Saturday, June 07, 2003

NEW BUSHISM -- "I'm the master of low expectations."—Aboard Air Force One, June 4, 2003
Thanks, as always, to Slate.
SLATE PROFILES -- John Kerry (D-MA).

Friday, June 06, 2003

DIA CONTRADICTS BUSH ON IRAQI WMD -- From The Agonist via Stratfor comes this: A September 2002 U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report indicated that there was "no reliable information" that proved that Iraq possessed chemical weapons, Bloomberg reported June 6, citing a summary of the report. However, the report did indicate that Iraq probably had stockpiles of chemical agents. "There is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons, or whether Iraq has -- or will establish -- its chemical warfare agent production facilities," the report said. The report also indicated that the DIA believed Iraq had stockpiles of biological agents, but did not have the evidence to prove it. "Iraq is assessed to possess biological agent stockpiles that may be weaponized and ready for use," the report continued. "The size of those stockpiles is uncertain and is subject to debate. The nature and condition of those stockpiles also are unknown." The report, titled "Iraq: Key Weapons Facilities -- An Operational Support Study," was initially detailed in the June 9 edition of U.S. News & World Report.

COMMENT: I also saw this just moments ago on CNN, but can find no evidence of it at CNN.com. I'll keep checking until I find confirmation.
USA TODAY: BUSH TAX CUT IGNORES MANY -- But not the wealthy, you can be damn sure of that. While the middle class and working poor get the shaft, the wealthy interests that have bankrolled Mr Bush's political career are well-cared for.
details of the plan that emerged this week show millions of ''struggling'' taxpayers aren't getting any promised benefits.

Those shortchanged include low-wage individuals and families with children, including members of the U.S. military. The law's fine print also reveals that middle-income families will bear a heavier tax burden because they get less-generous breaks than those making more than $200,000.
...
Among those left out of the tax cut:

* Singles. Some 8.1 million taxpayers would get nothing under the new law, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a think tank that advocates for the poor. Most are unmarried, have no dependents and make less than $14,000 a year. They pay as much as $600 in income taxes, plus Social Security (news - web sites) and Medicare levies. Also denied relief are some singles who have children or care for elderly relatives. Those with two dependents make as much as $54,200 and pay $5,200 in income taxes.

* Working poor. Although the law increases the child tax credit from $600 to $1,000, that doesn't benefit an estimated 6 million working families whose incomes are so low that they don't pay income taxes. Yet these are the very low-wage families that are supposed to be protected by current tax policy so they don't slip back onto welfare rolls. Plans to expand the child tax credit to include them had been in the Senate version of the tax bill, but were dropped to preserve corporate tax-avoidance schemes.
...
Yet some lawmakers in the House want to blow another hole in a deficit headed for a record $400 billion this year. They will help the working poor only if higher-income groups get an additional $100 billion in new tax cuts. And they won't identify spending cuts or new revenue to offset the costs.
Hail to the Thief.
UMEMPLOYMENT UP IN MAY -- Yes, the Bush economy just marches onward and downward.
The nation's unemployment rate climbed to 6.1 percent in May, the highest level in nine years, as businesses cut 17,000 jobs in a weak economy struggling toward recovery.

The rate was up one-tenth of a percentage point from April, peaking at a level not seen since the country was emerging from the last recession, the Labor Department (news - web sites) reported Friday.
There's only one thing to be done about this: Iran must be invaded!

Thursday, June 05, 2003

THE EXECUTIONER IS ALL RIGHT TONIGHT -- Read this story about a Saudi Arabian executioner who has lopped off countless heads with his sword, which was helpfully provided by the government, of course. I think you'll find much of his language very similar to the rantings of our own home-grown religious fanatics. I'll write it again: the Christian fundamentalists in America have far more in common with the Islamic fundamentalists in Arabia than they do with their own fellow citizens.
FOOLED INTO WAR -- Columnist Jay Bookman of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a few words about how the Bush regime deceived the American public into fighting a war for reasons the government was too gutless to reveal.
The claim that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction posed an immediate threat to the United States was a sham. It will still be a sham even if some U.S. Army corporal outside Baghdad is stumbling across tons of anthrax right this very minute.

But don't take my word for it. When worried advocates of the war start claiming that it doesn't really matter whether WMD are found, they're saying the same thing I am:

WMD were just the excuse. They were never the reason. The Bush administration hyped WMD because it did not trust the American people with its true rationale for war, which was the launching of a crusade to remake the Middle East.

Once you've reached that understanding, though, what do you do with it? Here at home, we can -- and, in fact, must -- debate what it means to our democracy to have been fooled into war by our own government.
As I wrote yesterday, no democracy can long survive if its government is permitted to lie about matters of life and death and get away with it.
AL QAEDA AFTER THE BIG STUFF -- While the U.S. is diddling around in Iraq, our most dangerous enemies, Al Qaeda, are quietly but persistently pursuing nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons--the so-called NBC of doomsday machines.
Al-Qaeda is working to acquire biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, the CIA said, as G8 leaders backed a US plan to thwart terrorist attacks involving aircraft and radioactive "dirty bombs."

"Al-Qaeda and associated extremist groups have a wide variety of potential agents and delivery means to choose from for chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attacks," the US Central Intelligence Agency said in a report obtained by AFP Tuesday.

The report -- entitled "Terrorist CBRN: Materials and Effects," referring to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons -- noted that several al-Qaeda-associated groups have tried to carry out attacks in Europe "with easily produced chemicals and toxins best suited to assassination and small-scale scenarios." A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the report contained information that had been available "for years" and was merely intended as a "reference tool."

The unclassified report -- dated May 2003 -- noted that a review of an al-Qaeda document found in Afghanistan last summer "indicates the group has crude procedures for making mustard agent, sarin and VX."
Not only is the Bush regime devoting far too little attention to Al Qaeda, but it is also devoting far too little attention (and treasure) to Homeland Defense, which remains a sick joke. Let's hope the joke isn't on all of us.
RUSSIA, CHINA PLAGUED BY POLLUTION -- As much as 15% of Russia is environmentally devastated, according to President Vladimir Putin, but it appears his government will not sign the Kyoto treaty, which includes new limits on pollution. No wonder President Putin and Mr Bush get along so well.

Meanwhile, in China: China's two biggest waterways are facing an unprecedented pollution crisis with water shortages and the massive Three Gorges Dam threatening to devastate the Yellow and Yangtze rivers, officials said Thursday.
HOWELL RAINES RESIGNS -- New York Times executive editor Howell Raines and managing editor Gerald Boyd resigned today after weeks of battering controversy due to reporter Jayson Blair's fraudulent reporting and another reporter's improper use of the byline. The begs the obvious question: What will Micky Kaus write about now?
SLATE PROFILES -- Florida Senator Bob Graham, a sober and respected public servant who has become the presidential race's most intriguing conspiracy theorist.
BRITS MOVE TO DE-POLITICIZE INTEL AGENCIES -- Stunned by shocking allegations (and the increasing likelihood) that Iraq intelligence was misused by the political authorities in London and Washington to inflame war fever in both countries, the British government and the intelligence agencies have agreed to purify their intercourse and how the intelligence is used and presented to the public.
MI6 and MI5 chiefs have sought the government's assurance that it will never again pass off as official intelligence information which does not come from them.

They are also insisting that any information used by Downing Street claiming to be based on intelligence should be cleared by them first.

Their demands, which the government has bowed to, reflect deep unease in the intelligence community about the government's attempt to use secret information to push its case for military action against Iraq.

Senior officials in the security and intelligence services made it clear that the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq was not as great as ministers suggested.
Le'ts hope the U.S. govenrment will eventually prove equally vigilant against the politicization of the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies. With Mr Bush in the White House and the GOP controlling both houses of Congress, I'm not terribly hopeful at the moment. A new Democratic president, however, must make it a top priority.
THE RETURN OF CLASS WARFARE -- Actually, it never went away, but Michael Kinsley has a superb article on Mr Bush's savage war against the middle class and working poor.
MORE IRAQ CHAOS -- There has been another attack on U.S. soldiers in Fallujah, Iraq. One American soldier is dead and five are wounded after unknown assailants fired a rocket-propelled grenade at our guys. The number of dead since Mr Bush "ended" the Iraq War is starting to pile up.

And via The Agonist comes this cheerful little gem from Stratfor:
"The problem is not, as the administration has argued, that pacifying a country like Iraq takes time. The problem is that the curve does not clearly run in favor of the United States. It's not that things are not getting better fast enough; it's that things are getting worse. Moreover, no one seems to have a clear idea of how to cope with the guerrilla war or eliminate the Shiite threat. At this moment, it would appear that the strategy is to endure both. That's not a great strategy."
Hey, no kidding, Stratfor. Too bad this sort of thing wasn't considered by the U.S. government before the war began. Those who did consider it were treated like cowards and traitors. Expect the chickenhawks to now blame the war doubters for undermining U.S. morale with their "carping" over the situation in Iraq--and the lack of weapons of mass destruction.
BUSH CAUTIOUS ON WMD IN 'HEATHEN' LANDS -- The peacemaking part of his Mideast tour at an end, Mr Bush turned his attention to the far more important matter of public relations, slying over Iraq and trying to identify himself with people willing to do something he never would: fight for the United States of America.
Bush today showed a new caution in his language about Iraq's chemical and biological weapons when he spoke to hundreds of camouflage-clad troops this morning at the forward headquarters of the United States Central Command, where Gen. Tommy Franks ran the war. He omitted his previous claim that such weapons will be found, although his aides still predict they will be.
Fortunately, the military prepared the troops for Mr Bush, with this unusual admonition:
Sgt. Major Dwight Brown told the troops before Bush's appearance, "I don't want any damn catcalls from the crowd. We have the president of the United States coming to tell us what a great job we did destroying those heathen up in northern Iraq."
Heathens? Is that what they're teaching the troops over there? What is this, the 18th century?
BUSH ECONOMY STUMBLES BACKWARD -- The Dow Jones has been moving upward lately, overinterpreting a few pieces of economic news that are less bad than what we've gotten used to. In other words, the market is poised for a fall. Now it gets its excuse: bad unemployment and manufacturing numbers.
The number of American workers filing new claims for jobless benefits climbed to a five-week high last week as companies coped with an economy that is struggling to get back on firm footing.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that new applications for unemployment insurance rose by a seasonally adjusted 16,000 to 442,000 for the work week ending May 31. The increase pushed claims to their highest level since the week ending April 26.

In another report, orders to U.S. factories fell 2.9 percent in April from March, marking the largest decline in 17 months, the Commerce Department said. The decrease was a lot deeper than the 1.8 percent drop economists were forecasting.

Manufacturing, which has slashed jobs and cut production, has been a major trouble spot for the economy.
Right about now Karl Rove must be thinking it's time for another invasion.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

SPURS IN 6 -- Book it.
IT'S FUNNY 'CAUSE IT'S TRUE -- Behold the Bush regime's candidates to replace Christine Todd Whitman at the Environmental Protection Agency.
THE MAN WHO WOULD BE PRESIDENT -- I mean, the man who should be president.
IS BILL FRIST RETIRING IN 2006? -- Daily Kos alerted me to this story about the possible retirement of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN). Why would Senator Frist be retiring after 2006 and what evidence is there that he's planning to do it? Well, for one thing, Republicans like Congressman Zach Wamp (R-TN) are already seriously raising money to run for the Senate that year. Why would someone like Rep. Wamp give up a safe seat in the House to run in the primaries against a popular Senator like Bill Frist? Answer: He almost certainly would not. That means Republicans, like Wamp and others, think Senator Frist's seat will be open that year. As for why he would do such a thing, my bet is that Senator Frist, like most occupants of that debating chamber, views himself as president-to-be. Noting how being Majority Leader of the Senate crippled Bob Dole's campaign for president in 1996, stepping down in 2006 in preparation for a 2008 run at the White House would make sense.
WOLFOWITZ: OIL MADE IRAQ WAR NECESSARY -- Paul Wolfowitz, the #2 man in the Pentagon and notorious uber-neocon hawk, has committed the sin of what journalist Michael Kinsley called inadvertenly telling the truth. At an Asia security conference in Singapore this past weekend, Mr Wolfowitz told the delegates that oil made the Iraq War necessary.
Asked why a nuclear power such as North Korea was being treated differently from Iraq, where hardly any weapons of mass destruction had been found, the deputy defence minister said: "Let's look at it simply. The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil."
...
His latest comments follow his widely reported statement from an interview in Vanity Fair last month, in which he said that "for reasons that have a lot to do with the US government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on: weapons of mass destruction."
The truth is slowly coming out. Drip drip drip.
MARTHA STEWART HAS BEEN INDICTED... -- ...for alleged securities fraud and obstruction of justice. If you care.
BUSH REGIME COMPROMISES INTEGRITY OF OUR SPOOKS -- On May 30, 2003, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff wrote a sensational column about how the Bush regime has violated the precious integrity of our intelligence services by demanding false, misleading, and incomplete information about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and ties to Al Qaeda. This column is important enough, I think, to include here in its entirety. Read it all.

On Day 71 of the Hunt for Iraqi W.M.D., yesterday, once again nothing turned up.

Maybe we'll do better on Day 72. But we might have better luck searching for something just as alarming: the growing evidence that the administration grossly manipulated intelligence about those weapons of mass destruction in the runup to the Iraq war.

A column earlier this month on this issue drew a torrent of covert communications from indignant spooks who say that administration officials leaned on them to exaggerate the Iraqi threat and deceive the public.

"The American people were manipulated," bluntly declares one person from the Defense Intelligence Agency who says he was privy to all the intelligence there on Iraq. These people are coming forward because they are fiercely proud of the deepest ethic in the intelligence world — that such work should be nonpolitical — and are disgusted at efforts to turn them into propagandists.

"The Al Qaeda connection and nuclear weapons issue were the only two ways that you could link Iraq to an imminent security threat to the U.S.," notes Greg Thielmann, who retired in September after 25 years in the State Department, the last four in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. "And the administration was grossly distorting the intelligence on both things."

The outrage among the intelligence professionals is so widespread that they have formed a group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, that wrote to President Bush this month to protest what it called "a policy and intelligence fiasco of monumental proportions."

"While there have been occasions in the past when intelligence has been deliberately warped for political purposes," the letter said, "never before has such warping been used in such a systematic way to mislead our elected representatives into voting to authorize launching a war."

Ray McGovern, a retired C.I.A. analyst who briefed President Bush's father in the White House in the 1980's, said that people in the agency were now "totally demoralized." He says, and others back him up, that the Pentagon took dubious accounts from émigrés close to Ahmad Chalabi and gave these tales credibility they did not deserve.

Intelligence analysts often speak of "humint" for human intelligence (spies) and "sigint" for signals intelligence (wiretaps). They refer contemptuously to recent work as "rumint," or rumor intelligence.

"I've never heard this level of alarm before," said Larry Johnson, who used to work in the C.I.A. and State Department. "It is a misuse and abuse of intelligence. The president was being misled. He was ill served by the folks who are supposed to protect him on this. Whether this was witting or unwitting, I don't know, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt."

Some say that top Pentagon officials cast about for the most sensational nuggets about Iraq and used them to bludgeon Colin Powell and seduce President Bush. The director of central intelligence, George Tenet, has been generally liked and respected within the agency ranks, but in the last year, particularly in the intelligence directorate, people say that he has kowtowed to Donald Rumsfeld and compromised the integrity of his own organization.

"We never felt that there was any leadership in the C.I.A. to qualify or put into context the information available," one veteran said. "Rather there was a tendency to feed the most alarming tidbits to the president. Often it's the most ill-considered information that goes to the president.

"So instead of giving the president the most considered, carefully examined information available, basically you give him the garbage. And then in a few days when it's clear that maybe it wasn't right, well then, you feed him some more hot garbage."

The C.I.A. is now examining its own record, and that's welcome. But the atmosphere within the intelligence community is so poisonous, and the stakes are so high — for the credibility of America's word and the soundness of information on which we base American foreign policy — that an outside examination is essential.

Congress must provide greater oversight, and President Bush should invite Brent Scowcroft, the head of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and a man trusted by all sides, to lead an inquiry and, in a public report, suggest steps to restore integrity to America's intelligence agencies.
"WHAT WE LOST..." -- "Blackhawk Down" author Mark Bowden, a bis supporter of the Iraq War, believes he was duped by the Bush regime and he isn't happy about it. What's more, he doesn't think you should be happy about it either.
I trusted Bush, and unless something big develops on the weapons front in Iraq soon, it appears as though I was fooled by him. Perhaps he himself was taken in by his intelligence and military advisers. If so, he ought to be angry as hell, because ultimately he bears the responsibility.

It suggests a strain of zealotry in this White House that regards the question of war as just another political debate. It isn't. More than 100 fine Americans were killed in this conflict, dozens of British soldiers, and many thousands of Iraqis. Nobody gets killed or maimed in Capitol Hill maneuvers over spending plans, or battles over federal court appointments. War is a special case. It is the most serious step a nation can take, and it deserves the highest measure of seriousness and integrity.

When a president lies or exaggerates in making an argument for war, when he spins the facts to sell his case, he betrays his public trust, and he diminishes the credibility of his office and our country. We are at war. What we lost in this may yet end up being far more important than what we gained.
Mr Bowden has got it right. An administration that is permitted to lie about the most important issues of life and death and get away with it will only reward our scandalous tolerance with more lies. And more lies. And it sends a signal to all future administrations that the public no longer expects or even wants honesty on the most critical issues of the day. No democracy can survive such disinterest and cynicism for long.
YOUR DAILY DOONESBURY -- Mystery Martyr is a girl.
SLATE PROFILES... -- Congressman Richard Gephadt.
FORMER ARMY CHIEF RAPS BUSH OVER IRAQ -- Thomas White, former Army Chief/Enron swindler/Bushista is giving his old bosses in the regime a good whacking, saying Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, et. al. are not facing the fact that the U.S. is headed for a long and costly occupation of Iraq.
''This is not what they were selling (before the war),'' White said, describing how senior Defense officials downplayed the need for a large occupation force. ''It's almost a question of people not wanting to 'fess up to the notion that we will be there a long time and they might have to set up a rotation and sustain it for the long term.''
Why didn't this guy ever say anything this smart when he was actually in a position to affect policy?
MAUREEN DOWD ON THE 'BOMB AND SWITCH' -- Great news! Maureen Dowd wrote a good column instead of just a witty column. She paid attention to provable facts and stayed away from psychological theorizing.
Before 9/11, the administration had too little intelligence on Al Qaeda, badly coordinated by clashing officials.

Before the Iraq invasion, the administration had too much intelligence on Saddam, torqued up by conspiring officials.

As Secretary of State Colin Powell prepared to make his case for invading Iraq to the U.N. on Feb. 5, a friend of his told me, he had to throw out a couple of hours' worth of sketchy intelligence other Bush officials were trying to stuff into his speech.

U.S. News & World Report reveals this week that when Mr. Powell was rehearsing the case with two dozen officials, he became so frustrated by the dubious intelligence about Saddam that he tossed several pages in the air and declared: "I'm not reading this. This is $%&*#."

First America has no intelligence. Then it has $%&*# intelligence.

So this is progress?
Think she's being too harsh? Consider this:
When James Woolsey, the former C.I.A. director and current Pentagon adviser, appeared on "Nightline" five days after 9/11 and suggested that America had to strike Iraq for sponsoring terrorism, Ted Koppel rebutted: "Nobody right now is suggesting that Iraq had anything to do with this. In fact, quite the contrary."

Mr. Woolsey replied: "I don't think it matters. I don't think it matters."
BUSH SHORT-CHANGES HOMELAND DEFENSE -- How long will the Bush regime continue to get credit for doing something they are not: providing adequate security for the homeland?
The Bush administration has won a reputation for toughness by claiming sweeping surveillance authority and broad emergency powers to detain citizens and foreign nationals without judicial approval. But when money is needed, homeland counter-terrorism priorities repeatedly take a back seat to the president's tax-cutting agenda.

Last year, Congress appropriated millions to enhance airport security, FBI counter-terrorism technology and protection of the food and water supply. But in August, President Bush froze the bulk of these funds, stressing the need for ''fiscal restraint.'' Obviously, cutting taxes cuts revenue.
A few people are catching on. When will the rest.
BUSH TO BUSY FOR MIDEAST DETAILS -- Mr Bush is careening through the Mideast right now, searching for an end to the violence that has plagued that region for years. But does Bush really have the patience and insight to make this work? Even some of his own aides say he does not.

"He does not have the knowledge or the patience to learn this issue enough to have an end destination in mind," said one administration official who has pushed for more decisive U.S. action.

That's just one of the many scary points in the article. Read it all.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

PROFILES IN SOMETHING -- Slate is profiling all the Democratic candidates for president. First up are Vermont Governor Howard Dean and North Carolina Senator John Edwards. The rest will follow.
RESCUING DOGS AND PEOPLE -- Slate has an interesting article on rescued dogs and the people who rescue them. It's an interesting piece. I'm not sure I agree with all the pop psychology the author uses, but some legitimate points are made--especially the one that dogs, all dogs, need and yearn to be trained.
LATEST BUSHISM -- Thanks to Slate, as always.
"Oftentimes, we live in a processed world—you know, people focus on the process and not results."
—Washington, D.C., May 29, 2003
KARL ROVE SHOULD KEEP HIS EYE ON THIS -- Compassionate conservatism in action.
WAR ON TERROR AT HOME HAS 'SIGNIFICANT PROBLEMS' -- An inspector general from the U.S. Department of Justice has found "significant problems" in the Bush regime's handling of the detention of 762 foreigners held captive by the United States after the 9/11/01 terror attacks. Only one of those 752, Zacarias Moussaoui--the alleged '20th bomber'--has been charged with a terror-related crime.
The inspector general, Glenn A. Fine, said conditions for some detainees were "unduly harsh."

Private lawyers bristled over living conditions imposed for what is commonly considered a civil crime: residing in the United States in violation of immigration laws.

"They shouldn't have been in maximum security, shouldn't have been in leg shackles," said Jeanne Butterfield, executive director for the Washington-based American Immigration Lawyers Association. "In normal circumstances, they wouldn't even be imprisoned."

Dozens of the detainees were forced to walk in leg irons when they were rarely permitted outside their cells and allowed to call their embassies or family members only once each month. Some defense lawyers visiting facilities were turned away, told untruthfully that their clients weren't inside.

The inspector general also identified a "pattern of physical and verbal abuse" by guards, who were accused of slamming prisoners against walls and walking on their leg chains. Three detainees reported that guards told them, "You will feel pain," and "Someone thinks you have something to do with the World Trade Center, so don't expect to be treated well."
Mark my words, this will one day be seen as a major disgrace for this country. Just as the detention of Japanese-Americans during World War 2 is now regarded as an outrage, this will one day be correctly regarded as a time when the government went mad, the media was negligent, and the people only too willing to countenance serious human rights violations if it made them feel safer.
CIA: SADDAM "ALIVE AND WELL"...IN BAGHDAD -- The CIA has internal documents that make clear Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is alive and hiding in greater Baghdad, protected by an underground resistance network of tribesmen and former Baath officials, administration officials told United Press International.

"There is a resistance network and it is stronger than we originally thought," one administration source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Saddam is moving around inside Iraq and he's got a lot of support," another U.S. government official said.
SENATE MOVES AGAINST NEW FCC RULE -- A bipartisan group of Senators are already working to pass legislation that will override the new FCC rule allowing media companies to own radio and television stations that reach more than 35% of the national audience.
The three Republican members of the Federal Communications Commission voted earlier Monday against their two Democrat colleagues to raise the limit to 45 percent as part of a wider easing of decades-old media ownership rules.

But Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi told a news conference there was no partisanship in Senate opposition to the new cap.

"A lot of Republicans, in fact, probably most of the Republicans in Congress, would not agree with this decision," said Lott, the former Republican leader of the Senate.
In addition, Senators DeWine (R-OH) and Kohl (D-WI) plan to hold hearings in the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee (DeWine is Chair and Kol is ranking minority member) to examine the implications on competition of the new FCC rule.

I'll be interested to see if these moves catch on in the House. The FCC rule blatantly violates the spirit of competition in the media marketplace and will encourage only larger and larger mergers of already gigantic media companies. Who will suffer? The public, of course, and especially liberals, who will see their voices drowned out in a sea of corporate sameness.
DEFENDING YOUR COUNTRY -- Ever wonder about the quality of the people the Bush regime has installed at the Department of Homeland Security? Well, wonder no more. Laura L. Callahan, now senior director in the office of department Chief Information Officer Steven Cooper, states on her professional biography that she “holds a Ph.D. in Computer Information Systems from Hamilton University.”
Diploma mills and their potential for fraud were the subject of an inquiry by the General Accounting Office at the request of Sen. Susan M. Collins (R-Maine), who now chairs the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. In a November 2002 report, GAO described how it purchased bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Collins’ name from Degrees-R-Us of Las Vegas. It referred the matter to the Federal Trade Commission. An aide to Collins on Monday said the senator would have a comment later in the week.
Makes you feel all warm and safe inside, doesn't it? At least Ms Callahan probably got more out of her education than Mr Bush did.

Monday, June 02, 2003

MORE GREAT NEWS FROM IRAQ -- I'm not sure the Bush regime will really want to run on the Iraq War in 2004, but what else will they have?
Thousands of sacked Iraqi soldiers threatened Monday to launch suicide attacks against U.S. troops as leaders of the country's squabbling tribes told the Americans they could face war if they did not leave soon. The country is becoming a pit of anti-American resentment and violence.

"The entire Iraqi people is a time bomb that will blow up in the Americans' face if they don't end their occupation. We refuse to deal with the occupation," tribal leader Riyadh al- Asadi told Reuters after meeting a senior U.S. official for talks on the future of Iraq after Saddam Hussein.
All Democratic candidates need to be ready to run on this issue in 2004 if the situation in Iraq has not drastically improved.