Miz Shoes

No, Actually

No, actually, he wasn't universally beloved and idolized. Certainly not by me, who lost so many of my gay friends during his administration, when the AIDS crisis was in its infancy, and he and his neo-con cabal refused to acknowledge the "gay cancer" and spent no money on research, education or prevention.
I spent the eight years of Reagan's presidency waiting for nuclear winter, waiting for the hands of the doomsday clock to move to midnight.

I have not forgotten that under his stewardship the government grew, Marines were slain in their barracks in Lebanon (and why, exactly were they there?), and his administration side-stepped the rule of law to sell arms to Iran in order to fund the Contras in Nicaragua.

I am neither saddened nor made joyous by his passing. The moving hand has written. The cosmic horse laugh, that the man who remade the Republican Party in his own, ultra-conservative image, could have benefited from stem-cell research (an anathema to those same neo-cons)is merely a sad echo in the universe.

My own mother has Alzheimer's and membership in that awful club somehow connects me to Mr. Reagan's family. For them, and for him, I feel pity. Pity only, and nothing more.

For what this country has become, for the journey that began with Mr. Reagan's single step, for that I feel deep sorrow and loss.
Miz Shoes

Two Pigs

As President Bush gets off the helicopter in front of the White House, he is carrying a baby pig under each arm.

The Marine guard snaps to attention, salutes, and says: "Nice pigs, sir."

The President replies: "These are not pigs, these are authentic Texan Razorback Hogs. I got one for Vice-President Cheney, and I got one for Defense Secretary Rumsfeld."

The Marine again snaps to attention, salutes, and says, "Nice trade, sir."

My friend says that the pig farmer wuz robbed.

I was delighted to note that George Tenet can now be referred to as "Former CIA Director." I love that everyone from Dubya down insists that he didn't leave due to any scandal. Nooooo. It was a personal, private choice. Family health. Right. Sounds like a Tony Soprano kind of issue to me. Like, if he didn't leave, his family would be in ill health.

Tomayto, tomahto. Either way, he's gone.
And here's a little something that I received from the John Kerry campaign:

"An Interview with Rand Beers
One week ago, John Kerry kicked off eleven days of speeches and campaign events outlining his national security policy. As head of the Internet Team, I had the opportunity to sit down with Rand Beers to discuss how John Kerry will build a stronger America, that is respected in the world, and secure at home.

After serving at the National Security Council at the White House during Republican and Democratic administrations, Rand Beers resigned as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Combating Terrorism in March 2003 to protest the Bush administration's loss of focus on the war on terrorism. Eight weeks later, he joined the Kerry Campaign as National Security/Homeland Security Issues Coordinator. He began his career as a Marine rifle company commander in Vietnam.

Josh Ross: Was it a difficult decision to leave the Bush administration?

Rand Beers: It was an extraordinarily difficult decision for me to make. When you've worked with people for a number of years, you develop a sense of loyalty and camaraderie. But I feel strongly that if you're going to play a part in any government, you have to be one hundred percent committed. When I could not give that kind of commitment because of differences in philosophy and the administration's rush to war, I decided to leave.

After I left, I thought a lot about what I wanted to do, and came to the conclusion that rather than being part of the problem, which I was within the administration, I wanted to be part of the solution.

Josh Ross: There were nine Democrats in the field when you joined the Kerry campaign. Why pick John Kerry over all the rest?

Rand Beers: I joined John Kerry's campaign because I knew about his record in the Senate, on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and on the Senate Intelligence Committee. I knew that he cared about the changing security environment that the world was facing. And one of his former staffers, Jonathan Winer, worked for me as Deputy Assistant Secretary at the State Department, so I had a good appreciation of the kinds of issues and concerns that John Kerry was passionate about.

I also admire Senator Kerry because of his Vietnam experience. Like him, I served in Vietnam. Like him, I went back for a second tour after having spent a full year there. Like him, I came back to the United States deeply concerned that our efforts in Vietnam had gone off track. I was drawn to John Kerry because of our similar experiences, plus the knowledge that individuals who have served in combat have an important perspective when they make decisions about war and peace.

Josh Ross: What steps do we need to take to restore U.S. authority and leadership in the world?

Rand Beers: It's absolutely essential that the next president, from his first day in office, makes a major effort to reach out to countries around the world. We need to return to the kind of dialogue that is necessary to knit together relationships and alliances into meaningful coalitions, to deal with the problems around the globe. If you're not prepared to listen, as well as talk, then it's much harder to bring other countries together for common purposes and common solutions.

Josh Ross: What lessons from history can we apply to fighting the war on terror?

Rand Beers: I think that the major lesson from history is that if we do not work together with allies around the world, we are going to be unable to prevent terrorists from attacking us and hurting us. We will never have a perfect defense; but we will be stronger and more secure with strong allies.

Second, we need to adapt our capabilities to the new threats we face. Terrorism was previously a secondary concern not only for the United States but for most countries. The face of terrorism is ever-changing and evolving. We're going to have to look at our military forces, our intelligence forces, and our law enforcement community, both within the United States and globally, to make sure that we have the right kind of people, the right kind of capabilities, and the right kind of skills in order to deal with these new threats.

We also have to dry up support and sympathy for al-Qaeda in the Islamic world. We have to reinforce the perception in the Islamic world that the kind of activity and behavior that al-Qaeda engages in is unrepresentative of the religion as a whole. This will take time and considerable effort, but it's a mission that we must participate in with the Islamic world and other members of the international community.

Josh Ross: How will a John Kerry presidency differ from a George Bush Presidency, in terms of foreign policy, the war on terrorism, and Iraq?

Rand Beers: John Kerry presented a very clear set of differences in his speech in Seattle last Thursday. First, he would return to the alliance structure that has stood so well since the second World War. Those alliances need to be updated, strengthened and refocused for a post 9/11 world, so that organizations such as NATO are no longer confined in their vision.

Second, John Kerry will ensure that we have the kind of military that's necessary for security missions. We must have more than just a force that is capable of fighting conventional wars. We also must have the skills and capabilities that will allow us to deal with failed states, terrorism, and threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, especially keeping them away from terrorists.

Third, John Kerry will use all the tools in our foreign policy arsenal. We will emphasize the use of diplomacy, which the Bush administration has put in cold storage. We need better intelligence capabilities and better use of economic power, our ideas, and our values.

Finally, we need to become energy independent, so our foreign policy isn't distorted by our dependence on Middle East oil.
Miz Shoes

Knock, Knock

Who's there? Mr. Kettle, as in Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle. We're here to talk about the color black.

So the National Guardsman who served in Iraq, saw war first hand and decided that he couldn't actually support the war effort and had, in fact, to consider himself a conscientious objector, and refused to go back to Iraq after his (first) tour has been found guilty of desertion and must go to jail.

But, the National Guardsman who went into the Guard to avoid actually serving in a hot war (Viet Nam), and who decided that he'd done enough time and went AWOL six months before his tour of duty was over was appointed President of the United States.

Anyone? Anyone? Right. I know. The difference is that the Guardsman sitting in jail is Hispanic with no powerful father in politics.

Fucking chicken hawk hypocrites.
The Battle of the Bands last night was just wonderful. I'd be happy to tell you who won, but we left before the end. (I had a hot gym date today, and I didn't want to be so hungover that I fell off the step. Nor did I want to be so toxed out that the yogini was offended.)

But the bands we saw were awesome. Most particularly, I was impressed with The Kick. They did. They do. They have this little skinny bass player with the most amazing mop of hair who can windmill like Pete Townsend. They had more energy, more stage presence, more ... I was pogoing like a mad woman. They're from Orlando, but don't hold that against them.

Then there was Wha The...? out of Atlanta. They were so good that after their set someone in the audience (not me, really, not me) yelled "This battle is OVER!!!" And it would have been, had not The Kick followed.

Last night was the first time since the whole drama of my father's decline began (two years ago?) that I felt so alive and so happy. I've said it before, and I'll repeat myself now, that the Church of Rock and Roll is the true spiritual savior of my generation.

Please don't write to me and tell me that I'm going to roast in hell, and that my previous statement is sacrilegious and that there are a million other things wrong with that sentence and sentiment. I know. I'm being a touch facetious.

But, really, when I'm in the presence of live music, when the beat is so loud that it takes over for your heartbeat, when the energy is palpable, the smell of teen spirit, as it were, is thick.... well. Children, I have seen the lord in the face of rock and roll. You find it your way, I'll find it mine.

Let me hear you say "AMEN!"
Miz Shoes

Bush Bashing 101

Hey, why not? Enough sturm und drang. Let's party like it's 1899.

The Sloganator.


6:00 PM Opening Prayer led by the Reverend Jerry Fallwell
6:30 PM Pledge of Allegiance
6:35 PM Burning of Bill of Rights (excluding 2nd amendment)
6:45 PM Salute to the Coalition of the Willing
6:46 PM Seminar #1: Iraq Stratergies-Voodoo/DooDoo WMD
7:30 PM First Presidential Beer Bong
7:35 PM Serve Freedom Fries
7:40 PM EPA Address #1: Mercury-It's what's for dinner!
8:00 PM Vote on which country to invade next
8:10 PM Call EMTs to revive Rush Limbaugh
8:15 PM John Ashcroft Lecture: The Homos are after your Children!!
8:30 PM Round table discussion on reproductive rights (MEN only)
8:50 PM Seminar #2 Corporations: The Government of the Future
9:00 PM Condi Rice sings "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man"
9:05 PM Second Presidential Beer Bong
9:10 PM EPA Address #2 Trees: The Real Cause of Forest Fires
9:30 PM Break for secret meetings
10:00 PM Second prayer led by Cal Thomas
10:15 PM Lecture by Karl Rove: Doublespeak made easy
10:30 PM Rumsfeld demonstration of how to squint and talk macho
10:35 PM Bush demonstration of trademark "deer in headlights" stare
10:40 PM John Ashcroft demonstrates new mandatory Kevlar chastity belt
10:45 PM Clarence Thomas reads list of black republicans
10:46 PM Third Presidential Beer Bong
10:50 PM Seminar #3 Education: A Drain on our Nation's Economy
11:10 PM Hilary Clinton Pi????
11:20 PM 2nd Lecture by John Ashcroft: Evolutionists: The Dangerous New Cult
11:30 PM Call EMTs to revive Rush Limbaugh again.
11:35 PM Blame Clinton
11:40 PM Laura serves milk and cookies
11:50 PM Closing Prayer led by Jesus Himself, directed by Mel Gibson

George W. Bush's Resume and Presidential Accomplishments

I attacked and took over 2 countries.

I spent the U.S. surplus and bankrupted the US Treasury.

I shattered the record for the biggest annual deficit in history (not easy!).

I set an economic record for the most personal bankruptcies filed in any 12 month period.

I set all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the stock market.

I am the first president in decades to execute a federal prisoner.

In my first year in office I set the all-time record for most days on vacation by any president in US history (tough to beat my dad's, but I did). After taking the entire month of August off for vacation, I presided over the worst security failure in US history.

I set the record for most campaign fund raising trips by any president in US history.

In my first two years in office over 2 million Americans lost their jobs.

I cut unemployment benefits for more out-of-work Americans than any other president in US history.

I set the all-time record for most real estate foreclosures in a 12-month period.

I appointed more convicted criminals to administration positions than any president in US history.

I set the record for the fewest press conferences of any president, since the advent of TV.

I signed more laws and executive orders amending the Constitution than any other US president in history.

I presided over the biggest energy crises in US history and refused to intervene when corruption was revealed.

I cut health care benefits for war veterans.

I set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously take to the streets to protest me (15 million people), shattering the record for protest against any person in the history of mankind.

I dissolved more international treaties than any president in US history.

I've made my presidency the most secretive and unaccountable of any in US history.

Members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in US history. (The poorest multimillionaire, Condoleeza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.)

I am the first president in US history to have all 50 states of the Union simultaneously struggle against bankruptcy.

I presided over the biggest corporate stock market fraud in any market in any country in the history of the world.

I am the first president in US history to order a US attack AND military occupation of a sovereign nation, and I did so against the will of the United Nations and the vast majority of the international community.

I have created the largest government department bureaucracy in the history of the United States, called the "Bureau of Homeland Security" (only one letter away from BS).

I set the all-time record for biggest annual budget spending increases, more than any other president in US history (Ronnie was tough to beat, but I did it!!).

I am the first president in US history to compel the United Nations remove the US from the Human Rights Commission.

I am the first president in US history to have the United Nations remove the US from the Elections Monitoring Board.

I removed more checks and balances, and have the least amount of congressional oversight than any presidential administration in US history

I rendered the entire United Nations irrelevant. I withdrew from the World Court of Law.

I refused to allow inspectors access to US prisoners of war and by default no longer abide by the Geneva Conventions.

I am the first president in US history to refuse United Nations election inspectors access during the 2002 US elections.

I am the all-time US (and world) record holder for most corporate campaign donations.

The biggest lifetime contributor to my campaign, who is also one of my best friends, presided over one of the largest corporate bankruptcy frauds in world history (Kenneth Lay, former CEO of Enron Corporation).

I spent more money on polls and focus groups than any president in US history.

I am the first president to run and hide when the US came under attack (and then lied, saying the enemy had the code to Air Force 1)

I am the first US president to establish a secret shadow government.

I took the world's sympathy for the US after 9/11, and in less than a year made the US the most resented country in the world (possibly the biggest diplomatic failure in US and world history).

I am the first US president in history to have a majority of the people of Europe (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and stability.

I changed US policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.

I set the all-time record for the number of administration appointees who violated US law by not selling their huge investments in corporations bidding for gov't contracts.

I have removed more freedoms and civil liberties for Americans than any other president in US history.

I entered office with the strongest economy in US history and in less than two years turned every single economic category heading straight down.

RECORDS AND REFERENCES: I have at least one conviction for drunk driving in Maine (Texas driving record has been erased and is not available).

I was AWOL from the National Guard and deserted the military during time of war.

I refuse to take a drug test or even answer any questions about drug use.

All records of my tenure as governor of Texas have been spirited away to my fathers library, sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.

All records of any SEC investigations into my insider trading or bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.

All minutes of meetings of any public corporation for which I served on the board are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.

Any records or minutes from meetings I (or my VP) attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review.
Miz Shoes


The front page of today's Herald features two photos, in color, above the fold. They are two frames from the video of the murder of Nick Berg. The first shows him sitting on the floor, surrounded by masked men. The second shows one of the men holding Berg's head to one side as he applies the edge of his knife to Berg's throat.

Thank you. I think we all needed to see that. Mr. Berg's family surely needed to see that. Like hell.
The US government prevents us from seeing photos of our military coffins, citing security (hah!) and sensitivity to the families. But a civilian (Whom authorities now say was advised to leave Iraq, and if that isn't a case of the buck stops with the victim, I don't know what is.) being murdered as payback for a photo of a prisoner wearing a dog collar (Oh, yeah. That's a fucking eye for an eye, I'll tell you. I can surely see the corollary there, boy howdy.) well, that's just perfect fodder for the insatiable American viewing public.

Fuck me. I don't think so. And if I were the least bit paranoid, I would say that Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg had one thing in common other than having their cold-blooded murders paraded through the American press: they were both Jews.

If I were the least bit paranoid, I would say that one thing is what makes it acceptable to show their deaths.

But I'm not that paranoid. I think that the reason these brutal slayings are shown ad nauseum is because we need images like that to keep the determination to stay in Iraq alive in the hearts of the American people. This is just propaganda for the Bush mill. Bush and his lousy, filthy cadre of chickenhawks. Not a one of the high-ranking men in his administration served in the Viet Nam war. Not a one of them has a son or daughter in the military, at risk for the kind of death they allow to be broadcast nightly. They condone the demonization of the enemy, and then react with faux horror when the citizen soldiers of our own republic are found to have committed "atrocities" against the enemy.

A person cannot commit an atrocity against an enemy who looks like them, or has the same values as them. You need to create a demon in order to be able to maintain the fight. Our government is creating a demon in fact by its actions in Iraq, and a demon in the popular imagination by what they chose to allow to be shown to the American people.

And I for one, have had enough.
Miz Shoes

For? Or Against?

I had the most interesting exchange on the train this morning. There was a woman sitting near me with a "Kerry for President" button on her backpack. She also had two boxes of aroma-emitting pastries, but I wasn't interested (Hah. Yeah. Right) in them.

I asked her if she'd heard many comments about her button. She said no, not so much, yet.
I asked her if she was FOR Kerry, or AGAINST Bush. She said, oh man, against Bush. In fact, she said, she had become an American citizen after the 2000 election just so that she could vote against him this year. "I come from Brazil," she said "and so am used to a certain amount of bad stuff, but that? I had to be able to vote to stop this."

She went on to say that there is a fine line between anarchy and democracy, and she sees Bush heading towards anarchy, where he does what he wants and there is no one to stop him. We talked about "The Handmaid's Tale" and how close to the present state of affairs it is. Then we talked about "Wag the Dog" and how it, too, is too eerily close to the truth of our current administration.

I wish more citizens felt like her. That it is our duty, our obligation, to vote. Every time I hear someone say that they don't vote because they don't like the choices, or because they don't believe their vote counts, I could just pull out my hair. Or theirs. Votes don't count only when you don't cast them. Or if you allow them not to count.

In Florida, in the 2000 election, our votes were disallowed by a state government run by the brother of one of the candidates. When the propriety of this was questioned, we were drowned out by the paid voices of the Republican operatives brought in from around the country. The brother in question was appointed President of the United States, and every time he is questioned, the questioner is drowned out by the paid voices of the right wing media. It has become a crime in effect, if not in actual law, to question the government.

But read your constitution. Read your Thomas Jefferson. It is not a crime, it is the duty of every citizen to question the decisions made by our government. If we, as citizens, do not agree with those decisions, then it is our obligation to remove the people speaking in our name.

Regime change begins with you. If you aren't registered to vote, then go out and register. If you don't want to belong to either of the two major parties, then register as an independent, or a Libertarian, or a Green. Just register. Then, just vote.

Until you do, don't complain to me that your vote doesn't count, or that you don't like what's going on in Washington.
Miz Shoes

2 much fun

So you know you're having way too much fun when you call your husband from a bar 30 miles from home and tell him that you and your girlfriend are thinking that it'd just be easier all the way around to get a hotel room for the night and you'll just go to work the next morning wearing the same thing you wore the day before. Minus the make up, and the coiffed hair and with the addition of a major hangover.
I went out last night with The Coolest Person In the World TM and that was the result. After dinner and a whole lot of coffee, however, I just took the top off the Cabrio and turned the music up to 11 and drove home.

Today is the bologna in the cool sandwich, since tomorrow night I'm going out with a fellow blogger. It's our first time meeting face to face, and I plan on not embarrassing myself. I plan on it, but can't guarantee it. In a pathetic attempt to prove my cool, I'll be taking said blogger to Tobacco Road, the best damn dive in Miami, and one in which I have sucked face in dark corners, drunk myself into a commode-huggin' state (not necessarily on the same nights) and enjoyed many, many hours of great live music. Even if I'm a dork, the bar will score points.

Another reason last night was so great was that I was able to miss the 3rd televised press conference in as many years given by our Shrub in Chief. I did pick up the highlight this morning, which was that the man was sure he had made a mistake or two somewhere in his presidency, he just couldn't quite put his finger on one at the moment.

I can. Here's the short list, and please, feel free to add others.

Stole election
Appointed cronies to high offices
Let 9/11 happen without much thought or effort
Lied about the need to go to war in Iraq
Lied about the ease with which said war could be won
Lied about having knowledge or not having knowledge prior to 9/11 that there was a risk
Continues to lie about all of the above
Refuses to accept any responsibility for anything
High crimes and misdemeanors
IQ of a fence post

OK. So there's nothing he can do about the last one. As far as I'm concerned, it's still an offence worth noting.

On a related (pun intended) note, the Brother of the President, Florida's own Jeb (I'll make sure you win this state) Bush has given fast-track approval to built two natural-gas pipelines from the Bahamas to Florida. They both go straight through the only natural, live barrier reef in the continental US. And guess what? He did it with no input whatsoever from environmental groups, but after a month-long "education" program from the power companies who made the proposals.

Read the story here.
Miz Shoes

Creepier Than Nixon

In what is probably a huge violation of copyright law, I present you with this article from Salon, in its entirety, because if even a dozen people read it here, who don't have access to it there, I have done good for the world.

Creepier than Nixon
The man who brought down Richard Nixon says Bush and "co-president" Cheney are an even greater threat to the country.

By David Talbot

March 31, 2004 | As Richard Nixon's White House counsel during the Watergate scandal, John Dean famously warned his boss that there was "a cancer on the presidency" that would bring down the administration unless Nixon came clean. In his new book, "Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush," Dean warns the country that the Bush administration is even more secretive and authoritarian than Nixon's -- in fact, he writes, it's "the most secretive presidency of my lifetime."

"To say that the [Bush-Cheney] secret presidency is undemocratic is an understatement," he adds. "I'm anything but skittish about government, but I must say this administration is truly scary and, given the times we live in, frighteningly dangerous."

Dean's new book is being published, appropriately, as the country is being treated to another spectacle of Nixonian smearing and stonewalling by the Bush White House. Rather than come clean about its pre-9/11 security policies, the administration has engaged in a frenzied counterattack on its whistle-blowing former terrorism chief, Richard Clarke, while refusing to let National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice testify before the bipartisan panel investigating the terror attack until the political pressure became overwhelming.

Dean conversed with Salon by e-mail from his Los Angeles home.

How is the Bush-Cheney administration more secretive than Nixon's?

A few examples make the point. Nixon became a secretive president, as his presidency proceeded, while Bush and Cheney were secretive from the outset. Nixon actually tried to reduce the excessive national security classification of documents (through a panel headed by the man who is now chief justice of the United States), while Bush and Cheney have tried to increase classification (and 9/11 does not hold up as the reason for much of it). Nixon only abused executive privilege (the power of a president to withhold information from his constitutional co-equals) after Watergate, while Bush and Cheney have sought to abuse the privilege from the outset. Nixon was never taken to court by the General Accounting Office for refusing to provide information about executive activities, while Bush and Cheney forced GAO to go to court (where GAO lost under a recently appointed Bush judge). Nixon believed presidential papers should be available for historians, but Bush has undermined the laws to make such records available to the public.

While Nixon's presidency gave currency to the term "stonewalling," Bush and Cheney have made stonewalling their standard procedure, far in excess of Nixon. In short, in every area one looks, Bush and Cheney are more secretive than Nixon ever imagined being. I have mentioned but a few.

Why have Congress and the press allowed Dick Cheney to get away with his stonewalling tactics on the energy task force, Halliburton, duck hunting with Justice Scalia, and other questionable aspects of his vice presidency?

I would add to the list Cheney's outrageous stonewalling about his health, which we know is bad, notwithstanding his effort to keep the details secret. The Congress lets Cheney do anything he wants because Republicans control it, and Cheney is their heavy in the White House for getting things done. Cheney, so long as Republicans control, will not have to answer, but should we return to divided government in 2004 or 2006 and Cheney is still in the White House, that will end.

There has never been a vice president -- ever (and even including Spiro Agnew who was Nixon's) -- who needed to be investigated more than Cheney. Nor has there ever been such a secretive vice president. Dick Cheney is the power behind the Bush throne. Frankly, I am baffled why the mainstream news media has given Cheney (not to mention Bush) a free ride. I don't know if it is generational, or corporate ownership, or political bias, but it is clear that Cheney has been given a pass by the major news organizations.

Do you feel the vice president has, after more than three years of secretive governing from an undisclosed location, become a political liability to the president? How likely is it that Bush will drop him from the ticket this year?

Dick Cheney is a political disaster awaiting recognition. In the book, I set forth a relatively long list of inchoate scandals, not to mention problems worse than scandals. They all involve Cheney in varying degrees. Bush can't dump Cheney, for it is Cheney, not Rove, who is Bush's backroom brain. He is actually a co-president. Bush doesn't enjoy studying and devising policy. Cheney does. While Cheney has tutored Bush for almost four years, and Bush is better prepared today than when he entered the job, Cheney is quietly guiding this administration. Cheney knows how to play Bush so that Cheney is absolutely no threat to him, makes him feel he is president, but Bush can't function without a script, or without Cheney. Bush is head of state; Cheney is head of government.

If, say, the Securities and Exchange Commission's current investigation of Halliburton's accounting also discovers that Cheney engaged in insider trading when he left Halliburton (which the facts suggest is highly likely), and this matter erupts before the Republican convention, then Cheney might be forced to step aside. Cheney always has his bad-health excuse anytime he wants to take it -- because it is a fact. He has a certain immunity as vice president, but if he were to be dropped from the ticket (or he and Bush lose), I believe Cheney would have serious problems which he would no longer be able to deflect. Thus, he will stay and fight like hell to win.

I quote Cheney from his time in the Ford White House when he said, "Principle is okay up to a certain point, but principle doesn't do any good if you lose." I think this statement sums up Cheney's thinking nicely.

You write that Bush and Cheney have not leveled with America about their true agenda. What is it?

Because of their secrecy, it takes a lot of work to connect the dots. I've not connected them all, but enough of them to know that the only agenda they had during the first term was to get a second term -- which meant secretly taking care of their major contributors. Should they get a second term, we know their secret agenda, for they have quietly stated it: They intend to make sure the Republicans control the federal government (all three branches) indefinitely, if possible. In short, the Bush-Cheney agenda is about perpetuating Republican rule by taking particularly good care of major contributors who share their views of the world.

Karl Rove also plays a unique role in the Bush administration. One close observer says in your book that he's "Haldeman and Ehrlichman all in one." Explain.

Rove's unique role is that he is a political guy making policy decisions for political reasons. Decisions in the Bush White House are made not based on what is best for the public interest, rather what will get the president the most mileage with his base, and best political advantage. Not since Nixon's so-called responsiveness program -- which was uncovered during the Watergate investigation -- have we had such overt political decision-making.

The reference to Haldeman and Ehrlichman as explaining Rove was a quip from a friend of mine from the Nixon White House who has had dealings with Rove. Since Rove is a revengeful fellow, my friend will remain nameless. But my friend was telegraphing a lot of information about Rove with this bit of shorthand -- for anyone who has any knowledge of the Nixon White House and Watergate, they know Haldeman and Ehrlichman were the heavies. First, it is a compliment in that both Haldeman and Ehrlichman were very smart, and highly efficient. But what it tells us is that Rove is ruthless, for both Haldeman and Ehrlichman were that too.

Both Haldeman and Ehrlichman saw the world through a political lens, and what was most likely to help Richard Nixon get reelected. So does Rove. Haldeman was involved with procedure (broadly speaking, I mean who was doing what at the White House, arranging the presidential travel and appearances for maximum political benefit, and constantly mindful of the president's image and making him look good), and Ehrlichman was the substance guy (who developed domestic policies, but accounting for the political impact). Rove controls both.

Had Haldeman and Ehrlichman not received the longest sentences of any of those involved in Watergate, Rove would probably be pleased by the comparison.

Karl Rove first came to your attention during Watergate. In what ways is he the reincarnation of Nixon dirty tricksters like Charles Colson and Donald Segretti?

He is way beyond anything Nixon had at his disposal. He is closer to a behind-the-scenes Nixon operator named Murray Chotiner, who could cut off an opponent at the knees so quickly the person did not immediately realize he had been crippled. As I note in the book, the first time I heard the name Karl Rove was when I was asked if I knew anything about him by one of the Watergate special prosecutors who was investigating campaign dirty tricks. I didn't have any knowledge. But I recalled that question when working on this book, and located a memorandum in the files of the Watergate prosecutor's office that indicates they were asking others as well about Rove. Based on my review of the files, it appears the Watergate prosecutors were interested in Rove's activities in 1972, but because they had bigger fish to fry they did not aggressively investigate him.

Colson was brutal, cruel and vicious before he found God (during Watergate). While he once famously said he would run over his grandmother to get Nixon reelected, today I suspect he'd run over his grandmother to convert a few heathens to Christ. Segretti did not engage in the kind of dirty politics that Colson liked to play. Segretti was a political prankster, who only by accident got associated with Watergate. Nothing that Segretti did, that I know of, could be called sinister. Colson, on the other hand, was as nasty a political operative as could be found. Indeed, to this day we don't know the full extent of Colson's activities. He even refused to tell Nixon some of the things he had done (while boasting to Nixon he had done things he didn't want to tell the president). Colson walked out of the White House with any of his papers and records that might cause him a problem. Karl Rove, from what I've seen, makes Colson look like a novice.

Bush has managed to stay above the ugly tactics used against opponents like John McCain and now John Kerry. Does he privately give them his blessing?

Of course. All candidates control their campaigns, and if they don't want such activity, it doesn't occur. As I discovered in talking to people about Bush, he is a highly sophisticated political operator. I've noted in the book that Rove gets the credit for being Bush's political brain. It's an arrangement both men like, because it raises Rove's importance as a political operator, and lowers Bush's exposure. In truth, Bush is probably more politically savvy than Rove. Both men learned their politics from Lee Atwater, who ran Bush senior's 1988 campaign. Atwater made dirty politics into an art form, by which I mean he provided those for whom dirty deeds were done deniability while Atwater's people tore up an opponent's pea-patch and everything else. I expect the 2004 presidential campaign to make Richard Nixon look like a high-road campaigner.

At least until recently, the Bush administration has successfully used the public's fear of terrorism to advance its agenda. You go so far as to agree with Gen. Tommy Franks' dark prediction that another major terror attack on U.S. citizens will drive the country to suspend the Constitution. Why do you fear that?

As I state in the book, I agree for reasons that probably differ from those of Gen. Franks. The short summary of what is really a thread that runs through the book is that when you have a presidency that has no regard for human life, that develops and implements all (not just national security) policy in secrecy, and is driven by political motives and a radical philosophy, it is impossible not to conclude that they will overreact -- and at the expense of our constitutional safeguards. Bush and Cheney enjoy using power to make and wield swords, not ploughs. They prefer to rule by fear. We've had three years to take the measure of these men. I've done so and reported what I found in a book I never planned to write, but because others were not talking about these issues, I believed they needed to be placed on the table.

Bush and Cheney have exploited terrorism ever since 9/11. Now they are exploiting it to get reelected. Should there be an even more serious threat, they have found that when Americans are frightened they can be governed like sheep, which suits Bush and Cheney perfectly. Rather than taking the terror out of terrorism by educating and informing Americans, they have sought to make terrorism as frightening as possible -- using terrorism to launch a war of aggression that is breeding a new generation of terrorists and getting the Congress to pass the most repressive new laws imaginable and calling it an act of patriotism.

Do you think Bush has an enemies list? Are you on it?

I don't believe that Bush, Cheney or Rove are foolish enough to actually maintain such a list -- as was foolishly done in the Nixon White House. But I believe they have long memories. As to how they feel about me, I could care less. As I explain in the book, I used many of my sources on background because this is a White House that takes revenge, and its supporters and surrogates play as dirty as they can get away with. The truth for this White House is not very pleasant, and my writing about it will not be appreciated. I didn't write this book for those who believe that Bush and Cheney have got it right, and don't want to hear otherwise. Rather I wrote it because a lot of people suspect that they've gotten it wrong, and needed someone who knows the workings of the White House to explain what is going on and why.

If the Bush-Cheney scandals are "worse than Watergate," why hasn't this administration produced a whistle-blowing John Dean?

First, I make very clear in the book that while the underlying conduct is worse than Watergate, it has not -- yet -- erupted into a scandal like Watergate. Like anyone at the White House, yours truly included, you first try to work within the system -- to right things you know are wrong. Take former terrorism czar Richard Clarke. He certainly tried to get the Bush administration to address the problems of terrorism sooner rather than later, but failed. After leaving government he remained troubled about the Bush administration's failures to deal with terrorism, for he knows better than most that the war in Iraq only added to the problems. So he testified truthfully before the 9/11 commission -- which is all I did. Or take former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill. He tried to work within the system. However, he was fired for telling the truth and expressing his well-founded concern about Bush's excessive tax cuts for the upper incomes. This is a presidency that does not like the truth told about their activities.

If, as I believe to be the case, things are going to get rough for Bush and Cheney given the potential scandals they face, others like Clarke and O'Neill may fill the role I found myself having to fulfill. But the stakes are higher now. No one died because of the abuses of power known as Watergate. Too many have died (and more in the future may) because of the abuses of power by this presidency. That's why their abuses are worse than Watergate.


About the writer
David Talbot is Salon's founder and editor in chief.
Miz Shoes

From England Via a Friend

Psalm 2004

Bush is my shepherd, I shall be in want.
He leadeth me beside the still factories,
He maketh me to lie down on park benches,
He restoreth my doubts about the Republican party,
He guideth me onto the paths of unemployment for the party's sake.
I do fear the evildoers, for thou talkst about them constantly.
Thy tax cuts for the rich and thy deficit spending
They do discomfort me.
Thou anointeth me with never-ending debt,
And my savings and assets shall soon be gone.
Surely poverty and hard living shall follow me all the days of my life,
And my jobless children shall dwell in my basement forever.
And from this side of the pond, a little satire, sung to the tune of "The Beverly Hillbillies"

The Ballad of the Texas Hillbillies

Come and listen to my story 'bout a boy name Bush
His IQ was zero and his head was up his tush
He drank like a fish while he drove all about
But it didn't really matter 'cuz his daddy bailed him out
DUI, that is. Criminal record. Cover-up

Well, the first thing you know little Georgie goes to Yale
He can't spell his name but they never let him fail
He spends all his time hangin' out with student folk
And that's when he learns how to snort a line of coke
Blow, that is. White gold. Nose candy

The next thing you know there's a war in Vietnam
Kin folks say, "George, stay at home with Mom"
Let the common people go to get maimed and scarred
We'll buy you a spot in the Texas Air Guard
Cushy, that is. Country clubs. Nose candy

Twenty years later George gets a little bored
He trades in the booze, says that Jesus is his Lord
He says, "Now the White House is where I oughta be"
So he calls his daddy's friends and they call the GOP
Gun owners, that is. Falwell. Jesse Helms

Come November 7, the elections runnin' late
Kin folks say, "Jeb, give the boy your state!"
"Don't let those colored folks get into the polls"
So they put up barricades so they couldn't punch their holes
Chads, that is. Duval County. Miami-Dade

Before the votes are counted five Supremes step on in
They tell all the voters "Hey, we want George to win"
"Stop counting votes!" is their solemn invocation
And that's how George finally goes and gets his coronation
Rigged, that is. Illegitimate. No moral authority

Y'all come back to vote now. Ya hear?
Miz Shoes

Lying Sack of Shit Day

In honor of it being the birthday of my ex-husband (the Antichrist), I'd like to present you all with some excellent examples of the Lying Sacks of Shit that we have in power today. But I'd like to begin with what I've been assured is a quote from the lovely and admirable James Carville:

"Back in 2000 a Republican friend warned me that if I voted for Al Gore and he won, the stock market would tank, we'd lose millions of jobs, and our military would be totally overstretched. You know what? I did vote for Gore, he did win, and I'll be damned if all those things didn't come true!"

I gave up on trying to format the rest of this post, which was up for the past day or so, and looking like shit. Suffice to say, it was a loverly screed against the lying sacks of shit in office, and came to you courtesy of MoveOn.org.

If you really want to read it, try the archives, or just go here.
Miz Shoes

Howard Stern: Speaker for the Left?

Now this is one I didn't see coming. After all, I haven't listened to Howard in years. He'd ceased to amuse me since before the biographies. But this story in Salon has me gaga for Mr. Stern once again.

Among the other things the story has to say is this tidbit about exactly why Clear Channel pulled the plug on the King of All Media.

"Stern's torrent of Bush barbs came in the wake of Clear Channel Communications' move in late February to pull Stern off six of its stations, condemning his program as "vulgar, offensive and insulting." Following the controversial Super Bowl halftime show featuring Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson, Clear Channel, like most major broadcasters, was under scrutiny over allegations it broadcast indecency. ...

...But Stern quickly complained on-air that the real reason Clear Channel yanked his show was that just days earlier he'd begun questioning the president and praising comedian/commentator Al Franken's anti-Bush book "Lies, And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them." Stern insisted it was political speech, not indecency, that got him in trouble with the San Antonio broadcasting giant, whose CEO, Lowry Mays, is close to the president and the Bush family. The jock still condemns Clear Channel and its Republican connections, but most of Stern's firepower today is directed squarely at Bush and his close association with the religious right, which Stern says is the driving force behind the FCC crackdown on indecency."

And since I live in one of the six markets where Clear Channel cut Stern, I hadn't heard any of this:

"Stern had strongly backed Bush's war on Iraq, but in the past two weeks, he has derided the president as a "Jesus freak," a "maniac" and "an arrogant bastard," while ranting against "the Christian right minority that has taken over the White House." Specifically, Stern has assailed Bush's use of 9/11 images in his campaign ads, questioned his National Guard service, condemned his decision to curb stem cell research and labeled him an enemy of civil liberties, abortion rights and gay rights. "

I don't know about you, but that kind of talk just makes me all warm and fuzzy.
Miz Shoes

Throwing it All Away

It's primary day here in the Sunshine State, and I went out bright and early to exercise my civil liberties while I still have them. There was nobody and I mean nobody in the polling place except election workers and they almost cried tears of joy when they saw me and the RLA stroll in.
I'm swanning around the office in my "I Voted Today" sticker, feeling all holier than thou.

But it's a sham and a lie. I did vote, I cast an electronic ballot with no confirmation of any sort other than the ATM ballot screen showing an electronic "Thank You for Voting" message. I can only go on faith that my vote was recorded and recorded correctly.

There isn't a big turnout today because the Democratic candidate has been anointed by the voters in the states that hold their primaries earlier than Florida. There was only one item on the county ballot today besides the pointless exercise of Presidential nominee, and that was the question of whether the county mayoral election should be held on primary day or later. Not an especially pressing question, so the voters aren't turning out.

There I stood, in the half-box of the voting station, not really a booth, anymore. Not like the big ole lever-driven, cloth-curtained booths of my childhood. No. A spindly, waist-high table with an electronic tablet and three "privacy" flaps on the sides, coming to shoulder height. Depressing, really. Kind of like the choice I was faced with.

As usual, I was of three minds about it all. On the one hand, the candidate I wanted to vote for was still on the ballot, just no longer in the race. I could cast a vote for him. On the other hand, that would be a futile gesture, a symbolic vote. On the third hand, I could vote for The One, the one that the voters in other states had named our candidate. Doing so would push the numbers in this most watched of states, and give the pollsters and pundits something to say, an avenue of speculation for what will happen in November. Satisfying as that is, in and of itself, I wanted to be able to vote for the candidate of MY choice, without feeling like it was a waste of everybody's time. Unfortunately, that was not an option.

So I did something I have never knowingly, or willingly done before. I threw my vote away. I voted with my heart and my conscience, and voted for General Clark.

Besides, considering the turnout, I should be able to tell, when the precinct results are in, if my vote was cast and counted. It'll be the one and only vote for the General.
Miz Shoes


Okiedokie. I'm done weeping and rending my clothing. Well, I'm not, but it doesn't make for such a good read. Having come out of the shock and awe sadness of the past weekend, I am beginning to notice things like appallingly bad manners, bad style sense and stupidity disguised as management. Those are three separate things, although I do tend to notice a little bit of overlap now and then.
Bad Manners

For the last time, people: If you are standing in an elevator, and a total stranger is heading towards you, making eye contact all the way, the polite thing, the nice thing, the courteous and right thing to do is to hold the fucking door, not press the close door button. Not stand there next to the door or the door open button and let the door shut. What, it'll break your arm to hold a door? You might get to the next floor a nanosecond later than otherwise? Who cares? Hold the fucking door. It won't kill you to be polite. I, on the other hand, may cause your head to spontaneously combust through the sheer force of my will if you let that door close on me one more time.

And this is for the woman in the white lab coat at the Metrorail this morning: Hey! The people on the inside get off or out, then the people on the outside (that would have been you) get in. You don't strong arm your way into an elevator first, preventing the occupants from exiting. In any culture, that's just bad manners.

Bad Style Sense

Hey, Fab Five, do me a favor and take a minute to talk about the importance of clean, shiny shoes. You've taught men how to shave and open a bottle of wine, how about shining their shoes? Guy in cheap aftershave and the Armani suit sitting next to me on the train? It was all working (well, except for the cheap scent) but the shoes were scuffed and shineless. The heels were probably worn down, too. I didn't look. Men, (and women) shine your shoes. 'Nuff said.

Stupidity Disguised

The office move is back on. I am assigned a single office, but with two full desks in it. Not that there's another person going to sit at it, but the director who caved in to the Toxic Manager doesn't want to pay to have the furniture moved. The reason I have two desks and one person is because when the director split the rooms and told us all to play nice, the Boy Wonder and I were going to work in the same office. But Boy Wonder decided to be Boy Diva and copped an attitude, and moved down the hall to another set of offices (away from the rest of the team) where he could have his own space. My manager let him do it. The director let him do it. O.K. He has a private office now, and so do I, so could we get the extra desk out of my space and let me arrange the furniture so that I am not sitting in either the doorway or with my back to the door?

And the answer is: "No." I said, "well, that doesn't seem too equitable (grown-up, corporate speak for "That's not fair!") for everyone else to get what they want, when they want it, despite the repercussions to other team members, but I can't have a desk moved out." Too bad. The director refused the request.

So I did the only thing I could. I went to the new office and proceeded to draw a blueprint of how I want the furniture laid out and then told all the other workers in the three groups that all extra pieces of furniture are available to the first taker, but they have to move it themselves.

As all of us corporate drones know, it's easier to ask forgiveness than to get permission.

And so ends another episode of WWRanting.

Bite me.
Miz Shoes


Spam Haiku

churchyard clot
insulin parallelepiped

mutant italic
pontific busboy

The Show

The show went well, and the RLA sold four pieces. They all went to good homes. We had fun, and are both totally spent today. It is just exhausting being arty, cute and conversational for hours at a stretch.

The Old Cat

Is responding well to his treatments, and will be going in for another checkup this week.

Ralph Nader

Is an idiot and a spoiler. I hope, even if he learned nothing in 2000, that the idiots who voted for him did. But that's asking way to much of the American electorate, I'm sure. And I'll tell you something else: the Chevy Corvair was a very cool car, way ahead of its time. Thanks for ruining that for us too, Ralph.
Miz Shoes

Flop Sweat

Nobody can say that Josh had flop sweats last night, as he woofed his way to doggie stardom. I, personally, was rooting for the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. I thought he had it all together and, in the words of our hosts "made the breed standard come to life." I also know/have known Pembroke Welsh Corgis in my life, and they are fine animals, indeed.

Shout out to Oliver, you good dog, you.

That's the fun part of today's entry. The rest is just misery. I'm having an early attack of spring fever, and the mild blue sky and fluffy white clouds outside my window are not helping any. Neither is the work I have to do today: scanning forms and rescanning forms and making PDFs out of said forms and explaining for the, like, twentieth time to the requesting department the difference in quality between a scan of a crappy print and a PDF made from the original electronic master. Which, of course, they cannot or will not give me.

BlogMadness continues, and once more I have advanced. But now it gets really hard, because I'll be facing off against an entry that is just so funny I've voted for it in every round till now. Now, I'll be forced to vote for myself. And I find that just icky. Even if it is a secret ballot.

Speaking of secret ballots, my boy Wes Clark is dropping out of the Democratic primaries. I'm sad about that. I still want to see someone who really served in the military go toe to toe with the Fly-boy in Chief. I guess all I have left to pin my hopes on is John Kerry. (Whinny, snort, paw the ground)

Page 9 of 11 pages    ‹ First  < 7 8 9 10 11 >