Sunday, April 30, 2006

Karl Rove's Focus This Week: "Who Booked Saturday Night's Train Wreck?"

Want to bet that is going to be Karl Rove's top priority:

Finding out whose idea it was to book Steve Bridges (the Bush impersonator), who wrote the script for the Bush act . . . .

. . . . and who at the White House Correspondents' Association decided to book Stephen Colbert? It's not as if his act should have surprised any at the dinner . . . . and yet apparently it did.

Is it possible that the White House press corps has gotten so fat, lazy and spoiled, rubbing elbows with (socializing with, marrying) the very people that they are supposed to be critically reporting on (Andrea Mitchell & Alan Greenspan, Dan Senor & Campbell Brown, Jim VandeHei & Autumn Hannah, Matt Cooper & Mandy Grendwald, Judith Miller & Bush administration flavor-of-the-week, etc., etc., etc.) that they are now outsourcing their work to industry outsiders?:

I'd certainly like to know who booked Colbert.

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Strange Bedfellows in "A Night at the Opera"

Event Title : Washington Opera Golden Gala

What To Expect : The Washington National Opera’s Golden Gala Concert celebrating the company’s 50th anniversary season. Opera performance followed by a special anniversary dinner.

Date : Sunday, 3/19/2006

Time : : 6:00 pm performance with dinner to follow

Location : : Performance at the Opera House of the Kennedy Center, Dinner in the Roof Terrace.

John Negroponte and his wife, with Mercedes Kellogg Bass (of the Aspen Institute) and her husband, Sid.

Paul Wolfowitz with Roy M. Huffington is chairman of the Board and chief executive officer of Roy M. Huffington, Inc., an independent, international oil and gas company located in Houston, Texas. Arianna's former father-in-law. Huffington’s Huffco made a huge Indonesian gas strike in ’72. [Huffco sent the Suharto dictatorship illegal shipments of billy clubs and shock batons in the ‘80s, which spoiled Reagan’s plans to make Roy’s son an assistant secretary of Commerce. Michael Huffington then shattered campaign-spending records trying to be a California Senator.]

Vermont's Senator Patrick Leahy, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and soprano Elizabeth Futral.

Michael Sonnenreich, CEO of Pharmatrak, with U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez.

Jacqueline Badger Mars (Mars candy family, one of the 18 families backing efforts to abolish the estate tax), Betty Scripps Harvey and Jeremy Harvey.

Ross Perot, U.S. Ambassador to Denmark Stuart Bernstein and his wife Wilma, Ambassadors from Kuwait, Japan, Sweden, Norway, Holland, and Italy, U.S. Supreme Court Justices Breyer, Ginsburg and Scalia were also in attendance.

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White House Correspondents' Dinners Past


How low can we go?

Crooks & Liars has the video, recorded from C-Span's coverage of tonight's White House correspondents' dinner, up at its' website. Dumbosaurus provides a transcript.

Unfortunately, C-Span did not broadcast the event as MSBNC did: With Bush on camera in splitscreen as Stephen Colbert lampooned him. If C-Span had broadcast the event in splitscreen, there would be no misleading and misdirected reporting of this story. "Not smiling" doesn't begin to cover Bush's reaction.

After Colbert completed the public excoriation of this President (and M.C. Mark Smith sent invited guests off into the night with the perfunctory "good night" and "thanks for coming" from the podium), Bush didn't hesitate for a moment before bolting from the dais and out of the room. He brooked no opposition to his movement. Laura's exit was more like being swept up by the current of the rushing, determined George, manuveured by strategic pushes whenever she paused to speak with him.

The C-Span cameras captured Laura craning her head to catch a glimpse of her husband's face as the program was ending, presumably to gauge his reaction at being taken to the woodshed in front of the Washington press corps. It only took a moment for her to assess his mood, after which Laura looked like a woman dreading what was about to follow - an interminable ride to the White House residence in the back of an armored limousine, alone with a simmering, festering sore of a husband who has to keep it together for the next six minutes it'll take to get him out of the public eye.

This is the George W. Bush whom his handlers have gone to great lengths to hide from voters these last 7 years. The real George W. Bush, and what drives every decision and policy that comes out of his administration. "The Angry Meanness of 'King' George," when his exaggerated sense of entitlement is denied. The drive back to the White House tonight was probably one of the longest, most tense few minutes that Laura has had to spend with George in a very long time. Trapped in transit with him until Bush could escape to a gym or a bike trail (or a bottle of Beam) and work off the tension of being forced to endure that public humiliation, not with just merely a straight face, but with a grin. Having to pretend that it was all in good fun.

But it wasn't.

Colbert's routine struck the wrong notes and the wrong tone, as did Bush's own artistic contribution to the evening's entertainment. Watching the Bush double (Bush impersonator Steve Bridges) giving voice to Bush's actual thoughts while the real Bush read from the politically correct script made me (and I'm guessing many others) very uncomfortable, probably because both of Bush's and Stephen Colbert's acts hit too close to the truth for me to see any humor. For a couple of hours tonight, wine was drunk, hair let down, and with the cameras rolling, the wheels came off the cart. We saw the dysfunctional family system that is at the heart and soul of those running the country.

However, few are realizing what they saw.

What happened tonight was not good - not for Bush, not for Republicans nor Democrats, not for liberals nor conservatives. But especially, what happened tonight was not good for America. Tonight we witnessed a new low in Americans' relationship with this President.

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Friday, April 28, 2006

Pet Metaphors

As you view this, think of the puppies as the Democrats, and Bush as the cat:

In the end, the only people who can remove the cat are the owners. That's us.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

China is the Sole Manufacturer of Material for U.S. Missiles

Nobody is watching the shop.

China now owns a monopoly on the manufacture of missile magnets which the U.S. military is dependent upon for its most sophisticated technology and weaponry.

In the 2003 Presidential State of the Union address:
Bush expressed his administration’s objective to “strengthen global treaties banning the production and shipment of missile technologies.”
Then between 2003 and 2004:
[T]he Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS) allowed the last manufacturer in the U.S. that provided a key element instrumental in cruise missile guidance, to be relocated to the Peoples’ Republic of China.
With the finality in 2004 of a strategic corporate deal, "the U.S. now remains totally dependent upon China for key rare earth metals and their production necessary in the manufacture of the most crucial of U.S. military warfare."

Do you think that Americans would have elected anyone who agreed to let that happen?

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Vermont, California & Illinois Take the Impeachment Matter into Their Own Hands

It's about goddamn time.

Funny thing about constant Americans; when it comes to protecting the Constitution and saving the republic, we manage to get past stonewalls.

Inside the Beltway, legislators have been slow to support moves to censure or impeach President Bush and other members of the administration. Only 33 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed on as cosponsors of Congressman John Conyers' resolution calling for the creation of a select committee to investigate the administration's preparations for war before receiving congressional authorization, manipulation of pre-war intelligence, encouraging and countenancing of torture, and retaliation against critics such as former Ambassador Joe Wilson, with an eye toward making recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment. Only two members of the Senate have agreed to cosponsor Senator Russ Feingold's proposal to censure the president for illegally ordering the warrantless wiretapping of phone conversations of Americans.

Outside the Beltway, legislators are far more comfortable with censure and impeachment -- at least in the state of Vermont. Sixty-nine Vermont legislators, 56 members of the state House and 14 members of the Senate, have signed a letter urging Congress to initiate investigations to determine if censure or impeachment of members of the administration might be necessary.

Not only in Vermont. A current is moving west through Illinois:
The Illinois General Assembly is about to rock the nation. Members of state legislatures are normally not considered as having the ability to decide issues with a massive impact to the nation as a whole. Representative Karen A. Yarbrough of Illinois' 7th District is about to shatter that perception forever. Representative Yarbrough stumbled on a little known and never utlitized rule of the US House of Representatives, Section 603 of Jefferson's Manual of the Rules of the United States House of Representatives, which allows federal impeachment proceedings to be initiated by joint resolution of a state legislature. From there, Illinois House Joint Resolution 125 (hereafter to be referred to as HJR0125) was born.

After Illinois, it's a wave moving into California - Dick Cheney's name is added to the resolution calling for impeachment:
California State Assemblyman Paul Koretz (D-Los Angeles) submitted amendments on Friday, April 21, to Assembly Joint Resolution No. 39, calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney. The resolution references Section 603 of Jefferson’s Manual of the Rules of the United States House of Representatives, which allows federal impeachment proceedings to be initiated by joint resolution of a state legislature.

The resolution bases the call for impeachment upon the Bush Administration intentionally misleading the Congress and the American people regarding the threat from Iraq in order to justify an unnecessary war that has cost billions of dollars and thousands of lives and casualties; exceeding constitutional authority to wage war by invading Iraq; exceeding constitutional authority by Federalizing the National Guard; conspiring to torture prisoners in violation of the “Federal Torture Act” and indicating intent to continue such actions; spying on American citizens in violation of the 1978 Foreign Agency Surveillance Act; leaking and covering up the leak of the identity of Valerie Plame Wilson, and holding American citizens without charge or trial.

Koretz submitted amendments gutting AJR No. 39, a resolution unrelated to impeachment, to the Assembly Rules Committee. The Rules Committee may take up the bill next week for referral, allowing him to formally introduce the amended resolution.

The Assemblyman hopes his resolution will help promote a public dialogue about the questionable activities and errant judgment of the President and Vice President: “At both the state and national levels, we will be paying for the Bush Administration’s illegal actions and terrible lack of judgment and competence for decades—not only in the billions of dollars wasted on the war and welfare for the rich, but in the worldwide loss of respect for America and Americans. Bush and Cheney must be impeached and removed from office before they undertake even deadlier misdeeds, such as the use of nuclear weapons. There are no bounds to their willingness to ignore the Constitution and world opinion—we can’t afford to wait for the next disaster and hope that we can survive it.”

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Monday, April 24, 2006

"Net Neutrality" - What Does It Mean, What Do We Need To Do, & Why The Rush?

Don't let Congress ruin the Internet
Days before a congressional committee is set to vote on an overhaul of the nation's telecommunications policy, a broad coalition of media, consumer and Internet groups has organized behind a dramatic tagline: "Save the Internet."

Dozens of organizations ranging from the conservative-to-libertarian Gun Owners of America to the liberal group to the American Library Association, have just launched a Web site under the "Save the Internet" banner.

"Whenever you see groups on the far left and the far right joining together over what Congress is getting ready to do, it's my experience that whatever Congress is getting ready to do is generally unconstitutional," said Craig Fields, Director of Internet Operations for Gun Owners of America.
"The fight for Internet freedom is now being waged in earnest," said Tim Karr, campaign director for Free Press, a media reform organization that opposes large media companies and organized the coalition. "On one side you have the public...on the other side you have the nation's largest telephone and cable companies, who have aligned with some in Congress to strip the Internet of the First Amendment."
Congress is pushing a law that would abandon the Internet's First Amendment -- a principle called "Network neutrality" that prevents companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast from deciding which Web sites work best for you -- based on what site pays them the most. Your local library shouldn’t have to outbid Barnes & Noble for the right to have its Web site open quickly on your computer.

Net Neutrality allows everyone to compete on a level playing field and is the reason that the Internet is a force for economic innovation, civic participation and free speech. If the public doesn't speak up now, Congress will cave to a multi-million dollar lobbying campaign by telephone and cable companies that want to decide what you do, where you go, and what you watch online.

This isn’t just speculation.
Large telephone and cable companies have argued against the need to put such principles into law, saying they're not interested in blocking sites or services but deserve the right to charge extra for such a "fast lane" to make their investments in bandwidth-hogging services and new technologies economically viable. Broadband providers have been spending billions to run fiber or faster links to American homes and businesses.

We've already seen what happens elsewhere when the Internet's gatekeepers get too much control. Last year, Canada's version of AT&T -- Telus -- blocked their Internet customers from visiting a Web site sympathetic to workers with whom Telus was negotiating. And Shaw, a major Canadian cable company, charges an extra $10 a month to subscribers who dare to use a competing Internet telephone service.

Net neutrality is a philosophy supported by Internet content providers such as Google, Microsoft and that would prohibit broadband providers from prioritizing certain types of Web traffic--such as streaming video or their own preferred content. How this would affect you.

Why Now?
The latest version of a telecommunications reform bill, expected to go to a full committee vote in the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee this week, doesn't go far enough to ensure Net neutrality provisions.

At an initial vote on that bill just before Congress' spring recess, a quartet of Democrats failed to secure passage of an amendment that said any content provider must be awarded bandwidth "with equivalent or better capability than the provider extends to itself or affiliated parties, and without the imposition of any charge." The Save the Internet Coalition said it hoped such an amendment would be more successful at the upcoming vote.

The updated bill, dubbed "Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancements Act of 2006" is sponsored by Representative and House Commerce Chairman Joe Barton (R-Texas), Representative and Chairman of Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Representative Charles Pickering (R-Miss.), and Representative Bobby Rush (D-Ill.). The bill is focused on video-franchise reform and was first introduced to Congress in late March 2006.

The bill would require the Federal Communications Commission to vet all complaints of violations of the FCC's own Net neutrality principles within 90 days. It would also give the FCC the power to levy fines of up to $500,000 per violation.

The bill also contained explicit language denying the FCC the authority to make new rules on Net neutrality. Democrats and Net neutrality supporters have charged that lack of enforcement power would mean the FCC would be unable to deal with the topic flexibly.

The FCC's broad principles, which appeared in a document released last summer, don't protect against the kind of discrimination that Internet content providers fear could take hold, said Gigi Sohn, president of the advocacy group Public Knowledge. Those principles say that consumers should be able to access lawful content and run applications of their choice and connect whichever lawful devices they wish to the networks they use.

"You could have a system where I might be able to get my Vonage service but because Verizon has its own voice over Internet protocol service, they may degrade my Vonage service," she said. "So technically I could get a degraded Vonage service, still in keeping with principles, but I'm accessing a degraded service, and that's why a non-discrimination principle must be put in the law."

"This is legislation that's being rushed through Congress on the wings of large cable and telephone companies," Karr said. "Our effort is to raise public awareness with Americans across the spectrum."

In various bids to raise public awareness, the Coalition and its members are interacting with the House of Representatives, particularly members of the Energy and Commerce Committee, who will mark up the bill later this week. The Coalition is asking people to send letters to local newspapers to bring the issue out into the public eye, and has also organized a team of bloggers to bring the issue to the online community.

"We're also organizing a rally that will take place on Capitol Hill to make all members of Congress aware that the public voice cannot be ignored," Karr said. "The amount of money spent on the Hill to influence, by telecom companies, needs to be countered by volume—the volumes of Americans concerned with Internet freedoms."

You got the power - go make noise.

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It's Coming - May 24th

Get prepared.

Take the pledge NOW .

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Haven't They Heard About the NSA's Warrantless Wiretaps?

At Washington Monthly:
ANONYMOUS....Newsweek's account of Josh Bolten's White House shakeup is fairly ordinary, but at least their descriptions of their blind quotes are amusing:

....says a White House aide who didn't want to be named talking about the new boss.

....says a Republican leadership aide who won't be named because he wants to keep his job.

....says a former administration official who asked for anonymity to avoid hurting his career.

....according to a close friend of Bolten's, who asked not to be named because he wanted to stay close.

Ah, Washington journalism....

They know about the NSA's wiretap program AND the firing of Mary McCarthy, and they're still talking to reporters? I see polygraphing in their not-too-distant-futures.

This could get entertaining.

1999: Bush on High Gas Prices

"The President must 'jawbone' OPEC to lower prices"...

2006: Bush on High Gas Prices - "Go away, I wanna ride my bike!"

I love it when their words come back to bite them in the ass. Like these (from the 2000 campaign), where Bush criticized Al Gore for being part of "the administration that's been in charge" while the "price of gasoline has gone steadily upward" - they leave me positively dizzy:

Gov. George W. Bush of Texas said today that if he was president, he would bring down gasoline prices through sheer force of personality, by creating enough political good will with oil-producing nations that they would increase their supply of crude.
"I would work with our friends in OPEC to convince them to open up the spigot, to increase the supply," Mr. Bush, the presumptive Republican candidate for president, told reporters here today.

"Use the capital that my administration will earn, with the Kuwaitis or the Saudis, and convince them to open up the spigot."
Implicit in his comments was a criticism of the Clinton administration as failing to take advantage of the good will that the United States built with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf war in 1991. Also implicit was that as the son of the president who built the coalition that drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait, Mr. Bush would be able to establish ties on a personal level that would persuade oil-producing nations that they owed the United States something in return.
"Ours is a nation that helped Kuwait and the Saudis, and you'd think we'd have the capital necessary to convince them to increase the crude supplies," he said.

Asked why the Clinton administration had not been able to use the power of personal persuasion, Mr. Bush said: "The fundamental question is, 'Will I be a successful president when it comes to foreign policy?'"

He went on to suggest, as he did in answer to other questions, that voters should simply trust him.

"I will be," he said in answer to his own question about whether he would be a successful president. "But until I'm the president, it's going to be hard for me to verify that I think I'll be more effective."

Four years later (two years ago):
As gas topped a record level of $50 a barrel this week, Mr. Bush has shown no propensity to personally pressure, or “jawbone,” Mideast oil producers to increase output.

A spokesman for the president reportedly said in March that Mr. Bush will not personally lobby oil cartel leaders to change their minds.

And then this past week:
Crude-oil prices broke through $75 a barrel Friday amid concerns about the standoff over Iran's nuclear ambitions, rebel disruptions of oil production in Nigeria, and tight U.S. gasoline supplies. Analysts say they are likely to climb even higher.

Prices at the gas pump also kept rising and were not considered at their peak, with the average price of a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline at $2.855. That's 3 cents higher than a day earlier and more than 60 cents higher than a year ago, according to AAA's daily fuel gauge report.

As oil prices hit a record, drivers worried about $3-a-gallon gas and politicians feared the impact on elections, President Bush on Friday acknowledged the pain but seemed resigned to being able to do little about it.

"I know the folks here are suffering at the gas pump," the president said while promoting his competitiveness initiative at the Silicon Valley headquarters of Internet networking company Cisco Systems Inc. "Rising gasoline prices is like taking a -- is like a tax, particularly on the working people and the small-business people."

But to address the immediate problem, Bush offered only a pledge that "if we find any price gouging it will be dealt with firmly."

In Bush-speak, that's code for "a firm handshake.

"Now watch me ride my bike!"

Before returning to Washington Monday night, Bush was making stops to raise money for the national Republican Party, visit with Marines and Navy sailors, and press Congress to break a logjam over the immigration legislation he wants.

One reason for a weekend trip with a lot of downtime in beautiful places became clear even before Bush boarded Air Force One to leave Washington. Crew were seen loading two shiny mountain bikes -- one a red-white-and-blue Trek adorned with the presidential seal and "United States of America." With stays scheduled in picturesque Napa Valley and the Palm Springs area, the bikes weren't likely to remain clean for long.

"Tomorrow I'm going to be riding my bike in Napa Valley. I can't wait," Bush told his Cisco audience.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Protesters Force Bush's Motorcade to Crawl Along Narrow Mountain Road

Photos by John Burgess

While the lede read "President Bush made a stealthy arrival in the Napa Valley on Friday, avoiding protesters as his motorcade took a little-used mountain road to a St. Helena resort for an overnight stay," the fact is protesters disrupted the schedule and the nerves of the Coward-in-Chief who gets cranky when things don't go his way.

Thousands of noisy demonstrators had gathered along the Silverado Trail to voice their displeasure or support for the president, and local residents had gathered at a St. Helena school hoping his helicopter might land nearby.

But after several hours of anticipation, the president arrived by helicopter just before dark at the Angwin Airport. Lights from the president's 27-car motorcade snaked south along Howell Mountain Road about 8:30 p.m., disappearing after the 7-mile drive into the exclusive Meadowood resort, where suites can cost as much as $4,000 a night.

I know the road, and after dark, with no street lights, that motorcade was a belly crawl. It must have taken them close to an hour to drive those seven miles to the resort on that road. It's a curving mountain road, made all the more treacherous by the unseasonably wet winter and spring in northern California. The rains let up last week after record-setting months of daily downpours. It's hard to imagine that there was even much time between the announcement of the visit and the visit itself for clearing the roads of the trees and limbs that come down regularly in these storms.

This is the road that Bush's motorcade escaped from, choosing the narrower, unlit, twisty Howell Mountain road instead.
Most of the protesters expressed opposition to the war in Iraq, but other causes also were reflected, including immigration, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the president's economic policy.

"He's come here by mistake. He should be going the other direction, to the International Criminal Court," said Steve Scalmanini, a Ukiah resident who rode to the protest aboard the Veterans For Peace bus, which is based in Willits.

"I didn't feel like I could sit at home when a president in a war has time for a vacation," Monica Vincent of Sebastopol said. "I don't think mothers of dead Iraqi children are taking a vacation."

This, on top of protesters disrupting his arrival in the South Bay earlier in the day (ultimately blocking it and forcing a last minute change of venue for that event), must have made Bush a complete joy and delight to be around.

But instead of popping a cork on that complimentary bottle of Napa county wine left in the Presidential Suite (of all places to book a 'dry' White House resident for an overnight stay, hundreds of miles out of the way of where he's been and in the opposite direction of where he's off to early the following day - let's stop kidding ourselves about his alleged sobriety), I have a better way for Bush to alleviate his stress and anxiety - Take a walk with Pink and meet it head on:

Happy Earth Day

29 Years Ago This Week

[Mp3] - Jimmy Carter delivered this televised speech on April 18, 1977.


This was one of several speeches that Carter gave during his Presidency about the energy challenges facing America.

This one, the "Crisis of Confidence" speech, delivered on July 15, 1979, seemed particularly important to revisit on this Earth Day, 2006. Can you imagine George W. Bush ever giving a speech like this? I envisioned every President since (and including) FDR doing it. But not Bush.

"Net Neutrality" - What it Means

Net Neutrality allows everyone to compete on a level playing field and is the reason that the Internet is a force for economic innovation, civic participation and free speech. If the public doesn't speak up now, Congress will cave to a multi-million dollar lobbying campaign by telephone and cable companies that want to decide what you do, where you go, and what you watch online.

Hail Mary

If "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s indicted former chief of staff, can establish a legal fund to pay for his defense in the CIA leak case (in which he claims that the President of the U.S. authorized him to leak for political gain) then certainly a longtime career government worker can, too:
Libby associates are soliciting money from friends and Republican donors. The same sources say Barbara Comstock, a Republican communications strategist hired to work with Libby’s defense team, has provided potential donors with a Washington address for sending checks.

Since Libby has left government, there are no legal requirements for public disclosure, and there are no limits on individual contributions. The Times reports that names of donors will not be made public.

The fund could prove troubling for Libby’s political supporters. They must weigh the benefit of providing financial support to a friend and political ally against the likelihood of public censure for supporting a man accused of a serious crime.
How about raising legal defense funds for government whistleblowers, CIA or elsewhere? To encourage more of them to come forward, without having to fear the hideous expense of legal defenses. Without these whistleblowers (the real patriots and heroes in a modern democracy, where risking your livelihood in this Bush economy is equivalent to putting your physical survival on the line) we wouldn't know what our government is doing in our names. In this new "information age," paying the legal fees of whistleblowers may be the only way we can guarantee our right to a democratic republic.

With the firing and possible criminal prosecution of Mary McCarthy (with undoubtedly to come) the Bush administration appears to want to frighten heroic Americans into silence and submission, just as what they hoped leaking Valerie Plame's name (and the cover company that she and other covert CIA agents worked for) would achieve. Congress has abdicated its' role of oversight while the most corrupt Presidential administration in U.S. history wreaks havoc and creates mayhem all over the world. The whistleblowers are all that stand between a democratic republic and a fascist dictatorship.

Mary McCarthy is alleged to be one of the sources for the a series of articles written by Dana Priest and published in the Washington Post last November about the CIA’s rumored secret prisons in Eastern Europe. Priest was awarded a Pulitzer Prize this week for her report.
The Washington Post report caused an international uproar, and government officials have said it did significant damage to relationships between the U.S. and allied intelligence agencies.

CIA Director Porter Goss told the Senate in February that leaks to the media had damaged national security. Subsequently, Goss ordered an internal investigation on leaks involving classified security data. The probe led to McCarthy.

Goss thinks it's the disclosure of secret torture prisons that has damaged U.S. relations around the world, and not the fact that agents of the American government are kidnapping citizens off streets around the world, drugging them, shackling and blindfolding them, transporting them to secret underground prisons to be tortured and then murdered. In defiance of all international laws, as well as American law.
McCarthy flunked a polygraph exam and acknowledged giving classified information to a reporter before being fired on Thursday and is now under investigation by the Justice Department.

Mary McCarthy worked in the CIA's inspector general's office and had worked for the National Security Council under the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

Ironically, sources at the CIA spoke to the media about McCarthy on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk. As well, the Associated Press reports today that:
Investigations into reports that US agents shipped prisoners through European airports to secret detention centers have produced no evidence of illegal CIA activities, the European Union's antiterrorism coordinator said yesterday.

The investigations also have not turned up any proof of secret renditions of terror suspects on EU territory.

I think that this may be why the firing and prosecution of CIA employees for leaks is such a rare occurrence - the prosecution winds up asking a court to convict a person for leaking information that, *wink*, "isn't true."
The CIA said its own internal investigation into leaks was continuing. The probe began in January.

CIA Director Porter Goss made a strong case against media leaks before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in February.

"I'm sorry to tell you that the damage has been very severe to our capabilities to carry out our mission. I use the words 'very severe' intentionally. That is my belief. And I think that the evidence will show that," Goss said.

I understand that the 'after action' report in the Plame-Brewster Jennings outing was also severely damaging.
Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, Republican chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, called for prosecution in the case and said vigorous leak investigations should continue across the international community.

"Clearly, those guilty of improperly disclosing classified information should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," he said in a statement.

Too bad that Americans can't count on Senator Roberts' committment to the rule of law when it comes to the President and oversight of the NSA's illegal wiretapping program.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Oil Tops $75 a Barrel

Or, "Bush Drives Up Profits for Himself, Friends and Family By Staying the 'War with Iran' Course."
It's hard to look at it any other way:

Analysts say oil prices are likely to climb even higher in the weeks ahead as worries grow about how international pressure on Iran, OPEC’s No. 2 oil producer, will affect its crude output. Rebel disruptions of oil production in Nigeria, the fifth-biggest source of U.S. oil imports, also pose a risk to supply.

“You put all these headlines together, you see the situation is getting charged up and getting out of control. That’s why oil traders and speculators are having a field day — this is exactly the kind of environment that speculators want to operate in,” said Oppenheimer & Co. oil analyst Fadel Gheit.

This is the kick-off of the U.S. inevitable slide into economic collapse. Because filling our gas tanks is the least important use of oil. Just some of products that may disappear with oil:
Air conditioners, ammonia, anti-histamines, antiseptics, artificial turf, asphalt, aspirin, balloons, bandages, boats, bottles, bras, bubble gum, butane, cameras, candles, car batteries, car bodies, carpet, cassette tapes, caulking, CDs, chewing gum, cold, combs/brushes, computers, contacts, cortisone, crayons, cream, denture adhesives, deodorant, detergents, dice, dishwashing liquid, dresses, dryers, electric blankets, electrician’s tape, fertilizers, fishing lures, fishing rods, floor wax, footballs, glues, glycerin, golf balls, guitar strings, hair, hair coloring, hair curlers, hearing aids, heart valves, heating oil, house paint, ice chests, ink, insect repellent, insulation, jet fuel, life jackets, linoleum, lip balm, lipstick, loudspeakers, medicines, mops, motor oil, motorcycle helmets, movie film, nail polish, oil filters, paddles, paint brushes, paints, parachutes, paraffin, pens, perfumes, petroleum jelly, plastic chairs, plastic cups, plastic forks, plastic wrap, plastics, plywood adhesives, refrigerators, rollerskate wheels, roofing paper, rubber bands, rubber boots, rubber cement, rubbish bags, running shoes, saccharine, seals, shirts (non-cotton), shoe polish, shoes, shower curtains, solvents, solvents, spectacles, stereos, sweaters, table tennis balls, tape recorders, telephones, tennis rackets, thermos, tights, toilet seats, toners, toothpaste, transparencies, transparent tape, TV cabinets, typewriter/computer ribbons, tires, umbrellas, upholstery, vaporisers, vitamin capsules, volleyballs, water pipes, water skis, wax, wax paper.

Look around the room you're in right now. There is nothing in our modern world that doesn't require oil in its' manufacture or delivery. The computer that you're using to read this required oil to manufacture. Medicine, food, house materials, carpet, paint, appliances, fabric, all things electric - they all require oil.

A world without oil:
When most of us think about oil, we tend to think about heating oil for the furnace and about the gasoline and diesel fuel that keeps our cars and trucks on the road. What most of us don't realize, however, is that oil does more than just fuel our vehicles and keep us warm in winter. It has become the foundation upon which our entire modern civilization has been built. Recently, that foundation has begun to develop some cracks and has become a little shakier than it used to be, as cheap oil and natural gas become harder to find and acquire. Even if we were to develop a new source of energy and a more fuel-efficient car today, without oil, modern civilization as we have come to know it is still in deep trouble.

To start with the basics, armies aren't the only organizations that run on their stomachs. So do civilizations. Agribusiness is totally dependent upon large machines and artificial fertilizers and pesticides in order to raise, harvest, and transport the vast quantities of grain, fruit, and vegetables we enjoy today. Fertilizers and pesticides require oil and natural gas, not only in their distribution, but in their manufacture as well. Also, feed for beef cattle, chickens, and turkeys depends very heavily on these same fertilizers and pesticides. When cheap sources of oil and gas are not readily available, the chemical industry passes the increased costs on to agriculture. The increasing prices for fertilizers and pesticides then results in increased food prices for the rest of us.

We may find ourselves eating farther down the food chain in the near future. In other words, we eat the grain instead of feeding it to something else first, since each link added in the food chain results in energy loss. In the future, the turkey and chicken "factories" we have now may not exist. The vast feedlots where cattle are fattened on grain before being slaughtered and made into hamburger patties for the nation's fast food restaurants may no longer be economical. Thus, wastes from such industries may no longer be available to those who believe it could serve as a viable large-scale energy source for the future.

The world is now consuming roughly 77 million barrels of oil a day. And the demand grows every year as other countries aspire to our style of living and level of consumption. What's really interesting is that out of that 77 million barrels, the U.S. consumes most of it. In 2002, the U.S. consumed 19.66 million barrels a day on the average--more than one-quarter of the entire world's oil consumption--and the demand in this country continues to grow every year. You can check this out for yourself on this US Department of Energy web site:

Today, much of our food travels an average of 1200 to 1500 miles before it gets to our tables. Most of the vegetables consumed in the East were transported overland by truck from California. The roads the trucks roll on are made of asphalt. Where does asphalt come from? You guessed it--from petroleum. When the supplies of asphalt become more restricted, our entire transportation system may very well begin to deteriorate. There are some substitutes, but certainly not in the quantities required to maintain a national road system. And the substitutes also require energy to manufacture and transport. Which roads will be sacrificed first? Will it be the interstate system on the edge of town, or the street in front of your home?

And, oh, by the way, those tires on the trucks and on your family car? They also required petroleum in their manufacture and distribution. Along with the machinery that mined the iron ore, converted it into steel, and formed it into the frame for your car.

So, okay, what else is oil used for? Well, plastics for one thing! Look around you. How much of your world is made up of plastic? The keyboard you type on is most likely plastic, as are the casings for your monitor and your printer. Much of our food comes in plastic containers, even our eggs these days, and the spouts on our plastic-coated juice and milk cartons are themselves plastic as well. The hospitals depend on disposable plastic supplies, such as syringes and oxygen tubing. Bottom line: it would take a book to document all the uses of plastic, and plastic depends on the rich chemical soup called petroleum. Oh, and have you looked at what ink is made of? Or that pen in your hands?

But it doesn't stop there. The roofing tiles and tar paper used in home construction require petroleum for their manufacture and distribution; the lubricants in our engines and machinery--even "synthetic" oils--are currently oil-derived. Many medications require petroleum for their manufacture. Our synthetic textiles, such as nylon and rayon, depend on the chemicals derived from petroleum. Petroleum, in other words, touches every industry…every technology…every business…every home…and each and every one of us in one vital way or another, every single day of every single week.

Many people have suggested all we have to do is begin manufacturing oil and plastics from organic sources such as corn or soybeans or other such crops. Unfortunately, there is only so much land available, and most of the arable land is currently being used to grow food--or is being developed into more homes and shopping centers. The nice thing about oil is that it is underground and takes up relatively little space to extract. So, do we give up food production for energy substitutes and plastics instead? And who is it that will go hungry while perfectly good farmland is used to grow plastic for all those McDonald's Happy Meal toys?

It may be that in the not too distant future, we end up with several different schemes for energy production that will indeed keep us warm and allow us to keep driving our cars while the tires hold out. But one thing's for sure: no single method will be able to replace petroleum and everything we use it for.

Also, ask yourselves this: Do we really want to find something that will totally replace oil so our civilization can continue as it is right now? Even if we were to find a substitute, and energy doesn't become a limiting factor, then food and water are sure to be. While the corporate fishing fleets are busily mining the oceans and destroying the world's fisheries, similar corporate agricultural interests are busily mining our topsoil and groundwater. Personally, I'm beginning to think it might actually be better if our civilization were brought up short--so our planet doesn't end up becoming a giant, uninhabitable dust ball.

Friday Cat Blogging

Where Will You Be on Saturday, April 29, 2006?

If you're anywhere near New York City, join those marching for peace, justice and democracy.

If not now, when?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

So Much For Rudy Giuliani's 'Principled Leadership'

The headline reads "Giuliani Stumps for Conservative Senator, Despite Differences."

It might as well have read "Rudy says 'I want to be Prez so badly, I'll abandon all sense and principles.'"

No wonder voters are confused and ignorant about the issues, and vote against their best interests.

Now, a disclaimer: I surfed the internet far and wide looking for a photograph from this event that included a photograph of both Giuliani and Sanctorum. Sanctorum's campaign website is the only site with photos of the event, but not one photo with them together. I Photoshopped the picture above from two taken at the event. What deceptive, slimey cowards they both are.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Oiligarch-In-Chief leaves for California this week for "low-key weekend of politicking and relaxation," say aides.

Bush's California trip will begin a whirlwind California weekend on Friday (4/21/06) filled with appearances and fundraisers from the Wine Country to Palm Springs. Bush 's first stop will be Silicon Valley where he will push his plan to dramatically increase federal research funding at computer giant Cisco Systems in San Jose.

The White House also may be keeping specific details under wraps for security reasons or to help prevent large demonstrations in the Bay Area, where the president is unpopular.

The visit will be Bush's fourth to Silicon Valley, but only his second to San Jose -- a Democratic stronghold -- since taking office. Thursday, the White House offered few details of the event, but San Jose appears to be the venue for the president's featured policy statement of the trip, according to his itinerary.

"The president will participate in a panel to discuss his American Competitiveness Initiative to encourage American innovation and strengthen our nation's ability to compete in the global economy," White House press officer Alex Conant told the Mercury News. Conant, however, declined to say where in San Jose the event would be held or if it would be open to the public.

Many of Silicon Valley's leading policy and technology groups contacted Thursday said they were unaware of the president's visit -- or any planned event on the multibillion-dollar initiative -- raising questions as to whether the event was already planned or if the administration had yet to organize it.

Bush will spend Friday night in St. Helena [at the Meadowood Resort], where he and his entourage will take over the entire resort Friday and Saturday, where rooms start at $450 a night and go up to almost $4,000 for a suite.

These luxury accommodations all provided at your (taxpayers') expense.

The next day (4/22/06, 2:35 p.m.), Bush will travel to West Sacramento to participate in a tour of the Fuel Cell Partnership and make remarks on advanced transportation technology. No further details were available today about this portion of his trip.

The California Fuel Cell Partnership in West Sacramento was created to promote the production of hydrogen-powered vehicles. The partnership is a collaborative of auto manufacturers, energy companies, fuel cell technology companies and government agencies working together to advance a new vehicle technology that’s better for the environment, but at the same time practical and affordable. The goal is to increase energy efficiency, and reduce or eliminate air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Bush will tour the facility's fleet of prototype cars, a hydrogen refueling station and vehicle maintenance areas.

The visit coincides with the 36th annual Earth Day.

Protests are being planned for every stop of Bush's California trip:
Talk about greenwashing,

On Earth Day (Saturday, 4/22) Bush is going to visit a fuel cell research station to pay more lip service to alternative energy: up at this location in West Sac on Saturday and let GW Bush know that the people of California are sick of smog and escalating oil wars. We demand action to make alternative energy available to everyone, not just more nonsense talking from the Petroleum Puppetmaster..

California Fuel Cell Partnership
3000 Industrial Blvd. Suite 1000
West Sacramento, CA 95691
(916) 371-2870
(916) 375-2008 - fax

Later Saturday, Bush is off to a fund-raising reception for the Republican National Committee in Palm Springs, spending Saturday night in Rancho Mirage:
Bush plans to attend a Republican National Committee fundraiser at the Toscana Country Club in Indian Wells the evening (6:35 p.m.) of April 22. He will then spend two nights in Rancho Mirage (undisclosed location), leaving on April 24, as reported Friday on

Indian Wells Mayor Ed Monarch learned of the president's plans to visit the city through The Desert Sun's inquiry Friday.

"We're certainly glad to welcome President Bush to our city," he said.

Bush can expect a warm reception in Indian Wells, Monarch said.

On Sunday (4/23/06), after attending church service at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, Bush will have lunch (12:20 p.m.) with Navy and Marine Corps families at the base, attend a Marine Corps training exercise in Twentynine Palms (2:10 p.m.), and spend a second night in Rancho Mirage. Monday, he may have more events.

Meeting the Marines:

Few Marines know yet about the president's upcoming visit, said Capt. Chad Walton, public affairs officer at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, who himself learned about the visit only Friday morning through the White House's release of Bush's upcoming itinerary. Many Marines have left the base for Easter weekend leave, he said.

"I think people will be looking forward to it once (news) gets around a little more," Walton said.

Bush's schedule calls for him to attend a morning church service at the base, to have lunch with Marine Corps and Navy families and then to attend a military training session.

"It's going to be a good opportunity for the base to show how important the Mojave Viper training we are doing is," Walton said.

Mojave Viper is the Marine Corps' name for the training exercises that are undertaken by Marines before deployment to Iraq, Walton said. It consists of urban terrain and a "small town" of multiple-story mock buildings, a pseudo-mosque and more than 250 role players "to make it as realistic as they can to represent Iraq," he said.

Training includes paint-pellet and some live-fire activity, Walton said.

"It trains Marines to recognize IEDs (improvised explosive devices), do security types of patrols and get assimilated as close to the real thing as you can without actually going to Iraq," he said.

"The importance of it is, every Marine unit that deploys to Iraq comes to Twentynine Palms to go through this."

Security at the Marine base will be heightened prior to and during the president's visit, Walton said. And Marines will work in the week ahead to spiff up the place, he said.

"I'm sure we're going to try to present our best face," he said. "Obviously, he's the commander in chief. It's an honor to have him come out and see all of the work we're doing out here."

What residents said about the visit:
“If he comes here to say he’s going to end the war, it’s a good thing. But if it’s just for a vacation, then I don’t want to know.”
Maria De Jesus
31, Cathedral City

“Other than more traffic (his visit will create), I’m not interested. I’m just waiting out (Bush’s time in office).”
Jeremy Gosselin
32, Palm Desert

“It’s cool, I guess. I’m like, OK. It doesn’t make much difference to me.”
Elizabeth Ogimachi
25, Palm Springs

“I wouldn’t go see him. I support some of his policies, but the biggest one I don’t support is the war in Iraq.”
Steve Campbell
43, Palm Springs

Californians are organizing to give Bush a great big 'Howdy!'

Sunday, April 16, 2006

UK's Chief Scientist: Global Warming's Catastrophic Damage Threatens Millions of Lives

The situation, reported in today's Guardian, is more dire than previously reported.

Death, famine, drought: cost of 3C global rise in temperature.

UK chief scientist's stark warning for urgent action.

Change would destroy half of nature reserves.

Global temperatures will rise by an average of 3C due to climate change and cause catastrophic damage around the world unless governments take urgent action, according to the UK government's chief scientist.

In a stark warning issued yesterday Sir David King said that a rise of this magnitude would cause famine and drought and threaten millions of lives.

It would also cause a worldwide drop in cereal crops of between 20 and 400m tonnes, put 400 million more people at risk of hunger, and put up to 3 billion people at risk of flooding and without access to fresh water supplies.

The new assessment comes from a report published by the UK's Hadley Centre, a world leader in climate change modelling, called Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change. A Quicktime video of the Hadley Centre's animated model of climate change.

Quicktime video simulating Manhattan's potential coastline after the warming. Notice in this pre-2001 postcard of Manhattan the location of the WTC towers, and then notice where sea level is in the simulation:

Quicktime video
- simulation of Miami.

Quicktime video - in the simulation of Washington, D.C., the Jefferson Memorial (and more) goes below sea level.

Check this site for a simulation of global warming's potential effect on your city.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

"All that is necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing."

C-Span broadcast a talk given by Larry Wilkerson* this past week at the Middle East Institute. Wilkerson, who is currently teaching at William and Mary College and George Washington University, was Colin Powell's Chief of Staff at the State Department from 2002-2005.

Wilkerson expanded on the op-ed article that he wrote for the L.A. Times last year, "The White House Cabal," in which he asserted that a small group of people led by Vice-President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have subverted the foreign policy process by going against the normal procedures established by the 1947 National Security Act. In this week's presentation to the Middle East Institute:

[Wilkerson] examined the role of ideology in America's foreign policy efforts in the Middle East. Among the topics he addressed were the role the military had taken in forging foreign policy in recent years, the radical beliefs in government power held by Vice President Cheney and Secretary Rumsfeld, and the development of national security strategy in the early Bush administration. He also addressed specific areas in which he believed the U.S. had made severe mistakes, such as post-war Iraq planning, policy toward Iran, the Middle East peace process, and North Korea. He also answered questions from the audience.

More directly, Wilkerson explained the neocon coup over U.S. foreign policy as only someone who has had a front row seat in this administration can. His description of a Secretary of State (Powell), at odds with a President who has nothing but disdain for the role of diplomacy in foreign affairs, is that of a classic AA enabler. According to Wilkerson, Powell defends himself (for staying on as Secretary of State after he realized that the White House cabal's vision for America was for an imperialist empire) by saying "It could have been worse." Bush's plan for empire called for unprovoked preemptive war and didn't have any need for a "Diplomat-in-chief." Bush only wanted Powell in his administration for the gravitas and respect that his name and reputation lent to the operation. Bush wanted and needed Powell as a beard, a cover for his radical shift of America's foreign policy. Powell believed that by staying on with Bush, he prevented worse damage.

Powell, like the moderate Republicans in Congress who have decided to fall on their swords rather than go against this President, is as complicit as Bush - for going along when he should have taken a stand, quit and gone public. It reminds me of those who refused to support sanctions against South Africa because "it would be better to ease Afrikaners past their repressive, racist policies and work within the system to get rid of apartheid." Apartheid would still be with us had the U.S. not imposed sanctions.

Different day, different issue, same bullshit.

[* - This link to C-Span's video is good for 15 days, after which the video is only available for sale.]

Friday, April 14, 2006

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

New Grounds For Impeachment Surface: Bush Buried Secret Fact-Finding Report ("They Weren't Mobile WMD Labs")

Then Bush went in front of the American people and declared "We have found the weapons of mass destruction."
50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile “biological laboratories.” He declared, “We have found the weapons of mass destruction.”

The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true.

A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq – not made public until now – had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president’s statement.

Back when the number of dead Coalition soldiers was only 208, and thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women and children were still alive.

The story of the mobile biological weapons' labs came from a 'delusional' alcoholic Iraqi exile, self-proclaimed chemical engineer, code name Curveball, the cousin of an aide to Ahmed Chalabi. Curveball had been discredited years earlier, before the start of the war in March '03, before 9/11/01, before even Bush got into the White House. However,
...[the story] was central to an October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate that concluded Iraq 'has' biological weapons, and was widely used by President Bush and Dick Cheney to make their case for war.


It now appears there were problems with Curveball from the start, but the intelligence community was willing to believe him 'because the tales he told were consistent with what they already believed.'

In May 2000 doubts about his credibility surfaced when he was examined for signs that he had been exposed to biological agents. While the results were inconclusive, a US official was surprised to find Curveball had a hangover and said he 'might be an alcoholic.' By early 2001, the Germans were having doubts of their own, telling the CIA their spy was 'out of control'.

But warnings were dismissed. Intelligence analysts who voiced concern were 'forced to leave' the unit mainly responsible for analysing his claims, the commission found. At every turn analysts were blocked by spy chiefs and their warning never passed on to policy-makers.


In the aftermath of the US-led invasion, Iraqis whom Curveball claimed were co-workers in Saddam's alleged biological weapons programme did not know who he was. He claimed he'd witnessed a deadly biological weapons accident when he was not even in Iraq when it was meant to have happened. After September 2001, his claims were given greater credibility despite the fact that he was not in Iraq at the time he claimed to have taken part in illicit weapons work.

Because Bush was determined to invade Iraq, and there was nothing to justify an illegal, preemptive war.

Impeachment is the least of Bush's worries; this is a war crime.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Cyclops Critter, Coming Soon To A Town Near You!

Yes, it's real. The photograph and its' subject are genuine: A kitten with one eye, smack-dab in the middle of its' forehead, has been born (and died), and sold to a museum of oddities:

John Adolfi plans to feature the remains of the short-lived kitten, Cy, at the Lost World Museum when it opens later this year. The Phoenix, N.Y., museum will feature such oddities as giant plants and eggs, unique archaeological finds, and remains of deformed animals, he said.

Adolfi believes in creationism - a literal reading of the Bible's story of creation.

He wrote on the museum's Web site that the theory of evolution states that "environmental pressures can lift species from the ape-like creature... to us today. My question is this. Are there really positive mutations?

"All I can see are neutral or negative," said Adolfi, a real-estate agent from Granby, N.Y.

Traci Allen, of Redmond, Ore., said she had sold the cat's remains to Adolfi because she believes "creationism should be an option for people to consider."

The story of this cyclops kitten has been kicking around the internet for a few months amid skepticism as to its' authenticity. The Associated Press resurrected the story last week by reporting the sale of the kitten's corpse to a freak show. Fair enough reason to go back and revisit the story, I guess. But to then use this sad and grisly deformed twist of DNA as a segue to creationism? Mighty big stretch for a news article.

The reporter didn't have to go far to find a more compelling, relevant and timely topic in the news with which to link this story. Seeing where the kitten and its' owner hail from, it's practically immoral and professionally derelict for a news organization not to consider what may have caused the deformity and are more on the way?:

Bush and the Republican-Majority-In-Congress (RMIC) have put 'all things nuclear - MUST GET DONE!' at the top of their 'To Do' list before they face the voters in November and lose control of government.

From a state-of-the-art, massive and extensive new nuclear warhead program (costing $billions and manufacturing thousands of warheads) that is unnecessary and wrong-policy, to brand-spanking-new nuclear power plants all over the U.S. The first nuclear power plants to be built in the U.S. in 30 years. No new nuclear power plants have been planned since the core meltdown at Three Mile Island just south of Harrisburg, Pennsylvanis in 1979 woke Americans up to the risks that even the best managed nuclear power facilities are vulnerable to. The consequences of nuclear mistakes can be catastrophic, but even when there are no mistakes or accidents, nobody has solved the problem of what to do with the radioactive waste that is generated from a nuclear reactor:
"Inherently safe" reactors are a myth. An accident can occur in any nuclear reactor, causing the release of large quantities of deadly fission products into the environment.

Even during normal operation, radioactive materials are regularly discharged into the air and water.

One of the biggest problems facing the nuclear industry is what to do with the radioactive waste generated in a nuclear reactor.

Large quantities of low and intermediate level wastes in liquid or solid form require a disposal route, and the highly radioactive spent fuel rods have to be isolated from the biosphere for hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of years.

The nuclear industry has had almost 50 years to find a solution to the nuclear waste problem and has failed to do so.

Undeterred, Bush and the RMIC have unleashed the world's top public relations campaign and propaganda experts to wage a blitzkrieg campaign ("We debated it, it's decided, next!"), leapfrogging over all opposition.

Republicans have ended the 'study and debate phase' of nuclear vs. wind/solar/wave/biomass/geothermal/renewable-sustainable energy before it ever got started. They have now shifted into action mode, moving 'all things nuclear' onto the fast track. They are rushing to get all of the contracts signed, break ground on nuclear power plants and begin production on a new generation of nuclear weapons before Americans realize what has happened. When it will all be next to impossible to stop, because it will be perceived as "a done deal," "futile, don't bother to try."

Americans will discover that we were excluded from the debate, committed by a very few in power to a course on an unalterable path that can only doom life on earth. We will then have to wait for the catastrophic to occur, to shock us out of our passive acquiescence. The inevitable nuclear accident, or the 'mushroom clouds' of war and terrorist attacks that are certain to happen. Not if, but when, here at home, on U.S. soil. Because we have been unwilling to assume our responsibility as citizens in a democratic republic and turn these people out of power.

We're already being prepared for our imminent 'unpeaceful' use of nuclear power - not as victims, but as aggressors. The Bush-Cheney energy policy ('U.S. Energy Independence By Use of Threats, Intimidation and Nuclear Bombs, to Dominate and Control the World's Resources') calls for our establishing a permanent presence and control over the Middle East. Once again in our 60-year history, the U.S. shall hold the distinction of being the only nation on the planet to have ever used nuclear weapons on others. Within weeks, the rhetoric will escalate as the neocons in Bush's administration try to convince us that Iraq Iran poses an imminent threat to America. Bush plans to attack Iran with nuclear weapons.

As Bush raises the stakes to nuclear proportions, when are Americans going to take a stand and say "Enough!"