If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it

Is Dick Cheney evil? It somewhat depends on how you define evil. If you think evil is some other worldly force that takes possession of a person and forces them to do unconscionable acts against their will then Cheney is not evil. If you think that evil is when a human being acts with harmful and malicious intent against other people or nations then yes Cheney is more likely then not evil, CIA analysis finds no Iranian nuclear weapons drive: report

A classified draft CIA assessment has found no firm evidence of a secret drive by Iran to develop nuclear weapons, as alleged by the White House, a top US investigative reporter has said.

Seymour Hersh, writing in an article for the November 27 issue of the magazine The New Yorker released in advance, reported on whether the administration of Republican President George W. Bush was more, or less, inclined to attack Iran after Democrats won control of Congress last week.

A month before the November 7 legislative elections, Hersh wrote, Vice President Dick Cheney attended a national-security discussion that touched on the impact of Democratic victory in both chambers on Iran policy.

“If the Democrats won on November 7th, the vice president said, that victory would not stop the administration from pursuing a military option with Iran,” Hersh wrote, citing a source familiar with the discussion.

Cheney said the White House would circumvent any legislative restrictions “and thus stop Congress from getting in its way,” he said.

The Democratic victory unleashed a surge of calls for the Bush administration to begin direct talks with Iran.

But the administration’s planning of a military option was made “far more complicated” in recent months by a highly classified draft assessment by the Central Intelligence Agency “challenging the White House’s assumptions about how close Iran might be to building a nuclear bomb,” he wrote.

“The CIA found no conclusive evidence, as yet, of a secret Iranian nuclear-weapons program running parallel to the civilian operations that Iran has declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency,” Hersh wrote, adding the CIA had declined to comment on that story.

A current senior intelligence official confirmed the existence of the CIA analysis and said the White House had been hostile to it, he wrote.

Cheney and his aides had discounted the assessment, the official said.

Why not save the taxpayers a few bucks and do away with the CIA and its intelligence assessments and much like they did with Iraq just make up threats out of thin air. Cheney views the U.S. Constitution and the judicial branch of out our government in much the same way he views any intelligence reports that do not support his ideas about what constitutes reality, Dick Cheney at the Federalist Society last night — translated

In the days following 9/11, the President authorized the National Security Agency to intercept a certain category of terrorist-linked international communications. On occasion you will hear this called a domestic surveillance program. That is more than a misnomer; it’s a flat-out falsehood. We are talking about international communications, one end of which we have reason to believe is related to al Qaeda and to terrorist networks.

Glenn Greenwald replies,

We are spying on American citizens inside the U.S. as they talk on the telephones in their homes. And we are doing so in secret, with no warrants or oversight of any kind. But it is a “flat-out falsehood” to say that this is “domestic surveillance.” Everyone knows that when a Government spies on the conversations of its own citizens while they are inside the country, that has nothing to do with “domestic surveillance.”

Glenn points to this post by the Anonymous Liberal at The Carpet Bagger Report, Cheney’s Deeply Pathological Speech to the Federalist Society

Rather than be repetitive, let me just add that if Cheney truly is confident that the “Terrorist Surveillance Program” rests on “firm legal ground,” then he is utterly detached from reality and entirely insulated from the people actually running things in the West Wing. After all, there’s a reason the White House has been trying so hard, post Hamdan, to secure legislation legalizing the TSP. There’s a reason why, after Hamdan, they were suddenly interested in working with Arlen Specter where they hadn’t been before. It’s because they know that, absent legislation, the program is sure to be struck down. Indeed it already has been by one court (a decision Cheney is “confident” will be overturned).

Let’s do a quick review of the relevant law. Cheney claims that the AUMF “provides more than enough latitude for these activities” and “[t]herefore the warrant requirements of the FISA law do not apply to this wartime measure.” That is just such rubbish. No serious person bought this argument even before Hamdan, but post-Hamdan, it is entirely frivolous.

The Court observed in Hamdan that “there is nothing in the text or legislative history of the AUMF even hinting that Congress intended to expand or alter the authorization set forth in . . . the UCMJ.” All you have to do is substitute “FISA” for “UCMJ” and you know exactly what the Court would say about Cheney’s argument. You’ll never see a Supreme Court precedent more precisely on point.

There is an America and then there is a country in which Dick Cheney resides and that country exists solely in his delusional Republican. Cheney isn’t even an original hack at disseminating propaganda. On the contrary Cheney sounds like an echo of Limbaugh, Coulter, O’Reilly, G. W. Bush and Joseph Goebbels

This ability to believe is rather weak in some circles, above all in those with money and education. They may trust more in pure cold reason than a glowing idealistic heart. Our so-called intellectuals do not like to hear this, but it is true anyway. They know so much that in the end they do not know what to do with their wisdom. They can see the past, but not much of the present, and nothing at all of the future. Their imagination is insufficient to deal with a distant goal in a way such that one already thinks it achieved.

[ ]…That is why their carping criticisms generally focus on laughable trivialities. Whenever some unavoidable difficulty pops up, the kind of thing that always happens, they are immediately inclined to doubt everything and to throw the baby out with the bath water. To them difficulties are not there to be mastered, but rather to be surrendered to.

One cannot make history with such quivering people. They are only chaff in God’s breath. Thankfully, they are only a thin intellectual or social upper class….

[ ]…The people want nothing to do with them. These Philistines are the 8/10 of one percent of the German people who have always said “no”, who always say “no” now, and who will always say “no” in the future. We cannot win them over, and do not even want to. They said “no” when Austria joined the Reich; they said “no” when the Sudetenland followed. They always say “no” as a matter of principle.

One does not need to take them all that seriously. They do not like us, but they do not like themselves any better. Why should we waste words on them? They are always living in the past and believe in success only when it has already happened, but then waste no time in claiming credit for it.

The people want nothing to do with these intellectual complainers. The year 1938 was filled with great and sometimes unnerving tension. But they are delighted at the close of this year with the Führer’s great historical successes.

This people are once more happy about life. Never before has there been such a happy Christmas as that of a week ago, and never before have we looked forward with so much confidence and courage to a new year as we do to 1939.

Embittered Insiders Turn Against Bush

Joshua Muravchik, a neoconservative at the American Enterprise Institute, said he is distressed “to see neocons turning on Bush” but said he believes they should admit mistakes and openly discuss what went wrong. “All of us who supported the war have to share some of the blame for that,” he said. “There’s a question to be sorted out: whether the war was a sound idea but very badly executed. And if that’s the case, it appears to me the person most responsible for the bad execution was Rumsfeld, and it means neocons should not get too angry at Bush about that.”

It may also be, he said, that the mistake was the idea itself — that Iraq could serve as a democratic beacon for the Middle East. “That part of our plan is down the drain,” Muravchik said, “and we have to think about what we can do about keeping alive the idea of democracy.”

Iraq was not a good idea whose execution was bumbled by some people pretending to be grown-ups. It was simply a bad idea. Bush didn’t even know the difference between a Sunni and Shia before he decided to invade, much-less plan for post invasion. Neither Bush, Cheney or any of the neocons realized the extent to which Saddam held together all the tribal and religious factions by force and absent that force the neocons really really believed that they would all instantly fall under the spell of McDonalds, the Gap and bad pop music once the initial invasion was over. Cheney especially is fond of saying that if John Kerry had his way Saddam would still be in power, leaving out the idea that Saddam was bottled up with sanctions and getting old that it wasn’t worth trading 3000 American lives and counting to remove someone that was on his way out anyway. Now who would like to place a bet on what year it will be that Iraq becomes even a remotely stable country much less a democracy. Bush and Cheney will both be in their graves nightmares of world history.
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” – Joseph Goebbels

“There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.” – Dick Cheney

In films murders are always very clean. I show how difficult it is and what a messy thing it is to kill a man

Sounds like an interesting book from this review, Hitchcock as Philosopher by Robert J Yanal

The book is aimed at a general intelligent readership interested in a relatively new way of reading some of the director’s more famous films. (Along with the movies mentioned in this review, Yanal has essays in the book on: Suspicion, North by Northwest, Shadow of a Doubt, Psycho, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and The Birds.)

[ ]…Previous philosophical knowledge is not at all essential for understanding the essays in this book. Yanal provides the reader with all the philosophical background needed. He sticks to classic philosophers to drive his analysis, with a special emphasis on Descartes, but also with a healthy dose of Plato, Wittgenstein, and a few others. He also tends to focus on epistemological problems, with some ethical analysis on occasion.

Hitchcock was either quite brave or reckless in putting so much of his personal psyche on the screen that he and his work provide an almost endless font of speculation. Though I think much, if not most of it was Hitchcock as conman. He did give us the term “MacGuffin” – “[W]e have a name in the studio, and we call it the ‘MacGuffin.’ It is the mechanical element that usually crops up in any story. In crook stories it is always the necklace and in spy stories it is always the papers.” Hitchcock as the celebrity and cultural icon simply played out the MacGuffin in real life. By encouraging people to speculate about him and his motivations he peaked more interest in his films. Of course I’m doing just that here by speculating on what part of the Hitchcock legend was the man and what part was promoter.

Power as a concept has taken on dark connotations for centuries, though not all power is inherently dark. Especially if power presents as opportunity to do good. A quaint concept, but still relevant. And I am not talking about choosing between lesser evils. Bush for example cam in many respects be regarded as evil, but there are greater evils in the world. It is both a shame and a waste in so many ways that Bush with the support of so many Americans has not only abused our power as a nation, but has diminished it. That power could have a tremendous amount of good for America and the world. America Faces a Future of Managing Imperial Decline

Elsewhere the neoconservative project was stillborn. North Korea was branded as part of the “axis of evil” but the US, in agreeing to the six-party talks as a way of handling the crisis on the Korean peninsula, tacitly admitted that it simply did not enjoy enough leverage to deal with the Kim regime. This was demonstrated more forcibly with its failure to prevent the recent nuclear test, and the US’s subsequent dependence on China for seeking some means of engaging North Korea in dialogue. In fact China has now cajoled the US into accepting the need for it to do something it had previously resisted: entering into direct talks with North Korea, with China playing the role of honest broker. For all the neoconservative bluster, the US is simply too weak in east Asia – and China too strong – for it to be anything other than a secondary player in the North Korean crisis. It has been a striking illustration of the slow, remorseless decline of American influence in the region.

Meanwhile, in the region that it has dominated for well over a century, which it has traditionally regarded as its own backyard and in which it intervened with impunity throughout the cold war – namely Latin America – the US is now facing its bleakest ever situation, far worse than anything the Cuban regime represented during the cold war. The US is confronted with a formidable and well-resourced adversary in Chávez’s Venezuela, and a continent in which the left has made extraordinary progress. The Bush administration, so far at least, has been quite unable to halt its growing isolation in Latin America and the left’s onward march.

Even in the Middle East, the weakness of the neoconservative position has become increasingly evident in its handling of Iran, another member of the “axis of evil”. As in the case of North Korea, the US, partly as a result of its preoccupation with the occupation of Iraq, in effect devolved negotiations over Iran’s nuclear ambitions to the group of four consisting of Germany, France, Russia and the UK.

It is not a matter of throwing a last hand full of dirt on the grave of American power it is far more subtle then that. Take South America as a for instance. This is a continent that has endured every kind of petty dictatorship from across the political spectrum and the last five years would or should have been a time in which the US played a part in steering nations like Venezuela toward moderation. Instead what we have had is some pudgy middle aged guys yell high school insults at each other. Like high school grudges, the international resentment that Bush and the neocons have engendered with their high school style high jinx will haunt us for years. Regardless of who the next president is or their party affiliation they will have to, in order to have a marginally successful presidency act like a school janitor cleaning up the mess the children left behind.

Bush choice for family-planning post criticized

WASHINGTON – The Bush administration has appointed a new chief of family-planning programs at the Department of Health and Human Services who worked at a Christian pregnancy-counseling organization that regards the distribution of contraceptives as “demeaning to women.”

Eric Keroack’s attitude about birth control is indicative of the same conservative mind set that has managed Iraq, Afghanistan, the economy, Katrina, and the environment. It probably doesn’t matter what great plans you draw up , what grand goals you might have, or even if the conservative faces change from Bush conservatives to McCain conservatives, they’re going to keep screwing up because they have such a fragile grasp of reality.One can’t really make rational informed decisions when you’ve confused your fuzzy bunny slippers with your jet skis.

“There is nothing to winning, really. That is, if you happen to be blessed with a keen eye, an agile mind, and no scruples whatsoever.” – Alfred Hitchcock

“In films murders are always very clean. I show how difficult it is and what a messy thing it is to kill a man.” – Alfred Hitchcock

You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings

Sexual Success And The Schizoid Factor

Ever wondered why uncouth, scruffy rock musicians are pursued by legions of doting, lovelorn female fans? Or why women threw themselves at Pablo Picasso? Well, a new study suggests that creativity may confer an evolutionary advantage in finding a mate; indicating that creative types have increased sexual appeal. But paradoxically, people who have certain traits predictive of schizophrenia – a condition not normally associated with evolutionary fitness – also have a higher propensity toward artistic ability. This creative ability, say some evolutionary experts, is far from being a disadvantage, as creativity is highly attractive when it comes to mate choice.

I have wondered about this phenomenon myself especially in the context of a talk show that I caught a few minutes of some years ago. A few women stood up to give their opinions about how men view women and what men care about. One young woman asserted that all men care about is physical attractiveness. Her assertion enjoyed a round of applause and I have heard other woman express similar views. This study would seem to suggest that women can be just as shallow as men and not all that different in what constitutes attractiveness. My pet theory and it is only that, is that women in general care just as much about the physical as men only throw in some tangibles in the mix like income or income potential and/or some intangibles like talent/fame. This is not a condemnation as much as just an acknowledgement of what seems to be established general trends in behavior. They may not even be conscience trends. Men and women seem to gravitate toward those that fulfill physical, emotional, and economic needs and that gravitation seems to have some roots in our psychological evolution.

I guess you can’t blame them for trying. Republicans have been in the position of having so much unfettered power over the last six years that it is only natural they would try some last minute shenanigans, Republicans propose last-minute spy bill

The outgoing Republican chairman of a key U.S. Senate committee has made a last-minute attempt at giving the Bush administration what he calls the necessary “resources” for carrying out its phone call and Internet surveillance within the law, but critics remain unconvinced.

In remarks on the Senate floor on Tuesday afternoon, Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter marketed his new 11-page proposal as “a significant advance in protecting civil liberties.” Once one of the few Republicans to question openly the legality of the National Security Agency’s warrantless terrorist surveillance program, the veteran Pennsylvanian politician drew criticism this summer for endorsing a bill that would allow–but not require–the Bush administration to submit the operations for court review.

If good ol Dubya feels like submitting operations to court review he can? So conservative are pushing a mood based touchy feely element into the delicate balance between national security and constitutional safeguards. Far be it from me to discourage Republicans from getting in touch with their emotions and what to do with their moods, but it does seem that when it comes to the law that lives should not hang in the balance because of how a spoiled malicious frat boy feels on any given day.

One section, for instance, would require the U.S. attorney general to “fully inform” the Senate and House of Representatives intelligence committees semiannually of any electronic surveillance undertaken without a court order. But it would also scale back a 1947 law that governs reports on government intelligence activities to Congress, requiring only that the chairmen of each congressional intelligence committee be privy to those documents.

Talk about seriousness and professionalism. Hey Dick didn’t we tap some guy back in June or July, I think it was a Thursday, do you remember why we did that, has anyone seen that file. We can trust these happy shiny people because that have a record stellar record of honest and ethical behavior? CIA Acknowledges 2 Interrogation Memos

After years of denials, the CIA has formally acknowledged the existence of two classified documents governing aggressive interrogation and detention policies for terrorism suspects, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

But CIA lawyers say the documents — memos from President Bush and the Justice Department — are still so sensitive that no portion can be released to the public.

The disclosures by the CIA general counsel’s office came in a letter Friday to attorneys for the ACLU. The group had filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New York two years ago under the Freedom of Information Act, seeking records related to U.S. interrogation and detention policies.

The lawsuit has resulted in the release of more than 100,000 pages of documents, including some that revealed internal debates over the policies governing prisoners held at the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Many other records have not been released and, in some cases, their existence has been revealed only in media reports.

Friday’s letter from John L. McPherson, the CIA’s associate general counsel, lists two documents that pertain to the ACLU’s records request.

The ACLU describes the first as a “directive” signed by Bush governing CIA interrogation methods or allowing the agency to set up detention facilities outside the United States. McPherson describes it as a “memorandum.” In September, Bush confirmed the existence of secret CIA prisons and transferred 14 remaining terrorism suspects from them to Guantanamo Bay.

December 5, 2005

Shortly before leaving for a four day tour of Europe, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice defended extraordinary rendition rhetorically with the phrase, “takes terrorists out of action and saves lives,” claimed that the United States does not and has not “transported detainees from one country to another for the purpose of interrogation using torture.” Even if true, that claim does not exclude transporting for the purpose of torture as punishment. In what looks like a tacit admission Rice refused to deny that the United States was maintaining or had maintained secret prisons in European Union member states. See text of Remarks Upon Her Departure for Europe. She also Sam Knight “Rice Admits CIA Transfers But Denies Torture,” TimesOnLine. December 5, 2005.

Current and former CIA oficers speaking to ABC News on the condition of confidentiality said that the secret prisons in Europe were closed and the prisoners moved after Human Rights Watch reported their existence in Poland and Romania. They also said that 11 top al Qaeda prionsers were moved somewhere to a facility in North Africa before Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice arrived in Europe. Source: Brian Ross & Richard Esposito. n.a. “Exclusive: Sources Tell ABC News Top Al Qaeda Figures Held in Secret Prisons,” ABC News. December 5, 2005. ABC News Report

The usual disclaimer, this is not about letting the bad guys go, it is about due process and protecting the innocent. Conservatives are in full Lynn Cheney mode, everybody is guilty until proved innocent and the administration has taken away any means a prisoner would need to prove their innocence which hey is no big deal just more collateral damage in the endless and almost boundless and morally challenged “war on terror”.

“You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings.” – Pearl S. Buck

” If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.” Abigail Adams

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former

FOX NEWS INTERNAL MEMO: “Be On The Lookout For Any Statements From The Iraqi Insurgents…Thrilled At The Prospect Of A Dem Controlled Congress”…
This isn’t much of a shock. I think Vice-President Gore once said that Fox was simply an extension of the Republican party. The real problem is how unhinged this view of reality is and how keen they are to push the fringe right narrative of reality. The Republicans lied us into Iraq making Americans easy targets for insurgents and has gotten over 3000 killed that would otherwise be at home getting ready for Thanksgiving with their families. People that get you killed based on lies are not particularly moral or patriotic. Democrats are not the ones that write the script for what happens in Iraq or how to counter radical Islamic terror, Bush has done that for six years and will continue to do so for the next two. These kinds of media as Pravda attacks is all too predictable. Bush and conservatives failed day after day to have a winning rational strategy for Iraq and for al-Queda and now that Democrats have won the majority of both houses they will become the whipping boys for Bush’s continued failures.

Abramoff Reports to Prison Tomorrow; Offers Testimony on Democratic Senators

Sources close to the investigation say Abramoff has provided information on his dealings with and campaign contributions and gifts to “dozens of members of Congress and staff,” including what Abramoff has reportedly described as “six to eight seriously corrupt Democratic senators.”

If there are corrupt Senators that have yet to be named and investiagted in either party then by all means let’s get the investigation going. But this does seem like odd timing. Why didn’t Abramoff do this before the election. Did the mid-term sweep by Democrats make the jail-house Republican a little bitter especially knowing that he inadvertantly was one of the factors that lead to a big Democratic win. The Blotter is obligated to reports tidbits like this, but it is so incoherent that it seems that Abramoff was probably having a bad day rant. Then there is this on Unka Karl,

The sources say Abramoff was about to provide information about Bush administration officials, including Karl Rove, “accepting things of value” from Abramoff.

Rove has denied any wrongdoing in his dealings with Abramoff. But the lobbyist visited the White House at least seven times, according to Secret Service logs obtained by Judicial Watch.

I could be wrong. I hope I am, but if Jack Abramoff had the goods on Karl Rove or Bush he would have spilled it before now. Since investigating Karl is like running in a turtle race we probably shouldn’t expect anything concrete for a year or more.

I’ve mentioned Republican blogger Captain Ed before and it is very unforyunate that Cap has come down with a terrible case of Suddenly Inexplicablily Nieve Disease. Posted by Captain Ed at November 14, 2006 09:19 PM – Abramoff To Turn On Democrats Next? ,

The Rove mention seems a little odd. After all, Rove has no legislative power, nor any direct impact on policy or spending. Abramoff may well have provided Rove with some gifts, but what would Rove be able to get Abramoff in return? He could have acted as an entree to Republican lawmakers, but that’s hardly illegal, and from all of the evidence we have seen, Abramoff hardly needed any help in throwing money at Senators and Congressmen.

So who could Abramoff have been referencing? Well, the first guess would be the new Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid. CQ has covered Reid’s connections to Abramoff and his clients in detail in the past:

Cap is one of the big name conservative bloggers which would suggest that he would know something about politics, government and the people he does so much genuflecting for. Rove is Deputy Chief of Staff, he has headed the Office of Political Affairs, the Office of Public Liaison, and the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives. Cap thinks that these are mere titles and that all Rove does is make coffee and have nice little chats with people that want a photo op with George. Let’s not talk about some legislation that Rove got passed for Intel whose stock he just happen to own or Rove’s “strategic communcation” group that worked as a kind of public relation firm within the Whitehouse to sell the Iraq “threat” to the press and the public. Nope according to one of the big time Repuiblican bloggers Karl just has bake sells and other mundane duties that have nothing to do with setting policy.

As to the Captain’s gotcha on Senator Harry Reid. Reid constituents include some of the same Indian tribes that Abramoff had as clients. That is the big connection. Reid has passed legilation that has been helpful to his constiuents including those tribes. There’s your big Reid conpiracy. Reid and Abramoff knew some of the same people and Cap wants the world to believe in this childish guilt by simplistic association garbage. Cap still doesn’t understand why he and his party just blew an historic election.

So tha the RNC’s serial corruption goes on uninterrupted they’ve pushed another fake good ol boy to the top of the heap, Ney Admits to Lobbying Florida Senator

It hasn’t gotten much attention, but Bob Ney’s guilty plea released today contained dirt on at least one other politician.

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” – Albert Einstein

“Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike.” – Theodore Roosevelt

In the document, Ney fessed up to lobbying Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL), then a Bush cabinet official, on behalf of an Abramoff client. The official’s department later acted favorably toward Abramoff’s client, according to news accounts.

A couple other things that Republican bloggers do not seem to understand, timelines and per capita. One Rightie blogger (Wizbang blogger Alexander K. McClure) compares Philadelphia to Baghdad, and finds that in comparison Baghdad is lovely peaceful place and that according to The Bush Doctrine we should have invaded Philadelphia or something to that effect. We can be sure that he didn’t mean to imply that, but that is the logical result of looking through the prism of Al’s world view. Either that or Mr. McClure went to the Donlad Rumsfeld School of Spin.

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” – Albert Einstein

“Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike.” – Theodore Roosevelt

I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, communist subversion, and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids

Calif. Suspect in Threats Due in Court

LOS ANGELES Nov 13, 2006 (AP)— A man suspected of mailing more than a dozen threatening letters containing white powder to Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Jon Stewart and other high-profile figures was in custody and awaiting a court appearance.

Prosecutors were expected to file a criminal complaint against Chad Conrad Castagana, 39, in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Monday. He was arrested Saturday for allegedly conveying false information and sending threats by U.S. mail.

It looks like Castagana was one of the unhinged Republicans that ran the Free Republic website.. He is also an ardent supporter of conservative spokespersons Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, and Michelle Malkin. If Chad had been a Muslim he would most probably had also been charged with terrorism and the Republican pundits would be yelling their paranoid little heads off about how we’re in a global struggle against whatever name they’re pinned to Islamic fundamentalism this week. But Chad is a good wholesome all-American Christian boy and they’re judged by a different standard. Their terrorism doesn’t stink as bad as foreign terrorism. A rose by any name as they say.
People Who Believe in the Easter Bunny Shoudn’t Be Running Things

At about 35 minutes into this program, Harris said that the main source of White House interns is not Harvard, MIT, Stanford, or Bush’s alma mater Yale. Instead, they come from Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA. Not familiar with this institution? Well, it says this on the “Statement of Faith” page of their web site: “Jesus Christ literally will come to earth again in the Second Advent.”

Harris points out elsewhere in this program that there are people who believe that Elvis is alive, that Poseidon still controls ocean storms, and the Holocaust didn’t happen. However, people who hold these beliefs don’t get jobs like White House Intern, or Secretary of Defense. That means that there’s a different standard for people who believe the equally silly things taught by Patrick Henry College and similar institutions.

It also creates a big problem for an Administration that, whether we like it or not, we depend upon to deal with terrorism that comes to us from Islamic fanatics.

What the hell happen to Virginia, the birthplace of our first four presidents. That fine state’s rep is slipping as Thomas Jefferson’s nightmare’s take bodily form in Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and now Patrick Henry College. It has become rightwing-nut recruiting central. As Mike points out later in the post this has real world implications when you let people that think that rationalism and human life are expendable in the supposed battle against “infidels”. The parallels betweens the far right and Islamic fundamentalists is uncanny.

Did Tom Noe lose his conservative values or was he just living those values, Noe guilty of 29 felony counts; convictions include racketeering, theft, forgery

Tom Noe, the once high-flying Republican financier who went from college dropout to millionaire coin dealer, was found guilty today of stealing money from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and using the cash to erase debts and buy and furnish million-dollar homes.

Noe was found guilty of 29 of 40 charges, including theft, corrupt activity, money laundering, forging records and tampering with documents. He was convicted on the chief charge that he engaged in a pattern of corruption in his management of Ohio’s $50 million rare-coin fund investment with the bureau.

The corrupt activity charge was the most serious, carrying a minimum mandatory 10-year prison sentence.

Oil-consuming giants the United States and China along with oil-producing behemoth Saudi Arabia rank among the world’s worst countries in dealing wth climate change
Well we’re keeping up with China in at least one respect.
Conservatives pick another operative for RNC chair, CNN’s King reported that Martinez had been tapped as RNC chair, omitted Schiavo memo, pattern of blaming staff for missteps

On the November 13 edition of CNN Newsroom, chief national correspondent John King reported that Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) had accepted an offer to become chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC). But while King discussed this development at length — reporting that Martinez “will try to be an optimistic messenger for the party” — he made no mention of Martinez’s admission in April 2005 that his office had authored a memo lauding the Terri Schiavo case as “a great political issue” for Republicans because “the pro-life base will be excited” and it “is a tough issue for Democrats.” Further, King ignored the controversies surrounding Martinez’s 2004 Senate campaign.

In other words a conservative sees a heart wrenching issue not in terms of genuine concern about life and ethics, but as a potential political ax to wield against the party’s opponents and CNN doesn’t think that bit of history is even slightly relevant. Though I[‘m sure he’ll end up with some cushy job at a right-wing think tank, Ken Mehlman should have rode out the storm. If he’s gay so what. There are gay Republicans throughout their party. If it would make Republicans seem hypocritical in light of casting gayness as anti-family, well it is physically impossible for Republicans to get through the day without a strong dose of daily two-faced premium blend.

Mandrake, I suppose it never occurred to you that while we’re chatting here so enjoyably, a decision is being made by the President and the Joint Chiefs in the war room at the Pentagon. And when they realize there is no possibility of recalling the wing, there will be only one course of action open: total commitment. Mandrake, do you recall what Clemenzo once said about war?

No. I don’t think I do sir, no.

He said war was to important to be left to the Generals. When he said that, fifty years ago, he might have been right. But today, war is too important to be left to politicians. They have neither the time, the raining, nor the inclination for strategic thought. I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, communist subversion, and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

from the screenplay Dr. Strangelove by Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern and Peter George

Superstition, idolatry, and hypocrisy have ample wages, but truth goes a-begging

Olbermann taps a well of discontent as the anti-O’Reilly

Keith Olbermann just needed to find his voice. He’d been a droll sportscaster, a serious news anchor and a bickering critic of Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. But none of those personas really clicked.

Then he found one. A little over a year ago, as the White House fumbled and botched the Hurricane Katrina recovery, Olbermann finally blew up.

He concluded a broadcast of his MSNBC cable news show, “Countdown,” with an indignant rant in the rat-a-tat-tat cadence of his idol, Edward R. Murrow. He called it a “Special Comment.”

And just like that, Olbermann found his voice — the angry everyman. He became a liberal counterpoint to conservative media ranters like O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, and an Internet star, too.

The Olbermann phenomenon would be interesting to liberals for obvious reasons, but other then just hating him I wonder if conservatives have even noticed the huge backlash. Its a backlash that hasn’t even found its peak yet. Wait for the bill to come due on all the tax cuts combined with massive corporate welfare and no bid contracts. Plus the continuing death tolls in Iraq and Afghanistan. Baghdad’s morgues so full, bodies being turned away

By the look of this Sunday’s paper the holiday season is underway which means that where possible you might consider buying Blue, buyblue.org. Olbermann and Bill Maher just hurt conservatives feelings, at least what feelings conservatives are capable of, hitting them in the wallet is where it really hurts.

Feingold rules out 2008 run for president. I’m disappointed in some ways, but then he is a much better then average senator and there are never enough of those.

Over the years, through school and work I learned about myths. Norse legends, Greek and Roman gods, the myriad of native American creation stories, but myths are not remnants of the past that still rattle around like background noise. Much of our culture and political policy turns on little myths. In a way progressive bloggers are myth busters. Even allowing for the philosophical notion that the truth might vary depending on perspective and experience the Right always seems outside the park barking at the moon when it comes to myths about minimum wage. I realize their opposition to a living wage is ideologically consistent with their social-darwinistic world view, but as usual it is difficult to justify that opposition in terms of morality and the facts, Nobel Winning Economists: Minimum Wage Boost Will Help Economy – by James Parks, Oct 11, 2006

To hear employers and congressional Republicans tell it, raising the federal minimum wage from a paltry $5.15 an hour to $7.25 will cost jobs and drive the economy down. But 650 economists, including several Nobel Laureates, today said that’s just not true. In fact, raising the minimum wage will have little effect on jobs and will help lift some low-wage workers out of poverty.

Republican leaders in Congress succeeded in preventing an increase in the nation’s minimum wage this year, but the AFL-CIO and working families plan to keep pushing for a new law in the next Congress and to make it an issue in the Nov. 7 elections. Ten years after Congress approved the last raise, the federal minimum buys less than it did in 1951—fewer groceries, far fewer gallons of gasoline, less medicine and less for rent.

The economists, assembled by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and including such heavy-hitters as Nobel winners Kenneth Arrow, Clive Granger, Robert Solow and Joseph Stiglitz, issued a statement that lays out the case for increasing the federal minimum wage:

We believe that a modest increase in the minimum wage would improve the well-being of low-wage workers and would not have the adverse effects that critics have claimed.

While controversy about the precise employment effects of the minimum wage continues, research has shown that most of the beneficiaries are adults, most are female, and the vast majority are members of low-income working families.

As economists who are concerned about the problems facing low-wage workers, we believe the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2005’s proposed phased-in increase in the federal minimum wage to $7.25 falls well within the range of options where the benefits to the labor market, workers, and the overall economy would be positive.

The Terrorists Who Aren’t in the News

On Sept. 11, 2006, the fifth anniversary of the terror attacks that devastated our nation, a man crashed his car into a building in Davenport, Iowa, hoping to blow it up and kill himself in the fire.

No national newspaper, magazine or network newscast reported this attempted suicide bombing, though an AP wire story was available. Cable news (save for MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann) was silent about this latest act of terrorism in America.

Had the criminal, David McMenemy, been Arab or Muslim, this would have been headline news for weeks. But since his target was the Edgerton Women’s Health Center, rather than, say, a bank or a police station, media have not called this terrorism — even after three decades of extreme violence by anti-abortion fanatics, mostly fundamentalist Christians who believe they’re fighting a holy war.

Since 1977, casualties from this war include seven murders, 17 attempted murders, three kidnappings, 152 assaults, 305 completed or attempted bombings and arsons, 375 invasions, 482 stalking incidents, 380 death threats, 618 bomb threats, 100 acid attacks, and 1,254 acts of vandalism, according to the National Abortion Federation.

Who hasn’t heard a Rightie and a liberal or two claim that that we’ve been at war with Islamic fundamentalists since some attack in the 1980s. If attacks on persons and property, death threats and a general attempt to instill fear through sociopathic behavior are considered acts of war, then certainly some conservative Americans have declared war on America. At least that is true if we’re playing by the rules in being consistent in how we describe what terrorism is regardless of the motivations behind it.

“Superstition, idolatry, and hypocrisy have ample wages, but truth goes a-begging.” – Martin Luther

“A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.” – Saul Bellow

and giving to them only the liberty of speaking the truth to him

In internet time this is old news, but I hadn’t seen the full list of 90 advertisers. Air America on Ad Blacklist?

An internal memo from ABC Radio Networks to its affiliates reveals scores of powerful sponsors have a standing order that their commercials never be placed on syndicated Air America programming that airs on ABC affiliates.

The October 25 memo was provided to FAIR by the Peter B. Collins Show, a syndicated radio show originating on the West Coast.

Headlined “Air America Blackout” and addressed “Dear Traffic Director”—referring to the radio station staffer who coordinates programming and advertising—the memo gives the following order to affiliates:

Please be advised that Hewlett Packard has purchased schedules with ABC Radio Networks between October 30th and December 24th, 2006. Please make sure you blackout this advertiser on your station, as they do not wish it to air on any Air America affiliate.

The directive then advises ABC Radio Network affiliates to take note of a list of other sponsors who do not want their programming to run during Air America programming.

Please see below for a complete list of all advertisers requesting that NONE of their commercials air within Air America programming.

The list, totaling 90 advertisers, includes some of largest and most well-known corporations advertising in the U.S.: Wal-Mart, GE, Exxon Mobil, Microsoft, Bank of America, Fed-Ex, Visa, Allstate, McDonald’s, Sony and Johnson & Johnson. The U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Navy are also listed as advertisers who don’t want their commercials to air on Air America.

I was considering an HP notebook after the first of the year, they just lost my business as did most of the others on that list. I can’t extricate myself from Windows OS at the moment, but I will be using Open Office and other alternative products from now on. Some folks were giving Howard Dean a hard time for the fifty state strategy and supposedly being tight with how he distributed funds, but considering how well the mid-terms turned out and the tremendously lopsided right-leaning media Dean should get at the very least a big pat on the back.

IGs Probe Allegations On Global Warming Data

Inspectors general at two agencies have begun an investigation into whether the Bush administration has suppressed government scientists’ research on global warming, officials at NASA and the Commerce Department confirmed yesterday.

Prompted by a request this fall by 14 Democratic senators, the IGs are examining whether political appointees have prevented climate researchers at NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from conveying their findings to the public.

The issue of global warming has emerged as one of the most contentious scientific debates within the administration. In the past year, several federal climate scientists, including James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, have accused the administration of muzzling them, a charge the White House has denied.

And this week’s nominee for the Pravda doublespeak award goes to Richard Mills, spokesman for the Commerce Secretary,

“We support and encourage a process of open, peer-reviewed science, and the role of our public affairs office, like any other organization, is to coordinate and ensure that media get timely, accurate and thorough information,” said Richard Mills, spokesman for Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez.

NASA spokesman Dean Acosta, whose agency came under intense media scrutiny once Hansen aired his allegations in January, noted that since then: “NASA clarified its policy ensuring free and open communications of scientific and engineering data with the public and across the agency. The revised policy was widely distributed and widely reported upon. It is working well.”

Since conservatives regularly demonstrate a phobia for the truth maybe some inventor could help them out and invent a helmet that only allows in facts that conservative find convenient.

Sometimes even liberals buy into the idea that movement conservative say what they mean and mean what they say. So for example when movement conservatives make claim to that grand sweeping cliche that they are for small government, that liberals must be for pro large lumbering ineffective millions of hand-outs government. Few things in politics are further from the truth. Conservatives believe in BIG CONSERVATIVE government, i.e. unregulated government spying that treats every citizen as a suspect, corporate welfare and special legislation for businesses that make huge contributions to conservatives, trampling on centuries old protections legal protections like habeas corpus, the executive branch as having king-like powers(Nixon,Reagan, Bush 1, Bush 2), wildly irresponsible fiscal policies that embrace borrow and spend (Reagan, Bush 1, Bush 2), and the government as official propagandists(see story above) among other hypocrisies that one would have to be ideologically blind not to see. Paul Rosenberg in Liberalism is the “True Conservatism” has more about how conservatives fail to live up to truth in advertising,

The rhetoric of “personal responsibility” has never applied to movement conservatives themselves. It’s always been for other people. The same is true of “fiscal conservatism”–no one can unbalance a budget like Ronald Reagan and the two Bushes, but let a Democrat, like Bill Clinton, take the helm, and watch out! Fiscal conservatism is back with a vengeance. Judicial restraint is similarly “for liberals only,” as a study of Supreme Court decisions showed the conservatives far more willing to overturn laws than their moderate brethren (rhetoric aside, there are no true liberals left on the court.) Conservatives have not lived up to their rhetoric in a long, long time.

Well worth a read especially for those that are a little new to political philosophy or younger voters who have voted Republican because you believed what Republicans told you rather then the history of what they have really done.

I do not wish to leave out an important branch of this subject, for it
is a danger from which princes are with difficulty preserved, unless
they are very careful and discriminating. It is that of flatterers, of
whom courts are full, because men are so self-complacent in their own
affairs, and in a way so deceived in them, that they are preserved
with difficulty from this pest, and if they wish to defend themselves
they run the danger of falling into contempt. Because there is no
other way of guarding oneself from flatterers except letting men
understand that to tell you the truth does not offend you; but when
every one may tell you the truth, respect for you abates.

Therefore a wise prince ought to hold a third course by choosing the
wise men in his state, and giving to them only the liberty of speaking
the truth to him, and then only of those things of which he inquires,
and of none others; but he ought to question them upon everything, and
listen to their opinions, and afterwards form his own conclusions.

from The Prince, Chapter 23 by Niccolo Machiavelli. One on-line dictionary defines Machiavellian as suggestive of or characterized by expediency, deceit, and cunning. So it is little wonder that conservative has become synonymous with Machiavellian.

One of the most important reasons for living is to do something – live outside of yourself

Other then they must have something to whine about the same way alcoholics have to have another drink, I’m having a difficult time understanding why Republicans in a odd twisted way care so much about what Iran thinks, Khamenei calls elections a victory for Iran

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday called U.S. President George W. Bush’s defeat in congressional elections a victory for Iran.

Bush has accused Iran of trying to make a nuclear bomb, being a state sponsor of terrorism and stoking sectarian conflict in Iraq, all charges Tehran denies.

“This issue (the elections) is not a purely domestic issue for America, but it is the defeat of Bush’s hawkish policies in the world,” Khamenei said in remarks reported by Iran’s student news agency ISNA on Friday.

This guy’s world view isn’t all that much different then George W. Bush. He and Dubya believe that the Flying Spaghetti Monster whispers little messages in their ear. They’re two edges to the same coin. The Right ( I’m not pulling any quotes, it’s not worth the bother – the usual suspects Captain’s Quarters, Powerline, Sister Toldjah, GOP Bloggers etc) suddenly claims that it is imperative that the world see America as strong, which the world supposedly did pre-midterm elections and now the world doesn’t. There they go again, conservatives and their reality perception problems shoehorned in with their favorite straw man argument. The world the last few years and the middle-east, particularly the Isalmic radicals saw Bush and his Congressional lap dogs fall for a sucker punch and directing an incredible amount of resources into a fight in Iraq, which true or not the world sees us as losing or at least bogged down in fighting an insurgency that has nothing to do with al-Queda. There are, as our new Senator from Virginia Jim Webb said, terrorists in Iraq now because Bush let them in. Democrats were not in charge when Bush let a clear victory slip away in Afghanistan. The Righties don’t think that Khamenei and Bin Laden had a good snicker over the ineptitude of the fake cowboy from Crawford? Then there’s the meme that Democrats are not committed to fighting terrorism. For a political movement that has proved itself incapable of defining terror or winning, prioritizing resources, and letting Bin Laden get away at Tora Bora among a lengthy list of unforgivable screw-ups; I have to admit they either have a lot of nerve or a rabid blind alliance to partisan politics that has precedent in only the most despotic delusional political movements. If Democrats can get a 40% improvement in Iraq’s reconstruction that would be more then a 100% improvement over the conservative record. These wankers that are trying to pass themselves off as political pundits are actually asking who Iran is going to be more deterred by in regards to the development of nuclear technology. The facts are always the ugly things that are better left in closets as dar as the Right is concerned. Iran has gone ahead with its nuclear program the last five years not feeling the least threatened with the paranoid fringe saber rattlers in charge, as has North Korea. When all else fails, the facts, the truth, the Right always, always tries to rewrite history with themselves as the calvary and our only chance at survival. People that engage in such fairy tales on a consistent basis are usually referred to as children. America just decided to put some adults in charge and it doesn’t matter a flying fig what the Right or Khamenei says its time for some folks to realize they had their chance and they blew it.

Stem cells fend off lung cancer

Embryonic stem cells, the controversial and versatile cells that seem able to do just about anything, have now expanded their repertoire into cancer prevention. A vaccine made from these cells shields mice against developing lung cancer under conditions thought to mimic the effects of smoking.

Safety concerns about injecting stem cells into humans mean that regulatory agencies are unlikely to approve human tests of the vaccine, says lead researcher John Eaton at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.

Nevertheless, he thinks the vaccine is worth testing in people at high risk of developing cancer, such as heavy smokers or people with certain genetic mutations.

Other researchers are more cautious. Cancer vaccines, particularly vaccines made from cells, are notoriously more effective in mice than people, says Jeffrey Weber, an immunotherapist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. “The idea is interesting, but the execution may be impossible,” he says.

But both Weber and Eaton agree that the finding could lead to new ways to prevent or treat cancer.

Another disappointment for Mel Gibson and Jerry Falwell.

Waxman Set to Probe Areas of Bush Gov’t

The Democratic congressman who will investigate the Bush administration’s running of the government says there are so many areas of possible wrongdoing, his biggest problem will be deciding which ones to pursue.

There’s the response to Hurricane Katrina, government contracting in Iraq and on homeland security, political interference in regulatory decisions by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration, and allegations of war profiteering, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., told the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.

“I’m going to have an interesting time because the Government Reform Committee has jurisdiction over everything,” Waxman said Friday, three days after his party’s capture of Congress put him in line to chair the panel. “The most difficult thing will be to pick and choose.”

A Republican in this LA Times article, Democrats are set to subpoena says

“What we have to be wary of, and the American public will be wary of, is a subpoena bazaar here on Capitol Hill, and government by investigation by Democrats,” said Kevin Madden, a spokesman for House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio).

But even some scholars say recent GOP oversight has been lax. “This could be remembered as a historically unique period in which an administration got immunity from Congress to engage in errors with impunity,” said Charles Tiefer, a University of Baltimore law professor and a former House counsel.

If Henry Waxman with the power of the majority party decides to nail you just start lawyering up, you’ll need it. Though Madden speaks from the cover-your-ass position of the the most corrupt Congress since the Reconstruction era there is something to be said for not getting sobpoena happy. The public clearly wanted the Democrats in power to start cleaning up and starting in a better direction. If they get bogged down in endless hearings that will not be perceived as a positive change in course. So as Waxman said, when they ” pick and choose”, I hope they do so on high priority issues that will save lives and taxpayer dollars. Let the FBI loose to handle criminal wrong doing like the Duke Cunninghams, Abramoffs, and Bob Nyes.

Farewell to Jack Palance, Actor Jack Palance; in a Varied Career, Roles as Embodiment of Evil Stand Out

In his first film, “Panic in the Streets” (1950), directed by Kazan and starring Richard Widmark and Paul Douglas, he played Blackie, a killer infected with bubonic plague. After “Halls of Montezuma,” he portrayed Lester Blaine, a lover stalking a terrified Joan Crawford, in “Sudden Fear” (1952); his performance resulted in his first Academy Award nomination as best supporting actor.

He was nominated again the next year for his role as Jack Wilson, the sinister gunfighter who toys with Alan Ladd as the peace-loving former gunslinger in “Shane,” the George Stevens epic. In a final and memorable showdown, freighted with symbolism and foreshadowed throughout the film, Ladd outshoots the black-hatted arch villain.

He was a renegade Apache in “Arrowhead” (1953), Jack the Ripper in “Man in the Attic” (1953), Attila the Hun in “Sign of the Pagan” (1954) and Fidel Castro in “Che!” (1969). Other significant films in which he appeared include “Kiss of Fire,” “Oklahoma Crude,” “The Big Knife,” “I Died a Thousand Times,” ” Le M?pris ” (“Contempt”), “The Lonely Man” and “House of Numbers.”

If you think of yourself as a movie buff and haven’t seen Shane, then your film education is incomplete.

“One of the most important reasons for living is to do something – live outside of yourself and put together an idea, an idea that you want to explore and then complete… Awaken your creative sensitivities!” – Jack Palance

Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power

A little break from pure politics, Thomas Jefferson and Intellectual Property including Copyrights and Patents

The historical records around these quotes reveals quite a lot, but I find it is hard to get perfectly clearly into the mind of Thomas Jefferson on this and perfectly clearly into the role that Jefferson had in that line in the Constitution. However, I am going to argue that he did play a critical role and that he had a clear view that Intellectual Property must only be protected for a time and not be either allowed simply to be in the public domain, nor given ownership through life and successive generations. In other words, while Jefferson was not acting alone in the constitutional provision, he was one of the key procreators of the modern understanding of Intellectual Property.

But some people have noted Jefferson was in France while the U.S. Constitution was written. So, he could not have been seminally involved in establishing what has become the world standard for Intellectual Property. Indeed, the Constitution was penned by James Madison. I will argue that Jefferson was in fact seminally involved, and after the Constitution was written and ratified, involved as a key procreator and definer of Intellectual Property as we know it today.

It is certain that the U.S. Constitution is the first national law that grants intellectual property protection for limited times. Indeed, only England in those times had any form of Intellectual Property Protection. In Europe, the protection of Intellectual Property was considered shameful. The mainland European reasoning is not Jefferson’s reasoning above. It is that society is harmed if people can own ideas. Secret your ideas from observation if you want to own them. Otherwise there is no protection.

In England there was a notion of ownership of Literature (Copyright) and Art (Patents). The terms “copyright” and “patent” were in use. However, in England, these Intellectual Properties were protected as ordinary property, owned for life and heirs.

The framers of the Constitution added “limited times.” The deal to strike the balance between societal harm by letting people own ideas and societal benefit by not letting people own ideas except through secrecy, was the addition of “limited times.”

I think I am in the mainstream on this. That if people secure a copyright or patent they should have protection and profit from that patent or copyright for a certain time. It seems that we’ve strayed too far in allowing protections that last so long that these rights last longer then people’s lifetimes. In effect giving us a system of ordinary property regarding intellectual property, a system which Jefferson had rejected. It is unfair in that someone would have else besides the original inventors would invented the light bulb, a Disney type character or a Windows type operating system. Its the pendulum that has swung the other way, intellectual property protection has become so draconian that rather then encourage innovation it discourages innovation.

Maureen Dowd on Rumsfeld’s departure, A Come-to-Daddy Moment

Poppy Bush and James Baker gave Sonny the presidency to play with and he broke it. So now they’re taking it back.

They are dragging W. away from those reckless older guys who have been such a bad influence and getting him some new minders who are a lot more practical.

In a scene that might be called “Murder on the Oval Express,” Rummy turned up dead with so many knives in him that it’s impossible to say who actually finished off the man billed as Washington’s most skilled infighter. (Poppy? Scowcroft? Baker? Laura? Condi? The Silver Fox? Retired generals? Serving generals? Future generals? Troops returning to Iraq for the umpteenth time without a decent strategy? Democrats? Republicans? Joe Lieberman?)

The defense chief got hung out to dry before Saddam got hung. The president and Karl Rove, underestimating the public’s hunger for change or overestimating the loyalty of a fed-up base, did not ice Rummy in time to save the Senate from teetering Democratic. But once Sonny managed to heedlessly dynamite the Republican majority — as well as the Middle East, the Atlantic alliance and the U.S. Army — then Bush Inc., the family firm that snatched the presidency for W. in 2000, had to step in. Two trusted members of the Bush 41 war council, Mr. Baker and Robert Gates, have been dispatched to discipline the delinquent juvenile and extricate him from the mother of all messes.

Mr. Gates, already on Mr. Baker’s “How Do We Get Sonny Out of Deep Doo Doo in Iraq?” study group, left his job protecting 41’s papers at Texas A&M to return to Washington and pry the fingers of Poppy’s old nemesis, Rummy, off the Pentagon.

“They had to bring in someone from the old gang,” said someone from the old gang. “That has to make Junior uneasy. With Bob, the door is opened again to 41 and Baker and Brent.”

W. had no choice but to make an Oedipal U-turn. He couldn’t let Nancy Pelosi subpoena the cranky Rummy for hearings on Iraq. “He’s not exactly Mr. Charming or Mr. Truthful, and he’d be on TV saying something stupid,” said a Bush 41 official. “Bob can just go up to the Hill and say: ‘I don’t know. I wasn’t there when that happened.’ ”

Bob Gates, his friends say, had been worried about the belligerent, arrogant, ideological style of Rummy & Cheney from the start. He fretted at the way W.’s so-called foreign policy “dream team” — including his old staffer and fellow Soviet expert Condi — made it up as they went along, even though that had been their complaint about the Clinton foreign policy team. A realpolitik advocate like his mentor, General Scowcroft, he was critical of a linear, moralizing style that disdained nuance, demoted diplomacy and inflated villains. In 2004, he publicly questioned the administration’s approach to Iran.

While Vice went off to a corner to lick his wounds, W. was forced to do his best imitation of his dad yesterday, talking about “bipartisan outreach,” “people have spoken,” blah-blah-blah — after he’d been out on the trail saying that electing Democrats would mean that “the terrorists win and America loses.”

“I share a large part of the responsibility” for the “thumpin’ ” of Republicans, he told reporters. Actually, he gets full responsibility.

W. has stopped talking about democracy as a standard of success in Iraq; yesterday, he said that Iraq had to “govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself.”

He was asked if his surprise at the election results showed he was out of touch with Americans. “I thought when it was all said and done,” he replied, “the American people would understand the importance of taxes and the importance of security.”

So it was just that the American people were too dumb to understand? W. also managed to bash Vietnam vets, saying that this war isn’t similar because there’s a volunteer army, so “the troops understand the consequences of Iraq in the global war on terror.” Is that why W. stayed out of Vietnam? Because he understood it?

M’s Dowd being in the loop so to speak would know better then me, but Gates and Baker both drink from the same fountain of ideology that Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld drink from. If she sees a few degrees of difference well I’ll just keep my fingers crossed.

“Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power.” James Madison