Archive for the ‘George W. Bush’ Category

by jhwygirl

Franke Wilmer has served a respectable 3 terms in the Montana House, surviving 3 sessions up there in Helena. She’s well-qualified to serve as Montana’s next U.S. Representative, her resume including a wide spectrum of employ including waitress, public school teacher, MSU professor and author. Wilmer’s work has spanned a spectrum that is rare for a congressional candidate, with work that has included field research in Yugoslavia during the Bosnian war…work so respected that she has been invited to lecture internally on the topics of war, peace and human rights.

Would I trust her with my tax dollar? You bet. Franke Wilmer worked her way through undergraduate and graduate school – and obtained scholarships to help obtain her doctorate in Government & Politics in 1990. So does she know the value of a dollar? I’m betting she knows the value of a nickle and dime.

All that being said, I wondered what she had to say about yesterday’s failure of the super committee. I was never very hopeful about what they would (or wouldn’t) do – but as someone actually applying for a job in congress, I had to wonder what Wilmer – an experienced legislator – had to think about the super committee and the task they had before them.

Ms. Wilmer generously took time out of her 16 hour days to reply:

“It seems like any news you get of Washington these days is either disappointing or crazy. Making pizza a vegetable was crazy, and the Super Committee failing to come to an agreement is disappointing. I think Congress may be the only place in America where you can ask 12 people to take 2 months to come up with a solution to an important problem and end up with nothing. It is unbelievable that 12 people couldn’t find $1.2 trillion in wasteful spending. Ending the Bush tax cuts just to the top 1% would be a good place to start. Or ending the tax breaks to corporations that export our jobs overseas. Don’t forget how much we are spending on wars ($1.2 trillion so far).

Then one of the richest members of Congress, Denny Rehberg, comes out with his “viable” option. In his mind there are really only two options — either cut Social Security, Medicare, and Veterans Benefits or defund programs set up to help people cover outrageous health care costs. In his mind cutting the wasteful spending to defense contractors (the Commission on Wartime Contracting reported to Congress that $60 billion alone has been lost to waste and fraud in war spending) or cutting subsidies to the oil and gas companies would be insane. Insisting on cuts to Social Security is the wrong place for Republicans to draw a line in the sand. Senior citizens didn’t cause this recession. Congressman Rehberg ironically decided people can live without health care and presented his “viable” plan.

There was a time in this country where our elected leaders governed using common sense. There was a time where the issues facing this country were more important than the next election. I am running for Congress to help restore some of those principles in Washington.”

I couldn’t agree more. How many politicans – especially those running for office – are willing to unequivocally call for ending the Bush tax cuts for the top 1%? Or cutting tax breaks to corporations that export our jobs overseas.

I also appreciate a candidate like Wilmer who is willing to step up for Veterans and call hypocrisy on our current U.S. Representative Denny Rehberg who is willing to cut Social Security and allow the Pentagon to continue its wasteful (and immoral) spending on defense contractors. Montana’s median income is in the bottom 25% in ranking – and only one state has higher per capita military service than Montana. Protecting Veterans and Social Security should be a priority for the people we Montanan’s elect to congress.

It’s good to know that it’s a priority for Franke Wilmer.

by Lesley Lotto

Oh damn Tim Pawlenty, a devout Christian, is waiting until Monday to announce he’s running for President in 2012.  Joy and #Rapture.  I mean, couldn’t he have announced tonight?  Then I could have watched him on Fox and had his voice lull me to sleep.  I would like to go with everyone else in a peaceful manner and I cannot think of a more boring person to listen to as a take my last wink. snore… If the world really is ending tomorrow, as Harold Camping tells us, why would Pawlenty wait until Monday for his big announcement?

Yes, the former two-term Governor of Minnesota has announced he’s going up against Obama.  You know the President who recently pissed off the right by declaring there should be borders up in Israel like before the “Six Day war”.  (For you non-Jews, that’s one important war.)  As a Jewish person, I find it way offensive when Christians, I’m talking to you Glenn Beck, get all hoity toity about what should be done in Israel and how the US has it all wrong.  George W. knew what to do, but Obama, the Muslim, he knows not.  But I digress…

Pawlenty is believed to be the only serious candidate for the Republican party.  Hell Newt Gingrich’s “campaign” has already taken a death spiral.  (Have you seen that Gay Confetti video?)  Pawlenty could have run for a third term as Governor with his tidy record of conservatism, the not raising taxes and the being against abortion, except for those pesky core issues he mulled for a minute like raising taxes on cigarettes to balance his state budget and that nasty moment he considered Cap and Trade legislation. Then there’s the 5 Billion Dollar Budget hole he left for the new Governor and his taking of Stimulus Dollars from the Fed, what a thing!

Now Sarah Palin has reared her gorgeous mug and mane again, not wanting to stay out of the limelight for even a second, to say, “I’ve got the fire in my belly”.  Oh holy hell, she’s pregnant again?  No, and damn, she’s just toying with a run in 2012.  She wants to stay in the conversation, dontcha know.  After all why would she let Pawlenty  (a really tangible VP candidate pairing for McCain back in 2008) get all of the attention from the “Elite Media”?

Palin and her co-hort, Rep. Michelle Bachman also of Minnesota, oh please let the two of them run on the same ticket, are both considering a run in 2012.  But who could be the running mate when they both have the fire in the belly and all?  Bachman is loved by the “Tea Party” and Palin is loved by angry, old white men.  You know the type that will fondle themselves tonight to the likes of a threesome with Bachman and Palin before the world ends.

Meanwhile, Obama is getting down with the serious issues of our time and has no time for the nonsense of this all.  But then again if the world DOES end tomorrow, why would he care?

By CFS

In a sad flashback to the Bush era, it appears that an Obama Administration official, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, is under pressure to resign over comments he recently made regarding the Libyan uprising.  While giving his testimony to a congressional hearing regarding the situation in Libya Clapper commented that Gaddafi’s, “regime will prevail,” in the longer term because of its superior firepower.  Republican Senator Lindsey Graham immediately called for the Director’s resignation saying that, “his comments will make the situation more difficult for those opposing Gadhafi.”

Now… I don’t enjoy defending the intelligence community given human rights violations, extraordinary rendition, and blowback caused by their interference in other country’s sovereign affairs.  But Clapper hits the nail directly on the head with his assessment of what is happening in Libya.  The longer that Gaddafi has to re-consolidate his power, assault the rebels in the eastern half of the country, and practice realpolitik the more likely it is that he and his sons, will come out of this triumphant.

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By Duganz

I remember sitting in my high school computer lab when we started shocking and awing Iraqi civilians, and soldiers into oblivion. Some of my classmates were cheering. I was 18 so I could only think of Johnson, Nixon, and the story my Dad’s plan to run to Canada when he got his draft number (just a few months before the end of the Vietnam draft).

We’ve been fighting in Afghanistan for over nine years, and in Iraq nearly eight years. The cost of the wars has exceeded $1 trillion. Nearly 100,000 American troops have been wounded, and thousands have died.As for civilians of those two nations, thousands are dead, homeless, or slowly descending into a mindset wherein bombs are a fashion statement.

All those years, all that money, and all of those wounded human beings and I still have yet to get a sound reason for this question I’ve had all along: “Why are we fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?”

It’s a childish question, I know. But it is nonetheless relevant. The Left has laid blame on reactionary tactics (Afghanistan), and corporatism (Iraq). The Right is quick to beat the purity drum with a ratta-tat-tat roll for FREEDOM! FOR! ALL! The Left arguments may be true, we may be in these conflicts for empty reactionary reasons and our ongoing desire to burn dead dinosaurs. I don’t know.

As for the Right’s reasoning, well, I don’t know how an occupation creates freedom. And I mean that literally. How are people free if armed soldiers are walking around telling them what to do?

I ultimately want to believe the best in all people, even former President George W. Bush. I want to believe that he got bad intel, and that he stretched facts for pure reasons (it ain’t likely, but I want it to be true). I want to believe that we are still losing lives and money for the cause of freedom, even if I feel that war is a misguided means to an end when it comes not from the people, but from an outside force.

But, hell, it’s probably just imperialism and greed.

I want answers to why this has happened, and why it’s still going on. I’m Cruise in A Few Good Men. I want the truth (and, sadly, my government seems to think more like Nicholson).

So I decided to email Sen. Jon Tester, Sen. Max Baucus, and Rep. Dennis “Denny” Rehberg that one simple question: “Why are we fighting wars Iraq and Afghanistan?”

I didn’t put anything else in the email. Just the question; no slant or bias. I could have asked how any of them sleep at night knowing they could save lives, or if each flag-draped coffin means something to them. I could have asked Baucus if his nephew dying changed his mind.

I only used those eight simple words.

For those of you who have never emailed our national representatives, the easiest way is through the email forms available at their websites (links above). You give some personal info (most likely for future mailers), select a topic from a pre-made list, and then you’re free to write a little message.

But here’s something interesting:

At Tester’s site you cannot select Afghanistan as a topic, but you can ask about Iraq; Baucus apparently wishes to avoid talking about either (regret those votes Max?) as neither war is an available topic so I chose “foreign policy”; Denny is the only one providing an option for both under the heading “WAR.” I’m not lying. His topic list has the word “WAR.” Just like that. In CAPS. Like it should be proceeded by a grunt and the words “Good god, y’all. What is it good for?”

My emails have been sent. I’m waiting for responses.

I’ve been waiting for nearly ten years. I’ll post the responses as they come in.

***

Update (5:20pm): I posted this on Twitter at approximately 5:10pm MST. Rep. Rehberg’s account is verified. Sen Tester’s is not. It’s possible that Mr. Smith can infact no longer go to Washington, but Mr. Duganz can go to the internet.

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.

and

“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

Over at LitW, a comment thread ensued lambasting the Obama administration’s inaccurate prediction of the scale of job loss as an outcome of the stimulus bill.

It started off with the usual inane comment from Eric Coobs:

“Democrats trying to better the lives of everyday Americans? I don’t think so.

‘Hope and Change’ has put how many million people out of work now?”

And of course, Craig Moore had to step in for some tea bagger backup, noting that 3.6 million jobs had been lost since Obama took office, and unemployment hit 10% instead of the predicted 8%. Duly noted. Stimulus should have been larger–though that was politically unfeasible in light of the fact that needing a few republican votes to pass the stimulus necessitated a scaling back of the size of the bill. Remember those negotiations with 3 republican Senators to win passage? Therein lies the weakness of the stimulus and its lessened impact on job loss.

The point I am trying to make, however, is that while it is easy to blame Obama for job losses, and for a too-rosy early forecast on the impact of the stimulus, this is nothing compared to the Bush forecast in early 2008 on the economy, and failure to act at all. Forecasts that were delivered via an ostrich with its head in the ground.

President Bush’s “2008 Economic Report of the President (p. 26)” predicted the following in February of 2008:

“The Administration’s forecast calls for the economic expansion to continue in 2008, but at a slower pace than in the earlier years of this expansion. Slower growth is anticipated for the first half of the year, and the average unemployment rate for 2008 is projected to move up from the 2007 level. In 2009 and 2010 real GDP growth is projected at 3 percent, thereafter slowing, while the unemployment rate is projected to remain stable and below 5 percent in the 2009-10 period”

And a specific job forecast (p. 38):

“The Administration projects that employment will increase at an average pace of 109,000 jobs per month during the four quarters of 2008 [for a total of 1.3 million job growth in 2008]”

Obviously Bush & Co. seriously misunderestimated the impending doom of the upcoming Great Recession. And totally missed the 4th quarter 2008 GDP, which decreased by 6.2%.

Yet Coobs, Moore, and some of our local righty commenters et al. seem to think that 1) all of the job loss during Obama’s first year is all of his and the dems own making; 2) this is evidence of the failure of the stimulus (instead of the insufficient scale of the stimulus, as most economists believe); and 3) that everything was hunky dory during Bush’s outgoing year, and the fact that the economy lost 3.1 million jobs in 2008, instead of exhibiting the predicted growth of 1.3 million jobs is of no consequence. Conservatives are in major denial about any responsibility of either Bush or conservative ideology in respect to our current economic situation and employment levels.

This is the story going into the elections of 2010, and to some degree will be used against Obama during his reelection campaign, should he decide to run. And of course, it flies false in face of all the facts and evidence (unless you are a denier of any culpability of the Bush administration for our current problems), and is an early revisionist attempt to whitewash Bush & Co.’s culpability.

And it is easy to see the evidence that Coobs’ next comment, “employment has been in a free-fall since The Great Leader moved into the White House,” is totally absurd. The free-fall during Bush’s last year ended right as Obama took office, and the rate of job loss has fallen to the point same point it was in early 2008, when Bush was burying his head deeper in the sand, and dreaming of long days on the ranch in Texas.

Coobs’ assertions are not an isolated moment of tea bagger misunderestimations and overstated bluster. It is mainstream righty propaganda and thus a growing meme in the uncritical media. It is going to be the leading charge against democrats this fall. But it is patently false and misleading, and needs to be called out every time it arises.

I’ll leave you all with a graph put together by Speaker Pelosi from Bureau of Labor and Statistics data that speaks for itself:

jobs

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

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

Bernie Mac, comedian and actor, dead at 50? WTF?!

Russia is attacking Georgia. Georgia is pretty much a democratic nation – and has been warning off Russia for years. Russia, on the other hand, sees the possibility of having Georgia become a NATO stronghold unacceptable. Georgia’s counting on the west to save them, saying that if we don’t, we show everyone that this path (democracy) doesn’t work. Only if you have oil, my friend, only if you have oil.

Some guys from Minot AFB in North Dakota overturned a truck, spilling unarmed intercontinental ICBM rocket boosters into a ditch. The neighborhood was apparently unfazed – at the local coffee hole, neighbors talked about everything but that missile: “I guess that shows that people aren’t worried about it,” said Mrs. Zacher. “I know I’m certainly not.”

The Air Force, apparently, has other problems too. Not good, boys….I’m not sure, but I doubt this fits the criteria for National Security.

Despite our recent tit-for-tat, I do so enjoy The Indy. And just to show it, make sure you check out Patrick Klemz’s week-in-review of the Hell’s Angels visit. I especially liked the inside info on their hill-climbing activities.

Obama’s “Tire Gauge Solution” is apparently no joke. Put it this way: Bush has said that off-shore drilling will increase our production by 1% by 2030. Meanwhile, checking the tire pressure will increase mileage by 3% immediately and then getting a tune-up would add another 4%.

With an instant faux boost to oil production like that, Obama should paint those facts on red, white and blue tire gauges, along with “Vote Obama” on them – and hand ’em out….just like Republicans did when they were trying to make fun of him.

by jhwygirl

Until its bitter bitter end, I suppose. The guy has absolutely no boundaries.

Either that or he is stupid.

Maybe it’s both.

A big ole’ hat tip to Pogie over at Intelligent Discontent for this one.

When the G8 Summit on climate change closed out last October week, the Chimpster ended a private meeting by saying “Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter,” and then, with a big ole’ smile on his face, punched the air.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, needless to say, looked on in shock.

You didn’t read that in the U.S. press. This news came from the UK Telegraph.

Regarding that October thing? It was late and I’m sticking by that excuse.

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 Pete Talbot

Although I’m trying to do some serious political writing this week, I keep running across these humorous news nuggets. Here’s another reason to love San Franciscans.

(Tip o’ the hat to Andy Hammond for bringing this piece to my attention.)

by jhwygirl

Just going to throw out some thoughts here – –

I’ve noticed for the last few weeks, since gas start hovering at $3.90+, that there has been quite a reduction in traffic. Even during commuter hours…at the very least, commuter times when traffic is usually higher (say 4:30 to 6) have been reduced to quieter roads sooner. I really notice it in the mornings. I’m used to waking up with the sun, but as for actually getting up, I usually hold off on most mornings until traffic starts picking up (used to be about 6:30 a.m.). Nowadays, traffic doesn’t pick up until at 7:15 or so, so that informal alarm clock had to be traded in for a real one.

Traffic is also slower. I tend to drive around town like an old lady. You don’t find me zipping around, and for years now I’ve had people riding my bumper, pissed off that I’m not flooring the gas, stop sign to stop sign. No longer. People are content, it seems, to drive the speed limits. I find that nice.

I have to say, fuel prices by and large haven’t changed what I do – yet. I try not to drive much, and considering the mileage I got on my old car, my new one that’s getting 26-28 mpg is like driving on farts. That’s going to change, eventually – natural gas prices are going to go through the roof this winter and that’s where isn’t going to hit my pocketbook. That sucks. I have steadily decreased my NWE bill over the last 4 years, reaching as rock bottom as I can get. My house is old, and the energy bill is pretty damned high, as compared to what I might pay for a newer-constructed placed of the same size. Knowing that the bill is going to go to what is likely going to be unmanageable levels is going to suck. Maybe if I’m lucky, I do get to purchase something by winter….

Flooding in the mid-west is going to deal another blow. There’d already been plenty of talk of rising food costs due to higher fuel costs and increased use of ethanol (corn). Food (cows, chickens) eat food (corn). Now the larger portion of the corn crop has been decimated, along with a whole bunch of other foodstuffs. Repurcussive effects have yet to be fully realized.

Will the “R” word turn into the “D” word? (there, I said it)

The whole world is suffering under the weight of this fuel situation. OPEC said today it was going to increase output by 200,000 barrels a day. Yawn. Hardly a dent. Prices promptly rose.

…and so McCain has flip-flopped on off-shore drilling. In late May, during a campaign stop in Wisconsin, McCain said that drilling off our coasts would be a waste of time and do nothing to resolve our broader energy needs. From Impudent Ways:

I’ll also say that during that town hall, someone asked the senator about off-shore drilling (to thunderous applause). McCain answered that not only was it a states-rights issues, it was also a short term solution to a long term problem, and that American ingenuity and renewable resources must be the future of American energy policy — rather than fossil fuels which are not only wallowing in the tar pits but dragging us, our economy and our foreign policy down with them.

I thought, “Now here’s the maverick thing everyone keeps talking about.” Telling a room full of Middle American Republicans that the idea they find so appealing (namely, drilling off coastal states like Florida and California, ahem) is… Not a good idea. He sounded honest, gutsy, and sure that he was right.

But on Thursday, McCain changed his tune and marched with lame-duck Bush Jr. in his call to drill off our coasts. I remember hearing Bush Jr. commanding Congress to lift the ban “before you head home for the 4th of July,” or something like that. Another yawn, that one, it seems, from Congress. Even Ah-nold wasn’t buying it.

Drilling isn’t going to solve a damned thing. The world’s economy will collapse if our only solution (“our” being the world’s) is to sit around and call on OPEC to release more oil and to call for more drilling. Drilling doesn’t happen overnight, or even if a couple of months. American doesn’t even have the refineries to handle more crude – and those take years to get online too.

Drilling is the equivalent of providing heroine addicts methadone. Doesn’t solve a frickin’ thing. The U.S. Government and its taxpayers are subsidizing big oil, they’re taking their windfall profits and handing them back out to their investors, instead of investing in cleaner technology, and leaving Americans – like the mortgage bankers left Americans – holding the bag. It’s been going on for decades. And the bag, if you haven’t noticed, isn’t just empty, its full of a steaming old pile of crap – and those investors are laughing all the way to the bank with their big ol’ bag of $$$$.

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.

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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

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

Olbermann’s Special Comments are a treat. Most of them leave me standing in the livingroom, fist raised in the air, cheering or sitting there saying “oh no he didn’t!” Olbermann is the best of the best political pundits anywhere.

Wednesday night’s Special Comment was another one of those moments – with me both cheering and saying “oh no he didn’t!” as he chastised Bush for his lies and feigned non-sacrifices in the face of the 4077 U.S. soldiers now killed in Iraq.

He closed it out with this:

When somebody asks you, sir, about your gallant, noble, self-abdicating sacrifice of your golf game, so as to soothe the families of the war dead – this advice Mr. Bush: Shut. The HELL. Up.

Full text here. It’s 4 pages – longer than usual – but a thorough dressing down of Bush arrogance.

~~I love you Keith. Call me. :-)

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

See it for yourself. Notice the title.

VA email – February 13, 2008

Senator Tom Harkin’s (D-Iowa) office said statistics provided earlier this year by the VA showed that 790 veterans under VA care attempted suicide in 2007.

790? Talk about fuzzy math.

790 does not equal 12,000. Unless your a tool of the Bush Administration.

That’s nearly 33 attempted suicides by military veterans per day.

Sen. Harkin, Sen. Patty Murray (D- WA) and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) introduced legislation Tuesday calling on the VA to track how many veterans commit suicide each year. Currently, VA facilities record the number of suicides and attempted suicides in VA facilities – but do not record how many veterans overall take their own lives.

On Monday, a class action suit brought by veterans groups opened in San Francisco charging a “systemwide breakdown,” citing long delays in receiving disability benefits and flaws in the way discharged soldiers at risk for suicide had been treated.

Kerri J. Childress, a department spokeswoman, said Monday that there were an average of 18 suicides a day among America’s 25 million veterans and that more than a fifth were committed by men and women being treated by Veterans Affairs.

Fuzzy math continues.

So if it’s not mistreatment of living veterans, and it’s not disrespect after they’ve given their lives in service – it’s lies about the reality this illegal war is bring to our sons and daughters, our families – our nation.

Mayor of Mahem, commenting on a previous post, Americans Don’t Know How Many U.S. Soldiers Have Been Killed in Iraq, explained to us the reality he already knows:

…I have a family member that has returned from Iraq in apparent good health, only to find out later that they will never be the same. This is especially disturbing to the son of a Vietnam conflict veteran who has watched a father fight that war over and over again for the last 40 years. The cost to our country for this war will be paid for the next fifty years. Not by those who who gave all, their sacrifice and that of their families is immeasurable. The long term cost of caring for physically injured and mentally effected US servicemen will be a heavy load for US families to carry. Say a prayer tonight for the 19 year old North Dakota farm boy walking through an alley in Bagdad or the twenty six year old sergeant and father of two from Los Angeles on duty in Fallujah.

There is a fire burning in the middle east and the fuel for that fire is our children.

I cry for my nation. I cry for its soldiers.

God Bless.

by jhwygirl

A Pew Institute survey, results released March 12th, shows that American’s awareness in the number of American military casualties in Iraq is slipping.

The number of American military deaths, as of Sunday evening, is 4039. The total number of coalition deaths is 4348.

The number of American military deaths on August 7th, 8 1/2 months ago, was 3684.

How can we be so far removed from the reality of the war in Iraq that we are unaware – to the tune of only 28% being able to cite “4000” – of the number of American sons and daughters that have been killed in a war built on lies?

Could it be that the media coverage of the war is dropping? That biased media coverage?

Well, maybe so. That same survey tells us that press attention to the war has dropped to an all-time low of just 3% in February. The overall coverage, from January 1st through March 20th, is 4%.

Coinciding with the drop in war coverage is an increase in the number of Americans who think that military progress is being made in Iraq.

What does this mean?

It means McCain is walking on a free pass with the media’s lack of focus on the war. It means that journalists get away with asking questions about Drudge Report allegations and flag pins. It means that the beverage of choice (Crown Royal or green tea anyone?) is more important than the national debt.

The national debt? Nearing $6,000,000,000,000.

How about some war costs?
The cost of the Iraq war? Nearing $515,000,000,000.
The daily cost of the Iraq war? $314,400,000.
The cost of the Iraq war, per household? $4,681.

The cost to the entire state of Montana? $790,000,000.

Meanwhile, in other news, McCain has vowed a war on wasteful spending.

Given the evidence of the media’s output on that topic, and McCain’s expert grasp on economic issues, one has to wonder if he even knows what in the hell he’s actually talking about.

(Hat tip to hummingbirdminds.)

by jhwygirl

A New York Times article released yesterday but dated today – much of which was the result of having to sue the Defense Department to gain access to 8,000 pages of email messages, transcripts and records – goes into gory, disgusting detail of the relationship between the Pentagon, the Bush Administration and most (yep, most) military analysts on mainstream media outlets like Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, and NBC.

Some of these analysts were on the mission to Cuba on June 24, 2005 — the first of six such Guantánamo trips — which was designed to mobilize analysts against the growing perception of Guantánamo as an international symbol of inhumane treatment. On the flight to Cuba, for much of the day at Guantánamo and on the flight home that night, Pentagon officials briefed the 10 or so analysts on their key messages — how much had been spent improving the facility, the abuse endured by guards, the extensive rights afforded detainees.The results came quickly. The analysts went on TV and radio, decrying Amnesty International, criticizing calls to close the facility and asserting that all detainees were treated humanely.

“The impressions that you’re getting from the media and from the various pronouncements being made by people who have not been here in my opinion are totally false,” Donald W. Shepperd, a retired Air Force general, reported live on CNN by phone from Guantánamo that same afternoon.

The next morning, Montgomery Meigs, a retired Army general and NBC analyst, appeared on “Today.” “There’s been over $100 million of new construction,” he reported. “The place is very professionally run.”

Within days, transcripts of the analysts’ appearances were circulated to senior White House and Pentagon officials, cited as evidence of progress in the battle for hearts and minds at home.

Are you kidding me?!

Assistant secretary of defense for public affairs Torie Clark, a former public relations executive, cooked up the plan. Before 9/11, she had begun to build a system within the Pentagon to recruit key movers and shakers that could be counted on to generate support for Secretary of State Don Rumsfield’s priorities. She found them in military analysts who she saw as not only getting more airtime than network reporters, but were also viewed by the public as independent of the media – which we all know can be biased, right?

What the public got, instead, was a neoconservative brain trust which spoonfed Pentagon and Bush administration talking points to the public while raking in increasingly larger salaries from military contractors that supplemented their retirement incomes.

Neocons such as retired Army general Paul E. Vallely, a Fox News military analyst from 2001 to 2007. Vallely had specialized in psychological warfare and co-authored a paper in 1980 that blamed American’s loss in Vietnam on American news organizations failure to defend the nations from “enemy propaganda” during the war – a belief shared by many on Bush’s national security team.

Then there were defense profiteers such as retired Army general James Marks, a military analyst for CNN from 2004 to 2007, who worked as a senior executive for McNeil Technologies which pursued both military and intelligence contracts. Marks was also national security adviser for former presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

There was also retired Army colonel John C. Garret, a military analyst for Fox News TV and radio & a lobbyist at Patton Boggs, which assists firms wishing to win Pentagon contracts. Or retired Air Force general Joseph W. Ralston, CBS military analyst and vice-chair of the Cohen Group, a consulting firm headed up by former defense secretary William Cohen, which represents agencies and firms wishing for entry into the aerospace and defense market.

The Times admits to having had at least nine of the Pentagon’s recruited minions writing op-ed articles for them.

Vallely is apparently having some crisis of conscience. In an interview with the Times, commenting on a September 2003 tour of Iraq with fellow military analysts, Vallely expresses remorse: “I saw immediately in 2003 that things were going south.”

Vallely had told Alan Colmes of Fox News, upon his return from that very same propaganda-filled tour, “You can’t believe the progress”

Fox news military analyst and retired Army lieutenant colonel Timur J. Eads had a crisis-of-conscience too – he told the times that he, too, had at times held his tongue on television for fear that “some four-star would call up and say, ‘Kill that contract.’ Eads believe Pentagon officials misled the analysts aboutthe progress of Iraq’s security forces. “I know a snow job when I see one,” he said.

Eads never mentioned that on Fox News.

You don’t say!

The Times story goes on to shine the light, in full disgusting brightness, on the self-serving criminal arrogance of the Bush Administration and Don Rumsfield and the Pentagon. In April 2006 the Bush Administration faced what is now known as the General’s Revolt – open criticism by Rumsfields’ former generals that his wartime performance was crap. His resignation was being called for and his days were beginning their downward spiral.

The day after that NY Times article, the Pentagon helped Fox analysts General McInerney and General Vallely write an opinion article for The Wall Street Journal defending Rumsfield. News of that meeting leaked, and was printed on the front page of the Times. By Tuesday, the Pentagon was in full defense mode, and had a larger group of analysts in its offices willing to propogate the spin necessary to help defend Rumsfield from his own Iraqi war generals:

“I’m an old intel guy,” said one analyst. (The transcript omits speakers’ names.) “And I can sum all of this up, unfortunately, with one word. That is Psyops. Now most people may hear that and they think, ‘Oh my God, they’re trying to brainwash.’ ”

“What are you, some kind of a nut?” Mr. Rumsfeld cut in, drawing laughter. “You don’t believe in the Constitution?”

There was little discussion about the actual criticism pouring forth from Mr. Rumsfeld’s former generals. Analysts argued that opposition to the war was rooted in perceptions fed by the news media, not reality. The administration’s overall war strategy, they counseled, was “brilliant” and “very successful.”

“Frankly,” one participant said, “from a military point of view, the penalty, 2,400 brave Americans whom we lost, 3,000 in an hour and 15 minutes, is relative.”

An analyst said at another point: “This is a wider war. And whether we have democracy in Iraq or not, it doesn’t mean a tinker’s damn if we end up with the result we want, which is a regime over there that’s not a threat to us.”

“Yeah,” Mr. Rumsfeld said, taking notes.

But winning or not, they bluntly warned, the administration was in grave political danger so long as most Americans viewed Iraq as a lost cause. “America hates a loser,” one analyst said.

Much of the session was devoted to ways that Mr. Rumsfeld could reverse the “political tide.” One analyst urged Mr. Rumsfeld to “just crush these people,” and assured him that “most of the gentlemen at the table” would enthusiastically support him if he did.

“You are the leader,” the analyst told Mr. Rumsfeld. “You are our guy.”

At another point, an analyst made a suggestion: “In one of your speeches you ought to say, ‘Everybody stop for a minute and imagine an Iraq ruled by Zarqawi.’ And then you just go down the list and say, ‘All right, we’ve got oil, money, sovereignty, access to the geographic center of gravity of the Middle East, blah, blah, blah.’ If you can just paint a mental picture for Joe America to say, ‘Oh my God, I can’t imagine a world like that.’ ”

Even as they assured Mr. Rumsfeld that they stood ready to help in this public relations offensive, the analysts sought guidance on what they should cite as the next “milestone” that would, as one analyst put it, “keep the American people focused on the idea that we’re moving forward to a positive end.” They placed particular emphasis on the growing confrontation with Iran.

“When you said ‘long war,’ you changed the psyche of the American people to expect this to be a generational event,” an analyst said. “And again, I’m not trying to tell you how to do your job…”

“Get in line,” Mr. Rumsfeld interjected.

The meeting ended and Mr. Rumsfeld, appearing pleased and relaxed, took the entire group into a small study and showed off treasured keepsakes from his life, several analysts recalled.

Read it if you dare. I’ll just leave you with the image above: Rumsfield, appearing pleased and relaxed, showing off his little trinkets.

by Pete Talbot

Rep. Denny Rehberg says that President Bush is a “victim of his own success.”

Recession? Check. Energy woes? Check. Health care crisis? Check. Torture, wiretapping, the Iraq War? Check, check, check.

If that’s Denny’s recipe for success, what’s his definition of failure?

Rehberg was speaking to Helena-area Republicans, as reported by Lee Newspapers‘ Mike Dennison. I hate to just rehash news from the morning paper but this one was to rich to pass up. Denny went on to say:

“The day will come that we will thank him (Bush) for what he’s doing.”

I’m sure my kids and grandkids will be thrilled to be paying off the greatest national debt, ever, thanks to tax cuts in a time of war.

Do you think Denny actually believes this stuff? Let’s send him packing. Montanans have to keep Rehberg from serving a fifth term.

by jhwygirl

The Jeanette Rankin Peace Center is hosting Oscar-winning filmmaker Barbara Trent and her latest documentary Soldiers Speak Out at the Roxy Theater tomorrow.

A wine and cheese reception begins at 6:30 p.m., and a Q&A with the filmmaker follows the screening. Suggested donation is $10 ($5 for those living lightly). RSVP at543-3955, or via email at peace@jrpc.org.

A half-hour documentary, Soldiers Speak Out is told entirely from the mouths of American veterans who have been to the Iraqi war and are now opposing it. They discuss how they came to join the military, their experiences in training and in war, and what led them to the point where they decided they could no longer, in good conscience, participate in the war or keep silent.

The film provides a sobering view of the war in Iraq, and sheds light on the growing and anti-war and anti-occupation movement within the military and their families.

On Thursday, Ms. Trent will be at UM’s UC Theater for a presentation of her feature-length award-winning documentary COVERUP: Behind the Iran Contra Affair. Two screening are being held, one at 5:30, and another at 7:30 p.m. Both will be followed by a Q&A session. COVERUP is one of eleven films being brought to UM as part of the Montana Peace & Justice Film Series for Spring 2008.

COVERUP: Behind the Iran Contra Affair exposes several of the most disturbing chapters in the history of U.S. covert foreign policy, and presents a tale of politics, drugs, hostages, weapons, assassinations, covert operations and the ultimate plan to suspend the U.S. Constitution.

Trent’s film was the first to reveal the ‘October Surprise’ hostage deal (the Reagan/Bush campaign deal with Iran to delay the release of the 52 American hostages until after the 1980 election), and is the only film that presents a comprehensive overview of the most important stories suppressed during the Iran Contra hearings.

Ms. Trent’s visit to Missoula is sponsored by Students for Peace and Justice, Jeanette Rankin Peace Center, Associated Students of the University Montana, Film Studies, the History and English Departments, Environmental Studies Program, Women and Gender Studies Program, Davidson Honors College, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and the Empowerment Project, and provide locals and students alike with an excellent opportunity to see some power films and Q&A a seasoned activist who has publically exposed criminal activities in the White House, Pentagon and the CIA.

Barbara Trent has been the target of at least three FBI counter-intelligence operations. Appointed as an Expert Senior Training Specialist for the VISTA Program under Jimmy Carter, Ms. Trent has been decorated with the Gasper Octavio Hernandez Award by the Journalist’s Union in Panama, and is a recipient of the American Humanist Association’s Arts Award for her “courageous advocacy of progressive ideas.”

by jhwygirl

Sure, it was expected – but really, doesn’t it deserve better than page 8? Isn’t it important?

It didn’t even make the Missoulian’s web page.

What He Said

by jhwygirl

I don’t know, but I’m betting fascists hate to be called fascists.

Keith Olbermann speaks for me.

by jhwygirl

Who’s been keeping us safe for the last 6 years? Not Republicans.

An independent panel, headed by commission chairman Arnold Punaro, told Congress on Thursday in its submitted report that the U.S. is not able to defend itself adequately from a homeland attack.

Major General Arnold Punaro is retired USMCR, with a distinguished career in both military and civilian life. He worked in the Senate on national security matters for Senator Sam Nunn for 24 years, and served as Staff Director for the Senate Armed Services Committee from 1987 to 1995, and Staff Director for the Minority of the Senate Armed Services Committee from 1983 to 1986 and 1995 to 1997.

Stating that the military has not dedicated sufficient time or resources to prepare for such a role, the panel’s report says that this is partly due to the historic historic tension between the federal government and the states.

Defense officials say that the military sees its role in domestic emergencies in large part as supporting civilian agencies.

“Tension” you say? How about institutionalized malfeasance?

And lest you not like the link I gave you above, how about this one from the Arab Times?




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