A day that will live in infamy President Bush signs the “Military Commissions Act of 2006? today in the Rose Garden, a bill that will not grant detainees legal counsel. “Also, it specifically bars detainees from filing habeas corpus petitions challenging their detentions in federal courts.” The new law sets the stage for what many analysts believe will be yet another historic showdown between the courts, the president, and Congress. Pigs on parade The U.S. population surpassed 300 million today. While the United States accounts for just five percent of the world’s population, it consumes nearly 25 percent of the world’s energy.

Squandering the lives of brave patriots 3,000: The death toll for coalition military forces in Iraq, according to a CNN tally. And... for what? GOP: Give even more public $$$ to Big Oil! Back when the minority-party GOP was waging war against the entrenched Democratic House leadership in 1994, they attacked Democrats for relatively small-scale thievery like House franking privileges, misuse of the House bank, and book deals. Today, after a decade in power themselves, the entrenched GOP leadership makes the Democrats of old seem like amateurs. Richard Pombo, facing a tough reelection campaign this year in California's 11th district from Jerry McNerney, has been exposed by the Los Angeles Times for openly advocating a reduction in royalties from oil companies to the federal government. Pombo insists that the current 12.5% royalty from oil companies that extract oil from shale on public lands be reduced to only 1%, a loss to the federal treasury of tens of billions of dollars at a time of large federal deficits and huge oil company profits.

The same oil companies that would benefit from Pombo’s legislation constitute 10% of all of Pombo's contributions this cycle. Even the Bush Administration and fellow Republicans are against Pombo’s giveaway to the oil companies, yet Pombo, who is already implicated in the Jack Abramoff scandal, apparently has no shame. Worse yet, Pombo refuses to fix a Clinton Administration error that has allowed oil companies to escape paying the intended royalties from offshore oil drilling. In essence, Pombo is handing the federal treasury to Big Oil at the expense of the federal budget deficit and all taxpayers. And he does it from a position as chair of an important House committee, where he and Denny Hastert share something in common: neither of them cares about protecting the vulnerable or everyday Americans if it gets in the way of maintaining GOP power.

"A very honest general." Britain's new top army chief, General Richard Dannatt, says it's bloody obvious that the Queen's subjects would be better served by pulling the country's troops out of Iraq soon: "I want an Army in five years time and 10 years time. Don't let's break it on this [war]." Yes, let's don't let's. I think. Memo to the Bush twins: General Dannatt also said "he understands why Prince William and Prince Harry want to serve on the frontline but has not yet decided whether they will be allowed to fight in Afghanistan." Okay, shoo now, girls...back to your jazzercise class.

A Molly Ivins history lesson on North Korea:


Eric Alterman picked this bit up in The Book on Bush: "The tone of [Colin] Powell's tenure was set early in the administration, when he announced that he planned `to pick up where the Clinton administration had left off' in trying to secure the peace between North and South Korea, while negotiating with the North to prevent its acquisition of nuclear weaponry. The president not only repudiated his secretary of state in public, announcing, `We're not certain as to whether or not they're keeping all terms of all agreements,' he did so during a joint appearance with South Korean President (and Nobel laureate for peace for his own efforts with the North) Kim Dae-Jung, thereby humiliating his honored guest, as well." [...]

Remember Bush's diplomatic interview with Bob Woodward in which he said, "I loathe Kim Jong Il!" Waving his finger, he added, "I've got a visceral reaction to this guy because he is starving his people." Bush also said he wanted to "topple him" and called him a "pygmy." How old were you when you learned not to antagonize and infuriate the local crazy bully?

A Nobel Peace Prize...something for which The Decider will never have to make room on his rumpus room trophy shelf next to his blowed-up frogs.

This is starting to creep me out For those of you who think I am crazy for thinking that the GOP may have already planned to steal this election, I give you this from Sunday’s Post:

Amid widespread panic in the Republican establishment about the coming midterm elections, there are two people whose confidence about GOP prospects strikes even their closest allies as almost inexplicably upbeat: President Bush and his top political adviser, Karl Rove. Some Republicans on Capitol Hill are bracing for losses of 25 House seats or more. But party operatives say Rove is predicting that, at worst, Republicans will lose only 8 to 10 seats -- shy of the 15-seat threshold that would cede control to Democrats for the first time since the 1994 elections and probably hobble the balance of Bush's second term.

Is he hoping to achieve Least Liked Leader (ever) status? A new CNN poll shows that public disapproval of President Bush has reached an all-time high. Sixty-one percent of Americans now disapprove of Bush’s handling of his job as president. Some other highlights from the poll:

–64 percent disapprove of Bush’s handling of the war in Iraq.

– 70 percent of women and 58 percent of men now oppose the war in Iraq.

– 60 percent of Americans believe the situation with North Korea can be resolved using only economic and diplomatic measures.

– More than 70 percent of Americans believe the war in Iraq is making it harder for the United States to deal with North Korea.

Crazy Curt Weldon's (R-PA) new, improved left-wing conspiracy theory. Now featuring Bill Clinton, Sandy Berger, and the DCCC. While supplies last. Book learnin'. On October 17, 1979, President Carter signed legislation creating the Department of Education. Our current secretary's first act was to censor an episode of PBS's kiddie fave Postcards from Buster last year because a lesbian couple appeared in it for 2.5 seconds. Is there nothing these hacks don't want to "drown in the bathtub?" Bigotry on parade & guilt by association Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) is blocking the confirmation of Bush-nominated Judge Janet Neff because she may have “once attended a commitment ceremony for a lesbian couple.” What? Does he think she may have come into contact with the Lesbian Virus? But global warming is a hoax... Scientists yesterday reported the first direct evidence linking the 2002 collapse of the Larsen B Antarctic ice shelf to human-induced global warming.

Today's Bullsh*t Moment. From TIME magazine's interview with Rupert Murdoch comes this whopper:


TIME: Is there anything Fox has done in the past 10 years that in retrospect you thought was "unfair and unbalanced"?

MURDOCH: Nothing I can think of. As someone who is reputed to be more conservative than I really am, I get annoyed sometimes that subjects are not put out properly, explained properly. But in short, no. [Fox News chief] Roger Ailes has been insistent on equal time for all sides.

TIME forgot to add Murdoch's coda to that statement: "Wink Wink!"

That's tellin' `em, John Murtha. In today's must-read, the bulldog congressman chews up the Republicans' latest slur, "Defeatocrat," and spits it back in their face:


Despite the presence of more than 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, 23,000 Americans injured or killed, tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths and the expenditure of nearly a half a trillion dollars, here are the dismal results:

In September, 776 U.S troops were wounded in Iraq, the highest monthly toll in more than two years. Over the past year, the number of attacks against U.S. personnel has doubled, rising from 400 to more than 800 per week. In the past two months, 6,000 Iraqis died, more than in the first year of the war. [...]

Democrats are fighting a war on two fronts: One is combating the spin and intimidation that defines this administration. The other is fighting to change course, to do things better, to substitute smart, disciplined strategy for dogma and denial in Iraq. That's not defeatism. That's our duty.

Corruption watch Former Bush FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford will plead guilty tomorrow to making false statements and having a conflict of interest while he headed the agency. Details and charging documents here. Excuses, excuses. Are you a Republican who wants to cancel an upcoming fundraiser with Denny Hastert or Tom Reynolds? See how it's done. Department of amazing coincidences: Saddam verdict to be read out on November 5th. This is America? No, this is insane. 1 Man Still Locked Up from 9/11 Sweeps "In a jail cell at an immigration detention center in Arizona sits a man who is not charged with a crime, not suspected of a crime, not considered a danger to society. "But he has been in custody for five years. His name is Ali Partovi. And according to the Department of Homeland Security, he is the last to be held of about 1,200 Arab and Muslim men swept up by authorities in the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks." (AP) There's a reason nobody wants to live there Remember South Dakota's very own Bill Napoli? Now they want to destroy our legal system:

Judges across several Western states could soon face new limits on their authority and threats to their independence, as conservatives campaign for ballot measures that aim to rein in what they describe as "runaway courts– On Nov. 7, voters will be asked to do something about it. South Dakota's ballot contains the most radical provision: It would empower citizens to sue judges over their rulings…read on

I'm sure the "cabin boy," Mark Levin is jumping for joy.

Attacking their own Religious right takes aim at Condi. Last week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice swore in the new global AIDS coordinator Mark Dybul, who is openly gay, and referred to his partner’s mother as his “mother in law.” The right wing is livid. John Aravosis has details.

God's own party Minnesota Monitor: Holy Crap! Republican Congressional Candidate Michele Bachmann, appeared at a church and declared that "God then called me to run for the United States Congress." Vermin on the Hill. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is the very model of a modern major, um, prick:


A six-month examination of U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell's career by the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, based on thousands of documents and scores of interviews, "shows the nexus between his actions and his donors' agendas," the paper concludes in a major report today. "He pushes the government to help cigarette makers, Las Vegas casinos, the pharmaceutical industry, credit card lenders, coal mine owners and others.

Because, of course, a cigarette- and gambling addicted, price-gouged, debt-ridden citizenry that works in unsafe conditions is a happy citizenry.

Fools on the Hill Radar magazine ranks the 10 dumbest politicians in Washington, D.C. "When it comes to sheer stupidity, the men and women of the 109th have distinguished themselves as a breed apart."

10) Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY)

9) Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI)

8) Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT)

7) Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA)

6) Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH)

5) Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

4) Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ)

3) Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)

2) Rep. Don Young (R-AK)

1) Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL)

They wouldn't believe Dubya duped 'em if it said so in the Bible Last night on CBS’s 60 Minutes, David Kuo, a former White House deputy on faith-based issues, explained that the Bush White House has consistently subverted its so-called “values” agenda in favor of crass political gain. “This message that has been sent out to Christians for a long time now: that Jesus came primarily for a political agenda, and recently primarily a right-wing political agenda - as if this culture war is a war for God. And it’s not a war for God, it’s a war for politics,” said Kuo.

Interviewer Lesley Stahl asked Kuo whether he thinks the White House is going to view his book as a betrayal and may go after him. Kuo responded:

“Of course they will. I can hear the attacks, right? ‘Oh, he’s really a liberal.’ or, ‘Oh, maybe that brain tumor really messed up his head.’ Or, you know, ‘He’s an idealist.’”

The assaults have already started coming in from the White House’s conservative allies. Christian evangelical leaders James Dobson, Tony Perkins, and Chuck Colson were to quick to criticize Kuo while defending Bush.

In the latest attack, an article entitled “David Kuo: An Addition to the Axis of Evil,” Jason T. Christy, the publisher of The Church Report (and once nominated to head the Bush-friendly Christian Coalition), lobs many of the accusations that Kuo predicted:

Don’t be fooled by Kuo; he is someone who has been described as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” Don’t let his smarmy tones and pouty eyes fool you. Having done campaign work for several Kennedys, having contradicted himself and his own letters, Kuo is being used to try and prop up the liberal left, to breathe life into lifeless campaigns and his master literary work is a mere smokescreen. Questioning the faith and motivation of this administration is wrong.

When he was young, Kuo interned for Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and was a campaign volunteer for Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA), who retired from Congress in 1998. In his professional life, Kuo worked for leading conservatives John Ashcroft and Bill Bennett.

Don't like history? Re-write it! The conservative anti-choice group Feminists For Life (FFL) has continually claimed that it is the successor to the 19th century feminist movement. Materials on its website point to anti-abortion rhetoric by the suffragists — such as Susan B. Anthony — to support its anti-choice agenda:


But as Pulitzer-Prize winning author Stacy Schiff points out in today’s New York Times, FFL has taken the 1869 article out of context:

What is generally not mentioned is that the essay argues against an anti-abortion law; its author did not believe legislation would resolve the issue of unwanted pregnancy. Also not mentioned is the vaporous textual trail. According to the editors of Anthony’s papers, the article is not hers.

The essay was signed by “A.” Historians note that Anthony never signed her writings that way. Even if Anthony did write the article, she, like most pro-choice advocates today, wanted to reduce the number of abortions. But she recognized that restricting women’s rights through legislation wasn’t the answer. Doesn’t look like Anthony would have been a donor to FFL. (Pandagon has more.)

The bullsh*t piles ever higher Cyrus Nowresteh wrote ABC’s docudrama “The Path to 9/11.” Norwresteh maintained the movie was “an objective telling of the events of 9/11.” But his script contained several glaring inaccuracies, all of which shifted blame to the Clinton administration. Nearly 100,000 people contacted ABC to protest the film.

Now Paramount Pictures and Oliver Stone have signed up Norwresteh to write another movie about 9/11. Variety has the details:

After steering clear of political controversy with 9/11 heroism tale “World Trade Center,” Oliver Stone and Paramount Pictures are venturing into edgier territory with “Jawbreaker.” Pic will focus on America’s response to the terrorist attacks with the invasion of Afghanistan and hunt for 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden.

Cyrus Nowrasteh, whose most recent credit was the controversial ABC miniseries “The Path to 9/11,” is set to write a second draft of “Jawbreaker.”

The movie is to be based on a book, also called “Jawbreaker,” that blames the Clinton administration for failing to capture Bin Laden and praises President Bush:

In a memoir heavily vetted by the CIA (there are pages of blacked-out lines), Bernsten details feeling stymied by bureaucrats in President Bill Clinton’s administration who prevented operatives from engaging a growingly malicious Al Qaeda and Bin Laden presence. While Bernsten describes how he and his cohorts were stunningly told to stand down when they had Bin Laden cornered in Tora Bora, he writes approvingly of President George W. Bush’s handling of the invasion.

Nowrasteh is an avowed conservative activist. Last year, he spoke on a panel titled, “Rebels With a Cause: How Conservatives Can Lead Hollywood’s Next Paradigm Shift.” When confronted with his bias, Nowrasteh lied about his political leanings in the Wall Street Journal.

Obama Mania With his much anticipated book coming out this week, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is the cover story in Time magazine this week.

"The current Obama mania is reminiscent of the Colin Powell mania of September 1995, when the general--another political rainbow--leveraged speculation that he might run for President into book sales of 2.6 million copies for his memoir, My American Journey. Powell and Obama have another thing in common: they are black people who -- like Tiger Woods, Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan -- seem to have an iconic power over the American imagination because they transcend racial stereotypes."

And though the skeptic can say Obama has fueled the speculation about running for president to help book sales -- for instance, the cover of Time screams "Why Barack Obama Could Be The Next President" -- his comments make clear he's leaving the door open:

"When the election is over and my book tour is done, I will think about how I can be most useful to the country and how I can reconcile that with being a good dad and a good husband. I haven't completely decided or unraveled that puzzle yet."


Sick people Arthur is correct, what kind of person would write something like this about the Lancet Study?

The other question I'd just love to have somebody ask is: "How many Iraqis have died to deliberately write bloody headlines for the New York Times …?"

Oh, I get it. Maybe their family can get a free subscription to the "Times Select" after their body has been checked into the morgue. Arthur Silber:

When people voluntarily evict themselves from civilization, and when they announce that facts, reason and evidence are entirely irrelevant to their beliefs and actions, it's pointless to offer any arguments whatsoever. They are vicious barbarians to the depths of their wretched souls, and they merit only banishment from the realm of human discourse…read on

Just askin' Is it just me or did the American debate shift from "what to do about reality" to "what is real"? It seems to me that our debates used to be about:

  1. Is Issue X a problem?
  2. If so, should we do something about it?
  3. If so, what should we do about it?
  4. If we do something about Issue X, who should do it?
  5. How will we pay for doing something about Issue X?



Take racial segregation as an example. Some argued is was a good thing, others argued it was a bad thing. We argued about whether to do anything about it, what to do about it, how to do something about it, the authority for doing something about it, the cost of doing something about it and (even now) the consequences of doing something about it. But no one ever argued that it didn't exist.


Now, the very reality that we all share is what's up for debate. Global warming isn't real. Iraq isn't in a civil war. Public figures from TV talking heads to leaders of the free world deny saying things that they are on tape and video saying, repeatedly. The list can on and on.

Religion is not immune. The very nature of the Christian God as seen in Christ -- the Prince of Peace and the pinnacle of acceptance, forgiveness and love -- is denied. God is a warrior. God wants us to be warriors. God supports not only war but torture, murder, hatred, exclusion and bigotry. The reality of the Christian God is denied.

The reality of Islam is denied, as it is portrayed as a monolithic force for a holy war against all others. The reality of Iraq's non-involvement in 9/11 is denied. The reality of a brain-dead woman is denied. The reality of Iraq's dearth of WMDs is denied. The reality of the daily grind of brutality and death in Iraq is denied. The inescapable filters through which we are given our news is denied (to keep up the pretense of objectivity). The reality of Iraq's non-support of bin Laden is denied.

I'm sure you can make your own list of realities denied -- a list that would include items relating from Katrina to wars against Christmas, poverty, science, racial bigotry, corruption, homeland security, the price of a gallon of gas and more.

Maybe it was always thus, but it seems to me that the conservatives in both politics and religion has decided that the best way to keep from losing an argument about Issue X is to simply deny that Issue X exists.

Am I wrong?

9 out of 10 Sexual Predators Agree Kane County Board candidate Brent K. Schepp (R) may be headed to trial for sexually assaulting young girls (26 counts), but, according to this photo of his house, he knows who his friends are.

Kids these days Portland Press Herald sleuth Beth Quimby penned a culture-shattering, 1,073-word article on "grinding" in Saturday's edition of the paper that plays like a rejected script for Footloose:


That night, the dance floor filled up with teens, mostly dressed in jeans. The lights dimmed. A laser disco ball began to rotate, and student DJ Scott Ramsdell, a senior and self-described "nondancer," started the music. A few students danced some swinglike moves on the side, but most congregated in a big writhing clump.

Connor Thomes, a sophomore, broke away from the clump to report there was some grinding going on despite the ban. She said most students were at a loss because they did not know how to dance anything else.

"This homecoming is so lame. I don't know how to dance without grinding," she said.

You just don't understand! I hate you, I hate you!! [SLAM!]

Deja vu, ugly style This sounds vaguely familiar, where have we heard it before?


Times Online--A special panel set up to advice the White House on Iraq is to propose radical changes to US policy including the large-scale withdrawal of US troops, it has been reported. The commission, which won the backing of George Bush, will recommend two options which would effectively represent reversals of US policy. One of these, called "Redeploy and Contain", would see the phased withdrawal of US troops to bases outside Iraq where they could be deployed against terrorist organisations anywhere in the region.

Oh wait I remember: It's what Congressmen John Murtha (D-PA), among others, recommended a year ago. So let's be crystal clear about this. If the material quoted above is accurate, the group led by Baker fronting for Poppy Bush trying to save Junior's ass--a recurring theme in Dubya's life it seems--is going to propose the exact idea originally presented by the same Congressmen Murtha who was subsequently savaged.

Truth hurts Tucked away in the subpages of MSNBC.com's website, there's a subtle but steady fight to bring the untold story of Baghdad to light. Using the simple brilliance of blunt truth, journalist Jane Arraf has been pushing back against the right-wing assault on the media's coverage of Iraq. On October 10th, Arraf wrote a post which refuted several right-wing talking points. I'll only excerpt part of it, but you must read its somber truth in its entirety:


I am very, very lucky. I am alive in a war zone. Most of the time I have running water and when I turn on the lights, a series of generators ensures that they come on. I don't have to worry about saying goodbye to my family here in the morning and not knowing whether I'll see them in the evening. I know I'm lucky because almost everyone I know in Baghdad has to worry constantly about those things.

Some readers and viewers think we journalists are exaggerating about the situation in Iraq. I can almost understand that because who would want to believe that things are this bad? Particularly when so many people here started out with such good intentions.

I'm more puzzled by comments that the violence isn't any worse than any American city. Really? In which American city do 60 bullet-riddled bodies turn up on a given day? In which city do the headless bodies of ordinary citizens turn up every single day? In which city would it not be news if neighborhood school children were blown up? In which neighborhood would you look the other way if gunmen came into restaurants and shot dead the customers? [...]

Imagine the worst day you've ever had in your life, add a regular dose of terror and you'll begin to get an idea of what it's like every day for a lot of people here.

Arraf goes on to quote an anonymous poster, "Bob," who posted in previous comments about how the media is distorting what's going on Iraq. Bob wrote that he taught Iraqis, and he complained that the press isn't covering all the schools, hospitals, and other "good things" going on in Iraq. Bob went on to claim that students have told him that reporters "offer good money for blood and guts stories but not for positive news that is going on. The reporters here make this place much worse than it is in reality."

That's quite a claim to make. And so, Arraf offered a challenge. "Let's talk", she wrote.

So Bob emailed her. Turns out he wasn't an Iraqi schoolteacher, but a U.S. contractor, living on a military base, teaching Iraqis in the aviation industry English. And as for all those "good things" he claimed the press isn't covering? Well, Bob describes one such "good thing" in his email, namely, that one his kidnapped students returned to class just six days after he was freed. Good stories, indeed.

Submitted by RKing on