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jaded ranting

Friday, November 04, 2005 at 11:18:00 AM

Bush's Popularity Reaches New Low

I know I said I was taking a break, but I had to post this:
For the first time in his presidency a majority of Americans question the integrity of President Bush, and growing doubts about his leadership have left him with record negative ratings on the economy, Iraq and even the war on terrorism.

On almost every key measure of presidential character and performance, the survey found that Bush has never been less popular with the American people. Currently 39 percent approve of the job he is doing as president, while 60 percent disapprove of his performance in office -- the highest level of disapproval ever recorded for Bush in Post-ABC polls.

Bush's approval ratings have been in decline for months, but on issues of personal trust, honesty and values, Bush has suffered some of his most notable declines. Moreover, Bush has always retained majority support on his handling of the U.S. campaign against terrorism -- until now, when 51 percent have registered disapproval.

The CIA leak case has apparently contributed to a withering decline in how Americans view Bush personally. The survey found that 40 percent now view him as honest and trustworthy -- a 13 percentage point drop in the past 18 months. Nearly 6 in 10 -- 58 percent -- said they have doubts about Bush's honesty, the first time in his presidency that more than half the country has questioned his personal integrity. [whole article]

Wednesday, November 02, 2005 at 4:39:00 PM


i've decided to take a break from the serious blogging i've been doing to focus my energy on a couple of other things i've neglected. it's been incredible fun debating, but it's just too time consuming at a point in my life when i need to get some shit together.

hopefully i'll be able to post here and there and get back to more serious blogging soon.

Monday, October 31, 2005 at 11:41:00 AM

round 2?

Bush Selects Alito for Supreme Court:
President Bush today named appeals court Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the U.S. Supreme Court. Alito, 55, serves on the Philadelphia-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, where his record on abortion rights and church-state issues has been widely applauded by conservatives and criticized by liberals.

Thursday, October 27, 2005 at 10:11:00 AM

Miers: 3rd and Out

Dear Mr. President:
I write to withdraw as a nominee to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. I have been greatly honored and humbled by the confidence that you have shown in me and have appreciated immensely your support and the support of many others. However, I am concerned that the confirmation process presents a burden for the White House and our staff that is not in the best interest of the country. [entire letter]
I'm not really sure how to read the withdrawal of Harriet Miers' nomination, other than another embarrassment for George Bush. Has he really lost touch even with his base? Because it seemed to me that most of the dissent was coming from the right. I guess James Dobson's insider information and threats from Pat Robertson weren't enough to convince conservatives:
They're going to turn against a Christian who is a conservative picked by a conservative president, and they're going to vote against her for confirmation? Not on your sweet life, if they want to stay in office
Alas, another misstep by our "great" leader. Another manifestation of this country's lack of confidence in this man.

I must say, however, that I do agree with W's persistent protection of his right to privacy with his lawyer. A president should be able to discuss things under executive privilege and not have them revealed to the public, even when it comes to something as important as a Supreme Court nomination. Again from Miers' letter:
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.
I guess I can also understand her hesitancy to speak honestly and openly about her judicial philosophy in front of the Senate. I mean, when was the last time anyone in the Bush White House said anything that was honest and open? Ouch, maybe that was a bit unfair.

But seriously, criticism from both sides of the isle said that she was unwilling or unable to give any sort of substantive answer to almost any question regarding constitutional law. And when she says "I believe that my lengthy career provides sufficient evidence for consideration of my nomination," this is simply not true. I'm not asking her to say how she would decide future cases, no one should do that, but at least give some idea what your philosophy is. And it didn't seem like W wanted her to say anything either. Sen. Charles Schumer on PBS Newshour 10/18/05:
When she saw me at about 1:30 yesterday, she said that she had no opinion of Griswold or Meyer, two of the seminal cases that established the right to privacy in the Constitution. She then went to Senator Specter and according to him said, yes, she does support those cases. And then three hours later the White House put out some memorandum saying no, she doesn't, and Senator Specter misinterpreted it. Senator Specter is a darned good lawyer; I don't think he did misinterpret it, although I wasn't there.
Well, maybe I'm not giving him enough credit. Maybe this is part of a scheme to get the real nomination through the process.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005 at 8:42:00 PM

Judith Miller is an Embarrassment, as is the Times

I'm tired of people hailing Judith Miller as some First Amendment heroine for remaining in jail instead of releasing her sources. A couple points:

First off, she claims that the reason she decided to finally testify and give up her source (Scooter Libby) after he told her it was OK, and that he felt bad for keeping her in jail. However, that doesn't seem to be accurate:
Over the course of the investigation, Libby had freed several other reporters from any obligation to keep their conversations with him secret -- and his lawyer had apparently told Miller's lawyer more than a year ago that she was free to talk, as well. So what was Miller doing in jail? Was it all just a misunderstanding? [whole article]
The truth is that Miller just wanted the publicity, and to turn herself into some superhero.

Secondly, Miller's history is far from a saintly journalist. Her front page article on September 8, 2002 she reported the following:
More than a decade after Saddam Hussein agreed to give up weapons of mass destruction, Iraq has stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and has embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb, Bush administration officials said today. In the last 14 months, Iraq has sought to buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes, which American officials believe were intended as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium. American officials said several efforts to arrange the shipment of the aluminum tubes were blocked or intercepted but declined to say, citing the sensitivity of the intelligence, where they came from or how they were stopped. Mr. Hussein's dogged insistence on pursuing his nuclear ambitions, along with what defectors described in interviews as Iraq's push to improve and expand Baghdad's chemical and biological arsenals, have brought Iraq and the United States to the brink of war.
The unnamed Bush administration officials she sourced in this article probably never existed, and the conclusions drawn about the potential use of these tubes was were also manufactured. This article was directly referenced by Rice, Powell, and Rumsfeld as one of the justifications for going to war.

Later, on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (one of my favorite NPR shows, btw), she had this to say:
"Well, I think they found something more than a smoking gun. What they've found is a silver bullet in the form of a person, an Iraqi individual, a scientist, as we've called him, who really worked on the programs, who knows them, firsthand, and who has led MET Alpha people to some pretty startling conclusions."
This also turned out to be a blatant lie.

Finally, the idea that she's protecting a whistle-blower is inaccurate. Ambassador Joe Wilson was a main critic of the Bush push for war in Iraq. Valerie Plame is Joe Wilson's wife. Plame's name was dropped to punish Wilson for his dissent. "Miller isn’t protecting a whistle blower. She is protecting someone who retaliated against a whistle blower."

It's just frustrating that this woman, who obviously only cares about personal success and her pending million dollar book deal and nothing about journalistic integrity, is being lauded as this heroine. Someone who would say and write anything for just a bit more fame, Miller is a perfect example of how reporters should not get too close to those they are reporting on.

She should return the Pulitzer Prize she was awarded, as she is nothing but an embarrassment to reporters everywhere. She also won an award on October 18 for protecting freedom of the press. The New York Times should also be embarrassed for having such a devious person on their staff for so long and for continued cover-up of her role in the leak.

at 12:06:00 PM

Condoning Torture

The Bush administration has proposed exempting employees of the Central Intelligence Agency from a legislative measure endorsed earlier this month by 90 members of the Senate that would bar cruel and degrading treatment of any prisoners in U.S. custody.

The proposal, which two sources said Vice President Cheney handed last Thursday to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the company of CIA Director Porter J. Goss, states that the measure barring inhumane treatment shall not apply to counterterrorism operations conducted abroad or to operations conducted by "an element of the United States government" other than the Defense Department.

The provision in question -- which the Senate on Oct. 5 voted 90 to 9 to attach to its version of the pending defense appropriations bill over the administration's opposition -- essentially proscribes harsh treatment of any detainees in U.S. custody or control anywhere in the world. It was specifically drafted to close what its backers say is a loophole in the administration's policy of generally barring torture, namely its legal contention that these constraints do not apply to treatment of foreigners on foreign soil.

Other sources said the vice president is also still fighting a second provision of the Senate-passed legislation, which requires that detainees in Defense Department custody anywhere in the world may be subjected only to interrogation techniques approved and listed in the Army's Field Manual.
[whole article]
Alright, this is just getting ridiculous. Does this White House have any shame at all? With all the reports of human rights abuses by American soldiers, one would think that W and his buddies would try and fix the issue, not legalize it.

For a country that is supposedly spreading freedom and democracy throughout the world, it is just absurd that our leaders are defending torture and abuse as appropriate behavior.

at 10:38:00 AM


Military Has Lost 2,000 In Iraq

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 at 12:18:00 PM

Goodbye to a Heroine

Rosa Parks, the dignified African American seamstress whose refusal to surrender a bus seat to a white man launched the modern civil rights movement and inspired generations of activists, died last night at her home in Detroit, the Wayne County medical examiner's office said. She was 92. [whole article]

at 11:28:00 AM

What Rice Can't See

An interesting piece on Condi, here are some excerpts:
Like a lot of African Americans, I've long wondered what the deal was with Condoleezza Rice and the issue of race. How does she work so loyally for George W. Bush, whose approval rating among blacks was measured in a recent poll at a negligible 2 percent? How did she come to a worldview so radically different from that of most black Americans? Is she blind, is she in denial, is she confused -- or what?

It's as if Rice is still cosseted in her beloved Titusville, the neighborhood of black strivers where she was raised, able to see the very different reality that other African Americans experience but not to reach out of the bubble -- not able to touch that other reality, and thus not able to really understand it.

Rice's parents tried their best to shelter their only daughter from Jim Crow racism, and they succeeded. Forty years later, Rice shows no bitterness when she recalls her childhood in a town whose streets were ruled by the segregationist police chief Bull Connor. "I've always said about Birmingham that because race was everything, race was nothing," she said in an interview on the flight home.

When she reminisces, she talks of piano lessons and her brief attempt at ballet -- not of Connor setting his dogs loose on brave men, women and children marching for freedom, which is the Birmingham that other residents I met still remember. A friend of Rice's, Denise McNair, was one of the four girls killed in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. That would have left a deep scar on me, but Rice can speak of that atrocity without visible emotion.

One of the things she somehow missed was that in Titusville and other black middle-class enclaves, a guiding principle was that as you climbed, you were obliged to reach back and bring others along. Rice has been a foreign policy heavyweight for nearly two decades; she spent four years in the White House as the president's national security adviser. In the interview, she mentioned just one black professional she has brought with her from the National Security Council to State.
It's really just tremendously disappointing that someone with her status is so out of touch with these issues. The fact that someone with such intelligence and power has this mindset is depressing. She really is an embarrassment. She could do so much good for women and minorities, but in her mind being inclusive is out of her way.

I wonder if she even cares about the fact that 2 percent of blacks approve of Bush. When she was on meet the press, she questioned the validity of the poll. I'm in social science, and there's no way to mess with poll data or implementation that much. She is in complete denial of the reality clear to the rest of black America, which is, as Kanye so eloquently put it, "George Bush doesn't care about black people". She's content being a puppet for this man who has mesmerized her.

I really hope she doesn't run for president.

Sunday, October 23, 2005 at 10:15:00 PM

Finally, some good news

Young Democrats Sharpen Tactics Against Old Rivals:
With the Capitol all but deserted last Monday night, the Democratic "30-Something Working Group" seized the House floor and took aim at their Republican adversaries.

As C-SPAN cameras beamed their performance around the country, Rep. Timothy J. Ryan, 32, of Ohio and Rep. Kendrick Meek, 39, of Florida recited a litany of GOP misdeeds -- mismanaging Hurricane Katrina and neglecting education and health care, for example -- and offered the Democrats' alternatives.

Their conversation even veered to religion, a subject many Democrats are afraid to touch. Ryan described the problems of the poor as a moral obligation and asked of Meek: "Where is the Christian Coalition when you are cutting poverty programs? They are fighting over Supreme Court justices."
It's nice to hear this group is taking some leadership, as my faith in the Democratic Party is a bit shaken. I'm also glad that they're offering their own solutions, instead of the same old complaining.
As part of the new approach, House and Senate Democrats are devising an alternative agenda of key policies. Ryan is pushing proposals aimed at drastically reducing the number of abortions over the coming decade by offering support and services to pregnant women. Others are crafting a plan for reducing U.S. dependence on imported oil by using more domestic agricultural products, an approach that would have significant appeal to Midwestern voters.

"We can't be Dr. No to everything Republicans do," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). "We have to provide our own positive ideas."
With republican embarrassments becoming more and more common, this is the time for the dems to show people that they have good ideas about how to run the country, which is something they haven't done for the past decade.

Thursday, October 20, 2005 at 5:37:00 PM

More American War Crimes

Report: U.S. Soldiers Burnt Bodies of Captured Taliban Fighters:
This news on Afghanistan - an Australian TV program has aired footage of U.S. soldiers burning the bodies of two dead Taliban fighters. The program also aired footage of a U.S. Army psy-ops unit caught on tape broadcasting news of the burning to local residents. The message read : "You allowed your fighters to be laid down facing west and burnt. You are too scared to retrieve their bodies. This just proves you are the lady boys we always believed you to be... You attack and run away like women. You call yourself Taliban but you are a disgrace to the Muslim religion, and you bring shame upon your family. Come and fight like men instead of the cowardly dogs you are." On Wednesday the Pentagon announced it would investigate the incident. [source]

at 5:36:00 PM

More Guantanamo Bay Disgrace

Lawyer: Guantánamo Detainees Tortured, Force-Fed, Induced to Vomit:
Meanwhile at Guantanamo Bay, detainees are accusing guards and medical officials of mistreating prisoners taking part in a camp-wide hunger strike. Detainees said large feeding tubes were forcibly shoved up their noses and down into their stomachs, with guards using the same tubes from one patient to another. The force-feedings reportedly resulted in prisoners vomiting up "substantial amounts of blood." The detainees say no sedatives were provided during these procedures, which they allege took place in front of U.S. physicians, including the head of the prison hospital. The accusations were made to New York-based attorney Julia Tarver of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Tarver says one client told her QUOTE: "now after four years in captivity, life and death are the same." [source]

Wednesday, October 19, 2005 at 9:27:00 PM

All children left unaffected

Reading scores among fourth- and eighth-graders showed little improvement over the past two years, and math gains were slower than in previous years, according to a study released yesterday. The disappointing results came despite a new educational testing law championed by the Bush administration as a way to improve the nation's schools.

Though the tests have been taken by fourth- and eighth-grade students about every two years since 1990, the latest NAEP scores were the first tangible testing numbers available since the implementation of No Child Left Behind -- the Bush administration's premier and controversial education initiative requiring all states to test students annually as a prerequisite for receiving federal funds. [whole article]

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 at 1:53:00 PM

Iraqi Constituion and Women's Rights

Yesterday, on Democracy Now, Yanar Mohammed, Director of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq, a group that works to stop atrocities against Iraqi women and defend their rights, discussed how the Iraqi Constitution discriminates against women:
In other words, we are not allowed to independence. We are not allowed to decisions in our lives, and we not speaking here about only appearances of wearing veil or not veil, but we are speaking about women having choices in their lives. We have lost those, and it is by constitution now. There is no other way to it, because no article that contradicts with Islamic Sharia will be allowed in the family law, and there isn't much elaboration about following the international conventions of ending the discrimination against women to prioritize them over religion. It says very clearly the priority is that the laws will not contradict with Islamic Sharia. So, there you go, all of the women are second-rate citizens in Iraq.

and has promoted religious and ethnic segregation and civil war:
So, we are speaking about Iraq being divided into bits and pieces, where in the south the Shiites will be prioritized to any other religion, and in the north, the Kurds will have priority to Arabs and to Turkmens. We are speaking about a very serious declaration of a civil war

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