Friday, April 27, 2007

POLITICS - The Obstruction Department of the Bush Administration

"Gonzales’s Justice Department Obstructed Investigation of Republican Congressmen" by Scott Horton, Harper's Magazine

The Wall Street Journal now confirms what we’ve known from the beginning: Alberto Gonzales’s Justice Department put the brakes on criminal investigations targeting a number of Republican congressmen in an effort to insure that no indictments were returned before the November 2006 elections. How did that work? The U.S. attorneys need to get a go-ahead from Washington before seeking indictments of key figures such as members of Congress. As we learned previously in the case involving Randy “Duke” Cunningham and other California congressmen, Gonzales’s Justice Department held this process up inexplicably for many months—with an obvious intention of ensuring that the indictments did not adversely affect the Republicans’ election efforts. Now the Journal tracks what happened in the Rick Renzi case, and finds the same practice of obstruction.

Note the link to the Wall Street Journal article.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

ECONOMY - Nothing Free About "Free Trade"

"Lou Dobbs testifies before Congress on free trade" CNN

Although I normally have issues with Lou Dobbs' views, his points in this article are food for thought.

"The United States has sustained 31 consecutive years of trade deficits, and those deficits have reached successively higher records in each of the past five years. The trade deficit has more than doubled since President George W. Bush took office. The U.S. trade deficit has been a drag on our economic growth in 18 of the 24 quarters of George W. Bush's presidency. trade has been the most expensive trade policy this nation has ever pursued. There is nothing free about ever-larger trade deficits, mounting trade debts and the loss of millions of good-paying American jobs.

Since the beginning of this new century, the United States has lost more than three million manufacturing jobs. Three million more jobs have been lost to cheap overseas labor markets as corporate America campaigns relentlessly for "higher productivity, "efficiency," and "competitiveness," all of which have been revealed to be nothing more than code words for the cheapest possible labor in the world.

Corporate America and our country's political elites have combined to put this country's middle-class working men and women into direct competition with the world's cheapest labor. Salaries and wages now represent the lowest share of our national income than any time since 1929. Corporate profits have the largest share of our national income than at any time since 1950.

The pursuit of so-called free trade has resulted in the opening of the world's richest consumer market to foreign competitors without negotiating a reciprocal opening of world markets for U.S. goods and services. That isn't free trade by any definition....

More than six years ago, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System had this to say about what happens when trade deficits exceed 5 percent of GDP: "We find that a typical current account reversal begins when the current account deficit is about 5 percent of GDP." Again, our current account deficit now represents 6.5 percent of GDP. The authors of the study go on to say: "In general, these episodes involve a declining net international investment position that levels off, but does not reverse, a few years after the current account begins its recovery."

It is important to note that no recovery is underway, and that most importantly, the United States last year suffered negative investment flows. The cumulative effect of more than three decades of trade deficits and mounting external debt has produced our first investment income deficit on record. This is the first time that Americans have earned less on investments abroad than foreigners earned on their investments in the United States since 1946, when the Commerce Department began keeping records.

The upshot of present policy is corporations are getting richer, American jobs are out-sourced overseas (aka not here in America for American workers), and American workers are getting poorer. Corporate profits do not "trickle down" al la Reagan Fantasy-Land.

POLITICS - Bush, et al, on a Loser

"Attacking Democrats Over Iraq: Bush and Cheney's Surefire Plan for Political Defeat" by A. Alexander, Progressive Daily Beacon

Well, here we go again! George W. Bush and his history of hiding in the National Guard in order to avoid the draft and Dick Cheney along with his five Vietnam draft deferments, are lecturing Senator Harry Reid and the Democrats on the finer points of true patriotism. What's more, the two Executive Branch Bozos who lied the nation into the Iraq War and then spent four years figuring out how to lose it in the most stunning form of defeat possible, have taken to blaming the same Senator Reid and Democratic Party for losing the war. Isn't this all a bit like Republican Senator Trent Lott and Don Imus lecturing Martin Luther King JR about how best to end racism?

There was probably a time such talk would have enraged and cowed Democrats, but not in today's reality. Makes one wonder what political moron -- Karl Rove -- dreamed up this completely foolish and dangerous attempt at winning a few political points? A recent poll revealed that ever since Mister Bush hopped on his Democratic war-funding bill veto express, his approval rating on Iraq has fallen and the Democrats' numbers went up. Prior to George W. Bush's Karl Rove-inspired "showdown" with the Democrats, 54 percent supported the Democrats' Iraq position. After a couple weeks of Rose Garden and other impromptu press conferences that were designed to pummel the Democrats' stance on Iraq, 58 percent of the American people supported the Democratic position on the war and even more people opposed Bush's. That's a four point increase for the Democrats.

A smart person might think about changing tactics...and then there is George W. Bush. This strategy of attacking Democrats over the Iraq War is a surefire political failure and just like his disastrous Iraq policy, Mister Bush isn't going to let failure get in the way of staying a losing course. By Jiminy, he is on a loser here folks, and he means to see it through to complete political disaster!

....and this is for starters.

Then again, a "complete political disaster" for the GOP may be what we need come 2008. A Bush Insurance Policy for the Democratic Party.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

POLITICS - Hope In the Winds?

"Low-key office launches high-profile inquiry" by Tom Hamburger, LA Times

The Office of Special Counsel will investigate U.S. attorney firings and other political activities led by Karl Rove.

Please, please God, let it be so.

POLITICS - "Presidential Secrecy" As a Shield Against Accountability

"Presidential Secrecy and the Law" by Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News

Presidential secrecy is best understood not as an expression of executive strength but as a sign of weakness and insecurity, according to a provocative new book on the subject.

"When the president lacks diplomatic or interpersonal skill, he is likely to compensate by shielding his activities -- even shielding his very self -- from the public, relying on secrecy rather than diplomacy," write political scientists Robert M. Pallitto and William G. Weaver in "Presidential Secrecy and the Law."

Secrecy, they say, "has depoliticized the president's role in governmental action. Where a president may do what is desired in secret, there is no reason to withstand the ordeal of a political battle to achieve the same ends."

"Increasingly, our governmental institutions are unable to hold the president accountable for actions undertaken in secret in the name of national security. In a subtle but sweeping way, this failure is working detrimental changes in our federal government institutions."

The authors review the landscape of national security secrecy and the accumulation of unchecked executive authority and they proceed to critique the performance of the legislative and judicial branches.

Legislative initiatives such as the War Powers Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that were intended to restrain the executive branch have consistently backfired, they contend, serving instead to legitimize the presidential actions that they were intended to restrict.

"As counterintuitive as it may seem, we conclude that congressional efforts to control executive abuse in areas of purported national security concerns are ill-advised. These efforts insulate the president and establish a bureaucratic machinery and process for engaging in precisely the kinds of activity that were meant to be avoided."

"We argue that aggressive action to control executive branch abuse of secrecy should not come from Congress but from the courts, which are in a position to provide the scrutiny necessary to discourage presidential abuse of secrecy powers."

A White House obsession with secrecy should not be confused with a commitment to good security. Rep. Henry Waxman yesterday itemized several gross violations of classified information security policy in the Bush White House (PDF) and called upon former White House chief of staff Andrew Card to explain security practices during his tenure.

Amen. For those who are short on history, the "in the name of National Security" has been the mantra of many a dictator or totalitarian society. In essence, they protect their regime from criticism, and stay in power, by keeping truths from the people they govern.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

POLITICS - Gonzo v. Gonzales

The Capital Times, Madison, WI
Give Attorney General Alberto Gonzales credit. To a far greater extent than many in Washington have even now come to recognize, he acknowledged in an opening statement prepared for his appearance Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee that the scandal swirling around him involves a lot more than the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.

Of course, the acknowledgment came in the form of another self-serving denial of any wrongdoing by the embattled attorney general. "I know that I did not, and would not, ask for a resignation of any individual in order to interfere with or influence a particular prosecution for partisan political gain," Gonzales claimed. "I also have no basis to believe that anyone involved in this process sought the removal of a U.S. attorney for an improper reason."

That reference to concerns about whether decisions were being made at the Department of Justice for "partisan political gain" goes to the very heart of what the U.S. attorneys scandal is all about. And there can be little question that, while it surely was not his intent, Gonzales in the course of his tortuously vague testimony confirmed the worst fears about the politicization of decisions made by his department regarding who should serve as federal prosecutors and what they should be prosecuting.

New York Times
If Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had gone to the Senate yesterday to convince the world that he ought to be fired, it’s hard to imagine how he could have done a better job, short of simply admitting the obvious: that the firing of eight United States attorneys was a partisan purge.

Huston Chronicle
Gonzales' testimony did not sufficiently settle the question of whether he directed the reviews and firings, or largely and irresponsibly delegated the firing of chief federal prosecutors to aides acting under the influence of White House political operatives. He maintained that the prosecutors' firings were not improper, but he couldn't seem to articulate how they came to be fired, or why.

However, by leaving so many questions unanswered, Gonzales ensures that the furor over the firings will continue, badly serving the president and the public.

Seattle Times
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales looked like an ineffective, and at times clueless, leader in his testimony before Congress Thursday.

He hemmed. He hawed. He did not recall. He was responding to scathing Senate Judiciary Committee questioning about his role in what has become an imbroglio over the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.

Scripps News
If the Senate hearing Thursday is any indicator, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should clean out his desk and depart. Dishonesty, incompetence, evasiveness _ every sin in public life _ were all pinned on the nation's top lawman. Quitting, not continuing, is the only option.

Washington Post
Alberto Gonzales's tenure as attorney general was pronounced dead at 3:02 p.m. yesterday by Tom Coburn, M.D.

The good doctor, who also happens to be a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made this clinical judgment after watching Gonzales suffer through four hours of painful testimony. The Oklahoman listed the cause of death as management failure and other complications of the Justice Department's firing of eight federal prosecutors.

"It was handled incompetently. The communication was atrocious," Coburn told the beleaguered attorney general. "You ought to suffer the consequences that these others have suffered, and I believe that the best way to put this behind us is your resignation."

The attorney general has been roundly criticized for his handling of the shakeup and for the shifting explanations Justice Department officials have given for the changes.

Gonzales said more than 60 times that he "couldn't recall" certain incidents. His former chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, used that explanation 122 times during his testimony weeks ago.

On Friday, another Republican, Sen Jeff Sessions of Alabama, told CNN that Gonzales should consider leaving office.

"I think the attorney general ought to take the weekend and think about this and ask himself whether he can effectively reconstitute the attorney general's office," Sessions said, "and I'll be thinking about the same thing.

"If he feels like he cannot, then it would be best for the president and the country to resign."

As expected, the Bush-Voice stated that the Administration has full confidence in Gonzales. As if Bush has ever listened to anyone other than the voices in his head, you know, "God told me to do it."

Monday, April 23, 2007

POLITICS - What Happened to American Values?

"What Are American Values?" by Milt Shook

Here are a few facts to ponder:
  • The world's human population has topped 6 billion and is likely to top 9 billion in 20 years. As it stands, fully one-half of the world's population is trying to survive on $2 per day or less.

  • Hundreds of millions of children worldwide have no access to schooling. The United Nations set a goal for all nations to put aside one percent of the amount spent on weapons to pay for schools, and to do so by 2000. This modest amount of money would have provided schooling for every child in the world, yet we couldn't achieve that goal. As a result, nearly 1 billion adults worldwide lack the ability to read, or even sign their name.

  • Four million babies and 11 million children under the age of 5 die every year due to poverty, due to the absence of food and/or potable water, or a lack of basic medical care.

  • While the combined wealth of the world’s 200 richest people hit $1 trillion in 1999, while the combined incomes of the 582 million people living in the 43 least developed countries is $146 billion. As of 1997, the 20% richest people in the world have 74 times the income of the poorest 20% as of 1997; in 1960, the ratio was 30:1.

  • The entire world faces major crises in the areas of energy and food production, as well as a politically and socially crippling shortage of water in the coming years, especially as the population soars to the 9 billion mark. At the same time, we are facing a changing world climate that could cause those problems to be exacerbated.

  • The United States, which always used to pride itself on freedom and liberty, is now threatening smaller countries, invading countries with little or no ability to defend themselves, and using war to prop up its economy. We have adopted torture as a tactic against people we see as "enemies," and spying on people in this country, under the guise of "protection."

  • Also in this country, our economy is on the verge of major disaster because of a huge national debt that continues to spiral out of control. Every year, American taxpayers spend upwards of $1200 for every man, woman and child in the country, just to pay the interest on that debt. And yet, we continue to allow this debt burden to increase, thus creating an untenable situation for our children and grandchildren; a situation that all but guarantees higher taxes for them.

  • More than 47 million Americans have no health insurance, a number that is predicted to increase to 65 million in 6 years. As a result, there are pockets of the United States, acknowledged to be the richest country in the world, in which access to medical care is so bad, mortality rates rival those in most third-world countries. Nationally, our health statistics are among the worst in the developed word. For the first time since the early 20th century, our infant mortality rate is actually increasing.

These are all major problems, and all of them could have a major impact on this country and its safety and security. At the very least, we should be doing whatever we can to help alleviate these problems.

Yet, what are the top issues that Americans seem care about right now, if our media is to be believed? Whether Don Imus should be fired for saying the same things he's been saying for years; the heartwarming disclosure that Larry Birkhead is indeed the father of Anna Nicole's baby; and the incredible ride of Sanjaya Malakar, and whether not he can "ruin" American Idol.

And for once, I'm not just blaming the news media. We reap what we sow. For the most part, Americans don't vote. Even fewer have ever written their Congressperson with their concerns; a majority of Americans probably have to dig deep into the recesses of their brains to even name their Congressperson. We don't write letters to the editor. Essentially, the things we care about can be expressed in one word;


Yeah, if it affects our pocketbooks, we care. If something the government does or doesn't do affects our ability to accumulate worthless crap, we get really upset. And if the cost of a gallon of gasoline goes above $3, we become distraught.

What happened to American values? We must have some, because an awful lot of people go on and on about them. Of course, those who scream the loudest about values rarely demonstrate values themselves, so perhaps I'm off base. Perhaps we really don't have values, but merely pretend to them.

My fellow Americans, this is food for thought.

Monday, April 16, 2007

POLITICS - Conservatism's Failure Revisited

"Conservatism's third failure" by Robert Kuttner, Boston Globe

THREE TIMES in my political adulthood, we have seen the exhaustion of a conservative ideology and presidency. Under Presidents Nixon and Bush II, the ingredients were corruption, corporate excess, and overreach of presidential power. During the 12 years of Reagan and Bush I, the hallmark was the failure of conservative economics.

And twice, the electorate ousted Republicans only to get centrist Democrats, who ran more competent administrations but did little to redress the structure of financial inequality in America.

Now, the third era of conservative Republican rule is collapsing -- with the most spectacular mélange of overreach, incompetence, economic distress, and sheer corruption of all. But who, and what, will succeed Bush? The forces of privilege and inequality are now so deeply entrenched in America that it will take a Democratic successor at least as bold as FDR or LBJ to change course.

"But who, and what, will succeed Bush?" IS the question. American voters need to think hard on this..... well, MAYBE NOT unless he/she is brain-dead.

POLITICS - Camp Casey Peace Awards on 6th Street

Willie Nelson Speaks to Truthout

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

USA - What Could Be In Our Future

"Panel: US Faces Change As Climate Warms" by Edith M. Lederer, AP

UNITED NATIONS -- Chicago and Los Angeles will likely face increasing heat waves. Severe storm surges could hit New York and Boston. And cities that rely on melting snow for water may run into serious shortages.

These are some of the findings about North America in a report by hundreds of scientists that try to explain how global warming is changing life on Earth. The scientists with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a summary of their findings on global warming last Friday and outlined details of the report focusing on various regions on Tuesday.

When will everyone, especially conservative nay-sayers, realize that Mother Nature is not going to grant their wishes and we had better start preparing NOW.

IRAQ - The Pointless Question

"‘Your Iraq Plan?’ Is a Pointless Question" by Andrew J. Bacevich,

Recall that Bush saw Baghdad not as the final destination of his global war on terror but as a point of departure. He imagined that liberating Iraq might trigger a flowering of Arab democracy. He was counting on Saddam Hussein’s ouster to jump-start a regional transformation. He expected a forthright demonstration of U.S. military might to enhance America’s standing across the Muslim world, with friend and foe alike thereafter deferring to Washington.

None of that has come to pass. Baghdad has become a cul-de-sac. Having plunged into a war he cannot win, Bush will not relent. Iraq consumes his presidency because the president wills that it should. He has become Captain Ahab: His identification with his war is absolute.

As a consequence, the “global” effort aimed at eliminating Islamic terror, launched back in September 2001, has narrowed in scope. Today the global war is global in name only. In reality, it has become a war for Mesopotamia.

Our political attention, then, needs to turn to whether the president’s would-be successors can do what Bush cannot: acknowledge our failure in Iraq and look beyond it.

“What’s your plan for Iraq?” was the right question back in 2002 and 2003 - although it went largely unasked and almost completely unanswered then. But as we approach the 2008 presidential election, though the tragedy of Iraq continues to unfold, that question is moot.

POLITICS - The Blind Leading the Blind

"Pentagon: No Saddam-Al Qaeda Link" WCBSTV

(CBS) WASHINGTON Saddam Hussein's government did not cooperate with Al Qaeda prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the U.S. Defense Department said in a report based on interrogations of the deposed leader and two of his former aides.

Meanwhile, Vice President Dick Cheney repeated his assertions of Al Qaeda links to Saddam's Iraq, contending that the terrorist group was operating in Iraq before the March 2003 invasion led by U.S. forces and that terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was leading the Iraqi branch of Al Qaeda. Others in Al Qaeda planned the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Yup. A blind VP leading the blind GOP.

The Bush Administration is correct no matter what anyone else says, especially the American people.

Monday, April 09, 2007

STATE OF THE NATION - Suburban Poverty

"The New Suburban Poverty" by Eyal Press, The Nation

Stories of downward mobility in America's suburbs have not exactly cluttered the headlines over the past decade. Gated communities of dream homes, mansions ringed by man-made lakes and glass-cube office parks: These are the images typically evoked by the posh, supersized subdivisions built during the 1990s technology boom. Low-wage jobs, houses under foreclosure, families unable to afford food and medical care are not. But venture beyond the city limits of any major metropolitan area today, and you will encounter these things, in forms less concentrated--and therefore less visible--than in the more blighted pockets of our cities perhaps, but with growing frequency all the same. In the three counties surrounding Greensboro, North Carolina, ...... the poverty rate has surged in recent years. It now stands at 14.4 percent, only slightly below the level in New Orleans.

Greensboro, it turns out, is not alone. Last December the Brookings Institution published a report showing that from Las Vegas to Boise to Houston, suburban poverty has been growing over the past seven years, in some places slowly, in others by as much as 33 percent. "The enduring social and fiscal challenges for cities that stem from high poverty are increasingly shared by their suburbs," the report concludes. It's a problem some may assume is confined to the ragged fringes of so-called "inner ring" suburbs that directly border cities, places where the housing stock is older and from which many wealthier residents long ago departed. But this isn't the case. "Overall...first suburbs did not bear the brunt of increasing suburban poverty in the early 2000s," notes the Brookings report, which found that economic distress has spread to "second-tier suburbs and 'exurbs'" as well.

The result is a historic milestone that has gone strangely ignored: For the first time ever, more poor Americans live in the suburbs than in all our cities combined.

One reason this shift may not have sunk into public consciousness is that for as long as suburbs have existed, Americans have tended to envision them as pristine sanctuaries where people go to escape brushing shoulders with the poor. The most familiar historical example--much lamented by a generation of progressives who came to associate the migration to suburbs with racial backlash and urban decline--is the mass exodus of middle-class white ethnics from the nation's central cities, which accelerated in the wake of the riots and social unrest of the 1960s. In more recent years, it's often assumed, the forces fueling the growth of suburbs have only made things worse--the social landscape more segregated, the sprawl more extreme, the gap increasingly vast between people who rarely set foot in cities and those who rarely leave them.

In fact, however, the gentrification of many urban neighborhoods, from Brooklyn to San Francisco, to Washington, has forced many working-class residents out. In a reversal of the classic migration story, many of these displaced residents have fled to the suburbs, lured in part by the growing pool of mostly low-wage jobs there--cleaning homes, mowing lawns, staffing restaurants, strip malls and office plazas. Alan Berube, co-author of the Brookings Institution study, says the "decentralization of low-wage employment" is one of the main factors driving suburban poverty rates up.

....there's much more.

Ah, yes! The booming Bush economy.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

HEADLINE - Rats Refuse to Leave Sinking Ship

"GOP Buries Head in Sand and Discovers Sand" by Robert J. Elisberg, The Huffington Post

Every political party has its strengths and weaknesses. The Democratic Party, for instance, is built on forward-looking issues focused on nurturing individuals, while at the same time being so contentious it occasionally eats its young.

The Independent Party pursues an agenda of broad fair-mindedness balanced by a total absence of rational organization. The Green Party develops ennobling principles for all Mankind, combined with a myopia that ignores known reality.

As for the Republican Party, it's recently hit a new level of paradox, a level never thought even able to exist, much like the once-accepted belief that if a human being held its breath until its head exploded it would no longer be able to function.

The Republican Party, on the one hand, pushes to protect everything that is important from the past in order to help build as strong a future as possible. On the other hand, it has become the Stupidest Party in the Entire World.

Now, to be clear, this doesn't mean every Republican in America is stupid. They're not. Indeed, many have interesting ideas in varied areas worth developing. It's just that, as a party, they have turned Mass Obedience into an art form.

The Republican Party has never been one that gave much credence to independent thinking. Free-thinking Hippies gave Republicans the heebie-jeebies during the Love Generation. Free-thinking college professors give Republicans the willies today. Free-thinking, period, gives Republicans the cold sweats at any time. So, walking in comforting lock-step is always something Republicans do well. The famous 11th Commandment of Republicans has always been, "Thou shalt not criticize another Republican." However, when blindly playing Follow the Leader, it generally helps having a leader worth following.

"Thou shalt not criticize another Republican" might make for a grand tea party, but it will ruin a political party. When someone is hitting themselves in the head with a baseball bat, we all learned from childhood that we should try to get him to stop. But Republicans today are not only not getting the person to stop, they're asking for their own baseball bat to try it themselves.

The Republican Congress still robotically follows their leader into whatever sinkhole he takes them. It's as if they have become lemmings, content to follow George Bush as he waddles them off a cliff. It is utterly inexplicable to see professional politicians - who can read polls better than anyone - throwing their careers away.

Because that's exactly what they're doing.

In a mere 19 months, every member of the House of Representatives is up for re-election, and if Republicans insist on blindly, unthinkingly, hypnotically following a wildly unpopular President and his inner-circle, and supporting disastrously unpopular issues, as their walls of Styrofoam crumble, they will go down in flames worthy of a Wagnerian opera.

The Republican Party has ceased being a political party and has instead become a cult, unable to question authority (unless it's Bill Clinton), while sipping their spiked Kool-Aid, knowing full-well it could lead to their demise. Republican Way disciples can insist that all this isn't so. But that doesn't make it not so.

Zoologists believe this to be the first time in recorded history that rats have refused to leave a sinking ship.

Robert just doesn't understand. The quintessential GOP member does not believe in Evolution, so they are incapable of understanding that they have been left behind.

POLITICS - Another Example of Protecting America NOT

"Inspector Lists Computers With Atomic Secrets as Missing" by MATTHEW L. WALD, New York Times

WASHINGTON, March 30 — The office in charge of protecting American technical secrets about nuclear weapons from foreign spies is missing 20 desktop computers, at least 14 of which have been used for classified information, the Energy Department inspector general reported on Friday.

This is the 13th time in a little over four years that an audit has found that the department, whose national laboratories and factories do most of the work in designing and building nuclear warheads, has lost control over computers used in working on the bombs.

Aside from the computers it cannot find, the department is also using computers not listed in its inventory, and one computer listed as destroyed was in fact being used, the audit said.

Even though this MAY NOT be wholly blamed on the Bush Administration, this has been going on for years, and still no solutions? Still no one being tried and jailed for such breaches in security or not providing a security plan that actually works? For the most part, the same agency administrators still running the show?!

What is Bush waiting for? Until some terrorist (home-grown or foreign) sets off a dirty-bomb, or worst, in some city in America?