Pontificator: News and Commentary

Saturday, October 11, 2003 :::
Those Lovable Republicans

Now they want to hunt and kill endangered species!

The Bush administration is proposing far-reaching changes to conservation policies that would allow hunters, circuses and the pet industry to kill, capture and import animals on the brink of extinction in other countries.


Animal welfare advocates question the logic of the new approach, saying that foreign countries and groups that stand to profit will be in charge of determining how many animals can be killed or captured. Advocates also warn that opening the door to legal trade will allow poaching to flourish.

"As soon as you place a financial price on the head of wild animals, the incentive is to kill the animal or capture them," Roberts said. "The minute people find out they can have an easier time killing, shipping and profiting from wildlife, they will do so."

The proposals also trigger a visceral response: To many animal lovers, these species have emotional and symbolic value, and should never be captured or killed.

What sucks about the Republicans is that, even when they're on the brink of electoral annihilation, they're willing to risk further political capital to further their radical right-wing agenda.

::: posted by Pontificator at 11:56 PM

Friday, October 10, 2003 :::
Ask Rush. . .

Next time you call his show, ask Rush Limbaugh if he's in favor of amending the Family and Medical Leave Act to allow employees to take up to five weeks of unpaid leave for drug rehabilitation treatments.

::: posted by Pontificator at 4:11 PM

How to Solve Intimigate

Ask Robert Novak who gave him the leak. If he won't tell you, throw him in jail. Then don't let him out until he coughs up the name.

::: posted by Pontificator at 12:12 AM

Thursday, October 09, 2003 :::
Time for the Media to Stop Lying

The Bush Administration's latest "spin," (and I hesitate to even call it spin, given it's complete and total separation from reality), is that, had the member nations of the National Security Council known what was in the Kay report on Iraqi WMD's last winter, they would voted in favor of a second U.N. resolution in favor of war.

This statement is about as honest as Clinton's "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." (And we already have the blue dress to prove it)

The member nations declined to vote in favor of the U.N. resolution despite the fact that they believed that Saddam had active, usable chemical and biological weapons.

The Kay report shows definitively that there were no active, usable chemical and biological weapons, and that there were, in all likelihood, no chemical or biological weapons of any kind at all. (It also showed no nuclear program, as was the position of all the member nations except Britain and the USA).

In fact, the Kay report shows that, over the last decade, Iraq had dismantled its WMD, and that there is no evidence that they had taken any significant steps to revive it.

Thus, any honest reporter covering this latest Bush statement should say the following:

The Bush administration states that, had the member nations of the UN seen the Kay report back in February, they would have voted in favor of the Iraq war. This statement is patently false.

Unfortunately, I fear reporters will cover the statement thusly:

The Bush administration states that, had the member nations of the UN seen the Kay report back in February, they would have voted in favor of the Iraq war. Bush's critics disagree.

And, subsequently, 50-70% of the American people will believe the Bush administration position, just like a similar percentage thought, and still think, that Saddam was behind 9/11. And the media will therefore be a willing participant in the Bushies' fraud upon the American Public.

The media should understand that the Bush position is not one upon which two people could reasonably disagree. The Bush position is flat-out false. The media should act honestly, for once, and tell the American people that the Bush administration's latest political strategy is to lie through their teeth, and hope the media is too lazy and scared of Karl Rove to do anything about it.

::: posted by Pontificator at 4:51 PM

Wednesday, October 08, 2003 :::
The Results Are In. . .

And, so far, more people voted for Gray Davis (i.e., voted "no" on recall), then voted for Ah-nold.

So, again, the Rethuglicans have stolen the election.

(Note: I may have to revise this post as the votes are counted. However, as of now, the trend is most definitely in Davis's favor)

UPDATE: Well, It's approximately 50/50 anyway. I am certainly NOT happy that Congressman Dan Dreier (R) is running Ah-nold's transition. Dreier, the Chairman of the ultra-partisan House Rules Committee, puts the proverbial "P" in partisan.

::: posted by Pontificator at 1:38 AM

Tuesday, October 07, 2003 :::
We Need a Few Good Statisticians

There's been a lot of legitimate concern regarding the computer based diebold voting machines, and the potential for hackers to implement voter fraud. It appears that, since the Deibold machines do not dispense paper receipts for each vote, the only way to detect hacker-based voter fraud is through the professional use of statistics.

In other words, we need a few good statisticians to determine whether the diebold machines are recording votes in a ratio which seems off-base compared to the absentee ballots and the voting in counties which don't use the diebold machines. For instance, if you have two counties next to each other with similar past voting patterns, and the deibold county votes 60% in favor of recall while the non-diebold county votes 40% in favor of the recall, then we need to be aware of this fact so that an appropriate investigation can be conducted.

I hope there a few good California election law litigators who are on top of this and ready to take action.

::: posted by Pontificator at 4:01 PM

"Bush Lied" -- It's not just for Liberals Anymore

The right-wingers at WorldNetDaily now agree:

Forget that Bush lied about the reasons for putting our sons and daughters in harm's way in Iraq; and forget that he sent 140,000 troops there with bull's-eyes on their backs, then dared their attackers to "bring it on."

It was the height of irresponsibility to have done so in the middle of a war on al-Qaida, the real and proven threat to America. Bush diverted those troops and other resources – including intelligence assets, Arabic translators and hundreds of billions of tax dollars – from the hunt for Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders along the Afghan-Pakistani border. And now they've regrouped and are as threatening as ever.

That's inexcusable, and Bush supporters with any intellectual honesty and concern for their own families' safety should be mad as hell about it – and that's coming from someone who voted for Bush.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

::: posted by Pontificator at 11:21 AM

Monday, October 06, 2003 :::
Bush v. Gore Redux

Prediction: Davis will get more votes than Ah-nold, yet Ah-nold will win. And once again we'll get Democracy, Republican style!

::: posted by Pontificator at 3:38 PM

Corporate Media Gets an Unfair and Unbalanced F for Recall Coverage

Anybody who's watched the media coverage of the recall election knows that Ah-nold gets about 10 times as many minutes of the free media's "news" coverage as does Bustamente. There's a simple reason for this -- the news networks' corporate masters believe that they'll get higher ratings covering a telegenic white movie star than they'll get covering a less sexy latino lieutenant governor. As a result, Bustamente, who was the frontrunner a few weeks ago, is now perhaps too far behind to recover. The news networks ought to be ashamed for acting like the E! Entertainment Channel, and ought to acknowledge their role in getting Ah-nold to where he is today.

::: posted by Pontificator at 2:36 PM

Sunday, October 05, 2003 :::
Shorter Vladimir V. Putin

If Bush wants a few Russian crumbs in Iraq, he had better be prepared to cave in to me on every other foreign policy issue in the world, because there is no way that I, Vladimir Putin, will pass up this opportunity to take advantage of Bush's weakness.

::: posted by Pontificator at 10:48 PM

"Late Hits" In the Recall Election

The usual suspects are decrying the "late hits" and "October Surprises" against Ah-nold in the recall election. What these knee-jerk Ah-nold defenders are forgetting, however, is that this bizarre recall process has been compressed into a lightning-fast six week campaign! Comparing the timing of the recent disclosures to a comparable 12 month Presidential campaign (I think we can all agree that the Republicans and the press have already started sliming Clark and the other primary candidates), the Thursday sex assault bombshells in the L.A. Times are about the equivalent of a Labor Day disclosure in a Presidential election. That's hardly an unfair "late hit" -- and anyone who says otherwise is just trying to distract voters from unpleasantly graphic nature of the sex assault allegations against Ah-nold the Barbarian.

::: posted by Pontificator at 10:22 PM

The L.A. Times Finally Gets It

Under Bush, GOP is the Grand hypOcrisy Party:

The Bush administration, which has responded swiftly and angrily to suspected leaks of classified information by officials in other branches of government, is now under fire for being slow to react to an apparent breach by one of its own.

In numerous instances since Sept. 11, the Bush White House has been quick to condemn others for failing to safeguard national secrets. Officials have scolded lawmakers for their allegedly loose tongues, fired off memos to military commanders seen as too cozy with the media, and backed up those admonitions with calls for investigations or threats to curtail access to classified data.


The perceived disparity in the White House reactions has stoked criticism of the administration among members of Congress as well as current and former intelligence officials, who accuse the White House of applying a double standard when it comes to policing leaks to the media.

In fact, many Democrats on Capitol Hill claim that the White House has itself used selective leaks -- and selective outrage at the alleged leaks of others -- to advance its policies, particularly as it relates to the war in Iraq.

Some senior Democrats claim they repeatedly have been forced to defend their stewardship of secret information, and fight to maintain their access to it, even as the White House ignored an apparent violation by administration insiders.

"People are very upset about it up here," said Sen. Carl Levin, of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"The contrast between their rhetoric and the casual way in which the president first treated this (disclosure of the CIA officer's name) is incredible," Levin said. "Here's a leak that is not only a felony but directly can jeopardize lives."

Even some Republicans say they have found the White House response to the matter lacking. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the administration should have been quicker to take the offensive.


Either way, the disclosure has outraged many people in the close-knit intelligence community, particularly veterans of the CIA's clandestine service.

"The whole thing is just so distressing," said a retired CIA case officer who spent his career working undercover overseas and asked to remain anonymous. "If some idiot in the White House set out to do this malevolently, he ought to have his tongue cut off."


The lawmakers also complain that intelligence that undercut the administration's claims was kept classified, while information that supported the contention that Iraq posed a threat was cleared for release.

Some of those details -- including disagreements within the intelligence community over conclusions about Iraq's nuclear ambitions and alleged efforts to develop a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles -- have since come to light, and are fueling a debate about the justification for going to war with Iraq.

Thanks for recognizing the obvious, L.A. Times (and staff writer Greg Miller). These aren't patriots in the White House, they're hypocritical partisans who care more about their political survival than the protection of classified information.

::: posted by Pontificator at 10:10 PM


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