Monday, May 31

Rolling Thunder

The veterans' biker group met with Bush over the weekend following their endorsement of the little maniac. Why?

Mr. Bush shook hands with Artie Muller, president of the veterans' advocacy group, and kissed his rider, singer Nancy Sinatra, who was dressed in a skirt, cowboy boots and a pair of dark shades.

Later, Mr. Bush addressed, via a telephone hookup, a Rolling Thunder rally at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in the capital.

Last week the group endorsed the president for reelection, citing his
leadership in "honoring our nation's commitment to veterans" and "the war on terror."
"Honoring our nation's commitment to veterans"?
Cut back, White House tells agencies

WASHINGTON - White House budget planners have told many federal agencies to reduce their spending plans for domestic programs from education to veterans benefits.

-Contra Costa Times
""Honoring our nation's commitment to veterans"?
In recent months, President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress have missed no opportunity to heap richly deserved praise on the military. But talk is cheap — and getting cheaper by the day, judging from the nickel-and-dime treatment the troops are getting lately.

-The Army Times
After three years of mostly cordial relations with the administration, leaders of veterans' organizations and a union that represents VA workers are voicing strong criticism of Bush's fiscal 2005 budget plan. They assert that the budget would only worsen the backlog in processing disability claims, reduce the number of VA nursing home beds just as the number of veterans who need long-term care is swelling and force some veterans to pay a fee simply to gain access to the VA health care system.

-The Washington Post
Can't make the point any more obvious.

Say Hallo To Our New Little Friends

War|Forever gave us a link. Backatcha.
And can't forget Donna's Place - frequent Hoffmania! contributor.

Sunday, May 30

News Not News

Everybody's reporting that the attacks in Saudi Arabia are aimed at the Saudi oil industry. Everybody except one source, that is - Market Flash. This story cropped up at the very top of Google News just now.

Saudi Militants Hitting Westerners, Not Oil posted on 05/30/04

The terrorist strike in al-Khobar appears to be more ominous than recent similar strikes in Saudi Arabia. It resembles the May 1 attack on western oil workers in Yanbu, but was more elaborate and more deadly.

The attackers were organized and they seem to have prepared extensively. They wore uniforms of the Saudi National Guard, which is responsible for security at residential compounds of foreign workers, and they drove vehicles with military markings. They successfully struck multiple targets and managed to fight off security forces for a considerable period of time. They took hostages, rigged their location with explosives, and all but one gunman reportedly escaped a siege by Saudi commandos on the sixth floor of a high-rise building.

Based on a statement attributed to its planners, the primary aim was to lash out at westerners who work in the Saudi oil industry and drive them out of the Arabian Penninsula. This motivation is corroborated by the attackers' behavior. For example, this is the second recent incident in which a foreign worker's body was reportedly tied to a vehicle and dragged through the streets by militants, a tactic clearly meant to terrorize and strike fear into the hearts of foreigners living in the kingdom.
If the skeptic in you is saying "What do these guys have to gain by reporting this story from this angle?" reward your inner skeptic. Click on Market Flash's "About Us" button, and here's what we find.

MARKET-FLASH Advisory Services is a boutique consulting firm specializing in global political risk and its effects on oil and financial markets.

Now more than ever, investors are exposed to a variety of geopolitical risk factors that directly affect their bottom line. Using a unique network of global contacts in industry and government, MARKET-FLASH is able to tell its clients
What's happening in the world - and what's likely to happen next
How these developments will affect energy and financial markets
Which trading/investment strategies can reduce risk and enhance profits
Who benefits from MARKET-FLASH Advisory Services?
Oil trading companies
Asset-management funds
Hedge funds
Investors whose portfolios are affected by political risk
It's one thing to be alarmist in the name of selling your goods and services, which is ghoulish enough.

To warrant the lead spot at a "news" site like Google News borders on downright scary. Pity anyone who took this as real news. Google needs a spankin' here.

Give 'em one. (

CLARIFICATION: Some folks have e-mailed me chastising me that I shouldn't object to the story strictly because it's not in line with my way of thinking. That's not the point at all. Otherwise, I'd be calling for a LOT of spankings.

My objection is the actual source itself - an obvious commerce site which is specifically selling a service. Google News adding this to its news crawler is like using eBay as one of their sources. Can you imagine a Google News headline leading the page, "Lose 40 Pounds by July!" and the story links to one of 10,000 eBay auctions for carb blockers? This is the same thing - posting a story meant to foster fear and to sell their services. Had it come from Fox, Reuters, Buzzflash, WaPo, NewsMax or anywhere else - no problem. Hope I cleared that up.

Saturday, May 29

Not Just Ornery, But Consarned and Dag Nabbed


Thanks, Charlie Don't Surf

Oh, For God's Sake...

Ex-Football Star Likely 'Friendly Fire' Victim

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Cpl. Patrick Tillman, who spurned a $3.6 million football contract to join the U.S. war on terror, probably was killed by "friendly fire" while trying to protect his unit during a clash in Afghanistan last month, the military said on Saturday.

An investigation of the April 22 death of Tillman, 27, an ex-safety for the Arizona Cardinals whom the military had earlier said was killed by enemy fire, did not blame any individual by name, the U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

"While there was no one specific finding of fault, the investigation results indicate that Cpl. Tillman died as a probable result of friendly fire while his unit was engaged in combat with enemy forces," it said.


I'm now hearing oboes and bassoons playing "Three Blind Mice" whenever I see actions like this by our government.

F.B.I. Issues and Retracts Urgent Terrorism Bulletin

WASHINGTON, May 28 - The F.B.I. issued an urgent bulletin to several cities on Friday that warned of the prospect of an imminent terrorist attack but retracted the alert hours later, after the intelligence proved unfounded, officials said.

The alert went to law enforcement officials in two or three cities to warn of intelligence that indicated the prospect of an attack in the next 24 hours, officials said. Officials would not give the names of the cities.

A federal official in New York City, when asked about the warning, said he was unaware of the city's having received any such notification.

A law enforcement official at another city, who insisted that he and the city not be named, said authorities there had received a call late in the day from the Federal Bureau of Investigation alerting them to the possibility of an "imminent" attack there. Later, however, the FBI called to withdraw the warning.

The official, citing recent questions about the credibility of the terrorist intelligence from the bureau, said, "It's getting harder and harder to defend them."

Friday, May 28

From the Pen of: Steve Benson

How To Tell When Satellite Radio Has Arrived

When nimrods like me switch satellite radio services.

After several unanswered phone calls and e-mails, I left the XM Nation and hooked up with Sirius today. I still give the music quality edge to XM by a fraction of an inch, but I no longer have to cringe when I get in my car after work when I hear Alan Colmes instead of Janeane Garofalo. I also kinda dig the NBA, NHL (just in time for their seasons to freakin' END) and NFL games they carry.

If you're a bargain hunter, Circuit City* has a nice deal - the SIRPNP2 with the car kit AND the home kit for 149 bucks. Do a one-year subscription and it's $9.99 a month (same as XM) instead of $12.99. Check it out at Sirius' site.

No, I don't get a plug penny for this endorsement, but I oughta.

* Hint: If you go the Circuit City route, order it online and do an instant pick-up at the store. It saves you the hassle of dealing with their sales schnooks.

Business Protocol

Let's say you own a very, very big department store. One of your employees decides to run up and down the aisles on the day after Thanksgiving, telling all your customers that the place could blow up at any time. Is said employee fit to keep his job in your store? Is he a fine example of customer relations? Do you get on the P.A. system and tell your customers he's doing a superb job?

Just before the start of the summer vacation season, just as people are beginning to overcome their remaining fears of terrorism, Ashcroft and Mueller threw a scare bomb into the American subconscious. It surprised the Department of Homeland Security and just about every law enforcement official across the nation.

If Bush doesn't roll heads over Ashcroft/Mueller's little TV show, it speaks volumes about his ability to be any kind of a leader. This is inexcusable, reckless and just plain screwed in the head.

Washington Intrigue
The fact that it was John Ashcroft rather than Tom Ridge who issued the latest terror alert underscores the rivalry between Justice and Homeland Security - and highlights the administration's attempt to undermine John Kerry

The real story this week is why Attorney General John Ashcroft held the press conference on the new terror warnings and not Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. An aide to a Republican senator on the Armed Services Committee says, "The divisions between Homeland Security and the Justice Department are as profound as between State and Defense." In a classic case of Washington intrigue, Ridge reportedly leaked word of the upcoming Ashcroft press conference in order to pre-empt it, then went on the morning shows to assure Americans they should go ahead with their summer plans while Ashcroft is saying the end is near.

The two men are rivals for who's in charge, and who gets to protect America. It would be funny if it weren't for the potentially serious consequences. California Rep. Christopher Cox, who chairs the Homeland Security Committee, said the "separate public appearances conveyed the impression that the broad and close interagency consultation we expect - and which the law requires - may not have taken place in this case."

You don't have to be ultra-cynical to suspect the timing of Ashcroft's dire pronouncements. Bush is in a jam over Iraq, and the exit strategy is changing the subject, or at least broadening it from Iraq to the wider world of terror, where Bush clings to a narrow lead over Kerry in voter confidence. It's fishy that police departments in the target cities of Los Angeles and New York weren't notified and learned along with the public about the newest vague threats from television. This was hardly breaking news. Six of the seven names Ashcroft revealed as likely terrorists have been known to the FBI for months, some for as long as two and a half years.
My new fear is what these goons have planned between John Kerry's victory on November 2nd and his inauguration on January 20th. They'll be lame ducks, and we're going to have to do a freakin' lockdown of Washington when that happens.

For What It's Worth Revisited

My work has me driving all over the L.A. Area. It sucks, but there are some bright moments, like today.

John Kerry Bumper Stickers: 6
Bush/Cheney Bumper Stickers: 0
Nader Bumper Stickers: 0

The Party From Hell


Joining The Choir: The CNN Outrage

Atrios provides the transcript; Kos provides the e-mail addresses. We're merely informing you if you haven't seen or heard about this journalistic horror:


[Kelli] ARENA: Neither John Kerry nor the president has said troops pulled out of Iraq any time soon. But there is some speculation that al Qaeda believes it has a better chance of winning in Iraq if John Kerry is in the White House.

BEN VENZKE, INTELCENTER: Al Qaeda feels that Bush is, even despite casualties, right or wrong for staying there is going to stay much longer than possibly what they might hope a Democratic administration would.
There you go. We're fighting al Qaeda in Iraq and they think John Kerry is a wimp.



You can communicate your thoughts to Ms. Arena personally at:

You can now send your emails to Eason Jordan at He's CNN's chief news executive.

Perle Jumps! NEXT...

In the words of my good friend Jer, when a rat's feet get wet, it jumps off the sinking ship.

U.S. war policy 'grave error'
Ex-Rumsfeld aide admits occupation of Iraq a failure

LONDON, England—One of the ideological architects of the Iraq war has criticized the U.S.-led occupation of the country as "a grave error."

Richard Perle, until recently a powerful adviser to U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, described U.S. policy in post-war Iraq as a failure.

"I would be the first to acknowledge we allowed the liberation (of Iraq) to subside into an occupation. And I think that was a grave error, and in some ways a continuing error," said Perle, former chair of the influential Defence Policy Board, which advises the Pentagon.

With violent resistance to the U.S.-led occupation showing no signs of ending, Perle said the biggest mistake in post-war policy "was the failure to turn Iraq back to the Iraqis more or less immediately.

Terror Is Now A "Turf War" Between Ashcroft and Everyone Else

Great mother of Jeebus. It's the Alexander Haig "I'm Now In Control" moment all over again. CBS News is saying Ashcroft may have called the terror alert press conference to show his leadership in the war on terrorism.

If you've got broadband, see the story here.
Otherwise, read it here.

It's time to hit the reset button on these jackasses.

Sources tell CBS News Correspondent Bob Orr the Justice Department did nothing to put other agencies in the loop before broadcasting "be-on-the-lookout" pictures of seven suspected terrorists.

The information was not shared with state and local police forces, or even with the FBI's field offices. It wasn't supposed to be this way after 9/11, said one administration official, who noted "the whole warning process was usurped by the Attorney General."

Beyond that, senior counterterrorism officials question the legitimacy of the bulletin, saying there is no new, specific, credible evidence pointing to an imminent attack in the U.S.

Homeland Secretary Tom Ridge, who did not appear with Ashcroft at Wednesday's press conference, seemed to downplay the warning in a series of interviews.

"There's not a consensus within the administration that we need to raise the threat level," said Ridge.

The Graph We Were Looking For

We were looking for this the other day...Applejack found it for us.

John Kenneth Galbraith in Salon charted Bush's popularity in connection with crisis vs. "normalcy" back in February:

What is the message of these numbers? One stands out: In his entire first term, only three episodes so far have gained approval for Bush. All were related to terrorism and to war. They were 9/11, the war on Iraq, and the capture of Saddam. Taken together, the five months when Bush gained popularity on these events account for 89 percent of all the variation in the change of Bush's job approval, measured by the average of these polls.
Last Saturday, Galbraith wrote a follow-up piece titled Coming to Our Senses? with an updated graph. Ashcroft predicted al Qaeda hitting us hard shortly after this was posted at Salon. It'll be interesting to see Galbraith's chart now, although the terror scare has already fallen off the front pages.

Now we have four more months of data. They show an average decline, across nine polls, of 3.7 points in February, 1.8 points in March, 0.58 points in April and 2.4 points (with eight polls so far) in May. The average monthly decline is 2.1 percentage points. This occurred over the period when the Democrats selected John Kerry, and when the Bush campaign spent some $70 million on advertising to build up Bush and knock down Kerry. The perceptible effects: a fluctuation at best.

The figure below shows the evidence to date. Note the vertical line drawn to mark the time of the first experiment. Does the period afterward look different? A little more noisy, a little more variation between polls than is usual, perhaps. But the striking thing is how little the pattern has changed. If Bush's approval has a hardwood floor, we didn't hit it at 48, 47 or 46 percent. Things could still change. They could change if Bush fires Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld -- or even Vice President Cheney -- and remakes his government over the summer. There is talk of a possible al-Qaida attack on the Olympics in Athens. There is talk of terror at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. And, of course, there is continuing chatter about the capture of Osama bin Laden. Whether any of these will happen, and how they will play, no one knows.

But the numbers so far suggest that the underlying political reality may be rooted in something else: that the public isn't paying that much attention, at least to the daily news -- or to the advertising.

Instead, Americans could be coming to a deeper judgment on Bush -- perhaps about his competence, or trustworthiness, or character. And we could be coming to that judgment as a whole people. It could be that we are not irrevocably divided down the middle between blues and reds. Maybe some of us just take a bit longer than others to think things through.

The statistics could mean something else. We'll keep looking as time passes. But if they mean what they appear to mean, and if the patterns hold up, it's not good news for Bush.

Thursday, May 27

For What It's Worth, Again

A CBS News poll shows that a Kerry/McCain ticket would destroy Bush/Cheney, 53% to 39%.

Can't Stop The Music!

Here's the whole story from the Chicago Trib...

Franken factors in younger listeners
Air America radio network does well among group that advertisers covet

Despite ongoing financial woes, Air America Radio appears to have garnered a significant audience during its first month on the air, particularly among the younger listeners sought by advertisers.

An analysis of recently released figures from Arbitron, the radio ratings service, showed that in New York Air America beat Rush Limbaugh's station among 25-to-54-year-olds during the period that Limbaugh and Al Franken, the host of the flagship show "The O'Franken Factor," go head-to-head.

In Chicago, even though the network was available for only 28 days in April, Air America increased the average share of 25-to-54-year-old listeners on WNTD-950 AM from a 0.1 percent share in February to a 2 percent share in April.

Air America was pulled off WNTD-950 AM due to a billing dispute. The network is seeking a new home in Chicago.

"We're actually doing very well despite everything we've managed to do to ourselves," Franken said on Saturday in an address to the Talkers Magazine New Media Seminar in New York.

He was referring to the network's failure to meet payroll earlier this month and the departure of no fewer than six key executives in its first eight weeks on the air.

"If this is how we're doing now, imagine what things will be like when we actually know what we're doing," Franken said.

The April audience estimates, which are the first data indicating whether or not Air America's brand of liberal talk radio can find an audience, come from a third-party analysis of Arbitron data, called "extrapolations."

Insiders cautioned that, while it is standard to use extrapolations as a guide to the performance of a station, they are preliminary and prone to a certain margin of error.

"They're like a second-inning score in a baseball game," said Tom Taylor, the editor of Inside Radio, a trade publication. "But you have to say that the visitors are on the scoreboard."

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., a period that includes Franken's show, WNTD pulled in 3 percent of 25-to-54-year-old listeners in Chicago. That number puts the fledgling network in the same league as WGN-720 AM, which scored a 2.1 percent share of the same demographic, according to the extrapolation of April figures. WLS-890 AM, which airs Rush Limbaugh during the same period, beat WNTD with a 4.8 share.

But in New York, where Air America still broadcasts over WLIB-1190 AM, the network beat Limbaugh's station, Disney-owned WABC, among both 25-to-54-year-olds and 18-to-34-year-olds during the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. period. In the 25-to-54 demographic, WLIB garnered a 3.4 share to WABC's 3.1; among 18-to-34-year-olds, WLIB won sevenfold with a 2.9 share to WABC's 0.4.

From the Pen of: Ben Sargent

Limbaugh At War With His Local Paper

Rush, if you don't know by now, resides in and does his show from Palm Beach, Florida. Right now, there's a damned entertaining war going on between Limbaugh and Frank Cerabino of the Palm Beach Post. This week, Cerabino fired another salvo into the legend...

Oh, grow up already.

You're a 53-year-old professional pontificator who made light of torture and abuse because you're addicted to all things Bush.

Hey, I feel sorry for you. I can't imagine what it must be like to suffer from your political addiction. But, for crying out loud, take a little personal responsibility, instead of play-acting through your The Passion of the Rush routine.

You're a seasoned slasher who is bleating foul because you've been hoisted by your own petard.

Hey, it happens. Part of the job. Sometimes you just make a fool of yourself.

You ought to be used to it by now. Donovan McNabb. Name ring a bell?

So quit acting like one of those teenagers in an MTV reality show.

That "out-of-context" stuff is so dog-ate-my-homework.

By the way, thanks for the full-page ad in The Palm Beach Post last week, allegedly to refute my column from last Sunday and to instruct county residents on the editorial opinions of The Washington Times -- always a useful perspective in local events. And thanks for discussing my offending column on the air.
Go read this column, and check out the other columns which are driving Rush batpoop. It's working at getting under his skin better than crank calls.

By the way, Cerabino served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. So right away, you know Rush hates him.

Wednesday, May 26

Gore's Passion

I finally watched the Gore speech on C-SPAN tonight. All day I was hearing and reading reactions to it - one of the more predominant being how he yelled. Yell, yell, yell. Some were saying on other boards how Kerry must be upset that Gore yelled. Yelling bad. Mongo no like yell. Dean yell. Dean lose. Al yell. Me no like.

After watching this, I say to the yell-haters, shut your stinkin' pie holes.

This was a magnificent and emotional oratory from a man who for eight years of his professional life helped give this country its greatest years of prosperity, security and sanity. And in three years, he watched this little nimrod and his cowboys systematically destroy every shred of it.

Yes. He raised his voice. Deal with it. He was the vice-president. And by actual count, he was our president-elect in 2000. An attack on our country gave Bush the mandate he never got from that election - and he used that event to dismantle everything in sight - much of which was Gore's very work.

There's no denying that Gore spoke the God's honest truth today. And he spoke it from the heart. Have someone screw up eight years of your work, you'd do the same.

Gore has a lot more to get over than your stupid little peccadillo about yelling. So you. Yeah, you. Get over it. Better yet, watch it.*

* CSPAN has removed it - new link points to MoveOn's highlights

Air America Radio Arrives

First, let's check in with the Free Republic and see what they say about Air America, shall we? C'mon! It'll be fun! Don't worry - we won't link you there.

Randi Rhodes quits Air America; Air America ratings comes in.
nationaldebate ^ | 05/21/04 | Robert Cox

Posted on 05/21/2004 9:25:54 PM PDT by Pikamax

Randi Rhodes announced today that she is quitting Air America. Rhodes made the surprise announcement in a prepared statement at the opening of today's broadcast of the Randi Rhodes Show.

On a related note the Arbitron ratings came out (for New York only) and it is not pretty. Air America on WLIB came in ranked #24 between #25 Mexican Radio and #26 Wall of Voodoo.

LEGAL CLARIFCATION REQUIRED: If you quit on a radio show with no ratings does that count as a resignation?

The Air America message board is in mourning.

In case you missed is the updated timeline of the Air America Death Watch. I won't cheat and post it but I had meant to post a prediction that she would be the first to go. From what I understand she had a bigger audience in Florida then she was getting on AAR's "national" network. I don't think her little "assassination" joke helped.
First of all, rumors of Randi's demise are greatly...LIES. The Freepers bought into a bit she did. Suckers.

Secondly, rumors of Air America's demise are greatly (say it with me) LIES! Michael D at Kos tracked down the Al Franken brag about beating Rush in New York City in a key demographic as...TRUTH. Inside Radio, a well-known industry daily sheet reports:

Al Franken has some New York numbers to crow about. And he did crow about beating Rush with 25-54s -- as Air America flagship WLIB did an extrapolated 3.4 for the month of April compared to WABC's 3.1 in middays. Caution: Extrapolations are far from official.
Let me explain extrapolations. Radio ratings - unlike TV - are reported as a three-month rolling average. Extrapolations are raw data of the final month of that three-month period, extrapolated by math. So while they're not official, they're important enough for radio stations to demand as part of the report - after spending years extrapolating the numbers themselves.

In other words, it's not official, but it's as close as it gets to accurate. And popping a bigger number than Rush in ANY demographic - no less 25-54 - annoints you as a force to be reckoned with.

Their overall debut was a 1.4% in listeners 12+ from 5am to 1am - which in NYC is a powerful amount of new listeners. They weren't built on WLIB's previous audience (its last format was world music) - these are all brand-new listeners to the station. Mix in the facts that WLIB has been a perennial also-ran and broadcasts with 1/5 the transmitting power of WABC and with a minimal operating budget - and you've got one little radio station that's kicking some serious ass.

In other words, a station owner's dream. The Sutton Family should be very pleased - it's been a long time coming.

If that success is given the chance to be duplicated in other major markets, you can bet more stations will be lining up to hitch their transmitters to the network.

Hey. Liz Winstead, Chuck D and Al Franken beat John Gambling and Rush Limbaugh 10am-3pm in the 25-54 age bracket in the world's biggest city. Think about THAT for a while.

Welcome to the radio landscape, Air America. You've arrived.

Memo to Messrs. Ashcroft and Mueller

You have the pictures. You have the names. You have the nice poster. You know some of them are here...'s a wacky idea: Why don't you guys

Meanwhile, Back In Iraq - How's The New Team Coming Together?


Nuclear scientist rejects leadership of Iraq, envoy says

A Shiite Muslim nuclear scientist tabbed as the top candidate for prime minister of an Iraqi government that is due to take power June 30 does not want the job, the U.N. envoy said Wednesday.

The scientist, Hussain al-Shahristani, who was imprisoned for years under former President Saddam Hussein, was among several people being considered for the post, Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer, president of the Iraqi Governing Council, confirmed Wednesday.

U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who was in Baghdad helping Iraqis agree on an interim government that will take over June 30, said he met al-Shahristani and thought highly of him, Ahmed Fawzi, Brahimi's spokesman, said in a statement.

"Mr. Shahristani, however, has himself clarified that he would prefer to serve his country in other ways," the statement said, without elaborating.

A Little Help Here!

I know I've seen this somewhere (possibly Kos, since he's graph-happy and I like that) - a graph depicting increased terror alerts versus Bush's approval ratings.

First caller wins A NEW CAR. Prize subject to change. Thanks in advance.

Incidentally, doesn't it occur to Ashcroft that all terr'ists have to do now is...chatter? Or even - heaven help us - broadcast it on every Arab network in the world? They didn't seem to tip their hand that blatantly pre-9/11. But they're doing it now...and it throws the whole country higgledy-piggledy.

And isn't it just a teensy weensy bit suspicious that Ashcroft was afraid that a terror attack would change the Nov. 2 election as it did in Spain? God forbid, you soft, pink, oily jackass.

Al Gore Speaks - America Better Listen

If you haven't gone at the insistence of every other blog in humanity, go now to see Al Gore's speech on Iraq and foreign policy at That is, if you can click through. It's probably the busiest thing on the web right now.

The Firefighters and Police Don't Believe It Either

The story is about Kerry...

Kerry Criticizes Lack of Spending on Homeland Security

Presumptive democratic nominee John F. Kerry on Wednesday called on the Bush administration to do more than just warn about the threat of terrorist attacks and provide communities with enough money to protect potential targets.

"We deserve a president of the United States who doesn't make homeland security a photo opportunity and the rhetoric of a campaign," Kerry said as Attorney General John Ashcroft warned that the latest intelligence showed that al Qaeda is planning another attack in the United States. "We deserve a president who makes America safer."
But there are some more serious indictments by other folks who matter:

International Association of Fire Fighters president Harold Schaitberger said it is suspicious that the administration reportedly knew about these threats for more than a month but only chose to publicize them now, as Bush's approval ratings have been sinking.

"I find the reports in this press conference to be politically convenient at best," said Schaitberger, whose union has endorsed Kerry.

International Brotherhood of Police Officers President David Holway criticized the administration for "sitting on this information" instead of sharing it immediately with police.

"The timing on this is very suspect," Holway said. "We want to make sure that when this information does come out, it comes out in a timely manner."
The distrust the Bush thugs have fostered is undeniable. But to have our hometown heroes doubting them puts teeth in it. If the threats bear no fruit, I shudder to think what they'll do then.

Also In Section A Of The LA Times...

Joining the terror story on page A5 are these full-page ads in the same section:

- John Kerry for President ("I will not let us be the first generation of Americans to pass our country on in worse shape than we were handed it")
- The Peace Education Fund about Bush's plan for a new "family" of nukes
- The Council on American-Islamic Relations

...and oh yeah, this ad for Club Equinox, apparently the only health club in the world where you can wear B&D high heels in the gym.

...not that I have a big problem with that.

For What It's Worth...

If they were looking to grab front-page headlines with their terror alert, it didn't work in L.A. - it made page A-5 in the Los Angeles Times.

Tuesday, May 25

Oh, So It'll Be OUR Fault Then

Ironically, the screenshot is how this NYT story came up on my screen. Wonder if Camp Kerry bought the terror alert package from the Times?

Public's Help Is Sought to Prevent Terrorist Strikes

WASHINGTON, May 25 - Attorney General John Ashcroft and Director Robert S. Mueller III of the F.B.I. plan to begin a campaign of public vigilance on Wednesday, warning that terrorists still hope to strike inside the United States, law enforcement officials said on Tuesday evening.

The officials said that Mr. Ashcroft and Mr. Mueller planned to hold a news conference at F.B.I. headquarters to discuss a well-known pattern of intelligence indicating that the United States remained the highest priority target for Al Qaeda and affiliated extremist networks.

Contradicting news reports Tuesday saying that new information pointed to a specific threat, the officials said Mr. Ashcroft and Mr. Mueller had no new intelligence to suggest that an attack was being planned or that preparations were under way.Instead, the officials said they would issue a new call for public awareness and ask again for the public's help in apprehending suspected terrorists who have long been sought by the F.B.I. and whose names are on the bureau's Web site.

Why Does America Hate America?

Remember when the wingnuts loved to label liberals as angry? Well, America is now in touch with its inner fury - thanks to King Wingnut.

Anger Rising
Americans Increasingly Frustrated With Bush Iraq Policy

Anger is up, pride is down, worry continues, and hopefulness - while still present - is in shorter supply. Those are among the changes in Americans' emotional responses to the situation in Iraq, compared with the early days of the war in March 2003.

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds the sharpest change is in anger. As the war began, 30 percent of Americans were angry about it; today, asked about the situation in Iraq, 57 percent are angry - almost twice as many. Anger is highest - 70 percent - among the roughly half of Americans who think that, given its costs versus its benefits, the war was not worth fighting.

America Braces - Again

If this comes true, it cannot be blamed on Clinton. It cannot be blamed on Saddam. It cannot be blamed on Kerry, Democrats or the Bogeyman.

It will be because of the failure of President George W. Bush to protect America. God knows he's implemented enough programs, military action and hubris to thwart this sort of thing...didn't he?

Moreover, I am so stinkin' tired of this administration's mindset that if you predict violence, and it comes true, it absolves you from the blame if it happens. "Hey, I knew this was gonna happen, so don't look at me." It's such a chickencrap gambit.

U.S. to Announce New Terror-Related Threat

The U.S. Justice Department and the FBI will announce a new terror-related threat amid increased security concerns over several high-profile events in the United States, law enforcement officials said on Tuesday.

Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller are due to hold a 2 p.m. news conference at FBI headquarters on Wednesday to give details of the threat, the officials said.

One law enforcement official said Mueller and Ashcroft would announce an FBI "be on the lookout" bulletin and give specific information about individuals the FBI is seeking.

"It's more investigatory...there's nothing to do with infrastructure protection," the official said.

The Department of Homeland Security has no plans to raise the color-coded terror alert level, which is currently set at "yellow" for an "elevated" risk of attack, officials said.

Verify Every Vote - Sign The Petition

To hold an election in the 21st Century without a paper trail to verify the voting is surreal. Howard Dean's website, Democracy for America, has a petition up. Sign. Sign mightily.

From the Pen of: Pat Oliphant

Another "Fahrenheit" Critique By Someone Who Hasn't Seen It

From the fighting-fact-with-opinion school of wingnut writing. Y'know: Yeah it got a 20-minute standing ovation, but I don't believe it was earned. Yeah, it's full of documented evidence and filmed proof, but I think it's fiction. Yeah, the judges gave it the Palme D'or, but I don't think it was that good even though I haven't seen it.

Y'know...the usual crap.

Fun With Photoshop

Don at Blah3 strikes again!

No Mistake: There's No Plan At All

Today's press gaggle bears out the amount of dancing and lack of planning for Bush's June 30th plan. It's so screwed up, Scott McClellan doesn't even understand it.

Q Scott, I don't understand the letter that Bush is -- or somebody is sending to the U.N. What's it going to spell out?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, it's --

Q Why do you need this letter?

MR. McCLELLAN: It's part of -- it will spell out more about the relationship between the multinational force and the interim Iraqi government that will be in place. Like I said, we have a lot of experience in working in close cooperation with others on things of this nature -- on security situations. Like I pointed out, we do this on a daily basis in Afghanistan. We work in close cooperation with the government in Afghanistan.

Q Who's going to write it? Who puts it together, the coalition, or the U.S.? Who writes it?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think that that's going to be worked on. You have to first get the interim government in place, I think, before you can work out some of those -- some of those relationships. But we're going to -- we'll work in close partnership with the interim government.

Q This letter won't go anywhere until after June 30th, then?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think that -- like I said, the interim -- no, no, I wouldn't put that time frame on it. The interim government, we expect, will be announced soon by Mr. Brahimi. And then those issues will be discussed more -- then those issues will be discussed more with the interim government at that point. And that relationship will be worked out in further detail.

Q Isn't it meant to be sort of an exchange of letters that follows the U.N. Security Council --

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sure that -- look, all that's going to be worked out with the interim government. We've got to -- the interim government needs to be put in place first. So let's let --

Q So you don't know when the letter will be written or when it will submitted?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- let's let that happen first. Well, the first step is to get the interim government in place, get those people named and Mr. Brahimi is working on that. And as we pointed out yesterday when we put forward the draft resolution, we would come back -- we would work on passing that resolution once that interim government is named.

Wolffe: A Gaping Hole

Newsweek's Richard Wolffe on last night's presidential hoohah:

In years to come, historians will wonder why this Bush administration enjoyed such a strong reputation for its foreign policy for so long. After all, it was only a few weeks ago that Washington's pundit class, spurred on by the rival presidential campaigns, declared that George W. Bush was a shoo-in as long as the focus remained on Iraq.

How times have changed. The president's grand vision for Iraq - now known as his five-point plan - was supposed to get the full ballyhoo on Monday evening. The magical words "prime-time" were thrown around, even though the networks chose to broadcast shows like Fear Factor instead of the president's fine words. But no amount of rhetorical flourish can mask the disarray of the administration's policy in Iraq, and the president's continuing struggle to speak convincingly to the American and Iraqi people.

Let It Sink In

Folks, read and re-read the Guardian article in the post below. It reports the strong possibility that one of the Axis of Evil actually conned us into war against another Axis of Evil. War. The last resort. The final decision. The end of the diplomatic rope.

Over 800 U.S. Soldiers.
Over 9,000 Iraqi citizens.
Over what?

Wrong information. And quite possibly, knowingly wrong information from a Bush-proclaimed sworn enemy of America.

Let it sink in.


Remember President Crackhead's inability to conscientiously finish the old "Fool me once, Shame on you" proverb? It's now starting to come out that being fooled once was plenty. Iran may have duped the United States into destroying its other solemn enemy: Iraq.

Even the most chaste and pure of you won't be able to read this from the Guardian, without saying "Oh, Holy shit" out loud...

US intelligence fears Iran duped hawks into Iraq war

An urgent investigation has been launched in Washington into whether Iran played a role in manipulating the US into the Iraq war by passing on bogus intelligence through Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress, it emerged yesterday.

Some intelligence officials now believe that Iran used the hawks in the Pentagon and the White House to get rid of a hostile neighbour, and pave the way for a Shia-ruled Iraq.

According to a US intelligence official, the CIA has hard evidence that Mr Chalabi and his intelligence chief, Aras Karim Habib, passed US secrets to Tehran, and that Mr Habib has been a paid Iranian agent for several years, involved in passing intelligence in both directions.

The CIA has asked the FBI to investigate Mr Chalabi's contacts in the Pentagon to discover how the INC acquired sensitive information that ended up in Iranian hands.

The implications are far-reaching. Mr Chalabi and Mr Habib were the channels for much of the intelligence on Iraqi weapons on which Washington built its case for war.

"It's pretty clear that Iranians had us for breakfast, lunch and dinner," said an intelligence source in Washington yesterday. "Iranian intelligence has been manipulating the US for several years through Chalabi."

The Freeway Blogger Needs Posting Material

Literally. Nails, plywood, wire...
At the 405 and Spruce Avenue:

Hoffmania! Photo

From the Pen of: Lalo Alcaraz

Bush's Words Ring Hollow

The LA Times reacts...

Speeches Aren't Enough

May 25, 2004

It was a subdued President Bush who on Monday tried to describe a path out of the increasingly beleaguered Iraq occupation. He acknowledged that violence would probably worsen even after the hand-over of what he called "full sovereignty" to Iraq on June 30. Hope was more evident than confidence, with much of the burden for that hope laid on the United Nations' ability to form a credible new government. But as he spoke to the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., the president could not spell out the U.N.'s role.

The words "terror" and "terrorists" were used throughout the speech. Bush could be right that abandoning Iraq would leave it to become a permanent center of terror, but it was not to root out terror in Iraq that the U.S. went to war; Iraqi terrorism there from other than Saddam Hussein came with the war. It was weapons of mass destruction that formed the basis for the invasion, and much of the evidence was from exile leader Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress.[...]

Bush said Monday, "We did not seek this war on terror, but this is the world as we find it." Had Chalabi's bogus evidence not been sought quite so hard, had he been taken as found, he might have been seen as the poseur and con artist that he is now accused of being. The war, however, cannot be undone.

Bush has promised more speeches. If he wants the confidence of Americans and Iraqis, more answers and more-specific plans are necessary.
Since Bush mentioned the possibility of more violence before and after June 30th (that's nailing it, huh?), the mindset just staggered me. By predicting violence, he's actually trying to absolve himself of any blame when/if it does happen.

I'm sorry. I want my president to PREVENT violence, not predict it. One is a weaker challenge. The other is a sign of knowing what your doing.

Monday, May 24

Waving The Tin Cup In Front Of Your Face

After watching the speech, all I can say is...


Click here to contribute to Kerry

Where Did He Bike - In A Glass Recycling Plant?

Okay. Eyyew.

Air America Lifts WLIB

After more than a year of holding a rating of 1.1, New York's WLIB enjoyed a nice pop over the last two months to a 1.4 with Air America Radio. This is from Arbitron's monthly report which came out Friday.

Now before you dismiss that number, keep in mind that this rating is basically their debut. The 1.1 represented WLIB's former audience with their ethnic-based programming. It's hard to say right now how many of WLIB's listeners stayed with the format change, but this is very good news for Air America.

Although they still have a pretty big row to hoe (WABC is still the #1 talk station with a 3.9), here's how their 1.4 is faring against some other talk and/or news stations. With a little patience, this little station can do some serious damage. (Numbers from R&R Online)

WWRL 0.4
WEPN (ESPN Radio) 0.4
WKXW 1.0
WOR 2.1
WFAN (Imus & Sports) 2.2
WCBS 2.3

Too Bad - Bush Would Have Been Much Funnier

CBS is not expected to make a final decision on whether to preempt its Monday 8-9 p.m. comedy block - season finales of "Yes, Dear" and "Still Standing" - until Monday but sources indicated the network was leaning toward sticking with its regular programming.

Frank Rich on "Fahrenheit"

Michael Moore's Candid Camera

"But why should we hear about body bags, and deaths, and how many, what day it's gonna happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Or, I mean, it's, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that? And watch him suffer."
- Barbara Bush on "Good Morning America,"
March 18, 2003

SHE needn't have worried. Her son wasn't suffering. In one of the several pieces of startling video exhibited for the first time in Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," we catch a candid glimpse of President Bush some 36 hours after his mother's breakfast TV interview - minutes before he makes his own prime-time TV address to take the nation to war in Iraq. He is sitting at his desk in the Oval Office. A makeup woman is doing his face. And Mr. Bush is having a high old time. He darts his eyes about and grins, as if he were playing a peek-a-boo game with someone just off-camera. He could be a teenager goofing with his buds to relieve the passing tedium of a haircut.

"In your wildest dreams you couldn't imagine Franklin Roosevelt behaving this way 30 seconds before declaring war, with grave decisions and their consequences at stake," said Mr. Moore in an interview before his new documentary's premiere at Cannes last Monday. "But that may be giving him credit for thinking that the decisions were grave." [...]

Whatever you think of Mr. Moore, there's no question he's detonating dynamite here. From a variety of sources - foreign journalists and broadcasters (like Britain's Channel Four), freelancers and sympathetic American TV workers who slipped him illicit video - he supplies war-time pictures that have been largely shielded from our view. Instead of recycling images of the planes hitting the World Trade Center on 9/11 once again, Mr. Moore can revel in extended new close-ups of the president continuing to read "My Pet Goat" to elementary school students in Florida for nearly seven long minutes after learning of the attack. Just when Abu Ghraib and the savage beheading of Nicholas Berg make us think we've seen it all, here is yet another major escalation in the nation-jolting images that have become the battleground for the war about the war.

"Fahrenheit 9/11" is not the movie Moore watchers, fans or foes, were expecting. (If it were, the foes would find it easier to ignore.)

From the Pen of: Tom Toles

Bush's Approval: Knocking On 30s' Door

CBS News Poll...

The war in Iraq continues to tarnish the approval ratings of President Bush. Evaluations of the way Mr. Bush is handling the war in Iraq, how he is handling foreign policy, and how he is handling his job overall are now at their lowest levels ever in his presidency.

Mr. Bush's overall job approval rating has continued to decline. Forty-one percent approve of the job he is doing as president, while 52 percent disapprove - the lowest overall job rating of his presidency. Two weeks ago, 44 percent approved. A year ago, two-thirds did.

Sixty-one percent of Americans now disapprove of the way Mr. Bush is handling the situation in Iraq, while just 34 percent approve.

As concern about the situation in Iraq grows, 65 percent now say the country is on the wrong track - matching the highest number ever recorded in CBS News Polls, which began asking this question in the mid-1980's. Only 30 percent currently say things in this country are headed in the right direction. One year ago, in April 2003, 56 percent of Americans said the country was headed in the right direction.

Sunday, May 23

It's About Goddam TIME!

We needed the Pew Research Center to show us how dismally U.S. news media have been doing their jobs. By their own admission in a report released today, it just plain sucks, no small thanks to their being White House lapdogs.

Of course the way they've been behaving the last three years, taking this long to see it is no big hairy surprise...

Press Going Too Easy on Bush

Journalists are unhappy with the way things are going in their profession these days. Many give poor grades to the coverage offered by the types of media that serve most Americans: daily newspapers, local TV, network TV news and cable news outlets. In fact, despite recent scandals at the New York Times and USA Today, only national newspapers ­ and the websites of national news organizations ­ receive good performance grades from the journalistic ranks.

Roughly half of journalists at national media outlets (51%), and about as many from local media (46%), believe that journalism is going in the wrong direction, as significant majorities of journalists have come to believe that increased bottom line pressure is "seriously hurting" the quality of news coverage. This is the view of 66% of national news people and 57% of the local journalists questioned in this survey. [..]

The strong sentiment in favor of a more critical view of White House coverage is just one way the climate of opinion among journalists has changed since the 1990s. More generally, there has been a steep decline in the percentage of national and local news people who think the traditional criticism of the press as too cynical still holds up. If anything, more national news people today fault the press for being too timid, not too cynical.

Not only do many national news people believe the press has gone too soft in its coverage of President Bush, they express considerably less confidence in the political judgment of the American public than they did five years ago. Since 1999, the percentage saying they have a great deal of confidence in the public's election choices has fallen from 52% to 31% in the national sample of journalists.

Barreling Down A Dark Road With The Headlights Off

Bob Herbert tells the ugly truth in the Monday NY Times...

Did Somebody Say War?

President Bush fell off his bike and hurt himself during a 17-mile excursion at his ranch in Crawford, Tex., on Saturday. Nothing serious. A few cuts and bruises. He was wearing a bike helmet and a mouth guard, and he was able to climb back on his bike and finish his ride.

A little later he left the ranch and went to Austin for a graduation party for his daughter Jenna. And then it was on to New Haven, where daughter Barbara will graduate today from Yale. Except for the bicycle mishap, it sounded like a very pleasant weekend.

Meanwhile, there's a war on. Yet another U.S. soldier was killed near Falluja yesterday. You remember Falluja. That's the rebellious city that the Marines gave up on and turned over to the control of officers from the very same Baathist army that we invaded Iraq to defeat.

It's impossible to think about Iraq without stumbling over these kinds of absurdities. How do you get a logical foothold on a war that was nurtured from the beginning on absurd premises? You can't. Iraq had nothing to do with Sept. 11. The invasion of Iraq was not part of the war on terror. We had no business launching this war. Now we're left with the tragic absurdity of a clueless president riding his bicycle in Texas while Americans in Iraq are going up in flames.

How bad is the current situation? Gen. Anthony Zinni, the retired Marine Corps general who headed the U.S. Central Command (which covers much of the Middle East and Central Asia) from 1997 to 2000, was utterly dismissive about the administration's "stay the course" strategy in Iraq. "The course is headed over Niagara Falls," he said in an interview with "60 Minutes," adding, "It should be evident to everybody that they've screwed up." [...]

There's a terrible sense of dread filtering across America at the moment and it's not simply because of the continuing fear of terrorism and the fact that the nation is at war. It's more frightening than that. It grows out of the suspicion that we all may be passengers in a vehicle that has made a radically wrong turn and is barreling along a dark road, with its headlights off and with someone behind the wheel who may not know how to drive.

Sunday PhotoBlogging

Pocket cameras rule. From the Cali coastline this week...

These guys said they use this functioning mechanical shark for National Geographic. My theory is it's used for the Jamie Kennedy Experiment. That little thing on its head is a camera. Oxygen tanks and a screen are inside.

On the sidewalk along the Strand.

Formerly French Carpets, no doubt. Finally, my response to cat blogging...

An opinion by my 17-year-old border collie. G'night, folks.

Welcome BUZZFLASH Readers

If your browser sent you here, then you can read the Pelosi Moment story here.

The Abu Ghraib story is here.

Thanks for coming.

Saturday, May 22

The War President Is On Duty!

Taking a well-earned break from wartime campaign fundraising and terror-alert bass fishing...

(Oh, by the way, this is what he was doing instead of attending his daughter's graduation - which she didn't attend either.)
Bush Suffers Cuts, Bruises While Biking

CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush suffered cuts and bruises early Saturday afternoon when he fell while mountain biking on his ranch, White House spokesman Trent Duffy said.

Bush was on the 16th mile of a 17-mile ride when he fell, Duffy said. He was riding with a military aide, members of the Secret Service and his personal physician, Dr. Richard Tubbs.

"He had minor abrasions and scratches on his chin, upper lip, nose, right hand and both knees," Duffy said. "Dr. Tubbs, who was with him, cleaned his scratches, said he was fine. The Secret Service offered to drive him back to the house. He declined and finished his ride."

Bush was wearing his bike helmet and a mouth guard when the mishap occurred. Duffy said he didn't know exactly how the accident happened.

"It's been raining a lot and the topsoil is loose," the spokesman said. "You know this president. He likes to go all out. Suffice it to say he wasn't whistling show tunes."

Duffy said Bush probably would be wearing a bandage on his chin during a party Saturday night for his daughter, Jenna, who graduated from the University of Texas earlier in the day. Bush left Crawford shortly after the bike mishap for the party in Austin.
Don't worry...he'll spend some time in Washington as we get closer to November 2nd.

Attack Dogs On Pelosi

But then again, it does kinda point out a lot of reasons why we like her on our side. The RNC shoots their load on her.

Friday, May 21

Showed THAT Bastard

At least under Nixon, I was able to register with Selective Service as 1-H - a conscientious objector. Guess that now translates as "America Hater" in Bush's new world order.

Soldier Who Refused to Return Is Found Guilty of Desertion

ATLANTA, May 21 - A military jury convicted a member of the Florida National Guard on Friday at a court-martial in Fort Stewart, Ga., on charges of desertion because he refused to return to his unit in Iraq, saying he objected to the war there.

The soldier, Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia, was sentenced to the maximum penalty of one year in prison, reduction in rank to private, and a bad-conduct discharge at the end of his prison term.

His family said he would appeal. "I couldn't be more proud of this brave and courageous young man," said Norma Castillo, his aunt. "We're not going to stop until justice prevails."

His claim of conscientious objector status, filed months after his desertion, is being considered separately. His lawyers said the judge's decision to exclude the application from all but the sentencing phase of the court-martial "gutted" his case.

How SICK Is The Bush Administration?

God-awful sick. Deranged sick. Bloodthirsty sick.

As repulsed as we all are over what we've seen from Abu Ghraib and the Nick Berg beheadding, Bush's jackasses want us to see more - as if we're too stupid to remember how horrible Saddam was.

It's porno for psychos, and they're releasing it to show how mild OUR torture is. This is what the Crackhead Administration calls "a reminder." We call it just plain nauseating.

In case they (or anyone) missed the point: The United States of America is supposed to be THE GOOD GUYS. We already know who the bad guys are. And what those bad guys did does not - NOT - excuse us from what we did at Abu Ghraib. The stupidity and sickness of these people know no depths. It just gets worse and worse.

Saddam-era videos out to contrast prison abuse

WASHINGTON - Video images of brutal treatment of prisoners by Saddam Hussein's government resurfaced this week as part of an effort by some members of the Bush administration and Congress to remind viewers in Iraq and the United States of the previous horrors.

Scenes of floggings, forced amputations and a beheading were distributed to a small number of news organizations in the hope that viewers and readers would see the U.S. invasion of Iraq more favorably and draw a sharp contrast with abuses by American troops, said an administration official who described the publicity effort.

The administration has wanted to "demonstrate the true nature of Saddam's regime, but it's unknown through most of Western Europe and even in the United States," said the official, who requested anonymity because of the issue's sensitivity. "What's really surprising is it's even unknown in parts of Iraq."

We''ll (WHACK) Win (WHACK) Your (WHACK) Hearts and (WHACK) Minds...

...after we (WHACK) beat them (WHACK) out of you.

When Tom Clancy Co-Writes A Book On How Wrongheaded Your War Is...'ve got real trouble.

Gen. Zinni: 'They've Screwed Up'

(CBS) Accusing top Pentagon officials of "dereliction of duty," retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni says staying the course in Iraq isn't a reasonable option.

"The course is headed over Niagara Falls. I think it's time to change course a little bit or at least hold somebody responsible for putting you on this course," he tells CBS News Correspondent Steve Kroft in an interview to be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, May 23, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

The current situation in Iraq was destined to happen, says Zinni, because planning for the war and its aftermath has been flawed all along.

"There has been poor strategic thinking in this...poor operational planning and execution on the ground," says Zinni, who served as commander-in-chief of the U.S. Central Command from 1997 to 2000.

Zinni blames the poor planning on the civilian policymakers in the administration, known as neo-conservatives, who saw the invasion as a way to stabilize the region and support Israel. He believes these people, who include Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of defense, have hijacked U.S. foreign policy.

"They promoted it and pushed [the war]... even to the point of creating their own intelligence to match their needs. Then they should bear the responsibility," Zinni tells Kroft.

In his upcoming book, "Battle Ready," written with Tom Clancy, Zinni writes of the poor planning in harsh terms. "In the lead-up to the Iraq war and its later conduct, I saw, at minimum, true dereliction, negligence and irresponsibility; at worst, lying, incompetence and corruption," he writes.
Battle Ready by Tom Clancy & Gen. Tony Zinni
Of course you can order it here - save 32% now.

The Pelosi Moment

As Mark pointed out earlier on this blog, and as we've all been reading over the last 24 hours, Nancy Pelosi is the kid at the parade, king, clothes, etc. who just may have opened the floodgates and spoke from the top of the Hill about Bush's incompetence and reckless behavior.

In short, Nancy took the message of the blogosphere and Howard Dean and belted it over the wall, shattering the remaining outposts of ignorant silence across America.

We all know that in the months following 9/11, very few people were willing to say what needed to be said about the White House squatters. We were attacked, confused, and looking to Washington for leadership. There were flashes of hope, but soon we realized we were in the hands of an administration in way, WAY over their heads. Their only effective action was to squash dissenting voices and label them as anti-American. It worked - for a while.

Bloggers long before this one began the call. Buzzflash was our answer to the Drudge link-a-thon. Atrios, Kos, Josh Marshall, the late (and still missed) Media Whores Online and many more sent out the cry to be heard while the country and its cowtowing media were too scared be anything except agreeable bobbleheads. Even Don Waller's Blah3 was a music review site until - to paraphrase him - the country got all jackassy. The foundation was set, and pretty soon, the voices bubbled to the surface.

Dean picked up the vibration and began the public drumbeat last year, giving everyone unfamiliar with the online underground permission to speak up. His ride was cut short by bad campaign advice combined with a hammering by the right wing media machine. Nonetheless, the new theme was finally out there, even if the bandleader was all but shot by the wingnuts.

Enter Nancy Pelosi.

"Bush is an incompetent leader. In fact, he's not a leader. He's a person who has no judgment, no experience and no knowledge of the subjects that he has to decide upon.

"He has on his shoulders the deaths of many more troops, because he would not heed the advice of his own State Department of what to expect after May 1 when he ... declared that major combat is over. The shallowness that he has brought to the office has not changed since he got there.

"Not to get personal about it, but the president's capacity to lead has never been there. In order to lead, you have to have judgment. In order to have judgment, you have to have knowledge and experience. He has none.

"This president has demonstrated very clearly that he does not have the capacity to present a plan to transition.

"The only way we can get more troops from other countries is to have a president who respects the other countries. It's hopeless for George Bush. He has made it hopeless.

"The risk in many of us speaking out in the way that I'm speaking out to you right now is that people will say, 'Oh, it's just political,'

"He's gone. He's so gone."
And so predictably, the attack dogs residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue have been unleashed and ordered to rip snarl and tear at Pelosi. They're fast to point out their assessment that she took the low road, while taking some detours through the mud themselves.

"She apparently is so caught up in the partisan hatred for President Bush that her words are putting American lives at risk," said House Majority leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas.

At the White House, press secretary Scott McClellan said, "I don't think that such comments are worth dignifying with any response from this podium."

Bush-Cheney campaign chair Marc Racicot said the comments were "a reprehensible attempt to blame America for the action of terrorists and represent a fundamental misunderstanding of the war on terror."

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said, "Was it incompetence that put Saddam Hussein in jail? Was it incompetence that disbanded the Taliban? Was it incompetence that spurred the fastest economic growth rate in 20 years? Was it incompetence that created the highest home ownership rate in history?''
Well, one out of four ain', great. On top of all this, she's today's cover girl on all the hot wingnut sites. It's only minutes before we'll see her face next to bin Laden's.

But the evidence supporting Pelosi (and all who came before her) is just too overwhelming, as Hastert's lie-riddled quote underscores. That evidence is all over this site and the sites we have listed in the "daily links" down the left column.

Washington is an absolute mess. Iraq has turned into a nightmare. Bush's ability to handle money like a crackhead is now the stuff of legends. Education is in the toilet (Bush even bragged about his being a C student in his LSU commencement speech today - talk about inspiring).

You want comfort for the terrorists? The American Condition we talk about here so much is a fine place to start. Frankly, it's the worst we've ever seen, and we've seen a lot.

Tonight, we'll all raise a toast to all those who led up to The Pelosi Moment. And we'll knock one back for Nancy herself. It's a reason to celebrate.

It's our moment, and there are more - much more - to come.

Once Upon A Time In Prison Camp...

We once discussed how fathers, uncles and neighbors of German WWII soldiers would relay what they found out in WWI - that by surrendering to U.S. troops, they'd be treated better than if they stayed with their companies. This underscores that story - a strategy that the Crackhead Administration never read up on before declaring war on anyone who's "not with us." From this morning's L.A. Times...

Once, a POW Sent Thanks to His American Captor

The following is excerpted from a letter sent by a World War II German prisoner of war to Lt. Frederick Lyon Dalton, an American who oversaw detainees assigned to work in an officer's mess in France. Dalton died in 1987, and his family found the letter Saturday among his military records. The original spellings and grammar have been retained. The POW's signature was illegible.

Officers Mess Camp de Satory
Versailles 8 January 1946

Dear sir,

It is my wish to thank you for your fair and sincer position opposite me and all the other boys , I will never forget this. You may imagine that we have an open heart for eVRY kindness we receive during our time as POW, and that former emnemie people which show that position and beheaving you did will be noticed as the only way for the future of a new rebuilding of the common life all over the world. I shall not cease to put in all my influence to my boys and evrybody in realising that point of view, because I know that the peace of the world insist not only on money but also on human feelings. Sometimes it is not easy to do this work over here as a "life body" second class and feel the hate ... of the surrounding people, however one can understand realizing that 6 year war with all the consquenzes. But shouldn't the human civilized nature be able to get away at last from the usual conception before and after a war? It is the duty of the defeated people to show its best will, that's why many of the Officers in my Outfit entered voluntary working, proofing by that way that "even an German Officer" is good enough to do evry work without behaving himself as a proud and stiff fellow who can only click the heels... We all remarked quite well the satification of many of our old guests, as they noticed we were officers who served the food as common waiters, and ones I told the former Lt. Corley why we did that job, and I think you will understand it. We don't care about and let them have their joy of Humiliated German officers.

I don't know when the time will come to go home. Anyway we hope the best... I am glad your time ... came to a finish and you will join shortly the people you like. Let me send you my best wishes for your future.

Two By Jeff Danziger

See his site.

Absolute Proof That Bush Cannot Handle The Economy

Kerry now owns that issue. Bush took $130 million of his own campaign money and pissed it away. From this morning's LA Times:

Bush's Cash Edge Over Kerry Narrows

President Bush's once-insurmountable cash advantage over Democratic rival John F. Kerry has dwindled in the wake of record spending by Bush and unexpected fundraising success by Kerry, according to figures provided by the campaigns Thursday.

Although Bush's reelection campaign is continuing to shatter fundraising records - it passed the $200-million mark in April - Kerry has raised $32 million more than the president in the last two months. He has now collected $115 million.

The president's campaign has spent $130 million, more than all the money Kerry, a senator from Massachusetts, has raised since he announced his candidacy. Bush has spent so much of his money - $80 million in March and April - that the gap in cash available to the two candidates has been significantly narrowed.
There's more. You guys are coming through big time online. The story also notes:

Presidential election fundraising

George W. Bush
Total raised: $200 million
Cash on hand: $71.6 million
Total raised in April: $15.6 million
Total spent in April: $30 million
Total raised through direct mail/phone in April: $10.9 million
Total raised online in April: $900,000

John F. Kerry
Total raised: $115 million
Cash on hand: $28 million
Total raised in April: $30.9 million
Total spent in April: About $33 million
Total raised through direct mail in April: $10 million
Total raised online in April: $8.3 million
Kerry's definitely got the edge when it comes to handling money...the difference between a war hero and a cokehead.

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Mark Richards checks in...

"He's gone," Pelosi said of Bush. "He's so gone."

A fine quotation, and one that I've often used to describe the state of The Great Leader's mind.

It came from Nancy Pelosi, leader of the current Democratic minority in the US House of Representatives. In a 45 minute interview with the SF Chronicle, she offered "her strongest condemnation yet of President Bush on Wednesday, assailing him as incompetent and declaring that the only way for the United States to triumph in Iraq is to replace him as commander in chief.

"Bush is an incompetent leader. In fact, he's not a leader," Pelosi said. "He's a person who has no judgment, no experience and no knowledge of the subjects that he has to decide upon."

All good points and all things we've pretty much been able to figure out since even before The Great Leader was selected.

Still, Pelosi gives a larger voice to the smattering of those among us who have been out there articulating the problem for some time. "He's gone... he's so gone"?

I pray she's right, and we make it to that point.

Thursday, May 20

Air America Update

New day, new investors...

Air America Radio, the upstart liberal talk show network that has been plagued by management troubles, is seeking to raise new money in efforts to pay off debts and steer the business toward profitability.

A group of early investors that include Florida plaintiffs lawyer Mike Papantonio, Chicago entrepreneur Sheldon Drobny, and Rob Glaser, chairman of RealNetworks Inc., have committed to invest new capital, people familiar with the company said.

Air America has also moved to fill a void in its executive ranks. Doug Kreeger, also an investor, assumed the role of chief executive last week.

Earlier this month former CEO Evan Cohen was pushed out after the board lost confidence in his management.

"This venture is not dead and it's not going to die," Papantonio, who co-hosts a Saturday talk show with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., said in a telephone interview. "I am a businessman and I see this as a great business opportunity."

Air America has racked up unpaid debts, which include payroll to sales forces it hired in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, but was forced to let go after backing out on plans to lease radio stations in those markets.

John Kerry Wins Dear Abby's Vote

Read her column today.

It's Called Covering Your Tracks

I always felt that places like Abu Ghraib - like the Dachau and Auschwitz concentration camps - should stand as a reminder to future generations of past atrocities and as a memorial to those who tragically lost their lives just because they existed. Apparently, the geniuses in Washington think it ought to be destroyed - which just smacks of burying any evidence of their biggest failure - along with the atrocities Saddam and his thugs performed.

Two wrongs make it go away. Maybe if America did a little torture action at Dachau and Auschwitz after the fall of the Nazis, they'd also be leveled because they were just too plain icky to stand. Unreal.

House Votes to Destroy Iraqi Prison

A proposal to destroy the prison where Iraqi detainees were abused moved forward Thursday as lawmakers voted to include it in a defense spending bill.

The measure, by Pennsylvania Reps. Curt Weldon, a Republican, and John P. Murtha, a Democrat, would demolish the Abu Ghraib prison and build a modern detention facility in its place. It was included in a $422 billion defense authorization bill the House approved Thursday.

"This prison was a symbol of terrorism under Saddam, and it was an institution that the Iraqi people despised," Weldon said.

The abuse that happened at the prison "really created a bad perception in Iraq," Weldon said. "So my feeling is, tear it down. Get rid of it. Not just because of what a few soldiers did, but because of also because of what that symbol meant to Saddam, and show the Iraqi people, 'Hey, we don't want that kind of torture anymore.'"
Real historians we have here...cripes.

Yeah - And We Have A Different Finger Up For You

Come Kicking And Screaming Down Memory Lane With Me

Call me nuts, but every once in a while I listen to this just to keep my head in the right place. It's Howard Dean in his campaigning heyday - the speeches that lit the fire under my ass about politics again, when I thought no one had the balls to say out loud what millions of us were thinking.

You can read the transcript here.

You Just Can't Bottle This Kind Of Enthusiasm

President Pilotpants did some campaigning today - on Capitol Hill. He tried to calm down the troops over the fighting going on over the new budget. Aside from suggesting they earmark the entire $375 billion 2005 deficit toward rebuilding what he destroyed in Iraq, but he tried convincing Hill GOPers to vote for him. Two reactions from CNN:

"The president's going to win," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, crowed on his way out of the meeting, while Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said it was a "good speech."
McCain could hardly contain his ennui.

Hannity And Colmes - Brought To You By The Lift 'N' Sift Litter Box!

Advertisers know: It's popular crap, but it's still crap. Barry Champlain sends this along...

For Fox News, Ad-Sales Market Isn't Fair, Balanced
Despite Ratings Lead, Network Has Hard Time Winning Top Rates for Its Shows

NEW YORK -- Paul Rittenberg, head of advertising sales for the Fox News Channel, got on the phone recently to counter a lowball offer. Chrysler wanted to buy nearly $2 million of commercials -- but at a cut-rate price of $8 per thousand viewers.

Mr. Rittenberg pushed for $11.98, almost a dollar below his original asking price. Chrysler turned him down. As he hung up the phone, Mr. Rittenberg said nervously, "I hope CNN didn't get it."

The haggling illustrates a frustrating paradox for Fox News. No longer a struggling upstart, it is beating Time Warner Inc.'s Cable News Network handily in the ratings. But in the peculiar market for television advertising, where the usual rules of supply and demand don't always apply, it has trouble commanding the same rates as its rival.

Attracting a large audience can often let a TV show charge higher rates, because advertisers place a premium on the ability to reach a large number of people at one time. That's why giant events like the Super Bowl or the final episode of "Friends" command such high rates.

But a large audience is not a guarantee of garnering premium prices. Media buyers say they generally pay Fox News ad rates that are about 75% to 80% of what they pay CNN -- even though CNN has only about half the audience of Fox News. And for all the inroads Fox News has made as a news organization, Mr. Rittenberg has to contend with advertisers who use CNN as a yardstick of quality.

Kerry And McCain - Villains Of The Right

I was just browsing the news to find any new developments in the McCain-Hastert spat, and I came across this deal in NewsMax. The wingnuts are circling their wagons - around John McCain and John Kerry. Amazingly, they've already started their campaign to discredit these two Vietnam war heroes with one anti-Christian paintbrush.

We're not the ones convincing McCain to make the leap. His own party is doing it for us.

Kerry and McCain Shield Communist Vietnam's Slaughter of Christians
David Thibault,

The Vietnamese communist government's alleged murder of hundreds of tribal Christians requires a response by the U.S. government, but any effort to sanction Vietnam is being blocked by Sens. John Kerry and John McCain, according to a Washington, D.C., human rights group.

International Christian Concern President Jeff King also alleges that he's heard complaints about Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat running for president, and McCain, an Arizona Republican who ran for president in 2000, from some of their congressional colleagues on Vietnam's abuses.

"Senators have complained to us that these guys are the fast friends of the Vietnamese, and they've blocked any real attempt at reform or punishment for these types of abuses, and so Vietnam continues to get away with murder," King told

When asked to name the senators who had complained, King quickly replied, "No way." But he added, "It's not a political thing."

Kerry and McCain are "known as being big defenders of Vietnam," and the senators unhappy with Kerry and McCain are "people with a human rights angle," King said.
Yeah...human rights really suck ass. And McCain was sure given lots of reasons to love Vietnam while he was a guest at the Hanoi Hilton, just as Kerry must really miss strafing gunfire.

How these people sleep at night is beyond me.

Wednesday, May 19

Out Of Control Fundamentalism Is Running America

I'm Jewish, but all I can say here is Dear Sweet Jesus...

The Jesus Landing Pad
Bush White House checked with rapture Christians before latest Israel move

It was an e-mail we weren't meant to see. Not for our eyes were the notes that showed White House staffers taking two-hour meetings with Christian fundamentalists, where they passed off bogus social science on gay marriage as if it were holy writ and issued fiery warnings that "the Presidents [sic] Administration and current Government is engaged in cultural, economical, and social struggle on every level" - this to a group whose representative in Israel believed herself to have been attacked by witchcraft unleashed by proximity to a volume of Harry Potter. Most of all, apparently, we're not supposed to know the National Security Council's top Middle East aide consults with apocalyptic Christians eager to ensure American policy on Israel conforms with their sectarian doomsday scenarios.

But now we know.
Continue reading about this at The Village Voice.

McCain Moves One Step Closer To The Light

Sen. John McCain's partymates on the dark side sure seem to want to push him out the door and into the waiting arms of a party who appreciates his kind. You know...heroes. Dennis Hastert shows his true colors - predominantly yellow down his back.

Why in the name of God do Republicans hate veterans so damned much? It's time for McCain to make the leap. Yeah, I know his views on abortion. Where his heart falls on most everything else more than makes up for it. I'll trade a press hog hypocrite jackass like Zell Miller for McCain in a heartbeat.

Speaker Gets Riled Up Over McCain's Caution on Tax Cuts

Senator John McCain is getting under the skin of some of his fellow Republicans, particularly in the House.

There has been grumbling in some quarters that Mr. McCain, the high-profile Arizona Republican, has not exactly been spouting the party line during his numerous talk-show appearances as he discusses problems in Iraq and the need to get to the bottom of the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal. Then there is the constant chatter about the possibility of his joining his buddy John Kerry on the Democratic ticket.

Today, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert was asked about Mr. McCain's view that Congress should not enact tax cuts during wartime because it keeps the public from developing the sense of shared sacrifice that war requires. Mr. Hastert, who was discussing tax cuts, the Republican budget and $50 billion for the war in Iraq, had had enough.

"Who?" asked Mr. Hastert as he heard Mr. McCain's name. "Where is he from? Is he a Republican?"

Then Mr. Hastert really unloaded on Mr. McCain, who sustained lifelong injuries as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

"John McCain ought to visit our young men and women at Walter Reed and Bethesda," Mr. Hastert said. "There is the sacrifice in this country. We are trying to make sure they have the ability to fight this war, that they have the wherewithal to do it. At the same time we have to react to keep this country strong not only militarily, but economically. We have to have the flexibility to do it. That is my answer to John McCain."

Mr. McCain's response was equally pointed. "The speaker is correct in that nothing we are called upon to do comes close to matching the heroism of our troops,'' he said in a statement issued through his office. "All we are called upon to do is not spend our nation into bankruptcy while our soldiers risk their lives. I fondly remember a time when real Republicans stood for fiscal responsibility. Apparently those days are long gone for some in our party."
One more kick in the nuts by the GOP, and you can start putting money on a Kerry-McCain ticket.

Why We Need To Clean Out Congress Along With The White House

Their budget includes an additional $375 billion deficit for next year. But the tax cuts will offset that, just as they did the last time, won't they? Yeah, right. Can you say "voodoo"?

It's not a lock, but the fact that it exists is enough for our liking.

GOP Pushes $2.4T Budget Through House

Republicans muscled a compromised $2.4 trillion budget for 2005 through the House on Wednesday, but struggled in their quest for enough votes to push it through the closely divided Senate later this week.

The House approved the measure by a near party-line 216-213, with GOP leaders hoping moderate Republican senators angry over the plan's weak tax-cut limits would feel pressured to support it. But there was no sign the moderates would comply, and a Senate defeat loomed as a real possibility.

A failure of the GOP-run Congress to complete a budget would be a significant election-year embarrassment for the party and make it harder for them to cut taxes and raise the government's borrowing limit later this year.

The budget would pave the way for tax cuts far more modest than what Bush proposed. Next year's deficit would be $367 billion - just below last year's $375 billion record, and $4 billion more than what forecasters expect without the budget's proposed policies.

Fake Newsman Gives Good Speech

So here I am sitting and steaming at the San Jose Sharks' inability to pass the puck in the last 120 minutes of their now-finished season, when Hoffmania! correspondent in Washington, Michael O'Brien, passed along this: Jon Stewart's commencement speech at William and Mary earlier this week. Go read the whole thing, but here's one choice passage:

Lets talk about the real world for a moment. We had been discussing it earlier, and I...I wanted to bring this up to you earlier about the real world, and this is I guess as good a time as any. I don't really know to put this, so I'll be blunt. We broke it.

Please don't be mad. I know we were supposed to bequeath to the next generation a world better than the one we were handed. So, sorry.

I don't know if you've been following the news lately, but it just kinda got away from us. Somewhere between the gold rush of easy internet profits and an arrogant sense of endless empire, we heard kind of a pinging noise, and uh, then the damn thing just died on us. So I apologize.

But here's the good news. You fix this thing, you're the next greatest generation, people. You do this - and I believe you can - you win this war on terror, and Tom Brokaw's kissing your ass from here to Tikrit, let me tell ya. And even if you don't, you're not gonna have much trouble surpassing my generation. If you end up getting your picture taken next to a naked guy pile of enemy prisoners and don't give the thumbs up you've outdid us.