Saturday, February 04, 2006

Eavesdropping 101: What Can The NSA Do?
Use of these statistical fishing expeditions has been made possible by the access to communications streams granted by key corporations. The NSA may also be engaging in "geographic targeting," in which they listen in on communications between the United States and a particular foreign country or region. More broadly, data mining has been greatly facilitated by underlying changes in technology that have taken place in the past few years (see below).

This dragnet approach is not only bad for civil liberties – it is also a bad use of our scarce security and law enforcement resources. In fact, the creation of large numbers of wasteful and distracting leads is one of the primary reasons that many security experts say data mining and other dragnet strategies are a poor way of preventing crime and terrorism.

Bush waves his magic wand and says make it so, regardless of whether its effective.

As The righties of blogville have taken up the cause of freedom of speech and expression in regards to cartoons that depite what some consider a holy figure in a way that offends many people. Pardon me if I doubt that the right has discovered the wonderfulness of the right of free expression for anyone but themselves. Can we expect some intellectual consistancy. Will they also be defending the rights of cartoonists to lampoon Jesus or Dick Cheney ?


Iraq war is costing $100,000 per minute which I'm sure modern conservatives are all too happy to pay. I just can't figure out why they think its a big deal that a couple pennies of their tax dollar goes for food stamps to fed the poor and elderly. I know, Cons heart Iraqis or at least Halliburton more then poor Americans.

Lies About Blowjobs, Bad. Wars? Not So Much.
Oddly, given the many obvious and quite consequential differences between a blowjob and a botched war effort, the Washington press corps appears to have reached a consensus that the former is a far more serious matter. Pundit "dean" David Broder, who whined that Clinton "trashed the place, and it's not his place," has declared himself uninterested in the question of whether Bush & Co. deceived Congress and the nation into its ruinous Iraq adventure. "This whole debate about whether there was just a mistake or misrepresentation or so on is, I think, from the public point of view largely irrelevant,"

As much as we who center our blogs on politics would like to think that its the high minded subjects of gravity, the future of the nation that is what's important and interesting. For a large segment of the population , which includes reporters, BJ's are far more interesting and they're easier to report on. If you report that the Big Dog lied about an intern you're likely to get less hate mail and grief then if you report that Bush distorted information that lead to an unnecessary war. Sex scandals are safe ground in the world of journalism and too many, though not all modern journalists, prefer to play it safe. Ideals don't buy you a big house in the burbs.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Yep the Abramoff scandal, the Enron scandal, the Tom Delay scandal, the Frist stock dumping, the Halliburton malfeance has really taught those crafty conservatives a lesson. They were going to clean house and get themselves some spring fresh leadership, well maybe not so much, For Boehner, Reform Begins Corruption Continues at Home
That’s right, the new ethically pure, reformist, anti-corruption Congressional Republicans will be led by a Republican from Ohio. Boehner is a member of a male-only country club with a $75,000 initiation fee. Maybe that cleaned out his bank account, which is why he had to take almost $14,000 in free trips from the lobbyist-connected Ripon Society. He also has a history as a bag man for the tobacco lobby during his days as a capo for Newt Gingrich

and this, Boehner can rely on K Street Cabinet
Boehner formed his alliances on K Street when he served as chairman of the GOP conference from 1995 to 1998, when his portfolio included working with lobbyists on K Street.



You know I think Bush is getting a raw deal when people say he isn't compassionate, COMPETITION....Speaking of Medicare prescription drugs
The new Medicare drug benefit will give drug companies up to $2 billion in extra profits this year because they're no longer required to pay rebates on drugs bought by the government for the elderly poor.

....The boost in profits comes from a shift in the drug coverage of 6.4 million poor and elderly people from Medicaid to the new Medicare drug benefit. Unlike Medicaid, which requires drug companies to charge their lowest or "best price" for medications, the Medicare program relies on competition among private drug plans to keep prices low. By eliminating the need to discount drugs for the government, the industry can now pocket the savings.

"The net effect over 10 years is probably closer to $40 billion in extra profit," said Stephen Schondelmeyer, a pharmaceutical economics professor at the University of Minnesota.

See....Bush does heart drug companies with your tax dollars. Without Georgie Boy some of those CEO would have to drive a 5 series BMW instead of a 7 series and we all know what a tragedy that would be. Kevin also reminds us of the floating numbers game, SMOKE AND MIRRORS AT HHS
And yet....something is niggling at me. You see, back when the program was being developed, HHS actually estimated it would cost $400 billion, not $700 billion. As we later learned, this was just a flat out lie, designed to fool Congress into voting for it.


Censorship is a fool's game no matter what point you're at on the cultural on political spectrum. While some on the left occasionally try their hand at it, it does strike me as bizarre that Malkin and the sheep herd of right-wing blogs that follow on her spiked heels have taken up the cause of defending cartoons of Muhammad. There's no question at all that freedom of speech and expression should rule the day, but one can't help but wonder if the Wingnuttery would be in such as uproar defending cartoons of Jesus Christ.
The row intensified on Wednesday when France Soir, alongside the 12 original cartoons, printed a new drawing on its front page showing Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy figures sitting on a cloud, with the caption "Don't worry Muhammad, we've all been caricatured here."

I won't hold my breath waiting for any rhetorical consistancy from Malkin and Crew political Freaks Squad.

Freepers already turning on Alito, while this is worth a smile, one decision does not a Supreme Court justice make. While not a capital punishment is great proponent, I do think it has a place in the justice system. I'm not even sure at this point on how being against capital punishment got to be associated with the left. I guess that stereotyping helps the right-wing talking heads avoid dealing with the complexity of the issues involved.

Seems like ol Grover forgot to drink the kool-aid everyday or his lips would become unglued from Bush's rear...... Grover Norquist: Bush Broke The Law
Referring to what some see as a conflict between fighting vicious terrorists and upholding all civil liberties, Norquist said: “It’s not either/or. If the president thinks he needs different tools, pass a law to get them. Don’t break the existing laws.“

The King go before the Royal Court and ask permission, go through the legal steps to change something. Nope sorry, Grover thinks he lives in a democracy or something like it

from Digby: These missing Cheney e-mails are very intriguing
Digby I 'm sure knows that there are rules for President Clinton and the reality based community and then there are rules for Dick Cheney and his minions...excuse me, supporters.. .


Doesn’t it make you feel safe and secure knowing that the fashion police are out in full force these days?


Sam Rosenfeld at Tapped writes:
After all, in terms of marking any real philosophical or organizational crossroads for the Republican Party, the House leadership race is an empty charade. There's no fundamental disagreement here. The modern GOP is basically united in sharing the budget priorities and endorsing the spending outcomes found in this bill. And those priorities, and those outcomes, are truly odious stuff. Now, onward to the tax cuts!

Sam links to this "odious" stuff, ASSESSING THE EFFECTS OF THE BUDGET CONFERENCE AGREEMENT ON LOW-INCOME FAMILIES AND INDIVIDUALS
The kind of wonkish policy stuff that Big Dog Clinton was good at and which conservatives see as an abandoned car to be striped.

Dead Man Talking
George Bush is hanging by a thread. As he gamed his way through his fifth State of the Union speech last night, it was clear that his is a presidency laying in ruin. Except for a reactionary judiciary that will be his continuing legacy -- pushed past the too-little, too-late efforts of a limp Democratic Party -- Bush has no accomplishments he can look forward to in the next three years.

George is dead, spun-out of spin, yet like his zombie followers, he just keeps on talking.

His supporters do seem to be on auto-pilot, repeating the same lies over and over doesn't make for good governance no matter how much you reword them.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Assrocket's false outrage and the usual conservative hypocrisy continues

The conservative blogs are very upset with Coleen Rowley retired FBI agent who is running as a Democrat against Rep. John Kline (R) because on her web site they ran a comical picture of Kline as the bumbling Colonel Klink from the old TV series Hogan's Heros. Assrocket from Powerline has the exploits it for all its worth. Meanwhile, M's Rowley has apologized.
Rowley, a retired FBI agent, said she would phone Kline to apologize.

"I'm going to say that ... it was in bad taste. ... This was a Nazi uniform and I didn't grasp that impact, and I apologize for any bad feeling that he got from that," she said in a phone interview. "But I would not apologize for thinking that his representation of our [Second] district has been incompetent. I think that many, many things that John Kline has uttered have been incorrect."

The blog showed a photo of Ulysses S. Grant next to the picture of Kline, superimposed in Klink's uniform with a monocle over his left eye. It mocked Kline's effort last year to replace Grant's visage with Ronald Reagan's on the $50 bill. It noted that Minnesota cast presidential electoral votes for Grant in 1868 and 1872, while Minnesota was the only state that Reagan lost in 1980 and 1984.

Rowley said she also apologizes to anyone thinking the photo was meant to denigrate the military, saying she has "the highest respect for our military men and women." Her daughter, her brother and her brother-in-law all have served in the military, she said.



The head spins at the false outrage. What day was it that conservatives discovered ethics in campaigning. Assrocket writes,
Coleen Rowley As the Democratic Party continues its slide into disrepute, there doesn't seem to be any bottom in sight. Here is the latest smear from the Dems: candidate Coleen Rowley has published a despicable slander of my own Congressman and friend, John Kline, depicting him as a Nazi.

In a sane world, the pathetic Ms. Rowley would be forced to resign from the race in humiliation.

I've looked for the post where Assrocket condemns Saxby Chambliss and the RNC for the attacks on Max Cleland that were far more symtomatic of the entire Chambliss campaign and more egregious, Cleland defeated by conservative
Cleland had sided with fellow Democrats by insisting that workers' civil-service protections be retained. Chambliss even ran a TV ad picturing Cleland with Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

If M's Rowley is "pathetic", what does that make Assrocket, Chambliss, and the RNC for either their complicity or silence for the reprehensible attack on Cleland.
As for Kline himself, he's not exactly squeaky clean, he recieved $30,000 from DeLay's ARMPAC.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Right-wing bloggers become rabid over Alito

Michelle says jump, right-wing bloggers ask how high ?
Michelle Malkin and fellow right-wing bloggers have taken great offense at Senator Ted Kennedy's defense of this great country and the Constitution of the United States. Many are at a lose as to why blogers like RightWinged.com, Expose the Left, In the Bullpen, Stop The ACLU, Mark in Mexico, Sister Toldjah, The Strata-Sphere, Sigmund, Carl and Alfred, Betsy's Page and bRight & Early are foaming at the mouth
at a Senator with fewer sins then most Republicans, who is willing to put country and patriotism before party loyalty.

The best Malkin can do is criticize Senator Kennedy for standing up for freedom and justice. No cogent arguments from All Mouth Michelle.

One blogger, Mark in Mexico ( is he even a citizen?) writes this, "January 30, 2006 - comes completely unstuck during anti-Alito speech to US Senate." Which is the closer thyng that the wing-nut blogger can come up with as a cogent argument against Kennedy and for Alito. When the facts fail, attack - the modus operandi of the Right.

Rightwing.com also decides that the most important thing that he can do today is mock Senator Kennedy and practice his condesending attitude in front of a mirror.

The Strata-Sphere says, "I am going to keep this short, mainly because there is not a lot to say. The Democrats have been performing their usual trick of misleading bravado since the Gang of 14 agreement last spring." This from a member of a party and suppoter of a president that cannot move it lips without lying or take its hands out of its pockets without taking a payoff. Again no defense of Alito's legal philosophy , just the Bush is the messiah and that's all the reason he needs.

Stop the ACLU, who seems to have a predilection for soft porn judging by the ads says," Liberals must be heart broken that the Supreme Court will soon be more balanced towards the Constitution." While the hearings were pretty awful, it was clear that Alito doesn't care to much for the Constitution, unless an interpretation of the Constitution pre-sufferage is what America's values have become.

In the spirit of fair and balanced, what is it that the distinquished Senator from Massachusetts say that has the righties foaming at the mouth?
KENNEDY LEADS FIGHT AGAINST CLOTURE VOTE ON ALITO NOMINATION
(AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY)
Mr. President, this is one of the most important debates we will have during this Congress and for decades to come. Other than a vote to authorize war, there is no more important vote in the Senate than the vote on a nomination to the Supreme Court. Those confirmed to life-time positions on our nation's highest court have vast power to affect Americans' everyday lives.

Our decision on Judge Alito's nomination will affect the rights and freedoms of all Americans long after President Bush leaves office. It will determine our progress for decades to come. Whether Judge Alito becomes a Justice is a decision that will affect not only our own generation, but the lives of our children and grandchildren as well.

• The Supreme Court's decisions affect the ability of Americans to be safe in their homes from irresponsible searches and seizures and other Government intrusions.

• They affect whether the rights of employees can be protected in the workplace.

• They affect whether families can obtain needed medical care under their health insurance policies.

• They affect whether people will actually receive the retirement benefits they were promised.

• They affect whether people will be free from discrimination, prejudice and outright bigotry in their daily lives.

• They affect whether Americans' most private medical decisions will remain a family matter, or subject to government interference.

• They affect whether persons with disabilities will have access to public facilities and programs.

• They affect whether we will have reasonable environmental laws that keep our air and water clean.

• And they affect whether large corporations can be held accountable when they injure workers and consumers.

These questions touch almost every American in some way. Our vote this afternoon may last only minutes. But its profound effects on the lives of average Americans will endure for a lifetime. Surely this deserves a full debate before the final roll is called on this nomination.

Each of these issues and many others have been addressed by the Supreme Court in recent years. In many of these cases, the Justices were narrowly divided, and these issues are likely to be the subject of Court decisions in years to come.

The Supreme Court's decisions are also profoundly important to maintaining the basic checks and balances established in our Constitution to ensure that no one branch of government gains too much power to restrict Americans' liberties. It decides cases affecting the power of Congress to protect the national health, welfare, and safety. It also ensures that the President executes the laws in a way that respects individual rights.

Americans deserve to know that Supreme Court nominees will give fair and impartial consideration to these important questions. That's why the Senate must consider Judge Alito's judicial philosophy, and not merely be a rubber stamp of approval for this nomination.

Unlike the other branches, the Supreme Court is the one branch of government that was designed to be above politics. Those who come before the Court must have confidence that their claims will be heard fairly, and that their cases - as much as possible - will not be viewed through the lens of ideology or partisanship. The Framers of the Constitution intended the judiciary to be fully independent of the other branches of government, so that they could decide cases based on our Constitution and laws, rather than on the changing political winds. That is why they gave federal judges life-time tenure.


Is is good to know that every value that good, decent, hard working, fair minded American is for, the right-wing nuts are against.

From Booman Tribune, Alito and Abuse of Power
In these circumstances we should not even be debating the wisdom of putting Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court. Samuel Alito was selected because he is one of the few judges in the country that might rule in Bush's favor if and when his assertions of executive power come before the court. Voting for Alito is no different than endorsing the erasure of the 4th amendment.

and Booman points us to this Newsweek article, Palace Revolt
These Justice Department lawyers, backed by their intrepid boss Comey, had stood up to the hard-liners, centered in the office of the vice president, who wanted to give the president virtually unlimited powers in the war on terror. Demanding that the White House stop using what they saw as farfetched rationales for riding rough-shod over the law and the Constitution, Goldsmith and the others fought to bring government spying and interrogation methods within the law. They did so at their peril; ostracized, some were denied promotions, while others left for more comfortable climes in private law firms and academia. Some went so far as to line up private lawyers in 2004, anticipating that the president's eavesdropping program would draw scrutiny from Congress, if not prosecutors. These government attorneys did not always succeed, but their efforts went a long way toward vindicating the principle of a nation of laws and not men.

If not the "I" word, then censure. Unlike Iran-Contra it doesn't look like there's going to be an Ollie North to burn the evidence.

"It is just hard to get a country happy and stable when your kids are drinking from puddles."
One of the administration's three legs of the Iraq strategy was supposed to be a reconstruction. In recent documents, that leg has been deleted. When that strategy falls, as a two-legged stool must eventually - it will fall on our troops

never fear the righties will once again shirk any responsibilty for this and find someone else to blame.the nest John Murtha, or maybe Cindy Sheehan, Yea that's the ticket blame it all on Cindy.

Filibustering Alito For Reasons Other Than Alito:
- Because President Bush authorizes spying on Americans without a warrant.
- Because President Bush authorized torture by Americans and through renditioning.
- Because President Bush detains people without charge for an indefinite period.
- Because President Bush ignores whatever laws he wants, even if he signs them.
- Because President Bush lied about Iraq to get us into the war.
- Because the Army is stretched "to the breaking point."
- Because the reconstruction of Iraq is being fucked up, too.
- Because President Bush refuses to acknowledge what it's gonna take to help the people of the Gulf Coast.

There are other reasons at the post. To some it up, Alito is bad for the future of democracy, that s the only reason that counts.


When will the Swiftboating of Chuck Hagel begin: Hagel: Bush “Can’t Unilaterally Decide That A 1978 Law Is Out of Date And…Violate The Law”

If he needs more authority, he just can’t unilaterally decide that that 1978 law is out of date and he will be the guardian of America and he will violate that law. He needs to come back, work with us, work with the courts if he has to, and we will do what we need to do to protect the civil liberties of this country and the national security of this country.



Bush Plans To Start Think Tank Devoted to French Political Thought
I think I just heard a few thuds from the forest, it was probably all the freepers falling over from heart attacks. Just what we need another right-wing think tank, that's an oxymoron anyway. Right-wingers don't think, they bellow, they hem, they haw, they garble language and logic. Thinking to have value requires at the very least honesty.....where are those WMD and that part of the constitution that says Bush is King.