Saturday, January 28, 2006

Media Matters for America says CBS's John Roberts "selectively cited new CBS poll to falsely suggest that Americans approve of warrantless domestic surveillance."

Here's what Media Matters said:
On the January 26 edition of CBS' Evening News, chief White House correspondent John Roberts selectively cited the results of a January 20-25 CBS News/New York Times poll to support his assertion that "President Bush went into today's press conference" -- where he discussed his warrantless domestic surveillance program -- "with a boost." To back up that assertion, Roberts stated that the poll "found 61 percent of Americans believe the eavesdropping is meant to fight terror, and the majority support that." He later asserted, "You take a look at that poll, the majority of Americans think if it's directed at terrorism, it's the right thing to do." But Roberts did not mention poll results showing that only 46 percent of respondents approve of the warrantless surveillance when the "specific reason for the wiretapping -- to reduce the threat of terrorism -- is omitted from the question."

Read more here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Unbearable Lightness of Being -- O'Reilly Says: MLK wouldn't be disappointed; "I'm the poster boy' for economic opportunity." provides the following:

Marking the 20th anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, on the January 16 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, assessed the potential for all Americans "to pursue happiness in a meaningful way" and concluded, "I don't think Dr. King would be disappointed ... because our system of government and economy gives more people the chance to pursue happiness in a meaningful way than any other system in the world." He added, "I'm the poster boy for that."

Jump to the rest of the story. loves (is the Bride of) Chucky?

As noted elsewhere in the blogosphere recently, presented a love-piece on Charles Carrico. They pretty much parroted Carrico's own talking points. Here's Carrico's agenda, annoted by yours truly:

*Working to bring better-paying jobs to the region;

[My reaction (K): Doesn't eveyone promise this?] Yet Rick Boucher does it more effectively than most, and certainly better than Carrico could.]

* Seeking ways to "reconstruct" the federal Immigration and Naturalization Service, to prevent illegal immigration and help those who want to immigrate legally;

[K: Most people would agree that some reforms are in order, but watch for Chucky to play this theme out as a horror flick, like Kilgore, ramping up zenophobic fears.]

* Working to get more affordable health care, including possible reimportation of certain medicines from outside the country;

[K: Anyone who trusts a Republican to do this is dreaming. They've fought health care reform every step of the way and only supported prescription drugs for seniors when their buddies in the pharmaceutical industry could be enriched. Now Bush and the Repugs are refusing to reimburse states which advanced life-or-death medicines to patients when the new system failed. Trust Chuck? I don't think so.]

* Using the country's natural resources, and researching alternative and renewable fuels, to make the nation more energy self-sufficient;

[K: Note he only says using, not protecting or conserving (where's the "conservative" in that?) I'm not looking for any meaningful support of alternative fuels from a party which has fought them for thirty years. Now that buyers want hybrids, they've found environmental "religion."]

* Voting for constitutional language to "protect our flag from desecration;"

[K: Here we go again. Solving the "burning" problems of the day by conjuring up pretend crises. Legislate insignificant numbers. Build laws about one, or a handful, of persons. How Falwell-like! Carrico fabricates a controversy to avoid really doing anything. PS making any desecration a crime could punish innocent people. If someone desecrates someone else's flag, does the owner get unfairly punished? To avoid such unfairness, maybe then we should all stop flying ours? How can flag burning be OK for the VFW and not for everyone else? Not that I or anyone I know, would do that. But the inconsistency is of doubtful constitutionality. It's amazing how macho-men like Carrico get all mushy over symbols but don't give a rat's tail about the real problems of human beings. And, Currico's meddling could very well lead to fewer people flying their flags. So, what, exactly, would his amendment accomplish?]

* Protecting the right to own firearms;

[K: Duh! It's already done. And the millions of guns in this country aren't going anywhere.]

* Defending "the institution of marriage as being between one man and one woman;"
[K: Spare me. Marriage needs no "protective" interference from Republicans. They should tend to their own (marriages) and let the rest of us be. Chucky should tend to his own bride.]

* Protecting individual's "right to pray and profess your faith in Christ no matter where you are;"

[K: Duh! Another done deal. But he's not content until he can also ram his prayer down other's throats whenever and wherever he wishes, thus interfering with our own right to pray anywhere at any time. Don't forget to wear your authoritarian uniform, Chuck. (He still doesn't get why he shouldn't lead a public prayer in a police uniform.) ]

* Opposing "the slaughter of innocent children through abortion;" and

[K: Here we go again...another male inserting himself into women's wombs. Why do mostly male Repugs have such an obsession? Chuck probably wants to enforce the law of Chuck (and Sideshow Bob, Cookie Cosgrove, and the whole sorry lot): They seem to think "Thou shalt not interfere with male sperm." Pulleez]

* Being a voice for Christians and striving "to strengthen the moral fabric of this faltering nation and stand for the one true God, Jesus Christ, on which our forefathers built this nation."

[K: My reaction: Chucky's arrogance that he's the Christian savior to "strengthen any fabric," is a stretch. He's running as Congressman, not minister. Pharisees are a dime-a-dozen in GOP-dom. But this statement pretty much says it all.]

Note: Although I saved edits to this post, for some reason, they did not go through. So, this is a slightly re-edited versionvfrom the one posted a couple of hours ago.

2002 Memo Doubted Uranium Sale Claim
By Eric Lichtblau
The New York Times

Wednesday 18 January 2006

Washington - A high-level intelligence assessment by the Bush administration concluded in early 2002 that the sale of uranium from Niger to Iraq was "unlikely" because of a host of economic, diplomatic and logistical obstacles, according to a secret memo that was recently declassified by the State Department. Among other problems that made such a sale improbable, the assessment by the State Department's intelligence analysts concluded, was that it would have required Niger to send "25 hard-to-conceal 10-ton tractor-trailers" filled with uranium across 1,000 miles and at least one international border.

Jum to rest of story.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Are You Ready for This? The War's Stunning Price Tag

War's Stunning Price Tag
by Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz

Last week, at the annual meeting of the American Economic Assn., we presented a new estimate for the likely cost of the war in Iraq. We suggested that the final bill will be much higher than previously reckoned — between $1 trillion and $2 trillion, depending primarily on how much longer our troops stay. Jump to story.

Monday, January 16, 2006

'We the People' Must Save Our Constitution
by Al Gore
Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C.
Monday, January 16 2006 12:30 PM

Congressman Barr and I have disagreed many times over the years, but we have joined together today with thousands of our fellow citizens-Democrats and Republicans alike-to express our shared concern that America's Constitution is in grave danger.

In spite of our differences over ideology and politics, we are in strong agreement that the American values we hold most dear have been placed at serious risk by the unprecedented claims of the Administration to a truly breathtaking expansion of executive power.

As we begin this new year, the Executive Branch of our government has been caught eavesdropping on huge numbers of American citizens and has brazenly declared that it has the unilateral right to continue without regard to the established law enacted by Congress to prevent such abuses.

It is imperative that respect for the rule of law be restored.

Jump to rest of speech.

Bush job approval dips again to 39%

A new Zogby poll indicates that Iraq is seen as a partisan war. Moreover, Bush's favorability ratings are down again. :
In the face of rising gas prices, partisan sniping over Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, and a resumption of insurgent violence in Iraq, President Bush’s job approval rating has slipped into a post-holiday funk, again dipping below 40%, a new telephone poll by Zogby International shows. His approval rating almost mirrors the percentage of respondents (40%) who said the nation overall is headed in the right direction. The deterioration in the President’s numbers appears to be the result of eroding support among the investor class and others who supported him in his 2004 re-election bid, said Pollster John Zogby, President and CEO of Zogby International. And the problem is the Iraq war – just 34% of respondents said Mr. Bush was doing a good or excellent job managing the war, down from 38% approval in a Zogby poll taken in mid-October

Read more here.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Ray McGovern's "Proof Bush Deceived America"

Over at, an article by Ray McGovern is worth a read. McGovern says:

James Risen’s State of War: the Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration, may hold bigger secrets than the disclosure that President George W. Bush authorized warrantless eavesdropping on Americans.

Risen’s book also confirms the most damning element of the British Cabinet Office memos popularly called the “Downing Street memos;” namely, that “the intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy.” The result is that it is no longer credible to maintain that the failures in the Iraqi intelligence were the product of a broken intelligence community. The Bush administration deliberately fabricated the case against Iraq, lying to Congress and the American people along the way.
Jump to article.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Oversight Anyone?
Time was when the Senate knew it's job is to provide oversight. Not any more. In a maneuver which possibly violated the Senate Ethics Code, five Republican Senators involved themselves with coaching Samuel Alito. In any case, blurring their roles for required oversight with acting as an arm of the executive speaks volumes about what the GOP-led Senate has become.

Out on a Limb Already

Waldo Alerts Us That...Del. Charles Carrico, who recently launched his campaign against US Rep. Rick Boucher, is already out on a limb. Check out Carrico's anti-free-speech bill.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

CAP: Has it Any Decency?

It's clear the do-nothing Republican Senate will pass Alito on through. But for the record, Concerned Alumni of Princeton is out of the mainstream. It's divisive and ugly. The sexist, racist and homophobic language speaks for itself. Here are just a few quotes the organization spewed in publications, courtesy of People for the American Way:

--In the February 1985 issue of Prospect, CAP asked: “why is the Gay Alliance [of Princeton] a student organization? Princeton should not recognize groups based solely on sexual preference; certainly the University does not (and would not) recognize or fund a Straight Student Association or a Bestiality Society. CAP challenges [Princeton President William B.] Bowen to announce that Princeton would recognize and provide University space and money for the Ku Klux Klan group or the Nazi group.” [2] The January 1984 Prospect included a brief that referred to members of the Gay Alliance of Princeton as “campus lispers.” [3]

--In June 1984, Prospect published “A Lesson for Sally,” a report of the death in a mining accident of a female coal miner who had obtained her job after a successful lawsuit contesting sex discrimination. The “Lesson” ended with the chilling remark: “Sally Frank, take note.” [4] Frank was a member of the class of 1980 and was well known to students and alumni for having “successfully sued to open the doors” of the remaining all-male eating clubs at Princeton to women. [5]

--An essay in the November 1983 issue of Prospect “In Defense of Elitism,” began:
People nowadays just don’t seem to know their place. Everywhere one turns black and hispanics are demanding jobs simply because they’re black and hispanic, the physically handicapped are trying to gain equal representation in professional sports, and homosexuals are demanding that government vouchsafe them the right to bear children. [6]

[2] CAP Replies, Prospect (Feb. 1985), at 7 (emphasis added).
[3] News & Comment, “Shutting Closet Doors,” Prospect (Jan. 1984), at 3.
[4] News & Comment, “A Lesson for Sally,” Prospect (June 1984), at 3.
[5] Stephen R. Dujack, “Flagging Alito’s Alliances,” Newark Star-Ledger (Dec. 18, 2005)
[6] Harry Crocker III, “In Defense of Elitism,” Prospect (Nov. 1983), at 6.

Jump to rest of story here.

Worth a Read

Here's another side to the Alito view of concentrated executive power. The unchecked power of a "hyperthyroid" executive could strip away many protective regulations and protections against government overreach which citizens depend on. Robert Parry writes:

The "unitary" theory of presidential power sounds too wonkish for Americans to care about, but the confirmation of Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court could push this radical notion of almost unlimited Executive authority close to becoming a reality.

Read more here.

Senatorial Gasbags

There's considerable spin over on the right end of the blogosphere suggesting that tough questioning of a nominee for life is out-of-bounds. That's clearly not true. The Senate's constitutional role is to advise and consent. Tough questions are completely in order. And tough questions do not amount to "torture," as one pathetic blog entry was titled on the suddenly sentimental side of the blogosphere. (Sarcasm warning: Oh, that's right, no one but one of their own deserves even a morsel of respect or the Golden Rule. End sarcasm warning) The right-wing blogs' double standard is the rule of the day.

The problem is, there aren't nearly enough tough questions --from either side. I agree with the Roanoke Times editorial today that the hearings are being used for speech-making and grandstanding by both sides. I suspect many in the right-of-center blogosphere would concur. I probably agree with my blogger opposites on one more thing: That is we don't care what this Senator Windbag or that wants to drone about.

The Republicans don't even present a morsel of Constitutional independence. You'd think they were from a PR firm working to assure the nomination. There so willing to surrender ever last morsel of their responsibility so George W. Bush can have absolute power and wield it absolutely. This is not what Congress is chartered or paid to do. The public should be putting up wanted signs: "Wanted a Few Good Republicans" (who'll do their job).

On the Democratic side, those formerly rubber stamping most of Bush's agenda seem hell-bent on redeeming themselves in the eyes of their base by posturing. Though many centrist and liberal political action groups still seem to believe this nomination can be stopped, Senators know better. Even so, they should ask the necessary questions, tough ones and all. It's their job. The record must show that they did theirs. The appointment will be long enough to change US history. And despite the certainty of Alito's confirmation, they owe Americans proper vetting of life-time appointments. It's that simple.

Sideshow Bob Gets a Trouncing
Over at K and, there are two commentaries about Richmond Times Dispatch columnists Barton Hinkle's take on Sidewhow Bob Marshall

Check them out here:
and here

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

As the Stomach Turns: Lindsay Graham and His Shameful, Pathetic Emotional Ploy at the Senate Hearings...

The Give Me a Break Award for the Week: It wasn't bad enough that Sen. Lindsay Graham helped prep Samuel Alito for the Senate hearings, creating a conflict of interest. Now comes Graham to orchestrate a two-hankey boo-hoo for Alito's wife. She just couldn't take it that her husband was questioned about his participation in a group of Princeton alumni trying to keep blacks, Hispanics and women out of Princeton. Senator Kennedy read from a publication of the group and it read more like a neo-Klan publication.

This was no "youthful" mistake. Apparently Alito was about 35 years old when he belonged. Note too that while he put the membership on an earlier resume, he this week he claimed he didn't remember if he belonged. Once CNN and NBC (and who knows what other outlets) played up the "mean-mean, awful" Democrats and the poor, pitiful, sad wife, Martha-Ann rejoined the hearing smiling. Senator Graham, Martha-Ann Bomgardner, and Alito himself should be ashamed for the manipulative ploy. Give me a break.