Friday, March 31, 2006

Fashion as metaphor

I see Leah McLaren also had a column today on Harper's attire of yesterday in Cancun, albeit a few hours after Impolitical's much more entertaining post...

What he was wearing was not and is not the most important guage of how successful his appearance with the other North American leaders will be judged. It is, nevertheless, a measurement by which he will be judged. Appearances do count. People notice these things. It's unfortunate but this is a media era. And he's sending a message to the world about himself, he's representing the country. Any business leader knows that there's an informal dress code for such things. Any one in their right mind, representing any institution for that matter knows the basics and on this count, Harper failed. So does it really mean anything, substantively? Does it raise questions about whether he's ready for prime time? Such appearances aren't conclusive but they raise doubt that he is. They lead people to naturally assess whether Harper effectively represents us on the international stage, especially since he's had little experience in this regard. So that's how fashion becomes a metaphor here.

He's the new guy and he did little during this summit to suggest that he's a force to be reckoned with. Consider this report in the Washington Post today:
The long-standing dispute over U.S. tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber that is a major irritant in Ottawa didn't even come up Friday, perhaps a sign of how stalemated the issue is. The day before, Bush had promised only to "negotiate in good faith and a timely fashion" while Harper threatened legal action if agreement is not forthcoming.

The requirement that all people coming into the United States after 2007 - whether from Canada or Mexico - present a passport or some other tamper-proof document is another subject of great concern that Harper raised. Bush said he understands the fears, but didn't back down.
So Harper held his own in articulating the Canadian position on border crossings and softwood lumber but whether anything will happen, it's wait and see. If Bush does anything concession-wise for Harper, it's due to Bush's self-interest in demonstrating he's capable of reaching out to the world in response to his poor polling numbers. It is not clear that it will be due to any of Harper's personal diplomacy...

Thousands

Thousands of errors in Iraq says the vaunted Condi Rice...

Wingnut watch

Tory MP retracts suggesting jailing bad journalists.

An open letter to the PM

Dear :

I see that you met with your pals Bush and Fox yesterday. I'm sure you've been getting lots of "3 Amigos" jokes today, so I won't bore you with any more of those! But seriously, I know this must be a big deal for you, first foreign trip as PM and all. And travelling to a southern hotspot like , well, correct me if I'm wrong, but you just didn't look that comfortable yesterday. We all saw the pictures:
And if I can speak frankly, Mr. Prime Minister, it was probably due to that vest. Whoever the staffer is who thought that one up, well, he's just not doing you, or the nation, any favours. So I did a little research, in the interests of helping my country represent itself well. I found the perfect shirt for you to wear for this summit - sorry that I'm a little late with my recommendation. But as they say, better late than never!

So here you go, it's called the "Short-Sleeved Bush Shirt." I'm sure you will appreciate the humour in wearing a "Bush Shirt" while meeting "Bush" in person...lol:) Here's what it looks like, and I'm sure you'd be a lot more comfortable in it, rather than that nasty looking vest thing:
It also comes in khaki, ivory, and white (which, I'm sure you noticed, appeared to be the colour of choice for head-of-state shirts yesterday - maybe and Fox should have phoned each other to say what they were wearing! or on second thought, maybe they did and the joke was on the new guy! I can just hear ol' Bush now, cut up that he is, "Yeah, Steve, I think we're all wearing vests! Heh heh, I heard it's real wet out there in the Mayan ruins, heh heh!")

I heard that you have a crack new team of communications staffers. Well, since they're "handling" you so well, media-wise these days, maybe their job descriptions should be expanded to include a little shopping too. It really didn't take me too long to find this shirt, so I'm sure they'll be able to manage.

Thanks for listening to a concerned Canadian,

Yours sincerely,

Impolitical

Bob Fife watch

Crowing about Bush and Harper as "already the best of friends" in the kick off to his news coverage last night...characterizing the relationship as "cozy" twice in his report...smiling when referring to Bush rolling out the carpet for his new conservative friend's upcoming visit to Washington...

All in all, it was quite a day for a Harper groupie...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Very good news

Reporter Jill Carroll Freed in Baghdad:
"Christian Science Monitor reporter Jill Carroll has been freed in Iraq and is healthy, a Monitor editor said Thurday. "
On the heels of her sister's appeal too...:)

This should throw a wrench into saturation media coverage of Bush and his pals on spring break...

Ted Turner does his thing

Sayin what's on his mind:
We can't afford the war in Iraq," Turner said. "This is a big waste of time.

"I wish we would say, 'We won and we are going home.' We shouldn't be there. Bombing isn't a way of changing people's minds. You do that with education."

Bush lacks a true understanding of the world, Turner said.

"We had a president of the United States who had been out of the country but once before he was elected," he said.

He added, "And this guy has his finger on the nuclear trigger, too -- reformed alcoholic, nothing wrong with that."
Ouch...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Wingnut hijinks

I guess the war on Christmas is only a seasonal thing, so to rally the faithful throughout the year, what do you need? You guessed it, how about the natural extension, a "War on Christians," the subject of a conference so entitled this week by one Rick Scarborough. Well, I guess this was coming. I mean, we all know the war on terror is a neverending battle so why shouldn't the war on Christians be a similarly pitched ongoing struggle? After all, it should keep the base fired up and supporting of those pols who will protect Christians from the siege. Never mind the Iraq war, never mind the Abramoff scandal, never mind an incompetent Bush administration, it's all about religion. And looky who's the prime beneficiary and who appeared at this "conference:"
These were only warm-up acts for DeLay, whose entrance caused a ripple of applause that spread into an extended standing ovation.

"This is a man that I believe God has appointed," Scarborough said, a view that might surprise the voters of the 22nd District of Texas. Scarborough, in his introduction, said DeLay had been "virtually destroyed in the press," and he urged the crowd to campaign for DeLay -- though he said nonprofit tax rules prevented him from actually "endorsing" DeLay.

The congressman started with a profession of faith, then went on a tour of the religious views of great presidents. He seemed to be on the verge of discussing his own troubles when he recalled Lincoln's view that men should "confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow."

But this was not the time for a DeLay confessional. Instead, he gave his view on the War on Christians. "Sides are being chosen, and the future of man hangs in the balance!" he warned. "The enemies of virtue may be on the march, but they have not won, and if we put our trust in Christ, they never will. . . . It is for us then to do as our heroes have always done and put our faith in the perfect redeeming love of Jesus Christ."
DeLay basked in the rapturous ovation that followed. "Keep your eyes on Jesus," Scarborough called after the fallen leader as he departed the stage.
The decimation of the separation of church and state continues... re-election effort, while on trial for money laundering and conspiracy, shamefully allies himself with such events and as a persecuted Christian. And just who are the "enemies of virtue" to whom he refers? Is he talking about Democrats? This posturing is reprehensible, but befitting of such an opportunistic character like DeLay...

Hurry up, Iraq

The impatient President has congressional elections coming up, Iraqis, don't you know?
"Iraq is a nation that is physically and emotionally scarred by three decades of Saddam's tyranny," Bush said in a speech to Freedom House, a more than 60-year-old independent organization that supports the expansion of freedom in the world.
OK, I hear you, three decades of tyranny might leave an impression upon citizens of Iraq. That makes sense. Explains why they need time to gain their democracy legs. Yet in the same speech, he has this to say:
"I want the Iraqi people to hear I've got great confidence in their capacity to self govern," Bush said. "I also want the Iraqi people to hear — it's about time you get a unity government going. In other words, Americans understand you're newcomers to the political arena. But pretty soon its time to shut her down and get governing."
Wha? Wha'appen? "Shut her down?" Shut what down? Decades of acknowledged tyranny yet Iraqis are supposed to hop to and get all Jeffersonian within a span of months. So it seems that the Bushites are taking to this particular story line and will run with it. They've created the atmosphere for democracy and now it's up to the Iraqis...dang slow Iraqis...we occupy your country and this is the thanks you give us...

Canada is my friend


Battle at Afghan base kills 14 including US, Canadian soldier.

This news today is a reminder of Bush's motives in making nice with the Canadian media and sprinkling his Ken-doll inanities about the U.S.-Canadian relationship our way. Incidents like this remind Canadians we're over in Afghanistan fighting alongside the Americans when we really did not have any substantive debate over what the Canadian mission would or should be in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the Bushites have been happy to ignore trade panel rulings siding with us on softwood lumber and are about to make border crossings more cumbersome. It appears, however, that there may be "movement" on the softwood lumber issue as Harper and Bush prepare to meet, no doubt due to the Americans need to keep us greased as things get tough over in Afghanistan...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

That's a shame

GOP House members tired of being steamrolled by Rove...

Bushit

You can't say that! Not in America, land of the free!

Breakfast of champions

Not! (AP Photo/ Jose F. Moreno)

Classic

McCain artfully slags his possible rival, Mitt Romney:
"'I think he's a very good man; I think he's extremely attractive,' the senator said in a recent interview in Washington. 'I had some dealings with him when he was in charge of the Olympics, cleaning up the Olympics, where he did a great job.'"
Translation: Romney is a pretty boy who is out of his league and should stay in the minors...

What to make of this indeed...

The Raw Story | Rove said cooperating in CIA leak inquiry...hmmm, they say Rove is cooperating with Fitzgerald by pointing a finger at Cheney's office:
According to one source close to the case, Rove is providing information on deleted emails, erased hard drives and other types of obstruction by staff and other officials in the Vice President's office. Pentagon sources close to Rove confirmed this account.

None would name the staffers and/or officials whom Rove is providing information about. They did, however, explain that the White House computer system has "real time backup" servers and that while emails were deleted from computers, they were still retrievable from the backup system. By providing the dates and recipient information of the deleted emails, sources say, Rove was able to chart a path for Fitzgerald directly into the office of the Vice President.
Rove's lawyer, however, is also quoted in the article as vehemently denying Rove's cooperation and claiming the story is false.

Does anyone seriously believe wouldn't sell his own mother's soul if he could keep himself out of pound-me-in-the-a@! prison? And throw in getting rid of Cheney in the process, either by forcing him out via resignation or implication in the Plame outing? Wouldn't that just make his year - avoid indictment and install a new veep to boost his boy's fortunes, just in time for the '06 congressionals...

The snail's pace of this investigation is spectacularly annoying. But Impolitical will be patient if it means that a very important someone in the Veep's office might yet be indicted...

Freak show

And I was in on the Kennedy assassination too...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Kurtz/Logan exchange today on media coverage of Iraq

Vivid exchange between Howie Kurtz and Lara Logan, excerpted here, Iraq Reporters Hit Back at Claims They Are Biased on War, in which Howie does his best to mouth the latest administration spin that they're losing support on Iraq because of the media's portrayal of Iraq news. But Logan bites back, with gusto. Extended excerpt presented for the full monty effect:
KURTZ: There is no question that the dangerous conditions for journalists there are making it much harder to report on some of these signs of progress, as you point out. But I look at just the last couple of weeks of your coverage. Besides covering the Saddam trial, you reported on allegations that U.S. troops had killed a group of civilians. Then you reported an attack on a police station, the bombing of a police convoy, you talked about the threat of a civil war. All legitimate stories. But critics would say, well, no wonder people back home think things are falling apart because we get this steady drumbeat of negativity from the correspondents there.

LOGAN: Well, who says things aren't falling apart in Iraq? I mean, what you didn't see on your screens this week was all the unidentified bodies that have been turning up, all the allegations here of militias that are really controlling the security forces.

What about all the American soldiers that died this week that you didn't see on our screens? I mean, we've reported on reconstruction stories over and over again, but the order to (ph) general for Iraqi reconstruction says that only 49 of well over 100 planned electricity projects happened.

So we can't keep doing the same stories over and over again. When a police station's attacked, that's something new that happened this week. If you had any idea of the number of Iraqis that come to us with stories of abuses of U.S. soldiers and you look at our coverage over the last -- my coverage over the last few weeks, or even over the last three years, there's been maybe two or three stories that have related to that.

So, I mean, we have to do the stories that when we've tested them and tested them and checked all our sources, and that they are legitimate stories on that day, that that is the biggest news coming out of Iraq, then that's what we have to do.

KURTZ: So what you're saying...

LOGAN: I mean, I really resent the fact that people say that we're not reflecting the true picture here. That's totally unfair and it's really unfounded.

KURTZ: So what you're saying is that what we see on the "CBS Evening News" or other networks actually is only a snapshot, is only perhaps scratching the surface of the kinds of violence and difficulties that you are witnessing day after day because you can only get so much of this on the air?

LOGAN: Oh, yes. Absolutely. And, I mean, our own -- you know, our own editors back in New York are asking us the same things.

They read the same comments. You know, are there positive stories? Can't you find them?

You don't think that I haven't been to the U.S. military and the State Department and the embassy and asked them over and over again, let's see the good stories, show us some of the good things that are going on? Oh, sorry, we can't take to you that school project, because if you put that on TV, they're going to be attacked about, the teachers are going to be killed, the children might be victims of attack.

Oh, sorry, we can't show this reconstruction project because then that's going to expose it to sabotage. And the last time we had journalists down here, the plant was attacked.

I mean, security dominates every single thing that happens in this country. Reconstruction funds have been diverted to cover away from reconstruction to -- they've been diverted to security.

Soldiers, their lives are occupied most of the time with security issues. Iraqi civilians' lives are taken up most of the time with security issues.

So how it is that security issues should not then dominate the media coverage coming out of here?

KURTZ: What do you make of (Laura Ingraham's) comment about reporting from hotel balconies?

LOGAN: Well, I think it's outrageous....I mean, I don't know any journalist that wants to just sit in a hotel room in Iraq. Does anybody understand that for us we used to be able to drive to Ramadi, we used to drive to Falluja, we used to drive to Najaf. We could travel all over this country without having to fly in military helicopters.

That's the only way we can move around here. So, it's when the military can accommodate us, if the military can accommodate us, then we can go out and see.

I have been out with Iraqi security forces over and over again. And you know what? When Bob Woodruff was out with Iraqi security forces and he was injured, the first thing that people were asking was, oh, was he being responsible by placing himself in this position with Iraqi forces? And they started to question his responsibility and integrity as a journalist.

I mean, we just can't win. I think it's an outrage to point the finger at journalists and say that this is our fault. I really do. And I think it shows an abject lack of respect for any journalist that's prepared to come to this country and risk their lives.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

All's well that ends well

Washington Post Blogger Quits After Plagiarism Accusations - New York Times.

Or we could have titled this blog entry, "live by the sword, die by the sword...."

The right wing blogger, Ben Domenech, hired by the Washington Post, imploded quite quickly. Looky who he is:
Mr. Domenech works full time at Regnery Publishing, a publisher of conservative authors like Michelle Malkin and Tony Blankley.
Silly Washington Post, hiring a flame thrower in their futile attempt to balance out Froomkin. Regnery Publishing? Why on earth would a mainstream, respected newspaper pick fruit from the branches of this poison tree? The publishing house whose mission is to spread conservative bile across America is an institution the Post would associate itself with? Looks good on ya.

And booya for the bloggers who helped remove this blight from a leading paper...

The quiet war on science, continues

A Times editorial today draws attention to the Bush administration's continued delay on the morning after pill: Time to Stall a Bush Nominee - New York Times. A shameful little episode, once again, that has flown under the radar, but which illustrates the administration's penchant for choosing the path of religion and ideology rather than science, safety and concern for women.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The curse of the NY Republicans

Now the story is the resume of KT McFarland, the latest Clinton challenger:
"When Kathleen Troia McFarland stepped forward as a Republican challenger to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, she was a relatively obscure figure with two intriguing claims to fame: She had worked on President Ronald Reagan's 'Star Wars' speech and had been the highest-ranking woman at the Reagan Pentagon.

But interviews with former Reagan administration officials and a review of documents show her claims were not entirely accurate. Though she helped write the 'Star Wars' speech, its most famous passage — the one that announced the anti-ballistic missile program — was actually written by the president himself and his top national security advisers, according to two senior advisers to Mr. Reagan and a review of the literature and news articles of the period.

And while Ms. McFarland, who is known as K. T., was a close confidante of Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger, serving as his speechwriter and spokeswoman for several years, there were two women with higher ranks in the Pentagon during virtually her entire time there, according to information provided by the Pentagon and the McFarland campaign."
More evidence that the Republicans will be unable to clear their decks and get behind a credible challenger. It looks at this point like it's just not in the cards and it likely never was. Pirro was their best shot and she imploded. Now it appears they're going to end up with Rove's conservative firebrand, Spencer, who will try to inflict as much damage as a philanderer former mayor of Yonkers can against one of the most prominent and powerful in the country...

A few observations about the new Bush strategy

Well, it's clear that as of this week, things have changed. senses he's about to lose his job, or be muscled in upon, and it's go to the mattresses week.

A Presidential press conference occurs, where he actually calls on some of the real reporters. And during the "surprise" presser, he appears to be wheeling out some of his new, must-have-been-focus-group-tested, talking points. Did you catch the one about how he wouldn't send those "kids" over there if he didn't think the U.S. could win? That's my bet for the one that the focus groups ate up. And he gave it his all, he's quite the actor, this guy. Practically yelling it. Must have tested well in the focus group that was watching the press conference too. How do we know?

Cause it was unleashed once again, with a bit more gusto, today in front of the canned audience. It's the new rallying cry, my friends. He's not a bad man carelessly sending troops in harms way. He's a soulful commander-in-chief who can't look a "mom" in the eye if he didn't think he was doing the right thing.

They've also got wind that a "blame the Iraqis" bit might work. Shift the blame to the Iraqis for not taking control of their country and new government quickly enough. Heck, anything's better than the Bushites getting blamed, right? That way, when the U.S. leaves, Bush can shrug his shoulders and say, well, we told them to get their act together...

The bottom feeder polls are getting to this guy. And the upcoming congressional election where one of the houses (or both) could change hands have got this guy fired up, make no mistake about it. This is the Bush from the '04 election where he'll do whatever he has to in order to win. He'll have his hatchet men swiftboat a war hero. He'll have them paint a war amputee as soft on terrorism. He'll do whatever it takes. So now, to prevent the investigations of his administration that would likely occur, should the Democrats actually get some power, he's gearing up to do whatever it takes to prevent that from occurring. He knows he could be censured or impeached. That's what's going on here. You can just sense the desperation combined with a ruthlessness that comes through when he speaks.

So Karl's got his guy juiced and back in the game, rolling out the brand spanking new talking points.

Let's hope there are enough people who have been fooled by this tired old act one too many times and are too smart not to fall for it, again...

The irony

Bush yesterday:
"I spoke to our ambassador today, and General Casey, via videoconferencing, and we talked about the need to make it clear to the Iraqis: it's time, it's time to get a government in place that can start leading this nation and listening to the will of the people," Mr. Bush told the crowd.
Oh, sorry, it's Iraq he's talking about...

Propaganda, in your face

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Gee, I'm not sure, but I think the message he's trying to convey is, oh, I don't know...he has a "Plan for Victory?" Whaddaya think?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Yeah, I have a question


"Mr. President, in a recent survey, Americans were asked to choose a word that best describes you. The word they chose most frequently was "incompetent." So my question is as follows: do you think you are qualified to be the President of the United States or are you in over your head?"

It's not just me, really

Great rant from yesterday on the President's press conference:
I am ashamed. I am ashamed of this President. Aren't you? After watching his press conference today, a sense of shame overtook me. I'm ashamed that he took to the podium today as if he emptied out a container of laughing gas. I'm ashamed of a President who has the temerity to laugh when asked a question about war. I'm ashamed of the whores of the fourth estate who care more about having the honor of being the butt of one of the President's jokes than about exposing the truth to the American people. I'm ashamed that millions of my fellow Americans are so scared and so desperate for leadership that they believe the President's bullshit.
.....
This is not America. I refuse to accept it. America doesn't torture. America doesn't jail people incommunicado for years. America doesn't sit idly by as an entire people are exterminated in Darfur. America doesn't stifle science. America doesn't conduct massive, secret spying on innocent citizens. America doesn't believe the individual is an annoyance, an impediment to supreme government power. This isn't the greatest democracy on earth. This isn't the nation that pioneered human rights. This isn't the America that leads the world, that leads humanity towards a greater good. No, I refuse to accept this America of shame. This is not my America. It is an America perverted by Republican stewardship. A nation that under GOP rule has abandoned its founding ideals of freedom, liberty, and justice for all. True Americans--coast to coast, young and old--now bow their heads silently in collective shame for a nation that has lost its way.
Couldn't have said it better...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The cowardly lion enters the den

Bush, sensing a desperate moment in his presidency, suddenly appears before the press in a "surprise" news conference. I'd give him more credit if he actually gave notice for these things. He needs the surprise element, to catch reporters off guard, so they're not able to prepare appropriately. Then he gets kudos for entering the lion's den. What a crock. He's got nowhere to go but up. His poll numbers tell us that. So what the heck, people think he's incompetent and a failure, what's he got to lose? So, the bar is lowered for a President, once again, who gets credit just for having his first conference in years and making it through.

And he actually calls on a hostile reporter. What a concept in the world's pre-eminent democracy. What an embarrassment actually. Bush has put freedom of the press and speech to shame. Nevertheless, here's what happened: President Finally Calls on Helen Thomas, transcript here.

And he repeats his usual shtick, non-responsive as usual. He is still linking going to Iraq with September 11th, despite Iraq having nothing to do with that attack. He is still analogizing Iraq to Afghanistan, which shielded al Qaeda. And it's been borne out that Iraq was not the threat he thought it was. He's left with a weakened military, a skyrocketing national debt. His judgment that he "saw a threat" and needed to act has been a costly one indeed. It is likely that he's left his country more vulnerable, not less, to a future terrorist attack. He's exposed, and he's fighting for his political life because that's all that matters to him.

Right on

It's a whole new ball of wax, as they say, if Gore decides to run. Here's an excellent synopsis of Gore's unique candidacy and how it could shake up the Democrat race entirely...

The death of objective science

That's what's going on in America these days. Science is just another fact to be spun, and these days, given the Republican lock on Washington, the spinning of science is all of the conservative bent.

Check out this video of NASA climate scientist James Hansen on 60 Minutes (and also here). While being interviewed by Scott Pelley, a NASA official is shown sitting in the corner, monitoring the interview. You've got to be kidding, you think. A government scientist being interviewed by the media and he must be accompanied by a watchdog. Surely this is some eastern bloc country in cold war times? No, watch and see, it's America of today! The censorship efforts in NASA were also documented in the last few months by the NYTimes. message is that we are reaching a tipping point within 10 years on climate change. If there is no movement to reverse warming within that time frame, he predicts difficulty in stopping the trend.

And if Hansen's interview intrigues you, see also Michael Specter's piece in the March 13th New Yorker for a litany of similar instances of science abuse in other agencies. Specter's article is simply stunning in its sweep. You will enjoy the following quote from the evangelical who sits on an advisory board that would have the power to green light potential vaccines:
Religious conservatives are unapologetic; not only do they believe that mass use of an HPV vaccine or the availability of emergency contraception will encourage adolescents to engage in unacceptable sexual behavior; some have even stated that they would feel similarly about an H.I.V. vaccine, if one became available. "We would have to look at that closely," Reginald Finger, an evangelical Christian and a former medical adviser to the conservative political organization Focus on the Family, said. "With any vaccine for H.I.V., disinhibition" - a medical term for the absence of fear - "would certainly be a factor, and it is something we will have to pay attention to with a great deal of care." Finger sits on the Centers for Disease Control's Immunization Committee, which makes those recommendations.
(emphasis added)
Let's be clear on that. This Bush appointee says that if there were an HIV vaccine, they'd have to think carefully about permitting its distribution due to the effect it could have on homosexual activity. He says it would lead to "disinhibition." That would give him pause in permitting an HIV vaccine to be distributed. Think about that. A vaccine for HIV and this guy would consider not making it publicly available. This is the kind of appointee that Bush has littered the federal government with. It's simply stunning.

Well that clears it up

Clear as mud, I'd say.

Lots of wiggle room here. Given his age, it's either '08 or '12. And if it's the latter, he's risking a Democrat winning in '08, other than himself. And let's face it, things look better than they have in the last two cycles for Democrats in '08. So judge these comments accordingly...

Monday, March 20, 2006

Competency counts

Katrina Lost & Found: Loyalty.

A Conservative call to pull out

On 3rd Anniversary, Conservative 'Tribune-Review' Calls for Iraq Pullout. It's not just Murtha, liberals or Democrats who advocate a withdrawal...

Good stuff

Crooks and Liars has Rep. Jack Murtha's appearance on Meet the Press from yesterday. If you missed it, Murtha gave one of the most effective presentations by a Democrat on Meet the Press in eons. Did a great job in refuting the many Republican talking points thrown his way by Tim Russert. How about having Murtha as the designated frontman on Iraq, Dems?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

"Central control"

Has its difficulties:
Patrick Gossage, a former press secretary to prime minister Pierre Trudeau who coaches politicians on media relations, said the new government's strategy is simply unworkable.

"Every PMO in the history of PMOs since Trudeau's PMO at least have made attempts to control the message centrally, usually without success," he said. "We tried to do it for a little while. It didn't work. . . . They're in a way, dysfunctional, because it makes the team look like it's not a team."
Having a set of priorities that you want to get across to the public, fine, and of course there has to be some central coordination of a government's messages. But the problem, it appears for Harper, at least what we're hearing, is that he wants to extend it not just to press releases and the like, but to his Minister's and members' very words. What else are we to make of word this week that mikes outside of the cabinet room are sought to be moved to a location where the PMO can control who appears. And direction that their department's five priorities are to be the only subjects they publicly entertain.
"It's quite another thing to try and control every word that comes out of a minister's mouth. It's totally impossible," he said. "These are grownups that you're dealing with and they're going to be in situations, particularly outside of Ottawa, that are within the realm of their own department. Are they going to check to see if it falls under the five headings? I hardly think so."

Friday, March 17, 2006

The last line of defence

The courts in the U.S., that is. Court Blocks Rule Allowing Exemptions From Clean Air Act - New York Times:
A federal appeals court today overturned the Environmental Protection Agency's attempt to exempt power plants, refineries and other pollution sources from Clean Air Act rules that require them to install costly new pollution controls whenever they make changes that increase their emissions.

Ruling in favor of a coalition of states and environmental advocacy groups, the court declared that the plain language of the act required a much stricter approach, as the Clinton administration had devised, and that only "a Humpty Dumpty" interpretation, as the court called the E.P.A.'s position, could construe the law otherwise.

"We decline such a world view," said the unanimous decision of a three-judge panel that included Judge Janice Rogers Brown, a conservative appointed last summer by President Bush.
The plight of the conservative foot soldiers continues, with one of their vaunted Bush appointees, Janice Rogers Brown, siding with states and environmental advocacy groups. That's a real shame for them, isn't it?

Look what's coming up the pipe line

Those Bushes are a lovely breed, aren't they?

Hilarious

Who knew?

...you can't get fooled again


How many times did you see such images broadcast yesterday, my friends? Over and over and over on the cable news network beasts that need to be fed oh so very often, 24/7. How convenient to have such content provided, courtesy of the DOD, endlessly cycled and drumming home the point that America is at war.

Coverage was not booya, rah rah administration, though. Much discussion on the confluence of this new military action and the release of the National Security Strategy in conjunction with discussion of the President's low poll ratings of late. Was pleasantly surprised at the lack of shock and awe on the part of the media talking heads...

NY Repubs still acting out

News this week that KT McFarland, the latest NY Senate entry for the Repubs has a little problem: "Potential Clinton challenger didn't vote; registered two places." Ooops, doesn't seem to care much about politics after all, hey? Could be she was too busy on the country club tennis court lo these many years.

So the Ed Rollins effort to run a kinder, gentler Hillary is off the rails. Seems that the conservative guard in NY doesn't appreciate that she was out of public life, rearing kids and doing family things and all. Dang conservatives. Live by the family values, die by the family values...you'd think such a candidate would be their thing, right in line with their party's calling card, what gives?

Today's episode of RNC North

"Marginalizing the Media:"
"Last week, the Prime Minister's Office asked officials to remove the microphones that have for decades been set up in hallways outside cabinet meetings. When press gallery officials intervened, they backed off temporarily. Mr. Harper's press secretary, Carolyn Stewart-Olsen, said the issue would be discussed with gallery representatives. She then insisted reporters would have 'more space' if they asked to see ministers in the Commons foyer."
Freedom of speech? Like their cousins down south, seems the PMO doesn't like it very much at all. Too many rookie mistakes being made and the interaction with media after cabinet meetings is just a nasty old tradition that needs to be broken. Ministerial accountability? What's that, my friend? Looky down south where the Bushites have to answer to no one and all the Rethugs fall in line, day in and day out. The Conservatives think, we have to get ourselves some of that there discipline. Surely the Canadian people will appreciate such efforts and don't want us to be bothered with pesky questions from elitist media types...

The new PR people have made quite the splash since coming on board. Maybe a little too much of a splash for their own good. Methinks the grubby journalists may be a little ticked off at such moves. Could be a backlash in the offing, although I'm sure, heh heh, the Harper cronies don't care much, they think the media is biased anyway.

The disappointing horror of it all...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

When the President hits rock bottom, bombs away



Full throttle assault by the Bushites today.

Military action in Iraq, heavily photographed and promoed to the world, see above, courtesty of Department of Defense. No journalists in those territories, surely, so let's rely on the US government for the nice pictures of might in action. But you might want to keep these pictures in mind too.

"Diplomatic" action in Washington. Bush reminds the world that he could go off unilaterally, half-cocked again. Pre-emptive strikes are his prerogative, god help us all. An assault on Iran in the fall, calculated just in time to win the '06 elections, to create that "rallying" effect, would not be beyond belief...

Got to distract from those nasty, historically low Presidential approval ratings. Got to distract from a censure resolution for illegal Presidential activity that could take root in the public's mind. A poll today suggests support for censure at 46% to 44% against ("All Adults") and 48% in support to 43% against, ("Voters")...

So sad...

Love the snub

CNN.com - Jessica Simpson snubs Bush - Mar 16, 2006.

This girl's got some political savvy...:)

Well worth reading

Read Senator Feingold's press conference today and the censure resolution makes a whole lot of sense:
"It seems to me appropriate, when the spin machines are out there and people are using various language, to come out and reiterate my reasons for doing this.

I think that the press decided immediately that somehow this was a bad thing for Democrats and a good thing for conservatives. The facts don't bear it out. You don't have the polls to prove it. The way my colleagues are responding to me suggests to me they're thinking about this, that they feel that there has to be some accountability.

So the instant decision about what the story is, actually, I think is going to backfire on those who made up the story. I don't get the feeling that I had on Monday about this -- yes, people were concerned -- I'm not getting that.

And if the right wing really believes in this country that -- Rush Limbaugh and others -- that they can somehow turn the president's reputation around by saying, 'You're darn right he violated the law, and it's a good thing,' I think they're just as confused as they are about their Iraq politics. People aren't buying it anymore.

So not only do I not regret it, I felt an absolute obligation to do it."

Silly woman

Rep. Harris Pledges Fortune to Revive Senate Race - New York Times.

is apparently putting her $10 million inheritance on the line to try to defeat Democratic Senator Nelson. Good luck with this one, Cruella:
The announcement ended days of speculation about whether Ms. Harris, who gained fame overseeing the presidential recount of 2000 as secretary of state in Florida, would withdraw. She has struggled to raise money and lagged far behind Senator Bill Nelson, the Democratic incumbent, in the polls, making her party fear that Mr. Nelson would cruise to victory in November.

Her troubles grew last month, when the military contractor who pleaded guilty to bribing Representative Randy Cunningham, Republican of California, admitted funneling contributions to Ms. Harris's 2004 re-election campaign. She has not been charged with wrongdoing, and she denied knowing that the donations were illegal.
Democrats are fired up to begin with, but heck, let's throw into the election mix the woman who is principally responsible for the Bush recount fiasco of 2000 and who has fundraising liabilities to boot. Have to say that Senator Nelson would be the happiest recipient of this news tonight.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Lol

Monica Crowley on tonight suggested Bush needs someone like Nixon to give him advice, look over his shoulder right now...:)

It's not just me, really

(Pew Research Center)


Summary of Findings: Bush Approval Falls to 33%, Congress Earns Rare Praise:
"Currently, 48% use a negative word to describe Bush compared with just 28% who use a positive term, and 10% who use neutral language.

The changing impressions of the president can best be viewed by tracking over time how often words come up in these top-of-the-mind associations. Until now, the most frequently offered word to describe the president was 'honest,' but this comes up far less often today than in the past. Other positive traits such as 'integrity' are also cited less, and virtually no respondent used superlatives such as 'excellent' or 'great' � terms that came up fairly often in previous surveys.

The single word most frequently associated with George W. Bush today is 'incompetent,'and close behind are two other increasingly mentioned descriptors: 'idiot' and 'liar.' All three are mentioned far more often today than a year ago. "
Also of note, new entries into the March 2006 list, "Ass" and "Jerk"...

Ridiculous

Thought I'd weigh in on one of the more serious issues of the day: J Lo is no Sue Ellen.

A very strange choice indeed...

Being a woman in Bush's America

Read this report in the NYTimes and get enraged: Bush Announces His Choice for F.D.A. Chief - New York Times. The ideological trumps the scientific time and time again in the Bush administration. Remember the Brownies injecting the politics of intelligent design into NASA communications? This is just another version of the same bunk. The Plan B emergency contraceptive was aproved for use by an FDA advisory committee by a vote of 23 to 4. Yet it has been held up by the Bushite fundamentalists since the end of December 2003 and they have, essentially, lied to Senators and Murray by breaching their commitment to act on it, once and for all, by September of 2005. Meanwhile, as the politics of appointing Bush family friends is thrown into the mix, women's ability to access a drug that could prevent unwanted pregnancy is left twisting in the wind...

Do you think the next Democratic nominee could get a slight increase in the women's vote in '08? Hmmm....if I were a Democratic strategist, I'd be gearing up the ad campaign themes right now, making note of how life has changed for women in Bush's America...

John Aravosis on fire

Enjoy a first-class rant with your coffee.

Well said

On the Feingold censure resolution:
Feingold's move was a dramatic gesture. But a dramatic gesture with a purpose. He had to know his ploy would garner no support. In fact, I am sure that he knew that going in. He's no dummy.

But he wanted to resurface the issue. To make people discuss it again. To focus attention on the wayward lawbreaking of this president and this administration.

I find it a bit ironic that some folks now want to claim that this move would only be effective if Americans were behind the idea of censure or impeachment.

How would Americans be able to get behind any such initiative given the fact that the Republicans had effectively buried the issue?

It's a Catch-22.

This is a crucial constitutional issue. And it had been swept aside. Without any plans to ressurect a discussion of this critical issue, Feingold chose a dramatic gesture to force discussion on the Senate floor of something the Republicans certainly don't want to discuss, especially in an election year.

I don't think the apt comparison is in this case is Kerry's stunt on cloture. I think the better comparison is to Murtha's press conference and floor defense of his call to get the hell out of Iraq.

Murtha didn't have much Democratic support for his idea, either. And he certainly knew that in advance of his press conference. But he opened the floodgates to discussion (with a vengeance). And that discussion has led most Americans to now believe that our incursion into Iraq has been a monumental failure and that Murtha is right. It's time to bring them home.

Murtha chose a dramatic gesture. So did Feingold. Will Feingold's move have a similar effect? Only the coming weeks will tell.
I agree with this apt posting. That's about the sum of it. Feingold isn't insane. He's pretty savvy and he made his move. He decided he'd do his damnedest to ensure the issue of the President's warrantless wiretapping shouldn't die. Score one for those who are tired of the Democrats shrugging their shoulders and hoping for the Republicans to self-destruct in the upcoming elections. It would not surprise me one bit to see polling results in the next few weeks in agreement with the substance of Feingold's resolution, that the President should be held to account for the wiretappping. Good for him for standing up to the inertia of the Democrats and striking a chord with the discontented who have been waiting for someone to stand up and yell back at these thugs that guess what, we're not going to take your illegal crap lying down...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Shut up, shut up, shut up

The most boring woman on earth.

Look who's talking

Al Gore, keeping his name in the mix...

A bit on Feingold

Been too busy to write in any depth, unhappily, but wanted to draw attention to this issue today. Big discussion going on in the blogosphere on Senator Feingold's Bush censure resolution. It deserves more serious consideration from media talking heads and politicians of all stripes in Washington. Here's some good advice for the Dems on strategy and getting their act together. Still acting like they're afraid of a President with a pathetic approval rating, sadly, and Feingold seems to be the only one who gets it.

That's a shame

What goes around comes around, right Cruella? Couldn't be happening to a nicer person...

All "cut and run" all the time

Methinks Stephen Harper is the only one who has "cut and run" fever. He's the only one using that terminology:
"'There here may be some who may want to cut and run. But cutting and running is not your way. It's not my way, and it's not the Canadian way. We don't make a commitment and then run away at the first sign of trouble.”"
Yeah, that's right, it's not the Canadian way and it hasn't been part of our discourse until you and your new spokespeople decided to import the American way of framing issues into Canada....

Monday, March 13, 2006

Krugman, you made my day

And maybe my week. Politically speaking, that is. Taking on the myth of John McCain today:
It's time for some straight talk about John McCain. He isn't a moderate. He's much less of a maverick than you'd think. And he isn't the straight talker he claims to be.
Oh, yes, do go on, my friend.

For all you moderate Democrat women out there who might be thinking about boarding the "Straight Talk Express" this time round, care to listen?
When it comes to social issues, Mr. McCain, who once called Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell "agents of intolerance," met with Mr. Falwell late last year. Perhaps as a result, he is now taking positions friendly to the religious right. Most notably, Mr. McCain's spokesperson says that he would have signed South Dakota's extremist new anti-abortion law.

The spokesperson went on to say that the senator would have taken "the appropriate steps under state law" to ensure that cases of rape and incest were excluded. But that attempt at qualification makes no sense: the South Dakota law has produced national shockwaves precisely because it prohibits abortions even for victims of rape or incest.

The bottom line is that Mr. McCain isn't a moderate; he's a man of the hard right. How far right? A statistical analysis of Mr. McCain's recent voting record, available at www.voteview.com, ranks him as the Senate's third most conservative member.
Doesn't that feel so good? I love me a ferocious Monday morning column like this! Explode that McCain mythology, Mr. Krugman, I cannot agree with you more. is as calculating and cynical as the next pol, yet he gets away with shrugs and grins, frequently yukking it up with the Chris Matthews' of the world with his "politics is not beanball" shtick. Another guy who routinely gets a free pass despite his playing both sides a little too fast and loose. Seems that ride is coming to an end what with his front-runner status (Frist isn't winning s#*t) and it is a very welcome development...

And, P.S., his "commander-in-chief" look is just not cutting it either...

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Stop the "cut and run" trash talk

Print Story: Canada says won't "cut and run" from Afghanistan on Yahoo! News.

This is just so annoying. The "cut and run" Republican talking points have been adopted by Harper so quickly, it's incredible. As soon as MP's started raising the presence of Canadian military in Afghanistan as an issue the country should turn its mind to and actually debate, as is our right, the Conservatives immediately deploy the Republican tactic of tarring your political opponents as weak on defence and implicitly unpatriotic. To even discuss the future of the Canadian military presence in Afghanistan warrants pressing the nuclear "cut and run" button. It's really an outrage that the worst brand of partisan warfare in Washington is being embraced whole-heartedly by the Harper crew. Speak your piece on the issue without the bully tactics of the Bush administration, thank you....

Today's episode of RNC North

"Surprise Afghan Visit."

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Big issue for '06


Look at this: 300,000 Marched in Chicago Friday. Why Doesn't Anyone Know? There is an incredible backlash developing to Republican efforts to crack down on illegal immigrants. Check out the links, the pictures are pretty incredible.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Don't go too far, John

John McCain is being a little too politically calculating for his own good at this straw poll thingy today, looky here:
"Mr. McCain went so far as to condemn the collapse of the port deal, saying that Congress had served Mr. Bush poorly by not permitting a 45-day review of security concerns, though he did not mention that the deal was sunk by fellow Republicans.

'The president deserved better,' Mr. McCain said.

Mr. McCain praised the president for his failed effort to rewrite the s Social Security system, said he supported the decision to go into Iraq and blistered critics who suggested the White House had fabricated evidence of unconventional weapons in Iraq in order to justify the invasion.

'Anybody who says the president of the United States is lying about weapons of mass destruction is lying,' Mr. McCain said."
Such bravado will surely come back to haunt you, my friend. It could be quite the price you are paying for Karl's list of voters. You may ultimately pay with your political viability. Moderates and Democrats are repulsed by this kind of talk, and in this day and age, there's no hiding from such comments. If you think you are going to snake back to the "center" after talk like this, you fail to understand what Bush has done to the electorate.

And there's a bonus gem in this article, to make all our Saturdays:
Some senior Republicans with ties to the White House, who asked for anonymity because they did not want to be identified describing internal White House deliberations, said there was a widespread feeling here that Mr. Bush would be well served to bring in new advisers, either replacing Andrew H. Card Jr., his chief of staff, or Karl Rove, his senior political adviser.

But one Republican with close ties to the White House said the investigation of Mr. Rove's role in leaking the name of a C.I.A. operative was making it nearly impossible to make any changes until it was resolved.
What's that? Replace ? Oh my, the evil one has pushed some of his foot soldiers a little too far it seems, and they're quite tired of it. Years of whipping people into line to support his figure head has gotten old. No adviser has had such power in a presidency and it may be that this run is coming to an end, whether it's formal or not. A long string of political failures, post-Katrina, Harriet Miers, failed off-key Social Security reform and ultimately and most significantly, the failure to prevent the Dubai ports deal debacle may have sealed his end...

Very strange

Milosevic Is Found Dead in Cell, U.N. Officials Say - New York Times.

Subliminable

(REUTERS/Larry Downing)
Adroit photographer captures an appropriate backdrop for Cheney, speaking at an event last week...

McCain's move

McCain put a major kibosh on the straw poll this weekend among Republicans in Memphis:
"Straw polls are entertaining, my friends, even extremely early ones," Mr. McCain said in remarks that were prepared for delivery Friday night and that aides distributed with undisguised glee. "But I think we have bigger things to worry about. So if any friends here are voting for me, please don't. Just write in President Bush's name. For the next three years, with the country at war, he's our president, and the only one who must have our support today."
...don't vote for me, he cajoles, write in the President's name...

His rivals are left dazed and confused at what to do. If they don't do the same, or express similar sentiment, they're disloyal. Seems like a Rove move to me, baffle your opponents with boffo, unpredictable political jujitsu. And while doing so, smilingly, paint them as unpatriotic or disloyal.

Although it surely couldn't be that himself is formally advising McCain...

What does a media whore look like?

Just wondering...

Friday, March 10, 2006

No kidding

Judge Declares Mistrial in Gotti Case - New York Times:
After a jury proclaimed itself hopelessly deadlocked, a Manhattan judge declared a mistrial this afternoon in the racketeering case of John A. Gotti, who contended that he had renounced his position as the "heir apparent" to the Gambino crime family.

The jurors in Mr. Gotti's three-week trial deliberated about a day and a half before sending in a note, spiked with capital letters, to the judge at 1:25 p.m., saying that they were making "ZERO headway," that they were "completely DEADLOCKED" and that "no juror can find it in their conscience to change their mind, based on our interpretation of the evidence."

In a "P.S.," the jurors wrote, "We want to leave ASAP."

I hear you, brother

Krugman with an interesting column title today, The Conservative Epiphany. Has someone been reading my blog, say of yesterday? Do I dare even speculate? Nah, gotta be coincidence. "Epiphany" is a fairly commonly used word:) An inspired choice, if I may say.

He mocks these reformed conservatives, Bartlett and Sullivan, quite handily today. Nice going there, Paul.

While some may view such columns as exercises in "I told you so" rhetorical fluorishes, Impolitical is of the view that it's a worthy subject. The Bush believers helped re-elect a fraud. Who knows what damage remains to be done by this incompetent leader over the next few years. And we have the Sullivans of the world to thank for it...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

You're undermining the troops

CBC News: Relatives of dead soldier question Canada's role in Afghanistan.

Didn't you people get the memo? No debate, no questioning please. We live under a Conservative government now and such free speech is verboten when it comes to our military presence in Afghanistan...

Andrew Sullivan has an epiphany

Read for yourself, the conservatives are turning, vehemently, against Bush.... It's actually a little sickening, these people supported this idiot for so long and now, really, it's a bit late. Nevertheless, welcome to reality with the rest of us, people...

Him we like

Canada, U.S. doing fine despite squabbles: Clinton.

Piling on

Because it's just so much damn fun, and he deserves it:
I’m really not sure at this point that the country and the world will survive three more years of this bumbling, deceitful, artificial, and thoroughly mediocre man, and his bumbling, deceitful, artificial, and thoroughly mediocre courtiers. (Liberals, let’s just start saying it insistently and unapologetically: We were not being “elitists”; we were right in the first place -- he is just not smart enough to be the president of the United States.)
We’re at a danger point. When we learn that the president of the United States was told in certain terms that one of the great cities in his country (and, if you want to put it this way, in a state he carried twice) was in grave danger, and his response was not to act but to engage in the simulacrum of action, to behave as if he were playing himself in TV drama where the writers would make sure that it all worked out well in the end -- when we learn something like that, we should be appalled and alarmed. Anyone who doesn’t say so either knows he or she is lying or is some sort of sociopath.

Honest conservative intellectuals: your nation needs you. Say, “Enough.”

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Nominate this man!

You learn something new everyday:
What's not known is how many of those often-core Republican voters are aware that the once-annulled, once-divorced, thrice-married Giuliani favors abortion rights, gay rights and gun control. (Giuliani's first marriage was annulled after 14 years when, he says, he discovered he was married to his second cousin.)

(emphasis added)
Not the first sentence, the second. I say to any Repubs listening, nominate this man!

Have a laugh

From the maker of the "Al Qaeda Caller ID" clip. Funny.

Simian tales

This is the best he can come up with, as President, to regale visitors to the Oval office: Me President, me like rug...

Today's RNC North quote

Courtesty of the PM himself:
"I'm saying that Canadians don't cut and run at the first sign of trouble," he told reporters. "That's the nature of this country, and when we send troops into the field, I expect Canadians to support those troops."

(emphasis added)
Also wearing thin, already, is the picking and choosing of Liberal actions as support for their own choices, when it's convenient of course. The Liberals sent the troops to Afghanistan, so we won't have a debate about it. The Liberals had the new Supreme Court justice on their ongoing roster of choices, so we'll choose him and justify it with that information. But the ethics commissioner? F*#! that guy, he's a Liberal hack...

Like a cockroach, the Bugman survives

For now.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Seems to me there ought to be an exception

Well, clearly, and a few other minor things, like say, the law should be repealed for starters and limiting women's reproductive choices to exceptions like rape and incest are ridiculously narrow arguments and not the law in any event...

But let's just take a look at the crime statistics on rape in South Dakota, shall we? South Dakota Crime Rates 1960 - 2000:
"South Dakota’s 40.4 reported Forced Rapes per 100,000 people, ranked the state 12th highest."
And 336 reported rapes in 2004...when you know there were a heck of a lot more that were not reported...yeah, it just underlines the sheer lunacy of the South Dakota law...

The coverage paid off

Who you gonna call when you're leaking like a sieve? Seems it's Robert Fife: CTV.ca | PM preparing to dump ethics commissioner.

There's a surprise...

Monday, March 06, 2006

Tales from South Dakota

Watch here.

Shame

In today's episode of the RNC north, we see Peter MacKay rolling out a strategy made popular by the Bush administration: CBC News: Commons vote could undermine Afghan mission, says MacKay. When in doubt about the public posture the government should take, default to that of our southern neighbour.

It seems you can't debate the future of the mission in Afghanistan because we might "undermine our commitment to the forces" by doing so. You see, if troops are overseas, the story's over folks. No talking about policy direction. The military presence dictates the course of action. Can't be long before we start hearing that anyone questioning the role of the forces in Afghanistan is "unpatriotic." What a load of hooey...

Nice

(AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Who can blame them

Gandhi memorial purified after Bush's visit.

For the love of God, man

Get your freaking act together...once again, it's not 1994 and if you wait too long, the Republican monster PR machine will have defined you as dawdling, indecisive stand-for-nothing Democrats...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Poor little Peter King

This poor bastard's been hung out to dry:
Representative Peter T. King's prominent opposition to a proposal to allow a Dubai company to take over some terminal operations at American ports may have earned him some punishment from the Bush administration: He has been grounded.

Mr. King, the New York Republican who is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, confirmed Friday that a few days after he first threatened legislation to hold up the port deal, the Pentagon informed him that it could not provide an aircraft for his planned March Congressional delegation to Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East.

A Feb. 22 e-mail notice to Mr. King's office said the legislative affairs branch of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's office had determined "they do not have any aircraft to support" the official trip to Baghdad and other points. "Please advise if the CODEL will now pursue commercial air," it concluded, referring to the Congressional trip. Mr. King said he did not know if the paucity of aircraft was related to his leading role in the port dispute, but he was suspicious.

"It is very coincidental," said Mr. King, who talked reluctantly when pressed about the canceled trip, which had first been unintentionally disclosed by another lawmaker. Mr. King said that he did not intend to make an issue out of it or allow it to affect his stance in the port dispute.
A Republican in New York who stuck with Bush through all the muck and he actually thought that might count for something with these hooligans...

The RNC North

CBC News: Harper 'loath' to co-operate with ethics commissioner:
"'The Prime Minister is loath to co-operate with an individual whose decision-making ability has been questioned, moreover who has been found in contempt of the House,' said Sandra Buckler, the prime minister's director of communications.

'This Liberal appointee's actions have strengthened the Prime Minister's resolve to create a truly non-partisan ethics commissioner, who is accountable to Parliament.'"
"...loath to co-operate with an individual..." Do you freaking believe that? Who the freak talks like that? The imperious, condescending tone is just so flippin' out there. It really is a rarity to hear such talk from someone's spokesperson. Harper's throwing down a gauntlet on this.

You know, it really hasn't taken them long to descend into a miniature, Canadian sized version of the attack dog partisan politics of the Bush White House. Here they go, attacking Bernard Shapiro as a Liberal partisan. Shapiro's a Liberal appointee, therefore any action he takes regarding a Conservative government member is tainted. Echoes of White House blanket criticism of the "liberal media," or say, Tom DeLay getting a judge removed from his trial in Texas for being a registered Democrat. What's unique about this spokesperson's comment is the pointed partisan attack it levels, with a rather harsh and formulaic tone as well. If I didn't know who the speaker was, I could just as easily hear this type of statement emanating out of the RNC.

Harper et al. know they mishandled Emerson's appointment and now they're immediately politicking to label the outcome of any investigation as a partisan witch hunt. They're dreading an ongoing spotlight on what has become a festering sore.

The Conservatives seem intent on taking us down this road but they just don't seem to get that we don't like the tone or style of American politics...I frankly hope they keep it up...this new spokesperson and communications strategy really will make life interesting in the coming months...

Bravo

Danny Millions had the Beatle for dinner last night. That boy just might be our Prime Minister some day, Impolitical thinks he's one of the most interesting politicians in the country...

Friday, March 03, 2006

Karl's boy ethically challenged

So John Spencer, handpuppet, has a beeg optics problem:
As mayor, while married, he fathered two children with his chief of staff. After years of questions, he publicly acknowledged the relationship, divorced his wife and married his former aide.
Well, that's a compelling life story. So this guy's going down in flames and as a result, there's yet another entry into the lose-against-Hillary sweepstakes. K.T. McFarland, a former Pentagon spokeswoman under Reagan. No public record, but what the heck, let's run for Senate against Hillary. Beeg, beeg mess in Republican New York. Karl and Ken will be running this one, that's for sure...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Freaky image of Bush

(AFP/Prakash Singh) Bush looking dazed but check out the reflection. It looks like an inner-Alfred C. Neuman type Bush freaking the heck out (looks like it's caused by the reflection of someone's head...)...still, a little bit of art in the everyday...

This just in: Bush disengaged

ABC News: Tape: Bush, Chertoff Warned Before Katrina. Shock of all shocks, Bush had been warned about the extent of the Katrina disaster that would unfold on the Gulf Coast. And Max Mayfield in particular, that well-regarded super hurricane guy, specifically raised the concern that the levees would be topped. Yet as we all know so well by now, Bush still played the "aw shucks, we didn't know how bad it'd be" card on national television a few days later, stating no one could have predicted such an event.

He's at 34%. He's over, over, over. Do such revelations as these shock anyone anymore?
The president didn't ask a single question during the briefing but assured soon-to-be-battered state officials: "We are fully prepared."
Of course he didn't ask any questions. They probably woke him up from his nap to attend the briefing in the first place. He was on vacation and Karl wasn't in the room. So what else could be expected? An engaged, competent leader, he ain't. Even Chris Matthews is off the bandwagon.

At this point, Impolitical is just hoping he does no more harm from here on in....

Hmmm....

Alito wrote a thank you note to a wingnut:
In his first weeks on the Supreme Court, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. sent a note to Dr. James C. Dobson, the influential Christian conservative, thanking him for his support and vowing that "as long as I serve on the Supreme Court, I will keep in mind the trust that has been placed in me," Dr. Dobson said Wednesday in a radio broadcast.
Oh, I'm sure it's all perfectly innocent. We have lots of reasons to just trust the Bush cronies, don't we?

More from those darn troops

Zogby International:
“Ninety-three percent said that removing weapons of mass destruction is not a reason for U.S. troops being there,” said Pollster John Zogby, President and CEO of Zogby International. “Instead, that initial rationale went by the wayside and, in the minds of 68% of the troops, the real mission became to remove Saddam Hussein.”
Interesting snapshot of what the American troops' views on issues are. I particularly enjoyed the fact that 37% of troops surveyed said people in America who favour a rapid withdrawal are "unpatriotic." Nice recognition of free speech and all, gang.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Desperate and out of touch

The 34% man speaks:
He told Vargas he hopes that his presidency, in retrospect, will be viewed as an "agent for peace."
This is why he's at 34%....

A freaking mess

CBC News: Women, believed to be suspects in Mexico murders, deny involvement.
Shortly after the killings, a Mexican attorney general said the killings appeared to be a "professional" premeditated slaying. But he later backtracked, saying there was no evidence.

Mexican police then said that three Canadian women were key suspects in the killings.

The contradictory information coming from Mexican officials has fuelled speculation that blame for the crime is being pinned on foreigners to avoid scaring off tourists from a popular area known as the Mayan Riviera.
If these yahoos think this strategy will help bring foreigners in, they're way off...how many Canadians are going to be up for a junket to a place which has now been fully exposed for its banana republic calibre police investigation capabilities...

The Conservatives seem to be falling down on this one. Peter Van Loan appeared nervous and a bit unsure in the CBC report I saw. Where the heck is the Minister of Foreign Affairs on this? Don't know about you, but can't help but think I'd prefer Bill Graham's experienced presence on this case.