Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Another One Bites The Dust 

Bad Year To Be A Despot

Some Of the Best Ideas Are Expressed In Comment Sections 

From Kos

* [new] A very positive sign.... (none / 0)

Here's an interesting part of this poll:

Despite these negative numbers for Bush, the presidential horse race between Bush and Kerry is deadlocked, and the poll suggests one reason why: Voters still don't know much about Kerry, even though his campaign has spent tens of millions of dollars in TV advertisements. According to the poll, in fact, just 57 percent of the respondents say they know a lot or a fair amount about Kerry -- a real drop from 68 percent in the NBC/Journal March survey.

"They don't know anything about what [Kerry] is proposing," said Lukens, the GOP pollster. "It just shows where he's got to go and some of the things he has to do in order to shore up the support even among his own party."

Think about this for a moment. Kerry doesn't poll higher b/c he's not well known. No Kidding! Where has Kerry been running his ads almost exclusively? Battleground states. I live in CA and I've never seen one (I've seen a couple of BC04 ads on cable). Is it any wonder that a large percentage of Americans "don't know enough" about Kerry? I would posit that you'd get a better idea by looking only at the battleground states...where Kerry is generally ahead by 5-8% in recent polling.

He's in better shape than the national media understands...

by rashomon on Wed Jun 30th, 2004 at 19:51:31 EDT

Watch This Trailer About A Movie That Tells The Truth About Faux News.  

Propaganda plain and simple

A Little Credit. Then, A Prediction. 

Lately we have all noticed a decidedly more appeasing, conciliatory tone coming from Bush. He is flying around the world giving ground on issues that the neo cons onced held onto ideologically ( no UN involvement, no NATO, no immunity for US soldiers). Bush is trying to internationalize the effort. It seems to me that he is sweeping up after Donald Rumsfeld. He is trying to put something together with allies the neo cons would rather not talk to. Despite his disastrous appearance on Irish TV Saturday, I can see he is trying to cobble something together. He is shaking hands and using his best fraternity smile and hoping to bring people to help us.

He has had a little success. NATO agrees to train the Iraqi police. The Interim Government is more independent than the neo cons are comfortable with. Even the worst skeptics have a tinge of guarded optimism.

I don’t know if this is just my perception, but he seems to be trying to make things work when the team under him – Cheney, Rove, et. al., are all reading from the same doctrinaire PNAC Bible.

Now, the prediction.

I think the insurgency is too strong and too well organized to stop. Just when the US will start seeing fewer casualties, we will see a civil war unfold rapidly and dramatically.

Quick Poll- Did You See Farenheit 9/11? Do You Think It Will Matter? 

Dick Meyer Thinks Moore Is Just As Wrong As Cheney.  

Or should I say: Moore Is No Worse Than Cheney.

Attention Neal Cavuto,  

Um…..er…. The GAO Says You Can Talk About Painting Schools All Day Long- They Are Still Somewhat Worse Off.

It's important to report both sides. Not just the cheery stories.

oops there goes another ally  

Thailand exiting Iraq.

Cutting Casulaties 

In another attempt to cut down on casualties, US military forces will have fewer convoys and fewer patrols and lower profile.

Just Wishful Thinking 

Years ago, I read "How Few Remain", an alternate history novel by Harry Turtledove. Its basic premise is that the Confederacy won the Civil War in 1862. Lincoln was run out of office in disgrace, and for twenty years the two nations have lived in a tense peace. In 1882, that changes as the CSA annexes Chihuahua and Sonora from Mexico to gain a Pacific port. The U.S., under the first Republican since Lincoln, declares war.

The novel itself is quite interesting, especially for anyone interested in that period of U.S. history. The cast of characters and their respective fates (Longstreet, Jackson, Lincoln Douglas, Teddy Roosevelt, George Custer) in the altered timeline are rather interesting and make for a great read.

But what fascinates me the most about the novel is the fate of Abraham Lincoln himself. In short, by 1882 he has become a socialist. And, at the end of the novel, he takes the bold step of defecting from the Republican party to form a Socialist party in the United States. In so doing he takes many Republicans with him.

Why do I bring this up?

Because I am thoroughly disenchanted with both of our political parties. I admire elements of both, and I hate elements of both. Yet they are both set in their ways, and I don't see much chance of a change anytime in the future. And, I think many people out there agree with me.

How refreshing would it feel to vote for somebody because you supported them, not because they were simply less bad than the other candidate?

A third party would allow for at least more than a choice between A and B, and due to the coalition building it would require, I think it would help with the national debate.

And, I think that a third party constituting itself the way that Lincoln's Socialists did in "How Few Remain" would be the most viable option. Grass roots parties cannot hope to realistically compete with the Democrats and Republicans, but if several prominent politicians from both sides of the aisle were to defect to this new party...

Politicians like John Breaux, Russ Feingold, Pete Domenici, John McCain, Joe Lieberman, John Edwards...

Just consider for a moment the uproar if a centrist group of politicians gathered together and announced that they were splitting from their respective parties to form a new one. Imagine if they ran McCain for president with a moderate Dem for VP.

Personally, I think they'd win.

But it is all just wishful thinking.

I Was Rather Moved By Dan Rathers Comments On Our Soldiers. 

Last night on Larry King Live, Dan Rather was reporting from Baghdad on the transfer of authority. He spoke in glowing terms of the skill, motivation and capability of the troops serving there. And I tend to believe ever single word of it. I believe we have the best armed forces in the world, and that the vast majority of them are exceptiona people. Period.

It is because I have been exposed to military people my whole life, and in general, they never failed to impress me. I may disagree with policy, but I am always amazed at how well our young men and women perform their jobs no matter how hard the task. (Oh yes, and our old men and women in the armed forces.) I am even more amazed at the power and the systems in place to accomplish great tasks..

We are lucky to have a competent military, and let's not lose sight of that.

Hitchens Villified For Villifying Moore 

F9/11 Could Move Election 

Barry Rithold believes that there is significant voting constituency that will watch F9/11 and be moved by it . He names: Naderites, newly motivated, previously disenfranchised voters, to name a couple.

Gray Lady Claim More Abu G Stonewalling  

Cheney Booed Loudly At Yankee Stadium- Could Be A Bad Sign For Bush 

E J Dionne notes that Rep Jay Inslee thinks that this is the beginning of a poltical backlash/tidal wave against the Bush administration. And as if to mark the comment, apparently Cheney was booed when he was shown on the megascreen at Yankee Stadium.. Uh…game over

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Krugman The master 

Krugman, the master.

Let's say the obvious. By making Iraq a playground for right-wing economic theorists, an employment agency for friends and family, and a source of lucrative contracts for corporate donors, the administration did terrorist recruiters a very big favor.

Brooks. I Mean...Come on. 

David Brooks, wingnut, writes today about how polarized America is. He says:

To a large degree, polarization in America is a cultural consequence of the information age.

People lose touch with others in opposing, now distant, camps. And millions of kids are raised in what amount to political ghettoes.

Uh…no. David, maybe Bush and his Faux news/Clear Channel smear machine might have something to do with it.

Predicton: Casualty Count Will Shock 

973 Coalition dead so far. 858 Americans dead so far. At 2.09 deaths a day, mostly US, by the middle of September, there will be 1000 total US deaths. My prediction?

The number itself will shock Americans.

One thousand US dead.

Uh....the new flag....is...uh..well? 

It’s over

Remember that “new” Iraqi flag that Paul Bremer’s group designed?

Monday, June 28, 2004

To All Visitors Here, I Ask Two Things Today-Did You See Farenheit 9/11? & What Did You Think Of It? 


Bob Herbert notes that Dr. Barbara Starfield of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine points to studies that show American medicine is so bad that we no longer have anywhere near the best healthcare. In fact we rank almost at the bottom of the top industrialized states. It doesn’t help that there are more lobbyists from pharmaceuticals in Congress than Congressmen.

Anonymous counter terrorism operative writes a book that - slams Bush on Afghanistan saying that by the tiome we got around to counter attack after 9/11, more of the rural insurgents had dispersed into the countryside.

Adam Thierer from National Review Online notes that the prurient FCC is trying to parent us and impose right wing values on America.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Oy Yoy Yoy 

Bush gave a really bad interview with an Irish TV correspondent and it has been all over the blogosphere. Bush was rude and defensive and ranted out the same memes. He did himself no favors.

If there is anything that should scare you about this administration, it is the wide ranging right wing attack on science from teaching Evolution to now approving industry friendly scientists to represent the best interests of sick people all over the world. If you are not scared, you are not awake.

Washinton. The Bush administration has ordered that government scientists must be approved by a senior political appointee before they can participate in meetings convened by the World Health Organization, the leading international health and science agency…

…Officials at the WHO, based in Geneva, Switzerland, have refused to implement the request thusfar, saying it could compromise the independence of international scientific deliberations. Denis G. Aitken, WHO assistant director-general, said Friday that he had been negotiating with Washington in an effort to reach a compromise.

The request is the latest instance in which the Bush administration has been accused of allowing politics to intrude into once-sacrosanct areas of scientific deliberation. It has been criticized for replacing highly regarded scientists with industry and political allies on advisory panels. A biologist who was at odds with the administration's position on stem-cell research was dismissed from a presidential advisory commission. This year, 60 prominent scientists accused the administration of "misrepresenting and suppressing scientific knowledge for political purposes."

You know your political fortunes are souring when your biggest backer now thinks you’re radioactive.

"If anything, being friends with the Bush family, including the president, has made my situation more difficult," Mr. Lay said in a recent interview, "because it's probably a tougher decision not to indict me than to indict me."

Frank Rich says Ashcroft=Goebbels. Read the master.

MICHAEL IGNATIEFF talks about the myth of America’s power and prestige in light of Abu Garhib and the mess in Iraq.

Theodore Sorensen, who as a young man wrote President Kennedy's best speeches, gave a commencement speech of his own recently that was not so much an address as a cry of anguish. He remembered a time when you could go overseas and walk down avenues named after Lincoln, Jefferson, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. Hardly anyone is naming streets after Americans in the cities of the world these days. ''What has happened to our country?'' Sorensen exclaimed. ''We have been in wars before, without resorting to sexual humiliation as torture, without blocking the Red Cross, without insulting and deceiving our allies and the U.N., without betraying our traditional values, without imitating our adversaries, without blackening our name around the world.''

Someone like me who supported the war on human rights grounds has nowhere to hide: we didn't suppose the administration was particularly nice, but we did assume it would be competent. There isn't much excuse for its incompetence, but equally, there isn't much excuse for our naivete either.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Boy, The Tide Is Finally Turning 

Well the outcry against the Bush administration’s Patriot Act policies and military tribunals and prisoner treatment has risen to a fevered pitch . While Bush begs for help from Ireland whilst looking for a way to calm the storm before the elections, our allies are beginning to pressure back into the fold of civilization.

Dan Froomkin postulates that Cheney’s meltdown in the Halls of the Senate are a result of an administration coming apart right before the election, and the pressure on him from possible criminal proceedings

Sydney Blumenthal also postulates that its about to come apart at the seams in the WH.

But today to me it seemed like the big news is the success of the movie Fahrenheit 9/11. The fact that it is the weekend top bread-winner is amazing. Why? Because it was only released in 868 theatres (not sure about the exact number- but somewhere in here). Most top movies are opened in 2500 or more theatres.

This movie is the most damaging testimony ever given about the Bush dynasty and the legacy of Iraq Wars and Saudi ties. It is one sided, but nonetheless compelling and gripping, and disturbing. There is a scene where we see Marines loading up their convoy for a patrol and a mine goes off, and we hear the desperate screams of injured soldiers and it is hard to watch.

I feel, personally, like this is a very damaging shot against the Bush administration.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Madly Scrambling To Cover Up  

At the Pentagon, on June 10, while business in Washington had officially halted as the body of Ronald Reagan lay in state, defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld convened an emergency meeting on the Abu Ghraib scandal, according to a reliable source privy to its proceedings. Rumsfeld began the extraordinary session by saying that certain documents needed to "get out" that would show that there was no policy approving of torture and that what had happened in Iraq and Afghanistan was aberrant.

The Senate armed services committee had been conducting hearings whose corrosive impact needed to be countered. Rumsfeld complained about "serial requests" for information from Congress. Yet he was even more upset by subpoenas of defence officials issued by the special prosecutor in the case of Valerie Plame. The Pentagon, Rumsfeld said, was nearly "at a stop" because of them. Rumsfeld admitted he was startled by the uproar over Abu Ghraib: "There are so many international organisations."

On June 22, the White House released documents on policy on torture, including a directive signed on February 7 2002 by Bush stating that he has "the authority under the constitution" to abrogate the Geneva conventions, that the Taliban and al-Qaida as non-signatories were not covered by them, and that consequently Bush "declines to exercise that authority at this time". Rumsfeld's damage control was simply one front in the expanding Bush administration war for credibility.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Dick Cheney Tells Senator To Fuck Himself In Front Of Senate  

Why I Believe Bush Will Lose  

You can go past the media, you can disparage every critic, no matter how high or important or experienced, you can send out talkingpointsmemos to your bought and paid for media outlets, you can call into question the patriotism of everyone who thought this was a bad idea, but the plain facts are, most of us think invading Iraq was a monumental blunder, and nothing between now and the election is going to change it, fix it, or cover it up.

This is Bush's war, and I believe most of us think when Bush is gone, Kerry will fix this mess.

From Kos 

Just the Numbers

Total number of coalition military deaths between the start of war and June 16, 2004: 952 (836 U.S.)

Of those 952, the number killed after President George W. Bush declared “an end to major combat operations” on May 1, 2003: 693

Number of U.S. troops wounded in combat since the war began: 5,134 (Number ill or injured in “non-combat” incidents estimated to be over 11,000)

Number of U.S. troops wounded in combat since President George W. Bush declared “an end to major combat operations” on May 1, 2003: 4,593

Number of civilian contractors, missionaries, and civilian workers killed: 50-90

Number of international media workers killed: 30

Iraqi civilians killed: 9,436 to 11,317

Iraqi civilians injured: 40,000 (est.)

Iraqi soldiers and insurgents killed prior to May 1, 2003: 4,895 to 6,370

The bill so far: $126.1 billion

Additional amount to cover operations through 2004: $25 billion

What $151 billion could have paid for in the U.S.:

Housing vouchers: 23 million

Health care for uninsured Americans: 27 mil.

Salaries for elementary school teachers: 3 mil.

New fire engines: 678,200

Head Start slots: 20 million

Estimated long-term cost of war to every U.S. household: $3,415

Amount contractor Halliburton is alleged to have charged for meals never served to troops and for cost overruns on fuel deliveries: $221 million

Kickbacks received by Halliburton employees from subcontractors: $6 million

Percentage of Americans who now feel that “the situation in Iraq was not worth going to war over.”: 54

Percentage of Iraqis who said they would feel safer if U.S. and other foreign troops left the country immediately: 55

Percentage of U.S. soldiers in Iraq reporting low morale: 52

Percentage of soldiers who said they would not re-enlist: 50

Percentage of wounded unable to return to duty: 64

Number of soldiers whose tours of duty have been extended by the Army: 20,000

Percentage of reserve troops who earn lower salaries while on deployment: 30-40

Fraction of National Guard troops among U.S. force now in Iraq: 1/3

Percentage of U.S. police departments missing officers due to Iraq deployments: 44

Effect on al Qaeda of the Iraq war, according to International Institute for Strategic Studies: “Accelerated recruitment”

Estimated number of al Qaeda terrorists as of May 2004: 18,000 with 1,000 active in Iraq

Percentage of Iraqis expressing “no confidence” in U.S. civilian authorities or coalition forces: 80

Iraq’s oil production in 2002: 2.04 mil. barrels/day

Iraq’s oil production in 2003: 1.33 mil. barrels/day

Price of a gallon of gasoline in the U.S. in May 2004: more than $2

Ron Reagan Takes A Shot At Bush II 

Ron Reagan, the younger son of the late President Reagan, criticized the Bush administration's foreign policy, saying he believed the president misled Americans to gain support for the Iraq war.

"We lied our way into the war," he said on CNN's "Larry King Live" on Wednesday, referring to allegations that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and direct connections to al Qaeda. "It's a terrible mistake, a terrible foreign policy error."

Reagan, 46, a vocal opponent of his father's conservative politics, said he would vote for anyone who could beat the current president.

Reagan also said he was angered over the administration's opposition to human embryonic stem cell research.

"It's shameful," he said. "We're not talking about fetuses, human beings being killed. We're talking about collections of cells in a petri dish that are never ever going to be a human being."

Reagan said he expected his mother to continue to speak out in favor of stem cell research. Nancy Reagan has long argued that such work could lead to cures for a number of diseases like the Alzheimer's that afflicted her husband.

He said Nancy Reagan was doing "pretty well."

"I've got to hand it to her. She's 83 years old. She doesn't get around as well as she used to, a little glaucoma," he said. But, "She's a professional."

The Supreme Suck  

And After The Handover? 

I agree with the Daily Beast

The Iraqi government will be led by a former CIA operative having been chosen by the discredited US appointed Iraqi Governing Council;
160,000 foreign troops – made up mostly of Americans – will be on the ground to keep this government in power;
The overwhelming majority of Iraqis want the US military forces out of Iraq believing that they are an obstacle to their security – not a source of it;
The continued presence of large numbers of US troops in Iraq, defying the wishes of the Iraqi people, will continue to inflame the insurgency and make targets of our men and women in uniform;
Just as there was no plan for the military occupation of Iraq, there is no plan to systematically transfer responsibility for security to Iraqis;
There will not be one less US soldier in Iraq. There will continue to be no exit strategy for US troops, despite the recently enacted UN Security Council resolution that terminates authorization for all foreign troops in Iraqi by December, 2005;
US soldiers will continue to suffer the greatest military losses and US taxpayers will continue to be required to pay most of the bill. All Americans will continue to be in the dark on what the occupation will cost them;
The US military will continue to construct “enduring” military bases in Iraq, refusing to declare unequivocally that it will not retain a long-term military presence there;
The US presence in Iraq will continue to be a rallying cry and primary recruitment tool for terrorist organizations worldwide.

After The Handover

Bush's Monica Moment 

For the White House, the most devastating segment of Farenheit 9/11 may be the video of a befuddled-looking President Bush staying put for nearly seven minutes at a Florida elementary school on the morning of September 11, continuing to read a copy of My Pet Goat to schoolchildren even after an aide has told him that a second plane has struck the twin towers.

A Fight From Kos' Comment Section 

COMMENTOR: By the way, at a meet up last night, someone told me Bush's uncle living in St. Louis is a partner in a holding company that owns 45% of Haliburton.

Does anyone know if that is true?

Bwahahaha! Hilarious!

Hey, I heard from my boss's uncle's bartender's son that Bill Clinton and Saddam Hussein were business partners in the Trilateral Commission! Does anyone know if it is true?

REPLY: Gee, Al, it took me all of two minutes of "research" to find out that, yes, William H.T. "Bucky" Bush, the President's uncle, is on the board of Lord Abbett, and Lord Abbett has about 8 million outright Halliburton shares and another 4 or 5 million shares invested as part of Lord Abbett mutual funds. That's way less than 45%, but Lord Abbett is both one of the top ten institutional shareholders and one of the top ten mutual fund shareholders of Halliburton. No, this does not represent a great conspiracy, but it's not out in left field either, just the usual demonstration of the tentacles of power twining through the military-industrial complex...
Posted by: me2i81 on June 23, 2004 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK


Let's take a look at some additional "Adventures in the Promotion and Security of Democracy" and judge their track record. Here's a list of countries that the hawks insisted we bomb since the end of World War II, compiled by historian William Blum:

China: 1945-46
Korea: 1950-53
China: 1950-53
Guatemala: 1954
Indonesia: 1958
Cuba: 1959-60
Guatemala: 1960
Congo: 1964
Peru: 1965
Laos: 1964-73
Vietnam: 1961-73
Cambodia: 1969-70
Guatemala: 1967-69
Grenada: 1983
Libya: 1986
El Salvador: 1980s
Nicaragua: 1980s
Panama: 1989
Iraq: 1991-99
Sudan: 1998
Afghanistan: 1998
Yugoslavia: 1999
Iraq: 2003

QUESTION: In how many of these instances did a democratic government, respectful of human rights, occur as a direct result?

QUESTION #2: Have these bombings made us safer?
Posted by: Thumb on June 23, 2004 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Secretly Bargaining With The Axis Of Evil  

WASHINGTON, June 22 - President Bush has authorized a team of American negotiators to offer North Korea, in talks in Beijing on Thursday, a new but highly conditional set of incentives to give up its nuclear weapons programs the way Libya did late last year, according to senior administration officials.

The proposal would be the first significant, detailed overture to North Korea since Mr. Bush took office three years ago.

Under the plan, outlined by American officials on Tuesday evening, in response to pressure from China and American allies in Asia, the aid would begin flowing immediately after a commitment by Kim Jong Il, the North Korean leader, to dismantle his plutonium and uranium weapons programs. In return, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea would immediately begin sending tens of thousands of tons of heavy fuel oil every month, and Washington would offer a "provisional'' guarantee not to invade the country or seek to topple Mr. Kim's government.

That Aswers That 

This should answer the question definitively whether or not we are safer because of the WOT.

Rumsfeld OK'd harsh treatment 

I think this answers the question of whether or nor it was seven soldiers or the Sec Def who is responsible for the torture scandal.

Article That Was Removed From CNN-  

It also seems like the CNN crowd is spinning a little with the sudden Bush document dump that says Bush said only fair treatment allowed.

Hat Tip Atrios
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Pentagon has declassified and will release as soon as Tuesday memos signed by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that critics argue authorized torture of detainees at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

But Pentagon officials strongly disputed the contention that the aggressive techniques, including the use of dogs to induce fear, constituted torture.

Among the memos, Pentagon officials said, is a directive signed by Rumsfeld in October 2002 authorizing a technique called "water boarding," in which a prisoner is strapped down, immersed in water, and made to feel as if he is going to drown.

But officials insisted the technique was never used and that the authorization for it was rescinded in January 2003 following an internal review of interrogation techniques and objections from military lawyers who said the practice would violate the Geneva Conventions.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

America's Torture Network 

An American Gulag Archipelgao Vote These Shameful Fucks Out Of Office

After three or four days, he was taken away blindfolded, he said, by a group of Americans. "They were kicking me and beating me and shouting like animals at me. They took off my uniform. I requested them several times - 'If you don't respect me, please respect my uniform.' I showed them my identity card from the government of President Karsai. Then they asked me which animals - they made the noise of goats, sheep, dogs, cows - I had had sexual activities with. They laughed at me. I said that such actions were against our Afghan and Islamic tradition, but they again asked me, 'Which kind of animals do you want to have sex with?' Then they asked me to stand like this [he indicates being bound to a pole] and beat me with a stick from the back and kicked me. I still have pains in my back as a result. They told me, 'Your wife is a prostitute.' "

"All the time I kept saying, 'Why are you doing such things?' and they laughed," he said. He and other prisoners were then placed in a structure, 25m long by 2m wide. Siddiqi demonstrated how they were made to kneel with their hands handcuffed behind their back in great discomfort. "I saw many other people - young, old, different ages." After he had been detained for 22 days, an American soldier wrote the number 22 on his hand. He was told to make sure the number was not erased or he would not be released. They were taken outside, where he and other prisoners, still handcuffed behind their backs, were dumped face first in two helicopters, some piled on top of prisoners already in the helicopter, he said. "I asked for water and my medicines and they kicked me again."

They were flown to Kandahar, where, once they had been taken out of the helicopters, he begged again for water. "I was saying, 'Oh, mister, give me some water!' Nobody cared. At the back of every detainee there was an American standing.

"Then they brought dogs close to us, they were biting at us," he said, demonstrating how he and the other prisoners had cowered and tried to protect themselves from the dogs. "Then we were taken into another room and they took off our trousers. Then they just beat us. They took off my watch. In another room, they took our photographs without any clothes on. They asked me, 'Are you al-Qaida or Taliban?' I said, 'No, I am a policeman.' Then they gave us a blue uniform." He points out the colour from part of the pattern on the carpet where we are sitting. "They blindfolded me and shackled my hands and legs. It was very painful. Again they started kicking me. Then they began to open my legs and my arms." He demonstrated being spreadeagled. He said he was beaten with a stick.

From Texas Freedom Network 

"We need to elect someone who will keep God in front of the people."

-- Barbara Wilcox, an evangelical Christian who is working hard to get out the religious vote for President Bush in November.

( You know because an infinite being can't do that himself)

Right Wing Idiocy

Lots To Talk About 

Today is a mixed news day. Good and Bad. Kevin Drum points out that Bush’s poll numbers are down and heading in a way that basically says this war has become the albatross that the Bushies never thought it would become. Also, Bush’s poll numbers on the War on Terrorism are down. People basically think he is improvising
and desperately spinning bad news while looking for the exit.

The worse news is that you know you are in a Republican administration when the Supremes limit your ability to sue an HMO for denying treatment that a doctor said was needed . Think about that for a minute and think about how out of hand this whole pro-business environment is. Christ hat’s a little justice when you consider what shareholder’s profits might suffer?

Republican radio show wingnuts and Governors fall today.

Ed Montini at the Arizona Republican talks about better times, when Clinton was president and how the Clinton haters are biting back at nothing while their own party is failing at every level.

Paul Krugman Shines Light on Ashcroft

Even in the fight against foreign terrorists, Mr. Ashcroft's political leanings have distorted policy. Mr. Ashcroft is very close to the gun lobby — and these ties evidently trump public protection. After 9/11, he ordered that all government lists — including voter registration, immigration and driver's license lists — be checked for links to terrorists. All government lists, that is, except one: he specifically prohibited the F.B.I. from examining background checks on gun purchasers.

Mr. Ashcroft told Congress that the law prohibits the use of those background checks for other purposes — but he didn't tell Congress that his own staff had concluded that no such prohibition exists. Mr. Ashcroft issued a directive, later put into law, requiring that records of background checks on gun buyers be destroyed after only one business day.

And we needn't imagine that Mr. Ashcroft was deeply concerned about protecting the public's privacy. After all, a few months ago he took the unprecedented step of subpoenaing the hospital records of women who have had late-term abortions.

After my last piece on Mr. Ashcroft, some readers questioned whether he is really the worst attorney general ever. It's true that he has some stiff competition from the likes of John Mitchell, who served under Richard Nixon. But once the full record of his misdeeds in office is revealed, I think Mr. Ashcroft will stand head and shoulders below the rest.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Kerry Endorses Scientific Facts 

In those remarks, Kerry said Bush's anti-science initiatives included limiting stem cell research; removing information about the global warming threat from a 2003 Environmental Protection Agency report; ordering changes to a report that described damage that would be caused by oil-drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and deleting information about condoms from government Web sites.

A Kerry campaign statement said Bush's proposed budget cuts in the National Science Foundation, the EPA and Veterans Affairs Department would "stymie important scientific discoveries."

Kerry also pointed to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists that the administration distorts scientific findings and tries to manipulate experts' advice to avoid information that runs counter to its political beliefs.

Kerry Endorses Scientific Facts

Cheney Caught In A Lie  

From Eric Alterman

A Lie: From When Presidents Lie: “Even the very best newspapers have never learned how to handle public figures who lie with astraight face.”
--Ben Bradlee

Transcript, CNBC’s “Capital Report,” June 17, 2004

Gloria Borger: “Well, let’s get to Mohammed Atta for a minute, because you mentioned him as well. You have said in the past that it was quote, “pretty well confirmed.”

Vice President Cheney: No, I never said that.


Vice Pres. CHENEY: Never said that.

BORGER: I think that is...

Vice Pres. CHENEY: Absolutely not.

Transcript, NBC’s “Meet the Press,” December 9, 2001.

Vice-President Cheney: “It’s been pretty well confirmed that he did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April.”



Well I sure feel better now that these 770, how shall I say latently heterosexually inclined specialists were discharged from the military during the war. I think this is the reason the curtains all over the Green Zone are so drab. Next,the rightw ing nation is waking up to blowhard and counter what they call “the Clinton Summer”. I ‘ll take the Clinton Summer over the Overblown Reagan Sentiment and Hagiographry Week. Bob Herbert discusses the myth of tort reform. This is yet another scandal that will not be noticed. And why does this not surprise me? I mean when the whole thing is a lie, why debate the details?

Sunday, June 20, 2004

I Predicted This 

Ain't Workin' 

Thanks To Wanda- One Of The Most Interesting Blogs I Have Ever Read  

Frank Rich 

When that entombment finally arrived, national mourning was giving way to national boredom. Except at Fox News Channel, ratings did not spike on either network or cable. "It was not a massively watched event," one CNN producer said to The Times's Bill Carter. "It was a largely watched event." Translation: Is it too late to grab a piece of the new J. Lo nuptials? Eventually, even Fox was elbowing Reagan into the wings for its O. J. retrospectives. On the Friday morning of Reagan's National Cathedral funeral, Matt Lauer tried to hold the "Today" show audience by promising a medley of mediathon standards: "A lot of news coming out of Washington, Katie, but there's other news to talk about as well, including major developments in the Kobe Bryant, Martha Stewart and Scott Peterson cases."

Popcorn Is On me 

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Another High Level Desertion  

Though U.S. leaders try to convince the world of their success in fighting al Qaeda, one anonymous member of the U.S. intelligence community would like to inform the public that we are, in fact, losing the war on terror. Further, until U.S. leaders recognize the errant path they have irresponsibly chosen, he says, our enemies will only grow stronger.

According to the author, the greatest danger for Americans confronting the Islamist threat is to believe—at the urging of U.S. leaders—that Muslims attack us for what we are and what we think rather than for what we do. Blustering political rhetoric “informs” the public that the Islamists are offended by the Western world’s democratic freedoms, civil liberties, inter-mingling of genders, and separation of church and state. However, although aspects of the modern world may offend conservative Muslims, no Islamist leader has fomented jihad to destroy participatory democracy, for example, the national association of credit unions, or coed universities.

Instead, a growing segment of the Islamic world strenuously disapproves of specific U.S. policies and their attendant military, political, and economic implications. Capitalizing on growing anti-U.S. animosity, Osama bin Laden’s genius lies not simply in calling for jihad, but in articulating a consistent and convincing case that Islam is under attack by America. Al Qaeda’s public statements condemn America’s protection of corrupt Muslim regimes, unqualified support for Israel, the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and a further litany of real-world grievances. Bin Laden’s supporters thus identify their problem and believe their solution lies in war. Anonymous contends they will go to any length, not to destroy our secular, democratic way of life, but to deter what they view as specific attacks on their lands, their communities, and their religion. Unless U.S. leaders recognize this fact and adjust their policies abroad accordingly, even moderate Muslims will join the bin Laden camp.

About The Author:

Anonymous is a senior U.S. civil servant with nearly two decades of experience in the U.S. intelligence community’s work on Afghanistan and South Asia.


“Anonymous is an extremely knowledgeable, thoughtful, and provocative thinker. His analysis and forecasts about Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, and terrorism in general are extremely insightful—not to mention accurate.” —Faye Bowers, Christian Science Monitor

Congress's Embarrassment of Pork  

With all the subtlety of finger-painters, the House produced a masterpiece of bad legislation this week: a study in grease, pork and blubber, to use lawmakers' descriptions of a stunning special-interest bonanza for all manner of American businesses. The blubber — a tax break affecting native Alaskan whalers — was a last-minute inclusion in a bill that began as a simple $5 billion fix for a tariff problem but was transformed into a $143 billion juggernaut of special-interest favors.

The frisson of lobbyists was palpable as goodies were voted for bow-and-arrow makers, dog-track owners, sonar fish-finder makers and scores of other businesses that have nothing to do with the trade issue at hand. That problem — a modest substitute for a tax subsidy for exporters that was ruled illegal by world trade courts — remains uncorrected. So the meter has been running since March as the European Union levies billions of dollars in retaliatory sanctions on a wide range of American products.

The Gray Lady Shows Us Her Balls 

As does the 9/11 Commission

OK. If you’re going to go ahead and just say “Oh yes they WERE working with Al Quaeda,”, then goddamint show us the money. What the fuck have you seen that we haven’t?

Show Us the Proof

When the commission studying the 9/11 terrorist attacks refuted the Bush administration's claims of a connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, we suggested that President Bush apologize for using these claims to help win Americans' support for the invasion of Iraq. We did not really expect that to happen. But we were surprised by the depth and ferocity of the administration's capacity for denial. President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have not only brushed aside the panel's findings and questioned its expertise, but they are also trying to rewrite history.

Mr. Bush said the 9/11 panel had actually confirmed his contention that there were "ties" between Iraq and Al Qaeda. He said his administration had never connected Saddam Hussein to 9/11. Both statements are wrong.

Before the war, Mr. Bush spoke of far more than vague "ties" between Iraq and Al Qaeda. He said Iraq had provided Al Qaeda with weapons training, bomb-making expertise and a base in Iraq. On Feb. 8, 2003, Mr. Bush said that "an Al Qaeda operative was sent to Iraq several times in the late 1990's for help in acquiring poisons and gases." The 9/11 panel's report, as well as news articles, indicate that these things never happened.

Mr. Cheney said yesterday that the "evidence is overwhelming" of an Iraq-Qaeda axis and that there had been a "whole series of high-level contacts" between them. The 9/11 panel said a senior Iraqi intelligence officer made three visits to Sudan in the early 1990's, meeting with Osama bin Laden once in 1994. It said Osama bin Laden had asked for "space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded." The panel cited reports of further contacts after Osama bin Laden returned to Afghanistan in 1996, but said there was no working relationship. As far as the public record is concerned, then, Mr. Cheney's "longstanding ties" amount to one confirmed meeting, after which the Iraq government did not help Al Qaeda. By those standards, the United States has longstanding ties to North Korea.

Mr. Bush has also used a terrorist named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as evidence of a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Mr. Bush used to refer to Mr. Zarqawi as a "senior Al Qaeda terrorist planner" who was in Baghdad working with the Iraqi government. But the director of central intelligence, George Tenet, told the Senate earlier this year that Mr. Zarqawi did not work with the Hussein regime, nor under the direction of Al Qaeda.

When it comes to 9/11, someone in the Bush administration has indeed drawn the connection to Iraq: the vice president. Mr. Cheney has repeatedly referred to reports that Mohamed Atta met in Prague in April 2001 with an Iraqi intelligence agent. He told Tim Russert of NBC on Dec. 9, 2001, that this report has "been pretty well confirmed." If so, no one seems to have informed the C.I.A., the Czech government or the 9/11 commission, which said it did not appear to be true. Yet Mr. Cheney cited it, again, on Thursday night on CNBC.

Mr. Cheney said he had lots of documents to prove his claims. We have heard that before, but Mr. Cheney always seems too pressed for time or too concerned about secrets to share them. Last September, Mr. Cheney's adviser, Mary Matalin, explained to The Washington Post that Mr. Cheney had access to lots of secret stuff. She said he had to "tiptoe through the land mines of what's sayable and not sayable" to the public, but that "his job is to connect the dots."

The message, if we hear it properly, is that when it comes to this critical issue, the vice president is not prepared to offer any evidence beyond the flimsy-to-nonexistent arguments he has used in the past, but he wants us to trust him when he says there's more behind the screen. So far, when it comes to Iraq, blind faith in this administration has been a losing strategy.

We Raise, And We Call Your Bluff

Friday, June 18, 2004

What Did We Think Was Going To Happen? 

Did anyone really believe that the US under the administration would be able to actually pull off something like invading a country that didn't attack us in the most volatile part of the world-and install a democratic government there? Is there anyone who really believed this would happen? After 9/11, we lost our minds. We passed the Orwellian Patriot Act and Invaded Iraq. One pundit called it Operation Kick The Beehive.

The bees? The insurgencies; the RPG attacks; two boys dead a day; the torture scandal; the kidnappings, and beheadings and higher gas prices, and allies hating us.

Those are the bee stings.

We were warned. We didn't listen. I saw Vietnam tear my family apart. I saw where it went. I have been through this already.

One Down. 

Rumsfeld-Shameful Performance 

...But let me just say this: I have read this -- editorials, "torture" -- and one after another. Washington Post the other day -- I forget when it was -- just a great, bold "torture."

The implication -- think of the people who read that around the world. First of all, our forces read it. And the implication is that the United States government has, in one way or another, ordered, authorized, permitted, tolerated torture. Not true. And our forces read that, and they've got to wonder, do we? And as General Pace said, we don't. The President said people will be treated humanely, and that is what the orders are. That's what the requirements are.

Now, we know that people have done some things they shouldn't do. Anyone who looks at those photographs know that. But that's quite a different thing. And that is not the implication that's out there. The implication that's out there is the United States government is engaging in torture as a matter of policy, and that's not true. Think of the second group of people who see it. All those people in the region and in Iraq and in Afghanistan, that we need their cooperation, we need their help, the people in those countries, the people in the neighboring countries, and think how unhelpful that is for them to gain the inaccurate impression that that is what's taking place.

Third, think of the people who, for whatever -- whenever -- today, tomorrow, next year -- capture an American civilian or American military personnel and will use all those headlines about torture and the impact in the world that people think that's what's taking place, and use that as an excuse to torture our people. So this is a very serious business that this country's engaged in.

Now, we're in a war, and I can understand that someone who doesn't think they're in a war or aren't in a war, sitting in an air-conditioned room someplace can decide they want to be critical of this or critical of that, or misstate that or misrepresent something else, or be fast and loose with the facts. But there's an effect to that, and I think we have to be careful. I think people ought to be accountable for that, just as we're accountable.

'Abu Ghraib, USA'  

When I first saw the photo, taken at the Abu Ghraib prison, of a hooded and robed figure strung with electrical wiring, I thought of the Sacramento, California, city jail.

When I heard that dogs had been used to intimidate and bite at least one detainee at Abu Ghraib, I thought of the training video shown at the Brazoria County Detention Center in Texas.

When I learned that the male inmates at Abu Ghraib were forced to wear women's underwear, I thought of the Maricopa County jails in Phoenix, Arizona.

And when I saw the photos of the naked bodies restrained in grotesque and clearly uncomfortable positions, I thought of the Utah prison system.

Donald Rumsfeld said of the abuse when he visited Abu Ghraib on May 13, "It doesn't represent American values."

But the images from Iraq looked all too American to me.

Read This  

Brooke told me he was aware as early as March about the possible espionage charges coming down the pike, and he is the first to admit that Chalabi and he himself have met with the Iranian intelligence official in charge of operations inside Iraq, Suleimani, to whom Chalabi is alleged to have passed the information that the US had broken the Iranian intelligence's communications code. That Chalabi and Kareem had such liaison relationships is no secret, Brooke says, and indeed, was ostensibly part of what they were paid by the US to do.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Secret world of US jails  

Private Armies have Friends in High Places  

Chris Bowers Turn On The Light

Polls Show People Desperately Want Change  

The Unhappy Majority: Beneath the partisan divide, America is discontented and desperate for change.

Spencer Ackerman- Must Read 

Another Lie They Keep Telling 

9/11 Commission Repudiations A Big Fat Thorn In Bush's Side 

With 9/11 Report, Bush's Political Thorn Grows More Stubborn

Well, this is what happens when your pants catch fire everytime you open your mouth

Cheney Keeps Lying 

Auditors Testify About Waste in Iraq Contracts  

The Official Statement  

The undersigned have held positions of responsibility for the planning and execution of American foreign and defense policy. Collectively, we have served every president since Harry S. Truman. Some of us are Democrats, some are Republicans or Independents, many voted for George W. Bush. But we all believe that current Administration policies have failed in the primary responsibilities of preserving national security and providing world leadership. Serious issues are at stake. We need a change.

From the outset, President George W. Bush adopted an overbearing approach to America’s role in the world, relying upon military might and righteousness, insensitive to the concerns of traditional friends and allies, and disdainful of the United Nations. Instead of building upon America’s great economic and moral strength to lead other nations in a coordinated campaign to address the causes of terrorism and to stifle its resources, the Administration, motivated more by ideology than by reasoned analysis, struck out on its own. It led the United States into an ill-planned and costly war from which exit is uncertain. It justified the invasion of Iraq by manipulation of uncertain intelligence about weapons of mass destruction, and by a cynical campaign to persuade the public that Saddam Hussein was linked to Al Qaeda and the attacks of September 11. The evidence did not support this argument.

Our security has been weakened. While American airmen and women, marines, soldiers and sailors have performed gallantly, our armed forces were not prepared for military occupation and nation building. Public opinion polls throughout the world report hostility toward us. Muslim youth are turning to anti-American terrorism. Never in the two and a quarter centuries of our history has the United States been so isolated among the nations, so broadly feared and distrusted. No loyal American would question our ultimate right to act alone in our national interest; but responsible leadership would not turn to unilateral military action before diplomacy had been thoroughly explored.

The United States suffers from close identification with autocratic regimes in the Muslim world, and from the perception of unquestioning support for the policies and actions of the present Israeli Government. To enhance credibility with Islamic peoples we must pursue courageous, energetic and balanced efforts to establish peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and policies that encourage responsible democratic reforms.

We face profound challenges in the 21st Century: proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, unequal distribution of wealth and the fruits of globalization, terrorism, environmental degradation, population growth in the developing world, HIV/AIDS, ethnic and religious confrontations. Such problems can not be resolved by military force, nor by the sole remaining superpower alone; they demand patient, coordinated global effort under the leadership of the United States.

The Bush Administration has shown that it does not grasp these circumstances of the new era, and is not able to rise to the responsibilities of world leadership in either style or substance. It is time for a change.

Rumsfeld Lied To Congress 

Joke from Kos Comment section 

One sunny day in 2005, an old man approached the White House from across Pennsylvania Avenue, where he'd been sitting on a park bench. He spoke to the U.S. Marine standing guard and said, "I would like to go in and meet with President Bush."

The Marine looked at the man and said, "Sir, Mr. Bush is no longer president and no longer resides here."

The old man said, "Okay," and walked away.

The following day, the same man approached the White House and said to the same Marine, "I would like to go in and meet with President Bush."

The Marine again told the man, "Sir, as I said yesterday, Mr. Bush is no longer president and no longer resides here." The man thanked him and, again, just walked away.

The third day, the same man approached the White House and spoke to the very same U.S. Marine, saying "I would like to go in and meet with President Bush."

The Marine, understandably agitated at this point, looked at the man and said, "Sir, this is the third day in a row you have been here asking to speak to Mr. Bush. I've told you already that Mr. Bush is no longer the president and no longer resides here. Don't you understand?"

The old man looked at the Marine and said, "Oh, I understand. I just love hearing it."

The Marine snapped to attention, saluted, and said, "See you tomorrow."

"But now that I'm in the majority, I have this responsibility to govern. It's something I didn't completely understand when I was in the minority." 

House Republicans Admit To Be Assholes

As chairman of the House Rules Committee, Dreier is emblematic of the role reversal in the partisan, polarized Congress of the 21st century. He routinely uses his gavel to crush Democrats' efforts to air their proposals, much less enact them. His party writes legislation without Democrats' input, limits Democrats' ability to amend that legislation and prolongs votes in the House for as long as it takes to win. Republicans redraw congressional lines to elect more Republican members and pressure interest groups to hire more Republican lobbyists.

"We have had to do some of the things we criticized once," Dreier admits. "But now that I'm in the majority, I have this responsibility to govern. It's something I didn't completely understand when I was in the minority."

The Plain Truth From The Gray Lady 

This is not just a matter of the president's diminishing credibility, although that's disturbing enough. The war on terror has actually suffered as the conflict in Iraq has diverted military and intelligence resources from places like Afghanistan, where there could really be Qaeda forces, including Mr. bin Laden.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004


Before he has even accepted the nomination, Kerry recieves endorsement.

Like Using The Hindenburg As An Example Of The Promise Of Balloon Flight  

Bush touts Afghanistan as model for Iraq

In WASHINGTON story headlined "UPDATE 2-Bush touts Afghanistan as model for Iraq," please read in third paragraph ... since the 2001 U.S. invasion ... instead of ...since the 1991 U.S. invasion ... corrects year of invasion.

A corrected story follows.

(Adds rocket attack in Kabul, comments on opium trade)

By Caren Bohan

WASHINGTON, June 15 (Reuters) - President George W. Bush on Tuesday held up progress in Afghanistan as a model for Iraq as he tried to paint the U.S. involvement in the Asian state as a success in his run-up to the November U.S. election.

With Afghan President Hamid Karzai at his side at a White House news conference, Bush cited progress in child health care, women's rights and education as signs Afghanistan had risen "from the ashes of two decades of war and oppression."

Why We Need Business Regulated. 

Tactitus uber conservative of the blogosphere 

I reprint this essay to show you what I think is the logic flow of the pro invasion argument. We blogroll this site and I read it everyday. It’s a pretty right wing site with lots of history buffs and vigorous discussion. They have a couple of moderate editors and one lefty: Harley. The discussions tend to be less doctrinaire and more reasonable than most conservative leaning blogs.

I urge you to read this as he defends himself against various allegations about his lack of support for the current administration’s policies while he still buys into the intent behind them.

Assumed elision

By tacitus, Other posts by Tacitus
Posted on Mon Jun 14th, 2004 at 05:45:09 PM EST

I just read yet another piece on how Fallujah is controlled by Islamists, etc., and it basically set me off inside. (No link, sorry, there are plenty of these around.) As thinking about Fallujah usually does. Our vaunted Brigade-in-lieu-of-Marines (of course, competent leadership ought to know that there is nothing in lieu of Marines) has done precious little beyond pop open a weapons cache or two, strut about, and act Vichy to the fanatics' ad hoc government of occupation. Perhaps that's too tough a term: most of the fanatics and killers in charge of the town are presumably from the town, so "occupying" may not be the right word. Whatever -- let's not slay the metaphor for mere accuracy's sake. Two months after the atrocities, and a full year after Fallujah raised rebellion's banner, the town is still defiant, still unoccupied, and still breeding killers of your brothers and mine. A microcosm of the occupation as a whole: tentative violence in pursuit of the right goals, subsumed by institutional timidity in the face of hard tasks, in turn giving our enemies their refuge and their victory. All points I've made before; and as when I made them before, this too will doubtless inspire a flurry of e-mails upon the following themes:

Tacitus has lost his nerve. This is usually followed by some tortured WW2 analogy, or a long cite from the Belmont Club for Optimists. I'm all for WW2 analogies, but Lord knows they can only be pushed so far; and the superoptimist pro-war sites all tend to have that same tone that Joe Conason had when he was pretending that Clinton pardoned Marc Rich for peace in the Middle East. You leave them thinking, Good try, but alas.

Tacitus can't admit he was wrong even in the face of facts! Which is to say, because I recognize that occupation policy has been increasingly bad and counterprodutive, I was wrong to support the war, Bush, coconut ice cream, etc. But the hell with that. With all respect to those who operated on a thesis of Administration incompetence from day one, most of them have all the rational quality of the Randy Quaid character from ID4: just because an alien invasion did finally happen doesn't mean you're no longer a nutcake. You're just a very lucky nutcake. And you will be tomorrow. Rational, sane people could and did believe that the occupation would be pursued along rational, sane lines. I'm among them, and I see no reason to apologize for it. We were wrong, of course, but if you think that invalidates our judgment for the rest of time, well, think again. Show me the perfect track record in the public sphere, and I'll show you the king of apathy or liars. Or maybe I'll show you Arianna Huffington, but you'll have to reside wholly within her mental universe for it to work.

Tacitus is being stubborn/dishonest in not supporting John Kerry as the only way out. Okay, I admit it: supporting John Kerry is the only way out of a government whose ideological moorings I am mildly comfortable with. John Kerry will be a terrible president blessed with a patina of good feeling and false peacemaking. We will move from a foreign policy of sound principles and relentlessly bad execution to a foreign policy of utterly wrong principles and fairly good execution. Storing up more trouble for later, really. Whether that's better than creating trouble now, well, is a heck of a choice. John Kerry is probably going to win at this point, especially if he does the probable thing and picks John Edwards as a running mate. Should he achieve it, I won't begrudge him his victory: he won't have won it so much as the current President will have lost it. And that is, frankly, unforgiveable. So how does any of this translate into my justified refusal to support the Democrat? Look closely: between the two of them, there is no better choice. So I'm going with the one who might, on a good day, do something I'd endorse.

Even if he does end up being our Jimmy Carter. Which is what I'm thinking right now. But that's okay, in a way, because should it come to pass, then the Republican party will have only one way to go after eight years of ideological timidity and unsound idee fixes coupled with Clintonian me-tooism: conservatism.

And that's where me and mine come into our own. Because while the current leadership of my party and my movement (such as it is, in its sorry state) might not have the guts to finish what they've begun, nor the smarts to begin only things they will finish, it will not always be so. It's one thing to look left and say to a certain crowd (as they demand in their e-mails), You were right, You were right, You were right. But only inasmuch as they are right. They're not fundamentally right, else they'd be in my corner. And they won't always have the luxury of being right on the things they're right about now. Those of us who are young, and thirty years out of power, will watch and learn. And we will remember. And when it comes time for the hard tasks to which we are called, we will not shrink from them. We will see our mutilated countrymen, we will note the celebrating savages invoking their deity and their hatred, and we will let our Marines fulfill the calling to which God has summoned them.

And -- just maybe -- we'll abolish the Department of Education. But the Marines thing will be easier.

Progress Report 

Must Read PFaff 

PARIS People like to quote Karl Marx's comment on the two successive Napoleonic empires, that of Bonaparte himself, and, after 1848, the second empire of his nephew, Napoleon III. Marx said that it was a tragedy repeated as a farce.

The United States has reversed the sequence, so that a few years ago the nation, or at least Congress and the media, was obsessed by President Bill Clinton's disputed definition of what does or does not amount to sexual congress with a White House intern.

The tragedy that has followed the farce is torture as an instrument of American national policy in the cause of spreading democracy.

Documents recently obtained by the press reveal White House anxiety about how to protect President George W. Bush and members of his cabinet from going to prison for ordering, authorizing or deliberately permitting systematic torture of persons in their control, but technically outside formal American legal jurisdiction. The question put to lawyers was how the president and the others could commit war crimes and get away with it.

Over 27 Paramilitary Organizations Involved In Torture  

The U.S. Army has employed as many as 27 contractors to run its interrogation operations, according to media reports. But while CACI and Titan are getting all the mainstream media play, it appears that far more than 27 contract employees were involved in recruiting and placing interrogators in various locations. Some of the firms involved in the Bush administration's "TortureGate" include an odd assortment of telecommunications companies and executive placement firms that have jumped into the lucrative torture business in Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan, Iraq and at secret locations throughout Central Asia and North Africa.

Interrogators can earn up to $120,000 per year plying their trade and most are former military and law enforcement personnel. More ominously, these so-called "private military contractors" are nothing of the sort. They are paramilitary organizations that are funded by the US Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State, and assorted other agencies through contract vehicles known as Basic Ordering Agreements or "BOAs" hidden throughout the vast US government bureaucracy. It now is well known that CACI got its money through a BOA with the Department of the Interior…

… United Placements' lists none other than Oliver North--a member of Ronald Reagan's NSC and focal point of the Iran-Contra scandal in the 1980's—as of its two "Industry Associates." North is currently the host of Fox News Channel's "War Stories." United Placement's second "Industry Associate" is Intelligencecareers.com run by former intelligence analyst Bill Goldman.

While TortureGate festers, it is noteworthy that as late as May 7, 2004 the same posting for interrogators was listed through Design Staffing LLC. Evidently, a new batch of interrogators is needed to replace those now under criminal investigation. "Job Nr 85832--Conduct interrogations. Conduct pre-brief and debrief preparation which includes researching, compiling, and preparing supporting material; prepare all-source target overview/summaries to include cultural, religious, and sociological factors; and identify information required for immediate processing and dissemination including support to ongoing and planned operations and force protection. This listing opened 07-May-04 and is valid for 90 days." The listing goes on to say that the openings will be available "until filled." It was listed under the categories "Analyst (Intelligence) & Knowledge Specialists.

Why Does This Not Surprise Anyone?  

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon still hasn't provided Congress with a complete version of its first investigation into abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, even though another version of the report has been delivered, according to congressional aides.

The aides discovered three weeks ago that the copy of the report by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba that was given to Congress was missing 2,000 pages of supporting documents. The Defense Department said the omission was inadvertent and that a certified copy would be sent.

But while additional pages were in the copy received by the Senate Armed Services Committee last week, aides said, many key documents were still missing, including a draft memo to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that may shed light on what interrogation techniques Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller suggested be used at Abu Ghraib. At the time, Miller was in charge of the U.S. prison camp for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and had been asked for advice on interrogation procedures in Iraq.

Also still missing are reports from the International Committee for the Red Cross, which complained about the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and other U.S.-run prison facilities in Iraq. Those reports were given to U.S. authorities in Iraq, though Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the U.S. military commander in Iraq, told the Senate Armed Services Committee he hadn't seen them.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Steve Gilliard Asks: Is This The Beginning Of The End of the Age Of The Wingnut? 

There is no better evidence that the end of the conservative movement than the current hypersensitivty to all criticism of Dear Leader. Anything which is negative about Bush must be not only condemned, but attacked. Which is insane.

One of the posters in the last thread told a story about some rather unhinged wingnuts who cried when people critized the Dear Leader. It was as if anyont who sold a book which didn't praise our weakminded president, was some form of treason. Fear turns people stupid, look at Dennis Miller. Any time you question their "facts", you're a liar.

Robust intellectual movements do not create cults and do not mind the exchange of ideas. The current conservative movement best days are behind it. The whole Reagan deification was a sign of that. People forget how savagely Roosevelt was attacked before and during World War II. A lot people called him Rosenfeld, a socialist, a traitor to his class. Yet, liberals didn't run around screaming at the Chicago Tribune, the national home of Roosevelt hatred.

Once you deify leaders, your movement becomes ossified. Conservatives seem to have little logic to their arguments. They say Iraq is going well, that the media isn't covering the entire story. Well, shit, car bombs are the entire story. They fuck up your day, week and year. Without security, you cannot have freedom. Ask the people who live in any American or European slum. You cannot have car bombs going off and then tell me about the schools. Because when you risk, even randomly, being shredded to bits, schools don't much matter. Especially when the kidnap gangs lurk around them.

Like the racist pig junkie Limbaugh, who's wife is fleeing his junkie ass, honesty is the first way to deal with a problem, not pretending it doesn't exist.

For the life of me, I cannot understand why the FCC decided to make war on Howard Stern. His track record is simple. Those who fuck with him lose and lose badly. I think Stern was already leaning toward Kerry, for several reasons, like tossing Tommy Chong into jail, but the FCC assault and Clear Channel's dishonesty did something very stupid. It enraged Stern and sent him on the warpath. After all, these folks were going after his livihood.

Recently, this was a discussion on Kos, and the responses amused me. Liberals holding their nose and talking about Stern's audience like they were trailer trash who could barely read. Not quite. They're the middle class of New York (and other regions) educated, working on Wall Street, mostly Independents and moderates. This same misaprehension is probably what drove the FCC. They didn't count on the backlash or the enthusiam he would show in turning his web site from a forlorn holding center for porn star pictures into a raging anti-Bush site. While an internet geek, he'd been reluctant to do much to his site because he couldn't make money from it. Well, now he has a use for it.

Conservatives have been whining about Move On and George Soros. They liked having things their way and now that people are opposing them, it's time to whine like babies. But then losers, and they have to be feeling the heat, always whine.

A Short Summary Of The Scandals, Perfidy And Questionable Practises We Have Seen So Far 

Cheney Halliburton connection, scandal war profiteering; Bribing and threatening to get Medicare passed; Outing a CIA operative; Foot-dragging , and obfuscation on that investigation, smearing accusers’ reputations; There are still no WMDs; WMDs was used asa convenient selling point for a war that was decided long before 9/11; Exaggerating and cooking the evidence books; A bungled occupation; Hiding GI caskets from view; Excruciating photo ops; Failing to see plain evidence of 9/11 beforehand; Condoning and hiding the use of torture across US military detention facilities; paying mercenaries huge salaries while troops get scraps off Vietnam; Turning reservists and national guardsmen into foot soldiers; Not honestly estimating the cost of the war; The Patriot Act; hacking into Democratic Party computers; Endless former Republican and Democratic officials and insiders come out and warn us about Bush; Administration officials widely manipulating scientific data to support industry positions from pollution or abortion; Major scientists come out against this; Placing former pro business industry leaders and polluters in EPA positions; Cutting Veterans benefits while creating thousands of wounded and dead; Using wedge issues like flag burning or gay marriage to support his ideological positions; Asking the Pope for political help, even after the Pope castigated him in front of him; Spiralling federal deficits; long time bipartisan and effective social programs cut; Bankrupted state budgets; Draconian social program cuts; Long term alliances shattered; Widespread hatred for US; No Osama Ben laden; Afghanistan in shambles; Embarrassing terror alert colors; use of fear for political advantage; Staging news conferences and using fake news personnel to sell administration agendas; Using taxpayer dollars to create what the General Accounting Office ruled as propaganda; Gerrymandering state elections; Massive loss of jobs; Executive orders to develop pristine land; executive orders to kill legislation that protects forests; Breaking long held and hard earned international treaties; Industry lobbyists outnumber legislators; Global warming worsens; Terrorism is higher than normal; hiding unemployment reports by reporting them later in the week.

Yet Another Predictably Awkward And Unwholesome Result Of An Ill Advised War 

The Scandal That Has No End 

Fulcrum Catches Cheney With Hand In The Cookie Jar, Then Fibbing  

Mr. Cheney has repeatedly denied any involvement in the choice of Halliburton, where he served as chief executive from 1995 until 2000, when he joined the Bush campaign. Kevin Kellems, Mr. Cheney's spokesman, said the office stood by its previous statements, and accused Mr. Waxman of trying to score political points. Various administration officials have said that the decision to pick Halliburton was made entirely by contracting officials within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


But in a June 8 briefing to Mr. Waxman's staff, Pentagon official Michael Mobbs said it was an energy task force he headed within the U.S. Defense Department that decided to give the work to Halliburton without competition. The decision was then put before a high-level meeting of officials in the Bush administration that included Mr. [Scooter] Libby. Mr. Mobbs said none of the officials present at the meeting objected to the approach, according to the Waxman letter.

Mr. Waxman, the ranking minority member of the U.S. House of Representatives' Government Affairs Committee, also asked Mr. Cheney to clarify a March 2003 e-mail sent by an official at the Army Corps that indicates the Halliburton contract had been "coordinated" with the vice president's office. In the letter, Mr. Waxman asked Mr. Cheney to turn over any records on meetings or discussions his office may have had related to Halliburton's work in Iraq.

Just One More Predictably Deleterious Outcome Of A Poorly Thought-Out War 

Saw That Coming

GIs marching away from re-enlistment

War may have some Fort Carson troops leaving the ranks

By Dick Foster, Rocky Mountain News
June 14, 2004

COLORADO SPRINGS - Army re-enlistments have dropped suddenly and dramatically at Fort Carson and several other posts where combat units have recently returned from Iraq.

The surprising decline within the past 21/2 months has jolted recruiters and military analysts and provoked questions about the war's effect on the Army's recruiting ability.

The Venerable Paul Krugman Thrashes Ashcroft  

Monday, June 14, 2004

More perfidy in the abuse scandal- This Shit Never Ends 

It Never Ends

Starting in mid-November, one member of the unit began asking detainees, "How have you been treated since you have been in U.S. custody?" It was intended as a tactic meant to make the detainee feel like the interrogator cared, military intelligence personnel said. But the question soon began eliciting vivid and disturbing answers.

"One guy said he was thrown on the ground and stepped on the head," said one soldier. "That's when I started paying attention to it."

As more abuse reports emerged, members of the unit made the question a formal part of the screening process. In early December, the question was added to a Microsoft Word document of questions for the unit's interrogators to ask detainees, several military intelligence personnel said in interviews.

"We couldn't believe what we were hearing," said one soldier. Two detainees reported having been given electric shocks at other holding facilities before arriving in Abu Ghraib, according to the interviews. One prisoner's file included photographs of burns on his body. "We didn't want people to know that we knew about it and didn't report it," the soldier said.

Names of soldiers responsible for the abuse were not included because most of the time, the detainees could not identify those responsible, according to several interviews. But one soldier said, "There's lots of investigative techniques that could have been used to discover who the culprits were."


He died in war he didn't have to fight 

Jimmy Breslin

No Parades For This Guy

June 13, 2004

'I told him, 'Frank, you're 51. You can't go there.'" Rick Rancitelli was saying. This was Friday afternoon and he was sitting in church at the wake of his friend, Staff Sgt. Frank Carvill, who was in his uniform in the casket in front of the altar. He was killed the other day in Iraq, where at his age, and with a dependent mother with failing eyesight, he didn't have to be. Now, his Irish-Americans grieved openly and were tremendously proud of him.

A Tough Time for 'Neocons'  

From Brad Delong- The Torture Was Worse Than We Thought 

Torture and Rumors of Torture

Torture and rumors of torture. In my email inbox this morning...

If what it reports is true, then once again it looks like the Bush administration is worse than I had imagined--even though I thought I had taken account of the fact that the Bush administration is always worse than one imagines. Either Seymour Hersh is insane, or we have an administration that needs to be removed from office not later than the close of business today. The scariest part: "[Hersh] said he had seen all the Abu Ghraib pictures. He said, 'You haven't begun to see evil...' then trailed off. He said, 'horrible things done to children of women prisoners, as the cameras run.' He looked frightened."

Sunday, June 13, 2004

My God: 

26 Ex Diplomats And Military officers Want Bush Out.

Look at the folks who are calling for his ousting:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Angered by Bush administration policies they contend endanger national security, 26 retired U.S. diplomats and military officers are urging Americans to vote President Bush out of office in November.

The group, which calls itself Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change, does not explicitly endorse Democrat John Kerry for president in its campaign, which will start officially Wednesday at a Washington news conference.

The Bush-Cheney campaign said Sunday it would have no response until the group formally issues its statement at the news conference.

Among the group are 20 ambassadors, appointed by both Democratic and Republican presidents, other former State Department officials and military leaders whose careers span three decades.

Prominent members include retired Marine Gen. Joseph P. Hoar, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East during the administration of Bush's father; retired Adm. William J. Crowe Jr., ambassador to Britain under President Clinton and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Reagan; and Jack F. Matlock Jr., a member of the National Security Council under Reagan and ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991.

Via Atrios- Lumbaugh On Divorce 

March 15, 1993:

LIMBAUGH: (Voiceover) During the same 30-year period, a 560 percent increase in violent crime, a 419 percent increase in illegitimate births, a quadrupling in divorce rates, a tripling of the percentage of children living in single-parent homes, more than a 200 percent increase in teen-age suicide rate and a drop of almost 80 points in SAT scores.

You know what we have? We have a behavioral problem. We have a love problem. We have a spiritual problem. We're spending more money than this country ever thought it would have on all these problems, government trying to take care of all these problems. This can be shown--may, in fact, be leading to the--to the deterioration of some of our cultural strengths. There's no question about when people like Marian Wright Edelman say more money, more money, what we ought to say is, You've got enough money. You have plenty enough money. Why don't you let us get involved with teaching values, teaching right and wrong again instead of just throwing money at the problems so you can be in power?' That's...

April 26, 1994:

LIMBAUGH: See, we're all laughing. It was funny. It was supposed to be funny, and the press thinks this stuff is just uncalled for and mean-spirited. And the reason we're showing you all this is--is just to once again illustrate how many in the press corps just cannot take at all what they dish out.

You know, I mean, I have always wanted to do a profile on somebody in the press. Pick your favorite reporter. Who had a--look, Connie Chung--let's do a profile. How many divorces has Connie had? Did she ever do drugs when she was in high school? How many illegitimate children has she ever had? This kind of stuff--the stuff they ask about everybody they cover--the stuff they get--let's find out who these people are. Let's call up and say, You know, we're going to call everybody you've ever worked with. And we're going to get all kinds of information about you. We can't'--they panic. That's what they do every day.

Now we have--we have some other samples of the president--by the way, I don't know if--Connie Chung--she's a nice woman--I just--first name I thought of--I don't know any of that. I'm not suggesting anything by it, so please, it's just--you know, I could have said Sam Donaldson, and how many illegitimate children has he had? I could have said, you know--any--I could have brought up anybody. I don't--I don't mean to associate any of that with any particular person. I really, really don't.

This is called, Don't call our lawyers.' I just--you know, I just grabbed a name out of the top--you know, about myself, you know--I could have said it. So the president then decided that he was going to have some fun with Time magazine, which--Time magazine was pretty tough on him over the course of the campaign, and the first year and a half of his presidency, and here's how he chose to have some fun with Time and himself. Watch this.

September 24, 1993:

So, the basic disagreement, and the--one of the primary reasons for divorce or unhappiness in a relationship, is that a woman who's deriving--she--she wants the husband to think of her first, think of the kids first, think of the house first. Foremost; first, second, third; he's thinking of his career. That's where he gets his self-esteem and if he doesn't think of the career and doing well and climbing the ladder, she's not going to be happy with that either.

August 25, 1994:
[criticizing Arkansas]
LIMBAUGH: (Voiceover) And finally, the highest, number one state in divorce rate in 1991.

So we think it was a valid question, President Clinton, and it doesn't matter where you started. It hasn't gotten much better.

July 16, 1996:

[from the childless Limbaugh]
Marriage is simply the way humanity has discovered that it is the best way to build a building block of an orderly society and sustain it. That's all it is. It is also the means by which you produce legitimate offspring. And I--and I've--whatever else Barney and his mate do, they cannot do that. And that's the soul purpose--now look, we're devaluing marriage--a lot of divorce. Got to fix that. There is way, way too much illegitimacy in this country, and it's leading to the crime rate. This business of the gay marriage is nothing more than a money grab, in my opinion, so people can get on the welfare rolls or the benefit rolls, in state offices and other--and other places.

I--I really do not even think marriage is a right. Marriage is a responsibility. It's not a gift that somebody says, Hey, now it's time for you to get married. It's our bestowal to you.' It's--it's a--it's a commitment that you make and it is a responsibility that you accept. And it's--to--to be--to be tossed around in this manner is to devalue it, which is to devalue the fundamental building block of our society. And I think that's what's wrong with this whole process of same-sex marriage. It just simply denies the definition of what the institution is.

August 8, 1996:

[Limbaugh began his correspondence with his soon to be ex wife on Compuserve. She was married at the time.]:
Well, you wonder--you know, when you see the story and you say, Well, this is crazy. Couch potatoes.' But it--they may have a point. Because look at--look at this headline. This is from the New York Post last Friday: My wife's a cyberslut! New Jersey man seeks divorce for computer adultery.' These two people are so lazy, they're having an affair on a computer. So maybe the surgeon general's office has a point here. I mean, i--if people are sitting around--and they are so lazy, ladies and gentlemen, they can't even get off their duffs to go look at each other. They're just typing words. I mean, the most exercise they're getting is finger exercise on a keyboard. So I don't know. Maybe--maybe you should put those warnings on computer screens as well.

Sunday New York TimesMagazine Article About The JAG Who Says The US Justice System Is Unjust 

Lt. Commander Swift, The Jag

Swift wanted to get to Guantánamo Bay as soon as possible, but the government didn't immediately provide him with a translator, and it took Swift five weeks to find one and to obtain security clearance for him. When he finally made it to Cuba to meet Hamdan at the end of January, his client had been in solitary confinement in Camp Echo, a block of eight windowless huts set apart from Camp Delta, for nearly two months. After apologizing for taking so long to get there, Swift told Hamdan, ''It's you and me against the infinite resources of the American government.'' It is the same thing he tells all his clients, only this time, Swift says, ''it had never been so true.''

More Good News From Words On A Page  

The Stern Gang

Potentially offsetting the conservative dominance of the radio waves is Howard Stern. The nationally-syndicated radio host is listened to by 17 percent of likely voters, and nationally, they would support Kerry over Bush by a margin of 53 percent to 43 percent. In the battleground states, their preference for Kerry is even stronger, backing him by a margin of 59 percent to 37 percent.

More importantly, one-quarter of all likely voting Stern listeners are swing voters. This means that four percent of likely voters this fall are swing voters who listen to Howard Stern, showing Stern's potential ability to impact the race. Generally, likely voters who are Stern listeners are: 2 to 1 male to female; 40 percent Democrats, 26 percent Republicans, and 34 percent Independents; more liberal and less conservative than the average voter; significantly younger than the average voter (two-thirds are under 50 and 40 percent are under 35); more diverse; and more driven in their vote by economic issues.

Sleeping giant, I tell you. I have some relatives who live in Nevada -- early 30's, apolitical mostly, libertarian by instinct, hard core Howard, Tool and Quentin Tarantino fans.

I don't know if they are representative, but their big issues are freedom of speech, the religious right, Iraq and The Patriot Act. One has never voted before and the other two considered themselves Republican until now. Howard has them all fired up about this election and they can't wait to vote against Junior.

Must Read Piece About US And British Support of Saddam  

A long summary with great links explaining the days when the Americans and the British knew Saddam was gassing the Kurds and knew that he was committing atrocities but still backed him.

What this means is very simple: Don’t give me all this “He was bad, this is good”. Stop supporting dictators to begin with- it always bites us in the ass. It’s also obviously disingenuous to act all outraged at what Saddam did when at the time the same pundits were silent.

This'll Piss You Off  

Two Enron employees, Greg and Shari, prepare for a phone call that is part of negotiations with Snohomish about the proposed energy contract.

Greg: Um, called lies, it's all how well you can weave these lies together, Shari. All right, so um - -

Shari: I feel like I'm being corrupted now.

Greg: No, this is marketing.

Shari: O.K.

Greg: It's not as bad as trading.

Shari: Yeah, it's true. Oh yeah, you're right. O.K., cool, I'll - I'll do it.

In the now infamous Grandma Millie exchange, recorded on Nov. 30, 2000, two traders, identified as Kevin and Bob, discuss demands by California officials that electricity-generating companies and traders pay refunds for price-gouging. They also refer to the disputed presidential election, which was as yet undecided.

Kevin: So the rumor's true? They're [expletive] takin' all the money back from you guys? All those money you guys stole from those poor grandmothers in California?

Bob: Yeah, Grandma Millie, man. But she's the one who couldn't figure out how to [expletive] vote on the butterfly ballot.

Kevin: Yeah, now she wants her [expletive] money back for all the power you've charged for [expletive] $250 a megawatt hour.

Bob: You know - you know - you know, Grandma Millie, she's the one that Al Gore's fightin' for, you know?

Later in the same conversation, Kevin and Bob express little sympathy for Californians.

Kevin: Oh, best thing that could happen is [expletive] an earthquake, let that thing float out to the Pacific and put 'em [expletive] candles.

Bob: I know. Those guys - just cut 'em off.

Kevin: They're so [expletive] and they're so like totally - -

Bob: They are so [expletive].

In an earlier conversation, from Aug. 5, 2000, two traders, identified as Person 1 and Person 2, gleefully discuss how a wildfire in California has reduced the ability of a transmission line to carry electricity, boosting the value of power in parts of the state and the profits on electricity trades they have made.

Person 2: The magical word of the day is "Burn, Baby, Burn"--

Person 1: What's happening?

Person 2: There's a fire under the core line it's been de-rated from 45 to 2,100.

Person 1: Really?

Person 2: Yup. --

Together: Burn, baby, burn.

Person 1: That's a beautiful saying.

In a conversation on Aug. 8, 2000, the head of Enron's West Coast trading desk, Tim Belden, describes to an unidentified person, referred to as Person 2, how much one of his colleagues, Jeffrey Richter, was personally taking from California. Mr. Belden and Mr. Richter have both pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from their roles in manipulating the electricity markets.

Tim: He steals money from California to the tune of about a million --

Person 2: Will you rephrase that?

Tim: O.K., he, um, he arbitrages the California market to the tune of a million bucks or two a day.

Many of the traders' conversations are about California's initial efforts to cap the price of power sold in the state, a move they feared would decrease power prices and their own profits. Two traders, Matt and Tom, discussed the subject of caps on Aug. 3, 2000:

Tom: You getting rich?

Matt: Tryin' to. I just, you know, you know what [expletive] me off so bad about [expletive] - the [expletive] caps?

Tom: You ca - it limits your profit.

Matt: Yeah. Completely [expletive] you.

Tom: What?

Matt: Completely [expletive] you.

Tom: Oh, [expletive] it does.

Later, Tom rails against what he sees as the anti-American nature of price caps.

It's just [expletive]. It's completely [expletive]. It - it just goes against everything our country's about.

Two traders, Tracey and someone identified as Person 2, in a Sept. 14, 2000, conversation, offer a similar view.

Tracey: So you're getting [expletive] because they - they - these stupid caps, right?

Person 2: Yeah [expletive], I'd be a, oh, Sonny, we'd be printin' like [expletive] 500 million dollars.

In their August conversation, Matt and Tom discussed their hope that George W. Bush, then the Texas governor, would win the 2000 presidential race because he opposed price caps. But unfortunately for Enron, Mr. Bush's picks for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Patrick Wood III and Nora Brownell, moved quickly to impose price caps throughout the Western United States after they took office in summer 2001, a move that helped break the back of the power crisis.

Matt: "When this election comes, Bush'll [expletive] whack that [expletive], man. He won't [expletive] play this price cap [expletive]. I bet they impose a national price cap at a thousand dollars."

Matt and Tom also describe their dislike of President Clinton's energy secretary, Bill Richardson, as well as rumors that Enron's chairman and chief executive officer, Kenneth L. Lay would be Mr. Bush's pick for the same job.

Matt: Tell you what - you heard this here first: When Bush wins --

Tom: Caps are gone.

Matt: That [expletive] Bill Richardson, he's [expletive] gone. The [expletive], ah, Clinton, he's [expletive] all these [expletive] ah, socialists are gone.

Tom: Yeah.

Matt: And who's the biggest, ah, single contributor to the Bush campaigners?

Tom: You.

Matt: Enron.

Tom: Enron. What?

Matt: Enron.

Tom: Is it Enron?

Matt: Yeah.

Tom: [Expletive], is it - is that true?

Matt: Yeah, I think it is.

Tom: The biggest single contributor.

Matt: Yeah, the biggest corporate contributor to the --

Tom: Holy --

Tom: Really? That's huge.

Matt: And No. 1.

Tom: That's huge.

Matt: Ken Lay's going to be secretary of energy.

Statewide energy price caps imposed by California in 2000 actually produced a profitable form of manipulation known as "ricochet."

Power generated in California was exported out of state, often to Palo Verde, Ariz., then reimported to California where it was no longer subject to the limits and could fetch prices many times the price caps. Or it could be sold to other Western buyers at sky-high prices.

In a conversation on Sept. 14, 2000, about a month after the California price cap was set at $250 a megawatt hour, Tracey, the trader, and someone identified as Person 2 discuss moving power out of the state to avoid the caps.

Person 2: Take it and move it out. Bring it to the Northwest, bring it to Palo Verde so you're seeing all this energy that's supposed to be used for Californians go elsewhere - out - they export it out.

Tracey: So what do we need - we need a blackout and then they're going to move - remove the cap?

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