Saturday, March 31, 2007

American Media Correspondents' Black Dinner Moment ~ Featuring Karl Rove


That eerie & weird mixture of horror & fascination that makes your skin crawl even while you can't take your eyes off it ~ a train wreck, an unaccountable disaster of some sort involving blood & body parts strewn across the road?

No, it's worse than that by far ~ a bunch of media types in tuxedos rapping, celebrating none other than Karl Rove at a correspondents' dinner party in D.C.

Is this our nation's ultimate stupifyingly frivolous Marie Antoinette moment? Nero fiddling while Rome burns? "Karl Rove, the treasure trove?"
We're all going to hell, people. I see the Bushco boxcars lined up & waiting to transport us even now.


Friday, March 30, 2007

This Just In ~ GonzoGate

Photo: AP

This is a twitter Demon Princess just has to share: a headline reading, "Gonzales clarifies his position ~ followed by "doesn't recall" ~

But he is absolutely certain of this:

"I believe in truth and accountability, and every step that I've taken is consistent with that principle."

And this:

"At the end of the day, I know what I did. And I know that the motivations for the decisions that I made were not based upon improper reasons."

"Gonzales sought to explain weeks of inconsistencies about how closely involved he had been in decisions to dismiss the eight U.S. attorneys. He said he had been aware his staff was drawing up plans for the firings but did not recall taking part in discussions over which people would actually be told to go."

Gonzales is touring the country, talking about safe things, like preventing child sex abuse. The press nabbed him in Boston & attempted to turn the conversation toward even more scintillating topics. (Title bar.)

"Asked why he had not resigned, as some Democrats and Republicans have demanded, he said: 'I am fighting for the truth.'

"Gonzales' credibility took a fresh hit this week with the Senate testimony of his former chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, who said the attorney general was regularly briefed about plans to fire the prosecutors and was involved with discussions about'"this process of asking certain U.S. attorneys to resign.'

Not to mention Gonzo-gate's own Monica, who has already decided to plead the 5th if she were to be called to testify. If anyone else is going to be called to testify publically, that is--Bush is still trying to get Congress to accept off-the-record, closed-door sessions.


Why Prosecution & Politix Shouldn't Mix

Those dirty little secrets have a way of coming out

Today's better-late-than never news is a piece written by a former U.S. prosecutor for the LA Times (title bar). In brief, he says that prosecutions based on politix & deliberate interference with elections is nothing new for the Bushco brigade & their chief enablers (pictured).
Delightful reading, if you weren't under the impression there's anything wrong with that. After all, to the victors go the spoils--including using federal firepower to keep themselves in office, by hook or by crook. Right?
But this satirical piece by may capture the essence of it more faithfully, when it comes down to how ordinary consumers--er, *voters*--feel about the whole mess, which only bores them & distracts them from their patriotic shopping duties.
"So I fired some lawyers. Everyone hates lawyers. Anyway, I’d much rather that folks be hearing about me giving the smackdown to a bunch of fancy-talking, Florsheim-wearing courtroom sissies than hearing other stuff, like news about all those 18 year-olds getting fed into the gaping maw of my Iraq ClusterfuckTM Death Machine."


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Boyz & Their Toyz ~ & One Good Game Of Liar's Poker

Has anybody else been following the recent news about tension between the Brits & Iranis over the disputed territorial waterways & just counting the days until Bushco pounces on it as the excuse its been wishing for?
Comes news today that we didn't have to wait very long. (Title bar.)

The Neocons have had it in for Iran since at least 1997, with their plans for a pax Americana in the New American Century, enthusiastically taken up by Bushco. Might as well start one's campaign for global domination in the oil-rich Mideast, so we don't run out of the fuel we'll need to drive all that military power.
SO. It's no big secret that the very idea of WWIII in the Mideast sets the neocon glands to salivating, & George & Cheney have made no bones about it.
Recently Iran was sanctioned by the U.N. for refusing to suspend its nuclear ambitions. Shortly thereafter Iranian Prez & madman Ahmadinejad pronounces U.N.'s actions "illegal."

Last Friday Iran's Revolutionary Guard captured 15 British sailors in the long-disputed waterway between Iraq & Iran while the Brits were doing the UN's business. The Iranis say that the Brits were in Iranian waters;
the Brits say they were in Iraqi waters.
File Photo: HMS Cornwall

And today:

"ABOARD THE USS JOHN C. STENNIS -- American warplanes screamed off two aircraft carriers Tuesday as the U.S. Navy staged its largest show of force in the Persian Gulf since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, launching a mammoth exercise meant as a message to the Iranians.

"The maneuvers with 15 warships and more than 100 aircraft were sure to heighten tensions with Iran, which has frequently condemned the U.S. military presence off its coast and is in a faceoff with the West over its nuclear program and its capture of a British naval team.

"While they would not say when the war games were planned, U.S. commanders insisted the exercises were not a direct response to Friday's seizure of the 15 British sailors and marines, but they also made clear that the flexing of the Navy's military might was intended as a warning.
'If there is strong presence, then it sends a clear message that you better be careful about trying to intimidate others,' said Capt. Bradley Johanson, commander of the Stennis.

"'Iran has adopted a very escalatory posture with the things that they that they have done,' he added.
"F/A-18 fighter jets roared off the Stennis' flight deck all day, mounting a dozen rapid-fire training sorties against imaginary enemy ships and aircraft. A second task force with the carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower also took part in the drills.

"'These maneuvers demonstrate our flexibility and capability to respond to threats to maritime security,' said Navy Lt. John Perkins, 32, of Louisville, Ky., as the Stennis cruised about 80 miles off the United Arab Emirates after entering the Persian Gulf overnight.

"'They're showing we can keep the maritime environment safe and the vital link to the global economy open.'

"At the headquarters of the Navy's 5th Fleet in Bahrain, Cmdr. Kevin Aandahl said the maneuvers would last several days. He said U.S. warships would stay out of Iran's territorial waters, which extend 12 miles off the Iranian coast.

"None of America's naval coalition partners in the region joined the maneuvers."

File photo, DOD
Aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis
dwarfs the Pearl Harbor Memorial, Honolulu, HI


What's With All The Fuss Around 'Berto, Anyway?


Aside from the way-outta control spying thing, of course. Let's just address the firing of federal prosecutors across the nation.

What's all the fuss about, anyway, when it's fundamentally an "employment at will" & "serves at the pleasure" situation?

That's the response to this excellent series of opinion articles in the WaPo (title bar) from some misinformed diehards, a view I've also seen expounded in various conservative newsrags & blogs, who seem to be taking up a propaganda talking point when they fault 'Berto only for letting a minor thang getting "blown up" into an unjustifed controversy. Even George admonishes that the Dems are just playing partisan politics.

(And he should know all about partisanship ~ it's a battle cry invented for his benefit, after all. Divide & conquer, eh Georgie?)

So what's the big deal, if they only serve at the executive's pleasure?

None, except when its not. Obstruction of justice may be one problem, the Hatch Act may be another.

But in layspeak: it's intuitive that the top law enforcement officer in the U.S. must be able to excercise independent, impartial legal judgment & let those beneath him do the same. The law applies to BOTH parties, last I checked, & prosecutions based on whether a person is a Democrat or a Republican is just beyond the pale. And indefensible.

Otherwise, I say: pass the popcorn. It's very entertaining to watch the Bushco ship of state finally go down. Those cognizant of what's been happening to this country, especially where the "rule of law" is concerned, will be wondering, like me, only why its taken so long.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Domestic Spying ~ FBI Pledges To Clean Up Its Act

Granted, Americans have terribly short attention spans, but this is beyond bizzare !~
Wasn't it just a week or two ago that we Americans were absolutely shocked to learn that the FBI had been spying on us under the very loose provisions of the Patriot Act, prompting Director Robert Meuller to offer his profound apologies that the FBI wasn't even following its own rules concerning documentation after demanding that phone companies, internet service providers & credit bureaus disgorge records, never mind having to show that an an ongoing investigation was in the works.
Long story short: your government can spy on you for any reason or no reason at all. No connection with terrorism need be shown to a court ~ that might take too long.
The abuses were met with stern warnings from some in Congress ~ maybe even a repeal of the Patriot Act, remember? And Meuller promised to clean things up. I don't know about you, but his idea of "cleaning things up" seems to be a very disingenuous ploy to circumvent even the outrageously loose original requirements.
Comes news today that if the problem was that FBI agents couldn't get around to doing even the minimal paperwork required (we assume that means making the barest effort to justify "probable cause" for such an outrageous act as spying on our own population ~ or at least that's what lawyers tend to think is necessary under the circumstances )~ the only logical solution is to drop entirely any semblance of that requirement.
According to the WaPo today (title bar):
With respect to phone records,
"Agents...have been relieved of a paperwork burden that was at the heart of past problems, officials said.
"Under past procedures, agents sent 'exigent circumstances letters' to phone companies, seeking toll records by asserting there was an emergency. Then they were expected to issue a grand jury subpoena or a or a 'national security letter,' which legally authorized the collection after the fact.
"Agents often did not follow up with that paperwork, the inspector general's investigation found.
"The new instructions tell agents there is no need to follow up with national security letters or subpoenas. The agents are also told that the new letter template is the preferred method in emergencies but that they may make requests orally, with no paperwork sent to phone companies. Such oral requests have been made over the years in terrorism and kidnapping cases, officials said."
Your Demon Princess is continually astounded with the weird illogic that always seems to carry the day in BushWorld.
Away, bothersome paperwork! Carte blanche to do whatever I want, whenever I want ~ with no more compelling justification than I want to & the requisite idle curiosity, I can spy on my friends & neighbors & vet my future husbands (who will be sorry they married me in any event---I may as well make the most of it).

Where does Demon Princess apply for such a powerful position with so little accountability? She's there!


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Christian Protesters Arrested At White House

Buttons by Betty Bowers at (buy one!)
Demon Princess just could not resist that headline, now could she?
Worse, it's true. (Title bar).
The mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, speaking before an audience at the National Cathedral before demonstrators left to protest the war & got themselves arrested at the White House for so doing, said, quite eloquently:
"We lay before God the sorrow that lives in all of us because of the war. "
DP sez: lay the "pain too deep for tears" before God, but lay the blame before Bushco.


Richard Perle On Tour

Image of Original Painting, "Beating the Drum," Used with Permission of the Artist, Mark Bryan

Perusing a notice from her library today, Demon Princess was shocked to find (in addition to the tally of fines for all those books on Buddhism she failed to return on time), this, a notice that none other than Richard Perle is touring the libraries of the majestic Pacific Northwest, so:

"The Case for War: In Defense of Freedom
Tuesday, April 3, 7–9pm, Issaquah Library. With debate over the war in Iraq still dominating policy discussions, this film follows one of the advocates for the war against Saddam Hussein. Former Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle travels the globe articulating, defending and debating the neoconservative case for an assertive American foreign policy. "

Did someone fail to clue Richard in on the fact that Saddam is gone already? Does he not know yet that taking Saddam out was a mere pretext for our invasion & that the intelligence upon which we based it was as overcooked as a moldy old casserole?

And in the news today also, this, from the Associated Press ~ a guilty conviction on lesser charges than premeditated murder for the brave American military man who instigated the release of detainees then had his men shoot them in the back as they fled.

He was convicted only of negligent homicide, & reportedly smiled as he hugged his defense lawyer.;_ylt=AijnJ2cgNxBg0Tnh6cj0w8Cs0NUE

Demon Princess certainly hopes he & Perle don't contract worms from ingesting that moldy old casserole.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Look, Look Over Here ~ Oh No! Another Terrorist!

The Bush Administration is nothing if not reliably predictable. Whenever things get really rotten-smelling, such that even the most gullible, naiive & right-wing voters can't miss the stench, it attempts to refocus attention on the event that made their careers ~ 911. No, can't get too much mileage out of that old worn retread! There's still some life in that old story, & Bushco is not about to let us move on.
Today's big "not news" is the effort to distract us from all the bad news for Bushco emanating out of Washington ~ political purges of prosecutors too mild for Bushco's ravenous tastes, calls for 'Berto's head over that & the FBI's indiscriminate use of the spying powers granted by ill-conceived antiterrorism legislation, the determined expansion of the war in the Mideast despite its huge unpopularity with American voters, & continued calls to shut Gitmo & all the other American-run gulags down.

Bushco's response is to pull yet another evil demon terrorist out of its ass, parade him in all his dishevelled, broken-English glory before the court of public opinion, & shout: "Torture works! Torture works! We made him confess!"

And, oh, never mind that these tribunals are mind-numbingly piss-poor excuses for a real court of law. We've been over all this before. I won't bore my readers, nor myself, by going over the reasons why that's so yet again.

If you've been living in America the past 5 years & you don't know that yet, you should be forced to forfeit your citizenship & your voter registration, turn in your keys to the gym, & fork over your credit cards & your privileges to marketed "lifestyle" consumerism. We'll send you to Iraq to enjoy a long vacation.
A review of the big not-news in Slate summary-style:
"The New York Times and Washington Post point out it's not clear exactly how involved Mohammed could have been in all the plots he detailed. The Sept. 11 commission at one point described Mohammed as someone with extravagant ambitions who had a vision that was "a spectacle of destruction with KSM as the self-cast star, the superterrorist." But the Los Angeles Times quotes a terrorism expert, who says most of the plots he described did seem to have some leadership from Mohammed. USA Today points out that the majority of the targets described by Mohammed "were not hit," such as the Panama Canal, the New York Stock Exchange, and Big Ben. The Wall Street Journal says many of the plots "never got beyond the planning stage."


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Hey You

Yes, you~ if you're reading here on Demon Princess's heretic blog, not as a spy for Bushco, & you live in the U.S., do something!

DP does appreciate all the new readers in the UK as a result of the Guardian blog, as well as her neighbors to the north in Canada (when are you going to invade? ~ I implore you), and, very surprisingly, some readers in China, but this action alert is to register a grievance with the U.S. Patriot Act.

US citizens, check the "action alert" to reform the Patriot Act's way-too- permissive use of National Security Letters to extract all sorts of information on us without our knowledge.


Monday, March 12, 2007

Making The World Safe For Halliburton

With the recent news that infamous oil-services giant Halliburton plans to move its HQ to Dubai (in the United Arab Emirates), your Demon Princess had one of those "aha!" moments. It all coalesced. (Title bar.)

It's plain to us in the U.S. that, short of impeachment, there's no way to slow or significantly impede the Neocon vision of WWIII in the Mideast. George, Cheney (oilmen, after all) & their collective hangers-on & power-mongers aren't the least bit dissuaded from their goals, & unfortunately, the Democrats --despite some efforts--mostly noise, seem to have given up on stopping them. The Bush juggernaut to dominate the oil-rich Mideast has not in the least been effectively persuaded to jettison its imperial ambitions by having its myths, lies & lame cooked-intelligence gambits exposed. This despite the fact that a majority of American voters want out.
The GWOT on Terror will not only proceed, but expand, & in the middle of it all, who really benefits from it?
Halliburton deciding now to plop itself down square in the middle of it provides a clue. Sure, they're spinning off the corrupt KBR subsidary so they can avoid the drag on stock earnings, but Halliburton itself will survive to exploit the situation made palatable by the sacrifices made by our kids & the civilian populations of the countries we occupy.
This comment on the WaPo story from blogger Desert Beacon brings up some excellent points:
"...Is Halliburton trying to escape reporting rules? Income Halliburton earns abroad would not be subject to U.S. taxes, but would be required to observe the provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and those of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. In light of the Halliburton announcement, the efforts by some Congressional Republicans to water-down Sarbanes-Oxley reporting requirements looks ever more ominous.
"How does this issue relate to the Fast Track authority the White House wants renewed in June? The U.S. launched FTA negotiations with the United Arab Emirates in March 2005, after GAFTA came into existence that January. [Wik] Hopes for reaching agreement appear to hinge on the White House getting "fast track" trade negotiating authority that expires at the end of June. The White House must notify Congress of any deals it plans to sign by the end of March. [WaPo]
"Are Halliburton's colors showing (and they may not be red, white, and blue)? The right wing Heritage Foundation opined last year that "Free Trade with the UAE supports America's national security interests." However, labor and civil rights issues continue to dog efforts by the Bush Administration to sell the deal to the American people. Approximately 80% of the UAE population consists of foreign laborers who are subject to extraordinary control by their corporate sponsors, and who've been subjected to nonpayment of wages, extended work hours without overtime, unsafe working conditions, squalid living conditions, and the withholding of passports and travel documents by employers. [HRW]
"The UAE is NOT a signator to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on the Protection of Migrant Worker's Rights, and the Convention against Torture. [HRW] In short, Dubai almost sounds like the perfect headquarters for Vice President Cheney's company?
"And, then there's the money. In 2003 Halliburton had a record revenue of $16.3 billion, including contracts with the Department of Defense worth $4.3 billion. In the previous five years it had gotten less than $2.5 billion form the U.S. military. [CPI] The year wasn't over before CBS news was reporting that a Pentagon audit found overcharges of $61 million in Halliburton's oil reconstruction accounting. [CBS] [CorpWatch]
"Three years later Halliburton has received about $27 billion in profitable no-bid contracts from the U.S. government, and now intends replace its obligations to the Internal Revenue Service with payments to the Dubai Revenue Department. [BC]
"In return for leaving Houston and exchanging U.S. taxes for Dubai levies, Halliburton gets the protection of 160,000 members of the U.S. Armed Forces next door in Iraq, and a sizeable portion of the U.S. Navy in the Gulf of Hormuz. Perhaps the last question should be: Will the U.S. government require that Halliburton get its own protection in the region -- or will U.S. taxpayers continue to foot the bill?"
Yes, all in all, the signs seem to be pointing to a very smart business move on Halliburton's part, maximizing markets, profits & evading regulatory obligations & just possibly, taxes ~ all with a little help from being in a position to influence politix.
After all, despite the pretty rhetoric of democracy in the Mideast, we all know that what is meant by that is democracy as a condition precedent for capitalism, the God we in America really worship.
And it's no longer the capitalism of small shop-owners & entrepreneurs, as it once was. It's democracy in service to multi-national corporations that, with the accumulated gains & the right political connections, can afford to shop venues for the most hospitable conditions in terms of taxes, regulations, & of course, labor. In short, maximizing profits by maximizing exploitation, & no worries about non-economic (read "humanitarian") concerns.
To the victors go the spoils, as well as the right to revise history in their honor. Bushco should be congratulating themselves for a grand plan well-executed. Who cares if it's founded in blood & lives & exploitation? We'll deal with that later.
Boy, will we deal with that later.
And as for your DP, she's really glad she isn't a tax lawyer. In good conscience, she'd have to kill herself.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Alberto On The Rack

Photo: WaPo
Woo-hoo! Demon Princess was getting to thinkin' she was the only one in the country who really, really dislikes Alberto Gonzales, but turns out she has good company ~ this op-ed ran in the New York Times today, & it is indeed a tongue-lashing worth reading (title bar).
"During the hearing on his nomination as attorney general, Alberto Gonzales said he understood the difference between the job he held — President Bush’s in-house lawyer — and the job he wanted, which was to represent all Americans as their chief law enforcement officer and a key defender of the Constitution. Two years later, it is obvious Mr. Gonzales does not have a clue about the difference.

"He has never stopped being consigliere to Mr. Bush’s imperial presidency. If anyone, outside Mr. Bush’s rapidly shrinking circle of enablers, still had doubts about that, the events of last week should have erased them."
Read on.
In DP's modest opinion, it's about time somebody tarred his behind but good. Lawyers like 'Berto may get points for knowing on which side their bread is buttered, but the rest of us do like to think that real justice will eventually be served. Perhaps nobody has done so much to dismantle the legal underpinnings of democratic government in such a short time.
He undoubtedly did have some help there ~ I just don't see Berto having it in him to do it all by himself. John Yoo & probably David Addington (Cheney's lawyer-in-residence), also bear some responsibility here, but 'Berto, as putative head of the Justice Department & the man with the hammer, he's the one who has assiduously, disingenuously acted as the enforcer. And was awfully arrogant about it.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Shocking News

Aren't you still reeling from the news that the FBI has had (& wasn't afraid to use) the carte blanche granted it by Bushco's signal counterterrorism legislation, the Patriot Act, to spy on American citizens who were not suspected of any terrorist activity?

Nor is your Demon.

According to the WaPo today:

"Lawmakers from both parties yesterday called for limits on antiterrorism laws in response to a Justice Department report that the FBI improperly obtained telephone logs, banking records and other personal information on thousands of Americans.

"The audit by the department's inspector general detailed widespread abuse of the FBI's authority to seize personal details about tens of thousands of people without court oversight through the use of national security letters.

"It also found that the FBI had hatched an agreement with telephone companies allowing the agency to ask for information on more than 3,000 phone numbers -- often without a subpoena, without an emergency or even without an investigative case. In 2006, the FBI then issued blanket letters authorizing many of the requests retroactively, according to agency officials and congressional aides briefed on the effort."

Another in the WaPo (title bar):

"That law, and Bush administration guidelines for its use, transformed national security letters by permitting clandestine scrutiny of U.S. residents and visitors who are not alleged to be terrorists or spies.

"Now the bureau needs only to certify that the records are 'sought for' or 'relevant to' an investigation 'to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.'

"According to three officials with access to the report, Fine said the possible violations he discovered did not 'manifest deliberate attempts to circumvent statutory limitations or departmental policies.'

"But Fine found that FBI agents used national security letters without citing an authorized investigation, claimed 'exigent' circumstances that did not exist in demanding information and did not have adequate documentation to justify the issuance of letters.

"In at least two cases, the officials said, Fine found that the FBI obtained full credit reports using a national security letter that could lawfully be employed to obtain only summary information. In an unknown number of other cases, third parties such as telephone companies, banks and Internet providers responded to national security letters with detailed personal information about customers that the letters do not permit to be released.

"The FBI 'sequestered' that information, a law enforcement official said last night, but did not destroy it. "

Conservatives would be right about one thing: bloated government doesn't do a very good job of policing itself & following its own rules ~ oh sorry, am I contradicting myself? ~ I'd rather see those sorts of excesses by the so-called "welfare state" than an agency that uses its powers to spy, clandestinely, on our own population, is all.

It was like pulling teeth to get a modest audit of a random sampling of FBI uses of this law (performed over the objections of the Bush Administration, BTW) or an audit of the amount of money Bushco has thrown away in Iraq on private subcontractors like the infamous Halliburton subsidiary KBR, but yet ~ I think it was Newt & Grover themselves who pointed out that you can't trust government to get anything right, so away with it entirely.

DP sez: Much easier to just cut off the diseased limb.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Mea Culpa On The Right

Well, if your Demon Princess has the day off (yay!) to keep an appointment with the dentist again (boo!) she thinks she deserves to rejoice in some good political news for a change.

It's always nice when the Universe heeds her wishes. Direct to you from the Upside-Down world of Bushco, Inc., we have ~ not one, but 3 mea culpas from some of the the right-wing lunatics DP loves most to hate:

Alberto Gonzales from the Justice Department ~ somebody has told him that the spin he let out in an op-ed in USA Today saying nobody has a right to interfere in his department's "disgruntled employee" (fired prosecutors) matters was not a good thing. In fact, the Bush Administration beat a hasty retreat on that front, & says it will no longer take the position that Congress has no say in the matter & will not push it. After the hearings revealed that GOP Congresspersons had put pressure on the prosecutors for political reasons, of course.

Even Karl Rove, speaking out of town somewhere, hadn't received the meme. (As I keep asking, who elected him, anyway, & why is he touring the country speaking?);_ylt=AlSeoZJm7qs3.bUaCPX_mmuWwvIE
In another blow to the (horribly misnamed) Patriot Act, in an audit conducted over the Bush Administration's protests, the FBI was found to have misused its powers to spy on citizens ~ even when no official investigations were underway. Oh, no, say it ain't so!

And finally, Newt admits that he was conducting his own extramarital affair of the nether regions even as he was leading the vicious attack on Bill Clinton.

However, demonstrating how well his disingenous "brilliant" mind works in the intersection where his own uncontrollable libinidiousness & national political interests meet, he justified the contradiction by splitting some mighty fine hairs, proving yet again the dangers of thinking with your dick. Pretty funny.;_ylt=AgPfbZ5A9FuWvgAVuWsWZPSWwvIE

Enjoy ASAP: these Yahoo news reports only last about 3 seconds. Happy Friday!


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Amazing Self-Inflating Newton

Here's a self-assigned task that your Demon Princess does not relish ~ not that she's afraid to be the bearer of bad news ~ in fact, she rather enjoys poking fun at it.

But this is BAD news. The very idea induces the involuntary gag response.

Newt Gingrich ~ yes he, of the enormous bobble-head & a self-inflating ego to match ~ plans to announce his candidacy for the Presidency. I consider that way bad news.

Yes, kittens, it is indeed the return of the great Mr. "Contract with America," he who did so much to advance the cause of proclaiming religious hypocrites ~ "God in the public square," disingenuous assholes in politix generally, & detestably smug moral righteousness specifically. His exploits are legendary.

Who can forget Mr. Newt & his deep commitment to pious family values ~ so pure he actually divorced his 1st wife when she was in the hospital recovering from surgery for cancer, pronounced publicly that she wasn't young enough or pretty enough to be a president's wife & installed his mistress in her place, & they lived
...happily ever after, right, especially after he gave her that really high-paying job in some obscure foreign-trade post she had no reason to know anything about, right?

Wrong. Since we last saw him, he's decided to divorce her, too, but not until long after he had started an affair with a young aide about a bazillion years his junior.

But we see in the news today that he's made up for all of that by confessing to James Dobson & before the Evangelical Nation that he admits to having moral failings, & he's gotten down on his knees & asked God's forgiveness.

This is the man who led the charge to impeach Clinton over oral indulgences which Newt himself reportedly preferred (at the same time). Clinton got impeached. Newt got laid ~ er, sorta.

But (*ahem*) let us turn our attention to loftier matters, befitting the gravity of the office Newt seeks.

I stumbled across this scary item yesterday in a heartland newspaper, titled, "Gingrich Seeks Real Change."

"Admit it, you hate politics: the gotcha games in which a quote can be taken out of context and used as a pretext for bashing one’s opponent; the sound bites replacing reasoned argument; the focus groups and pollsters who tell candidates what to say instead of encouraging them to believe in something; the concentration on gaining and then maintaining power for its own sake; the enormous cost of elections, which transforms politicians into servants of those who give the most money.

"Is it possible to have cleaner and more engaging politics that challenge the mind and offer real solutions to our problems, instead of crass appeals to our lower nature, the flip-flopping in order to garner favor with a particular interest group and the insincerity that seems to be behind it all?
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich believes it is and he has developed a compelling approach to new and better politics not seen since the days of Abraham Lincoln."

No, that doesn't at all read like a slick advertising puff piece, does it?

But try to focus on the real issues. What's Newt's stance on the war? According to this article, not long ago he was in a joyous lather over the WWIII that he says has already begun, & faults Bush only for not using the proper spin. (The Bush White House, lacking spin?)

He cites his historian cred to bolster his argument that Lincoln succeeded with the Civil War just by using the right rhetoric.
Another indication that Newt is, unfortunately, serious about this is his willingness to take on (or appear to take on) what's easily the most pressing domestic issue in so doing, & follows his own advice with respect to "all it needs is the right spin."

He has founded a Center for Health Transformation, natch. DP was very curious to see who's in on the project, & as you can see for yourself, virtually everybody has a doctorate in spin expertise, but no doctors or practicing health professionals. (Just two are working towards their Masters in Public Health ~ the rest sound suspiciously like political campaign staffers, press release writers, & the like).

Team bios here:

For a taste of what's in store, check out this editorial written by Newt himself, & judiciously placed in a conservative mag.

What does it really say? How does the spin translate into concrete specifics? Anybody care to speculate?

This campaign promises to be over-the-top in terms of bullshit & bombast. The health "Center" seems to exist solely to assauge Newt's ego & reassure him that he still has political relevance after his dismaying performance in the last rounds, but still ~

The very idea of Newt Gingrich is scary enough that if it actually happened, I'd have to seriously consider becoming an ex-pat. It'd be that bad.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Dark Overlord Cheney Survives By Throwing Acolytes To Wolves

Ok, I grant you, this is one for the "not news" category, but I couldn't let the day go by without remarking it.

Scooter Libby was found guilty today. Poor Scooter ~ we all know that he was just following instructions from Cheney & that Rove was somehow involved, but Scooter is the only one facing possible jail time.
What did he get for his unwavering loyalty to the Dark Depths of the Neocon Cause? More than a lousy T-shirt, & maybe possibly an attractive orange jumpsuit. But the judge did note that Libby is "not a flight risk," so the orange jumpsuit will have to wait. Libby's lawyers intend to appeal, of course.
Demon Princess applauds Fitzgerald for his work ~ several people I talked to today were dismayed at all the things that didn't happen in this trial, but I think it is of historic significance that a guilty verdict was reached, considering our way-beleagured legal system under the Neocons. And in any event, litigation is the art of war & strategy in any arena, but none more high-profile & difficult than Fitz's, especially in an era of deep-blackout, bullshit & spin swallowed whole for American politics.
Fitz's accomplishment is an affirmation that some shred of the rule of law remains, & some brave lawyers have what it takes to preserve what's left of it.
We're passing through a particularly dark night where American government is concerned, & this trial came as close as anything we've yet seen in terms of exposing what's so deeply wrong & troubling at the intersection of politics, the media & an extraordinarily brutal neo-con regime.

As Andrew Cohen sums it up for the WaPo (title bar), it's the exposure of the inner workings of this White House, & particularly of Overlord Cheney's machinations that are most enlightening.

"The story here isn't that Libby was convicted after a drubbing by prosecutors. The story here is that the events which led to his troubles are standard operating procedure in the corridors and backrooms and Blackberries of power. Government officials have before in our history used their power and knowledge to try to destroy their political enemies. And they will do so again.

"Reporters before in our history have been manipulated by ambition and laziness into becoming the tribunes of this sleazy work --into becoming the instruments of the attempted first-degree reputation murder. And no doubt they will be again.
"...[T]he story of how the White House tried to get back at former ambassador Joseph Wilson after he went rogue on foreign policy is now familiarly embarrassing to all those who were involved, including the Vice President of the United States. Indeed, even more than Libby, who is looking at prison time, Cheney gets my vote for the biggest loser in all of this.

"Why? Before the trial, his adversaries considered him a ruthless, nasty politician who was the big-picture dark architect of the Bush Administration's most vital policies, foreign and domestic.

"After the trial, added as a layer upon that ugly perception, Cheney's friends and opponents alike now have to concede that he was also in this instance at least a meddling, petty bureaucrat who spent time at his undisclosed secure location worrying about how the White House would get back at Wilson, a penny-ante operator in the high-stakes game of politics over Iraq.

"Think Darth Vader cutting out Luke Skywalker clips with a penknife and then whining about it to his subordinates within the Evil Empire and you get a decent mental image of how much Cheney lost as a result of this trial.

"And he certainly didn't gain anything back when Libby's attorneys chose not to call Cheney to the witness stand after all their pre-trial preaching about how the Vice President would testify for his friend and former subordinate.

"Either the stench of Libby's pending defeat was too much for Cheney, in which case it appears as though he abandoned his friend, or the stench of Cheney's involvement in this tawdry matter was too much for Libby's lawyers, in which case it appears that his friend abandoned him.

"Either way, it's a terrible denouement for the man labeled the most important vice president in history."

Read on, & savor the moment. Some things are still working as they're supposed to. We've not been completely bamboozled yet.


DP Proposes A Simple Solution To Spread Of HPV

Before we get to the really, really big news today & forget, your Demon Princess wishes to share a simple proposal regarding the spread of the HPV virus which causes so many women so much misery in the form of cervical cancer.

We were shocked when the Governor of Texas (filling George's shoes, the heretic) proposed mandatory vaccination of all young girls in that state well before they were scheduled by God to be sexually active, preferably not until being locked down in the happy & blissful state of marriage.

Shocked that any politico from Texas would bravely & presciently do anything that might anger the Bible thumpers there ~ & it soon arrived in protests that such a policy sends a message that it's all right for girls to be promiscuous. We all intuitively know that female sexuality, after all, is craven, wanton & very, very dangerous to the well being of society generally once loosed ~ going back to Eve herself, doncha know. Adam was just a naiive victim who willingly went along to please that harlot Eve.

Check this article from a Houston paper about a woman who mysteriously contracted HPV despite being married for 15 years, most of which were pap-smear clean, until suddenly they weren't. (Title bar.)

Oh heavens to Betsy, now.

I can resolve this conundrum in a way that will undoubtedly appeal to the rough & ready Texas wingnuts far more effeciently, & to everyone's satisfaction ~

Just shoot the men who spread it. One bullet, no problems, preferably without a trial.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Required Reading : Bushco Assault On Democracy

A great op-ed in the NYT today titled "The Must-Do List" begins thus:

"The Bush administration’s assault on some of the founding principles of American democracy marches onward despite the Democratic victory in the 2006 elections. The new Democratic majorities in Congress can block the sort of noxious measures that the Republican majority rubber-stamped. But preventing new assaults on civil liberties is not nearly enough.

"Five years of presidential overreaching and Congressional collaboration continue to exact a high toll in human lives, America’s global reputation and the architecture of democracy. Brutality toward prisoners, and the denial of their human rights, have been institutionalized; unlawful spying on Americans continues; and the courts are being closed to legal challenges of these practices.

"It will require forceful steps by this Congress to undo the damage. A few lawmakers are offering bills intended to do just that, but they are only a start. Taking on this task is a moral imperative that will show the world the United States can be tough on terrorism without sacrificing its humanity and the rule of law."
Read on, before it's gone. (Title bar.)


More Fun With Politix & Ideological Purges

The New York Times has picked up the ball & done a little digging of its own regarding the political cannibalization of the Justice Department's "moderate" Republicans in U.S. Attorney's offices across the country, "the ouster [of whom] has set off a furor in Washington that took the Bush administration by surprise. "

Bushco, of course, is exploiting a provision of the Patriot Act that no one in Congress seems to have read before passing it so hastily ~ namely, that replacements can be named without having to submit them for confirmation before Congress.

The strategy is rather simple & obvious to this Demon: Bushco's time is running out, political winds are blowing ill for the GOP, & a tightening of the reins is in order at all levels (see "Commissar's in Town" blog entry below, for just one example).

"The list of prosecutors who were targets was approved by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and the deputy attorney general, Paul J. McNulty, the day-to-day manager of the Justice Department since he was appointed in the fall of 2005.

"Under Mr. Gonzales, Mr. McNulty has become a powerful deputy with a wide-ranging portfolio. He was a United States attorney in Virginia, but he worked in Congress for more than a decade and was once legal counsel to the House majority leader. He is regarded in legal circles as more attuned to policy and politics than his predecessor, James B. Comey, a former career prosecutor in New York."

As a former prosecutor under the Carter administration noted, “It just doesn’t look right,” said James S. Brady, who was United States attorney in Western Michigan...'It compromises the credibility that justice is being dealt with fairly and impartially. There is a fear that politics have entered in life and death situations.”

Moreover, it seems that the prosecutors were driven out behind bogus & even potentially defamatory reasons, if not true. (Title bar). It is the case that, in America, just doing your job as well as you can given the circumstances & the resources at hand will not, generally speaking, save you from dismissal under the "American employment-at-will doctrine," which is precisely what Bushco cites. All of us can be fired for "any reason or no reason at all" in the absence of (surprisingly limited) federal & state statutory legal protections such as bans against discrimination or under the protections afforded by any applicable negotiated labor contracts. (You were wondering why pro-business cons & neo-cons have been so determined to undermine unions, weren't you?)

However, common sense tells ya that being deprived of a career & livelihood in which you've invested so much effort & time, without even being given an honest explanation for such a potentially devastating decision is outrageously unfair. Never mind when you hadn't gotten anything but good performance reviews to that point ~ & Congresspeople are calling you inquiring on the status of investigations into the hot-button issues in an upcoming election.

BTW, also today, Domenici crawled out of his incommunicado bunker long enough to admit he did call fired New Mexico prosecutor Iglesias, but of course it was for reasons completely unrelated to corruption investigations that would have helped the Grand Old Party in the last elections:

He had previously said of the brou-haha (potentially an ethics violation on his part): "I don't know what he [Iglesias] is talking about." Now he says it was just to have a friendly chat~no pressure ~

All stinks to high heaven, don't it, but would seem to fit the pattern of Bushco SOP ~ underhanded, secretive, arrogant. And very, very clumsy. Even to their own. Is the message here, "We're hunkering down for an all-out culture war, here & abroad, and there's no room at the inn for even moderate Republicans?

Centrist Democrats, take note, & plan accordingly. There will be no peace accords with the Bushco Nation, & further, a lot of us don't even want you to try anymore. Too much like sleeping with the enemy.


So Many Fun Items To Comment Upon ~ So Little Time

Your personal Demon hardly knoweth where to begin, but she'll start with Ann Coulter's idea of an apology for the nasty, unwarranted slur of John Edwards the other day, as reported in the New York Times. Apparently the GOP wanna-be-Prez candidates felt they had to rebuke her after a firestorm of commentary, especially in the liberal blogosphere (score one for the forces of light).

May as well dignify the announcement with a subtitle, hence:

We love to hate her: America's favorite right-wing anexoric unmarried bitchy bitch remains unrepentant, continues to drag political discourse down to record low levels with unfounded schoolyard slurs & taunts

"Ms. Coulter, asked for a reaction to the Republican criticism, said in an e-mail message: 'C’mon, it was a joke. I would never insult gays by suggesting that they are like John Edwards. That would be mean.'”

And this would be a good a time as any to ponder the right-wing's general tendency to cry & whine whenever they're treated to their own tactics ~ I'm speaking of course, of the outrage on the right when so many liberals remarked unkindly on Dick's forced stay in an Afghanistan bomb shelter, we assume to lament that the radical suicide bomber didn't actually succeed. (I didn't say that, of course ~ other bloggers did.) I just thought it was "somewhat entertaining, considering."

Still, I'm very interested in the psychological workings of that reflexive function & why on earth grown adults think it's not transparently obvious to the rest of us: the need to project one's own bad behavior onto others & then try to punish them for it.

We are indeed living in koo-koo world with the Bush Administration, I grant you that, but here, it's what's become the routine attempt to stifle dissent that only really works when an authoritarian can legitimately claim the high moral ground.

The GOP is long since past the point of no return on that score, & all the disingenous maneuvers to get around it (such as claiming the pious religious social conservatives in the fractured & not-so-morally pure far-right flanks) no longer play with the rest of the still-sane population out here in ordinary-people land.

Grow up. This is still a democracy & plenty of us are willing to fight for it. And on your infantile schoolyard taunt terms, if that's what you insist upon dragging American political discourse into.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Pretty Funny: Evangelicals Argue Over Global Warming

Ill: The Worried Shrimp

There's no room for more than one evangelical opioninator here, bud ~

WaPo article: (title bar)

Even funnier: that Inohofe guy who went on record as saying, "I'm no global warming denier" a while ago, now says (paraphrased), "Mars is experiencing global warming, & there are no SUV's there." He speaks with such authority we assume he's actually been there to do his fact check.

You'd think the guy would quit while he's still ahead.

Your Demon Princess ~ always willing to laud intellectual brilliance & stunning argument wherever she finds it ~


Not At All Funny: Politically-Motivated Purge At Department of (In)Justice

In today's White House Scandal du Jour, a somewhat sheepish admission (in reality, an attempt at damage control) that approval of a politically-motivated purge of U.S. attorneys who were "not team players" was indeed approved at the highest level. (Title bar.)

If you've been sleeping in a snowbank the past couple of days, the scandal involves allegations that Congresspersons tried to pressure U.S. attorneys in charge of corruption investigations either on behalf of their fellow Republicans or against Democrats ~ in advance of last November's elections, natch. Those attorneys who were not swayed were fired, or judiciously opted to step aside voluntarily.

A little-noticed provision of the Patriot Act permitted the sweep.

Certainly smells bad, does it not?

Now the Congressional subpoenas are flying (I should note here that no Republicans apparently wanted to take responsibility for being there for that vote, or else the Dems shut them out on that score).

Are you shocked, good citizens? Demon Princess is ~ shocked that it's not being spun as yet another good & moral attempt to "protect our troops," or "keep the evil demon terrorists from sneaking up on us," or that great catch-all tactic for shutting any inconvenient probes down--"national security."

The White House Cabal seems to be losing its grip.

In the interest of entertaining the court & jury, I move to admit into evidence the following statement by Alberto Gonzales, as reported by Robert Novak earlier today:


"Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has indicated he is too busy to answer letters from Democratic congressional leaders about his firing seven U.S. attorneys involved in probes of public corruption, though a lower-level Justice Department official rejected their proposals.

"Rep. Rahm Emanuel, House Democratic Caucus chairman, had written Gonzales two letters suggesting that he name Carol Lam, fired as U.S. attorney in San Diego, as an outside counsel to continue her pursuit of the Duke Cunningham case. Asked by Melissa Charbonneau of the Christian Broadcasting Network about this column’s report that Gonzales did not respond, Gonzales said: 'I think that the American people lose if I spend all my time worrying about congressional requests for information, if I spend all my time responding to subpoenas.'”

"Richard A. Hertling, the acting Justice Department lobbyist, responded Wednesday, 22 days after Emanuel’s letter. He contended 'the Justice Department would not ever seek the resignation of a U.S. attorney if doing so would jeopardize a public corruption case' and rejected naming Lam as a special prosecutor."

Read more at TPM Muckraker:

Demon Princess sez: Pass the popcorn. This is going to be good.


Right-Wing Hate Ranters On Rampage Again

Media Whore Ann Coulter Calls Edwards "Faggot" & Announces She's Going Into Rehab

Oh Christ. They're at it again. Yesterday was the big convocation of ranting evil idiots for some confab designed to launch Republican candidates for President (haha). Somebody was stupid enough to give the demonically possessed Ann Coulter a forum for her further incohorent rants, & she used it to not-call (wink, wink) Democratic candidate Edwards a faggot.
She also commented that she doesn't understand why gays aren't Republicans (seriously?). (Title bar).
Check your facts, Ann. A lot are, & some are pedophiles to boot.
The name Mark Foley ring a bell?
Continues to blow my mind how Republicans apparently believe that giving ranting, raving lunatics Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, et. al a platform for their evil, hate-filled spew is going to attract any but like minded evil, hate-filled idots to vote for them.
And they wish us to believe they're the sane alternative?
Godless. (tsk, tsk.) Way worse even: unforgivably stupid ~


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Retired General Pokes Holes In Pro-War Bombast

This article ran earlier last month, but is worth revisiting until Congress & our American chickenhawks Boy George & the Belligerent Bellicose Dick get it. *oops, sorry ~ he now prefers to be addressed as "the senior American official," especially when he's meddling in Afghanistan ~

"For the moment, the collision of the public's clarity of mind, the president's relentless pursuit of defeat and Congress's anxiety has paralyzed us. We may be doomed to two more years of chasing the mirage of democracy in Iraq and possibly widening the war to Iran. But this is not inevitable. A Congress, or a president, prepared to quit the game of 'who gets the blame' could begin to alter American strategy in ways that will vastly improve the prospects of a more stable Middle East."

The author is retired General William E. Odom, who was formerly Army lieutenant general & head of Army intelligence and director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan. He also served on the National Security Council staff under Jimmy Carter. A West Point graduate with a PhD from Columbia, he now teaches at Yale, and is a fellow of the (conservative thinktank) Hudson Institute.

You'd think men such as he would have established the "cred" to warrant a close hearing by lesser beings who are only politicians.

But the latter seem to be too busy conducting what essentially has become a PR war ~ bombing each other with deadly slogans & jingoisms, in advance of the only war that really matters to them, the next elections ~ that they seem not to notice or care what a unmitigated disaster of the Mideast they've made.

A disaster, Gen. Odem notes (if history is any indication) will take at least a century to settle out. Maybe more, considering that the reason we were attacked in the 1st place was long-standing anti-American sentiment, as a result of previously botched U.S. military adventures in the region.

Intro to "Victory is Not An Option" (title bar):
[With respect to finding a way to alter American strategy]...
..."No task is more important to the well-being of the United States. We face great peril in that troubled region, and improving our prospects will be difficult. First of all, it will require, from Congress at least, public acknowledgment that the president's policy is based on illusions, not realities. There never has been any right way to invade and transform Iraq. Most Americans need no further convincing, but two truths ought to put the matter beyond question:

"First, the assumption that the United States could create a liberal, constitutional democracy in Iraq defies just about everything known by professional students of the topic. Of the more than 40 democracies created since World War II, fewer than 10 can be considered truly 'constitutional' -- meaning that their domestic order is protected by a broadly accepted rule of law, and has survived for at least a generation.

"None is a country with Arabic and Muslim political cultures. None has deep sectarian and ethnic fissures like those in Iraq.

"Strangely, American political scientists whose business it is to know these things have been irresponsibly quiet. In the lead-up to the March 2003 invasion, neoconservative agitators shouted insults at anyone who dared to mention the many findings of academic research on how democracies evolve. They also ignored our own struggles over two centuries to create the democracy Americans enjoy today. Somehow Iraqis are now expected to create a constitutional order in a country with no conditions favoring it.

"This is not to say that Arabs cannot become liberal democrats. When they immigrate to the United States, many do so quickly. But it is to say that Arab countries, as well as a large majority of all countries, find creating a stable constitutional democracy beyond their capacities.

"Second, to expect any Iraqi leader who can hold his country together to be pro-American, or to share American goals, is to abandon common sense...

"As Congress awakens to these realities -- and a few members have bravely pointed them out -- will it act on them? Not necessarily. Too many lawmakers have fallen for the myths that are invoked to try to sell the president's new war aims. Let us consider the most pernicious of them."

Read on. It's well worth the effort.