Saturday, March 31, 2007

Creator Of The Hillary-1984 Video Speaks Out

Rush Limbaugh's Excellent Award

I feel that putting the word 'excellent' together with Rush Limbaugh in a sentence is a travesty in itself. However when an organization in media gives that lame excuse for a man an award in 'media excellence,' it is downright nauseating. Don't worry though, the Media Research Center aims to find 'liberal bias' in the corporate media so there is no reason to give creedence to them, the award and especially Rush Limbaugh.

More from Crooks and Liars:


Here are just a few examples of Rush's "media excellence," including even, yes, an attack on the man who the award he won is named after:

Rush Limbaugh attacks Michael J. Fox: ” …he was either off the medication or he was acting. He is an actor, after all.”

Latching onto L.A. Times op-ed, Limbaugh sings "Barack, The Magic Negro"

Limbaugh: Gonzales is "under fire by white liberal racists in the Senate"

Limbaugh: "Could we not say that if Obama wins … he will own Al Sharpton?"

And on and on and on. What "excellence!"

The only thing that can compare to that is Michelle Malkin receiving an "Accuracy in Media Award." Yes, that Michelle Malkin:


Limbaugh...and Malkin's egos are big enough as it is, does society have to allow this bullshit to take place? Yeah, yeah, I know, freedom of speech and all that jazz. Nevertheless, it still amazes me that this crap goes on. Perhaps one day the talking-head parrots of the right-wing will lose their gigantic microphones and talk to an audience more befitting of them, like the loony bin.

Lights Out In Sydney

For an hour earlier this evening, most of Sydney, Australia was shrouded in an unusual cloak of darkness. The problem was not a lack of electricity but the effects of a campaign to increase awareness for reducing energy consumption. It was a city-wide effort where the world-famous opera house, businesses and ordinary Sydneysiders (as they are called down under) took the time to shut their lights and remember that we need to conserve our natural resources.

Of course the one hour event will not do much in the overall scheme of things. Instead the organizers of the event were looking for people to realize their impact on the world and the reality of climate change. Australia may not consume oil and other natural resources like the U.S does, but they do keep the lights on like most countries in the Western world.

From the BBC:

Greg Bourne of environmental group WWF, one of the driving forces behind Earth Hour, said the big switch off took months to plan.

"The logistics is really quite amazing in the sense every tower block is owned by one company, maybe leased by another company, have 10 tenants in and a manager and working through all of these people has been fantastic."

Many restaurants signed up and planned to serve diners by candlelight.

The owner of the Newtown Hotel, which says it is Australia's oldest gay bar, told the BBC before the blackout that they would have fun while trying to send a serious message.

"Sometimes drag queens [female impersonators] do look better in the dark anyway," said Roger Zee.

"It's up to the patrons. They'll actually have their own torches so they'll be able to light up the drag queens on the stage themselves."

If the queens of drag can get involved so can the rest of us. No offense to drag queens of course. In all, climate change is serious business and we all need to do our part to sustain the planet that we live on. Conserving energy is the least we can do.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Stewart Raps On Rove

I couldn't bear to watch the whole video of Karl Rove's rapping debut from the other night. The only plausible alternative was to see Jon Stewart give his take on the debacle, and a rap of his own:

Bribes Against Abortions

You got to hand it to some of the lawmakers down south. This gem out of Texas is brilliant absolutely ridiculous. Apparently State Senator Dan Patrick (R- Of course) has proposed to give women $500 instead of having an abortion. Nothing like appealing to the pocketbook when it comes to the heart-wrenching choice of having an abortion or not.

More from CNN:

Republican State Sen. Dan Patrick, who also is a conservative radio talk show host, said Friday the money might persuade the women to go ahead and have babies, then give them up for adoption.

He said during a legislative conference in New Braunfels, 45 miles south of Austin, there were 75,000 abortions in Texas last year.

"If this incentive would give pause and change the mind of 5 percent of those women, that's 3,000 lives. That's almost as many people as we've lost in Iraq," Patrick said.

Patrick has filed legislation to make the payment state law, but the legislature has not voted on it.

To call this an insult to women would be an understatement. This proposal shows the naivety of Sen. Patrick and all thick-headed men like him. What makes his remarks even worse was to speak of the victims of the war in Iraq. To even try and equate the loss of life in our occupation of Iraq and those of unborn fetuses is insane. Shame on Senator Patrick and anyone else that tries to support his arrogant legislation.

Sweet Jesus!

The leaders of some Catholic groups are up in arms over a certain edible piece of art. Here in New York, an artist by the name of Cosimo Cavallaro has drawn considerable press over a 200lb piece of chocolate. The uproar comes from the fact that it is sculpted to look like a naked statue of Jesus on the cross. News of the gallery's presentation has been made widespread due to the play on religion and the ability of self-proclaimed Catholic leaders to spin themselves silly over the matter.

From the BBC:

The gallery's creative director, Matt Semler, said the gallery was considering its options in the wake of angry e-mails and telephone calls.

"We're obviously surprised by the overwhelming response and offence people have taken," he said. "We are certainly in the process of trying to figure out what we're going to do next."

Mr Semler said the timing of the exhibition was coincidental.

Mr Cavallaro, the Canadian-born artist, is known for using food ingredients in his art, on one occasion painting a hotel room in mozzarella cheese.

There are many different opinions being expressed about the artwork. Some would call it tasty and others like Bill Donahue call it an assault on Christian sensibilities. However, the whole controversy is over expressive art. It is art and nothing more. Art has created feuding debates in the past and will continue to do so as long as people exhibit creativity.

Fox News Hates Black People, So Whats Up With The CBC?

Sorry Kanye, I had to borrow your line and ascribe it to Fox News. Like a good propraganda outlet for the right-wing, Fox is very good at attacking minorities and any other group that would threaten the wingnut power-base. If you don't believe it, just watch this video from FoxAttacks:

Now that you know the bias of Rupert Murdoch's cable news network, why on earth would the Congressional Black Caucus host a debate with Fox televising the event? Apparently some members of the CBC do not agree with the decision, but none have the courage to stand up to the Caucus.

I'll let Jesse Jackson take over from here:

Rev. Jesse Jackson today denounced the Congressional Black Caucus Institute’s planned presidential debate partnership with FOX. He called for yesterday’s decision to be reversed and for presidential candidates not to attend a FOX debate.

Jackson said, “I am disappointed by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute's partnership with FOX, and strongly encourage them to reverse that decision. Why would presidential candidates, or an organization that is supposed to advocate for Black Americans, ever give a stamp of legitimacy to a network that continually marginalizes Black leaders and the Black community? FOX moderating a presidential debate on issues of importance to Black Americans is literally letting the Fox guard the henhouse – FOX should be rejected.”

Fox’s smears against the Black community are compiled in Outfoxed director Robert Greenwald’s new YouTube video called Fox Attacks: Black America – which is located at and has been viewed by over 230,000 people in two weeks.

Yesterday’s decision came after Black Members of Congress and the CBC Institute were contacted by thousands of members of – a 75,000 member online citizen lobby for Black Americans. Privately, some CBC members expressed that the Fox deal was a bad idea, but not a single member would take a public stand like Jackson did today.

"The CBC cannot claim to represent Black Americans and at the same time legitimize a network that calls Black churches a cult, implies that Senator Barack Obama is a terrorist, and uses the solemn occasion of Coretta Scott King’s funeral to call Black leaders ‘racist,’” said James Rucker, head of “The CBC Institute’s decision is shamefully out of step with most Black voters -- and now Black voters will hold our leaders accountable and demand they end their partnership with Fox."

Today, an online petition is being launched at demanding the CBC end their partnership with Fox, and asking presidential candidates to reject the Fox debate in favor of CBC Institute’s CNN debate – which has already been announced.

Thousands of new members have joined in recent weeks as the organization started putting pressure on the CBC not to embrace Fox – showing the high energy of this issue.

“Fox has a long history of treating Black people unfairly. They are not a trusted news source for most Black Americans,” added Benjamin Todd Jealous, former executive director of the National Newspaper Publishers Associations (NNPA), a 98-year old federation of more than 200 Black community newspapers.

After Sampson Talks, Gonzales Does A "D'Oh"

The Washington Post aptly described Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' reply to yesterday's testimony by Kyle Sampson as the "Homer Simpson " defense. Sampson's answers to the Senate inquiry were damning to Gonzales and directly contradicted Alberto's earlier statements. Now that the AG is caught lying he will have to make up new lies to cover the ones he has already uttered. He is trying to scam the Senate and the American people into believing that he didn't do anything seriously wrong. Yet, once a liar is caught, it is hard to be seen as believable anymore.

From The Washington Post:

You just cannot make this stuff up. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' former chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson, spends much of his Thursday deflating his former boss' story about the eight fired U.S. Attorneys and how does the Attorney General respond? By issuing a written statement late in the day that essentially says this: Yes, Sampson may have been keeping me in the loop on the firings after all but I wasn't really paying attention ("never focused" was the exact phrase) to what he was saying. It's the Homer Simpson defense to the Kyle Sampson story and if this were a Little League game they would have invoked the 10-run rule by now and sent Gonzales go home to Texas to once again become a lucrative private attorney.

But, alas, the Attorney General is still with us, at least for today, his credibility and reputation tattered and the wolves-- not just Democrats, mind you, but increasingly creeped-out Republicans-- howling at the door. Even if Gonzales is now telling the truth about his role in Firegate, even if somehow his story can be synched up with Sampson's, we all deserve so much more from our Attorney General that the next 18 days or so-- leading up to Gonzales' testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee-- will be excruiating. How badly does an Attorney General have to behave, how badly does he have to lead, how much prestige and trust does he have to lose, before he is forced, by his own conscience if nothing else, to make way for someone else? You tell me.

The only one doing the howling is going to be Gonzales. He'll be begging for mercy soon enough, but for now he will continuing lying his ass off until he is firmly pressed into the corner with nowhere to go. Until then he'll blame anyone, do anything and say whatever it takes to shield himself from the responsibility of his actions. Just like everyone else in the Bush Administration.

Lieberman Has Serious Blinders On

Holy Joe continued yesterday to parrot the new right-wing talking point on how great things are becoming in Iraq. Recently John McCain claimed (then disavowed) that General Petraeus rides around in an unprotected Humvee. Now Lieberman is talking about how much safer things are and how confident the troops are becoming around Baghdad. Unfortunately after he said this to Wolf Blitzer, on the ground reporter Michael Ware interjected a heavy dose of reality into the show.

From CNN:

LIEBERMAN: But I'll tell you most significantly, the American soldier is more confident walking the streets of Baghdad today. And that's a very important change.


BLITZER: You speak to American soldiers all the time.

Are they more confident walking the streets of Baghdad today?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're certainly never fully confident.

But do they see that there has been some kind of adjustment in the broad climate?

Absolutely, as has been well noted by these soldiers' U.S. commanders. Their enemies, the insurgents and the Shia militias, are, by and large, laying low at the moment, waiting to get the shape of this surge.

Nonetheless, in one of these areas that has been so prominently second by the U.S. military and its Iraqi partners, where U.S. troops are now basically patrolling all the time with this great confidence, an area that had been controlled by the Mahdi militia, today more than 70 people died when two men detonated themselves in a busy market.

And don't forget, we're looking across the country at about 80 American soldiers, sailors and Marines being killed. In March, we're approaching that number again, the third month in a row.

Things are definitely changing in Iraq. Adding 20,000 troops will alter the a degree. Unfortunately no amount of troops is going to prevent the civil war from happening now. Eventually Al-Qaeda and other groups will reassess the situation and keep attacking Shias, Sunnis and our own U.S. troops.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sing Louder Mr. Sampson

The former Chief of Staff to Alberto Gonzales spent a grueling day in the Senate today. Here's a clip of him admitting to Senator Specter that he abused the U.S. Attorney's office procedures concerning the termination of the eight prosecutors and the means of replacing them. Check out the grilling:

Bongs For Bob Barr

The transformation of Bob Barr continues today on the social issues front. It seems that in nine years, Mr. Barr has gone from opposing medical marijuana at all costs to wholeheartedly endorsing the practice. Bob's very own amendment in 1998 prohibited all forms of medicinal use, but now times have changed.

From The Politico:

Bob Barr, who as a Georgia congressman authored a successful amendment that blocked D.C. from implementing a medical marijuana initiative, has switched sides and become a lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project.

But that doesn’t mean he has become a bong-ripping hippie. He isn’t pro-drug, he said, just against government intrusion.

“I, over the years, have taken a very strong stand on drug issues, but in light of the tremendous growth of government power since 9/11, it has forced me and other conservatives to go back and take a renewed look at how big and powerful we want the government to be in people’s lives,” Barr said.

Aaron Houston, the project’s government relations director, said Barr brings a “great deal of credibility, particularly among people on the Republican side of the aisle.”

“He certainly would not have been the first person I would have expected to sign off to us, but I’m very pleased that he has,” Houston said. “I’m very pleased that he has come around, and I hope he serves as an example to his former colleagues.”

I don't know if Mr. Barr has 'credibility,' he did go as far as appearing in Sacha Cohen's 'Borat' flick for some public exposure. His facial expression after drinking breast milk was priceless and perhaps his addition to MPP will add priceless material to their fight to allow marijuana to be used to treat those in need.

Republicans are one group where outreach is sorely needed. However the former Congressman has had quite the independent run after leaving Congress in 2003, so we'll have to see if his past credentials still hold up, especially with the wingnuts penchant for eating their own for straying from the party line.

The Rich Are Getting Richer And You Know What That Means

As the rich get richer, the poor inevitably get poorer. The old saying is as true today as it was when it was first uttered, whenever that was. The truth of the matter is that the discrepancy in incomes between the top percentiles and the rest of us is growing at an alarming rate. The top one percent have their highest share of the national income since the year before the Great Depression came crashing in during the late 1920s.

More from The New York Times:

While total reported income in the United States increased almost 9 percent in 2005, the most recent year for which such data is available, average incomes for those in the bottom 90 percent dipped slightly compared with the year before, dropping $172, or 0.6 percent.

The gains went largely to the top 1 percent, whose incomes rose to an average of more than $1.1 million each, an increase of more than $139,000, or about 14 percent.

The new data also shows that the top 300,000 Americans collectively enjoyed almost as much income as the bottom 150 million Americans. Per person, the top group received 440 times as much as the average person in the bottom half earned, nearly doubling the gap from 1980.

The news is grim for most Americans but the rich should not be too excited, despite their increasing purchasing power. The current economic circumstances cannot support a growing national economy for an indefinite amount of time. Much like the roaring 20s, things can come tumbling down in the 2010s just like they did in the 1930s. Unfortunately our leaders have not learned any lessons from the greed that predominated the upper class eighty years ago. As the cliche goes, those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

The GSA Scandal

I apologize for being a little late to the scene on the latest scandal. In between computer problems and traveling, I forgot to write something on the improper use of an arm of the government to be used for political purposes (except for that whole U.S. Attorney thing, which is so easy to write about). Though when I saw the video of the excruciating, yet amusing testimony of GSA head Lurita Doan, I just had to throw this up.

The basic facts on the story are this: Lurita Doan held a luncheon on government time where Jennings from the White House Political Office did a power-point presentation on how the GSA can help win crucial battles for Republicans in 2008. At the end of the presentation, Lurita was heard by several people (including her own press liaison) that she wanted the GSA to do whatever it takes to help win elected offices for the Republican party. The GSA can be effective in this matter because they dole out federal contracts.

Here we have Congressman Bruce Braley (D-IA) grilling Doan on her inappropriate use of the GSA:

Now Firing U.S. Attorneys For Political Reasons Is Okay

After vehemently denying that eight U.S. Attorneys were canned for political reasons, Kyle Sampson, the former Chief of Staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is saying that it is perfectly fine. Obviously the 'job-performance issues' approach didn't work so well, now they are going down a different and what looks like to me a more dangerous road. Kyle Sampson will go in front of Congress to testify voluntarily to say that it was a political decisions, but, um, not what you think constitutes a political decision, or something like that.

More on the confusion from Rawstory:

"The distinction between 'political' and 'performance-related' reasons for removing a United States Attorney is, in my view, largely artificial," Sampson said in his prepared remarks, which were posted by the McClatchy-Tribune News Service and are now available at this link.

Critics have defined some of the firings as "political" since, based on many of the documents released, they appear to be based partially on objections by Republican lawmakers. But Sampson, who resigned from his post earlier this month and agreed to testify voluntarily without being subpoenaed, will argue that a U.S. Attorney not being able to "work constructively" with governmental constituencies cannot be "successful" in his or her position.

"A U.S. Attorney who is unsuccessful from a political perspective, either because he or she has alienated the leadership of the Department in Washington or cannot work constructively with law enforcement or other governmental constituencies in the district important to effective leadership of the office, is unsuccessful," Sampson will say.

He added, "If he or resistant to the President's or the Attorney General's constitutional authority...then that U.S. Attorney is not performing at a high level."

So what Sampson really means is that if the U.S. Attorney does not perform his political obligations to the President and the welfare of the Republican party, then they are clearly not doing their job. Prosecuting criminals is not enough, they have to be criminals that the President approves of. So Carol Lam, Duke Cunningham was not a criminal, he was just a victim. So David Iglesias, you should have gone after that obscure Democrat down in New Mexico. Who cares if the American people want the Justice Department to work outside of partisan lenses?

The Department of Justice is part of the Adminstration and those that work there serve at the pleasure of the President. It isn't about blind justice, it is about serving the President. The question is, who exactly is the President serving? It certainly isn't the American people. It is time for Gonzales and the President, to be forced out of office, for this and so many other reasons.

Crazy John McCain

The bullshit the spews out of this man's mouth is seemingly unrelentless. We've all heard he's now for the rightwing after he was against them. A straight-talker turned Bush sycophant and all around scumbag that will try to do and say anything to become the next President. Yesterday his delusions stretched into the realm of Iraq.

From ThinkProgress:

Yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told CNN that that President Bush’s escalation in Iraq is going so well, “General Petraeus goes out there almost every day in an unarmed humvee.” On Monday, he told radio host Bill Bennett that there “are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods, today.”

This morning, during an interview with McCain, CNN’s John Roberts rebutted McCain’s assertions, stating, “I checked with General Petraeus’s people overnight and they said he never goes out in anything less than an up-armored humvee.” He added that a new report by retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey “said no Iraqi government official, coalition soldier, diplomat reporter could walk the streets of Baghdad without heavily armed protection.”

Faced with overwhelming evidence that he was wrong, McCain denied he’d ever said it: “Well, I’m not saying they could go without protection. The President goes around America with protection. So, certainly I didn’t say that.”

Check out the video on ThinkProgress. To see the man stumble in his own words would be hilarious, if only the topic wasn't so serious. I can't believe for one moment that the GoOPers actually thought he had a chance to be President. We'll see what happens with their other contenders....and what mistakes they make down the road.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

More On The Fair And Balanced Fox News

Do you find this quote just a bit on the partisan side? Just a little?

Even Robert Novak Sees It

Except for a few historical glitches, the President's party has supported him through thick and thin, scandals and errant policy decisions be damned. However under President Bush, not even this tenet of party politics can hold itself together. Granted, Republicans stood blindly behind George for nearly six years. They were behind him at the precipice of his popularity when he wanted to dismantle Social Security, continue the wretched war in Iraq into 2, 3, 4 and now the beginning of the fifth year. Unfortunately not even the conservatives can stand their President anymore.

Robert Novak, ardent conservative supporter and 'journalist' weighs in:

Republicans in Congress do not trust their president to protect them. That alone is sufficient reason to withhold statements of support for Gonzales, because such a gesture could be quickly followed by his resignation under pressure. Rep. Adam Putnam (Fla.), the highly regarded young chairman of the House Republican Conference, praised Donald Rumsfeld in November only to see him sacked shortly thereafter.

But not many Republican lawmakers would speak up for Gonzales even if they were sure Bush would stick with him. He is the least popular Cabinet member on Capitol Hill, even more disliked than Rumsfeld was. The word most often used by Republicans to describe the management of the Justice Department under Gonzales is "incompetent."


Regarding Libby and Gonzales, unofficial word from the White House is not reassuring. One credible source says the president will never -- not even on the way out of office in January 2009 -- pardon Libby. Another equally good source says the president will never ask Gonzales to resign. That exactly reverses the prevailing Republican opinion in Congress. Bush is alone.

Well, Bush isn't alone yet. He is trying ever so hard to keep his loyalists as close to him as possible. He selected them for loyality and obviously not for competent governing. As the examples of incompetence increase seemingly day by day, Bush is holding onto his sinking ship of men, blind to the fact that his ship is full of gaping holes. In the end, he will find himself in the open sea, with his growing chorus of critics hastening his demise (though probably not before January of 2009). No matter when he goes out, he will be seen as the worst President to ever have tried to preside over the course of the United States.

Colbert Tortures Gonzales

Colbert covers Hagel's beating of the President's increasingly monarchial stands and the twists and turns of Gonzales and the Department of Justice:

Gore Testifies, Republicans Start Crying

Their tears are not those of joy or relief that the issue of climate change is getting it's due notice. Their cries are for more petty reasons than that. Lynn Westmoreland from Georgia lead the charge that Gore did not have a right to come to the floor of the House to share his breadth of knowledge based on a minute and highly disputable reason.

From WTVM in Georgia:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Democrats cheered Vice President Al Gore's return to Capitol Hill to testify on global warming. Georgia 3rd District Republican Lynn Westmoreland didn't.

As Gore visited with former colleagues on the House floor around lunchtime Wednesday, Represenative Westmoreland argued that the Democrat was violating recently enacted ethics rules rescinding floor privileges for former congressmen working as agents of a foreign government.

Because Gore serves as an adviser to Britain on climate change, Westmoreland said, he shouldn't have been allowed. The third-term lawmaker, who represents northern Columbus & Harris County said it was "in total violation of the House rules." He said Democrats don't even pay attention to their own rules.

Is that the best these guys can come up with? Gore serves in an informal role as an advisor for Britain and does not even get paid. The former Representative, Senator and Vice-President has an incredible breadth of knowledge on the subject so that the Congress should be honored to have him speak. The Democratic Majority is well aware of that, however at least this one Republican tries to use counter-arguments that are based on the ridiculous and the absurd. Westmoreland should try to debate Gore and those in the reality-based community with factual arguments on the issue instead of throwing out trivialities. Of course, he has no facts to refute the ever-increasing awareness of man-made climate change so that really is a non-starter.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Uruguayan Wants Kissinger Extradited

Henry Kissinger is mainly known for being an immigrant who made it big, the Secretary of State for Presidents Nixon and Ford and now an elder statesmen. For those that are aware of the more intricate details of his career however, they know a far different man. Outside of the U.S. there are plenty of people that see Kissinger's darker side in much more detail, especially in Southeast Asia and South America.

Kissinger is responsible for Operation Condor. This plan was not to save the giant bird, but to destroy leftist governments in Latin America (even if they were democratically elected) and replace them with more sympathetic elements towards the United States. Now a piece of the past is catching up with the elderly Kissinger.

From the AFP:

An attorney for a victim of Uruguay's 1973-1985 dictatorship has asked his government to request the extradition of former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger over his alleged role in the notorious Operation Condor.

Condor was a secret plan hatched by South American dictators in the 1970s to eliminate leftist political opponents in the region. Details of the plan have emerged over the past years in documents and court testimony.

The Latin American dictatorships of the time "were mere executors" of a "plan of extermination" hatched in the United States by a group led by Kissinger, said attorney Gustavo Salle, who represents the family of Bernardo Arnone.

Arnone was one of many that were tortured and others who were executed for supporting leftist governments that Kissinger disapproved of. His actions led to many political changes throughout South America that left many people in horrendous situations that our government approved of and aided with money, weapons and other items of value.

With recent declassified State Department documents, Arnone sees an opportunity to expose Dr. Kissinger's role in these atrocities and show the world what he did that led to many deaths and victims of torture in the 1970s and 1980s. Kissinger may have acted in the 'interests' of the United States, but he did democracy no favors and is 'allegedly' indirectly responsible for the deaths of millions in South America and especially in Southeast Asia relating to the Vietnam War and its aftermath. It is about time someone hold him accountable.

Olbermann Punishes Limbaugh

Hooray for Keith Olbermann! Pointing out the abuses of the wingnuts is no small feat and this man goes after them without abandon. This time he puts the light on Rush Limbaugh for callously attacking Elizabeth Edwards and her Presidential aspirant husband because of the return of her cancer.

The City Has Something To Hide

Last week we found out that the NYPD had conducted surveillance on prospective protesters of the 2004 GOP Convention in New York City, going to the trouble of travelling across the country and into Canada and Europe. This story is now gaining longer legs as the city is fighting to keep massive amounts of documents sealed from the public.

From the New York Times:

“The documents were not written for consumption by the general public,” wrote Peter Farrell, senior counsel in the city’s Law Department. “The documents contain information filtered and distilled for analysis by intelligence officers accustomed to reading intelligence information.”

Because the materials have not yet been used to decide or argue any issues in the civil lawsuits, Mr. Farrell said, “there is no right of public access.”

The documents show that the Police Department’s Intelligence Division sent undercover detectives around the city, the country and the world to collect information on political activists and others planning to demonstrate at the 2004 convention, according to a sampling of records reviewed by The New York Times that were the subject of an article yesterday. The records included intelligence digests and field reports from detectives, known as DD5s.

Well boo hoo! Despite city attorneys self-proclaimed ability to decide whether the public can consume their documents or not, they deserve to be heard. The city's ultimate authority rests with the people of the city and the courts that adjudicate the government. That information shall be dispersed because it is essential to hear what these "DD5's" were doing while being paid by the city. Conducting searches that show a 'police state' atmosphere is wholly unethical and not acceptable for any municipality to do within the borders of the United States of America.

It Was Against The Law

Those words aren't just a line in a Simon and Garfunkel song, they are the actions of the Bush Adminstration in the U.S. Attorney scandal that is plaguing our nation. The Department of Justice and consequently the White House continues to boast that the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys was perfectly justifiable because they serve at the 'pleasure of the President.'

The only problem with that statement is in how they were removed. Most people know by now that these attorneys were looking into cases of corruption perpetrated by Republicans in office or not looking at certain Democrats that Republicans like Pete Domenici and Heather Wilson slyly asked U.S. Atty David Iglesias about.

A New York Times editorial looks into the matter:

The Bush administration has done a terrible job of explaining its decision to fire eight United States attorneys. Story after story has proved to be untrue: that the prosecutors who were fired were poor performers; that the White House was not involved in the purge. But the administration has been strangely successful in pushing its message that the scandal is at worst a political misdeed, not a criminal matter.

It is true, as the White House keeps saying, that United States attorneys serve “at the pleasure of the president,” which means he can dismiss them whenever he wants. But if the attorneys were fired to interfere with a valid prosecution, or to punish them for not misusing their offices, that may well have been illegal.

In law schools, it is common to give an exam called the “issue spotter,” in which students are given a set of facts and asked to identify all the legal issues and possible crimes. The facts about the purge are still emerging. But based on what is known — and with some help from Congressional staff members and Stephen Gillers, a law professor at New York University — it was not hard to spot that White House and Justice Department officials, and members of Congress, may have violated 18 U.S.C. §§ 1501-1520, the federal obstruction of justice statute.

As we continue to hear snippets of information about the scandal, it seems that as more details come out, the evidence becomes increasingly damning against the DoJ and their superiors in the White House. Ultimately, we should not only call for the impeachment of Alberto Gonzales, but for the heads of all the perpetrators inside and out of the White House who tried to stop justice from coming to their 'friends.'

Hannity's House Of Insanity

When trying to increase the volume of the Right Wing Echo Chamber, Sean Hannity has some serious trouble keeping the message straight when others disagree with him, like his Ret. Colonel and Democratic Congressman that were guests on the show:

Shame On Katie Couric

As everyone knows now, Elizabeth Edwards is suffering from incurable cancer. The breast cancer has spread to her bones and treatment can only slow the process of the disease. Hopefully western medicine can give her a long life but to Elizabeth, every moment counts and she shows it in her personality. She wants her husband to run for office and is committed to the big picture. She is truly a remarkable lady.

However some people do not see it that way. Republicans and their mouthpieces like Rush Limbaugh decry them for continuing in the race. It is not surprising to hear disgraces like Limbaugh to talk trash about the Edwards' family, but for a mainstream media host to parrot his attacks is horrendous. That is exactly what Katie Couric did in her interview of John and Elizabeth Edwards.

From Crooks and Liars:

Katie Couric: Your decision to stay in this race has been analyzed, and quite frankly judged by a lot of people. And some say, what you're doing is courageous, others say it's callous. Some say, "Isn't it wonderful they care for something greater than themselves?" And others say, "It's a case of insatiable ambition." You say?

Katie Couric: Some people watching this would say, "I would put my family first always, and my job second." And you're doing the exact opposite. You're putting your work first, and your family second.

You can find the full transcript and video here. The Edwards' took her 'concern troll' attacks with an honorable approach. Elizabeth seemed horrified at one question but handled themselves very nicely despite her veiled attacks. Couric isn't fooling me, and her fake concern for the Edwards family shouldn't trick anyone else either.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Republicans Run From Gonzales...Will Bush Follow Suit?

The U.S. Attorney scandal is the story that won't die, yet Gonzales is still in office. Bush continues to support his crooked Attorney General as the calls for his departure increase. Over the last week Republicans have increasingly joined their Democratic counterparts in advocating for his removal. Apparently George hasn't gotten the message so far. Nevertheless, that message continueto be jammed down the White House's throat.

From the Associated Press:

Specter, R-Pa., said he would wait until Gonzales' scheduled April 17 testimony to the committee on the dismissals before deciding whether he could continue to support the attorney general. He called it a "make or break" appearance.

To Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., Gonzales "does have a credibility problem. ... We govern with one currency, and that's trust. And that trust is all important. And when you lose or debase that currency, then you can't govern. And I think he's going to have some difficulties."

Hagel cited changing stories from the Justice Department about the circumstances for firing the eight U.S. attorneys. "I don't know if he got bad advice or if he was not involved in the day-to-day management. I don't know what the problem is, but he's got a problem. You cannot have the nation's chief law enforcement officer with a cloud hanging over his credibility," Hagel said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Gonzales has been "wounded" by the firings. `He has said some things that just don't add up," said Graham, who is on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

It is always hard for Republicans to change their views, especially when a decision can hurt their beloved Bush Adminstration. They are naturally opposed to change, it is the essential definition of 'conservative' in the political sense of the word. However when the political climate is a volitaile over the issue as it is now, Bush and especially Alberto Gonzales will continue to lose their friends in support of keeping the Attorney General on board, loyalty or no loyalty.

Images From Tel Aviv

Though I only got to spend a few days in Tel Aviv (as compared to the week I was there last year) it was still fun exploring this vibrant and cosmpolitan city. A few recommendations: See Jaffa for the history and the flea market (plus Aladin's for great food and an incredible view: see below), spend time at the beach and at one of the cafes in the sand, shop at Shuk Ha Carmel for incredible deals, visit the Tel Aviv port and the Azrieli Center to get the increasingly Western feel of the city and definitely do not miss Bruno's on the 3rd floor of the Azrieli Center, the food is amazing.

Looking north up Hayarkon St.

To the harbor, Jaffa or the beach?

The view from Aladin's Restaurant

Old and new

The clock tower in Jaffa

Sunday Funnies

Nazi Name Games

One of the most atrocious political leaders in recent times was Adolf Hitler. Stalin, Pol Pot and others are on the list. Yet Hitler is the most notorious for World War II and the holocaust of the Jews. Although that terrible time ended more than 60 years ago, people still evoke his name in the divisive political climate of today.

Dick Durbin was excoriated two years ago for comparing Guantanamo Bay to the camps of Hitler and Stalin by the Right Wing Noise Machine. The wingnuts made the statements into a huge deal, ultimately (and sadly) forcing the senior Illinois Senator to apologize for calling American torture policy into question. However when one of their own does it such as the notorious Tom Delay, the statements are quickly swept under the rug.

In this case the comparison is much more direct. In Tom's latest book, he compares the 'lies' of Democrats to the lies the Nazis perpetrated against the Jews. Of course Tom has yet to be acquitted by a jury other than his dwindling supply of sycophants. Nevertheless, he continues to open that ugly mouth of his.

From The Jewish Daily Forward:

Tom Delay is on a book tour — which explains why he stopped by the Forward offices Tuesday for a chat. More on that later.

The book, “No Retreat, No Surrender,” has generated a bunch of press, but it’s clear that Jewish Democratic activists haven’t read it. Or else they would have jumped all over this graff…

“I believe it was Adolf Hitler who first acknowledged that the big lie is more effective than the little lie, because the big lie is so audacious, such an astonishing immorality, that people have a hard time believing anyone would say it if it wasn’t true. You know, the big lie — like the Holocaust never happened or dark-skinned people are less intelligent than light-skinned people. Well, by charging this big lie” — that DeLay violated campaign-finance laws in Texas — “liberals have finally joined the ranks of scoundrels like Hitler.”

Shame on Tom for even trying to insinuate that Democrats are like Hitler. Adolf was a fascist of the worst kind that spread hateful messages about the Jews and other minorities in German society. Those messages of the 1920s and 30s turned into one of the worst human tragedies of the 20th century. That hate wiped out half of my own family in Germany, Poland and Hungary. The holocaust is serious business in my family and many others that have had their families brutally massacred by the Nazis. For anyone to give that man a single shred of credibility when it comes to deciding who tells the truth or not is simply insane.

The Spies Among Us

More bad news continues to roll out about the NYPD's role in during the GOP Convention in 2004. Now it seems that they went around the U.S., Canada and Europe to conduct surveillance on protestors before they even got to New York. With the intention of stopping groups 'intent on creating havoc' the NYPD infiltrated anti-war organizations and all things anti-Bush and wound up taking down the views of various groups instead. As Big Tent Dem at TalkLeft said, that is how a police state operates.

From the NY Times:

The operation was mounted in 2003 after the Police Department, invoking the fresh horrors of the World Trade Center attack and the prospect of future terrorism, won greater authority from a federal judge to investigate political organizations for criminal activity.

To date, as the boundaries of the department’s expanded powers continue to be debated, police officials have provided only glimpses of its intelligence-gathering.

Now, the broad outlines of the pre-convention operations are emerging from records in federal lawsuits that were brought over mass arrests made during the convention, and in greater detail from still-secret reports reviewed by The New York Times. These include a sample of raw intelligence documents and of summary digests of observations from both the field and the department’s cyberintelligence unit.

This 'intelligence' gathered was a waste of time in looking for actual terrorism. Worse than that, it is an abuse of the American justice system that is supposed to preserve the ideals of what the United States was founded on and not to create a police state. The NYPD seems to lean towards the police state option without regard for the bill of rights and American freedoms in general.

The powers that were afforded to the NYPD are now in review and in the process of being thrown out. Of course Bloomberg's NYC is trying their best to keep their oppressive powers of surveillance despite recent rulings against them. Eventually it will be up to the Supreme Court to make the ultimate decision. I pray that they find for America and not the NYPD.

Bill Maher Defines Patriots And Traitors

The definition is right on in this week's installment of 'New Rules':