Friday, September 30, 2005

NYT - "House Votes for New Limits on Endangered Species Act" ; TBL-"Let's make greedy old white Goppers in suits an endangered species"

You realize, of course, that California Condors would only exist in pictures if this current crop of flag-bedecked Goppers (much worse than the vile Nixonians of my youth) were in charge of this nation in the sixties and seventies.
Click here for the details of their latest attempt to destroy one of the most important positive pieces of legislation ever enacted by Americans.

WHIG Cheerleader Judith Miller released from jail with promise to testify against her ex-teammates

Here's an excerpt of The ("Liberal") New York Times reporting on one of its own tonight:
[...]Ms. Miller was freed after spending more than 12 weeks in jail, during which she refused to cooperate with the [Plame leak] inquiry. Her decision to testify was made after she had obtained what she described as a waiver offered "voluntarily and personally" by a source who said she was no longer bound by any pledge of confidentiality she had made to him. Ms. Miller said the source had made clear that he genuinely wanted her to testify.
That source was I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff*, according to people who have been officially briefed on the case. Ms. Miller met with Mr. Libby on July 8, 2003, and talked with him by telephone later that week, they said. [...]
* "And [The New York Times did not add] Mr. Libby is of course a key member of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) that in August and September of 2002 used Judith Miller and this newspaper to lend credibility to their claims about nonexistent Iraqi "Weapons of Mass Destruction" as part of their creation of false rationales for war. Mr. Libby's boss, Richard "Dick" Cheney was then able to point to this New York Times reporting about "WMDs" to back up the story that the WHIGs were making up out of whole cloth. We sincerely apologize for our role in these crimes against humanity."

The simple combination of four words "White House Iraq Group" has yet to appear anywhere within the pages of the New York Times (at least as revealed by a search of When the "Paper of Record" finally catches up with the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times and Newsday and CNN and Fox News and others and decides that the news about the White House Iraq Group is "Fit to Print", then WHIGGATE Update and True Blue Liberal will report that momentous event to you.

Crossposted from WHIGGATE Update at

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Can you find a better way to spend 65 dollars? ... a two-day course of enlightenment for less than the price of an SUV's tank of gasoline

I hate to brag, but here's the visual proof that my Sunday and Monday made up for the fact that I couldn't make it to Washington DC on Saturday.
What can you say about a football stadium, "The Birthplace of College Football" at Rutgers, being sold out and silent as the Dalai Lama talked informally and with great humor and seriousness about war, peace, compassion, attachment, and reconciliation to 36,000 new friends? It was a Sunday morning I'll never forget.
And Monday night? I expect that in a year or two ECM will release a record by Keith Jarrett called "Keith Jarrett Solo at Carnegie Hall" or, more likely, "The New York Concert" (to fit neatly with the solo improvisational concerts that made Köln, Vienna, and Paris famous) and you'll wish you were there in the sold-out hall too for his only US solo concert in the past decade, from the first note through the five encores. I've been to a lot of concerts since I first saw the Allman Brothers and Johnny Winter at the Spectrum in Philadelphia in 1971, and this one ... one man alone at an unamplified piano in Carnegie Hall for two and a half hours ... beat them all. Or maybe it was just that seeing the Dalai Lama the day before had opened my mind to fully accept this music on this night.
(Sorry if this post seems insufficiently engagé, but Bush and Cheney and Brownie and the rest of our gang in DC just seem so small and insignificant after brushes with spiritual and artistic greatness over the past two days. Some atrocity will get TBL back on the case of these petty greedy thin-skinned "men" soon, but right now I'm listening to Radiance, so excuse me if I don't give a shit.)

The GOP (rhymes with slop) wouldn't use hurricanes to further their right-wing agenda, would they?

Please spread the word about this current petition appeal from about a Republican plan to fund Katrina & Rita relief by slashing almost a trillion from things like health care for the poor and elderly, student loans, Amtrak (hey, who needs trains when we've got unlimited gasoline and foolproof highway evacuation plans!?), even eliminating all funds for PBS (I guess Republicans don't like Bob Dylan documentaries, or Bert & Ernie's alternative lifestyle choice). God forbid they could fund vital government services by slowing their tax giveaways to corporate donors and their rich friends and relatives.

The proposal to use natural disasters as their cover for extending their attack on the last remnants of the New Deal and the Great Society comes from over 100 members of Congress, and we need to respond quickly to keep it from gaining momentum. I hope you'll sign MoveOn's petition, asking Congress to help rebuild the Gulf Coast by ending Republican tax cuts for the wealthy, not slashing important services. Feel free to add a note of your own to their petition telling these spokespeople for the rich and corporate interests of America that if they want to cut waste, then they can slash the fat from the Pentagon and start holding bake sales and country-music charity telethons for their B2® bombers, "Smart®-Brand" Missiles, "Bunker-Buster" Nuclear Bombs, and unnecessary wars.

Please sign here :
and pass it on

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

International Day of Peace

The aptly named Pax Romano gets the credit for pointing out that today is the International Day of Peace. I probably should have heard about it someplace else, but it's funny (or not so funny) how Peace doesn't get much play in our media.

Remember the moment of silence at noon today; save your lungpower for Saturday in DC.

Monday, September 19, 2005

"This is the Katrina Administration" - Senator John Kerry's Speech at Brown University

CLICK HERE for the full text of the speech that John Kerry will be giving at Brown University today. Here's a sample from the heart of the speech:
"[...] Katrina is a symbol of all this administration does and doesn't do. Michael Brown -- or Brownie as the President so famously thanked him for doing a heck of a job - Brownie is to Katrina what Paul Bremer is to peace in Iraq; what George Tenet is to slam dunk intelligence; what Paul Wolfowitz is to parades paved with flowers in Baghdad; what Dick Cheney is to visionary energy policy; what Donald Rumsfeld is to basic war planning; what Tom Delay is to ethics; and what George Bush is to “Mission Accomplished” and "Wanted Dead or Alive." The bottom line is simple: The "we'll do whatever it takes" administration doesn't have what it takes to get the job done.

This is the Katrina administration.

It has consistently squandered time, tax dollars, political capital, and even risked American lives on sideshow adventures: A war of choice in Iraq against someone who had nothing to do with 9/11; a full scale presidential assault on Social Security when everyone knows the real crisis is in health care - Medicare and Medicaid. And that's before you get to willful denial on global warming; avoidance on competitiveness; complicity in the loss and refusal of health care to millions.[...]"
I have one problem with this speech. Why can't he call himself a liberal? Why can't he draw the battle lines clearly and take a side, rather than conceding the center to the "conservatives"? It may be a small quibble, but it's my quibble. Hell, it's my raison d'être. True Blue LIBERAL

Friday, September 16, 2005

Does every Republican President have a trusty little fat man with a note-pad in his hand??

... President Coolidge came down in a railroad train
With a little fat man with a note-pad in his hand
The president say, ''Little fat man isn't it a shame
What the river has done to this poor cracker's land."

Louisiana, Louisiana
They're tryin' to wash us away
They're tryin' to wash us away
--Randy Newman, Louisiana 1927

Republicans said Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff and Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, was in charge of the reconstruction effort, which reaches across many agencies of government and includes the direct involvement of Alphonso R. Jackson, secretary of housing and urban development.
--9/15/05 New York Times article about Louisiana 2005

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Proud American Presidents Standing Up and Taking Responsibility

"To the extent the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility"
-- The 43rd President of the United States comments on Hurricane Katrina, 13 September 2005

"To the extent that this axe contributed, along with gravity and age, to fell this cherry tree, I take responsibility."
-- Famous childhood saying of the 1st President of the United States

"The Portion of the Buck For Which the President is Responsible (which, in a Ownership Society of Entrepreneurship and Small Government and Local Control, is negligible) Stops Here"
-- Oval Office Desk Plaque of the 33rd President of the United States (as clarified by the current resident of that office)

The Pentagon learns important lessons from Iraq -- "Gee, we shoulda used nukes!"

The Washington Post article by Walter Pincus from Sunday, "Pentagon Revises Nuclear Strike Plan:Strategy Includes Preemptive Use Against Banned Weapons", should be read by everyone. When I read the way the Pentagon is cold-bloodedly reviewing cases in which nuclear weapons may actually be used, it makes me a little nostalgic for the era of Mutually Assured Destruction in which the unthinkable was still unthinkable.
[...] A "summary of changes" included in the draft identifies differences from the 1995 doctrine, and says the new document "revises the discussion of nuclear weapons use across the range of military operations."

The first example for potential nuclear weapon use listed in the draft is against an enemy that is using "or intending to use WMD" against U.S. or allied, multinational military forces or civilian populations. [...]
Certain war criminals in the current administration are probably kicking themselves that they didn't just nuke a few "WMD bunkers" in and around Baghdad in March 2003. They would still be crowing about the way they prevented Saddam Hussein's imminent nuclear attacks on Jerusalem and London with their quick bold decisive action. With dangerously high levels of radiation in the glowing remains of the "Iraqi WMD bunkers," there would be no way to disprove their lies. A vast majority of the flag-waving American public would believe them, and though the rest of the world wouldn't, every other government would be scared to death to say anything to such proven madmen.

(this entry started its life as a comment on the subject over at Shakespeare's Sister, but I thought it deserved a post of its own here).

Monday, September 12, 2005

Washington sends in the Rapid Emergency Graffiti Reduction & Eradication Teams (REGRET) in advance of W's hurricane photo-op

This photo accompanied an article in yesterday's Washington Post.

The "Blame Game" continues and Karl Rove finds the real villain behind the tragedy of New Orleans in the National Archives -- FRANCE!

After careful scrutiny by Karl Rove and his staff, it seems that nowhere in this treaty for the Louisiana Purchase did those perfidious French henchmen working for the sneaky Napoléon fully disclose the tendency to flooding and hurricanes in New Orleans and the southern part of the Purchase, nor the tendency to tornados (now to be officially known as "French Twists") and flooding in the northerly reaches of the Mississippi.

The bombing of Paris begins in five minutes. See, the Bush Administration proves once again that there's no problem that can't be solved by a war (or by blaming our intellectual superiors).

Friday, September 09, 2005

What Goes Around Comes Around for Richard "Dick" Cheney -- Fun with Google's "I'm Feeling Lucky" feature

Type "Go Fuck Yourself" into Google and hit "I'm Feeling Lucky". In the meantime, here's a pleasant picture of "Dick" out of his bunker and into his most compassionate mode to cheer up the good people of the Gulf Coast. True Blue Liberal

Hey, if they let just anyone in, their ProWar Pentagon FlagFest® might turn into a Peace March

"Tight Constraints on Pentagon's Freedom[sic] Walk:Event Remembering 9/11, Troops to Be Kept 'Sterile,' Limited to Preregistered"
By Petula Dvorak
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 9, 2005

Officers are prepared to arrest anyone who joins the march or concert without a credential and refuses to leave, said Park Police Chief Dwight E. Pettiford.
The event, the America Supports You Freedom[sic] Walk, is billed as a memorial to victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks and a show of support for those serving in the military, topped off with a concert by country singer Clint Black, known for his pro-troops anthem, "Iraq and Roll." Organizers said they expect 3,000 to 10,000 participants.
Maybe we could all register before the deadline at 4:30 today under fake names (preferably Disneyesque or Arabic), although that's probably violating 4 or 5 provisions of the Patriot[sic] Act®.
Some military supporters have welcomed the event as a way to counter the antiwar movement and back the troops abroad. Antiwar groups say they are convinced that the event was orchestrated to boost the war effort and link the war to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks -- and to undercut an antiwar protest planned for Sept. 24.
One restricted group will be the media, whose members will not be allowed to walk along the march route. Reporters and cameras are restricted to three enclosed areas along the route but are not permitted to walk alongside participants walking from the Pentagon, across the Memorial Bridge to the Mall. [What, we can't embed Ted Koppell in the March!?!]
The Washington Post and other corporate entities initially signed on as co-sponsors. But critics from within the newspaper and from the antiwar movement said partnering with the Pentagon raised questions about objectivity, and three weeks ago The Post pulled its co-sponsorship.
If you signed up weeks ago in good faith to march and show your support for victims of 9/11/2001, please don't show up at this ProWar Pentagon FlagFest® that abuses their memory for the War Department's bellicose ends. Find some quiet way to remember the victims of terror and the "war on terror" on Sunday. Then show up on the Mall on September 24th instead, when participants and the press will not be turned away.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Honorary WHIG of the Week, Former FEMA Director (and current war profiteer) Joe Allbaugh

No, Joseph Allbaugh is not a known member of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), and he is not the honorary WHIG of the Week so we could run this picture and make the obligatory joke about his hairline being a disaster area (though he is living proof that looks don't count if you want to be counted in among the in crowd at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue), or to point out the fact that his old boss obviously had a crush on him.

He and his college roommate and current FEMA chief Mike "Brownie" Brown are in the news this week because of the massive failures of FEMA in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, but it's not even that connection that this blog is interested in, though it is the reason he came to our attention.

We're more struck by how he's just one more piece of the tight inbred nexus of war dreamers, planners, sellers, and profiteers who gave us the current quagmire in Iraq that will still be a disaster long after we're celebrating Fat Tuesday again in the Big Easy. Here's Josh Marshall writing in The Hill on October 1, 2003 (around the time we realized that the "Mission" was not quite as "Accomplished" as we had been told by the guy dressed up like a Naval Aviator for his aircraft carrier photo opportunity).
The Bush Crony Full-Employment Act of 2003=The
[...] Remember Joe Allbaugh? He’s part of what they used to call President Bush’s Iron Triangle — Allbaugh, Hughes and Rove.
In chronological order, he was Bush’s chief of staff when Bush was governor of Texas, his campaign manager when he ran for president and his Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director after that.
So you could say they were pretty close.
A couple weeks before the beginning of the war, Allbaugh left his job at FEMA to get into the business of securing pricey Iraqi reconstruction contracts for high-flying clients.
Allbaugh’s new firm is called New Bridge Strategies. But it’s actually an outgrowth of Haley Barbour’s lobbying firm, Barbour Griffith & Rogers. [...]
Haley Barbour, of course, is now the Governor of Katrina-ravaged Mississippi. Surely a coincidence, but a coincidence that would have some poetic justice if it weren't for the human lives lost and ruined.
Marshall's article goes on to talk about connections between Iraq War II profiteers and others with close WHIG connections like the Chalabi family and Pentagon Iraq Group (PIG) leader Doug Feith. The real reason for giving Allbaugh this honor on this dishonorable week for FEMA is because the membership in the White House Iraq Group may not be limited to those names in the few published accounts about the group. Why wouldn't the third leg of Bush's unattractive Iron Triangle be privy to the actions of the other leg, WHIG Hughes, and the hypotenuse, WHIG Rove? The fact that Allbaugh attempted to sell those connections to make a buck between the Tigris and Euphrates (when he should have been concentrating on the Mississippi) is probably not a crime in Bushite Corporate America®. But it probably should be.

Crossposted from Whiggate Update

TBL's question of the day. Would you rather live in a boring country or in the U.S.A. of 2005?

"I do not think anyone can possibly understand how
boring a general election in

the world's best country really is."
Flag-waving trolls occasionally ask TBL why he doesn't just move to Canada or France (their anonymity even allows them to offer to pay my airfare). Other than the fact that my family has been here since 1732 and I feel I have as much right to stay on these shores as anyone who isn't a descendant of Pocahantas and Geronimo and Sitting Bull, I also wonder if I don't just enjoy the grappling over real political issues. If I lived in a rational country like Norway, wouldn't I be driven to act like one of those happy characters in a Munch painting or an Ibsen play? Or maybe just drink a lot?

What's your take on boredom as an alternative to life in the U.S.A. (which, of course, famously bored The Clash, but that was during the Carter years).

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Is mindless patriotism killing Americans in New Orleans?

"Offers of Aid Immediate, but U.S. Approval Delayed for Days"
from the Washington Post 7 September 2005:
Offers of foreign aid worth tens of millions of dollars -- including a Swedish water purification system, a German cellular telephone network and two Canadian rescue ships -- have been delayed for days awaiting review by backlogged federal agencies, according to European diplomats and information collected by the State Department.
Since Hurricane Katrina, more than 90 countries and international organizations offered to assist in recovery efforts for the flood-stricken region, but nearly all endeavors remained mired yesterday in bureaucratic entanglements, in most cases, at the Federal Emergency Management Agency. [...]

I can understand the petrified Cold War brains of Cheney and Rumsfeld refusing to acknowledge Castro's offer of 1,100 Cuban physicians and hurricane experts, but why are they still blocking helpful Swedes and Germans and Canadians and Frenchmen and scores of others, a week and a half after the storm hit? Would they have delayed for one minute if any of these countries had volunteered in March 2003 to send men and military materiel as part of the "Coalition of the Willing® [to Destroy Iraq]"?? According to the Post article, fully-loaded planes have been sitting on runways around the world for four or five days, just waiting for an OK to deliver desperately-needed help.

This is a crime. This is not just bureaucratic red tape. This is not just the laziness of the vacationing junta. This is not just the incompetence of Bushy's beloved Brownie. This inability to accept outside help because of misguided macho nationalism or flag idolatry or mindless patriotism is murder.

You don't have to burn a flag, or spit on one,
but don't lend your hand to raise one above this ship of fools either,
unless it's light blue, with a white globe in its center
(you know, the flag John Bolton would burn),
True Blue Liberal - Site sponsored by the NAACP and being blocked?

According the Washington Post, this site is being widely blocked today by filters within the government. Click on the banner to see if it's blocked by your employer or internet provider:
Donate Housing :: Find Shelter
It couldn't have anything to do with the fact that this endeavor is a project of and the NAACP, could it?
Just Asking,
True Blue Liberal

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Friday, September 02, 2005

La France offre son aide aux Etats-Unis, touchés par Katrina

Libération : La France offre son aide aux Etats-Unis, touchés par Katrina


1/3rd of the Louisiana National Guard and even more of the Mississippi National Guard are fighting Bush's unnecessary war while their states suffer

So the protection of the "Homeland" is shown, like every other platitude from the Bushies, to be just so much, pardon my French, bullshit.
The Times makes the point in an article today that what's going on in New Orleans this week is a Man-Made Disaster - New York Times, 2 Sept 2005: of the men and women of the Louisiana National Guard, and an even higher percentage of the Mississippi National Guard, were 7,000 miles away, fighting in Iraq. [...] One lasting lesson that has to be drawn from the Gulf Coast's misery is that from now on, the National Guard must be treated as America's most essential homeland security force, not as some kind of military piggy bank for the Pentagon to raid for long-term overseas missions. America clearly needs a larger active-duty Army. It just as clearly needs a homeland-based National Guard that's fully prepared and ready for any domestic emergency.
This blog has been relatively quiet, but I cannot describe how pissed I am this week. I cannot describe how sick I feel that my government will blithely spend hundreds of billions of my tax dollars (and tax dollars of our children) to destroy Baghdad because of a family oil feud betwixt the Bushies and the Husseins, and then will have the nerve to ask for volunteers and donations when it comes to repairing a great American city. How much vital American infrastructure (levees, bridges, roads, mass transit, shelters, alternative energy...) can be built, rebuilt, or maintained by the money being thrown down the fucking rathole that is the Pentagon? What if Donald Rumsfeld (to revive a slogan from the Vietnam years) had to hold a bake sale to build his unnecessary (except as phallus replacements) Cruise® Missiles (named after the movie star) and B-2© Bombers? What if he had to call upon the big hearts of the American people to help out in his crusade to transfer money to subsidiaries of Halliburton? Would you open your wallet to fund the Pentagon's worthwhile activities in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo or the next war in Iran or Syria? Of course you wouldn't. Would you?

Because the Bushies aren't comfortable with any problem that they can't solve with a gun, I have a real fear that they want this signature failure of their "leadership" to turn into a fight against "the looters," because "the looters" are less-than-human and can be dealt with in the way that these neo-Republicans feel most comfortable dealing with the lower classes. But try to imagine that you had lost everything you owned and hadn't had anything to eat or drink in days and were being given no aid or shelter or information or means of egress by your government. Would you have any hesitation in stealing food for yourself or your family? Would you be feeling more than a little anger at the authorities? Ask yourself if this anarchy is in anyone's political interest.

You know that Karl Rove & Karen Hughes are working hard at this moment to make sure that their understanding & caring boss will have a suitable folksy photo opportunity somewhere in the disaster area today or tomorrow to show how understanding & caring & kinder & gentler he really really is. But let's not forget the real story of this week when they try to shove their images down our throats. Remember that earlier this week their boss was on vacation and at political fundraisers and comparing his dirty little illegal war to World War II, and himself to FDR, while New Orleans sank.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Howell Raines summing up Katrina & our national "leadership" better than I could ever hope to ...

This blog has been a little quiet in the week of Katrina, but I have to quote at length from Howell Raines' "I'm just glad I saw it" in today's Guardian :
Every great disaster - the Blitz, 9/11, the tsunami - has a political dimension. The performance of George Bush during this past week has been outrageous. [...]
This president, who flew away on Monday to fundraisers in the west while the hurricane blew away entire towns in coastal Mississippi, is very much his father's son when it comes to the kinds of emergencies that used to call forth immediate White House action before its Bushite captivity. When he was president, his father did not visit Miami after Hurricane Andrew, nor for that matter, did he mind being photographed tooling his golf cart around Kennebunkport while American troops died in the first Iraq war. Now the younger Bush seems determined to show his successors how to holiday through an apocalypse. [...]
As for the Superdome refugees, it finally fell to the governor of Texas to announce that they could come to Houston's Astrodome. What other American president, one wonders, would fail to house these people in the decent barracks available at the closed and active military bases scattered throughout the South? The plain fact is that Jimmy Carter did a better job of housing the Mariel refugees from Cuba than Bush has done with the citizens of New Orleans.
The populism of Huey Long was financially corrupt, but when it came to the welfare of people, it was caring. The church-going cultural populism of George Bush has given the United States an administration that worries about the house of Saud and the welfare of oil companies while the poor drown in their attics and their sons and daughters die on foreign deserts.
PLEASE read the whole thing.