Friday, June 30, 2006

Typical: Republican Sen. Candidate in NJ Will DELIBERATELY Spread Lies

Wretched little punk Tom Kean, Jr. (I emphasize junior to differentiate him from his father, who has some integrity) has announced that he will use Swiftboat tactics to attack the campaign of Democratic Senator Robert Menendez. And no, the Swiftboat term is not coming from me--it's coming from him:
Kean campaign officials have sought to erode their opponent's public biography, charging that virtually every moment of Mr. Menendez's career has been mired in graft and bossism. That includes his early days in Union City, where Mr. Menendez has said that he acted to thwart a racketeering scheme involving his own political associates and organized crime figures — a claim that is documented in public records and corroborated by independent authorities.

Nevertheless, the Kean campaign will challenge that biography in "a long-form film," Mr. Leonardo said, just as commercials broadcast in 2004 attacked Mr. Kerry's military record. Those commercials, relying on claims by a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, purported to expose Mr. Kerry's military decorations as exaggerated or fraudulent. Although the premise and many elements of the Swift boat advertisements were strongly disputed, as a whole they were seen as successful in hobbling the Kerry campaign.

"The similarity between the Swift boat ads and this movie — you have two individuals who have told stories for a political purpose and the facts just don't jibe," Mr. Leonardo said. "And these two individuals were able to get away with telling it their way for more than a decade and a half. I would say it's very similar in that way."

Mr. Kean's most serious charge is that Mr. Menendez was "part of a massive illegal kickback scheme" as a Union City official in 1978, and not the courageous truth teller depicted in his résumé. Mr. Kean charges that Mr. Menendez cooperated with prosecutors to keep himself out of jail.

Mr. Kean's charges are not, however, supported by the public record and were repudiated by independent authorities including the four assistant United States attorneys who prosecuted Union City officials of that era for racketeering and corruption. There is no truth, those former officials say, to the Kean campaign's charge that Mr. Menendez made a deal to keep himself out of prison.
[Emphasis added]
Yes, folks, just when you think these Republican bastards have hit bottom, they manage to dig a trench and dive deeper. Kean is morally and ethically bankrupt and his political career deserves to be utterly destroyed. I hope this bullshit blows up in his face. After he loses to Menendez on 7 November, I hope he fades into a well deserved life of failure and obscurity.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Devastating Message to the Mainstream Media

You know them, don't you? The ones responsible for giving us the most inept, incompetent, dishonest leadership in our country's history? Well, one correspondent to another blog has a pretty strong summary of their sins--and what they should do about it:
All those years of making excuses for George W. Bush's ineptness, inadequacies, and illegalities have earned you absolutely nothing. You brushed aside his lack of experience and intellectual incuriosity in 1999 and 2000, mostly because you didn't like Al Gore. Your behavoir gave him a much better position from which to steal the 2000 election.
You bought the spin from Bush's minions, ignoring the crisis that was taking place in Florida after the election. You believed every lie they came up with, from 'The votes have been counted and re-counted and re-counted' to 'Al Gore is trying to steal the election,' and you decided that letting Bush take office (in the most literal sense possible) was 'best for the country.'
You papered over the fact that he was scared out of his mind on September 11, 2001 - to the point where he flew to Idaho to hide - in favor of painting him as a 'resolute leader.' You swallowed, hook, line, and sinker, every lie that came out of the White House in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq - in many cases embellishing the lies to make them sound more plausible.
You let the elite members of your profession use their positions as opinion-shapers to shove cooked intelligence down the throats of the American public. You placed that cooked intel on the front pages of every newspaper and magazine in the country, and you played that cooked intelligence at the top of every hour on your cable news outlets.
You never once asked, 'Where is Osama bin Laden?'
You followed him, with your TV cameras, to every single place he went to vent his spleen about terrorists, giving him hours and hours of free face time to repeat his lies. You ignored that people were being arrested for speaking against him, that his audiences were hand-picked, that protestors were being put in pens at great distances from every venue in which he ever appeared.
You bought 'Mission Accomplished' by the pound. You cleared the shelves of 'shock and awe,' exhausted the stocks of 'smokin' 'em out,' drank gallons and gallons of GOP Brand Kool-Aid. You 'embedded' youselves with the military and took everything the military told you at face value - even if it directly contradicted reality as we know it.
You reported staged events like the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue as if they were real news events. And even after the American public started to wise up and wipe the terra-dust from their eyes, you still insisted upon calling him a 'popular president.'
You helped his employees ruin the reputations of fine men who served this country honorably - letting them compare a man who gave three limbs in service to this country with Osama bin Laden. You took a highly-decorated war veteran - you know, the kind of person that you all love to say you 'support' and 'honor' - and ran his reputation into the mud, somehow making his exemplary service seem shameful.
You justified Bush's expansion of executive power to the point where we don't even need Congress, giving them their new job of stage managers for completely meaningless staged events like the Terri Schiavo fiasco or railing against gay marriage and making sure nobody burns an American flag or dares utter the words that Iraq is bleeding us dry, killing our kids and destroying our reputation as 'the good guys,' worldwide.
You made excuses for his illegal spying on the American people. You offered weak justifications for his naked power grab, you laughed off the fact that his second-in-command shot a man in the face.
You made Ann Coulter socially acceptable.
And after all this, Bush and Cheney and Congress and Coulter and every wingnut pundit, whom you've coddled and accomodated every step of the way, show their appreciation how?
They want to muzzle you. They want to imprison you. They want to try you for treason.
Although I've reproduced most of the post, go check out the poster's recommendations for what the media should do about all this.
And then say, "Amen."

Veterans Attack Phony Flag Amendment

Of all the ways the Republicans (and Democrats too intimidated not to go along with it) try to distract Americans from the terrifying failures of right wing governance, the anti-Flag burning amendment, offered up every election year, is perhaps the most ludicrous. Flag desecration is rare. As a national problem, it is of ZERO importance. This whole charade is merely an absurd Punch 'n' Judy show, giving people an excuse to whack those whose views they hate. It's about as far removed from real sacrifice and real, put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is patriotism as possible. It's the kind of thing designed to make people feel good, kind of like putting a yellow ribbon on your SUV.
I despise flag burners, but I despise the American Nazis, the Klan, and Stalinists, as well. But you know something? The assholes have a right to express themselves, too. So I was encouraged to see this:
The most decorated war veteran in the Senate, Hawaii Democrat Dan Inouye opposed the amendment. "This objectionable expression is obscene, it is painful, it is unpatriotic," Inouye said of flag burning. "But, the winner of the Medal of Honor for his service in World War II, told the Senate, "I believe Americans gave their lives in many wars to make certain all Americans have a right to express themselves, even those who harbor hateful thoughts."

Inouye was hardly alone in that sentiment.

"The First Amendment exists to insure that freedom of speech and expression applies not just to that with which we agree or disagree, but also that which we find outrageous," explained former Secretary of State and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell, in his classic statement of opposition to attempts to craft a "flag-burning" amendment. "I would not amend that great shield of democracy to hammer a few miscreants. The flag will be flying proudly long after they have slunk away."

Former U.S. Senator John Glenn, a World War II Marine Corps veteran and space-program hero, shares the view that it is not necessary to alter the Constitution. "Those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, who died following that banner, did not give up their lives for a red, white and blue piece of cloth," said Glenn. "They died because they went into harm's way, representing this country and because of their allegiance to the values, the rights and principles represented by that flag and to the Republic for which it stands.

Lawrence J. Korb, a Vietnam veteran and top aide in Ronald Reagan's Department of Defense, said, "(During) my years of military and civilian service during the cold war, I believed I was working to uphold democracy against the totalitarianism of Soviet Communism expansionism. I did not believe then, nor do I believe now, that I was defending just a piece of geography, but a way of life. If this amendment becomes a part of our Constitution, this way of life will be diminished. America will be less free and more like the former Soviet Union and present-day China.

James Warner, a former prisoner of war and domestic policy adviser to President Reagan, argued against the proposed amendment, saying, "People are born free. It says that in the Declaration of Independence. They have a right to express their opinions, even if I don't like the opinions they express or the means by which they express it. They have a right to say it, even if those opinions are incoherent."

Luckily, before they voted, a good many senators considered the words of these veterans, and of Gary May, the chairman the national group Veterans Defending the Bill of Rights, who said. "I lost both of my legs in combat while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam. I challenge anyone to find someone who loves this country, its people and what it stands for more than I. It offends me when I see the flag burned or treated disrespectfully. But, as offensive and painful as this is, I still believe that those dissenting voices need to be heard."
Yes, this is one of those issues that separates the Americans who really understand what America is about from the ones who don't. I'm proud to be an American--and I'm proud to oppose this nonsensical pseudo-patriotic measure.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Yet Another Right Wing Child Molester Convicted

This time, it's the guy who made up a wildly dishonest anti-Clinton ad in 2000. It doesn't really surprise me, to be honest.
A jury deliberated almost two days before convicting Carey Lee Cramer, 44, of aggravated sexual assault of a child, two counts of indecency with a child by contact and one count of indecency with a child by exposure. He was cleared of nine other charges Tuesday.

The sentencing phase of the trial was scheduled to begin Wednesday. Cramer faces up to 149 years in prison.
Republicans: The Party of Family Values

Things the Republicans in Congress Think Are Important, and Things They Don't

Yes, it's the so-called "American Values Agenda" and it's the usual carload of right wing insanity. This is what Congress thinks we should be focusing on:
The "American Values Agenda" also includes a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage — which already has failed in the Senate — a prohibition on human cloning and possibly votes on several popular tax cuts.

"Radical courts have attempted to gut our religious freedom and redefine the value system on which America was built. We hope to restore some of those basic values through passing this legislative agenda and renewing our country's commitment to faith, freedom and life," Speaker Dennis Hastert' R-Ill., said Tuesday.

The priorities are part of competing attempts by the two parties to appeal to target voters in the fall campaign, with control of the House and Senate at stake. It's unclear how many of these bills might clear Congress and reach President Bush's desk, given the controversy many will cause and the relatively short time remaining before the two-year Congress ends.

Still, political strategists argue that by bringing controversial issues to a vote, one party can broadly emphasize differences with the other on an issue such as abortion, and increase the determination of its own supporters to go to the polls. Several GOP aides, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Republicans were hoping to increase voter intensity among conservatives.
"Radical courts have attempted to gut our religious freedom"?? Absolute raving, lying bullshit. This whole sewer of legislation Hastert and the other rightwing thugs are pushing is the same tired collection of measures intended to stir up hatred of gays, make gunowners paranoid, score meaningless pseudo-patriotic points, and feed Religious Right persecution fantasies. Yes, it is indeed merely an election year ploy to stir up the ugliest of the right's fanatics and get them to the polls.
Meanwhile, David Sirota makes a strong case for what's really wrong:
- The American Journal of Public Health reports more than 1,700 African Americans die each week because they don't have the same access to health care as other Americans.

- The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 110 workers die each week in workplace fatalities - many of which could be prevented by better enforcement of basic workplace laws by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (which is being gutted by budget cuts).

- The Pentagon reports roughly 15 American soldiers die each week in Iraq.

- The Environmental Working Group reports that 192 Americans die each week because of exposure to asbestos.
Please, please, PLEASE, in the name of what is right, sane, fair, and truly American, PLEASE give the Democrats--
  • Your money.
  • Your time.
  • Your effort.

We can go on letting America be swindled, lied to, and distracted by the Republicans who are dragging this country into catastrophe, or we can fight back.

There isn't much time left. What will you do to stop the phony "American Values Agenda"--and force Congress to look at real American values?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Now Damn It, THIS Is How You Fight Back!

I love it! Right wing scumbag Senator George F. Allen tried to question Democratic Senate candidate Jim Webb's patriotism, and Webb RIPPED Allen a new one:
Arlington—The campaign of U.S. Senate candidate Jim Webb today called the attacks on Webb’s patriotism by Allen’s campaign, “weak-kneed attacks by cowards” and demanded that Allen and his campaign apologize.“George Felix Allen Jr. and his bush-league lapdog, Dick Wadhams, have not earned the right to challenge Jim Webb’s position on free speech and flag burning. Jim Webb served and fought for our flag and what it stands for, while George Felix Allen Jr. chose to cut and run. When he and his disrespectful campaign puppets attack Jim Webb they are attacking every man and woman who served. Their comments are nothing more than weak-kneed attacks by cowards. George Felix Allen Jr. needs to apologize to Jim Webb and to all men and women who have served our nation,” Webb spokesman Steve Jarding said. [Emphasis added]
On Tuesday, George Felix Allen Jr. and his campaign issued a press release in which the Allen campaign, through Wadhams, implied that Webb’s position in support of the Free Speech Amendment to the U.S. Constitution amounted to a political act and not a defense of our Constitution, which Webb fought for and for which he was highly decorated. George Felix Allen Jr. did not serve.“I believe it is precisely because of bush-league attacks [Heh!] like this that John Zogby, a highly respected, independent polling expert just this week said that Dick Wadhams is not fit to serve as a campaign manager and that George Allen should find a new manager,” Jarding said.“While Jim Webb and others of George Felix Allen Jr.’s generation were fighting for our freedoms and for our symbols of freedom in Vietnam, George Felix Allen Jr. was playing cowboy at a dude ranch in Nevada. People who live in glass dude ranches should not question the patriotism of real soldiers who fought and bled for this country on a real battlefield,” Jarding said.
Oh YEAH, baby! HELL yeah! If John Kerry had counterattacked the lying Swiftboat assholes two years ago as fast and as mean as Webb just counterattacked George Felix Allen (AKA "Waste of Skin), the history of our country would be a lot happier now.

I Just Want to Hear Him Deny It

There is a story in politics, commonly attributed to Lyndon B. Johnson, about how LBJ wanted to circulate a rumor attacking his opponent in a Texas election. Johnson, it's said, wanted to spread the story that his opponent liked to have sex with barnyard animals. One of LBJ's aides said, "We can't prove he's a pig f----r."
"I know that," replied Johnson. "I just want to hear him deny it."
Rush Limbaugh was detained for several hours at the Palm Beach airport yesterday for having non-prescription Viagra (and maybe some other stuff as well, it's not clear). He was returning from the Dominican Republic, a popular "sex tourism" destination where rich white men can have sex with underaged, desperate, sex-slave Dominican girls. Putting two and two together, I wonder: is that why Pigboy was down there, committing legal rape with the help of his non-scrip ED medicine?
I can't prove it. I just want to hear him deny it.

Bush Bounce? Bull.

Check it out, gang. He's still DESPISED by the vast majority of the country.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Kos Fires Back at Right Wing Clown David Brooks

Since conservative New York Times columnist and Bush apologist David Brooks has seen fit to attack the entire Democratic/liberal/progressive/left blogosphere, our friends at Daily Kos (who have been the specific target of Brooks' ire) led by mcjoan, have decided to fire back. It's both devastating and hilarious. Brooks is exposed as the very articulate wanker and fraud that he actually is. I enjoyed it tremendously.
The sheer damned nerve of someone like Brooks is amazing to me. Right wing hate radio has been spewing out lies and filth for more than a decade. Republican shills Coulter, Hannity, Limbaugh, and O'Reilly call anyone who dares to criticize Dear Leader a traitor and a terrorist lover. Republican campaign operatives, led by Karl Rove, attack Democrats with every vile, despicable charge imaginable. (My "favorite": a Republican National Committee pamphlet in 2004 which said that Democrats want to outlaw the Bible!!) And who is responsible for lowering the national level of discourse? Why, us, of course, in the Dem/Lib/Prog/Left blogosphere! What a crock.
Hey Davey boy. It's called fighting back. I know you prefer your Democrats to be all cringing and apologetic and meek. Too bad. You and the other conservative shills are helping to destroy our country by aiding and abetting the worst collection of liars and outright thieves in American history. Those of us in the opposition are going to fight you tooth and nail. If you don't like it, that 's too bad.
Deal with it.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Russ Feingold: My Kind of Democrat

In regard to Connecticut's primary battle, he hits EXACTLY the right note: he will support the winner of the Democratic Primary, whoever it is. That, by the way, is something Joe Lieberman refuses to say. Money quote:
Senator Feingold gets it. This is not about betraying a member of the Senate Democratic caucus or about sending the right or wrong signal to the Beltway press. This is about democracy in action. This is about allowing Democratic voters, and not the party bosses, decide the fate of the party. And no matter how the Democratic electorate in Connecticut votes in August -- whether it is to renominate Joe Lieberman for a fourth time or to give Ned Lamont the opportunity to run in the general election -- Democrats should, just like Russ Feingold, pledge to support the Democratic nominee.
Damn straight. I'll even--choke--support Lieberman, if only to keep the seat (nominally) Democratic.
But I'm still for Ned Lamont.

Very Cool

Check this out to get a sense of perspective. (Be sure to scroll all the way down.)

Friday, June 23, 2006

I Saw Jonathan Kozol Last Night

The esteemed author of Savage Inequalities and The Shame of the Nation was speaking Friday night at the school at which I teach. I have only read brief excerpts from Kozol's books and an article here and there. I was completely unprepared for how passionate, informed, funny, and caring he really is. And his message is an important one.
It is Kozol's contention that we are abandoning our poorest kids to lousy educations because we refuse to spend the resources on the poor that we need to. The source of the funding disparities in American education? Reliance on property taxes as the chief source of school funding, which means that in devastated inner city schools, the money just isn't there. He made a number of powerful and compelling points, which I'd like to summarize briefly:
  • The states with the four most segregated school systems (in order) : New York, Illinois, Michigan, and California.
  • Sometimes wealthy people who spend over $40,000 a year on New England prep schools for their teenagers will ask Kozol, "Is money really the answer to education problems?" Kozol said that sometimes he just simply replies, "Well, it sure seems to work for your kids."
  • His greatest inspiration and close friend? Fred (Mr.) Rogers, whom Kozol called one of the greatest advocates for children ever to bless our country. Kozol told a wonderful anecdote. He and Mr. Rogers were visiting an inner city school. A delighted little six year-old boy ran up to Mr. Rogers, hugged him, kissed him on the head, and said, "Welcome to my neighborhood!" (I kind of choked up hearing that because the ability to inspire that kind of love in children is rare. I genuinely respected Fred Rogers, who was a beautiful human being in every way, a genuine hero.)
  • Kozol asked, (my paraphrase) "Why do the best people have the worst schools named after them?" He cited Martin Luther King and Jackie Robinson as examples, each of whom generally has wretched schools named in his honor. He asked why can't the bad schools be named for the people who are truly hostile to public education, like William Bennett, Clarence Thomas, or George W. Bush?
  • Kozol earned my lasting gratitude for saying what I've contended for a long time: the purpose of "No Child Left Behind" is to humiliate the public schools by demanding such high standards (my favorite example is 100% math proficiency in all high school students by 2014) that no public school could possibly meet them. This will allow the Radical Right to label the public schools as failures, and "soften the ground" (Kozol's phrase) for privatization of the school system and vouchers.
  • Kozol ripped into high stakes standardized testing, saying it is doing terrible damage to genuine teaching. Many inner city principals are now so terrified of looking bad on standardized tests that they have their teachers doing nothing but drilling for the test, sometimes even to the point of reading scripts to the children, from which there can be no deviation. (This is tragic, in my view.)
  • American public schools are more segregated now than at any time since the death of Martin Luther King.
  • There are schools in Los Angeles so crowded that one teacher Kozol met had six classes a day of approximately 40 kids each. If you're not a teacher, you may not fully appreciate how staggering a burden that actually is. The school, with 5,000 kids, only has classrooms for half of them. The other half learn in trailers that have been set up next to the schools. How can kids in a such a setting compete on an equal basis with kids from beautiful, well-funded suburban schools? (My school is the latter, fortunately for me.)
  • There needs to be more emphasis on aesthetic beauty in our schools. Ugly, decrepit surroundings kill the spirit of children. (Hear hear!)

I fully intend to immerse myself in Kozol's books, and I urge all teachers (and anyone else who cares about education) to sign up for his e-mail list. He is a true friend of teachers, principals, and above all, kids. And of course, that makes him a true friend of America.

"Are You an Ann Coulter Republican?"

Bingo! EXACTLY the question we need to start asking every prominent Republican in the country. We need to wrap America's #1 crack whore around the neck of the right wingers--and watch them squirm and try to weasel out of a response.
If the pundit-class Democrats were waiting for an engraved invitation [for an opportunity to demonize the Republicans], it just arrived.

The question, "Are you an Ann Coulter Republican?" should confront every Republican running for every office in the land, from President to dog catcher. Every Democratic candidate should accuse his or her opponent of being in favor of poisoning Supreme Court Justices and killing Congressmen. At every opportunity, every Republican should be made to answer: "Do you agree with Ann Coulter that the 9/11 widows are witches and harpies?" And George W. Bush, Tony Snow, Dick Cheney, Laura Bush and Barney (the only lapdog with a good excuse) should be confronted with these questions as well.

Republicans have been able to maintain a Kabuki symbiosis with all manner of cave-dwellers by speaking in an elaborate, dog whistle-like code. They hold racists, homophobes and rapture acolytes close enough to keep their votes without ever having to either publicly embrace or disavow such extreme viewpoints. That relationship with white-sheet America has been essential to their electoral strategy for decades.

But Ann Coulter has furnished us with a turn-key solution. We can now easily put them in the logical fork they should have been forced into years ago: disavow Coulter's vile, sub-human ravings, or embrace them. If they distance themselves from her, they risk alienating the mouth-breathers who demand such red meat as the price of their loyalty. If they embrace her, they lose significant swaths of the middle - the decent folks who are the reason Republicans talk about Dred Scott and "state's rights" rather than criminalizing abortion and gutting civil rights laws. ...

Many lefties wonder why we give Coulter the prominence she so clearly craves. They think we lose by raising her profile. But I think she is exactly the hate-contorted face we want on the Republican Party. We need to make Ann Coulter the third rail of Republican politics, just as Michael Moore was for Democrats two years ago. (They can be equally significant as symbols; there is obviously no comparison in talent or accuracy.) [Emphasis added.]

How will the Republicans choose? It matters little, so long as we force them to go one way or the other. Humanity lines up against her. But if they prefer to align with her, perhaps we can finally have an honest confrontation between an unmasked, rabid radical right and the rest of us.
Oh baby! I couldn't have said it better. As I've said before, Ann Coulter IS the Republican Party. She says what a lot of the rest of them think. Not only should we hold that wretched asshole herself accountable, we should hold the entire Republican Party acountable for her. So remember, when confronting a Republican politician, ask the magic words:
"Are you an Ann Coulter Republican?"

Keith Olbermann is My Hero

Watch this CLASSIC video takedown of a right-wing buffoon who falsely accused American soldiers of committing a war crime in World War II.
Thank you, Keith. Thank you again.

Republican Puppets in Congress Kill Halliburton Oversight

Is there a corporation in America more corrupt, more thieving, more dishonest, and more rapacious than Halliburton, "Dick" Cheney's old company? Now that Enron has sunk, it really has no competitors. Halliburton has been exploiting and ripping off American soldiers in Iraq, gouging and cheating them in every way. Democrats introduced measures to gain some control over this situation, but, predictably, the Republicans in Congress dutifully obeyed the White House and killed the measure.
The corruption the Democrats uncovered was shocking:
"What we have discovered is pretty unbelievable," said [Democratic Senator Byron] Dorgan last week. "We have direct testimony from physicians, Army doctors, and others about providing nonpotable water for shaving, brushing teeth that is in worse condition as water than the raw water coming out of the Euphrates River."

"Let me describe some of the firsthand eyewitness issues in Iraq," Dorgan continued. "Brand new $85,000 trucks that were left on the side of the road because of a flat tire and then subsequently burned. 25 tons, 50,000 pounds, of nails ordered by Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR), the wrong size, that are laying in the sands of Iraq. 42,000 meals a day charged to the taxpayers by Halliburton and only 14,000 are actually served."

After telling the amazing tale of the KBR Halliburton subsidiary ordering hand towels for soldiers embroidered with the "KBR" logo, to allow them to double the price of the towels, Dorgan told one Halliburton whistleblower's story of his company serving food date-stamped "expired" to American troops rather than throwing it away.

"[Halliburton was] serving food at a cafeteria in Iraq for the soldiers, and a man named Roy who was the supervisor in the food service kitchen said that the food was date-stamped 'expired,''' said Dorgan. "In other words, it had a date stamp, which meant the food wasn't good anymore, and he was told by superiors that it doesn't matter. Feed it to the troops. It doesn't matter that they had an expired date stamped - feed it to the troops."

But apparently the support-the-troops types on the Republicans side of the aisle only support them until their major contributors are caught feeding them possibly-tainted food before they go into battle - at that point, I guess the love is gone.
But, lame excuses in hand, the Republicans in Congress decided to ignore all that. Our "patriotic" Republicans care more about their campaign contributors than they do our troops.
NOW are you going to get going and start working for a Democratic victory on 7 November?

More Lying BS from Republican Criminal Cheney

"Dick" Cheney continues to peddle the astonishing lie that the Iraq War is contributing to the safety and security of the United States, the same discredited "fight 'em there so we don't have to fight 'em here" idiocy. The Boston Globe swats this garbage down hard:
To begin with the obvious, Britain and Spain were both fighting in Iraq, and it didn't prevent them from being attacked. Whatever has accounted for the quiet at home, it isn't the combat in Iraq.

In addition, ``security and safety" have not exactly been the lot of all Americans in the last few years. Just before Cheney made his remarks, the US death toll in Iraq reached 2,500. The administration can breathe a sigh of relief that the tally is unlikely to reach the 3,000 mark that most people associate with Sept. 11 when the fifth anniversary of the attacks arrives in three months. But the number is close, suggesting that as a counterterrorism campaign, the war in Iraq has been a massive error. One might ask the vice president whether it would not be more correct to say that the terrorists are not attacking us in the United States because it is easier to kill Americans in Iraq.

If the strategy is working, then the number of terrorists should be declining. But a State of Iraq chart published in The New York Times last Friday shows the number of foreign fighters -- those most likely to carry out attacks against Americans -- is growing, up to 1,500 from 1,000 a year ago. Those migrating to Iraq are not the remnants of Al Qaeda. Instead, as studies by the Israeli scholar Reuven Paz and the Saudi researcher Nawaf Obeid have shown, they are newly radicalized individuals with scant experience in Islamist violence.

Iraqi insurgents -- an increasingly jihadist cohort -- now number 20,000, according to the Times chart, a 20 percent increase over the last year. That comes after a year in which US troops were scoring regular successes against the rebellion.
Yes, Cheney will continue to spout the same lying bullshit no matter how much evidence piles up against it. As PBS demonstrated this past week, Cheney was the driving force behind the Iraq disaster and the lies necessary to get it going. Cheney has a personal stake in defending this catastrophe, and he doesn't give a DAMN that 2500 Americans and 30,000 Iraqis have died (so far) because of his monumental fuck-up. For Cheney, it's now all about saving face.
Disgusting. Unsurprising but disgusting. And by the way: where are the so-called "mainstream media" on Cheney's company and its subsidiaries doing business with both Iraq AND Iran back in the 80s and 90s, in violation of American law??
Just asking.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Democrats, Define the Issues!

Don't let Republican bullshit like "cut and run" or "stay the course" shape the election year narrative.

On Iraq (thank you, John Kerry!):


and (Thank you Josh Marshall):


And for the national election, not some wimpy slogan like, "Together, We Can Do Better". Let the Democratic battle cry be,




Let's take the damn gloves off.

Just So We're Clear (Again)...

  • The Republicans have killed off measures to raise the minimum wage, on which 7 million workers, mostly adults, depend.
  • The Republicans continue to push for the repeal of the Estate Tax, a move which will benefit about one-half of one percent of taxpayers.
  • The Republicans are blocking the renewal of the Voting Rights Act.
  • The Republicans have raised the national debt limit by $3,000,000,000,000 in the last few years and are still working to make Bush's tax cuts for the upper class permanent.
  • The Republicans are pushing to give the U.S. permanent bases in Iraq.

And that's just this week.

Lying Idiot Santorum Claims to Have Discovered WMDs!

Little Ricky is truly going off the deep end in the face of his impending electoral annihilation on 7 November. He claims that WMDs were indeed discovered in Iraq and therefore Bush's war was fully justified. Unfortunately for him, his claims are neither novel or significant:
"While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991," the Iraq Survey Group reported in 2004. "There are no credible Indications that Baghdad resumed production of chemical munitions thereafter, a policy ISG attributes to Baghdad’s desire to see sanctions lifted, or rendered ineffectual, or its fear of force against it should WMD be discovered."

"The chief weapons inspector, Charles Duelfer, has now issued a comprehensive report that confirms the earlier conclusion of David Kay that Iraq did not have the weapons that our intelligence believed were there," said President Bush in October of 2004, as cited at Think Progress.

"There is nothing new here," said Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA) in a statement. "Nothing in this report, classified or otherwise, contradicts the Duelfer Report, which assessed that we would find degraded pre-1991 weaponry in Iraq.

Harman also blasted what she feels is selective declassification by the Bush administration. "When the intelligence community disseminated classified intelligence conclusively establishing that one of the Vice President's much-touted justifications for war was blatantly wrong, my request to declassify that information was denied," she added. "When the request comes from Republicans and can be spun in an attempt to support a Republican position, however, the answer is markedly different."
What. A. Cretin. Santorum has truly become pathetic.

Here's a Fun Game! Who Said It--Hitler or Ann Coulter?

Check your aptitude here!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

CIA: Osama Bin Laden WANTED Bush to Be Re-"Elected"

That's the explosive story being put out by Ron Suskind, author of a new book on the war on terror called The One Percent Doctrine. (You can see Suskind discussing with Wolf Blitzer this and other revelations from the book here.)
Why would Bin Laden want Bush to win in 2004, and to that end, why would he release his inflammatory tape the weekend before the election? Simple. Bush has been the greatest recruiting tool imaginable for Bin Laden. Bush's sheer ham-fisted incompetence, his couching of the war in terms that make it sound like a Christian crusade, and his disastrous decision to invade Iraq have all enormously assisted Al Qaeda. Based on his private sources, Suskind is confident in asserting, therefore, that the CIA concluded in 2004 that Bin Laden was supporting Bush.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: W--Bin Laden's favorite enemy.

The Washington Post's Pathetic Lies

In a powerful piece in today's Consortium News, Robert Parry tears the latest lies and distortions of the Washington Post's editorial board to shreds. Some of you out there might still think that the Post is some kind of liberal icon, but it isn't. This isn' the Watergate era Post. This is the Bush apologist Post, the Neocon loving Post, the Post that helped lead our country into its disastrous misadventure in Iraq. The WAPO editorial board has long been dominated by disgusting cheerleaders for Bush and Cheney. The board's members miss no opportunity to attack and smear anti-war critics. Parry's key points:
More than three years into the Iraq War, the Post’s top news executives remain steadfast defenders of Washington’s neoconservatives who pushed the dangerous doctrine that military invasion was the way to “democratize” Muslim countries in the Middle East. In 2002-2003, the Post’s senior editors cast Iraq War skeptics out of the polite opinion-page society – and are still at it.

After last week’s House debate on Iraq, here is how the lead Post editorial treated Bush’s critics for favoring a prompt U.S. military withdrawal:

“Many Democrats, looking to exploit bad news without appearing to rejoice in it, demagogued about presidential ‘lies,’ obtusely denied any relationship between Iraq and the war on terrorism and called for troop withdrawal without honestly facing the consequences of such a move.” [Washington Post, June 17, 2006]

If you parse the Post’s comment, you would have to conclude that Democratic war critics are truly despicable and crazy people. They eagerly exploit the “bad news” deaths and maiming of American soldiers and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis, while concealing a private joy over this mayhem for crass political reasons.
Parry is more polite than I am about these things. I scour the liberal/Democratic/Progressive blogosphere every single day. I have found NO "rejoicing", overt or covert, about U.S. losses, on ANY of them. Those of us on the Center/Left mourn, with genuine grief, every American casualty of Bush's insane, tragic, needless war. To imply that those of us on this side of the fence are happy to see our wonderful young men and women killed or injured is a fucking lie. And for the Post's editorialists to contend that there is some kind of actual relationship between the war against terrorism and the War in Iraq is so appallingly dishonest that it should discredit the Post permanently.
The Post has drunk the Bush Kool Aid completely. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, it asserts that no one in the Bush Administration lied about anything related to the motives for the war. Read Parry's article, and then you'll do what I did when thinking about the WAPO's lies, slander, and Bush propaganda:
You'll call bullshit.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

PBS's Frontline: Cheney Was the Driving Force in the Iraq War Fiasco

Disbelief. Frustration. Deep anger. These are the reactions I predict you'll have if you watch a rebroadcast of PBS's Frontline documentary, "The Dark Side". (Not able to see a rebroadcast? Then watch it online here beginning Thursday afternoon.) The meticulously researched show leaves no doubt in one's mind: Cheney manipulated and pressured the intelligence community to give Administration officials confirmation of their pre-conceived notions, mainly that Iraq had WMDs and that Al Qaeda and Saddam were connected. Never has Cheney's role been laid out so clearly--or so damningly. Watch it if you can.
And then renew your determination to politically neuter this bastard on Tuesday, 7 November.

"Jesus is Not a Republican"

This brilliant essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education by evangelical Christian Randall Balmer is one that deserves the widest circulation. Balmer is appalled at the alliance the Religious Right has made with a corrupt, morally bankrupt Republican Party. He says that evangelicalism in turn has been corrupted as the major Religious Right leaders seek to impose, by means of government compulsion, their own vision of a theocratic America on a pluralistic society. Balmer demonstrates that the moral compromises being made are completely and utterly distorting the true message of the Gospel. A key passage demonstrates the force of Balmer's critique:
And what has the religious right done with its political influence? Judging by the platform and the policies of the Republican Party — and I'm aware of no way to disentangle the agenda of the Republican Party from the goals of the religious right — the purpose of all this grasping for power looks something like this: an expansion of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the continued prosecution of a war in the Middle East that enraged our longtime allies and would not meet even the barest of just-war criteria, and a rejiggering of Social Security, the effect of which, most observers agree, would be to fray the social-safety net for the poorest among us. Public education is very much imperiled by Republican policies, to the evident satisfaction of the religious right, and it seeks to replace science curricula with theology, thereby transforming students into catechumens.

America's grossly disproportionate consumption of energy continues unabated, prompting demands for oil exploration in environmentally sensitive areas. The Bush administration has jettisoned U.S. participation in the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, which called on Americans to make at least a token effort to combat global warming. Corporate interests are treated with the kind of reverence and deference once reserved for the deity.

The Bible contains something like 2,000 references to the poor and the believer's responsibility for the poor. Sadly, that obligation seems not to have trickled down into public policy. On judicial matters, the religious right demands appointees who would diminish individual rights to privacy with regard to abortion. At the same time, it approves a corresponding expansion of presidential powers, thereby disrupting the constitutionally mandated system of checks and balances.

The torture of human beings, God's creatures — some guilty of crimes, others not — has been justified by the Bush administration, which also believes that it is perfectly acceptable to conduct surveillance on American citizens without putting itself to the trouble of obtaining a court order. Indeed, the chicanery, the bullying, and the flouting of the rule of law that emanates from the nation's capital these days make Richard Nixon look like a fraternity prankster
Yes, the Religious Right has indeed made a deal with the devil. It has done so in the hopes of establishing official government sanction for its leaders' theology. Dobson, Falwell, Robertson, Reed, and all the other corrupt, power-mad Pharisees of the Right want to sweep away the whole of America's political and philosophical tradition and do nothing less than establish a theocracy, a theocracy that will elevate Christian fundamentalism to a dominant political force that can never be legally challenged. I shudder at this possibility.
I urge you to read Balmer's entire essay. And I also urge you to share it with others. In this time of impending social disaster, it is vitally needed.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Andrew Sullivan: "What's Really Happening at Gitmo?"

Sully runs this profoundly disturbing piece today. If only a small part of it turns out to be true in the end, it's appalling. Bush, Cheney, and Attorney General Gonzales have authorized brutal and savage treatment of terror suspects--whether those suspects have been shown to be actual terrorists or not. This treatment makes a mockery of American ideals and has dragged us into the very territory which we accuse (rightly) our enemies of occupying.

Look, I know the Islamist terrorists are bastards. I know they treat their own prisoners atrociously. Is that really the standard of behavior to which we want to be held? I know there are plenty of Americans who cheer what's being done at Guantanamo. And many more refuse to believe it. (For many months, I was one of the latter.) But the evidence is getting too overwhelming to ignore. All real patriots should find these accusations deeply troubling. It is simply one more terrible chapter in the sordid, atrocious story of the catastrophe that is the Bush Republican administration.

Republican Child Molester Helping to Run GOP Campaign in Arizona

This kind of thing has become so disgustingly typical that I really can't say I'm surprised any more:
A man convicted of "corruption of minors" after being accused of having sex with two teenage girls is working as the campaign manager for a Republican candidate for Congress in Arizona, according to documents obtained by ABC News. Steve Aiken, a former Quakertown, Pa. police officer and self-proclaimed reverend, was convicted of two counts of corruption of a minor stemming from his 1995 sexual relationships with two teenage girls. He served almost two-and-a-half months at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility.Aiken is listed as campaign manager for Randy Graf, a Republican in a five-way primary for the Congressional seat in Arizona's 8th district.
Since his conviction, Aiken also has worked as a spokesperson for the Traditional Values Coalition, a Washington lobby group that represents over 43,000 churches. A spokesman for the Coalition would only say, "He is no longer with us."
They hired the son of a bitch AFTER his conviction?? Didn't they check??
Aiken says the Secret Service raised his convictions when he was invited to a White House event in Sept. 2004. Aiken says he was eventually able to explain and gain access to a series of special briefings for Republicans inside the White House. [Emphasis added]
Well, Thank God he's not one of those morally degenerate liberals. He could never have gotten a briefing in the White House if he sank that low.
He still has good conservative values. After all, he's only a child rapist.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Again: Traitor Rove Was NOT Exonerated; He Simply Got Away With It

Arianna Huffington demolishes the idiocy and lies surrounding Karl Rove's escape from indictment in this typically powerful post:
But even if he's never charged, Rove still confirmed the identity of a covert CIA operative to Bob Novak who then published it. He leaked it to Matt Cooper who, unlike either Novak, tried to expose what the Bush White House was up to. Rove then lied about being the source of the leak for a year, in the process hanging Scott McClellan out to dry by letting him tell the press and the American public that Rove had assured him he had no involvement with the leak.

And, even if you believe Rove's improbable tale that his conversation with Cooper had somehow slipped his mind, he was reminded of it by Viveca Novak via Luskin by the spring of 2004 and could easily have ended Cooper and Time's prolonged fight to protect him as a source and told the president that he had been one of the leakers (saving his boss from the embarrassment of vowing to fire anyone involved, then pulling back on that pledge once it became clear that that would mean cutting loose his beloved Turd Blossom).
Rove: Professional smear artist. Pathological liar. Traitor. A person who puts the interests of the Republican Party above all and doesn't give a damn about America.
That's why he's the Boy King's favorite advisor.

A Story You Need to Read About Republican Election Theft

This is one of the most troubling, enraging things I've ever read about our political system. It's a story of outrageous, shocking Republican vote fraud, vote suppression, and outright criminal behavior. It credibly calls into question the legitimacy of not only the 2000 election, but that of 2002 and 2004. It is a dire warning of what is happening to our democracy, as the Republicans have hijacked it and bent it to their own ugly, dishonest ends. I know I often take an urgent tone in my postings, an urgency driven by my profound anxiety for the future of our beloved country, but this is indeed something you should read. Some brief excerpts among the author's MANY examples and observations of Republican fraud:
It [Election Day] was a long hard day. I stayed at the EP headquarters from 6:00 in the morning until 8:30m that evening. I don't think I had one minute to myself that entire time.

One of the last phone calls I fielded was from a volunteer who had witnessed some election officials carrying the official ballot box at her precinct into a room where no one else could see what was going on. When she was prevented from following she called me. I asked her if any Democratic poll watchers had been present as the box was carried off. She said she wasn't sure but that she'd try to check. She called back in a little bit to say she couldn't be sure, but that now the ballot box had been taken out to someone's car and placed in his trunk. She had noticed that the official seal had been broken before the man got in his car to leave.

It doesn't seem right. Should I follow him? she asked me.

It was late. I knew she's been there all day in the rain. I knew the early reports had Kerry winning Ohio (and much of the rest of the country) based on the exit polling. Most of all I was tired and ready to get back to my Hotel and get some dinner. I made an executive decision.

No, don't worry about it, I told her. I'm sure one of the Democratic Party observers knows what's going on. Come on back.

Are you sure? She asked. Yeah, I'm sure. Just write up a report when you get back. She said okay, and hung up.

Later that night, sitting on my hotel bed, watching TV as the "official" returns came in, I got a sick feeling in my stomach. Miraculously, stunningly, what had appeared to be an easy Kerry victory was fading away leaving behind a bitter taste in my mouth, as state after state switched from the Kerry column to the Bush column. I kept remembering that last phone call. A gnawing anxiety, fueled by my guilty conscience, began worming its way through my gut. I'd made the wrong decision. I'd fucked up big time. I finally turned off the television around 1:00 a.m. too depressed to keep watching.

In the weeks and months that followed I read as much as I could about the trail of "dirty tricks" by Republican operatives, the myriad of "irregularities" that somehow always favored Bush over Kerry, the affidavits from voters of intimidation, long lines, etc., that made it difficult to vote if you lived in a Democratic precinct, and all the various statistical analyses that tended to show just how improbable Bush election had been. But I didn't need convincing at that point. I already knew the election had been stolen.

I'd know since that night lying on a bed in a Hilton Hotel, far from my family and friends. Known even before I got a call from my daughter, in tears over Kerry's defeat, and anxious for her older brother, about what a Bush victory could mean for his future. I knew because I'd just been a witness to it. Nothing I'd done had prevented it. Not the money I contributed, nor the time I had put in as a volunteer. Not one damn thing.
*********** present we are at the mercy of a silent coup. One where the media and the leadership of the Democratic Party have been effectively muzzled. One that is watered by a spigot of corporate money pouring into the coffers of Republican politicians and lobbyists. And one that is beholden to the radical agenda of certain fundamentalist right wing Christian pastors whose congregations provide the organizational muscle to pull it off. People ask if this is really happening why don't the Democratic leaders believe it? I think they do. I think Al Gore and John Kerry both know their presidencies were taken from them. And I think many of their fellow Democrats believe it too. But they're afraid to talk about it, afraid of destroying their political careers should they ever dare to speak about what they know to be true. So I'm writing this diary to let them know that I believe that these elections have been stolen. And there are many more like me. We'll have their backs if they ever have the guts to do what Mark Crispin Miller and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. have done, which is simply to speak the truth. Our elections are a sham and its about time more people started saying so, inside the Democratic Party, and out in the progressive net roots. Because until we conquer our fear of this topic, until we confront our denial of the truth, we have no hope of taking back our country from the criminals and fanatics that are now in charge.

That's why.

I hope you'll join me.
You better believe I will. How about you?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Democrats, RIP INTO the Republicans on Social Security

The radical right is going to try it again if they win this year, folks. They're going to try to privatize Social Security, despite the overwhelming rejection of privatization by the American people in 2005. Bush's attempt to push this atrocious step was defeated overwhelmingly, and it set his administration on the path to ruin (along with his total incompetence in dealing with Iraq). But Democrats seem to have forgotten the positive energy of this victory. Josh Marshall reminds them of the importance of this crucial issue:
Social Security works for Democrats on two distinct levels. The first is on a simple level of values.

At least three full generations of Americans have lived under a system in which Social Security is fully woven into the fabric of American life. With deceptive polls, supporters of privatization managed to fool themselves into believing that the public supported replacing Social Security with private accounts, but they don’t. The spring of 2005 showed that quite clearly.

But that’s not the only way the Social Security issue works for Democrats. What last year’s Social Security privatization drive showed was that the vast majority of congressional Republicans weren’t willing to stand up to President Bush when he was pushing a policy their constituents opposed. They cheered the president’s efforts, praised his vision and in most cases were willing to sign on to his effort. On this key issue they put their political connections above the people who put them in office.

Some of those Republican members of Congress even resorted to ridiculous tactics to avoid coming out with a clear position on the issue and a clear choice between their constituents and the head of their party — stunts that should make them mockeries this year on the campaign trail.
Hear hear! Along with the massive confusion and anger surrounding the new Medicare "drug benefit", the Republican attack on Social Security is just the thing we need to win back the overwhelming majority of America's seniors--voters who deserted us in 2004. (Had seniors voted Democratic at the rate they did in 2000, Kerry would probably have been the clear winner.)
Democrats, don't let the voters forget who established America's most successful social program ever--and don't let them forget that the Republican radicals are attempting to ruin it.

Slapping Down Republican Lies on the Economy

The inimitable bonddad on DKos has again just slapped down more Republican lies concerning the actual state of the U.S. economy. The Republicans, who took a SURPLUS of $128 billion when they took over and converted it within two years to a DEFICIT of $337 billion are crowing about the effectiveness of their financial management(!!) Amazing! It's as if FEMA was bragging about what a damn good job it did in New Orleans! Republicans are again talking the same, discredited, idiotic supply side-trickle down trash that's been shown to be bankrupt again and again and again. The Right is arguing that the tax cuts are "paying for themselves". An absolute falsehood. Key points:
According to the CBO, revenues from individual taxpayers decreased from $994 billion in 2001 to $793 billion in 2003. In other words, the first tax cut decreased revenue by 20%. I don't remember any trumpeting of this achievement three years ago...
According to the CBO revenues from individual taxpayers totaled 809 billion in 2004 and 927 billion in 2005 - 6.7% less than when Bush took office. So after two tax cuts, we will probably have tax revenue levels above those when Bush took office 4 years after the first tax cut. Meanwhile, discretionary spending increased from 825 billion in 2003 to 967 billion in 2005 - an increase of 17%. So, through the end of 2005 we have a decrease in individual revenue of 6.7% and an increase in discretionary spending of 48%. Finally, the Republicans -- the party of fiscal conservatism -- have increased total debt from 5.6 trillion to 8.3 trillion over the last 5 years. That's [2.7] trillion dollars invested in government securites that could have been invested in the private economy. This is not the record of success; it is the record of blind adherence to a now debunked theory (if you can call something written on a cocktail napkin a theory.)
Remember there is no lie the Republicans will not tell in order to keep their place as the primary looters of the American people. Their policies are pushing this country to catastrophe. We need to keep fighting them with the thing of which they are most terrified: the truth.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Ronald Bailey's Message to Libertarians: Vote Democratic!

In an important article in Reason magazine, Ronald Bailey lays out a compelling case for libertarian-minded voters to go with the Democrats this year: the need to block Bush and Cheney's radical right wing agenda and Bush's incessant attack on our civil liberties. Key paragraph:
The Democrats are right about one thing—the Republicans on Capitol Hill have slithered into a comfortable culture of corruption. It's not just the corruption of too cozy relations with lobbyists, but it is also the corruption of power wielded without restraint. The federal budget under the Bush Administration—ably helped by the big spenders in the Republican House and Senate—is hemorrhaging money faster than LBJ's Great Society did. In addition, the Bush Administration and Congress revealed even more incompetence in their bungled response to the flooding of New Orleans by hurricane Katrina. Congress is wasting time on debating and voting on the Gay Marriage Amendment and the Flag Protection Amendment. And even worse, the Republican Congress supinely allowed the rise of an imperial presidency which authorizes wide-scale domestic spying, the torture, and indefinite detention of prisoners—policies that make the president into judge, jury, and jailer. The Bush Administration even asked the Department of Justice about the legality of halting the 2004 presidential elections in the event of a terrorist attack. Why? After all, the recent Iraqi elections were not halted because of terrorist attacks and Spain went ahead with its general election three days after the Madrid train bombing in March 2004. Finally, let's not forget the tragic mismanagement of the war in Iraq.
I couldn't have made a better list myself. I've argued for years that libertarians should be making alliances with Democrats. Democrats have been chastened by their setbacks. They are now the party of fiscal responsibility, even fiscal conservatism. They are the party committed to defending civil liberties, personal freedom, the right to privacy, and open government. Whatever other differences libertarians have with Democrats, one thing is clear: the Republicans are the avowed enemies of everything libertarians hold dear. If we are to stop the establishment of a Republican-run theocracy in the United States, we need to work together. So to all libertarians, I say,

A Republican Senator Being Interviewed

The Republican Strategy for 2006: Smear the Democrats as Weak, and Run on the Corpses of 9/11

This memo from the House Republican leadership lays out the essence of the Republican strategy in the upcoming election: smear the Democrats as weak and cowardly and invoke 9/11 as an excuse for Iraq again and again and again. (By the way, isn't it interesting that Republican cretins use the term "Democrat Party" instead of Democratic. I guess adjectives are tricky for them.)
I suppose after all the years I've spent studying Republican campaign filth I shouldn't be surprised or shocked, but I still am. There is literally NOTHING Republicans will not do to win. There is no lie, no trick, no dishonesty, no slander to which they will not stoop. From the Republican National Committee distributing a pamphlet in 2004 which claimed that Democrats wanted to "outlaw the Bible" (!!) to Republican brownshirts in Congress braying that Democrats "support Al Qaeda", the Republicans have shown a willingness to sink to gutter level repeatedly. They have to be fought; they have to be defeated. So it's time for Joe the Broken Record to repeat the following:
  • Recruit as many people as you can to kick $10 a month in for their favorite Democratic candidate.
  • Don't let the Republicans count the votes. Take legal action if necessary to demand a verifiable voting paper trail. Fight the installation of Diebold touchscreen voting.
  • Attack right wing assholes online, on TV, and in the print media. Write e-mails and letters, especially to media idiots like Chris Matthews who relentlessly smear Democrats and kiss Bush's ass. Let these Republican media whores feel the heat--big time.
  • Register as many new Democrats as you can, and get them to the polls on 7 November.
  • Volunteer your time to Democratic campaigns.

Folks, we are in a war for national survival here. Traitor Karl Rove is already implementing his newest slanders and spreading his latest bullshit. Are you just going to sit there and take it--or are you going to fight back?

I know it sounds cliched, but it's true--our children need us to do this. Please, in the name of what is right and decent, don't let them down.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Must Read: "Why Conservatives Can't Govern"

Political scientist Alan Wolfe has written a brilliant and devastating analysis of the central contradiction in the conservative philosophy: conservatives cannot run a government competently or fairly because they don't believe in the essential purpose of government to begin with. They can't administer the very thing they're committed to destroying. If conservatives can't destroy government, they must prove at the very least that government cannot work. The right may be brilliant at acquiring power, but once it has it, it cannot help but do a terrible job handling it. Wolfe provides a plenitude of insights:
But like all politicians, conservatives, once in office, find themselves under constant pressure from constituents to use government to improve their lives. This puts conservatives in the awkward position of managing government agencies whose missions--indeed, whose very existence--they believe to be illegitimate. Contemporary conservatism is a walking contradiction. Unable to shrink government but unwilling to improve it, conservatives attempt to split the difference, expanding government for political gain, but always in ways that validate their disregard for the very thing they are expanding. The end result is not just bigger government, but more incompetent government.

"Ideas," a distinguished conservative named Richard Weaver once wrote, "have consequences." Americans have learned something about the consequences of conservative ideas during the Bush years that they never had to confront in the more amiable Reagan period. As a way of governing, conservatism is another name for disaster. And the disasters will continue, year after year, as long as conservatives, whose political tactics are frequently as brilliant as their policy-making is inept, find ways to perpetuate their power.
A conservative in America, in short, is someone who advocates ends that cannot be realized through means that can never be justified, at least not on the terrain of conservatism itself. In the past, the ends sought were the preservation of hierarchy, even if the means included appeals to democratic sentiment. In more recent times, conservatives promised order and stability through means dependent upon the uncertainties and insecurities of the market. Unwilling to accept the fact that government was here to stay, conservatives stood on the sidelines as conditions kept arising that demanded bigger and more effective national authority. Westward expansion required Washington to settle the issue of slavery, and the recalcitrant South ultimately lost. Industrialization forced the country to deal with trusts and workplace oppression, and the Gilded Age leaders ultimately lost to the Progressives. The Depression demanded stronger government action even more urgently, even as the advocates of laissez faire opposed the New Deal. Similarly, the rise of fascism necessitated a vast expansion of federal power; and again, the conservative impulse, in the form of isolationism, lost.
This is what I have argued before: practically and morally, conservatives have been on the wrong side of EVERY issue in American history. Conservatives defended human slavery. They opposed rights for workers. They were willing to let the poor starve in the Great Depression. They wanted to curl up and pretend Hitler and the Japanese militarists didn't exist in the 1930s. America advanced whenever conservatives lost.
Wolfe makes other trenchant points:
Once upon a time, conservatism may have appealed to history's losers, the agrarian interests displaced by industry or the small-business owners being bought out by multinational corporations. Not any longer. The most dynamic House Republicans, Gingrich and DeLay among them, did not arrive on Capitol Hill from rural byways and once-thriving but now depressed industrial towns; they came from booming sunbelt communities in the forefront of global transformation. They exploit Washington the way farmers once exploited land and industrial firms exploited workers. Their efforts are designed to help business and to build their party, and for those tasks, Congress, and the money at its disposal, is a weapon to use, not an institution to shrink. It took conservatives, who in the 18th and early 19th century supported quasi-feudal states and distrusted the instabilities of the market, a hundred years to become advocates of laissez faire. And under the imperatives of the K Street Project, it took them just five to abandon their belief in laissez faire to support a corrupt business-government partnership bearing striking resemblance to feudalism.
There are ways out of the conservative dilemma. American conservatives could, for example, take away from the Bush years the lesson that they must change their ideology if they are ever again to make the Republican Party a serious party of governance. This is not beyond the realm of possibility. Conservatives in the American past--not only Hamilton and Marshall, but Daniel Webster and Henry Clay--were in favor of a strong government capable of meeting national objectives. There exists, moreover, a modernizing version of conservatism in contemporary Europe, where conservatives recognize the inevitability of government but try to tailor its objectives and improve its competence. Call this "big government conservatism" if you wish, but it would have little in common with that term as President Bush's critics use it to attack him and his administration. This would not be a conservatism that used government to pay off friends and punish enemies but one that sought to use government to stabilize society and avoid periodic crises.

Admittedly, not much evidence exists in America today that conservatives are prepared to move in such a direction. If anything, they seem to have reinforced and strengthened their determination to govern as incompetently and unfairly as they can. The fact that they will leave behind a public sector in roughly the same condition that strip miners leave hillsides would cause nothing but pain to yesterday's patricians, for whom ideals such as responsibility and soundness were watchwords. But today's conservatives have no problem passing on the costs of their present madness to future generations. Governing well would require them to use the bully-pulpit of office to educate and uplift their base. But since contemporary conservatives get their political energy from angry voices of rage and revenge, they will always blame others for the failures built into their ideology. That is why conservatism so rarely makes for a good governance party. As far as conservatives are concerned, it is always someone else's government, one reason they can be so indifferent to their own mismanagement. [Emphasis added.]
What really is the rationale for American conservatism any more? It has simply become the vehicle for all the hatreds, resentments, prejudices, and avarice of tens of millions of Americans. It uses government to govern selfishly, ineptly, maliciously, and dishonestly because that is the only way Republican conservatives CAN govern, given the methods by which they have seized power. The conservative Republican machine runs on corrupt money. It owes its very existence to corporate greed and religious fanaticism, a combination that threatens to destroy this country before the century ends.
I have written about the debased history of American conservatism before. (You can read my previous thoughts on this here,and here. Conservatism is inherently doomed to fail. In its death throes, however, it threatens to destroy the United States. It is the sacred mission of all liberals, progressives, independents, moderates, Democrats of all persuasions and fed-up Republicans to do what Professor Wolfe says will be necessary to control conservatives:

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Sun Myung Moon: Godfather of Bush, Godfather of the Republican Party

Is there a figure on the American political scene more corrupt, more dangerous, more influential, and yet more hidden from the light of day that ultra right-wing Republican fanatic Sung Myung Moon? The grotesque cult that Moon organized and has led for many years has had a pernicious and growing influence on our politics. Nowhere is this more evident than in Moon's connections with the Bush family. Robert Parry at Consortium News has a trenchant analysis of Moon's backing of the radical right in general and the Bushes in particular:

He launched the Washington Times in 1982 and its staunch support for Reagan-Bush political interests quickly made it a favorite of Reagan, Bush and other influential Republicans. Moon also made sure that his steady flow of cash found its way into the pockets of key conservative operatives, especially when they were most in need, when they were facing financial crises.

For instance, when the New Right’s direct-mail whiz Richard Viguerie fell on hard times in the late 1980s, Moon had a corporation run by a chief lieutenant, Bo Hi Pak, buy one of Viguerie’s properties for $10 million. [See Orange County Register, Dec. 21, 1987; Washington Post, Oct. 15, 1989]

Moon also used the Washington Times and its affiliated publications to create seemingly legitimate conduits to funnel money to individuals and companies. In another example of Moon’s largesse, the Washington Times hired Viguerie to conduct a pricy direct-mail subscription drive, boosting his profit margin.

Another case of saving a right-wing icon occurred when the Rev. Jerry Falwell was facing financial ruin over the debts piling up at Liberty University.

But the fundamentalist Christian school in Lynchburg, Va., got a last-minute bail-out in the mid-1990s ostensibly from two Virginia businessmen, Dan Reber and Jimmy Thomas, who used their non-profit Christian Heritage Foundation to snap up a large chunk of Liberty’s debt for $2.5 million, a fraction of its face value.

Falwell rejoiced and called the moment “the greatest single day of financial advantage” in the school’s history, even though it was accomplished at the disadvantage of many small true-believing investors who had bought the church construction bonds through a Texas company. But Falwell’s secret benefactor behind the debt purchase was Sun Myung Moon, who was kept in the background partly because of his controversial Biblical interpretations that hold Jesus to have been a failure and because of Moon’s alleged brainwashing of thousands of young Americans, often shattering their bonds with their biological families.

Moon also used [a front organization] to pay substantial speaking fees to George H.W. Bush, who gave talks at Moon-sponsored events. In September 1995, Bush and his wife, Barbara, gave six speeches in Asia for the Women’s Federation. In one speech on Sept. 14 to 50,000 Moon supporters in Tokyo, Bush said “what really counts is faith, family and friends.”

Moon’s wife, Hak Ja Han Moon, followed the ex-President and announced that “it has to be Reverend Moon to save the United States, which is in decline because of the destruction of the family and moral decay.” [Washington Post, Sept. 15, 1995] In summer 1996, Bush was lending his prestige to Moon again. Bush addressed the Moon-connected Family Federation for World Peace in Washington, an event that gained notoriety when comedian Bill Cosby tried to back out of his contract after learning of Moon’s connection. Bush had no such qualms. [Washington Post, July 30, 1996]

In fall 1996, Moon needed the ex-President’s help again. Moon was trying to replicate his Washington Times influence in South America by opening a regional newspaper, Tiempos del Mundo. But South American journalists were recounting unsavory chapters of Moon’s history, including his links to South Korea’s feared intelligence service and various neo-fascist organizations.

In the early 1980s, Moon had used friendships with the military dictatorships in Argentina and Uruguay – which had been responsible for tens of thousands of political murders – to invest in those two countries. There also were allegations of Moon’s links to the region’s major drug traffickers. [For details on the drug ties, see Robert Parry’s Lost History.]

Moon’s disciples fumed about the critical stories and accused the Argentine news media of trying to sabotage Moon’s plans for an inaugural gala in Buenos Aires on Nov. 23, 1996. “The local press was trying to undermine the event,” complained the church’s internal newsletter, Unification News. Given the controversy, Argentina’s elected president, Carlos Menem, decided to reject Moon’s invitation.

But Moon had a trump card: the endorsement of an ex-President of the United States, George H.W. Bush. Agreeing to speak at the newspaper’s launch, Bush flew aboard a private plane, arriving in Buenos Aires on Nov. 22. Bush stayed at Menem’s official residence, the Olivos.
As the headliner at the newspaper’s inaugural gala, Bush saved the day, Moon’s followers gushed. “Mr. Bush’s presence as keynote speaker gave the event invaluable prestige,” wrote the Unification News. “Father [Moon] and Mother [Mrs. Moon] sat with several of the True Children [Moon’s offspring] just a few feet from the podium” where Bush spoke.

“I want to salute Reverend Moon,” Bush declared. “A lot of my friends in South America don’t know about the Washington Times, but it is an independent voice. The editors of the Washington Times tell me that never once has the man with the vision [Moon] interfered with the running of the paper, a paper that in my view brings sanity to Washington, D.C.”

Bush’s speech was so effusive that it surprised even Moon’s followers. “Once again, heaven turned a disappointment into a victory,” the Unification News exulted. “Everyone was delighted to hear his compliments. We knew he would give an appropriate and ‘nice’ speech, but praise in Father’s presence was more than we expected. ... It was vindication. We could just hear a sigh of relief from Heaven.” While Bush’s assertion about Moon’s Washington Times as a voice of “sanity” may be a matter of opinion, Bush’s vouching for its editorial independence simply wasn’t true. Almost since it opened in 1982, a string of senior editors and correspondents have resigned, citing the manipulation of the news by Moon and his subordinates. The first editor, James Whelan, resigned in 1984, confessing that “I have blood on my hands” for helping Moon’s church achieve greater legitimacy.


By fall 1996, Bush and Moon had been working in political tandem for at least a decade and a half. The ex-President also had been earning huge speaking fees as a front man for Moon for more than a year. Throughout these public appearances for Moon, Bush’s office refused to divulge how much Moon-affiliated organizations have paid the ex-President. But estimates of Bush’s fee for the Buenos Aires appearance alone ran between $100,000 and $500,000. Sources close to the Unification Church told me that the total spending on Bush ran into the millions, with one source telling me that Bush stood to make as much as $10 million from Moon’s organization. The senior George Bush may have had a political motive, too. By 1996, sources close to Bush were saying the ex-President was working hard to enlist well-to-do conservatives and their money behind the presidential candidacy of his son, George W. Bush. Moon was one of the deepest pockets in right-wing circles.

(And, might I remind you of a couple of my other postings regarding Moon, his basic insanity, and his Republican ties? You can find them here, and here.)
Yes, Moon, along with a number of other shady and very, very rich radical rightwing Republicans, has been driving our politics rightward tirelessly. Moon is perhaps the most extreme of them all. Read Parry's whole article, and then tell me this Moon son of a bitch doesn't alarm the hell out of you.

Damn It, Rove Was NOT Exonerated

He did what he was accused of doing.

He lied through his teeth about it.

He is still a vicious little traitor who disrupted a CIA operation AIMED AT IRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM.

There's a hell of a lot of difference between not being indicted and being innocent.

Rove is the LEAST innocent son of a bitch in American politics.

Josh Marshall explains it nicely:

More to the point, let's not forget the salient facts here. The question going back three years ago now is whether Karl Rove knowingly participated in leaking the identity of a covert CIA operative for the purpose of discrediting a political opponent who was revealing information about the White House's use of intelligence in the lead-up to the Iraq War.

That was the issue. From the beginning, Rove, through Scott McClellan, denied that he did any of that. There weren't even any clever circumlocutions. He just lied. From admissions from Rove, filings in the Libby case, and uncontradicted reportage, we know as clearly as we ever can that Rove did do each of those things.

So he did do what he was suspected of and he did lie about it.

Don't let anybody confuse the issue or tell you differently--Rove is every bit the corrupt piece of trash he is accused of being.

It's why Bush loves him. Kindred spirits.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Draft Dodger Rove Again Smears Democratic Veterans

Does this disgusting bastard have no shame whatsoever?

"They may be with you for the first few bullets but they won't be there for the last tough battles." -- Karl Rove, on John Kerry and John Murtha, Reuters, 6/13

"Except for a lapse of several months, Selective Service records show presidential adviser Karl Rove escaped the draft for nearly three years at the height of the Vietnam War using student deferments. "
[Walsh, Salt Lake Tribune, 9/18/2004]

Rove's (non-) draft history includes a period where he claimed a student deferment even though he had dropped out of school.

That's right--the man who never faced any bullets at all is saying that John Kerry and John Murtha just don't have the guts to stick it out when things get rough.

And in a reminder of Rove's role in the 2004 campaign:

[John Kerry's] medals have been questioned by a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Bush lawyer Benjamin Ginsberg resigned after acknowledging he advised both the Swift Boat Veterans and the president's campaign. And former Georgia Sen. Max Cleland, a Kerry supporter and Vietnam veteran, earlier this month said, "Karl Rove was behind it all."

Retired Army Col. David Hackworth, a Vietnam veteran and critic, believes Rove is behind the renewed debate about that war nearly 40 years ago. The former war correspondent and online columnist says Rove's strategy as the president's political adviser is to distract from the bloodshed in Iraq and Afghanistan by focusing the public's attention on Vietnam.

"You're dealing with the Machiavelli of modern politics," Hackworth says. "If you look at his track record, what he is really brilliant at is keeping the opposition from being locked on the real message. Do we know that Iraq is a disaster? No. But we know all about the swift boats."

It's what I've said repeatedly over the last year: Rove is the worst person in American politics, bar none.

Of course, that's why Bush likes him so much. Prick.