Sunday, December 31, 2006

Last Year in Review

Courtesy of Dave Barry.

J. Miller's 2007 Predictions!!!

--The Chicago Bears are going nowhere. They will not be in the Superbowl. I kind of think they won't even get to the NFC championship game. Sigh.

--Television will continue to be increasingly obnoxious, flooded with advertising and product placement, and less and less seen by yours truly. I hope.

--El Presidente Idiota Grande will continue to find new ways to screw up the nation and the world, some of them astonishing in their creativity.

--Junk food will continue to be bad for you.

--I will finally graduate from high school.

Will You Still Need Me, Will You Still Feed Me...

when I'm 64?

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Good Riddance to Saddam

I'm glad the son of a bitch is dead. I can't think of anyone who deserved it more (although there are several other equally worthy candidates, in my view). But I find it interesting that Saddam was not executed for an atrocity such as gassing the Kurds in 1988. As Robert Scheer points out,
The irony here is that the crimes for which Saddam Hussein was convicted occurred before the United States, in the form of Donald Rumsfeld, embraced him. Those crimes were well known to have occurred 15 months before Rumsfeld visited Iraq to usher in an alliance between the United States and Saddam to defeat Iran.

The fact is that Saddam Hussein knew a great deal about the United States' role in Iraq, including deals made with Bush's father. This rush to execute him had the feel of a gangster silencing the key witness to a crime. [Emphasis added]
Indeed it did. There is so much that Saddam knew about the conservative Republicans who ran this country between 1981 and 1993 that you wonder what he took to the grave with him. The execution, while richly deserved, will forever prevent him from publicly testifying to these matters. Too bad.
I would have been really interested to hear a lot of his stories.

Friday, December 29, 2006

What Would the World Be Like...

if only...

The Worst People of 2006 Contest!

Here are some suggestions:

From biblioklept.

From AlterNet.

This previously noted list from Parade.

Last year's nominees from The Beast. (However, I'm willing to give God a break here.)

Let's hear it, people! Nominate your own personal choices. I'll publish all of 'em!

Top Science News of 2006

Courtesy of Discover Magazine, Scientific American, and Science News. (Who else?)

Sheer Pinheadism

Failure is just a success that hasn't happened yet!

OK, I gotta fresh batch of Kool-Aid. Line up on the right.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Some Enlightening Statistics

From the Drum Major Institute on the true nature of economic power and influence in America:

Wages that an average CEO earns before lunchtime: more than a full-time minimum wage worker makes in a year

Ratio of the average U.S. CEO’s annual pay to a minimum wage worker’s: 821:1

Percentage of Americans who feel chronically overworked: 30

Years of unused vacation time that American workers collectively give back to their employers each year: 1.6 million

Percentage of women earning less than $40,000 per year who receive no paid vacation time at all: 37

Fee Paris Hilton is seeking to host a New Year’s Eve party in NYC, Miami, or L.A.: $100,000 plus a private jet

Amount that Ms. Hilton is set to inherit from the Hilton Hotel fortune: $350 million

Number of times that Congress has reduced the estate tax since it last raised the federal minimum wage: 9

Longest period in which the federal minimum wage has not been increased: 1997–2006

Number of workers who would directly benefit from an increase in the minimum wage: 5.6 million

Number of very large estates that would directly benefit from a reduction in the estate tax: 8,200

Number of households using credit to cover basic living expenses: 7 in 10

Amount in tax breaks and subsidies that last year’s energy bill paid out to the gas and oil industry during a period of record profits and higher prices at the pump: $6 billion

Percent of African-American and Latino families that have zero or negative net worth, respectively: 31 and 38

Total Wal-Mart received in government subsidies, sometimes called “corporate welfare” by activists, in 2005: $3.75 billion

Percent of the decline in welfare caseloads that is due to TANF programs failing to serve families that are poor enough to qualify, rather than due to a reduction in the number of families poor enough to qualify for aid, in the ten years since “welfare reform”: 57

Percentage of the GDP that went to wages and salaries in the first half of 2006: 51.8

Projected total in Christmas bonuses that the five largest investment banks in New York City will pay out in 2006: $36 billion

Estimated additional amount U.S. workers would receive annually if all employers obeyed workplace laws: $19 billion

Ratio of compensation of CEOs of publicly traded defense companies to privates before September 11th, 2001: 190 to 1

Ratio in 2006: 308 to 1

Percentage increase in out-of-pocket medical expenses for the average American in the past 5 years: 93

According to exit polls in the midterm elections, percentage of Americans who think life for the next generation will be about the same or worse respectively: 28, 40

OK, I'm not some kind of firebrand leftwinger. I'm pro-capitalism, pro private enterprise, pro economic freedom. But it angers me when the political right in this country shouts about economic freedom and then RIGS THE SYSTEM IN FAVOR OF PEOPLE LIKE THEMSELVES. Yes, I said "rigs". This isn't free enterprise. This is right wing con artists playing everybody else for suckers. I'm particularly sick and tired of corporate welfare. Six billion freaking dollars in subsidies to oil and gas?? Let the oil and gas companies pay for their business expenses themselves, just as any business should. The entire list is interesting. As they say in the Blog Biz, read the whole thing. And then be reminded of what still needs to be done.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Goodbye to Gerald Ford

Former President Gerald R. Ford has died. Jerry Ford was a good, decent, upright man whom I both liked and voted for in 1976. If all the Republicans were like he was, I might not have had to leave. He was put in an extremely tough position in 1974 and he handled it with grace and dignity. He restored respect to the Presidency and he represented all that was best in our country.
God bless you, Jerry. America will miss you.

Again, Look at What We're Up Against

Media Matters, one of the most valuable sites on the internet, has amassed a priceless collection of quotes from the right wing lunatics who are otherwise known as America's conservative political commentators. If you read them with the same kind of grim fascination I do, you'll note the following:
--The number of comments advocating murder or even genocide.
--The amount of vicious racism and sheer hatred in many of them.
--The mindless advocacy of violence as a cure-all in every situation.
--The vile, disgusting personal attacks on anyone who disagrees with them, often couched in terms of insulting the person's physical features.
--The repeated accusations of treason hurled at anyone who criticizes the Right or George Bush's insane policies.
--And of course, the rampant homophobia. Always.
Pathetic. Appalling. And utterly typical of the "quality" of right wing commentary in America.
Makes you wonder who America's enemies really are.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Meme We Need to Spread: It's the Bush-McCain Iraq War

I used to respect John McCain deeply. He survived the most harrowing ordeals a human can go through with strength, courage, dignity, and honor. He usually spoke his mind forcefully and directly in the Senate. He was brutally and viciously smeared by George W. Bush's criminal campaign machine in 2000. And then, some strange things began to happen.
He refused to fight back against the lies about his own family.
He endorsed Bush in 2004, even as Bush's campaign was attacking a decorated Vietnam veteran in the campaign. He even physically embraced the Draft Dodger in Chief for emphasis.
He spoke out nobly against the use of torture by Bush--and then cravenly backed down.
He continued to present himself as a moderate, while compiling a hard right wing voting record in Congress, a man on whom Bush and Cheney could count every single time.
He has been the Iraq War's most consistent cheerleader in Congress.
And now he wants to increase the number of troops in Iraq. He doesn't want the 250,000 to 350,000 increase that might conceivably have a chance of restoring order. He advocates the kind of "surge" that Bush is talking about, inserting just enough troops to get a lot of them killed but not enough to do anything effective. He intends to run for president in part on his war hawkishness and his unwavering support for the Iraq adventure.
I say we give him what he wants. I say it's high time to start repeating, mantra-like, the slogan that apparently McCain wants us to embrace. It's not just Bush's war in Iraq.
It's the Bush-McCain War in Iraq.
McCain and W are two peas in the same pod, inextricably tied to the war. We should do everything in our power to associate McCain with the utterly catastrophic Bush Administration and the horrible disaster of the Iraq War. We must burn into the minds of the American people the link between McCain and the worst foreign policy disaster in American history.
After all, McCain has chosen it. I say we bow to his wishes.
Tie old John to the War. Every. Single. Time. We can.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Top 50 Stupidest Things Bush Said in His First Term!

Stolen directly from a Daily Kos commenter (who found it here), simply too priceless to not pass on.

"I promise you I will listen to what has been said here, even though I wasn't here." —at the President's Economic Forum in Waco, Texas, Aug. 13, 2002

"We spent a lot of time talking about Africa, as we should. Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease." —Gothenburg, Sweden, June 14, 2001

"You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.'' —Townsend, Tenn., Feb. 21, 2001

"We both use Colgate toothpaste." —after a reporter asked what he had in common with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Camp David, Md., Feb. 23, 2001

"Tribal sovereignty means that; it's sovereign. I mean, you're a — you've been given sovereignty, and you're viewed as a sovereign entity. And therefore the relationship between the federal government and tribes is one between sovereign entities." —Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 2004

"I glance at the headlines just to kind of get a flavor for what's moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are probably read the news themselves." —Washington, D.C., Sept. 21, 2003

"I'm the commander — see, I don't need to explain — I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being president." —as quoted in Bob Woodward's Bush at War

"I am here to make an announcement that this Thursday, ticket counters and airplanes will fly out of Ronald Reagan Airport." —Washington, D.C., Oct. 3, 2001

"The war on terror involves Saddam Hussein because of the nature of Saddam Hussein, the history of Saddam Hussein, and his willingness to terrorize himself." —Grand Rapids, Mich., Jan. 29, 2003

"I saw a poll that said the right track/wrong track in Iraq was better than here in America. It's pretty darn strong. I mean, the people see a better future." —Washington, D.C., Sept. 23, 2004

"Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties." —discussing the Iraq war with Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson, as quoted by Robertson

"I hear there's rumors on the Internets that we're going to have a draft." —presidential debate, St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 8, 2004

"Haven't we already given money to rich people? Why are we going to do it again?" —to economic advisers discussing a second round of tax cuts, as quoted by former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil, Washington, D.C., Nov. 26, 2002

"We need an energy bill that encourages consumption." —Trenton, N.J., Sept. 23, 2002

"After standing on the stage, after the debates, I made it very plain, we will not have an all-volunteer army. And yet, this week — we will have an all-volunteer army!" —Daytona Beach, Fla., Oct. 16, 2004

"Do you have blacks, too?" —to Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso, Washington, D.C., Nov. 8, 2001

"This foreign policy stuff is a little frustrating." —as quoted by the New York Daily News, April 23, 2002

"I got to know Ken Lay when he was head of the — what they call the Governor's Business Council in Texas. He was a supporter of Ann Richards in my run in 1994. And she had named him the head of the Governor's Business Council. And I decided to leave him in place, just for the sake of continuity. And that's when I first got to know Ken and worked with Ken." —attempting to distance himself from his biggest political patron, Enron Chairman Ken Lay, whom he nicknamed "Kenny Boy," Washington, D.C., Jan. 10, 2002

"It is white." —after being asked by a child in Britain what the White House was like, July 19, 2001

"I couldn't imagine somebody like Osama bin Laden understanding the joy of Hanukkah." —at a White House menorah lighting ceremony, Washington, D.C., Dec. 10, 2001

"For every fatal shooting, there were roughly three non-fatal shootings. And, folks, this is unacceptable in America. It's just unacceptable. And we're going to do something about it." —Philadelphia, Penn., May 14, 2001

"I don't know why you're talking about Sweden. They're the neutral one. They don't have an army." —during a Dec. 2002 Oval Office meeting with Rep. Tom Lantos, as reported by the New York Times

"You forgot Poland." —to Sen. John Kerry during the first presidential debate, after Kerry failed to mention Poland's contributions to the Iraq war coalition, Miami, Fla., Sept. 30, 2004

"I'm the master of low expectations." —aboard Air Force One, June 4, 2003

"I'm also not very analytical. You know I don't spend a lot of time thinking about myself, about why I do things." —aboard Air Force One, June 4, 2003

"I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe — I believe what I believe is right." —Rome, Italy, July 22, 2001

"We need to counter the shockwave of the evildoer by having individual rate cuts accelerated and by thinking about tax rebates." —Washington, D.C. Oct. 4, 2001

"People say, how can I help on this war against terror? How can I fight evil? You can do so by mentoring a child; by going into a shut-in's house and say I love you." —Washington, D.C., Sept. 19, 2002

"I wish you'd have given me this written question ahead of time so I could plan for it...I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with answer, but it hadn't yet....I don't want to sound like I have made no mistakes. I'm confident I have. I just haven't — you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I'm not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one." —President George W. Bush, after being asked to name the biggest mistake he had made, Washington, D.C., April 3, 2004

"The really rich people figure out how to dodge taxes anyway." —explaining why high taxes on the rich are a failed strategy, Annandale, Va., Aug. 9, 2004

"My plan reduces the national debt, and fast. So fast, in fact, that economists worry that we're going to run out of debt to retire." —radio address, Feb. 24, 2001

"You know, when I was one time campaigning in Chicago, a reporter said, 'Would you ever have a deficit?' I said, 'I can't imagine it, but there would be one if we had a war, or a national emergency, or a recession.' Never did I dream we'd get the trifecta." —Houston, Texas, June 14, 2002 (There is no evidence Bush ever made any such statement, despite recounting the trifecta line repeatedly in 2002. A search by the Washington Post revealed that the three caveats were brought up before the 2000 campaign — by Al Gore.)

"See, free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don't attack each other. Free nations don't develop weapons of mass destruction." —Milwaukee, Wis., Oct. 3, 2003

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." —State of the Union Address, Jan. 28, 2003, making a claim that administration officials knew at the time to be false

"In Iraq, no doubt about it, it's tough. It's hard work. It's incredibly hard." —repeating the phrases "hard work," "working hard," "hard choices," and other "hard"-based verbiage 22 times in his first debate with Sen. John Kerry

"The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him." —Washington, D.C., Sept. 13, 2001

"I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority." —Washington, D.C., March 13, 2002

"But all in all, it's been a fabulous year for Laura and me." —summing up his first year in office, three months after the 9/11 attacks, Washington, D.C., Dec. 20, 2001

"I try to go for longer runs, but it's tough around here at the White House on the outdoor track. It's sad that I can't run longer. It's one of the saddest things about the presidency." —interview with "Runners World," Aug. 2002

"Can we win? I don't think you can win it." —after being asked whether the war on terror was winnable, "Today" show interview, Aug. 30, 2004

"I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace." —Washington, D.C. June 18, 2002

"I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn't do my job." —to a group of Amish he met with privately, July 9, 2004

"Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." —speaking underneath a "Mission Accomplished" banner aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, May 1, 2003

"We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories ... And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them." —Washington, D.C., May 30, 2003

"Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere!" —President George W. Bush, joking about his administration's failure to find WMDs in Iraq as he narrated a comic slideshow during the Radio & TV Correspondents' Association dinner, Washington, D.C., March 24, 2004
"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." —Washington, D.C., Dec. 19, 2000

"There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." —Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002

"Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country." —Poplar Bluff, Mo., Sept. 6, 2004

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." —Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004

"My answer is bring them on." —on Iraqi insurgents attacking U.S. forces, Washington, D.C., July 3, 2003

Monday, December 18, 2006

Bush Should Resign Now. For the Good of America

They've got to go, both of them. Both the pathetic George W. Bush and the vile, misanthropic troll known as Dick Cheney.
They have utterly lost the confidence of the people.
Their Iraq adventure has turned into a catastrophe.
Their economic and fiscal policies have mortgaged our nation's future and made us beholden to lenders such as the Chinese.
They have brought our nation's reputation in the world down to new depths.
They have sanctioned torture, disgracing our nation's traditions.
They have failed in every single sense of the word.
There is only one option left. Cheney should resign and allow Bush to appoint a moderate Republican as vice president. Then Bush should resign, elevating the moderate to the Presidency.
Yes, I know it would give the Republicans a shot at winning in 2008. I realize that. But it's for the good of America.
Which is exactly why I know Bush won't do it.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Friday, December 15, 2006

Democrats, the People Want Us to Govern!

As Kevin Drum says, they're practically begging us to.

Goodbye and Good Riddance to Rumsfeld

R. J. Eskow at HuffPo explains why he won't be missed.

His most famous quote was not only flippant but dishonest, since it was used to conceal his own managerial incompetence, lack of proper planning, and indifference to the human cost of his actions. Let's not forget the question that prompted it, either, from a soldier serving in Iraq:

Army Spc. Thomas Wilson: Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles? And why don't we have those resources readily available to us?

Rumsfeld: It isn't a matter of money. It isn't a matter on the part of the army of desire. It's a matter of production and capability of doing it. As you know, ah, you go to war with the army you have--not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.--You can have all the armor in the world on a tank and it can (still) be blown up...
Rumsfeld's press conferences were widely noted for his bullying, confusing, and often incoherent comments. What was less obvious to most press observers was that his elliptically-phrased aggression was an intentional strategy. He kept reporters confused, intidimated, and off-balance while showering the public with his muddled thinking, cynical manipulations, and flat-out lies.

Cheney called Rumsfeld the best defense secretary in history. Bush said pretty much the same thing. The rampant J. Miller, on the other hand, thinks Rumsfeld is the greatest disaster since Robert McNamara and perhaps the worst Defense/War Secretary our Republic has seen. A lying, arrogant con man and a bully who thought he knew better than those who had served a lifetime in the military, he did incalculable harm to our country and the world. He approved of and ordered the use of torture as well, dishonoring his office in the process.
Good Riddance, Donny, you thug, you incompetent clown, you fuckup. To hell with you.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Darn Tootin'!

Human Excreta Gather in Tehran

Yes, they've been excreted from every corner of the world to denounce the "myth" of the Holocaust. And among this proud assembly will be the lovely former Klan chief David Duke.

Iran began a meeting that included Holocaust deniers, discredited scholars and white supremacists from around the world Monday under the guise of a conference to debate the Nazi slaughter of 6 million Jews.

Among those representing the United States was former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, who in prepared remarks issued by the Iranian Foreign Ministry says the gas chambers in which millions perished actually did not exist.

Robert Faurisson, an academic from France, said in his speech that the Holocaust is a myth created to justify the occupation of Palestine, meaning the creation of Israel.

This is what Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, frequently has claimed. Ahmadinejad's statements inspired the foreign ministry to hold the conference. The ministry says 67 people from 30 countries were participating in the two days of meetings.
You know, you get sick of arguing with certain people, so I'm not going to. I'll just point you to the following sites if you have any questions:


The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Simon Wiesenthal Center.
The purpose of Holocaust denial is simple: to make Nazism look respectable. These bastards in Tehran are sick, evil scumwads, one step (barely) above pedophiles. I hate to admit it, but there are times when a large gas main explosion wouldn't be a bad idea. I have a certain location I'm hoping for in this regard.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Another Reason to Be Grateful Jim Webb Won

Watch this video and you'll see why.

It makes me proud to be an American.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Friday, December 08, 2006

I Didn't Know Whether to Laugh or Be Horrified

You really, really, really need to check out this site.

Just trust me on this. You won't be disappointed. Samples:

"If God ordered me to slaugter a whole nation, I would at least try to."

"Pick one Islamic "Holy City" and nuke it. This becomes an object lesson, then for the Jihadis to learn from. It would show, for once that we say what we mean, and mean what we say."

"Homosexual relationships
Homosexual marriage
They are all lined up. The anti-family agenda of the Left is prepared, and each item will be pushed in turn until, bit by bit, enough people say, about each of the items: "Not that there's anything wrong with it..."

A New Low--30% Approve, 68% DISAPPROVE


Support for the President waned in key demographic groups, the Zogby poll shows. Among all Republicans, just 60% gave him a positive job rating, while 39% gave him negative marks. Just 9% of Democrats and 22% of political independents gave him good marks for his work. Among married respondents – typically a group who favors Republicans – just 35% said Bush was doing a positive job. Among men, another favorable GOP demographic, just 31% gave him positive marks, while 69% gave him a negative rating. Even among stalwart Born Again respondents, just 43% had positive ratings for the President on his overall job performance.

Twenty-two percent approval among independents?? Sixty-nine percent disapproval among men?? We're heading to Nixon Watergate territory, folks! I believe the Republican Party will pay a terrible price for having put this ill-qualified boob in the White House. The Republicans will deserve every pounding they get. In 2000, they put someone on the ticket who was literally no more than a name, a man who shouldn't be running a K-Mart, much less the United States of America. The Republicans showed their contempt for us and their contempt for the country itself. And now they're stuck with him. Hell, I hear there's even talk that Bush won't be asked to speak at the 2008 Republican convention. No candidate for office wants to be seen with him. He's the political kiss of death.
I say he ends up with the lowest approval rating of any president since pollsters began measuring popularity. What do you think?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What a Surprise! Bush is a Complete Failure!

Yes, the Iraq Study Group is out with its report:

President Bush's war policies have failed in almost every regard, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group concluded Wednesday, and it warned of dwindling chances to change course before crisis turns to chaos with dire implications for terrorism, war in the Middle East and higher oil prices around the world.

Nearly four years, $400 billion and more than 2,900 U.S. deaths into a deeply unpopular war, violence is bad and getting worse, there is no guarantee of success and the consequences of failure are great, the high-level panel of five Republicans and five Democrats said in a bleak accounting of U.S. and Iraqi shortcomings.

It said the United States should find ways to pull back most of its combat forces by early 2008 and focus U.S. troops on training and supporting Iraqi units. The U.S. should also begin a "diplomatic offensive" by the end of the month and engage adversaries Iran and Syria in an effort to quell sectarian violence and shore up the fragile Iraqi government, the report said.

It followed by a day the sobering appraisal of Robert Gates, who was confirmed Wednesday as Bush's new Pentagon chief, that the United States is not winning in Iraq.

"Despite a massive effort, stability in Iraq remains elusive and the situation is deteriorating," the independent report said. "The ability of the United States to shape outcomes is diminishing. Time is running out."
Now, raise your hands out there if you think the Emperor With No Clothes is going to make any truly substantive changes in his Iraq policy, or acknowledge in any way that the disaster in Iraq is his fault. Ha. I didn't think so. It's just not his style to admit mistakes, take responsibility, act like a grown man, or be anything but the spoiled, lazy minded, arrogant little teenage boy that he is. We have almost 3,000 dead Americans and perhaps as many as 650,000 dead Iraqis because of his judgments. What makes anyone think he'll own up to any of them?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Just in Time for the Holidays...The Worst of Everything!

Ten worst polluted places in the world.

Ten worst dictators in the world.

The world's worst city (surprise, surprise).

The worst regimes in the world.

Ten worst places in the world to be gay.

Ten worst album covers of all time.

The worst places in the world to visit.

The worst popular songs ever.

The worst people in history, although my list might be ordered differently.

The worst natural disasters ever, although many of them had human assistance.

The worst movies ever made.

The worst baseball teams of all time.

The worst food.

The worst toys.

Merry freaking Christmas.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Jim Webb Refuses to Kiss Bush's Ass

Senator-elect Jim Webb (D-VA) has garnered some criticism from right wingers for not being sufficiently deferential to the Boy King in a recent encounter. In this meeting, Bush tried his typical verbal bullying and Webb wasn't buying it. Eleanor Clift will fill us in:
President Bush, spying Webb across the room, walked over to him and asked, “How’s your boy?” Webb’s son is a Marine in Iraq.

A more seasoned politician might have been flattered that the president knew his son was in the line of fire and bothered to ask about him. That wouldn’t be Webb, a best-selling author who got into electoral politics for primarily one reason, his opposition to the Iraq war. “I’d like to get them out of Iraq,” he replied, according to several published accounts. “That’s not what I asked you,” Bush said, repeating his question: “How’s your boy?” Webb’s reply: “That’s between me and my boy.” Afterward, a source told The Hill newspaper that Webb was so angered by the exchange he was tempted to slug the guy. That might have prompted the Secret Service to pull their weapons, which wouldn’t have been the first time Webb, a highly decorated Vietnam combat veteran, faced the barrel of a gun.
It’s justice long overdue for a president who has so abused the symbols of war to get his comeuppance from a battlefield hero who personifies real toughness as opposed to fake toughness. Bush struts around with this bullying frat-boy attitude, and he gets away with it because nobody stands up to him. Bush could have left Webb’s initial response stand, but no, he had to jab back—“That’s not what I asked you.” Webb is not one to be bullied. He knows what real toughness is, and it’s not lording it over people who are weaker than you, and if you’re president, everybody by definition is weaker.
Man, it is so refreshing to have Bush confronted by a genuine man instead of a toadying, brown nosing ass kisser--the latter being a description that fits most of the people in his administration. Bush tried his usual interpersonal thuggishness and it didn't work. It's the difference between an overgrown boy who joined the National Guard to avoid Vietnam and a genuine American hero who earned our nation's second highest military decoration (among others). Webb's official citation:
The Navy Cross is presented to James H. Webb, Jr., First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as a Platoon Commander with Company D, First Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam.

On 10 July 1969, while participating in a company-sized search and destroy operation deep in hostile territory, First Lieutenant Webb's platoon discovered a well-camouflaged bunker complex which appeared to be unoccupied. Deploying his men into defensive positions, First Lieutenant Webb was advancing to the first bunker when three enemy soldiers armed with hand grenades jumped out.

Reacting instantly, he grabbed the closest man and, brandishing his .45 caliber pistol at the others, apprehended all three of the soldiers.

Accompanied by one of his men, he then approached the second bunker and called for the enemy to surrender. When the hostile soldiers failed to answer him and threw a grenade which detonated dangerously close to him, First Lieutenant Webb detonated a claymore mine in the bunker aperture, accounting for two enemy casualties and disclosing the entrance to a tunnel.
Despite the smoke and debris from the explosion and the possibility of enemy soldiers hiding in the tunnel, he then conducted a thorough search which yielded several items of equipment and numerous documents containing valuable intelligence data. Continuing the assault, he approached a third bunker and was preparing to fire into it when the enemy threw another grenade.

Observing the grenade land dangerously close to his companion, First Lieutenant Webb simultaneously fired his weapon at the enemy, pushed the Marine away from the grenade, and shielded him from the explosion with his own body.

Although sustaining painful fragmentation wounds from the explosion, he managed to throw a grenade into the aperture and completely destroy the remaining bunker.

By his courage, aggressive leadership, and selfless devotion to duty, First Lieutenant Webb upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.
Can you even conceive of Bush showing that kind of bravery? So Georgie boy, don't try to pull any bullshit with Jim Webb. He'll hand you your lying, cowardly ass if you try. I guess the Boy King gets flustered when he sees someone who represents everything that he, George II, isn't.
Damn, it's gonna be GREAT to have Jim Webb in the Senate!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Now This Just Goes Too Far

But it's still pretty funny.

BTW, this is what inspired me to post such a tasteless clip--an even more tasteless one.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

On Hiatus Until 1 December

I'll be ready to rant again, but I need to recharge. Talk to you later.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Confronting Hunger--I Mean, "Low Food Security"--in America

It's my personal belief that no one in this country, however poor, should ever go hungry. My late mother, who was one of the finest people I ever met, said it was a simple matter of right and wrong. America is so rich that there just isn't any excuse for it. And now, with 35 million Americans going chronically underfed, the Bush Administration is trying to deal with the situation in part by relabeling hunger with a bureaucratic euphemism. BradBlog has the story here.
Well, you don't have to wait in order to do something yourself. I urge you to consider a donation to one of the following:

Feed the Children.

Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Heifer International.

Most of us have been blessed. I know many of you already help, and I know I should do more. It's time to wipe this problem out once and for all--now!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Oh Yeah!

(Thanks to Al Rodgers at DKos)

Glenn Beck: Total Jackass

Glenn Beck this Evening used Holocaust remembrance and the vow "Never again!" as a rhetorical device to attack Hillary Clinton's emphasis on health care reform. Yes, just as Holocaust survivors say "Never again!", so we should all say "Never again!" to Hillary proposing changes in health care. He also said that Hillary tried to ruin the "best health care system in the world."

I almost threw something through the fucking television. Why in the HELL does this dick have a show on CNN?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I Won't Forget

I won't forget the phony Republican robocalls that were used to discredit Democratic candidates by harassing voters with messages that were supposedly from the Democrats.
I won't forget how the Republicans have apparently stolen a House race in Florida through rigged voting machines.
I won't forget the "cut and run" accusation wielded by a rightwing Republican chickenhawk against a legless Democratic Iraqi war veteran.
And like Gene Lyons, I won't forget President Pinhead's campaign rhetoric:
For most of six years, Bush governed as if there was never going to be another election. He acted as if the whole country had turned into East Texas or Alabama. So before we get all fuzzywarm and bipartisan, let’s recall his inept and disgraceful performance during the 2006 campaign.

“The Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this,” he said. “The terrorists win and America loses.”

In essence, the president of the United States had accused his opponents of treason. Asked about it by a reporter after the traitors turned out to represent a clear majority of Americans, Bush played it off like a high school “Heather.” Just kidding ! Why, of course presumptive Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are strong patriots like himself. “What’s changed today,” he said, “is the election is over and the Democrats won.”

What glassy-eyed throngs of Bush cultists who’d cheered the president’s divisive rhetoric were supposed to make of that wasn’t immediately clear. Had their champion been conning them all along ?
No, I won't forget the casual way these bastards called me and people like me traitors. I won't forget the rightwing hate radio and cable tv scum verbally spitting in my face for years. And I won't forget that 2008 is yet another opportunity to bury the rightwing lunatics even deeper and smash their wretched, America-destroying policies. No, I won't forget. I've got one long-ass memory.
And I'm a vindictive son of a bitch.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hey Rush! Thanks for the Democratic Senate!

Haw! I love it. Claire McCaskill, Democratic Senator-elect from Missouri, thanked Rush Limbaugh for helping her win. Evidently, Limbaugh's vicious smearing of Parkinson's victim Michael J. Fox was enough to tip the balance in the Missouri race--to the Democrats.
Limbaugh went too far when he blasted actor Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, on the eve of the midterm elections.

One view is that all's fair in politics, and Fox had put himself in the public arena by becoming a spokesman for the pro-stem cell research faction. But everyone deserves to be treated with respect and compassion. Whether Limbaugh was guilty of bad manners or bad politics, it didn't matter. And even when he explained his remarks afterward, his comments had a hollow ring.

In hindsight, it would have been wise for Limbaugh to leave Fox alone, especially after Fox shook violently during television commercials. But Limbaugh couldn't do that.

Instead, trying to make Fox look as bad as possible, Limbaugh said he suspected that Fox hadn't taken his medication. He reckoned that Fox had exploited his illness as a slick way to boost the public's appeal for federally funded embryonic stem cell research. The stem-cell issue had become a pivotal part of McCaskill's campaign in Missouri (and the initiative ultimately passed).

Here is the irony. If Republican Jim Talent had defeated McCaskill, the Republicans would have held on to control of the U.S. Senate. Not only did Limbaugh hurt Talent, he ended up screwing the whole Republican Party
He sure did, and I thank him for it. I hope it won't be the last time this vile example of walking excrement screws the Republican Party. He's hurt this country in so many ways in his long and dishonorable history that it's the least he can do.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Tribute to Donald Rumsfeld

See it here.

Ah, memories.

Hey Republicans! Show Your REAL Colors in 2008!

Talk among the Republicans is that they lost last week because they weren't conservative enough.
OK, here's what I want the Republicans to run on in 2008:
1. The public schools should be abolished.
2. Social Security should be completely privatized and ultimately abolished.
3. America should be officially declared a "Christian Nation" and non-Christians should be declared second-class citizens.
4. All abortions should be outlawed, even in cases of rape or incest.
5. Birth control should be legally restricted or even eliminated.
6. A nuclear attack should be made on Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons.
7. Homosexual acts should be declared a crime, punishable by prison or death.
8. The state should have the ultimate decision making power in matters of life support for patients in a permanent vegetative state.
9. The state should have the power to restrict or outlaw "non-procreative" sex, even among married heterosexuals.
All of these positions have actually been advocated by various members of the Republican coalition. I say the right wingers should have the courage of their convictions and run on these ideas unflinchingly. In fact, I think they should be the cornerstone of the Republican platform.
Why? Because the Democrats would win a landslide of historic proportions, winning every state in the Union in the presidential election (with the possible exception of Utah) and more than 300 seats in the House and 65 in the Senate. That's why the Republicans won't do it.
They'd like to.
But they don't have the guts.
I dare them.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Daddy to the Rescue

This post in Newsweek is about how Bush 41 and his team have been called in to try to rescue the miserable, failed, rejected presidency of Bush 43. Getting rid of Rumsfeld and replacing him with Robert Gates was the first move. (Gates, by the way, was involved in Iran Contra up to his armpits and I'd like that connection explored thoroughly.)
I don't think a rescue is going to happen. I think Dubya's reign is beyond help. It kind of fits a pattern, though. All through his life Dubya has relied on Dad to bail him out of everything. To bail him out of legal trouble. To bail him out of going to Vietnam. To bail him out of business failures. My God, the elder Bush has been a total enabler of this guy. His eldest son's complete failure should be no surprise to him--he's seen it before.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Let's Always Remember America's Veterans

They've given up more for us than we can ever know or repay. Thank you, to all veterans who served honorably. You'll always be heroes to me.

The Republicans: No Longer a National Party

The Republican Party essentially no longer exists in a key area of the nation: the Northeast. For our purposes here, the Northeast consists of the six New England states and the five MidAtlantic ones. Here's how the region shapes up politically:
--In the last four presidential elections, the Republicans have achieved one victory in the Northeast--NH in 2000. The Democrats have won 43, not counting carrying DC every time (which is a given).
--The northeastern states have 92 members of the House. Following Tuesday's GOP bloodbath in the region, the Democrats hold a 68-24 margin in them.
--Out of 22 northeastern senators, 17 are now Democrats and 5 are Republicans. Three of the Republicans are, moreover, considered non-conservatives.
--With the capture of governorships in New York, Maryland, and Massachusetts, the Democrats now hold 8 of the region's 11 governors. Moreover, Democrats made gains in the state legislatures of the region as well.
People talk about how the Democrats have pretty much disappeared in the South. Well, I'd say that judgment is premature. But the hardest mission in American politics today isn't the one the Democrats face in Dixie--it's the one the Republicans face from the Potomac to the Canadian border.

Friday, November 10, 2006

On the Road to Becoming the Majority Party Again

Check out the exit poll stats here. In the House, the vote was 53% Democratic, 45% Republican. In the Senate, the Democratic advantage was 55%-41% (!).

Now I call that an ass kicking.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


The Democrats won the House of Representatives, gaining 25-35 seats. Santorum went down, Blackwell went down BIG, Harris in Florida went down by a MILLION, and the Senate might--might--be in our grasp. The Democrats won BIG!!

Thank you America!! Thank you!!

Little Ricky Bites the Dust

Buh-bye Rick! CNN has declared Democrat Bob Casey the new U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania. One of the most dangerous radicals in America has gone down to a crushing defeat.

Damn, this is sweet!

See ya later Santorum. Don't let the door hit you on the way out!
Save our country. Save the world. Save your family. Save yourself.


You'll be glad you did.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Bill Maher Swinging the Hammer--Hard!

Check it out here.

Help It Go Viral, Baby!

GREAT new video that says it all! Find it here.

The Democrats Answer Burns' Pathetic Lies in MT

Check it out here.

Seriously, these right wing Abramoff connected criminals will say anything. Burns has been lying through his teeth; we're setting the record straight.

Whew! He's Got 'Em Stirred Up!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Weller Using Racial Smears

Republican Slimeball (a redundancy, I realize) Jerry Weller is circulating an ugly racist mailer in his bid to win a thoroughly undeserved reelection in IL-11. The Chicago Tribune has the story:
The mailer, sent out this week by Weller's campaign, depicts a larger-than-life Jackson in front of the Chicago skyline, holding puppet strings attached to John Pavich--Weller's challenger in the 11th District.

"With John Pavich in Congress, Jesse Jackson Jr. will be pulling the strings and controlling the third airport in Will County," it states.
Jackson, a Democrat who represents southern Cook County and a small portion of Will, and Republican Weller, who represents a suburban and rural area stretching from Joliet to Bloomington, back competing plans for a third regional airport near Peotone in Will County."Mr. Weller is using deception to exploit racial fear in order to save his political career," Jackson said in a statement. "It's disgusting, but not surprising."Pavich, a Democrat from Beecher who is trying to unseat six-term incumbent Weller, accused his opponent of "race baiting."
"There is a striking similarity between Mr. Weller's portrayal of my image and the racist propaganda used to negatively portray African-Americans," Pavich said.
Nobody, and I mean absolutely nobody, should be surprised by this. Weller is an evil, corrupt man who in 2004 married into the most notorious crime/murder/terror family in Central America. No Republican in America deserves defeat more--and brothers and sisters, there are a whole lotta Republicans who deserve defeat.
Did you ever notice that when a Republican is desperate, he starts slinging the racist filth?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The National Press: Kissing Rush Limbaugh's Ass

The whole vomit-inducing story can be found here.

It seems only the Canadian press covered Limbaugh's follow up statement to his so-called "apology" for his gutter level attack on Michael J. Fox. Here is what Fat Bastard actually said:
Days later, as the controversy raged, Limbaugh was even clearer, insisting, "I stand by what I said [about Fox]. I take back none of what I said. I wouldn't rephrase it any differently. It is what I believe. It is what I think. It is what I have found to be true."

That quote was key to understanding the radical, remorseless position Limbaugh had staked out for himself. And here, according to a search of the Nexis database, is a list of major Canadian papers that published the direct, "I stand by what I said" quote from Limbaugh:

The Edmonton Journal, The Gazette (Montreal), the Regina Leader-Post (Saskatchewan), the National Post, the Ottawa Citizen, the Saskatoon StarPhoenix (Saskatchewan), The Province (Vancouver, British Columbia), the Vancouver Sun (British Columbia), and the Windsor Star (Ontario)

Meanwhile, here's a list of major American newspapers that published the same revealing quote from Limbaugh:

Limbaugh is NOT a legitimate political commentator. He's a vicious, lying, smearing radical right wing propagandist. He represents, along with the entire leadership of the Republican Party, everything that is evil, sick, corrupt, and debased about our political culture. He's PROUD that he attacked MJ Fox, and our conservative-kowtowing media doesn't have the guts to report it. Disgusting.
Read the whole thing, as they say in Blogistan.

Spread It Around!!

"Because of Iraq..."


UPDATE!! I've fixed the link!!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bush Joking About WMDs in Iraq

While our men are being killed and horribly wounded. See it here.

Just a little reminder.

The Republican View of Our Troops

"Soldiers are just cowards with their backs against the wall. The lowest IQ men in our society, those incapable of normal careers enlist. Their choice in life; prison or the military. Some will have to die in the support of our cause."

Ann Coulter - Intervention Magazine, 11/06/03

Monday, October 30, 2006

Funniest. Ad. Ever.

This is almost too good. See it here.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

What the Hell?? Republicans Getting Contributions from Gay Porn King??

It's true. Josh Marshall has the story here. Heh heh heh.

The hypocrisy of the Republicans is staggering. On the one hand they bash gays and stir up vile hatred against them. On the other, they harbor all kinds of closeted gays--like RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman--who attack others of the same sexual orientation. In truth, I really don't give a rat's ass who the pornographers give money to. But the Republicans always make a big deal out of it, and I'm glad to help expose their moral and political fraud once again.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Let's Make This Video Go Viral!

It's about one of my least favorite Senators--George Allen. See it here. AND THEN SPREAD IT AROUND!!

My God, the Republicans are running so very many loathsome candidates this year--Allen in Virginia, Santorum in Pennsylvania, Burns in Montana, Blackwell in Ohio, Peter Roskam here in Illinois, Pombo in California, and tons more. Flush 'em all out, folks--flush 'em all out!

Gee, I Wonder What Happened?

Hmmm. Interesting. Note how the growth of the national debt levels off in the 1990s and takes off to stratospheric levels from about 2001 onward.

I wonder what could account for that?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Michael J. Fox Slaps Down Lying Bastard Limbaugh

And maintains more dignity in doing so than I would. His powerful interview with Katie Couric is linked to an article here.
Fox shows bravery, good humor, and quiet passion in this interview. He has more integrity in his left index finger than Limbaugh has in his whole bloated, corrupt body.

"The Worst Congress Ever"

I can't add anything to that. Rolling Stone has a powerful argument ripping the lid off the almost unbelievable criminality, corruption, dishonesty, and incompetence of the Republican-run Congress under Bush. You can read it here.
Congress was corrupt in the era of the Robber Barons in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many members of Congress have lined their own pockets over the years. But the Republicans have taken corruption to such fantastic levels that it has become a patriotic duty to remove them from power. Happily, we will have that opportunity on 7 November.
(Thanks, Lance, for tipping me off about this via the related article about the ten worst members of Congress. Guess which party 9 of the 10 belong to?)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

From Think Progress Comments Today: Stories the "Liberal" Media Haven't Covered

Brace yourself:

1) Downing Street Memos
2) Media Ownership (deregulation)
3) Disappearance of Habeas Corpus
4) Fairness Doctrine no longer enforced
5) Freedom of Information Act ratcheted up
6) Bush family close relationship with Bin Ladins
7) Bush family close relationship with the recently departed (yeah right) Ken Lay (Enron)
8) The strategic importance of running that oil pipieline thru Afghanistan
9) Congress working to draft legislation to strangle internet (net neutrality)
10) Military Bases in Iraq
11) All the old Iran-Contra players currently working for Bushco
12) The scummy manner which the medicare prescription bill was passed that has allowed drug companies to make off like bandits
13) Journalists targeted in Iraq
14) The danger posed by a 6 trillion dollar national debt
15) The danger posed by unregulated hedge funds
16) Why labor gets almost no TV time and management dominates the airwaves
17) Oil executives secretly meeting to write our energy policy (fascism)
18) Bankers allowed to write bankruptcy bill (fascism)
19) Voting Integrity (a few stories hitting airwaves now weeks before election..too late)

20) Purging of voter rolls..see for info that'll make u sick!
21) Depleted Uranium from the hundreds of thousands of shell casings in Iraq
22) Delay and Abramoff running sweat shops/prison camps in Marinas Islands and forcing young Chinese girls into prostitution then abortions
23) Fake, gay (not a fake gay but a fake reporter) reporter Jeff Gannon sleeping over at White House multiple times.
24) Sibel Edmonds being silenced and what she knows about 9/11, Denny Hastert and illegal arms sales.
25) Bill Frist sneaking legislation into a Defense bill to protect big Pharma from lawsuits.
26) Choicepoint collecting data on you perhaps even your DNA.

Yeah, those damned pro-Democratic "liberal media". [Via Alterman]

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

DESPICABLE: Vile Attacks on Tammy Duckworth

Read the story here of the gutter campaign being waged by the Republicans in IL-6's House race. Roskam is a lying prick. And you can quote me on that.

Pass It Along!!

Great new ad from the DNC, nailing the lying sons of bitches about "Stay the Course". Check it out here.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Is There ANY Lie This Son of a Bitch WON'T Tell??

Please, you have to check this out. It is so utterly brazen, so shameless, so despicable that I can hardly believe anyone would dare to say it.

Incredible. This guy is either a psychopath or the biggest f'in fool in American history. To paraphrase Mary McCarthy, "Everything Bush says is a lie, including and and the."

An Ad That Packs a Punch

This is a GREAT ad I saw on You Tube, courtesy of a DKos commenter. Take a look. I'd like to see it on national TV.

A Statement from Pat Tillman's Brother You Need to See

Pat Tillman, as you all know, was an NFL star who enlisted in the Army to serve our country. Tillman died, tragically, in a friendly fire accident in Afghanistan in early 2004. At first, the Radical Right tried to expolit his death, but then it came out that Tillman had been opposed to the Iraq war and was urging his friends to vote for John Kerry. It also came out that the government lied constantly to Tillman's parents, who protested this dishonesty publicly and were promptly insulted and smeared by Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity. Now Tillman's brother Kevin, also a veteran, has released a devastating statement that you owe it to yourself to read:
It is Pat Tillman's birthday November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice.... until we get out.

Much has happened since we handed over our voice:

Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can't be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.

Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few "bad apples" in the military.

Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It's interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.

Somehow the more soldiers who die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.

Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.

Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.

Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.

Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.

Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.

Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.

Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.

Somehow torture is tolerated.

Somehow lying is tolerated.

Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense.

Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.

Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.

Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.

Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.

Somehow this is tolerated.

Somehow nobody is accountable for this.

In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don't be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that "somehow" was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.

Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat's birthday.
God bless you, Kevin Tillman. Folks, I know I only have a handful of readers on this little blog but could you do me a favor? Please circulate Tillman's statement as widely as you can. Too much is at stake for you not to.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

On Having Realistic Expectations

The current wave of dissatisfaction sweeping through the U.S. electorate, coupled with very favorable generic poll numbers for the Democrats, has given many of us the sense that a Democratic landslide is coming. While I think we will definitely make gains, I would simply caution my friends to not anticipate too much. The United States may be thought of as an enormous ship that's been traveling at high speed. It will take us time, perhaps two or three elections, to stop its rendezvous with the iceberg Bush has us heading toward and turn it around.

We need to be realistic.

Generic poll results do not always mean success in particular races, as we all know here on DKos. Anger at the Republicans does not always affect the Republican candidate in a given state or district, who may be well known and liked by the electorate there. We have to further temper our expectations by remembering that the GOP has about a two year jump on us in terms of microtargeting voters. Although we have made great strides in this respect, we are still behind the curve. The Republicans still have the monetary advantage, although we have closed the gap mightily. The right still has its noise machine going full blast. And the expectation that the hardcore Republican voters will not show up in the same numbers as previous years is simply not plausible. In short, although I think we will win the election, it will not come up to the more optimistic expectations of some of us.

In the Senate, I sense that Chafee is through and that Whitehouse will win. I think Casey will prevail over Santorum. We then have to look at probabilities. Of the set comprised of Brown (OH), Ford (TN), McCaskill (MO), Webb (VA)and Tester (MT), I see no more than 1 or 2 victories in that group, with Brown having the best shot. In NJ Menendez will survive; in MD Cardin will survive. In CT, I am not optimistic about Lamont. In short, I don't see a Democratic Senate, although our numbers will be around 48 or 49. This, hopefully, should make it harder for Bush to ram atrocious Supreme Court nominees through the Senate.

In the House, as the Foley scandal fades, local issues will reassert themselves. A Democratic landslide in NY with Hillary and Spitzer winning by gigantic margins may pull in two or three new Democrats with them. We may win 1 new seat in IN, one in IL (although I don't see it), and a scattering of other races in AZ and CA, among others. I see a Democratic gain of 10-12 seats, leaving the House 220-215 Republican. This may give us a shot at making temporary alliances on key issues with the dwindling number of GOP moderates in the House. It will be harder for the radical right to push us around in the House. But we will not control the agenda.

We will, obviously, gain the governorship of NY. We will elect Deval Patrick in MA and Ted Strickland in OH. We will probably win new Governor's chairs in CO and MD as well. Angelides will lose, perhaps more narrowly than we now think, a golden lost opportunity. Our candidates for Governor will do well overall, and we will retain OR, and MI. We will make important progress in the state legislative and executive races such as those for Secretary of State.

Yes, we need to keep working and contributing. But let's be honest with ourselves. It took a while to bring the U.S. to the edge of the disaster in which it finds itself. It will take the elections of 2006, 2008, and 2010 to reverse this disaster. We will ultimately prevail because we are right, we care intensely, and the truth is with us. All of the crimes and mistakes of the Republicans will catch up with them. But not all at once.

The searing disappointment and depression we suffered after November 2004 has made me cautious, I suppose. I also know the right still controls the electoral machinery in many areas and can suppress our vote in many ways. Life has taught me not to get my hopes up too high. We will have success, and we will eventually save our country.

But it will take time.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Sorry I Haven't Posted Much This Week

I've been pretty fatigued. Politics is burning me out a little, right now. I'll try to get back on track.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Jerry Weller and the Butcher of Guatemala

There are some Republicans that are blatantly and arrogantly corrupt. Then there are those who are quietly corrupt, almost stealthily so. IL-11 Republican congressman Jerry Weller falls into the second category. But in his own way, he's as bad a Republican as any running anywhere in this country.

He was elected in the Republican sweep of 1994, promising to serve only 12 years maximum. (So much for that empty promise.) He has been a reliable vote for Bush, voting with the Republican line some 95% of the time. He's accepted money from Tom DeLay and is implicated in the Abramoff scandal. He's opposed to stem cell research and he's too gutless to talk extensively about Iraq. He's the utter captive of the lunatic religious right, and the summary of his record on key issues is appalling. From gay bashing homophobia to attacking teachers to advocating the privatization of Social Security, he's atrocious, as radical as almost any right wing member of Congress gets. He also has an utterly lousy record on helping disabled veterans, supporting them only 13% of the time on key votes. These things alone would merit his political destruction. But what really astonishes me is his connection to one of the most vicious mass murderers in the history of our hemisphere: his father in law, the notorious Guatemalan right wing criminal José Efraín Ríos Montt. Here's Rios-Montt's record:

1982 - On 23 March, after Romeo Lucas García has been deposed as president in a military coup, Ríos Montt is asked by the coup leaders to take control of the country. A three-member junta is formed, with Ríos Montt as its head, the constitution annulled, parliament dissolved, political parties suspended, and the election law cancelled.

Ríos Montt promises that the junta will "end corruption, guarantee respect for human rights and revitalise our institutions". Guatemalans and the international community initially welcome the coup, hoping it will herald a more humane and less corrupt regime.

However, the various guerrilla factions, united under the banner of Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG), denounce the Ríos Montt junta and step up the attacks.
In April the junta passes the 'National Plan for Security and Development', which identifies the main regions of conflict. A state of siege is declared as the junta and military high command prepare to expand the army's anti-guerrilla activities in the countryside.

On 20 April the junta and military high command officially launch operation 'Victoria 82' (Victory 82), a "scorched earth" military campaign designed to destroy the support base of the guerrillas. The campaign makes no distinction between guerrilla combatants and the mainly Mayan civilian population in the targeted areas, inducing widespread terror.

On 8 June Ríos Montt disbands the junta and assumes the presidency, ruling as a dictator. He also acts as minister of defence until 31 August. In October Ríos Montt orders the 'Archivos' intelligence unit to apprehend, hold, interrogate and dispose of suspected guerrillas as they see fit.

The 14 months of Ríos Montt's rule become the bloodiest in Guatemala's history since the invasion of the country by the Spanish some 400 years earlier. Mayans suspected of sympathising with the guerillas suffer mass killings and atrocities, including the rape of women and girls, and the widespread use of torture. Over 400 Mayan villages are razed. Crops and livestock are destroyed. The insurgency is contained but with a tragic human cost.

As the terror reigns, Ríos Montt broadcasts weekly sermons on morality. His regime and policies are supported by the US Government and US-based, right-wing religious groups. US President Ronald Reagan is reported as saying that Ríos Montt is "a man of great personal integrity" who is "getting a bum rap on human rights".

1983 - The state of siege in Guatemala is lifted, political activity is once again allowed and elections scheduled. The US reinstates military training assistance in January, authorising the sale of US$6 million of military hardware. However, on 8 August Ríos Montt is ousted in another military coup.

It is estimated that during the period of Ríos Montt's rule about 70,000 civilians have been killed or "disappeared". During the period 1981 to 1983 about 100,000 have been killed or "disappeared" and between 500,000 and 1.5 million displaced, fleeing to other regions within the country or seeking safety abroad.

"When I arrived in the government, we began a change in the state," Ríos Montt later says. "We realised that it shouldn't be the state of a single boss, the state of a regent, the state of a king, but a state that guarantees the rule of law, a state that serves."

Referring to the genocide that occurred during his rule, he says, "I can't deny anything, nor can I corroborate or prove anything. I'm at an impasse. ... If there is proof that shows that I am responsible, then I'm going to wind up a prisoner, because I do not want by any means to evade my responsibility."

1985 - The Guatemalan Government passes a new constitution. The document includes a provision forbidding former dictators and those who participated in coups from standing as presidential candidates.

1987- Guatemala begins to move towards peace when representatives of the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG) and the government establish a dialogue during a meeting in Spain. The government also creates the National Reconciliation Commission. However, both sides continue to engage in armed actions.

1991 - Jorge Serrano Elías, a right-wing businessman and close ally to Ríos Montt is elected president in January. Ríos Montt had wanted to run for the post but is prevented by the constitutional ban preventing former dictators from standing as presidential candidates.
1992 - Guatemalan human rights activist Rigoberta Menchú Tum is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "in recognition of her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples".

Meanwhile, in October the government and representatives of Guatemala's large exiled population sign an agreement defining the conditions for their collective return from Mexico. The first group of refugees returns on 20 January the following year.

1994 - UN-moderated peace talks begin between the Guatemalan Government and the URNG. An early outcome is the signing of an accord to establish a Commission for Historical Clarification (CEH) in order "to clarify with objectivity, equity and impartiality, the human rights violations and acts of violence connected with the armed confrontation that caused suffering among the Guatemalan people".

In August a new parliament is elected in Guatemala. It is controlled by the right-wing Frente Republicano Guatemalteco (FRG - Guatemalan Republican Front), headed by Ríos Montt, and the centre-right National Advancement Party (PAN).

1995 - The URNG declares a cease-fire. In April the Guatemalan Government and the URNG sign the 'Accord on the Identity and Rights of Indigenous Peoples' acknowledging that the issue "of identity and rights of the indigenous peoples constitutes a point of fundamental and historic importance for the present and future of Guatemala."

The indigenous peoples "have been particularly subjected to levels of factual discrimination, exploitation and injustice because of their origin, culture and language ... and suffer unequal and unjust treatment," the accord says.

The accord commits the government to act to end civil rights abuses against the indigenous population by recognising ethnic discrimination as a crime, publicising the rights of the indigenous peoples through education, the media and other means, and opening the legal system to indigenous communities.

The government will also sign the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples being developed by the UN and implement constitutional reforms to establish indigenous cultural and linguistic rights. Communities will be given the right to "change the name of places where they live, when it be so decided by the majority of its members".

However, the accord will not take effect until a final peace pact is signed. The accord also fails to meet Indian and URNG demands for ancestral territory, local political autonomy and measures to alleviate the extreme poverty of Indian groups.

On 23 June the government and the URNG chart the road to lasting peace when they sign the 'Accord of Oslo'. The accord outlines measures for widespread social reforms, including the drafting and approval of a national reconciliation law, and activates the Commission for Historical Clarification (CEH).

The commission has the backing of the UN as well as governments from around the world and international non-government organisations. It will spend four years interviewing survivors and identifying and examining gravesites. It will receive thousands of testimonies, speak to former heads of state and the high command of both the army and the guerrillas, and read thousands of pages of documents submitted by non-government organisations. It hopes that by establishing the truth of the violence committed during the civil war it will aid the process of reconciliation.
Meanwhile, Ríos Montt again tries to run for the national presidency but is again prevented by the law forbidding former dictators and those who participated in coups from standing as candidates.

1996 - Peace comes at last on 29 December when the URNG and government sign the 'Accord for Firm and Lasting Peace', ending the 34-year civil war, the longest in Latin America's modern history. The Civilian Civil Self-defence Patrols are disbanded. The National Police is disbanded in 1997.

1998 - Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera presents the Roman Catholic Church's Recovery of Historical Memory ('Never Again') Report detailing the Guatemalan Army's involvement in the atrocities of the civil war. The report attributes about 90% of human rights violations committed during the conflict to the state forces. Two days later, on 26 April, the bishop is beaten to death.
In 2001 three army officers and a Roman Catholic priest are brought to trial for the murder. Despite intimidation of prosecutors, witnesses and judges involved in the case the three are convicted. The officers are sentenced to 30 years jail each. The priest receives a 20-year sentence. The identities of those responsible for issuing the order to kill the bishop are never revealed.

Ríos Montt is meanwhile reelected for a third term as head of the FRG on 19 June 1998.
On 29 December, the president of Guatemala asks for forgiveness for the human rights violations committed by the military and its operatives during the civil war. The call follows a more limited appeal for forgiveness made by the URNG on 19 February.

Also during the year, US President Bill Clinton publicly apologises for his country's support of Guatemala's past regimes.

1999 - In May the Commission for Historical Clarification (CEH) hands down its report. Titled 'Memory of Silence', the report finds that the army and the Civilian Civil Self-defence Patrols were responsible for 93% of the human rights abuses documented by the CEH, including 92% of the arbitrary executions and 91% of "forced disappearances". Eighty-five percent of all abuses are attributable to the army, and 18% to the patrols.

The guerrilla groups are held responsible for 3% of the human rights abuses, including 5% of the arbitrary executions and 2% of forced disappearances.

Of all the violations documented by the CEH, 91% were committed during the years 1978 to 1984.

"The majority of human rights violations occurred with the knowledge or by order of the highest authorities of the state," the report states.

"In consequence, the CEH concludes that agents of the state of Guatemala, within the framework of counterinsurgency operations carried out between 1981 and 1983, committed acts of genocide against groups of Mayan people which lived in the four regions analysed."

The report documents 42,275 victims of human rights violations and acts of violence connected with the civil war, including 23,671 victims of arbitrary execution and 6,159 victims of forced disappearance. Eighty-three percent of the identified victims are Mayan, and 17% are Ladino (people of European decent). According to the CEH, these figures "are only a sample of the human rights violations and acts of violence connected with the armed confrontation".

Weller married in November 2004, after winning his sixth term. You can check out the biography of his wife here. An excerpt:

In 2003, Zury Ríos Montt was accused of being one of the organizers of Guatemala's jueves negro ("Black Thursday"). [12] In mid-2003, the FRG was again trying to get General Ríos Montt on to the presidential ticket, arguing that applying the constitutional ban preventing former coup leaders from seeking the presidency should not apply to him in accordance with the principle of nonretroactive application of the law: his 1982 coup d'état preceded the enactment of the 1985 Constitution. After a series of court decisions ruling alternately that he could or could not run, culminating with a 21 July 2003 ruling by the Supreme Court suspending his candidacy, on Thursday, 24 July 2003 FRG officials and supporters led a mass demonstration in Guatemala City to protest his disqualification. The demonstration degenerated into a bloody riot that left one man dead (journalist Héctor Fernando Ramírez); it was, however, perceived as having been successful in getting General Ríos Montt's name on the presidential ballot when, a week later, the Constitutional Court overturned the Supreme Court's ban.

Although General Ríos Montt ultimately lost the November 2003 election, he enjoyed his daughter's full support. Zury Ríos accompanied her father on his campaign trail, generally introducing him, in highly favorable terms, before he addressed his rallies. She was quoted in the press as saying, "my father is my inspiration."

What makes all of this even more outrageous is that Weller is vice chair of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. As such, he is in a position to reward Guatemala's ruling classes:

In January 2005 Weller became vice chairman of the western hemisphere subcommittee, by far the most important committee in Congress writing legislation on Latin America and the war on drugs and overseeing U.S. policy on those issues. "The western hemisphere subcommittee has been one of the only ones overseeing U.S. drug policy, and it has been the main one making U.S. drug policy," says Adam Isacson of the watchdog group Center for International Policy. "It has huge influence." The 16-member committee also focuses on trade and democracy in the region. Weller often talks about these issues as they relate to Caribbean and Latin American countries--but not Guatemala, even though it has 12.7 million people, a third of the population of Central America. He voted for CAFTA, the free-trade agreement that includes Guatemala, but he doesn't talk about specific trade possibilities with that country. He also doesn't talk about democracy in Guatemala, which is fragile at best, and he doesn't talk about money laundering or drug trafficking there, even though up to 70 percent of the drugs that enter the U.S. come through Guatemala. [Emphasis added] All of which raises questions about whether he's doing everything he can to address the concerns of his constituents. He's painted himself into a corner, and he seems to be making no effort to get out.

Sickening. Absolutely sickening. Weller is one of the worst Republicans in the country, so naturally he has the enthusiastic support of every corporate interest to which he has sold out. (Tragically, he has some minor support from some misguided unions as well.) He has a formidable financial advantage over his opponent, John Pavich and an overwhelming advantage in cash on hand. (Note that 61% of Weller's of money comes from PACs, as opposed to 14% for Pavich.) And some of Weller's money has an interesting source. From the DCCC stakeholder:

U.S. Rep. Jerry Weller accepted a campaign contribution from the owner of a phone-sex operation, his election opponent's campaign reported Thursday. A Weller spokesman acknowledged the donation, but downplayed its significance.

With just more than two months until the Nov. 7 general election, the 11th Congressional District race is heating up between six-term incumbent Weller, a Morris Republican, and former CIA intelligence officer John Pavich, a Beecher Democrat.

Pavich's office issued a press release stating Weller accepted contributions from Jeffrey Prosser, a "phone sex operator" in April 2005. The statement alleges Prosser paid Weller because Weller went to Belize and attempted to reverse the seizure of a Belizean telephone company Prosser owned. Weller's office says the trip was related to his work and was not personal.

"It now appears that Mr. Weller will accept cash from anyone and will pay it back tenfold," said Pavich's campaign manager, Matt Pavich. "I guess that if the voters of the 11th (District) want representation from this congressman, they better pay up first."

Folks, John Pavich needs your help!! Check out his campaign web page here. And make a contribution, if you can, to John's campaign by going here. My district, where 3 out 5 people disapprove of Bush, shouldn't be represented by someone as low and disreputable as Jerry Weller. We need your help. I know many people are asking for your support. But anything you could do would be appreciated.

Do it for our country. Do it for our future.

And do it for the 70,000 people killed by Jerry's father in law, the Butcher of Guatemala