31 October 2005

The promise fulfilled

Happy Halloween. Anyone scared, yet?

The more that comes out about "Scalito," it looks like you should be.

Dear Leader has grudgingly stopped handing out his loyalty door-prizes and given the Evangeliban the red-meat nominee he "owed" them for re-electing him to his appointment: Samuel Alito. Troubling opinions abound, but I think this might be my favorite (so far). Thanks, Think Progress:
"In Doe v. Groody, Alito argued that police officers had not violated constitutional rights when they strip searched a mother and her ten-year-old daughter while carrying out a search warrant that authorized only the search of a man and his home." (Doe v. Groody, 2004)
The thrust of Alito's dissenting argument, went something like this: because police repeatedly asked to search occupants of the house in their affadavit requesting the warrant, "Under the circumstances, the 'commonsense and realistic' reading of the warrant is that it authorized a search of all occupants of the premises. It seems quite clear that the magistrate intended to authorize a search of all occupants of the premises" even though the warrant only mentioned the targeted individual.

Sorry, Sammy. "It should've been in there, since the police asked for it; therefore, it's not unconstitutional," doesn't cut it as long as the fourth amendment still exists. Try to paper over it however you want, it was a glaring, yet easily caught and remedied error that was allowed to slip through by both the magistrate and the D.A.

Alone, is it enough to disqualify him? Probably not. But it most definitely supports those who see Alito as having a particularly troubling approach to the law. Further, it reveals the conservative hew and cry against alleged "judicial activism" to be the empty sham that it is; Alito's backers obviously have no problem with expansive, so-called "activist," interpretations...if they agree with them. Slate nailed it this morning:
Best of all for Bush's base, Alito is the kind of "restrained" jurist who isn't above striking down acts of Congress whenever they offend him. Bush noted this morning: "He has a deep understanding of the proper role of judges in our society. He understands that judges are to interpret the laws, not to impose their preferences or priorities on the people."

Except, of course, that Alito doesn't think Congress has the power to regulate machine-gun possession, or to broadly enforce the Family and Medical Leave Act, or to enact race or gender discrimination laws that might be effective in remedying race and gender discrimination, or to tackle monopolists. Alito thus neatly joins the ranks of right-wing activists in the battle to limit the power of Congress and diminish the efficacy of the judiciary.
Not a week after the "presidential nominees deserve an up-or-down vote," crowd poleaxed Harriet Miers, another allegedly bedrock conviction gets tossed aside as soon as it proves inconvenient. Imagine that, the shameless hypocrites of the right proving, once again, that no belief is above compromise.

The only thing more pathetic is the "liberal" MSM that still can't bring itself to call them on any of it.

The ghost of fitzmas past

Libby gets indicted and falls on his sword, Rove remains under investigation and people think it's a clear sign that nothing illegal happened. The fact that anyone is treating this as some sort of exoneration shows their deep commitment to willful blindness when it comes to wrongdoing in this administration. Fitzgerald had the opportunity to come down hard, and, in no uncertain terms, call 'bullshit' on this ridiculous BushCo talking point, but veered off on some godawful, "block-the-umpire's-view" baseball analogy.

Fitzy, Fitzy, might be a pit-bull prosecutor, but as a speaker, you're for crap. (Be damned if I can figure out how you managed to combine those together).

Leave the folksy explanations aside, and be the staight shooter we were told you were: Where we're at right now, key figures are believed to have obstructed the investigation. The inability to levy other charges is a fairly natural result of people deliberately interfering with the investigative process, not proof that those individuals did no wrong.

28 October 2005

What'd I say? What'd...I...say?

Stick a fork in her.
Miers Withdraws Supreme Court Nomination

By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent
4 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination to be a Supreme Court justice Thursday in the face of stiff opposition and mounting criticism about her qualifications.

President Bush said he reluctantly accepted her decision to withdraw, after weeks of insisting that he did not want her to step down. He blamed her withdrawal on calls in the Senate for the release of internal White House documents that the administration has insisted were protected by executive privilege.

"It is clear that senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House — disclosures that would undermine a president's ability to receive candid counsel," Bush said. "Harriet Miers' decision demonstrates her deep respect for this essential aspect of the constitutional separation of powers — and confirms my deep respect and admiration for her."

Miers' surprise withdrawal stunned Washington on a day when the capital was awaiting news on another front — the possible indictment of senior White House aides in the CIA leak case.

Miers told the president she was withdrawing at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. In her letter dated Thursday, Miers said she was concerned that the confirmation process "would create a burden for the White House and our staff that is not in the best interest of the country."

She noted that members of the Senate had indicated their intention to seek documents about her service in the White House in order to judge whether to support her nomination to the Supreme Court. "I have been informed repeatedly that in lieu of records, I would be expected to testify about my service in the White House to demonstrate my experience and judicial philosophy," she wrote.

"While I believe that my lengthy career provides sufficient evidence for consideration of my nomination, I am convinced the efforts to obtain Executive Branch materials and information will continue."
No doubt the Miers meltdown was the smallest ring in the circus this nomination is turning into. Even less in doubt is that the next pick will see Dear Leader tossing his fundie base the red meat they're snapping and slavering for.

Screw the clowns, send in the wingnuts.

Of course, rather than call out the real architects of the Meirs mire--the aforementioned fundie social crusaders and sex police--Chimpy blamed the Senate for asking too many of those pesky qualification questions, again. Not very bright, considering, as a second termer, he needs support from senators far more than from Dobson, Perkins, and their minions. Further, if he gives the Talibangelicals the ideologue they were "promised," he's asking those senators to move away from center while they're looking down the barrel of the off-year election battles. Popular opinion of BushCo being what it is, does anyone think they really want to wagon train with that travelling salvation show?

Old habits die hard, unfortunately; we very well might find ourselves in the midst of the nuclear option showdown, part two. With any luck, the quiet quacking sound that started shortly after Miers handed in her withdrawal letter means that the time for the hubris-laden power plays that we've grown accustomed to over the past five years, has passed.

26 October 2005

Harriet Miers is done; D-U-N, done.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, in speeches a decade ago, said "self-determination" should guide decisions about abortion and also defended social activism, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, in speeches a decade ago, said "self-determination" should guide decisions about abortion and also defended social activism, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday. The speeches, which she provided to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, offer some of the clearest insights yet into Miers' thinking on contentious social issues that could come before the Supreme Court, the newspaper said. Miers talked about abortion, the separation of church and state, and how the issues play out in the legal system in a 1993 speech to a Dallas women's group, the newspaper said.

"The underlying theme in most of these cases is the insistence of more self-determination," Miers said in an excerpt reported by the Post. "And the more I think about these issues, the more self-determination makes sense."

In speeches delivered when she was president of the Texas bar association, Miers also defended judges who order lawmakers to address social concerns, the newspaper said.

Miers also showed sympathy for feminist causes, referring to the "glass ceiling" faced by professional women and urged her audience to support female candidates, according to the report.
Already suspect in the eyes of the far right, Harriet Miers has officially lost any wingnut cred, whatsoever. Over a span of mere months, indignant demands that "every nominee receive an up-or-down vote," has given way to With these latest revelations, the radical right will dive deeper into hypocrisy and cite Bush's refusal to provide records of Miers' legal advice to declare that there isn't enough information about her. After all, asking for background is only obstructionist when democrats do it; now, it's "doing one's due diligence."
"Self-determination?" "Glass ceiling?"
Such words are anathema to Dear Leader's base, and I, for one, cannot wait for the frothing to begin. The right's glaringly contradictory positions on Treasongate vs. Lewinskygate are years apart and sometimes difficult to dig up. Not that the MSM bothers to try. This time, the wingnuts' self-righteous rhetoric about the sanctity of a presidential appointment lasted only weeks before evaporating to reveal their single-minded obsession for an unabashed ideologue on the bench. Deprived of a thoroughly litmus-tested candidate, all their sanctimonius bullshit is exposed for exactly what it is. Here's to Bush showing his customary "resolve" and making them all choke on it.

25 October 2005

Tucker Carlson is still a dick

While we all wait for the Treasongate indictments to roll out (2 to 5 is the going prediction), the lovely folks over at ThinkProgress caught this on the first bounce:
I think politically [the Bush administration] did very much the wrong thing by saying nice things about Patrick Fitzgerald some months ago — "he's a man of integrity," "he's a good guy," "we have complete confidence he's going do the right thing," etc., etc. — making it now almost impossible for the White House, even on background, to attack the guy.
What makes it better is that he prefaced it with this: "I think this White House made a tactical error — maybe not a moral error, maybe the White House did the right thing." Let me get this straight, Tucker: acknowledging that a man charged with an important task is, by all accounts, principled, upright, and diligent, is MAYBE the right thing to do? I thought this was a "values" administration, shouldn't the "right" and "political" thing be one and the same? Given the gravity of the situation, it only makes sense--politically AND morally-- to reassure the American people that things are being handled by a man of of both impeccable credentials and principles.
Regardless, the bowtied assclown goes on to say, "it's possible that attacks on him are warranted. Maybe he's doing the wrong thing. But they can hardly say that at this point...I think they should have at least kept the option open to attack him and I just don't see they have that."
We were lead to believe that this was an important investigation. In fact, just yesterday, Dear Leader called it "very serious." All along, commitments were made to find those responsible and deal with them accordingly. What reason is there to preserve the option to attack Fitzgerald? Exactly what "wrong thing" might he be doing?

His job, perhaps?

With statements like this, Carlson, once again, reveals himself to be the worst type of partisan hack. Without a shred of evidence of bias, ulterior motives, or any impropriety, whatsoever, on Fitzgerald's part, he still sees the eventual need to smear him. For Carlson, it's obvious that "the wrong thing" is defined as anything damaging to the Bush administration, regardless of the truth. He's made it clear that he's a man who prefers ideology to integrity and by that, it appears that he's certainly thrown his lot in with the right bunch.

MSNBC should be ashamed of themselves for scooping up the garbage that CNN so wisely cast aside.

That, Sens. Reid and Pelosi, is the boat, and this is you missing it.

I don't agree with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) on too many things. He's dismissed global warming as "just a lot of crap," and condemned NBC's decision to air the unedited Schindler's List as taking television "to an all-time low, with full-frontal nudity, violence and profanity." Seemingly, Mr. Coburn feels the cruelty and indignities of the Nazi death camps might appeal to Americans' prurient interests (a ghoulish assertion which I find to be far more telling about whoever suggests it). Most recently, during John Roberts' confirmation hearings, the esteemed senator tore himself away from his crossword puzzle long enough to issue the teary-eyed declaration that "(His) heart aches for less divisiveness, less polarization, less finger-pointing, less bitterness, less partisanship"...less than a year after branding the so-called gay agenda, "the greatest threat to our freedom that we face today."
On the whole, one might go so far as to say that I find Tom Coburn to be a truly loathsome human being. But, to paraphrase a saying, the sun even shines on a horse's ass some days, and last week was one of them.
Alaska's so-called "Bridge to Nowhere" and the Don Young Way vanity highway were the pork poster projects of the latest transportation bill. While only two of the almost 14,000 pork barrel projects in current federal spending bills, they were widely ridiculed as the most egregious, especially in light of the current need to control spending. Coburn, showing the sort of boldness only seen in freshmen senators (and then only very occasionally), did the unthinkable and called "bullshit" on a sacred cow: shamelessly gorging your state at the federal trough.
"The Coburn amendment would have blocked funding for a $223 million bridge to a town in Alaska with a population of 50 people (that's currently serviced by a ferry). At $4.46 million per person, the cost of the bridge alone would be enough to buy every island resident their own personal Lear jet. The Coburn amendment also would have blocked funding for a $229 million bridge that would connect Anchorage, Alaska to hundreds of square miles of unpopulated wetlands.

The Coburn amendment would have then diverted $125 million in savings from those projects to repair the Interstate 10 Twin Spans Bridge in Louisiana, a 5.4 mile stretch of I-10 over Lake Pontchartrain which connects New Orleans with the city of Slidell. The Twin Spans serve as a major route into New Orleans for interstate commerce and working commuters."
Alaska's resident bacon baron, Ted Stevens, indignantly threatened to resign if the amendment passed. Admittedly, it's easy to point out what the other guy is trying to get away with. But, this measure would have opened every legislator (including Coburn) to scrutiny on the pork they're bringing home, which is exactly what needs to happen, anyway. Not surprisingly, it was soundly defeated, 15-82. These are the fifteen senators who still have any shred of credibility when talking about responsible spending:

Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Russ Feingold (D-WI)
Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
Jim DeMint (R-SC)
David Vitter (R-LA)
Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
John Sununu (R-NH)
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Richard Burr (R-NC)
Wayne Allard (R-CO)
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Evan Bayh (D-IN)
Mike DeWine (R-OH)
Kent Conrad (D-ND)
George Allen (R-VA)

I'm deeply disappointed in the democratic leadership for not jumping on this full-force. With the 10 republican votes Coburn mustered, this would have been a strong message about what direction the government is trying to move in.

Another embarrassing day in the U.S. Senate.

21 October 2005

No accountability for wrongdoing, just doing it wrong

As the threat of indictments moves closer--and Karl and Scooter look increasingly radioactive--The N.Y. Daily News just torched the administration:

WASHINGTON - An angry President Bush rebuked chief political guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame affair, sources told the Daily News...Bush has nevertheless remained doggedly loyal to Rove, who friends and even political adversaries acknowledge is the architect of the President's rise from baseball owner to leader of the free world...Other sources confirmed, however, that Bush was initially furious with Rove in 2003 when his deputy chief of staff conceded he had talked to the press about the Plame leak.

Bush has always known that Rove often talks with reporters anonymously and he generally approved of such contacts, one source said.

But the President felt Rove and other members of the White House damage-control team did a clumsy job in their campaign to discredit Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, the ex-diplomat who criticized Bush's claim that Saddam Hussen tried to buy weapons-grade uranium in Niger.

A second well-placed source said some recently published reports implying Rove had deceived Bush about his involvement in the Wilson counterattack were incorrect and were leaked by White House aides trying to protect the President.

"Bush did not feel misled so much by Karl and others as believing that they handled it in a ham-handed and bush-league way," the source said.
Two years ago. Before opining that we might never know who the staffers are. Before vowing to follow through on the promise to fire anyone involved. Those wouldn't have been LIES, would they? Surely he wouldn't have been helping OBSTRUCT AN ONGOING INVESTIGATION, would he?

Kind of makes you want to look up the definition of "high crimes and misdemeanors," doesn't it?

It raises an interesting question, though. If our prayers are answered and we found ourselves delivered from Dear Leader...and Cheney is also exposed as the petty, vengeful cretin he is...are we ready for President Hastert?
Of course, the most telling tidbit is that he wasn't upset about the treasonous attempt to smear Joe Wilson, so much as how poorly his despicable band of slime-merchants went about doing it. How do you like your "values candidate" now, Red State America? The only values on display are in line with your average five year-old's: He's sorry, alright; sorry he got caught. Hope it was worth it.

19 October 2005

He's a uniter, all right

The new terror alerts should be coming any time now.
The poll showed Bush's approval ratings dropping to 39%, the lowest of his presidency in the NBC/Journal surveys. Other polls have shown a similar decline with Bush's ratings falling below the 40% threshold in recent weeks. The poll also revealed overwhelming opposition to Bush among African-Americans. Only two percent said they approved of his performance as president, the lowest level ever recorded in that category, NBC television reported.
Ouch. 2% approval? David Duke would test better than that. On the other hand, he's managed to get the other 98% on the same page. If that's not uniting, I don't know what is.

Back to our regularly scheduled avoidance of responsibility

From Reuters:
"As he has in the past, Bush said if a congressional investigation finds the federal government was at fault in the initial response to Katrina, he would accept responsibility. "I do my job as best I can. One of the things that we do is we respond to crisis. And as I told the people, if I didn't respond well enough, we're going to learn the lessons," he said. "
So now it's an "if."

Sweet merciful Christ.
The first moment of accountability the man has in five years, and he's already weaseling his way out of it. "If I didn't respond well enough?" After all we've seen, the arrogance of that qualifier is positively staggering. As if there's some bizarro-world where vacationing, political maneuvering, and equally political photo-ops constitute an adequate response to devastation complicated by one's own lethally ignorant commitment to cronyism. Of course, what else could we expect from a man who couldn't identify a single mistake he'd made in four years in office save for a handful of conveniently anonymous appointments?
Far from being the everyman he paints--and, perhaps, even believes--himself to be, George Bush is a child of privilege whose wealth and connections have allowed him to avoid consequence throughout his life, from drunk driving arrests to military service to failed business ventures. Having never known responsibility, he's gone on to make sure he (and his friends) never will. Bush has managed to shield himeself and everyone surrounding him, by approaching every decision he makes with a 12 step-inspired moral clarity that renders him incapable of seeing, let alone admitting, error in any of his choices. Ultimately, neither he, nor anyone else, is accountable for anything they do, because disciplining them would be tantamount to acknowledging a personal mistake:
The rationale for the war in Iraq had to evolve beyond weapons of mass destruction, because their absence reveals a monumental intelligence screw-up, if not a blatant fraud perpetrated on the American people. Mike Brown-eye had to do "a heckuva job," because incompetance would show his appointment to be foolish. The threshhold for disciplining those involved in leaking Valerie Plame's identity had to be raised, because firing them would mean he trusts and covers for borderline treasonous political hatchetmen.
Hurricanes have nothing on the danger posed by this man's self-righteous ego. There's no way "we're going to learn the lessons" until Dear Leader learns a few of his own

11 October 2005

The Senate finally decides against sparing the rod

Let's be clear: Mr. Bush is proposing to use the first veto of his presidency on a defense bill needed to fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan so that he can preserve the prerogative to subject detainees to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. In effect, he threatens to declare to the world his administration's moral bankruptcy. Washington Post, 10/07/2005
Last week, the Senate gave Dear Leader a long overdue spanking, voting 90-9 to approve the $440B military spending bill with John McCain's anti-torture amendment attached. Even majority leader, Bill Frist (who, in an indefensible act of cowardice/executive bootlicking, deep-sixed a vote on the bill before the summer recess) voted with the "yeas."

Not surprisingly, the administration has been mum on the issue, almost certainly betting on the deliberations in the House to save it the embarrassment of having to veto needed funds in order to maintain the shameful status quo and further stonewall reform. However, I think the bipartisan nature of this measure will prevail over the sort of strongarm techniques used to force through the recent giveaway to Big Oil. After this vote in the Senate, no longer can regulating detainee treatment be dismissed and/or demonized as a so-called liberal cause that's evidence of being "soft on terror." Deprived of that political cudgel, the DeLays and the Hasterts shouldn't be able to intimidate their fellow partymembers into following in goosestep with the president.

06 October 2005

"Kreskin" Karl now reading the SCOTUS tarot cards

Well, it looks Kenny Mehlman has been loaning out the deck so that other officials can reassure the doubt-filled base...without inappropriately grilling Ms. Miers and violating the sanctity of the "Ginsberg Rule," of course. Courtesy the NYT:
Karl Rove, the president's top political adviser, started calling influential social conservatives to reassure them about the pick even before it was announced. He called James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, over the weekend, and Richard Land, a top public policy official of the Southern Baptist Convention on Monday morning, said several people briefed on the calls...Some of the efforts evidently bore fruit. By day's end, Mr. Dobson, one of the most influential evangelical conservatives, welcomed the nomination. "Some of what I know I am not at liberty to talk about," he said in an interview, explaining his decision to speak out in support of Ms. Miers. He declined to discuss his conversations with the White House.
For those of you keeping score at home, that's one unusually specific reassurance about issues surrounding the war on terror, and now one that's somehow "confidential." The more unbelieveable part is that Jimmy D. was so anxious to put his stamp on things (not to mention flaunt how "in the loop" he is) that he shot his mouth off so foolishly. Any money, he's so blinded by the glittering visions of fundamentalist Christian sugarplums dancing in his head, that he can't see how clearly bad this looks for the administration feeding him the info: If it's a pledge to be unbiased and impartial in the application of the law, why isn't Dobson at liberty to discuss it? If it was anything more, what, exactly, is Miers discussing, and with whom? Surely she wouldn't be previewing her opinions on anything like school prayer, euthanasia, or abortion. After all, that would be "inappropriate."

I wonder...what could have placated a sensible, middle-of-the-road guy like James "Judicial Tyranny" Dobson?

05 October 2005

I cannot comment on any issue that may likely come before the Court. But lemme give y'all a lil' hint...

It seems that, just yesterday, every GOPer that got within range of a microphone felt compelled to discuss the so-called "Ginsberg Rule" in the same reverent tone they usually reserve for God, freedom, and tax cuts for the top 1%. Listening to them bloviate, you'd think it was one of the bedrock principles of our democracy--Amendment 1a to the Constitution--and it must remain inviolate, 'lest the Union, itself, crumble and fall. Trying to elicit a SCOTUS nominee's impression on anything more recent than Brown v. Board of Education was tantamount to firing the legacy of our forefathers and pissing on the ashes.

Flash forward a few weeks, and now the ones needing "clarification" are those wearing elephant pins on their lapels. Courtesy of The Hill:
Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee, yesterday held a conference call with conservative leaders to address their concerns about Miers. He stressed Bush’s close relationship with Miers and the need to confirm a justice who will not interfere with the administration’s management of the war on terrorism, according to a person who attended the teleconference...Mehlman yesterday unveiled a politically powerful argument linking Bush’s nomination to the war on terrorism. He said that as a former White House counsel Miers would know the importance of not letting the courts or the legislative branch “micromanage” the war on terrorism.
Sounds suspiciously as if old Kenny here, somehow got a pretty damn clear idea about how Ms. Miers might rule on certain issues likely to come before the court and is now trying to reassure skittish supporters. The leadership must be quite confident in his suppositions...since that's all they could be given how thoroughly inappropriate it is for a nominee to discuss or preview potential cases.

I'm thinking of running a contest: Scour the newsfeeds, follow her with a camera if you have to, there's a Texas Roadhouse gift certificate to the first person to produce photographic evidence of Harriet Miers' strings. I'll throw in some lottery tickets if the shot also has Rove actively pulling them.

03 October 2005

The "W" stands for, "Why? Why not?"

That seems to sum up the Bush administration's attitude towards SCOTUS nominees. Whoever gets the nod has a presumption of qualification. After the search for John Roberts' background , we're right back where we started. If Roberts' record of applying the law was scant, Harriet Miers' is nonexistent; it's Blank Slate II: The Blanker. Apparently, the president's and Miers' own assurances that she'll do a good job are all that we should have to know.

No one is questioning Miers' intelligence or experience as an attorney, but, the bottom line is, she's never sat on a bench. As we heard, ad nauseum, about Roberts, writings as an attorney are representative of the client, not the author. Thus, without a record of judicial decisions and the written opinions supporting them, there's no information on which to evaluate Miers' application of the law and the Constitution other than her say-so. The only clarification (and I use that word loosely) will come from a confirmation process that permits the candidate to answer or not answer however he/she sees fit. Consequently, Miers is free to make whatever claims she wants to, in a virtual vacuum.

The scarier part is, the president has no record to go on, either. He's based his nomination on his personal experiences with Miers. Does anyone think, for a second, that she was allowed to demure on the inquiries the president put to her? That she could tell Rove or Cheney, "I'm sorry, I can't comment on an issue likely to come before the court?" What sort of assurances do you think they received?

Miers might very well make a great justice, but the fact of the matter is, there is no basis to make her case for the most important qualification for the job: the fair and impartial application of the law. Associate Justice of the Supreme Court is no position to be handed to someone whose resume hinges on her own unavoidably self-serving statements.

Whether you're looking to pump gas, sell slushies, or fold sweaters at The Gap, the burden is on you to prove that you should get the job, not on the employer to justify denying you. Why should a lifetime post to the most influential court in the land be handled any differently?

The "W" stands for "WTF?"

So wish I was joking.
New twist on aid for Iraq: U.S. seeks donations
By Cam Simpson Washington Bureau

Sun Sep 18, 9:40 AM ET From the Indian Ocean tsunami to the church around the corner, Americans have shown time and again they are willing to open their pocketbooks for charity, for a total of about $250 billion last year alone. But now, amid pleas for aid after Hurricane Katrina, the Bush administration has launched an unusual effort to raise charitable contributions for another cause: the government's attempt to rebuild Iraq.

Although more than $30 billion in taxpayer funds have been appropriated for Iraqi reconstruction, the administration earlier this month launched an Internet-based fundraising effort that it says is aimed at giving Americans "a further stake in building a free and prosperous Iraq."

Contributors have no way of knowing who's getting the money or precisely where it's headed because the government says it must keep the details secret for security reasons. But taxpayers already finance the projects for which the administration is seeking charitable donations, such as providing water pumps for farmers. And officials say any contributions they receive will increase the scope of those efforts rather than relieve existing taxpayer burdens.
I honestly thought this was something out of The Onion, until I saw the header from the Chicago Tribune. By my figuring, the $30 billion they've already gotten are "donations" from the American people. And then to say that contributors can have no knowledge of "who's getting the money or precisely where it's headed," when they just discovered a billion dollars has vanished from the Iraqi defense ministry without a trace? It begs the question: are "security reasons" preventing an accounting of the donations, or is it the fact that the administration simply can't be bothered with keeping track of what they can only view as a bottomless piggy bank?
Forget Turdblossom, the Bugman, and the Rev. Frist, this administration is buckling under the sheer weight of the enormous brass balls they must have for even suggesting something like this.

The "W" stands for "What, me worry?"

As I sit here preparing to drive across town in order to hand deliver a form so I can get reimbursed $40 for mileage I drove last month, I was reminded of something I read the other week:
WASHINGTON - President Bush on Friday ruled out raising taxes to pay for Gulf Coast reconstruction, saying other government spending must be cut. "You bet it will cost money, but I'm confident we can handle it," he said.

Bush spoke after his advisers warned that Hurricane Katrina relief and reconstruction costs will swell the national debt by $200 billion or beyond. "It's going to cost whatever it costs," he said. "We're going to be wise about the money we spend."

Bush did not put a price tag on the costs or say what government programs will be cut..."It means we're going to have to make sure we cut unnecessary spending. It's going to mean that we maintain economic growth and we should not raise taxes," he said.
However, just days earlier, the erstwhile majority leader, Tom DeLay, risked rotator cuff damage patting himself on the back making claims like this to the Moonie Times:
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said yesterday that Republicans have done so well in cutting spending that he declared an "ongoing victory," and said there is simply no fat left to cut in the federal budget.

Mr. DeLay was defending Republicans' choice to borrow money and add to this year's expected $331 billion deficit to pay for Hurricane Katrina relief. Some Republicans have said Congress should make cuts in other areas, but Mr. DeLay said that doesn't seem possible.

"My answer to those that want to offset the spending is sure, bring me the offsets, I'll be glad to do it. But nobody has been able to come up with any yet," the Texas Republican told reporters at his weekly briefing.

Asked if that meant the government was running at peak efficiency, Mr. DeLay said, "Yes, after 11 years of Republican majority we've pared it down pretty good."
And finally, from the NYT:
Despite those comments, many Republicans are increasingly edgy about the White House's push for a potentially open-ended recovery budget, worried that the president - in trying to regroup politically - was making expensive promises they would have to keep.

"We are not sure he knows what he is getting into," said one senior House Republican official who requested anonymity because of the potential consequences of publicly criticizing the administration. After years of alleged fat trimming (including, for example, Corps of Engineer projects involving certain levees), that's left "nobody able to come up with" further savings, can someone explain to me how this course for rebuilding is even remotely responsible, let alone "conservative?"
When $200M vanity bridges and highway projects are being signed off on with no problem, when, exactly, does the "be(ing) wise about the money we spend" begin? While I sweat getting $40 taken care of on my lunch hour, the president is preparing to shore up his crumbling presidency of reformulations, exaggerations, and lethal cronyism with money the rest of us earned. Whoever said it was spot on: far from stopping, when it comes to this administration, the buck doesn't even slow down.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...