how many deaths will it take till he knows That too many people have died?

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Blowing in the Wind

The generals who told President Bush before the war that Donald Rumsfeld’s shock-and-awe fantasy would not work were not enough to persuade him to change his strategy in Iraq. The rise of the insurgency did not do the trick. Nor did month after month of mounting military and civilian casualties on all sides, the emergence of a near civil war, the collapse of reconstruction efforts or the seeming inability of either Iraqi or American forces to secure contested parts of Iraq, including Baghdad, for any significant period.

So what finally, after all this time, caused Mr. Bush to very publicly consult with his generals to consider a change in tactics in Iraq? The president, who says he never reads political polls, is worried that his party could lose some of its iron grip on power in the Congressional elections next month.

Many of us over the last few years have been speculating over Bush and the neocon’s sick obsession with Iraq. While Righty pundits deny it now, we all have plenty of evidence directly from the horses mouth that they tied Iraq in various ways to September 11, 2001. BushCo and just about every segment of the media called Iraq the front in the “war on terror” – a strategic impossibility, but made for the kind of nice mindless sound bite that has feed the conservative rise to power, like so many lame soulless cliches . It has to fit on a bumper sticker stupid. Though Bush and his Cult of followers may still kneel and face K-Street as they cross their little hearts and hope to die that the “fly-paper” will still work, we all know that even a fly wouldn’t buy into that crack-pot scheme to rid the world of terrorism – it was just a fall back rationale anyway – British officials believed the U.S. favored military force a year before the war, documents show. Just a month ago Bush has once again made the rounds making the claim that he will “stay the course” and that there will be troops in Iraq as long as he is president. Now a few weeks before elections Bush is consulting his generals. Which is a lot like pulling out your tonsils with a pair of pliers and then calling your doctor; given the Republican record of dismal failure wrapped in happy talk this development isn’t shocking to most people. Americans with even a modicum of common sense have been looking at the actions of Bush and his supporters with a cock-eyed disbelief for at least two years now. We’re all parents now and we’re hoping the that at the very least the kids won’t burn down the house.

But the way this sudden change of heart has come about, after months in which Mr. Bush has brushed off all criticism of his policies as either misguided, politically motivated or downright disloyal to America, is maddening. For far too long, the White House has looked upon the war as a tactical puzzle for campaign strategists. The early notion of combining Iraq and the war on terror as an argument for re-electing Republicans robbed the nation of any serious chance for a bipartisan discussion of these life-and-death issues. More recently, the administration seems to have been working under the assumption that its only obligations were to hang on, talk tough and pass the problem on to the next president.

That pretty much wraps up the current appearance of bold new plans. The war has simply been part of an election strategy. Americans are dying because Republicans are literary willing to have America’s children and spouses die to hang on to power. They got that power based on lies about the economy, ethnocentrism, institutionalized elitism, perverse religious dogma, and various brands of paranoia all in a nice half baked shell of extreme nationalism. Its all worked before, power is a high and like cocaine its very addicting. So addicting that if the lies , the greed, the half baked ideas worked why not shoot up a little more, up the ante. They used a completely unnecessary and counter productive war to feed their habit, the habit of winning at all costs. American lives and taxpayers money have become mere political currency.

The way the Bush team is stage-managing the president’s supposed change of heart about “staying the course” is unfair to the Americans who have taken him at his word that real progress is being made in Iraq — a dwindling but still significant number of people, some of whom have sons and daughters serving in the conflict. It is a disservice to the troops, who were never sent to Iraq in sufficient numbers to protect themselves or the Iraqi people. And it is a disservice to all Americans, who have waited so long for Mr. Bush to act that all that is left are a series of unpleasant choices.

And it is happening in the midst of a particularly ugly, and especially vacuous, election season. There is probably no worse time to begin a serious discussion about Iraq policy than two weeks before a close, bitter election. But now that the discussion has begun, it must continue, as honestly and openly as possible. It is time for the American people to confront all the things that the president never had the guts to tell them about for three and a half years.

These miscreants will steer a few degrees further one way or the other, but to be “as honestly and openly as possible” would require a complete one-eighty. That would mean Bush and Republicans would have to exercise some humility and good judgement, something that their record proves they are utterly incapable of doing. They’ll continue to wag the electorate until the electorate stands up and and says no more.

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, ‘n’ how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, ‘n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.
lyrics from Blowin’ in the Wind by Bob Dylan

Money and Corruption Are ruining the land Crooked politicians Betray the working man, Pocketing the profits And treating us like sheep

U.S. Congressman Curt Weldon (R) : 7th District Of Pennsylvania seems to think that being a corrupt clown and a regular source of tinfoil wrapped conspiracy theories is like an addicting soap opera and feels compelled to keep turning out new chapters, Weldon’s FBI ‘informant’ on Curt’s payroll

Weldon told reporters Wednesday that an ex-FBI agent heard that Democrat Joseph Sestak’s campaign had inside information about the Justice Department investigation — and when it would be leaked to the press.

“I’m telling you a retired FBI agent, whom I have named, came to me and said that a (Sestak) campaign worker told him three weeks ago that this was going to happen,” he said.

While Weldon identified his source as Gregory Auld, he failed to mention that Auld has been on the campaign’s payroll since May.

Campaign finance reports filed this week show that Weldon Victory Committee has paid Auld & Associates Investigations $25,000 to conduct opposition research.

At Wednesday’s impromptu press conference, Weldon withheld that fact when he said a Sestak supporter had told Auld he knew about the federal investigation before it was made public.

The Republican congressman has asserted that the investigation was timed to coincide with the Nov. 7 election. He said Auld’s discovery, if true, means the Justice Department was coordinating its probe with the Sestak campaign, a claim the campaign has dismissed as “laughable.”

“What this indicates is that there were others involved in a political campaign who knew about this, and to me that’s troubling,” Weldon said.

Much of Weldon’s story didn’t check out with Auld, who said he had heard through a man at a local gym that another man who frequently wore a Sestak shirt said three weeks ago that “something big was going to come down on Weldon” last weekend.

Auld, of Drexel Hill, said he spoke to the Sestak supporter Tuesday, but “he never said they knew” about the investigation before it hit the newspapers.

Auld acknowledged his firm had a six-month contract with the Weldon campaign that runs through Election Day. He said pursuing the lead at the gym “probably was part of my responsibility” as a paid opposition researcher.

Political analysts say Weldon’s chances of re-election were diminished this week when FBI agents raided six locations — including the homes and business office of Springfield GOP leader Charles Sexton and Weldon’s daughter Karen — as part of an investigation into whether the congressman helped them obtain lobbying contracts.

Weldon maintains that the allegations are false, while the Sestak campaign says it had no advance knowledge of the investigation.

So someone on Weldon’s payroll hears, or supposedly hears some smack at the gym and its all part of a conspiracy to get Weldon. Let’s say that a Democratic candidate for Congress has that much pull with the United States Department of Justice (currently staffed to the gills by Bush administration appointees), is Weldon saying that that Democratic candidate should have used said pull to ask the DOJ to hold off until after the election? Does Curt drink the lime kool-aid or the grape? CREW asks DOJ to investigate Weldon for e-mails outlining possible threats of retaliation against his opponent’s contributors

The first e-mail describes a “hit list” compiled of Weldon opponent’s supporters. In addition, that e-mail notes the Weldon said something to the effect of “If they don’t think there will be retribution before or after the election, they’re kidding themselves.” The second e-mail states that Weldon had his staff contact Navy personnel to get information on Sestak.

While we’re on the subject of investigations and timing, Jerry Lewis (R-CA) is under investigation for his ties to lobbyist and former congressman Bill Lowery. Jerry may have the power to do tap dances with his old buddy Duke Cunningham (currently doing time in the slammer),

In July 1999, Lewis and Cunningham led a move to cut funding for the Pentagon’s F-22 fighter jet. Funding was restored, though, after the Pentagon acquiesced to Brent Wilkes’s request that ADCS Inc. receive an additional $10 million to digitize military documents in the Panama Canal Zone. It appears, then, that Lewis and Cunningham used their clout to Wilkes’s benefit. Lewis says there is no connection between the F-22 funding cut and aid for Wilkes.

but Jerry is slick enough to know that he can’t do something as ham fisted as step in and stop investigations into Congressional conservative wrong doing, but this close to an election he can slow things down a bit. Enough to slide by the next few weeks,ThinkProgress: Lewis Firings Not “Bipartisan,” As Spokesman Claimed

A Democratic spokesman for a member of the House Appropriations committee disagreed with comments from the Republican chairman, who said yesterday that the recent massive firing of the panel’s fraud investigators was “bipartisan.”

In a surprise move, House Appropriations chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) Monday fired all 60 of his panel’s contract investigators. Sixteen permanent investigative staff were not affected by the action.

In a comment to Congressional Quarterly, Lewis spokesman John Scofield said the firings came because of a “bipartisan review” of the investigative unit. The review, he said, was supported by Rep. David Obey (D-WI), the top Democrat on the committee.

But an anonymous Democratic spokesman told ThinkProgress today that the firings were not okayed by Obey or other Democratic members of the committee. In fact, they weren’t even consulted, he said.

These “I-Staff” were somewhat toothless, but the”I-Staff” could bring things to the attention of the press and the public causing those like Lewis to be under a little more scrutiny then he felt comfortable with. Lewis (R-CA) is House Appropriations chairman.

“Money and Corruption Are ruining the land Crooked politicians Betray the working man, Pocketing the profits And treating us like sheep, And we’re tired of hearing promises That we know they’ll never keep” – Ray Davies

“Calvin: Do you believe in the devil? You know, a supreme evil being dedicated to the temptation, corruption, and destruction of man? Hobbes: I’m not sure that man needs the help” – Calvin and Hobbes

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich

Perhaps social status and eminent consciousness of it is to put it simply just another personality trait. Some people are funnier then others and enjoy a certain status associated with that, while others are serious and nose to the grindstone types and enjoy what benefits or social deficits that goes along with that. I have to admit that beyond a certain point I cannot relate in the least to the kind of social climbing that entails having a house as big as one’s sister in-law, or having the newest German luxury car. I just do not see the point. I can relate to the degree where someone wants a reliable late model car that has air conditioning or wants a raise because they’re worried that they will not be able to be their child through college. So where climbing the social status ladder edges over into blind envy with a dash of decadence, those inclined to see their world in those terms and themselves as failures for not obtaining the newest and most costly have lost me as far as personal, economic or political sympathy. So while this article is interesting in the sense of a window on a world view that I don’t relate to the conclusion might be enlightening to those that are full enlistees in the Rat Race, Out of position: Against the politics of relative standing

The argument for the politics of relative position is at bottom an argument about the limits of human freedom. We are, it is alleged, locked into the rat race by the relentless engine of our evolved status-hungry nature. And we are, it is argued, almost helpless to reinterpret the context, the frame of reference, within which we evaluate our own choices. But the unique human cultural capacity—equally a part of our biology—liberates us.

Where benevolence, fidelity, cooperation, innovation, and excellence are esteemed, positional races may produce mutual advantage instead of mutual destruction. And while the game of status may be locally zero-sum, it can be globally positive-sum, as scientific, economic, and cultural entrepreneurs identify new dimensions of excellence in which to compete and earn freely conferred prestige as payment for benefit to others. We are not destined to want fancier cars, bigger houses, and more upscale outfits, nor are we helpless to feel diminished by those who out-consume us. We can opt out by opting in to competing narratives about the composition of a good life. And we do it all the time. We can, like Gauguin, quit law and family to paint naked natives in Tahiti. Or, better, we can move the family to a quieter place where houses are cheap and schools are good. (‘Is this heaven?’ ‘No, Iowa.’) If we are aggrieved by the rigours of the rat race, the answer is not the clumsy guidance of a paternal state. The answer is simply to stop being a rat.

Ignore the distracting monkey references and one can read the idea spread by many a conservative semi-intellectual that the working classes problem is just too much envy. If you can’t afford the costs of living where you are. A blink, a rub of the old lantern and presto, just move to Iowa. How Iowa has avoided participating in any way with the competitive grind of the modern economy is as yet unexplained by social scientists. Those Americans toward the lower middle and reaching into poverty should just accept their lot or move. Imagine it is 1509 and you ask the prince that owns most of the land if he could spare a little economic and social justice, that is where this argument is from; well 1509 and a big dash of social -Darwinism. You see, society is supposed to be unfair and any attempts to rectify the more gratuitous inequalities of our financial masters who most likely got their start at the end of a silver spoon is a silly social experiment at best. In supporting public education , public health, and some safeguards against work related injury and blacklung are infringements on the rights of the wealthy elite. The elite who are elite and wealthy because they have been masters of the rat race for millienia, its in their genes you see. Do away with public institutions, the social safety net, an appointed attorney for those that cannot afford one, as it is all just tools of envy and enforced equality. Something of an odd argument by the wealthy who rely on the unscrubed masses to buy their widgets and gizmos with the built in obsolescence in order to remain wealthy. The author is one Will Wilkinson and I do not know his political leanings, but the article reads like an ivory tower piece. Written by someone that has little idea of what is to struggle from paycheck to paycheck ( which would include about half of all working Americans). This one sentence was the dead give-away,

While capitalism does in fact produce absolutely egalitarian results—enabling the poor to own high-quality mobile phones, microwaves, and cars functionally equivalent to those of the wealthy…

I work for a living and I know that the hardest working, the most conscientious workers are frequently less well compensated then those that the powers that be simply like better regardless of the consequences to the companies bottom line. Those powers are acting in their self interests , even though conservatives and some libertarians assure as that it people do not act, given freedom to, against their economic interests by rewarding mediocrity. I sometimes get the feeling that when people write articles for the internet that they are targeted at people, like themselves that live in an ivory tower world and have little clue what real working America is like. Given that it is impossible to right every little social injustice, it is also just plain goofy headed to think that there is somewhere that one can move and totally opt out.

House Intel Chair Suspends Staff Member

The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee has suspended a Democratic staff member pending an investigation into whether he leaked a high-level intelligence assessment to the news media.

The committee’s top Democrat said the suspension was “without basis.”

The staff member, who was not identified, was suspended this week by Chairman Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., his spokesman said Thursday evening. The aide is being denied access to classified information pending the outcome of a review, said the spokesman, Jamal Ware.

The leak to The New York Times of a National Intelligence Estimate on global terror trends caused a political uproar last month. In the assessment, completed in April, analysts from the government’s 16 spy agencies concluded that the Iraq war has become a “cause celebre” for Islamic extremists, breeding deep resentment of the U.S. that probably will get worse before it gets better.

What else should we expect from the Intelligence Committee’s chairman, Peter Hoekstra, (R) – he has run the committee like a drunk carnival barker and let Rep. Duke Cunningham,( R-C) run wild funneling money to his conservative buddies defense contractors Mitchell Wade and Brent Wilkes. This is a classic Republican twofer, extract a little political revenge on Jane Harman(D) who released that little document that showed that Republicans are creating more terrorists then they are killing and deflect attention away from the fact that Petey shouldn’t be trusted to guard a hen house much less the United States of America. If Washington D.C. was run in a manner that was only minimally competent Hoeska would be sweeping his prison cell every morning. He’d probably screw that up too. Hoekstra is on record as being part of the Bush logic school of leaks. When he wants them or gets them from insiders they’re good, but as we all know from the Bush school of leaks its a one way street. leaks are OK when they flow to Republicans and not OK when they make their way to Democrats or the American people, Hoekstra Urges Bush to Impart Intelligence Details

The Bush administration briefed top lawmakers on a significant intelligence program only after a key Republican committee chairman angrily complained of being left in the dark, the chairman said yesterday.

House intelligence committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) would not describe the program, but he said it was significant enough that the administration should have briefed him and others voluntarily, without waiting for them to learn of it through government tipsters.

“There was at least one major — what I consider significant — activity that we had not been briefed on that we have now been briefed on,” Hoekstra said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Some people within the intelligence community brought to my attention some programs that they believed we had not been briefed on. They were right.”

Hoekstra said the briefings took place after he complained in a May 18 letter to President Bush of hearing about “alleged Intelligence Community activities” not described to committee members in classified briefings. “If these allegations are true,” he wrote to Bush, “they may represent a breach of responsibility by the Administration, a violation of law and . . . a direct affront to me and the Members of this committee.”

Yesterday, Hoekstra appeared mollified. But he said he still believes the administration falls short of its legal obligations to brief key congressional members on significant intelligence operations.

“I wanted to reinforce to the president and to the executive branch and the intelligence community how important, and by law the requirement, that they keep the legislative branch informed of what they are doing,” he said. “It is not optional for this president or any president or people in the executive community not to keep the intelligence committees fully informed of what they are doing.”

Hoekstra learned that Bush did not fully inform him on certain classified intelligence matters “through government tipsters.”Did those , shall we say leaker friends of Petey ever get investigated? Of course not, conservatives leaking to other conservative about other conservative is just the sweetest thing since Mom dumped five pounds of sugar into her apple pie.

“To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required, not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” – President John F. Kennedy

He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct

I really would like to know why the media (CNN, most of AM radio, CBS, most newspapers and Fox) thinks that a Democrat that MIGHT be guilty of jaywalking to is a bigger story then a Republican that has robbed a bank, Why has CNN devoted 50 times as much coverage to Harry Reid’s land deal as Dennis Hastert’s?

From October 12-17, CNN aired 3,361 words about allegations that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV) improperly reported a land deal in which he made $700,000.

Seventeen different CNN transcripts in the Nexis database include mention of the Reid land deal — and that doesn’t even count October 18, when CNN has aired at least one more lengthy segment on the deal.

By comparison, CNN has aired only 65 words about a land deal in which House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) made nearly $2 million, a story which was first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times on June 15. By contrast, the Reid land deal first broke a week ago, when the Associated Press reported on October 11 that Reid had made $700,000 “on a Las Vegas land sale even though he hadn’t personally owned the property for three years.”

Hastert’s property appreciated in value after he earmarked taxpayer funding for a highway near the property — but only two CNN transcripts contain any mention of Hastert’s land deal, for a total word count that is one-fiftieth the number of words CNN has devoted to the Reid story.

Now much evidence is there that Senator Reid used the power of his office in his land deal (selling real estate or transferring ownership is still legal isn’t it) for personal gain? None to date. How much evidence is there that House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) used his office and power to make a ton of cash? Plenty.

No this is not snark, McCain: “I’d just commit suicide” if Democrats take control of Senate

“I think I’d just commit suicide,” McCain said, as the Republicans standing beside him burst into laughter. “I don’t want to face that eventuality because I don’t think it’s going to happen…I think it’s going to be tough, but I think we’ll do o.k.” A few moments later McCain turned to Congressman Latham and joked that Latham would probably commit suicide first, as polls suggest control of the House is likely to swing to Democrats in this year’s election.

According to McCain, the current “tenor” of campaigns is too negative and he hopes the courts can help stop new groups called “527s” which are able to skirt campaign contribution limits. “The 527s are pernicious evil that needs to be eliminated,” McCain said. “We have a Federal Elections Commission that will not enforce the law and they are an absolute national disgrace.” McCain said.

McCain was also asked to address foreign policy issues. McCain said Democrats, like fellow Senator John Kerry, were wrong to criticize the Bush Administration in the hours following North Korea’s test of a nuclear weapon. “I think at the time of the crisis, we should probably support the president,” McCain said. “I was disappointed that the Democrats almost immediately started criticizing President Bush’s policies. I thought it was a time we should rally behind the president.”

Well Johnny Boy a man has to do what he has to do so good luck whatever you decide that you feel is right for you. As far as supporting Bush goes, patriotic Americans are simply refusing to support policies that are bad for America and humanity. If the Senator would like to engage is the mindless idolatry of the Whitehouse frat boy with a fart joke fetish rather then defend the Constitution, fight for fiscal responsible government, fight to get everyone health care, fight for a winning strategy in Afghanistan and Iraq, I guess that is the senator’s business, and good luck running on that platform for president. Vote for McCain so we’ll continue to have the same dismal excuse for leadership.

The idea of a Democratic majority fills Senator McCains(R-AZ) head with thoughts of suicide, but Peter Hoekstra, R.-Mich as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee doesn’t bother him at all, Duke Cunningham’s Little Helpers

The scale of the bribery scheme that sent Rep. Duke Cunningham, R.-Calif., to jail exceeded any other in recorded congressional history. The former Vietnam War hero collected an estimated $2.4 million in payoffs before his lack of subtlety attracted the notice of government prosecutors. “In the sheer dollar amount, he is the most corrupt,” Deputy House Historian Fred W. Beuttler said in March when Cunningham was sentenced to eight years and four months.

The scope of Cunningham’s corruption was so vast that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence couldn’t avoid ordering a preliminary inquiry into what assistance Cunningham might have received from committee staff in securing earmarks on behalf of his two co-conspirators, defense contractors Mitchell Wade and Brent Wilkes. The answer is “quite a lot.” Although no evidence turned up of serious bribery (the most lurid payoff appears to have been a souvenir “Global War on Terrorism” rug), the investigation concluded that staff members were well aware that Cunningham’s earmarks were a waste of taxpayer money. On Oct. 17 the committee’s ranking member, Rep. Jane Harman, D.-Calif., released an executive summary of the report, prompting an immediate objection by the committee’s chairman, Peter Hoekstra, R.-Mich., who said the report was an “incomplete, internal committee document.” Two other considerations may be that the report paints an implicitly damning picture of Hoekstra’s leadership of the committee, which in this instance might fairly be called neglectful, and that it does so less than a month before the midterm congressional elections.

We all occasionally reach out and with the pitter patter of our keyboards plea for some rational political discourse. But how do you you have rational discourse with the  irrational McCain(R-AZ) or Hoekstra. They’re not mentally or morally competent enough to run a shoeshine stand much less make policy decisions that effect the whole world.

Challenging the Culture of Obedience

A patriot does not tell people who are intensely concerned about their country to just sit down and be quiet; to refrain from speaking out in the name of politeness or for the sake of being a good host; to show slavish, blind obedience and deference to a dishonest, war-mongering, human-rights-violating President.

That is not a patriot. Rather, that person is a sycophant. That person is a member of a frightening culture of obedience–a culture where falling in line with authority is more important than choosing what is right, even if it is not easy, safe, or popular. And, I suspect, that person is afraid–afraid we are right, afraid of the truth (even to the point of denying it), afraid he or she has put in with an oppressive, inhumane regime that does not respect the laws and traditions of our country, and that history will rank as the worst presidency our nation has ever had to endure.

In response to those who believe we should blindly support this disastrous President, his Administration, and the complacent, complicit Congress, listen to the words of Theodore Roosevelt, a great President and a Republican, who said: The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole.

Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul

con_chain.jpg

Report Spells Out Abuses by Former Congressman

Former Representative Randy Cunningham pressured and intimidated staff members of the House Intelligence Committee to help steer more than $70 million in classified federal business to favored military contractors, according to a Congressional investigation made public on Tuesday.

The investigation found that Mr. Cunningham, a California Republican who is serving an eight-year prison sentence for bribery, repeatedly abused his position on the committee to authorize money for military projects, often over the objections of staff members who criticized some of the spending as wasteful.

The inquiry also found that despite numerous “red flags” about the propriety of a particular contract for work on a controversial Pentagon counterintelligence program, committee staff members for three years “continued to accept and support Mr. Cunningham’s growing requests for this project.”

Currently there are 12 Republicans and 9 Democrats on Intelligence Committee. Peter Hoekstra (Republican 2nd District of Michigan) appointed to that position by the eagle eyed champion of teenage pages House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert(R). Hoekstra is sharp as a razor, he and Curt Weldon were going to form their own little WMD expedition, go to Iraq and find those darn WMD. Hoekstra, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee turns a blind eye to Representative Randy Cunningham(R) ripping off taxpayers for intelligence services of dubious value, yet give him a plane ticket and a camo uniform and he’ll find those WMD. This all should rise a few flags with voters. Consider Hoekstra’s behavior in light of what some conservatives have said about Democrats,

*Ask Michael Reagan what should be done with Howard Dean (he “should be hung for treason or put in a hole until the end of the Iraq war!”)
*Or ask the graceful, dissent-loving John Hinderaker what he thinks of Jimmy Carter (he “isn’t just misguided or ill-informed. He’s on the other side”)
*dissent-loving John Podhoretz (“It is now clear that Al Gore is insane . . . There is every reason to believe that Albert Gore Jr., desperately needs help. I think he needs medication, and I think that if he is already on medication, his doctors need to adjust it or change it entirely”)

Releasing this report on Cunningham and the conservative controlled Intelligence Committee is, according to Representative Peter Hoekstra(R),

“disturbing and beyond the pale.”

How could someone of questionable mental faculties and such tarnished moral judgement tell whether a report that shines a light on the ramshackle way on which the House Intelligence Committee runs tell if the report that he wanted to suppress was “disturbing” or “beyond the pale”. To make such distinctions, one has to be capable of rational judgement. It is at least possible that Chairman Hoekstra is embarrassed that he has run an immensely important component of the United States national security apparatus like a Manchurian candidate on acid. If Petey had the slightest shred of honor he’d resign.

President AWOL, George W. Bush offers up no evidence that it does, but swears on his favorite pair of fluffy slippers that torturing people in violation of Geneva Common Article III , the War Crimes Act, and the McCain Amendment will save American lives. Rights against torture– without remedies

Any CIA official who acts in good faith will probably conclude that waterboarding, hypothermia, stress positions, and related techniques violate one or more of these features of American law.

What the new Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA) did, however, was to make these legal norms effectively unenforceable. That is why Rickard’s op-ed is a bit misleading. The McCain Amendment does not provide an individual remedy for violations, the MCA states that individuals cannot enforce their rights under the Geneva Conventions in judicial procedings, including appplications for habeas corpus. As for the (amended) War Crimes Act, it requires that the Justice Department decide to prosecute a CIA official who acted on orders from the President, which, at least under this current Administration, is very unlikely.

The bottom line is simple: The MCA preserves rights against torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, but it severs these rights from any practical remedy.

This means that the President can have his “alternative sets of procedures”– i.e., torture lite– if he can persuade CIA personnel to violate the law with the promise that they will never be prosecuted or punished for doing so. When Rickard suggests that someday CIA officials will have to answer to judges and juries, he assumes precisely what the new bill acts to forestall– judicial inquiries into the conduct of CIA interrogations.

Imagine a badly plotted futuristic novel about some semi-fictional eastern European country that has re-embraced whole swaths of the the operating framework of the old Soviet Union, then you would get something like the way Bush and his supporters are running America.

There are many things that are deeply distressing about the Military Commissions Act of 2006. One of the most distressing is its deeply cynical attitude about law. The President has created a new regime in which he is a law unto himself on issues of prisoner interrogations. He decides whether he has violated the laws, and he decides whether to prosecute the people he in turn urges to break the law.

Kneel on your prayer rug and face Pennsylvania where the all seeing- all knowing Sen. Rick Santorum(R) has had a vision, a blinding insight, the United States has avoided terrorist attacks at home over the past five years because the “Eye of Mordor” has been focused on Iraq instead.. Rep. Peter King(R) disgrees. He sees Baghdad as less like Mount Doom and more as being just like Manhattan. Is anyone starting to fell like it is National Bad Similes Week.
Chairman of the Republican National Committee Ken Mehlman must get some awesome headaches juggling all the double standards and ethics problems, The party of values

Newly disclosed e-mails suggest that the ax fell after intervention by one of the highest officials at the White House: Ken Mehlman, on behalf of one of the most influential lobbyists in town, Jack Abramoff.

The e-mails show that Abramoff, whose client list included the Northern Mariana Islands, had long opposed Stayman’s work advocating labor changes in that U.S. commonwealth, and considered what his lobbying team called the “Stayman project” a high priority.

“Mehlman said he would get him fired,” an Abramoff associate wrote after meeting with Mehlman, who was then White House political director.

Yet despite the fact that conservative is synonymous with moral and financial corruption and being just plain batshit crazy, people will vote for them in a few weeks because they’re the party of “values”.

“Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.” (inscription beneath bust of Mark Twain in the Hall of Fame)

It is a besetting vice of democracies to substitute public opinion for law. This is the usual form in which masses of men exhibit their tyranny

Why say no to free money? It’s neuro-economics, stupid

IMAGINE that you are sitting next to a complete stranger who has been given £10 to share between the two of you. He must choose how much to keep for himself and how much to give to you.

He can be as selfish or as generous as he likes, with one proviso: if you refuse his offer, neither of you gets any money at all. What would it take for you to turn him down?

This is the scenario known to economists as the ultimatum game. Now the way we play it is generating remarkable insights into how the human brain drives financial decisionmaking, social interactions and even the supremely irrational behaviour of suicide bombers and gangland killers.

According to standard economic theory, you should cheerfully accept anything you are given. People are assumed to be motivated chiefly by rational self-interest, and refusing any offer, however low, is tantamount to cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Yet in practice derisory offers are declined all the time. Indeed, if the sum is less than £2.50, four out of five of us tell the selfish so-and-so to get lost. We get so angry at his deliberate unfairness that we are prepared to incur a cost to ourselves, purely to punish him.

Homo sapiens is clearly not Homo economicus, the ultra-rational being imagined by many professional economists.

I’ve seen enough wage negotiations over the years to see this scenario acted out on a larger scale in regards to wages and health-care. The powers that be act as if they were civilized and all as the person across the table weighs how much accepting a pittance measures against saying screw you, you wouldn’t be wearing that Rolex without the work I do and which you are happy to take credit for. If you have family it is especially difficult to say screw you as much as you might have every justification for doing so. Part of the problem with all the so called economic indicators is the failure to measure just how much BS average workers and middle managers put up with and don’t say anything, more often then not for the sake of their families.

If we always accepted low offers for the sake of tiny gains, we would rapidly get a reputation as a soft touch. Everybody else would try to bilk us at every turn. By acting apparently against our interests, we do better in the long run. Our ancestors were better at surviving if they were bloody-minded. Professor Camerer explained: “Emotion is nature’s way of letting people know that if you’re treated badly you’ll do something about it.”

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sent this letter April 7, 2004, Read CREW’s letter from April of 2004 asking for investigation of Curt Weldon

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington requests that you have the Department’s Public Integrity Section investigate whether Pennsylvania Congressman Curt Weldon violated federal bribery law by using his public office to benefit companies that hired his daughter as a lobbyist.

Karen Weldon lobbies extensively for foreign companies on behalf of which Congressman Weldon has used his position to assist. A lengthy Los Angeles Times article detailed the relationship between Mr. Weldon and clients of his daughter’s lobbying firm, Solutions North America, Inc. Ken Silverstein, Chuck Neubauer, Richard Cooper, Lucrative Deals for a Daughter of Politics; Karen Weldon whose dad is a Pennsylvania congressmen is a lobbyist for three foreign clients who need his help, and get it, Los Angeles Times, February 20, 2004 (attached as Exhibit A). Mr. Weldon’s involvement with three of Ms. Weldon’s clients stand out:

Usually not funny when a Congressman of the United States of America has acted in a way to invite four separate FBI raids, but those that think irony is dead are treated to a couple to laughs by a blogger that calls himself “The American Thinker”, apparently pretentiousness is alive and well too, Clintonoids trying to get Curt Weldon, where he quotes a passage from Weldon’s little tin-foil opus entitled Countdown to Terror, on the Clinton years.,

“The gross incompetence in the intelligence community over the last decade, combined with the current rebellion of intelligence community leaders, especially at the CIA, justifies a dismissal of present leaders in all agencies and across the entire intelligence community. The straightforward solution would be to fire everybody above the level of GS-15.”

“The American Thinker” adds this deeply sage advice, “Americans with their heads on straight should support Curt Weldon.”
When the “Thinker” says support Weldon he made no qualifiers on that statement so we can safely assume that applies when Curt The Perfect Weldon said that civilian command of the military is not in America’s best interests,

The second-ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, who is a strong supporter of the U.S. military mission in Iraq, has drafted a resolution that would give military commanders — instead of President Bush or Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld — decision-making authority over when American troops should return home.

Congressman Weldon should be listened to according to the “Thinker” which would extend to finding those non-existent WMD. Well they might exist Bush just don’t have the qualified people in Iraq to find them. What Bush should do is send Curt Weldon (R-PA) and Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), they know for a fact where those pesky WMD are, Curt and Pete’s Excellent Adventure

Instead, Gaubatz said, Weldon latched onto the idea as a “personal political venture” and discussed a Hoekstra-Weldon trip to Iraq, under the guise of visiting the troops, that would detour to Nasiriyah.

Once there, Gaubatz said, the congressmen planned to persuade the U.S. military commander to lend them the equipment and men to go digging by the Euphrates for the cache Gaubatz believed to be there.

He said that Weldon made it clear he didn’t want word leaked to the Pentagon, to intelligence officials, or to Democratic congressmen.

As Gaubatz told me: “They even worked out how it would go. If there was nothing there, nothing would be said. If the site had been [scavenged], nothing would be said. But, if it was still there, they would bring the press corps out.”

Yep, while The American Thinker( I laugh everytime I type that), Curt Weldon, and Pete Hoekstra are going to find those rascally wabbits, I mean WMD and while they’re there they plan to open up a bait and tackle shop to make their fortune. Curt and “Thinker” could probably make a few bucks by running a brain tumor consulting business on the side, Curt has some very strong opinions as to what constitutes appropriate behavior when your child gets a tumor. While Curt does not have a medical degree or any special training in counter- terrorism that has never stopped him from acting like an expert. Heck, pretending to be a decent human being may even get Curt re-elected. Though at present Curt is behind a bit in the polls. If he looses I’m sure he’ll have quite a little cottage industry of tin-foil followers who’ll cough up money to hear his lectures and buy his printed doggerel. Old conspiracy nuts never die they just disappear one day and their followers write more books which they all buy like some Mary Kay pyramid of crack-pot theories and some day they’ll all be rich from buying each other’s political tin-foil, applicator icluded, postage and handling extra.

“It is a besetting vice of democracies to substitute public opinion for law. This is the usual form in which masses of men exhibit their tyranny.” – James Fenimore Cooper

That you dont know what youve got Till its gone

conservatives4sale.jpg
Time has jumped on the Jump on Senator Harry Reid bandwagon, calling his real estate transactions a scandal. Interesting that no one has as of this writing has come up with any concrete proof of serious wrong doing and at the most appears to be an inadvertent ethics violation. Yet at the same time very little has been made of what would looks to be a quid pro quo legislation for profit in the case of House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert(R), After ignoring Hastert land deal, Time highlighted Reid real estate controversy .

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) made almost $2 million on the sale of land in Illinois after reportedly taking an active role in the inclusion in a transportation spending bill of an earmark for a highway project near the property. By contrast, there are no allegations that Reid used his office in any way that might have affected the value of his land

This seem to be a prevalent standard among much of the media. If there is some insinuation of, the mere appearance of some ethical misstep of any Democrat then he/she is guilty until proved innocent. In the mean time what looks like quite obvious financial wrangling and legislative trade for profit is quickly brushed under the rug if the culprit is a Republican.

“Obviously, Republicans are in danger of losing the House and the Senate and are desperate to push out any story that takes their troubles off the front page,” Reid’s spokesman, Jim Manley, said in a statement. “The fact is Senator Reid owned the land from 1998 to 2004 and he fully disclosed that fact. If the Ethics Committee requests a technical correction to Senator Reid’s disclosure forms we are happy to provide one.”

Obvious question of values, morality, and just old fashioned good judgement have escaped the limited attention span of conservative voters for the past twenty years or we wouldn’t have the most corrupt Congress and presidential administration since Reagan and the days of Iran-Contra and the HUD scandals.

Most of us realize that when it comes to all things foreign from freedom fries to Saddam’s posession of WMD Republicans are the 21st centuries unerring prophets, AP Reports the Obvious on Bush & Iraq

But 3 1/2 years later, with no weapons found, still no end in sight and the war a liability for nearly all Republicans on the ballot Nov. 7, the justification has become far broader and now includes the expansive “struggle between good and evil.”

Probably more rational human beings would have sit back, looked around at the world and having decided that we needed a war to end evil would not have started in Iraq of all places. But then we’re talking about Bushworld and rational just doesn’t enter into any policy equations. It seems to be taking longer then frozen molasses for some people to note the obvious, but some voters are beginning to see that Republican’s national security priorities are what mustard is to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, their recipe just don’t work, GOP Losing Security Cred With White Workers

…the white working class has voted overwhelmingly for Republicans since Reagan. President Bush widened the Republican advantage among such voters from a margin of 17 percentage points in 2000 to 23 percentage points in 2004, according to exit poll data compiled by Mr. Teixeira, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation.

…Now, that security edge has all but disappeared. Among white voters with no college education, approval of the president’s handling of the war on terrorism had plummeted from a margin of 22 percentage points the summer of 2004 to just 7 percentage points last week, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.

The genuinely sad part is that conservatives got that edge on national security in the first place. It was never based on actual foreign policy accomplishments ( and no Reagan did not single handedly end the Soviet Empire), it was all based on a massive media campaign. They repeated the lie that they were the foreign policies gurus over and over again, the media echoed that claim and it eventually became a conventional wisdom based on nothing but hot air.

Rove raises $12M in the 2006 cycle

Rove’s fundraising total also shows that despite Democrats’ persistent efforts to demonize him, most recently by publicizing the number of contacts he had with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Rove remains very popular with rank-and-file conservatives.

That is because Republicans live in a perverse world where corruption is a badge of honor. They’re the party of political con artists, every big check cashed represents another notch in their money belt.

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot
Dont it always seem to go
That you dont know what youve got
Till its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
Big Tellow Taxi lyrics by Joni Mitchell

that the battle isn’t so much against evil as ignorance

artzy5.jpg

Boris Artzybasheff was a graphic artist illustrator. His hay-day was probably from the fifties through the mid-sixties. Some of his work made it to the front pages of magazines like Time and Life, but would look just as new and inventive if they were on the front pages of Popular Mechanics or Newsweek today. While we have those that celebrate the idea of the singularity today, back in the fifties there was and I suppose there still is some discussion over to what degree machines and technology dehumanize mankind. So in viewing his work one is left wondering where machine ends and man begins or vice versa. There is a collection of Boris’s work out called AS I SEE.

While we’re on the subject of humanity, it is amazing how much a jelly like substance, a real physical goo has to do with what constitutes our humanity and our perceptions of what humanity is, Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside

I’ll give you an example of a most straightforward and manual case. I was paged to the emergency room a few years ago during my training and received the following brief report over the phone: “carpenter coming in with a nail stuck in the left frontal region of his head… neurologically intact.” What is going through my mind at this point? Do I hark back to my studies of frontal lobe circuitry and mull over the complex neural networks involved in language and memory? No. I’m thinking concrete, surgical thoughts: nails are sharp; the brain is full of blood vessels; the nail may have snagged a vessel on the way in. These thoughts are instantaneous, of course. I spell out the simple logic here purely for effect.

So at this juncture do we need a brilliant theoretician or a highly skilled mechanic?

I forget which right-wing clone that made some inane remark about conservatives being more attractive then Democrats as a reason to vote Republican, but I do remember feeling reassured that politics is the shallowest of games. Even when my side wins we just talley up the votes and that is enough. I do have what appears to be unrealistic ideals, that people should vote for who they vote for because of enlightened self interests and the common good. But that is just a dream. I guess it doesn’t hurt in the short term if people vote for the person that is both attractive and stands for what is good too, Democratic Faces That Could Launch Thousands of Votes

His political friends tease him about his fashion-magazine persona, but they acknowledge that it’s a valuable asset. “He’s a young, good-looking guy,” said Charlie Evangelista, Ontario County Democratic Committee chairman. “He’s going to connect with people.”

Arcuri’s theory is that voters have an immediate, visceral reaction to candidates that, if powerful enough, can trump ideology or party affiliation. “How do you get around the status quo? You look for younger, energetic faces,” he said. But while people may decide in an instant whether or not they are able to vote for him, he said, “then they have to know you can do the job.”

He added, “I spend a lot of time assuring people I can be congressional.”

His theory might be correct. An independent poll in the district released last night showed him with a 10-point lead.

Some of the academic research on beauty and voting goes back decades, to the early 1970s. In 1990, political scientist Lee Sigelman, then at the University of Arizona, posited that Democrats were losing ground nationally, despite an advantage in voter registration, because their looks were a turnoff. He rated all governors and members of Congress on an ugliness scale and found that of the 26 least attractive, 25 were Democrats.

The playing field these days is more level. Research has shown that if candidates invest a little effort in their looks, the payoff can be huge. Campaign consultants hover around candidates, ordering them to change their hairstyles, get in shape and update their wardrobes. “The bar has been raised, without question,” said Sigelman, now a George Washington University political science professor.

He singled out three Maryland statewide candidates, Republican Senate nominee Michael S. Steele and gubernatorial rivals Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) and Martin O’Malley (D), “as playing the image game really well.” Politicians today, said Sigelman, strive for “the personality and looks of talk show hosts.” The goal is to be “well turned out.”

One candidate who made a high-impact adjustment is Diane Farrell. The Connecticut Democrat used to wear her blond hair pulled back tight, but after a gentle nudge from a campaign aide, she allowed it to hang loose for a more natural, relaxed look.

The looks factor can be maddening for the opposition. One writer on an anti-Shuler blog expressed annoyance at the candidate’s wife, “with all her quips about how cute Shuler is. What a way to decide how to vote!!”

Perhaps not surprisingly, research has shown that voters who are easily swayed by social trends tend to favor more attractive candidates. Conversely, people who resist social trends prefer unattractive candidates.

I don’t have any experience running political campaigns, but I have been neck deep in corporate politics and it is maddening the degree to which looks play a role in promotions, raises, disciplinary actions, work assignments, prime desk and office space assignments. Part of it is a preference for attractive people, but the opposite also occurs. People that are too attractive are not taken seriously or are only thought to be suitable for certain responsibilities.

Its getting to be the Conservative Sex Scandal of the Day, Country singer filing for divorce, cites adultery, abuse

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Country singer Sara Evans alleges in divorce papers that her husband committed adultery, was verbally and emotionally abusive, drank excessively and frequently watched pornography in their home.

Evans, 35, filed for divorce Thursday from Craig Schelske and announced through a spokesman that she was quitting ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” “to give her family full attention at this difficult time.”

The couple married in 1993 and have three children ages 7, 3 and 2.

Schelske, 43 and currently unemployed, ran for Congress as a Republican from Oregon’s 5th District in 2002. He is a native of Salem, Ore.

He could not be reached for comment because there was no answer at a phone number for him Oregon.

In the filing in state court in suburban Franklin, where the couple has a home, Evans alleges that Schelske watched pornography on the couples’ computers and has at least 100 nude photographs of himself in a state of arousal.
She also alleges that several photographs show Schelske having sex with other women.

LARCH (V.O.)
Here in St. Cloud’s, I have come to
understand that promises are rarely
kept, that the battle isn’t so much
against evil as ignorance, and that
being successful can’t hold a candle
to being of *use*.
from the screenplay Cider House Rules

These talks brought vividly before him the political corruption of the state and the misery of the unprivileged classes

It is not only not  surprising, but boring in its predictability that that the Cult of Bush finds the Lancet report on the number of Iraqi deaths caused by the invasion in error. The administration and its supporters swore there were WMD, that Iraq was an imminent threat, that Saddam was in league with al-Queda, and that making Iraq the front in the “war on terror” would strike a fatal blow into the heart of jihadist terrorism around the world. They have been absolutely dead wrong on about everything, so the Bush Cult will have to excuse more rational Americns if we don’t believe you when to not only suggest the Lancet study is wrong, but like a chorus of hoarse throated parrots the fringe Right extremists also claim that the study was timed to sabotage the mid-term elections. They bring out that old dog about every report. Every report about Iraq. Every report about healthcare and poverty. Every report about the consequences of the ballooning national debt. Every report about everything. Even if the Lancet study was off by 10 percent the right-wingers that claim that the invasion of Iraq served some greater humanitarian good would still have a lot of back peddling to do. Since the conservative movement excels at back peddling this shouldn’t cause them too much strain. Even if they can’t manage to mangle the facts beyond recognition they can always resort to the classic reframe –  they don’t believe the facts and they have the right to believe whatever they like and liberals are intolerant for not going along with their blind faith in their wholly made up reality. Bottom line, was the invasion of Iraq the moral thing to do in light of the death and hardship that it has caused. Or in the Ed’s diner over coffee parlance, did Bush do more good then harm? The answer to that is an obvious no, he did not and still has not made a moral or strategic case for invading Iraq, The numbers do add up

That qualitative conclusion is this: things have got worse, and they have got a lot worse, not a little bit worse. Whatever detailed criticisms one might make of the methodology of the study (and I have searched assiduously for the last two years, with the assistance of a lot of partisans of the Iraq war who have tried to pick holes in the study, and not found any), the numbers are too big. If you go out and ask 12,000 people whether a family member has died and get reports of 300 deaths from violence, then that is not consistent with there being only 60,000 deaths from violence in a country of 26 million. It is not even nearly consistent.

This is the question to always keep at the front of your mind when arguments are being slung around (and it is the general question one should always be thinking of when people talk statistics). How Would One Get This Sample, If The Facts Were Not This Way? There is really only one answer – that the study was fraudulent.[1] It really could not have happened by chance. If a Mori poll puts the Labour party on 40% support, then we know that there is some inaccuracy in the poll, but we also know that there is basically zero chance that the true level of support is 2% or 96%, and for the Lancet survey to have delivered the results it did if the true body count is 60,000 would be about as improbable as this. Anyone who wants to dispute the important conclusion of the study has to be prepared to accuse the authors of fraud, and presumably to accept the legal consequences of doing so.

This is from a column in the UK where you can suffer consequences for impugning people’s professional findings, unlike here where right-wing pundits are free to make up whatever they like and cast aspirations with impunity. There is some consolation in watching the right-wing cultists fall over themselves to muddy the truth or shrike their responsibility for the moral catastrophe that is Iraq. The collectice denial of the Right does serve to  assure patriotic American everywhere how morally bankrupt conservatives are. This is what George W. Bush said, Bush discredits Iraqi death toll report

“I don’t consider it a credible report,” Mr Bush told a White House press conference in response to a study published in the medical journal The Lancet.

Note that Bush did not offer one thin sliver of documentation. he didn’t point out any flaws in the methodology. He didn’t offer up his own report,

” As Luce reminded me, he said, without data, without facts, without information, the discussions about public education mean that a person is just another opinion. (Bush – September 9, 2003)

Bush and the Right have skunked back into a hole of the faith based world of argument. Just believe what they say. How intellectually lazy and morally relativistic can conservatives get, there looks to be no limit. Connecticut’s GOP Rep. Christopher Shays Self-Destructs

U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays was under fire yesterday after saying in a debate earlier this week that the abuse at Abu Ghraib prison was not torture but rather a “sex ring” involving National Guard troops.

I try not to think of day old oysters. Just as I also try not to think of conservatives and sex at the same time. Jerry Falwell and Chris Shays are two reminders of why that is a good rule,

According to an Amnesty International bigwig Shay’s comments are dismaying for another reason as well:

This is outrageous for a sitting congressman who was shown pictures (of Abu Ghraib) that were not even available to the public because they were supposed to be more provocative,” said Joshua Rubenstein, Northeast regional director for Amnesty International. “The photographs did not only depict humiliating and degrading treatment of prisoners. They showed prisoners who were killed.”

For those conservatives who close their eyes and put their fingers in their ears everytime they hear about the Conservative Culture of Corruption might want to click over to another web site now, FBI investigates Rep. Curt Weldon

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department is investigating whether Republican Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania traded his political influence for lucrative lobbying and consulting contracts for his daughter, according to sources with direct knowledge of the inquiry.

War and Piece has more on Crazy Curt
Feds probe trip that Kolbe(R) made with pages and hat tip to BlondeSense for this Congressman Runs Ad to Apologize for Affair

Rep. Don Sherwood, a Republican fighting for re-election in northeastern Pennsylvania, says in a TV ad that he is “truly sorry” for cheating on his wife but denies ever abusing the woman he had the affair with.

Ney pleads guilty, says he’ll resign

WASHINGTON – Rep. Bob Ney (R) (news, bio, voting record) pleaded guilty Friday in the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling investigation, the first lawmaker to confess to crimes in an election-year scandal that has stained the Republican-controlled Congress and the Bush administration.

This is all part of a carefully timed and executed plan on the part of the Republican party to push voters into ballistic outrage fatigue. Either that or most of them are just the worthless assclowns that they seem to be. Maybe if they spent more time on careful reflection of their personal demons rather then spying on Quakers and students, conservatives might find some kind of redemption, Documents Reveal Scope of U.S. Database on Antiwar Protests

Internal military documents released Thursday provided new details about the Defense Department’s collection of information on demonstrations nationwide last year by students, Quakers and others opposed to the Iraq war.

The documents, obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, show, for instance, that military officials labeled as “potential terrorist activity” events like a “Stop the War Now” rally in Akron, Ohio, in March 2005.

The Defense Department acknowledged last year that its analysts had maintained records on war protests in an internal database past the 90 days its guidelines allowed, and even after it was determined there was no threat.

Like sands through an hour glass so are the values of America’s right-wingers.

These talks brought vividly before him the political corruption of the
state and the misery of the unprivileged classes. All the land in the
duchy was farmed on the metayer system, and with such ill results that
the peasants were always in debt to their landlords. The weight of the
evil lay chiefly on the country-people, who had to pay on every pig they
killed, on all the produce they carried to market, on their farm
implements, their mulberry-orchards and their silk-worms, to say nothing
of the tithes to the parish. So oppressive were these obligations that
many of the peasants, forsaking their farms, enrolled themselves in the
mendicant orders, thus actually strengthening the hand of their
oppressors. Of legislative redress there was no hope, and the Duke was
inaccessible to all but his favourites. The previous year, as Odo
learned, eight hundred poor labourers, exasperated by want, had
petitioned his Highness to relieve them of the corvee; but though they
had raised fifteen hundred scudi to bribe the court official who was to
present their address, no reply had ever been received. In the city
itself, the monopoly of corn and tobacco weighed heavily on the
merchants, and the strict censorship of the press made the open
ventilation of wrongs impossible, while the Duke’s sbirri and the agents
of the Holy Office could drag a man’s thoughts from his bosom and search
his midnight dreams.
from The Valley Of Decision by Edith Wharton