Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Jorge no comprende

Bush administration planted fake news stories on American TV

Federal authorities are actively investigating dozens of American television stations for broadcasting items produced by the Bush administration and major corporations, and passing them off as normal news.

Some of the fake news segments talked up success in the war in Iraq, or promoted the companies' products.

Investigators from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are seeking information about stations across the country after a report produced by a campaign group detailed the extraordinary extent of the use of such items.

The report, by the non-profit group Centre for Media and Democracy, found that over a 10-month period at least 77 television stations were making use of the faux news broadcasts, known as Video News Releases (VNRs). Not one told viewers who had produced the items.

The range of VNR is wide. Among items provided by the Bush administration to news stations was one in which an Iraqi-American in Kansas City was seen saying "Thank you Bush. Thank you USA" in response to the 2003 fall of Baghdad. The footage was actually produced by the State Department, one of 20 federal agencies that have produced and distributed such items.

-- Andrew Buncombe, The Independent. Read the rest here.

Cheney aide is screening legislation

Adviser seeks to protect Bush power

By Charlie Savage, Boston Globe Staff May 28, 2006

WASHINGTON -- The office of Vice President Dick Cheney routinely reviews pieces of legislation before they reach the president's desk, searching for provisions that Cheney believes would infringe on presidential power, according to former White House and Justice Department officials.

The officials said Cheney's legal adviser and chief of staff, David Addington , is the Bush administration's leading architect of the "signing statements" the president has appended to more than 750 laws. The statements assert the president's right to ignore the laws because they conflict with his interpretation of the Constitution.

The Bush-Cheney administration has used such statements to claim for itself the option of bypassing a ban on torture, oversight provisions in the USA Patriot Act, and numerous requirements that they provide certain information to Congress, among other laws.

Read the rest here.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Most ironic road sign ... ever

In Washington DC.

Why do the all scumbags find God AFTER they're convicted?

Ken Lay after conviction on fraud and tax evasion:

"Despite what happened today, I'm still a very blessed man. At my left is this beautiful lady that's my wife. I have a very warm, loving, Christian family. And, most of all I believe God, in fact, is in control and that, indeed God works all things good for all who love the lord. We love our lord, all this will work for good." (By the way, a number of print media accounts dropped the "Christian" adjective before "family" in their accounts - listen to an unedited audio if you can find it).

This is not a good man. This is a man who stole millions of dollars from stockholders and employees, who bilked millions of energy consumers in California. And, of course, this is a man who got a sleepover at the White House, secret energy policy planning sessions with Herr Cheney (we can only assume he was one of the attendees). And now this callow creep tells us what a good Christian he is! Just like Tom Delay.

So tell me, is this how you do business in Texas? Commit evil, and then invoke Jesus Christ when you get caught?

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Bipolar America

Staunch Republican and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan, in an essay last fall, said the following, with a sense, as she put it, that "we're at the end of something:"
"I think there is an unspoken subtext in our national political culture right now … a sense that the wheels are coming off the trolley and the trolley off the tracks. … It's beyond, 'The president is overwhelmed.' The presidency is overwhelmed."

Much as it almost makes me choke to say so, I think Peggy Noonan is on to something. Americans are steeped in the twin mantras of "get-it-while-you-can" and "do-it-if-it-feels-good" as delivered by the commercial media, which conflicts with the strong streak of puritanism that runs like an underground stream in our collective subsconscious. We want it all, but feel guilty about it at the same time. In sum, the effect is that our culture is bipolar. I think that most Americans, whether right or left-leaning, view themselves as centrists. "Don't rock the boat" even if the boat is leaking. While we dislike politicians whose incompetance and superficial messianic willfulness courts national and international disaster, we loathe those that 1) suggest we change our ways and 2) lose elections. The "comeback kid" Bill Clinton succeeded in bouncing back after defeat because of his uncanny way of connecting with people (or seeming to) and his pragmatic - and decidedly centrist - approach to policy. While the majority of my fellow citizens collectively sense that change is needed in some amorphous way, they revolt at the suggestion that they individually must change their ways. Sadly, I do not believe that "centrist" politics offers much hope for the profound problems that out society faces in the decades ahead.

Why I can't support Hillary

Hillary Clinton is very smart. No one of sound mind could claim otherwise. Were she to occupy the Oval Office, she would probably bring into the administration a lot of equally smart or even smarter people, some of whom would probably have pretty good progressive credentials.

But like many smart people, Senator Clinton has blind spots. Hers are frequently of the forehead-slapping kind. Attending a fund-raiser hosted by the Neocon propaganda king Rupert Murdoch is one such of recent vintage in a long history of making bad decisions.

But that alone is not why I can't support Hillary Clinton as Democratic candidate for the 2008 Presidential election. The real reason is, plain and simple; I don't think she can win. Certainly not against John McCain, once the great centrist of the Republican party, the heir to Barry Goldwater, who despite humiliating himself in his pandering to the Republican machine and the failed Bush Presidency [check out the scene in the film "
Why We Fight" when McCain interrupts his condemnation of Iraq policy to take a phone call from VP Cheney - priceless!] is likely to pull many independents and right-leaning Dems into his camp, especially if the Dems retake Congress in November.

Why don't I think Hillary can win? Because a huge swathe of the progressive base, the heart and soul of the Democratic party, including MANY women that I have talked to, feel as I do - that there's just a little too much opportunism, a little too much power-mongering, and way too much pandering towards corporate America and some imagined right-of-center contingent in the Democratic Party on the part of Hillary Clinton. And it was exactly those policies of Bill Clinton's, such as NAFTA, which rose out of the same political philosophy, that wrecked havoc here and abroad, despite his overall reasonable success as chief-of-state.

Read Molly Ivins take on the same issue here.


Jan Frel's rumination at Alternet on the lesser of evils and what it means for the body politic really struck a chord with me.

"The big names in the Democratic Party have even lower numbers than Bush -- is that because everyone's ignoring the crisis in our politics?"

"Be pragmatic. Take a good, long look at reality, and recognize that even though there isn't a Democrat in Washington who will admit that our political system is profoundly sick and obsolete, in the real world, the Democratic Party is currently all we have. So support it anyway.

"That's what I've been telling myself, but boy can it be hard to swallow. Take, for example, the sea of problems Hillary Clinton poses to any political idealist. Hillary Clinton may represent many awful things -- Iraq, corporatism, insane military spending -- but the truth is, millions of Americans may well have health care if she becomes president, and they won't if she loses to a Republican in the next election."

Read the rest along with many great comments here.

All of which leads me to my next post.

Monday, May 15, 2006

'Shock therapy' and the freefalling greenback

"The dollar has embarked on a big decline that will see it fall against all leading currencies. The plunge is being prompted by America's $800 billion current-account deficit"-- David Smith, The Sunday UK Times
"We are in meltdown mode"-- David Brown, chief-European economist at Bear Stearns
The dollar is getting hammered almost daily now. It's like watching the blood ooze from an open wound. In just one month the dollar has tumbled from $1.20 to $1.29 vs. the euro; an astonishing 7% retreat.

Can't the American people see what is happening to their future? In just 6 years Bush has taken the world's strongest currency and chopped it into finally ground hash. By the time people rouse from their stupor, the greenback will be eye to eye with the peso.

Bush has piled up more debt than all the other presidents combined. His tax cuts have fattened the bankrolls of his constituents but they've put the dollar on a downward slide. Since he took office the once-mighty greenback has plummeted a whopping 35%.

Read the rest here.

-- Mike Whitney, The Smirking Chimp

And don't miss Mike's equally depressing 'The economic tsunami, just months away'

Telcos Seek to Deceive Bloggers with Cartoon

Coming to a blog near you is a telecom-sponsored advertisement dressed up as an underground cartoon. It's the latest in the ongoing campaign by large phone companies to pull the wool over the eyes of the American public.The cartoon is a product of a front group funded by AT&T and BellSouth.

The group, Hands Off the Internet, is headed by Mike McCurry, the former Clinton Press Secretary who has been widely discredited for selling out his integrity to become the telephone industry's spokesmodel.McCurry's group is now attempting to buy its way into the blogosphere, spending tens of thousands of dollars on a misinformation campaign against network neutrality -- the principle that keeps the Internet free and open to all.

The ad and the animation it links to are an example of Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness" in action. Telco giants cloak their real interests behind a populist message that sounds plausible, while undermining the work of genuine public and consumer advocates.No where throughout this propaganda do they identify the nation’s largest telecom companies as the money behind the production. Instead, they dress up www.dontregulate.org as an authentically amateur effort -- complete with hand-drawn cartoons, a scraggly, counter-culture net-guy as protagonist and a David vs. Goliath subtext.

They frame the issue as pitting corporations against the people, the rich guy against you, and bureaucracy against the free market. They even give the URL a “dot-org” tag to cover their corporate tracks.

They paint the SavetheInternet coalition as seeking drastic regulation of the Internet. In fact, this group of more than 500 organizations, bloggers, educators and small businesses is asking only that Congress preserve Net Neutrality, the guiding principle that has kept the Internet free and open since its beginning.It is AT&T and BellSouth that are asking Congress to radically re-regulate the Internet by stripping Net Neutrality from the wires. It's the largest phone and cable corporations -- with their monopoly control of broadband access across more than 50 percent of America -- that pose the biggest threat to the free and fair enterprise and democratic discourse. (These are the same companies have handed over to the National Security Agency the personal phone logs of tens of millions of ordinary Americans -- a betrayal of their customer privacy agreements. Now, they want us to entrust them with the Internet?).

Without Net Neutrality protections, companies like AT&T, BellSouth and Verizon will swoop in to dismantle Internet diversity in favor of websites that pay their tax for speed. Industry-supported legislation now before Congress would hand over control of the Internet to these massive telcos, allowing them to set up tollbooths along the onramps and exits of the information superhighway.Shoved to the margins will be the small businesses, open-source innovators, bloggers, independent musicians, political organizers and everyone else who can't afford the toll.

These Web outsiders and upstarts have been the lifeblood of the Internet. Many are already creating their own animations and PSAs to call public attention to AT&T and Verizon's Internet swindle, while coming to the defense of Net Neutrality. While these homegrown videos don't have a big-money ad buy behind them, they are spreading of their own volition across the blogosphere.

This type of grassroots creativity wouldn’t stand a chance under a regime where the largest ISPs limit access to high speed Internet to the companies that pay them the most. McCurry's powerfully deceptive cartoon is a part of this telco scheme. It’s designed to convince bloggers and net users to support a plan that goes against their best interests.

For a frame-by-frame debunking of the telco cartoon, visit www.savetheinternet.com/=lie

-- Timothy Karr Media Citizen

Friday, May 12, 2006

ChoicePoint INC. and the Bush war on America

So, big surprise, right? Another Republican-run corporation feeding at the trough of crony credit, courtesy of the taxpayers. But this one's a little different. Let Greg Palast tell it:

"I know you're shocked -- SHOCKED! -- that George Bush is listening in on all your phone calls. Without a warrant. That's nothing. And it's not news.This is: the snooping into your phone bill is just the snout of the pig of a strange, lucrative link-up between the Administration's Homeland Security spy network and private companies operating beyond the reach of the laws meant to protect us from our government. You can call it the privatization of the FBI -- though it is better described as the creation of a private KGB.

"The leader in the field of what is called "data mining," is a company, formed , called, "ChoicePoint, Inc," which has sucked up over a billion dollars in national security contracts. Worried about Dick Cheney listening in Sunday on your call to Mom? That ain't nothing. You should be more concerned that they are linking this info to your medical records, your bill purchases and your entire personal profile including, not incidentally, your voting registration.

"Five years ago, I discovered that ChoicePoint had already gathered 16 billion data files on Americans -- and I know they've expanded their ops at an explosive rate.They are paid to keep an eye on you -- because the FBI can't. For the government to collect this stuff is against the law unless you're suspected of a crime. (The law in question is the Constitution.) But ChoicePoint can collect if for "commercial" purchases -- and under the Bush Administration's suspect reading of the Patriot Act -- our domestic spying apparatchiks can then BUY the info from ChoicePoint.

"Who ARE these guys selling George Bush a piece of you? ChoicePoint's board has more Republicans than a Palm Beach country club. It was funded, and its board stocked, by such Republican sugar daddies as billionaires Bernie Marcus and Ken Langone -- even after Langone was charged by the Securities Exchange Commission with abuse of inside information."

Read the rest here.

Oh, in case you forgot; yes, these are the clowns who sold credit card data for 145,000 citizens to a criminal ring, and also compiled horribly erroneous "felony" data on thousands of (predominantly black) Florida voters in the 2000 election, thereby preventing them from casting their vote.

Save Internet freedom!

AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth want us to trust that they’ll be good stewards of Internet freedom. Meanwhile, they’re selling out ordinary Americans to the National Security Agency.

A report in
May 11's USA Today tells how these three carriers secretly provided to the NSA the phone call records of tens of millions of people — most of whom aren’t suspected of any crime.

These companies apparently have no qualms about betraying customer trust — or breaking federal law.

According to the report, Section 222 of the Communications Act, prohibits companies from giving out information regarding their customers’ calling habits: whom a person calls, how often and what routes those calls take to reach their final destination, and who calls in to the number. When asked about their potentially illegal handover of this personal information, AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth declined to comment, citing “national security matters.”

Now they are asking Congress to strip away Net Neutrality protections so they can become benevolent overlords of the World Wide Web.

Would you trust these corporations with your Internet?

Just days ago, a Republican-dominated congressional committee struck a blow to Internet freedom by voting to gut Network Neutrality, the Internet's First Amendment.

The full House will vote on whether to preserve Internet freedom next week. Then, all eyes turn to a key Senate Committee.

The time for action is now.

Here's what you can do:

1 - Sign a petition to Congress.

2 - Call your representatives.

3 - Write your representatives.

4- Blog or put the "Save the Internet" logos and links on your web page.

5- Add "Save the Internet" as a a friend on MySpace.

Want more info? Get it here or here.

Much of this text was copied from Savetheinterenet.com's blog.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bush Approves Takeover of Military Plants by Dubai

From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (April 28) - President Bush on Friday approved a deal for a Dubai-owned company to take control of some U.S. plants that manufacture parts for American military contractors.

Initial reactions from Congress indicated that there would not be the opposition to the deal that prevented another Dubai-based company from taking over operations of several U.S. ports.

"This was a transaction that was thoroughly reviewed and closely scrutinized," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said in confirming the deal. "In the view of the committee, it does not compromise our national security."

As a condition of the president's approval, the company signed an agreement that promised an uninterrupted supply, McClellan said. The White House was in the process of informing key members of Congress of the president's decision.

House leadership aides, speaking on condition of anonymity, said lawmakers from both parties on the relevant committees had been briefed on the deal, and had agreed that necessary safeguards were in effect. They said there had been numerous contacts with the administration.

And watch those Bush family fortunes soar. Remember, from his perch the economy looks pretty darn good.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Dear Mr. President

"Dear Mr. President"
by Pink

Dear Mr. President
Come take a walk with me
Let's pretend we're just two people and
You're not better than me
I'd like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly

What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street
Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep
What do you feel when you look in the mirror
Are you proud

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
How do you walk with your head held high
Can you even look me in the eye
And tell me why

Dear Mr. President
Were you a lonely boy
Are you a lonely boy
Are you a lonely boy
How can you say
No child is left behind
We're not dumb and we're not blind
They're all sitting in your cells
While you pave the road to hell

What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
How do you walk with your head held high
Can you even look me in the eye

Let me tell you bout hard work
Minimum wage with a baby on the way
Let me tell you bout hard work
Rebuilding your house after the bombs took them away
Let me tell you bout hard work
Building a bed out of a cardboard box
Let me tell you bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work
You don't know nothing bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work

How do you sleep at night
How do you walk with your head held high
Dear Mr. President
You'd never take a walk with me
Would you

Listen to the song and view some moving accompanying videos here.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

It's my dream, too...

Is this why Porter Goss resigned as CIA chief?

Sex, Lies, and Government Contracts

5/07/06 -- --
The most extensive federal corruption scandal in a century is growing. In March, former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) was sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison (the longest sentence ever given to a member of Congress) for accepting $2.4 million in bribes in exchange for lucrative defense contracts. Yet Cunningham's crimes, the "magnitude and duration" of which are compared to the Teapot Dome scandal of the 1920s, may end up a mere prelude.

According to recent reports, federal investigators have traced the outlines of a far more extensive network of suspected corruption, involving multiple members of Congress, some of the nation's highest-ranking intelligence officials, bribery attempts including "free limousine service, free stays at hotel suites at the Watergate and the Westin Grand, and free prostitutes," tens of millions of dollars in federal contracts awarded under dubious circumstances, and even efforts to influence U.S. national security policy by subverting democratic oversight.

The ringleader

At the center of the storm is California defense contractor Brent Wilkes -- aka "Co-Conspirator #1" in government documents -- "who gave more than $630,000 in cash and favors" to Cunningham "for help in landing millions of dollars in federal contracts." Wilkes devoted much of his 20-year career to "developing political contacts in Washington," a task at which he excelled, serving recently both as a county finance co-chairman of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R-CA) campaign and as the state finance co-chairman for President Bush. "Wilkes, his family members and his employees were heavy campaign contributors to several members of Congress," and he frequently invited members -- including Cunningham, Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX), and House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) -- on chartered corporate jets.

The efforts paid off handsomely: "Wilkes won tens of millions of dollars worth of defense contracts for his companies through the process of closed-door congressional earmarking of the federal budget." Indeed, "many of the contracts Wilkes secured" were for projects the Pentagon never even requested. Wilkes has thus far avoided any criminal charges, but federal officials are investigating instances of quid pro quo, since the "timing of Wilkes' many political donations closely parallels the approval of earmarks for Wilkes' companies."

'Red lights on Capitol Hill'

For more than a decade, Wilkes curried favor with lawmakers and CIA officials by hosting weekly parties at lavish hospitality suites at the Watergate and Westin hotels in Washington. Guests would gamble, socialize, and sometimes receive prostitutes; according to Harper's magazine, the festivities "began early with poker games and degenerated" into what one source described "as a 'frat party' scene -- real bacchanals." Mitchell Wade, another defense contractor who pleaded guilty in February to bribing Cunningham, has "told federal prosecutors that he periodically helped arrange for a prostitute for the then-congressman."

But investigators are digging for more: FBI agents "have fanned out across Washington, interviewing women from escort services, potential witnesses and others who may have been involved in the arrangement," attempting to determine "whether any other members of Congress, or their staffs, may also have used the same free services." Last week, a reporter for the San Diego Union-Tribune said that "as many as a half dozen other Congressmen" may ultimately be implicated in the scandal. (Several have already denied ever attending Wilkes' parties.) Also, investigators are reportedly "trying to determine whether Cunningham and other legislators brought prostitutes to the hotels or prostitutes were provided for them there"; there is speculation that Wilkes may be subject to felony federal sex-trafficking charges if the Virginia-based limousine service he used transported the prostitutes into Washington.

CIA's third in command admits he attended parties

The highest-ranking CIA official to admit he attended the poker parties thrown by Wilkes is Executive Director Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, the agency's third-ranking official. (Foggo even "occasionally hosted the poker parties at his house in northern Virginia," though he denies ever seeing prostitutes at the gatherings.) Foggo's relationship with Wilkes goes back 30-plus years; the two were roommates in college, best men at each others' weddings, and even "named their sons after each other."

By the 1980s, Foggo had joined the CIA and "was sent to Honduras to assist the Nicaraguan Contra rebels," where his "position was essentially a contracting officer -- he could get anyone anything they needed." Meanwhile, Wilkes had established himself in Washington and made his living "ferrying congressmen to Central America, where he would introduce them to Foggo and the Contras." Foggo's connections to Wilkes and fellow contractor Mitchell Wade are now the focus of an investigation into CIA contracts by the agency's inspector general, first made public in March. One of Wilkes' companies, Archer Logistics, won a contract to provide supplies to CIA agents in Afghanistan and Iraq despite having "no previous experience with such work, having been founded a few months before the contract was granted."

CIA director Goss tied to scandal?

Last week, Harper's magazine reported that party-goers "under intense scrutiny by the FBI are current and former lawmakers on Defense and Intelligence committees -- including one person who now holds a powerful intelligence post." CIA Director Porter Goss is perhaps the only individual who fits such a description. ("This is horribly irresponsible. He hasn't even been to the Watergate in decades," a CIA spokeswoman said. When asked if Goss had attended Wilkes' parties at the Westin or other locations, she repeated the denial. "It's horribly irresponsible. Flatly untrue.") But the alleged links between Goss, Foggo, and Wilkes have led some to return to questions raised when Goss initially selected Foggo to be executive director in November 2004.

At the time, the decision was viewed with skepticism since Foggo's previous position was as a "midlevel procurement supervisor," and because following his unexpected selection, "Porter Goss lieutenant Patrick Murray went to then-Associate Deputy Director of Operations for Counterintelligence Mary Margaret Graham and informed her that if anything leaked about other Goss appointments -- in particular, Foggo's -- she would be held responsible." Project on Government Oversight fellow Jason Vest reported last week that much of Foggo's counterintelligence file "has to do with various social encounters over the years, none of which he's been deceptive about when polygraphed, and all of which have been deemed to be of no threat to operational security -- but are still the types of things that could be embarrassing for Goss and the Agency." Vest suggests the latest reports raise important questions about the "relationship between Foggo and Wilkes, and the relationship of each with Goss."

Even the limo service is corrupt

Another piece of the puzzle is Shirlington Limousine and Transportation Inc., the firm that Wilkes used to "transport congressmen, CIA officials, and perhaps prostitutes to his Washington parties." Shirlington's president, Christopher Baker, has a "lengthy history of illegal activity," detailed in his 62-page rap-sheet which "runs from at least 1979 through 1989 and lists charges of petty larceny, robbery, receiving stolen goods, assault, and more." Shirlington Limo also "operates in what looks to be a deliberately murky way. The limo company does business under at least four different names; in addition, the office addresses listed on its business filings regularly change. A number of those office addresses are actually at residential buildings or business suites, and calls to the listed phone numbers are taken by an answering service."

The company was sued in 2004 for failing to make payments on buses it had purchased, has received eviction notices from its offices, and even had its federal license revoked by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in both 2001 and 2004. Despite all of this, the Department of Homeland Security last fall awarded Shirlington a $21 million contract "to provide transportation, including limo service for senior officials." Shirlington also won contracts "with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (for $519,823) and...the Federal Highway Administration (for $142,000)." What role did Wilkes play in Shirlington receiving these federal contracts?

The Defense Appropriations Committee 'Cabal'

A common thread links the members of Congress that Wilkes courted most aggressively, such as Cunningham and Reps. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), Duncan Hunter (R-CA), and John Doolittle (R-CA). All were (or still are) on subcommittees overseeing defense and intelligence spending. On Monday, prominent conservative strategist Ed Rollins described the main players in the scandal as a "real little cabal on the defense appropriations committee." In particular, the House Appropriations subcommittee on defense is "aggressively courted not just by defense contractors, but by lobbyists for foreign governments interested in swinging US defense spending in certain directions," investigative journalist Laura Rozen notes. "It is really where the checks are signed, and decisions about funding sometimes wholly un-debated aspects of U.S. national security policy are made."

Indeed, many of the figures tied to the scandal have histories of involvement in reactionary conservative elements of U.S. foreign policy: Kyle Foggo worked extensively with the Nicaraguan contras, Mitchell Wade headed a White House-contracted group called the "Iranian Democratization Foundation", and Wilkes was reportedly set to receive a contract to "create and run a secret plane network" for the CIA before his links to Cunningham were made public. The roots of this scandal may be as much in profiteering as they are in "this club's conviction that the law is an impediment to the national security cause, that the way to run things is through these informal networks.

-- The Progress Report (American Progress Action Fund)

Original post here.

Huh? (or was that Como?)

On Cinco de Mayo, our President demanded that, "Those who come here to our country have a responsibility to learn the English language."

In the belief that responsibility begins at home, here is the same President's February 4, 2005 explanation of how he will "save" our Social Security system:

Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to what has been promised. DOES THAT MAKE ANY SENSE TO YOU? IT'S KIND OF MUDDLED. Look, there's a series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. This is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- that that growth is affect, it will help on the red."


(A tip of the MJ hat to Greg Palast).

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Thank you, Stephen Colbert

Post a "thank you" to comedian Stephen Colbert for using comedy to deliver the message to President Bush that the media just won't. And if you didn't see Colbert's masterful performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner, you can watch it there as well.

Dear Laura

Would you like to send the following Mother's Day message to Laura Bush?

Dear First Lady Laura Bush:

I'm sure that for Mothers Day you'll be celebrating the fact that you have two great daughters growing up and moving into the professional world.

But I'm writing to ask that you take a moment to reflect on the thousands of other American mothers who won't be celebrating Mothers Day this year. Instead, for those who have lost their sons and daughters in Iraq, this day will only be a reminder of grief and sorrow.

Now, your husband is rattling his saber against Iran and threatening a military attack. I beg of you -- please convince him that war should not be an option. The so-called Iranian "crisis" can be resolved through diplomacy and coalition-building -- not dropping bombs and sending in troops.

So, please have a word with your husband. Ask him if he would still attack Iran if your two daughters were in the military and scheduled to be in the first units sent in. If the answer to that question is no, then how can he ask other moms and dads to make a sacrifice that he's not willing to himself?



If so, click here.