Friday, August 24, 2007

Bill Maher on Dems Caving to Bush (Again)

Here's the video:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bush Says One Thing, Does Another

From the Associated Press, we got this gem:

MONTEBELLO, Canada - President Bush acknowledged frustration with the troubled government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Tuesday but said it’s up to the Iraqi people to decide whether to continue supporting him.

Indeed. And had it been the Iraqi people's decision, they wouldn't have chosen a war --destroying their infrastructure (water and electrical service is still spotty after all this time),
--an insurgency/cum civil war,
--a nation occupying them against their will,
--lost over 600,000 civillians (according to both Lancet and Johns Hopkins University),
--have internal refugees numbering about 2 million,
--had 2 million refugees flee to neighboring countries (which are strained as they absorb them),
--wouldn't have lived through a war --based upon lies,
--and for no just cause.

Or has Bush forgotten all that? Now, he cares about what the people want? I don't think so.

What You Need To Now About Hillary in One Sentence

She agrees with Bush that the "surge" is working. Read it here.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Update: American Psychological Association Partially Wimps Out

After a raucous debate about what role - if any - psychologists should play in U.S. government interrogations of terror suspects, the American Psychological Association voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to reject a measure that would have in effect banned its members from those interrogations. Instead, the association passed a competing measure that reaffirms the organization’s position against torture “and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment” of terror suspects

BUT, the organization affirmed its role in terrorism interrogations. Sounds a bit like the "we don't torture" (wink..wink). Like doctors, psychologists should "do no harm." And thus they have no place condoning or giving an aura of acceptability to rough interrogations, which can lead to false confessions. Though it opposed participating/ or being present for waterboarding, hooding or sexual humiliation, there is still a broad range of abusive tactics it did not rule out.

Join Wes Clark Over at

Heres' the link.

Have You Joined the One Campaign?

The following is from the "One" Campaign to fight poverty. It's a bipartisan effort to bring focus to world hunger, and its elimination, in the 2008 presidential races. I've signed on. Have you done so yet?

Here's the One letter:

"Subject: Join me in fighting poverty!


I've just signed the ONE Declaration committing myself to help fight the emergency of global AIDS and extreme poverty.

I'm asking you to make that commitment, too, by adding your voice.

I think your name belongs on that declaration, too. You can put it there by visiting:

ONE is a new effort by Americans to rally Americans - one by one. So far, over two million have signed the declaration in support of a historic pact for compassion and justice to help the poorest people of the world.

Together as ONE we can make a difference!


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Matt Cooper Alleges Karl Rove Leaked Valerie Plame's Name to Him

Read about it here.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Lament of a Former APA "Affiliate:" Will the APA Renounce Torture?

I have never been a fan of the APA. Though a student "affiliate" during my doctoral study days, I couldn't afford the hefty dues following graduation. But more important, I joined the then fledgling American Psychological Society, which drew many of those turned-off by the domination of th field by mostly well-heeled practitioners (therapists) rather than researchers and non-clinical psychologists (eg, industrial-organizational, developmental, experimental, etc.) [Note: I no longer belong to that organization either.] This is not to say that many of the nations most pre-eminent psychologists from clinical to developmental to industrial-organization to social psychology didn't continue to belong. They did, in pretty large numbers. Indeed, some of those I most respect have long been associated with the organization. The question now becomes what the larger membership will they do about the contribution a small number of APAs members have made to the torture of those the CIA wisks away to secret "extraordinary rendition."

I look on in horror at the continuing saga of APA contortions concerning its permissiveness concerning torture. Over a long period, there's been nothing in its language or its actions forbidding participation in torture or extreme interrogation. Instead, in Bush-like fashion it claims a "we don't torture" whitewash. Now comes news from the Spokesman Review newspaper in Spokane, Washington, that allegedly APA former APA Pres. Matarazzo is involved in a firm involved in enabling torture. I am appalled. Does that explain the APA's permissiveness?

I am looking to and hoping that the nations pre-eminent body of psychologists will do the right thing and renounce torture and all its doublespeak codewords. Tomorrow will tell whether this organization deserves the respect many have long afforded it.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bush Says Warrantless Wiretapping Cannot Be Questioned.

I am not sure George W. Bush understands where he lives, or is it we who don't. Either he is wrong, or our country has changed in stunning ways, all in a very short time. This past Monday Bush ratcheted up his theory of a unitary executive, one in which the Courts and Congress are subservient to him. The American we know and love has three equal branches of government, serving as checks and balances on each other.

Wired magazine reports how Bush announced Monday, that heretofore no one may challenge Bush's edict that warrantless wiretaps are unconstitutional. He does so under the auspices of a "we are at war" justification. However, this is an elective war, not one to really defend America.

What then, of elective war undertaken to enrich companies, such as Hailburton, Bechtel, Blackwater, and various oil companies? Here's the question: May Bush decree unto himself the right to enslave our military as security staff for enriching corporate America? Obviously, he can. Congress has let him so far. It's 11 PM for Congress? Do they know where their Constitution is? As for the US Supreme Court, it might as well go home.

It is also time to hold the Republican Party accountable for the mess it has made of the country. Congressional Republicans are obstructing true accountability. The stable of Republican presidential wannabes show no sign of intelligent life. They will bring us more of same. And the administration finds new reasons every day for Americans to shake our heads and say, "How did one man (the President) and a small cabal of ideologues bring so much damage to this country?"


Shameless is how PJ Crowley of the Center for American Progress described the latest White House gambit regarding the report on the status of the war effort. Many members of Congress deferred to General David Petraeus. It turns out that they actually deferred to George W. Bush. The White House is writing General Petraeus' report for him. So, waiting for what "General Petraeus will say," as many Republicans and too many Democrats were willing to do was a colossal mistake.

There are several lessons from this:

--Don't trust Bush.
--Especially don't trust him with blank checks.
--Don't expect independence of any reports from administration.
--Stop demurring when it comes to asserting the rights of citizens to have an honest picture of what's happening.

It's long past time that Congress assert its rightful oversight. And if Bush continues to thumb its nose at Congress, there are legal remedies. Meanwhile, we can only hope that this failure in "truthiness" has finally taught Congress to not believe a thing uttered by the White House.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

What's Up With the Ever-Changing Primary Calendar?

If you smell a rat in the ever-changing calendar, your senses may be on target. One sure thing is that it's about more than which state has bragging rights that it determines the slate for the nation. It's about that latter notion too. But that's only the half of it.

We've lived quite long enough with an Iowa or a New Hampshire deciding for the entire country whom we can choose from. I mean no criticism against these two states, except that it's rather ego-centric to believe that one must go first.

Me-first, me-first is an American obsession. People camped overnight in Portland, Oregon, recently for the grand opening of a new Ikea Superstore. They camp out to the among the first to get a new Harry Potter book (what's the difference--you can get a copy of HP in the mail by 4:00 the same day. Why give up a night's sleep?). But I forgot, it's me first. Drivers pushing on the bumper of cars in rush hour and chronically lane-changing don't get to their destinations much faster, but it's me first.

The national Democratic Party should put a stop to the me-first madness in electoral politics by proclaiming a national primary on the same day for everyone. And let that be the end of it.

But there is likely another motive underlying all the upping of the primary calendars. Very early primaries could render impossible any late-entering candidates, such as Al Gore, who might dethrone Hillary. Are we seeing a stop-Gore movement from the Clintonistas?

It is clear by now that Clinton supporters, the so-called mainstream media, and Republicans are "Deaning" John Edwards and Barack Obama. They might have a chance if the public really hears what they have to say--and if the primaries aren't absurdly upped into this calendar year. From the perspective of believers of Hillary entitlement, however, the solution might be to end the race sooner rather than later.

It all smacks of a lack of democracy. Yeh, I know we are a republic. But we preach democracy all over the world. Let's have more of it at home. And let's demand better coverage of the candidates than we are getting. If we don't, voters won't be ready to vote by Dec. But that's probably what the insiders want anyway.

Marjorie Cohn on FISA: Another Excellent Read

Find it here.

A Problem With Democrats: Peace "Isn't Presidential" (or So They Think)

Here's an essay that's worth a read.

Chris Matthews Is Full of It

I am not a Hillary supporter (and will not be). I really dislike the extent to which she is more a poster girl for Fortune Magazine than a candidate for the people. I am really tired of her empty proposals, slickspeak, triangulation, and cliches. Nor do I think nostalgia for 1996 is a good way to approach for 2008. Admittedly, Bill Clinton looks a good deal better than what we have now. But that's setting the bar awfully low, don't you think? And, Hill is not Bill. But I do not support her because of the issues. Matthews, however, is a seething misogynist. It is more transparent every day. It's not a pretty sight.

Matthews leads a breathless, irrational, hyped and nauseating daily charge against Hillary that is really transparent. He's made nearly a cottage industry of misogynist slurs against Hillary. It is getting really old. I am sick of it. I'm sure most Americans would, if they heard it, find it revolting. And it's time for him to knock it off.

Now comes some video footage of Matthews going over the top in his sexist approach to a media personality. See the clip here and judge for yourself.

PS My newly self-assigned "babysitters" from the GOP can take a pass (i.e., spare me). I don't need a babysitter. Perhaps they do.

Complain at

Monday, August 06, 2007

My Two Cents: FISA Myths Continue After New Senate Bill Passes

[This diary is cross-posted at]

First, here’s the bill

Here’s a quick list of what’s wrong with it:

1. The title of the bill (“Improving Foreign Intelligence Surveillance to Defend the Nation and the Constitution sets a new low for doublespeak). See p 1, lines 4-6. It neither gives added protection, nor protects the Constitution.
2. It legalizes illegalities of the Bush administration wiretapping activities.
3. It was unnecessary. The FISA Court was presided over by Bush enabler Laurence H. Silberman, who virtually never declined a court order.
4. The law guts FISA Court, the little protection Americans had.
5. Court orders will no longer be required (p. 2, line 19). Gonzo "may," but is not required to obtain a court order (p.3, line 5).

6. The new bill provides no oversight. Gonzo “certifies under oath” (for whatever good that has done heretofor, eg., his misstatements under oath needing correction previously).

7. Congressional or judicial over sight are eliminated. Congress is reduced to paper pushers who receive reports from Gonzales. They just wrote off their own oversight responsibilities and power.
8. Too much power vested in Bush, Gonzales and a new spy czar Bush will appoint. Bush has already stated (paraphrase) that if the guy asks for it, Bush will give him whatever he wants.
9. Don’t get me started on Gonzalez, who has politicized Justice and has used it to depress the Democratic vote through malicious prosecution, caging and other tactics.
10. Doesn’t require a subject be suspected of anything (no cause need be identified as reason for the search).
11. Is not limited to spying on suspected terrorists or those guilty of other crimes. It represents wide-spread un-targeted spying.
12. Doesn’t require specifying a specific person or place (p. 3, lines 12, 13), so spying can be on a whole class or category of people.
13. Isn’t limited to “foreigners,” though Repugs have claimed it is. See p. 7, lines 13-23; p. 8, line 19-24.
14. Grants further power to the already bloated and overly-empowered executive branch.
15. Every time he wants more power, or is in trouble via polls or via news of administration misdeeds, Bush cries wolf. Keith Olbermann has documented the amazing coincidence that every time Bush rails about danger, either his popularity has dropped or there is news of administration misdeeds.
16. The legislation is at least partly to soothe and compensate communications companies for the use of their services and facilities and indemnify them against litigation.

17. Everyone knows there is a greater than zero chance of a terrorist strike. And we know the threat has increased due to his waging a war of preference rather than need. He didn’t prevent 9-11. He was asleep on the job even after it happened. He didn’t take warnings seriously, even bumping the job of anti-Terrorism Czar off the cabinet. He waged a war against a country having nothing to do with 9-11.
18. The question is what kind of a nation we are and will be. How do we best balance security needs while retaining our character and courage? Do we do what needs to be done without giving away the store? Do we act like cowards, or do we stand tough, but courageously, against those who’d try to make us cower and change what America is/was.
19. The bill eliminates one of the main counts in the impeachment resolution by legitimizing Bush’s illegal behavior.
20. This isn’t about keeping us safe. As others have noted here at RK, it’s about amassing a massive data base so it can be used/merged with the clandestine TIA to track non-Bush-true-believers block, by block and house-by-house. TIA (Total Information awareness was supposed to be dropped. It wasn’t. It was renamed and morphed.
21. Responding to and reinforcing a bully-leader is the wrong way to deal with a president who now has zero accountability.
22. Finally, True or False, Bush gave OBL what he wanted on 9-11? ANSWER: True: He pulled our forces out of Saudi Arabia. So, Bush caved to terrorists and Dems, Libertarians, and Greens who want to defend the Constitution are called cowards by apologists of George. Guess what? The relabeling game ends -- if we stop folding when the name-calling happens.

I don't care what they know (or think they know), or whom they defer to. Our leaders should not use fear-fanning to change the character of this country, undermine its Constitution, and demean our country and its citizens.

There has been much talk of who is “logical” or “rational” and who is not. This is irrelevant. How is one not to feel impassioned about losing another bit of our country.

Our president can go ape in his language, rhetoric, behavior, and demands and we are all supposed to just sit here hero-worshiping those we admire, but who have so gravely disappointed us. Oh, yes, and carry on electing more of said people we admire now and who will disappoint once they are sworn in.

Our elected representatives are not perfect. And the extent to which they approach it (perfection) is not measured by how often they agree with me. However, if all Americans read the bill, they would know they were had with this legislation. So it is bogus to suggest I am just asking to have things "my way." Additionally, we must believe our representatives have really done their jobs in this instance via evidence. Blind fealty on our parts won’t do. We must stay actively engaged, including with them, issue by issue and day by day.

Finally, those who have heretofore displayed great courage (and rightly earned our grateful praise) are not exempt now. Just as John Kerry shouldn't have tried to rest on leadership of previous decades, neither should any others of our once fearless leaders, however we respect and admire them. The Constitution must be protected each and every day they are in office. The doublespeak title of this sham bill does not absolve them of that charge. They owe us that much.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

GOP Culture of Corruption

Here's a video summarizing the whole sorry bunch. Watch it here:

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Gutless Senate Gives Bush Everything (to Finish off the Constitution)and Sells Us Down the River: Webb Sells Out

What a great good news day (that would be sarcasm). Ever the gutless wonders (Speaker Pelosi just sold us out on fuel efficiency standards), the Dems have really done it this time. They've finished off the US Constitution and conveyed to Bush unending power to abuse innocent Americans. If he spent one fraction of the time he spends trying to go after innocent Americans on tracking down the real terrorists, we'd have all the security we need. Unfortunately, the head honcho cares more about power grabbing and not enough about keeping us safe. The way it's going, though, all Bush has to do is tell us to be afraid. Then the Dems fall all over themselves asking, "How high should I jump?"Here's the story.

Though I haven't agreed with Senator Jim Webb 100%, I have heaped lavish praise on him. Today, all I can ask is, "How could you?"

PS: If the Dems want to depress their own worker bees, this would be how.

Hillary Leads Candidates in Health Care Industry Donations

Hillary was the second highest recipient of health care industry dollars. Not anymore. She's No. 1. This suggests she'll likely have a tough time doing what needs to be done to extend health care to all Americans. And it's one (of many) reasons that she's not my candidate. Here's the story:

Veto Proof: The Democrats Secure a Veto-Proof Margin to secure CHIPS

Our anti-child president received a Congressional thumping as Democrats secured a 68-vote veto proof result on the expansion of CHIPS, the critically important children's health program. Bush, who wanted to cut the program rather than bring more children into the health care system,can lick his wounds as American families celebrate the possible extension of health care to more of its people. It's now up to the conference committee to reconcile the Senate's bill with that of the House. Here's the story: