July 30, 2003

Yahoo! News - Bush Takes Responsibility for Iraq Claim: "'I take personal responsibility for everything I say, absolutely,' the president said at a White House news conference. Bush has been seeking to quell a controversy over a controversial claim that has dogged his administration for weeks."

Now why did that take so long? I am sorry, but as Streak so ably notes, you don't get character points for taking this long to accept responsibility for what you say. If you do that immediately, you do, if you wait weeks for people to stop asking you while you blame everyone else around you and claim it was right anyway, then you get a poor character grade.

July 29, 2003

CNN.com - Plan for 'terror market' canceled - Jul. 29, 2003: "The little-publicized Pentagon plan envisioned a potential futures trading market in which speculators would wager on the Internet on the likelihood of a future terrorist attack or assassination attempt on a particular leader. A Web site promoting the plan already is available. "

What is this about?

July 28, 2003

New look. Streak has heard from several of his friends that the font was a little small and hard to read, so he decided to try a new look. Any thoughts?
Salon.com News | Beautiful young shock troops for Bush: "'As conservatives, we don't hate America,' Erickson told his young audience. 'The life of a liberal is hell. It is not possible to have a debate, a discussion, with someone who at their root, at their core, hates everything this country stands for but doesn't hate it enough to leave.' "

This is lovely. And you might want to read the entire article to get the whole picture of young Republican thought. They were selling "Bring Back the Blacklist" mousepads and t-shirts, wanting to abolish taxes (inner city issues "not my problem"), and extolling racism. Lovely.

July 24, 2003

More on Pat. Great line from an Oregonian editorial.

On Supreme Court, Robertson prays for vacancy: "Still, according to cable television's most prominent religious broadcaster, it seems that Sandra Day O'Connor should be removed for being liberal, but Charles Taylor shouldn't be removed for being genocidal. "

and on the Supreme Court prayer assault

"Robertson's argument for why the three justices should retire is on the Web site, right near the ad for Pat's Age-Defying Protein Pancakes, Age-Defying Antioxidants and Age-Defying Shake -- which you wouldn't think he'd leave around where a justice might find them."
Drudging Up Personal Details (washingtonpost.com): "Yesterday Drudge told us he was unaware of the ABC story until 'someone from the White House communications shop tipped me to it' along with a profile of Kofman in the gay-oriented magazine the Advocate. "

Streak wonders if being Canadian is actually that bad?

July 23, 2003

Robertson Defends Liberia's President (washingtonpost.com)

This one cites an OU professor. And then Streak really loved this quote:

"Taylor declared a national holiday and, according to news reports on Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network, prostrated himself on the stage, saying: "I am not your president. Jesus is!"

"There are people who say that's phony baloney, but I thought it was sincere," Robertson said. "He definitely has Christian sentiments, although you hear of all these rumors that he's done this or done that."

More on Pat, in his own words

Pat Robertson on Liberia (washingtonpost.com)

A Clarification on Liberia: "I regret that my sentiments in support of the suffering Liberian people were misinterpreted by The Washington Post as unqualified support for Charles Taylor, a man whom I have never met, and about whose actions a decade ago I have no firsthand knowledge. "

Streak suggests that looking at Robertson's original quotes suggests a different story.
Thanks to J for pointing this out to Streak.

CBS News | Pat Robertson Slams Bush On Liberia | July 11, 2003 16:22:47: "“How dare the president of the United States say to the duly elected president of another country, 'You've got to step down,'' Robertson said Monday on “The 700 Club,” broadcast from his Christian Broadcasting Network. "

Someone hasn't been paying attention.

Of course there is more to this story, as Streak points out. (Streak is also fond of pointing to the fact that the right Reverend Robertson has one of the largest heads in the world. Streak doesn't mean ego, he means physical head. Anyway, the story has more to it than blind support for a fellow Baptist (Since when has that been a compelling reason? :) )

"Robertson, a Bush supporter who has financial interests in Liberia, said he believes the State Department has “mismanaged the situation in nation after nation after nation” in Africa. “So we're undermining a Christian, Baptist president to bring in Muslim rebels to take over the country,” he said in the broadcast. Robertson told The Washington Post in an interview published Thursday that he has “written off in my own mind” an $8 million investment in a Liberian gold mining venture he made four years ago, under an agreement with Taylor's government." [emph added]

And yet, the story qualifies: "He said his investment was intended to help pay for humanitarian and evangelical efforts in Liberia."

Yeah, that's right. It is okay, evidently, to overthrow tyrants who aren't Baptist, and who haven't helped one make money. Streak objects and notes that even the jerkier dogs in our neighborhood don't have that kind of cojones.
Yahoo! News - Wolfowitz Warns Iraq's Neighbors Not to Interfere: "'I think all foreigners should stop interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq,' said Wolfowitz, who is touring the country to meet U.S. troops and Iraqi officials.
'Those who want to come and help are welcome,' he said. 'Those who come to interfere and destroy are not.' "

Whaa? That's right, Paul "Don't make me Bomb you" Wolfowitz is warning "foreigners" to not "interfere" in Iraq! How does this work? Starting now, We support the autonomy of Iraq?

July 21, 2003

Salon.com | Joe Conason's Journal: "Taking a more original approach is Paul Gigot, the successor to Bartley as editorial page editor. Visiting Iraq, Gigot skips over the missing weapons to provide a refreshingly different rationale: Saddam had to be overthrown because he was an environmental criminal. After the first Gulf War, he drained the wetlands around Basra, 'with their centuries-old ecosystem of reeds, countless species and water buffalo ...' Actually, the marshlands are probably many thousands of years old, but Gigot is new to environmental advocacy and his concern is much appreciated. Certainly he's right about the opportunity to rescue the ruined marshes and their inhabitants, human and otherwise, all of which is undoubtedly another benefit of deposing Saddam. But if we're going to wage war over ecological crimes, shouldn't we immediately drop the 101st Airborne on the White House and the Capitol? "

Isn't this rich? Now the conservatives care about the environment.
Homeland Security Sales Pitch (washingtonpost.com): "Laura Murphy, who heads the ACLU's legislative office here, remembers the vote well.
'When we found out the bill was being introduced,' she told me, 'we went to [Democratic Rep. John] Conyers and [Republican Rep. F. James] Sensenbrenner and begged them not to push it through in three days, as the attorney general was urging. They agreed, and their committee rewrote the bill to accommodate some of our concerns. The revised bill cleared the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 32 to zero."
"Then in the middle of the night -- it was reprinted at 3:30 a.m. -- the bill was rewritten again to get all the troublesome stuff back in. When the members voted the following day, hardly anyone except a few staffers had actually seen the bill they were voting on."

This is lovely. Just lovely. The administration who continues to convince people they are good leaders and good Americans govern without telling people.
Oct. Report Said Defeated Hussein Would Be Threat (washingtonpost.com)

Interesting. Intelligence actually thought that Bush's claim about Iraq giving terrorists weapons partially true. But they thought the risk much higher if Saddam was defeated. Funny, that was never part of the Bush approach to war, was it?
Salon.com News | A green revolt against Bush: "'I think what you'll see is nearly every Mid-Atlantic and New England state agreeing to join in a regional [carbon dioxide] cap and trade regime,' Bradley Campbell, commissioner of New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection, told Salon. Campbell said that Republican governors are expected to sign on to the plan despite backroom coercion by the White House. 'Several of my counterparts in Republican-led states have reported active efforts by the Bush administration to pressure them to not participate in a regional program to implement greenhouse gas reductions,' he said."

Streak loves the fact that the Bush admin opposes environmental movements, even when led by the states he supposedly thinks should make such decisions. They did this in California where they sued the state to oppose zero emission vehicles. Streak suspects that this administration lacks a cohesive ideology, or they would support state decisions even when they conflicted with Republican dogma. Dogma. That is a funny word. Especially coming from a dog.

July 17, 2003

President Defends Allegation On Iraq (washingtonpost.com): "Bush's position was at odds with those of his own aides, who acknowledged over the weekend that the CIA raised doubts that Iraq sought to buy uranium from Niger more than four months before Bush's speech"

Come on!
. . . Unshakable Faith (washingtonpost.com)

Streak also shares a frustration with Bush's simplistic view of the world.

July 16, 2003

Salon.com | Joe Conason's Journal: "July 15, 2003 | A 'darn good' quote that almost nobody quoted
'We gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in.'
George W. Bush uttered that amazing sentence yesterday to justify the war in Iraq, according to the Washington Post.
What? Yes, I promise that's what the man said. (And by 'him,' the president clearly meant Saddam Hussein -- not Kim Jong Il, who actually has refused to let international inspectors into North Korea.) "

Streak found this rather remarkable. First, "that boy said it was ok" and now, we will just change our reasons for going to war? And we are the "revisionists" here?

July 14, 2003

Salon.com | Joe Conason's Journal: "Second, the aim is to protect Dick Cheney, true author of both the Iraq war policy and the deceptive propaganda that promoted war, including the dubious information in the State of the Union."

Beauty. White house dissembles and passes blame on George Tenet who has served both Democrat and Republican administrations, while shielding Dick "I voted against Head Start" Cheney.
Yahoo! News - Advisers Downplay Bush Uranium Statement

My nephew once got in trouble with his parents for starting a video late in the evening. When asked why he did this, he pointed at me (he was about 3 or 4) and said "That boy said I could." The recent statements by the Bush administration made Streak think of that. The President said, essentially, "that boy (Tenet) said it was ok." And his lapdog advisors are saying "since we were quoting the British, it was technically accurate, but shouldn't have been in the State of the Union Address." No one will take responsibility for this error. Streak is increasingly tired of people giving Bush such high marks for character, since he hasn't exactly shown any beyond not sleeping with the help. That maybe good, but it doesn't make up for all the other character flaws.

July 10, 2003

Salon.com | Total recall: "So, however corrupt the parentage of this recall effort, it offers Californians a golden opportunity to send a message: that it's time to reorder our policy priorities and get back to serving the people. "

Arianna, who normally has great fun attacking Republicans, is a pretty equal opportunity slammer of political bullies. Here she points out that the Cal recall movement is founded in a certain groundswell of public discontent with big money and politics.

On the subject of the recall, however, Streak reminded me the other day about the iron rule of "unintended consequences." Republicans might want to consider that using the recall to get rid of an opposition leader they don't like is a bell that can't be unrung. Are they really sure that voters might not turn on the next Rep governor as well? In that vein are several other conservative movements afoot now. In Texas, Karl Rove and Tom Delay are trying to push redistricting through outside the 10 year window, mostly because they think they can. In the Senate, Pat Robertson's legal monkey, Jay Sekulow is trying to get the Senate to change rules so that Bush's conservative judges can be approved on an up and down vote, essentially killing the filibuster. In both cases, Streak's reminder is a good one. Republicans won't always dominate, and when they lose power, Democrats will remember all of this. Plus, changing the rules means that both sides have access. Streak thinks that Tom Delay will eventually get his. I hope so.

Good dog.
Salon.com | Joe Conason's Journal

Streak is starting to doubt this administration's credibility even more.

July 9, 2003

Salon.com News | 9/11 panel: Some government agencies uncooperative: "Records requested from the Justice Department are overdue, and the department has yet to resolve how to help the commission review the case of Sept. 11 conspiracy suspect Zacarias Moussaoui, who is awaiting trial.
_Problems with the Department of Defense 'are becoming particularly serious.' The commission has received no responses to requests related to national air defenses among other topics. "

Wow, color us surprised. Ashcroft and Rumsfeld the most uncooperative. Guess who was much better? FBI and State.
Salon.com News | Court allows suit on Cheney energy panel

Streak wonders why the country continues to give Cheney such a long leash (Streak's pun, not mine). The Clinton administration was pilloried for withholding the least amount of information and this administration seems to be rewarded for releasing none.
Salon.com | Joe Conason's Journal: "Yesterday's feeble admissions constitute what an earlier White House used to call a 'modified limited hangout.' The Bush crowd, improving on what they learned from the Nixon gang, has consistently excelled at lowering expectations of all kinds -- and this occasion is no different. Now even the briefest, most grudging and partial acknowledgment of an obvious fact qualifies as extraordinary candor. "

Joe and Streak agree on this point.

July 8, 2003

Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage

Unfortunately, this falls in the category of "you don't have to muzzle the press, just delay it." The Whitehouse should have acknowledged this when they were using it as justification for war. Much of the same information was available then, but they hammered on it as proof. Now, Streak imagines that the Whitehouse is betting on the fact that the American people have already moved on and don't care about this.
Yahoo! News - Bush Condemns Slavery in Africa Speech

Streak wonders why this is not greeted world-wide with a giant "duh." Or, to borrow from one of my favorite blogs, that it doesn't have the "obvious" tag next to it. Of course, the Southern Baptists apologized in the late 90s for their role in slavery, and then proceeded to pat themselves on the back so hard I was afraid that some of the fat comb-overs might actually get hurt! I guess the point is that it doesn't take a lot of political bravery to oppose slavery and racism now. Perhaps Streak is too hard on these folks. After all, the former Senate Majority Leader and current AG have made appearances in rabidly racist periodicals in the recent past.
Streak pointed me to an interesting story this morning on NPR (very classy dog, Streak) about our Attorney General. Evidently, Sir John has overruled DAs across the country who dared not seek the death penalty and tried to impose the highest punishment in any case that he can. The good news, for the bleeding hearts, is that his success rate is terrible. He has the same aggregate number of capital convictions as Janet Reno, but has gone after far more cases.

2 points: 1, maybe Americans are tiring of the death penalty. That would be nice. and b, what kind of goul is this guy? He seems to froth at the mouth at the opportunity to execute someone. Is this how Christians see capital punishment? As something that should be used more and more?

The story can be heard on NPR's website (npr.org)
Salon.com News | MSNBC fires Michael Savage for anti-gay remarks:

Excuse me! Wasn't he hired because he was anti-gay?

July 7, 2003

Salon.com News | Ex-envoy: U.S. twisted Iraq intelligence: "An envoy sent by the CIA to Africa to investigate allegations about Iraq's nuclear weapons program contends the Bush administration manipulated his findings, possibly to strengthen the rationale for war. "

Streak and I have talked about this for some time. Say there were WMDs in Iraq, but there is very credible evidence that this administration's method of accumulating intel is very suspect. Regardless of the outcome in Iraq, if we can't trust people like Condi Rice when she and Dick Cheney assure us that someone has nukes, then the process doesn't work. Still unsure why Repubs are not angry about this more than they are.

July 4, 2003

A few thoughts about the 4th. Streak and I are not the fondest of this holliday--Streak because his first 4th was loud and scary, and me because of a few over zealous "patriots."

1) As Samuel Johnson said, "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

2) Appropos of point 1, Toby Keith is not more patriotic than the Dixie Chicks. Possibly less.

3) Religious conservatives want to claim their ownership of America and American history. Unfortunately, they rely on a few "quasi" historians who misuse the past for their own means. If Christians want to take credit for positive moves in history, like abolition, end of child labor, and or any other positive changes, they must also take responsibility for the Christians who supported slavery, child labor, and every other evil in american history.

4) Republicans have no corner on loyalty to country. Though they seem to have a corner on making corporations rich through public service.

5) Also appropos of point 1, it takes no serious loyalty or heart to fly a flag.

That is all for now. Streak and I will enjoy the fireworks.

July 2, 2003

The Atlantic | July/August 2003 | The Texas Clemency Memos | Berlow

Another attempt at this link. This article argues that Alberto Gonzales, then legal counsel to Governor Bush, now White House counsel, purposefully omitted mitigating issues from his summaries of clemency pleas. In other words, he made sure that Bush could claim that there was no reason to grant clemency. This is just another reason why the death penalty is morally corrupt, and why this adminstration's tendency to surround themselves with people who lie or withhold critical evidence is troubling. Streak isn't happy.
Crackpot Conservatism (washingtonpost.com)

Streak finally showed me how to do it correctly. Good dog!

Streak really enjoyed this column. He is constantly amazed at how conservatives like to question the patriotism of liberals. It is arrogant and self-righteous, and also a cynical effort at controlling the dialogue.

Note: Streak is experiencing difficulty with the blogging software and so the link above is not showing. It is Richard Cohen's essay at the Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com).