Joe Lockhart, former White House spokesman under President Bill Clinton, says the Bush administration's deception to maintain secrecy about his campaign trip to visit troops Baghdad was warranted, there is a bigger issue at stake.

"My problem with this is not that he misled the press," Lockhart tells Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post. "This is a president who has been unwilling to provide his presence to the families who have suffered but thinks nothing of flying to Baghdad to use the troops there as a prop."

Sort of like Bush in a flight suit aboard an aircraft carrier, or his grandstanding in front of the "Mission Accomplished" banner weeks ago.


With his usual Pollyanna bravado, governor Bush drew praise and criticism from Democats, who might have a chance at launching a successful bid for the White House if not for the temerity of conviction.

A New York Times story offers a little perspective on the motivation for Bush's visit to troops in Iraq.

"The trip came at a time of rising criticism of the president for not attending the funerals of the returning war dead. It also came in the same week that Mr. Bush met with families of 26 soldiers killed in Iraq, and thus appeared to be a concerted effort by the White House to deal with a political problem."

Is the problem Bush's inability to grasp a reality that exists outside his cabal of advisers?

Another U.S. soldier was killed hours after Bush's visit to Baghdad.

In a quote that sounds eerily representative of the entire U.S. policy in Iraq, a Sgt. Kelly Tyler says of the latest combat death, "The soldier was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Is there a right place and right time to be in Iraq these days?

One hundred eighty-five U.S. soldiers have been killed since Bush proudly and ignorantly announced major combat was over on May 1, 2003.


I can't imagine why someone would have trouble rounding up volunteers.

Women needed to test orgasm device

NOW you tell us

The AARP, once known as the American Association of Retired Persons, helped Republicans pass a sweeping overhaul of Medicare that will allow insurers (of which AARP is one) pick and choose the healthiest clients and prevent the federal government from using its buying power to negotiate better prices on prescription drugs.

An overwhelming number of AARP members opposed these changes, but the AARP said it planned to spend $7 million on an ad campaign supporting the new law. (See the AARP message boards if you don't believe me, at www.aarp.org.)

So, here we have a look at just how the AARP represents big-business interests.

Better late than never?


"Resident" Bush took one of the most far-flung campaign trips in recent memory -- this time to Baghdad -- under the guise of visiting troops. But what makes this story even more remarkable is the clearest admission by the media that they were (and continue to be) duped:

While Bush was in Baghdad, "newscasters back home were reporting that he was enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with his family at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. That was what reporters had been told by White House officials."


Yankee Go Home

Scheherezade Faramarzi, an Associated Press reporter in Iraq, courageously interviews self-described guerrilla fighters, who say that elusive, ousted dictator Saddam Hussein isn't behind the attacks on U.S. and coalition forces.

Most of the people quoted say it's not about restoring Hussein to power but driving out foreign troops.

"We don't care who replaces them," one general told the AP. "The important thing is to throw out the occupation."

Chris Hedges, in an astoundingly well-written piece for The Nation, hits home on many points. But perhaps most striking was the following observation:

"The coverage of war by the press has one consistent and pernicious theme -- the worship of our weapons and our military might. Retired officers, breathless reporters, somber news anchors, can barely hold back their excitement, which is perverse and -- frankly, to those who do not delight in watching us obliterate other human beings -- disgusting."


The Washington Post reports today that former Deputy Attorney General Larry D. Thompson, "in his capacity as acting attorney general," signed the order to send a Syrian-born Canadian citizen to Syria, where his torture was all but assured, based on his alleged links to al-Qaida operatives.

U.S. law prohibits such deportations if there is a likelihood the suspect will be tortured, something the State Department found was the case in its own reports, dated March 31, 2003. (See section 1c.)



And I thought I had a lot of time on my hands: Death and Time Traveling


The Meatrix

Great, informative parody that might make you think about where your next meal came from: The Meatrix



Not even the relative liberal stronghold of Austin, Texas, is the concept of choice and individual freedom free from conservative fanaticism.

One of the state's largest contractors pulled out of a project to build a Planned Parenthood clinic after every concrete supplier within 60 miles agreed not to sell to them.

According to an Associated Press story, Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Danielle "Tierney said one subcontractor, which she would not identify, had received more than 1,200 calls from around the country warning it not to participate. She said contractors were threatened with the loss of business if they did. "

With past incidents of anti-choice fanatics murdering doctors and other health care providers, these tactics are nothing more than veiled intimidation.

On the eve of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's visit to Japan, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi announced he would delay sending non-combat troops until next year.

Japan also has pledged the most money toward reconstruction efforts in Iraq -- $1.5 billion in grants and $3.5 billion in loans.

Yet Rumsfeld, like the indefatigable Pollyanna he is, said things are looking up.

The Associated Press writes, "In an interview with reporters flying with him to Tokyo, Rumsfeld showed no sign of disappointment at Japan's decision and even suggested that the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq is gaining strength."

This is like ousted California Gov. Gray Davis saying in the weeks before the recall election that he was gaining popularity.


The biological family of the emaciated 19-year-old who weighed 45 pounds when New Jersey authorities found him in a foster home now wants him back.

This is the penultimate paragraph of the New York Times story:

"'We'll make it so he never wants to leave,' said Ms. Principal's daughter Tina, 14, as she chased a puppy over a mound of trash in the living room, around two piles of dog droppings and into a three-foot heap of laundry on the kitchen floor."

What a housewarming.


The Memory Hole came across this five-minute video of 'Resident' Bush doing NOTHING after being told of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center prior to the attacks on the Pentagon.

Maybe his chief of staff Andrew Card simply said, "Some bad stuff happened. Come over when you get a chance."


Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq's foreign minister, criticized the slow pace of change in Iraq on infighting between American officials.

He tells the Financial Times: "'The problem with the coalition is that they have some experts, so-called, who still live in the 1950s, in the 1940s - some geriatric ambassadors who have a certain interpretation of how Iraq works. It has gone, it has changed,' Mr Zebari said."

Rick DeGuerin was one of the defense attorneys for Robert Durst, a New York millionaire acquitted of murder by a Texas jury despite having dismembered, decapitated and dumped the body of his victim. This is from the last paragraph of the New York Times story.

Durst Verdict Tied to Local Mores and a Shrewd Defense: "Mr. DeGuerin, who also teaches at the University of Texas at Austin Law School, said that sometimes he refers in class to an old Texas saying about why horse thieves get hung and some killers get off. 'No horse ever needed stealing,' Mr. DeGuerin explained. 'But there are people who need killing.'"

Frontier justice still lives where no frontier has existed in a long, long time.


Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post (via Today's Papers at Slate) shows just one more example of how the U.S. media is part of the problem of dumbing down debates and why foreign news outlets, such as the Guardian and the BBC, have been on the rise.

Today's Papers: "The WP's Howard Kurtz talks with the Brown University student who asked the lamest question of the Dems' debate last week: Mac or PCs? Turns out the student didn't come up with the zinger, nor did she really want to ask it. A CNN producer foisted it on her. And a CNN spokesperson even copped to it, 'In an attempt to encourage a lighthearted moment in this debate, a CNN producer clearly went too far.' "

Billionaire George Soros and a partner have pledged $5 million to a MoveOn.org campaign to help defeat Bush.

Soros's Deep Pockets vs. Bush (washingtonpost.com): "'America, under Bush, is a danger to the world,' Soros said. Then he smiled: 'And I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is.'
Soros believes that a 'supremacist ideology' guides this White House. He hears echoes in its rhetoric of his childhood in occupied Hungary. 'When I hear Bush say, 'You're either with us or against us,' it reminds me of the Germans.' It conjures up memories, he said, of Nazi slogans on the walls, Der Feind Hort mit ('The enemy is listening'). 'My experiences under Nazi and Soviet rule have sensitized me,' he said in a soft Hungarian accent. "

Someone give that man a Nobel Peace Prize.

Eccentric New York millionaire Robert Durst was acquitted of murder in his neighbor, whom Durst shot and dismembered and decapitated.

Millionaire Durst Cleared in Texas Death: "Durst, 60, who is under suspicion in two other killings and who posed for a time as a mute woman, testified in his own defense for nearly four days. He insisted that Black was shot accidentally during a struggle over a gun, and said he used two saws and an ax to cut up the body. The victim's head has never been found. "

Those Texans love a good killin'.

Gore Denounces Bush on Civil Liberties: "'They have taken us much farther down the road toward an intrusive, 'big brother'-style government — toward the dangers prophesied by George Orwell in his book '1984' — than anyone ever thought would be possible in the United States of America,' Gore charged in a speech. "

Bravo, Albert!

There are small instances of genius all around us. This site is like an anonymous Jerry Springeresque confessional forum: grouphug.us.

I bet this is how 'Resident' Bush gets his news: Iraqometer.

The World Trade Organization has definitively ruled that the U.S. tarrifs of up to 30 percent on foreign steel is NOT consistent with free trade, a catchphrase Bush touted on a recent campaign visit.

Yahoo! News - White House Faces Bind on Steel Ruling: "In South Carolina, Bush was promoting the virtues of free trade even as the WTO hammered the tariffs that he ordered. Critics have said the tariffs display Bush's abandonment of free-trade principles. "

You've gotta love that good ol' Republican double-talk.


NARAL gets it right with this picture and caption. prochoiceamerica.org : NARAL Pro-Choice America Priceless. Now, if only the Democrats can figure out a way to make people realize THIS ISSUE MATTERS, they'll have a shot at the White House.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Makes a great point. Hopefully, "Resident" Bush's zeal to destroy all sense of personal liberty and justice will shake people into realizing what a disaster awaits us all if his power is left unchecked. Yahoo! News - Image of Men Signing Abortion Ban Assailed

This soldier in Iraq watches a body get ripped to shreds by U.S. fire and has a normal reaction of vomiting and shaking, and for this the Army decides to charge him, originally, with cowardice, a charge that can result in the death penalty.

These folks are missing the true obscenity.

Yahoo! News - Army Dismisses Soldier Cowardice Charge: "After seeing the mangled corpse, Pogany says he began shaking and vomiting and feared for his life. Soon, Pogany says, he had trouble sleeping and started suffering what he thought were panic attacks.
Six weeks later, Pogany, 32, was charged with cowardice, a count that he said was filed after he sought counseling. Pogany denies that he acted in a cowardly way.
'What is tragic about this is the message being sent to other soldiers,' Pogany said recently. 'It's not about me.'
Cowardice violations can be punished by death. Military code does not include a minimum sentence. "

As if I needed a new way to waste time ...