Thursday, November 30, 2006

Do Nothing Iraq Study Group

Another blast from the past. Following six years of a do-nothing Congress we will soon learn we also have a do nothing Iraq Study Group.

Many in the know believe the ISG is nothing more than a mere damage control device for the Bush Administration and the Bush family legacy. When one considers that some of the players are retreads from the Iran Contra era, it should give one pause. What are they trying to protect this time? Money of course. And then what?

The Bush’s will go down in history as the despicable and incompetent folks they truly are. Even Jimmy Boy Baker won’t be able to fix this mess for Daddy and Junior, no matter how hard the family consigliore tries, beats, bullies and bribes.

Below are stories one will not likely see in the mainstream media, at least for a week. LS

From Common



The group's composition gives the game away. Chaired by James Baker, the famed political operative and former secretary of state, and Lee Hamilton, former congressman and fixture on various blue-ribbon commissions, it contains no one who could be even remotely described as entertaining unorthodox opinions or maverick tendencies.

Instead, it consists of Beltway luminaries such as retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and lobbyist Vernon Jordan. No member is now an elected official. Neither do its ranks include any Iraq war veterans, family members of soldiers killed in Iraq, or anyone identified with the antiwar movement. None possesses specialized knowledge of Islam or the Middle East.

Charging this crowd with assessing the Iraq war is like convening a committee of Roman Catholic bishops to investigate the church's clergy sex-abuse scandal. Even without explicit instructions, the group's members know which questions not to ask and which remedies not to advance. Sadly, the average Catholic's traditional deference to the church hierarchy finds its counterpart in the average American's deference to "experts" when it comes to foreign policy. The ISG exemplifies the result: a befuddled, but essentially passive-electorate looks for guidance to a small group of unelected insiders reflecting a narrow range of views and operating largely behind closed doors.

"Iraq Panel's Real Agenda: Damage Control"



The author, Mr. Michael Hirsh suggests the group's findings are doomed, in part, because W. will ignore any plans that are not in synch with his neocon ideology. For one thing, Bush will refuse to meet with “evil doers” in Iran and Syria. Additionally, Mr. Hirsh writes that the study group will “fudge” on the issue of troop strength and withdrawal, which means many officials in both Iraq and Washington will dismiss the report as soon as it is issued. Senator Biden has already said he will hold hearings on Iraq as soon as the 110th Congress convenes when he takes over the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Mr. Hirsh says this group is practicing the worst kind of cover-your-backside-politics in Washington. I could not agree more. Plain ol' rotten begets plain ol' rotten. LS



As far as I am concerned, the first fatal mistake was made in 2000 when the Supreme Court visited this monster called W. upon us. LS



Ken sent this great article written by Sidney Blumenthal for today. Adios Rove. LS

From Ken:

Nothing is certain at this point in terms of where the country goes after 11/7/06, but in this article Sidney Blumenthal looks at the possibilities.

Here's a very gee-whiz fact for you: The Democratic advantage over Republicans in state legislatures went from 15 seats (3,650 versus 3,635) to 662 seats (3,985 versus 3,323), with gains in every region. Who knew? That's a very big deal.

And here's very good news for Progressives. Back in the 60's we were always aware that the Democrats had a deal with the devil, in that the powerful Southern Dems in congress were necessary to keeping the majority, but were completely opposed to the progressive ideals that embodied the Democratic party, such as voting rights and civil rights. In fact, it took a Southern Democrat, LBJ, to force these things through congress, and in doing so he had to admit that the Democrats had lost the South. But now, as Blumenthal points out below, "In January, when the 110th Congress is sworn in, it will be the first Congress since the 83rd Republican Congress (swept into office on Eisenhower's coattails) in which the majority party in both chambers is a minority party in the South. While there will be Southerners in the Democratic Congress, their presence is not that of a unitary bloc threatening progressive legislation." -K


Monday, November 20, 2006


I noticed an interesting new noun and verb combo while viewing CNN last week when Jack Cafferty aired his solicited comments on “The Situation Room” news segment about the dormant Congressional Ethics Committee.
The new word is an interesting one because it is brutally honest, in my humble opinion. It is “republicants”

History and experience have proven the Republi-can’ts do winnable wars, manage natural national disasters, keep their noses out of our bedrooms or health-life decisions about whether one’s loved one should continue to live or not in a vegetative state. Nor can Republi-can’ts work for the people who elected them, especially the middle class They have demonstrated they can work for the extremely wealthy, lobbyists and corporate interests. Worse, recent indictments and trials have given us sneak previews of how the GOP certainly cannot keep its hands out of the cookie jar, either.

The fact that we have a non-functioning and non-engaged Ethics Committee should tell us the obvious. There has been no government oversight whatsoever for years. This is bad news in era pervaded by insidious corruption, glaring ineptitude and one party rule. Will there be a crumb left in the cookie jar? I am beginning to wonder.

W’s. approval rating is at 31% and Cheney says it does not matter that Democrats have taken over the Senate and House. The Bush/Cheney strategy (or lack thereof except for the fact that Iraq is a great money making opportunity for Halliburton) will not change. Such spiteful arrogance and who-gives-a-flip-what-voters-think attitude smells like a dictatorial soup to me. It does not matter what the majority of Americans want. The B and C team are calling the shots.

For six long and very dark years these two goons have been enabled and supported by spineless rubberstamps in both the House and Senate. Fortunately the Democrats are back in town and they will usher in a return to checks, balances and oversight. Our federal government will be returned to its healthy and fully functioning role as intended by our founding fathers.



The corruption in Iraq is as rampart and pervasive as it is here at home. Sadly for Jane and Joe America the billions lost is our hard earned tax dollars. Ken sent this disturbing but not surprising piece from the London Sunday Times Online yesterday.


Stoffel, a former intelligence analyst, had hoped to make a fortune by selling ex-Soviet military parts to refit Saddam Hussein’s abandoned tanks and armoured vehicles for the new Iraqi army. But he was also an idealist who turned whistleblower when he learnt that Iraqis in the defence ministry and arms industry expected huge kickbacks for their help.

In a prophetic e-mail, Stoffel wrote to an American colonel he knew in Iraq: “If we proceed down the road we are currently on, there will be serious legal issues that will land us all in jail. There is no oversight of the money and if/when something goes wrong, regardless of how clean our hands are, heads will roll and it will be the heads of those that are reachable, and the people who are supposed to know better (US — citizens, military etc.)”

Three days before his death he met John Shaw, then a senior Pentagon official, whose office was investigating fraud in Iraq. Shaw describes the Stoffel case as “the first public indication of the seriousness and institutional depth of corruption in Iraq”. Shaw is convinced that “in time, we will discover a pervasive pattern of cover-ups along with revelations of corruption”.



It comes as no surprise to me that the GOP must steal elections in order to stay in power. This piece on the 2006 stolen landslide can be found on the Election Defense web site.



Bush’s buddies can’t seem to put enough distance between themselves and W. Too bad, so sad dudes. Reasoned and rational Democrats tried to warn you about the B and C team ideologues. Did you listen? Alas no. You instead savaged and spurned the messengers of truth. The GOP blame game begins in earnest.

Ken sent this piece from The Washington Post.


Forty-three months later, the cakewalk looks more like a death march, and Adelman has broken with the Bush team. He had an angry falling-out with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld this fall. He and Cheney are no longer on speaking terms. And he believes that "the president is ultimately responsible" for what Adelman now calls "the debacle that was Iraq."

Adelman, a former Reagan administration official and onetime member of the Iraq war brain trust, is only the latest voice from inside the Bush circle to speak out against the president or his policies. Heading into the final chapter of his presidency, fresh from the sting of a midterm election defeat, Bush finds himself with fewer and fewer friends. Some of the strongest supporters of the war have grown disenchanted, former insiders are registering public dissent and Republicans on Capitol Hill blame him for losing Congress.



This woman is a dermatologist who obviously lacks a proper bedside manner. I wouldn’t want to be down under and asleep while she wielded a scalpel. Don’t’ miss the love fest between her, Bush and the adoring rubberstamp numero uno Senator Hutchison in the Houston Chronicle’s photo.


Thursday, November 09, 2006


I had to pinch myself all day yesterday to make sure I was not dreaming. We did it, America! We threw the bums out! We took back our House and Senate! After six long years of darkness and despair, we went to the polls and exerted our power to fire corrupted, incompetent, morally reprehensible and lazy lawmakers. No amount of GOP gerrymandering, dirty tricks, rigged machines, voter suppression and intimidation kept us from exercising our constitutional right to be heard. We stood firm for the nation our founding fathers had established. Future generations will thank us for putting the brakes on the Bush Administration. Volumes will most likely be written about this era of darkness. Absolute volumes.

There are so many to thank in helping us achieve this amazing outcome, it not miracle. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Air America Radio for letting the voice of freedom ring loud and clear. This was so crucial during the time when Bush deception and spin could confuse and manipulate even the most sage and reasoned. The press and media naturally get an F, but after it became apparent Iraq is a fiasco and the seemingly endless scandals continued to erupt from the Party of Corruption, journalists had finally begun to smell the stench spewing from the sewer.

Huge kudos to the genius of Howard Dean, Rahm Emanuel and Chuck Schumer whose campaign strategies were obviously a smashing success.

Bold on line news organizations, blogs and bloggers such as The Huffington Post, Raw, Buzz, the Brad Blog,,,, Daily Kos, Move, to name a few, were and are still are my lifelines for information. Mainstream newspapers such as The New York Times and Washington Post had finally awakened from its post 9/11 slumber and returned to the business of reporting the news, even if the news is critical of the Bush Administration.

Lou Dobbs of CNN bravely and doggedly exposed the GOP’s cynical and inept policies on his show through his “War On The Middle Class” and “Our Broken Borders” series. John King did the same with his expose on “Our Broken Government.”

Keith Olbermann is the first mainstream cable news anchor who possessed the courage to stridently and routinely inform his viewers about Bush’s deplorable tactics and outright lies on a number of levels. Colossal thanks to gifted comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. These comedians ironically behave more as news anchors than some of the “real” and professional news people. Stewart and Colbert make us laugh as we learn how bad things really are in a country driven by Bush radical and neoconservative ideology.

Thanks, too, to those who had served in the Bush Administration, such as Paul O’Neill and Richard Clarke for exposing their grim and troubling experiences by writing or having books written (“The Price of Loyalty,” and “Against All Enemies”). These men, both Republicans, got the boot for refusing to put politics ahead of policy.

No amount of spin, lies, distortion, departures from reality, fear, smear, propaganda machines such as Fox News, Rush and the other right wing scream machines, money and power could prevent us from knowing the truth. We threw the bums out while we still had the constitutional right to do so. Cheney’s probable secret dream to wrest our right to vote from us somehow is now toast.

Most of all, mammoth thanks to every campaign volunteer whether one stuffed envelopes, block walked, organized events, donated money, drove folks to the polls, made phone calls, wrote letters to newspaper editors or blogged for a candidate.

It is we the little people who make the seemingly impossible possible. 79 million of us voted on Tuesday. The GOP harassing and deceitful robocalls, intimidation in Virginia and other places, the long lines, the chaos with voting machines in some areas and foul weather in others did not deter us. We did what we knew we had to do.


Sunday, November 05, 2006


I honestly don’t know why anyone with even a half of a brain would vote for any Republican. They have been in power for 12 years and what do they have to show for it? 9/11 happened under their watch. The party can scream, vent, rant, blame Bill, fabricate, attack, twist and distort reality all they want but bottom line, 9/11 happened on Bush’s and the Republican’s watch.

Next Bush and his spineless rubber stamping Republican Congress invade the wrong country for bogus reasons. We have to stay the course until weeks prior to the election and suddenly there is no course to stay. Clueless and/or lazy Senators, including Hutchison failed to read the intelligence and fixated instead on Saddam the boogie man and make believe WMD.

Meanwhile, back in the mountains, the Taliban are regrouping in the area we should have focused on in the first place – Afghanistan. Osama is freely frolicking in the mountains, most likely between his old digs in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Halliburton and KBR are probably the only clowns on the planet who are happy about the war in Iraq. They are laughing all the way to the bank.

This party of pimps led by Tom Delay enabled the likes of Abramoff to corrupt and soil our government. It has allowed a homosexual predator to prey upon young male pages. The party of quintessential hypocrites that preach the virtues of family values and rail against gay marriage now reveal that one of its very own outspoken evangelical religious leaders routinely consorted with a drug using male prostitute.

We have seen how well this party of ineptitude has performed when our nation was hit by Katrina. We got the message: go it alone.

The party of greed mongers is so embedded with corporate interests that it no longer works for we the people.

Texas senior Senator Hutchison is a prime example. As I mentioned in a previous diary, she is the biggest recipient of oil and gas money in Congress. Take a peek at her voting record where oil and gas issues are concerned and learn how it works in the Republican cesspool called Washington.

No on $3.1 billion for emergency oil assistance for hurricane hit areas (10/05).
No on reducing oil usage by 40% by 2025 (6/05)
No on banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (3/05)
No on removing consideration of drilling ANWR from budget bill (3/03)
Yes on terminating CAFE standards within 15 months (3/02)
Yes on de-funding renewal and solar energy (6/99)
No on including oil & gas smokestacks in mercury regulations (9/05)
No on repealing tax subsidy for companies which move US jobs offshore. (3/05)

Now, how does Senator Hutchison vote on issues that directly impact her constituents?

On Jobs:

No on raising the minimum wage to $7.25 rather than $6.25 (3/05)
Yes on killing an increase in the minimum wage (11/99)
Yes on repealing Clinton’s ergonomic rules on repetitive stress (3/01)

On Crime:

No on $1.15 billion per year to continue the COPS program (5/99)
Yes on limiting product liability punitive damage awards (3/96)
Yes on restricting class-action lawsuits (12/95)

On Education:

No on $5B for grants to local educational agencies (10/05)
No on shifting $11B for corporate tax loopholes to education (3/05)
No on spending $448B of tax cut on education and debt reduction
Yes on $75M for abstinence education

On Healthcare:

No on negotiating bulk purchases for Medicare prescription drugs (3/05)
No on allowing reimportation of Rx drugs from Canada (7/02)
No on allowing patients to sue HMO’s and collect punitive damages (6/01)
No on including prescription drugs under Medicare.
No on increasing tobacco restrictions (6/98)

On Government Reform:

Yes on allowing lobbyist gifts to Congress (3/06)
No on establishing the Senate Office of Public Integrity (3/06)
No on banning soft money contributions and restricting issue ads (2/02)

Military, War and Peace Issues:

No on $47B for military by repealing capital gains tax cut (2/06)
No on redeployment of troops out of Iraq by July 2007 (6/06)
No on investigating award contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan (11/05)

There you have it. It is obvious who Senator Hutchison works for.

Not only does the senior Senator fail to work for Texans, her voting record tells me she doesn’t like us very much either.



Donations: KBH DONORS

Thank goodness we have such an awesome choice this election in Texas. Vote for a cynical do nothing rubber stamp, Bush, and oil loving Senator or vote for a jewel of a candidate who will bring real and desperately needed change to Washington. We need to take our government back from the Republicans who have failed us so miserably over the past twelve years.

Barbara Ann Radnofsky is brilliant. No one owns her. She would actually read the intelligence reports. Imagine that. She would read every piece of legislation, too. As a lawyer, Barbara Ann is used to complex language and its nuances. As a professional mediator, Radnofsky would naturally reach across the aisle and work with her colleagues the way our elected officials are supposed to. It is time to send a woman of substance and quality to Washington to do the work of we the people.