Saturday, December 31, 2005

Uzbekistan's President: Child Torturer, Mass Murderer, Bush Ally

Islam Karimov, President of Uzbekistan, is a murderous, brutal son of a bitch. He has one of the worst human rights records on the planet, which says something in itself. The merest summary of his crimes is appalling. Human Rights Watch keeps an extensively documented page devoted to the barbarism of the Karimov regime. You should go check some of these items out. Among the highlights:
(From a former UN official): First, it is clear that torture is an endemic problem in Uzbekistan—so much so that I concluded it constituted a systematic practice in the country. I found the numerous accounts of torture I gathered from victims and their relatives so consistent in their gruesome description of torture techniques and the places and circumstances in which the abuse was perpetrated that there was no way to deny the pervasive and persistent nature of torture throughout the investigative process.
(From a background report): On May 13, 2005 Uzbek government forces killed hundreds of unarmed protesters as they fled a demonstration in Andijan, in eastern Uzbekistan. To date the government has taken no steps to investigate or hold accountable those responsible for this atrocity. Instead it is denying all responsibility and persecuting those who seek an independent and transparent investigation.
(From a separate investigation): Uzbekistan has a long history of torture. Since the mid-1990’s the Uzbek government has arrested thousands of people on charges of Islamic “fundamentalism” or “extremism,” handing down prison sentences to most ranging from 5 to 20 years. The government claims its efforts serve as part of the global campaign against terrorism. Yet in the overwhelming majority of cases, those imprisoned have not been accused or convicted of terrorism or charged with any other violent act. Human Rights Watch has documented the torture of many of those detained in the context of this campaign, including several who that died as a result of torture. Interviewees describe a variety of methods of torture used against Muslim detainees, including beatings by fist and with truncheons or metal rods, rape and sexual violence, electric shock, use of lit cigarettes or newspapers to burn the detainee, and asphyxiation with plastic bags or gas masks. A doctor who examined the body of [a] detainee who died in custody in 2002 described burns consistent with immersion in boiling water. [Emphasis added]
You can find all the hideous details you want, but the point is clear: Uzbekistan is governed by vicious savages of exactly the same kind as Saddam Hussein. So the U.S. is committed to Karimov's overthrow, right? Wrong. From British official Craig Murray:
[September 2002] "Between 7,000 and 10,000 political and religious prisoners are currently detained, many after trials before kangaroo courts with no representation. Terrible torture is commonplace: the EU is currently considering a demarche over the terrible case of two Muslims tortured to death in jail apparently with boiling water. Two leading dissidents, Elena Urlaeva and Larissa Vdovna, were two weeks ago committed to a lunatic asylum, where they are being drugged, for demonstrating on human rights. Opposition political parties remain banned. There is no doubt that September 11 gave the pretext to crack down still harder on dissent under the guise of counter-terrorism. Yet on 8 September the US State Department certified that Uzbekistan was improving in both human rights and democracy, thus fulfilling a constitutional requirement and allowing the continuing disbursement of $140 million of US aid to Uzbekistan this year. Human Rights Watch immediately published a commendably sober and balanced rebuttal of the State Department claim". [Emphasis added]
[March 2003] " Last year the US gave half a billion dollars in aid to Uzbekistan, about a quarter of it military aid. Bush and Powell repeatedly hail Karimov as a friend and ally. [Emphasis added] Yet this regime has at least seven thousand prisoners of conscience; it is a one party state without freedom of speech, without freedom of media, without freedom of movement, without freedom of assembly, without freedom of religion. It practices, systematically, the most hideous tortures on thousands. Most of the population live in conditions precisely analogous with medieval serfdom."
[July 2004] "At the Khuderbegainov trial I met an old man from Andizhan. Two of his children had been tortured in front of him until he signed a confession on the family's links with Bin Laden. Tears were streaming down his face. I have no doubt they had as much connection with Bin Laden as I do. This is the standard of the Uzbek intelligence services"
You see, Uzbekistan is considered an "ally" in the war against the terrorists, so the nature and methods of its government get a pass, even though Bush's own State Department has catalogued its atrocities. The U.S. still cooperates with Karimov and still uses the "intelligence information" he has beaten and burned out of helpless "suspects". What could possibly show the moral degeneracy and hypocrisy of the Bush regime more clearly? When it's supposedly in our "interests", we'll countenance any crime, any barbarism, any murder. Karimov's government is among the two or three worst on this planet. That Bush considers it an ally is a disgrace, and further evidence that we may be governed by an outright sociopath.

Friday, December 30, 2005

The Republicans: Up to Their Necks in the Abramoff Scandal

This remarkable article in the Washington Post deserves the widest attention: the story of Jack Abramoff, the #1 Republican fixer in Washington. Abramoff is connected with all the big right-wing Republicans: Grover Norquist, Ralph Reed, Karl Rove, Tom DeLay, everybody. The sheer gall, audacity, and contempt for the law shown by all these people is breath taking. The message is clear: the corruption of the Republicans running this country (into the ground) knows no limits. Indeed, Republicans themselves are beginning to sense this. Two quotes stand out in this regard:
Alan K. Simpson (R), the former Wyoming senator who was in Washington during the last big congressional scandal -- the Abscam FBI sting in the late 1970s and early 1980s, in which six House members and one senator were convicted -- said the Abramoff case looks bigger. Simpson said he recently rode in a plane with one of Abramoff's attorneys, who told him: "There are going to be guys in your former line of work who are going to be taken down."
Former Republican congressman Mickey Edwards (Okla.), usually a defender of lobbying and Congress, said there have always been members who get caught "stuffing money in their pants." But he said this is different -- a "disgusting" and disturbingly broad scandal driven by lobbyists whose attitude seemed to be "government to the highest bidder."

"This is at a scale that is really shocking," said Edwards, who teaches public and international affairs at Princeton. "There is a certain kind of arrogance that in the past you might not have had. They were so supremely confident that there didn't seem to be any kind of moral compass here."
By the way, the phony conservative argument we're hearing that "everyone" in Washington, both Democrat and Republican, is equally infected by corruption is pure, unadulterated horse manure. The corruption in Washington is 99.99% Republican, and no one can hide that fact any more.
Again: the removal of the Republicans from power at the earliest possible time (the 2006 elections) is imperative on many grounds, but this cesspool of right-wing corruption is foremost among them. If you've ever passed a story in J. Miller Rampant! to one of your friends, pass this one. There needs to be a political revolution in this country, and anything we can do to help it along will contribute.

Ready! Set! Hype!

A fine post here on the abysmal job the major media do on reporting science stories. Hysteria and good headlines often trump the calm examination of evidence. You'll find the item about the meth "epidemic" to be particularly enlightening. Go take a look.

General Clark Lays It Out Straight

This video is a small masterpiece: General Wesley Clark explaining, on Fox News no less, why the Iraq War was a grave mistake. He effortlessly parries all the thrusts of the Fox News analyst and makes it clear that our invasion was a disastrous choice to make.

Sigh. I'll admit it again: I was a War Democrat. My hatred of Saddam blinded me. I was convinced a progressive case for war existed. I was wrong. I was a fool to think that this Administration would do anything but screw up. Clark was right.

He'd make a fine president, don't you think?

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Republican Crack-Up

It's good to see.

The entire Republican program is based on propaganda, lies, BS, and bluffing. When Democrats stand firm and run on their principles, they win more times than not. The majority of the American people are ready to vote Democratic--if the Democrats give them a reason to.

Some People STILL Believe the Iraq Fairy Tales

The ugly details are here.

I'm sorry, but these idiots have to be watching Fox "News".

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Bases of Modern Conservatism

Conservative theorists love to point to the deep intellectual roots of conservatism (citing Edmund Burke, for example) and emphasizing its supposedly magisterial and profound nature. Well, I guess they're entitled to their views. Here are mine, derived in part from having grown up with conservatives and having spent many years as a Republican. These are the REAL roots of western, and particularly American, conservative thinking:

Fear and hatred. Of anyone who's different. Of any idea that's different. Of any way of doing things that's different. Of any way of living not their own. The raging, brutal nature of conservative intolerance is legendary: hatred of blacks, hatred of Jews, hatred of "uppity" women, hatred of homosexuals, hatred of foreigners of all kinds, and hatred of any non-Christian religious faith (and a special hatred for outright non-believers). Conservatives may not actively or overtly express all these hatreds now, but the historical record is clear: in American history, at one time or another, they have embraced every single one fervently. It was conservatives who defended slavery and fought to destroy the United States in the Civil War. It was conservatives that formed the backbone of the "Nativist" and Know-Nothing movements. It was conservatives that set up the barriers to immigration from the "wrong" countries in the 1920s and who marched by the millions in the ranks of the Ku Klux Klan. It was conservatives who fought to keep women subordinate to men and who, in the name of "traditional" values, have tormented and persecuted gays. The hatred within the minds of hard core conservatives is frightening: one need only look to the filth being poured out by its most characteristic spokesperson today, Ann Coulter. FEAR AND HATRED ARE THE ROCK SOLID FOUNDATIONS OF AMERICAN CONSERVATISM. These emotions lead naturally to the next basis of American conservatism,

The Desire to Force Their Way of Life on Everyone Else. Conservatives committed to personal freedom? Is that supposed to be a joke? Conservatives and ultra-religious "reformers" propped up the Jim Crow system in the South, putting into law all the viciousness and savagery of their racism. Conservatives forced laws on the books regulating the most intimate areas of human sexual behavior, including that of married heterosexuals. Premarital sex? Outlawed. Oral sex and other "non-standard" sexual practices? Outlawed. Homosexual sex? Outlawed and subject to brutal punishment. No area of human behavior has been outside of their interference. From the idiocies of Prohibition (which, alas, were partly the fault of the Progressive movement) to the hysteria surrounding the outlawing of the "killer weed" marijuana, conservatives have sought to impose their beliefs by power of law on everyone else, and have told a staggering number of outright lies to persuade others to conform. Conservatives want to tell you whether or not you may use birth control, whether or not your children can learn science in science classrooms, whether you may possess pornography (or what they define as pornography) whether you may terminate a pregnancy (never) and the manner in which you may die. They are the bitter enemies of all genuine human free choice. A startling number would gladly live in a theocracy. Even their proudest claim to fame, their unwavering opposition to Communism (which I share) is as much a result of Communism's hostility to religion as anything else. They stand for human freedom, all right--entirely on their terms.
Greed and All Consuming Selfishness. The American conservative motto should be, "I've got mine--screw you." I happen to believe in regulated capitalism. But many conservatives want to go back to a mythical time when laissez faire capitalism supposedly ruled. You know, the good old days--a working day of 12 to 14 hours, wages of less than a dollar a day, child labor, and a workforce totally at the mercy of employers who treated them like serfs and indentured servants instead of employees. The union movement and the New Deal revolutionized workers' conditions. Conservatives screamed that both were going to destroy the economy. But it was in the period of liberal political ascendancy that America's economy grew to unheard of size and tens of millions of Americans were brought into the middle class. Under the "ruinous" policies of the Democrats, America rose to its greatest heights--and conservatives fought bitterly against every reform that brought America to those heights.
Today, the conservative goal is clear: the strangling of government by incessant tax cuts that benefit the "overburdened" rich, the elimination of regulation, the destruction of labor unions, and the weakening of environmental protections, all in the name of the God that conservatives actually worship: money. Money is their Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Money is their Christ. Those who have acquired it, however brutally, are its disciples. Those who don't have it, however hard they've worked, are to be despised.
Conservatism's damage to our country has been immense. It has stunted and crippled the lives of millions throughout America's history. It has imposed unnecessary guilt, hardship, shame, and suffering. It's time for conservatism to be confronted with its past--not books by Russell Kirk or Milton Friedman, but the actual, non-theoretical, living, breathing, bleeding, sweating reality of life in America's days gone by. Conservatism today is a warped, sick, demented philosophy, calling for the removal of Darwin from the schools while advocating the most ugly and ruthless Social Darwinism in society at large. Its political leadership is composed of corrupt, lying hacks supported by powerful moneyed interests and religious fanatics. It is, in short, the gravest threat to America's survival, with the possible exception of Fundamentalist Islam (with which it shares a disquieting number of similarities). It's time to get into the face of conservative intellectuals and let them know loudly and clearly that America thrives whenever those intellectuals are totally and utterly ignored.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Click on the picture for the fun surprise answer!

Chris Matthews: Kissing Bush's Ass Over and Over

Media Matters has the story here.

I swear, reading Matthews' suck-up, ass kissing bullshit is enough to make me sick. This guy is the most overrated member of the so-called mainstream media. He's not one of the readily identifiable lunatics of the Radical Right, like Limbaugh or Coulter. He pretends to be a journalist. He's not. That's what makes him so dangerous.

You need a new set of knee pads, Chrissy boy?

My God, is There Anything People Won't Believe?

I offer this without comment.

Clinton's Cat? Worthy of Investigation. Bush's Illegal Wiretaps? No.

Someday the hypocrisy of the Republicans will be understood by all. Certain events illustrate it nicely. Try this one on for size.

Amazing. And of course Dan "I Called Clinton a Scumbag Even Though I Was Banging a Woman Who Wasn't My Wife and Fathered a Child By Her" Burton was involved.

"Intelligent Design": Simply a Cover for Creationist Idiocy

And one of the chief proponents of ID wants to make the recent court ruling against the teaching of this nonsense a rallying point for the creationists:

William Dembski, an ID proponent who teaches science and theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, says evolution supporters lost the Scopes trial of 1925 and turned it into a rallying cry. He suggested backers of intelligent design might do the same with the Jones opinion: "There are cultural voices in play that can render that verdict obsolete."

You see that, folks? If we can't win the argument by the use of science, we'll win it "culturally". You see, to the Radical Right, it's all about the "culture", in other words, creating an environment where everybody has to kiss the ass of any lunatic idea the Right believes in, true or not.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Sick, Perverted Hatred of Human Sexuality

Revealed here for all to see.

I swear, the fundamentalists are the most sexually obsessed people I have ever encountered. Their sickness is embarrassing.

It all reminds me of Marlon Brando's last line in Apocalypse Now Redux. Brando's character (Kurtz) is speaking into a tape recorder. He says (I'm paraphrasing) "They train young men to drop fire on people but they won't let them write the word fuck on their planes because it's obscene."

When the fundamentalists give a damn about Iraqis being killed for nothing and white phosphorous being dumped on civilians, then maybe I'll give a damn about what they think. But as long as they think jerking off is "sin" and killing foreigners in an illegal war is "God's will", then they can go to hell.

Steve Chapman on the Imperial Presidency

An excellent essay on Bush and Cheney's arrogant, almost unbelievable abuse of power here. Key graph:

What we have now is not a robust executive but a reckless one. At times like this, it's apparent that Cheney and Bush want more power not because they need it to protect the nation, but because they want more power. Another paradox: In their conduct of the war on terror, they expect our trust, but they can't be bothered to earn it.

Go thou and read the rest.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

The Voice of the Insane

Merry Christmas! As a Christmas treat, check out this complete lunatic who is arguing on behalf of...wait for it...geocentrism! Yes, this guy is convinced that the Earth doesn't move and any attempt to say it does is a Satan inspired lie! Enjoy!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Goal: A Society Based on Justice

Aristotle was hardly an infallible guide to what was right in society. He did, after all, believe that slavery was a natural and acceptable phenomenon, and he showed nothing but contempt for the idea that women in general could do anything more significant than breed. But there is one particular idea of Aristotle's that, in my view, still holds up amazingly well: the idea that a society cannot reasonably be expected to be based on love, but that it can and must be based on justice.
I do not, for example, have the right to insist that you love me. Love is too profoundly personal and subjective to permit any such demand. (Besides, how can one demand that another love him? Love is granted freely, not bestowed under coercion. "The quality of mercy is not strained; it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven.") But I do have the right to insist that you treat me fairly, with justice. By justice I mean the recognition that I am just as real as you are, that my needs are just as genuine as yours, that my moral status is equal to yours, and that I am as much a person in every sense of the word as you are. Given that set of criteria, how might justice be defined in contemporary America?
Justice means being given equal treatment under the law. It should not be dependent on how good a lawyer you can afford to hire.
Justice means being judged on personal merit and ability, not on such factors as "race", social class, gender, or sexuality. It means we do not judge others on such irrelevant bases.

Justice means that, as far as humanly possible, everyone is given the opportunity to succeed socially and economically. It means we provide such opportunities ourselves. It does not mean that everyone is entitled to the same reward, regardless of effort and accomplishment.
Justice means that everyone who is willing to help himself or herself is entitled to at least the minimal means of survival--food, shelter, clothing, and a certain minimum of medical care. All children are automatically entitled to these things.
Justice means that all people have the right to die with dignity. No person should be allowed to die in agony, regardless of his or her personal finances.
Justice means that no person may rightfully be made to suffer cruel, inhuman, or barbaric punishment. We may not justly inflict this on others.
Justice means that all people have the right to politeness and courtesy in their interpersonal relations. (This is not a minor consideration to me; I think it's fundamental.)
Justice means that we are entitled to the truth from our government, our employers, our associates, and our loved ones. Others are entitled to the truth from us.
Justice means that everyone is entitled to express opinions, even hateful ones, short of incitement to violence.
Justice means that we have the right to do anything in privacy as long as all those involved are consenting adults and no tangible harm is done to anyone outside of the person or persons involved. It means we must extend this right to privacy to everyone else.
Justice means being governed with our consent.
Justice means that we never attempt to impose our way of life on a foreign society without that society's consent. Exceptions may be made for tyrannous governments that have deliberately waged war on us (such as Germany and Japan in World War II) where justice demands a change.
Justice means we respect the religious rights of all people, including the right to believe nothing at all. It means we never impose our beliefs on others.
Justice means above all that we value the lives and well being of children, and that we make as our highest goal the elimination of all suffering among them and mistreatment of them. CHILDREN ARE SACRED.
So I just thought I'd let you know what I think about this. Yeshua (Jesus) commanded us to love one another, but that doesn't seem likely any time soon. Unless and until God intervenes personally on the physical plane of reality, therefore, I think we'll have to shoot for justice. It seems like a pretty big thing to ask all by itself.
Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Good Night!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Fact and Reality of Evolution

As beautifully laid out in this current issue of Science. Check the video box you'll see on the right (with the chimpanzee's face) for the presentation.

Evolution's impact permeates every aspect of our lives and being. The fight to keep this scientific fact in our schools is nothing less than a fight for sanity and reason themselves.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Situation We Face

As a history teacher and a student of history myself I continue to be amazed at the sheer ugliness, incompetence, and mendacity of the Bush Administration and the viciousness of its howling, utterly dishonest supporters in the mass media. The Bush regime is the culmination of many trends that have been building over the last several decades. It is the logical outcome of the unpunished criminality of the Bush family, the increasing effectiveness of rightwing "think tanks" in poisoning and confusing the public dialogue, the ineffectiveness of the Democrats in fighting against the lies thrown repeatedly in their faces, the increasing political clout of corporate interests, and the rise of apocalyptic and millenarian trends in fundamentalist Christianity. This witches' brew of influences has come together to threaten the very fabric and health of our nation, and its visible embodiments are George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Tom DeLay, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Bill Frist.

Now, we see the lengths to which Bush is prepared to go to prosecute the war against the terrorists. He has seen fit to let the National Security Agency tap phones without a warrant, even though a special court exists to issue such warrants, and can even issue them retroactively. Further, the NSA has been tapping domestic phone calls, a practice completely contrary to its mission. We are faced with further evidence, therefore, of Bush's image of himself: a power answerable to no one and restrained by nothing. Think for a moment, of what Bush and his cohorts have done with their power:
  1. They have made the nation's energy policy in secret and fought against the public's right to know the details of how that policy was made.
  2. They have bent the nation's economic and fiscal policies to the benefit of their political supporters and contributors in return for a multitude of favors. They have bitterly fought all efforts to expose this organized thievery and looting.
  3. They have set up secret prisons and prison camps.
  4. They have asserted the right to inflict torture on our suspected enemies.
  5. They have turned over terrorist suspects to nations they know will inflict hideous and savage tortures on those suspects.
  6. They have purposely lied about the circumstances and evidence leading to a war in Iraq.
  7. They have betrayed the identity of a CIA agent for political purposes.
  8. They have attempted to coerce, co-opt, buy off, or lie to the media.
  9. They have shouted that anyone who questions or opposes them is a traitor.
  10. They have effectively suspended habeas corpus rights for terrorist suspects, even if the suspects are American citizens.
  11. They have used the FBI to spy on those who dare to question them.
  12. And now, they have deliberately violated the law in regard to wiretapping.
Our very future as a free nation is at stake. Our best option: win control of the Congress in 2006, and if public opinion will support us on this (and increasingly it looks as if it will) we must launch the processes in the House of Representatives that will lead to the impeachment of Bush and Cheney and their trial and conviction in the United States Senate. No future president must believe for a single second that the the American people will tolerate the arrogant and unbridled exercise of power. So I say,
The future of America depends on it.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Jarring Collision of Faith and Science

It's happening in the Christian-oriented schools and Bible colleges, as creationist mythology runs into scientific fact in biology classes and laboratories. Many home-schooled students in particular go through a personal crisis when, for the first time in their lives, they are presented with an authentically scientific viewpoint. The Chicago Tribune has the story here.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Hacking of the 2000 Election

BradBlog has the story of the shocking hack test that led one Florida elections official to declare his belief that the 2000 election in Florida was similarly hacked. If this can be proved, it's one more piece of evidence that the 2000 election was a coup d'etat and that George W. Bush is NOT legitimately President of the United States.

But you and I knew that already.

Jib-Jab Strikes Again!

Check the box with Bush's picture on it marked "Year-End Round-up". It's pretty freaking funny--and right on the money, too.

The Rightwing Republican War on Science Continues

Rightwing anti-science fanatic Tom Bethell continues to push his preposterous, scientifically idiotic, totally discredited arguments against evolution, global warming, and stem cell research. He's doing so with the help of big money from the radical right Heritage Foundation, which is pushing his book. Chris Mooney has had enough of this claptrap, and utterly demolishes it here.

Enough is enough. The conservatives are attempting to destroy the sciences as part of their effort to: A. Establish a de facto theocracy in the United States and B. Protect their corporate underwriters and sponsors from regulation. We've got to stop them from doing both--in the same of sanity and the future of our country.

Bush at the Bottom of the Rankings--Again

In a survey of what people think of our last ten presidents, guess who comes in dead last?

Oh. And JFK and Bill Clinton are #s 1 and 2.

Heh heh heh.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Well, Whaddaya Know? Congress DOESN'T See the Same Intel as the President

So says this article today, confirming what we already knew: the country is in the hands of pathological liars who will do anything to protect their miserable lying asses. Key sections:

The Congressional Research Service, by contrast, said: "The president, and a small number of presidentially designated Cabinet-level officials, including the vice president ... have access to a far greater overall volume of intelligence and to more sensitive intelligence information, including information regarding intelligence sources and methods."

Unlike members of Congress, the president and his top officials also have the authority to ask U.S. intelligence agencies more extensively for follow-up information, the report said. "As a result, the president and his most senior advisers arguably are better positioned to assess the quality of the ... intelligence more accurately than is Congress."

How many times do we have to call bullshit on these people?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The "Morality" of the Modern Conservatives

They defend the right of the United States to torture other humans, or transport those humans to jurisdictions where they will be tortured.

They defend the lies that plunged this country into a war that has so far killed more than 30,000 people.

They fight against federal aid to the poor while taking bribes from the rich and powerful.

They are systematically bankrupting the United States governnment, leaving our children and grandchildren with a crippling burden of debt.

They steal from the poor and lower middle class to fund tax cuts for the richest and most powerful.

They slander anyone who disagrees with them as a traitor and a supporter of terrorism.

They wage political campaigns crammed with enough lies and distortions to astonish a veteran Soviet propagandist.

They cheer for perverted fascist lunatics like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Bill O'Reilly.

They cheat and steal to win elections and suppress voting.

They support a culture of corruption in Washington that would make the 19th century robber barons proud.

They encourage the most savage bigotry against gays.

They demand the right to interfere in the most intimate decisions of human life, from birth control to the right to die. (Witness the Schiavo fiasco.)

They demand that America be converted into a theocracy, while distorting Jesus' message out of all recognition.

They want to dismantle the public school system, crush labor, and export jobs.

They insist that the insane "War on Drugs" be escalated.

Their leaders regularly engage in the most sordid and depraved sexual escapades, while hypocritically presenting themselves as paragons of righteousness.

They defend the history of conservatism in America, which was on the wrong side of every single moral issue in the history of our country. Conservatives demanded the inclusion of slavery in the new nation, fought against its abolition, supported the Confederacy, and then supported Jim Crow laws after the Civil War. Conservatives fought tooth and nail against civil rights. Conservatives fought against unions, the right to vote for women, and equal rights for all female citizens. Conservatives tried to undermine FDR in his efforts to stop our nation's enemies in the '30s. Conservatives fought against Social Security, environmental protections, workplace safety rules, and the minimum wage. In every instance they have fought against the interests and well being of ordinary Americans. They have, historically, appealed to racial hatred, anti-Semitism, and sex discrimination. They have waged relentless class warfare for decades, while falsely accusing the Democrats of it. In short, modern conservatism is the most depraved, morally bankrupt philosophy in American history.

And these people insist that it is they who should govern because they are "better people" than we.

I don't know whether to laugh or puke.

Unqualified Bush Crony Hired to Combat Avian Flu and Bioterrorism

Just shows to go ya that being a friend of El Presidente is the surest way to a big and important job in the Bush Administration--even if you don't know your ass from a hole in the ground. So what if lives are at stake? Appointing a Republican hack to high office takes precedence.

The Ohio Republican Party Moves to Crush Democracy

The GOP is ramming legislation through the Ohio legislature that would make voter registration harder, make challenges to electoral irregularities in state elections more difficult, remove all public oversight from electronic voting, and forbid challenges to federal election results in Ohio altogether. The aim of this law is clear: to permanetly cripple the Ohio Democratic party. The disgusting details are here.

Ohio is rapidly becoming the most corrupt state in the Union. Its government is in the hands of Republican crooks, most notorious of which is rightwing fanatic Kenneth Blackwell, the lying, corrupt, dishonest bastard who happens to be Ohio Secretary of State. If this bullshit electoral law isn't challenged and defeated, the Democrats can kiss a key state goodbye for a long time.

E.J. Dionne: Democrats, Grow a Spine

This column says it right: The Democrats need to stop cowering on Iraq and they need to kick bastards like Dennis Hastert in the teeth when he says the Democrats want "surrender". Here's the key graph:

Attacks of this sort on Democrats are effective because Democrats help make them so. Democrats are so obsessed with not looking "weak" on defense that they end up making themselves look weak, period, by the way they respond to Republican attacks on their alleged weakness. Oh my gosh, many Democrats say, we can't associate ourselves with the likes of Howard Dean or Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader who recently called for a troop withdrawal within six months. Let's knife them before Karl Rove gets around to knifing us. Talk about a recipe for retreat and defeat.

Amen to that. Stop aiding and abetting the Republican smear experts. The American people are on your side. Dionne continues:

What's gone largely unnoticed is that while Democrats show their divisions on the war in Congress, Republicans are more divided at the grass roots. In the most recent New York Times/CBS News Poll, 76 percent of Democrats favored reducing our commitment to Iraq -- 40 percent were for pulling all the troops out, 36 percent for decreasing their numbers -- while 13 percent favored keeping current troop levels and 6 percent preferred increasing their ranks. Among Republicans, 16 percent favored increasing our troop levels, while 37 percent would keep them constant. On the other side, 41 percent supported decreasing our commitment, including the 10 percent who were for full withdrawal.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: The American people respect those who fight for their principles. If we want victory, we need to remember that.

The So-Called "Culture of Life"

Live in Texas? Not white? Don't have "Right to Life" zealots picketing on your behalf? On a respirator? No insurance? Then die.

The point is clear: unless rightwing Republicans can use you as a political prop, they don't give a damn what happens to you. Period.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Bush to New Orleans: Drop Dead--Again

Yes, the Little Tiny Man who runs our country is again shown to be a liar, as are the Republican androids who surround him. It seems that the Rethugs are complaining about the money necessary to rebuild New Orleans' levees. So what if the GOP is now pushing $95 billion in new tax cuts? Screw the damn levees.

Guess with all those nasty pictures of floating corpses no longer in the news, it's safe to renege on your promises.

The Insanity of the Republican Activists

Why do I say insanity? Because now, apparently, being against our country using torture on its enemies is now considered "pro-terrorist". Don't believe it? Than check out this item from Reason (by way of Andrew Sullivan). The viciousness and ugliness of hardcore Republican "logic" is glaringly obvious.

Our country must be saved from the hands of these lunatic bastards. Because when even John McCain isn't conservative enough for them, when even he, as a victim of torture and a former POW, doesn't have enough patriotic cred for them, then we're in grave danger.

But you and I knew that already.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

I'm So Tired Tonight

I don't mean physically, necessarily. I mean deep down soul tired, the way I get when I think about the world too closely for too long. It just drains away whatever hope and optimism I had in me.

I'm so tired of people being violent, negligent, indifferent, and cruel to children.

I'm so sick and tired of war.

I'm so tired of the endless lies that pervade our public and private lives.

I'm so tired of religious, nationalistic, and ideological fanaticism, the source of so very much unspeakable human suffering.

I'm tired and terrified of certainty, the demon in so many people that says, "I'm right, you're wrong, and if you get in my way, I'll kill you" (or, alternatively, "Believe what I believe or you're going to hell!")

For that matter, I'm tired of people who think so badly of God that they believe in hell at all.

I'm tired of dishonesty and deceit at every level of human life.

I'm tired of ignorance, malice, and hatred masquerading as faith.

I'm tired of people assaulting each other.

I'm tired of having to be ashamed of being a member of the human species when I read our history.

I'm tired of false hope, false prophets, false "holy books", false rituals, and the inherent falsehood in all human attempts to claim "knowledge" of the inscrutable and unknowable God.

I'm tired of people interfering in the private lives of other people.

I'm tired of people busting their asses and working themselves to death for next to nothing while undeserving scumbags have wealth showered upon them.

Sometimes, I'm just tired of life.

There are only 2 or 3 of you who will see this (mostly Lance and Paul). I don't mean to be a drag. But sometimes, it's just the way I feel.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Islam Should NOT Be Exempt from Ridicule or Criticism

But too many Europeans seem to think it should. Read the discouraging details here.

Freedom of expression is something worth defending with one's life. Europeans are too quick to stifle their own freedoms to accomodate those who neither respect or understand democratic ideals. It's time that changed.

MASSIVE SCANDAL: Phony Front Company Channeling Millions Into Republican Campaigns

In what promises to be an explosive scandal, evidence is piling up that the Duke Cunnigham kickback affair may just be the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Evidently, a phony defense firm was set up to take Department of Defense money, launder it, and channel it into Republican campaigns. The amounts are huge: some $700,000,000 was siphoned from the DOD. Then, small discrete little chunks of money were thrown in various directions, nothing that would attract attention. The details are in this eye-opening post on DKos here.

And to those tempted to say that the corruption is bipartisan, I say: bullshit. Look at the list of beneficiaries of this scam:

So which candidates got chunks of that taxpayer money earmarked for "defense"?

Henry Bonilla, Roy Brown, Rick Clayburgh, Duke Cunningham (of course!), John T. Doolittle, Maria Guadalupe Garcia, George W. Gekas, Lindsay Graham, Duncan Hunter, Darrell Issa, Samuel Johnson, Thaddeus G. McCotter, Constance Morella, Devin Nune, Steve Pearce, Bill Van de Weghe Jr., Jerry Weller.
[Emphasis added by the Rampant J. Miller]

All Republicans, of course. As the scandal unfolds, the pundits will try to convince us that "both sides do it." That simply is not true.

The donations amounted only to $5000 or so. But ADCS Pac was hardly the only mechanism by which Wilkes could distribute the Christmas candy. Remember, Perfect Wave Technologies, Pure Aqua Technologies, Group W. Advisors and other "subsidiaries" were also used as funding mechanisms.

By keeping the donations small, and by maintaining the illusion that the donors are numerous, the conspirators could line many a pocket with relative safety. Clever, eh?

Other recipients of Wilkes' largesse: President Bush, Katherine Harris, Tom Delay, Virgil Goode Jr. and Elizabeth Dole...

G-d dammit, when are these bastards going to be made to pay? PLEASE forward this story to ANYBODY and EVERYBODY on your mailing list. It matters. It's another instance of the obscene corruption the Republicans have gotten away with for far too long. I need your help--send out the word.

A Great Little Biography of Dubya

It's here and it's pretty devastating. It touches almost all the bases, and no one reading it could fail to be appalled at what kind of human being George W. Bush actually is. It makes a point I've made many times as well: Dubya is not stupid. He has chosen to present himself as a mediocrity for political purposes. He is, to be blunt, intellectually lazy almost beyond belief; he has chosen not to use his own gifts.

He has been relentless in being able to use his family's business connections to fail upward. And he has failed, again and again and again. Let's look at the relevant section of the biography:

People like to assume that George got rich from oil speculation. It's a simpler and more inspiring explanation than the truth. He did launch an oil business, Arbusto Energy, in 1978. But it was a financial disaster from the very beginning and never turned a profit. Fortuitously, it got swallowed up in a 1982 merger with another energy company named Spectrum 7. The merger was engineered by a couple of Bush family friends. For some reason they opted to rescue the son of the Vice President of the United States from his own financial catastrophe and make him the CEO of the merged entity.

Four years later, Spectrum 7 was itself floundering underneath $3 million in debt. Which is when Harken Energy, yet another company run by a family friend, came in and bailed out Bush's enterprise a second time. George was given a fat wad of stock options and a $120,000 annual salary, but no actual work to do.

Technically, Bush's official capacity was as a member of the company's audit committee, charged with overseeing the major deals and transactions to ensure that everything was on the up-and-up. But as the son of the U.S. President, Bush's true function was to act as a lure for investment money. His task was schmoozing business contacts and outside investors, interested in converting cash into a friendly acquaintanceship with the President's offspring. And he was good at it. Hi, my name is George Jr. My Daddy lives in the White House. Let me show you around.

This investment capital really helped prop up Harken as it was secretly bleeding money out of every orifice. As a matter of fact, Harken was hiding massive debts through shell companies and byzantine practices masterminded by the now-infamous accounting firm of Arthur Anderson. One such deal was the putative "sale" of Aloha Petroleum to Intercontinental Mining and Resources Ltd in 1989. In actuality, IMR Ltd was just another company owned by three members of Harken's board. And the terms of the sale were extremely sketchy: although IMR agreed to pay an exorbitant $12 million for Aloha Petroleum, they wouldn't be required to make any payments for three years. Nevertheless, Harken immediately booked an $8 million profit.

The technical term for that is fraud. But you can't really blame George for that, can you? It wasn't like he was serving on the corporation's audit committee or anything... oh wait, he was. In fact, Bush signed off on the Aloha Petroleum deal. This deception helped maintain the illusion that Harken was -- what's the word? -- solvent for several months after it had actually run out of money.

A few weeks before the house of cards finally came tumbling down, Bush engaged in a little insider trading and sold off $848,560 in Harken stock. Then he waited eight months to notify the SEC of his sale. After Harken's stock price fell into the toilet, the SEC finally figured out something was wrong and began poking around. At which point, George offered up this lame excuse:

"In the corporate world, sometimes things aren't exactly black and white when it comes to accounting procedures."

But George's daddy was still President of the United States, and the SEC headed by Bush family friends, so they took no action.

The stench of corruption has always clung to him as well. I urge you to go check this biography out--and understand why I am so passionate about doing, in my own little tiny twelve-hits-a-day-on-my-Blog manner, anything I can to discredit and politically ruin this most disastrous of U.S. Presidents.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Jerry Weller: 92% Support of Tom Delay

And Weller, my district's soon to be ex-Republican Congressman, takes money from the King of Corruption, too. The interesting details are here. (Click Illinois on the right.)

Weller: A Bush-DeLay Robot who needs to be kicked out next year.

Quick Opinions

Some random thoughts on a cold Friday night.

  • No, I do not find an Illinois winter charming or beautiful. I haven't loved winter since I was a kid. When I move to Hawaii, I will not miss the seasons. There, now you don't need to ask me.
  • Atheists and agnostics can be just as morally upright and decent as religious believers. In fact, since those of them who are good people try to do right for its own sake rather than to gain reward or avoid punishment, they could rightly claim the moral high ground in many instances. This seemingly simple proposition is denied by a shockingly high number of people, which I find to be a disturbing sign. Belief in God is not a prerequisite to ethical behavior, and I say that as a believer.
  • No solution to the Middle East situation that involves the destruction or abandonment of Israel will ever have my support. Ever. Period. Israel has done wrong things. Which of its Arab neighbors, however, is a place that respects human rights more than it does?
  • The Bush family's connections to the Saudi royal family and the Moonies need to be shouted from the rooftops.
  • Can't we at least extend medical insurance to every kid in the country? Or does giving Paris Hilton another tax cut take priority?
  • Why do I get the feeling I'm being gouged on natural gas this year?
  • No decent human being advocates the torture of any sentient being for any reason at any time. And no, don't give me that "What if the terrorists were gonna nuke a city if we didn't" argument, because it's garbage. As long ago as the 18th century the Italian Enlightenment author Beccaria nailed that kind of thinking dead. A person being tormented will say anything his captors want to hear, regardless of its veracity. The current administration's defense of torture is therefore both barbaric and stupid. I don't think I have ever been more ashamed of any American leaders than I am of the bastards we have in right now. Lincoln, Washington, and Theodore Roosevelt are turning over in their graves.

Okeley-dokeley, then.

Iranian President Implies the Holocaust is a Myth

Loathsome president of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says that the Holocaust probably didn't occur, but if it did, then Israel should be moved to Europe.

Just a reminder of what Israel is truly up against.

The U.S. is At War. Think the House Republicans Give a Damn?

Not as far as I can see, as they continue to push through tax cuts, even though the U.S. national debt is reaching the breaking point. The tax breaks overwhelmingly favor the top 5% of taxpayers.

Lincoln raised taxes in the Civil War. FDR raised taxes in World War II. It was called sacrifice. That's a concept utterly foreign to our "patriotic" Republican House members.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I Still Miss You, John

Twenty-five years ago today the last of my childhood illusions truly died when John Lennon was murdered. He was just, at 40, finally getting his life together, it seemed. It was a terrible blow, and millions of people mourned him. I still do.

Wish you were here, John.

Saddam's Trial: I Want to Know How Much We Helped Him

Murdering butcher Saddam Hussein is on trial and well on his way to his long-overdue execution. But before he's eliminated for good, there are some things I'd like to know. Namely, how much did the United States help him back in the 80s? How responsible were we for keeping this monster in power? This author wants to know, too.

Above: Donald Rumsfeld and Friend

Santorum: Typical Right-Wing Liar and Hypocrite

Little Ricky's struggling campaign for re-election in Pennsylvania is blatantly violating campaign laws by coordinating with a right-wing soft money group. Check out the story here.

These conservatives love to preach about values but as a group right-wing politicians are the biggest collection of crooks, liars. thieves, and perverts in America. Little Ricky's dishonest tactics won't work--he's going to be crushed and sent into the political oblivion he so richly deserves.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Rick Perlstein Dissects the Conservative Movement

And finds it to be the lineal descendant more of Richard Nixon than of Barry Goldwater.

To Randy "Duke" Cunningham: Goodbye and Good Riddance

California far-right Republican Randy Cunningham is leaving Congress and in all probability heading to prison. Tom Oliphant has the story of this common thief here. Cunningham is a disgusting radical rightwinger who loves smearing other people's patriotism. He thought that a distinguished war record in Vietnam entitled him to do anything he wanted and to personally attack anyone he chose. A key passage:

Cunningham was one of the conservative movement's favorite wind-up toys, guaranteed to hold forth whenever it seemed useful to question another public official's patriotism, to disparage minorities be they racial or gay, or to claim the tough guy, masculine upper hand even by challenging colleagues to the fistfights he always seemed to walk away from.

His Republican colleagues rewarded the northern San Diego County congressman with the seat on the Appropriations Committee he used as the platform for his graft. He was, after all, a fighter pilot Vietnam vet, a highly decorated ace at that, and got away for years with making his war record seem synonymous with expertise on military matters and using it as an excuse for his bizarre behavior.

On a trip back to Vietnam a few years ago, he called his hosts ''gooks," he tried to make fun of Representative Barney Frank, and, in a famous moment in the mid-1990s, ran away from a physical challenge by Democratic Representative Jim Moran of Virginia, who chased him off the House floor and into the cloakroom, where Moran found him weeping.

He has disgraced his office, disgraced the House, and betrayed the trust of his constituents. Lock him up and throw away the key.

Tom DeLay in Trouble in His Home District

Republican crook Tom DeLay (Can you say money laundering?) is in political trouble in his home district, Texas-22, as this Gallup info shows. If we work together, we can knock this guy off. It would be a devastating blow to the rightwing fundamentalist lunatics who are his biggest supporters.

2006 and 2008 will be years of Democratic glory--if we want them to be.

Monday, December 05, 2005

WTF? Neil Bush and Rev. Moon Teaming Up

And it's to build a tunnel from eastern Siberia to western Alaska, which of course is in great demand.

This is the same Neil Bush who was involved in the Silverado Savings and Loan looting--er, collapse --in which the taxpayers took it on the chin to the tune of $1.3 billion--a sum more than twenty times as high as the entire loss by all investors in the so-called "Whitewater scandal" that was used to bludgeon Bill Clinton.

The same Neil Bush who's the brother of El Presidente.

Think the mainstream media will give a rat's ass?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Prominent Historians Rate Bush as a Failure

And a significant number rate him as the worst president ever. Check out these specific indictments by those who have studied the past most closely.

He has taken the country into an unwinnable war and alienated friend and foe alike in the process;

He is bankrupting the country with a combination of aggressive military spending and reduced taxation of the rich;

He has deliberately and dangerously attacked separation of church and state;

He has repeatedly "misled," to use a kind word, the American people on affairs domestic and foreign;

He has proved to be incompetent in affairs domestic (New Orleans) and foreign ( Iraq and the battle against al-Qaida);

He has sacrificed American employment (including the toleration of pension and benefit elimination) to increase overall productivity;

He is ignorantly hostile to science and technological progress;

He has tolerated or ignored one of the republic's oldest problems, corporate cheating in supplying the military in wartime.

James Buchanan, of course, is Bush's closest competition. Buchanan let the country slide into Civil War while trying to appease the slaveholding white South. So maybe it's a tie, or maybe Bush is simply the "next to lowest ranking president". But it's still pretty bad to be down there in the nether regions below Grant and Harding.

This is what comes from putting into office (through a coup d'etat in 2000) the most spectacularly unqualified and utterly dishonest major party candidate for president in our history. This is what the "patriotic" Republican Party has done. It's put us on the road to utter and absolute ruin. I guess that's how they show their "love" for America.

Radical Right: Those Opposed to Alito are "Anti-God"

Read the latest lies tumbling out of the rightwing fanatics. Typical garbage. Disgusting.

Bush's "Leadership" on the Economy: Thunderously Rejected

Emerging Democratic Majority has the public's verdict on Shrub's economic policies, and it's damning. Moreover, the public no longer believes Bush will be straight with them about economic--or any other--issues. Key finding:

The public has clearly concluded that something is very, very wrong with the way the Bush administration approaches the truth. In a recent Harris poll, by exactly 2:1 (64 to 32 percent), the public says the Bush administration “generally mislead[s] the public on current issues to achieve its own end”, rather than “provides accurate information regarding current issues”. And that’s 73-25–almost 3:1!--among political independents. [Emphasis added].

Go check out the details.

Listen to John Murtha Tell the Truth

It's right here.

I'm tellin' ya, when the rightwing freaks started attacking this man, they f----d with the wrong guy.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Psychotic Right: Taking on Coulter and O'Reilly

An excellent critique of two of the most vicious and morally perverted Republicans in the media, courtesy of HuffPost.

If a Democrat talked the way these two scumbags did, he'd be (justifiably) shouted down. Why aren't they?

Friday, December 02, 2005

Quick Opinions

Random thoughts on a Friday night:

  • Any pharmacist who objects to fulfilling prescriptions on religious grounds chose the wrong profession in life. He or she should get out. Period.
  • Before his little propaganda speech this morning touting the economy's performance, Bush knew that 10 U.S. Marines had been killed by a roadside bomb. He didn't mention this tragic fact because he didn't want to put a damper on his "good news". Bastard.
  • For the so-called "party of morality" the Republicans sure seems to have a disproprtionate share of sex perverts (try Googling Newt Gingrich, Helen Chenoweth, Dan Burton, Joe Scarborough, Bill O' Reilly, Scooter Libby, or Jeff Gannon with their names and the words sex or sex scandal added) and criminals (Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay, Ralph Reed, Grover Norquist, Duke Cunningham, and many more) which makes their obnoxious preaching even more insufferable. I detest dishonesty, but I think I detest hypocrisy about it even more.(Check this site for dirt on conservatives. I can't vouch for all of it, but it's fun to read.)
  • The U.S. economy's "health" is being put on the national credit card. Repeat after me: A national debt of more than $11,000,000,000,000 by 2010.
  • I don't give a damn what sexual activities consenting adults indulge in, premarital or marital, and I'm sick of the rightwing fanatics who think it's their right to interfere with them. Hey everybody, let's try something new: mind you own damned business.

Other than that, everything's hunky-dory.

Making the Case for Evolution--Again

This handy-dandy site is an excellent source for smacking down the creationist idiocy that runs through America like some kind of perverse, hard to kill weed. Take a look and spring its facts on the next person who starts spouting creationist fairy tales. It's fun and easy to make creationism look bad!

The So-Called "War on Christmas"

We're getting another round of the tired old conservative lie that progressives are trying to kill off Christmas as a holiday. The latest rightwing con artist to be yelping this BS is Fox News (naturally) "journalist" John Gibson. His arguments, and those of the other lying yahoos on the right, are thoroughly demolished here.

The supposed plot to kill off Christmas has been a mainstay of rightwing pinheads since at least 1921, and it has the stench of anti-Semitism around it. Read the article and see if you don't agree.

AND: A Golden Oldie from Hunter on DKos. Read what the Right had to say last year.

Bill O'Reilly's Hilarious Enemies List

Right wing hack and all around obnoxious jackass Bill O'Reilly is, a la Nixon, establishing an "enemies list" of those in the media who have offended him. The Sexual Harassment King is accusing such publications as The St. Petersburg Times of "smearing" him. How have his "enemies" reacted? Read about it here.

Was the 2004 Election Stolen?

The non-partisan Government Accountability Office has uncovered numerous irregularities in Ohio's voting procedures of 2 November 2004, when Bush supposedly carried the state by a little more than 100,000 votes out more than 5,600,000 votes cast. Intriguing evidence is cited here that that result may have been fraudulent.

If it is proved that both the 2000 and 2004 elections were indeed stolen, it would mean not only the collapse of the Bush-Cheney administration. It would mean the death of the Republican Party and the implosion of the conservative movement.

All of these would be good things. So I say--let's look into it.