Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bush self-destructs

James Wolcott: "I'm all for Bush's political suicide, but what's in it for him? Not much and he knows it. "

Maybe, he'll surprise us.

Let's address root causes

Politics1 - American Politics, Elections, Candidates & Campaigns: "State Senator Robert Hagan (D-Ohio) says he will introduce legislation to ban Republican couples from adopting children. According to Hagan, 'credible research'' shows that adopted children raised in GOP households are more at risk for developing 'emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, and alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different than themselves and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities.' "

The Worst President Ever(TM)

The New York Review of Books: The Mess: "Much of the Iraq fiasco can be directly attributed to Bush's shortcomings as a leader. Having decided to invade Iraq, he failed to make sure there was adequate planning for the postwar period. He never settled bitter policy disputes among his principal aides over how postwar Iraq would be governed; and he allowed competing elements of his administration to pursue diametrically opposed policies at nearly the same time. He used jobs in the Coalition Provisional Authority to reward political loyalists who lacked professional competence, regional expertise, language skills, and, in some cases, common sense. Most serious of all, he conducted his Iraq policy with an arrogance not matched by political will or military power.

"These shortcomings have led directly to the current dilemmas of the US both in Iraq and with Iran. "

Well, duh.

It is just not a good idea to have as President, a moron, and Bush is a moron -- he's not particularly smart; whatever his inherent intelligence, which cannot be much, he has never exercised his mind in any ambitious undertaking or exploration of the world. It takes ambition and imagination to be a good leader. He has neither.

But, ultimately, Bush's failure is the failure of the People of the United States, to reject the corporate right-wing, which leads this country, public and private and in every branch of government. Bush is their creature, the creature of corporate executives "earning" $10 million a year, the creature of Fox News and Meet Tim Russert, of what's wrong with Kansas and the Christian Right. They have raped this country, stealing its virtue and its wealth, and the People do not care.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Storm gathers strength: Bush loses 10% of Republicans in one month

CBS News | Poll: Bush Ratings At All-Time Low | February 27, 2006 22:05:25: "The latest CBS News poll finds President Bush's approval rating has fallen to an all-time low of 34 percent,"

A Real Hurricane gathers strength as it crosses the warm surface water of Gulf; a political storm gathers strength from the fundamental unpopularity of key figures. President Bush, easily the worst President since Warren G. Harding, and perhaps in the same league as Buchanan and Pierce (an ancestor, on his mother's side, incidentally).

The real significance of Bush moving below the (roughly) 40% level is that he is losing the support of Republicans. Up until now, Bush has had the support of 85-90% of Republicans. That support has weakened in depth and fervor, but never, until now, in numbers. At one time 90% of Republicans supported Bush fervently; up until January or so, 90% of Republicans supported Bush, though maybe not so fervently.

Now, the erosion of numbers among Republicans has begun. The difference between 40% and 34% represents the loss of about 10-15% of Republicans; Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents have despised Bush for a while now -- all of the change has come among Republicans, and it has come in the last month. Bush has lost 10+% of Republicans in one month!

Blogthings - Could You Pass 8th Grade Math?

Blogthings - Could You Pass 8th Grade Math?

My score: 10/10, if you care.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Friday, February 24, 2006

Progress in Iraq

CNN.com - Pentagon: Iraqi troops downgraded - Feb 24, 2006: "The only Iraqi battalion capable of fighting without U.S. support has been downgraded to a level requiring them to fight with American troops backing them up, the Pentagon said Friday."

Fox News: "All-Out Civil War In Iraq: Could It Be A Good Thing?"... | The Huffington Post

Fox News: "All-Out Civil War In Iraq: Could It Be A Good Thing?"... | The Huffington Post.

Well, if it is being reported on Fox, it must be true.

William F. Buckley Jr.: "failed"

William F. Buckley Jr. on Iraq on National Review Online: "One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed. "

Yeah, Bill, it was the objective that failed.

Krugman sees justice for Bush in Storm over Ports

Economist's View: Paul Krugman: Osama, Saddam and the Ports: "there is, nonetheless, a kind of rough justice in Mr. Bush's current predicament. After 9/11, the American people granted him a degree of trust rarely, if ever, bestowed on our leaders. He abused that trust, and now he is facing a storm of skepticism about his actions — a storm that sweeps up everything, things related and not."

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Iraqi Civil War, anyone?

Mosque Attack Pushes Iraq Toward Civil War - Yahoo! News: "The violence — many of the 90 attacks on Sunni mosques were carried out by Shiite militias — seemed to push Iraq closer to all-out civil war than at any point in the three years since the U.S.-led [invasion of Iraq]."

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Here We Go: SCOTUS To Review PBA | TPMCafe: "Today the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of a lower court decision striking down Congress' 2003 legislation imposing a federal ban on so-called 'partial-birth abortions.' The appeal is a direct challenge to the Court's 2000 Stenberg v. Carhart decision invalidating a state PBA ban on grounds that it did not include an exception for the health of the mother. Stenberg split the Court 5-4, with Sandra Day O'Connor concurring with the majority. Thus, Samuel Alito will have an early opportunity to change the constitutional law governing abortion, and probably will. "

Oh, yes, please, let's get Roberts and Alito on record.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Sterling Newbery: 'This mother's going to blow'.

The Blogging of the President: "It is no wonder there has been an explosive growth in progressive blogs. It isn't that we are reporters, or news gatherers largely, it is that we assemble a very different narrative around the facts as they exist. That narrative centers around a single thing that every progressive - from button downed pinstripe suit guy like myself, to the most hippie headed pot smoking 'Bush is Hilter!' type - [agrees upon]:

" 'This mother's going to blow'. "

No Solution without Destroying the Media

The Blogging of the President's Ian Welsh: "There is no solution to the US's problems that does not include a radical break up of the media conglomerates which now dominate print, broadcast and cable news. There is no solution which does not involve reinstating the fairness doctrine. And there is no solution which does not involve drumming out of journalistic life those who continually lie to the public either by omission or comission.

"No country can be healthy, sane, or democratic, when the fourth estate is corrupt or a tool of the State and powerful interests. It is the corruption of the US media that leaves me with the least hope for the US, because while the truth won't set you free, without the truth no freedom is possible."

What Ian said.

Worse than she imagined

The New York Times > TimesSelect: "All those years of Sunday school, and still the apocalypse catches me off guard."

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Whys of American decline

VAX and the economics of microprocessors: "If, at some far distant point in my life, I sit down to write some kind of historical look at the computing industry in the 90's and the early decades of the 21st century, an enormous part of that story will be taken up with lawsuits and legislation. No doubt this is one reason why it will be the story of the permanent loss of American leadership in high technology. Know this fact, and get used to it: the world is now chock full of people who [know a lot about high technology], and 90 percent of them are Asian."

The rapid decline of the United States from the dominating position it has enjoyed since the end of World War II is about more than just the idiot Presidency of George W. Bush. It is about the self-destructive culture that produced Bush, of course, but, also, about people, elsewhere, who have their own concerns and power.

Clouds on the horizon

Bloomberg.com: Top Worldwide: "Iraq reported a second bird-flu fatality, pushing the monthly global death tally to a two-year high as the spread of the lethal virus widened in Europe and the Middle East, with outbreaks in birds in France and Egypt.

"An Iraqi man from the northern province of Sulaimaniyah tested positive for the H5N1 avian influenza virus, the World Health Organization said yesterday, citing information from Iraq's health ministry. The 39-year-old, who developed symptoms on Jan. 18 and died 10 days later, is the uncle of the country's initial case, a 15-year-old girl who died Jan. 17, the WHO said.

"New outbreaks in birds are being reported daily across Europe, the Middle East and western Asia, creating more opportunity for human infection and increasing the risk of the virus changing into a pandemic form. The latest death in Iraq brings to 10 the number of fatalities confirmed this month, the highest since February 2004, when 14 deaths were reported."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Justice Dept. is probing OK for Bush's spying

Justice Dept. is probing OK for Bush's spying: "The Justice Department has begun an internal inquiry into the conduct of its lawyers who examined the Bush administration's domestic eavesdropping program, the department disclosed Wednesday."

Cheney as Canary: Time to Go

The New York Times > TimesSelect: "Mr. Vice President, It's Time to Go"

Shooting some old geezer in the face would not have been on my list of expected events, but, hey . . .

The truth is, Cheney was drinking all friggin' day, and was drunk. And, the truth is, Bush will have to go.

Just as Agnew's resignation signalled that Nixon would go, Cheney's always been the Canary in the Mine.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Where, oh Where has our little Storm Gone?

The Blog | Peter Daou: Scandal Fatigue, Catnip, and the 'Angry' Left | The Huffington Post: "This half-decade tsunami of scandals has had the intended effect: overload the senses, short circuit the outrage, dizzy the opposition. How many times have Bush's opponents simply thrown their hands up in disgust, overwhelmed by the enormity of the administration's over-reach? How many times have bloggers railed against reporters for going about the business of burying scandals and muddying waters?"

Record trade deficit

Calculated Risk: December U.S Trade Deficit: $65.7 Billion: "The U.S. trade deficit with China rose to a record $201.6 billion last year, the highest deficit ever recorded with any country and 24.5 percent above the previous record of $161.9 billion set in 2004. . .

"The United States also recorded record deficits with Japan at $82.7 billion. Until it was surpassed by China in 2000, Japan was the country that had the largest trade gap each year with the United States.

"America's trade deficit set records with much of the rest of the world as well. Among those records was a $122.4 billion gap with the 25-nation European Union, a $92.7 billion deficit with the nations that belong to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, a $76.5 billion deficit with Canada and a $50.1 billion deficit with Mexico. "

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Your Tax Dollars at Work -- or Why They Hate Our Freedoms

Iraq Utilities Are Falling Short of Prewar Performance - New York Times: "Virtually every measure of the performance of Iraq's oil, electricity, water and sewerage sectors has fallen below preinvasion values even though $16 billion of American taxpayer money has already been disbursed in the Iraq reconstruction program, several government witnesses said at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Wednesday."

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

DeLay has a new job, Appropriations Subcommittee Chair

Which subcommitte will Tom DeLay chair?

Subcommittee on Science, the Departments of State, Justice, and Commerce, and Related Agencies

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall February 8, 2006 08:35 PM: "There was a seat free on Appropriations because Duke Cunningham had to give up his seat.

"No, you can't make this stuff up.

"Oh, I forgot, his new [sub]committee controls the DOJ purse stings too."

DeLay will be in charge of Justice Appropriations; Bush has appointed the guy in charge of the Abramoff investigation to a Federal judgeship.

If Nixon had only known how to cover up his crimes . . .

Sunday, February 5, 2006

Beware the Ides of March

The Next Act - by William S. Lind: "Osama bin Laden's latest message. Most observers, including the White House, seem to have missed its significance. In it, bin Laden offered us a truce . . . . The Koran requires Muslims to offer such a truce before they attack. The fact that bin Laden himself made the offer, after a long silence, suggests al-Qaeda attaches high importance to it. "

Lind also suggests that the U.S. is preparing for an attack on Iran and nuclear program, and that things are deteriorating in Iraq.

I think that Bush is just posturing on Iran. (I certainly hope so.) The only thing about it that alarms me is how easily Bush can bring America's political discourse down to the idiot level. But, that alarm has rung a lot, over the last five years.

Things are deteriorating in Iraq. Duh. How rapidly, neither Lind nor I is in a position to judge.

But, Osama successfully launching a major attack in the U.S.? That would be interesting. Frankly, I am inclined to discount this, too. Al Quaeda, for all the PR Bush gives it, has never been a particularly capable organization. You have to be a bit of a moron to join such a radical outfit, so it tends to have a membership dominated by morons; this handicaps its competence. 9/11 was a lucky punch.

What's more interesting to me, is how Bush would spin it, and how successfully. Would it expose Bush as an abject failure?

The New York Review of Books: 'The Biggest Secret'

The New York Review of Books: 'The Biggest Secret': "far from saving 'thousands of lives,' as claimed by Vice President Dick Cheney in December 2005, the NSA program never led investigators to a genuine terrorist not already under suspicion, nor did it help them to expose any dangerous plots. So why did the administration continue this lumbering effort for three years? Outsiders sometimes find it tempting to dismiss such wheel-spinning as bureaucratic silliness, but I believe that the Judiciary Committee will find, if it is willing to persist, that within the large pointless program there exists a small, sharply focused program that delivers something the White House really wants. This it will never confess willingly."

And, that would be the spark, which started a firestorm, should such a spark be struck.

[Metaphors become cliches so rapidly, but cliches never seem to erode; why the hell am I using metaphors like "striking a spark" and "tinderbox" (see the earlier post) more than a hundred years after the invention of safety matches?]

Spark for a Firestorm?

The Carpetbagger Report » Blog Archive » Sunday Discussion Group: "the Senate Judiciary Committee will convene and hold major hearings into Bush's warrantless-search program, its legality, its protections for civil liberties, its challenge to the separation of powers, etc. The hearings will be the first substantive congressional response to a White House controversy since, well, since before Bush became president. The principal witness will be Attorney General Alberto Gonzales . . . "

Is this a spark in a dry tinderbox? Or, throwing water on barely smouldering ashes? Obviously, it has the potential for being either. With so many, intertangled scandals and potential scandals swirling around an unpopular President, there is a potential for a great political firestorm igniting. The problem is the absence of independent bases of political power. Our government was designed with "checks and balances" to increase the opportunties for such political firestorms to erupt, but the Republican majority has systematically eliminated rival bases of political support. It is not just that the Republican power structure behind Bush controls both the Administration and Congress -- though that is a huge part of it.

They are very close to control of the Judiciary. The Federalist Society has been an effective institutional support for the systematic appointment of very conservative Judges. With the appointment of Roberts and Alito, the only question is whether they have a conservative block of four waiting for a fifth, (or a conservative block of five already, with Breyer), to begin creating a fortress of conservative precedent. Conservative control of the Judiciary was critical in electing Bush; it was instrumental in the long-running Whitewater "independent" prosecution.

They have effective control of the mainstream Media: through Media consolidation in the 1980's and 1990's, they transformed it into a corporate, right-wing Media. Whitewater and the 2000 campaign's "War against Gore" were merely symptomatic; Talk Radio and Fox News were only precursors to Wolf Blitzer, Chris Matthews, and the conservative takeover of PBS. The Washington Post editors and ombudsman have made it clear that the Abramoff scandal is about Indians making campaign contributions, not about the Republicans creating an system of patronage through lobbyist employment, the sale of influence and access, and the management of political slush funds.

The only, slim foundation for independent action has been the professional independence of the career Civil Service, especially among the career prosecutors of the Justice Department. Bush is moving to eliminate principled supervision of the prosecution of the Abramoff case, while the unmentioned pardon power allows Libby to stymie Fitzgerald.

Watergate, the political firestorm, which engulfed Nixon, was based on a complete reversal of the current situation. The Washington Post, Judge John J. Sirica, Attorney General Richardson, the Deputy Chief of the FBI (aka Deep Throat), the Senate Watergate Committee, the House Judiciary Committee were all independent of the Nixon White House, and free to attack him.

Now, the Washington Post is a Republican paper, whose editor and ombudsman have signalled that they recognize a duty to carry Republican water; CNN, CBS, etc., please!?!. The Judiciary is dominated by conservative Republicans. The Senate and, even more, the House, are controlled by right-wing Republicans determined to cooperate with Bush and further the corruption lining their own pockets. The Attorney General is a Bush toady, without any ethical independence or competence, and committed to a legal theory, which makes Bush a virtual dictator.

All would appear to depend on solid Democratic majorities taking control of Congress in the 2006 elections. Whatever can happen in the Congress before that, or on other fronts in what is, for all intents and purposes, the beginning of a slow-burning Civil War, ought to be directed toward the elections, the increasingly all-important elections.

I wish I had some confidence that the Democrats in Congress better understood the desperate straits into which our country has entered. I think the Democrats may well find themselves in power in Congress in 2007, despite, rather than because of, their efforts. My greatest fear is that the Democrats will have a brief sojurn in power, and blow it, because they do not see the need for radical action on broad fronts. I doubt that most Democrats realize how critically important Media Reform, and the reversal of Media Consolidation has become, for the long-term future of the country and the Democratic Party.

Still, I doubt, in their current weak position, whether the Democrats would further the cause with a fight in the Judiciary Committee. I'd like to think that they could expose this arrogant, corrupt authoritarian AG, and get some needed attention. But, I can see how the whole thing could be made to backfire, as it is filtered through the corporate, right-wing Media.

Wednesday, February 1, 2006


Proceed at your own risk: STATE OF THE UNION: THE FIVE STAGES OF GRIEF: "if we can't muster enough votes to throw the corrupt and superstitious out of Congress this coming November, it's time to toss a fist of dirt into the grave, leave a stone on the monument and accept that the glorious 230 year long American dream is dead. "

Digby warns, Digby hopes

Hullabaloo: "US democracy may, just may, right itself when Bush's presidency is over. But if the next president is anything like this one... God help us.

"Another president like Bush and even the most cautious amongst us will be forced to conclude that the project of American democracy - or at least the version of it I learned about and, yes, admire - is over. That would not be a Good Thing. "

This is the problem. If the Media and Congress is so corrupt, that nothing this President does, rouses them from their stupor, there will be no political Storm, no aroused populace learning the error of their ways. And, the American Republic may well be lost, replaced by a rapidly decaying Empire ruled by and for a bunch of stupid, selfish plutocrats and their hangers-on.