*Sleeping with the Enemy – First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting Co is the contractor building the massive U.S. embassy in Iraq. As reported by McClatchy, “massive construction defects, allegations of criminal misconduct, forced labor, and cost overruns in the Baghdad project, the Kuwaiti company is run by a Lebanese businessman who is an ally of Syria and the Iranian-backed Islamic militant group Hezbollah.” Typical of the Bush administration ignoring and covering up corruption and incompetence of its contractors and then rewarding them, First Kuwaiti has just been awarded a $122 million State Department contract to build a U.S. consulate in Saudi Arabia. ALLY OF SYRIA, CONNECTIONS TO HEZBOLLAH, FORCED LABOR, AND, NO ONE DOES ANYTHING ABOUT IT. The President of the United States has become Emperor of Bizarro World!
*Clear and Present Danger ~ State Department Yoga – ABC news is reporting that internal State Department e-mails, “Show top officials were extensively briefed about repeated incidents of Blackwater security guards killing innocent civilians (in Iraq) more than two years ago.” How many more Iraqi civilians have been killed by these mercenary soldiers since this cover up? Our own government did nothing, allowing more innocents to be murdered. With their heads breaching their own sphincter this administration has the unmitigated gall to lecture the world about the Bush/Cheyney perverted version of democracy, freedom, justice and morality.
*The Greatest Show on Earth ~ Obama balancing act – After receiving strong criticism for inviting a gay-bashing preacher to his gospel/attract Black people of faith tour/presidential campaign Barack Obama decisively addressed the situation. He added an openly gay minister to the tour. One wonders if Obama and his advisors are ready for prime time? I think that any presidential candidate who tries to be all things to all people jeopardizes being anything to anyone. A spinning moral compass leads nowhere.
*The American President ~ Triaging the future - I agree with John Bruhns’ commentary at americablog.com. Although he has not advocated an impeachment of President Bush he feels that Speaker Nancy Pelosi erred when she went on record that impeachment is not on the table. All that did, says Bruhns, “was send a message to President Bush that he can operate however he wishes without facing any consequences.” I would suggest that what is off the table should be put back on. It will take decades for America to recover from the G.W. Bush presidency. With 15 months remaining, how many generations of recovery are still to be tacked on?
*Dumb and Dumber ~ Glaucoma of the brain – Rudy Giuliani told a town hall meeting in New Hampshire that blind people have the Second Amendment right to carry a gun. No doubt this will nail down the “blind vote” for Rudy in the primaries. I imagine that under his leadership new provisions in the Americans with Disabilities Act will include bullet caliber must be marked in Braille. I am guessing that Mr. Giuliani is hoping that “blind” voters will not notice that on his staff is a former priest and personal friend guilty of pedophilia and a staffer in Florida convicted of wife beating. Next week the Giuliani campaign will be targeting the hearing impaired – at least those deafened from firing weapons.
*Marathon Man ~ Glaucoma of the mouth – At a town hall meeting in Iowa Giuliani was asked if he thought that waterboarding was torture. He replied, “It depends on how it’s done. It depends on the circumstances. It depends on who does it.” He went on to say that the way it is defined by the “liberal media” it should not be done. Listening to Giuliani is torturous.
*1984 ~ past, present and future– The success of democracy depends upon the free exchange of diverse ideas and opinions. Over the last decade the consolidation of all segments of the media has strained this idea. Independent voices have been lost to acquisitions and drowned out by what is now called mega media corporations who often express the views of its self-interested mega owners. And the situation looks to get worse. Where once our country stood guard against monopoly in most industries that has not been the case in recent years. As noted by the public watchdog Common Cause, “In case you haven't heard, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is threatening to vote, as soon as mid-December, to allow massive consolidation of media outlets. These new media ownership rules are likely to give a single company the right to own multiple television stations, numerous radio stations and the biggest newspaper in your town - effectively controlling almost all of your local news! Worse, the FCC wants to approve the new rules without giving the public a fair chance to voice their concerns.” You can sign a petition to your congressmen opposing this FCC action at Common Cause – Take Action. I certainly do not want the opportunists, manipulators and principle-challenged people such as Rupert Murdoch controlling my news and information. Much of what has taken place in our country is a direct result of our decision, as a society, not to fight city hall. The result is elected leaders operating in the shadows with impunity. Concurrently, the light that the fourth estate once shone brightly is fading. Both of these developments do not bode well for a democracy.
*Dr. Strangelove – NY Times political writer David Brooks was appearing on PBS. The discussion concerned whether Bush will bomb Iran. Brooks commented that he is a member of a group of conservative journalists that meet regularly with the president. Brooks said, “But if you look, read his language, if you look at his body language, you see a man that's totally different than before Iraq. He is preparing the way for the next administration to have some means to deal with the situation. He believes in the diplomacy. But unless I totally misread him, I think he has no inclination to launch a military action.” We can all rest easier now. Brooks the soothsayer reads the body language of an instigator of unprovoked war and disastrous foreign policy and sees a man of diplomacy and strategic planning. I see the same journalist talking heads that did not do their investigative jobs in the lead up to the Iraq invasion.
*The Great Escape – Col. David Hunt writing at Fox News on line, “We know, with a 70 percent level of certainty — which is huge in the world of intelligence — that in August of 2007, bin Laden was in a convoy headed south from Tora Bora. We had his butt, on camera, on satellite. We were listening to his conversations. We had the world’s best hunters/killers — Seal Team 6 — nearby. We had the world class Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) coordinating with the CIA and other agencies. We had unmanned drones overhead with missiles on their wings; we had the best Air Force on the planet, begging to drop one on the terrorist. …Our government, the current administration and yes, our military leaders included, failed to kill bin Laden for no other reason than incompetence.” As we shake our heads in unison, again.
*Dracula and other blood suckers – Bush appointee William Winkenwerder Jr. was secretary of Defense for health affairs from 2001 until April 2007. He then went to work for Logistics Health Inc. as a director and consultant. In June Logistics was awarded a Defense Department medical services contract worth up to $790 million. The firm beat out two other bidders with proposals that ranged from $80 million to $100 million less, records show. The lower bidders have filed a complaint with the Government Accounting Office. Is it any wonder that Bush feels the country cannot afford healthcare insurance for children? Republican ideology historically served this country well calling for smaller government and eliminating wasteful spending. Republicans over the past 15 years are extremely knowledgeable in the “wasteful” category. Graft and cronyism have been symbolic of their tenure.
*Wag The Dog - Vice Admiral Harvey E. Johnson, the deputy administrator of FEMA held a press briefing last week on the government’s response to the California wildfires. As Fox News and MSNBC ran their cameras Johnson took questions from the press, or so we were lead to believe. Johnson actually took questions from FEMA staff members pretending to be members of the press corps. Understandably, he did not have to field any tough questions. In Bizarro World up is down, pretend is the norm, and the hair missing from the top of my head is returning.
*It’s a Wonderful Life – Recall the TV commercials that BP has been running. Squeaky clean people are romping across a pristine and sun-dappled green landscape. Life is good and BP is helping to make it that way. The only thing missing in the commercial is the “truth”. “The British energy company BP, tarnished by a string of costly legal problems, is preparing to settle accusations that it was criminally indifferent to worker safety and that it manipulated energy prices… BP had agreed to a settlement to end criminal investigations stemming from an explosion at a giant BP oil refinery in Texas two years ago… Officials said that the case would not resolve accusations against BP executives who may have failed to take steps to make the refinery safer and that those investigations would continue.” The “accident” killed 15 people and injured 180. “BP is also preparing to settle accusations that its energy trading unit was involved in manipulating prices in the propane market three years ago…The paradox for BP is that it has long promoted itself as an environmentally friendly company that takes its civic responsibilities seriously.” Perhaps mendacity and greed best characterize BP.
*The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight - During Condoleezza Rice’s testimony at a Senate hearing it was learned that the Bush administration official responsible for tough-as-nails anti-corruption in Baghdad is not a diplomat or trained anti-corruption official but a paralegal. Dudley Do-Right to the rescue!
*The Pink Panther – A new government report says that the government’s terrorist watch list now exceeds 755,000 names. A policy of throwing enough crap against the wall hoping that some will stick is not meaningful or productive “anti-terrorism”. Tim Sparapani of the American Civil Liberties Union says the list is “approaching absolutely useless”. Inspector Clouseau to the rescue!
*Mississippi Burning - The Georgia Supreme Court dismissed the sentence of Genarlow Wilson - the young Black man serving a ten-year prison sentence for having consensual oral sex with a 15 year old when he was 17. He was released after spending over 2 years in prison. From thecolorofchange.org “The sad truth is that Genarlow's case is one of many. Black youth, and in particular young Black men, are unfairly criminalized on a routine basis; it becomes clear when you look at arrest rates, prosecution rates, and the sentences they're given. Unfortunately, most cases don't end up like Genarlow's. They get little attention and our young people spend far too much time in jail. Our hope is that by taking action on cases like Genarlow's we can keep the focus on the systemic injustices we face and begin to correct them.”
*Edward Scissorhands – Last week Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. She was reporting about how climate change affected public health. It has been learned that the White House cut whole sections from her report on global warming: “heat stress on vulnerable populations; the likelihood of respiratory illnesses from increased air pollution; the spread of waterborne infectious diseases; food and water scarcity; and more injuries from severe weather events such as wildfires.” The Bush flunkies claimed that they redacted the report because it conflicted with findings by a U.N. scientific panel. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) then compared the two reports and found them to be strikingly similar. She said, “Time and time again this administration has changed scientific reports that do not align with their position.” I have run out of adjectives to describe these injurious morons. But, with dictionary in hand, I will keep on trying.
*All the President’s Men - At the site tpmmuckraker.com there is an article, “The Bush Administration; What You Don’t Know Can’t Hurt Us”. It identifies about 30 ways the Bush Administration has tried to hide once-public information sources from the public record. For example: After the Bureau of Labor Statistics uncovered discouraging data about factory closings in the U.S., the administration announced it would stop publishing information about factory closings; When Bush’s Department of Education found that charter schools were underperforming, the administration said it would sharply cut back on the information it collects about charter schools; The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced plans to close several libraries which were used by researchers and scientists. The agency called its decision a cost-cutting measure, but a 2004 report showed that the facilities actually brought the EPA a $7.5 million surplus annually. I recommend visiting the article to learn more about what they want hidden – Bush’s “state secrets”.
*An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.
Mae West, actress, 1893 - 1980