Shorter Leah McLaren: Dear boss: It would sure be a shame if your cutest and most fashionable columnist got her knees broken because she owes mucho dineros to Big Luigi. Hint hint.
As both vacation and the year near their inevitable ends, reflection is required. What a year its been, eh? Citizen spying, government leaks/cover-ups, raging deficit, call-boy embeds, Bill O'Reilly's sex scandal,
NeroBush fiddling while New Orleans flooded, lobbyists with a 10,000 to 1 influence ratio over the average voter, and friggin' xmas came to Whoville anyway, what's not to miss?
Nothing sums up the theme of 2005's successes like Bush being honest (see: cock-sure arrogance).
"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda," Bush said in explaining his communications strategy last May.
As we "catapult" into 2006, what's in store?
* From the man who maneuvered CSX into a tax exempt status and then himself into a cushy job with the treasury, we find he's not as sucessful with *our* money. Tax and Spend Republicans (meme for 2006) Prepare yourself for the new Chinese overlords.
* A Roots Revival, because it's important to save babies and eliminate their social safety net simultaneously and don't forget marriage. Without retention of the sanctity of marriage, it's a slippery slope to gulag detention centers, KGB style surveillance and a lack of accountabilty between branches of government. It's up to you to do your part.
* Iraq will lose popularity (see: Afghanistan). Another country will need to be threatened. I recommend Cuba as we could do it in a weekend but Syria might be nice. Iran's a toughie and if we can't get Israel to assist with their nukes against Iran's nukes... success won't be the slam dunk we've come to expect from this administration. Or.... maybe we could continue spending valuable tax dollars keeping an eye on PETA, Quakers and Gay Marriage advocates while Osama still consumes oxygen. Seems easier and makes em look busy, don't it?
* Jesus will come back. It'll be done quietly, he'll look around, notice that the majority of his "peeps" are nutjobs and realize an eternity with them would be hell. He'll go home empty handed, amused that the FBI and DHS were too busy infiltrating anti-war peace protests to notice his illegal immigration.
* Intelligent design will reign supreme just in time for the bird flu pandemic. Christians everywhere will flock to their pharmacies seeking relief from the miracles of scientific research to go on fighting another day, for the 'we don't come from monkeys' cause. Power to the underenlightened!
* It'll beome a crime to disclose over-reaching government behavior but the behavior will be justifiable.
Independent Thought, Declared Archaic.
As you raise your champagne flutes come 11:59 Saturday night, take a few seconds to reflect on lucky we are to be Americans, and how fortunate we are to have a man like George W. Bush at the helm of our great nation.
As our friend Sean Hannity says - George Bush is the right man at the right time.
On the bright side of it all, the key indicator of economic improvement will continue to be the ever evolving list of companies on the DJIA and S&P 500 while the plummeting numbers in the home equity sector goes unnoticed.
Bottoms up, y'all!
Toby (age 3): I made this in my class.
Me: Oh, is it Rudolph?
Toby: NO. It's a candy cane that looks like Rudolph!
The Rude Pundit's Contract for all your conservative friends. If they can sign this, they're the true patriots.
"I (the undersigned) believe President George W. Bush when he says that the United States of America is fighting a 'new kind of enemy' that requires 'new thinking' about how to wage war. Therefore, as a loyal citizen of President Bush’s United States, my signature below indicates my agreement to the following:
"1. I believe wholeheartedly in the Patriot Act as initially passed by Congress in 2001, as well as the provisions of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act. Therefore, I grant the FBI access to:
"a. my library records, so it may determine if I am reading material that might designate me an enemy of the nation;
"b. my financial records, including credit reports, so it may determine if I am contributing monetarily to any governmentally proscribed activities or organizations;
"c. my medical records, so it may determine if my prescriptions, injuries, or other conditions are indicative of terrorist activity on my part;
"d. any and all other personal records including, but not limited to, my store purchases, my school records, my web browsing history, and anything else determined as a 'tangible thing' necessary to engage in a secret investigation of me.
"I agree that I do not need to be notified if my records have come under scrutiny by the FBI, and, furthermore, I agree that no warrant is needed for the FBI to engage in this examination of my personal records. Additionally, I agree that the FBI should be allowed to monitor any groups it believes may be linked to what it determines to be terrorist activity.
"2. I believe that the President of the United States has the power to mitigate any and all laws passed by the Congress and that he has such power granted to him by his status as Commander-in-Chief in the Constitution as well as the 2001 Authorization of Military Force, passed by the Congress, which states that the President can use 'all necessary and appropriate force' in prosecution of the war. Therefore, I grant the United States government the following powers:
"a. that the National Security Agency, under the direction of the President, may tap my phone lines and intercept my e-mail without warrant or FISA oversight;
"b. that the President may hold me or other detainees without access to the legal system for a period of time determined by the President or his agents;
"c. that the President may authorize physical force against me or other individual detainees in order to gain intelligence and that he may define whether such physical force may be called 'torture':
"d. that the President may set aside any and all laws he sees as hindering the gathering of intelligence and prevention of terrorist acts for a period as time determined by the President, including, but not limited to, rights to political protest.
"I agree that the Judicial and Legislative branch should be allowed no oversight of these activities, and that such oversight merely emboldens the terrorists. I also agree that virtually all of these activities may be conducted in complete secrecy and that revelation of these activities amount to treasonous behavior on the part of those who reveal these activities to the press and the citizenry.
"3. Finally, this document is my statement that I believe the President of the United States and the entire executive branch, as well as all departments and agencies involved, as well as all of its personnel, will treat these powers I have granted them with utmost respect. I believe that these powers will not be abused, nor will any of the information I have given them permission to examine be misinterpreted. However, should such abuse or misinterpretation occur, I agree that such actions are mere errors and no one should be subject to investigation, arrest, or employment action as a result.
"My consent freely given,
So close to Christmas, it's nice to see those on the right focusing on the spirit of the Christmas they're fighting so hard to save. The joy, the peace, the love for mankind, it's just so... moving.
Which brings me to this week's scandal about No Such Agency spying on "Americans." I have difficulty ginning up much interest in this story inasmuch as I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East and sending liberals to Guantanamo.
For a Constitutional "literalist" Bush and crew sure are going out of their way to force interpretation. Forget about separation of powers or any accountability, our president now believes himself responsible to no one.
Don't you miss the days when it was just about sex?
Dear Mr. Bush,
The sweet smell of success is in the air. For Christmas you've given us hope for the future in Iraq (not so much here...) and Democracy throughout the Middle East.
So why again no timetable for removal? We've had the Iraqis on a series of timetables for getting their acts in gear. So what's the status report?
Now it's time to let Democracy flourish by itself.
Before we go and invest another $100 billion on "rebuilding", can we have a full top to bottom audit of the monies already
embezzledinvested, a complete retroactive review of the former CPA officials and a corporate-styled assessment of where we are on our planned progress to date?
Bringing home the 20K troops sent over to monitor elections isn't a reduction in troops, just like reversing tax cuts isn't a tax increase. Pretend you truly are the CEO President and plan for the future.
a voter. (not yours, of course.)
* Crankosphere? When editors and journalists perform as spokespeople for the White House rather than independent reporters of news and get called to task on their embed status, they too get cranky. Our 'cranky' is more snarky disappointment.
* Diane Feinstein, how could you? Now we're going to have to listen to Rush and Hannity defend executive privilege through the holiday season.
* The Washington Post redeems itself with this tool.
* Dear Ralph Reed, Regret doesn't keep you out of jail.
* Voting machine hackability, important in a democracy.
* Arguing for "Globalization" and the "Wall of Trust" at the same time seems a bit disingenuous, don't it?
* One does have to ask, "wouldn't winging him have been more appropriate?".
* Your government does not trust you. The freedom it's "selling" to the world, is a lie. Your personal rights and privacy do not have to be compromised to make you safer.
* How to make an Intelligent Design believer's head explode.
* I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
* Time to counter with "Realists with a Plan"... then, bloody well get one.
The era of big government has come to a whaaaaaaaaa???
WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 - Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.
Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years in an effort to track possible "dirty numbers" linked to Al Qaeda, the officials said. The agency, they said, still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications.
The previously undisclosed decision to permit some eavesdropping inside the country without court approval represents a major shift in American intelligence-gathering practices, particularly for the National Security Agency, whose mission is to spy on communications abroad. As a result, some officials familiar with the continuing operation have questioned whether the surveillance has stretched, if not crossed, constitutional limits on legal searches.
We truly have met the enemy and he is us.
* In the rush to eat reindeer steak, fire bomb nativity sets and wish everyone a happy Xmas, I forgot about Leslie's advent calendar. Go, have fun.
* If it's the holidays, I'm baking. Tonight, it's this.
* The AFA had a roundtable with Jesus and found him to be gay-friendly too.
* Wow, who here doesn't miss the Taliban's morality police? Maybe just the Jesusinistas.
* How to tell when Ann Coulter's got fuck all to talk about... she digs up Mary Jo Kopechne and dry humps the corpse.
* Bush, believes in DeLay. Gawrsh, that's cute.
* Who's still swallowing whole, the rah rah rahs from this administration on the strength of the economy?
* Funny thing about Political Capital, there aren't reserves and you can't borrow from the Chinese.
(via Media Matters)
O'REILLY: In Plano, Texas, just north of Dallas, the school told students they couldn't wear red and green because they were Christmas colors. That's flat-out fascism. If I were a student in Plano, I'd be a walking Christmas tree after that order. Have a little thing on my head.
* Was Tookie guilty? Probably. Was he reformed? His works seem to indicate he was. Should he have remained in prison? Yes. Would he have been more of a benefit to society by remaining alive? We'll never know, will we?
* Bravery in the face of tragedy. The "casualty assistance calls officers" story. Grab some Kleenex.
* Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, right?
* Isn't it exciting? This week, the GOP plans on disproving their 'less government' mantra and push to retain and strengthen the Patriot Act. For a party who claims they want less intrusion of the American way of life, they sure have a funny way of showing it.
* Rumor has it that in book seven, Harry Potter slays Aslan and makes a virility stew from his penis.
* FEAR THE CLENIS! It's power is everlasting!!!!!!
* Accuracy in Academia? Combining plagarism and ignorance. "to the Alliance Defense Fund’s Senior Counsel, Gary McCaleb, “School officials have gone so far as to prohibit students from wearing red and green at their ‘winter break’ parties…" or not.
Just a man of the people, that Bush. A full day of inside peeking at what goes on in the mind of the man chosen to lead this great nation.
Williams: Do you read this kind of stuff?
President Bush: No.
Williams: You don't read the news weeklies?
President Bush: I really don't. I'm interested in the news. I'm not all that interested in the opinions.
Funny, with ever increasing regularity... the voters who elected him find themselves with opinions.
President Bush: I don'I see a lot of the news. Every morning I look at the newspaper. I can't say I've read every single article in the newspaper. But I definitely know what's in the news. Occasionally, I watch television. t want to hurt your feelings, but it's occasionally. I'm working at that point, as are you. But I'm very aware of what's in the news. I'm aware because I see clips. I see summaries. I have people on my staff that walk in every morning and say, "This is what's — this is how I see it. This is what's brewing today," on both the domestic and international side. Frankly, it is probably part of my own fault for needling people, but it's a myth to think I don't know what's going on. And it's a myth to think that I'm not aware that there is opinions that don't agree with mine. Because I'm fully aware of that.
Filtered for your pleasure.
Williams: A lot of people have seen in this series of speeches you're giving on Iraq, a movement in your position. They call it an acknowledgement that perhaps the mission has not gone as it was originally planned — three points: That the U.S. would be welcomed as liberators, that General Shinsecki, when he said this would take hundreds of thousands of troops in his farewell speech, might have been right. And third, that it wasn't a self-sustaining war in terms of the oil revenue. Do you concede those three points might not have gone as planned?
President Bush: Review them with me again.
Williams: You said again today if you had to do it all over again you'd do...
President Bush: I would. Remember what Dolpher found, the inspectors that went in there. They came back and said, "No, we didn't find the weapons that we all thought would be there. But we did know that he had the capacity to reconstitute a weapons program." And that he was a dangerous man. It would be even more dangerous had he survived, you know, yet another U.N. resolution.
He had a brain... he could have planned something.
Williams: Can we talk about torture for a moment? The United States right now is locked in talks. And they're going on in Washington. Why can't the United States be definitively against torture, the current definition they're talking about?
President Bush: Yeah, we will be. We are and we will be at home and abroad. And we're working through this issue with members of the House and the Senate. There's a reconciliation process going, or a, you know, coming together of minds, I guess is the best way to put it. And we want to see it happened. And we're working with both Senator McCain and Congressman Duncan Hunter.
We're looking into it... really not in the cards in this time of terror.
President Bush: No, not at all — particularly these people, I mean, some of whom you know are quite straightforward. But on the other hand, they also understand that they can play a great role, you know, in helping me — allowing me to maintain a perspective. Listen, friends are just a vital part of my life.
And there's nothing neater than showing, or sharing, the White House experience with people you're comfortable with. And it's a fantastic experience by the way. I like to make decisions. As you know, I'm willing to stand by my decisions. Some don't like that aspect about my presidency. But nevertheless, that's just the way I am.
And it's an honor to represent the country. We are a fabulous nation, with great principles and wonderful people. And it's unbelievably exciting to represent America around the world and to call upon the compassion here at home.
It's neato, swell... 23 skidoo. They never let me in on decisioning back in my Arbusto days. After they tell me what to say and do, I decision.
What's the term for rocketing past one's Peter Principle high water mark?
* Welcome to WalMart, please keep your facts to yourself.
* Dot-dumb bubble will eventually burst.
* Plame, the name that keeps giving.
* Goddamn piece of paper? Well, at least he's acknowledging the inspiration, right?
* Dennis, if these are applicable to gays, can they be married too?
* Math is hard to read. Mostly when the numbers are depressing.
QUESTION: Since the inception of the Iraq war, I'd like to know the approximate total of the Iraqis who have been killed. And by Iraqis, I include civilians, military, police, insurgents, translators...
BUSH: How many Iraqi citizens have died in this war? I would say 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis.
We've lost about 2,140 of our own troops in Iraq.
Holy shit, more or less? I thought we weren't keeping totals on Iraqi casualties and he's able to yank this number out of thin air?
Bob Woodward, embedded so deep into the White House, he's able to be afraid of being subpoened by a grand jury a year before a grand jury is actually convened. Wouldn't someone with these skills be fantastic covering the Parlimentary elections this week in Iraq?
* Bush's idea of supporting the troops. KIAs = Freight.
* Just like missing work and manufacturing excuses for behavior is a sign of alcoholism, having to spend all your time trying to convince your allies you don't torture is also indicative of a larger problem.
* Joe Liebermann, putting the flop in flip flop. Um Al, in hindsight...
* Do the American people get double super secret probation for breaking super secret law.
* Tired of not being in the majority? Corruption not as profitable as you'd like it to be? Unable to preach one thing and do another? Convert.
* Why would Bush only meet with black leaders behind closed doors?
* Have you fired your weapon in the battle against Happy Holidays yet? Take the "Jesusmas" quiz.
Of all the mistakes that the Bush administration has committed in Iraq, none is as gratuitous and self-inflicted as the bungling of the trial of Saddam Hussein.
Although Saddam deserves to be shot like a dog -- or, same thing, like the Ceausescus -- we nonetheless decided to give him a trial.
Ah, Democracy... installable with interchangeable parts. With or without justice? With or without torture chambers. With or without food, water, electricity & sewage. At least they're not having to fight the Christmas meanies.
Two and a half years after the Bush Administration kicked the Iraqi anthill and then realized they didn't know the first thing about rebuilding a nation (let alone maintaining their own) they produce a 35 page document to prove *they* believe they're on the right track. In the attempt to sell the magical elixir of warfare for fun and profit to the American people, they've gone slogan-ing again.
Something about the tagline's been bugging me and until just now I'd not been able to put my finger on it.
Plan for Victory
* Plan: v. t. To scheme; to devise; to contrive; to form in design; as, to plan the conquest of a country. [1913 Webster]
Something they should have been doing all along, no?
A Plan for Victory
Plan: n. A scheme devised; a method of action or procedure expressed or described in language; a project; as, the plan of a constitution; the plan of an expedition.
Something we should have already had in place given the homework the neocons at the PNAC had done.
Why use plan as a verb and not a noun, especially after releasing supporting documents?
Dear Leader lets us peek behind the curtain.
Reconstruction has not always gone as well as we had hoped, primarily because of the security challenges on the ground. Rebuilding a nation devastated by a dictator is a large undertaking. It's even harder when terrorists are trying to blow up that which the Iraqis are trying to build. The terrorists and Saddamists have been able to slow progress, but they haven't been able to stop it.
Um, remember "shock & awe"... we're the ones that blew it all up.
If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier...just as long as I'm the dictator.
-- During his first trip to Washington as President-Elect, Washington, DC, Dec 18, 2000
Oh, Scott... thou betrayest thine base.
Q Scott, you very graciously answered seven questions from two reporters, and I have a mere three-part question. First, at the National Christmas Tree lighting last week the President said, "Each year we gather here to celebrate the season of hope and joy, and to remember the story of one humble life that lifted the sights of humanity. Santa, thanks for coming." And the question: Will the President apologize to Christians offended by his referring to Jesus as Santa?
MR. McCLELLAN: The President meant exactly what he said, Les.
Doesn't taking the Christ out of Christmas really just give us more?
Christmas without Christ is Mas.
Más = More: meaning greater in size or amount or extent or degree; "more land"; "more support"; "more rain fell"; "more than a gallon")
So by sending out Holiday cards instead of Christmas cards this year, the White House is really trying to give you more. It's their way of compensating for all the 'taking' they do throughout the rest of the year.
So, Happy Mas, y'all.
Reducing torture and the warmth in every room entered, all by her little self.
Sleep well my pretties.
How far the mighty have voluntarily plummeted.
Reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who broke the Watergate conspiracy story with, perhaps, the most famous source in journalism history, said Monday it's especially important to protect such sources now.
During a rare joint appearance, the duo told an audience at Harvard University they were concerned about prosecutors going after reporters and their sources, citing the investigation into the leak of a CIA analyst's identity.
"It is a really bad thing, for journalism, for the country. You will dry up the real story of what is going on in government," Woodward said.
Bob, when you're *part and parcel* of the story you eradicate not only the objectivity of journalism but erode the already endangered trust.
The Bob Woodward of the Nixon era wouldn't have been so completely and totally entrenched in the administration. When presented with classified information, he would have recognized malicious intent and taken it to the justice department rather than holding the information while castigating the investigation.
Protecting sources is key to quality journalism. However, if those sources are breaking the law and the journalists are being used as pawns for a corrupt government appropriate disclosure is warranted.
* Because the cognitive dissonance resonanting from the press gaggles isn't enough to create a migraine, we need logic too.
* Ok, maybe we're not *all* evolving.
* The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe... ok folks, it's allegorical Christian fiction. It's also a fun series of books for kids and unless they're deeply steeped in christian teachings, most aren't going to get it. You can love the books and still grow up to be agnostic.
* An insurgency handbook, courtesy of your federal government. Looks like the playbook being used by the 'oppositionistas' in Iraq.
Dean, Iraq & Jerked Knees
* What is with the neocon love for the word traitor these days? A difference of opinion is not justification for murder.
What if Dean is right? What if we can't win it... especially in the manner in which we've undertaken the job and commited to rebuilding the country? What if miserable failure isn't just applicable to the president but trickles out to *all* of his policies? What if the country's the Exxon Valdez and we've got our own drunk captain at the helm?
Even Bob "Douchebag" Novak in his weekly email said:
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, meanwhile, in a radio interview in San Antonio this week, spoke with bombastic rhetoric but actually proposed a more conservative Iraq strategy than Murtha. Dean called for a two-year exit of U.S. forces, which could be a longer timeframe than Bush has in mind. Dean suggests a gradual redeployment to Afghanistan and friendly Middle Eastern countries, from which they somehow would fight al Qaeda factions in Iraq. As usual, Dean was not careful with his words and added, "The idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong." But ironically, his plan is probably more conservative than Bush's plan as well.
Yeah Bob, that is ironic.
Liberation from traditional female gender roles has been little help here. Women today are not, and should not be, as helpless as those three girls aided by Saint Nicholas. However, girls gone wild with sexual freedom most often leads to exploitation by men. I doubt we would see as much skin if there were no gawking male purchasers, eager to buy and sell innocence as commerce.
Harmful to both men and women, graphic sexuality, even the somewhat scaled-down prime time variety, contributes to the overall commoditization of sex. Viewed through the eyes of a pornographer, sex is commerce and sexual purity is restraint of trade.
We need you today Saint Nicholas, the Wonderworker. Our sons and daughters need the good gifts of those who truly value their health and purity.
Only Santa Claus can protect us from ourselves!!!!
*because he only comes once a year?
How many times have you heard statemtents that CEOs are so far removed from the work being performed that their statements appears completely unrelated to the reality of the day to day. The corporate vision appears cloudy after it's filtered down through the massive layers of
DUBAI (AP) The training of Iraqi security forces has suffered a big "setback" in the last six months, with the army and other forces being increasingly used to settle scores and make other political gains, Iraqi Vice President Ghazi al-Yawer said Monday.
Al-Yawer disputed contentions by U.S. officials, including President Bush, that the training of security forces was gathering speed, resulting in more professional troops.
But al-Yawer said recent allegations that Interior Ministry security forces -- dominated by Shiites -- have tortured Sunni detainees were evidence that many forces are increasingly politicized and sectarian. Some of the recently trained Iraqi forces focus on settling scores and other political goals rather than maintaining security, he said.
In addition, some Iraqi military commanders have been dismissed for political reasons, rather than judged on merit, he said.
Ah, the Vision for Victory.... blurry and off in the distance.
The Hammer appears to have clay feet.
The GOP corruption appears contagious.
AUSTIN - A senior district judge today dismissed one felony indictment but upheld another against U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, dashing DeLay's hopes for a speedy resolution to his case.
A quick ruling in DeLay's favor from senior state District Judge Pat Priest throwing the case out of court was crucial to the Sugar Land Republican's efforts to regain his post as U.S. House majority leader. He was forced to step down when he was indicted in September.
Priest dismissed charges of conspiracy to violate the state election code but upheld a money laundering indictment against DeLay and two of his associates: Jim Ellis and John Colyandro. They were charged in connection with spending corporate money in the 2002 legislative races.
Can we re-take his mugshot in 6 months?
Because We Said So, inc.
* History's Not Now... It's Some Random Time in the Future.
* GOP Funded Gerrymandering in Texas, Not Political.
* Ethical Douchebag 101.
HolidayXmas tree in Boston to be retained for crucifixion reenactment in the Spring. Jesus, all about the trees.
* Victims rights are so 20th century.
* WalMart, preserving Christmas for almost everyone.
* Condi's whirlwind "Justifying Torture" EU tour.
Shorter Leah McLaren: I don't care if you think it's OK to kidnap civilians from the street and torture them to death as long as you remember to suck up to me.
With God, Ann Coulter and these guys on your side, how in the world can you lose?
How is it that leaving the troops in Iraq with no defined exit requirements, a moving end goal and and increased insurgency is considered support but bringing them home to the comfort of their homes and family is not?
* Monitored Voting. For Iraqis Only.
* Absolut Corruption: 2 oz Absolut Vodka, Garnish with Lobbyist.
* Reverse Gang Rape. One Man, 12 Million Voters.
* Honorable Military Service, Republicans Only Need Apply.
Amazing how the CEO President is unable to listen to or consider the need of his shareholder and that the reorgs being demanded by the board of directors are landing on deaf ears. After 20 consecutive quarters of precipitous declination in both fiscal returns as well as overall performance, the din of dissatisfaction has become a roar.
At the national level, where President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress are presiding over the largest expansion of government since LBJ's Great Society, things are no better. Our political base expects elected leaders to cut both tax rates and spending, because they know that the real tax burden is reflected in the overall size of government.
Instead, we have embarrassing spectacles like the 2005 highway bill. Costing $295 billion, it is 35% larger than the last transportation bill, fueled by 6,371 earmarks doled out to favored political constituencies. By comparison, the 1987 highway bill was vetoed by Ronald Reagan for containing relatively few (152) earmarks. Overall, even excluding defense and homeland security spending, the growth rate of discretionary spending adjusted for inflation is at a 40-year high.
All of our leaders are complicit in this spending spree. President Bush has yet to veto a single spending bill. The House leadership refuses to reign in appropriators, claiming, as one of them preposterously put it, that "there is simply no fat left to cut in the federal budget."
So Dick lays out the folly of the current incumbency and though I don't agree with him on all points, he does a fine job of outlining the areas requiring the most change.
Accept Political Reality on Iraq. The American people have turned against your war, and they're not turning back. Congressman John Murtha's revolt is just the latest sign. Iraq is an argument you can no longer win. Yes, the December elections there may give you a bit of breathing space, but your maneuvering room is permanently limited. Whether you like it or not, you will have to withdraw a substantial portion of our troops before the midterm elections in November 2006 or risk a Democratic takeover of Congress. (Think you're miserable now? Just wait until the two dozen legislative investigations start under Democratic management!) You can keep some American troops in Iraqi fallback positions and in friendly countries in the general neighborhood. That's it, though, unless you want to see your Presidency held hostage to a foreign adventure the public opposes. (See your fellow Texan, Johnson, Lyndon Baines. And maybe Carter, Jimmy for good measure.)
It's frank talk like this that would benefit this adminstration the most and almost guaranteed to be the last type of dialogue we'd hear in the Oval Office.
WASHINGTON — As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq.
The articles, written by U.S. military "information operations" troops, are translated into Arabic and placed in Baghdad newspapers with the help of a defense contractor, according to U.S. military officials and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Many of the articles are presented in the Iraqi press as unbiased news accounts written and reported by independent journalists. The stories trumpet the work of U.S. and Iraqi troops, denounce insurgents and tout U.S.-led efforts to rebuild the country.
Because, you know what our view of Arabic television is...
PRESIDENT Bush planned to bomb Arab TV station al-Jazeera in friendly Qatar, a "Top Secret" No 10 memo reveals.
But he was talked out of it at a White House summit by Tony Blair, who said it would provoke a worldwide backlash.
A source said: "There's no doubt what Bush wanted, and no doubt Blair didn't want him to do it." Al-Jazeera is accused by the US of fuelling the Iraqi insurgency.
The attack would have led to a massacre of innocents on the territory of a key ally, enraged the Middle East and almost certainly have sparked bloody retaliation.
Al-Jazeera hopes to launch an English language channel next year. Is there anyone in the Congress or this Administration who is willing to try to stop them?
Well Cliff, I think the answer to your question is a resounding, YES.
Would someone please offer an apology to Eason Jordon?