Archive for the ‘Bush Administration’ Category

“I know lots of stupid people who went to Ivy League schools.” Karl Rove.

Yeah, we know.

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What I love about David Horsey is the attention to detail.

See the original in full here.

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Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is in federal custody on corruption charges, a law enforcement official said Tuesday.

Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris are charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Illinois.

Federal prosecutors say Blagojevich, Harris and others conspired to gain financial benefits in appointing President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate replacement, according to the statement.

The Bush Administration has been pretty effective pulling out all the stops when it comes to squashing their opponents.

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I’ve been reading Jon Taplin’s blog about the proposed 700 billion bailout plan. One of his commenters asked, and I’m totally paraphrasing here, given the the complexity of the situation on Wall Street and the fact that the administration allowed our markets to get into the state they are currently in, why should we believe that a bailout plan hurredly created in 5 days is going to solve the problem? It’s a good question.

Taplin’s blog is a good read for anyone interested in business.

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I like how Naomi Wolf always takes a subject that the average American may think is far removed from themselves and puts that subject in a context that is recognizable.

I had a sense of déjà vu when I saw the photos that emerged in 2004 from Abu Ghraib prison. Even as the Bush administration was spinning the notion that the torture of prisoners was the work of “a few bad apples” low in the military hierarchy, I knew that we were seeing evidence of a systemic policy set at the top. It’s not that I am a genius. It’s simply that, having worked at a rape crisis center and been trained in the basics of sex crime, I have learned that all sex predators go about things in certain recognizable ways.

All this may sound bizarre if you are a normal person, but it is standard operating procedure for sex offenders. Those who work in the field know that once sex abusers control a powerless victim, they will invariably push the boundaries with ever more extreme behavior. Abusers start by undressing their victims, but once that line has been breached, you are likely to hear from the victim about oral and anal penetration, greater and greater pain and fear being inflicted, and more and more carelessness about exposing the crimes as the perpetrator’s inhibitions fall away.

The perpetrator is also likely to engage in ever-escalating rationalizations, often arguing that the offenses serve a greater good. Finally, the victim is blamed for the abuse: in the case of the detainees, if they would only “behave,” and confess, they wouldn’t bring all this on themselves.

Silence, and even collusion, is also typical of sex crimes within a family. Americans are behaving like a dysfunctional family by shielding sex criminals in their midst through silence.

Via Huffingtonpost.

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It’s encouraging to know that it is the Iraqis themselves who may end this war and thus control their own destiny. Think about every justification you have ever heard about the war from George Bush. Those justifications are tremendously hollow when the liberated people don’t want you there.

Iraq will not accept any security agreement with the United States unless it includes dates for the withdrawal of foreign forces, the government’s national security adviser said on Tuesday.

The comments by Mowaffaq al-Rubaie underscore the U.S.-backed government’s hardening stance toward a deal with Washington that will provide a legal basis for U.S. troops to operate when a U.N. mandate expires at the end of the year.

On Monday, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki appeared to catch Washington off-guard by suggesting for the first time that a timetable be set for the departure of U.S. forces under the deal being negotiated, which he called a memorandum of understanding.

Rubaie said Iraq was waiting “impatiently for the day when the last foreign soldier leaves Iraq.”

So Congress, including a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, have failed to end this war. The Iraqis must be very proud to know they have the power to end it on their own.

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I’m the type of person who worries a lot. If I have nothing to worry about, I assure you I will think of something to worry about. My worries are primarily comprised of rare happenings like terrorist attacks, plane crashes, car seat problems, medical mishaps, child abductions, exploding cell phones, re-useable plastic bottles — you know the things that pop news tells me to be worried about.

The Republicans aren’t doing very much to assuage some of my fears. In fact, they seem to be hoping that something will happen to re-heighten my fears.

  • Lieberman told the show’s host, Bob Schieffer, “Our enemies will test the new president early. Remember that the truck bombing of the World Trade Center happened in the first year of the Clinton administration. 9/11 happened in the first year of the Bush administration.”

  • First, Black described the assassination of Pakistani political leader Benazir Bhutto in late December as an “unfortunate event” — but one that boosted McCain’s stock just before the must-win New Hampshire primary. The candidate’s “knowledge and ability to talk about it reemphasized that this is the guy who’s ready to be commander in chief. And it helped us,” Black said. Then the longtime Washington lobbyist went further. Asked what the political ramifications of another terrorist attack on U.S. soil might be for McCain, Black told Fortune, “Certainly it would be a big advantage to him.”
  • John McCain predicted the general election race would come down to the buzzer Friday, declaring himself the underdog but quipping that he’d ride to victory in the last “48 hours.”

Now just what could they be planning? BTW, if Lieberman is supporting the Republican candidate for President then he is a Republican in my book.

The question is whether we carry on with the same course because we are too afraid of an alternative? Do we stay the course as George Bush wants us to? There is no question in my mind that diplomacy leads to a safer country. The ideals of the conservatives do not include being diplomatic or playing nice. They rule (or not as the case may be) by force. To them the answer to all of our problems is force. Yet this war is proof that their strategy has no credit to it. We as a country are less safe, and this country has lost a bit of its intimidation factor. Do we continue with a course that is failing us because we are too afraid of an alternative? Do we stay the course?

The Republicans want you to be afraid of taxes, of environmental regulation, of the price of gas, of your money being taken away. But we already know what their answer is. We pay more for gas, we pay more for food, we pay more to repair the damage done by hurricanes and floods than environmental protection would have cost, and our money is being taken away and given to the richest individuals in this country. To quote Dr. Phil: how’s that working for you. Do we stay with a known course of folly or do we try an alternative?

The politics of fear are very powerful. Voting out of fear — how is that working for us?

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From The Huffingtonpost:

As a rule, Republicans appreciate the value in defining the Democratic presidential nominee, and the GOP is usually pretty good at it. In 2000, Al Gore, they said, was an “exaggerator.” This was not only effective, thanks to a quick embrace by the media, it was also part of a narrative — when Gore takes credit for some of the successes of the ’90s, don’t believe him because he exaggerates

In 2004, John Kerry, they said was a “flip-flopper.” This, too, was relatively effective, and was once again parroted by the media. The narrative here was equally clear — in the first post-9/11 election, in a time of war, we don’t want someone who’s inconsistent.

Four years later, the effort to define Barack Obama is proving to be more difficult for Republican attack dogs. The GOP keeps experimenting with new memes, but not only are they not sticking, some even contradict each other.

It’s true the GOP are great at branding. If the GOP is the Bud of marketing, then the Democrats are the Coors (the Coors founder famously didn’t believe in marketing.) I marvel at the fact that I’ve heard repeated the nonsense that somehow Barack Obama is an elitist but George Bush, John McCain and even Hillary Clinton are everyday ordinary folks. It’s powerful stuff.

What’s really interesting is that John Kerry and John McCain are virtually the same person. They are both war heroes from rich and established families and both of their second wives are rich heiresses. But you rarely hear the jabs about John McCain’s wealth that we heard about Kerry. And certainly John McCain is the biggest flip-flopper of them all.

Marketing is key to the Bush Administration. Time and time again we have heard them describe their failures as being image problems only. Rumsfeld regretted calling the war the War on Terror as if it was called anything else it would have been a success. George Bush recently said:

Bush “admitted to the Times that his gun-slinging rhetoric made the world believe that he was a ‘guy really anxious for war’ in Iraq. He said that his aim now was to leave his successor a legacy of international diplomacy for tackling Iran. Phrases such as ‘bring them on’ or ‘dead or alive’ [in reference to Osama bin Laden,] he said, ‘indicated to people that I was, you know, not a man of peace.’

So why is the GOP having a hard time branding Obama? I have two suggestions to add to the mix. Americans are weary of the Republicans right now and almost everything they say lacks credibility. It’s a case of the boy crying wolf too much. People are suspicious of their attacks knowing that the alternative they offer is bleaker. Fear was a decider in the 2004 election. People may feel duped that they voted out of fear and got something far worse in return. We have nothing to fear but fear itself. Second, the Republicans are sounding increasingly like whiners. What America desperately wants right now is a positive message to put forth and the Republicans are coming up short.

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Remember how we lost (literally) billions of dollars in Iraq? This needs to be read in full so I have posted it in full. The link to the article is here.

A BBC investigation estimates that around $23bn (£11.75bn) may have been lost, stolen or just not properly accounted for in Iraq.

For the first time, the extent to which some private contractors have profited from the conflict and rebuilding has been researched by the BBC’s Panorama using US and Iraqi government sources.

A US gagging order is preventing discussion of the allegations.

The order applies to 70 court cases against some of the top US companies.

War profiteering

While George Bush remains in the White House, it is unlikely the gagging orders will be lifted.

To date, no major US contractor faces trial for fraud or mismanagement in Iraq.

The president’s Democrat opponents are keeping up the pressure over war profiteering in Iraq.

Henry Waxman who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said: “The money that’s gone into waste, fraud and abuse under these contracts is just so outrageous, its egregious.

“It may well turn out to be the largest war profiteering in history.”

In the run-up to the invasion one of the most senior officials in charge of procurement in the Pentagon objected to a contract potentially worth seven billion that was given to Halliburton, a Texan company, which used to be run by Dick Cheney before he became vice-president.

Unusually only Halliburton got to bid – and won.

Missing billions

The search for the missing billions also led the programme to a house in Acton in West London where Hazem Shalaan lived until he was appointed to the new Iraqi government as minister of defence in 2004.

He and his associates siphoned an estimated $1.2 billion out of the ministry.

They bought old military equipment from Poland but claimed for top class weapons.

Meanwhile they diverted money into their own accounts.

Judge Radhi al-Radhi of Iraq’s Commission for Public Integrity investigated.

He said: “I believe these people are criminals.

“They failed to rebuild the Ministry of Defence , and as a result the violence and the bloodshed went on and on – the murder of Iraqis and foreigners continues and they bear responsibility.”

Mr Shalaan was sentenced to two jail terms but he fled the country.

He said he was innocent and that it was all a plot against him by pro-Iranian MPs in the government.

There is an Interpol arrest out for him but he is on the run – using a private jet to move around the globe.

He stills owns commercial properties in the Marble Arch area of London.

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An interesting history of the Bush Administration with Leonard Cohen’s brilliant Everybody Knows as the soundtrack.

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Umm, we’re running out of time here before my boss leaves office. What’s the problem?

Rice, Bush seek speedier Mideast peace process

JERUSALEM – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Saturday she will ask Israel to remove more physical barriers erected in the West Bank as a bulwark against Palestinian militants.

The Bush administration also would like to see speedier progress toward a political settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, a goal of President George W. Bush in his final year in office, Rice said en route to Israel and the West Bank for weekend meetings.

“I understand that everyone — President Abbas, I, the president, would like to see things move more quickly,” Rice said. “That’s why we keep coming and pressing all the parties to meet their obligations.”

You people are so selfish.

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Wounded Girl in IraqAn often used argument for electing women leaders around the world is that women by their nature are not warmongers and that the world would be more peaceful if ruled by women. It is said women and mothers in particular better understand the value of life because they have the ability to give life.

Yet in this election we have a woman, supported by many other women, who seems to be arguing that she should be elected president because she would lead this country, insofar as war is concerned, exactly as a man. Not only did she vote to give the Bush Administration war powers, and vote against delaying war powers were the U.N. to not authorize war, she now seems to be stirring the fires of a war with Iran.

Clinton further displayed tough talk in an interview airing on “Good Morning America” Tuesday. ABC News’ Chris Cuomo asked Clinton what she would do if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons.

“I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran,” Clinton said. “In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.”

Aren’t we just finishing the eighth year of this macho bullshit of dick waving? Whatever happened to diplomacy? Whatever happened to women being reasonable enough to avoid a commonly considered shortcoming of men — that the answer is always to fight. Have we forgotten the very reason why women would make better leaders?

Photo via dpatterson.blogspot.com.

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Thanks to the New York Times, we now know that the Bush Administration has taken great care in fabricating a successful Iraq story by carefully manipulating the media. They trained former military officers who would be readily accepted by media outlets as “war analysts” to portray the constructed truth that the war was going well.

The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.

It’s stunning that an administration so poor at executing a war could be so adept at politicking. If they only had the same level of ability in other areas what mountains they could move.

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This is perhaps the most important news of the day.

…a report was released showing that 17 of the nation’s 50 largest cities had high school graduation rates lower than 50 percent.

But that is really quite a rosy picture if you live some select cities.

The report found troubling data on the prospects of urban public high school students getting to college. In Detroit’s public schools, only 24.9 percent of the students graduated from high school, while 30.5 percent graduated in Indianapolis Public Schools and 34.1 percent received diplomas in the Cleveland Municipal City School District.

Read that again. Detroit has a 24.9% graduation rate. Indianapolis has a 30.5% graduation rate. This is in the richest country (last I checked that may have changed) in the world. This in a country that has so much money we can spend billions of dollars fighting a war and occasionally misplace 9 billion more.

The Bush Administration’s solution to the problem is:

The Bush administration announced Tuesday it will require states to report high school graduation rates in a uniform way instead of using a variety of methods that critics say are often based on unreliable information.

The change involves the No Child Left Behind Act, which currently allows states to use their own methods of calculating graduation rates and set their own goals for improving them. The report by the America’s Promise Alliance, using a common method to evaluate graduation rates for cities, found the lowest graduation rates in Detroit, Indianapolis and Cleveland.

Wait a sec, that’s also worth another read. Under No Child Left Behind states can use their own methods of calculating graduation rates and set their own goals for improving them. Of course the Bush administration is really good at calculating graduation rates. Rod Paige the former Bush Education Secretary did a stunning job in Texas while Bush was governor:

It was an approach to education that was showing amazing results, particularly in Houston, where dropout rates plunged and test scores soared.

Houston School Superintendent Rod Paige was given credit for the schools’ success, by making principals and administrators accountable for how well their students did.

Now, as Correspondent Dan Rather reported last winter, it turns out that some of those miraculous claims which Houston made were wrong.

And it all came to light when one assistant principal took a close look at his school’s phenomenally low dropout rates – and found that they were just too good to be true.

“I was shocked. I said, ‘How can that be,’” says Robert Kimball, an assistant principal at Sharpstown High School, on Houston’s West Side. His school claimed that no students – not a single one – had dropped out in 2001-2002.

Or the Bush family’s high opinion of just what education is. NCLB was supposed to make school’s accountable, and while I believe NCLB may be the only thing Bush will have to be proud of in the last eight years this report is pretty damning.

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Nearly two years ago Naveed Haq shot and killed Pamela Waechter at the Jewish Federation Center in Seattle. Today we learn that his interview with police after the shooting where he admits to the killing will be inadmissible because he requested a lawyer six times and was ignored each time. In addition, any evidence gathered as a result of the interview may also be inadmissible.

In their defense the police said:

This was an extraordinarily bizarre incident … we were really trying to piece it together,” detective Al Cruise testified Monday. “I wasn’t convinced that there wasn’t something else pending.”

I bring up this article just because it shows what the politics of fear do to a country. The prosecution of this person is in jeopardy because the police flaunted the law because they worried that this was a larger terrorist attack — that they had to get as much information out of this witness as possible in case new attacks were to happen around the street.

While it may have been politically expedient for the Bush Administration to instill fear in our country, it is something that has had a deeply negative effect. Instead of spending time and energy tracking down real danger, we harass ordinary Americans who pose no threat. And when a real terrorist comes our way, albeit the isolated case of a mentally ill man, we make mistakes that may prevent the implementation of justice.

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Apparently in the future we will be thanking God for George Bush, because if George says it then it must be true.

As for his own legacy, Bush said: “I believe 50 years from now, people will look back at this period of time, and say, thank God the United States of America did not lose its faith in the transformative power of liberty to bring the peace we want for our children and our grandchildren.”

It doesn’t take anyone much smarter than Bush to know that his administration will not be viewed favorably by history. Yet, it seems that after his job as Commander In Chief ends, Bush will be spending his (Rove’s) time and resources trying to alter the recording of history. I don’t think it will work, but it’s galling that he’s even attempting it.

From ThinkProgress:

With Southern Methodist University in Dallas set to house the George W. Bush Presidential Library, the school’s faculty are now criticizing an institute that will be attached to the library. The institute, which will sponsor programs designed to “promote the vision of the president” and “celebrate” Bush’s presidency, will be independent of SMU’s academic governance.

Compounding fears that the institute will trade academic scholarship for partisan praise of Bush, Mark Langdale, president of the Bush library foundation said recently that former Bush senior advisor Karl Rove is advising the project in “an informal capacity.” Langdale called Rove a “critical resource about what happened in the administration.

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Ah yes, the U.S. is planning on blowing up a satellite.

The Pentagon is considering whether to shoot down a failed spy satellite that could come crashing back to Earth by March, senior U.S. military officials said Thursday.

But wasn’t it just one year ago that we condemned China for doing the same thing?

China’s action drew sharp protests from other nations with satellite programs — a predictable response that experts said dramatically illustrates Chinese willingness to face broad international criticism when it comes to space, which Beijing considers a key part of the push to modernize its military and increase its ability to compete in high-tech warfare.

“The U.S. believes China’s development and testing of such weapons is inconsistent with the spirit of cooperation that both countries aspire to in the civil space area,” National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said yesterday. “We and other countries have expressed our concern regarding this action to the Chinese.”

I guess we were peeved because that whole billion dollar plus Missile Defense System proposed by Bush would kind of be a waste of money if anyone could just use a missile to blow up one of the key satellites. I mean look at how grand it was supposed to be.

President Bush’s act to deploy a national, and eventually a global, missile defense system is the final step toward achieving a dream announced nearly two decades ago by President Reagan. Reagan’s dream of an America safe from missile attack will soon become reality.

You’ve got to admire the Chinese for their audacity. It’s kind of like the Germans crossing through neutral Belgium in World War II on their way to France thus completely ignoring the impressive front on the French side. Which makes us about as gullible as the French were, creating a billion dollar protection system that relies on our enemies playing by the rules.

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The worry is that if we leave Iraq now, all the benefit of the surge will have been squandered as a corresponding reverse surge from our enemy will diminish our gains.

This is why Mr Gates signalled during his Baghdad visit that he favoured the idea that US troops should be held at pre-surge levels – about 130,000 – for a period of “consolidation and evaluation”, once the surge ends in July.

Attacks are still happening in Baghdad, although controlling the city has been the main focus of the year-old “surge” in US troop levels.

I’m not a military leader, but surely we had to have had a plan for what would happen after the surge?

The decision to go to war in Iraq is something we cannot take back. I am sorry that our stupid idiot leader decided to go to war, but how is prolonging it going to make anything better? I have no doubt that as soon as we leave something awful will happen, but I don’t see how it will be any different if we leave now, next year, three years from now, or longer.

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This man?

Or this one?

The cannibalism has already started with Bush, Rove, Rush, Coulter and Fox News all blaming the Republican Party’s inevitable demise on John McCain. Just turn on Fox news and you’ll see the blame game start. Do they think we’re idiots? Bush’s approval ratings for the last two years, the 2006 election and Rove’s oust show that the Republicans have been on a downward trajectory every since this country started to wise up to their fear tactics. It has absolutely nothing to do with McCain.

McCain is really the only person who can save the Republican party now; yet, thankfully for us Democrats they won’t take him up on it. They’ll continue to stay the course even as it leads to the party’s obsolete status.

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When Bush pushed Ethanol for the global warming that he doesn’t believe in, you knew something was up. Ethanol is made from corn, and agro-business is a immensely profitable industry.

They had these during the first Iraq war.

It seems a study has been published that argues Ethanol may actually increase global warming:

The researchers said that past studies showing the benefits of ethanol in combating climate change have not taken into account almost certain changes in land use worldwide if ethanol from corn _ and in the future from other feedstocks such as switchgrass _ become a prized commodity.

“Using good cropland to expand biofuels will probably exacerbate global warming,” concludes the study published in Science magazine.

The researchers said that farmers under economic pressure to produce biofuels will increasingly “plow up more forest or grasslands,” releasing much of the carbon formerly stored in plants and soils through decomposition or fires. Globally, more grasslands and forests will be converted to growing the crops to replace the loss of grains when U.S. farmers convert land to biofuels, the study said.

Technology does not have a very good track record of getting us out of problems. Each technological invention meant to prevent waste, will produce its own waste in a different way. Ethanol as a replacement for oil is doing just that.

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If you got circumcised as part of the Bush Administration’s push to prevent AIDS, then I have bad news for you: It doesn’t work! Sorry. Well, I kind of misspoke, it won’t work in preventing your female partner contracting it from you.

But the expectations were challenged Sunday by a new study showing that male circumcision conferred no indirect benefit to the female partners and, indeed, increased the risk if the couples resumed sex before the circumcision wound was fully healed, usually in about a month.

But I gotta love this line:

Although the findings did not reach statistical significance, they still underscore the need for more effective education among men who undergo circumcision and their female partners, the authors of the study said.

Yeah, or you could just wear a condom. That might be easier than having your foreskin surgically removed in adulthood. And by the way, having surgery in Africa prevents you from being a blood donor in America because it is considered high risk for AIDS.

Let’s be honest, circumcision is only recommended because of its religious association. Hundreds of millions of men do not get circumcised and live healthy happy lives.

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Every day, five U.S. soldiers try to kill themselves. Before the Iraq war began, that figure was less than one suicide attempt a day.

The dramatic increase is revealed in new U.S. Army figures, which show 2,100 soldiers tried to commit suicide in 2007.

“Suicide attempts are rising and have risen over the last five years,” said Col. Elspeth Cameron-Ritchie, an Army psychiatrist.

This is a very sad statistic. When the Iraq War began, I remember being excited about the bravery of these soldiers and the photos coming out of Baghdad even though I objected to the war. I can’t hide from the fact that I could never do what they do. Not only would I be a terrible soldier, I wouldn’t be able to set aside my own personal beliefs and put trust in my commanding officers or my government.

Clearly, this war is taking a toll on our soldiers. Probably, one of the most stressful things is not having a clear goal in mind. Has the Bush Administration ever laid out when the mission will be accomplished and what will signifiy that it is accomplished? In tangible terms I mean. Without having that, it must be difficult to have the motivation to keep going with no end in sight.

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I never thought I could be weirded out by something more than Dick Cheney lurking in the bushes, but here it is.

No, that whisper is not the Implied Observer, but who is it?

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I think this pretty much sums up Romney for me.

Exit polls in Michigan suggest that Mitt Romney owes his primary election victory there to happy, loyal Republicans.

The former Massachusetts governor dominated the six in 10 Republican primary voters who support the war in Iraq; the 53 percent who are happy with President Bush administration overall; and the one-third who said positive things about the economy.

I don’t need to know anything more.

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