This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Wednesday, February 28, 2006


A Bush Quote in the Lead


"I don't buy your premise that there's going to be a civil war."
-"G"lobal "W"arming Bush to ABC News


Psst, President Bush. In case you haven't noticed, there were over 1,300 Iraqi civilians killed in "civil violence" this weekend in Baghdad. Sunnis are killing Shi'ites and Shi'ite death squads are rounding up members of the Sunni minority and making them disappear. American soldiers are being targeted and Iraqi battalions have been downgraded to a not ready state.


Just what is your definition of a Civil War, Mr. Bush?


-Noah Greenberg


"He got his last check from us a long time ago,"
-Kevin V. Schieffer, Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad president and former senate staff member, referring to Senator John Thune (R-SD) and his former ties to the railroad as a lobbyist

Just in case you didn't remember, Sen. Thune is the guy who beat former Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD) in 2004. Thune had become wealthy after leaving congress (as a house member from South Dakota) by LOBBYING for only four companies, all based in "The Mount Rushmore State" (yep, that's really its official nickname). They call this the "reverse revolving door", when an official comes from the LOBBYING industry into an elected seat. In Thune's case, it's a "revolving-reverse-revolving door".

In case you were wondering, Vice President Dick "Go <F---> Yourself" Cheney also went through these "revolving-reverse-revolving doors" throughout his career. In fact, Cheney (The Rifleman) has gone through these doors so many times that he suffers dizzy spells from it that cause him to confuse his friends with a quail!

However, in defense of Sen. Thune, he is not receiving any more money from the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad any longer. Dick Cheney is still receiving "residuals" from Halliburton. But like Cheney, Thune is throwing money at his old client in the form of a $2.5 billion, US Taxpayer-financed loan.

By the way, Thune earned $220,000 from the railroad in 2003 and 2004. A mere pittance in Cheney dollars, I must admit.

Thune actually wrote (or had written for him) language into last year's transportation bill that allowed for the loans to small railroads, like the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern.

Talk about coincidences!

"This makes some of the Jack Abramoff deals look like penny ante. It's the most despicable special-interest deal I've ever seen in all my 30 years in government."
-Senator Mark Dayton (D-MN)

Nonsense, Senator Dayton. The Bush administration gets more despicable each and every day. Remember, it costs almost $7 billion per month to keep our troops in harm's way while Cheney's Halliburton, among other big "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party contributors, are raking in the blood money.

"I don't apologize, and never will,"
-Thune, regarding his shady deals

With statements such as those, some people say that John Thune should run for president!

Federal law prohibits elected officials and senior aides from lobbying their former colleagues for one-year after leaving congress, but it doesn't prohibit them from working for, or forming new lobbying firms. And, after all, aren't rules made to be broken?

But in Mr. Thune's case, he went the "other way" (not to be confused with gay rights). Thune went from being a lobbyist to being a senator. I wonder how much Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad, and their officers contributed to the Thune for Senate campaign?

The bottom line is this: Even if nothing illegal was done, this smells, plain and simple. Ask yourself this question: If John Thune were to lose his senate seat in 2010, where do you think he would go to continue his fortune?

Working as a US congress member or senator should not be a license to print money. Serving your country as an elected official, or a senior staffer to an elected official should be more of a sacrifice than a windfall. NO MORE LOBBYISTS. NO MORE LEGALIZED BRIBERY. Let's make 'em honest.

-Noah Greenberg

The Coast Guard Cutter Cuts Quick

"The breadth of the intelligence gaps also infer potential unknown threats against a large number of potential vulnerabilities,"
The US Coast Guard, regarding the possible purchase by Dubai World Ports of 21 US strategic ports

So much for the "no major objections" argument that the Bush administration tried to get by the American people earlier.

"How, given the red flag questions that the Coast Guard raised, very serious questions about operations, personnel and foreign influence, how could there not have been the 45-day investigation that's clearly required by law?"
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), chairwoman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee

Simple answer to that one, Sen. Collins. This administration displays a hubris not seen in this country since the days of Richard Millhouse Nixon. Sure, other president have tried to get away with some., shall we call them, "shenanigans", like Ronald Reagan's Iran-Contra affair, but none have tried t pull the wool over the eyes of congress, the press and the American people quite so frequently and with intent as the Bushies. Not only does this administration feel that they are above the law, they feel that our laws are unnecessary. Our Constitution has become a simple impediment to their goals. The problem is, the goals that they have aren't shared by the people of America.

And selling our ports, for their own profitable needs, to a nation with ties to the enemy is, obviously, one of their goals.

"We negotiated unprecedented assurances from these two companies with respect to their security practices, assurances that I think addressed the question of what are their operations,"
-Stewart Baker, a Department of Homeland Security assistant secretary for policy

What Assistant Secretary Baker fails to mention in his statement is that this "company", Dubai World Ports is owned and operated by a government, nit by a private company. In contrast to what he thinks, when a United Kingdom company is given the job of running our nation's strategic ports, and there is a change in the UK government, there would probably be no difference in how they run the ports. If there is ever a change in the government in the UAE, you can bet that it's going to bring an upheaval to the stability of the corporate interests of the UAE, and instability is the scourge of security.

And, as reluctantly admitted to today by a spokesman for Dubai World Ports, entirely owned by the United Arab Emirates, the UAE refuses to recognize Israel.

Somebody please tell me just why is it that the wealthiest nation in the world (that would be us) can't own and operate its own strategic ports? Were we absent from port-management class that day?

Senate majority leader, and presidential wanna-be, Bill Frist (R-TN) now says that all is needed is a 45-day review before his senate will allow the sale of America's strategic ports to the UAE . Let me put this as plain and simple as possible (in case there is anyone reading who is still a Bush supporter - small, simple words): Bill Frist is a punk. The congress and senate must pass a bill that will deny the transfer of our safety to a pro-Taliban, anti-Israel nation (or is it nations?) like the United Arab Emirates. And when (or is it "if"?) President "G"lobal "W"arming Bush decides to make his first and only veto a stupid one, the congress and senate will be able to show their mettle and override his traitorous actions.

-Noah Greenberg

Dubai Ports World Boycotts Israel

"The parent company of a Dubai-based firm at the center of a political storm in the US over the purchase of American ports participates in the Arab boycott against Israel, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The Jerusalem Post notes that “US law bars firms from complying with such requests or cooperating with attempts by Arab governments to boycott Israel.” Once upon a time, opposing such boycotts was important to the Bush Administration. From the BBC, 5/11/02:

"'The US government is strongly opposed to restrictive trade practices or boycotts targeted at Israel,'
"'The Commerce Department is closely monitoring efforts that appear to be made to reinvigorate the Arab boycott of Israel and will use all of its resources to vigorously enforce US anti-boycott regulations.'

-Undersecretary of Commerce for Industry and Security Kenneth Juster

"…The Department of Commerce has issued more than $26m in fines and turned down export licenses to those found violating the law.

"The boycott against Israel is an important distinction between P&O, the British company that currently operates 21 U.S. ports, and Dubai Ports World."
-Forwarded from the Jerusalem Post

This should put an end to rants by the conspiracy theorists who assert that the Bush administration does everything for Israel (no so we've noticed), including invading Iraq. The reality is, as Michael Moore explored so definitively in "Fahrenheit 9/11", the Bush Family is now and always has been in the pockets of corporate Arab nations. Like Saudi Arabia, Egypt. and now, Dubai/ UAE.

-Reported and commented by Victoria Brownworth, with info from Judd


Okay, so my 13-year-old son, Jason, is turning into a little head-banger. He even watches "head-Banger's Ball"! But he is smart and observant enough to listen to the meaning of the lyrics in the songs he has blaring from his IPOD headphones (don't worry, Jason uses the safer, over-the-ear headphones). He asked me to share these lyrics with you all:

"Sacred Lie"

My conviction is stronger today
As I fight to uncover your sacred lie
And the fear isn't going away
As the soldiers still die
Let your followers know their lives have been sold
For the good of your sacred lie
For the truth to be told
And the plan to unfold
We must start asking why

Don't you know the war is far from over now
What a stumbling block we've fallen over now
As our brothers die defending no one
The war is far from over now

Liberation, a moral charade
For the cause is a part of your sacred lie
Damnation a moment away in all the world's eyes
It's the doom of us all
We give in to control for the sake of your sacred lie
Complications abound
You'll get used to the sound of alarms in your life

Don't you know the war is far from over now
What a stumbling block we've fallen over now
As our brothers die defending no one
The war is far from over now

Give us a moment of peace in our lifetime [x7]
Give us a moment of peace right now

Don't you know the war is far from over now
What a stumbling block we've fallen over now
As our brothers die defending no one
The war is far from over now

-Forwarded by Jason Greenberg



The latest CBS News poll finds President Bush's approval rating has fallen to an all-time low of 34 percent, while pessimism about the Iraq war has risen to a new high.

Americans are also overwhelmingly opposed to the Bush-backed deal giving a Dubai-owned company operational control over six major U.S. ports (now 21 -NG). Seven in 10 Americans, including 58 percent of Republicans, say they're opposed to the agreement [...] For the first time in this poll, most Americans say the president does not care much about people like themselves. Fifty-one percent now think he doesn't care, compared to 47 percent last fall.

Just 30 percent approve of how Mr. Bush is handling the Iraq war, another all-time low.

By two to one, the poll finds Americans think U.S. efforts to bring stability to Iraq are going badly - the worst assessment yet of progress in Iraq .

Even on fighting terrorism, which has long been a strong suit for Mr. Bush, his ratings dropped lower than ever. Half of Americans say they disapprove of how he's handling the war on terror, while 43 percent approve.

-From Daily Kos, as forwarded by Robert Scardapane

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) Reports On GOP Corruption

Some results of Republican corrupt policies are as follows:
. Medicare Prescription Drug Bill
. Energy policy that doesn't reduce dependency on foreign bill and gives billions of
taxpayer dollars to oil & gas companies.
. Polluters re-write the environmental laws.
. Nation is still vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
. Government run by political hacks.
. Fat cats get their defense contracts while soldiers don't get their body armor.
. Drug companies get off the hook if they injure
. Corporate profits up,
American family income down.
Student loan debt up while loan industry makes record profits.

A person once asked me if I am arguing for communism. I reject that as a false choice. There is nothing wrong with capitalism when it is kept under control - meaning regulation. There is something very wrong with the Bush's cowboy capitalism. The preceding list is not only a matter of government corruption but is indeed the corruption of our economic system to benefit the well connected. In this economic environment, it's hardly surprising that American citizens on average have lost 6% in income over the past four years.

-Robert Scardapane

The Last Word

The is the final word regarding Rhian's "For Misinformed Americans". Although more was sent, I decided to go with this as the finale:

It is absolutely stunning that American women, will support and vouch for Muslims.

I don't know if they think they are immune to the suppression of their rights, by men of Islam or that burkhas don't exist, or that they marry up to four wives or what.

I will NEVER support or vouch for anyone who engages in something they call a religion where there is no worship. I will NEVER support or vouch for anyone who engages in limiting the rights of women with tenets of a so-called religion that includes, FGM,

hooding (as in burkha), restriction of movement by women without male escort, no equality before the law, the practice of stoning, beheading, and acting out with violence when countered in any of their practices.

Further, anyone who is entrapped in such an institution, should know they can be free, should be free, and know who WILL support and vouch for their freedom should they decide to exercise that.

Yes, I am stunned that American women, after sufferage, after prohibition, after all the battles to earn all the rights they have, will still, with their patronage, support the suppression of the women in Islam, by the men of Islam, with positive acceptance of Islam within our society.


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-Noah Greenberg