Monday, October 31, 2005

Alito: HELL NO

The last thing America needs is a Scalia clone on the Supreme Court, and by all accounts Samuel Alito is one of them. His record is unsettling, and in one instance cited by Think Progress, outrageous. Key graph:

ALITO SUPPORTS UNAUTHORIZED STRIP SEARCHES: In Doe v. Groody, Alito agued that police officers had not violated constitutional rights when they strip searched a mother and her ten-year-old daughter while carrying out a search warrant that authorized only the search of a man and his home. [Doe v. Groody, 2004]

Alito is the choice of the radical right for a reason--he's one of them. Urge your Senator to vote NO.

Democrats--show some damned backbone. FILIBUSTER ALITO.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Frank Rich on the White House Culture of Lies and Delusions

A powerful piece by New York Times columnist Frank Rich that compares the current Bush-Cheney scandals to the Nixon-Agnew scandals of Watergate. Rich points out the utter arrogance of the Bush White House team and emphasizes their repeated attempts to evade responsibility and accountability. The key paragraphs:

There are many other mysteries to be cracked, from the catastrophic, almost willful failure of the Pentagon to plan for the occupation of Iraq to the utter ineptitude of the huge and costly Department of Homeland Security that was revealed in all its bankruptcy by Katrina. There are countless riddles, large and small. Why have the official reports on detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo spared all but a single officer in the chain of command? Why does Halliburton continue to receive lucrative government contracts even after it's been the focus of multiple federal inquiries into accusations of bid-rigging, overcharging and fraud? Why did it take five weeks for Pat Tillman's parents to be told that their son had been killed by friendly fire, and who ordered up the fake story of his death that was sold relentlessly on TV before then?

These questions are just a representative sampling. It won't be easy to get honest answers because this administration, like Nixon's, practices obsessive secrecy even as it erects an alternative reality built on spin and outright lies.

Mr. Cheney is a particularly shameless master of these black arts. Long before he played semantics on "Meet the Press" with his knowledge of Joseph Wilson in the leak case, he repeatedly fictionalized crucial matters of national security. As far back as May 8, 2001, he appeared on CNN to promote his new assignment, announced that day by Mr. Bush, to direct a governmentwide review of U.S. "consequence management" in the event of a terrorist attack. As we would learn only in the recriminatory aftermath of 9/11 (from Barton Gellman of The Washington Post), Mr. Cheney never did so.

That stunt was a preview of Mr. Cheney's unreliable pronouncements about the war, from his early prediction that American troops would be "greeted as liberators" in Iraq to this summer's declaration that the insurgency was in its "last throes." Even before he began inflating Saddam's nuclear capabilities, he went on "Meet the Press" in December 2001 to peddle the notion that "it's been pretty well confirmed" that there was a direct pre-9/11 link between Mohammed Atta and Iraqi intelligence. When the Atta-Saddam link was disproved later, Gloria Borger, interviewing the vice president on CNBC, confronted him about his earlier claim, and Mr. Cheney told her three times that he had never said it had been "pretty well confirmed." When a man thinks he can get away with denying his own words even though there are millions of witnesses and a video record, he clearly believes he can get away with murder.

Mr. Bush is only slightly less brazen. His own false claims about Iraq's W.M.D.'s ("We found the weapons of mass destruction," he said in May 2003) are, if anything, exceeded by his repeated boasts of capturing various bin Laden and Zarqawi deputies and beating back Al Qaeda. His speech this month announcing the foiling of 10 Qaeda plots is typical; as USA Today reported last week, at least 6 of the 10 on the president's list "involved preliminary ideas about potential attacks, not terrorist operations that were about to be carried out." In June, Mr. Bush stood beside his attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, and similarly claimed that "federal terrorism investigations have resulted in charges against more than 400 suspects" and that "more than half" of those had been convicted. A Washington Post investigation found that only 39 of those convictions had involved terrorism or national security (as opposed to, say, immigration violations). That sum could yet be exceeded by the combined number of convictions in the Jack Abramoff-Tom DeLay scandals

People, we're in the grip of an Administration that has constructed an alternative reality. Its members maintain this reality by lying with pathological regularity, attacking anyone who threatens their deluded worldview, and engaging in simple psychological denial whenever the actual reality is brought to their attention. The damage they have done by these means has been grim; if they are not somehow stopped it will be catastrophic. Frank Rich is an invaluable voice in this fight, but we need much more. We need the dedication of Democrats, Independents, and fed-up Republicans to get these bastards out of office. That means a DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS elected in November 2006 and a DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT elected in November 2008. Only when the Republicans are voted out of office at every level of government can the salvation of our country begin. The tumor of rightwing Republicanism has to be cut out before it kills America.

Keep the pressure on Bush, Cheney, DeLay, Frist, and all the rest! We're not going to stop until we win--and America is saved.

Poor Tommy DeLay is Whining About How Mean His Critics Are

One of the chief architects of the Radical Right's politics of character assassination and smear campaigning is feeling a bout of self pity. Read the item and see if you don't agree.

The defeat of DeLay next year must continue to be a priority.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Financial Times: Rove Still in the Spotlight

Patrick Fitzgerald, who is rapidly becoming my personal hero, has left the door open in the matter of leveling charges against White House Uber Scumwad Karl Rove.

Oh please oh please oh please!

Bush's Lack of Character Was the Key Warning of Impending Disaster

A deeply insightful article by Jack Beatty in The Atlantic Monthly tells us in plain language that we should have seen Bush's disastrous presidency coming. It wasn't so much in his policy proposals. It was in his life story, which is one of repeated failure and an obsession with his father. Key graphs:

Failure—repeated, significant, pregnant with disaster—shouts beware from Bush's life. A reservist pilot who failed to report for duty, a failed politician, a serial failure in business until his dad, then vice president, intervened with the commissioner of baseball to get him taken in as a "partner" in the Texas Rangers, "W" misplayed winning hands and fumbled golden opportunities.

And those words fit his post-9/11 actions as well. A winning hand—the country's support for the war in Afghanistan. A golden opportunity—the world's sympathy for the U.S. and cooperation in the "war on terror." Lost, fumbled, trashed. Forty-two percent in one poll believe he will rank "below average" in the future's presidential ratings, twice the percentage who believe he will rank "above average." Bush finally holds a job from which he can't fail up.

Go and check it out.

Ominous: Terrorist Bombings Strike India

A series of apparently coordinated bombings in New Delhi has killed at least 55 people and wounded many others. The reason I find this especially ominous is that if the terror is linked to Muslim extremists, an already dangerous situation between Pakistan and India may be exacerbated.

And don't forget--Pakistan is one or two assassinations away from being a radical Muslim state with nuclear weapons. India's government is keenly aware of this. Stay tuned.

HA HA HA! Bush Now Seen As Less Ethical Than Clinton!

It's in the new Washington Post poll where the Naked Emperor has sunk to a new low in his approval ratings. Key finding:

In the aftermath of the latest crisis to confront the White House, Bush's overall job approval rating has fallen to 39 percent, the lowest of his presidency in Post-ABC polls. Barely a third of Americans -- 34 percent -- think Bush is doing a good job ensuring high ethics in government, which is slightly lower than President Bill Clinton's standing on this issue when he left office.

Man oh man, I hope the clowns at Fox News are writhing in agony over this stuff!

Wow! Fastest Computer in the World Sets New Record

It's well on its way toward the coveted half a quadrillion calculations
per second mark.

And just think--by 2025 this computer may look like a stone tool.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Begala HAMMERS the Bushistas

Read this scathing piece in Huffington on the sickening moral hypocrisy of Bush and his people. Key graphs:

In the first year of George W. Bush's presidency, one major media figure told my wife and me to our faces that the difference between the Clinton crowd and the Bush team was that, "They're just better people than you are. They're more loyal to their President, more patriotic, less self-interested and ambitious. They're just better people."

Now we learn that these Better People have turned the White House into a criminal enterprise. And that the purpose of that enterprise was to mislead the country into going to war. 2,000 Americans killed. 15,000 horribly wounded. $200 billion gone. And a Muslim world -- and a non-Muslim world, for that matter -- that hates our guts. Al Qaeda is recruiting terrorists faster than we can kill them. And there is no end in sight.

That's it, Paul! Lay the lumber to 'em! As a former member of the Clinton White House, you've earned it.

Remember What the Real Issue is in All of This

In all this talk about the Libby indictment and the arcana of the criminal law, we are in danger of losing sight of the main issue here. In my mind, it's pretty straightforward:

The Bush Administration's members came into office committed to a war against Iraq. The attacks on 11 September 2001 provided them with a cover for this war. Although Saddam's vile regime had nothing to do with 9/11 and was only tangentially related to Al Qaeda, Iraq was, bizarrely, made the focus (the "front line") of our war against the terrorists. Our efforts to fight terrorists in Afghanistan were shortchanged by the Administration's determination to topple Saddam. The Bush Administration's officials deliberately ignored evidence that refuted their contentions that Saddam possessed WMDs. They emphasized evidence that supported their preconceived notions. (They may even have contrived false evidence in support of the WMD accusation.) They waged a relentless public relations campaign to sell the war to the American people, including having Colin Powell make a speech at the UN in February 2003 that we now know was riddled with falsehoods. Joe Wilson challenged their lies and distortions, and they vowed to destroy him for it. That's why his wife was outed and her front company, Brewster-Jennings, ruined. The Plame outing, therefore, was a small part of a much more serious act: the deliberate deceiving of the American people in order to get their support for a tragically unnecessary war.


An Andrew Sullivan Reader Gets It Right (I Think)

Published in Sully's blog today.

Just got through reading a transcript of the Fitz press conference, and a few things stood out.

As bizarre as that baseball analogy was, I think it said a lot about what might happen in the next few days or weeks. Seems to me that when discussing the possibility of a leak-related crime, e.g. violation of either the Intelligence Identities Act or Espionage Act, Fitz focused on how such prosecutions were very difficult because they require proof of a mental state. (Hence the silly analogy about a pitcher throwing at guy's head.) Under both statutes, the disclosure of classified info must be intentional or purposeful, i.e., the perp must have "known" that the information was classified (for the Espionage Act) or that the agent was "covert," among other things (under the Intelligence Act). As Fitz asked, "was this something where he intended to cause whatever damage was caused? Or did they intend to do something else and where are the shades of gray?"

I don't know what Fitz knows. But I think he is one inch from prosecuting the leak itself - at least his public comments leave the impression that he's pissed about it - and the only thing holding him back is that he's afraid he can't prove state of mind. Proving state of mind is really hard in any case -- and it's especially hard when the defendant is an intelligent career political operative with an expensive white collar defense lawyer. I think Fitz can do it, and I think Fitz thinks he can do it, but he seems to be playing it cautious. Why?

Let's just take the Espionage Act. Fitz clearly said that Plame's position was classified, he implied strongly that it related to national security, and as Josh Marshall pointed out in a recent post, the indictment itself states that both Cheney and Libby knew the precise division of the CIA where she worked, which by definition made her covert. So right there - as soon as he tells that to Miller - you have a prima facie violation of the Espionage Act.

Fitz also said, "I don't buy that theory [that one should never use the Espionage statute], but I do know you should be very careful in applying that law because there are a lot of interests that could be implicated in making sure that you picked the right case to charge that statute ... You want to know what their motive is, you want to know their state of knowledge, you want to know their intent, you want to know the facts." He went on to lament the fact that Libby had lied, thus throwing the proverbial sand in his eyes.

What's all this mean? Well, seems like Fitz has a pretty strong case for the Espionage Act, and if Plame met the objective standards in the Intelligence Act, for that one too. And it seems like the fact that Libby lied repeatedly is very strong evidence of a culpable state of mind, belying any claim that he didn't "know" the info was classified or that divulging it was wrong. Add that to the very specific allegation in the indictment that he knew exactly where she worked, and there it is.

So why not charge it? Because Fitz has Libby nailed on the 5 counts from today's indictment. Just nailed. So he's bringing Libby in on those charges, they're going to talk some turkey, and Fitz is going to see if Libby will talk, maybe about VP, maybe about Official A (who's clearly Rove), or maybe about the VP's moles at State and in the CIA. Offer some carrots - maybe no jail - but if Libby refuses, then Fitz brings down the espionage or intelligence act charges. Libby has nowhere to go, and Fitz knows it. In my view, he's going to try to exploit that opening before wrapping this thing up.

Is Cheney the ultimate target of Fitzgerald's investigation? If so, this thing might just be ready to blast wide open.

Interesting Debate on the Ten Commandments

I know I should be blogging about Scooter Libby being indicted, but I was thinking about this issue tonight. This is a transcript from Crossfire of a debate involving Count Novakula, Paul Begala, Jay Sekulow (who does a lot of legal work for the religious right) and Barry Lynn, a strong advocate of church-state separation. It's actually pretty enlightening. I found this segment to be particularly interesting:

SEKULOW: Well, these monuments were put up by the Fraternal Order of Eagles.


BEGALA: To promote a movie.

SEKULOW: Actually...


BEGALA: Cecil B. DeMille made a film in 1956.

(CROSSTALK) SEKULOW: There's no doubt it. I mean...

BEGALA: This was a Hollywood promotional stunt.

SEKULOW: And it was...

BEGALA: It was. That's how they got there.

SEKULOW: It was a promotional stunt that took place.

Look, the evidence -- I have argued 12 of these cases. and just evidence is clear. Originally, these were going to be pieces of paper that a judge wanted to give out. And DeMille said, well, you know, I have got this movie going on. They used to send actually Yul Brynner...

Yes, folks, the Ten Commandments controversy was launched by a movie promotion. How did America survive for the 180 years that we didn't have the Ten Commandments plastered all over the place?

Look, it would be historically inaccurate to argue that our legal system has no religious roots. But the founders of our country were not using explicit religious traditions when they drew up our fundamental law. And we need to remember the roots of the American legal system in ancient Middle Eastern law, Greek law, Roman law, and especially English Common Law. Human institutions have complex roots; the great simplifiers on the Right often overlook this.

House Republicans Vote to Cut Food Stamps

At a time when hunger is rising among poor Americans, our "moral" Republican majority in the House has just decided to cut food stamp aid by by $844 million. You see, folks, the Republicans only give a damn about helping the prosperous and powerful. The poor can rot. You think I'm stereotyping here? Tell me where I'm wrong.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

White Sox Win!! YES!!

I'm 53. I never expected to live to see a Chicago baseball team win the World Championship, since it hadn't been done in my lifetime. So now I'm overjoyed as the White Sox have FINALLY won it all. But I'm also apprehensive. This must mean the End of the World is imminent.

Arianna Huffington: Plame Affair "Worse Than Watergate"

Damned right it is. And it's one HELL of a lot worse than any of the made-up-out-of-thin-air Clinton "scandals" with which America's media and political classes were obsessed in the 1990s.

Someday, the whole obscene story of how the radical Right tried to destroy Clinton through a campaign of lies and fraud, funded by the most vile fanatics imaginable, will be known. Some day everyone will realize the enormity of the Republican coup d'etat that stole the 2000 election. And everyone will know the story of the Bush Administration, which bankrupted the government, permanently crippled the economy, lied this country into an illegal war, failed miserably in its anti-terror efforts, legalized torture, damaged the social safety net, injured our international standing perhaps beyond repair, decimated America's environmental laws, and oversaw more sheer thievery and corruption than the Nixon, Harding, and Grant Administrations combined. I do not exaggerate when I say that the Bush Administration has been the worst, most disastrous one in American history. Bush as a president will someday be ranked down there with James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson: a flat out failure.

Cheney: #1 Advocate of Legalized Torture

This powerful editorial in the Washington Post should outrage and shame any true American. It details Vice President Cheney's shocking advocacy of barbaric methods of interrogation and incarceration by U.S. forces. Cheney, it turns out, has been the driving force in the Administration for the use of torture. Read the article for yourself and feel the rage inside you.

I knew Cheney was an evil, morally bankrupt prick. But even for him, this is a new low.

Bush at Rock Bottom in Rasmussen Poll, 41-59 NEGATIVE

The Rasmussen Poll tends to be more sympathetic to Republicans than Democrats. And yet, in this current measure, Bush hits the lowest rating in the survey he has ever had. And check out the "strongly disapprove" number. Bush's political capital account is bankrupt--just like the U.S. Government under his disastrous "management".

Did Forged Documents Lead the United States Into War?

Buzzflash alerted me to this startling post by Josh Marshall. If the contentions it makes are true, it means the Bush Administration deliberately manipulated intelligence to make it appear as if Iraq had a functioning nuclear weapons program. The purpose of this deception was clear: to build a rationale for war with Iraq. To me, this is even more significant--and grave--of a matter than the treason involved in outing Valerie Plame. More than 2,000 Americans and over 10,000 Iraqis have died because of this phony rationale. If true, this "fixing" of intelligence must rank as one of the gravest offenses ever committed by an American administration. If this is true, than George W. Bush deserves to be removed from office through the impeachment, trial, and conviction process specified in the Constitution. Because if tricking this country into war through fraud isn't a "high crime", than I don't know what is.

More to come. Count on it.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

What Bush's Disapproval Rating in SUSA Poll Looks Like

Every state on this map where Bush has a net disapproval is in blue. Those where he's breaking even are in purple. Those in which he still has a positive net approval are in red.

DAMN, how I wish America had looked this way last November!

(Thanks to Delaware Dem.)

The Rising Tide of Economic Insecurity

Pakistan is Suffering Profoundly

This article in Democracy Arsenal makes clear something a lot of people may have forgotten already: Pakistan is in desperate need right now. More than 79,000 are already known to have died in the horrendous earthquake on 8 October. Thousands more are theatened with death from exposure as the winter closes in. The international community has been slower on relief than was the case with the tsunami. The need is urgent; the money must be found. Check out the International Red Cross page here if you'd like to help.

Variety Picks the Top Popular Culture Icons on the 20th Century

Check out the list and see what you think.

BTW, I think they made the right choice for #1.

These People Are My Heroes

The administrators at Kellenberg Memorial High School in New York have done something I've wanted to see for a long time. They've abolished prom. It's about damned time somebody stood up and said the things the Administration of this school is saying: that prom is an obscene waste of money, a vulgar exercise in conspicuous consumption, an excuse for teenage binge drinking, and the occasion for a lot of unwise (and often unprotected) underage sex. Enough. These people have struck a blow for sanity.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Bush "Cabal" is Being Exposed

And by none other than the most inside of insiders, such as Brent Scowcroft, who is making a complete break with The Idiot Bastard Son, and Colin Powell's Chief of Staff Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson who has revealed things of such shocking importance that I can't believe they aren't all over the news.

The wheels are coming off. This is the time of maximum danger, because Bush and Friends are going to be looking for more foreign policy distractions. Keep an eye on Syria and Iran. You never know what might be in the works.

Democrats Hold BIG Lead in Favorability in Latest Gallup

Impressively big, I'd say.

Next year the Democrats must press their advantage hard and win back BOTH houses of Congress. It can be done. It must be done. And if we work hard enough, it will be done!

Coulter the Psychotic "Not a Big Fan" of 1st Amendment

She hates America, and she hates American values. What could possibly be any clearer?

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Reality of the Iraq War: Inside Walter Reed Hospital

This article in Intervention magazine will be emotionally tough for you to read. Read it anyway. It's about the young men who have been wounded in the service of our country, written by Stewart Nusbaumer, a man who was gravely wounded in Vietnam. These are things you need to know, if you don't already.

The Real Rove: A Complete and Utter Bastard

Kevin Drum has a terrific post dealing with the nature of top Bush scumbag Karl Rove and what life in Washington might be like without him. To me, Rove represents everything that is wrong with the modern Republican Party, not the least of which is the hypocrisy behind the nauseating, pseudo-Christian facade he continually displays. My favorite part of Drum's article is a quote taken from an Esquire magazine article by Ron Suskind. It's about how Rove gets when he's angry:

Inside, Rove was talking to an aide about some political stratagem in some state that had gone awry and a political operative who had displeased him. I paid it no mind and reviewed a jotted list of questions I hoped to ask. But after a moment, it was like ignoring a tornado flinging parked cars. "We will fuck him. Do you hear me? We will fuck him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever fucked him!"

Yes, this is what he's really like. I'm ashamed and embarrassed that such a vile excuse for a human is running our country and dragging it toward utter ruin. He's a traitor, a fraud, a liar, and the worst thing to happen to American politics in a hundred years.

"The Blackest of Lies"

georgia10 rips into William Kristol's preposterous assertion that the Plame investigation shouldn't bring indictments because the essential case is, at its heart, "only" about perjury . The Republicans were willing to turn our country upside down in the 1990s because Bill Clinton lied about sex, but they're not willing to be held accountable when they lie about treason.

Just another reason why these malicious clowns deserve to be voted out.

Conservative Group Denounces Coulter

Ann Coulter is part of the sickness of our political discourse. She is, in fact, a cancer in American public life. Now, a principled and decent conservative group has had enough of her viciousness, her ugly lies, her hypocrisy, and her bigotry. The group's leader has put together a powerful indictment of the reigning Queen of Hate. Check it out here.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Bush Administration: Thunderously Rejected

Emerging Democratic Majority has an excellent summary of the latest Pew poll regarding Bush's performance in office. To me, the most startling findings are these:

The poll also finds some rather astonishing evidence of fading support among one of the GOP’s key demographics: white men. In this poll, just 44 percent of this group approves of Bush’s job performance, by 41-35, they think Bush will have an unsuccessful presidency and by an amazing 67-27, they want the next administration to have different policies than the Bush administration. [Emphasis added.]

NOW is the time for the Democrats to step up and attack BOLDLY. It's also time for the Democrats to propose concrete, workable solutions to the problems facing our country, problems which have all been exacerbated by the most corrupt, dishonest, incompetent, and outright criminal administration in American history.

The Importance of the Plame Investigation

James Moore has a devastating piece in Huffington on the significance of the investigations being conducted by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. I think you owe it to yourself to read the whole post. But here's the key graph:

Patrick Fitzgerald has before him the most important criminal case in American history. Watergate, by comparison, was a random burglary in an age of innocence. The investigator’s prosecutorial authority in this present case is not constrained by any regulation. If he finds a thread connecting the leak to something greater, Fitzgerald has the legal power to follow it to the web in search of the spider. It seems unlikely, then, that he would simply go after the leakers and the people who sought to cover up the leak when it was merely a secondary consequence of the much greater crime of forging evidence to foment war. Fitzgerald did not earn his reputation as an Irish alligator by going after the little guy. Presumably, he is trying to find evidence that Karl Rove launched a covert operation to create the forged documents and then conspired to out Valerie Plame when he learned the fraud was being uncovered by Plame’s husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson. As much as this sounds like the plot of a John le Carre novel, it also comports with the profile of the Karl Rove I have known, watched, traveled with and written about for the past 25 years.

This case is crucial to America's survival as a united Republic. If the Bush Administration gets away with lying this country into the Iraq disaster, then it can truly be said that our political system of checks and balances is dying.
And there may be no way to save it.

Larry Johnson: Plame Outing Part of a Pattern by Cheney

Here's the straight stuff, from Tom Paine.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Larger Issues in the Plame Situation

The Plame case is not just (!) about the treasonous outing of a U.S. CIA agent during wartime, the destruction of the front company in which she was involved, and the jeopardizing of vitally important operations (and quite possibly lives). The Plame incident is part and parcel of the whole Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Rove campaign of lies that dragged the United States into a war with Iraq that had nothing whatsoever to do with fighting terrorists. Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame were simply two of the victims of this effort. Joe Wilson had to be destroyed because he had the temerity to point out the emptiness of the Administration's case on nuclear materials. That's why his wife was attacked and her operation ruined. But these events were always just part of a larger picture.

FACT: Immediately after 9/11 Bush ordered preparations for an attack on Iraq to begin, whatever the evidence showed.

FACT: In the words of the key Downing Street Memo:

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

In other words, the Bush Administration deliberately emphasized intelligence that fit their preconceived notions and ignored evidence that contradicted them.

FACT: Colin Powell's presentation at the UN in February 2003 was a tissue of fabrications, which Powell has since repudiated. Powell's speech was a major event on the road to war.

FACT: Condoleeza Rice, Dick Cheney, and every other major Administration figure was trumpeting the WMD lies tirelessly. Cheney even declared that Iraq's possession of such weapons was a certainty.

The Plame incident was merely a part of a far more serious effort--to sell an illegal and unnecessary war to the American people. (It worked with me, I deeply regret to say.)

The success of this sales effort has so far yielded these other facts: The Iraq war has so far cost the lives of almost 2,000 of our best young Americans. More than 10,000 others have been wounded. More than 10,000 Iraqi civilians are dead. The U.S. will lay out more than $1,000,000,000,000 before it's over. It has made Iraq a recruiting ground for terrorists and has involved U.S. forces in shameful and disgraceful interrogation procedures. And it has not contributed one iota to the destruction of Islamic radicalism. It has been an unmitigated disaster, perhaps ultimately the most tragic foreign policy blunder in American history.

The Plame case is all about that and more. How the Plame matter is treated will answer several questions:

Do conservative Republicans have to obey the law, or can they violate it with impunity?

Do conservative Republicans care about anything other than the preservation of their own power?

Will violations of the law, and the corruption from which they spring, be punished or not?

Will the Bush White House be held accountable for its actions?

Far-right, radical Republicans brought this war about. They engineered the lies behind it. They tried to crush anyone who had doubts about it. They smeared as traitors anyone who dared to criticize Dear Leader. AND NOW THEY MUST PAY FOR THIS--IN A COURT OF LAW AND IN THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION.

The Plame case was never just about one intelligence operation. It was always about something much more huge--and much more terrible.

A Ringing Defense of Evolution

From the Chancellor of the University of Kansas.

I can't believe that it's 2005 and we still have to argue about this. It's as if Galileo were still on trial and this whole heliocentrism thing was still a matter of dispute.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Wow! Bush is Even Losing Texas in New SUSA Poll

And by a lot, too. These numbers are brutal. 38-59 approve/disapprove mirrors exactly the most recent Gallup Poll.

The Bush collapse continues. I hope he takes the entire damned Republican Party down with him.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Bull Moose Warns: Fitzgerald, Watch Your Back

As Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald might possibly be ready to indict head White House smear merchant Karl Rove, Bull Moose has some sage advice and a warning: the same Rightwing slime machine that went after Clinton is prepared to go after you.

Bush Approval in Gallup Sinks to 39%

It's an all time low for the Bushmeister. Support among Independents is crumbling; support among Democrats is virtually non-existent.

I still say we can get that 39% down to 29%! Whaddaya say gang, how 'bout it??

Sunday, October 16, 2005

John Podesta Rips Louis Freeh's Pathetic Lies

Check out this ass-kicking of right-wing Republican suckup/screwup/lying SOB Louis Freeh, the FBI director who was so busy in the 90s trying to nail Bill Clinton on behalf of his Republican friends in Congress that he failed disastrously to protect America from terrorism. Freeh's book is, by the accounts of those who should know, a flaming pile of horse manure.

Not that I am bitter.

George W. Bush: A Disgrace to America

Helen Thomas (God bless you, Darlin'!) lays the lumber to Bush in this editorial carried by the Houston Chronicle. The subject is Bush's sickening stand in defense of the right to use torture against our enemies.

We should oppose the torture of enemy combatants both on grounds of simple humanitarian decency and to protect our own service people in situations in which they are prisoners. Bush's threat to veto the Senate's action prohibiting physical abuse by members of the armed forces is one of the most obscene and disgraceful acts in the history of the American Presidency.

As Thomas Jefferson said in 1820 in regard to slavery, so we must say it now:
I tremble for my country when I consider that God is just.

The Republican Attempt to Normalize Treason

John Aravosis lets it rip in this blistering attack on the Republican Party's attempt to minimize the crime committed by the Bush White House in outing a CIA agent in wartime. He makes a powerful point: if a White House aide had outed an American spy during World War II, that aide would have been shot. Period.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Why Rove's Treason Matters

When Karl Rove outed Valerie Plame as a CIA operative, he also ruined a CIA front company known as Brewster-Jennings. This front company was investigating the illegal transfer of nuclear weapons grade materials from country to country. Its work was important in the extreme.

I'd like to emphasize this section of the article to which I've linked:

What was really lost with the unmasking of Brewster Jennings & Associates?

From Knight-Ridder (October 13, 2005): Training agents such as Plame, 40, costs millions of dollars and requires the time-consuming establishment of elaborate fictions, called “legends,” including in this case the creation of a CIA front company that helped lend plausibility to her trips overseas.

Compounding the damage, the front company, Brewster-Jennings & Associates, whose name has been reported previously, apparently also was used by other CIA officers whose work now could be at risk, according to Vince Cannistraro, formerly the agency’s chief of counterterrorism operations and analysis.

Now, Plame’s career as a covert operations officer in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations (DO) is over. Those she dealt with – whether on business or not – may be in danger. The DO is conducting an extensive damage assessment.

And Plame’s exposure may make it harder for American spies to convince foreigners to share important secrets with them, U.S. intelligence officials said.

Bush partisans tend to downplay the leak’s damage, saying Plame’s true job was widely known in Washington, if unspoken. And, they say, she had moved from the DO, the CIA’s covert arm, to an analysis job.

But intelligence professionals, infuriated over the breach and what they see as the Bush administration’s misuse of intelligence on Iraq, vehemently disagree.

Larry Johnson – a former CIA and State Department official who was a 1985 classmate of Plame’s in the CIA’s case officer-training program at Camp Peary, Va., known as “the Farm” – predicted that when the CIA’s internal damage assessment is finished, “at the end of the day, (the harm) will be huge and some people potentially may have lost their lives.” [Emphasis added]

“This is not just another leak. This is an unprecedented exposing of an agent’s identity,” said former CIA officer Jim Marcinkowski, who’s now a prosecutor in Royal Oak, Mich., and who also did CIA training with Plame…

This is what Rove and his accomplices did, all out vicious spite, in an effort to smear a critic. This is why what they did was an act of treason. It is why, if found guilty in a court of law,they should be sent to prison for a long time.

George W. Bush's principal advisor is a traitor, pure and simple. He puts the Republican Party above America--as do so many others in the Right's leadership.

Neal Boortz, Right-Wing Scumbag

Check out his remarks on saving the rich first in a disaster, and sacrificing the poor.

Un-freaking believable.

My Favorite Chickenhawks: The College Republicans

Yes, they're all for Bush's Iraq War. They just want other people to do the dying in it.

It's So Hard to Pick Something Particular to Be Outraged About

Especially when Bush and his thugs have given us so much to be outraged about. Molly Ivins gets to the heart of it--the Bush decision to fight for the right to torture.

Bush's Approval Rating in Illinois Sinks to 33%

Ahhh, I love the people, of my home state. The Republican Party is Illinois is in full panic mode. I think that taking three U.S. House seats away from the Rethugs next year is fully possible. Let's go for it.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

How We Can Smash the Republican Machine

It will take work, it will take solid ideas, and it will take money. But the Republican coalition is on the verge of cracking up. Here are some excellent ideas on how to push the GOP over the cliff.

And by the way, a reminder again: IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT THE DEMOCRATS WIN THE 2006 ELECTIONS BY A RESOUNDING MARGIN. Let's get to work NOW!

In my district, it will start with DUMPING RIGHT-WING REPUBLICAN BUSH-DE LAY ROBOT JERRY WELLER. How about in yours?

Conservative Analyst Sabato Says Democrats Could Have Big Gains in 2006

This analysis by conservative Republican political expert Larry Sabato warns the GOP that the Democrats could make big gains in the 2006 House election if the Democrats successfully keep Republican corruption issues front and center. I don't agree with his politics, but this guy knows his stuff. Check it out.

Frist on the Hot Seat

The Securities and Exchange Commission is now subpoenaing Bill Frist's financial records in regard to his recently uncovered stock manipulations. Looks like Mr. Morality might be a crook after all.

Wouldn't surprise me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

NBC-WSJ Poll: Bush Approval 39-54 NEGATIVE

And only 28% (!) think the country is moving in the right direction. See for yourself here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Proposed Constitutional Amendment

I call Sections One and Four the "Screw Antonin Scalia" provisions. I call Section Two the "Screw the Big Business contributors to the Republicans" provision. I call Section Three a peace offering to the white working class males who have come to mistrust us. I call Section Five a way to scald the Republicans in Washington.

Amendment 28

Section One. The United States Government and all states and localities within the United States hereby recognize the right of the citizens of the United States to privacy in their homes, personal behavior, papers, personal business transactions, and all activities not explicitly deemed public or subject to public law.

Section Two. No corporation shall have the legal status of a private citizen in law or equity anywhere in the United States.

Section Three. The right to bear arms shall be considered as a private individual right and not exclusively as a collective right.

Section Four. The individual voters of the United States shall all be considered legal electors in all federal, state, and local elections.

Section Five. The Social Security Administration and all its successors shall be financed exclusively through taxes and government financial instruments. Its funds shall not be invested in any private financial market.

So what do you think? Hey, I know it won't pass through the Republican Congress. But let's see them stand up and publicly oppose it.

If Bush Lied About Iraq, Americans Want Him Out

This is a startling finding. A new survey indicates that by 50-44% Americans want Bush removed from office if it's shown he lied about the reasons for the U.S. involvement in Iraq. This is MUCH higher than those who wanted Clinton removed for lying about sex, and yet the Republicans turned this country upside down to try and remove him. Moreover, this survey shows that a majority of Southerners would support this and so would 20% of the Republicans.

It's happening, folks. It's happening.

Which Party ACTUALLY Reduced Poverty?

From the current Tapped, the following quote:

In 1960, pre-Great Society, poverty loomed at 22.2 percent. By 1969, after Lyndon Johnson's supposedly "failed" war was waged, it had nearly halved, plummeting to 12.1 percent. At the end of Jimmy Carter's term, the poverty rate was 11.7 percent. Ronald Reagan, who famously said that we fought the war on poverty and poverty won, set about proving it, pushing the poverty rate back up to 12.8 percent. His successor, George H.W. Bush, presided over a recession that saw it shoot to 15.1 percent. Along comes Bill Clinton and, after eight years of Democratic policies and economic growth, we see poverty fall back to 11.3 percent. And now? George W. Bush has boosted it back up to 12.7 percent. My, he really is Reaganesque.

Bear things like this when you hear right-wing Republican lies about the ineffectiveness of "liberal big government" anti-poverty efforts. Democratic policies work. The Republicans remain, overwhelmingly, the passionate enemies of the poor. Specifically:

They lie repeatedly about the "harmful" minimum wage.

They lie when they say no adult with a family is trying to live on
minimum wage.

They support the outsourcing of American jobs to foreign countries.
(Michael Dell, of Dell Computers, big Bush supporter, worth $30
billion, outsources his tech support to India. Surprised?)

They oppose extending health care insurance coverage to the poor.

They support toughening the bankruptcy laws while loosening up
government restrictions on their corporate contributors.

The Republicans have been waging class warfare on the poor for decades. We need to remind America of this fact again and again and again.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Louis Freeh: Pathological Liar and Incompetent

In light of the fact that former FBI chief Louis Freeh (a hard-core Republican, despite having been appointed by Bill Clinton) has been spewing falsehoods about Clinton on 60 Minutes, I thought you'd be interested in seeing these items:

From American Politics Journal.

From the Washington Post.

I'll ask it again, Louis buddy. How many FBI agents did you have working on investigating the Clinton Administration? How many did you have working on Osama bin Laden? How much time did you have the FBI spend on the Whitewater "Scandal"? How much did you have it spend investigating Al Qaeda?

Freeh is an object lesson: Never appoint a Republican and a Bush loyalist to office in an effort to be "even-handed". You'll have excrement thrown in your face for your troubles.

New Anti-Cervical Cancer Vaccine Opposed by Religious Fundamentalists

And I'll give you one guess why. Key graphs:

In the US, for instance, religious groups are gearing up to oppose vaccination, despite a survey showing 80 per cent of parents favour vaccinating their daughters. "Abstinence is the best way to prevent HPV," says Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council, a leading Christian lobby group that has made much of the fact that, because it can spread by skin contact, condoms are not as effective against HPV as they are against other viruses such as HIV.

"Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful, because they may see it as a licence to engage in premarital sex," Maher claims, though it is arguable how many young women have even heard of the virus.

Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. The lives of thousands of women in this country might be saved, and these fruitcakes are worried that it might encourage females to have premarital sex. You see, to people like these rigtwing religious Republicans, sex is sin, but acting to stop a preventable cancer isn't. It shows once again how sick and perverted their belief system is. Someone needs to say, "I'm not going to die for your beliefs."

Sunday, October 09, 2005

What I Want America to Be, What I DON'T Want It to Be, Part One: In the World

I want America to be an example to the world of a well-run democratic republic. I want it to be militarily strong, capable of defending both its territory and its genuine interests overseas. I do not want to see it become an empire in any sense of the word. I do not want it to be the international policeman. I do not want to see America trying to impose its vision of universal democracy on the rest of the planet. (That particular obsession should have died with Woodrow Wilson.) I explicitly reject the goals of the so-called Project for a New American Century, the architects and adherents of which run the Bush Administration. I want America to cooperate with the international community as much as possible, setting for itself the following goals:

1. The elimination of terrorists through a shrewd combination of
military action, intelligence, and police work.
2. International action to reduce poverty, particularly in Africa,
through non-discriminatory trade policies, carefully targeted
aid, restructuring or forgiveness of debt, and the encouragement of
local,low capital free enterprise projects.
3. International action to control potential pandemics.
4. International action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop
viable energy alternatives.
5. Reform of the United Nations without gutting its chief functions.
6. The building of mutual respect among the United States and all members
of the international community.
7. International cooperation to end the horrible conflicts in the Sudan
and the Congo.
8. A Middle East settlement that both guarantees Israel's survival and
the establishment of a Palestinian state.

U.S. foreign policy must not be predicated on the control of oil. The Saudis should be put under heavy pressure to stop bankrolling terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism. Relations with Europe should be repaired.

I do not want the United States to invade or attack Syria, Iran, or North Korea, however vile and despicable their governments are (and they are). I want deterrence to be the policy used to control and sober the leadership of those countries, especially North Korea and Iran on the question of the use of nuclear weapons. (I always say that one or two Trident submarines in the vicinity of a trouble-maker can have a remarkably calming effect.)

I do not want the U.S. to take any action, overt or covert, to overthrow the government of Venezuela or any other country on this planet. We've done enough of this, and it has seldom come out well.

I want U.S. corporations to set examples in the Third World to other nations' corporations. I want to see U.S. companies offer decent wages and working conditions to all those who work for them. I want no explotation of child labor whatsoever. I want U.S. companies to operate in humane, respectful, and environmentally responsible ways throughout the world. Period.

I want the U.S. to stand for genuine free enterprise throughout the world, not the corrupt, crony-laden form of doing business that so often characterizes economic life on this planet.

I want to see an end to the attitude of American exceptionalism that says we are the true, God-given power in the world, and that the rest of humanity must bow to us.

I want an America that is both proud of its place in the world, and yet humble enough to stop trying to run the world.

Democratic Leaders, Grow a Spine!

So says R.J. Eskow in this article on HuffPo. Many Evangelical Christians and white males can be moved to the side of the Democrats by a genuinely tough Democratic message on Iraq. Democratic leaders seem too timid to lead on this. Read this insightful post and see what we can do about it.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

This is How the Republicans Do Business

The new oil refinery bill the Republicans rammed through the House of Representatives gives money-glutted oil companies tax incentives to build new oil refineries while weakening environmental regulations on them. There were even some Republicans who balked at this, so Tom DeLay (R,Indicted) and his hand puppet, nominal House Speaker Denny "The Wrestling Coach" Hastert violated all House procedures to twist arms to gain the necessary votes. CBS News' version of this dismal affair is here. Favorite quote from this story:

"The bill weakens state and federal environmental standards ... and gives a break to wealthy oil companies while doing little or nothing to affect oil prices," complained Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y., one of 13 Republicans who voted against the measure.

With prices soaring, "oil companies now have all the profits and incentives they need to build new refineries" without government help, he maintained.

Here's the New York Times' article. Key paragraphs:

Democrats attacked the substance of the bill and the process that the Republicans employed to force it through. The Democrats accused the majority of abusing House rules by stretching what should have been a five-minute vote to deliver a bill that Democrats said would benefit profitable oil companies but do little for American drivers.

"It took that long for the indicted leader of the House of Representatives to twist the arms necessary to get a vote against the American people, against the consumer, against the taxpayer and against the environment - in favor of the energy companies," said the minority leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California.

Aren't these right-wing Republicans just lovely? Don't you just love it especially when they lecture us about ethics?

How to Argue With a Conservative on Taxes

Let the folks at Gadflyer show you the way.

21 More Americans Lost in Iraq Last Week

This is the price we are paying for the preposterous idea that Iraq is the "front line" in the war on terrorists.

Lies. Deceptions. Fraud. Every extraordinary young man or woman we lose in Iraq is a tragedy, a tragedy that could have been avoided, if we had had a competent president in office in 2003, and not the lying, dishonest loser we do have.

Friday, October 07, 2005

It's Hackalicious!

The Bush Administration, that is, as this run-down of hacks and cronies from The New Republic shows. Any guesses on who #1 is?

A Brilliant and Stirring Defense of Darwin's Ideas

From National Geographic, naturally. This eloquent and tightly reasoned article by David Quammen addresses both the issue of the persistent resistance to evolutionary thinking and the power of evolution as explanation. The key paragraphs:

Why are there so many antievolutionists? Scriptural literalism can only be part of the answer. The American public certainly includes a large segment of scriptural literalists—but not that large, not 44 percent. Creationist proselytizers and political activists, working hard to interfere with the teaching of evolutionary biology in public schools, are another part. Honest confusion and ignorance, among millions of adult Americans, must be still another. Many people have never taken a biology course that dealt with evolution nor read a book in which the theory was lucidly explained. Sure, we've all heard of Charles Darwin, and of a vague, somber notion about struggle and survival that sometimes goes by the catchall label "Darwinism." But the main sources of information from which most Americans have drawn their awareness of this subject, it seems, are haphazard ones at best: cultural osmosis, newspaper and magazine references, half-baked nature documentaries on the tube, and hearsay.

Evolution is both a beautiful concept and an important one, more crucial nowadays to human welfare, to medical science, and to our understanding of the world than ever before. It's also deeply persuasive—a theory you can take to the bank. The essential points are slightly more complicated than most people assume, but not so complicated that they can't be comprehended by any attentive person. Furthermore, the supporting evidence is abundant, various, ever increasing, solidly interconnected, and easily available in museums, popular books, textbooks, and a mountainous accumulation of peer-reviewed scientific studies. No one needs to, and no one should, accept evolution merely as a matter of faith.

Read this one and pass it on to as many people as you can. You'll be doing the world a service.

Uh-Oh. It Looks Like Canada is Next!

Shocking reports of WMDs north of the border. Get the White House on the phone! It's a slam dunk!

Bush Threatens to Veto Anti-Torture Measure

The Category 5 President, as Bill Maher has so wonderfully called him, has not yet vetoed any legislation in his Presidency. But now he's threatened to veto the current Defense Department appropriation if it contains an amendment banning torture by any American forces anywhere in the world. Yes, friends, he's taking a stand for the right of American forces to torture other human beings, a tactic we didn't resort to even with captured Nazis in the Second World War.

I've said it before: George W. Bush is a national disgrace.

And a son of a bitch, too.

Catholic Hierarchy: Not All of the Bible is Literally True

The leadership of the Catholic Church in Britain has told its flock that not every word of the Bible can be taken in its literal sense. This is a refreshing dose of sanity at a time when the majority of Americans think that creationism should be taught in the public schools, or even that creationism should wholly supplant the teaching of evolution. The religious fervor and scientific illiteracy that drives so many Americans makes me shudder; it's good to see Britain's Catholics come down on the side of reason.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

A New Low for Bush in CBS Poll: 37-58 NEGATIVE

The free fall of the Boy Emperor continues. And 29-64 negative among independents. How much farther can he sink?

Let's find out!!

Senate Slaps Bush Down on Torture

By a 90-9 vote the Senate has passed a measure forbidding cruel and unusual treatment of prisoners or detainees by American personnel anywhere in the world. Good for the Republicans who joined in, defying the morally corrupt White House. By the way, the 9 who voted "No" are all Republicans. Here are their names:

Allard (R-CO)
Bond (R-MO)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Stevens (R-AK)

May they be judged as they have judged.

Read the Words of Al Gore

and then mourn for what we lost when what was rightfully his was stolen from him. This speech, via Truthout, is about the decline of our public discourse in the age of televised propaganda. It's simply brilliant, filled with insights and brimming with the kind of knowledge the current occupant of the White House couldn't hope to muster up in a million years. Gore would have been a great president. That he was denied his chance is both a national tragedy and a crime.

Thanks to Lance Ehlers at Slowcurl for the link.

Little Ricky Getting His Political Head Bashed In

The Quinnipiac poll now has my least favorite Republican Senator 18 points behind future U.S. Senator Bob Casey.

Check out Dubya's Pennsylvania numbers too. Ouch.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Bush's Disastrous "Staying the Course" Policy

Bush and Rumsfeld's almost other-wordly incompetence is dissected here by Ray McGovern. Key graph:

As was the case in Vietnam, the Iraq war is being run by civilians innocent of military experience and disdainful of advice from the colonels and majors who know which end is up. Aping the president’s practice of surrounding himself with sycophants, Rumsfeld has promoted a coterie of yes-men to top military ranks—men who “kiss up and kick down,” in the words of former Assistant Secretary of State Carl Ford, describing UN-nominee John Bolton’s modus operandi at the State Department. So when the president assures us, as he did yesterday, that he will be guided by the “sober judgment of our military leaders” he is referring to the castrati.

This is the "thinking" that has led us into disaster. This is one of the consequences of the 2000 coup d'etat that illegally put Bush in power. This is part of the price we're paying.

Looking for Insight on the Republican Right-Wing Mentality?

Then look no further than here.

The Authoritarian Personality. Fits them to a "T". No tolerance of any differing views. An ugliness of outlook. Rampant prejudice and hatred. Yeah, that's about it.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Growing Up in the Conservative Paradise, Alabama

This was a post I saw on Washington Monthly. It was in a thread discussing the candicacy of Roy Moore for Governor of Alabama and the fanaticism of so many of his followers. It was written by a person whose threadname was Ducktape. It's about growing up in Alabama.

It's nothing new. I spent my teenage years in the "Christian State of Alabama," and was subjected to required school assemblies that were nothing more than fundamentalist harangues against integration under the guise of "moral inspiration."

The price of dissent -- even silent dissent -- was enormously high. As was the price of knowing any more than the uneducated teachers: I got an F for an entire grading period in 7th grade for the crime of telling my social studies teacher that "Arab" and "Italian" weren't pronounced "Ay-rab" and "Eye-talian." I was followed and threatened by the principal with a physical beating ("paddling") when I slipped out of a school assembly where the preacher we were required to listen to was railing on about "n*****s".

My parents (bless them!) scraped together every dime to send me away to boarding school from the tenth grade on, but the last couple of months of my ninth grade year I was subjected to public harrassment by the principal and some of the teachers (interestingly, not the students) because I was going away and "thought I was better than everyone there."

Just in the last couple of weeks, I found out from my mom that the principal had written to the headmaster of my new school and told him that they had made a huge mistake by admitting me, and had alleged a lot of things that I was entirely shocked, even now, to hear.

By the time my next-younger sibling was getting into high school, my dad quit his job and took a lesser position in a company that was located elsewhere, in a good school district NOT in Alabama.

J. Miller's Comment: Anywhere--anywhere--that right-wing fundamentalists have political control, they will use it to force their views down everyone else's throat. Period.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Frank Rich on the Republican-Run Culture of Corruption

Rich is great, powerful, and roaring in this essay, reposted courtesy of Truthout. This is as good a summary of the cesspool of corruption in Washington as any you're likely to see.

Jack Abramoff and Grover Norquist: Joined at the Hip

Read this highly interesting account of the relationship between anti-tax, anti-government fanatic Grover Norquist and mobster-connected Republican bagman Jack Abramoff. It's a tangled story of shady lobbying and big money. Personally, I found this to be the most interesting passage:

Norquist has strongly defended his friend Abramoff and said that the lobbyist never asked him to do anything improper. In an interview with National Journal last year, after the Abramoff scandal broke, Norquist charged that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, who has been leading the Senate inquiry into Abramoff's alleged lobbying abuses, "hates Bush and hates DeLay, and Jack is an ally and friend of both." A McCain spokesman pointed out that the senator has said he "hates corruption," not DeLay or Bush. Norquist, who opposed McCain and backed Bush vigorously in 2000, said in the interview that Abramoff would be "fine" in the end, calling him "hardworking, smart, and completely up-front." (Emphasis added)

Let's see where the Abramoff scandal leads, shall we?

Bill Bennett Going Down in Flames

Check this little item out about the declining fortunes of Bill "I am not a racist" Bennett, who recently remarked that if you aborted all black children the crime rate would go down, even though he thought such a move would be morally reprehensible. My favorite line in the item is

I suppose I could say that those ill-advised comments were the most expensive mistake Bennett's made since he lost $500,000 at the Bellagio...

Oh Yeah! Two New Indictments Against DeLay

Read 'em and weep, Tommy Boy. Looks like the Hammer might just be broken.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

A Devastating Attack on the Bush Regime's Use of Torture

This article by Andrew Sullivan lays out the powerful evidence of the moral corruption of the Bush Administration in its policies on the treatment of prisoners. The most devastating part, for me, is a quote from a heroic American officer named Ian Fishback, who has been instrumental in bringing these abuses to the attention of Congress. He said,

“If we abandon our ideals in the face of adversity and aggression, then those ideals were never really in our possession. I would rather die fighting than give up even the smallest part of the idea that is ‘America’.”

What more can possibly be said? Go read the article. Right now.

The Right: Crack-up or Realignment?

Check out this Economist article on where America's right wing is heading.

As for me, I hope the answer for its leadership is, "Jail." I hope the answer for a very substantial part of its membership is, "The Democratic Party."

DeLay's Rule: "The Single Most Corrupt Decade" in the History of the House

Jonathan Alter is on fire in this scathing attack on Tom DeLay and the Republican-driven House of Corruption in Washington. This is a definite must read. Money quote:

What next for the House of Shame? If DeLay's acquitted, he'll be back in power. If he's convicted, his proteges will continue his work. Reform efforts by fiscal conservatives determined to curb their borrow-and-spend colleagues are probably doomed. The only way to get rid of the termites eating away the people's House is to stamp them out at the next election.

Damned right. Stamp out the termites. VOTE DEMOCRATIC FROM TOP TO BOTTOM IN 2006.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Republican War on Veterans

Why do the Republicans hate the Veterans Administration? Because it works too well. They fully intend to destroy it. Decorated veteran Larry Scott has the story.

The Real Republican Agenda: Destruction of the Public Schools

Reed Hundt at TPM recounts this stunning admission from repulsive right-wing gambling addict Bill Bennett: the Republicans want the public schools to fail so they can be broken up into charter, religious, and other forms of private education. By the way, make sure you read the comments section so you can see other instances of Republican hostility toward public education. The best comment is a lengthy one by a reader named Jim Horn. He deftly eviscerates the so-called No Child Left Behind Act by revealing its genuine motive:

No Child Left Behind is different from all the other educational reforms that have preceded it—this time the reformers are assured of a win, regardless of the outcome. If schools are able to achieve the impossible and attain the 100 percent math and reading proficiency by 2014 that the legislation requires, then the reformers will have threatened, bullied, and shamed their way to educational success by having rendered our schools into scripted testing factories. If the more probable scenario develops (psychometricians say certain), however, and a large majority of American schools are clear failures or on the “Federal watch-list” before or by 2014, then the road to school privatization will be clear sailing. By then, American parents will be shell-shocked and willing to try anything to avoid another one of those Federally-mandated letters telling them that their children are failing because their schools are failing. And state legislatures, broken financially and in spirit by then from the under-funded burdens of NCLB implementation, will be desperate enough to turn the whole effort over to the EMOs of an education industry that will be ramped up, ready, and waiting to pounce.

I have said this right from the start of NCLB: its real purpose is to declare the public schools to be failures so that the public school system itself can be destroyed.

The Republican Party: working to destroy America's foundations 24/7.

Hannity and Coulter Call Pat Tillman's Mother a Liar

They did so recently on Hannity and Colmes. The two far-right commentators, perhaps the worst examples of Republican right wing trash imaginable, vehemently denied, on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, that genuine American hero Pat Tillman opposed the Iraq War and supported John Kerry. Hannity and Coulter (my God, just typing their names makes me almost nauseous) simply refused to believe that, once again, the two of them were simply flat on their ass wrong. They flatly contradicted the words of Tillman's own mother. Read the outrageous details and see if you don't agree.

I'll say it again: in any decent society two pathological liars like Hannity and Coulter wouldn't be anywhere near a microphone or television camera.

By the way, for a nice sampling of Coulter's ugly, psychotic, anti-American hatred, check here.

The DeLay Scandals: A Primer

Here's the DCCC's take on all this here. Notice, by the way, how many of the heaviest criticisms of the House Republican Leadership cited on this page come from conservative sources.

This summary from Slate is, if anything, even more damning. Note DeLay's conspicuous ties to GOP bagman and associate of mobsters Jack Abramoff.

And, once again, here is an encore summary from Think Progress.

Read all this and tell me this right-wing son of a bitch isn't damn near the biggest outright criminal in American congressional history.

Member of DeLay Grand Jury: The Evidence is There

A member of the Texas grand jury that indicted top Republican criminal Tom DeLay says the evidence against him is strong and voluminous. He also emphasizes that prosecutor Ronnie Earle isn't doing this as a political witch hunt. The key passages:

Grand jurors were presented a load of evidence, including testimony and phone records, that led them to believe Rep. Tom DeLay should be tried on a conspiracy charge, the leader of the Travis County grand jury that indicted the congressman said Friday.

"It was not one of those sugarcoated deals that we handed to [District Attorney] Ronnie Earle," William M. Gibson said.

He added: "Mr. Earle has stacks and stacks of papers – evidence of telephone calls from Mr. DeLay and everybody."

In other words, every Republican slime machine talking point vomiting forth from the likes of Hannity is a lie, pure and simple.