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Saturday, April 03, 2004
WTF? Oh Yeah, It's Florida.
TALLAHASSEE - The push to equip electronic voting machines with paper printers suffered a blow Wednesday when a Senate committee passed a bill forbidding manual recounts on touch-screen equipment.

Yep. You read it correctly. Even IF the machines print verifiable "receipts", they cannot be used in a recount.
Another Reason to Unionize
The NYTimes explores the practice of "shaving time" off of employees paychecks in order to reduce costs. As someone who has seen this technique practiced first hand and also been ordered to do it (I ignored my boss's "suggestion")... all I can say is... Well, duh.
Experts on compensation say that the illegal doctoring of hourly employees' time records is far more prevalent than most Americans believe. The practice, commonly called shaving time, is easily done and hard to detect — a simple matter of computer keystrokes — and has spurred a growing number of lawsuits and settlements against a wide range of businesses.
In a country where the ruling party has chosen to eliminate overtime for millions of workers and reclassify them as "non-exempt" salaried employees, should we be surprised?

Short of a lawsuit there is little effective recourse for a typical working class schlub. (And you can guess how many members of the bar are lining up to challenge corporations for what individually amounts to a few thousand dollars, at best.)

I wonder when this type of stuff will reach a critical mass. When it does, get ready for the pendulum to swing.
There's always a catch.
Two days ago we learned that the White House was witholding documents from the 9/11 commision that were authored by the Clinton Administration.

Today Josh Marshall finds that they have capitulated, again, sort of...

The Bush administration agreed yesterday to let the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks review about 9,000 pages of documents from the Clinton archives, which the White House had earlier refused to release, despite the conclusion of federal researchers that they were relevant to the panel's work.
But Josh notices the fine print:
"But in comments to reporters in Huntington, W.Va., McClellan declined to say whether the White House would agree to actually hand over any of the disputed documents at issue, raising the possibility of further disputes."

Is this an issue of whether the Commission gets physical custody of the documents, as opposed to reviewing them at some facility controlled by the White House, as has been the case with other material?

The article says some commission members are now raising the possibility that the White House is withholding other documents as well.

And, finally, here is what has to be the quote of the day, from Commissioner Jamie Gorelick:"We can't afford to have documents that are relevant to our inquiry being withheld on a technicality. This is not litigation. This is finding facts to help the nation, and we should not treat this as if we're adversarial parties here."
"Steady Leadership in Times of Change".... MY ASS!
Friday, April 02, 2004
Say one thing... do another.
That was then. USA Today, January 5, 2004
Bush tells staff to cooperate on CIA leak

"The president has always said that leaking classified information is a serious matter, and certainly no one wants to get to the bottom of this more than he does, so that we can find out the truth," [White House Spokesperson] McClellan said. "The president has said from early on that if anybody has information, they should come forward and share it with those who are leading this investigation.

This is now. CBS News, April 2, 2004
Investigators earlier tried to encourage journalists to talk by asking White House staff to sign waivers freeing reporters of any promises of confidentiality. But according to The Post, most officials were advised by the lawyers not to sign, and did not.
The first article does say that Bush would not order his staff to sign such documents... but come on. I've never seen a an adminstration able to speak so fluently out of both sides of their collective mouths.
Ooooh... That darn'd liberal Economist
This ain't the SS Monkey Business
Former Senator and Presidential candidate, Gary Hart, has an interesting theory why BushCo has rolled no heads because of the massive intelligence failures that pre-dated 9/11.(Click on the Free Day Pass in the upper right corner to read it all)
You know why I think George Tenet is still in his job? I think there are smoking guns all over the White House. I think if you crack the White House safe, you're going to find memos from Tenet saying, "The terrorists are coming, the terrorists are coming."
It makes a heck of a lot of sense.

The interview is premised on Hart's experience as the Chair of the Hart Rudman Commission, that issued a report on the imminent threat of terrorism just as BushCo took office. (Sound familiar?)
Thursday, April 01, 2004
Declassify It ALL!!
The White House has just declassified a small part of the September 4, 2001 plan to combat terrorism. Of course they have ONLY given up the parts about military action against the Al Qaida and the Taliban.

Former Senator Bob Kerrey, who has seen this entire plan as part of the 9/11 commission warned during the public hearings that the administration had better hope that the whole thing not be declassified because they were blatantly misrepresenting it for political purposes.

Here is an AP report about the plan from last week:
Shortly before the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration was debating how to force bin Laden out of Afghanistan. At a Sept. 10, 2001, meeting of second-tier Cabinet officials, officials settled on a three-phase strategy. The first step called for dispatching an envoy to talk to the Taliban. If this failed, diplomatic pressure would be applied and covert funding and support for anti-Taliban fighters would be increased.

If both failed, "the deputies agreed that the United States would seek to overthrow the Taliban regime through more direct action," the report said. Deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley said the strategy had a three-year timeframe.
Huh!!! Diplomacy?!?!?!?

To hear them tell it now... they were going to blow them all to Kingdom Come!

..... so tired of the lies.
I'm getting sick of this ....
From tomorrows NYTimes:

The commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks said on Thursday that it was pressing the White House to explain why the Bush administration had blocked thousands of pages of classified foreign policy and counterterrorism documents from former President Bill Clinton's White House files from being turned over to the panel's investigators.
The commission and the White House were reacting to public complaints from former aides to Mr. Clinton, who said they had been surprised to learn in recent months that three-quarters of the nearly 11,000 pages of files the former president was ready to offer the commission had been withheld by the Bush administration. The former aides said the files contained highly classified documents about the Clinton administration's efforts against Al Qaeda.

$5 bucks says that these documents might undermine the the re-election campaign's theme that "Clinton did nothing for 8 years."

This smells rotten.
Did Condi know of "Al Qaida"?
When Richard Clarke wrote that Condi Rice gave him the impression that "she had never heard of the term [Al Qaida] before", I was sure that he was being rhetorical. The wing-nuts went for the jugular on this. Hannity, Rush et al screamed "She obviously had heard of Al Qaida. This is proof that Richard Clarke is lying!!!"

But it seems that there is more to this than you might think. In a classic over-reaction, the White House peddled a tape of a 2000 interview that "proves" that Condi had been aware of "Al Qaida".

From the interview:

RICE: Osama bin Laden do two things [sic]. The first is you really have to get the intelligence agencies better organized to deal with the terrorist threat to the United States itself. One of the problems that we have is a kind of split responsibility, of course, between the CIA and foreign intelligence and the FBI and domestic intelligence.
There needs to be better cooperation because we don't want to wake up one day and find out that Osama bin Laden has been successful on our own territory.

Hmmmmm. There is one major problem with her defense. There is no mention of phrase Al Qaida!! (Let alone any semblance of the concept of the group) If this is their vaunted evidence, maybe Clarke was not being creative after all. UGH! That is a scary damn thought.

Bob Somerby explains what it really shows by destroying NBC New's partisan hack, Lisa Myers. (Scroll down) And here he shows Hannity for the fool that he is.
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Reagan Revisionism
Ever since January 20, 1989, certain elements of the right-wing have been engaged in a campaign to rehab the image of Ronald Wilson Reagan, our 40th President. Anti-tax zealot Grover Norquist has two passions: One is to slash taxes and reduce Government until it can be "drowned in a bathtub". The other is to get Reagan's name and image on anything and everything from schools to dimes.

The blind worship of Reagan reminds me a little of the idol worship that surrounds the cult of JFK. But JFK's Camelot image can be explained easily by the timing and gruesome drama of his assasination. (Oh and don't forget his wife!)

Reagan worship is harder for me to understand.

It's amazing but Wing-nuts and dittoheads have a collective amnesia about Reagan hiking taxes (1986), lying to the American public about Iran Contra (1986), Cutting and running after a terror attack that killed 200+ Americans (Beirut, 1982), never submitting a balanced budget (not once!), and the fact that he never went to church except for special occasions.

This last fact is currently be revised by Citizens United, one of the goofball VRWC groups that spent millions trying to bring down Bill Clinton. They have a new book that paints Reagan as a pious and spiritual man, a man of great faith, whose reign was guided by The Hand of Providence.

From the promo-site:

Hand of Providence explores the life and decisions of Ronald Reagan through his Christian beliefs and tells how faith guided him through his distinguished career and led him to unprecedented success.

In the tradition of Citizens United treatment of Bill Clinton, please allow me to remind them that Reagan was a womanizing cheat who was kicked out by his first wife. And during his subsequent bachelorhood he allegedly raped a young actress named Seline Walters.

... and while I'm at it, I still have yet to hear a good answer why he kicked off his 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi where three civil rights workers had been slain less than two decades before. In his declaration he stated that "I believe in state's rights!"

Yep... overtly racist pandering is certainly good Christian behavior.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Clarke's Consistency.
A lot has been made about Richard Clarke's consistency on matters relating to Iraq, Terror and BushCo. Both the left and right have taken shots at him.

The line out of the White House is that 'Clarke loved us when he was here. See... Fox News has it on tape... Look at his resignation letter. Look... its an email he sent Condi!'

Conversely some on the left are pissed that Clarke didn't jump up and down about Iraq prior to the war.

Kevin Drum of has dug up a few comments, in response to a Clarke critic, that Clarke publicly made just after resigning . They coincide with the beginning of the war. It's seems obvious from the quotes that Clarke's position on Iraq was that it certainly was/is a detriment to our battles with Al Qaeda.

So much for "inconsistency" on this issue. Maybe they'll have better luck with the gay smear.
You Only Know About Halliburton....
... because of its connections to Dick Cheney. But there are dozens of other companies making money had over fist in Iraq and other "War on Terra" endeavors.

Joe Conason's latest (click on the "Free Day Pass" once you get there for full access) brings up a few other profiteers.

There are a few big names but the most interesting is soon-to-be former Pentagon comptroller Dov Zakheim. He will be joining the firm of Booz Allen who already employ James Woolsey, the former CIA Director and Richard Perle.

Had you ever heard of Booz Allen? Check it out.
Some media folk have it.
It's Not Like They're Broke....
For the past two hours, CNN has been playing in the background at my humble abode. I have now seen the new Bush Campaign Ad claiming Kerry will raise the gas tax 1, 2, 3, 4 times.

... and how much did the Bush Campaign pay to have these ads broadcast nationwide? Zip... nada... nothing!

Why? Because it's "news" that BushCo is running an ad that bashes the Democratic candidate.
A Simple Question.
Why is the White House now insisting that President Bush and Vice President Cheney have their "discussion" with the September 11th Commission together?

(Not to mention that it will be in private, with no transcript, ever, and NOT under oath.)
The "New" Hatchet Man
Franklin Miller, a "bureaucratic rival" (what-ever-the-hell that means) of Richard Clarke has been sent out to save the day. He is disputing Clarke's accounts of the specific events of 9/11. Mind you, he is not trying to dispel the notions that; a) BushCo backseated Al Queda terror concerns behind "rogue regime" terror concerns, b) the administration's obessesion with Iraq has left us much more vulnerable to the next generation of Islamic Jihadist terror.

Nope. Miller tells us that the first chapter of Against All Enemies "would make a great movie" and "was more melodramatic" than the actual events.

Melodramatic?!?!? I'm sure he meant to say GAY!

"Disgruntled" didn't work. "Out of the loop" didn't work. "Profiteering" didn't work. So now we have "weird aspects in his life as well". I'll be listening to Limbaugh today. I'm sure it will come up.

POSTSCRIPT: If Clarke truly is gay, (and who really cares.. aside from the Fundies) wouldn't it be a little ironic if BushCo's anti-gay rhetoric helped nudge him to "out" their poor performance on terror?

Monday, March 29, 2004
These guys are so sure they're invulnerable.
They don't even try to hide what they're doing anymore. The CIA is going to "clear" apparently contradictory snippets of Clarke's 2002 testimony, but the White House won't "authorize" a full release---only what they want the sound-bite-consuming-public to know.

And they're not even trying to hide it. We are in big trouble when an administation is this brazen.
"...U.S. officials told NBC News that the full record of Clarke’s testimony two years ago would not be declassified. They said that at the request of the White House, however, the CIA was going through the transcript to see what could be declassified, with an eye toward pointing out contradictions..."
See Josh Marshall's blog for more.

Shouting into the closet to inform and entertain the 10 people who actually read this thing. In our new format as an online magazine, we take pride in our reporting and opinions. Please leave reader feedback on our online magazine message board so that we can better serve you.

“There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people…and on a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years…We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.” -Paul Wolfowitz

Cost of the War in Iraq
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