative to the GOP agenda, and bereft of appealing leaders.” For once, the public is right."

David Smith's Don't get suckered by the house price rally

For a long-time, part of the rhetorical expectation of a coming "perfect" political storm has been an anticipation of an economic crack-up, due to unwise Bush policies. The only problem with this scenario -- in its most exaggerated form a replay of 1932 -- is that, for the most part, Bush's actual economic policies are aimed at fairly gradual grinding down of the middle class into dust and the steady but not calamitous decline in U.S. economic and political primacy in the world. Bush is destroying the economic power and prosperity of most Americans at a fairly rapid pace, but without the kind of unmistakeable catastrophe, which visited Herbert Hoover, and without the prospect of any such crisis overtaking us. Without such a crisis, and the political storm it creates, it may be difficult to change policy.

Nevertheless, many have predicted such a crack-up, and one element has been the housing bubble, which has affected some areas in the U.S., as well as the U.K. and Australia. Here is a helpful reminder that, putting aside the requirements of a "sexy" narrative aside, reality points toward stagnation, not crash.

David Smith's Don't get suckered by the house price rally: "A crash is, of course, much sexier than a period of stagnation, so I don’t blame the BBC. Many parts of the media have been itching for the crash to happen. . . .

"A whole industry has built up around the crash story, with websites, weblogs (blogs) and newsletters. I can only think this is driven by schadenfreude - pleasure in the (potential) misfortune of others.

"So am I smug? The crash school will say that the pain has merely need deferred, and that rising claimant unemployment, an increase in repossession orders and the latest figures showing a 46% year-on-year rise in personal bankruptcies are harbingers of doom. Maybe the crash of 2005 will become the crash of 2006."

Saturday, November 5, 2005

"Media Matters"; by Jamison Foser ... [Media Matters]

This blog was founded as a way for me to make notes on the phenomena of a certain kind of political narrative: the anticipation of disaster precipitating political change.

The great examples in American history have been 1860 and 1932 -- the Civil War and the Great Depression/New Deal. Long-entrenched, reactionary political power was overthrown and new ideals and institutions were put in place.

For anyone with sense, George W. Bush was a disaster waiting to happen. The policies were so bad, that consequences were sure to follow. And, they have. The political storm has begun.

It is interesting, though, that the news media continues to resist. Even though Bush is a manifestly bad President, many commentators seem to want him to do well. (Heck, I want him to do well, or, at least better; I just do not expect, at this late day, that he will do better.)

"Media Matters"; by Jamison Foser ... [Media Matters]: "Bush poll numbers keep dropping; media figures keep predicting 'rebound'"

Friday, November 4, 2005

The economic storm is yet to come

I think Bush's low poll numbers are remarkable, in part, because the economy has not really tanked yet. Americans, politically, are remarkably narcissistic politically -- they vote their pocketbooks, and a President's popularity is ordinarily tied to the economy, stupid. If the economy does well, the President does well -- in the polls, at least.

Nixon had not just Watergate to usher him out of office, but OPEC and the Oil Crisis. Bush has managed to get below 40% approval, without high unemployment. Bush has had high gasoline prices, in addition to the Libby indictment, and gas prices probably account for more of his distress than Libby. Could things get worse?

Oh yeah, things will get worse.

Economics focus | Checking the depth gauge | "Paul Volcker, Alan Greenspan's immediate predecessor as chairman of the Federal Reserve. He recently said that he thought there was a 75% chance of a currency crisis in the United States within five years.

It is easy to see how this might happen. America's current-account deficit is running at a record 6% of GDP this year, and on existing policies it will continue to widen. America's net foreign liabilities are already 23% of GDP, and economists at Goldman Sachs calculate that this figure will reach more than 60% by 2020, even if the current-account deficit stabilises at 5% of GDP (see chart). Other countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, have sustained large external deficits for long periods, but America's borrowing is much bigger in absolute terms. It is eating up around 75% of the excess saving of Japan, China, Germany and other countries with current-account surpluses. If the dollar did not have the advantage of being the world's main reserve currency, America would already be in serious trouble. Instead, the willingness of Asian central banks to lend to the United States has allowed its deficit to keep growing for longer. Nevertheless, the deficit is unsustainable: sooner or later it will need to shrink, and that will involve a cheaper dollar."

polls-715208.JPG (JPEG Image, 708x295 pixels)

polls-715208.JPG (JPEG Image, 708x295 pixels)

Monday, October 31, 2005

Daily Kos: The showdown finally arrives

One of the most unusual and interesting political storms of the last generation was the fight over the appointment of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. The hearings were televised, the nation riveted. The appointment of Alito has the potential for that kind of political drama.

Daily Kos: The showdown finally arrives: "This is a gift to Democrats. Katrina, massive budget deficits, and continued economic hardship have proven that Republicans can't govern. Iraq and Osama Bin Laden have proven that Republicans can't run an effective foreign policy. Now Scalito, along with Bush's social security debacle, will prove to the American people that conservative ideology doesn't have their best interests at heart.

Let the debate begin."

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Funds Fade, Deaths Rise and Iraq Rebuilding Is Spotty - New York Times

Funds Fade, Deaths Rise and Iraq Rebuilding Is Spotty - New York Times: "As the money runs out on the $30 billion American-financed reconstruction of Iraq, the officials in charge cannot say how many planned projects they will complete, and there is no clear source for hundreds of millions of dollars a year needed to operate the projects that have been finished, according to a report to Congress released yesterday.

"The report, by the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, describes some progress but also an array of projects that have gone awry, sometimes astonishingly, like electrical substations that were built at great cost but never connected to the country's electrical grid.

"With more than 93 percent of the American money now committed to specific projects, it could become increasingly difficult to solve those problems."

Iraq has been lost, due to the incompetence and corruption of the Bush reconstruction program. It is, in effect, a dead man walking. The storm is Iraq is still waiting out there, still waiting to blow into American politics.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Daily Kos: State of the Nation

Daily Kos: State of the Nation: "What to expect now? In my opinion, a Wingnut Judge with a long resume.

"Get ready for war."

The Perfect Political Storm appears to have arrived and is spawning smaller storms on a weekly basis. A bruising battle, featuring a radical right S.C. nominee, and the possibility of a Democratic filibuster of the same, would be pretty dramatic.

Loss in Iraq

Loss in Iraq: "There are no easy solutions to these problems, nor is there a quick way to end American losses. In fact, one of the greatest dangers of Iraq is that domestic disenchantment with the mission will lead to a premature withdrawal of U.S. troops, a step that would greatly increase the carnage and hand a major victory to this country's foremost enemy, the Islamic extremist movement headed by al Qaeda. "

While liberals are beating up on liberal hawks for supporting the war and, in the words of the Washington Post, "glibly" describing Iraq as a catastrophe, the Right is building a meme, which will allow them to blame the Left, for forcing a withdrawal from Iraq.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Bush Aides Brace for Charges

Bush Aides Brace for Charges: "officials are bracing for the kind of political tsunami that ... could change this presidency's course."

Tomorrow is Fitzmas and that makes tonite, Fitzmas Eve.

The danger to this administration is that, however narrow the indictments and charges, the controversy serves to highlight the effort by Cheney and his aides to lie the country into a war, which most Americans now regard as unwise.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Oh Yes, There Will Be Blood

The Blogging of the President: "Oh Yes, There Will Be Blood" Stirling Newbery is a national treasure with a very broad view of events. His thesis has been that American history divides fairly neatly into eras, and we are at the end of such an era, the era of cheap oil, if you will. The American people chose badly when they chose Nixon, and began the conservative ascendancy, and when they chose Nixon, they chose to ignore the implications of the end of cheap oil, to squander their patrimony on SUVs and other forms of self-indulgence.

Blood, says Stirling: "that is what the next two years have in store. The question is who is at the table, and who is on it.

While ma[n]y are dancing with joy over 'Fitzmas' - an event that would not have been possible without constant pressure on the media and the government from non-traditional sources - the larger blood letting is going to go on in the waves of layoffs and downsizing moves that the automotive and airline industry are due for."

Friday, October 21, 2005

Kevin Drum

The Washington Monthly: "Will the White House be ruined if Karl Rove leaves? If it is, there was nothing there to be ruined in the first place."


Norm Ornstein: : "Americans all have to consider the implications now of a worst case scenario-- the problems of scandal and polarization result in a meltdown of the W. Administration and a collapse of governance in Washington. No Doubt some hard core partisans and ideologues would exult. But with the domestic and foreign policy challenges the country faces, it would be a disaster for all of us.

We are in the same boat, and if it is rudderless, we all sink. "

Norm goes on to suggest that W. resign in favor of his father, former Prez, George H. W. Bush, who, in turn should appoint Bill Clinton as his V-P in a kind of national unity gov't, I guess. I cannot tell if he is joking.

Two points, which seem to have escaped Norm's notice:

1.) W.'s administration has already been a disaster: Worst President Ever (TM)!

2.) Rudderless ships don't sink, at least not until they run into something.

W. has been aiming for the rocks, and shouting "full steam ahead". Having his hand off the rudder and cutting off communication with the engine room might be an improvement.

The Constitution actually outlines a government in which Congress is the dominant player. The Republic managed to survive many, many years with weak Presidents, because Congress was powerful.

The way to survive 3 years of W., is to revive the Congress. A Democratic Congress, elected in 2006, will run over W., and that might be an excellent precedent.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Hullabaloo asks: How long?

There is a rumor that Cheney may do a Spiro Agnew (i.e. resign), which would give Bush an opportunity to name a V-P, before, in turn, resigning.

Digby asks:

Hullabaloo: "If Condi becomes the Veep, how many hours/weeks/months/hours will it take for Bush to resign, Condi to become president, and all the Democratic hopes for a weak opponent in 2008 to be dashed?"

It has long been my view that the Republican powers-that-be would sooner lose Bush, than put up with his Hooverization. I frankly imagine that it might be a bit bloodier than this scenario, but the first step down that road is for Cheney to resign. Cheney should resign for being a lying crook, but he has the option of resigning for reasons of ill health. (He did make around $7 million last year, on his Halliburton options; so, he will be able to spend his last, sick months on the earth in style.) Either way, Bush then gets to appoint a successor. Whether Bush is smart enough to realize that he will be appointing his own successor, as well as Cheney's, I don't much care.

Saturday, October 8, 2005

Presstitutes: The Sound Of A Tornado - How Bush Could Rebound

Presstitutes: The Sound Of A Tornado - How Bush Could Rebound: "Bush is 'likable.' Bush is 'religious.' Bush is 'resolute.' Bush is 'plain-spoken.' 'Al Gore invented the Internet.' John Kerry is a 'flip-flopper.' The media is 'liberal.'

"Through a self-reinforcing loop, the media can turn talking points into accepted, unconsciously-repeated facts. Inject the meme into the national bloodstream, repeat it endlessly, have ordinary citizens repeat it to the press, use these statements from the public as evidence of truth and as a means to convince other members of the public that the talking point is factual. And so on.

"Bush's opponents may be lulled into believing that his dismal poll numbers are evidence of his political demise, but Pre$$titutes have perfected the art of inserting pro-Bush and anti-Democratic memes into the public psyche, and that well-honed ability to create and solidify pro-Bush narratives suggests that his political fortunes could turn on a dime. . .

"Yes, there is a dawning realization among more and more Americans that 'Bush the resolute leader' is a figment of Pre$$titutes' imagination, that his presidency is a sham. But it's dangerous to underestimate the power of the media to drive home a narrative, and if they get an opening, a polling uptick, an event that can be spun in his favor, his fortunes could change dramatically."

The hope that a perfect storm -- really, the manifest consequences of insanely stupid and destructive policies -- could sweep Bush away depends delicately on the power of narrative. It is not the fact that policies have consequences, which matters so much, as that narratives identify good guys and bad guys, "cause and effect", etc. It is a sequence of events, spun into a persuasive narrative, which, dramatically, has political consequences, by attaching meaning and a moral lesson to those events.

Pressitutes reminds us that the corporate right-wing media is the corporate right-wing media -- they are an institutional enemy of rationality, liberalism and all that is right and just in America, and they are not likely to be swept away by any political storm. Instead, they make the weather, so to speak. The narratives of the coming political storm will be fabricated by the corporate right-wing media, and it is wrong to expect too much of those narratives.

Democrats need to realize that liberalism, to survive and prosper, must make the total and immediate destruction of the corporate, right-wing media an immediate priority. Democrats will be brought to power, however briefly, by Bush's incompetence. They may be made impotent in power by some combination of the corporate right-wing media and Bush's authoritarian Supreme Court. Serious Democrats need to think about what to do, about the Supreme Court (and the Judiciary, more broadly) and what to do about corporate media (cable news, Sinclair Broadcasting, Clear Channel, Infinity and the rest).

Friday, October 7, 2005

CBS News | Poll: Bush Ratings Hit New Low | October 6, 2005 22:30:04

CBS News | Poll: Bush Ratings Hit New Low | October 6, 2005 22:30:04: "This CBS News Poll finds an American public increasingly pessimistic about the economy, the war in Iraq, the overall direction of the country, and the President. Americans' outlook for the economy is the worst it has been in four years. Most expect the price of gas to rise even further in the next few months. . .

"The public's concerns affect their view of the state of the country. 69 percent of Americans say things in the U.S. are pretty seriously off on the wrong track — the highest number since CBS News started asking the question in 1983. Today, just 26 percent say things are going in the right direction. . .

"President Bush's job approval rating has fallen to his lowest rating ever. 37 percent now approve of the job he is doing as president, while 58 percent disapprove. Those in his own party are still overwhelmingly positive about his performance (nearly 80 percent approve), but the president receives little support from either Democrats or Independents. And while views of President Bush have lately not changed much among Republicans or Democrats, his approval rating among Independents has dropped 11 points since just last month, from 40 percent to 29 percent now.

The leading edge of the Perfect Storm has made landfall, I think. It is interesting that Republicans continue to approve of his performance. Kool-Aid, anyone?

When Republicans turn against him, that will be the beginning of the end. Some leading pundits have attacked him over Katrina and now Miers. This will be interesting.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Whiskey Bar: Back to the Future

Whiskey Bar: Back to the Future: "If this were October 2006 instead of October 2005, I'd say the Republicans could kiss their House and Senate majorities goodbye, gerrymander or no gerrymander. But of course it's not, and it's also hard to imagine that the next 12 months are going to be another uninterrupted chain of disasters. On the other hand, with this gang in power, you never know."

Oh, Billmon of little faith. This is just the leading edge of the perfect storm.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

TPMCafe || Gore on the Threat to American Democracy

TPMCafe || Gore on the Threat to American Democracy: ". . . the purpose of television news is no longer to inform the American people or serve the public interest. It is to 'glue eyeballs to the screen' in order to build ratings and sell advertising. If you have any doubt, just look at what's on: The Robert Blake trial. The Laci Peterson tragedy. The Michael Jackson trial. The Runaway Bride. The search in Aruba. The latest twist in various celebrity couplings, and on and on and on.

"And more importantly, notice what is not on: the global climate crisis, the nation's fiscal catastrophe, the hollowing out of America's industrial base, and a long list of other serious public questions that need to be addressed by the American people. . . .

"And it really matters because the subjugation of news by entertainment seriously harms our democracy: it leads to dysfunctional journalism that fails to inform the people. And when the people are not informed, they cannot hold government accountable when it is incompetent, corrupt, or both."

In other words, what if the political storm comes, and it isn't televised? Institutional structures in media ownership and control may have given us George W. Bush and no way to overcome.

The Power of the Court

The Volokh Conspiracy's Orin Kerr shares with us the perspective of a former Bush White House lawyer and now lobbyist, Reginald Brown: "This is a man who almost lost the Presidency because of the liberal activism of the Florida Supreme Court. He understands full well the power of the Court and has been serious about his appointments in the past."

We can hope a political storm is coming, but, hope or not, the Republicans are building a fascist state, brick by brick.

Monday, October 3, 2005

Stirling Newbery prophesies!

Daily Kos: Stirling Newbery: "For those hoping that things will get better in the US after 2006, I have a simple message.

Wake up."

energy costs soar

Reuters AlertNet - Bush to push Americans to cut energy use as costs soar: "For consumers who warm their homes with natural gas, their winter costs would be 52 percent higher nationally from last year, according to the Energy Information Administration.

The Energy Department's analytical arm forecast heating oil expenses would rise 34 percent and electricity bills would be up 11 percent."

Billmon explains how the coming political storm may serve to consolidate the fascist state

Billmon: "If the overall direction of the system -- the political zeitgeist -- is towards greater corporate power and the decline of social democratic institutions and values (and that is the current trend in all of the major industrial countries) then scandal may only quicken the march, both by breaking up the existing centrist order and by setting the left up to fail if it manages to ride the backlash back into power. Even epic corruption scandals don't by themselves create the conditions for a successful revival of left politics. In fact they may do just the opposite."

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Something may have just gone very, very wrong in Iraq

The Blogging of the President: "As many of you here know, I have from the beginning asserted that the incompetence of GWB and his team were going to ruin Iraq. However something happened today which made me think that matters were worse than even I had considered. What happened is that today marked Iraq's first known female suicide bomber."

Check it out: oldman explains why, if this marks a trend, it is very sad and very scary.


Eschaton: "Price are going to be 50 to 100 percent higher for residential consumers than in previous year."

the coming perfect storm

The "topic" of this blog is the "Coming Perfect Storm" -- that event, or more likely, set of events, which serves to redirect the course of the country and to bring a halt to right-wing, Republican dominance.

In the political history of the United States, there have been a number of political storms, which have served to sweep one political coalition out of power, and another, into power. The American Revolution was the product of a series of such storms -- dramatic political events, interpreted and narrated by participants in such a way as to create American nationalism. The Civil War was the largest such political storm. The 1929 market crash and the Great Depression, which followed, occasioned the political storm, which carried FDR and the Democratic Party into office, and political dominance, which lasted into the 1970's. The Watergate scandal, which finally flushed Nixon out of office, was one of the smaller such storms.

Such storms are, in a sense, built into the American constitution. The Constitution was deliberately designed, with federalism and with a separation of powers at the Federal level, to prevent any transitory majority from consolidating power. Such a long consolidation would end the Republic, as Caesar's consolidation of power ended the Roman Republic. But, ordinarily, political coalitions broad enough to maintain a majority in Congress and elect the President have to be so broad in their appeal, in a large and diverse country, as to be necessarily moderate and centrist. Historically, persistant coalitions have had a limited, basically generational duration.

The coalition, inaugurated by Nixon and his "Southern strategy" of appealing to white, southern racists, has culminated in George W. Bush -- mediocre, lying, incompetent, authoritarian, corrupt, just like his progenitor.

Political storms are events of political drama -- they acquire their power and meaning more from the narratives attached to them than from the substance of the disruption, conflict and suffering they occasion. And, the "hope" of a political storm is a rhetorical device, a wishing for the just downfall of those to whom one is opposed, politically, but powerless to frustrate or remove from office, without large numbers of people having a change of heart.

When a President as incompetent and unwise as George W. Bush achieves high office, a political storm is certain to follow his failings and their inevitable fallout. Corruption and arrogance make overreaching likely, and stupidity and ignorance make failure probable if not inevitable. Watching the storm clouds gather at the horizon and make their way across the plain, sport consists in trying to anticipate the elements, which will draw the whirlwind.

Corruption and scandal are inevitable elements. Incompetence plays its part. Tragic and comic subplots are certain to emerge.

The Fall of George W. Bush will be one of the biggest and most consequential political storms in American history, if for no other reason than that George W. Bush has been, arguably, the worst President in American history -- certainly a worthy rival to Franklin Pierce and Warren G. Harding.

America may well be forced to admit that it has lost a war, an important war. Vietnam was a larger conflict, but the tragedy of Vietnam entailed its unimportance; losing in Vietnam had few consequences for the U.S. Losing Iraq is a terrible blow to material and vital interests, as well as to U.S. prestige. Losing as the U.S. has, in a miasma of corruption, torture, and incompetent expedience does as much damage to the image of the U.S., as it does to our material interest in Mideast oil.

More uncertain is the damage, which Bush's deficit spending has done to responsible politics and to the economic prospects of the U.S. Voters are more responsive to the business cycle, than to any other kind of political "argument."

I am intently conscious that the wish for a political storm is compensation for a feeling powerlessness in the face of American decline. The Republican program has undermined the basis for American prosperity, particularly the American middle class, and it has done so by small increments cumulating in large changes. It may be that Republican authoritarianism reflects social changes, which are irradicable. Rather than a political storm wiping out right-wing Republicanism, there may be no political storm, or, perhaps, a hapless Democrat will be made the fall guy -- a Democrat elected President in 2008 will be forced withdraw from Iraq, increase taxes, cut Medicare, and devalue the dollar; the Republicans will blame the Democrat for the consequences of Republican policies, and the Democrats will remain out of power for another generation.

Mark A. R. Kleiman: Bush's drinking

Mark A. R. Kleiman: Bush's drinking and Dreier's sex life: "someone who drank heavily from age 15 to age 40, decided (under pressure from his wife) that he had a problem, and quit abruptly, and who goes back to drinking when under heavy profesional pressure, is at high risk of spinning out of control, especially if he's someone who after almost twenty years (mostly) off the bottle regards his drinking years as 'the good old days.'"

For those of us, who watch Bush, and see a moron, inarticulate and insecure in the extreme, there's an element of curiosity, not dissimilar to what one experiences, passing a car wreck on the highway. Those, who heard the same simple words, simple sentences, and simple platitudes, with which W. addressed his "War on Terror" and saw a gratifying "moral clarity" were never inclined to see the truth in the thesis that he was what AA types call a "dry" drunk -- a non-drinking, but also not recovering, alcoholic. But, those of us with a more critical idea are beginning to wonder if George is still dry, and seeing evidence that he's hitting the bottle. This has some very frightening implications, and could well become an element in the gathering political storm

Ira Reiner in the Los Angeles Times: Legal railroading disguised as efficiency

Legal railroading disguised as efficiency - Los Angeles Times: "THE SENATE Judiciary Committee is scheduled to take up the Streamlined Procedures Act of 2005 this week. This legislation, ostensibly designed to make the justice system more efficient, is a Trojan horse whose transparent purpose is to strip the federal courts of virtually all of their jurisdiction to review state criminal court proceedings.

"Essentially, the legislation would eviscerate the role of the federal courts in ensuring that innocent people are not mistakenly convicted of crimes and that state courts do not send people to prison in violation of their constitutional rights. It would restrict habeas corpus rights, which are enshrined in the Constitution, date back to the Magna Carta and guarantee that you can go to a court and tell a judge that you are being held illegally. "

The Republicans are relentless in their efforts to create a Fascist State.
The Coming Perfect Storm is a blog given over to citing instances of wishing for, or expecting a dramatic "political storm" to sweep away the right-wing Republican machine, which has a lock on power in the Federal government. The history of the United States includes many instances in which a governing coalition has overreached, split internally, collided painfully with reality or simply been the victim of unfortunate events, and been driven from power, with dramatic results. Politically aware commentators, hostile to the Bush agenda, are given to wishful thinking, in the face of a liberal inability to marshal a political majority.

The Bush Presidency is busy making institutional changes, which will have a far-reaching effect on the American economy, society, and body politic. Some of these serve to reinforce and buttress the Republican majority governing coalition. Democrats have fallen short in their efforts to form a new governing political coalition, partly from an internal failure of leadership and institutional weakness, and partly because Republican efforts to change the country have had an effect. There are virtually no liberal voices in the American media, today, but more than 40% of Americans still believe that the media has a "liberal bias," because Republicans and their lackeys in the corporate, right-wing media keep telling them as much.

The future of the Republic is in the balance. The current Republican majority is working hard to build a fascist state -- authoritarian, corrupt, serving the interests of business corporations and the very wealthy at the expense of the poor and whatever remains of the middle class.

The American Constitution was deliberately designed to make political majorities inherently transitory. That is the only security for freedom, within the structure of the American Constitution. A series of economic and military catastrophes may be enough to awaken the electorate and make them confront the nature and ill intentions of the Republican coalition to which they have entrusted power. Or, the Republicans may finally succeed in "boiling" the American lobster with gradual measures, destroying the Republic and installing in its stead a fascist State.

There are two ways, in which the Republican triumph might play out. Republicans may retain majorities in both houses of Congress in 2006, and by means of those majorities, both suppress the myriad corruption scandals now beginning to plague their leadership, and the Republicans may or may not elect a President in 2008.

Electing a Democratic President in 2008, while retaining a Republican Congress or a closely divided Congress may actually work in favor of the Republicans. If the economic reckoning made inevitable by Republican profligacy and the reckoning with disaster in Iraq can be postponed long enough, a Democratic President will have to impose the painful correctives. A Democrat will have to withdraw from Iraq, for example, and Republicans can "blame" her for the American defeat in Iraq. A Democrat will have to raise taxes, and cut benefits, to pay for the national debt made to balloon by Republicans.

Bad Republican policy under George W. Bush is a timebomb, but if it can be made to go off under a Democrat, the Republicans may be able to secure their long-term hold on political power, and to make permanent the changes in American society, which favor the very wealthy and large corporations at the expense of everyone else.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

KR Washington Bureau | 09/28/2005 | Forecasters thinking recession could be coming

KR Washington Bureau | 09/28/2005 | Forecasters thinking recession could be coming: "Economic forecasters and Wall Street analysts are quietly hedging their bets after months of rosy reports about a vibrant U.S. economic outlook. They're now mentioning the growing possibility of recession ahead.

"Why? Soaring gasoline prices, nightmarish home-heating costs this winter, plunging consumer confidence, rising interest rates and falling new-home sales.

"Similar energy-price spikes, rising interest rates and housing slowdowns played important roles in past recessions. While most forecasters caution that recession remains unlikely, they nevertheless are dusting off the R-word, which almost all of them brushed aside before hurricanes Katrina and Rita."

Bush's economic stewardship has been so irresponsible, it would be difficult to imagine a really rosy future. But, timing is everything. My own feeling is that the appointment of a successor to Greenspan might be a triggerpoint. Especially if Bush appoints a moron. I don't really know who Bernacke is, just that he has wanted the job all of his life and is well-prepared for it; Bernacke is the odds-on choice, but appointing a competent individual is so unlike Bush that we should wait and see. And, when I say I don't know Bernacke, I mean that I have no reason to either trust or distrust the conventional wisdom about him. Candidate number two is Martin Feldstein, who is a widely respected economist, and, also, something of an idiot. Some economists completely lose the ability to think in a detailed and objective way about economics, and Feldstein lost his ability to think and act wisely long, long ago. But, Bush could, conceivably, go into left field and pick a baseball player or a businessman or worse. Whoever is chosen is going to cause anxiety in the markets. Greenspan's own appointment triggered a market crash, and things were actually going fairly well at the time.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Carpetbagger Report: Criminal Republicans

The Carpetbagger Report � Blog Archive � Sunday Discussion Group: "The Republican White House is under a criminal investigation.

"The Republican House leader is under a criminal investigation.

"And as of this week, the Republican Senate leader is under a criminal investigation.

"All at the same time."

There are two ways to view these developments. The optimistic one is to think that these are clouds on the horizon, signals of the coming political storm, which will sweep the Rethugs out of power.

The other more realistic way is to recognize that the rule of law, itself, is under attack.

This is not the criminal justice system catching up with Republicans; this may be the latest Republican assault on the rule of law. Instead of a political scandal of Katrina/Rita proportions, we will get precedents, which will give Rove, Frist and maybe even, DeLay, practical immunity from prosecution.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Fafblog! Darkness falls: Update from the Gay Apocalypse

Fafblog! the whole worlds only source for Fafblog.: "Darkness falls, my friends, bleak omens of final things. Over the last year or so we've seen, despite the best of intentions and the heartiest crushings of civil rights, the foreboding spread of Gay throughout the world as you know it, leading us inevitably, as James Dobson pointed out, towards the destruction of the earth.

"The Netherlands has already been destroyed by a falling meteor, Belgium by a shambling horde of flesh-devouring zombies, and all of Spain recently spontaneously burst into flame shortly after legalizing gay civil marriage. Canada and Massachusetts can't be far behind, with expert gayologists noting that the increased appearance in these regions of incest, man-on-turtle love, cannibalism, and Yog-Sothoth the great and terrible, key and keeper of the gate, indicates that their relative economic and social stability will soon give way to a hell-blasted nightmare world in which the living envy the divorce rates of the dead."

I suppose point of view on the coming apocalypse is telling.

Hullabaloo: Dirty Rats

Hullabaloo: "I have long agreed with the old saying that if you want to kill the snake you've gotta go for the head. In the case of the modern Republican Party, it's a four headed hydra consisting of Karl Rove (strategy), Tom DeLay (party enforcer), Ralph Reed (christian right) and Grover Norquist (movement organizer.) They all interact with one another at the nexus of K Street and the RNC. They may be taken down by one guy -- their good friend, ex uber-lobbyist, Jack Abramoff. (Uncle Karl, of course, is likely in even deeper shit.)

"The Democrats have never exploited (or never been able to exploit) the sheer criminality of this gang. "

Nixon was laid low by two enterprising metro reporters at the Washington Post, cooperating with Deep Throat, an FBI official with envy and a conscience.

Could men so powerful actually run afoul of the legal system?

Ian Welsh: the coming Winter of the American Republic

The Blogging of the President: "For over thirty years now deliberate government policy has impoverished the working and middle classes; burdened them with debt and bled them dry – put their wives to work and taken from them their rights. Athens was born of debt relief and so was America – of the right of men who had failed to start again free of their debts. The post war America; the most prosperous society in history was created on the back of the GI Bill – the flood of veterans into universities, the refusal of men who had fought for their country and seen their friends die to accept that they were worthy of anything less than a full role in their country.

"Such an America – where debtors were not enslaved to creditors; where the poor had defense against the rich; where any man might be educated, is in decline. Education is for those with money, and not for the underclass – year after year the price of university rises faster than incomes; the sources of public funds dry up with those that remain requiring the aspiring scholar to place himself in debt till middle age. And creditors have packed bankruptcy courts with their hand-picked judges while changing bankruptcy law to allow debt to chain their borrowers such that they might works decades for their new masters.

"Such an America is an America where only those who have already may dare – only the truly rich can risk failure in such a society, and so only they can truly dare the risks required for success. Such an America; one where education is for those who would already get it; and good education is only for those who are affluent; is an America where the chains of ignorance weigh heavy and where bigotry and intolerance can rise again.

"And so we find ourselves in late autumn. Winter, truly, is not far off. Winter, for nations and people, is not a fixed thing – not a fixed span of months, years or even generations. When Spain fell to winter – how long before a new weaker spring arose? Still, for some, the thaw does come early and a new cycle is begun.

"For America winter is no longer avoidable. The course was set over 30 years ago, and the choice to make the final plunge, to make the final liquidation of good will and cold hard cash, was made in 2004.

"So now, near Autumn’s end, with the wind howling outside, there are two tasks for the wise: to provision for winter, and to prepare for the struggles during that time. Will there be a new American Republic? Will there rise a true Empire? Will there be a long wasteland, redolent of the fall of Spain? Will there be civil war? How will the new America be forged? And whose blood will it be quenched in?"

On this blog, the question has often been posed: are we waiting for a perfect storm to sweep the Republican fascist state away, or are we lobsters in the pot, waiting for the water to boil?

Ian makes the case that we are simply watching the rapid decline of the Republic, in the autumn of its years.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Kevin Drum: The other 50% has me a little edgy, though.

The Washington Monthly: "Of course, we can always hope there won't be a crisis in the next three years. In fact, as Brad DeLong notes, there appears to be at least a 50% chance that there won't be.

"The other 50% has me a little edgy, though."

What's he talking about? He's talking about the hollow Treasury Department, where many, many chairs sit empty. And, he's talking about the possibility of financial crisis, with no Treasury Department capable of responding.

When Greenspan retires, there will follow, within a month or so, a day of panic. That day of panic could be turned into something more, by an incompetent Treasury.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Oh, Rita!

Tropical Storm Rita seems headed toward Galveston, as Hurricane Rita.

I wouldn't plan on driving anywhere soon.

Talking Points Memo: Oh that's a good sign.

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall: September 18, 2005 - September 24, 2005 Archives: "The Office of Federal Procurement Policy handles procurement policy for the White House's Office of Management and Budget.

"Until Friday the Administrator of the office was David Hossein Safavian.

"Today he was arrested on a three count indictment."

British Soldiers Clash With Iraqi Police in Basra

British Soldiers Clash With Iraqi Police in Basra: "Heavy clashes erupted Monday between Iraqi police and British soldiers based in Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, witnesses said."

Clusterfuck Nation by Jim Kunstler : Another Country

Clusterfuck Nation by Jim Kunstler : Another Country: "Take a good look at America around you now, because when we emerge from the winter of 2005 - 6, we're going to be another country. The reality-oblivious nation of mall hounds, bargain shoppers, happy motorists, Nascar fans, Red State war hawks, and born-again Krispy Kremers is headed into a werewolf-like transformation that will reveal to all the tragic monster we have become.

"What we will leave behind is the certainty that we have made the right choices."

". . . It really won't take another jolting event like a major hurricane or a terror incident or an H4N5 flu outbreak to take things over the edge -- though it is very likely that something else will happen. George W. Bush, and the party he represents, are headed into full Hooverization mode. After Katrina, nobody will take claims of governmental competence seriously."

". . . serious problems on-the-ground are going to affect the more ephemeral elements floating around in the financial ether: the value of the dollar, the hazard in hedge funds, the credibility of institutions. By October, the hurricane season will be ending and the stock market crash season will be underway. It is hard to imagine that companies like WalMart really believe they will keep their profits up when their customers are paying twice as much as they did a year ago to heat their houses and fill their gas tanks.

"Meanwhile, does anybody remember a place called Iraq?"

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Angry Bear Predicts the Future

Angry Bear: "Running the government poorly has consequences. Those consequences have been mostly borne by the citizens of Iraq so far (and only very indirectly by US taxpayers), but now the residents of the Gulf coast are feeling their effects first-hand. I hope that I'm wrong, but the sad history of the US reconstruction effort in Iraq provides a grim suggestion of what we may expect in New Orleans over the next few years. "

The corruption and incompetence on display in Iraq have been on display at a distance. This is where we get up close and personal.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Whiskey Bar: The Prattle of New Orleans

Whiskey Bar: The Prattle of New Orleans: "There's no point in parsing every point in Shrub's big speech last night -- not when we've learned, through bitter experience, that there's rarely a connection between the real world and the text on his teleprompter."

Bush speeches have been the kiss of death to a number of initiatives, in one way or another.

Katrina may have been the beginning of the Perfect Political Storm -- the Katrina Reconstruction promises to be nearer to the main event.

Incompetence, Corruption, Arrogance and Callous Indifference are the Four Horsemen of the Bush Apocalypse. Shorter Bush speech: saddle up, my hardies!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

via Calculated Risk: US Bank Economist: Recession Imminent

via Calculated Risk: Economist Tucker Hart Adams: Recession Imminent: "The economy stands at a fork in the road as we move through 2006, and we can make an equally compelling case for a year that ends in recession for the nation and most of the industrialized world. If the Chinese economy crashes, if Asian central governments stop buying U.S. government securities and interest rates move up 150-200 basis points, if there is an outbreak of trade protectionism in the U.S. that spreads around the globe, if the housing bubble bursts, if U.S. debt and deficits – consumer, government and/or current account – become unmanageable, if oil prices continue to rise – any combination of these and perhaps no more than a single one makes a recession inevitable. In terms of a mild recession, it is only a question of when it occurs, in 2006 or a year or so later. At some point U.S. consumers must bring their debt under control and housing prices must reflect demand for living space rather than Ponzischeme speculation. At worst, the eerie parallels with 1929 turn out to be predictive and we face a long period of difficult economic times."

The best analogy I can think of is driving on ice: the car begins to slide; the right thing to do is to steer with the slide, in the hope that you will regain control as the car resumes normal forward motion; the natural impulse is steer away from the slide, but unfortunately, that natural impulse will ensure that you lose control and the car will spin. Right now, the Federal Reserve appears to be in control. I say, appears to be in control, because the Federal Reserve is deliberately and periodically raising the Federal Funds Rate, with the announced intention of heading off inflation. That's the Federal Reserve's normal function, steering the economy away from inflation. But, there are icy patches on the road ahead. Any number of factors -- a spike in oil prices stands out -- might cause the Federal Reserve to overreact, to tighten hard, when it should be accomodating.

The Federal Funds Rate is the shortest of short-term interest rates. Long-term rates have remained mysteriously low for some time, helping to drive a housing bubble, which has affected many local housing markets in much of the English-speaking world.

I suppose the worst case scenario is the Fed responding to an apparent uptick in inflation, driven by higher oil prices, with higher interest rates. Higher long-term rates depress the go-go housing markets, which ends the boom in construction, causing a recession. Oil prices have only spiked, and they fall suddenly -- there is no inflationary pressure, but interest rates are higher anyway; a wave of bankruptcies, which start with a decline in housing prices, scare people into a sudden shift toward saving. Consumer demand collapses, and the recession is sharp and deep. The decline in consumer demand scares business, which limits investment, which further deepens the recession. China decides to allow its currency to rise relative to the dollar, which raises prices at Wal-Mart, further scaring consumers. China allowing its currency to rise, though, also means that interest rates have to remain high, choking off early recovery.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Carpetbagger Report » Blog Archive » An inside job

The Carpetbagger Report » Blog Archive » An inside job:

The Carpetbagger notices a bunch of "inside the Oval Office, tell-all" stories, which make Bush look really bad:

"It's not unreasonable to wonder — not accept as fact, just wonder — if the wheels have finally come off the Bush machine. If all was well in the West Wing, we wouldn't see anonymous aides telling Time and Newsweek what a schmuck the president is."

I personally think the "coming perfect storm" -- the political storm, which may serve to sweep the Republicans from power -- has only just begun, if it has begun at all.

The fundamental political alignment of coalitions, which underlies the Bush Presidency and the Republican "majority" has not changed. Katrina is a fast moving event; political change requires a sustained or repeated trauma to impress itself on the nation's political psyche. The news media has not been transformed from sycophants to polished professionals overnite.

There's a more or less fixed diversity of political worldviews, and profound political change is associated with their alignment into coalitions.

Some part of the Bush coalition -- many only the ill-informed, non-aligned middle-of-the-roaders, without ideological committments -- has had its confidence shaken by Katrina and its aftermath. That's all that has happened. It is significant, but not for itself. Its only lasting effect will be to make the middle-of-the-roaders easier to reach with a negative narrative about Bush, the next time.

The next time: what will it be? Flu epidemic? Withdrawal from Iraq? Economic recession? Collapse of the dollar? A second hurricane? Terrorist attack? Revelations of corruption.

Personally, I favor "corruption." Reconstruction in New Orleans and environs will occasion lots of corruption, and it will not be invisible for being remote, as it was in Iraq. And, in Louisiana, you have Democrats watching things unfold and not very honest Democrats -- set a thief to catch a thief?

Corruption is the one issue, which has the potential to separate Bush from a significant part of his coalition, because it gives the Democrats opportunities to spin out a narrative, which distinguishes what Democrats want, from what Bush wants, in concrete, financial terms.

Post Ombudsman: A Stumble Amid the Good Stuff

A Stumble Amid the Good Stuff: "As it turned out, the information was wrong. Blanco had declared a state of emergency on Aug. 26, before the hurricane made landfall. That was easily checkable, but it wasn't checked. The source of the statement was a single anonymous Bush administration official. The story did not explain why this official had been granted anonymity to take a potshot at the governor or whether reporters had pressed on this issue. And editors allowed it into the paper that way.

"The Post moved quickly to correct this. The paper's Web site,, posted a correction that same day in red letters at the top of the news story, which was quite visible and effective. The newspaper ran a correction the following day, a two-sentence item that was not even the lead in the daily correction box on Page A2 and, oddly, did not mention that the source of the information was 'a senior Bush official.'"

This so pisses me off.

The Washington Post has adopted a policy, which allows it to funnel right-wing propaganda.