Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Gonzo's Just the Messenger

The GOP loudly derided then President Clinton's testimony surrounding his Monicagate sexcapade when he famously parsed.... "It depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is."

What was at stake with this crafty argument?.... no laws had been broken, no rights had been impinged, no monies or lives had been squandered. He was trying to avoid an inflamed GOP impeachment posse trying to run down a president they hated.... because he was a straying husband.

Let's compare that voyeuristic clash with the current, to be kind, "parsing" of Attorney General Gonzales in testimony revolving around the Bush administration's invasion of our basic rights under the Constitution.

According to Ruth Marcus in "Short of Perjury," Gonzo in Senate testimony "dissembled," and "misled" with "linguistic evasion" about a Justice Department and White House dispute over the DOJ's denial for the continuation of a surveillance program.

But she doesn't think he actually "lied."

Quoting from the New York Times regarding Gonzo's testimony in February 2006 about his nighttime visit to Ashcroft, in pain and on medication, compared to his testimony of last week.... "If the dispute chiefly involved data mining, rather than eavesdropping, Mr. Gonzales' defenders may maintain that his narrowly crafted answers, while legalistic, were technically correct."

Actually, it all boils down to a Clintonian "what "program" the program is."

The Democratic-led Congress, rather than gathering their own posse to run Gonzo to ground over this parsing, should perhaps "concentrate on determining what the administration did - and under what claimed legal authority - that produced the hospital room showdown."

Marcus makes a good point.... Gonzo is just the decoy, the lawbreaking gang leaders hang out in the White House.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Cramming Before Recess....

This is the last week before Congress breaks until after Labor Day, and they have many "Final Assignments Before Recess." (WaPo)

The House and Senate hope to renew and expand the State Children's Health Insurance Plan. But, Republicans call the program a budget-buster and The Decider threatens a veto.... incredible since when they were in control they passed the most expensive social plan ever, the drug industry and insurance company drug-coverage bonanza.

He's baaaack.... Rummy has been invited to testify on the Hill Wednesday, along with Gen. Myers, in the hearing into the death of pro football player, Pat Tillman, who died in Afghanistan in 2004.

How he died was initially covered up by the Pentagon.... and his "heroic" death used as propaganda fodder for recruitment efforts. Tillman's increasingly skeptical family is still looking for answers. The "M" word is being raised by some.... the coroner's report, suppressed until recently, doesn't jive with the new "official" story.

Also, this week, the constitutional tug-of-war between the White House and Congress will most likely heat up as it is expected that subpoenaed Karl Rove will thumb his nose at the hearing into to the U.S. Attorney firings by playing the White House blanket stay-out-of-jail card.... executive privilege.

Today our supposed international expert, Condi Rice, will jet with a shell-shocked Defense Secretary Gates (he has a deer caught in the headlights look these days) to the Middle East to implore the Arabs to provide more support in stabilizing Iraq.

Rice needs a good week... she's become increasingly marginalized by her own incompetence and slavish "office wife" loyalty to the twit who calls her "Guru."

For instance, a few months ago she tried to peddle an op ed piece she wrote in collaboration with John Chambers about ways to rebuild Lebanon after last summer's war.

No one would publish it.

Our Secretary of State couldn't get her essay published in the right-leaning Wall Street Journal, the New York Times.... even the Financial Times of London.

Price Floyd, who was the State Department's director of media affairs until recently, said the piece was littered with glowing references to President Bush's wise leadership.... "It read like a campaign document."

And, sounding the note heard everywhere around D.C. these days about the White House political mafia strong-arm tactics, Floyd recalled that his supervisor, a political appointee, kept "telling me to shut up." In his 17 years, nothing like that had ever occurred under Presidents Bill Clinton or Bush "41," he said.

But, the current White House partisan-agenda enforcers... "They just wanted us to be Bush automatons."

Sunday, July 29, 2007

White House Politics Rule....

It's sad, maddening and alarming.... "Bush Aide Blocked Report," but only touches the surface of how damaging the Bush administration policy of politics-first decision-making has been.

"A surgeon general's report in 2006 that called on Americans to help tackle global health problems has been kept from the public by a Bush political appointee without any background or expertise in medicine or public health, chiefly because the report did not promote the administration's policy accomplishments." (WaPo)

Former Bush Surgeon General Richard Carmona told a July 10 House committee hearing, that as he fought to release the document, "Call to Action on Global Health," he was "called in and again admonished.... 'You don't get it'.... this will be a political document, or it will not be released."

And it wasn't.

Just like in the firing of the U.S. Attorneys, politics trump all in the Rovian world of King George.... from the rule of law to national and world health.

As Thomas Novotny, a former assistant surgeon general said of the suppression of the report and our fall from world leadership in the field of world health... "It's embarrassing, just ridiculous..."

The perfect description of the Bush White House governance... but we must add.... also, a despotically arrogant disregard for their oath of office.

Withdraw Showdown?

Looks like Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki can't stand success.

A key aide says Maliki's relations with U.S. commander General Petraeus are so poor that Maliki may ask Washington to withdraw.... the troops?..... they're ready to take over?...... no, to withdraw Petraeus from his Baghdad post. "Heat Rises Between Iraq PM and Petraeus." (WaPo)

Seems like Maliki doesn't like the successful tactic employed by Petraeus of enlisting Sunni militants in the fight against al-Qaeda.

Iraq Foreign Minister Zebari told Newsweek magazine that Maliki told him he threatened Bush that he would counter this tactic by arming Shiite militias, and "Bush told Maliki to calm down."

One thing our Texas "Bring it on" nacho-man does recognize.... shooting from the lip.

"Petraeus, meanwhile, must deal with an Iraqi military and police force, nominally under Maliki's control, that often acts out of sectarian, namely Shiite, interests, and not national Iraqi interests. He faces a significant challenge in persuading Maliki to shed his ties to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who runs the Mahdi Army militia."

Hopefully, the Petraeus, "neighborhood watch with teeth" will level the Iraq playing field for the tribal Sunnis being overwhelmed on two fronts... al Qaeda and the Shiite militia.

As Shiite Iran-favoring Maliki lodges his objections to the Petraeus' Sunni initiative, he at the same time is dragging his feet on an oil-industry law and other legislation critical to meet U.S. benchmarks.

It's increasingly clear.... the U.S. needs to withdraw.... their support of Maliki.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Iraq... All Progress is Local

If it really bothered you that the Iraqi government took the month of August off while our troops sweltered in the 103 degree heat trying to keep a lid on the violence, this latest bit of information should send you running for the Maalox.

The New York Times headline spells out the latest outrage by President Maliki's government.... "As U.S. Rebuilds, Iraq Won't Act on Finished Work."

Yes, that's right. "Iraq's national government is refusing to take possession of thousands of American-financed [U.S. taxpayer] reconstruction projects.

"Of the 2,797 completed projects costing $5.8 billion [of the total $21 billion rebuilding program], Iraq's national government had, by the spring of this year, accepted only 435 projects valued at $501 million."


Like everything in Iraq the answer is complex. Few transfers have taken place since the current Shiite-led Iraqi government, which drags its feet on American intervention, took office in 2006 along with the new finance minister, Bayan Jabr, and under his watch the "transfer process ceased to function."

Jabr isn't a good guy. In his previous post as interior minister he was accused of running Shiite death squads out of the ministry. In his current position he is slow to release budget money to Iraqi government entities which would have to run the new projects at substantial expense.

Also, the imperialist Bush administration didn't get Iraqis involved in the planning stages of the projects, so "you end up with these kinds of problems at the tail end, where people don't know much about the program and they haven't bought into it."

So, finished projects are falling into disrepair as they stand idle, or unable to function because locals don't have the money, or training, to keep them running.

In the meantime, the Maliki regime ignores the concerns of Iraq's non-Shiites. "Maliki Aide Lashes Out Over Sunni Demands." (WaPo)

The Sunni Accordance Front announced Wednesday that its six ministers in Maliki's cabinet would quit the government permanently unless the prime minister made significant progress on its list of demands.

Demands such as.... a greater role in security matters.... removal of militia members from Iraqi security forces.... and release of thousands of its members believed to be unjustly imprisoned.

Maliki's aide dismissed the demands saying the group is using threats, pressure and blackmail and leaves little doubt Maliki will not comply with their demands before Wednesday's deadline.

The answer to many of these problems seems obvious, we need to regionalize Iraq so each faction has its own land and equal standing. Stop trying to prop up a government more intent on throwing up roadblocks and increasing the Shiite grip on power than on finding ways to cooperate with the different factions and U.S. efforts at rebuilding.

A case in point where this approach is working, "U.S. Widens Push to Use Armed Iraqi Residents.... Irregulars to Patrol Own Neighborhoods." (WaPo)

"The U.S. military in Iraq is expanding its efforts to recruit and fund armed Sunni residents as local protection forces.... The initiative, which extends to all Iraqis, represents at least a temporary departure from the established U.S. policy of building formally trained security forces under the control of the Iraqi government."

Perhaps the most fruitful result of this new.... though Gen. Petraeus insists temporary.... security plan is that the Sunnis are more than willing to clear their neighborhoods of al-Qaeda forces.

Of course this plan is working.... because people are invested in their own neighborhoods.

Just as they would be in the expensive rebuilding projects in their neighborhood if they were given the training and support needed, instead of waiting on a reluctant , and nearly nonfunctioning, Maliki government to do the job.

Sen. Joseph Biden's federalization plan for Iraq seems like a no-brainer. It's a Way Forward in Iraq that will build on regional strengths, investing in all of the Iraqi people, not just the Iran-favored Shiite central government.

But then, when it comes to The Decider's seat-of-the-pants ideological and rigid political agenda, brains play no part in the equation.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Making It Up As He Goes...

Sometimes it's better to just let a person's own words make the case.... which in this instance is the testimony of Attorney General Gonzales before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) was asking Gonzales about the night in 2004 when he showed up at the hospital bedside of his predecessor, John Ashcroft, to try to get him to overrule his deputy, James Comey, and reauthorize Bush's secret program of warrantless electronic eavesdropping that the Justice Department had concluded as constituted was illegal.

In "Bedtime for Gonzo," by columnist Eugene Robinson, he recounts Gonzales' weaselly explanation to the Committee "for why he would think it appropriate to buttonhole a sick man in his hospital room, regardless of the issue." (WaPo)

"There are no rules governing whether or not General Ashcroft can decide 'I'm feeling well enough to make this decision,' " Gonzo said. When Specter pointed out that Ashcroft had already turned his powers over to Comey, Gonzo replied, "And he could always reclaim it. There are no rules."

"While he was in the hospital under sedation?" Specter interrupted, before giving up on getting a straight answer.

When Gonzales was pressed by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on who sent him on that Mafia-movie errand to the hospital, all this friend of George would say was that the visit was "on behalf of the president of the United States."

Oh yes, King George would definitely approve of such tactics. Gonzales' testimony sums up the philosophy of the Bush administration.... "There are no rules".... the rules are whatever they say they are.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Send Gonzales Packing

We're rooting for Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) leading a group of Senate Democrats calling for a special counsel for a "Gonzales Perjury Probe," and, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Patrick Leahy (D-VT) "Senator May Seek Gonzales Perjury Probe," as they finally say about Gonzo's glaring lack of integrity in upholding his office, enough is enough. (WaPo)

No matter how Gonzo shaves the truth trying to rewrite history over his actions and testimony on the unconstitutional warrantless surveillance program and the Patriot Act.... the only outcome for Gonzo's scurrilous actions should minimally be losing his job as Attorney General.

How is it that Gonzo with his ambulance-chaser tactics, a nighttime sickbed arm twister as the then-White House Attorney, rose to become Attorney General, turning the legal system into The Decider's political playground?

How? Because the former Republican-controlled Congress rubber stamped whatever Bush mandated, and he wanted his buddy's pudgy finger on the scale of justice.

Everyone.... except the White House... even most GOP lawmakers after witnessing Gonzo's unethical performance, would breathe a sigh of relief to see him depart.

The sooner the better.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Take an Aspirin and Call a CEO

Welcome to George W. Bush's world of privatized, corporatized medicine.

A world where the premier protector of the health of our citizens, the Surgeon General, is muzzled and constrained by the administration's political agenda.

A world where insurers, not physicians, rule on the type and level of care.... or even if one receives care.

The question posed today in the Washington Post.... "Who Killed U.S. Medicine?" .... reveals how increasingly under Bush's corporate-favoring agenda our physicians are under siege, both professionally and financially.

It's medicine for profit not care.

"Doctor's work is dictated by the policies of insurers and governments, and independent physicians have been replaced by salaried doctors who are accountable to the hospitals or insurers that employ them."

And, government oversight entities, like state insurance commissions who used to work to protect the insured.... today work to enforce insurers ever-constricting coverage guidelines as their budgets are slashed and their mandates weakened for political expediency.

A headline in today's Des Moines Register reports such an outrage.... "Iowan vs. insurance company: Another lost fight for payment." It tells the all-too-frequent story of an insurance company.... this time it's Transamerica Life Insurance and their long-term-care policy.... refusing to pay on a technicality.

In this case, the policyholder Alzheimer's patient was being looked after in the locked memory-care unit of an assisted-living facility and receiving specialized care. Transamerica said it wasn't a "nursing home" and refused payment. The Iowa Insurance Division upheld the insurance company on this matter of semantics.

Shameful. It wasn't that long ago that the mere mention of the insurance commissioner brought such loop-hole-abusing insurers into line. No more.

But, the single-payer system so widely lauded by many politicians isn't the answer either. Under this type of government-run system, the physicians incentive is stifled by imposed salaries, and the inevitable result is a lowered standard of care.

"German physicians unhappy with their salaries and work hours under this kind of a system had no recourse against their monopolistic bosses but to go on strike last year." Not a healthy situation for doctors nor those under their care.

The AMA, who should be the entity battling for the physicians, has recently too often engaged in "trivial warfare" while physicians are "increasingly forced to becomes salaried employees.... and constrained by recipes for the practice of medicine that are cooked up by government and insurance company bureaucrats."

The answer to this sorry state of affairs.... our political leaders must have the courage to legislatively step on the neck of insurers and hospitals, and put teeth into enforcement so physicians can practice their profession.

Government oversight agencies must once again be directed to protect the public, and the AMA must refocus their efforts to advocate reversal of the corporatization of our physicians and medical care.

Perhaps then, we can stop our health-care system's slide toward imminent collapse.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bush Ignores Intelligence

There he goes again.... trying falsely to link 9/11 and al-Qaeda to his war in Iraq.

Furiously beating the fear gong, "Bush Emphasizes al-Qaeda's Role in Iraq." According to The Decider, "The facts are that al-Qaeda terrorists killed Americans on 9/11, they're fighting us in Iraq and across the world, and they are plotting to kill Americans here at home again." (WaPo)

Well..... yes. Though al-Qaeda ranks fifth in the recent intelligence report listing the groups causing the turmoil in Iraq, just one percent of the fighters... first are the warring tribal factions. And, with Bush's agenda-driven policy that diverted our "war on terrorism" to Iraq, he has allowed Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda are reconstitute themselves in Pakistan

As Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass) pointed out, Bush "ignored his own intelligence agencies and continued to spin a false rationale for the escalation of the war in Iraq," and, that a recent National Intelligence Estimate "contradicted what the president said today and made it clear that al-Qaeda is stronger because of our massive military presence in Iraq."

It is the congressional Republicans supporting The Decider's stubborn pursuit of his failed policy in Iraq that is standing in the way of finding a new way to deal with the Iraq war.

The American public has made it clear, they want to end our combat participation in the war in Iraq. GOP legislators can either listen to the American people now, or hear from them in 2008!

A Den of Thieves

In written testimony today, Attorney General "Sly" Gonzales has vowed to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he would stay on and "fix the problems" in his politicized Justice Department.... the fox wants to whitewash the hen house.

Of course, the real reasons are alarmingly transparent.... to continue enforcing The Decider's law- unto-himself political agenda, and give the White House a legal shield from congressional oversight.

Currently the White House is heading for a legal showdown with the House Judiciary Committee over contempt citations for chief of staff John Bolten and former counsel Harriet Miers.

They both have refused congressional demands that they testify on the U.S. Attorney firings, and Bush has invoked for them his blanket avoidance-of-accountability maneuver.... executive privilege.

As recounted in "House Panel Nears A Legal Clash With Bush Over Firings, Gonzales to Tell Senators He Will Not Quit," (WaPo) the White House arrogantly asserted last week that it will not allow the Justice Department to prosecute executive branch officials for being in contempt of Congress.

How cozy. The fox is whitewashing the hen house while the skunks are stealing the eggs.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Give Them Cake....

At first blush this sounds like a winning idea... "Aid May Grow for Laid-Off Workers." (WaPo)

But upon reflection, the legislation to significantly expand federal aid to victims of the "global economy".... workers whose jobs move offshore or are lost to foreign imports.... is treating the symptoms of the economic squeeze on the middle class, not the root causes.

Where is the legislation rescinding the tax breaks for corporations who move offshore? What remedies are being proposed to keep manufacturing, and jobs, in the country? Or, better yet, to recapture and restore vital manufacturing capabilities.

What about the flood of illegal alien workers who are taking jobs and depressing wages? Where is the border and port immigration enforcement? The crackdown on illegally-employing businesses?

The retraining program that in the legislation.... what are the formerly employed being retrained to do? Will these workers end up being underemployed or on extended welfare as our country continues its slide toward third-world status?

And, last but far from least, how can we pay for this program as our tax base continues to shrink and our deficit balloons?

This legislation.... while undoubtedly beneficial and needed by the many victims of the ruling elite's globalization of trade.... is more pap for the campaign season.

It doesn't address the root cause of unemployment, underemployment, or those just left in the dust.... the corporatization of government.

Regardless of how this Bush-administration-enabled vile corporate takeover is packaged, make no mistake.... the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Replanting the Olive Branch

In the thoughtful article in WaPo today "Why Do They Hate Us," by Pakistan writer, Mohsin Hamid.... who has spent almost half of his life in an America he believes has unlimited potential for good.... he confronts the Muslim hate for the U.S. today, and the healing path forward.

Hamid proposes the cause for the hatred. "Simply because America has - often for what seemed good reasons at the time - intervened to shape the destinies of other countries and then, as a nation, walked away."

It adds a knowledgeable voice to the argument that we can't just "walk away" from Iraq.... an idea the GOP falsely accuses the Democrats of proposing.

And, he reinforces the only sane solution, that we must find a way to safely withdraw our troops from the middle of the Mad Max, generations-old tribal conflict that our presence is only aggravating, but, without "abandoning" the country.

If ever there was a "Mission Impossible," this is it. A dizzying moral and geopolitical tightrope to successfully navigate.

Aside from the bloody cost and havoc for Iraqis, this misbegotten war is decimating our military, taking the focus away from stopping terrorist attacks in our own vulnerable country, and draining our Treasury of funds desperately needed for our own domestic well being.

The Cheney-Bush neocons stampeded us into this post-9/11 war for their own ends.... to secure an oil supply for the U.S., establish military bases in Iraq, and enhance Israel's security.... all of which have not succeeded. Indeed, it has had an opposite, and exceedingly disastrous, result.

Which brings me to another astute observation in Hamid's article, the solution for stopping future foreign misadventures by agenda-driven leaders of our government.

"Americans need to educate themselves, from elementary school onward, about what their country has done abroad. And they need to play a more active role in ensuring that what the United States does abroad is not merely in keeping with a foreign policy elite's sense of realpolitik but also with the American public's own sense of American values."

Values.... lately, a very over-used political sloganeering word, we need to reacquaint ourselves with its true meaning.

Hamid concludes, "The challenge that the United States faces today boils down to a choice. It can insist on its primacy as a superpower, or it can accept the universality of its values. If it chooses the former, it will heighten the resentment of foreigners and increase the likelihood of visiting disaster on distant populations - and vice versa. If it chooses the latter, it will discover something it appears to have forgotten: that the world is full of potential allies."

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A Cartoon is Worth....

The most viewed article on WaPo this morning is about.... guess.

Harry Potter? Close. Barry Bonds? Now you're way off base.

The excesses of the Bush administration and their fear tactics? No....

Yep. "News," or what people are interested in, is getting sillier and sillier.

And, "cartoons" like the one at the top of this post are left to remind us of the unfunny realities of life under the rule of King George the Arrogant.

But, in all fairness to WaPo, the Hillary report was in the style section. Although the Harry Potter story was "above the fold" on their website "front page."

The account of Hillary's modest display of cleavage while speaking on the Senate floor plunged right past the subject of her discourse, the bosomsome.... er, burdensome cost of higher education, to a runway description of her attire. Not a stitch was dropped.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the piece related the fact that until the early 1990s women weren't "allowed" to wear pants on the Senate floor.... guess white male insecurities were showing.

Determined not to make fashion a distraction, (remember all of the interest in her changing hairdo?) Hillary launched her first campaign for Senate in what became her trademark unisex black pantsuit.

So, what is there left to say about the latest Hillary fashion statement except "you've come a long way baby!"

Friday, July 20, 2007

Bush, the King of Trumps

While recent events in Pakistan and D.C. may seem unconnected, they actually have a common theme... political power.

In Pakistan, the "Supreme Court Reinstates Judge". (WaPo)... Chief Justice Chaudhry, that is, who President Musharraf had accused of misconduct and removed.

The timing was.... well, suspect. When Chaudhry was removed, he was "reviewing and preparing to rule on several cases challenging Musharraf's plans to orchestrate a new five-year term for himself before upcoming parliamentary elections."

The Supreme Court ruled that the removal was illegal and Chaudhry was reinstated today.

The legal struggle has been framed as between the two branches of government. Bowing to the ruling, Pakistan's Prime Minister Aziz said, "We must all accept the verdict with grace and dignity reflective of a mature nation, this is not the time to claim victory or defeat. The Constitution and the law have prevailed and must prevail at all times."

Now, let's contrast this rather stirring outcome with the White House dispute with our legislative branch of government.

Invoking a new assertion of Bush's executive authority Thursday in the dispute over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys.... "Broader Privilege Claimed" is the latest White House maneuver.

Bush's executive branch doesn't worry about the judicial branch slapping their hand since their grip on that branch is so total.... the "Justice Department will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges initiated by Congress against White House officials once the president has invoked executive privilege." (WaPo)


And, the reason they are so arrogantly confident?

As it turns out, House and Senate contempt citations must be submitted to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia... the legal branch.... Attorney General Gonzales is Bush's boy and will do his bidding, and the majority on the Supreme Court is in the White House pocket.

This latest administration move is such a sweeping negation of the separation of powers it is important to quote fully a senior White House official on their consensus opinion: "A U.S. attorney would not be permitted to bring contempt charges or convene a grand jury in an executive privilege case, and a U.S. attorney wouldn't be permitted to argue against the reasoned legal opinion that the Justice Department provided. No one should expect that to happen."

Mark J. Rozell, professor of public policy at George Mason University calls the White House policy "astonishing."

"That's a breathtakingly broad view of the president's role in this system of separation of powers, Rozell said. "What this statement is saying is the president's claim of executive privilege trumps all.

Trumps the Constitution.

Trumps Congress.

Trumps the rule of law.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said the administration is "hastening a constitutional crisis." And Henry Waxman (D-CA) added, that the administration "makes a mockery of the ideal that no one is above the law.... I suppose the next step would be just disbanding the Justice Department."

It's shocking to realize that the "mature" democracy of strife-torn Middle Eastern Pakistan is functioning and protecting its separation-of-powers government, while above-the-law Bush and Cheney's unholy alliance is ripping the guts out of ours.

A ruthless, unprincipled power grab orchestrated by shadow president Cheney. Congress must act, NOW.... while they still are the third branch.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bush Spins in Tennessee

Bush rebuffed a question today at a town-hall-style meeting in Nashville about a possible pardon for border agents Ramos and Compean....

"I know the prosecutor very well, Johnny Sutton. He's a dear friend of mine from Texas. He's a fair guy. He is an evenhanded guy and I can't imagine, well, you know....."

Yes, we do know. Another friend of George.... that's enough for The Decider.

While George found the 30-month jail sentence of Cheney's chief-of-staff "Scooter" Libby "excessive," he evidently doesn't find anything excessive about the 11 and 12-year federal prison sentences for the border agents who fired at a fleeing Mexican drug smuggler... trying to escape from his van loaded with illegal drugs.... who was given blanket immunity by U.S. Attorney Sutton, even a border pass, to testify against them.

The drug smuggler's still free and suing U. S. taxpayers for $5 million.

It was the border crashing smuggler's word against the agents, the prosecutor took the smuggler's word. There are other outrageous actions by George's dear-friend Johnny, but that fact alone shows how the deck was stacked against the agents.

When asked at this same forum about his stalled immigration-overhaul bill, "Bush Defends His Immigration Proposals," (WaPo) and dipped into his bottomless well of fear warning, without that legislation and with stricter enforcement of the border, "I can make you a prediction.... that pretty shortly people are going to be knocking on people's doors saying 'Man we're running out of workers.'"

Oh, perish the thought that we might have stricter border enforcement.... thereby going against Gonzo's Justice Department's policy of ignoring the rule of law.... then employers might have to pay U.S. citizens a living wage to do a job.

The Decider also defended his failed Iraq policy, and tried once again to link the current Islamic militants in Iraq with those who planned 9/11.... the big "boo!"

But, he can no longer emotionally stampede his propaganda-weary audience.

As the woman who asked about the pardon for the border agents informed The Decider.... the Tennessee General Assembly has passed a resolution asking for such a pardon.

Putin Baits the West

Bass fishing diplomacy has it limits.... actually, our relationship with Russia is much worse after The Decider's yukking-it-up press conference early this month with Russia's President Putin after their Kennebunkport fishing summit to resolve U.S. anti-missile plans for Russia's backyard.

Putin made a show of cooperating with the defense system, offering to place it on Russian soil if Bush abandoned plans for facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic.

When Bush didn't go along with Putin's plan, on Saturday Putin announced that Russia would pull out of the CFE treaty, a landmark pact limiting post-Cold War military strength. "Russia rebuffs NATO talks offer on arms pact." (WaPo)

A hopefully sobered Bush, pushing ahead with his anti-missile plans, met with the Polish President Kaczynski at the White House on Monday.

Great Britain also has serious disagreements with Russia who is refusing to cooperate on a terrorist incident.... just days after London kicked four Russians out of the country, a retaliating "Russia Expels 4 British Diplomats" (WaPo)

Moscow continues to refuse to extradite the Russian former KGB officer, Andrei Lugovoy, who the British accuse of poisoning Alexander Litvinenko.... a fierce critic of Putin.... in London last November using polonium-210.

The case is particularly charged because Litvinenko, who fled from Russia to Britain in 2000 and became a British citizen, suffered a slow and gruesome death. In addition, hundreds of Londoners feared they were exposed when the radioactive substance was found in numerous places causing alarm and panic in the city last November.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said this week that he could not tolerate "lawlessness" in London and would make "no apologies for the action we have taken."

Hear! Hear! Good show, Brown!

Bush should take note of how grownups deal with an increasingly dangerous Putin.... drop the Bush frat boy buddy-buddy approach.... Putin isn't looking for friends.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Schitzo Chronicles

George W. Bush has been hearing voices.... God has been whispering in his ear, telling George he's the chosen one to carry out a messianic mission.

In 2005 the BBC aired a series called "Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs." In this documentary, Abu Mazen, Palestinian Prime Minister, and Nabil Shaath, his Foreign Minister, describe their first meeting with Bush in June of 2003.... four long and bloody years ago.

Shaath: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did. And then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq...." And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it." (BBC)

We all have heard Bush frame his "global war on terror" in the terms of good and evil... the "axis of evil," the "evil-doers," as he puts himself at the head of the crusade to execute what he scarily believes to be divine will.

In Bob Woodward's book "Plan of Attack," he recounts how Bush told him after giving the order to invade Iraq in March of 2003 that "I was praying for strength to do the Lord's will."

We all remember when Bush was asked by Woodward whether he had asked his former-president father for advice on what to do about Iraq, Bush replied that his earthly father was "the wrong father to appeal to for advice... there is a higher father that I appeal to."

So, Bush unleashed the dogs of war against Iraq... justifying his actions with lies, faulty intelligence and propaganda slogans.... firm in the belief he was on a mission from his God and in a religious fog.... God will take care of all.

Bush and his neocon cheering section were so caught up in the "vision" they didn't plan.... didn't listen to generals telling them to use more troops to secure Iraq, didn't continue pursuing the 9/11 perpetrator, al Qaeda's Osama bin Laden. ... they just kept repeating the same mantra "stay the course" and closed their minds to all other options.

So, here we are, according to the newly released National Intelligence Estimate, "On Shakier Ground,".... in more trouble than ever with an al Qaeda that "has protected or regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capability by reestablishing a haven in Pakistan and reconstituting its top leadership," able "to recruit and indoctrinate operatives, including for Homeland attacks." (WaPo)

The White House has made no serious attempt to mediate a solution through hefty diplomacy with envoys to the Middle East like Henry Kissinger, Jim Baker, George Mitchell or Richard Holbrooke.... instead Bush sends his stiletto-heeled pretender, Condi Rice, to jet around uttering inane platitudes or issuing unworkable orders from Washington.

In an attempt to focus its members on the need for a change of course, the Democratic-led Senate debated all-night last night, and into this morning, on a bill to try to force limits on Bush's ability to recklessly keep our troops in the middle of the civil war in Iraq.

Entrenched senators were not swayed by the many impassioned pleas. The outcome was predictable.... the timeline measure was blocked.... the GOP stayed firmly in Bush's camp, fingers crossed, compassion and reason firmly in check.

So our country remains in the grip of a religious fanatic, bent on his crusade regardless of the will of the people, or the consequences for all time.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Iraq Should Be a Nation Divided....

The vote in the Senate today.... probably coming late in the night as the GOP filibusters.... decides a simple matter really. What do we care about, the lives of our troops, or the occupation of a nation waging a tribal civil war where 69 percent of the citizens don't want our presence, and whose Prime Minister Maliki told us a few days ago could take over their own security operations.

As the "Democrats Maneuver To Force Iraq Votes," let's not lose sight of the troops, as Majority Leader Harry Reid passionately reminded the Senate..... not just the unacceptable loss of life, but the tens of thousands injured, many with the loss of limbs and other horrific disabilities.

Reid said of the vote, "It's unfortunate that President Bush has proven, beyond any doubt, that he won't listen to the Congress or the American people unless he's forced to, and that's what this amendment does."

Yes, Chicken Little Bush continually fear mongers that if we leave Iraq the sky will fall. That's not what recent "war games" exercises for the U. S. military concluded however as outlined in "Exit Strategies." (WaPO)

It's worth quoting in full: "If U.S. combat forces withdraw from Iraq in the near future, three developments would be likely to unfold. Majority Shiites would drive Sunnis out of ethnically mixed areas west to Anbar province. Southern Iraq would erupt in civil war between Shiite groups. And the Kurdish north would solidify its borders and invite a U.S. troop presence there. In short, Iraq would effectively become three separate nations."

This outcome is basically the same as the thoughtful proposal of Sen. Joseph Biden that has received bipartisan support.... dividing Iraq into three defined states under a weaker central government. The sky wouldn't fall. Especially if the administration drops the "stay the course" rhetoric and works to implement such a plan.

Today's "Intelligence Report Warns of al-Qaeda's Capabilities," (WaPo) and confirms our worst fears as articulated by Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, that the invasion of Iraq "diverted needed resources from eliminating the threat from al Qaeda".... and "points out that the real threat to the U.S. homeland emanates from Afghanistan and Pakistan, not Iraq."

Sorry to say, though, undoubtedly when the clock strikes midnight in the Senate tonight nothing much will have changed.... and the "stay the course" pumpkin-heads will once again frustrate the will of the nation.

Bush's "Unhealthy" Power Grab....

With their usual stealth, last January the Bush administration issued an executive order "effectively rewriting the playbook" on who will write the rules on health and safety issues.... a power historically delegated by Congress to executive departments, with more specific directions from presidential executive orders.

Ever looking for ways to expand his death-grip on governmental power, Bush's order, which is to take effect a week from today, would require agencies to consider free-market solutions to problems before issuing rules, limits agencies' practice of issuing informal guidelines and calls for "regulatory policy officers," who must be presidential appointees, be given authority to set an agency's agenda.

Although initially resisting this executive order by threatening to kill the funding, the Democratic-controlled Senate committee caved to the demands of lobbyists of "64 trade groups".... who know The Decider's appointees will shield them from costly environmental and safety rules.... and dropped the effort to deny funding.

In other words, the Senate meekly handed the White House more of their checks-and-balances power.

However, Democrats in the House did vote last month not to fund the executive order.... although Bush has "threatened to veto any bill that blocks financing."

So, as reported in "Fighting for the Right to the Rules," (WaPo) the health and safety of the nation has lost again.

Just as the political officers appointed by the Bush administration muzzled the Surgeon General and NASA scientists on issues like stem cell research, safe sex practices and global warming.... they now want to extend this control and "give the White House unaccountable power over the agencies."

In effect, it guts the agencies power to do their job, and puts all power into the hands of a political appointee, and we know how much expertise the friends of George bring to the job.... look at Iraq, look at New Orleans, look at Homeland Security... and look at agencies overseeing food safety.

The Decider isn't alone in his irresponsibility toward protecting the health and safety of the public, Congress is also complicit. The ability of the FDA to make the inspections vital to determining the safety of imported seafood is dangerously, even criminally, inadequate.... "Catfish With a Side of Scombroid." (NY Times)

Yes, the FDA is rejecting imported seafood.... claw crab meat from Indonesia because of filth such as rodent hairs or parts of disease-carrying insects; shrimp from Thailand because of salmonella; tuna from Vietnam because of histamines responsible for scombroid poisoning and many veterinary drugs. In just May alone, 48 seafood shipments from China were rejected.

So, they're inspecting almost everything.... right?


Currently a mere 1.34 percent of seafood imports were physically inspected by the FDA because of a bare bones budget... and this year Congress has cut that inspection budget to ZERO!

This dangerous situation is what you get when your leaders make deep tax cuts, and then throw money at the disastrous Iraq war, good ol' boy earmarks, pet agendas and amoral corporations interested only in their bottom line.

But, you CAN once again swamp the switchboards with calls telling your representatives to uphold the House vote to curb The Decider's political appointee powers within the agencies and support the legislation to deny funding for his executive order... and to fund the FDA food safety oversight agencies!

Otherwise, the White House, which in the last years has become the enemy of the well being of its citizens, grows more powerful while daily we become at more deadly risk.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Will Someone Wake Me Up?

Here's the nightmare.... al Qaeda is Sunni. Saudi Arabia is Sunni... and supposedly our friends, even though Osama bin Laden and most of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudi nationals.

Radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's powerful Mahdi Army is a Shiite militia. Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is Shiite. Iran is majority Shiite.

Shiite militia has been infiltrating Iraqi police units, and the Iraq military.

"Mahdi Army, Not Al-Qaeda, is Enemy No. 1 in Western Baghdad." It's no longer the case that the "Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq is the city's most formidable, the Mahdi Army has transformed the composition of the district's neighborhoods by ruthlessly killing and driving out Sunnis...." (WaPo)

There has been an ethnic cleansing of Sunnis in the 10-square mile district of West Rashid, home to about 700,000.... the Shiites have taken over.

The Shiites already control Iraq in the east on the Iran border, and in the south.

Although the bloody toll continues to rise in attacks across Baghdad, and in the Kurdish north, we heard Maliki assert on Saturday that Iraqis were ready to take over security operations "any time" American forces choose to leave.

How?.... because the Shiite militias with Iran's help will be the ones taking over, with Maliki's blessing?

Oh sure, today we hear lots of backtracking and explaining by Maliki over his comment, and not unsurprising really, the main thrust of his clarification is a defense of al-Sadr as being good for Iraq. Is anyone in Washington listening to this?

Meanwhile, our troops are still dying in the 103 degree heat while the Iraqi government takes an August vacation. So, between now the the September report from Gen. Petraeus, nothing much will happen from Maliki's government to bring the factions together, there will be more cleansing, and the Shiites will grow even stronger.

And, the Sunni al-Qaeda.... "Pakistan Truce Appears Defunct." (WaPo) A peace deal between the Pakistani government and tribal leaders in the north where al-Qaeda is known to be regrouping is over. Last weekend, 70 mainly soldiers and police were killed after the Taliban fighters announced an all-out guerrilla war against the Parkistan army.

So, this is the effect of what Bush and Cheney have wrought with their misbegotten Middle East adventure.... they are handing Iraq to the Shiites, and thus to Iran, while al-Qaeda is gathering strength in Pakistan.... a country with nuclear weapons and a weakened President Musharraf.

It's too late for what they should have done after 9/11.... gone after Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and made THAT country a bastion of freedom from terror.

What we should be doing now is strengthening our own borders and ports, and aggressively rebuilding our military.... not because Homeland Security's chief Chertoff's gut is rumbling.... but because while we're over there, the terrorists will show up here, "Big Time."

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Homeland Insecurity....

The quote of the day from Frank Rich of the New York Times.... "Though Mr. Chertoff may be the man standing between us and Armageddon, he is seen as a leader of stature only when standing next to his cabinet mate Gonzo."

And, don't miss Maureen Dowd's column in the NYT today either.... priceless.

Kristol: "Heck of a job, Georgie"

William Kristol is busy rewriting history even before the history is made.

This ultra-neoconservative friend of George is predicting.... "Why Bush Will Be A Winner." He wisely tries to defuse the obvious eye-rolling over his assertion that "Bush's presidency will probably be a successful one" by admitting up front that with this prediction he'll merely expose himself to "harmless ridicule."

So, I'll not say the obvious things like, it must be time to renew Kristol's prescription, and just stick to his three justifications.

1) Kristol posits that there has been no second terrorist attack on U.S. soil. This is something with our borders gushing unknown and untracked illegals that is just dumb luck, luck which evidently is about to end. According to the "gut feel" statement from the chief of Homeland Security.... his gut is rumbling that we may have an attack this summer. How many billions did this high tech and professional assessment cost? Feeling safer?

2) Kristol's next point shows the airy heights of his ivory tower... we now have "a strong economy." Not for the average Joe working two jobs, or the new slave labor class.... but hey, corporations are loving it. And, by the way, tried to sell your house lately?

Oh, and China loves it too, owns most of the U.S. now. Kristol even sees an upside to our budget deficit.... "it's lower than it was in 2003".... but he avoids mentioning that the world is using the plunging dollar for wallpaper.

3) The third argument is so obviously pie-in-the-sky it's embarrassing.... to quote: "... a war in Iraq that has been very difficult, but where - despite some confusion engendered by an almost meaningless 'benchmark' report last week - we now seem to be on course to a successful conclusion." Really, this obvious first draft of the rewrite of Bush's legacy needs no comment from me although this fairy tale should start, "Once upon a time there was a wise King George...."

Read Kristol's entire opinion piece, judge for yourself if you agree with him that "Apart from Iraq, there has been less of it [terrorism], here and abroad, than many experts had predicted... The war in Afghanistan has gone reasonably well."

Or, this from Kristol's own nibbed pen.... "Following through to secure the victory in Iraq and to extend its benefits to neighboring countries will be the task of the next president."

Kristol's next article will be on the proposition that pigs do fly.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Beatitudes Are In the Eye....

Christopher Hitchens is described by Michael Gerson as an "intellectually courageous and unfailingly kind" atheist.

In "An Atheist Responds" (WaPo), Hitchens rejects this description, and then unkindly skewers Gerson's recent column "What Atheists Can't Answer" as "insulting" with the "appalling insinuation that I would not know right from wrong if I was not supernaturally guided by a celestial dictatorship..."

Hitchens rejects the justifying premise of believers that even if religion is not metaphysically "true," at least it stands for morality. Hitchens points to the hypocrisy of religious teachings which have included the slaughter of other 'tribes,' the enslavement of the survivors, the mutilation of the genitals of children, the burning of witches...." you get the idea, it's a long list.

Hitchens issues a challenge to Gerson, he wants him to name "one ethical statement made, or one ethical action performed, by a believer that could not have been uttered or done by a nonbeliever."

Let me here interject that I have nothing against religion as long as it is allowed to remain in the personal spiritual realm. The spiritual can instruct and enrich our inner conversation.

The objection comes from what nonbelievers must endure from those who insist they must accept, or worship, some particular organized brand of supreme being.

The intellectually courageous holdouts will be subjected to self-satisfying judgments and mob shunning until they "believe".... at which time many purveyors of the God message abscond with worldly goods, tax dollars and personal freedoms.

It is supremely ironic that the practices of so many religious leaders and believer-pandering politicians are so.... well.... unChrist-like.

These actions speak louder than all of their words.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Gritting and Waiting....

Peggy Noonan, a conservative columnist for The Wall Street Journal, and former special assistant and speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan, wrote a very insightful piece today called, "American Grit.... We can't fire the president right now, so we're waiting it out."

The first paragraph sets the defection tone. She was watching President Bush on TV and thinking about what it is about him.... "that makes people who used to smile at the mention of his name now grit their teeth."

A little condescendingly perhaps, she quickly points out that she is not referring to what used to be called Bush Derangement Syndrome, referring to someone who so passionately disliked the president they seem somewhat unhinged. The mood has changed she says, and no one thinks that anymore.

Well, maybe the "deranged" never were, maybe Peggy and her friends have finally taken off the partisan blinders.

She tells how a rock-ribbed Republican of her acquaintance has "had it" with Bush. Another has taken the "W" off their car.... finally realizing we must assume that the W stood for worst.

Noonan herself is jarred because Bush doesn't seem to be suffering even though "every major domestic initiative of his second term has been ill thought through and ended in failure. His Iraq leadership has failed. His standing is lower than any previous president's since polling began," and yet, "He's in a good mood."

She finds his good humor "disorienting, and strange."

Noonan is also put off by Bush's justifications for his actions, claiming more virtue for himself than the other side. He is "idealistic" which means opponents are lacking in ideals. He makes his decisions "based on principle," unlike his critics who are poll watchers. "He is steadfast, brave, and he believes 'freedom isn't just for Americans' .... unlike those selfish, isolationist types who oppose him."

She forgot to mention patriotic.... those who oppose his Iraq agenda aren't, to him.

Maybe Noonan's best summation of the situation is: "With Mr. Bush it is the people who are forced to be cool-eyed and realistic. He's the one who goes off on the toots. This is extremely irritating, and also unnatural. Actually, it's weird."

This is really a sea change for Noonan. In August of 2004, she took an unpaid leave from the WSJ to campaign for Bush's reelection. She was a true believer.

Today, she is waiting it out and gritting her teeth. Welcome to the Bush Derangement Syndrome club, Peggy.

Love Thy Neighbor....

This cartoon is to remind us of the Fatwa Rev. Pat Robertson issued.... in the name of God, of course.

This is this kind of "Christian" activism that bred the God-awful Iraq war, the dismantling of the protective wall of separation between Church and State and the White House's faith-based social agenda.

For those who whine that the Washington Post is a left-wing mouthpiece, that argument fades to a whimper by example of today's opinion piece by their columnist Michael Gerson (more about him in a minute).... "What Atheists Can't Answer."

This religious pap by Gerson basically asserts.... well, he actually says.... "We long for love, harmony and sympathy because we are intended by a Creator to find them. In a world without God, however, this desire for love and purpose is a cruel joke of nature.... "

Gerson, meet the religious right's cruel joke, their premier evangelist, loving Pat Robertson.

Gerson actually argues that without belief in God, humans would say, "I'm going to do whatever I please."

Gerson, please meet your former boss, the religious-fanatic and headstrong "My Way or the Highway" George W. Bush... who does whatever he pleases.

Yes, that's right. Gerson was a key aide and speechwriter for The Decider from 1999 until the summer of 2006 after which he joined the Washington Post where his twice-a-week column is syndicated.

Gerson, who was mentored by Watergate's preacher Colson, says he was attracted to Bush because he "understood that biblical faith has a lot to say about morality."

You mean like the quick-trigger morality of the bloody Iraq war?

Since Gerson used America's Founders to fortify his argument, we feel free to turn to the wisdom of good ol' Abe Lincoln on the subject:

"When I do good, I feel good.
When I do bad, I feel bad.
That's my religion!"

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thanks to Congress, Bush Is Still Fiddling....

while our nation burns!... it's laws, it's moral compass, its international bridges.

In testimony before a Congressional panel on Tuesday, former Surgeon General Richard Carmona testified that the Bush administration silenced medical and scientific opinions in favor of political agendas and religious dogma.

Carmona, who served as Surgeon General from 2002 to 2006, confirmed the White House's despotic approach to implementing their agenda, they "would not let him speak on or issue reports about stem cell research, emergency contraception, sex education, or prison, mental and global health issues."

James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and several federal climate scientists have "accused the administration of muzzling them," especially on the issue of global warming. The corporate-favoring administration has trashed our forests and rescinded environmental controls.

We have witnessed the strong-arm tactics of Bush's Attorney General Gonzales who has turned the Justice Department into the political enforcement arm of the White House, trampling the Constitution and perverting the rule of law.

Now, thanks to the investigative report of Bob Woodward in WaPo today.... "CIA Said Instability Seemed 'Irreversible' ".... we just now learn that last November, CIA Director Michael Hayden told the Iraq Study Group that the inability of Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki's government "to govern seems irreversible," and Hayden could not "point to any milestone or checkpoint where we can turn this thing around."

Hayden's conclusion, "The government is unable to govern." His opinion is based on the more than 500 CIA personnel in Iraq providing intelligence and analysis.

In his appearance that very day before the study group, Bush held forth for an hour with a megalomaniac vision of "victory" in Iraq and defended Maliki's regime.... "A constitutional order is emerging," he insisted.

The Decider's opinion was based on wishful thinking.

Regardless of Bush's delusional diatribe for his costly ($12 billion a month) messianic crusade that he terms "a great ideological conflict," a sobered study group issued their recommendations.... change course in Iraq.

So, what did The Decider do.... he announced in January that he was staying the course, and sent more troops to Iraq in a "surge" to prop up that very failed Maliki government.... stubbornly and criminally continuing on a course that cost the precious lives of 700 more U.S. troops, with no end in sight.

Today, even while Bush was painting a smiley face on the pitiful report scoring the benchmarks set for Iraq, an early vote in the Senate on legislation designed to tie the president's hands in Iraq fell victim to a Republican filibuster.

Another sickening fiduciary failure by Congress.

The fact that Bush has been able to rule as a dangerous corporatist dictator is the fault of the Congressional leaders of both parties.... most especially the leadership of the Republican party.

Let's get serious about legal maneuvers like impeachment.... there isn't time. It must be accomplished by political pressure.

Our lawmakers must put aside partisanship, personal agendas and special interests and work together to shackle the hands of the corporatist cabal in the White House.

Otherwise, they will have to answer to an outraged electorate in 2008 for their complicity.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Gonzales Must Go

It's no longer a question of if Attorney General Gonzales is The Decider's political enforcer, it is now a question of degree.

The more abuses of power the now Democratically-controlled Hill uncovers, the more breathtaking the scope.... and sheer brass.... of the Justice Department's trampling of the Constitution to further The Decider's political agenda.

In "Mr. Gonzales's Inattention" (WaPo) we learn of the latest outrage on the heels of the ousting of eight U.S. attorneys for not implementing White House political vendettas. In late April 2005, Gonzales testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which was considering reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act, that "there has not been one verified case of civil liberties abuse" under the Act.

Gonzales gave this testimony despite the fact, it was learned yesterday, that earlier that year "Gonzales was sent several documents.... outlining FBI mistakes or abuses concerning national security letters and other intelligence-gathering tools."

And, this year the inspector general sent another report to Gonzales about a significant increase in FBI violations in the use of national security letters.

Gonzales is the picture of innocence.... he is "surprised" about the reports, which he says he knew nothing about (the dog ate his homework); and "upset" about what was revealed in the reports.

Once again Gonzales has been caught not doing, or not wanting to do, his job.... and, misleading and obstructing congressional oversight.

Isn't it now obvious to even the most biased or partisan observer, that this White House's attitude about their Machiavellian power grab in every direction is.... catch them if you can.

And, if you do, the smirks tell you the "cops" are in their pocket.

These are your freedoms and civil rights they are stealing.... get mad!

Demand that Attorney Venal Gonzales must go!