Friday, June 30, 2006

A Loss for Competitive Elections...

June 29, 2006

The Supreme Court, in a badly fractured decision yesterday, largely upheld Tom DeLay's gerrymandering of the Texas Congressional districts. Instead of standing up for a fair electoral landscape, the court produced a ruling that did little to ensure the vibrancy of American democracy, and that itself had an unfortunate whiff of partisanship.

Given the strong negative feelings that voters have about Congress — in a recent Times poll, just 23 percent of those surveyed approved of the job lawmakers were doing — it is startling how few races are expected to be competitive this fall. This is largely because of increasingly sophisticated partisan gerrymandering that uses high-powered computers to draw lines that in many cases make voters all but irrelevant.

Texas' 2003 redistricting was an extreme case. Mr. DeLay, who was then the House majority leader, led a fierce and successful campaign to capture Texas' Legislature for the Republicans. (He is facing criminal charges of using illegal corporate campaign contributions to do it.) Then, even though Texas had already redistricted after the 2000 census, the Legislature took the rare step of redistricting again. The new lines were drawn in such a partisan way that Republicans ended up with nearly two-thirds of the state's Congressional delegation.

The Supreme Court has indicated in the past that gerrymandering can be so egregious that it violates the Constitution's equal protection clause. But the court has never set out a test to determine what constitutes such a violation, and it failed to do so again yesterday. The court has proved itself capable of thinking up elaborate tests when it wants to — it has made up standards virtually out of whole cloth, for example, to decide when Congress has infringed on states' rights. It is disappointing that the court is not as resourceful when it comes to protecting voters' rights. The court rightly struck down one Congressional district yesterday, citing the Voting Rights Act, but that did not begin to address the serious problems with the 2003 redistricting.

In this post-Bush-vs.-Gore era, the court's critics will note that it again split on partisan lines, with the most conservative justices most approving of the Texas lines.
That was also true in a 2004 case in which it upheld, by a 5-to-4 vote, a pro-Republican redistricting in Pennsylvania. But that same year the court, disturbingly, affirmed a lower court's ruling striking down a pro-Democratic redistricting in Georgia as unconstitutional. It is disappointing that it could not have come up with a decision yesterday that had a greater appearance of fairness.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Bush & Co. Fashion

Are You Pre-Pregnant?

Below the Belt: A Biweekly Column by NOW President Kim Gandy

June 28, 2006

I know you've all been waiting for this week's "Below the Belt" update on what's in style on the right-wing runway. While fashion magazines are paying close attention to recent wide belt trends, NOW is tuning into the latest blunders in this season's Bush & Co. collection. As usual, it's far from haute couture, and it's definitely cramping women's style.

How about that barefoot-in-the-kitchen pre-pregnant look? Last month, Bush and his co-designers kicked off the season with new federal guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control—urging women of certain ages to behave as if they are pre-pregnant at all times, and to take daily precautions to make their bodies the best baby-makers around. The must-have accessory for this pre-pregnant ensemble is a bottle of folic acid vitamins. Chic, no? To heck with keeping chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes under control in the interest of your ability live a long and healthy life—do it for the babies our government is so eager to see you incubate!

That pre-conceptive, Victorian-esque style is just one in a series of attempts by Bush & Co. to bring back old trends that are unfit for revival.

And how can we leave out their new designs for education—sex-segregated public schools—appearing in state legislature across the country? Last week, the Michigan State Senate voted to amend the state's anti-segregation Civil Rights Act to allow single gender public schools, classes and programs. The bill passed 32-5 last Thursday, a punch-in-the-face kind of tribute to the 34th anniversary of Title IX's passage. Bush & Co., predictably, was hot to the segregation-codification trend two years ago, when the administration proposed federal endorsement of single sex public schools across the country. Maybe it's just me, but I thought the whole separate-but-equal approach to education went out like using narcotics in children's cough medicine—permanently, because it wasn't a good idea in the first place.

But that's no surprise—Bush and his designers often reach back in time for inspiration, while filtering out any lessons history has to offer. For example, what's the deal with the stagnating minimum wage? According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the purchasing power of the minimum wage is now at its lowest level since the '55 Chevy was cool. Face it, poverty is just never going to be cool.

The $5.15/hr. minimum wage is less than one-third of the average wage for private sector, non-supervisory workers—and women are twice as likely as men to be working at or below minimum wage. In fact, a single mother with two children who is working 40 hours per week at minimum wage for a whole year receives $5,378 less than the 2005 federal poverty guidelines.

So, put it all together and what do we get? A Bush & Co. promo featuring a pre-pregnant mother popping vitamins and scheduling just-in-case "pre-conception care services"—neither of which she can afford because she's paid far below a living wage—while sending her kids off to sex-segregated public schools.

Let's not forget that in Bush World her children return home from their sex-segregated schools with "knowledge" about abstinence and creationism, and some sporty brochures they got from an army recruiter in the cafeteria.

Complete the picture with a local pharmacist who denies our struggling mother emergency contraception, and a senator who thinks she shouldn't get birth control either, and an administration whose idea of small government is taking up residence in her vagina.

We're not buying into Bush & Co.'s archaic and ugly designs for women and families, and I know you're not either. So pick up one of those chic NOW signs, and a sporty slogan tee from the NOW store and get active in high feminist fashion, because Bush & Co. is so two centuries ago.

How did U.S. assess Iraqi Bioweapon Production?


One of the most vivid allegations made by the U.S. government regarding
Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was the claim that Iraqi had
developed mobile laboratories for the production of biological
weapons. The allegation, based on reports from a source known as
"Curveball," proved to be false.

But the U.S. intelligence assessment of the supposed mobile BW labs,
though erroneous, raised questions that still remain unanswered, wrote
bioweapons expert Milton Leitenberg of the University of Maryland.

According to a cryptic reference spotted by Leitenberg in the
Silberman-Robb WMD Commission report, U.S. contractors performed a
"replication" of the Iraqi design and found that "it works."

The exact nature of this "replication" and whether it led to the
production of actual BW agents are among several lingering questions
he posed.

See "Unresolved Questions Regarding US Government Attribution of a
Mobile Biological Production Capacity by Iraq"
by Milton Leitenberg,
June 2006:


"Sensitive Security Information (SSI) is information that would be
detrimental to transportation security if publicly disclosed,"

according to a Department of Homeland Security directive released last
week under the Freedom of Information Act.

See DHS Management Directive 11056, "Sensitive Security Information,"
December 16, 2005:

Confusingly, however, SSI is also a control marking used by the
Department of Agriculture to mean something quite different, observed
information policy expert Harold C. Relyea of the Congressional
Research Service in a new report on classification and other
information controls.

SSI "is both a concept and a control marking used by the Department of
Agriculture (USDA), on the one hand, and jointly by the Transportation
Security Administration (TSA) of the Department of Homeland Security
as well as by the Department of Transportation, on the other hand, but
with different underlying authorities, conceptualizations, and
management regimes for it,"
he wrote.

See "Security Classified and Controlled Information: History, Status,
and Emerging Management Issues,
" June 26, 2006:

While the number of different designations for "sensitive but
information has been estimated at over 60, that number
approaches 100 if different agency definitions of the same designation
are taken into account, a Justice Department official told Secrecy

Free Press the Next BushCo Victim ???

See this at:

See this exceptional post by Glenn Greenwald:

Any doubts about whether the Bush administration intends to imprison unfriendly journalists (defined as "journalists who fail to obey the Bush administration's orders about what to publish") were completely dispelled this weekend. As I have noted many times before, one of the most significant dangers our country faces is the all-out war now being waged on our nation's media -- and thereby on the First Amendment's guarantee of a free press -- by the Bush administration and its supporters, who are furious that the media continues to expose controversial government policies and thereby subject them to democratic debate. After the unlimited outpouring of venomous attacks on the Times this weekend, I believe these attacks on our free press have become the country's most pressing political issue.

Documenting the violent rhetoric and truly extremist calls for imprisonment against the Times is unnecessary for anyone paying even minimal attention the last few days. On every cable news show, pundits and even journalists talked openly about whether the editors and reporters of the Times were traitors deserving criminal punishment. The Weekly Standard, always a bellwether of Bush administration thinking, is now actively crusading for criminal prosecution against the Times. And dark insinuations that the Times ought to be physically attacked are no longer the exclusive province of best-selling right-wing author Ann Coulter, but -- as Hume's Ghost recently documented -- are now commonly expressed sentiments among all sorts of "mainstream" Bush supporters. Bush supporters are now engaged in all-out, unlimited warfare against journalists who are hostile to the administration and who fail to adhere to the orders of the Commander-in-Chief about what to print.

The clear rationale underlying the arguments of Bush supporters needs to be highlighted. They believe that the Bush administration ought to be allowed to act in complete secrecy, with no oversight of any kind. George Bush is Good and the administration wants nothing other than to stop The Terrorists from killing us. There is no need for oversight over what they are doing because we can trust our political officials to do good on their own. We don't need any courts or any Congress or any media serving as a "watchdog" over the Bush administration. There is no reason to distrust what they do. We should -- and must -- let them act in total secrecy for our own good, for our protection. And anyone who prevents them from acting in total secrecy is not merely an enemy of the Bush administration, but of the United States, i.e., is a traitor.

It has come to this. The First Amendment is under attack. The very concept of a free press is under attack. The press may not always do its job properly, but, above all, it must be free to do its job. The White House, the Republican Congress, and the conservative organs that support them simply do not want to live in such a free society, a society with a press that is free to criticize them. However much they may talk the talk of freedom and democracy, their vision for America includes, it seems, one-party rule, a press that acts as that party's mouthpiece, and an ignorant citizenry that doesn't know the difference between truth and spin.

Where's George Orwell when you need him?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Arab Woman spells it out

This Arab woman has big brass ones!!!! Worth it to watch this video.

Monday, June 26, 2006

You mean Global Warming isn't Junk Science???? What ????

A Perfect Storm Descends on the Nation's Capital
Drenching Rains, a Fallen Elm, a Supreme Court Decision and President's Words on Global Warming
June 26, 2006 — - A perfect storm of drenching rain, irony, political rancor, public fear and -- at the last minute like a fierce stroke of lightning -- word from the highest court in the land, descended on the nation's capital today.

This storm -- pulling in many parts of the global warming emergency -- also broke through the White House perimeters and helped bring down a century-old elm tree, laying it across the driveway.

Even President Bush was drawn into the storm this morning, talking about climate change in a way he may find difficult to explain.

The brewing battles of and about global warming are now being joined.

The massive downpours this morning shorting out government buildings with flooded basements, seizing up legislative communications, snarling traffic access to white columned buildings, fit exactly the pattern predicted decades ago as a consequence of global warming.

It's a simple fourth grade science lesson: the warmer the air, the more moisture it can hold.

Winds suck up more water vapor from oceans and farmlands -- leaving more agricultural drought behind -- and when they finally do dump that moisture out as rain, the downpours are much heavier.

Not just in the United States. Worldwide, such downpours have been increasing markedly over recent decades -- exactly as predicted by scientists.

In the 1980's, leading American climatologists stood in front of Congress, trying to get across the reality of this planetary threat.

One of the world's most resepected climatologists, NASA's James Hansen, even used a dice metaphor to make it clear.

If you paint one side of the die red, you'll roll red about one in six times. Paint four red, and you'll roll red on average four in six times.

Manmade greenhouse gas emissions, Hansen explained, were loading the dice so that we'd have such extreme weather far more frequently. And, exactly as predicted, we and the world have -- well above what the frequency of any natural weather cycles can explain.

Amidst this morning's capital chaos -- including that White House elm bowled over and uprooted in the storm-drenched ground -- the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in.

The nation's highest court announced that it will indeed hear the case brought against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the grounds that it should have regulated carbon dioxide emissions in order to combat global warming.

The case is brought by a dozen states from New York and Massachusetts in the East (as well as Washington, D.C.) to California and Oregon in the West, along with a number of cities, plus some environmental groups.

Whatever the Supreme Court finally decides, their agreement to hear the case will only amplify news and discussion about what so many now -- including all credible scientists -- recognize as a grave planetary emergency.

And the president amid this morning's wind and rain?

In the White House, only hours after that old elm had fallen, Bush was addressed by a reporter, thus: "I know that you are not planning to see Al Gore's new movie, but do you agree with the premise that global warming is a real and significant threat to the planet?"

"I have said consistently," answered Bush, "that global warming is a serious problem. There's a debate over whether it's manmade or naturally caused. We ought to get beyond that debate and start implementing the technologies necessary ... to be good stewards of the environment, become less dependent on foreign sources of oil..."

The President -- as far as the extensive and repeated researches of this and many other professional journalists, as well as all scientists credible on this subject, can find -- is wrong on one crucial and no doubt explosive issue. When he said -- as he also did a few weeks ago -- that "There's a debate over whether it's manmade or naturally caused" ... well, there really is no such debate.

At least none above what is proverbially called "the flat earth society level."

Not one scientist of any credibility on this subject has presented any evidence for some years now that counters the massive and repeated evidence -- gathered over decades and come at in dozens of ways by all kinds of professional scientists around the world -- that the burning of fossil fuels is raising the world's average temperature.

Or that counters the findings that the burning of these fuels is doing so in a way that is very dangerous for mankind, that will almost certainly bring increasingly devastating effects in the coming decades.

One small group of special interest businesses leaders -- those of some fossil fuel companies -- have been well documented by journalist Ross Gelbspan and others to have been fighting a PR campaign for 15 years to keep the American public confused about the wide and deep scientific consensus on this.

They've aimed, as Gelbspan explains, to keep us thinking that (to borrow the president's words this morning) "There's a debate over whether it's manmade or naturally caused" -- though no open and thorough journalism this reporter knows of can find any such thing.

Drenching waters, president's words, high judges' scrutiny, worried voters, journalists scrambling to get their arms around this enormous story, oil executives looking at spread sheets while they explore for more oil in Canada and the Arctic, and one elm down ... so far.

Meteorologists predict more heavy rain this week along the mid-Atlantic seaboard.

Climatologists predict much the same for the coming decades.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Where Is The Voice of Sanity

By Paul Levy

06/13/06 "Information Clearing House" -- -- A little while ago I ran into a
friend I hadn't seen for awhile. He asked me what I had been up to. I told him
that I was writing a book about the collective psychosis that was wreaking
havoc on our planet. He asked me what made me think there was a collective
psychosis going on. His question left me speechless, literally not knowing
what to say. What made him think that there wasn't a collective psychosis, I
wondered. You could look in any direction and find endless examples which
proved that our species has gone out of our minds. There was so much
overwhelming evidence for the collective psychosis that I didn't even know
where to start. To see our collective madness, all we have to do is simply
look at what we're doing to each other, not to mention the very planet we
depend upon for our very survival. We seem to have gone so crazy that many
people haven't even noticed, as our madness has become normalized, which is
just further proof of our collective psychosis.

Where is the voice of the psychiatric establishment in pointing out the
obvious situation: not only that our leader is mad, but that Bush's madness is
a reflection of the fact that we, as a species, have fallen into a collective
psychosis? In a personal conversation I had with the late Harvard psychiatrist
John Mack about exactly this point, he expressed his opinion that the
psychiatric community doesn't see it as their job to deal with collective
pathological situations such as we are in. Amazingly, Mack was pointing to the
fact that the psychiatric community doesn't see it as their responsibility to
track collective psychic epidemics.

On the one hand, there is psychiatrist Justin Frank, author of the fine book
Bush on the Couch. Dr. Frank has my utmost respect for his incisive
psychoanalytic study of Bush, pointing out Bush's pathological condition in a
lucid and indisputable manner. Frank's analysis is extremely important and
very brilliant, illumining Bush's pathology in relationship to the
dysfunctional family system of which he is a part. Frank points out, both in
Bush's family as well as writ large on the world stage in the form of the
media and his supporters, the undeniable signs of the "enabling" behavior
typically seen in the disease of family alcoholism.

Frank's work has reached a very important edge, however, and is calling to be
unfolded further. By viewing Bush in relationship to his family system, Frank
reaches the limits of an understanding based solely on family dynamics. Like a
traditional psychoanalyst, Frank considers Bush as a "separate self" existing
apart from the greater unified and unifying field, that is to say the entire
universe, of which he is a part. And yet, at the same time that Bush exists as
a separate self who is autonomous and independent from the world at large, he
is interdependently embedded in and an _expression of the universe.

As long as psychoanalysis contemplates Bush as solely a "separate self,"
however, it is under a form of illusion, as we don't exist in isolation from
each other, but rather, in relation to each other. Though Frank's analysis of
Bush in his identity as a discrete, independently-existing person has
tremendous value, analogous to how the mechanical models of classical physics
have great general utility in understanding the workings of our world, any
analysis of an object or person isolated from the universe of which they are
an interconnected part is of necessity incomplete. As quantum physics points
out, we simply do not exist, in the ultimate sense, as isolated entities who
are separate from each other or our environment. Having reached the edge of
psychoanalysis, and limited by its worldview, it is not within the scope of
Frank's analysis to address the inherent psycho-spiritual condition that
pervades the underlying field, both in our country and our world at large, of
Bush is
merely a symbolic _expression. I imagine that Frank himself would be the first
to admit this, and would enthusiastically encourage others to further unfold
and place his findings in a larger psycho-spiritual context.

Frank points out the unconscious collusion in the silence and collective
denial towards Bush's behavior that pervades the field. Constrained by the
traditional discipline that he so faithfully represents, however, it is not
within Frank's purview to diagnose our species as a whole as being in the
midst of a psychic epidemic.

Frank's analysis is the pinnacle of psychoanalysis, beautifully illumining
Bush's pathology on the "personal" level. Because of the fact that Frank is
viewing Bush as an isolated person distinct and separate from the world around
him, he doesn't address the deeper level of the unifying field in which we're
all interconnected and interdependent. Ultimately, we are not able to
contemplate Bush's madness without looking in the mirror. Bush's madness is
truly our own.

Frank's analysis of Bush's "personal" pathology inspires and places a demand
on us to catapult off of his insights, like a springboard, into the
higher-order of the "transpersonal" (beyond the personal) dimension. Adding a
transpersonal viewpoint, which recognizes that we are fundamentally and
ultimately interconnected parts of the whole, actually complements and
completes Frank's analysis of Bush's "personal" psychology. Both of these
perspectives, the personal and the transpersonal, are incomplete by
themselves. When neither of these perspectives are marginalized, but are
simultaneously viewed together as both being true, they synergistically
cross-pollinate and illumine each other. The personal and transpersonal
interpenetrate each other so fully that they are not two separate perspectives
joined together, but are two aspects of a deeper unified field which contains
and unifies them.

Seen transpersonally, the figure of Bush is a symbol which re-presents and
reveals the collective psychosis that we have all fallen into. The figure of
Bush is a portal which simultaneously feeds and is an _expression of the
collective madness that is in everyone. Bush is merely a symptom, an embodied
reflection of a deeper underlying pathology that exists in the collective
unconscious of humanity which is giving shape to and in-forming world events.
Seen transpersonally, the figure of Bush is revealing something to us about

We are all complicit in the madness that is playing out in our world. Shedding
light on our shared responsibility for the deeper underlying psychological
roots of collective world events helps us to become truly empowered agents of
change in our world who can truly make a difference.

If the psychiatric establishment doesn't see it as their job to illumine the
fact that we are in the midst of a collective psychosis that is potentially
destroying our species, the question then arises: whose job is it? Cultural
anthropologists? Sociologists? Where is the voice of sanity who is pointing
out the collective madness that our species has fallen into? Who are the
people who study mass psychological events? What is playing out in the world
has its origins in the unconscious psyche of humanity. Whose job is it to map,
articulate and shed light on the psychic origins of collective world events?

A year or so ago I received an email from an irate Jungian analyst who was
very critical of my work. She expressed her outrage by saying "How dare I
write about Jung if I'm not a trained and certified Jungian analyst!
" It was
her non-negotiable opinion that it was simply "wrong" that I should be writing
an analysis of the deeper, underlying psychological roots of world events if I
wasn't a professionally authorized "psychologist." I never wrote her back
because I felt there was no space for dialogue with her. Now I know what I
would say to her: I wouldn't write about Jung's brilliant insights that
illumine and heal the pathological aspects of our current world situation if
the people who's job it is to write about such things, such as herself, would
simply do their job. If people such as psychiatrists, psychologists,
therapists, and the mental health community as a whole would shed sufficient
light on the collective psychosis that is potentially destroying our species,
I would be happy to do other, much more fun-filled activities.

As people who recognize the insane nature of our situation, which is to be
sane in a world gone mad, it is our job to come to terms and deal with the
collective psychosis that is wreaking havoc on our planet. It is our job, our
calling, our vocation to deal with the indisputable fact that we are being
ruled by people who have fallen into a state of collective madness. It is our
responsibility to deal with the fact that everyone who supports Bush in his
madness: his administration, the corporate, congressional, judicial, military
industrial complex, the media, the voters that allegedly put him into office,
and ourselves as well if we are doing nothing about our situation, have all
fallen prey to a psychic epidemic that threatens the entire planet. If we
continue to insist on being under-employed by not stepping into our power and
creatively speaking our true voice to the abuse of power, we have no one to
blame but ourselves.

The evil that is being enacted on our planet could only happen because of a
sufficient number of people who are passively standing on the sideline and
doing nothing about it. Not doing anything about the evil we see being acted
out in the world is to ourselves become an unwitting instrument of evil, as
our in-action allows, enables, and feeds the further propagation of evil in
the field. Evil is truly calling us to pick up an empowered role, whatever
that is, and "act," as if we are actors in a play or characters in a dream.
Recognizing our responsibility for the collective situation we find ourselves
in, we access our ability to respond creatively in the world and act-ively do
something about it.

Something is being revealed to us about ourselves by the fact that we are
being ruled by people who are mad. Imagine, what would we do if we truly
recognized that our government is being run by people who have collectively
gone mad? What would we do if we realized that the leader of the most powerful
nation on the planet, the person with his finger on the button, is a genuine
psychopath? This is not a make believe question: How would we respond if
enough of us not only recognized that our leaders were truly insane, but that
we urgently needed to do something about it? What do we imagine we would do?
This is a very relevant question, as this is the true nature of our current

Do we go belly-up, imagining that there is nothing that we could possibly do
about our insane situation? Do we imagine ourselves collapsing into impotence,
being totally dis-empowered, unable to do anything about being ruled by a
bunch of psychopaths? Or do we imagine that enough of us, realizing the
gravitas of our situation, connect with each other and access our collective
genius so that we can truly make a positive change in the world? The question
is: Will the darkness that is manifesting in our world destroy our species or
wake us up to our true nature? The choice, and responsibility, is truly ours.

Paul Levy, is the author of The Madness of George Bush: A Reflection of Our
Collective Psychosis, which is available at his website


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Two Psychiatrists Look at the Bush Administration

A summary by Jack Dresser, Ph.D., with selected excerpts from two books:

Bush on the Couch by Justin A. Frank, M.D.
Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, George Washington University
The Superpower Syndrome by Robert Jay Lifton, M.D.
Distinguished Visiting Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, Harvard University

Psychiatrist Jerrold Post, M.D., founder of the CIA�s Center for the Analysis of Personality and Political Behavior, stated, "the leader who cannot adapt to external realities because he adheres to an internally programmed life script...has displaced his private needs upon the state." **Applied psychoanalysis is a discipline used routinely by intelligence agencies since early in World War II ** to identify such distortions and predict political behavior through psychological profiles of foreign leaders. Although lacking the data of direct doctor-patient interaction, such analyses have far greater external data available to draw upon. Dr. Frank has applied these methods to George W. Bush. Dr. Lifton focuses on the theme of grandiosity and unresolved personal self-doubt projected into our foreign policy.

** Part of special ops/psyops intel TP

A Sense of Entitlement

A lifelong "sense of entitlement" has been exhibited by Mr. Bush, described by Washington psychoanalyst Justin Frank. Dr. Frank has published a comprehensive study of Mr. Bush�s personality, based upon his many public statements, public actions, and the historical record provided by biographers, journalists, and others who have known him well and observed him closely over many years. Specifically, Mr. Bush feels and acts entitled to disregard the laws, rules and expectations governing ordinary people.

This has taken many forms over many years. He did not have to "pay attention" at Yale, to wait his turn in line to gain safety from war in the Texas Air National Guard, to observe the law regarding intoxicated driving, to file required reports on his Harken Energy stock sales with the SEC, or to respect the will of Florida voters. His has become our national outlaw ethic. He disrespects U.S.-signed treaties to reduce global warming and nuclear proliferation, and refuses to support the International Criminal Court. This fits the romanticized American outlaw image, but is an adolescent response to problems needing complex adult solutions.

Violating a principle common to all human societies, Bush entitles himself to lie without guilt. He has misled, misrepresented, and lied outright and continuously throughout his public life. This has been witnessed and described by many observers. There are volumes of documentation by writers of impeccable reliability recounting the Bush practice of saying anything to control the perceptions of others in order to get what he wants.

Bush's Orwellian descriptions that totally misrepresent known facts reveal his perceived exemption even from the laws of reality, suggesting disordered thinking. He also claims exemption from the laws of personal and public accountability. "I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation," he told journalist Bob Woodward.

Aggression and Cruelty

This is a lifelong pattern. As a child, little George blew up frogs with firecrackers inserted into their bodies. Lacking scholastic and athletic abilities, he used unkind teasing in school. In college, he hazed new fraternity pledges with branding irons on the buttocks. As Governor he mocked death-row inmates and smirked at their executions. As a political campaigner, he relies heavily on smug ridicule and mockery of opponents.

The smirk is one of Mr. Bush's characteristic expressions that has worried his political handlers is a telltale indication of sadism. It reveals pleasure in inflicting or observing pain, defeat or discomfort in others while attempting to suppress more overt and unbecoming expressions of his pleasure. He is a profoundly angry, destructive man who, in Dr. Frank�s words, "needs to break things."

Dr. Lifton extends the analysis to the appointees surrounding Bush as well, all of whom avoided Vietnam service. Lifton describes the exaggerated aggression with which people may respond to "death guilt" or "survivor guilt" � the knowledge that facing a common challenge others suffered while you didn't. This is often associated with a sense of "failed enactment" at the moment of truth. When such a wound to self esteem is repressed, it often becomes "transformed into impulses toward further violence." This may well unconsciously haunt our entire tough talking Republican leadership who hid out as young men while others died.

(TP Note: Does the above paragraph describe bush's repressed feelings of guilt for not going to Viet Nam? Does bush in his own feel he is fighting now like the man he wasn't in his youth, in the Iraqi war he created?)

Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Easily mistaken for resoluteness, Mr. Bush's impulsiveness, snap decisions, and disinterest in abstractions or complexities are all suggestive of adult ADHD. He is impatient and easily frustrated, with poor control of his emotions. On two known occasions, he has driven his car through property barriers in fits of temper. And of course, the continuing indications of dyslexia: Dr. Frank observes, "He may seem decisive, but his behavior represents the fall-back position of someone trying to manage the anxiety of not being able to think clearly."

Defensive Dyslexia. Mr. Bush has learned to use his legendary difficulties with language to avoid meaningful communication, to obfuscate meanings for tactical concealment. Unable to think and communicate with language in normal ways, he has learned to use it manipulatively � to attack, dismiss, distract and intimidate, to control rather than communicate with others. Most alarming is his genuine inability to think clearly and to develop cognitive models that even remotely match the complex realities for which he is responsible.

Untreated alcoholism.

Mr. Bush displays common characteristics of a "dry drunk," struggling to protect self-esteem and cope with anxiety without the liquid crutch. Symptoms include inflated self-confidence, judgmental intolerance, denial of responsibility, avoidance of introspection, simplistic thinking, and compulsive daily habits that remove him from responsibility and stress. Without treatment, the alcohol is removed without the "ism." Instead, self-esteem is now protected by his born-again Christianity, which permits escape from accountability for his past while avoiding the self-examination and restitution of a 12-step program. Many of his actions are "dry" efforts to reduce anxiety by avoiding his inner world. In Dr. Frank�s words, "Throughout his life, George W. Bush has taken many detours from the path to self-knowledge."

In addition, his annual physical detected nasal spider angiomas that might suggest continued alcohol abuse, and unusually low blood pressure typical of antisocial personality incapable of normal emotional responses.

The Overall Diagnosis: Megalomania

"The evidence suggests that behind Bush�s exterior operates a powerful but obscure delusional system that drives his behavior," concludes Dr. Frank. Omnipotence and grandiosity are clearly reflected in Mr. Bush�s identification with God�s purposes and his flouting of international opinion and international will. Omnipotent fantasy is a self-esteem protecting mechanism from early childhood, outgrown in normal development that Mr. Bush lacked. This childish omnipotence is identified and described by both authors.

Mr. Bush�s personal grandiosity has been projected onto our nation. His megalomanic narcissism and lack of ego boundaries is translated into a vision of superimposing our "Freedom" throughout the world, welcomed or not. Jealousy, a centerpiece of Bush�s psychological struggle since early childhood, is the motive attributed to "the enemy" through projection. The Bush grandiosity fits seamlessly with the neoconservative agenda, which explains Bush�s choice of Cheney as Vice President and neoconservatives Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Douglas Feith to the top three civilian DOD posts, as well as Richard Perls and Elliot Abrams in other key administration posts. After collapse of the Soviet Union, these neoconservatives resurrected the 19th century�s grandiose images of **Manifest Destiny,** the right to impose ourselves on others, that perfectly fits Mr. Bush�s megalomania.

**Manifest Destiny, "ordained by God to rule the world" is the religion of the Yale, Eli, Skull and Crossbones fraternity.** TP

In Dr. Frank�s judgment, "the enterprise he is poised to add to his history of failures is the future of our nation. Our collective denial helped put him in that position...Our sole treatment option � for his benefit and for ours � is to remove president Bush from office... before it is too late."

About the Review and Reviewer

Dr. Dresser is a behavioral scientist who served as an Army psychologist during the Vietnam era. He is not a psychiatrist or psychoanalyst, but feels these are important perspectives for public consideration, has attempted to carefully and concisely summarize their views, and recommends the reader to the works cited. It should be pointed out that Dr. Frank is a Kleinian psychoanalyst, but his observational foci and diagnostic conclusions would be consistent with other theories of psychological developmental as well.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What You Now Need to Believe To Be A Republican

Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals, Arabs, and Hillary Clinton.

Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney and Rumsfeld did business with him,
and a bad guy when Bush couldn't find Bin Laden.
Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade with Vietnam and China is vital to a spirit of international harmony.
A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body,
but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind
without regulation.

The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in
speeches, while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.

If condoms aren't addressed in schools , adolescents won't have sex.

A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle and antagonize our
long-time allies, then demand their cooperation and money.

Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy,
but providing healthcare to all Americans is socialism.

HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests
of the public at heart.
Global warming is junk science,
but creationism should be taught in schools.

A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable
offense, but a president lying to enlist support for a war in which
thousands die is solid defense policy.

Government should limit itself to the powers named in the
Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.

The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades,
but George Bush's and Dick Cheney's driving records
are none of our business.

Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host.
Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

Supporting "Executive Privilege" is imperative for every Republican
ever born, who will be born or who might be born in perpetuity.

What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest,
but what Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.

There's nothing wrong with supporting drunken hunters who shoot
their friends, blaming the friends for looking too much like quail.

Friends don't let friends vote Republican.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Misdirected War on Terror?

A Misdirected War on Terror?
Ron Suskind's book, excerpted in TIME this week, reveals scary new details about al-Qaeda's plans —and the Bush administration's missteps

Posted Tuesday, Jun. 20, 2006
Imagine a blueprint for a paint-can-like device spewing hydrogen-cyanide gas gleaned from a computer in Saudi Arabia. Virulent anthrax developed by terrorists in Afghanistan. Most fearful of all, a fateful campfire meeting outside the Kandahar, Afghanistan, where al Qaeda leaders met secretly with a senior Pakistani weapons experts to discuss making al-Qaeda the first nuclear-armed terrorists in history. That's the witch's brew of what the experts call NBC — nuclear, biological and chemical — weapons. It's the terrorists' trifecta and the scary spine of Ron Suskind's new book, The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11 (being released Tuesday by Simon and Schuster). The clear implication: It seems the Bush administration truncated its post-9/11 war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda — which were avidly seeking WMDs — to take on Saddam Hussein's Iraq, whose WMD programs had been suspended and put into the deep freeze under international pressure.

Suskind's tale that U.S. intelligence believed al-Qaeda plotted a hydrogen-cyanide gas attack on New York City subways in 2003 — only to have it aborted by al-Qaeda's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, because, some U.S. intelligence officials surmise, it wouldn't be dramatically bigger than al-Qaeda's 9/11 attacks — is excerpted in this week's issue of TIME. U.S. intelligence officials have confirmed Suskind's reporting, including Zawahiri's decision to halt the attack. A former Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Suskind is also the author of the 2004 book The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill, which won acclaim as one of the first bare-knuckle accounts of the Bush administration's preoccupation with Saddam and its disdain for independent thinking by Cabinet members.

Suskind insists nothing revealed in the book will give any kind of edge to al-Qaeda. "I very carefully vetted everything — making sure it was something al-Qaeda already knew, or that al-Qaeda would not be advantaged by — over the past two years," he tells TIME. "Nothing in this book will in any way help those who have destructive intent and violent desires." Beyond the subway-gas plot, there are other disturbing revelations in Suskind's book that will serve as fodder for terror analysts and pundits to debate, and devour, in coming days:

The capture of Abu Zubaydah, the head of recruiting for al-Qaeda, by U.S. and Pakistani officials in Faisalabad, Pakistan, in 2002, was hailed by the Bush administration as a key blow to the al-Qaeda network. "The capture of Abu Zubaydah is very helpful in making it more difficult for them to successfully reorganize," said Ari Fleischer, White House press secretary at the time. "Al-Qaeda has many tentacles but one of them was cut off." But Suskind reports that the CIA learned that Zubaydah had suffered a head wound during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. In fact, in a diary captured by the CIA, he wrote as if he were three different people. In reality, Suskind reports, he actually was merely a low-level al-Qaeda drone, "like the guy you call who handles the company health plan." A CIA official told Suskind that Zubaydah was like "Joe Louis in the lobby of Caesar's Palace, shaking hands," after the fighter was punch drunk and well past his prime. Nonetheless, Bush characterized him as "one of the top operatives plotting and planning death and destruction on the United States."

Suskind reports new details on Delta Force's shipment of a hatbox-sized container to Dulles Airport in Washington's Virginia suburbs in mid-2002. The round metal box, Army green with "US GOVERNMENT" emblazoned in yellow, purportedly contained the severed head of Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's top deputy. He supposedly had been killed in December 2001, and buried in an Afghan riverbed. With a $25 million bounty on his head, Afghan tribal chiefs provided the jawless head to the U.S. military. The skull, Suskind reports, still had a bit of skin attached to its crown when the container finally was opened inside a room at Dulles, and its forehead had an indentation, consistent with a lifetime of pressing one's head against stone or dirt to highlight one's commitment to Allah. "If it turns out to be Zawahiri's head, I hope you'll bring it here," Bush told his briefers — "half in jest," Suskind writes. But DNA testing ultimately revealed the skull wasn't Zawahiri's. It was shipped off to an FBI warehouse on Staten Island.

U.S. intelligence officials warned Britain in 2003 that the alleged leader of the July 7, 2005, suicide bombings in London had been in touch with extremists who were plotting to blow up synagogues in the United States, the book says. Mohammad Sidique Khan, one of the four suicide bombers who killed 52 people in London, was banned from flying to the United States in 2003.

The book also reports that the FBI teamed up with First Data Corp., the company that owns Western Union. That alliance provided Israel with vital information about Palestinian terrorists.

Suskind writes that CIA officials threatened to harm 9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's kids, ages seven and nine, if he didn't cooperate with his interrogators in Thailand. "So fine," Khalid Sheikh Mohammed responded to the threat, according to one of Susskind's sources. "They'll join Allah in a better place."

The book challenges the claim, made in Bob Woodward's book Plan of Attack, that CIA chief George Tenet told Bush in late 2002 that the case that Saddam had WMD was a "slam-dunk." That phrase has hung like a noose around Tenet ever since and been widely derided as perhaps the most notorious, and erroneous, claim to justify the invasion of Iraq. Tenet, Suskind says, was stunned to read what he had purportedly told the President when he saw an excerpt from the book in the Washington Post in April 2004. While the President wasn't quoted as a source for that remark, he had been interviewed by Woodward for the book. Tenet "wondered how the President could recall so clearly something Tenet himself didn't remember saying," Susskind writes, and felt the White House was setting him up as a "fall guy" for the bad intelligence that many in the CIA believed came from the Pentagon and members of Vice President Cheney's staff eager to overthrow Saddam.

Such score-settling has a long and honorable history in the annals of Washington reportage. But Suskind won't say if Tenet, or his allies, played a role as Suskind's key sources trying to set the "slam-dunk" record straight. "I can't get into the sourcing," he tells Time.

Original article at:,8599,1206001,00.html?promoid=rss_top

Friday, June 16, 2006

Murtha closes down GOP Chickenhawk on floor....

This is a list of heroes and chickenhawks.

Military service by prominent Democrats:

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle - 1st Lt., U.S. Air Force SAC 1969-72 .
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) - Lt., U.S. Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74. (1, 2)
Senator Fritz Hollings (D-SC) - served as a U.S. Army officer in World War II, receiving the Bronze Star and seven campaign ribbons.
Senator Daniel Inouye, US Army 1943-'47; Medal of Honor, World War Two.
Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) - U.S. Army, 1951-1953. o
Senator John Kerry, Lt., U.S. Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V, and three awards of the Purple Heart for his service in combat.
Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) - U.S. Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91 (1)
Max Cleland, Former Senator, Captain, U.S. Army 1965-68; Silver Star & Bronze Star, Vietnam
Bob Kerrey, Former Senator, Lt. j.g., U.S. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam.
Rep. Richard Gephardt, former House Minority Leader - Missouri Air National Guard, 1965-71.
Rep. David Bonior, Representative, (D-MI) - Former House Minority Whip - Staff Sgt., Air Force, 1968-72
Rep. Mike Thompson, D-CA: Staff sergeant/platoon leader with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, U.S. Army; was wounded and received a Purple Heart.
Rep. Pete Stark, D-CA, served in the Air Force 1955-57
Wesley Clark, General, US Army.
Al Gore, Former Vice President - enlisted August 1969; sent to Vietnam January 1971.
Bill Clinton, did not serve.
Military service by prominent Republicans attacked by the right wing

John McCain, US Senator (AZ) - McCain's naval honors include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross. (Attacked by Bush Campaign for President as having become mentally unstable while a POW.)
Colin Powell. Secretary of State, General. US Army, Attacked by many on Radical Right for being an appeaser, soft on Saddam and other enemies

Lets thank all our right wing heroes for their "service" today.

Prominent right-wing Republicans and military service

George W. Bush - National Guard back when service there meant you did not see combat. Even so, went AWOL for a year.
Dick Cheney - did not serve.
John Ashcroft, Attorney General - did not serve.
Don Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense - served in the U.S. Navy (1954-57) as an aviator and flight instructor.
Rep. Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House - avoided the draft, did not serve.
Rep. Tom Delay, House Majority Leader - avoided the draft, did not serve.
Rep. Roy Blunt, House Majority Whip (MO) - did not serve
Dick Armey, Former House Majority Leader - avoided the draft, did not serve.
Sen. Bill Frist , Senate Majority Leader (TN) - did not serve.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, Majority Whip, (KY) - did not serve.
Sen. Rick Santorum, (PA), third ranking Republican in the Senate - did not serve. (1)
Trent Lott, Former Senate Majority Leader (MS) - avoided the draft, did not serve.
Jeb Bush, Florida Governor - did not serve.
Karl Rove - avoided the draft, did not serve.
Newt Gingrich, Former Speaker of the House - avoided the draft, did not serve.
Bill Bennett, (author of Why We Fight), did not serve.
Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court Justice, did not serve.
Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court Justice, did not serve.
Phil Gramm, former Senator. Did not serve.
Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense, did not serve.
Spencer Abraham, Secretary of Energy, did not serve.
Rep. Henry Hyde, (IL) did not serve.
Jack Kemp, did not serve.
Sen. Don Nickles, (OK) did not serve.
J. C. Watts, Former Congressman, (OK), did not serve.
Bill Simon, did not serve.
Saxby Chambliss, did not serve.
Marc Racicot, avoided the draft despite a lottery number of 23. see

Right-wing preachers and pundits

P. J. O'Rourke (author of Give War a Chance), did not serve.
Bill Kristol, editor The Weekly Standard, did not serve.
Bill O'Reilly, Fox News celebrity, did not serve.
Sean Hannity, Fox News celebrity, did not serve.
Wolf Blitzer, CNN Newsman. Did not serve.
David Horowitz, Right Wing media hit man. Did not serve.
Mike Savage, Right Wing media hit man, did not serve.
George Will, columnist, did not serve.
Pat Robertson, politician/preacher, His US Senator daddy got him out of Korea when war began.
Ralph Reed, did not serve.
Jerry Falwell, preacher/politician, did not serve.
Ken Starr, did not serve.
Gary Bauer, politician/preacher, did not serve.
Alan Keyes, did not serve.
Roger Ailes, Fox News President, did not serve.

We have become uncivil and barbaric for proft....

If you are easily traumatized - DO NOT WATCH THIS.

This is graphic. Yesterday PETA people played this for Beyonce and hopefully her fur line will disappear. There is no justification for cruelty - certainly not profit.

I don't agree with all of PETA's tactics let's be clear on that. I am a carnivore, I just feel these animals should be given a quality of life not relegated to the abuse most suffer with strict confinement, force feeding, etc... and that their death be quick and painless.

The dominant political force of our time is the MEDIA.

A Watershed Moment: Media Use Coulter to Suggest Blogs Are Impotent

Anybody who watched Ann Coulter's June 14th appearance on the Tonight Show had to realize that it was a watershed moment in the war between the establishment media and the progressive netroots, a community fresh off the successful YearlyKos convention. It was also a signal to Democrats that liberal ideology can be denigrated with impunity. Had the words "Jew" or "Christian" or "Conservative" been substituted for "Liberal" we'd be waking up to a national scandal.

Never mind that Jay Leno and George Carlin sat like trembling lambs while Coulter spewed gutter-level invective at millions of Americans - we've already seen the same obsequiousness from Larry King, Matt Lauer (who ended his faux-debate with Coulter by saying "always fun to have you") and others. The larger issue here is that despite an uproar from the progressive netroots, NBC saw fit to give Coulter a platform to continue her liberal-scapegoating and to slander women who lost their husbands on 9/11. (For the record, many rightwing bloggers denounced Coulter and several Democrats attacked her, but their focus was the substance of Coulter's words, not a criticism of the media outlets who continue to provide her a national forum.)

It's hard to deny that Coulter's words border on incitement. What she says is neither amusing nor smart nor humorous nor factual nor worthy of airing on a major media outlet. It treats a substantial segment of the population as sub-human, as creatures deserving of public scorn and worse (She said Jesus would say that "we are called upon to do battle" on liberalism). Careful not to violate Godwin's Law, I'll refrain from the obvious comparisons, but what we're dealing with here is a dangerous inflection point in American politics. When this kind of opprobrium is peddled by major media outlets, it's high time that the Democratic establishment and the larger progressive community understand that this is a make-or-break showdown with the media.

Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and their ilk have made an industry out of liberal-bashing. Coulter fits in perfectly with those hate-traffickers. And contrary to the false Michael Moore comparisons made by Leno and others, there is no progressive counterpart to these people on the national stage. The basic thrust of the left's critique is that George W. Bush and his administration are bad for America. It is in our tradition for citizens to defend the Constitution and to question the actions of their elected leaders. Rightwingers may characterize it as Bush Derangement Syndrome, but the progressive community, by and large, is going after government corruption and lies, not vilifying an entire group of Americans as Bin Laden-loving traitors.

The issue here is not the damage done to America's public discourse - we already know that liberals have become the equivalent of terrorists in the minds of millions of Americans. Nor is the issue the media's hunger for ratings ( what's next, snuff films?) The issue is the establishment media's symbiotic relationship with these rightwing blatherers:

"I've argued that the propagation of anti-left and pro-right narratives by the establishment media is more insidious - and thus more dangerous - than the cowardly bleating of people like Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Bill Bennett, Bill O'Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh. When Coulter is invited to spout her putrescence on Larry King Live, the legitimacy granted to her is CNN's fault, not Coulter's. After all, there's no shortage of desperate attention seekers willing to say and do outlandish things to get noticed. The question is, why does CNN grant an open forum to this particular whack-job and not others?

The symbiotic relationship between far right screamers and the establishment media dresses up extremist rhetoric in a veneer of decorum. When Tim Russert, David Broder, Chris Matthews, and the New York Times peek into the Clinton bedroom, they are using their supposed 'neutrality' to disseminate rightwing talking points, thereby magnifying the rightwing echo chamber."

I respect those who think ignoring Ann Coulter's hideous rantings is the best way to deal with her. In normal circumstances, she'd be relegated to fringe websites and would be seen as nothing more than a sleazy political circus act. These are not normal circumstances. Attacking someone as disturbed as Coulter is a meaningless endeavor, but as I've written previously:

"This race to the bottom by the establishment media leaves the progressive netroots in a quandary: if the only thing these so-called 'journalists' want is to create an uproar, how do we respond? Some bloggers advocate ignoring slime-traffickers like Coulter and Glenn Beck, others attack them for the scum they peddle. My preferred tactic is to excoriate the media outlet that gives them a forum - it may play into their need for attention, but I think it's imperative for us to create a public record of these media transgressions...

One thing is for sure: responding to Coulter's assertions is pointless. When she speaks the unspeakable about the 9/11 widows ("I have never seen people enjoying their husbands’ death so much") and when Glenn Beck does the same (calling hurricane survivors in New Orleans "scumbags" and saying he "hates" 9-11 families), reasoned discussion is not on the table."

There have been dozens of battles in the war between the blogs and the establishment media, from the Deborah Howell fiasco to Chris Matthews to Joe Klein to Tim Russert and more. Sites and blogs like Media Matters, dKos, Atrios, Crooks and Liars, FDL, Digby, Think Progress, TPM, and others are the netroots' front line in this increasingly bitter fight. This latest Coulter incident should be a wake-up call to the larger progressive community and to the Democratic leadership. Parading Coulter on national television is a statement from the establishment media that we don't matter, that our 'pressure' is meaningless, that our voices are worthless.

What's the proper course of action in response to this challenge? For the netroots, it's to keep growing and organizing, to hammer away at those in the media who enable the sliming of 9/11 widows, to respond to such media transgressions with ferocity of wit and will, and to badger elected Democrats and progressive leaders about the media problem.

For those on the left who still have blinders on, the response is to get a clue about what's happening. A good start is to read this series of essays from Jamison Foser, who explains the problem eloquently:

"The defining issue of our time is not the Iraq war. It is not the "global war on terror." It is not our inability (or unwillingness) to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable health care. Nor is it immigration, outsourcing, or growing income inequity. It is not education, it is not global warming, and it is not Social Security.

The defining issue of our time is the media.

The dominant political force of our time is not Karl Rove or the Christian Right or Bill Clinton. It is not the ruthlessness or the tactical and strategic superiority of the Republicans, and it is not your favorite theory about what is wrong with the Democrats.

The dominant political force of our time is the media.

Time after time, the news media have covered progressives and conservatives in wildly different ways -- and, time after time, they do so to the benefit of conservatives."

--guest blogged by Peter Daou

Original article and active links at:

Congressional Oversight of Intelligence is Broken

Congressional oversight of intelligence is "dysfunctional," according
to a new report from the liberal Center for American Progress.

Some of the most urgent and fundamental policy issues facing the
nation are matters of intelligence policy: What are the proper
boundaries of domestic intelligence surveillance? What is the legal
framework for interrogation of enemy detainees? Why haven't the
recommendations of the 9/11 Commission been effectively implemented?

But at a moment when intelligence policy is relatively high on the
public agenda, the intelligence oversight committees in Congress seem
to have little to contribute.

Even on specific intelligence questions such as the conduct of
warrantless domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency,
the public can gain more insight from the Senate Judiciary Committee,
which has held several public hearings on the subject, than from the
Senate Intelligence Committee, which has held none.

The new Center for American Progress report provides a useful survey
of the history of intelligence oversight and its current failings,
along with a prescription for improvement.

"Correcting the problems that plague congressional oversight of
intelligence will not require dramatic changes in the existing
oversight structure. Congress has all the tools it needs to conduct
its oversight responsibilities is simply not using
them. It must.

See "No Mere Oversight: Congressional Oversight of Intelligence is
" June 13, 2006:

Some of the limitations of intelligence oversight are implicit in the
structure of the process.

For an earlier (1992) self-critical account by a staff member of the
Senate Intelligence Committee, see "Congressional Oversight of
Intelligence: One Perspective
" by Mary K. Sturtevant, American
Intelligence Journal, Summer 1992:

A recent study of Romania's intelligence apparatus finds that
"legislative control of intelligence in Romania can be estimated on a
low-medium-high scale as 'medium to high'."

Furthermore, in Romania "the budgets of the intelligence agencies are
which is more than can be said about U.S. intelligence.

See "The Intelligence Phenomenon in a New Democratic Milieu: Romania
-- A Case Study"
by Valentin Fernand Filip, Naval Postgraduate
School, March 2006:

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A Shameful Silence On Coulter's Spewing

A Shameful Silence
On Coulter’s Spewing

By Joe Conason

With the predictable regularity of a locust plague, Ann Coulter and her enablers at the once-reputable firm of Random House have issued yet another volume of fascistic entertainment. Now the hard-drinking, trash-talking, fortysomething bachelorette bills herself as a Christian moralist, in holy battle against the liberal heathens.

That whiff of brimstone in the air may only be the match she is striking for her next cigarette.

But her version of “Christianity” turns out to be a strangely modern and convenient faith, which encourages heaping scorn on bereaved widows, bearing false witness against them on television and publicly gloating over the ill-gotten profits thus attained. Leaving behind the golden rule of the Gospels to “do unto others as you would have them do to you,” she embodies a new rule of gold: You can never be too rich, too thin or too vicious.

Too vicious, however, is the only way to categorize Ms. Coulter’s attempted assassination of the 9/11 widows known as the Jersey Girls, whom she accuses of “enjoying” the horrific deaths of their husbands in the World Trade Center inferno. She harangues them as “broads,” “witches” and “millionaires,” guilty of being “self-obsessed” and “reveling in their status as celebrities” while they are “lionized on TV and in articles about them.”

Coming from an energetic publicity seeker like Ms. Coulter, who still whines bitterly about her elongated cover shot in Time magazine, those insults are an exercise in self-parody.

She goes on to complain that the widows, by telling their personal stories of loss, were able to shut down their critics with sentimentality. But that charge too is obviously false, since she is now reaping profits and publicity by savaging them. She is also a hypocrite, having freely brandished the name of her late friend Barbara Olson, tragically killed on 9/11, to lend impact to her own arguments.

The truth about the Jersey Girls—Kristen Breitweiser, Patty Casazza, Mindy Kleinberg and Lorie van Auken—is that they loved their husbands deeply, of course. They and their children continue to suffer from the loss that Ms. Coulter so heartlessly mocks. The truth is that in their suffering, these courageous women joined with other widows and family members to demand a serious investigation of 9/11. Together, they organized, researched and lobbied for thousands of hours to win the appointment of an independent commission, against the determined political opposition of the White House. The truth is that their success was an important victory for every American, without regard to party or ideology, and a vindication of grassroots democracy. The nation owes them all a debt of gratitude.

What is most disturbing about this episode is not that these women can be victimized by a brutal bully like Ms. Coulter, nor even that the mainstream media, which abandoned traditional standards of fairness and decency years ago, would eagerly assist her. That is our hideous political culture. What is most disappointing is the abject dereliction of the prominent politicians who worked so closely with the Jersey Girls.

John McCain and Joseph Lieberman, the Senate sponsors of the bill that created the 9/11 Commission, both believed that an independent investigation was essential for reasons of honor and national security. They both know that they could not have prevailed against the White House—and the Republican Congressional leadership—without the help of the widows.

In the fall of 2002, when their bill passed the Senate and the House, Mr. McCain acknowledged the efforts of the widows and their comrades. “I also want to put in a special word for the families,” he said after thanking his fellow statesmen. “Without their unstinting support and efforts, we would not be where we are today.”

In the summer of 2004, when the commission’s reform recommendations were debated, Mr. Lieberman praised all of the 9/11 families, including a special acknowledgment for the Jersey Girls. “I continue to be awed and inspired by your ability to turn your personal tragedies into better public safety for this nation,” said the Connecticut Senator.

Original article and page two at:

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Corruption in writing....Rove is Oil Buttboy

EPA Rule Loosened After Oil Chief's Letter to Rove
The White House says the executive's appeal had no role in changing a measure to protect groundwater. Critics call it a political payoff.
By Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten, Times Staff Writers
June 13, 2006

WASHINGTON — A rule designed by the Environmental Protection Agency to keep groundwater clean near oil drilling sites and other construction zones was loosened after White House officials rejected it amid complaints by energy companies that it was too restrictive and after a well-connected Texas oil executive appealed to White House senior advisor Karl Rove.

The new rule, which took effect Monday, came after years of intense industry pressure, including court battles and behind-the-scenes agency lobbying. But environmentalists vowed Monday that the fight was not over, distributing internal White House documents that they said portrayed the new rule as a political payoff to an industry long aligned with the Republican Party and President Bush.

In 2002, a Texas oilman and longtime Republican activist, Ernest Angelo, wrote a letter to Rove complaining that an early version of the rule was causing many in the oil industry to "openly express doubt as to the merit of electing Republicans when we wind up with this type of stupidity."

Rove responded by forwarding the letter to top White House environmental advisors and scrawling a handwritten note directing an aide to talk to those advisors and "get a response ASAP."

Rove later wrote to Angelo, assuring him that there was a "keen awareness" within the administration of addressing not only environmental issues but also the "economic, energy and small business impacts" of the rule.

Environmentalists pointed to the Rove correspondence as evidence that the Bush White House, more than others, has mixed politics with policy decisions that are traditionally left to scientists and career regulators. At the time, Rove oversaw the White House political office and was directing strategy for the 2002 midterm elections.

Angelo had been mayor of Midland, Texas, when Bush ran an oil firm there. He is also a longtime hunting partner of Rove's. The two men first worked together when Angelo managed Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign in Texas.

In an interview Monday, Angelo welcomed the new groundwater rule and said his letter might have made a difference in how it was written. But he waved off environmentalists' questions about Rove's involvement.

"I'm sure that his forwarding my letter to people that were in charge of it might have had some impression on them,
" Angelo said. "It seems to me that it was a totally proper thing to do. I can't see why anybody's upset about it, except of course that it was effective."

Asked why he wrote to Rove and not the Environmental Protection Agency or to some other official more directly associated with the matter, Angelo replied:
"Karl and I have been close friends for 25 years. So, why wouldn't I write to him? He's the guy I know best in the administration."

White House spokesmen said Monday that the rule was revised as part of the federal government's standard rule-making process. They said the EPA was simply directed by White House budget officials to make the rule comply with requirements laid out by Congress in a sweeping new energy law passed last year.

The issue has been a focus of lobbying by the oil and gas industry for years, ever since Clinton administration regulators first announced their intent to require special EPA permits for construction sites smaller than five acres, including oil and gas drilling sites, as a way to discourage water pollution.

Energy executives, who have long complained of being stifled by federal regulations limiting drilling and exploration, sought and received a delay in that permit requirement in 2003. Eventually, Congress granted a permanent exemption that was written into the 2005 energy legislation.

The EPA rule issued Monday adds fine print to that broad exception in ways that critics, including six members of the Senate, say exceeds what Congress intended.

For example, the new rule generally exempts sediment — pieces of dirt and other particles that can gum up otherwise clear streams — from regulations governing runoff that may flow from oil and gas production or construction sites.

Sen. James M. Jeffords (I-Vt.), who joined five Democrats in objecting to the rule, wrote in March that there was nothing in the energy law suggesting that such an exclusion of sediment "had even entered the mind of any member of Congress as it considered the Energy Policy Act of 2005." Moreover, Jeffords wrote, the rule violated the intentions of Congress when it passed the Clean Water Act 19 years ago.

White House and administration officials disagreed.

At the EPA, Assistant Administrator Benjamin H. Grumbles said the rule responded directly to congressional action. He cited a letter from Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, endorsing it. He added that the rule still allows states to regulate pollution, and that it continues to regulate sediment that contains "toxic" ingredients.

Lisa Miller, a spokeswoman for another senior lawmaker, Rep. Joe L. Barton (R-Texas), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said Monday that the rule was designed to hold oil companies accountable for putting toxic substances in the soil, but not for dirt that results from storms.

"When it rains, storm water gets muddy, regardless of whether there's an oil well in the neighborhood,
" Miller said. "Congress told EPA to do this, and now they have. If there's oil in the water, a producer has to clean it up. If it's nature, they don't."

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Rethuglicans get it ..but the World doesn't....lolol

World sees US in Iraq bigger danger than Iran: poll By Saul Hudson
Tue Jun 13, 3:00 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The world increasingly fears Iran's suspected pursuit of a nuclear bomb but believes the U.S. military in Iraq remains a greater danger to Middle East stability, a survey showed on Tuesday.

As Washington campaigns to highlight the threat it sees from Tehran, the good news for the United States in a Pew Research Center poll of 17,000 people in 15 countries is that publics, particularly in the West, are worrying more about Iran.

The bad news is people worldwide think the U.S. presence in Iraq is an even bigger threat and support in most countries for President George W. Bush's war on terrorism is either flat or falling.

And after some signs anti-Americanism had been abating, in part because of goodwill generated by U.S. aid for victims of a late-2004 tsunami in Asia, favorable opinions of the United States have since fallen back in most countries.

Widespread concern over U.S. detainee treatment in Iraq and places such as Guantanamo, is a key drag on America's overall image, according to the survey.

Bush himself received the lowest marks for international leadership compared with his counterparts in Britain, Germany, France and Russia, and confidence in him has slipped in most countries -- to as low as three percent in Turkey.

The survey of global attitudes by the respected research group was conducted from March 31 to May 14 in Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Russia, Indonesia, Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, Turkey, Nigeria, Japan, India, China and the United States.

With a margin of error ranging from two percent to six percent depending on the country, the poll made comparisons to similar surveys it had conducted in the last few years.

Among Washington's traditional allies, Germany is the only country where more people say Iran is a bigger danger than the United States in Iraq.

Otherwise, the survey made grim comparisons for the Bush administration, including that 56 percent of Spaniards, 45 percent of Russians and 31 percent of Indonesians believe the United States in Iraq is the greater threat.

The poll was published after the United States shifted tactics on Iran, offering late last month to join European-led negotiations over curbing its nuclear programs, which Iran says are for peaceful power generation.

With people worldwide overwhelmingly believing Iran is seeking to build an atomic bomb, fears over the Islamic republic have tripled in some Western countries. The Muslim world is less fearful of Iran but its concerns have also risen, representing, for example, a great danger to 19 percent of Jordanians, the poll showed.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Grand Ole Perverts ....n crooks


Conservative Values Monitor
Posted in the database on Wednesday, June 29th, 2005 @ 15:15:21 MST (127 views)
by Pam Spaulding Pam's House Blend
Randal David Ankeney Campaign volunteer, GOP appointee to Colorado Office of Economic Development Charged with sexual assault on a child, sexual exploitation of a child, committing a crime of violence, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, marijuana possession and possession of a bong
Dick Armey Fmr US Rep (TX), Fmr House Majority Leader Draft dodger
John Ashcroft Fmr US Att Gen Draft dodger
Jim Bakker TV Evangelist Adultery, sexually harassing male employees
Bob Barr Fmr US Rep (GA) Adultery
Robert Bauman Fmr US Rep (MD) Arrested 10/80 for sex with underage male prostitute
Parker J. Bena VA GOP activist, champion of family values Possesion of child pornography (some photos of children as young as three years old)
Bill Bennett Fmr Drug Czar, author and lecturer on moral values Gambling addiction
Mike Bowers Prosecutor, Bowers vs Hardwick anti-sodomy case Adultery - admitted 10 yr extra-marital affair
Andrew Buhr MO House candidate, local official Sodomy with a 13 year old boy
Jim Bunn US Rep (OR) "He made a great issue of the fact that he and his wife had five children. By 1996, they divorced amid rumors that he was dating his chief of staff. Later that year, he eloped with her -- and gave her a raise."
John Burt Anti-abortion extremist allegedly involved in murder of Dr. David Gunn, clinic bombings and violent protests Accused serial molester of teen girls, including two who were residents in the home for "unwed mothers" he operated
Dan Burton US Rep (IN) Adultery
George Bush US President Drug abuse, military desertion, insider trading
Laura Bush First Lady Vehicular manslaughter: It was a tragic incident when she was very young, but just imagine if Hillary Clinton had had something like this in her past.
Ken Calvert US Rep (CA) Arrested for engaging with a prostitute
Dick Cheney Vice President Draft dodger
Helen Chenoweth Fmr US Rep (ID) Serial adultery
Ann Coulter Polemicist
Dan Crane Fmr US Rep (IL) Sex with a minor (a Congressional page)
Paul Crouch TV Evangelist Closeted bisexual who supports anti-gay policies, accused of bilking flock
Tom Delay US Rep (TX), House Majority Leader Draft dodger
Richard Delgaudio He brought us Paula Jones Child pornography
Frank T. Devine Kendall County, IL, Precinct Committeeman Charged with swindling $2 mil from investors, in part by dropping big names -- including that of House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Gave victims tours of Hastert's office in the US Capital. FBI apparently cleared Hastert in advance of investigation.
Bob Dole Fmr Sen (KS), Sen Majority Leader Adultery
David Dreier US Rep (CA) Closeted gay politician who supports anti-gay agenda
Mark Foley US Rep (FL) Closeted gay politician who supports anti-gay agenda
Bill Frist US Sen (TN), Senate Majority Leader Cruelty to animals; pro-lifer is profiteer from abortion services provider (Columbia/HCA)
Newt Gingrich Fmr US Rep (GA), Fmr House Speaker Serial adultery
Philip Giordano Fmr Mayor, Waterbury, CT Child sexual abuse
Rudy Giulliani Fmr New York City Mayor Adultery
Matt Glavin Fmr Pres, Southeastern Legal Foundation Charted with public indecency for allegedly masturbating in public, fondling male undercover officer.
"Republican Marty" Glickman Editor/publisher, The Ugly Truth, called Clinton "rednecked, classless pervert�" and a "rapist, liar� sexual harasser." Four counts of unlawful sexual activity with a juvenile and one count of the delivery of LSD
Dennis Hastert US Rep (IL), House Speaker Draft dodger
John Hathaway Fmr ME State Sen, GOP Fundraiser Accused of having sex with his children's 12-year-old baby sitter
Deal Hudson Publisher of Catholic mag, "Crisis," and friend of Karl Rove Sexual harassment of a female student
Tim Hutchinson Fmr US Rep (AK) Adultery
Henry Hyde US Rep (IL) Adultery
Paul Ingram Head of Thurston County, WA, Republican Party Pleaded guilty to 6 rape charges.Two relatives had accused him of raping them for 17 years during satanic rituals that included killing two dozen babies. Ingram later tried to withdraw plea.
Bill Janklow Fmr US Rep (SD), Fmr Gov Manslaughter
Bernard Kerik Fmr NYC Police Comissioner, friend of Rudy Adultery, hired illegal alien, mob ties
Earl �Butch� Kimmerling Bus driver IN man who got publicity by blocking attempts by a gay couple to adopt an 8-year-old girl under his foster care now was charged with molesting her.
Rush Limbaugh Entertainer Drug abuse
Bob Livingston Fmr US Rep (LA) Adultery
Donald �Buz� Lukens Fmr US Rep (OH) Sex with a minor
Jon Matthews Fmr Talk Show Host Alleged indecency with a child.
John McLaughlin Talk show host accused of sexual harassment by several female employees, settling a suit out of court with one in 1989
Ken Mehlman White House Political Operative Closeted gay man who supports anti-gay policies
Sue Myrick US Rep (NC), Fmr Charlotte Mayor Adultery
Oliver North Talk show host Guilty of falsifying, destroying documents, obstructing Congress and receiving illegal gift. a security fence. North: "...I made many mistakes that resulted in my conviction of serious crimes...and I grieve every day." Convictions were later reversed.
Jim Nussle US Rep (IA) Adultery
Bill O'Reilly Entertainer Sexual harassment, phone sex with female employee
Bob Packwood Fmr US Sen (WA) Sexual harassment
Judith Regan Publisher Adultery, hypocrisy about same
George Roche III Fmr Pres of Hillsdale College, "the nation's premiere conservative college" Adultery with his son�s wife
John G. Rowland Frm Gov of CT Former Gov. John G. Rowland completed a historic fall from power Thursday, admitting in federal court that he traded his office for more than $100,000 in [perks] from state businesses. 12-23-04
Beverly Russell Leader in the SC GOPand Christian Coalition, and stepfather of child murderer Susan Smith Molested stepdaughter Susan from time she was 15. Later she drowned her two young sons.
Joe Scarborough Talk Show Host, fmr US Rep (FL) In 2001, got a divorce; resigned from Congress 6 months after re-election; resigned as publisher of the Independent Florida Sun; and then a female staffer was found dead in his office.
Edward L. Schrock Fmr US Rep (VA) Married but solicited sex from male homosexual
Larry Jack Schwarz Fmr CO State Parole Bd Member, fmr CO State Rep Alleged possession of pictures and material of sexual exploitation of children, three children who were family members living in the Schwarz home.
Arnold Schwarzenegger CA Gov Serial groping, sexual harassment, drug abuse
Jimmy Swaggart TV Evangelist Adultery
Steve Symms US Rep (ID) Serial adultery
James Tobin Fmr Bush-Cheney 04 New England Chairman Charged with jamming phone banks for Dems in 2000
Mike Trout Fmr Sr VP for Focus on the Family, a Christian media empire, & Talk Show Host Admitted adultery.
Robin Vanderwall A third-year law student at Regent University, who helped run several successful campaigns for VA Republicans Charged with two felonies - use of a communication device for crimes against children and attempted indecent liberties with a child 14 or younger
Keith Westmoreland TN State Rep Seven felony counts of lewd and lascivious exhibition to minors under 16
Rev. Stephen White Preached on campuses denouncing minorities, homosexuals, religious groups and aspects of popular culture Soliciting a 14 year old boy

Go to Original Article >>>

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NYT'S Herbert: Kerry almost certainly won Ohio

Published: Monday June 12, 2006

In the 2004 presidential election, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) "almost certainly would have won Ohio if all of his votes had been counted, and if all of the eligible voters who tried to vote for him had been allowed to cast their ballots," writes columnist Bob Herbert for Monday's edition of The New York Times.

Excerpts from Herbert's Op-Ed, Those Pesky Voters:

Republicans, and even a surprising number of Democrats, have been anxious to leave the 2004 Ohio election debacle behind. But Kennedy, in his long, heavily footnoted article ("Was the 2004 Election Stolen?"), leaves no doubt that the democratic process was trampled and left for dead in the Buckeye State. Kerry almost certainly would have won Ohio if all of his votes had been counted, and if all of the eligible voters who tried to vote for him had been allowed to cast their ballots.


No one has been able to prove that the election in Ohio was hijacked. But whenever it is closely scrutinized, the range of problems and dirty tricks that come to light is shocking. What's not shocking, of course, is that every glitch and every foul-up in Ohio, every arbitrary new rule and regulation, somehow favored Bush.


Walter Mebane Jr., a professor of government at Cornell University, did a statistical analysis of the vote in Franklin County, which includes the city of Columbus. He told Kennedy, "The allocation of voting machines in Franklin County was clearly biased against voters in precincts with high proportions of African-Americans."

Mebane told me that he compared the distribution of voting machines in Ohio's 2004 presidential election with the distribution of machines for a primary election held the previous spring. For the primary, he said, "There was no sign of racial bias in the distribution of the machines." But for the general election in November, "there was substantial bias, with fewer voting machines per voter in areas that were heavily African-American."


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Big business, not religion, is the real power in the White House

Big business, not religion, is the real power in the White House

Bush is again pandering to the Christian right over gay rights. But Democrats should not be distracted from the main enemy

Jonathan Freedland
Wednesday June 7, 2006
The Guardian

Well, it gave George Bush the presidency once before, so why not use it again? Our old friend gay marriage is back, evoked anew by the man in the White House to scare "values voters", most of them Christian conservatives, into voting Republican one more time. It did the business in 2004, when Bush's efforts to turn the election into a referendum on same-sex unions may well have tipped the pivotal state of Ohio, chiefly by persuading social conservatives to get out and vote.

So it's no surprise to see a beleaguered Bush, facing second-term poll numbers in the Nixon depths, reaching for the same stick now. The Republicans could get whipped in November's midterm elections, unless they can persuade God-fearing values voters to turn out to halt the devil of gay marriage all over again.

Bush wants to amend the constitution so that that precious charter of rights and liberties will include a new sentence defining marriage exclusively as an arrangement between a man and a woman. Such an exclusion clause would demean the document, like graffiti scrawled across a sacred text. The constitution has been altered before - but usually to expand rights, not to restrict them. (Examples in the opposite direction, such as the 18th amendment, which launched the prohibition of alcohol, have not been a great success.)

The president and his allies wrap this up in the usual preachy language, of course - stand by for the radio pastors intoning that "It was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" - but there is nothing holy about this mission. It's brazen politics, an obvious lob of red meat to the hungry of the Christian right. If they gobble it up they will show just how easily they are bought.

Abroad it will confirm an impression many have had of the United States for a while: that the country is on its way to becoming a theocracy, with the evangelical right organising methodically, and over decades, to take over the commanding heights of the country. On Monday Channel 4 screened God's Next Army, a documentary about Patrick Henry College, an Ivy League-style training ground explicitly grooming young, clean-cut Christian activists to enter and dominate politics.

Europeans and others shudder at the polls which show that 40% of Americans would support a ban on the teaching of evolution in schools, while two-thirds believe creationism should be taught alongside Darwin in the schools. With a leader who shares those sentiments ruling over a White House where, according to the former Bush speechwriter David Frum, Bible study was "if not compulsory, not quite uncompulsory", it's been easy to see this as the faith-based presidency. In this view, the salient feature of the Bush era has been its religiously rooted, Manichean vision of the world, seeing the United States as locked in a holy struggle of good against evil.

Such a view is certainly appealing: it's simple and it would explain a lot. But it would be woefully incomplete. For there has been another force at work during these Bush years, one that can claim a much larger, if less well-publicised, role in shaping the policy of the present era.

Take this very week in Washington. While the talkshows and blogs are humming with gay marriage, the Senate will debate the permanent abolition of inheritance tax. Republicans are already rebranding this the death tax, as if the wicked government insists on squeezing even the corpse on the undertaker's slab. But the truth is that only three estates in every thousand are eligible for tax under the current law: everyone else pays nothing. But those three matter, because they're the estates worth more than $4m (£2.1m) - and it's those wealthiest families Bush wants to help.

No change there. In his very first months as president, Bush passed a tax cut that overwhelmingly benefited the wealthiest 1% of Americans, a redistribution of money from poor to rich that will leave the most affluent a staggering $477bn better off over a 10-year period.

That, rather than any religious crusade, has been the true hallmark of the Bush era. In every sphere it has been the wealthy, and particularly big business, who have been the true beneficiaries - and often architects - of Bush policy.

Energy is a case in point. Just 10 days after his arrival in the White House, Vice-President Dick Cheney, fresh from running the oil services and construction company Halliburton, convened a secret "energy taskforce", an unelected group that set about making the oil and gas companies' dreams come true. Whether they wanted more drilling, mining or deregulation, they got it. (One telling document was a wish-list memo from Enron: a later congressional analysis showed that 17 policies sought by Enron, or which directly benefited the company, were included in the taskforce's final report. Again, no big surprise: Enron had been a generous giver to the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2000).

Cheney managed to keep the taskforce away from democratic scrutiny, but occasionally the curtain is tugged back. A rare and choice example is the case of Philip Cooney, who served until last year as chief of staff for the White House council on environmental quality. It turned out that Cooney had been quietly editing reports by government scientists on global warming, wielding his pencil to cast doubt on climate change. One sentence asserting that the world "is" getting hotter was rewritten to say that it "may be". Yet Cooney had no scientific training. His sole qualification for the job was that he had previously worked for the American Petroleum Institute, the chief lobby group of the oil industry. He was forced out of the White House, but that was no problem. He got a new job - as a spokesman for ExxonMobil.

There are countless other examples, from the gutting of the Clean Air Act to Bush's attempt to dismantle the US pensions system known as social security - a Roosevelt-era institution valued by Americans on middle and low incomes, but irrelevant to the rich and powerful. The symbol of this closeness between the White House and the boardroom remains Halliburton itself, which was awarded three massively lucrative reconstruction contracts in Iraq without even suffering the inconvenience of having to bid for them. We're told that Cheney played no part in allocating those contracts. But he wouldn't have to, would he?

Those who want to take on the Bush administration should keep all this in the forefront of their mind. The Christian right may be the juicier, more telegenic target, but they are not the sole, or even central, driving force of US policy. To take the most serious example, toppling Saddam Hussein was hardly a priority for evangelicals; but invading Iraq, with its oil reserves, was certainly appealing to US big business.

Where does that leave Democrats? It suggests that in November, and again in 2008, they should train their sights on the real enemy. It does not pay to get into a fight with "values voters". More important is to make a values case of their own, putting the moral, even religious, arguments against poverty, environmental despoliation and a greed culture. That could even work as a wedge issue - splitting "values" Republicans from boardroom ones. As for the rest of us, we shouldn't be distracted by a stunt on gay marriage. We should know exactly what it is we are up against.