Archive for the ‘Bush administration’ Category


Two days ago I posted something that people found offensive, vulgar, and homophobic. To anyone I may have inadvertently offended with my words i am truly sorry. I honestly didn’t realize it would be taken in that manner.

I didn’t stop to think, and filter out what might be offensive. I shot from the hip while my temper was up. Thank to those that informed me of my errors, I have learned a valuable lesson that I could only learn through making such a mistake.

by Lesley Lotto

Seriously?  I mean someone with your cojones on the House Floor to show your cojones online to unsuspecting Tweeps is SO.VERY.DISAPPOINTING Weiner.

Last week Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York said his Twitter account was hacked after a woman tweeted that the Congressman sent photos of his crotch to her which then went circulating on the Internet.  Weiner said at the time, after pressed repeatedly by journalists (who couldn’t press George W. on the Iraq war, but certainly wanted to know if these were Weiner’s private parts) that the photo may or may not have been him.  He could not say with certitude that it was or was not his Weiner all over Twitter. (And oh, what an unfortunate surname.) He also made some lighthearted jokes about the scandal to reporters trying to brush the whole, now unfortunately named, Weinergate scandal aside.  All the while a woman had been tweeting that Weiner sent her the photo and she was being hounded by the media.  Oh poor you!

Right wing websites went ballistic with the info.  Andrew Breitbart, famously known for some alleged creative editing in connection to another major news story, is now even more famous for posting Weiner’s Twitter pix.  Today, he said he was posting a “cache” of photos and communications he was sent that were between Weiner and yet another woman who says she too got pix of Weiner’s problem. I mean, shouldn’t he be off to rehab by now?

Weiner was holding a press conference as I typed this that I could not bear to watch as he gave his account of how he thought he was communicating with followers and friends or people that had become his friends (presumably after seeing his rather large package).  Some of the pictures are of a man in excellent physical condition.  There are others where he’s even proving it’s him by holding a piece of paper that says “me” with an arrow pointing squarely at his face.   There are also photos behind him which leads the viewer to believe he’s at his Congressional office.  Have you nothing better to do with your time sir?  How cruel reality is.

Here’s the rub for me, moments before John Edwards gets arrested for being an absolute shlub, Weiner comes out swinging saying his Twitter account was hacked.  I can’t take two in a week, let alone a day!  But Anthony really, I thought you were smarter than that!  Who hacks a Twitter feed? Sending photos of all things?  There is definitely plenty of spam on Twitter, but reports of widespread hacking?  Oh, I know it was a hacker in China. Or maybe someone bored waiting for Sony to get the Playstation Network back online again.  Really – why hack 140 characters?  Someone in a hurry?  Maybe I’m a Twitter neophyte.  I’ve heard about loads of Facebook hacking to be sure, but while all the Left Wingers were lining up behind Weiner, I had one corner of my mouth pointed upward, DO. NOT. BELIEVE.

Why in the world do I keep holding these characters up to a higher standard than the rest of us?  I mean we all spend our time taking pictures of our bodies and communicating online with strangers while fighting for our country, right?


It would seem that we in America are once again experiencing a kumbaya moment in which we all hug, hold hands, and say things like “America, Fuck Yeah!” and chant “USA, USA.” All because of the killing of one man. But in watching the news reports of celebrations taking place outside of the White House and where the twin towers used to grace the skyline of NYC, I couldn’t help but see parallels between how some Americans reacted and how some Muslims reacted after 9/11.

When we were surprised by this:

Some in the Muslim world reacted like this:

In many respects we couldn’t understand why there would be anybody in the world that would be happy with an attack on America. We collectively scratched our heads seeking answers to why people hated us. And because we have no understanding of history, of cause and effect, we smugly came to the conclusion that it was because they hate our freedom, or that Islam was simply a naturally violent and barbaric religion.

Yet when we final got revenge with this:

Some in America reacted like this:

Now, I’m not saying that the attacks that occurred on September 11th and the killing of Osama Bin Laden are equivalent acts of violence. The people in the Twin Towers were innocent, Osama had crimes to pay for. The deaths of 3,000 unsuspecting people on that morning can not be rationalized, while Osama had to have known what fate held in store for him, he knew he was a hunted man. Otherwise, he would not have been hiding out in a high security compound. Osama Bin Laden deserved to be punished for his actions, to be brought to justice for the atrocities he set in motion.

But what the two events share is their symbolism. The attacks on 9/11 weren’t so much aimed at the people in those buildings as they were the symbols of American strength, both financial and martial. Osama struck at the heart of our empire, attempting to unveil the corruption and moral degradation that lies at the core of our world spanning reach. Our strike this weekend, cutting off the head of Al Qaeda, was just as symbolic. We proved that no matter how long we have to wait or how far we have to go, America will hunt down every last terrorist and we will show no mercy. There will be no day in court for the likes of Osama Bin Laden. Others like him will be put down like the dogs that they are.

News that we got Osama was an emotional release… an end to a chapter in our current American story. But for all the celebrating there needs to be a more focused and inward reflection of what this event really means for our current situation. And my guess would be that beyond the symbolism, beyond the feel good moment, little will change. Our quest for hegemony will continue unabated and the world’s reaction to such a geopolitical reality will continue.

I’ll leave you with this somber reflection…

By Duganz

Two videos, two nights, two reasons that Obama had the best weekend ever.

Saturday, he grabs laughs and makes one hell of a reference to The Lion King.

Sunday, well, he cemented his reelection, and made Donald Trump shit himself.

I made some baked potato soup… so, ya know, I did that.

Okay, I’m not exciting. But at least I’m not a Republican tonight. How’s it feel guys?

By Duganz

Just seven months after 9/11 I attempted to board a flight for Washington, D.C.

I was 17, a junior in high school. Oh, and I was this huge punk rock geek boy who had blue hair, wore (embarrassingly enough) several sets of studs and spikes, about three feet of chain on my wallet, and a Fat Wreck Chords hoodie every day.

So, to some degree, I get why I was held on the floor of the Missoula Airport by two armed National Guardsmen while I was patted down and my shoes were confiscated. I spent a great deal of time trying to look like trouble, and these guys bought the facade. Still, I remind you, I was 17 and a freaking kid from Anaconda, Montana. I had never once been arrested (not for lack of effort on the part of my hometown’s police force). I didn’t do drugs, or drink alcohol. Even more telling, I was on a school trip sponsored by Close Up Washington, which you had to apply to. I was for all intents and purposes a good kid–one with blue hair, but a good kid.

But that morning in April 2002 I was held as if I were a danger to America. Another guy I went to school with was held as well. He was a redneck, boot wearin’, big buckle kinda guy, so maybe my hopes that I was messed with for my hair is misplaced.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. The issue is that I was treated like a criminal because I did not know my Chuck’s were setting off the metal detector, and that lack of knowledge got me searched by two guys with guns.

The main point here is that I was scared shitless for absolutely no reason because I was never a threat, and the government had no right to assume I was.

The Transportation Safety Administration treated me poorly because they were afraid of planes blowing up, and the world ending. It was just a few months after we saw 3,000 people die on TV on a looping repeat of media pandering, and propagandist fear mongering. I get where they were coming from. That said, I am a firm believer in the following words:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

That’s the Fourth Amendment, and what a grand message it is. Coming right after amendments giving me right to words, guns, and keeping the Army out of my home, the Fourth means that police cannot just stop and search you without cause, or a warrant––one that is specific in what they will search.

The TSA ignores this of course by assuming one thing: You want to kill people. If they do not believe that, then they are violating your civil rights, as well as mine. And for what? What the hell does the TSA actually accomplish? Last time I checked one nutcase nearly blew up a plane with his shoe, and another (Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab) tried setting his crotch on fire. (Ironically the TSA isn’t sure these new scanners would detect the infamous crotch bomb, so that’s nice.)

Both made it through security, and onto airplanes–hell, Richard Reed did it the month after the TSA began. Imagine if within 30 days of starting a job you made that huge of a mistake. You’d be fired. But, luckily our government is slow, woefully inefficient, and all about look instead of effort, so everyone kept their jobs.

Here’s some numbers: the TSA has more than 56,000 employees, and a budget of $8.1 billion to accomplish jack. I mean, come on, you’d think with that amount of money and that many people watching it wouldn’t come down to people on flights stopping terrorism.

Well, the government felt that way too, so they’ve recently added a fresh indignity to the business of flight: the naked scanner.

There have been plenty of blog posts and articles written about just how awful these things are, but in case you haven’t seen evidence, this is straight from the government:

As you can see in the third picture (from the left) that’s a penis. Also, the woman, first picture, has some love handles and a flabby ass (image 2). The TSA says that they delete the images, but, um, they don’t. Honestly, does that matter that much after a stranger gets to see your crotch? Aren’t you exposed too much even if the image is deleted? And isn’t it unnerving that a government that won’t allow “profanity” on TV will do this to it’s citizens? (“Sorry, you can’t show Janet Jackson’s nipple, unless you’re checking it for weaponry.”)

But, after all of that I have on observation to make:

You’re only scanned at the security gate. That’s it. If a terrorist wants to make an impression this holiday season, Mr./Ms. Martyr only needs to get in the crowd, and detonate. Getting on a plane with a bomb would endanger between 30 and 200 people. Blowing up at the crowded security gates…well, that’d make for some dead infidels.

So how the hell is the TSA making us safe? It ain’t.

The TSA is the window dressing our government likes to put up to satiate the needs of frightened middle class white people. They do things like this so you can feel a bit safer, and feel is it. You only feel. It isn’t real. It’s like HCR, the “missile defense shield,” or Jell-O. It’s just something to make you feel better, but ultimately provides nothing. Even if it apparently makes some anti-liberty nutbags feel better (One, Two).

But there are things you can do: Opt out of the scanner, and while you’re being given a pat down help educate the government official stomping on your rights by showing them a handy copy of the Bill of Rights. I carry one with my ACLU membership card. And speaking of the ACLU, they are on our side, so feel free to help them by joining.

Also remember this: your liberties are not worth sacrificing for the idea of safety.


Update at 10pm, Monday:

My wife wishes to add two points:

  • She is sad that I will no longer be allowed to fly, and
  • Magician/libertarian Penn Jillette turned me on to the tiny Bill of Rights cards, so give credit where credit is due.

By @CarFreeStpdty

you have to result to finding news from an Australian news site, the World Socialist Web Site, and a Rusian news station – see, Obama can’t be a socialist because the real socialists still left in this world hate him just about as much as they hated G.W.

CIA director Leon Panetta filed a legal brief to stop a lawsuit filed by the ACLU against the federal government challenging its acquired taste for assassinating its own citizens. The administration doesn’t want the lawsuit to go through because… well… it would be embarrassing, potentially damaging leading into the elections, and challenge the extra-legal authorities of the Imperialist Presidency.  Already the State Department is attempting to invoke “States Secrets” as a defense against the lawsuit.   Arguing that the judicial branch has no authority here and that the Administration can act as judge, jury, and executioner… and assertion perhaps more egregious than almost anything Obama’s predecessor pulled off.  Amy Goodman featured the story as the top headline on Monday’s show here.

The story first developed when details became available that an American citizen, Anwar Al-Awlaki, wound up on a CIA hit list for materially supporting terrorism.  This got a little play in the MM and a small snippet here by Duganz, but basically it was quickly forgotten by most Americans because we all assume he’s guilty.  I mean just look at him, those beady little eyes, his un-American clothing, and a name slow-talking Midwesterners can’t wrap their tongues around.  I’m not defending any of his actions, because well, he’s a bearded douche.  Just do a Google video search for more videos like this where he openly calls on American Muslims to participate in Jihad against their own country.  While his words hold a great deal of inconvinient and sad truth, an examination of his motives would be for another post.

No, the real story is this seemingly final stride we are taking as a nation into the abyss of police statedom, an abyss nations do not come back from.  No matter how big of a douche this man is he is still an American citizen, born in America and so entitled to all the rights that any other Amiercan citizen is afforded.  And even if his actions and words constitute treason, which they probably do, treasonous people still get trials.  But now we have the development that the administration is actively engaging in “targeted killings,” of US citizens overseas, a policy that Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, openly admitted all the way back in February.

“…he was speaking publicly about the issue to reassure Americans that intelligence agencies and the Department of Defense “follow a set of defined policy and legal procedures that are very carefully observed” in the use of lethal force against U.S. citizens.


“We don’t target people for free speech.”

I feel reassured… don’t you?  It’s good to know they have a process for this type of thing, so that some bearded hipster doesn’t get mistaken for an anti-American Muslim cleric.

You know he's a patriotic American by the PBR pride he's displaying

G.W., with the collusion of Democrats, already effectively killed habeas corpus with the PATRIOT Act way back in 2001 so we’ve had a full nine years to get accustomed to our rights getting violated on a regular basis.  Now they have a process so that they don’t kill the wrong American talking about the evils of American policies.  At least Bush had the decency to try and give the American people a credible cover-up scandal when his administration violated the Constitution and international law.  Now instead of Bush hiding his hubris behind a half-cocked smirk we have the Obama administration upfront stating that they just took a steamer on the Constitution and wiped with the Declaration of Independence.  I guess that is Change We Can Believe In©, instead of an administration that spits in our coffee and then mixes it in before being served we now have one that spits directly in our face as we try to order.

Former Reagan Administration Official, Paul Craig Roberts says it better than I can…

Yes, the U.S. government has murdered its citizens, but Dennis Blair’s “defined policy” is a bold new development. The government, of course, denies that it intended to kill the Branch Davidians, Randy Weaver’s wife and child, or the Black Panthers. The government says that Waco was a terrible tragedy, an unintended result brought on by the Branch Davidians themselves. The government says that Ruby Ridge was Randy Weaver’s fault for not appearing in court on a day that had been miscommunicated to him. The Black Panthers, the government says, were dangerous criminals who insisted on a shoot-out.

And again here on Russia Today.  Oh how far our press has sunk that a former Reaganite has to go on a Russian news program to openly talk about the injustices our government commits, not to mention that the irony is thick enough to choke on.

Add on top of this last weeks FBI raid against anti-war protesters with “terror links” and other preemptive raids on activists and all hope seems to just drain out of me.  Back in the good old days Democrats would at a minimum feign disgust and outrage at situations like this, at least until our short American attention spans turned our heads in a different direction.  So lets all just go back to bashing the Tea Party and fighting over where specific houses of worship can be built and pretend like this is still America.

by JC

Problembear’s post the other day about letting the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire has sparked a lively debate between Big Swede and Mr. Benson, and pb and I. The governing philosophy on their side it seems, is this notion that the more money the rich have, the more jobs they will create. Here’s Big Swede:

“Will raising taxes on the wealthy increase jobs?”

This is nothing more than regurgitated reaganism and its trickle-down, supply-side economic theory. BS and Mr. Benson seem to be wishing for a return to the days of a “shining city upon a hill.”

I see this as nothing more than wishing for a new era of neo-fuedalism where the success of the country is dependent upon the most wealthy individuals. And because we are dependent upon them, we must give them whatever they ask for, because the consequences of not doing so are dire: Who will create the jobs? Who will buy the luxury items that drive economic growth and technological advance…

The inequity in wealth between the rich and the poor has returned to early Depression-era levels. Congress is awash in crony capitalism, and the Obama administration is mired in corporatism. Corporations have been given first amendment rights by the Supreme Court. Wall Street dictates financial policy. The health insurance industry controls access to, and provision of health care. Energy companies must never be held accountable for fear we’ll have another return to a Carter-era energy shortage.

And we’re being asked by conservatives to preserve the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, because, well, because who else is going to create jobs?

This is nothing more than sheer economic blackmail. It is more than looking back for guidance from Reagan, it is looking to the dark ages and a return to the comfort of the lord in his castle on the hill, surrounded by his serfs who will do his bidding in return for a small scrap of land to sleep on, and enough of a share in the crops in order to not starve.

This drive to let the rich and powerful run free among us, dictating policy and our economic future paints an ugly picture of the state of our union. For when the wind blows foul from the past, it is time for those who value true freedom and independence to declare that enough is enough.

This debate is not about taxes, as the tea baggers would have us believe. But they are just tools of the rich and powerful used to create a smokescreen behind which the lords can solidify their grip on our nation.

As Gharrett Johnson wrote in “Slouching Towards Neofeudalism”:

“Neofeudalism isn’t just about the powerful taking over everything. It’s about conditioning the poor to accept their designated role in society, even fighting to defend the ability of the wealthy to exploit them. It requires working people to do things that are against their own interests, and nowhere is this more true than in our current economic system.”

This is about the future of our country, and what it will become. This isn’t about politics. It transcends the two party system. It is about whether or not the masses are willing to become subservient to money and power. It is class warfare.

by Bob Gentry

This piece is cross-posted from Left in the West. We’re happy to have it. – j-girl

In response to a 5 year old Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the ACLU, today the US Department of Justice released four memos generated during the Bush years by US DOJ Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) attorneys. The OLC is a component of the Justice Department created to provide “objective” legal advice to the AG and to resolve legal disputes among federal agencies. Each of these memos was directed to the attention of John A. Rizzo, Senior Deputy General Counsel, Central Intelligence Agency, and provided “legal opinions” regarding a few questions he had.

Here are the memos:

August 1, 2002, Memorandum for John Rizzo, Acting General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency, Interrogation of al Qaeda Operative, by Jay S. Bybee

May 10, 2005, Memorandum for John A. Rizzo, Senior Deputy General Counsel, Central Intelligence Agency, by Steven Bradbury

May 10, 2005, Memorandum for John A. Rizzo, Senior Deputy General Counsel, Central Intelligence Agency, by Steven Bradbury

May 30, 2005 Memorandum for John A. Rizzo, Senior Deputy General Counsel, Central Intelligence Agency, by Steven Bradbury

I’ve read parts of all of them and all I could stomach of the August 1, 2002 memo by the Honorable Jay S. Bybee (now a Bush appointed 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge). I was on the verge of retching, not so much because of the graphic content of the memos, but because of the macabre torture of the rule of law set forth in every sterile sentence of these redacted memos. They are, quite simply, red hot insanity.

The August 2002 memo was written in response to questions from Rizzo about 10 techniques used on Abu Zubaydah. In short, Bybee lays out the questions from Rizzo, describes the 10 techniques, and then decides that none of them constitutes torture. If the subject weren’t so tragic, parts of the memo would be hilarious. Lucky for them that no judge had to decide whether the memo was an accurate statement of the law.

Whoops, the author is now a federal judge.
Continue Reading »

by jhwygirl

Please consider this an open thread.

First some observations:

Supermontanareporter John S. Adams made his debut this week with The Lowdown, his blog for breaking news, notes and insights from the Capital City of Helena. This is one to watch, as he is the man up there on the marble, doing some fine legislative reporting. Professional-style, for the Great Falls Tribune.

Wulfgar! kept busy this week, but my favorite was this one. I love his football stuff – especially when he picks the Steelers.

Which reminds me: Go Steelers

The Polish Wolf and Liz were back at Intelligent Discontent…Pogie, too, of course – who was right about Brad Johnson being wrong – officially wrong, as it turns out.

The GO – George Ochenski – kicked ass this week.

And you know he’s right.

Moving on…

The Kootanai River is considered one of the 11 Places to See Before They Disappear. Montana DEQ? FWP? DNRC? Are you listening?

You read about this stuff, but rarely do you get the pictures. This guy’s got to be embarrassed: He shot, tagged and gutted llama, thinking it was an elk.

Bush/Cheney lost a big one in the courts last week. Barely a whimper was heard, what with all the Obamathon preparations under way. But will it be the last, or is it a first shot fired across the bow?

Let’s just say that I’m thinking it’s a first shot. With opinionators like this out there, the drums are beating. Bush might want to enjoy Camp David this weekend, because his rest might short-lived.

Mother Jones tells us that it takes less time to bake tuna casserole or apply for temporary assistance than it does to apply for a bailout. As they note in the end, the only thing that takes longer is a credit card application, which takes about 2 minutes.

Circuit City says bye-bye.

Googling may not be good for the environment.

Bored? Hallucinate.

What are Kansas citizens eating? Racooon meat.

Wow. Whadda ya say after that?

by jhwygirl

Please consider this an open thread.

The City of Bozeman is just about ready to open its first homeless shelter. Sounds like it was a very worth labor of love amongst a number of community members. Congratulations on your success.

Great Falls nonprofits are using recycling as a method of raising funds. Pacific Recycling – which has a location here in Missoula, too – is partner in the process.

Eartha Kitt – who played Catwoman on the original Batman series – passed away from cancer at age 81. The daughter of a white farmer and a black Cherokee mother, Eartha rose from abject poverty to break barriers in the entertainment field. She gained much notoriety, but not without cost, as she made Richard Nixon’s enemies list for her outspoken anti-Vietnam War stance.

Hey! You people in Great Falls! Keep your dogs away from that river! Not one, but two rescues this week. Your firemen there are awesome!

Three out of four – 3 out of 4!are glad Bush is done.

Leonard Downie, Jr., of the Washington Post, ponders Could We Uncover Watergate Today?

This pic was too precious to pass up. It accompanied a New York Times article titled Bush’s Philosophy Stoked Mortgage Bonfire.


by jhwygirl

Relied on Wall Street. Just three years ago.

I’m thinking Mildred and few thousand shareholders are thinking differently right now. McCain better stay far far away from them with that privatization talk.

In 2005, McCain and Bush stood together, advocating for private accounts for social security.

So Economic Einstein and Republican Presidential nominee John McCain, just three short years ago, felt that Wall Street was the appropriate place for people to place their trust in their long-term economic security?

Let’s see – the AIG bailout was $85 billion. Economist are estimating the total bailout costs will be $900 billion. Today, the Bush/Paulson Administration requested a $700 billion dollar no-strings-attached bailout package that will raise the national debt ceiling from $10.615 to $11.315 trillion.

Take a moment to let those numbers sink in, people. Clinton left Bush, 8 long and torturous and ethically devoid years ago, with a surplus.

And all this destabilized in just 3 years? Today those same Wall Street people are greedy? Where were thee three years ago, pal?

Obama/Biden, though, know the real story. Biden’s been hitting McCain hard on the campaign trail – and if you have a few moments tomorrow, I highly recommend watching CNN’s “On the Campaign Trail” to see just how hard. For a taste of some real Straight Talk:

“If John cares so much about this now, where was he a week ago? Where was he a month ago? Where was he 5 years ago? I’ll tell you where he was. He was bragging to the folks on Wall Street, the executives who now he calls greedy, he was bragging to them how he was going to shred the regulation that fetters them, that ties them down,” Biden said, calling those regulations “the very things that protected ordinary people on Main Street.”

“All of a sudden it’s ‘my goodness there’s greed on Wall Street. My goodness we need common sense regulation. My goodness,’” he continued. “This is a simple simple choice people have. It’s a choice between those who think that the marketplace and the corporations and the wealthy of America should go unfettered and have no regulation, and those of us who think there should be common sense rules to protect transparency so people can see the ability to know where your dollars are going.”

“John has said to the folks on Wall Street, and again I’m quoting here – this is in the Wall Street Journal – I’m always for less regulation. Here now, John has said he’s going to crack down on the greed on Wall Street. The greed of American corporations,” he said.

“Lets take a look at John’s conversion here. Something happened on the road to Damascus. John fell off his horse, but he got back on the same horse.”

Make no mistake, McCain’s privatization plans for Social Security have deep roots. Senator (now Republican Presidential nominee) John McCain’s plans go back more than 25 years. Here’s one of his speeches from 1999.

As Biden put it: He may have had a political epiphany, but it sure wasn’t a policy epiphany.

Or, as ABC News’ George Will put it, a Conversion of Convenience (even if you are on dial-up, this one is worth the wait):

This is McCain/Palin. This is the Republic Party.

Vote accordingly folks.

by jhwygirl

Unveiling what they call “one of President Bush’s most lasting legacies,” the New York Times brings us the news that the Bush Administration has nearly tripled foreign arms sales to countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, and countries in northern Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia, this fiscal year alone, has signed at least $6 billion worth of agreements to buy weapons from the United States government — the highest figure for that country since 1993, which was another peak year in American weapons sales, after the first Persian Gulf war.

The 9/11 terrorists came from where?

Saudi Arabia, of course.

Even further – and the Times article touches specifically on this – didn’t the U.S. arm Osama bin Laden when he was helping lead the fight against the Soviet Union in the Afghani War back in the 80’s? Yep.:

Travis Sharp, a military policy analyst at the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, a Washington research group, said one of his biggest worries was that if alliances shifted, the United States might eventually be in combat against an enemy equipped with American-made weapons. Arms sales have had unintended consequences before, as when the United States armed militants fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, only to eventually confront hostile Taliban fighters armed with the same weapons there.

That exact scenario is playing out right now. Pakistan is buying a huge chunk of arms. Apparently, we’ve picked a side in the Pakistan/India rumblings. Of course, Pakistan is our friend too, right? But wait. Just this last week Pakistan’s military chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, lashed out at the U.S. Wednesday, saying the cross-border military raids executed in the last week were not in keeping with any military agreement between the two nations.

Of course, there’s this, too: The U.S. is currently faced with fighting the same F-16’s it’s supplied to Pakistan.

Might have to rethink that friend thing.

I guess the Bush Administration figures it hasn’t left us with enough mess – a crumbling economy and an illegal war in Iraq that has only fed the rise of terrorism in the Middle East – now they’re increasing arms sales to throw the unstable regions of the world into more chaos.

Maybe that’s the Bush Doctrine: The Foreign Policy via Chaos Theory.

by jhwygirl

Consider this an open thread, too, folks….

One-man show Gary Marbut, self-professed President of the Montana Shooting Sports Association has been a busy busy boy. Earlier this week he was in town to kick off his campaign against the statewide mill levy that supports the university system, and then on Friday he was in the paper endorsing NOT John McCain, but Ron Paul for President of the United States. Paul, on the other hand, wants off of the ballot here in Montana.

Gee…maybe Marbut and I agree on something. I mean, if you absolutely are NOT going to vote for Obama, Ron Paul certain is a better choice….that would be if you don’t want more of the same, John McCain.

Deepak Chopra weighs in on the election and what the McCain/Palin ticket means for America. Some highlights:

–Small town values
— a denial of America’s global role, a return to petty, small-minded parochialism.
–Ignorance of world affairs — a repudiation of the need to repair America’s image abroad.
–Family values — a code for walling out anybody who makes a claim for social justice. Such strangers, being outside the family, don’t need to be heeded.
–Rigid stands on guns and abortion — a scornful repudiation that these issues can be negotiated with those who disagree.
–Patriotism — the usual fall back in a failed war.
–‘Reform’ — an italicized term, since in addition to cleaning out corruption and excessive spending, one also throws out anyone who doesn’t fit your ideology.

The Clark Fork Journal – that free paper in business lobbies around the area – has some great pieces in its September issue. Here’s just two of their fabulous offerings:
The Original Man: The Life and Work of Architect A.J. Gibson, and Fruits of Labor of Sweet Success, a piece on a Missoula fruit farm and its unlikely crop of blueberries.

Wulfgar! (out of Bozeman) reminds us that candidate for HD-96 Steve Eschenbacher thinks that Missoulians who are supporting Obama are igner’t pups.

Vote Teresa K. Henry for HD-96.

Retired Army Major General Paul D. Eaton, who served in Iraq as the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team (CMATT) commanding general will be in Montana campaigning for Barack Obama. He called for Rumsfield to leave, saying “Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is not competent to lead America’s armed forces.” He has been critical of the Republican-led congress for “refusing to hold the necessary hearings and investigations the Army desperately needed…The result is an Army and Marine Corps on the ropes, acres and acres of broken equipment, and tour lengths of 15 months because we have too few troops for the tasks at hand.” Eaton was an adviser to Senator Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. He will be coming to Helena, Great Falls, Anaconda and Missoula.

I wonder how I can get that invite?

Finally – Here our our allies. Bush’s buddies. A country of war lords and and wealthy landowners. The people who champion brutal, brutal honor killings, protect Osama Bin Laden and threaten reporters. Yep…there’s democracy a-brewin’ in the Middle East.

by jhwygirl

Via The New York Times,with a byline reading “3 minutes ago”…

Bearing (Ha. Ha.) shades of the bailout of Bear Stearns, federal officials met on Friday with chief executives of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, informing them that they and their boards would be replaced, shareholders would be virtually wiped out, but the companies would be able to continue functioning with the government generally standing behind their debt, people briefed on the discussions said.

Boy, the Federal Reserve sure loves Friday news dumps, don’t they? Just look at the Fed’s Failed Bank List.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are backing $5.2 TRILLION in mortgages. That is half of all U.S. mortgages.

Maybe I should be saying that the U.S. taxpayers are backing $5.2 trillion in mortgages….

Meanwhile, Wall Street’s Leheman Brothers is contemplating splitting its bank into two – a “good” bank and a “bad” bank…in an effort to rid itself of $30 billion in troublesome loans.

Hey, if the Fed’s are backing bad loans, effectively handing out free bailout money, why not?

Feds seized Indy Mac less than 2 months ago. That was billed as the largest bank collapse in U.S. history.

Looks like we’ve got that one beat, huh? Thank YOU George Bush Jr.!

On the upside (“Huh?” you say…) banking reform and some real housing lending industry oversight might be closer than we think.

From MarketWatch (with newsfeed on both):
Freddie Mac
Fannie Mae

by jhwygirl

Posting has been light for me – apologies. Housesitting in the Bitterroots put my priorities elsewhere, and once I got back into town, I had to begin the preparations for a week at the DNC.

Shakespeare & Co.’s Emily posts her thoughts and recent experiences with healthcare – and along the way, recommends a good book. Check it out.

Montana DEQ has hired 12 new people, although, apparently not for the open pit mining division, which has been having such a horrible time.


Spelling fanatics have been correcting vandalizing historic signs. They’ve gotten busted and have plead guilty. And example of what made them do it:

After correcting a misplaced apostrophe and comma, Deck reported, he was aghast to discover what he described as a made-up word: “emense.”

“I was reluctant to disfigure the sign any further, so we had to let the other typo stand. Still, I think I shall be haunted by that perversity.”

Come on – that is TOO funny, isn’t it?

The Big Foot thing I posted about last week is a hoax.

Oh, well….

Speaking of last week, I also commented on how young those Chinese gymnasts looked. Apparently, evidence has surfaced that one of them is only 14 – the one that took gold from Nastia Luikin. The IOC is investigating, and experts say taht it could be years before we find the truth. Or never.

The United State’s Terror Watch List has hit 1,000,000 people.

One Million? Seriously? This Bush Administration is making Nixon and Stalin, and, come to think of it, Putin, all look like a pansies.

And that’s the world from my margarita’d perspective. Enjoy.

by jhwygirl

The shame brought to us by the Bush Administration never ends, does it?

First, a review of some of my outrages – because this isn’t the type of stuff you “move forward” on:
More Shame From the Bush Administration

More Disrespect for the Troops from the Commander-in-Chief

Symbiotic Relationship of Bush Administration and Mainstream Media Has No Bounds

From the VA: Shhh, 1,000 Attempted Suicided Per Month

Before I go further, just imagine the stuff you don’t hear about….

James B. Peake, Secretary for Veteran’s Affairs, has issued a directive that bans non-partisan voter registration drives from federally-financed nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and shelters for homeless veterans.

Peake was nominated by the White House in 2007, and his job is described as “the principal advocate for veterans in the U.S. government.” He graduated from West Point, and served in the Army Infantry Division. He went on to get is medical doctorate degree in 1972, and retired as a Lieutenant General in 2004.

Why would a military guy oversee – in fact, facilitate – impediments to voting for the very veterans he has sworn an oath to protect? Why would he do something like this when voting is one of the very basic of rights the military is there to uphold for the United States? What kind of military guy does this?

Peake is citing the Hatch Act in his defense. The Hatch Act forbids federal workers from engaging in partisan political activity.

Registering voters is NOT a partisan political activity. No matter who is doing the registering.

Two Democratic lawmakers, Reps. Robert A. Brady (Pa.) and Bob Filner (Ca.), have sent a letter to Peake, asking him to halt the directive.

Meanwhile, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), along with Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY), John Kerry (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Barack Obama (D-IL), Harry Reid (D-NV), Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) have introduced legislation to require the VA to facilitate voter registration for veterans. Since being introduced on July 22nd, Sens. Rick Durbin (D-IL), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) have signed on to S.3308.

I’ve asked this before – but someone please explain to me why something that is in the best interests of everyone, of all veterans – why aren’t there any Republicans signing on to this bill?

Or, put another way, why wouldn’t Republicans want to make sure that veterans can vote?

Please take a moment to contact Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester and ask them to support S.3308.

Oh – and don’t forget Representative Dennis Rehberg.

by jhwygirl

Three or four times since last Monday’s council meeting, I’ve given some thought to Councilman Ed Childer’s .02 cent gas tax proposal.

The goal of Childers’ proposal was to put the .02 cent tax before the voters in a referendum vote.

Surprising, even Dick Haines supported it.

Pragmatism, I suppose – how else are we going to pay for our roads and infrastructure? Dick, seeing the vote go down, noted in his goodbye-to-the-gas-tax speech last Monday, that Missoula needs to figure out a way to pay for its roads – and that the gas tax was a way to get some money from the university kids. He closed off with an ominous warning to homeowners – “they’ll be coming to get you,” or something like that.

I don’t know who “they” are. He didn’t say.

I guess he doesn’t realize, either, that those university kids are paying taxes by paying rent. That rent pays the taxes, while also providing someone with a meager profit too.

But I digress…..

In the end, council wouldn’t even return it to committee – it failed on a 6-6 vote, with Strohmaier, Wiener, Rye, Childers, Haines and Mitchell trying to get it back into committee for discussion.

The one thing, it seemed to me, that put a damper on returning it to committee was Childers report that he had spoken with two members of our Board of County Commissioners and that they had said that they wouldn’t vote to put it on the ballot. Clearly, that would have put a kabosh on things.

Why would our illustrious county commissioners say such a thing? I supposed there is some concern with a ballot that is likely to be loaded with lots of bond and levy requests: The county’s 9-1-1 call center ($15,000,000), the city’s new police station ($15,000,000) – both of those numbers which seem to be going up, due to inflation and rising construction and materials cost.

There’s also the $60,000,000 performing arts center (although to be fair there, they’re only asking for $20,000,000 from the taxpayers to get them going). The PAC – BTW – isn’t dead. The city and the Missoula Redevelopment Authority is moving forward with plans to place the taxpayer-funded elephant on the ballot, along with getting the riverfront triangle property into an urban renewal district. That’s because the facility has to provide parking and the only place to put it is underground. That “doesn’t pencil out for the developer,” though – so into a tax district it goes!

Then there’s Missoula County Public Schools that is probably going to make its third attempt at a $10,000,000 levy for facilities upgrades. There was also a technology levy that failed last May too.

There’s also – whew, that list goes on, doesn’t it – the Rural Fire District’s request for funds.

Are some of those legitimate needs? Are most of those legitimate needs?

So the county commissioner’s are concerned about a loaded levy and bond ballot. I suppose that is all valid – but with the PAC on that list for consideration, it seems a little hypocritical.

Especially when we need roads, and we need some way to pay for them.

The .02 cent tax would have funded both city and county roads. Isn’t the city complaining about the cost of maintaining county roads? Isn’t that one of their arguments with the Plum Creek/USFS/Mark Rey deal? That they don’t have funds to maintain what they already have and that they don’t need more? Where, pray tell, is the county going to get money for its roads? They’re in the same pickle as the city is!

I wish the council would have voted to request that the BCC put the tax on the ballot. It was a legitimate request – far more legitimate than the PAC (under any circumstance) – and let the BCC suffer the consequences of not only its hypocrisy but of having interfered with a legitimate request of the city – a city which has little options for funding infrastructure repair and maintenance of city roads.

My dad always told me that a little maintenance goes a long way. What do you think the bill is on our city and county roads right now?

Go ahead – take a guess…..

How about 3 billion buckaroos?

How much longer can we afford to wait for that magic money tree to reign down its crop of $billions$ in funding?

Can I grow one in my back yard? Do I need a special permit?

That bill is growing as we wait, Commissioners. Ignoring it isn’t going to make it go away.

by jhwygirl

Don’t want our readers to miss it: In an attempt to avoid the weekend news dump, at 4:30 p.m. MST yesterday federal bank regulators seized Indymac Bank. It is the largest bank collapse in United States history.

The second most largest bank collapse, incidentally, was in 1984, when Continental Illinois collapsed. The two most expensive failures (so far – we have yet to see what this current one is going to ultimately cost) were both in 1988: the American Savings and Loan Institution of California and First Republic Bank in Texas.

Gee, who was President of the United States in 1984? That would be Ronald Reagan.

And who was President of the United States in 1988? That would be Ronald Reagan also.

The U.S. has been racking up quite a list of failed banks since ole’ George Jr. took office. Take a look.

Indymac specialized in Alt-A loans – loans in which the buyers didn’t need to produce little, if any, evidence of income or assets other than the home they were buying.

That arrangement was peachy-keen, until what-is-now-today’s mortgage crisis began a little over 2 years ago. As homes began to loose value, with creditors owing more than the home was worth, investors in Indymac began to worry about those mortgage-backed securities. The rest is history in the making.

Meanwhile, on the larger front, Wall Street firmly implanted itself yesterday as a bear market: Investors fled from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securities. Here’s Piper Jaffray analyst Rober Napoli, on the collapse of Fannie and Freddie shares:

“Investors have lost total confidence in Fannie and Freddie and are looking for a government bailout. If Fannie and Freddie have to pull back substantially in their lending, we’re taking another leg down in the market and housing prices. There are no other lenders right now in the U.S. mortgage market other than Fannie and Freddie.”

Fannie and Freddie are backing $5.2 trillion in mortgages. That’s half of all U.S. mortgages.1 year freddie and fannie securitiesWith investors calling their stock worthless, we’re in deep doo-doo here, given even U.S. Treasure Secretary Henry Paulson is feeding the flames. And while that statement on Paulson might not seem fair consider this: He regulates these damned banks for God’s sake. What is he doing, just sitting back and watching the paperwork float through? We have banks that won’t do Stafford Loans – and given the confidence level in Freddie and Fannie, it’s going to be real soon that mortgages – given the magnitude of what Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans provide in mortgage backings – may simply to cease or at least be nearly impossible to obtain for virtually everyone.

Neocons, it seems are rejoicing in this stuff. Look – I read Missoulapolis just like she reads 4&20 – and her reports on the mortgage crisis, especially her local stats reporting, is good stuff to know – but it is the joy that she takes in reporting it and the gleeful comments that I can do without. Does she talk about this stuff with her neighbors and friends? Man, I try, with those that own homes – and it is downright uncomfortable. They don’t want to talk about it. I mean, start talking about housing or real estate and bring up the current stats and conversation screeches to a halt. People not only simply don’t want to believe it, they think it isn’t going to happen here in Missoula. No wonder – look at Carol’s June report on the local market. The year’s sales are down by 35%, and June sales are half of 2006’s – yet the prices haven’t dropped by even 1%. Realtors are feeding a whole bunch of real sweet kool-aid out there, folks. But make sure to check the comments to her posts – because that’s where the “gleeful” comes in, not only from her, but her readers. Then there’s May, and April.

She tags it all with “affordable housing” too. That’s the real kicker. She seems to forget the definition of affordable housing and is thinking that the median price of homes here in Missoula are going to dump to or below 3 times the median income. I doubt that is going to happen, considering that home values have been rising for more than a decade here – long before all those funky loans ever came around.

Then there’s Missoula’s other neocon, Dave Budge. Linking to a WSJ piece calling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac socialism. There’s a 2nd piece – seems Budge couldn’t contain himself.

It shows some difference here….I hate bailouts, but at a point where the whole damned U.S. economy is going to collapse, something needs to be done – and having both sides work together instead of each side saying “my way or the highway” leads us to paths of extremes. Moderating the solution – and I agree, corrections based solely on the market certainly need to be made – would be better, no?

Of course, what I suggest above requires some regulating of the market that sent these real estate prices soaring. Easy money feeds on the greed of not only investors and CEO’s, it feeds on the greed of buyers who bite off more that they should.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’ll go for minimal bailout if neocons will go for reasonable banking regulations.

The free market and Ayn Rand be damned.

by jhwygirl

….or at least according to the EPA.

The International Herald Tribune (the international edition of the New York Times) reports that the EPA has dropped the value of an average American life by $1 million – from $7.8 million to $6.9 million.

Two cuts have been made – first in 2004 (an 8% cut) and now this past May (an 11% cut).

Why is the government putting a dollar value on a life, you ask? Hell – I always say everything comes down to money. Forget about morals or social responsibility. Every gosh-darn decision comes down to pennies and you won’t get the enough of the masses to give a care about anything until it comes down to the pocketbook – and here’s proof:

When drawing up regulations, government agencies put a value on human life and then weigh the costs versus the lifesaving benefits of a proposed rule. The less a life is worth to the government, the less the need for a regulation, such as tighter restrictions on pollution.

Consider, for example, a hypothetical regulation that costs $18 billion to enforce but will prevent 2,500 deaths. At $7.8 million per person (the old figure), the lifesaving benefits outweigh the costs. But at $6.9 million per person, the rule costs more than the lives it saves, so it may not be adopted

Is it the Bush administration? Dan Esty, director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy – and, incidentally, a former senior EPA official under the first Bush administration – thinks so: “It’s hard to imagine that it has other than political motivation.”

Granger Morgan, chair of the EPA Science Advisory Board and an engineering and public policy professor at Carnegie Mellon University says that “This sort of number-crunching is basically numerology. This is not a scientific issue.”

You don’t say?

As proof, consider this: In 2002, the EPA decided to drop the value of persons age 70+ by 38%. When that became public, the agency reversed itself.

by jhwygirl

I marked my calendar a little over a week ago for Scott McClellan’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, which will be looking into the leak which exposed CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Valerie Plame was undercover investigating the trafficking of yellowcake uranium in Niger, and trying to keep the stuff out of Iraq. Her name was leaked out of the Whitehouse, and Scooter Libby was subsequently found guilty of obstruction of justice, for failing to reveal the source of the leak. Libby’s sentence was quickly commuted by President George W. Bush.

Shows the Whitehouse’s commitment to national security, huh?

Hearing begins at 8am (MST), and C-Span radio will be streaming. Go to C-Span for specifics.

by jhwygirl

Kucinich was just warming us up – on June 20th, former Bush Whitehouse press secretary Scott McClellan will be testifying before the House Judiciary Committee regarding what he knows about the leaking of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame, who was working to prevent the underground trade in yellowcake uranium.

It’s my belief that Vice-President Dick Cheney was the source of the leak, and as such, committed treason. Libby Scooter, Cheney’s chief of staff, was sentenced to jail for obstruction of justice – for failure to reveal who told him that Plame was a spy – for failure to reveal the source of the leak. There’s way more to what has formed my firm belief that Cheney leaked Plame’s name – and anyone with time and motivation can go out and inform themselves. It’s not like there’s a dearth of information on the issue.

Last April, Kucinich had introduced a resolution of articles of impeachment against Dick Cheney. The resolution was killed, but only after Republicans voted in favor of taking up the measure to force a debate.

I know this all seems too radical for some, but the Constitution is the damned basis of our Government – and illegal torture, misuse of the FISA court, illegal surveillance, destruction of evidence, suspension of habeas corpus, war crimes, treason – at what point do Americans stand firm and say “No More”? At what point do our elected officials stand tall and speak up for our government? The government which our forefathers envisioned and put onto paper?

Scotty testifies on the 20th…and despite what I’ve thought about his need for a paycheck, maybe he really is seeking redemption. He might want to think about getting a bullet-proof vest and a bodyguard, though – they may come in handy.


by jhwygirl

Live, on C-Span, right now, he’s reading his 35 count resolution of impeachment.

I had to commemorate this with a post.

It’s about time.

Go Dennis!

UPDATE: Apparently a lively beginning – upon initiating his floor speech this evening, Kucinich turned to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and said “The House is not in order,” to which Ms. Pelosis pounded her gavel, and Kucinich then continued with his resolution. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said numerous times that impeachment is “not on the table.”

by jhwygirl

Scotty McClellan has raised his ire – as he has mine. I was kinda harsh on Shakespeare yesterday, and felt bad about it. After all, it isn’t his fault that Scotty is a MF’n liar (and for me, that’s putting it mildly).

Well, today he posts up another bit on the liar dude, and it calmed me, somehow. It was these two paragraphs, from Cintra Wilson writing in Salon, that he put up:

But the bottom line is, Scott is telling the truth: The truth is dead. And you’re never going to see it again. It’s in heaven now, with Chandra Levy and JonBenet Ramsey and Nicole Brown Simpson. He understands your grief, but getting angry won’t bring it back.

Worst of all, where to put the blame in Washington is never entirely clear — all the alleys are big and dark, and everyone knows that if blame is ever placed anywhere higher than the collective navel, it will only get deflected.

It doesn’t make sense to try and make sense of something that isn’t going to make sense.

Sometimes you have to accept exactly that.

Thanks Shakespeare.

by jhwygirl

Monday night’s The Daily Show – which shows at midnight Tuesday morning here in the mountain west – had an extremely interesting interview with Douglas Feith, former Undersecretary for Defense Policy – the man who helped formulate the war in Iraq.

So there I was a midnight, trying to fall asleep. Stewart interviewing Feith about his book, War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism. {yawn}

Boy, I was wrong.

Maybe he thought he’d get the cakewalk that McCain got last week when Stewart let the defacto Republican presidential candidate escape any question regarding his pastor problems (Pastor I-hate-Catholics Hagee and Pastor Rod Islam-is-a-false-religion-that-must-be-destroyed-by-America Parsley).

Far from it – Feith was but-but-buttin’ from the get go, but only after a deadpan “holy crap” look on his face from Stewart’s first real question out of the box, after first asking him what was his favorite baseball team. Video is best, really – like I said, the look on his face was priceless, but here’s some highlights:

Stewart: oh, man. we really disagree. mets. “war: indecision.” what if it boils down to that, i like the mets, you like the phillies. the whole thing falls apart. it seem like in reading it sort of the basic idea of the book– and tell me if i’m wrong– that a lot of what we know about the run-up to the iraq war, a low of the conventional wisdom is wrong. this idea that, i think it’s something that you might take offense to that we were misled into war somehow. (one person applauding)…
settle down. it will be a long ten minutes, lady. the idea we’re misled in a war is wrong. now, from this side of it, i always felt like we were misled. so, let’s bridge that gap in ten minutes. what makes you say we were not misled? what was so honest about….

Feith: i think the administration had an honest belief in the things that it said. some of the things that it said about the war that were part of the rationale for the war were wrong. errors are not lies. i think much of what the administration said was correct and provided an important argument that leaving saddam hussein in power would have been extremely risky even though the president’s decision to remove him was extremely risky.

Stewart: let me stop you there because the president’s decision to remove him was extremely risky. that’s not the sense, i think, that the american people got in the run-up. (applause) the sense that you got from people was not… the sense was, we’ll be greeted as liberators. it will last maybe six weeks, maybe six months. it will pay for itself. all these scenarios that were publicly proffered never happened. you said something that i thought was interesting. the common refrain that the post war has been a disaster is only true if you had completely unrealistic expectations. where would we have gotten those expectations? (laughing)

Feith: well, there were a lot of things that did not go according to expectations. we know that the war has been bloodier and costlyier and lengthyier than anybody hoped. but the president had an extremely difficult task. after 9/11, there was a great sensitivity to our vulnerability. and the president had to weigh– and what i do in the book is i look at the actual documents where secretary rumsfeld was writing to the president and powell and rice and the vice president and general myers and others. i talk about what they said to each other and what they were saying back to secretary rumsfeld. what you see is there was a serious consideration of the very great risks of war. i think that many of them were actually discussed with the public. but to tell you the truth, looking back one thing is absolutely clear. this administration made grocerors in the way it talked about the war. some of them are very obvious like the….

Stewart: that was all we had to go on. you know, that was… i guess the difference in my mind is if you knew the perils but the conversation that you had with the public painted a rosier picture, how is that not deception? that sounds like… when you’re sell ago product…. ( applause ) what it sounds like for me. sorry. the fact that you seem to know all the risks takes this from manslaughter to homicide. it almost takes it from like with the cigarette companies. if they come out and say, no, our products i think are going to be delicious. you go back and you look and they go, well, they actually did talk about addictiveness and cancer. isn’t that deception?

And so it goes – and that was only the beginning.

Every once in the while you see something on the television that makes you want to get up and cheer like you’re sitting in the endzone at Heinz Field and its 4th and 10 and Roethlisberger is earning his pay.

Stewart’s interview was one of those times.

Here is the full transcript.

There’s also uncut video – as I said, the look on Feith’s face is priceless. Part I and Part II.

by jhwygirl

A friend mentioned it, and I went looking. It’s real hard to prove that something doesn’t exist. After all – if it didn’t happen, how do you prove it didn’t happen?

And maybe that is the point of it all.

Two weeks ago I wrote that the Symbiotic Relationship of the Bush Administration and the Mainstream Media has No Boundary. That piece detailed the relationship between the mainstream medias so-called military analysts (retired Army General James Marks, retired Army Colonel John C. Garret, retired Air Force General Joseph W. Ralston, retired General Paul E. Vallely, retired Major General Bob Scales – hell, the list goes on…) and the Pentagon, which provided them with perks and inside scripted talking points. The Times article went on to expose the corporate connections these so-called analysts have, and the conflict of interest resulting from the inherent financial benefits they stood to gain from keeping the war machine moving along, irregardless of the dangers it posed for our troops. Irregardless of the truth it masked.

Has there been a mention of that extensive article by the New York Times on any of the television news outlets? No.

How many times has the New York Times article been mentioned since its publication two weeks ago? Twice. Two pieces, both being on the April 24th PBS NewsHour.News coverage in the week following the New York Times article

This illustrates, for me, why blogs are all the more important in today’s media. News sources – local and national – are failing us, folks. While blogs won’t replace traditional media, they can serve to keep important issues in the public’s eye, and they can serve to give attention to the issues that affect our everyday lives.

by jhwygirl

A little over a week ago I wrote about the NY Times story which exposed the who’s-up-whose-ass relationship between the Bush Administration and the media’s so-called military analysts – those retired generals that you see on every major news station telling us that the surge is working, that the troops have enough armor, that we are winning the war in Iraq.

In other words, one more shame on the Bush Administration.

At least I didn’t see the honorable General Wesley Clark on that list. At least some of the retired military still look out for the men that they previously commanded.

And boy, you should have heard the reaction from the two Army veterans of the Iraq war when I forwarded that story to them.

On Thursday, Representative Ike Skeleton (D-MO), chair of the House Armed Services Committee, had a whole hell of a lot to say about the article.

Why is it that only Democrats have come out on record as being appalled of the behavior of not only the Pentagon but the retired generals also? Not one of Montana’s conservative bloggers have expressed outrage over this either. When you think of how many Montanans are in the reserves, and serving in Iraq, or have served in Iraq, don’t you think that maybe even one of them would express some disappointment? Aren’t these guys supposed to support the troops? How is remaining silent about retired generals who were more concerned about their consulting fees than the troops they served with supporting the troops?

Principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense Robert Hastings halted the feeding of information to those military analysts after seeing the NY Times article, saying that he is concerned about allegations that the Defense Department’s relationship with the retired military analysts was improper.

Stars and Stripes has the story.

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