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February 24, 2006
Compiled and written by Delilah Boyd

Fully Vetted?

George W. Bush claimed this week that the UAE government-owned company he's approved to take over US ports has been "fully vetted." Bloggers have two words for George and his supporters: Harriet Miers. Bloggers also have many more choice words for BushBotic First Spin responders: stop lying; stop spinning; just stop it before the whole world turns on us like Dick Cheney after a beer with lunch.

Truly, Madly, Weirdly (and not just Bill O'Reilly)

Be careful what you ask for in writing. Case in point: the truly weird marriage contract accused kidnapper/child porn law-breaker Travis Frey tried to make his wife sign. Can't Stop The Bleeding writes:

I don't pretend to be a relationship expert or anything, but as someone whose own marriage is fast approaching a 9th anniversary, I would encourage all of the young couples reading this blog to openly discuss their differing needs, expectations and values. Before producing a 4 page contract that will end up on The Smoking Gun, that is.

In other weird news, if George Bush has lost Bill O'Reilly, has he lost the country? FUBAR FOXer and notorious Sheehan/Murtha-riser, Bill O'Reilly, says it's time to pull out of Iraq. Media Matters summarizes:

Bill O'Reilly suggested that the United States "hand over everything to the Iraqis as fast as humanly possible" because "[t]here are so many nuts in the country -- so many crazies -- that we can't control them." O'Reilly has previously called those advocating immediate withdrawal from Iraq "pinheads" and compared them to Hitler appeasers.

Media Matters also has the backstory, including the facts missing from O'Reilly's rant, as well as the video. It's a head shaker, to say the least. Still craving bigger and better O'Reilly smackdown action? Editor & Publisher has the latest on New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof's pledge drive to send O'Bile-ly to Darfur. Will Wild Bill turn down a $727,568 falafel-filled trip to witness the devastation, or will he continue to claim (falsely) that Kristof has no idea what's going on there? Only time and Bill's lame excuses will tell.

First Do No Harm

This week physicians let California's Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger know, in no uncertain terms, that they aren't hangmen. Blast Furnace has the whole story and the links. Meanwhile, I'm still trying to wrap my mind around Shasta Iglesias' blog post on the delayed California execution of Michael Morales:

I say if you don't get an apeal in 5 years .. Bend over and kiss your ass goodbye.. it's time to check out.. You played your cards and it's time to pick your money up off the table and bust out.

You could say, I'm not very sympathetic to people who do these kinds of things. OUCH!! Sometimes i am just harsh.. However, I have learned that life is harsh and sweetens up for no one, not even me, i have to keep on fighting thru, just like you. You make bad decisions, you feel the consequences, and beleive me i have felt mine, i wear it my soul.. And the good, you feel the consequences of that too and hopefully in the end it all turns out the way it was supposed too and you walk from the consequences a better person..

Is Shasta equating the events of her young, shapely body life (check out her posted pic) with those of a death row inmate, or is she somehow channeling Judge Dredd? Color me confused.

Ahoy! Swiftboatee Ahead!

Is Alberto J. Mora, the out-going general counsel of the United States Navy, the next truth-teller to be swiftboated? Parenthetical Remarks praises Mora for his fight against Bush W. Cheney's ever-expanding claims of executive authority to abuse and torture prisoners.

What the administration is asking for is the unaccountability that comes with royalty.

--snip--

The good news is that Mora seems to been an entirely unimpeachable character. Let's see how the administration tries to smear him. You know they will.

Unimpeachable character has never stopped them before, has it? Hmm. I wonder how the swiftboaters are reacting to that other Waterworld issue of the day. So far, the crickets are chirping from here to Dubai...

Ports Of Entry Made Easy

The big story this week (besides several days passing without Dick Cheney shooting anyone in the face after a beer with lunch) is the BushCo handover of our ports to a UAE government-owned company. The administration probably thought this story wouldn't even gain blip status on the corporate-owned media's radar screen, but it's not the first time they've been wrong, is it? Government-owned is the keyword, despite efforts by Blitzer, Matthews, et al to equate the old private British company and the new UAE government-owned company approved by Bush to run our major ports of entry.

Bring It On! dissects the issue nicely:

The people are speaking, lots of them, and they are not happy with this. This is not bigotry; this is the noise of parents raising children, young people just starting their lives, elderly folks wanting to enjoy their retirement. This is a population for whom the safety buck just stopped. Our population sees the folly of tying our commerce to a nation whose ties to the attack and murder of three thousand Americans (who got up one morning and just went to work) are visible. It's not bigotry to question; it's common sense.

Democratic Sen Charles Schumer of New York said: "This company is coming out of a country that has had a strong al-Qaeda presence.

"In this post 9/11 world, we cannot consider approving this contract until a much more thorough investigation takes place on this security matter."

The administration has rejected the concerns, saying the deal was thoroughly vetted. – BBC

As well vetted as the intel leading to the invasion of Iraq? Hmm? This is the end of Bush political capitol. He's toast. Congress people are not going to ride this because they will be running for re-election. This is the perfect vehicle of separation from the failing Bush regime. Perhaps that alone will save us from two more years of misguided decision making.

The people are speaking too loudly to ignore. Yay, us.

Digby thinks the whole UAE port deal could be because America is being blackmailed:

It may be that we have gotten ourselves into a terrible position in which we cannot "offend" the UAE by blocking this deal because they may reciprocate by blocking access to their deep water ports. If that's the case, then we are being blackmailed by the UAE for big money and potentially putting our own ports in danger in the process. According to the 9/11 report they have been playing both ends against the middle for years. And we have Yosemite Sam and Quickdraw McGraw in charge of dealing with them. It's not a big surprise that the whole thing is blowing up in their faces.

Blowing up in their faces? Cheney must be in charge. Sirotablog points out that the whole Dubai Ports deal is about free trade (aka corporations' profits trump national security like rock crushes scissors). Extremely heavy sigh.

At this point, I need a humor break. How about you? For those who paid attention in school, DUer soupkitchen writes:

Bush agrees to accept Trojan horse.

Will veto any act by Congress to deny letting Trojan horse into country. Says not accepting Trojan horse will send wrong message to the Greeks.

Also, DUer Peter Frank may be onto something:

Just Figured it Out (you heard it here first)...

Bush thought that "Dubai" is the way his name is pronounced in Arabic.

Back to the awful truth of this ports insecurity deal. Craig Crawford at crawfordslist reminds us that the White House snubbed the law by skipping the Mandatory 45-Day investigation of the port deal. Shocker, Craig!

And here's the gut-wrenching clencher: DUer Coastie for truth (retired Coast Guard) has the facts and the background to back them up:

The Dubai Ports World Deal - Through a Coast Guard Veteran's Eyes

The "Port Service Company" receives, manifests, loads, offloads, and transfers the containers. Normally, this is monitored for drugs -- but there are "holes." The "Port Service Company" has the "expertise" (in a "perverse kind of way") to know where the holes are.

Second, the "Port Service Company" frequently prepares the manifest. This is the legal document ennumerating what the ship is carrying, shipper, recipient, port on loaded, port to be off loaded. This guides (or misguides) the inspection.

Third, frequently the "Port Service Company" performs "ship chandlering" - that's the sale of consumables and low level spare parts. This is not inventoried or manifested.

Fourth, merchant mariners' documents. It is fairly easy to enter a country on "Merchant Mariner's Documents" (functions like a mini-passport). No visa requirements if you stay within some distance of the port. This is popular with drug dealers - and could be a route for terrorists. In many countries a "Port Service Company" can issue "documents" (note - these are not Master, Mate, Pilot, Engineer, Radio Officer licenses or "Competency Documents") which are good enough to get you off of the ship while it's in port.

The stuff of nightmares, Coastie! Sadly, I have little faith in a totally Republican-contolled government to stop this ship before it sails. I hope I'm wrong.

Cartoon Wars & AndrewSullivan@LoadOf.Crap

For the latest cartoon wars update, The Tension (Tagline: All the news that causes a fit in print) is your go-to site. In Allah email news... Thwack! Parenthetical Remarks takes Andrew Sullivan to the woodshed over Sully's claim that Yahoo.com denied an email address to Linda Callahan because it contained the word Allah. Parenthetical writes:

The problem? It's all a load of crap. How do I know? Well, I'm the proud owner of the brand new Yahoo email address allah4500231@yahoo.com. Go ahead, send me an email. I'll write back to you.

Do Women And Their Gay Genes Threaten Traditional Marriage?

Science is a pesky little devil, isn't it? Hothouse Blog notes a scientific study which suggests that "mothers of gay sons process their extra x chromosome differently." Not that there's anything wrong with that sort of processing. It's just different, that's all. Leave it to science to toss a spanner in the theocracy works every few centuries.

This Just In: Hannity Lies!

Duh. For the latest Hannity shenanigans, JABBS relates the twisted way in which Hannity twistedly twists Bryant Gumbel's reason for not watching the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. For future reference, here's Gumbel's comment:

"So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention."

Naturally, "Hammity" hit the roof and asked why the media wasn't outraged, despite the fact that several Big Media types had already expressed their, well, outrage. One even called Gumbel (who's Black) a racist. What's the matter, Sean? Panties in a twist because Gumbel doesn't care for Curling?

Spinning The Not-So-Straight Shooter

Don't you just love it when Arianna Huffington starts with the wardrobe and goes straight for the meat of the matter? Mary Matalin was definitely out gunned on Meet The Press this week.

If you tuned in, you already know what I'm talking about: Mary Matalin.

Oh my God.

James Wolcott called her "a car wreck in repose" and "the Beltway's Madwoman of Chaillot." Crooks & Liars has video here and here.

Let's start with the unavoidable: what was she wearing? First, the brooch. Or was it a sculpture? Or was it perhaps some bizarre new NSA listening device? It was so, well, there, that hard as you tried you could not avert your eyes from it.

Feed me, Seymour! Matalin demonstrated a severe lack of facts (even for Russert standards), absolutely no class (rolling eyes), and the obvious fact that her personal assistant must be too afraid to tell her she looks like she's just walked off the "Little Shop Of Horrors" dinner theatre stage. Thanks to DUer TomInTib for posting this:

Mary Matalin, Andrew Card, Karl Rove, and Scott McClellan all had a hand in handling the veep's "hunting accident," but one person was conspicuously missing. The Washington Note asks: "Where was Cheney's Chief of Staff, David Addington?" Good question. Still waiting for an answer, but I'd prefer a thorough investigation by impartial law enforcement officials, thank you.

In the meantime, how many more Dubai-type deals have been "fully vetted" by loyal BushBots that never saw the light of day? How many more Emerald City curtains do we have to pull back before we finally expose the hapless traveling magician who got caught up in a whirlwind and ended up ruling the land by illusion? Will this long national nightmare ever really end?

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