Saturday, April 29, 2006

I Thought The Proof Is In The Pudding, Not The Rhetoric

Does anyone listen to the W's weekly radio address or is it another grand demonstration of how the right is wasting our taxpayer dollars on the propaganda catapult? Have a look at the rhetorical spew for today and let us know what you think:
There will be more tough fighting ahead in Iraq and more days of sacrifice and struggle. Yet the enemies of freedom have suffered a real blow in recent days, and we have taken great strides on the march to victory. Iraq's leaders now have laid the foundations for a democratic government of, by, and for the Iraqi people. By helping the Iraqi people build their democracy, America will deal the terrorists a crippling blow and establish a beacon of liberty in the Middle East -- and that will make our Nation and the world more secure.
All fluff and no stuff? As the old lady in the Wendy's commercial used to say, "Where's the beef?" Certainly, as I have been known to say in the past, the ROI in Iraq has never been worth the outlay.

The Iraq Dog And Pony Show Is Over: We Americans Await The Promised Honeymoon

A friend sent me the link to this article. Here's what he said:
Rumsfeld knows that Bush sent him to Iraq as part of a dog and pony show. Rice is still willing to play Bush's game. Rummy knows it's over.
Here's a clip of the article:
BAGHDAD, April 27 -- A full 10 seconds of silence passed after a reporter asked Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld what the intense secrecy and security surrounding their visit to Iraq signified about the stability of the country three years after the U.S.-led invasion. Rice turned to Rumsfeld to provide the answer. Rumsfeld glared at the reporter.

"I guess I don't think it says anything about it," he snapped. He went on to say that President Bush had directed him and Rice to go to Iraq to "meet with the new leadership, and it happens that they are located here," a reference to the heavily fortified Green Zone where U.S. officials -- and many Iraqi leaders -- live and work...

...Before the two Cabinet members left Baghdad on Thursday, Rice dismissed any suggestions of tension. "Secretary Rumsfeld and I have an excellent relationship," she told Fox News. "We're working very hard together. We're actually having a great time here in Iraq."
Excuse me?!? Having a fucking "great time here in Iraq?" Meanwhile, GIs are regularly getting their butts waxed in Iraq. This last comment illustrates just how out of touch with reality the W, Rove and Co is today. Americans want so desperately to experience the post-Iraq honeymoon so effervescently promised by Georgie. But after all, we learn every day that the ROI for Iraq has never been nor ever will be worth the outlay.

Doing Absolutely Nothing Does What?

Another good vid by Mark Fiore. Enjoy.

The Unlikely Hero: Still Homeless

The unlikely hero
Image from SFChronicle Web Location

More details emerge about the car accident that occured the other day:
Authorities have released few other details about the crash, which brought chaos to the stretch of Castro Street just south of Market Street. Those who witnessed the accident stopped at the scene Friday to share stories and grapple with lingering images of what they'd seen. Some of them had tried in vain to save the life of the BMW driver.
The man in the picture (Dane Johnsten) above deserves a medal, in my book. Why he is homeless and destitute is another problem that our nation has yet to resolve. There has to be a better way to handle the homeless situation if such a heroic individual is left to founder on our nations streets.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Abolish FEMA?

Six weeks away from what is a good question:
Q Abolish FEMA?

THE PRESIDENT: I've looked at all suggestions, but my attitude is let's make it work. We're about six weeks away from -- we're getting pretty close.
Another good question could be: Is FEMA worth our hard earned taxpayer dollars?

Obviously, The President Thinks It's Okay To Outsource Defense Related Businesses To Dubai

Q Proud to be here, sir. Are there inherent and unavoidable risks in allowing the sale of a defense firm to interests owned by Dubai?

THE PRESIDENT: That question has been looked at very carefully, has been analyzed by a CFIUS committee. I signed off on it this morning because I'm convinced, at the recommendation of the CFIUS committee, as well as our military, that it's a sale that should go through.
What do you think? If Dubai is not good for ports, can it be good for defense related firms?

Should We Let Those Bastards Sing Our National Anthem In English?

Okay, am I crazy for saying it's okay to sing the National Anthem in Spanish or any other language for that matter?
Q Mr. President, a cultural question for you. There is a version of the National Anthem in Spanish now. Do you believe it will hold the same value if sung in Spanish as in English?

THE PRESIDENT: No I don't, because I think the National Anthem ought to be sung in English. And I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English, and they ought to learn to sing the National Anthem in English.
If you ask me, I think the president and his ilk tend to confuse patriotism with blind allegience.

What's The Difference Between Iran And Iraq?

Martha had a good quetion for the president today:
Q You often say Iran is not Iraq.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I do say that.

Q There are many people who fear that this will turn into a military confrontation. Why is Iran not Iraq? There's WMD --

THE PRESIDENT: Iraq went through 16 different Security Council resolutions. There was resolution after resolution after resolution. Iraq had invaded its neighbors. Iraq was shooting at U.S. aircraft. Iraq had actually used weapons of mass destruction on its people before. There's a difference between the two countries.

Iran's desire to have a nuclear weapon is dangerous, in my judgment. The diplomatic process is just starting.

Q But when you talk about that, how many resolutions are you going to let go here? How far --

THE PRESIDENT: We haven't had one yet.

Q I know, but how far can you let them go? If you really fear that they're building a nuclear --

THE PRESIDENT: Wait until we even get one resolution first, before you ask me about the second resolution. The diplomatic process is just beginning. We're forming a strong coalition of like-minded countries that believe that the Iranians should not have a nuclear weapon. And I've told the American people that diplomacy is my first choice, and it should be the first choice of every American President in order to solve a very difficult problem. There are significant differences between Iran and Iraq.
Okay, the president didn't bite on the WMD issue, but did he satisfactorally answer the question?

Instead of Blowing Your Proffits on a Lamborghini, Be Mindful and Ot her Helpful Suggestions From W

Take a look at how hard the W is hitting Big Oil:
Q Thank you, sir. You mentioned gas prices; would you go along with an effort by some Senate Republicans that could levy a significant tax on oil companies' profits? And does it bother you that the oil companies are racking up these record profits when people are paying $3 a gallon?

THE PRESIDENT: My attitude is that the oil companies need to be mindful that the American people expect them to reinvest their cash flows in such a way that it enhances our energy security. That means pipeline construction for natural gas deliveries. That means expansion of refineries. That means exploration in environmentally-friendly ways. It also means investment in renewable sources of energy. And that's what the American people expect. They also expect to be treated fairly at the pump, and that's why the Federal Trade Commission is going to monitor the situation very carefully to make sure the American people are treated fairly.

Q So "no" to a tax on profits?

THE PRESIDENT: Look, the temptation in Washington is to tax everything, and they spend the money -- "they" being the people in Washington. The answer is, is for there to be strong reinvestment to make this country more secure from an energy perspective.

Listen, these oil prices are a wake-up call. We're dependent on oil and we need to get off oil. And the best way to do so is through technology. And I've been traveling the country talking about the need to develop alternative sources of energy, such as ethanol, and to spend money to advance technologies such as new battery technology that will enable us to have plug-in hybrid vehicles. We signed a good energy bill a while ago, and that encouraged, for example, one thing it's got in there is a tax credit to encourage people to purchase hybrid vehicles so that the consumptive patterns of the American people change.

And the American people have got to understand that we're living in a global economy, and so when China and India demand more oil, it affects the price of gasoline at the pump. And, therefore, it's important for us to diversify away from oil.

But it's also important for the people to understand that one of the reasons why the price is gasoline is up is there's tight gasoline supplies. And one reason there's tight gasoline supplies is because we haven't built any new refineries since the 1970s. And, therefore, Congress needs to provide regulatory relief so people can expand their refineries.

So it's a combination of people investing the cash flows, as well as regulatory relief to enhance the ability for people to achieve the objective, which is more gasoline on the market, which will help our consumers.

Forget May Day, W Gives Us "Loyalty Day."

So, what does the president suggest we do on "loyalty day" 2006? Bend over and prepared to be screwed for two or so more years?
Loyalty Day is also a time for us to reflect on our responsibilities to our country as we work to show the world the meaning and promise of liberty. The right to vote is one of our most cherished rights and voting is one of our most fundamental duties. By making a commitment to be good citizens, flying the American flag, or taking the time to learn about our Nation's history, we show our gratitude for the blessings of freedom.
Might I suggest, instead of flying your flag upside-down on 1 May, perahps we wrap a black ribbon on the flag pole that signifies that we are loyal to the Nation, but unsupportive of this administration and their disaterous policies and actions?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Broad Shot of The Scene Down Our Street

All Images Copyright Windspike (2006)
We were only after the fire was put out. From the looks of it, the fire fighters did a fantastic job saving the block.

The Scene Down the Street

All Images Copyright Windspike (2006)

This litterally just happened about an hour before we walked by. The culprit is the white car on the left. Certainly, nothing ever happens on our block, but this one is never dull.

Unfortunately, at least one person died as a result. Aparently the person in the white car ran from the scene. Don't know more details than that, but I'm sure it will hit the national news.

It's All Fair And Balanced News On Air Force One, No?

Humm, I found this exchange from today's press gaggle aboard Air Force One very entertaining:
Q It's come to my attention that there's been requests -- this is a serious question -- to turn these TVs onto a station other than Fox, and that those have been denied. My question would be, is there a White House policy that all government TVs have to be tuned to Fox?

MR. McCLELLAN: Never heard of any such thing. My TVs are on four different channels at all times.

Q Because you have four different TVs. But every time I've ever been --

MR. McCLELLAN: Every TV in the White House also has channels every -- has a split screen, where they can --

Q Well, they always seem to be tuned to Fox, and there's been requests, and these are paid for by taxpayer dollars. And my understanding is that you guys have to watch Fox on Air Force One. Is that true?

MR. McCLELLAN: First time I've ever heard of it. First time you've brought it to my attention, meaning the first time the press corps has brought it to my attention. In fact, I've watched other channels on here.

Q There's one --

MR. McCLELLAN: Hang on, Jim, come on. I've watched other channels on here, so I don't know where you're hearing that. But it's the first time anyone in the press has raised that question with me.

Q You've watched other channels other than Fox?

MR. McCLELLAN: On here, yes, sure.

Q I've never seen -- they're always turned to Fox, which a lot of people consider a Republican-leaning network.

Q Scott, is it one -- on the airplane, is it one for all? I mean, if it's tuned for Fox here, is it Fox everywhere?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think that certain areas may be interconnected, but I'll have to double-check which.

Q Is yours off, wherever you are?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the conference room, or the senior staff office, the staff office, they're different TVs, and you can switch to different channels. I'm not sure if some of these in the back are connected to some of the others that are watching right here, right now. It doesn't look like it to me. I've never known anyone that's raised a complaint about a request from back here to watch a different channel.

Q I'm officially raising it and officially complaining about it.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I'm going to go see if we can change the channel for you. Have you called up?

Q I was the Fox victim, and I was told -- the quote was, "No," when I asked for CNN.

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know who you talked to, so -- it didn't come to my attention. You don't know who you talked to either?

Q Well, the magic people at the other end off the phone.

MR. McCLELLAN: The magic people at the other end of the phone. Well, I'll see if this cabin is --

Q I was told, "We don't watch CNN here, you can only watch Fox."

MR. McCLELLAN: As I said, it's hard to respond to something when I don't know who it is you talked to.

Q I used the phone back here.

MR. McCLELLAN: I find this all quite amusing, to tell you the truth. I mean, there are a lot of people on this plane that do watch that channel.

Q I've never been told, no. They're such nice guys up there.

MR. McCLELLAN: First time you brought it to my attention. I'll go see what we can do on it.

* * * * *

MR. McCLELLAN: We just called up. They're going to be changing it, at your all's request, to the channel that you requested, which is CNN -- from the press corps.

Q Thanks, Scott.

You Want The Truth?

I haven't been over to one of my favorite web locations in a while. There's a bunch of new video clips posted that might be of interest to political blogger types.

! - The War Tapes

In March 2004, just as the insurgency strengthened, several members of a New Hampshire National Guard unit arrived in Iraq, carrying digital video cameras. The War Tapes is the movie they made with director Deborah Scranton and a team of award-winning filmmakers. It’s the first war movie filmed by soldiers themselves on the front lines in Iraq. The soldiers were not picked by casting agents or movie producers. They selected themselves. 10 soldiers from Charlie Company carried cameras on IED-riddled roads and into combat—and into their own internal conversations. They learned how to choose and tell their stories in constant instant message conversations with Director Scranton. They filmed under unbelievable conditions. The unit was based at LSA Anaconda in the deadly Sunni Triangle, under constant threat of ambush and IED attacks. They traveled, as a unit, 1.4 million miles during their tour, and lived through over 1,200 combat operations and 250 direct enemy engagements.

This exclusive clip was shot by Sergeant Steven Pink. It shows the first time he is hit by an IED. Sergeant Pink is one of the three featured soldiers in The War Tapes. Along with four other soldiers, he filmed his entire year deployment.

For more see:
Something new from in a modified IPod Advert:

And the kicker: True Lies. The new beat poet hit the cyberwaves of grain. Spoken like those speaking the truth. Coming soon to a big screen near you:

See below for more information on the film.

San Francisco, CA - San Francisco International Film Festival
Ticket information:
April 27th: 9:00 pm & May 1st: 4:15 pm - Kabuki Theater

Toledo, Ohio - Rep. Marcy Kaptur Hosts a Special Screening
Free and open to the public! Call 419 270-4945 for more info.

April 30th: 4:00 pm - Stephens-Roberts Hall (640 Indiana Ave)
Columbus, Ohio - Columbus Alive Deep Focus Film Festival
CLOSING NIGHT FILM! Ticket information:

May 7th: 7:00 pm - Arena Grand Theater
Brooklyn, NY - Sundance at BAM
Ticket information:

May 14th: 3:30 pm & May 16th: 6:40 pm - BAM Rose Cinemas
Seattle, WA - Seattle International Film Festival
Ticket information:

May 27th & May 28th - Time and Location TBA
Atlanta, GA - Atlanta International Film Festival
ATLANTA PREMIERE! Ticket information:
June 10th: 7:00pm // Additional Screening times and dates TBD

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

If You Haven't Seen This Trailer Yet, Have A Gander

Al Gore's flick is getting lots of play. Have a look at the trailer. Should be a fun movie to check out, but of course it will get poo poo-ed by the reichwingers.

Here's A Good Point About W's ANWAR Push:What's To Say Big Oil Doesn't Sell It To China At A Better Price?

Of course, Scotty is going to continue on the general theme of not answering very good questions:
Q Scott, if domestic oil drilling was approved in ANWR, would there be any laws in place that would say you can only sell it to the American public and that the big oil companies could not sell that oil to the highest bidder in China, or India -- because if the free market system worked, it wouldn't relieve the prices at the pumps for Americans.

MR. McCLELLAN: It would be one step that could help. In fact, it passed a decade ago, but the President's predecessor vetoed the ANWR legislation. It would have opened up a small part of ANWR to environmentally-responsible -- or environmentally-sensitive drilling. And we have a lot of new technologies that we can use to minimize any impact. And it would only be on a small portion of that area.

Q No, but the question --

MR. McCLELLAN: And so if you couple that with other steps that you're taking, you would have more supply available, and that would help address high gas prices. Now, many Democrats have opposed those efforts to expand domestic production. The President believes that while we're working to invest in new technologies and promote alternative sources of energy, we also need to be expanding domestic production. And we can do so with respect for our environment, particularly with new technologies that are available to us in this day and age. And there would have been a significant amount of additional oil that would be available today if that had been signed into law.

Q What's to prevent oil companies drilling in ANWR to extract that oil and sell it to China and India, rather than keep it --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, you bring up a very good point, over the long haul, that -- I mean, there is increasing demand for oil, particularly coming from countries like China and India. That's why we have to address the underlying problem, which is our dependence and our addiction to oil, as the President has talked about. It's not a solution, but it's one of the steps we can take, that it can have a more immediate impact in the short run.
Did he answer the question? Nope, didn't tink so.

If You Have A Valid Question, Don't Go To The Whitehouse For Answers

What's going on with Uncle Karl? No comment:
Q Scott, Karl Rove is making his fifth appearance in front of the grand jury today. And I'm wondering how you would characterize its effect on the administration? Is it a disruption, a distraction?

MR. McCLELLAN: Jim, I have no new information on that matter, and even if I did have new information, I wouldn't be in position to share it with you, as you know.

Q We have confirmation that he's making his appearance, so I'm just wondering if you can tell me, not in any kind of judicial way, but if you can tell me just in terms of its effect on the business of the administration?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, as you know, there's a policy we have in this administration. That policy hasn't changed. Does anyone else have questions on this topic matter?

Q Yes, Scott, I'll jump in on that one. I think the question is just if you can give us a comment, just the daily workings and whether this --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, my answer is what I just -- my answer is what I just gave you. This administration remains focused on the priorities of the American people.
When you get that kind of answer, I suggest the press pool just stand up, turn their backs on the current spokesmodel and walk out. After all, the Whitehouse has demonstrated over and again that they have no respect for the Whitehouse press pool reporters. Just look at how late it was that they found out Tony the Snow-job was going to take over Scotty's post. With the leaky faucet propaganda mill S.O.P., pool reporters are continuously usurped by the W, Rove and Co.

Building A Better Catapult?

When your numbers continue to shrink in the polls, what's a president to do? Build a better catapult for your propaganda. With Tony the Snow-job on the top of his game, there will be no end to the political parlor tricksterism perpetrated by the W, Rove and Co. Here's a slice of why they brought him on board:
Good morning. I'm here in the briefing room to break some news. I've asked Tony Snow to serve as my new press secretary.
Actually, Mr. President, you didn't break the news, that happened yesterday by another of your famous leaking staffers.
My job is to make decisions, and his job is to help explain those decisions to the press corps and the American people.

He understands like I understand that the press is vital to our democracy. As a professional journalist, Tony Snow understands the importance of the relationship between government and those whose job it is to cover the government. He's going to work hard to provide you with timely information about my philosophy, my priorities, and the actions we're taking to implement our agenda.
Explaining the W's decisions is not hard work, he's a simple man. It's the coverups that will be the most challenging element of Mr. Snow-job's work. But fortunately, he has had a lot of practice as an Activist "Journalist."
For seven years, he served as the host of "FOX News Sunday." Most recently, he reached Americans all across our country as the host of "The Tony Snow Show" on FOX News Radio, and "Weekend Live with Tony Snow" on the FOX News Channel.
Not only that, but he's practiced at spinning his own brand of propaganda for a prior Whitehouse administration.
Tony knows what it's like to work inside the White House. In 1991, he took a break from journalism to serve as Director of Speechwriting and Deputy Assistant to the President for Media Affairs
Like I said yesterday after the Whitehouse press pool was usurped by the latest Whitehouse leak last evening, strap on your seatbelts, this ride is going to be wild and wooly:
These are times that are going to be very challenging. We've got a lot of big issues ahead, and we've got a lot of important things that all of us are going to be covering together.
Gee, Mr. Snow-job, thanks for clearing that up for us.

Blog on all. Blog on.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

And The Leaks Keep Coming: From Scotty McMessage McClellan To Tony Snow-job Snow

Looks like the Whitehouse can't even get the scoop on their own personnel announcments, because there t'ain't a thin' on the Whitehouse web location regarding this latest Reuters report. In a leak reported not minutes ago, we are going to continue to enjoy the daily spew from with a new spokesmodel named Tony Snow-job. If you want to get a taste of the new propaganda, have a look at my posts involving Mr. Snow (post 1 - The Big Dick Shooter Cheney Interview 1, post 2 - The Big Dick Cheney leans on a shrill Shill Interview 2, post 3 - Interviews of Rummy).
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Bush has picked Fox News radio host Tony Snow as his new White House Press Secretary and is expected to announce the choice on Wednesday, a Republican official said.
Fasten your seatbelts folks, it's going to be a wild and woolly next few years.

Poetry To The People

Kvatch over at Blognonymous had an interesting poem posted today. It spured this poem from me:

Hark, what is this I hear
That little ringing in your ear
Of welfare, but for whom?

Dirty Oil Barons loom
Circling, licking their chops
For just another drop

Of Blood and Oil
For ordinary Americans Toil (and GIs Doomed)
To fatten up the coffers

Of the Chexonmotexoil larders
While the W, Rove and Co spindle
fold, mutilate and swindle

Our constitution and environment
For political gain, and profits meant
for all pals of big-oil's government

Thought others might like to take a stab at their variation on the themes.

Blog on all, blog on.

When The Prices Go Up Who's To Blame?

Here's an interesting exchange from today's press briefing at the Whitehouse. I have one question for you to cogitate while reviewing the text: Who is playing politics with whom?
Q Last one. Moments ago on the Hill, Senator Schumer of New York suggested that the President's remarks today, while welcome, left out, get tough on big oil. What sort of --

MR. McCLELLAN: The President made a very public comment calling on the energy companies to meet their responsibility to help reduce gas prices. Remember, let's look at where things stood last year. Many Democrats voted against the comprehensive energy plan that this President advocated from very early on in his administration and was finally passed last year. That is a plan that will help expand conservation, help develop new technologies to look at alternative sources of energy, like the President has outlined in his Advanced Energy Initiative.

It was Democrats, many Democrats, that have voted against efforts to expand domestic production capacity here at home and oppose efforts like opening up a small portion of ANWR to environmentally responsible exploration and production.

So I think the record is very clear. We're focused on practical solutions and acting on all fronts. Some are focused on playing politics.

Go ahead.

Q To follow up on his previous question. Do you not know what these -- the effect of these steps will be on gasoline prices, or are you just not --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I'll let other people who are more expert in this than me focus on this issue. But I think it --

Q Does the administration not know --

MR. McCLELLAN: Keith, you have to understand the situation we're in and the fact that this is a supply and demand issue. Supplies are tight because of the demand for oil, because we are in a global market now, where you have countries like China and India that are growing and increasing their demand for oil.

Now, there are some -- there are some parts that are temporarily affecting the increase in the price of oil, such as the switch in fuel mix that goes on now from MTBE to ethanol. And so I think it depends on a variety of factors. But what we ultimately have to do in the long run is get off our dependence on foreign sources of energy.

Q But my question is, these steps each have a cost. You're not putting as much into strategic reserve as you'd like. There's an environmental cost. Why would you take steps that have costs without knowing what the benefit would be?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, all these steps will help address high gas prices in the short run. The benefit is that it will help consumers. But the ultimate solution to the problem that we are in today requires that we reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy.

Q Okay, just lastly, you've asked the Justice Department -- the President has asked the Justice Department again to look at possible price gouging. Is there any evidence that there actually is price gouging going on?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, that's why I think -- Terry or Jim asked that question earlier in the briefing. And you should go and look at -- the Department of Energy has a website that people can go to and report possible price gouging. And they talked about it in the aftermath of the hurricane how they found most people were acting responsibly, but there were some bad actors within that. And we're going to take action if we find it.

Q What I'm asking -- you're taking action and you're --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, it's not only --

Q -- asking the Justice Department to look at something, these are the police coming to look for something, do you have any evidence that --

MR. McCLELLAN: It's also the state attorneys general -- the state attorneys general that have primary authority over this. And when gas prices are spiking like this, you have a responsibility to make sure that people aren't illegally manipulating price or engaging in price gouging. And that's what we're going to do. We're going to continue to take all these steps to help address high gas prices and to make sure that American consumers are treated fairly.

Q So the standard -- it sounds like the standard is, when people make a lot of money, you've got to take a look to see if they're doing something illegal --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, when you have gas prices that are spiking, you need to make sure you're acting on all fronts to do your part at the federal level to reduce those gas prices. Now, there's only so much you can do in the short run. But that's why we're taking these steps. In the long run, we need to go to the root cause.

What's Taking So Long To Nail The Valarie Plame Leakers?

Good questions that get more non-answers from scotty today:
Q The second question, has the President been briefed at all on the CIA's firing of Mary McCarthy for allegedly leaking classified information? Does he have any reaction to this?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, that was a decision that was made by, I think, the Central Intelligence Agency. I think they put out a statement on that last week. Remember, Director Goss had talked about how there had been some unauthorized leaks of classified information that had severely harmed our national security. And in that statement he talked about how he directed that there be an internal investigation undertaken. And as a result of that investigation, there was some action that they took last week.

Q So how is it, though, that the CIA was able to act so quickly in somebody who they think linked classified information? Here it is almost three years after Valerie Plame's name was leaked, the White House still doesn't know who leaked that information. How is it that the CIA --

MR. McCLELLAN: You mean -- the White House is not the one leading that investigation. That is being led by a special prosecutor.

Q Could the President call on the CIA Director to get to the bottom of it? There's a criminal matter going on with Mary McCarthy now. At least the Justice Department is looking at it, so it's not like a criminal matter --

MR. McCLELLAN: What the President directed was that we cooperate fully with the special prosecutor. And that's what we've done.

Q But how is it that the CIA was able to get to the bottom of that one case so quickly, and we still don't know --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think they talked about it, and how they conducted an internal investigation to get to the bottom of the matter. The leaking of classified information is a very serious matter. And the unauthorized disclosure of classified information can severely harm our national security. We have talked previously about the terrorist surveillance program and how the unauthorized disclosure of that program has shown the enemy our playbook. We are engaged in a difficult and long war against a bunch of ideological extremists who want to do everything they can to stop the advance of freedom in this world and want to harm innocent Americans and innocent people in the civilized world. And that's why it's important that we not show them our playbook. So the leaking of classified information is a matter that the President takes very seriously.

Go ahead.

"I'm Confused," Are you?

Here's an interesting exchange that occured in yesterday's press gaggle regarding today's speechifying by the W:
Q I'm a little confused.

MR. McCLELLAN: We don't want you to be confused.

Q Yes, I know. The President has repeatedly said that the cause for high gas prices is high global demand for oil. So what makes him suspect that there's been any price manipulation when he already thinks that global forces are pushing up the price of oil?

MR. McCLELLAN: It's important to make sure that there's not any price gouging. The federal government has a responsibility to act, and we share a commitment with congressional leaders to make sure that we are acting to ensure that there is no price gouging. And that's what we will continue to do. This is one part of steps we can take in the short-run.

Q Is there a suspicion? Is there anything that has caused you to suspect that there is market manipulation, as opposed to just high demand?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, gas prices are high right now, and that's why you want to make sure there's not. And so that's what he's going to be talking about in that context.

Q I'm confused again, too. If the President had already directed the FTC and these other people to do these things, why did Frist and Hastert write to him today asking him to --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, when I say, "recently," he's just now directing them to take these steps. That's why the letter is going out from the Attorney General and the FTC. He talked about this last week a number of times. And so that's the context in which you should look at it. But we've been in close contact with Speaker Hastert and Leader Frist about these issues. We are all on the same page when it comes to making sure that there is no price gouging. And the President has said very clearly that this is something we will not tolerate, particularly when gas prices are high.

Q The President has a number of personal contacts, and the Vice President has personal contacts in the oil industry. Has there been any conversation between either of them with oil executives to try and get them to either give assurances about market manipulation, or try and bring down the price?

MR. McCLELLAN: We've previously talked about how all of us have a responsibility to do our part when it comes to addressing high gas prices. And that's something that we talked about before, and we're continuing to talk about. Tomorrow the President is going to make very clear, in a public way, that energy companies should reinvest those profits that they're making back into new technologies and alternative sources of energy. You know, if there are any updates on his calls, or things like that, I'll be glad to share that with you at the appropriate time.

Q What are two and three again? I missed those. Could you go over those two?

MR. McCLELLAN: Sure. They'll be in the transcript we'll have. They are promoting greater fuel efficiency and boosting our fuel supply.

High Gasoline Prices: Good For America?

The original title for this post was: "Busy Setting Up His Own Straw Man: One More Presidential Political Parlor Tricks And A Question For The Day," but I thought of a better one that relates to my question at the end of the post, which will hopefully lead to a good discourse on an important subject in the comments.

And so it goes - the President is hard at work setting up straw men so that he can then knock them over himself:
And so the fundamental question is, what are we going to do? What can the government do? One of the past responses by government, particularly from the party of which I am not a member, has been to have -- to propose price fixing, or increase the taxes. Those plans haven't worked in the past. I think we need to follow suit on what we have been emphasizing, particularly through the energy bill, and that is to encourage conservation, to expand domestic production, and to develop alternative sources of energy like ethanol. (Applause.)
But yesterday, there was a different "fundamental question," no?

Let's see what he has to say:
Record oil prices and large cash flows also mean that Congress has got to understand that these energy companies don't need unnecessary tax breaks like the write-offs of certain geological and geophysical expenditures, or the use of taxpayers' money to subsidize energy companies' research into deep water drilling. I'm looking forward to Congress to take about $2 billion of these tax breaks out of the budget over a 10-year period of time. Cash flows are up. Taxpayers don't need to be paying for certain of these expenses on behalf of the energy companies. (Applause.)
Well that's a step in the right direction, but what about using record profits, and instead of giving it to the top executives, shed some of the cents at the pump? This leads me to another question, what other Corporate Welfare packages does the W, Rove and Co support that they could trash instead of cutting things that benefit more of the common people?
Second part of a good plan is -- to confront high gasoline prices is to promote greater fuel efficiency. And the easiest way to promote fuel efficiency is to encourage drivers to purchase highly efficient hybrid or clean diesel vehicles, which, by the way, can run on alternative energy sources. Hybrid vehicles run on a combination of a traditional engine and an electric battery. The twin sources of power allow hybrid cars and trucks to travel about twice as far on a gallon of fuel as gasoline-only vehicles. When people are driving hybrids, they're conserving energy.
But what about raising the CAFE standards? That would be easy, certainly. And less costly to the consumer. Instead, W is proposing that the consumer absorb the expense of becoming more fuel efficient rather than place that burden upon the automobile industry.

You get the idea. If you want to peruse more of the presidential propaganda, click on over to the location. But here's my discussion question for the day:

If you really want to encourage conservation,
are high gasoline prices at the pump all that bad?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Pedro Pan Aught Be Very Pissed, No? Subtitle: Unscripted, The President Appears The Fool Again.

Again, we see the President’s sense of humor really stinks, and occasionally, can be considered downright offensive. Unscripted, the president continues to reveal his true self. What do you think?
Q Mr. President, I emigrated from Cuba when I was about nine years old -- legally, I might add.

THE PRESIDENT: Pedro Pan? Were you Pedro Pan?
Q No.


Q But anyway, besides marrying a wonderful woman and having two great sons, coming to this great land is the best thing that has ever happened to me. And I appreciate your comments on immigration. And my question to you, Mr. President, is that I would like to go to Cuba, to travel, to see -- I want to go see my front door that was bullet-riddled when they were fighting Batista's guys. And I can't go there legally. And I don't understand, how can we trade with Vietnam -- we lost over 50,000 Americans there -- how can we trade with Communist China, we can't even go to Cuba? And I think if the borders were opened up with Cuba and American enterprise got to go down there, I think Castro would fall like a rock off a cliff. And my question to you, sir, is why can't we open --

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, here's why --

Q Yes. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Here's why: Fidel Castro has got the capacity to arbitrage your dollars to the advantage of his administration. You pay in dollars, he pays in Cuban money and collects the difference. So you go to a hotel in Havana, the money goes to the hotel, which has kind of got a deal with the government in order to be there in the first place, and the workers get paid in a currency that's worthless compared to the U.S. dollar. And he makes the balance. And so, in all due respect, I have taken the position that trade with the country enables a tyrant to stay in power, as opposed to the opposite. Honest disagreement of opinion -- I fully recognize -- but that's why I made the decision I made. And anyway, my preacher, by the way, at St. John the Divine Church, is a guy who came from Cuba at about the same age you did. You look a little younger than he is -- but, nevertheless, that's why. That's why.
Yes, sir.
Are you buying the president’s answer to a real substantive question despite his foolish quips? I didn’t think so.

Even If He Had All The Facts, W Would Do Iraq All Over Again

This is very telling. Given that we now know that the intelligence leading up to Iraq was wrong, and all the other lessons garnered from the Iraq conflagration, W says if he had a do-over, he would do it all over again:
Q I'd like to get your candid response to your perspective from the outside looking in, and now the inside looking out. Before you became President, obviously, you had some perceptions based on your family history, being governor, what it would be like to be President of the U.S. Now that you are President, and you've had a chance to go through the experience and you're in your second term, candidly, if you had it to do over, would there be anything that you'd do differently?

THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate it. The fundamental question

-- the threshold question is would I run, the first place. That's really the first question that one would ask. Now that I'm here, seeing what it's like, would I do it again, and the answer is, absolutely.

I have enjoyed this experience in a way that's hard for me to describe to you. Listen, there have been some rough moments. But it is an incredible honor to serve our country.

The second threshold question is, would I commit troops to protect the American people. It's really a fundamental question. Knowing what I know today, would I have done anything differently with our troops.

First, you got to know that the hardest decision for a President is to put anybody in harm's way -- because I fully understand the consequences of making such a decision. I was at church yesterday in Twentynine Palms. In the pew that I was sitting in was a mother and step-father grieving for a guy who lost his life. And I knew that I would have to deal with this as best as I possibly can.

I also wanted to let you know that it's before you commit troops that you must do everything you can to solve the problem diplomatically. And I can look you in the eye and tell you I feel I've tried to solve the problem diplomatically to the max, and would have committed troops both in Afghanistan and Iraq knowing what I know today. (Applause.)
Okay, so well then. But there's more:
The fundamental question on the Iraq theater, though, is did we put enough troops in there in the first place. That's the debate in Washington. I'm sure you've heard about it.
Really? What rock is W buried under? I thought the fundamental question was if there was WMD and terrorists in Iraq. The answer knowing now that we didn't know then was unequivocal: Nope. Fuck, what planet is this guy living on?

You Know, We Are In Deep Shit When...

The president says some thing like this:
I based a lot of my foreign policy decisions on some things that I think are true. One, I believe there's an Almighty, and secondly, I believe one of the great gifts of the Almighty is the desire in everybody's soul, regardless of what you look like or where you live, to be free. I believe liberty is universal. I believe people want to be free. And I know that democracies do not war with each other. And I know that the best way to defeat the enemy, the best way to defeat their ability to exploit hopelessness and despair is to give people a chance to live in a free society.
Let me reiterate here. The president based a lot of his foreign policy decisions on some things that he thinks are true. The president confirms today that he leads by faith, not fact...I think the American people deserve better, don't you?

Rummy To Be Fired and Cheney To Resign?

Sometimes you find interesting reading in Scotty's press gaggles:
Q The L.A. Times editorial has called for Vice President Cheney to resign. Any reaction to that?

MR. McCLELLAN: I haven't read The L.A. Times editorial.
So I bit and popped over to the LA times web location and found the article. Not only do they suggest that The Big Dick step down, but they suggest that Rummy be canned as well. Have a gander:
But the remaking of the president in the public eye likely will require more than last week's game of musical chairs. Bush has acknowledged that he has spent much of his political capital on Iraq, and the way to replenish the reserves is to replace the officials most associated with the overreaching that led to the tragedy in Iraq — and with the administration's broader disdain for diplomacy.

Yes, that means dismissing Rumsfeld. The secretary should go not because he has been criticized by a group of retired generals but because he embodies the smugness and inability to acknowledge error that has characterized both the Iraq war and the wider war on terrorism. Rumsfeld has been the pinched public face of an administration that has cut legal and humanitarian corners in dealing with people — including U.S. citizens — suspected of involvement with terrorists.

Suppose Bush didn't stop there. Suppose he also asked Cheney, his mentor and friend but an even more polarizing figure than Rumsfeld, to step down.

We know the objections. The vice president is not a mere presidential appointee but an elected constitutional officer. In choosing a replacement, Bush might be pressured to predetermine the outcome of the 2008 Republican presidential race by anointing one would-be successor over another. Throwing Cheney overboard would be an implicit repudiation of the excessively hawkish foreign policy with which the vice president, even more than Rumsfeld, has been associated.

Unlike most vice presidents, Cheney does not aspire to be president, and he is the consummate Bush loyalist. He would not be giving up a political birthright by agreeing to retire (citing health reasons or a concern about the publicity surrounding the trial of his former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby). And the problem of taking sides in the 2008 election is easily solved. Bush could nominate as Cheney's successor an elder party statesman — Bob Dole, anyone? — with no interest in the 2008 nomination.

We even have an answer to the complaint that in jettisoning Cheney, Bush would be repudiating his own record. The truth is that the president, however grudgingly, has recognized that he and the administration made mistakes in the run-up to the war in Iraq and in its aftermath. He has not confessed that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake, but he has acknowledged with increasing explicitness that he was wrong to believe that Saddam Hussein harbored weapons of mass destruction.
Well, I don't think that W has the confidence and leadership skills to pitch either of these two "pinched public faces," so we wait for news as it trickles or is leaked out of the Whitehouse.

By the way, today we are supposed to be washed with interesting speechifying by W regarding the immigration issue. Is it me or am I the only one who thinks that talking to business leaders in Orange County about immigration is not the best place to be talking about immigration reform?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Burning Off The Excess Energy

I had a very visceral reaction to another of Bush's comments today. It wasn't pleasant. I find his words and world view very repugnant, particularly given the number of young, energetic GIs that are being splayed by IEDs almost daily because they are in Iraq at his behest.

Here's the sentence.
"I still ride the mountain bike primarily to help settle the soul and to burn off the excess energy one gets when you're living life to its fullest," Bush told an Associated Press reporter who accompanied him on the ride.
What's your reaction?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Pink - And Proud - A Real Patriot Sings A Song Of The People

I found this song posted at BIO. Enjoy a piece of the lyrics:

"Service in the Cause Of Freedom"

Is it me, or does any one else smell the stink of the sinking W, Rove and CO ship, spewing as much propaganda as possible and letting go of the rats as fast as they can get them to disembark? "Service in the cause of freedom" is starting to sound more and more like a euphemism for "service in the cause of the New American Empire," not the old honorable republic, for which the Constitution stands.
Americans are asking about our progress toward victory in the war on terror. I have confidence in the outcome of this struggle because I know the character of the people who wear our Nation's uniform. On Sunday, I will attend church and have lunch with Marine Corps and Navy personnel and their families at the Twentynine Palms base. I will tell them how honored I am to be their Commander in Chief and express the gratitude of all Americans for their service in the cause of freedom.

Since September the 11th, 2001, the men and women of our military have overthrown a cruel regime in Afghanistan, captured or killed many al Qaeda terrorists, liberated Iraq, and made America more secure from terrorist dangers. We're fighting the terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them here at home. By taking the fight to the terrorists and bringing liberty and hope to a troubled region, our courageous troops are making the world a safer place.
I sure wish that the W, Rove and Co. would stop spanking the Nine Eleven Monkey for political gain. How about you?

Windspike's Weekend Question

Recent presidential malpractice over past few days has me wondering: Just how much vacation time do you get?

Those of you in SF Bay Area know that the W, Rove and Co propaganda parade (built and run on your tax dollars) has hit the outskirts of San Francisco. But, the W isn't brave enough to set foot in the fair city by the bay - not even to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Great Quake. He tinkers round the edges and then floats over in Marine 1 up to Napa Valley, for what? Vacation.

Why was he meeting with Mr. Shultz? With the Big Dick Cheney, Rummy and the like, it appears that maybe W is (most likely at the behest of Uncle Karl) going to bring back another of the founding fathers of the new American Empire?

Oh, on another note, I was watching an earlier version of Tivo-ed Dave Letterman when he suggested that, (and I paraphrase) "April 18th was the 100th anniversary of the Great 1906 Quake in San Francisco....[great pause]. Don't worry, FEMA is on the way."

Thursday, April 20, 2006

More from John Perkins' Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man

Had to return my copy of John Perkins' Confessions of an Economic Hitman to the library as some one has requested it. Thus, I finished it last eve. Here are some of the more tasty morsels for you bloggers out there. Enjoy:

Advice from an English Major -From page 46:
Stop being so greedy and so selfish. Realize that there is more to the world than your big houses and fancy stores. People are starving and you worry about oil for your cars. Babies are dying of thirst and you search the fashion magazines for the latest styles. Nations like ours are drowning in poverty, but your people don't even hear our cries for help. You shut your ears to the voices of those who try to tell you these things. You label them radicals or Communists. You must open your hearts to the poor and the downtrodden, instead of driving them further into poverty and servitude. There's not much time left. If you don't change, you’re doomed.
On who profits from war - page 56:
I also began to wonder who benefits from war and the mass production of weapons, from the damming of rivers and the destruction of indigenous environments and cultures. I began to look at who benefits when hundreds of thousands of people die from insufficient food, polluted water, or curable diseases. Slowly, I came to realize that in the long run non one benefits, but in the short term those at the top of the pyramid -my bosses and me - appear to benefit, at least materially.
On connections with the Bush family - page 59:
For more than half a century, Panama was ruled by an oligarchy of wealthy families with strong connections to Washington. They were right-wing dictators who took whatever measures they deemed necessary to ensure that their country promoted U.S. interests. In the manner of most of the Latin American dictators who allied themselves with Washington, Panama’s rulers interpreted U.S. interests to mean putting down any populist movement that smacked of socialism. They also supported the CIA and NSA in anti-Communist activities throughout the hemisphere, and they helped big American businesses like Rockefeller’s Standard Oil and United Fruit Company (which was purchased by George H.W. bush). These governments apparently did not feel that U.S. interests were promoted by improving the lives of people who lived in dire poverty or served as virtual slaves to the big plantations and corporations.
On connections with terrorists by way of Saudi Arabia – Page 96:
More subtle and ultimately much more damaging was the role Saudi Arabia was allowed to play in financing international terrorism. The United States made no secrete of its desire to have the House of Saud bankroll Osama bin Laden’s Afghan war against the Soviet Union during the 1980s, and Riyadh and Washington together contributed an estimated $3.5 billion to the mujahideen. However, the U.S. and Saudi participation went far beyond this…The Bush family and the House of Saud, the two most powerful dynasties in the world, have had close personal, business, and political ties for more than 20 years…

On the long relationship the US has had with Iran – Page 114: I’m sure, Mr. Perkins, you are wondering why we invited you here…You see, this man who calls himself the King of Kings [Shah of Iran] is in reality satanic. His father was deposed by your CIA with – I hate to say it – my help, because he was said to be a Nazi collaborator. And then there was the Mossadegh calamity. Today, our shah is on the route to surpassing Hitler in the realms of evil. He does this with the full knowledge and support of your government…Quite simple. He is your only real ally in the Middle East, and the industrial world rotates on the axel of oil that is the Middle East. Oh, you have Israel, of course, but that’s actually a liability to you, not an asset. And no oil there. Your politicians must placate the Jewish vote, must get their money to finance campaigns. So you’re stuck with Israel, I’m afraid. However, Iran is the key. Your oil companies – which carry even more power than the Jews – need us. You need our shah – or you think you do, just as you thought you needed South Vietnam’s corrupt leaders…You don’t speak Farsi…You only hear what is told to you by those men who benefit most. The ones who have been educated in the Sates or in England end up working for the shah…It’s the same with your press. They only talk with the few who are his kin, his circle. Of course, for the most part, your press is also controlled by oil. So they hear what they want to hear and write what their advertisers want to read…
On the difference between the old Republic and the New Empire – Page 127:
Beyond my own personal dilemmas, my times in Columbia also helped me comprehend the distinction between the old American republic and the new global empire. The republic offered hope to the world. Its foundation was moral and philosophical rather than materialistic. It was based on concepts of equality and justice for all. But it also could be pragmatic, not merely a utopian dream but also a living, breathing, magnanimous entity. It could open its arms to shelter the downtrodden. It was an inspiration and at the same time a force to reckon with; if needed, it could swing into action as it had during World War II, to defend the principles for which it stood. The very institutions – big corporations, banks, and government bureaucracies – that threaten to republic could be used instead to institute fundamental changes in the world. Such institutions possess the communications networks and transportation systems necessary to end disease, starvation, and even wars – if only they could be convinced to take that course.

The global empire, on the other hand, is the republics nemesis. It is self-centered, self-serving, greedy, and materialistic, a system based on mercantilism. Like empires before, its arms open only to accumulate resources, to grab everything in sight and stuff its insatiable maw. It will use whatever means it deems necessary to help its rulers gain more power and riches.
On Presidents Carter and Reagan – Page 155:
Carter may have been an ineffective politician, but he had a vision for America that was consistent with the one defined in our Declaration of Independence. In retrospect, he now seems naively archaic, a throwback to the ideals that molded this nation and drew so many of our grandparents to her shores. When we compare him to his immediate predecessors and successors, he is an anomaly. His worldview was inconsistent with that of the EHMs.

Reagan, on the other hand, was most definitely a global empire builder, a servant of the corporatocracy. At the time of his election, I found it fitting that he was a Hollywood actor, a man who had followed orders passed down from moguls, who knew how to take direction. That would be his signature. He would cater to the men who shuttled back and forth from corporate CEO offices to bank boards and into the halls of government. He would serve the men who appeared to serve him but who in fact ran the government – men like Vice President George H.W. Bush, Secretary of State George Shultz, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, Richard Cheney, Richard Helms, and Robert McNamara. He would advocate what those men wanted: an America that controlled the world and all its resources, a world that answered to the commands of that America, a U.S. military that would enforce the rules as they were written by America and an international trade and banking system that supported America as CEO of the global empire.
On Nine Eleven and OBL – Page 194:
I kept walking, slowly, almost reluctantly. Despite the warmth of the afternoon, I felt a chill, and I realized that a strange anxiousness, a foreboding, had taken hold of me. I could not identify its source and I tried to brush it off, picking up my pace. I eventually found myself once again looking at that smoldering hole, the twisted metal, that great scar in the earth. I leaned against a building that had escaped the destruction and stared into the pit. I tried to imagine the people rushing out of the collapsing tower and the firefighters dashing in to help them. I tried to think about the people who had jumped, the desperation they felt. But none of these things came to me.

Instead, I saw Osama bin Laden accepting money, and weapons worth millions of dollars, from a man employed by a consulting company under contract to the United States government…
And on a final note – there may be hope, but it rests with us – from page 221:
Things are not as they appear. NBC is owned by General Electric, ABC by Disney, CBS by Viacom, and CNN is part of the huge AOL Time Warner conglomerate. Most of our newspapers, magazines, and publishing houses are owned – and manipulated – by gigantic international corporations. Our media is part of the corporatocracy. The officers and directors who control nearly all our communications outlets now their places; they are taught throughout life that one of their most important jobs is to perpetuate, strengthen, and expand the system that they have inherited. They are very efficient at doing so, and when opposed, they can be ruthless. So the burden falls on you to see the truth beneath the veneer and to expose it. Speak it to your family and friends; spread the word.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Looks Like Uncle Karl Is Going Back To Full Time Muck Raking

Looks like the repugs are worried about the mid-term elections as they free up more of Uncle Karl's time to focus on "the larger strategic planning" picture.

Watch the political muck. It's going to be thoroughly raked on the lead up to November. You can bet your spouse on the fact that Uncle Karl is going to be the man at the end of the handle. But, don't bother trying to find his finger prints on it. He's a slippery snake.
Q Can you clarify what Karl Rove's role will be?

MR. McCLELLAN: Karl will continue to be Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the President. What this will do is it will allow him to focus more on the larger strategic planning, and Joel will focus on the day-to-day management of the policy process. And so this really frees Karl up to focus on bigger strategic issues. He will continue to be a crucial voice and trusted advisor on policy -- Karl will, that is -- as he has been since the beginning of this administration.

Q So he will have less a policy role than he had before?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, Joel will do the day-to-day management of the policy process and work closely with all those councils. Karl's voice will continue to be a crucial one in the policy process as it has been all along. But like I said, this is a critical and challenging time that we are in, and this really frees Karl up to focus on larger strategic issues...

...Q Does this reduce Karl's influence in the White House?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, remember that -- it would be wrong to look at it that way, by any means. In fact, as I pointed out, Karl has been a very important voice in the policy process from the very beginning, and he will continue to be. But now he can focus really on the larger strategic issues that we're dealing with during this challenging time period.

And remember, when we made this announcement -- when we talked about Karl assuming some of these responsibilities, Karl was carrying a very large load with all this, and Josh felt it was important to have one person focused on the day-to-day management of the policy process. We announced it, we talked about how Joe Hagin and Mike Gerson would be involved in certain parts of that policy process. They're going to continue to provide advice, but now the policy process will be under one person, in terms of the management of it.

Q Does this, in some ways, make Karl Rove's role similar to what it used to be, where he'll be focusing on politics and maybe the midterms, and things like that?

MR. McCLELLAN: I wouldn't look at it that way. That's not the way Josh approached it, and that's not the way he views it. I would reemphasize that we are in a critical time period. There are a lot of challenges that we're having to address. And Karl is someone who has always been intimately involved in the strategic planning and addressing these bigger strategic issues. And that's what this will free him up to do more of that.

Q Is having Karl look at the strategic issues born out of concern over the GOP sinking in the polls recently?

MR. McCLELLAN: This is born out of a new Chief of Staff coming on board and wanting to structure the office the way that he feels will suit him the best...

...Q Is Karl moving offices?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think they're still having discussion on exactly what the setup will be, in terms of that.

Q He'll maintain his security clearance, and everything like that?

MR. McCLELLAN: Oh, absolutely, yes.

Q What do you mean by strategic planning issues? Can you give us a more specific explanation of that?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I don't -- there's probably a lot of examples. I don't have one that I came back here to cite for you, but Karl has always been very involved in kind of the longer-term strategic planning. And I think you have to look at in the context of a new Chief of Staff coming on board and wanting to structure this in a way that he feels is best, and in the context of the time period that we are in. We've had a lot of challenging issues we're trying to address, and what this does is allow Karl to focus more on how we move forward to address those issues.

So think about it from that strategic perspective, and the larger-picture view. With all the load that he had previously, and the management of a good part of the policy process, that's a pretty heavy load to carry for anybody, and Karl did it very well. But this frees him up to now focus more on that strategic side of things.

Thank you all.
The thing that makes me want to vomit is that I know my tax dollars are going to pay Karl Rove to conduct his nasty brand of politics, and he wasn't elected by any one. No, he was appointed by W. Doesn't that leave a bad taste in your mouth too?

More Flogging The Nine Eleven Monkey And The Big Dick Commits Rhetorical Suicide Again

While the Whitehouse continues it's "shake up," The Big Dick Cheney gets busy choking the Nine Eleven Monkey in Washington State. While doing it, he commits rhetorical suicide once again:
None of us can know every turn that lies ahead for America in this fight against terror. Yet the direction of events is plain to see. And this period of struggle and testing is also a time of promise. The United States of America is a good country, a decent country, and we are making the world a better place by defending the innocent, confronting the violent and bringing freedom to the oppressed. We understand the continuing dangers to civilization, and we have the resources, the strength, and the moral courage to overcome those dangers and to lay the foundations for a better world.
So, does the Big Dick have a better crystal ball than we do, or is he simply playing more political parlor tricks and using the back drop of American service women and men to do it? Pawns for the message, the GIs dutifully applaud. But what other choice do they have?

Here's a good question for the Veep next time he actually has a Q & A: What happens when the freedom you say you bring does nothing to help the oppressed, but furthers the oppression of those already down trodden (for example, the poor in America)?

Rocking On Chairs In Texas: Another Rat Jumps The Sinking Ship

Here's two minutes of an insignificant Whitehouse happening today. Remember though, when asked directly about whether Scotty was going to be a part of the shake up just the other day, he was less than forthcoming in his answer; which about sums up this administration as mainly less than genuine in their intent and actions. I'm in favor of impeaching as many people in the W, Rove and Co so that they all may be rocking in chairs in a Texas prison sooner rather than later:
9:39 A.M. EDT

MR. McCLELLAN: Good morning, everybody. I am here to announce that I will be resigning as White House Press Secretary.

Mr. President, it has been an extraordinary honor and privilege to have served you for more than seven years now, the last two years and nine months as your Press Secretary.

The White House is going through a period of transition; change can be helpful, and this is a good time and good position to help bring about change. I am ready to move on. I've been in this position a long time, and my wife and I are excited about beginning the next chapter in our life together.

You have accomplished a lot over the last several years with this team, and I have been honored and grateful to be a small part of a terrific and talented team of really good people.

Our relationship began back in Texas, and I look forward to continuing it, particularly when we are both back in Texas.

THE PRESIDENT: That's right. (Laughter.)

MR. McCLELLAN: Although, I hope to get there before you. (Laughter.)

I have given it my all, sir, and I've given you my all. And I will continue to do so as we transition to a new Press Secretary over the next two to three weeks. Thank you for the opportunity.

THE PRESIDENT: First of all, I thank Scott for his service to our country. I don't know whether or not the press corps realizes this, but his is a challenging assignment dealing with you all on a regular basis. And I thought he handled his assignment with class, integrity. He really represents the best of his family, our state and our country. It's going to be hard to replace Scott. But, nevertheless, he's made the decision and I accept it.

One of these days he and I are going to be rocking on chairs in Texas, talking about the good old days and his time as the Press Secretary. And I can assure you I will feel the same way then that I feel now, that I can say to Scott, job well done.

MR. McCLELLAN: Thank you, sir.

END 9:41 A.M. EDT

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The W, Rove and Co Hubris and Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds

Take a gander:
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 22 through April 30, 2006, as National Park Week. I call upon the people of the United States to join me in celebrating America's national parks and becoming active participants in park conservation.
If you analyze the actions of the W, Rove and Co, how would you rate the conservation orientation of the president and his crew (0 meaning not at all, 10 being so green that you couldn't tell them apart from Robert Kennedy, Jr.)? In case you are having trouble doing the analysis, have a look at the Sierra Club's overview.

Meanwhile, The Big Dick Keeps On A Spanking That Nine Eleven Monkey

So, to set up another friendly audience and successful PR junket, the Big Dick Cheney traveled to Kansas at great taxpayer expense. And, while Veep takes another leap to try and connect Iraq with Nine Eleven stroking that monkey fast and furious, he still gets the facts wrong; no doubt intentionally.

When he suggests that 3K of our "fellow citizens" lost their lives, I am sure he is hoping that you don't realize it wasn't just American Citizens that were killed on that day. Sure he could argue that he was talking about the global "we," but I am sure he wasn't thinking that when he was speaking these words.
And so they continued to wage those attacks eventually striking us here at home on 9/11, killing 3,000 of our fellow citizens. Now they're making a stand in Iraq -- testing our resolve, trying to shake our commitment to democracy in that country. If the terrorists were to succeed, they would return Iraq to the rule of tyrants, make it a source of instability in the Middle East, and use it as a staging base for ever greater attacks against America and other civilized nations. The only way to lose this fight is to quit -- and quitting is not an option. That's not going to happen on our watch. (Applause.)
But the fact that Nine Eleven did happen on your watch doesn't give you permission to glad hand that monkey every time your poll numbers slip and you want to use these victims as political pawns to leverage your agenda.

Stop it, Mr. Big Dick "Shooter" Cheney. Stop it W, Rove and Co. The American people grow weary of your brand of false patriotism.

Does The President Listen To Commanders On the Ground or Not?

It has long been suspected that the President listens only to view points that reflect the direction he would like to take our country. That is, if the facts or people don't support W's opinion about what needs to happen, he discounts, ignores, or down right gets into a nasty political fight over it. This is exactly what is happening with the different generals being trotted out on both sides of the Rummy concern. I think the last question in the briefing is rather revealing. Of course, Scotty doesn't give us an answer, yet again:
Q Scott, you talk about the views of these retired generals being well-known, and yet it seemed like the President immediately discounted those views by coming out with his statement, even though these are commanders on the ground. And every time we bring up those retired generals and the views they had about Secretary Rumsfeld, you talk about the generals who didn't have those views. Does the President just simply discount these views? It appeared he did.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, in fact, I think he expressed otherwise in his comments. I don't know how you're drawing that conclusion.

Q Because he immediately came out and said he supported Donald Rumsfeld, even though these generals had questions about Donald Rumsfeld and, in fact, had called for his --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, but I think I would go back and look at what he said in the Rose Garden a short time ago because I did not read anything into that that you are.

Q And you can't read into the fact that on Friday, immediately he came out, after there were six generals who came forward?

MR. McCLELLAN: He felt it was important to make a strong statement reiterating his full support for the Secretary of Defense. And that's why he issued the statement.

Q But he had no interest, as Victoria said --

MR. McCLELLAN: And the President called the Secretary of Defense that morning, around 10:00 a.m., to let him know.

Q And you don't think that's immediately saying, you guys are wrong?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think you're drawing too broad of an interpretation from the comments that he made, and I think that the comments he made actually said otherwise. He said, people are expressing their views, he hears those views, he listens to those views, but he made very clear --

Q -- an immediate statement saying --

MR. McCLELLAN: -- but he made very clear where he stood. Well, he thought it was important to do so, Martha, for the reasons that we stated in that statement, as well as the ones that I mentioned prior to that statement going out last week.

Q I guess -- how are we to look at that and say that he's not listening to the advice he wants to hear, or the people, the voices he wants to hear that back up his position, and not commanders on the ground who seem to have a different one?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, there you go, over-interpreting things and drawing the wrong conclusions from what he has said. That's not at all what he was saying.

All right, thank you.
This last question is of vital importance as the W, Rove and Co. has said numerous times that they have said that they would listen to "commanders on the ground in Iraq." Seems like they never live up to their own espoused expectations. It seems like this has become W, Rove and Co S.O.P. (standard operating procedure): The bar, raised by them, is subsequently razed by them.

How To Stop A Nuclear Bomb: Another Question The President And His Lacky Can't Answer

Scotty got off easy today, deflecting the Rummy questions fairly easily at the Whitehouse press briefing. Les asked a couple of interesting questions (he always has a "two parter"). The latter of the two I found very interesting:
Q The Weekly Standard's editor, William Kristol, recalls that the President has said, "Iran's development of a nuclear development is unacceptable; Iran armed with a nuclear weapon poses a grave threat to the security of the world." And my question: This means that if Iran proceeds to the point of being on the immediate threshold of a nuclear weapon, we will launch a nuclear attack, rather than allow Iranian ICBMs to devastate Tel Aviv, New York and Washington, doesn't it?

MR. McCLELLAN: Les, we're pursuing a diplomatic solution by working with the international community. This is a threat that the international community recognizes needs to be addressed. That's why we are working at the Security Council, that's why we're working with Germany and other friends and allies, to send a clear and united message to the regime that we will not allow it to develop nuclear weapons capabilities, or a -- nuclear weapons.

Q How will we not allow it?

MR. McCLELLAN: Our Under Secretary of State, Nicholas Burns, has been in Moscow, continuing to have meetings with his counterparts of a number of countries that I have touched on. And those discussions continue. We are making it very clear that there needs to be meaningful steps taken at the Security Council to address the threat posed by the regime's continued defiance. This is a regime that continues to isolate itself and its people from the rest of the world by its defiant actions and its defiant statements. And it's time for the Security Council --

Q How will we not allow it?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- to act and take additional steps on the diplomatic front.

Go ahead, Victoria.
Yes, indeed. "How will we not allow it?"

"Musical Chairs," "a Flicker of Gossip," And More Political Parlor Tricks Perpetrated By Your President

Don't you just hate it when some one pulls the chair out from under you and sits in your seat after the music stops in a polite game of musical chairs? You're the one that lands on your tail bone to crushing agony and the man who steals your chair sits there gloating as if he acted out of a keen sense of fair play and sharp gamesmanship, not unlike Bary Bonds when he suggests he was only taking a nutrition supllement.

W is that man sitting in your chair; and the worm is highly practiced at executing political parlor tricks blowing some more smoke up our collective skirts this AM. When a reporter askes him straight up, whether that question is predicated on gossip or not, W refuses to yield an asnwer even though it's a legit question. No doubt with Bolton in charge, heads will roll. But sure enough, the W doesn't have the balls to tell us the truth. Have a gander:
Q Morning, Mr. President. Do you expect that there will be some changes that were not voluntary? Today, you've highlighted openings in your administration, but will Mr. Bolten ask some people to leave? And would you accept his counsel for Cabinet changes, as well as White House staffers?

THE PRESIDENT: I understand this is -- you know, this is a matter of high speculation here in Washington. It's the game of musical chairs, I guess you'd say, that people love to follow. My instructions to Josh Bolten was that I expect him to design a White House structure so that it will function so that he can do his job, function in a way so he's more likely to be able to do his job. And of course, he will bring different recommendations to me as to who should be here and who should not be here.

And I'm the person who believes in aligning authority and responsibility. I've given him enormous responsibility and authority, and expect the White House to work well. And it did under Andy Card, by the way. I'm most proud of his tenure as the Chief of Staff. But with a new man will come some changes. And Josh has got all the rights to make those recommendations to me. And of course I listen to advice as to my Cabinet, as well. I must tell you that I'm -- I've got strong confidence in my Cabinet officials, all of them, and I appreciate the service they've rendered.

But I also understand what happens in Washington. You know, a little flicker of gossip starts moving hard, and people jump all over it. The thing the American people have got to know is we'll structure this White House so it continues to function to deal with major problems. And we're dealing with major problems. We're dealing with a war on terror, we're dealing with high gasoline prices.

And let me remind people that these high gasoline prices are caused by primarily three reasons: One, the increase in the price of crude oil. It's one of the reasons I stood up in front of the Congress and said, we've got to have strong and active research and development to get us to diversify away from crude oil. It's tight supply worldwide, and we've got increasing demand from countries like India and China, which means that any disruption of supply or perceived disruption of supply is going to cause the price of crude to go up. And that affects the price of gasoline.

Secondly, there's increasing demand. At this time of year people are beginning to drive more, getting out on the highways, taking a little time off, and they're moving around. And that increasing demand is also part of the reason the price of gasoline is going up.

And, thirdly, we're switching fuel mixes. The summer fuel mix is different from state to state, and is different from what is being used in the winter. And, therefore, the combination of these creates higher gasoline prices. And I'm concerned about higher gasoline prices. I'm concerned what it means to the working families and small businesses, and I'm also mindful that the government has the responsibility to make sure that we watch very carefully, and to investigate possible price gouging. And we'll do just that.
Are you buying what the W is selling? Come on let's look at the product:
"And I'm the person who believes in aligning authority and responsibility"
Really, well then, why are you not issuing a mea culpa in the Plame Affair?
"The thing the American people have got to know is we'll structure this White House so it continues to function to deal with major problems."
Just like you did in the Katrina situation? NOLA is still FUBAR, no?

And here's your bait that ends with a switch so W really doesn't have to answer the questions:
"And we're dealing with major problems. We're dealing with a war on terror, we're dealing with high gasoline prices."
And again, we see why the W is only about giving us more of the same, and we figure out that we are really screwed:
Q Mr. President, you've made it a practice of not commenting on potential personnel moves --

THE PRESIDENT: Of course I did.

Q -- of calling it speculation --

THE PRESIDENT: You can understand why, because we've got people's reputations at stake. And on Friday I stood up and said, I don't appreciate the speculation about Don Rumsfeld; he's doing a fine job, I strongly support him.

Q But what do you say to critics who believe that you're ignoring the advice of retired generals, military commanders, who say that there needs to be a change?

THE PRESIDENT: I say, I listen to all voices, but mine is the final decision. And Don Rumsfeld is doing a fine job. He's not only transforming the military, he's fighting a war on terror. He's helping us fight a war on terror. I have strong confidence in Don Rumsfeld. I hear the voices, and I read the front page, and I know the speculation. But I'm the decider, and I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the Secretary of Defense.

I want to thank you all very much.

"Armies of Compasion:" Crossing The Line Between Church And State

Whenever fundamentalists rule, you risk crossing the line between church and state. The W, Rove and Co has crossed it, and their transgressions are blurring the lines such that we now have a government that clearly, rather than obliquely, favors Christianity over any other of the world's religions. This can't be good for America or the Constitution by which it stands. Nor can it be good when a president, who regularly orders men and women to kill for America (particularly in Iraq), and then suggests that, by some stretch, that his administration is one that is compassionate.
Jim Towey is a dedicated public servant who has served as a vital member of my Administration for more than four years. Under his leadership, the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives has applied the compassion of America to help solve some of our most challenging problems. His office has held 23 conferences around the country, assisting tens of thousands among America's "armies of compassion." Eleven Federal departments and agencies now have Centers for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives that are building upon and expanding their good works in neighborhoods across the country.

Monday, April 17, 2006

When Getting To The Point Is Pointless

Q - When is getting to the point pointless?
A - When you are asking questions at a Whitehouse press briefing.

Have a look for yourself:
Q Scott, in early June 2003, did Vice President Cheney tell President Bush that CIA Officer Valerie Plame was the wife of Joseph Wilson?

MR. McCLELLAN: You know that -- and I wouldn't read anything into this one way or the other -- you know that I can't get into talking about this matter. It's an ongoing legal proceeding at this point. And we've had a policy in place for a long time. I appreciate you asking the question, but I know that you have heard me say we're not going to get into discussing an ongoing legal proceeding.

Q Has Prime Minister Tony Blair cancelled an upcoming trip with the U.S.?

MR. McCLELLAN: We haven't made any announcements on any trips by Prime Minister Blair.

Q Well, that's why I'm asking. Has he cancelled --

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't have anything to add to what I just said. I mean, we haven't announced any trip that he was making to the United States.

When Les Is More, We need Less of Les: What Happened At The Whitehouse Egg Roll?

Les always seems to have a two part question for Scotty. Here he is again, presenting his own brand of "fair and balanced" "journalism." Does anyone read this guy? And what is his point?
Go ahead, Les. Go ahead.

Q Yes, Scott, a two part. The New York Times reports this morning from Arizona that Republican Congressman J.D. Hayworth says he has seen "an incredible backlash" to those illegal immigrant demonstrations, and he argues that all illegal immigrants should be arrested and eventually deported. And my question, will the President support or oppose the reelection of this Republican Congressman?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think the President has expressed his views when it comes to the need for comprehensive immigration reform. We've been very clear in what our views are and how to address --

Q Do they differ from Hayworth --

MR. McCLELLAN: -- how to address this issue. And, of course, the President has supported Republican incumbents in their reelection bids.

Q And since this morning's annual White House Easter Egg Roll welcomed everybody, including those wearing rainbow leis promoting their sexual orientation, will next year's event include all sexual orientations, including those wearing arm bands proclaiming that pain is pleasure, or not?

MR. McCLELLAN: Les, the Easter Egg Roll is a very happy tradition at the White House that dates back to 1878. It is a time for families, and we welcome all families and their children who want to come and participate in the --

Q All orientations --

MR. McCLELLAN: -- Easter Egg Roll.

Q But my question was "all orientations."

MR. McCLELLAN: And you got a response to your question.

Q But that wasn't a response.
What are you afraid of Les? How much homophobia does one have to hold before s/he asks such a question?

By the way, another reporter asks a similar question. Was there anyone in the blogisphere at the event who can comment as an eye witness? I would be curious to find out what the experience was like. Please fill us in:
Q Scott, on the egg roll, why did the first people in line not get tickets for the first entry to the grounds this morning?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?

Q Why did the first people in line for the egg roll tickets not get tickets granting them entry for the first --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think you've covered the egg roll probably the last few years, and one of the things that we have started a tradition of is designating some time for special groups to come and participate in the Easter Egg Roll. Go back to May of -- or go back to 2003; I think we set aside time for military families and their children to participate in the egg roll. And this year there's a special group that we set aside the morning time for. That group included youth volunteers -- volunteers with Big Brothers, Big Sisters; volunteers with organizations like 4-H, Campfire USA, Citizen Corps, YMCA, and Youth Service America. So that morning time was set aside for those groups.

Q What about the ones with the arm bands?

MR. McCLELLAN: You've already had your two questions. (Laughter.)

More Heads About To Roll In The Whitehouse

Looks like the President's new Chief of Staff, Josh Bolten, is going to be letting the guillotine fall some time soon. Moreover, we may be seeing a new presidential spokes-model emerge from the rubble:
Q Scott, can you tell us about this morning's senior staff meeting? Were you surprised that Josh Bolten immediately signaled there will be more staff changes? And do you get the impression it's going to be a shake-up or cosmetic changes? What's your impression --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, look, I mean, there are a lot of rumors that go around at this time, whenever there is a change in Chief of Staff at the White House, and I think that's what those are -- just rumors and speculation. I think what Josh was saying this morning -- well, first, let me back up.

I mean, Josh has hit the ground running as Chief of Staff. Last week he shadowed Andy Card in a lot of his meetings that he regularly participates in. And Josh, this morning, when he came into senior staff, talked about how this is a challenging time period that he is coming into as Chief of Staff. We remain engaged in an ongoing global war on terrorism. There are a number of important priorities we're working to pursue on the behalf of the American people. The President outlined a number of those in his State of the Union Address this year. So we have a very active and full agenda ahead of us for the remaining two-and-a-half years or so of this administration.

And Josh, this morning, talked about how over the next seven to 10 days, he would -- he's continuing to look at some of the process of the White House, meaning the meetings that take place. There are a lot of regularly scheduled meetings that take place, and for the next seven or 10 days or so, he's going to pretty much leave that structure in place as it has been operating.

But any time you have a new Chief of Staff coming in, you can expect that there will be some changes in some of the structure and personnel and other issues.

Now, what he said at the end of his remarks at senior staff was simply talking about, look, we're in a transitional period, and I want to make sure I have a team in place that is with us for a minimum the remainder of this year and, to some extent, beyond that. And as you know, any White House goes through change. People decide to leave after they've served here for a while. It's hard work serving here at the White House.

And so he said to the senior staff -- and I think this will be passed on to others, as well -- is that if you're thinking about leaving sometime in the near future, now would be a good time to do it, because this is this transitional period. And so that's the way I would look at it.

Q And was this also affecting Cabinet posts, as well? Did you get the impression it was just White House staff? Or when you say --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, this morning he was talking to the White House staff. I think you would expect that. This is his first full day -- first full weekday as Chief of Staff. Obviously, when you're Chief of Staff, you're 24/7, and he took over late Friday afternoon from Andy Card, when Andy departed the White House and Josh was sworn in.

Q Can I clarify that point, though? When you say -- you've said repeatedly, Josh has full authority, the President's authority --

MR. McCLELLAN: Absolutely.

Q -- does that just cover staff? Does that cover Cabinet posts, the entire administration, or --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the President is going to be looking to Josh for his advice and counsel. And the President has given him the full authority to do what he needs to do and what he believes is in the best interest of this White House and this President. We are all here to help the President advance his agenda. We have accomplished much over the last few years and there's much that we want to get done in the years ahead as we -- two-and-a-half years is a relatively short period of time left for this President to get some things done. And there's a lot that he wants to get done in that remaining two-and-a-half years.

Q Scott, you're one of those visible members of the President's senior staff. Do you plan to stay on?

MR. McCLELLAN: Are you trying to tempt me here?

Q Not at all.

MR. McCLELLAN: Look, I never speculate about personnel matters.

Q "Personnel" or "personal" or both?

MR. McCLELLAN: Two years in this position is a long time, I'm very mindful of that. But, look, I never get into any of that speculation.

Go ahead, Martha.
From the look of it, the scapegoats are about to wander off to the slaughter.