There is speculation that the Bushies will try to replace Dick Cheney
with Hizzonner the former Mayah of Noo Yawk, Rudy Giulani.
I do not believe this will happen, but then I thought the Democratic nomination would
come down to a shoot-out between Dean and Clark, so what do I know?
I can understand what Giuliani would add to the Bush ticket. Rudy would remind people
of those (cue music) heroic post-September 11 days, when Shrub's approval numbers hit an all-time high. And Rudy has been
out of office, and therefore out of mischief, since 2001, and thus far the luster of his heroic image has not dimmed.
Perhaps Karl Rove dreams of trotting Rudy Giuliani out during the convention in New
York next September. Perhaps Karl Rove dreams that New Yorkers will fall into a swoon and shower the Republicans with love
and praise. Perhaps Karl Rove is dreaming.
The first flaw in this scenario is Rudy Giuliani himself. Love him or hate him, he's
nobody's boy. He rarely played along with the GOP while he was mayor. I can't imagine him being anybody's Number
Two. It is rumored he doesn't especially like Bush; in 2000 he campaigned for John McCain and, as I recall, skipped out on
at least one appearance with Bush.
Further, Rudy does not strike me as a guy the Religious Right would warm up to. He's
socially liberal on many issues, such as gay rights. He has an interesting marital history.
And if Karl Rove thinks New York City will swoon at Shrub's feet if Rudy is the veep,
he needs to think again. Because New Yorkers and Da Mayah have some history, you know what I'm sayin'? Rudy has had
moments of greatness, such as after September 11. And Rudy can be a five-alarm horse's ass, such as after the shooting
of Amadou Diallo. I suspect New Yorkers remember his bad side as well as his good side.
Then, finally, what would they do with Dick Cheney? Vice President Dick
stays hidden away except when trotted out for Republican fund raisers. What would Citizen Dick do? Unleashed, he
might prove to be a bigger embarassment than he already is.
I suspect the Bush-Cheney ticket is set in stone. And I hope it sinks like one.
One of these days I will do some Friday cat blogging, like the other
bloggers. My roomie, Tara, is feline and quite photogenic. She also likes books (to rest her head on) and has a keen interest
in ornithology. One of these days.
Federal law-enforcement officials said that they have developed hard evidence
of possible criminal misconduct by two employees of Vice President Dick Cheney's office related to the unlawful exposure of
a CIA officer's identity last year. The investigation, which is continuing, could lead to indictments, a Justice Department
According to these sources, John Hannah and Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, were the
two Cheney employees. "We believe that Hannah was the major player in this," one federal law-enforcement officer said. Calls
to the vice president's office were not returned, nor did Hannah and Libby return calls. [Richard Sale, UPI, February 5, 2004]
Sorry I am late with Hot Links today. This morning my web host was having
Check out Dan Froomkin's "White House Briefing" in today's Washington Post, expecially the part about "The AWOL Story That Won't Die." This paragraph popped
NBC Nightly News devoted a two and a half minute "In-Depth" segment to the
issue, in which David Gregory said that while Bush was "never formally accused" of anything, "there is no
record that proves Bush showed up to fulfill his obligations" from May 1972 to May 1973. The report includes video from 2000
of Bush saying "I fulfilled my obligation."
If you aren't a Salon subscriber, at least get a one-day pass for today. Today's articles include "Bush's Missing Year" by Eric Boehlert ("In 1972, George W. Bush dropped out of his National Guard service and later lied about it. With the media
finally paying attention, will he now come clean?"); "Weapons of Mass Dissembling" by Sidney Blumenthal ("Arms inspector David Kay is conveniently blaming his failure to find WMD on U.S. intelligence, but
the real villains are the Bush neocons who cooked data and twisted arms to get the "evidence" they needed for war."); Katy
Butler, "Losing My Religion" (Butler, a Dean volunteer, argues that Howard Dean "was a vehicle, not a destination." Thus are we all.);
and Arianna Huffington, "The Democrats' Secret Weapon," which is Dick Cheney.
Josh Marshall has some fresh news on the Valerie Plame affair -- I'll leave it to him to explain it.
A very quick mention of the unmentionable -- Dennis Kucinich. I listened
to television "coverage" of yesterday's primaries as long as I could stand it, and have browsed through newspaper articles
this morning, and Our Dennis's name is nowhere to be found.
The near-unmentionable is Wesley Clark, even though he won in Oklahoma.
If you look at the contests overall, he had more second-place finishes than Edwards. Yet Edwards is being touted as almost
as big a winner as Kerry. Hmm.
All this past week the South Carolina primary got a disproportionate
amount of coverage, I thought, especially given that it wasn't the "biggest" state in number of delegates. As South Carolina
goes, so goes the nation? Since when?
Don't mind me. I'm a tad grumpy. At least Lieberman dropped out.
That free-thinking patriot of the Wall Street Journal editorial page, Brendan
Miniter, wrote an op ed today blasting the Democrats for even thinking about trade protectionism:
What no politician dares say about trade, however, is that it's not about
protecting jobs. It's about the right to freely sell your goods or to freely buy the goods you want. It's also good economic
policy because trade is a relentless force that, through competition, drives down prices. Trade is about protecting and enriching
Bill Clinton didn't sign Nafta to save mill jobs in South Carolina. He signed
it so every American would be able to pay less for the cars, fruit, timber and other products produced in Mexico and Canada.
And if some jobs are exported to those countries to produce products more cheaply that are then sold back to America, then
the mill workers' loss is the consumers gain.
And trade does help create new jobs, both by opening foreign markets to American
products and by leaving consumers with more money to spend or invest.
Blah blah blah. You've heard this before. But read the
responses to this article. Most of them are along the lines of "Um, Brendan? It is TOO about jobs." And, for the record, most of the
Dems aren't talking about trade protectionism as much as they are about eliminating incentives for exporting jobs.
It's easy for conservatives to be theoretical about jobs as long as they are warm
and comfy and secure. But show me a conservative who realizes his job could be or will be or already has been exported
to India, and I'll show you a Democratic voter.
In other news, Catholic Light doubts there is any truth to the Bush AWOL story.
All you left-wing muckraking journalists out there, here's how to make
a name for yourself: just figure out what Bush was doing during the time in question, and show that he could not have possibly
spent one weekend a month fulfilling his duties. Then you'll have proven your case. (Of course, if the unit commander excused
him, then you don't have a case at all.)
If you want to be intellectually honest, you might consider the possibility
that his paperwork was messed up. But that's only if you want to be intellectually honest.
Suggestion: Hop on over to Catholic Lite and leave a comment about intellectual honesty.
I know he/she would appreciate it.
The hot link today is this article in the Washington Post about Bush's National Guard service. How did I miss it this morning? (Suggestion: Email Peter Jennings via World News Tonight and send him a link to the WaPo article.)
None of the information will be new to most of us "leftists," but the fact that the
Washington Post is willing to print this reveals that the Powers That Be are losing interest in propping up Bush.
It's only taken them three (or is it four?) years to catch up to the rest of us, but better late than never.
See also this story in today's New York Times about the shocking logistical foulups of last March's Iraq campaign. The background story
is that the megalomaniac Rummy insisted that only he knew how to run a military operation and blew off the advice of professional
soldiers. Turns out the old soldiers knew what they were talking about after all.
The Times story doesn't go into the failure of "outsourced" supplies from
vendors like Brown & Root to reach soldiers in the months after the war officially ended. We may have to wait another
year or two for that story to hit mainstream media. Or maybe not, if (as I suspect) major media are no longer under orders
to cover Bush's butt. We'll see.
Will it be a seven-state sweep for Kerry today? The polls I see say he's
got five states for sure, with only Edwards in South Carolina and Clark in Oklahoma representing challenges.
The Washington Postreports that if Edwards loses South Carolina he will drop out of the race and back Kerry. There are rumors Lieberman will quit the
race after today as well.
When terrorists attack. WaPo also reports that three Senate
buildings will be closed today because of missile attacks powder found in the office of Senate Majority Leader
Bill Frist. The powder tested positive for the lethal poison ricin. So after two and a half years of thrashing around about
terrorism ... well, never mind.
When Republicans revolt. To follow up on last night's blog,
below, read Jim Wooten in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution -- "Some Bush Supporters Break Ranks." They are breaking ranks over Bush's immigration proposal and his out-of-control spending, says Wooten.
Did I mention I'm writing a book? Yes, I'm writing a book, about blogs
and politics. More details in a few weeks.
In the course of doing research I've spent considerable time in the past couple of
weeks reading right-wing political blogs. And I tell you, people, something strange is happening on the Right.
OK, so the Right is always strange. But as I surf around, I find site after site
that is oddly subdued. Bloggers who used to be fire-breathing, Clinton-bashing, Bush-loving, Lefty-baiting Freepers these
days just seem ambivalent. Sites like Cold Fury and Rantburg should be renamed Mild Annoyance and Polite Objection City.
Time and time again, I run into two themes:
Bush is not reducing the size of government, but making it bigger.
Bush's "immigration" proposal will ruin America (or, at least, mess it up some).
Examples: Little Green Footballs worries that we're trading away too many personal liberties for the sake of security. And View from the Right predicts that "Karl Rove's" amnesty plan will be Bush's undoing.
Don't tell them that they're starting to sound like us liberals. They're having enough
of an identity crisis at the moment.
Just posted on Capitol Hill Blue: "Right Wingers Finally Wake Up to the Real George W. Bush."
Do you hear that giant rumbling sound shaking terra firma from America's
beloved heartland to Washington's much-despised innards (a.k.a., the inside of the Washington Beltway)? That rumbling sound
is the raucous right-wing rebellion. It's just getting started.
Only during the past few weeks have conservatives begun delivering public
protestations over their commander-in-chief's prodigal budgetary proclivities. Privately, several have told me they were threatening
desertion or outright mutiny at the polls this November if he didn't rein it in, and quickly. [Bonnie Erbe]
And "No Facts" himself chimed in today with "Bush's Credibility Problem":
Bush is reeling from a double blow to his credibility.
Failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, a political accident
waiting to happen, became the first punch last week when resigned weapons inspector David Kay testified to Congress. The follow-up
blow was the White House revelation that the new Medicare plan will cost one-third more than the president predicted (just
as conservatives warned).
These setbacks for Bush followed the most ineffective State of the Union
address in recent years. He submitted to the bureaucratic methods that turned the speech into a laundry list. In the two weeks
since then, the president has not seemed energized on the campaign trail.
Has a frontrunner at the height of the race for a party's presidential nomination
ever had an easier two weeks than John F. Kerry since the Iowa caucuses last month?
This has been vaguely in the back of my mind for the past few days too. Brownstein
is referring to the other candidates here, who, with the exception of Howard Dean, have all treated Kerry with kid gloves.
...What adds to the weirdness of this is that the press hasn't laid a glove on him either. "
This is bound to change, of course. But I'm wondering if the Big Money Men --
the fabled malefactors of great wealth -- have looked at the long-range economic picture and decided Bush is not their boy
after all. And if so, perhaps Big Media has received new orders.
Bush's 2005 budget was released today. His $2.5 trillion budget. The
one gifting us with a record $521 billion deficit.
This budget, to go into effect October 1, calls for a 7 percent increase in military
spending but does not provide for the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the New York Times. An Associated Press story adds, "Officials said a supplemental request for these funds [for Iraq and
Afghanistan] will be sent to Congress but not until after the November elections."
Um, excuse me, but, if you already know you're going to ask for the money within
the 2005 fiscal year, isn't it kind of dishonest not to budget it now? Doesn't this amount to pre-planned
budget busting? Do businesses let managers get away with this (none that I've worked for)?
Now, in thisAssociated Press story, the ubiquitous White House Officials say they plan to ask for a $50 billion supplement spendng bill for Iraq and Afghanistan,
but not in this calendar year. However, keep in mind that the fiscal year goes from October to October.
If a business manager were to submit a budget for a fiscal year and deliberately
leave out a $50 billion item for that fiscal year, thinking that he could wait until three or four months into the fiscal
year and then ask for the money then, he would no doubt meet with much disfavor from his superiors. Wouldn't you think?
The next question is, if no funds are budgeted for Iraq and Afghanistan, how come
the military budget is going up 7 percent? Among other things, the budget provides for --
a 3.5 percent increase in base pay for military personnel. Not a big raise, but a
little better than nothing.
purchase of eleven V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, which were plagued by deadly crashes
a program called Future Combat Systems, which is developing military gear
for soldiers to use in 2010 and afterward, will receive a whopping $3.2 billion.
And here's my favorite part --
Bush's defense budget would give substantial boosts to national
missile defense, with money to pay for the deployment of up to 20 interceptors in California and Alaska by the end
of next year.
The Times article also says, in the first paragraph, that Bush's
budget has three paramount goals -- "winning the war on terror, protecting the homeland, and strengthening the economy." But
the eleventh paragraph says, "So it was no surprise today that Mr. Bush called for limiting the growth of a vast
range of discretionary nonmilitary and homeland security programs."
To be fair, there will be a 10 percent increase in spending overall for Homeland
Security, which includes a big boost in the FBI budget for "counterterrorism" measures. Does this mean Crisco John Ashcroft
can expand his Dragnet of Righteousness that never seems to catch anyone who is certifiably guilty of something? Stay tuned.
Today's question. If a copy of the Bush Budget casts a
shadow and a groundhog sees it, does this mean eleven more months of Bush in the White House?
Clip & save. The New York Times
today has an article about hotel reservations made for Republican delegates to the 2004 convention. In the print edition, but not online, there's a map showing where all
the hotels are. Most delegates will be staying in hotels north of Times Square, which means they will have to travel a few
blocks to get to the convention. This will get messy. Not that I'm suggesting anything; but there's no way this convention
is going to be the well-rehearsed pageant the Pugs are used to.
Via Cup o' Joe -- please read this article from Creative Loafing on why Southern
white men vote for Bush --
I spent a week on the road trying to figure out why traditionally Democratic
rural whites have so solidly embraced a Republican Party whose economic program runs directly counter to their own interests.
Like much of the rural South, each town I visited was poor and overwhelmingly
white, with residents who voted for President Bush in 2000. At each stop, I looked for working poor and middle-income people,
asked them how they voted and why. The answers were depressingly facile, filled with the perfectly parroted lingo of the right-wing
echo chamber, and yet, once I dug, often so thin, disconnected and confused that I wondered whether a strong wind (or populist
candidate with the right message) might reorder the political landscape. [Kevin Griffis, "White Flight," Creative Loafing, January 22, 2004]
President Bush has relented and will allow an independent investigation
of prewar intelligence, according to Priest and Milbank of The Washington Post:
The shift by the White House, which had previously maintained that any such
inquiry should wait until a more exhaustive weapons search has been completed, came after pressure from lawmakers in both
parties and from the former chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq. ...
The White House has not settled on what type of independent review it would
favor and has not backed any specific plan.
See, it's never just about doing the right thing. It's about what's good for Bush
politically. The article goes on to say that by joining the investigation effort, the White House will have more leverage
to direct its focus. As Josh Marshall points out, "They want to wall off the investigation so it only scrutinizes their political enemies at the CIA and the rest
of the Intelligence Community."
Last night on "Capital Gang" Bob Novak predicted a seven-state sweep for John Kerry this Tuesday, and this article says that's a strong possibility.
In another fun moment on "Capital Gang," after the eternally clueless Kate
O'Beirne claimed Kerry had "slandered" fellow vets when he returned from Vietnam, Novak said,
NOVAK: See, the problem -- the problem is one of -- one of -- one of George
Bush's supporters told me off the record -- I mean, not for quotation -- that the problem that the president has is he was
drinking beer in Alabama when this guy was -- was fighting in the war.
A problem. No shit.
On to Hot Links. Note that there are some interesting articles in today's New York
Times. However, all the Times links were broken.
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the
president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is
morally treasonable to the American public." --Theodore Roosevelt, 1918
The War Prayer
I come from the Throne -- bearing
a message from Almighty God!... He has heard the prayer of His servant, your shepherd, & will grant it if such shall be
your desire after I His messenger shall have explained to you its import -- that is to say its full import. For it is like
unto many of the prayers of men in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of -- except he pause & think.
"God's servant & yours has prayed his prayer. Has
he paused & taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two -- one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of
Him who heareth all supplications, the spoken & the unspoken....
"You have heard your servant's prayer -- the uttered
part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it -- that part which the pastor -- and also you
in your hearts -- fervently prayed, silently. And ignorantly & unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these
words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is completed into
those pregnant words.
"Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also
the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!
"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our
hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved
firesides to smite the foe.
"O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody
shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown
the thunder of the guns with the wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire;
help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their
little children to wander unfriended through wastes of their desolated land in rags & hunger & thirst, sport of the
sun-flames of summer & the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of
the grave & denied it -- for our sakes, who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter
pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded
feet! We ask of one who is the Spirit of love & who is the ever-faithful refuge & friend of all that are sore beset,
& seek His aid with humble & contrite hearts. Grant our prayer, O Lord & Thine shall be the praise & honor
& glory now & ever, Amen."
(After a pause.) "Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire
it, speak! -- the messenger of the Most High waits."
ˇ ˇ ˇ ˇ ˇ ˇ
It was believed, afterward, that the man was a lunatic,
because there was no sense in what he said.