The Fifth Horseman: July 2005

Sunday, July 31, 2005

 

A blast from the past....

It's been my experience that the Most-Searched list at technorati.com serves as a pretty good gauge of what the masses are thinking about. So, let's get inside the heads of the bloggers, and see what all the buzz is about today. We'll do this by examining the top ten most popular searches:


1. “Henry Moore”
2. Emily Bronte
3. “Baptist World Alliance”
4. “Benedicto Xvi”
5. “Leo Prieto”
6. “Karl Rove”
7. China
8. Gay
9. Ipod
10. Vista

Interesting searches. Of course Moore and Bronte are at the top, today being their birthday. I've been focusing a lot lately on Karl Rove, now #6, who has rarely left the top ten list for more than a couple hours since the news of his crooked dealings broke a couple weeks ago.

But you know what I don't see on the search list? "Social Security".

I have heard almost no coverage of Bush's proposed Social Security reforms for at least a month.

Now there are several possible reasons for this...

The first reason is that the administration, finally realizing how unpopular the proposed reforms are, decided to quietly stop pressing the public about Social Security. However, even this is somewhat worrisome to me. Either the Bush administration has truly given up (highly unlikely), or they are biding their time and waiting for public uproar to die down, in the hopes of quietly passing the reforms behind everyone's back. That seems like the most likely option.

In fact, this is one instance in which the Karl Rove scandal may actually be doing the Bush administration some good. Don't get me wrong: I don't want coverage of Karl Rove's crooked antics to stop. Quite the opposite: I want the media to hound the bastard into early retirement. Still, I am worried that the sheer volume of coverage of the Karl Rove scandal has drawn the heat off of some of the administration's other dirty deeds.

For example: when was the last time you heard the words "Downing Street Memo", or "Social Security", or "Stem Cell Research"? These topics have been getting some coverage, but not nearly as much as they deserve. Perhaps worst of all is the passing of Bush's CAFTA bill. While bloggers, including myself, ranted and raved about Rove, Congress quietly passed a bill that could lead to the exploitation of workers abroad and the loss of jobs at home. That's bad news.

So, keep the pressure on Karl Rove, the bastard deserves whatever he gets. But don't get tunnel vision: it's dangerous to focus too much on a single issue, such as the Rove scandal.

Why? I'll tell you why.

Because, with the Bush administration, there is never only one scandal. The collective crookedness of the Bush White House is staggering in its scope and depth. We have to focus on Karl Rove, but not Rove alone. There are plenty of already exposed outrages that haven't gotten the coverage they deserve (WMD's, Downing Street Memo, CAFTA, and many more), and there are likely dozens of outrages and immoral doings the public doesn't even know about yet. This administration is a hotbed of criminal iniquity and greed: let's give it the media coverage it so richly deserves.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

 

At last!!

Wow. Lately, I've been able to watch the news without getting depressed.

Why? I'll tell you why.

The American public finally seems to be wising up to George W. Bush.

Between the quagmire in Iraq, the failing "war on terror", and Karl Rove's immoral antics at home, the American public is swiftly losing faith with the Bush administration.

In fact, Bush's current approval ratings are at their lowest level since the 9/11 attacks.

A Quinnipiac University Poll, taken July 21-25, shows Bush's approval rating to be at a mere 41%.

41%??

That can't be right. I thought Dubya had a mandate, right?

Hmmmmm...something's fishy here.

HA! I love it when things go wrong for Dubya. I'm giddy as a school girl.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

 

Looking beyond Rove

Let's talk about lies. That's right: lies.

By this point I (and every other blogger, for that matter), have talked the Karl Rove scandal to death. So today, I'm going to go beyond Karl Rove and talk about the real scandal. The scandal that actually caused the Karl Rove scandal.

What scandal am I talking about?

The Iraq War Specifically, the lies that lead this nation into the Iraq war.

Reuters released a very telling poll this morning (http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N27209648.htm). The poll revealed that, for the first time, the majority of Americans "...believed the administration was deliberately misleading when it asserted that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction..."

How does this relate to the Karl Rove scandal?

If you'll recall, this whole scandal began when Robert Wilson, in July 2003, wrote a column in the New York Times asserting that the Bush administration had distorted facts and misled the public when presenting the evidence of Saddam's nuclear ambitions. This distorted and often downright false evidence was used as the primary justification for the war against Saddam.

Karl Rove then leaked the name of Wilson's wife, an undercover CIA operative, to punish Wilson for his article. The revelation of Rove's role in the leak in the past couple weeks has reignited the debate.

However, now, I believe it is time to look beyond Rove himself, and instead examine the root cause all this scandal: the lies that led us into war.

For the first time since the war began, the majority of the American public agrees with Robert Wilson that Bush misled us into war.

This is huge. This is a scandal that far surpasses Karl Rove himself. Not only does this implicate Rove, but it implicates the entire Bush administration. The administration deliberately misled this nation into war through a stream of lies and misinformation, and our children are paying for it with their lives.

That's the real scandal; and it finally looks like the public is beginning to realize it.

 

Rove and Bolton: Twin Titans of Tyranny

Alright, I admit it. The title is a wee bit of an exaggeration. I'm sorry. I guess I just have a soft spot in my heart for alliteration.

Anyhow , on to the update.

Item #1: Karl "Turdblossom" Rove

Well, the administration and the GOP members in Congress are still doing nothing to bring the leaker (i.e. Turdblossom, himself) to justice). There haven't been many developments in the past 24 hours, so today I'm going to simply post something I originally saw on Harry Reid's web-site (http://democrats.senate.gov/leak.html).

CIA Leak Case By the Numbers

Number of days after the article outing Ambassador Wilson's wife appeared that the White House required its staff to turn over evidence relating to the leak: 85

Approximate hours between then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzalez's advance notification to White House Chief of Staff Andy Card that he would require staff to turn over evidence
relating to the case and formal notification to staff of that requirement: 12

Minimum number of times an Administration official leaked classified information about the identity of Ambassador Wilson's wife: 11

Minimum number of times after the beginning of the Justice Department's investigation that White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan claimed Karl Rove was not involved: 5

Number of press conferences since evidence linking Karl Rove to the leak was made public where Press Secretary McClellan has refused to comment on the case, citing an ongoing criminal investigation: 7

Minimum number of hearings held by Senate Republicans to investigate accusations against President Clinton involving the "Whitewater" case: 20

Total hearings held by Senate Republicans to investigate the leak of the covert identity of Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife: 0


Item #2: John Bolton

Well, unless you live in a cave somewhere, you've probably heard that the Bushies are hinting at a temporary appointment of Bolton. This is interesting, to say the least. To put a different perspective on the story, let's dig into the vault and travel back to the Good Old Days: The Clinton Years. Read this excerpt from a December, 1997 story by CNN (http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1997/12/14/lee/):

"If they make a recess appointment, then I have to say, it’s a finger in the eye of the Senate,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told FOX on Sunday. “I think you’d find there would be an awful lot of repercussions from that.”
[…]
“I think there’ll be a slowdown on a lot of things from the president,” Hatch said Sunday. “I think you’re going to have difficulty getting judges through. They’re going to have difficulty on the appropriations process. I think there’ll be attempts by some to … really let the president know you don’t do this.”


It will be interesting to hear Hatch's reaction to this nomination controversy, particularly if Harry Reid resorts to some of the tactics threatened by the Republicans in 1997...

Still, things will look bad for the U.N. if Bush pushes through a recess-confirmation. Oh well, at this point, there is really only one thing Democrats can do if Bush does push through a temporary confirmation: do what they've been doing all along: Give the bastard nothing.

Keep fighting him. And, mid-term elections are just around the corner. Who knows, maybe the public will get smarter by then and realize their mistake in installing a Republican majority in both houses of Congress.

We can only hope.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

 

Shameless Traffic Grab

::Sigh:: Like all bloggers, I am facing something of a dilemna right now. At this point, there are two things I can do, I can either: a)Write what others want to read, OR b)write what I want to write about. However, I've had lot of luck lately. Why? For once, the two seem to be intersecting. Observe the list of top ten searches on technorati.com:

1. Cafta
2. “Stephanie Klein”
3. “Seth Merrin”
4. Liquidnet
5. 林志玲
6. “Virtual Earth”
7. “Harry Potter”
8. Konfabulator
9. Discovery
10. “Karl Rove”

At #10 is Karl Rove. Karl Rove has been in the top ten constantly since he was revealed as the source of the leak. He has also been my sole topic since he was revealed. But that's not my point

Here's my main point: this list is very telling. As his constant presence on the list indicates, people want to know more about the Karl Rove scandal.

Despite Bush's best efforts to distract us, people still want to hold Karl Rove accountable for what he has done.

Here's my message to Dubya and his gang: This scandal will not go away. We want answers. You can't stonewall us forever. Eventually, justice will have to be served.

I look forward to that day with relish and anticipation.

Here's hoping it comes soon.

Monday, July 25, 2005

 

The Plot Thickens: More Rove News

Well, some new and interesting twists have developed in the Karl Rove scandal. Or, as I have heard several other bloggers call it: TreasonGate.

I rather like the sound of that.

I've been hearing a lot of fuss over the so-called 12-Hour Gap. For those of you not up to date with our hep lingo, I'll fill you in.

When the Justice Dept. began its investigation into the Plame leak in September 2003, it formally notified then-White House Counsel Gonzales so he would ensure that relevant records would be kept.

But Gonzales did not relay that notification to the White House staff until the next morning, giving him or someone else a 12-hour opportunity to destroy evidence.

Interesting...

But don't get your hopes up. Although it is a pipe-dream fantasy of mine to see Gonzales behind bars, I sincerely doubt anything will come of this resurrection of the "12-hour Gap" theory. There just doesn't seem to be enough hard evidence against Gonzales.

Sadly, this seems to be the case with many members of the Bush administration: Everybody knows that they're crooks, it's just not easy finding hard evidence.

But there's still hope for getting a conviction pinned upon Rove. I wouldn't bet on it (these bastards are tricky, you know), but there is still a faint glimmer of hope that the Grand Jury might actually dole out some justice.

At this point, there are several different fates Rove can suffer:

1. He's convicted and sentenced by the jury. (least likely option, but my favorite)

2. Rove is convicted, but pardoned by Bush (my second favorite option, as this would spell almost certain doom for the GOP in the 2006 midterms)

3. Rove is brought to trial, but still manages to weasel out of justice (more likely)

4. No charges are filed, Rove not brought to trial. (sadly, this is the most likely option)

However, there is one sure thing, no matter what Rove's fate: The Bush Administration will not escape this scandal unscathed.

It will now be impossible for Bush to get away with portraying himself as an honest, down-to-earth, Beltway-outsider. No matter whether Rove escapes justice or not, on thing can be sure: The American people now know that Bush lies.

Try as they may , the Administration won't be able to escape this fight without one hell of a bloody nose.

And that's what let's me sleep at night.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

 

House Renews Patriot Act: We are screwed

That's right, ladies and gentlemen. We are screwed.

The House voted 257-171 to renew the USA Patriot Act last night.

Why?

The answer is simple: fear.

Yet again, the GOP managed to shoo in the bill on the heels of a fear-inducing terrorist attack, this time the second London Bombing.

Now I'm not going to make wild charges, but doesn't it seem a little convenient how these things always work out?

A well-placed bombing occurs just in time to scare enough swing voters in the House into passing the renewed Patriot Act.

George W. Bush should give Osama bin Laden a medal.

Why? I'll tell you why. Osama bin Laden has helped the Bush administration's agenda more than any man alive, with the possible exception of Karl Rove.

Al Qaeda's terrorist strikes always occur at the most convenient times. Before September 11th, Bush was one of the most unpopular Presidents ever. However, the attacks rallied the country and conveniently suppressed any protest from lawmakers, out of fear of sounding unpatriotic. Bush exploited this swelling of patriotism to pass despicable laws, such as the USA PATRIOT Act. Also, the September 11th attacks likely got Bush his second term in office.

Think about it. Every other aspect of his Presidency failed. The economy, education, and healthcare are all failing under George W. Bush's reign. The only thing that Bush can really brag about is the war on terrorism.

You know what? Come to think of that, Bush failed at fighting terrorism too.

Why? I'll tell you why.

Bush allowed Osama bin Laden and most of Al Qaeda's fighting strength to escape from Afghanistan. He then sent all our troops into Iraq, where they are now training the next generation of Islamic extremists by serving as human target practice. Like the Soviet's in Afghanistan in the 80's, our occupation of Iraq is breeding the next generation of extremists by drawing new recruits to Radical Islam, and providing them with a place to get real combat training (Iraq). This is going to bite us in the ass ten years down the line when we have to face a cadre of veteran militants, all with combat experience from the battlegrounds of Iraq.

So, in conclusion: George W. Bush is a complete failure at everything he has ever done.

Friday, July 22, 2005

 

Take heart citizens...

..for our brave media seems to be rallying and jumping back into coverage of the Karl Rove Scandal.

Although coverage dropped sharply on Tuesday when Bush announced his nominee, it seems that coverage of the Karl Rove scandal has been picking up again.

In other words: the media refuses to be distracted by cheap ploys of distraction.

Not only has the media continued to cover the story, they have uncovered several new bits of information, all of which make Karl Rove's situation even more dire.

Wednesday: The Wall Street Journal reports that the memo "made clear" that the information was "sensitive and shouldn't be shared."

Thursday: The Washington Post reports that the paragraph about Plame was "marked 'S' for secret." This story is repeated on CBS Evening News and CNN.

Late Thursday night: John Harwood , of the Wall Street Journal, revealed on MSNBC that the entire memo was classified “top secret” and the section about Plame was marked “SNF” for “Secret, No Foreign” meaning, don’t share with any foreign intelligence service.

Also, some evidence was offered on last night's Bloomberg News Report that Karl Rove committed perjury

According to Bloomberg, Rove told the special counsel that he first heard Plame’s name from Bob Novak, but Novak “has given a somewhat different version”.

And Cheney’s chief of staff Scooter Libby told the special counsel he first heard it from NBC’s Tim Russert, but Russert says he did not tell Libby her identity.

This is huge.If proven true, this would mean that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby commited perjury, a felony offense.

What does all of this add up to mean: Bad news for Karl Rove and the Evil Empire; and good news for all of us principled left-wingers.

Here's my message for Karl Rove: Whatever you do, don't drop the soap in the prison showers.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

 

Questions about Rove...

The White House Press Corps has been unusually feisty lately. Ever since the news about Karl Rove became public, reporters at Scott McClellan's press conferences have been actually asking questions and ::gasp:: being journalists. I know, it's shocking. For instance, take this excerpt from this morning's press conference. McClellan began by informing the reporters of this morning's bombing attacks in London. He then tried to use the topic of the bombing to transition into discussion of America's increased transit security. It didn't work. Instead, reporters immediately began hounding McClellan about....you guessed it...Karl Rove. Here's the excerpt:

Question: Why does Karl Rove still have security clearance and access to classified documents when he has been revealed as a leaker of a secret agent, according to Time magazine's correspondent?

McClellan: Well, there is an investigation that continues, and I think the President has made it clear that we're not going to prejudge the outcome of that investigation.

Question: You already have the truth.

McClellan: We're not going to prejudge the outcome of that investigation through--

Question: Does he have access to security documents?

McClellan: -- through media reports. And these questions came up over the last week--

Question: Did he leak the name of a CIA agent?

McClellan: As I was trying to tell you, these questions have been answered.

Question: No, they haven't.

Question: Let me ask--

McClellan: Go ahead, David.

Question And they most certainly haven't. I think Helen is right, and the people watching us know that. And related to that, there are now--

McClellan: Let me correct the record. We've said for quite some time that this was an ongoing investigation, and that we weren't going to comment on it, so let me just correct the record.

Question: If you want to make the record clear, then you also did make comments when a criminal investigation was underway, you saw fit to provide Karl Rove with a blanket statement of absolution. And that turned out to be no longer accurate --


It continues on in this manner for a while: the reporters asking simple, blunt, probing questions; and McClellan stonewalling and/or evading them.

You know what's shocking? The fact that I even used the words "probing" and "White House Press Corps" in the same entry. But, for once, it seems that our White House press is showing some spine.

Why? It's quite simple: revenge.

This administration has snubbed the media time and time again. The media has endured a long line of disgraces at the hands of the Bush administration, including (but not limited to): the planting of White House-friendly reporters in the press corps, mass-mailing Rove-engineered propaganda "newscasts" to the major networks and, last but not least, telling bald-faced lies to the White House Press Corps.

Apparently, after all the humiliations, the media has had enough. Finally presented with a scandal of sufficiently epic proportions, the media has decided to go on the attack against the Bush administration and it's lies..

Finally, we have reporters doing actual reporting: asking actual questions, putting McClellan on the defensive and, finally, taking the constant stream of bullshit with a hefty grain of salt.

The White House has been caught in a lie and, finally, the media seems to want to do something about it. They smell blood in the water, and they're not going to stop questioning the administration until they have nemesis.

Or so I hope.

My message for the media: Whatever, you do guys, don't take no for an answer. Don't accept McClellan's stonewalling: keep asking the tough questions. And, above all: STICK IT TO EM'.

 

Let's talk about Karl Rove...

That's right: Karl Rove. Not John G. Roberts, he's just a big distraction.

Right now, I want to talk about Karl Rove.

And, apparently, I'm not alone in this desire. Despite the best efforts of the Bush administration to distract us, the American people still want answers about Karl Rove.

How do I know this? The latest Pew Poll. (http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?ReportID=250). According to the poll, 48% of Americans are following the Karl Rove scandal “very closely” or “fairly closely.”

Now, I know that 48% isn't even a majority of the American public, much less an overwhelming one. Nevertheless, the percentage proves that, despite the best efforts of the administration to distract us and the propaganda spewed out by Fox News, many Americans simply refuse to ignore the Karl Rove scandal.

However, it gets even better. Of those following the story closely, 58% believe that Karl Rove should resign. This sudden public interest in government accountability, coupled with anti-Rove articles on countless op-ed pages, is enough to warm the heart of any jaded, left-wing blogger.

Now here's a message for the Democrats: Don't let the Bush administration get away with this. Finally, you have a scandal that has drawn significant public interest to do the administration serious harm. Don't let Rove get away with this. Don't stop pressing the White House for answers.

Keep your eyes on the prize, fellas. You have a golden opportunity here: don't waste it. The public is growing tired of the administration's stonewalling. If you keep on pressing, only two things can happen:

1. The administration will continue stonewalling, most likely aggravating the public further.
2. We might actually get some results and accountability.

I know the second option seems unlikely, but still, it's nice to hope.

Keep up the good fight.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

 

My off-the-cuff opinion...(Don't Forget Karl Rove!)

Really, I'm just not sure....

Moveon.org hates John G. Roberts, but so does Ann Coulter. (http://www.anncoulter.com/cgi-local/welcome.cgi)

This confuses me. Ann Coulter is a crazy, raving bitch who hates everybody that is even mildly intelligent (and by intelligent I mean liberal). So, the fact that Ann Coulter hates him is a plus for him in my book...

But he's also anti-abortion and anti-enviroment....

So confused.....

I've tried doing some research of my own, but the man has only been a judge for two years, so there's really not all that much info on him.

I still need some time to formulate my opinion.

Want to know my initial, off-the-cuff, opinion? Fight him. Don't trust anything Bush does.
If I were Harry Reid, this would be my strategy for reacting to anything Bush does: Give The Bastard Nothing.

Obstructionist? Damn right I'm obstructionist. I'm pissed and I don't want to give the GOP anything.

So, until something else persuades me, I have decided that John G. Roberts is the wrong choice.

Why?
Because Bush nominated him.

Childish, I know. But at this point, I really don't care.

Oh by the way: Don't forget about Karl Rove. The crook is still at large: don't let the nomination coverage distract you from that.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

 

Well, it could be worse... (But don't forget about Karl Rove!)

It's official, we have a nominee: Bush officially nominated John G. Roberts to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court today.

I couldn't find much on Roberts. He's only been a judge, on the D.C. Court of Appeals, since Bush nominated him for that post in 2003. However, his record as Deputy Solicitor under the first Bush tells us something about his record.

Some of Robert's record on abortion is unsettling. In fact, as Deputy Solicitor General, Roberts argued in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade before the Supreme Court. Although Roberts hasn't officially announced any intentions on Roe v. Wade, his confirmation could potentially put a women's right to choose in grave danger.

However, that was fifteen years ago. In his career since then, Roberts has done very little to indicate that he is a hard-line anti-choice activist. In fact, Roberts has done very little to indicate his stance on any of the issues. He has only been a judge since May 2003, so it's hard to pinpoint his stances on abortion and other crucial social issues. This has actually caused worry in some conservative circles. Many in the GOP are wary over Roberts proving to be "another David Souter." Souter, like Roberts, was a new justice with a thin dossier and somewhat ambiguous stances on the issues. The Republicans pushed him through anyways in 1990, hoping that he would prove to be a solid-conservative justice. In fact, Souter proved to be the exact opposite: handing down many liberal rulings on reproductive rights, affirmative action, and homosexuality. So, after the surprise of David Souter, many conservatives may be wary of approving another new justice, with somewhat ambiguous stances, such as Roberts.

This also offers some hope for us principled left-wingers: if David Souter could surprise us, maybe John G. Roberts can too. Maybe he will uphold affirmative action, gay rights, and Roe v. Wade.

We can only hope.

P.S. Although this is important, we have to make sure not to let this nomination distract us from the real controversy: Karl Rove.

In fact, my hunch is that Bush announced his nominee this early precisely in order to distract us from Karl Rove's immoral antics. Don't fall for it. Remember: Karl Rove is a crooked assclown, and should be ridden out of Washington on a rail.

 

I knew it would come to this...

Well, in face of mounting evidence against Karl Rove in the CIA-leak controversy, Bush has started doing the inevitable: finding a way to weasel out of justice and keep Karl Rove in his administration.

Remember back in 2004 when Bush promised to fire anyone found involved with the CIA leak? That would mean Bush would have to fire Karl Rove right?

Wrong. Why?

Bush never keeps his promises.

Yesterday, Bush changed his promise from 2004. In a press conference yesterday, he proclaimed "...if someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration,"

This is a direct contradiction to Bush's 2004 promise to fire anyone found to have leaked Plame's name. Why did he change it?

The reason is simple: Karl Rove leaked Plame's name. Keeping his promise would mean that Bush would have to fire Karl Rove; and Rove is a man that Bush can not afford to lose. So he broke his promise.

If there's one thing I have learned about this administration by now it is this: The Bush White House never keeps its promises.

Monday, July 18, 2005

 

More Supreme Court News

Well, even Republicans are now calling for Bush to appoint a sensible nominee to the Supreme Court.

That's right ladies and gentlemen, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) has joined the growing number of conservative voices now calling out for a moderate Supreme Court Justice. However, Specters remarks are particularly significant.

Why? The man is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Specter made his remarks on "Fox News Sunday", calling for a moderate "swing-vote" justice in the mold of Sandra Day O'Connor. Specter, surprisingly for a Republican on a Fox News program, actually made some valid, sensible remarks. He spoke in favor of a moderate justice and balance on the Supreme Court. Specter's remarks included a sensible stand on the issue, when he said: Bush "...stands in a position where he has to put a person on not where the president would be beholden to any group, no matter how much they contributed to his election, but something in the national interest..."

Specter went on to call for a nominee that would provide balance in the court, saying "...it's helpful to the country to have somebody who is a swing vote, which maintains the balance."

Surprising, I know. A Republican making sense. A fluke? Perhaps.

But maybe, just maybe, enough flukes like this one might me able to pound a little bit of sense into Bush's dense skull.

We can only hope.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

 

I love when Republicans fight Republicans...

Well, there has been some tension these past few weeks between several factions of the Republican party over the President's proposed budget, social security reforms, and stem cell research.

This makes me unbelievably happy. Let's examine some quotes from the right wing:

"They're not being honest with the American people."
--Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma; referring to the Department of Defense’s shady budget requests.

"Such gimmicks are, at best, false budgeting."
--Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho; criticizing the administrations health and labor appropriations request, which obtains its funds by cutting benefits for the nation's poor.

“What does it do to the culture of life when you let people die because there are medical research tools which could keep them alive?"
--Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania retorting to a comment by Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas questioning the effects of stem cell research upon the so-called “culture of life.

Those are all I have the energy to post right now. More examples of Republican infighting can be found through a simple glance through the Politics section of CNN or MSNBC.com.

What does the feuding mean for the rest of us? Good stuff.

Why? Because, if the Republicans are kept busy fighting each other, they won’t have the opportunity to do any further damage to this nation by passing any more of their batshit-crazy legislation.

Let’s hope they keep it up.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

 

No surprise at all...

Well, unless you live in an igloo somewhere, you've probablly heard that the source of the leak has been found: Karl Rove.

Surprised? I'm not. Why? Because the man is Niccolo freakin' Machiavelli.

Only this administration is willing to make a power play as low as endangering the life of an American operative in order to gain petty political revenge against her husband. And Karl Rove is the man that does the dirty work best. Niccolo would be proud.

Honestly, at this point, nothing this administration does can surprise me. Seriously. I would honestly consider and possibly believe a report on, oh let's say, the donkey-sodomizing fetish shared by Karl Rove and Condoleeza Rice, or the orphan-beating habits of Donald Rumsfield. Seriously, I don't think anything at all is beneath these guys. But I digress.

Now things are going to get really interesting. Bush promised, back in 2004, to fire anyone found complicit with the leak of Plume's name. That means Karl Rove. Of course, we all know that Bush isn't going to fire Rove. So, the only question remaining is this: how much of a shitstorm is the media going to raise (Fox News doesn't qualify as media. It's more of a propaganda department than a news outlet) and how much of a bloody nose will this give the adminstration?

Yep, these next few weeks could be extremely interesting...

Monday, July 11, 2005

 

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Today's Topic: The Department of Homeland Security

I'm a little tired today, and I felt like an easy target, which the Department of Homeland Security definitely is.

Oh boy, it is.

As you may or may not know, the nation's mass transit system is currently on Level Orange High Alert. Homeland Security Secretary raised the alert level to Orange following Friday's terrorist bombing attack upon London's mass transit system.

So what has raising America's alert level accomplished?

Absolutely nothing.

Why? Because the terror alert levels are meaningless for several reasons. First of all, there are no specific guidelines or protocols for what to do during a terror alerts. Citizens are given vague instructions such as "be on increased alert" and security forces are encouraged to be upon "increased vigilance". This sounds a little vague and meaningless, doesn't it? The reason for this vagueness is simple: Over three years after 9/11, the government still has no comprehensive plan for increasing homeland security in the event of a terrorist threat. Despite all the big talk about "increased vigilance", the fact remains that security organizations have no comprehensive protocol for what to do when the Threat Level rises. In a nutshell, they simply have no clue what the much-lauded Terror Alert Code means.

The second reason for the Terror Alert Systems failure is the frequency with which the system is deployed, only for nothing to happen at all. Time and time again, the level has been raised to the Orange "High", and nothing has happened. The result of this is that, now, the vast majority of Americans pay no attention at all to the terror alerts. They are viewed as unreliable and meaningless due to the countless false alarms and vague instructions to citizens. This concept is understandable to any small child who has read the classic fable "The Boy Who Cried Wolf". If the Department of Homeland Security wants to keep any sort of relevance and credibility, it would do well to use reliable sources and confirm it intelligence before it raises the threat level.

Unfortunately, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has indicated that this will likely never be the case. While making the rounds of the Sunday talk show circuit, Chertoff declared that "I'd love to say we're going to see green in our lifetime...But I can't tell you in the forseeable future we're going to be below yellow."

The alert level has never dipped below yellow, or Elevated, even once since the creation of the terror alert system. This quite simply ridiculous. It is utterly impossible to keep an entire nation at an elevated security level for years at a time. The only realistic result of this is what is happening now: the common people simply drown out the alarmist calls of doom, ignore the Terror Alert System, and go on with their everyday lives.

Thanks to foolish handling, the Department of Homeland Security has effectively destroyed any relevance their Terror Alert System may once have held and made the future more dangerous by ensuring that, if the Alert Level is ever raised due to credible evidence, the warning will be ignored completely by the nation's jaded populace.

In an nutshell, the Terror Alert System has not made the United States any more secure than it was before 9/11. If anything, thanks the stupidity of the Department of Homeland Security, the United States is now an even more dangeorus place than it ever was before.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

 

G-8 Conference: My Amateur Analysis

Well, the dust has settled over the G-8 conference, revealing a mixed bag of results: some excellent, some glaringly lacking. To simplify matters, I have broken my analysis down into two lists: Good Stuff and Bad Stuff.

Good Stuff

1. Overall African aid and debt releif boosted from $25 billion to $50 billion

2. The EU agreed to boost it's aid to 0.7 percent of its national income by 2015.

3. Leaders endorsed a deal to releive the debt of 18 debtor nations.

Bad Stuff

1. Bush refused to increase the US aid contribution to the proposed 0.7 percent. In fact, at a mere 0.16 percent of our nation income, the United States has the lowest proportional contribution of any of the G-8.

2. Bush also refused to meet guidelines for curbing American greenhouse gas emissions. Apparentlly, Bush still needs to gather more information on the topic. Is anyone else reminded of Nero fiddling while Rome burns?

3. Although the debt of 18 nations was releived, this is not nearly enough. The G-8 will have to cancel the debt of many more nations if it hopes on reaching the UN's 2015 anti-poverty goals.

Overal Summary

Good, but not enough. The G-8 as a whole needs to relieve more debt and commit to larger amounts of aid if it hopes to reach the UN's sweeping anti-poverty goals. The U.S in paritcular needs to step up. We have the most powerful economy in the world are capable of doing the most good, yet we still shouldered the lightest proportional load of economic aid. Additionally, Bush's continued resitance to curbing greenhouse effectivelly negates any positve effects of the anti-poverty efforts. What good is helping the poor and hungry if they'll simply inherit an overheated, polluted world, completely flooded by melted ice caps.

Alarmist? Maybe a little. However, even if the real effects of global warming aren't that drastic, my point still stands. Bush's refusal to accept decent enviromental guidelines is a symptom of his administrations irresponsibility and inability to excersice any sort of long-range planning. Any foregin observer is probablly left with the impression that Bush is too obsessed with "saving" the world from the immediate dangers of terrorism to see the long-term effects of his irresponsibilty upon the future survival of man.

The man simply lacks any balance or ability to forsee the effects of events more distant than next election year. It doesn't help that he's too simple to see any sort of nuances. The world's not black and white. However, Dubya, and virtually every individual involved with the administration of this nation, is either too foolish to see that or too spineless to speak out.

Friday, July 08, 2005

 

Bravo! Now do more!

Well, the G-8 just officially unveiled its $50 billion aid package for Africa. Good job guys, but don't start patting yourselves on the back just yet. You still have a lot more work to do. You're off to a good start, but Africa and the entire Third World still needs a lot of help.

Where to start? How about debt releif. The $55 billion debt relif unveiled in June was a good start, but you can do more. Sub-Saharan Africa alone has over $68 billion in debt to foreign creditiors. Add that to debt problem in the rest of Africa and Asia and, even after the relief package, you still have a financial crisis of epic proportions.

So don't get comfortable just yet G-8. You guys represnt the most poweful nations in the world. You're easily capable of increasing aid to twice that amount without you economies experiencing so much as a hiccup. Don't forget the UN's 2015 anti-poverty goals. Without your support, in greater amounts, those goals are almost certainly impossible to meet.

So step it up guys. Good job, but step it up.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

 

Rick Santorum: Our Worst Senator

I've decided to try something new today. Today, I am going to write and in-depth profile of one of our legislators: Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.

"Why Rick Santorum?", you may ask.

I'll tell you why. Today I am focusing on Rick Santorum because I beleive he is, in all likelihood, the worst Senator on Capital Hill.

I am going to present my case through a series of quotes uttered by Mr. Santorum. Quotes that that I have researched extensively on Google and selected specifically to make Mr. Santorum look like a sexist, homophobic moron.

Which he is. Enjoy the quotes!

This quote is old and waaayy over-quoted, but it's an excellent indicator of the kind of man Rick is:

"Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that's what? Children. Monogamous relationships. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be." - Interview, April 23, 2003

My retort: What the fuck, Rick? I don't even want to respond to this one.

"If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything," -Interview, April 21, 2003

My Retort: First of all, adultery is legal, you retard. Second of all, you're a douchebag. Third of all, stay out of the bedroom.

"From Catholic Online, concerning liberals effect on Catholic Priests morality: "It is startling that those in the media and academia appear most disturbed by this aberrant behavior[pedophilia], since they have zealously promoted moral relativism by sanctioning "private" moral matters such as alternative lifestyles. Priests, like all of us, are affected by culture. When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm."

My retort: Wow. Apparentlly the liberal media cause Catholic priests to become pedophiles.

An amazing leap of logic from an amazing man.

That's all the quotes I can stomach for now.

Today's Lesson: Keep politics out of the bedroom. Pay attention to healthcare reform or education. But for god's sake, lay off the gays already.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

 

Bye Bye Accountability...

http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/07/06/reporters.contempt/index.html
They did it. They convicted her.

I can't say I'm surprised. This is just another symptom of the slow, painful demise of real, principled journalism.

It's fitting that Mark Felt has finally revealed his identity as Deep Throat at this time in our nation's history. I had hoped that he would serve as a reminder to the judge of the benefits of investigative journalism and the moral rightness of the journalistic code of honor that Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward adhered to in protecting the identiy of Mr. Felt for over thirty years. The same code of honor that Judith Miller was following by protecting her source. The same code of honor that is earning her jail time.

Now tenth grade Civics class wasn't that long ago for me, so I remember a few things. One of the things I remember is the role of the media in American democracy. In an ideal world, the media would serve and another sourt of "check and balance", working as a sort of moral watchdog by checking government corruption and wrongdoing through principled, investigative reporting. Carl Bernstien and Bob Woodward adhered to this ideal when they revealed the prevalent criminality of the Watergate-era Nixon Administration.

Sadly, thanks to this ruling, this would not have been possible today. If Watergate happened right now, chances are the Nixon would have gotten off scotch-free. Why? Because, thanks to this ruling, Mark Felt would not have been able to blow the whistle on Nixon without putting his career in dire danger.

Without the guaranteed protection of anonymity, would-be whistle blowers will be increasingly reluctant to risk their careers and security to do the right thing.

In a nutshell, by handing down this ruling, our honorable judge has handed George W. Bush and corrupt politicians everywhere a Get Out of Jail Free card.

Bye bye, accountability.
Adios, principled journalism.
Helloooooo, Fox News.

-Martin

 

First rant...

Well, I'm officially a blogger. So, I guess it's time to start doing what bloggers do best: amateur punditry.

This is really just recycled from an old livejournal entry. I'll start writing some original rants specifically for this blog sometime soon. It's my hope that I'll use this for more sophisicated rants, and my livejournal for social fluff. Well, here it is, not my best, but it's a start:

Guys, we're fucked.

It's time to start working on that bunker in the hills, cause I don't wanna be around when Bush pushes through his Supreme Court nominations.

Bye, bye Roe v. Wade.
Goodbye affirmative action.
Adios to seperation of church and state.

Seriously people, panic in the streets.

All this uproar over the nominations has raised one surprising tidbit of information: of all the possible nominees, Alberto Gonzales seems like one of the most reasonable.

That't right ladies and gentlemen. This is what the country has come to. This nation is so far gone that I'm actually hoping that Bush nominates Alberto Batshit-Crazy Gonzales for the Supreme Court. Well, not hoping. I'm hoping that Bill Clinton is nominated to the Supreme Court. However, thanks to the situatin on Capital Hill, Gonzales may be the most liberal justice that we can push through onto the Supreme Court.

I know. Sad, isn't it?

But seriously, we know that Bush is going to push through a fucking loonie. So, if we're stuck with a fucking loonie, why not have one that's at least mildly moderate on affirmative action and abortion. Oddly enough, this man is Attorney Genralissmo Gonzales. In fact, Gonzales has actually been taking fire from some conservatives for his moderate stances on affirmative action and abortion. But he's still a fucking loonie who likes to torture people. But, at this point, he might be our best shot at protecting a woman's right to choose and minority rights. Plus, he can't torture us if he's on the Supreme Court.

Sweet Jesus Christ. What am I saying? I hate Gonzales.

Now listen here folks: I am by no means endorsing Gonzales. Hell, I despise the man. If Bush nominates him, the Democrats should fillibuster him to high heaven. Even if they have no chance of defeating Gonzales (or any nominee, for that matter), the Democrats still have to fight Bush when he nominates his batshit crazy justices. We saved the fillibuster exactly for a time like this. I'm hopeful for the success of a fillibuster, but I'm also resigned to the probability of defeat and saddened that the man repsonsible for an American gulag is our best chance for preserving our basic rights.

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this. I'm guess I'm just shocked that this nation has detterioriatd to the point where our best realistic option for a Supreme Court nomination is a human being as despicable and draconian as Gonzales.

But there's still a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Supreme Court nominees are appointed for life, and can't be deposed easily. This has given many a justice an unanticipated sense of independence once appointed to the court. In fact, Ronald Reagan appointed Sandra Day O'Connor to the Supreme Court in the hope that she would be a hard-line, anti-abortion conservative. In fact, once seated on the bench, she proved to be (luckily for the rest of us) a fairly moderate swing-voter. So, there's still hope. The reality is, it's impossible to know what someone will do once placed upon the bench. And that's what lets me sleep at night.

So hold off on the bunker in the hills for now. We might pull though this.But I would still start stocking up on canned foods if I were you...

And here's a message for Pelosi and Reid: Don't back down. Use the fillibuster. And here's the point I finally think I'm trying to make: For God's sake, don't accept Gonzales.

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