Friday-Sunday, January 6-8, 2006
Quoting Bremmer in the Lead
“You know I'm not sure that we really have a strategy for winning this war.”
-L. Paul Bremmer, former administrative head of Iraq, to Vice President Dick "Go <F---> Yourself" Cheney, as told to NBC's Brian Williams on Dateline NBC, January 8, 2005
“Well, I have similar concerns."
-Cheney, to Bremmer, in response
WHAT?! That doesn't sound like the Dick Cheney we all know, now does it?
And then, this exchange:
BREMMER: I raised my concerns about the numbers and quality of these forces – really, right from the beginning.
WILLIAMS: With whom?
BREMMER: Well, with the president, with Secretary Rumsfeld, with senior military leaders. There was a tendency by people in the Pentagon to exaggerate the capability of the Iraqi forces. And I felt that it was not likely that we would have professionally-trained Iraqi forces able to allow us to withdraw American troops in the spring of 2004.
BREMMER: And I said to the President, "I think you need to look very closely at that.”
WILLIAMS: And what was his reply when you shared with him your view that force protection wasn’t up to estimates?
BREMMER: You know the president’s style—his style is to guard his counsel.
WILLIAMS: Was he getting bad advice during this time in your view?
BREMMER: Well, I don’t know what advice. You know, I was only one of a number of advisers.
So, it appears that the president's answer was "Duh."
Bremmer also raised the issues with then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. She was, similarly unresponsive.
WILLIAMS: Are you convinced when you go to sleep at night, that on areas like the size of the force, that you did everything you could? Some will read this book and say “Why didn’t he shout it from the mountain tops if he believed in it?”
BREMMER: I believe I did everything I could. My view is in government, you have an obligation to tell the president what you think. You should do that in private through appropriate channels, as I tried to do. The president, in the end, is responsible for making decisions. That’s what he gets that fancy salary for and that big white house.
I wish Bush were back in Crawford clearing brush.
DeLay's Last Quotes as "The Whip"
"During my time in Congress, I have always acted in an ethical manner within the rules of our body and the laws of our
"I cannot allow our adversaries to divide and distract our attention."
-DeLay, in a letter to Republican colleagues
I wonder just what the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party definition of "ethical" is nowadays?
"I plan to run a very vigorous campaign and I plan to win it,"
-DeLay, on seeking re-election
Maybe Delay and Duke Cunningham (former representative from California who just resigned in disgrace) ought to run for President and Vice President in 2008. They can call themselves "Thief and Dumber".
"With the permanence of their special interest philosophy, a change in the Republican cast of characters simply doesn't matter."
-Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL)
Rep. Emanuel is right. These guys are just the tip of the corrupt "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party. Their philosophy is simple: What's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine, too.
Three of DeLay's "former senior staff members have admitted or have been implicated in corrupt and illegal activities to get money for themselves by influencing legislation. Whether or not Mr. DeLay was involved himself or knew this was going on, he is responsible for his office."
-Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM)
Rep. Wilson is one of the Republican rats who are abandoning the "Bad Ship Tom DeLay".
Rep. Wilson doesn't get it entirely. She and the other leaders of the majority party have a lot of explaining to do. They need to answer to the American people and they need to make amends.
And then they need to leave Washington with their tails between their legs.
Spy-Gate and the Supreme Court
If any of you were wondering why Bush didn't choose the obvious choice for the Supreme Court, let me put a stop to your bewilderment.
Everybody on the planet who knew the name of former White House counsel and current attorney general Alberto Gonzales expected that the Hispanic lawyer from Texas, "G"lobal "W"arming Bush's buddy (I bet you GW calls Gonzales "Berto-Boy", or something like that) was to be given the nomination as this nation's newest Supreme Court justice, over the likes of Samuel Alito, Harriet Miers and even John Roberts. So, as "Berto-Boy" must have wondered himself, "Que Paso?"
To put it in a nutshell, GW knew a year ago that the New York Times had the "Spy-Gate" story. He also knew that Alberto Gonzales was mentioned prominently in it and there would be questions that we all would want answered by the then White House Counsel, given the chance.
What better chance would there have been than to question a Supreme Court nominee, who wants the best lifetime appointment in the world, than to do so before a Senate Inquiry? Imagine the questions that would have arose?
The New York Times, at the Bush White House's request, held the story (which, of course, would have given the 2004 presidential election to John Kerry) for over a year before showing a little backbone and finally printing it. Imagine if the name Gonzales came across their desk as the Supreme Court nominee. The article would have been published, and like now, the people of the United States, still fed up with a bad war, torture, high gas prices and their shrinking dollar, would have wanted to know why the guy who said it was "okay" to torture also said it would be "okay" to "spy" on American Citizens at the president's will.
This would have been a media circus and might have even brought the Main Stream Media in from its hiatus in the theme park known as Bush-and-Cheney-Land. Believe me, I don't relish a Supreme Court with Chief Justice Alberto Gonzales at the helm (if the Times article wasn't on the back-burner, you could bet your bottom dollar that "Berto-Boy" would have been nominated as Chief Justice before John Roberts was even a thought).
Personally, I wish that Gonzales was the highest court in the land nominee. It would have opened up the government of "G"lobal "W"arming Bush and Dick "Go <F---> Yourself" Cheney to public scrutiny, as it should be. It would have made much more transparent an opaque administration which survives of lies, division and an overall feeling of hostility toward the American middle class.
I'd also like to know the names of the Constitutional Attorneys that Bush employed when he stated that he was advised by the nation's best legal minds. Let's put them on the hot seat, too.
More "Fuzzy Math"
For the month of November, the jobless rate fell to 4.9 percent, a number that all of the Bushies will be touting on all of the new programs this weekend. The that "other number" came out. The economy only created 108,000 jobs over the same period. That is a number that doesn't even come close to keeping up with population growth, not to mention immigration. So what's going on here?
The answer is simple and tragic all at once. As we all know, when people are no longer eligible to collect unemployment insurance benefits, they fall off the unemployment register. In other words, they cease to exist as an out of work employee. 4 million more people recently have lost their health insurance, and since employers are the main supplier of health care insurance, we can pretty much figure out that one of two things happened: Either these people lost their jobs or they've taken one of those "new American jobs" that offer less pay, little or no benefits and no health care insurance. Because wages have not gone up to keep up with inflation and "disposable income" is at a flat rate of zero for the average American, we can deduce that both of these scenarios are sadly correct.
Using the Bush logic, and taking their numbers to extremes, if the Bushies were to lessen the amount of weeks someone was to collect unemployment benefits (something that is controlled by the states, thankfully), say from 26 weeks to 20 weeks, the unemployment figures would fall even more. The rate would be somewhere between 4 and 4.5 percent (that number is just a guess on my part). The Bushies would be all over Meet the Press (NBC), This Week (ABC) and my favorite Face the Nation (CBS) touting that their economic plans are "working" and to "stay the course". (I wrote this prior to Sunday.)
So if the Bushies were to stop all unemployment benefits altogether, then the jobless rate would be at a steady zero! No matter who lost their job, everybody would be employed, and they would mean it too. That IS the Bush Logic at work. That same logic let's the Bushies say that "everyone who wants a job has a job". The thought process dictates that there are jobs for everyone. So when an information technology manager at a large corporation loses his job, there is a minimum wage job right around the corner fro him to take. Thus, if he doesn't take that job, he must not want to work.
Kind of makes you open your eyes, doesn't it?
In the view of the GW Bush and his cohorts, the economy is booming. Unfortunately, it is only booming for the very few ultra-rich elitist "Buddies-of-Bush" (Let's start calling them "BoB"). "BoB", is the owner of great stock in global corporations; "BoB"" has health care for his family, but has none or very little for his employees; and now "BoB" is reaping the great reward of an increase in productivity. That means that "BoB's" workers are working longer hours for less money. The best figure available to demonstrate this middle-class-hating fact is this: While the average American Worker is working an additional 200 hours per year, his (or her) salary, in real wages has gone down. In fact, he (or she) is earning less now (in adjusted dollars) than they were earning in the early 1970's!
All one has to do is view the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics to find out the real story. Just in the third quarter of 2005 alone, manufacturing here in the USA has gone up 3.4 percent (in the first and second quarters, the rate of manufacturing went up 4.9 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively). All of this was happening as the unit labor costs went down 0.3 percent and "Real Hourly Compensation" dropped 1.9 percent. More money "BoB", less money and time spent with our families for US.
We are a country of hard-working people. When is it our turn to enjoy life a little?
Why did "You Don't Know" Jack Abramoff choose the native American for his fraud? He just went where the money is. It's not like he had respect for them or anything:
-Abramoff in emails describing his "clients"
It's good to have a healthy respect for your clients. Too bad the only thing that Abramoff, Michael Scanlon and Adam Kidan have is a healthy respect for the dollar.
"Abramoff and his partner are the contemporary faces of the exploitation of native peoples. In the 17th and 18th century, native people were exploited for their land. In 2005, they're being exploited for their wealth."
-David Sickey, a member of the tribal council
Now let's put this in perspective just a bit. The Coushatta Tribe, and others gave money to a deceitful lobbyist (Is that redundant?) who promised them the world and gave them only promises. First thing that comes to mind is "Fool me once, shame on you - Fool me twice, shame on me", or as "G"lobal "W"arming Bush put it, "Fool me once, shame on you - Fool me twice... we won't get fooled again" (obviously GW is a fan of the Who - After all, he is the "deaf, dumb and blind kid").
"It's like the old days -- they're still robbing us blind,"
-Curtis Sylestine, a tribe member who works for the reservation's maintenance operations
The goals that the tribe had in mind were not all altruistic, however. The money provided to Abramoff was a sort of "introduction fee" to the new three-house majority (Executive, Senate and House of Representatives), the Republican party (or as we like to call them, the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party). Whereas the tribe was greasing the palms of the Democrats in Washington previously to their commencement of business with Abramoff, their goal of keeping another native American group, Jena Band of Choctaws, from opening a casino was not gained until Abramoff's involvement.
Abramoff, had no problem exploiting the two groups, and in his "Quest for a buck), he recruited members of congress, the Senate and Christian religious leaders. Cash recipients from the Religious Right included the likes of James Dobson and Ralph Reed, who were bought to mobilize their Crusaders on Abramoff's and Scanlon's behalf.
From those profits, The Coushatta Tribe distributed funds to its members to the modest tunes of $30,000 to $40,000 annually. Just as a reminder, the average family income in the United States as of the 2000 census was a mere $43,000 per family.
"We want justice, and we want our money back,"
-Kirk Langley, a tribe member who works at a millwork shop
You're going to get justice, but your money is probably history, Kirk.
More Abramoff "Spin"
"PRESIDENT George Bush will give up $US6000 ($A8000) in campaign contributions connected to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, joining an expansive list of politicians who have shed more than half a million dollars in tainted cash.
"The gesture was criticised by the campaign watchdog group Public Citizen, which called for an accounting of all the money Abramoff raised for the campaign. "President Bush needs to . reveal just how much money Abramoff raised for him and who that money came from," said Frank Clemente, a director of Public Citizen."
-From Australian news www.theage.au:
Look for the Republicans to say that Democrats are involved too. The truth is that a small number of Democrats received money from Abramoff associated groups but never directly from Abramoff. There is absolutely no prove that
Democrats did favors for Abramoff.. Do not let Republicans get away with saying that both parties were equally corrupted by Abramoff.
Holy Toledo Ohio! I
read this and nearly fell out of my chair. John
Conyers (D-MI) raises the concern that
Bush may have been wiretapping the Kerry for
The latest incidence of the Bush Administration's abuse of power underscores why we must unite to take strong action now. Late last night we learned that NBC is investigating reports that the National Security Agency (NSA) conducted wiretaps of CNN reporter, Christiane Amanpour. While it is very troubling that the NSA would be targeting journalists to uncover terrorist plots, what is especially disconcerting is that Ms. Amanpour's husband served as a senior advisor to the John Kerry presidential campaign and would have been using the same phone that the Agency is alleged to have been wiretapping. The overreach of the NSA in conducting warrantless wiretaps is astounding in its audacity and I have demanded the White House disclose to Congress whether, and to what extent, journalists have been under surveillance and report on additional elements of this program. 21 other Members of Congress joined me in this request, a copy of which may be found on RawStory.com.
I realize this is hardly prove but it demonstrates how easily wiretapping can be used as a political weapon. This is why Bush can not be allowed to have the power to wiretap without a court knowing the details.
In response to Pat Robertson's remarks about God punishing 77-year-old Ariel Sharon, Billie M. Spaight writes:
Nice to see that there is are still people with progressive views who are not anti-Israel. We are few and far between and I sometimes have problems with my dearest friends because I tend to be more pro-Israel. Re Pat Robertson's comment about God punishing those who cede land to the PLO I have a couple of things to say.
1. Robertson is not a Pagan. Pagans aren't even interested or involved in this struggle. Nor are Pagans necessarily bad people any more than agnostics or atheists. It's the Satanists that are a real problem.
2. There IS definitely something very spooky going on with regard to attempting peace with the PLO. I don't think we can be sure why this is happening but it seems that when some point of agreement is reached the Israeli involved either gets killed or sick. It may be the Devil or it may be God but it seems to me that there is some Force at work. Rather than thinking in terms of punishment, perhaps it would be more productive to think in terms of being sent off the path by that Force to find another path to peace. Perhaps these spooky events are more in the nature of a warning that chopping off parts of Israel is destructive to its "body," which is symbolized by its Prime Minister (Rabin, Sharon, etc.). (As above, so below.) It's just a theory though--not a hardwired opinion.......just an idea for thought.
I personally don't think one single solitary inch of land should be ceded from Israel because it is such a tiny country surrounded by such large Arab countries. I would like to see the Palestinians have a homeland, but I want the Arabs to donate the land. And I want Israel to remain intact and prosper. And I guess this opinion puts me out of synch with virtually everybody!
And Robert Scardapane forwards Sen. John Kerry's comments:
Senator John Kerry (D-MA) called for an apology from Rev. Pat Robertson for comments that suggested Sharon's stroke was a punishment from God.
"It is beyond shocking to think that as Prime Minister Sharon fights for his life, Pat Robertson would attack his character and disparage the risks Ariel Sharon took to bring peace and security to Israel," the Massachusetts Democrat said in a statement this morning.
"At a time like this, you'd expect bigoted tin-horn dictators and petty thugs like President Ahmadinejad of Iran to attack Sharon, but no American who claims to be a leader should stoop so low," he added. "Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised to hear such venom from someone who claimed Hurricane Katrina was punishment for the people of New Orleans."
In response to "Unfortunately good voucher programs, like the charter schools program, who educate some 82,000 children and a disabled children program, which educates about 16,000 students will also be affected., Robert Scardapane writes:
I am dubious that there are good voucher programs. Not too long ago, some Charter schools were caught shipping the kids off to work! That's right instead of being educated the children were doing labor. I am glad that at least one of Jeb's crazy schemes was defeated. By the way, I think that people in Florida are pretty much sick of Jeb. No one will be all that sad when he steps down.
In response to "Abramoff is going to jail while he is naming names. The number of elected officials that could join him are measured in the dozens", Robert Scardapane writes:
Josh Marshall of the Talking Points blog puts it at more than sixty. I think we need a scorecard ... What's really interesting is the secondary damage - media hot shots such as Chris Matthews that are indirectly associated with the Abramoff money machine. I think we will be hearing more than we can stand in the says to come.-
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