Friday, February 06, 2004

Will Reagan's Death Boost Bush's Image? 

Get ready for Ronnie Raygun's departure to stir an emotional swell of conservative support for the man who supposedly wears the mantle of the conservative patron saint.

At TomPaine.com,David Kusnet writes:

When Reagan dies, Americans across the political spectrum will mourn him. But, if his most fervent supporters have their way, his passing will become a factional celebration, not a national commemoration, especially if he dies during the months ahead, while the president who has been hailed as his spiritual son, George W. Bush, is running for re-election. An assortment of former White House staffers, conservative commentators, think tank scholars and direct mail entrepreneurs have been conducting a campaign to make sure that Reagan is remembered in exactly the way that they want: as one of the greatest presidents and also as the prophet of hard-core conservatism.

Another slice of fake turkey, anyone?



Orcinus points out that Bush's supposedly WMD-related "independent commission" is co-chaired by a Republican for whom the descriptor "rabidly partisan" is an understatement.

He's not merely a conservative. He's a jurist who has a proven track record of making decisions, and enforcing policy, based not on the law, reason or basic principles of fair play, but purely on how they will benefit or harm the Republican party.

This is the man who overturned the conviction of Oliver North and played a role in Reagan's "October Surprise."

Not only that, the counsel is charged with investigating absolutely nothing of interest to anyone. He also blocked Clinton from pursuing the source of leaks from Ken Starr's office, and accused Clinton of "declaring war on the United States" by shielding Secret Service agents from testifying against Clinton. (Again, Orcinus provided these links.)

According to the executive order, the commission has been founded "established for the purpose of advising the President in the discharge of his constitutional authority under Article II of the Constitution to conduct foreign relations, protect national security, and command the Armed Forces of the United States, in order to ensure the most effective counter-proliferation capabilities of the United States and response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the ongoing threat of terrorist activity." In other words, the commission is charged with the task of identifying weaknesses in the intel system prior to the Iraq invasion, and NOT CHARGED WITH LOOKING INTO THE MANIPULATION OF INTELLIGENCE RELATED TO THE ALLEGED WMDS IN IRAQ. And the commission has no supoena power, it seems. According to Joshua Micah Marshall,. "what's 'relevant' is at the discretion of the department heads of the various executive branch agencies."

In other words, the commission is not charged with investigating the role Bush and his administration played in deceiving (themselves and...) the American public into supporting an invasion of Iraq.

It's a smokescreen conjured to cover up a lie, and it now gives the Bush administration a tactical copout going into the election: whenever anyone asks them about the WMD issue, BushCo can claim they're barred from discussing the matter for as long as the "independent commission" does its work.

Did you expect anything less?


This one comes from Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo, via Paul Krugman in today's NYT:

Last year Laurie Mylroie published a book titled "Bush vs. the Beltway: How the C.I.A. and the State Department Tried to Stop the War on Terror." Ms. Mylroie's book came with an encomium from Richard Perle; she's known to be close to Paul Wolfowitz and to Dick Cheney's chief of staff. According to the jacket copy, "Mylroie describes how the C.I.A. and the State Department have systematically discredited critical intelligence about Saddam's regime, including indisputable evidence of its possession of weapons of mass destruction."

Tenet and others who work for Bush now might be coming out and saying there was no pressure to provide justification for the war, but what then was the point of the Pentagon's new Office of Special Plans?

And, turning to the budget deficit, more from Krugman:

The fiscal 2005 budget report admits that this year's expected $521 billion deficit belies the rosy forecasts of 2001. But the report offers an explanation: stuff happens. "Today's budget deficits are the unavoidable result of the revenue erosion from the stock market collapse that began in early 2000, an economy recovering from recession and a nation confronting serious security threats." Sure, the administration was wrong — but so was everyone. The trouble is that accepting that excuse requires forgetting a lot of recent history. By February 2002, when the administration released its fiscal 2003 budget, all of the bad news — the bursting of the bubble, the recession, and, yes, 9/11 — had already happened. Yet that budget projected only a $14 billion deficit this year, and a return to surpluses next year. Why did that forecast turn out so wrong? Because administration officials fudged the facts, as usual.

Bush may well get away with these rewrites, and it's not the mainstream media who will call him on it.

The Dems are ENERGIZED 

I've been saying this to anyone who'll listen for MONTHS now.

Howard Dean tapped into it first. He's a good man, warts and all, like all the Democratic candidates. But he was the lightning rod for the static electricity that has been broiling and boiling for YEARS now--the dissatisfaction and outrage of Americans who actually care about the crimes of the Bush Family Evil Empire.

Now that static electricity is REALLY building. It's undeniable. It's CRUNCHY, it's so palpable and incarnated. Somehow John Kerry has harnessed this energy--and nobody really knows how he did it. Where did this guy come from, stealing Dean's thunder? Leaving him like a poor stepchild?

For whatever reason, Kerry is the man to beat, and even Bush is worried. From the Washington Post, who we all know NEVER tells a lie:

The new balance in the race, even as Democratic front-runner Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) still faces spirited challenges, is a striking circumstance in historical terms. Usually, nominating battles weaken candidates, at least temporarily, as a party's ideological rifts and personal resentments take time to heal and sometimes prove fatal in the general election. This year, the Democratic contest is likely to produce a nominee who will be stronger coming out of the process than going in, according to strategists with both parties.

Look, guys. You want Bush out of the White House? Do you want an end to our long, national nightmare, at long last? Hold your nose and pull the lever. And celebrate with us in November. Bush is TOAST, baby, and no matter how stinky his replacement, that is CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION.


Doonesbury endorses Lieberman! 

Right HERE.

Looks like it's a case of too little, too late.


Thursday, February 05, 2004

Prophecy from the horse's mouth 

From a transcript of Scarborough Country on msnbc.com, via bartcop:

SCARBOROUGH: Turning to politics and going back to New Hampshire, you recently said that God revealed to you that George Bush was going to win in a landslide. Do you still feel that way? And is God still talking to you tonight, after John Kerry‘s strong showing in New Hampshire?


ROBERTSON: I think I would have heard it better if it was Dean as the nominee, quite frankly.


ROBERTSON: I really believe that there‘s going to be a blowout election. I think that the economy‘s going to improve dramatically. The stock market is up. A lot of this, it will be a wealth effect in the country. I believe the situation in Iraq is going to settle down, and perhaps Afghanistan.

And the people will be in a very happy mood. And they won‘t want to change horses.

Yes. There's a good reason for that LAUGHTER. Robertson should be LAUGHED OUT OF TOWN on a RAIL.


Everybody's doin' it 

Who HASN'T started a blog, already?

Here's one from Jimmy Carter.


Republican hackers 

This story is beginning to have some legs. From blah3.com:

It's all in how you say it...

This is interesting. Salon reports:

One of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's key staffers will resign Friday because of an investigation into how Republicans gained access to Democratic memos concerning opposition to President Bush's judicial nominees.

Manuel Miranda, who worked for the Tennessee Republican on judicial nominations, has been on leave since late last month because of the investigation into how Democratic memos stored on a computer server shared by Judiciary Committee members ended up in GOP hands.

Hold up. That name sounds familiar...

Manuel Miranda, judicial counsel to Majority Leader Frist, discusses Miguel Estrada's withdraw of his nomination for Circuit Court...

Ain't it nice how they try to portray Frist's lawyer as some staffer who hacked into the Dem computers because he got done [with] his midterms early or something?

And what the fuck is up with this resignation? The guy's a goddam lawyer - he must have known what he was doing was wrong, right?

Prosecute the sumbitch. Fullest. Extent. Of. The. Law.



Just kidding. The uproar over the Super Bowl halftime-breast-fiasco reveals much about conservative culture: it's OK to bomb the crap out of Iraq, to lie to the nation and the world, imprison people without charges or due process, sell the environment to the lowest bidder, shovel jobs out of the country, etc., etc., etc.; but it's a scandal to show a woman's breast for a second or two on TV.

Speaking of scandals, have you spotted this development in the CIA/Plame-Leak investigation yet?

Federal law-enforcement officials said that they have developed hard evidence of possible criminal misconduct by two employees of Vice President Dick Cheney's office related to the unlawful exposure of a CIA officer's identity last year. The investigation, which is continuing, could lead to indictments, a Justice Department official said. According to these sources, John Hannah and Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, were the two Cheney employees. "We believe that Hannah was the major player in this," one federal law-enforcement officer said. Calls to the vice president's office were not returned, nor did Hannah and Libby return calls. The strategy of the FBI is to make clear to Hannah "that he faces a real possibility of doing jail time" as a way to pressure him to name superiors, one federal law-enforcement official said.

Wonder what kind of salary the Carlysle Group gives you after you've done jail time for them....


OK, So, What if Bush Wins? 

Will abortion be criminalized? Will the US invade Syria or Iran or North Korea, or all three? Will Bush continue to roll back taxes on the wealthy while making life harder for the working class and ballooning the deficit? Will the Patriot Acts be expanded? Will the apocalypse arrive? How bad do you think it would get? Or do you think things would more or less run the same course?

No Child Left Behind 

No Child Left Behind
Justice Talking, 5 February 2004
Sweeping educational reforms passed in 2001 sharply divided teachers and policy makers over the direction of our nation’s schools. Proponents say the changes increase accountability and open doors to new options for parents of children in failing institutions. Unfunded mandates to the states (especially those as massive as this) almost always fall short of their goals. As misguided as it is, Bush himself has guaranteed its failure.

Federal Budget for 2005 in Brief 

NPR's Diane Rehm Show, 5 February 2004
President Bush has announced a $2.4 trillion budget proposal for fiscal 2005. What's in this plan and how it may be received by Congress? An excellent, but very brief analysis from left and right. The Bush administration continues to deceive and, yes, lie about their actions and the reasonsoning behind their policy. It's not just politics and "spin" any more.

Exporting Democracy 

Exporting Democracy: The Debate Over the U.S.'s Role on the World Stage on
NPR's Justice Taking
The self-imposed deadline of turning governing authority over to the Iraqis raises the questions, "What is the U.S. really exporting? Democracy or stability? Freedom or client statehood? Free enterprise or corporatism? The truthful, unspun answers are becoming more and more obvious.


TomDispatch has a great piece about Bush I's posse riding herd for Bush II:

Among those being considered for the commission are Robert Gates, CIA director under Daddy Bush; William Perry, former Secretary of Defense under Bill Clinton and a hard-line "realist"; former CIA director William H. Webster; and the CIA's David A. Kay, who started this ball rolling by pronouncing weapons of mass destruction in Iraq DOA, but then gave the president a helping hand by focusing everyone on the intelligence agencies not the administration, and broke bread with uncurious George only two days ago. Among this gallery of clinkers, probably the single most important name to surface, on Monday on the front page of the New York Times no less -- a name I've been waiting a while to see -- was Brent Scowcroft.... If Scowcroft, who co-authored a book with the elder Bush and is considered his alter ego in the world, has now surfaced as a major consultant of Bush the Younger, then a triumvirate of Daddy's Boys -- family fixer James Baker, supposedly off to alleviate Iraqi indebtedness, Robert Blackwill, now sitting somewhere in the White House helping Condoleezza Rice coordinate Iraq policy, and Scowcroft -- are all back in town. Since Baker's recent high-profile travels around the world on the debt-relief question, he seems to have mysteriously dropped from sight. In this Oedipus wrecks of an administration, the psychological tug-of-war between son and father has gotten far too little attention in our media. Whatever's been going on in the Bush family has surely been weirder than anybody's been willing to let on.

And THIS is growing into a serious liability for Bush:

In 2000, the Associated Press reviewed nearly 200 pages of Bush's military records released by the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Va. They contained no evidence that he reported for drills in Alabama.


Wednesday, February 04, 2004

KERRY: A Pro at the Con 

By now everyone paying attention has read or heard about John Kerry's hypocrisy when it comes to taking cash from lobbyists. He has campaigned against special interests, but has raised more money from lobbyists than ANY other senator in the past fifteen years. Not exactly reassuring, that.

If we're looking for an alternative to Bush (rather than just any old stiff in a tie who can win the election), do we want to support the single most indebted candidate, whose history of receiving, ahem, intimate favors from corporations surpasses every single REPUBLICAN in the US Senate and House of Ill Repute?

This guy is on the take. Period. And every time I look into his lifeless eyes on the TV, I feel exactly ZERO confidence that his affiliation with the same Yale skull & bones secret society that Bush belongs to is not something that should scare the crap out of every American who wants Bush out of office. It's not enough to replace him with a slightly milder, far more savvy version of the same damn thing. Is it? Should our choice come down to the Yale grad who did fight in Vietnam or Yale stooge who chickened out?

A strong showing from Edwards or a comeback for Dean would go a long way toward renewing my miniscule and dwindling faith in the Democrats.


Tuesday, February 03, 2004


Ready for those primaries and caucuses? Kerry or Dean? Why not Kucinich? Been to Iraq lately? Heard much about Afghanistan? Happen to be on the panel to investigate the flawed WMD intel? Who should we invade next? What's on your mind today? Let us know....


What do you look for in a blog? What keeps you coming back? What scares you off? Please take a moment to add your comments to this thread, and help us build this into one of the best blogs around. Thanks!

VIDEO: Remember This? 

A quick, far from complete video sampling of some of the lies that pushed the U.S. into war: CLICK HERE.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Losing His Base? 

From Paul Krugman in today's New York Times:

Well, whaddya know. Even as the Republican leadership strong-armed the Medicare drug bill through Congress, the administration was sitting on estimates showing that the plan would cost at least $134 billion more than it let on. But let's not make too much of the incident. After all, it's not as if our leaders make a habit of faking their budget projections. Oh, wait.

The budget released yesterday, which projects a $521 billion deficit for fiscal 2004, is no more credible than its predecessors. When the administration promises much lower deficits in future years, remember this: two years ago it projected a fiscal 2004 deficit of only $14 billion. What's new this time is that the administration has decided to pay lip service to conservative complaints about runaway spending.

From John Nichols in The Nation yesterday:

Moments after the polls closed in New Hampshire on January 27, Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie declared that President Bush had won 94 percent of the Republican primary vote. It was a dramatic claim. Unfortunately for Gillespie, it was dramatically inaccurate. When the Associated Press posted the unofficial returns from the GOP primary, it reported that Bush had won a little less than 86 percent of the vote. The fact that almost one out of every seven New Hampshire voters who took Republican ballots had apparently cast them for someone other than the party's incumbent president drew little note in major media accounts... As it turns out, however, the unofficial tally by Associated Press significantly underestimated the collapse in the president's fortunes. According to updated figures from the New Hampshire Secretary of State's office, which only today posted a final figure on the total number of ballots cast, only 78 percent of New Hampshire voters who took Republican ballots marked them for Bush. (In one New Hampshire town, Milton, Bush received only 48 percent of the vote, while in a number of others he was held below 60 percent of the vote.)

Coincidence? Uh, well, hmmm...



David Kay misdirects national attention 

David Kay, hand picked by the Bush Administration to serach for WMD and construct the best case supporting the invasion and occupation of Iraq, has done his best for Bush by blaming faulty intelligence and inadequate groundwork by intelligence agencies worldwide, particularly the CIA. For the time being, he has successfully diverted meaningful public attention from "What did the administration know and how did they use it?" to "Why didn't the intelligence community know more accurately about the real status of WMD in Iraq?" Answering the first question would be valuable to the country in determining national character. Answering the second will address some intelligence process issues in play under very specific conditions and many inherent shortcomings of intelligence work in general. It would valuable for the continued employment of a few policy wonks and the Bush campaign staff. Take your pick.


This week we're experimenting with our first-ever blog, and we'd really appreciate your support and participation. Whether you're a regular BWUSA reader, a random surfer, an avid blogger or an arch-conservative CEO/politician/evil-genius deep in your undisclosed dark hole, WE'D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!
What's on your mind?

SAY ANYTHING: The Neoconservative Way 

Spotted this quote from Richard Perle in this morning's New York Times:

I have long thought our intelligence in the gulf has been woefully inadequate.

It took three minutes to dig up this quote from Perle, taken from a Frontline interview last July:

When one looked at the intelligence about weapons of mass destruction, and when one looked at the intelligence about chemical and biological weapons, it was not based upon one single source. It was not some narrow information. Rather, it was something that had been put together over the course of months and years from a number of different sources. So, to me, that wasn't an issue.


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