The trouble with our times is that the future is not what it used to be

John Edwards has dropped out. Regardless of what happens next Edwards did force the other Democrats to speak to  corporatism, poverty and an ailing middle-class in a way that put those issues on the front burner. There is continued hope or speculation that Edwards would be first in line for the Attorney General spot if a Democrat wins the general election, here and here.

Our current AG proves to be another Conservative stooge putting partisan loyalty to King George above the law.  Mukasey: ‘I Don’t Know’ Whether Bush Has Violated FISA  

In a very thoughtful post on autism and the false link to thimerosal Harold Pollack writes,  The cultural production of ignorance.

My own displeasure is personal. As a caregiver for a man suffering from a genetic condition linked to autism spectrum disorders, I see how families are easily drawn to quackery and hokum. I have also seen how difficult it is for medical science to compete for airtime with unfounded theories and worthless therapies. It is always irresponsible to falsely blame vaccines for health difficulties. There is something especially heartless about a television network that coyly spreads myth in this area.

That cultural ignorance in politics has certainly taken a toll on the country. As arrogant and just plain wrong as Bush and Cheney have been they wouldn’t have been able to give America one giant shaft without ignorance and complacency among voters.

I hope Dem leaders are listening 

“Who do you want to see take the lead role in setting policy for the country: George W. Bush or the Congress?” asks NBC/WSJ. The answer is congress by a 62 to 21 margin. One more reason to think that the weakness and conflict-aversion of the congressional Democrats is a bigger source of their low approval ratings than is any alleged overreaching. The President is very unpopular and people are apparently desperate for Congress to play a bigger role.

Fox News thought it could fool a few people most of the time. They were right and its beginning to catch up to them, Fox News’ ratings take another slide

What does it say about Senator McCain’s campaign that he is getting all the fake action hero endorsements. First Sylvester Stallone and now The Gropinator

Bush continues to try and assert his rule in Iraq and America even when he has left office, Bush asserts authority to bypass defense act 

 President Bush this week declared that he has the power to bypass four laws, including a prohibition against using federal funds to establish permanent US military bases in Iraq, that Congress passed as part of a new defense bill.
more stories like this

Bush made the assertion in a signing statement that he issued late Monday after signing the National Defense Authorization Act for 2008. In the signing statement, Bush asserted that four sections of the bill unconstitutionally infringe on his powers, and so the executive branch is not bound to obey them.

Bush has the right to disagree laws passed by Congress, but laws passed by Congress as explicitly laid out in the Constitution may be vetoed or the president can sign them into law and then challenge them before the SOTU. There is no I’ll just ignore these provision.

“The trouble with our times is that the future is not what it used to be.”

Why the copious flow of lachrymal fluid, my garrulous canine?

The right-wing Heritage Foundation has staked out the usual territory on telecom immunity and changes to FISA. The rule of law must be sacrificed or the terrorists will have won – no note of irony is acknowledged in their position. They even link to this post at Firedoglake which they have made the tiresome choice to label hysterical. If one surgically removed a dozen words from the Conservative vocabulary they’d be unable to utter much on any issue.There is something of a bizarre rebuttal, The Substance-Free Progressive Position on FISA, January 28, 2008  2:56 pm, Protect America

If US intelligence agencies were forced to follow pre-August 2007 FISA law, 100 government officials would have to work year round complying with FISA’s individual warrant requirements for the thousands of foreign to foreign communications they monitor. NSA General Counsel Robert Diaz told Congress: “My concern is analyst time. And the issue that most concerns us is counterterrorism experts and analysts do not grow on trees. And every time I’ve got five or 10 or 15 or 20 counterterrorsim experts working on FISA factual issues, that’s time when they’re not trying to stop the enemies of the United States.”

They link to another Heritage post that says matter of factly,

Each FISA application requires approximately 200 person-hours of government attorneys’ and other intelligence officials’ time for each telephone number intercepted. Only about 100 persons are being monitored in the United States, but this alone requires the equivalent of full-time service of ten government attorneys or other intelligence officials just to prepare the FISA applications.

Actually current law has a spy first get a warrant later provision and it is not necessary once warrant is obtained for government attorney’s to keep filing untold mountains of legal briefs to continue surveillance. Grown men who claim to have cornered the market in regards to serious debate on national security and they resort to factually bogus exaggerations ( Of course the ever wacky Michelle Malkin links to that article without question). In an article titled The Intelligence Community Needs Clear—and Permanent—FISA Reform the authors at The Heritage actually argue that any wrong doing done by corporations should be over looked if they do so because, well the president asked them to. (I will not link to the soft-fascism of the Heritage, but generally should any reader be inclined to do so, if you copy and paste the article title into Google it will be in the first few results). Glenn Greenwald reminds us in Bush’s own words that FISA has been amended and updated, “takes account of the new realities and dangers posed by modern terrorists” and “will allow surveillance of all communications used by terrorists, including e-mails, the Internet, and cell phones.” 

At the link Glenn also notes that the far Right and some members of the MSM are claiming that FISA will expire. One is tempted to call this an incredibly juvenile argument, but juveniles can at least claim youthful ignorance. The Heritage, the right-wing blogs and the MSM are allegedly being written and edited by adults so there is no excuse for making  shrill paranoia laden with excesses of partisan back biting the bulk of their position on telecom immunity and Bush’s extension of PAA.

The PAA’s amendments to FISA — but not FISA itself — expire on February 2 and, due almost entirely to the behavior of the White House and their GOP Congressional followers, it seems unlikely that a new law can be in place by that date. On Thursday, Mitch McConnell blocked votes on all amendments, all but forcing the Democrats to filibuster today in order to prevent a final vote before those amendments can be considered. And, after refusing for months to allow House members access to any documents relating to the programs they’re supposed to vote on, the White House announced last week — just days before the PAA expires — that they will finally allow Representatives to review tens of thousands of new documents.

The House hasn’t been allowed access to documentation they need to make an informed decision. Does that sound more like the old Soviet Politburo or the co-equal branches of a democracy at work.

James Carroll sums of the entirety of Bush’s SOTUs, Our one-way trip to disaster 

YOU AND everyone you love are riding on a large bus. The bus driver, unskilled and careless, drives too fast, ignores traffic signals, and barrels off the road occasionally. Because the bus is huge, other vehicles swerve to get out of its way, with cars crashing repeatedly. But your driver just keeps going, leaving carnage in his wake. Naturally, you are terrified – but your reactions are irrelevant.

Finally, the bus itself crashes, killing many. Miraculously, you and your loved ones climb out of the wreckage. A second bus is standing by, and you gratefully scramble aboard. The engine starts up, but then the bus lurches dangerously onto the road, going too fast. Only then do you see that this new bus has the same driver, and he has learned nothing. Welcome to the United States of America. And welcome to the annual State of the Union address.

Bush and the Conservative movement are like the mental case that walks in a continual circle thinking that if they repeat the same steps over and over again they will somehow get somewhere. They circle consists of two basic premises, even though 9-11 happened on their shift do what they say or you’ll die and they’ve found a way to run the government and expand its powers without ever paying for it. Rinse and repeat.

Bush Urged to Renounce Torture, Restore ‘Moral Authority’ 

“We need to restore America’s leadership in the world, and we truly need a new direction in Iraq,” Pelosi said.

“Our first goal as a country must be to restore that moral authority,” which has “suffered grave damage,” Reid added. When Bush delivers his State of the Union address Monday night, “he can start by announcing America does not torture,” the Senate Democratic leader said.

“Democrats call on him to support one standard of interrogation for the entire United States government, to renounce waterboarding and to finally commit to closing Guantanamo.”

Reid referred to a harsh interrogation technique that simulates drowning and that reportedly has been used to extract information from key suspected terrorists captured after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Why the copious flow of lachrymal fluid, my garrulous canine? ~ Daffy Duck

Bush and Cheney will rule forever, from the country club and beyond

It looks as if Bush and Cheney’s view of unitary executive power not only means dictator-like powers while occupying the Whitehouse, but is to extend into their retirement. One assumes that the worse president and vice-president in American history will be calling the shots in retirement from their golf carts on the eighth tee, U.S. Asking Iraq for Wide Rights on War

WASHINGTON — With its international mandate in Iraq set to expire in 11 months, the Bush administration will insist that the government in Baghdad give the United States broad authority to conduct combat operations and guarantee civilian contractors specific legal protections from Iraqi law, according to administration and military officials.

This emerging American negotiating position faces a potential buzz saw of opposition from Iraq, with its fragmented Parliament, weak central government and deep sensitivities about being seen as a dependent state, according to these officials.

At the same time, the administration faces opposition from Democrats at home, who warn that the agreements that the White House seeks would bind the next president by locking in Mr. Bush’s policies and a long-term military presence.

The Iraqis seem to be taking that part of democracy that includes self-determination seriously,US troops will be gone within 10 years, says Iraqi minister 

US military forces will not stay in Iraq for anything like as long as some American politicians are demanding, says the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari. He said crucial issues about “Who is in charge in Iraq – we or you?” would be settled in negotiations between Iraq and the United States, starting this month.

If the past four years are any indication Zebari will have to learn that what Conservatives mean by democracy changes from day to day and includes a never ending list of caveats that seem to multiply like rabbits.

For an example of the two faced never ending BS that passes for right-wing insight see the New York Time’s newest beltway demigod Bill Kristol, Punditry Kristolized:  Part II by BarbinMD  

As it become more clear that Kristol’s dream of being vindicated wasn’t going to happen, he, still insisting that the war was the right decision, began to shift gears:

    It is fashionable to sneer at the moral case for liberating an Iraqi people long brutalized by Saddam’s rule. Critics insist mere oppression was not sufficient reason for war, and in any case that it was not Bush’s reason. In fact, of course, it was one of Bush’s reasons, and the moral and humanitarian purpose provided a compelling reason for a war to remove Saddam.

Talk about the necons and their wankerish dreams of American exceptionalism, to be brutalized by Saddam equals bad while being brutalized by a counterproductive and disastrous war based on deception after deception smells like roses.

Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people

Dave Neiwert at Orcinus does some more dismantling of  Jonah Goldberg,  About Jonah’s sources  and Responding to Jonah

The language and symbols of an authentic American fascism would, of course, have little to do with the original European models. They would have to be as familiar and reassuring to loyal Americans as the language and symbols of the original fascisms were familiar and reassuring to many Italians and Germans. No swastikas in American fascism, but Stars and Stripes (or Stars and Bars) and Christian crosses. No fascist salute, but mass recitations of the pledge of allegiance. These symbols contain no whiff of fascism in themselves, of course, but an American fascism would transform them into obligatory litmus tests for detecting the internal enemy.

The excerpt is one that Dave uses from historian Robert O. Paxton. One of the commenters gets it. Goldberg’s attempt to render the word fascism either meaningless or just another demonizing epitaph of liberals isn’t new and we should welcome the fact that Goldberg’s drivel has been published. This isn’t the first time the Right has tried to rewrite the history of political thought and actions so closely and justifiably associated with their movement. For instance Neiwert notes that in Goldberg’s revisionism he uses the revisionist history of the right-wing authors of The Pink Swastika, a kind of Holocaust Denial of the persecution of homosexuals. Distorted history layered on top of distorted history all so the Right appears as clean and pure. The Right in Jonah’s version of reality have been the innocent little angels of history who have simply been the victims of bad publicity.

One thing that Goldberg seems to have conveniently ignored is the American Jewish vote. If as Goldberg adamantly claims all liberals are fascists how could he possibly explain the Jewish support of the Democratic Party. The American Jewish Vote

Yet the Jewish vote has remained one of the most solidly Democratic demographics in America. Since the late 1920’s, American Jews have voted overwhelmingly Democratic in federal elections — and no amount of spin can change that simple fact. (chart at the link, 1972-2004)

Goldberg has by very clear insinuation claimed that the Jewish community of the U.S. is effectively pro-fascist.

h/t to Think Progress for this story A Note From Our (Lobbyist) Sponsors

This year, Republicans are in the midst of a big internal discussion about how to further curb earmarks, thereby lessening the influence of special interests on the legislative process. That debate is occurring at an event at least partially funded by lobbyists. Capitol Briefing leaves it to his wise readers to decide whether that constitutes irony.

repub-hypocrite.jpg

Only Republicans would have a band of lobbyists partially fund an event about corruption and not see the irony.

Dumb and Dumber – The U.S. Army lowers recruitment standards … again

Third, a dumber army is a weaker army. A study by the RAND Corporation, commissioned by the Pentagon and published in 2005, evaluated several factors that affect military performance—experience, training, aptitude, and so forth—and found that aptitude is key. This was true even of basic combat skills, such as shooting straight. Replacing a tank gunner who had scored Category IV with one who’d scored Category IIIA (in the 50th to 64th percentile) improved the chances of hitting a target by 34 percent.

Further evidence that the current level of deployments is not sustainable. If you’re in Iraq or Afghanistan on your third tour do you really want to serve with guys that actually make your job not only more difficult, but more dangerous.

“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.” S.  Johnson

Antique World map circa 1856

Antique World Map circa 1856. Starting to look a lot more like modern maps compared to the ones posted from the 1700s.

McCain might been given the worse possible endorsement, from pretend vet Sylvester Stallone. The far far Right can’t stand McCain, anything connected to Hollywood or anything left of Mussolini. I’m not linking to , but this is from a post over at the Free Republic. Note the untethered mash up of dark nefarious forces at work behind the scenes. Knowledge of which only the true rapid nationalists like the freepers have the full story and can appreciate the full implications of, John McCain Gets Soros Cash, Posted on 03/11/2005 8:59:18 AM PST by edcoil, edited on 03/11/2005 7:46:18 PM PST by Jim Robinson

Senator John McCain’s Reform Institute has suffered some bad press recently due to its involvement in an influence-peddling scandal with Cablevision. As usual, however, mainstream media have failed to go to the root of the matter.

Founded on June 26, 2001, McCain’s Reform Institute for Campaign and Election Issues has long served as a nerve center for the so-called “campaign finance reform” movement – a movement which has done nothing to clean up campaign finance, but has done a great deal to empower federal judges and government bureaucrats to regulate political speech, in defiance of the Bill of Rights.

Now here’s the kicker. The list of donors published on the Reform Institute’s Web site reads like a veritable Who’s Who of radical, leftwing foundations, including the Tides Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Proteus Fund and George Soros’ Open Society Institute. (hat tip, Winfield Myers)

No doubt that McCain would be a befuddled president, a slightly more fiscally responsible version of George Bush, but the freepers have never the less dubbed him the worse of all possible things a RINO, a Republican in Name Only. McCain has a pretty straight up far right-wing record. Which tells you how far off the reservation the freepers are. If scientists ever start cloning humans the freepers will probably start clamoring for the resurrection of Joseph Goebbels.

McCain thinks we might stay in Iraq for a hundred years. The military doesn’t think we can sustain our current level of deployment there much less a hundred years,  Troops felled by a ‘trust gap’

George W Bush administration’s counter-terrorism strategy, admitted that “an active counter-insurgency campaign in Iraq could probably succeed in the coming decade with 25 US Brigade Combat Teams”. But that would be more than one-half of the total available in the entire army – a level of commitment that simply cannot be sustained.

With US requirements in Afghanistan – estimated by McCaffrey at four brigades permanently engaged in a campaign that would last 15 years, a continued war on terrorism in Southwest Asia has become nearly impossible. Additionally, McCaffrey says, “The US Army is starting to unravel. Our recruiting campaign is bringing into the army thousands of new soldiers who should not be in uniform” – those with criminal records, who have used drugs, who have been given moral waivers, or who have not graduated from high school. A senior Pentagon official agrees. “We have increased our recruiting totals and tripled the number of our police battalions,” he says, bitterly. “We will soon have to build new stockades to handle the influx.”

[  ]…All of which raises the question of whether the United States should have invaded Iraq in the first place, an issue that is becoming more pertinent to military officers who view the American adventure in Iraq as a political and military failure.

Two City wallpapers

Seaside City wallpaper 

Bridge Lights wallpaper 

And one non-city wall, Blue Waterway wallpaper.

Fox and actual news, sought of like trying to mix oil and water. The Center for Public Integrity reports over 935 false statements by Bush and his lackies and Fox doesn’t think it is worthy of reporting.

Glenn Beck hasn’t read Jonah Goldberg’s book yet or maybe he just can’t read. He’s decided that anyone that wants to do something about America’s record debt (meaning Democrats) are all Stalinists. Big thank you to CNN for continuing to provide such greats insights in the enormous problems facing the country.

Dick Cheney wants immunity for telecoms and he wants it now. All of which would unnecessary if Dick and George hadn’t had realized that the executive branch is equal to, not above Congress. President Bunnypants could have had the good judgment to go to Congress first rather then run his own little hidden government. Now, maybe the telecoms that went along with these shenanigans will have to answer for their incredibly poor judgment.

935 Falsehoods about Iraq. Did the Bushies think it was a contest

False Pretenses Following 9/11, President Bush and seven top officials of his administration waged a carefully orchestrated campaign of misinformation about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

 “exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.”

Most if not all these revelations have come out piece meal over the last five years. That they’re gathered all in one place in a searchable data base is probably the most remarkable aspect of The Center for Public Integrity’s efforts. As much as some journalists, amateur wonks, bloggers and public interest groups that have been keeping track all along and find this new report something of an anti-climax, it is anything but that. We’re still suffering the human and financial consequences of those Bush administration lies and distortions. At five years and counting we’ll have a generation that has grown up with the Republican party and the right-wing noise machine trying disparately to sell the nation a narrative based on grossly exaggerated threats that was and remains clearly false. Yet another price we’re paying and will pay for generations is the credibility of any government official. This administration and its supporters have gievn a new new diminsion to the lessons of crying wolf. When there is an immient threat to the country about which we should all rally how many Americans will blow off the real threats because they’ve reached an unhealthy level of cynism thanks to the Right and its thrill paranoid rantings. Some of this national cynisism could be taken down a notch if Bush and Cheney had a real accountability moment and admitted that they were completely and utterly wrong. That have squandered lives and exploited patriotism for their own cynical political ends. Such a confession could set America on a new path and begin a national reconciliation. That is unlikely to happen precisely because Iraq and the so-called “war of terror” was never about what good for the country, but what would tilt more power toward the Conservative movement.

“President Bush, for example, made 232 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and another 28 false statements about Iraq’s links to Al Qaeda. Secretary of State Powell had the second-highest total in the two-year period, with 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq’s links to Al Qaeda. Rumsfeld and Fleischer each made 109 false statements, followed by Wolfowitz (with 85), Rice (with 56), Cheney (with 48), and McClellan (with 14).

These are the people that are “serious”. How is a nation to take a load of pathological liars and their rag tag gang of unhinged supporters seriously.

One has to take seriously people that are going to defeat Senator Clinton by selling t-shirts. “Legendary” GOP Strategist Launches Hillary Namecalling Effort 

Roger Stone, the groups leader who has a tattoo of Nixon on his back states in the groups IRS filing, “To educate the public about the importance of moral character and integtiry [sic] in those who hold public office.” (emphasis mine) . Stone has exhibited a life long ignorance of what those words mean. The lack of moral character and integrity are among a few other things are the reason the Conservative movement’s moment on history’s arch has passed the tried and failed mark.