Thursday, August 31, 2006

Reagan Would Be Considered a Liberal Appeaser in Today's GOP

Think I'm kidding? Glenn Greenwald dug up some wonderful quotes in this post. It seems that in 1988 certain hardcore militant rightwingers were comparing Reagan to Neville Chamberlain. Reagan's sin? Negotiating with the Soviets! Selection:
In fact, though Ronald Reagan has been canonized as the Great Churchillan Warrior, back then he was accused of being the new 1938 Neville Chamberlain because he chose to negotiate with the Soviets and sign treaties as an alternative to war. Conservative Caucus Chair Howard Phillips, for instance, "scorned President Reagan as 'a useful idiot for Kremlin propaganda,'" and published ads which, according to a January 20, 1988 UPI article (via LEXIS):

likens Reagan's signing of the INF Treaty to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's signing of an accord with Nazi Germany's Adolf Hitler in 1938. The ad, with the headline, ''Appeasement Is As Unwise In 1988 As In 1938,'' shows pictures of Chamberlain, Hitler, Reagan and Gorbachev overhung by an umbrella. Chamberlain carried an umbrella and it became a World War II symbol for appeasement.
According to the January 19, 1988 St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via LEXIS), when Pat Robertson was campaigning for President in Missouri in 1988, he "suggested that President Ronald Reagan could be compared to Neville Chamberlain . . . by agreeing to a medium-range nuclear arms agreement with Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev."
The Orange Country Register editorialized in September, 1988 that "Ronald Reagan has become the Neville Chamberlain of the 1980s. The apparent peace of 1988 may be followed by the new wars of 1989 or 1990." And even the very same Newt Gingrich, in 1985, denounced President Reagan's rapprochement with Gorbachev as potentially "the most dangerous summit for the West since Adolf Hitler met with Chamberlain in 1938 at Munich."
The people who so vehemently denounced Reagan then are the people running the Republican Party--and the country--today. They are ruthless, dangerous fanatics who want a series of wars with Syria, Iran, and anyone else that they see as a "threat". They dredge up the tired old Chamberlain argument any time they get a chance to, using it to attack anyone who objects to their insane, reckless agenda. We have to have the courage to stand in their way--and to remember that they even threw this lie at St. Ronald.
(Hat Tip: Atrios)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Matthew Yglesias Rips Into the Hysteria Over Iran

And rather convincingly, too, in this insightful post. Key passages:

Via Kevin Drum, David Ignatius is in Iran and reports that though "you might expect that Tehran would feel like a garrison town" it's actually surprisingly relaxed. But why might you expect that Teheran would feel like a garrison town? Well, you would if you've been following the media's dubious, highly-spun coverage of the issue. But you wouldn't if you asked yourself some basic questions. For example, if Iran is preparing to mount a Hitler-style bid for world domination they must be engaged in a big military build-up, right? But there is no such build up. Maybe there's no need for a build-up because the Iranian military is already so vast and mighty? Well, no. Iran has a defense budget of about $6 billion a year.

The United States spends over 50 times more than that. But perhaps comparisons to the USA are misleading. Lets compare our would-be regional hegemon to its neighbors. Well, Israel spends $9.6 billion and Saudi Arabia spends $25.2 billion. Pakistan, immediately adjacent to Iran and nuclear armed, actually has engaged in a recent defense buildup. What kind of quest for hegemony is Iran supposed to be on? Ignorant American pundits and television personalities may be unaware of these facts, but surely Iranian military and intelligence officials have noticed that Iran has no capacity whatsoever to conquer the region.
**********
And then there's the small matter that our purported would-be Hitlers in Teheran were trying to reach a comprehensive peace agreement with the United States as recently as 2003. Their proposal was rejected by the Bush administration. Not rejected, I remind you, because the Bushies found the details of the proposal inadequate and Teheran refused to compromise further. No! It was rejected without any effort at negotiation because, at the time, the administration was busy threatening to overthrow the government of Iran as the second or third item in an ambitious plan to overthrow every government in the region.
The neocon lunatics beating the drums for a war in Iran are the same liars and crooks that led us into disaster in Iraq. They are now trying to drag us over the cliff entirely by embroiling us in a fight that may very well blossom out of anyone's control. They are doing Bin Laden's work--helping to bring on a war between the West and Islam, which is Osama's fondest wish. They can't be allowed to get away with what they did in Iraq, namely, trying to frighten us into a war we don't need to fight.

The Timeline of Republican Lies on Iraq

Brought to you courtesy of Mother Jones magazine. If this timeline doesn't rekindle your anger at the bloody handed liars who run our country, I'm not sure what would. It's a great job and a great resource. Go check it out.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Life in Republican America

  • The Census Bureau reported today that the number of Americans without health insurance rose by 1.3 million over the past year and that about one-fourth of African-Americans remain mired in poverty. (The poverty rate in the United States has finally stopped climbing.) But take a look at the overall picture of the number of Americans in poverty.


  • The White House is attempting to mount a publicity campaign to distract people from Bush's staggering screw-ups during the Katrina disaster a year ago. In fact, the former head of FEMA, Michael Brown, has revealed that Bush wanted him to lie about the effectiveness of the government's response.
  • Atrios reminds us that four years ago lying sack Dick Cheney was warning us of imminent nuclear destruction at the hands of Saddam Hussein.
  • Cheney is also continuing to lie through his teeth about terrorism in order to whip up support for his faltering party in the midterm elections.
  • And of course, with another major storm barreling in on the U.S., Turkey being terrorized by bombings at resorts, and Iraq continuing to be torn by civil war, Bush is on vacation. Again.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Where Did the Holocaust REALLY Come From?

The rabid, creationist lunatic wing has recently revved up, once again, the idiotic lie that Darwin's ideas on evolution are the direct cause of the Holocaust. Social Darwinism--which Darwin himself rejected--is cited as the link between the two. Never mind that Hitler's diseased brain thoroughly misunderstood almost any idea presented to it. The Holocaust is all Darwin's fault, according to the creationists!
Well, as a history teacher who for many years taught a course on the history of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, I think it's important to understand the historical context in which nineteenth century racist ideas emerged, and to see what ideas were already in the minds of Europe's people in that era, ideas that had been passed down from generation to generation, ideas that made the nonsense of the racists seem plausible. Let's take a look.
From the fifth century theologian Augustine:
But the Jews who slew Him, and would not believe in Him, because it behoved Him to die and rise again, were yet more miserably wasted by the Romans, and utterly rooted out from their kingdom, where aliens had already ruled over them, and were dispersed through the lands (so that indeed there is no place where they are not), and are thus by their own Scriptures a testimony to us that we have not forged the prophecies about Christ. And very many of them, considering this, even before His passion, but chiefly after His resurrection, believed on Him, of whom it was predicted, "Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant shall be saved." [Isaiah 10:22 and Romans 9:27-28] But the rest are blinded, of whom it was predicted, "Let their table be made before them a trap, and a retribution, and a stumbling-block. Let their eyes be darkened lest they see, and bow down their back alway." [Psalm 69:22-23 and Romans 9:9-10] Therefore, when they do not believe our Scriptures, their own, which they blindly read, are fulfilled in them, lest perchance any one should say that the Christians have forged these prophecies about Christ which are quoted under the name of the sibyl, or of others, if such there be, who do not belong to the Jewish people. For us, indeed, those suffice which are quoted from the books of our enemies, to whom we make our acknowledgment, on account of this testimony which, in spite of themselves, they contribute by their possession of these books, while they themselves are dispersed among all nations, wherever the Church of Christ is spread abroad. For a prophecy about this thing was sent before in the Psalms, which they also read, where it is written, "My God, His mercy shall prevent me. My God hath shown me concerning mine enemies, that Thou shalt not slay them, lest they should at last forget Thy law: disperse them in Thy might."[Psalm 69:10-11] Therefore God has shown the Church in her enemies the Jews the grace of His compassion, [Emphasis added] since, as saith the apostle, "their offence is the salvation of the Gentiles."[Romans 11:11] And therefore He has not slain them, that is, He has not let the knowledge that they are Jews be lost in them, although they have been conquered by the Romans, lest they should forget the law of God, and their testimony should be of no avail in this matter of which we treat. But it was not enough that he should say, "Slay them not, lest they should at last forget Thy law," unless he had also added, "Disperse them;" because if they had only been in their own land with that testimony of the Scriptures, and not every where, certainly the Church which is everywhere could not have had them as witnesses among all nations to the prophecies which were sent before concerning Christ.
In short, the suffering of the Jews is the fulfillment of prophecy and an example of what happens to those who reject Christ's message.
From St. John Chrysostom, Fourth Century:
Although such beasts [Jews] are unfit for work, they are fit for killing. And this is what happened to the Jews: while they were making themselves unfit for work, they grew fit for slaughter. This is why Christ said: "But as for these my enemies, who did not want me to be king over them, bring them here and slay them". You Jews should have fasted then, when drunkenness was doing those terrible things to you, when your gluttony was giving birth to your ungodliness-not now. Now your fasting is untimely and an abomination. Who said so? Isaiah himself when he called out in a loud voice: "I did not choose this fast, say the Lord". Why? "You quarrel and squabble when you fast and strike those subject to you with your fists". But if you fasting was an abomination when you were striking your fellow slaves, does it become acceptable now that you have slain your Master? How could that be right?
No comment necessary.
Pope Gregory I, the Great (died 604 AD) from the Jewish Encyclopedia.com:
Gregory had a deep-seated aversion to Judaism, which to him was Jewish superstition ("superstitio"), depravity ("perditio"), and faithlessness ("perfidia"). He discarded the literal interpretation of the Bible which prevailed among the Jews, and designated their attacks upon Christianity as idle prattle. He forbade the literal observance of the Sabbath law, wide-spread among the Christians, on the ground that it was Jewish; and his deepest grievance against the Nestorians was that they were like the Jews. He extolled the Visigothic king Reccared for his severe measures against the Jews and for his firmness against their attempts at bribery.
In fairness, it should be stated that Gregory at least forbade violence against Jews and was opposed to forcible conversion and forced baptism.

From Gates of Jewish Heritage, an account of the First Crusade, 1095-96:
In 1095 Pope Urban II declared a holy war, a Crusade, against the Muslims to make the Holy Land Christian again. Meanwhile, the feudal system in Europe was beginning to break up. The huge land barons and the Church owed millions of dollars to the Jewish money lenders who had financed the building of major cathedrals in Europe. The common folk were starving and undirected. There were serious droughts and a famine in 1095. With Urban's call and the Church's support, thousands of townspeople found a direction for their frustration and hate. With rabble-rousers leading them on, mobs formed intending to march to the Holy Land and kill the enemies of Christ. According to many rabble-rousers, however, there was a traditional enemy of Christ much closer than the Holy Land: the Jews in the Rhineland. Before the knights of Europe had even started to get organized, a "Crusade" of Christian mobs was declared. From these ranks were heard the words of a respected knight, Godfrey of Bouillon, stating that he wouldn't leave his country for the Holy Land until he had avenged the crucifixion by spilling a Jew's blood with his own hands.The mobs assembled near the wealthy Jewish communities in the Rhineland in April, 1096. It wasn't until May 3, after Easter, however, that they actually attacked. The attacks lasted into June.According to some eyewitness reports, some noblemen tried to protect Jews, but the incensed mobs ignored them. More than 1,000 Jews were slaughtered at Worms. In Mainz, more than 1,300 Jews lost their lives. Before the Crusaders ever left Europe, more than 10,000 Jews lay murdered. Not coincidentally, one of the casualties of the Rhineland slaughters was all of the records of loans made by the land barons and the Church to the Jewish money-lenders. Rhineland Jewry never did collect on those huge loans.

From an interview with historian Norman Cohn:

What happened when the crusaders conquered Jerusalem?


Well, I think what's amazing when we think about it here as we celebrate the 900th anniversary of that conquest--July the 15th, 1099--is that it succeeded. Because of course, to march armies of tens of thousands, both of knights and non-combatants, all the way across Europe, to have maybe one in 20 survive, and then to conquer the city of Jerusalem, seemed like a miracle. It even seems like a miracle to us today. But it was that miracle, of course, which gave Christians--unfortunately, I think--in the 12th century this sense of divine providence, that the city of Jerusalem was theirs; and of course then when the city was lost in 1187, made it an even more critical moment in Christian views of history and its coming end.


When the crusading armies arrived at Jerusalem finally in mid-June of 1099, one of the things that they did was to immediately have a religious procession around the whole city, a penitential rite, because Crusade was also pilgrimage; and then to have an immediate assault on the city, because they felt again that God was on their side. That assault failed. And so then the Christians began to build siege machines in order to attack the city over the next few weeks. And then finally, in the middle of July (July 12th and 13th through the 15th) the siege machines enabled the city to be breached, the crusaders to rush in, and then the most terrible thing to happen: a slaughter, almost universal slaughter of Muslims and Jews in the city, which is still the worst stain on the Crusade, I think, that history leaves to us.

How many people killed?


It's difficult to know exactly how many people were slaughtered at the conquest of the city, but it seems to have been some tens of thousands. ... Crusading chronicles say that the blood from the slaughtered reached up to the knees of their horses.

From the Lateran Council of 1215:


In some provinces a difference in dress distinguishes the Jews or Saracens from the Christians, but in certain others such a confusion has grown up that they cannot be distinguished by any difference. Thus it happens at times that through error Christians have relations with the women of Jews or Saracens, and Jews and Saracens with Christian women. Therefore, that they may not, under pretext of error of this sort, excuse themselves in the future for the excesses of such prohibited intercourse, we decree that such Jews and Saracens of both sexes in every Christian province and at all times shall be marked off in the eyes of the public from other peoples through the character of their dress. Particularly, since it may be read in the writings of Moses [Numbers 15:37-41], that this very law has been enjoined upon them.

Moreover, during the last three days before Easter and especially on Good Friday, they shall not go forth in public at all, for the reason that some of them on these very days, as we hear, do not blush to go forth better dressed and are not afraid to mock the Christians who maintain the memory of the most holy Passion by wearing signs of mourning.

This, however, we forbid most severely, that any one should presume at all to break forth in insult to the Redeemer. And since we ought not to ignore any insult to Him who blotted out our disgraceful deeds, we command that such impudent fellows be checked by the secular princes by imposing them proper punishment so that they shall not at all presume to blaspheme Him who was crucified for us.
Jews, in other words, are ordered to wear distinctive badges so that they might be clearly identified.
From Magna Carta, 1215:
10. If one who has borrowed from the Jews any sum, great or small, die before that loan can be repaid, the debt shall not bear interest while the heir is under age, of whomsoever he may hold; and if the debt fall into our hands, we will not take anything except the principal sum contained in the bond.

11. And if any one die indebted to the Jews, his wife shall have her dower and pay nothing of that debt; and if any children of the deceased are left underage, necessaries shall be provided for them in keeping with the holding of the deceased; and out of the residue the debt shall be paid, reserving, however, service due to feudal lords; in like manner let it be done touching debts due to others than Jews.
Although stating that all debts will be handled in the same way, isn't it interesting that Jewish debt-holders were specifically singled out.
From the Medieval Sourcebook, an account of how Jews were forced to confess, under torture, that they were deliberately "causing" the Black Death--and what was done about it in 1348:
I. The Confession of Agimet of Geneva, Ch√Ętel, October 20, 1348
The year of our Lord 1348.


[The Jew Agimet] confesses further that he put some of this poison [The Black Death] into the public fountain of the city of Toulouse and in the wells that are near the [Mediterranean] sea. Asked if at the time that he scattered the venom and poisoned the wells, above mentioned, any people had died, he said that he did not know inasmuch as he had left everyone of the above mentioned places in a hurry. Asked if any of the Jews of those places were guilty in the above mentioned matter, he answered that he did not know. And now by all that which is contained in the five books of Moses and the scroll of the Jews, he declared that this was true, and that he was in no wise lying, no matter what might happen to him. [This Jew does not seem to know that the books of Moses and the scroll of the Jews are identical!]

II. The Cremation of Strasbourg Jewry St. Valentine's Day, February 14, 1349 - About The Great Plague And The Burning Of The Jews

In the year 1349 there occurred the greatest epidemic that ever happened. Death went from one end of the earth to the other, on that side and this side of the sea, and it was greater among the Saracens than among the Christians. In some lands everyone died so that no one was left. Ships were also found on the sea laden with wares; the crew had all died and no one guided the ship. The Bishop of Marseilles and priests and monks and more than half of all the people there died with them. In other kingdoms and cities so many people perished that it would be horrible to describe. The pope at Avignon stopped all sessions of court, locked himself in a room, allowed no one to approach him and had a fire burning before him all the time. [This last was probably intended as some sort of disinfectant.] And from what this epidemic came, all wise teachers and physicians could only say that it was God's will. And as the plague was now here, so was it in other places, and lasted more than a whole year. This epidemic also came to Strasbourg in the summer of the above mentioned year, and it is estimated that about sixteen thousand people died.

In the matter of this plague the Jews throughout the world were reviled and accused in all lands of having caused it through the poison which they are said to have put into the water and the wells-that is what they were accused of-and for this reason the Jews were burnt all the way from the Mediterranean into Germany, but not in Avignon, for the pope protected them there.

Nevertheless they tortured a number of Jews in Berne and Zofingen [Switzerland] who then admitted that they had put poison into many wells, and they also found the poison in the wells. Thereupon they burnt the Jews in many towns and wrote of this affair to Strasbourg, Freiburg, and Basel in order that they too should burn their Jews. But the leaders in these three cities in whose hands the government lay did not believe that anything ought to be done to the Jews. However in Basel the citizens marched to the city-hall and compelled the council to take an oath that they would burn the Jews, and that they would allow no Jew to enter the city for the next two hundred years. Thereupon the Jews were arrested in all these places and a conference was arranged to meet at Benfeld rAlsace, February 8, 13491. The Bishop of Strasbourg [Berthold II], all the feudal lords of Alsace, and representatives of the three above mentioned cities came there. The deputies of the city of Strasbourg were asked what they were going to do with their Jews. Thev answered and said that they knew no evil of them. Then they asked the Strasbourgers why they had closed the wells and put away the buckets, and there was a great indignation and clamor against the deputies from Strasbourg. So finally the Bishop and the lords and the Imperial Cities agreed to do away with the Jews. The result was that they were burnt in many cities, and wherever they were expelled they were caught by the peasants and stabbed to death or drowned. . .
.
[The town-council of Strasbourg which wanted to save the Jews was deposed on the 9th-10th of February, and the new council gave in to the mob, who then arrested the Jews on Friday, the 13th.]

THE JEWS ARE BURNT
On Saturday - that was St. Valentine's Day-they burnt the Jews on a wooden platform in their cemetery. There were about two thousand people of them. Those who wanted to baptize themselves were spared. [Some say that about a thousand accepted baptism.] Many small children were taken out of the fire and baptized against the will of their fathers and mothers. And everything that was owed to the Jews was cancelled, and the Jews had to surrender all pledges and notes that they had taken for debts. The council, however, took the cash that the Jews possessed and divided it among the working-men proportionately. The money was indeed the thing that killed the Jews. If they had been poor and if the feudal lords had not been in debt to them, they would not have been burnt. After this wealth was divided among the artisans some gave their share to the Cathedral or to the Church on the advice of their confessors.

Thus were the Jews burnt at Strasbourg, and in the same year in all the cities of the Rhine, whether Free Cities or Imperial Cities or cities belonging to the lords. In some towns they burnt the Jews after a trial, in others, without a trial. In some cities the Jews themselves set fire to their houses and cremated themselves.
A map of Jewish expulsions from medieval states may be found here.
From On the Jews and Their Lies by Martin Luther, 1543:
What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews? Since they live among us, we dare not tolerate their conduct, now that we are aware of their lying and reviling and blaspheming. If we do, we become sharers in their lies, cursing and blaspemy. Thus we cannot extinguish the unquenchable fire of divine wrath, of which the prophets speak, nor can we convert the Jews. With prayer and the fear of God we must pratice a sharp mercy to see whether we might save at least a few from the glowing flames. We dare not avenge ourselves. Vengenance a thousand times worse than we could wish them already has them by the throat. I shall give you my sincere advice:

First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians. For whatever we tolerated in the past unknowingly - and I myself was unaware of it - will be pardoned by God. But if we, now that we are informed, were to protect and shield such a house for the Jews, existing right before our very nose, in which they lie about, blaspheme, curse, vilify, and defame Christ and us (as was heard above), it would be the same as if we were doing all this and even worse ourselves, as we very well know.

Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues. Instead they might be lodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies. This will bring home to them that they are not masters in our country, as they boast, but that they are living in exile and in captivity, as they incessantly wail and lament about us before God.

Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them. (remainder omitted)

Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. For they have justly forfeited the right to such an office by holding the poor Jews captive with the saying of Moses (Deuternomy 17 [:10 ff.]) in which he commands them to obey their teachers on penalty of death, although Moses clearly adds: "what they teach you in accord with the law of the Lord." Thoses villains ignore that. They wantonly employ the poor people's obedience contrary to the law of the Lord and infuse them with this poison, cursing, and blasphemy. In the same way the pope also held us captive with the declaration in Matthew 16 {:18], "You are Peter," etc, inducing us to believe all the lies and deceptions that issued from his devilish mind. He did not teach in accord with the word of God, and therefore he forfeited the righ to teach.

Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside, since they are not lords, officials, tradesmen, or the like. Let they stay at home.
It was ferocious Christian anti-Semitism that helped set the psychological stage for the mass murder of Jews in the 20th century. Although I love and cherish the Christians in my life, as a historian I must testify to the facts. I mean the citation of these historical examples as no disrespect to the many wonderful Christians who love and respect Jews and speak up in their defense, nor is it an indictment of the many Christian rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust, especially those in Bulgaria, Denmark, and Hungary. But in order to deal with the past, we must confront it honestly.
Other causes of the Holocaust: fierce German nationalism combined with romanticism (Herder), later stemming in part from the German reaction in the early 19th century to subjugation by Napoleon (Fichte, Hegel); racist ideas such as those spread by Gobineau and H. S. Chamberlain; Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the vicious forgery from Russia which Hitler fiercely believed; anti-Semitic groups in Vienna which influenced the teenage Hitler; the social upheaval in post-World War I Germany and the (false) association of Jews with Germany's defeat; and Hitler's misinterpretation of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, among others.
All huge historical events have deep and complex causes. For the enemies of reason and scientific rationalism to blame Darwin for the Holocaust is both obscene and preposterous. It shows a willful ignorance of history that cannot be countenanced. Evolution is a historical fact. To accuse its discoverers and interpreters of having caused the horrible crimes of the Nazis is grotesque in the deepest sense--and as wrong as anything people have ever believed.

Friday, August 25, 2006

John Pavich on the Attack!

And in DKos, no less. Check out John's strong attack on Republican Jerry Weller's family connection to a homicidal Central American dictator. Excerpts:
Weller is the first elected official in United States history to marry a member of a foreign legislature. Zury Rios Sosa is a third-term legislator in Guatemala's congress, and also has the distinction of being the second most powerful leader of the Guatemalan political party, FRG. There's a lot of questions surrounding the ethical problems Weller's relationship has produced...

The FRG is led by her father, the former dictator of Guatemala, General Efrain Rios Montt. Rios Montt is under indictment by the Spanish government for crimes against humanity during his leadership of Guatemala in the early 1980s, which took place during Guatemala's 36-year civil war.

Neither Weller nor his bride have denounced the activities of Rios Montt's goverment, which he himself described as, "excessive." Weller holds the vice chairmanship of the House's western hemisphere subcommittee, which oversees much of the policy in relation to Latin America.

Though Weller had promised to recuse himself from any legislation having to do with Guatemala in order to avoid a conflict of interest, Weller went on to cast a vote for CAFTA, which passed with a razor-thin majority (Weller also serves in the Illinois congressional district with the largest labor population in the state). When questioned about the conflict, he backtracked on his statement, saying that he only meant he would recuse himself from legislation that directly deals with Guatemala. Except the U.S. Government almost never directly deals with nations in that area.

The appearance of impropriety doesn't end there. Weller stated in 2004 that he wanted to focus on cracking down on the drug trade. Up to 70% of the drugs that enter the United States come through Guatemala, but in his subsequent dealings with the issue, he notably excuses Guatemala from the list of drug trafficking nations. The FRG, as the article points out, is known to have opened the door to drug trafficking and organized crime in the district.
Weller is a typical lying, corrupt right-wing Republican who has voted with Bush and Tom DeLay more than 92% of the time. He deserves to be voted out in favor of a REAL patriot--John Pavich!
Help John's campaign here.

How Bush and the Republicans "Support the Troops"

Caution: This just might seriously piss you off:

The Bush administration's most recent budget framework includes $910 million in cuts to the Veterans Administration. 2,615 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq, and yet efforts to double the death benefit for soldiers killed in active duty have been forcefully resisted by the White House. Pay raises for soldiers have been capped. The tax-cut mantra of the White House has not trickled down far enough to assist the troops on the line; soldiers fighting overseas and soldiers deployed for extended periods have not been deemed worthy of even minimal tax relief, while billions of dollars in tax cuts are gifted to the wealthiest among us.

Nearly 20,000 soldiers have been wounded in Iraq, but must wait nearly six months before being seen by a VA hospital. The prescription co-pay costs for veterans were doubled in Bush's proposed 2005 budget. His 2004 proposed budget would have eviscerated funding for the education of military children. The White House formally opposed allowing National Guard and Reserve members access to the Pentagon's health care program. Perhaps worst of all, the White House quietly attempted to cut combat pay for all soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, but this measure was quickly scrapped after it became public.

This from the man whose staged photo-ops with serving soldiers have become the stuff of lore. This from the man whose defenders denounce critics with the line, "Why don't you support the troops?" This from an administration filled with officials who, almost to a man, had other priorities when they were called to serve.

The question of how, exactly, one can and should support the troops has been a live political hand grenade over the last several years. Do you support the troops by backing Bush and the Iraq occupation to the hilt? By quashing criticism because it might affect soldier morale? Or do you support the troops by advocating for their removal from the vortex of a failed and deadly policy?

These are, for sure and certain, questions of life and death. They are also, however, political questions all too often dominated by sound bytes and talking points. True assistance to American soldiers, within all this noise, is difficult to find.
Is there a more loathsome human who has ever been our president? Bush is a steaming pile of horseshit in human form, and I don't care how over the top that sounds. His administration is packed with chickenhawk draft dodgers who loudly question the patriotism of anyone who questions their disastrous policies. They screw our men and women in uniform and lie to them that their mission in Iraq is to "avenge 9/11". Outrageous and disgusting.
By the way, read the entire article, if you have time--it has a powerful account of the wonderful men and women who motorcycle to soldier funerals to drown out the Westboro Baptist Church assholes who chant obscene slogans at those services. It will inspire you and give you hope.
(Hat tip: Bartcop)

Yes, an Election CAN Be Rigged Electronically

And the Republicans know how to do it. Watch this shocking testimony here. It details how a Republican congressman authorized the design of just such a program in 2000.
I have always believed that the 2000 election was stolen by ruthless right wing fanatics in what was essentially a coup d'etat. My suspicions about the legitimacy of the 2004 election have grown as well. And now we see tangible evidence of the ease with which electronic voter fraud can be pulled off.

If we don't fight this, by God we deserve to lose.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Howard Dean Shows the Way

Watch him on Hardball here.

Hat tip: Al Rodgers on DKos

BTW, doesn't Chris Matthews just make you cringe when you listen to him?

Not This Time

It's started again. The campaign by the radical, extreme right Republicans and our numerous enemies in the mainstream media to portray the Democrats as "weak on national security" or "unwilling to fight the war on terror" or even "unpatriotic" is in full swing. Limbaugh, aka as "The Fat Assed Drug Addict" (Paul Hackett) is in full cry, rallying his army of knuckle-dragging dittoheads with the accusation that Democrats are disloyal to America. (Funny how Limbaugh is willing to make that accusation, inasmuch as he was a gutless draft dodger when it came to Vietnam.) Coulter is openly calling us traitors. Cheney is warning that a vote for the Democrats in November will weaken America. Orrin Hatch, who is as vile and phony of a Senator as I have ever heard of, is warning that if the Democrats win, the terrorists will surely strike. Bush is again playing with the terror alerts, and evidence is coming out that Bush's people tried to pressure the British into prematurely revealing the London airplane bombing plot. Karl Rove has made it clear that the Republicans plan to run a campaign of naked fear against the Democrats, and it is already in progress. Will it work again, as it did in 2002 and 2004?
Not this time. That is, not if we hit the right wing bastards in the face as hard as we can. The Democrats must NOT simply let the radical right paint them with the phony charge of being "weak" on security. We must pound the Republicans, again and again and again, with the following points:
--9/11 happened on Bush's watch. It was Bush who dropped the ball. He ignored numerous warnings and left this country wide open to attack. It was Bush's fault we were not ready.
--Cheney deliberately manipulated intelligence data to drag us into a war in Iraq that has done nothing but harm our ability to fight the war on terrorism. It was Cheney's lies and Cheney's incompetence that convinced the weak, foolish little man in the White House to agree to war. It was Rumsfeld who failed to plan for the occupation of Iraq. The mess in Iraq is 100% the fault of the Republicans.
--Osama bin Laden is STILL not in custody. The perpetrator of the 9/11 atrocity is still running free. Bush has utterly failed to bring the criminal bin Laden to justice.
--Because Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld have refused to negotiate directly with potential enemies, North Korea and Iran have moved forward with their nuclear programs. Republican incompetence has made us more vulnerable to nuclear attack.
--Bush helped push Israel into its unwise decision to pursue a wider war against Hezbollah. Bush has worsened every aspect of the MidEast situation and made our country less secure.
--The Republicans have STILL not implemented a program to inspect all cargoes coming into the United States.
--The Republicans deliberately politicized 9/11 and have spent five years campaigning on the corpses of those who were killed, shamelessly exploiting their deaths for Republican political advantage.
The Republican attack on the Democratic Party is a lie. In fact, it is the exact inverse of the truth, 180 degrees from the facts. It is the Republicans that have put our country in mortal peril, and it is the Republicans who are weak--disastrously, sickeningly, dangerously weak--on true national security. We can't--and we won't--let them get away with it again.
Not this time. By God, not this time.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Once and For All: Are You an American or a Confederate?

Seeing a picture of the disgusting George Allen singing in a Civil War reenactment got me thinking about something that's bothered me for a long time: the persistence of Confederate nostalgia in this country. My wife and I had occasion to visit South Carolina a few years ago to see our oldest daughter, who was working down there at the time. The number of Confederate flag symbols everywhere was appalling. I was particularly--EXTREMELY--incensed when I saw, in a barbecue restaurant, a photo of the Marines raising the flag on Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima. It showed them raising the CONFEDERATE flag, not the American one. Now, to me, that was blasphemy. So I got to thinking: when are these Confederate lovers going to decide that they're Americans? When are they going to stop being nostalgic for treason, slavery, and the most nearly successful attempt to destroy our country in its history?

Being a true blue northerner and a resident of Illinois, I've always looked up to Abraham Lincoln, the greatest American in our history, in my humble opinion. Yes, Lincoln had profound flaws, as Frederick Douglass pointed out, but he came to understand, during the course of his Presidency, something vitally important: that a Union victory in the American Civil War was essential not only to the preservation of the United States but also to the well-being of the world itself. By the time of the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln had realized the moral necessity of reaffirming the promise of the Declaration of Independence, specifically its assertion of human equality. Lincoln was clearly moving beyond his initial commitment to save the Union, and only to save the Union. He was clearly coming to see the defeat of slavery as a moral imperative, something which would finally give meaning to the Declaration's basic political philosophy, and expunge the fundamental hypocrisy that underlay our nation's founding ideals.

By the time of his Second Inaugural Address, Lincoln had come to see the Civil War as God's judgment on the American people for slavery (a view I do not share, in that I don't see the intervention of God in human affairs being so clearly discernible). He knew that there would have to be reconciliation between the North and South, that all of us were going to have to again see ourselves as Americans, members of one country. Only Lincoln, in my view, had the vision, wisdom, strength, and stature to oversee this gargantuan task. It's what makes his assassination the greatest political tragedy in American history.

Millions of southerners would never embrace Lincoln's hope for a truly reunited country. In their bitterness and defiance they continued to be loyal to the Confederate cause, albeit in a somewhat more subdued manner. But that loyalty, passed down through Southern churches, remained strong over the generations. And it enabled the white South to win the peace in the decades following the war. Confederate loyalty gave white southerners the emotional determination to repress African-Americans and inflict upon them every injustice, every indignity, every insult, and every legal disability short of outright slavery itself. It gave them a myth to which they could cling, the myth of the poor, oppressed South, the myth of the Lost Cause, a myth that gave millions of southerners a fierce, almost tribal like sense of unity and self-identity. It is this myth that persists, perhaps in less virulent form than a hundred years ago, to this very day.

Kevin Phillips pointed out in the book American Theocracy that Christian fundamentalism is rooted in the belief that the wrong side won the Civil War. There are, literally, tens of millions of people in our country who still believe that the Northern victory was an injustice and that the word "American" is in one sense a symbol of this injustice. Phillips also cited evidence about the pervasiveness of the adjective "Southern" in preference to "American" in the names of businesses centered in the former Confederate states. For example, a company that might be called "American Hardware Suppliers" in the north is typically called "Southern Hardware Suppliers" in a state like Mississippi. The Confederate battle flag still flies on public ground in many parts of the South. (I don't know if it still does, but for many years Alabama's capitol building flew the Southern banner instead of the American flag.) In short, there continues to be a sort of divided loyalty in millions of our people, expressed in flags, bumper stickers, and billboards throughout the South: Long Live the Confederacy!

This has to end, and it has to be challenged. We need the courage to confront Confederate sympathizers once and for all by laying out the undeniable and irrefutable facts:

--A Confederate victory would have destroyed the unity of our country, certainly for decades, perhaps forever. There may never have been a reunification of the American states.

--A Confederate victory would have been a victory for every enemy of popular government on this planet, living confirmation of the assertion that republics are doomed to fail.

--A Confederate victory would have preserved human slavery, perhaps even beyond the 1888 abolition of Brazilian slavery.

--A Confederate victory would have encouraged every northern racist to crush the liberties of northern blacks.

In short, it would have been a catastrophe of the first magnitude, and one which would have had potentially disastrous effects on world history and the progress of human rights on this planet.

It does not matter that many Confederate soldiers fought heroically. The cause for which they were fighting, as U.S. Grant remarked, was as wrong as any cause for which humans have ever fought. We can respect and honor the valor of Confederate soldiers without endorsing their cause, just as we can recognize the heroism of German and Japanese soldiers from the Second World War. We also need to assert some things pretty loudly and clearly, however many people might find them objectionable:

--The name of the conflict is The American Civil War. It is not "The War Between the States" and it is emphatically not "The War of Northern Aggression" or the "War for Southern Independence". The names by which we know historical events are important.

--Nathan Bedford Forrest was a war criminal, and so was every Confederate like him who brutally murdered black troops simply on principle. Forrest later started the Ku Klux Klan as well.

--The myth of the north oppressing the south in the Reconstruction period is a despicable lie, one which was used for decades to stir up racial hatred in the South.

--The leaders of the Confederacy, like Jefferson Davis, were traitors, not heroes.

--The Confederate flag is the banner of treason, and it has never been anything else.

Those nostalgic for the Confederacy (or more properly, for the myth of the Confederacy) have to face some tough choices, namely: Are you ready to fully embrace being an American citizen? Are you ready to remove the flag of treason from your public buildings, vehicles, and billboards? Are you ready to set aside "Southern" identity and identify yourselves whole-heartedly with the United States of America? Did the southerners who sacrificed themselves so heroically in the world wars, Korea, Vietnam, and the Middle East die for the Confederacy or for America? Are you ready to acknowledge that there is only one American flag, and it's the Stars and Stripes? And ultimately, these people have to be confronted with the ultimate question:

Once and for all: Are you an American or a Confederate?

Because by God, you can't be both.

Period.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Republican Fear Mongering and the Politicization of Terror

Keith Olbermann lays it out here.

Funny how the terror alerts always seem to serve the Bush Administration's political needs, especially the transparently fraudulent one right after the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

(Hat tip: Lance at Slowcurl)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Use J. Miller Rampant as a Political Weapon!

Use articles from this little fiercely Democratic blog in the 2006 political wars! I've got articles in the archives on foreign policy, the economy, social issues, the proverbial whole nine yards. Link to articles by going to the Comments section for any one you're interested in, highlight the article name, and then cut and past the individual post's URL. Or simply hit the envelope icon at the end of the article to e-mail it. You also have my permission to lift entire posts and send them to people. I can't guarantee all the links work from some of the older posts, but there are more than 900 pieces of anti-Bush, anti-Republican ammunition to pick from. Use the articles to help wavering voters make up their minds to vote Democratic or to help whip right wingers who are annoying you with their pathetic attempts to defend Shrub and his enablers in Congress. I've been pourin' it out there for ya, folks--put it to use!
(Please.)

Lieberman: The Republican Candidate in CT

An excellent article in HuffPo today by RJ Eskow destroys the myth of the "moderate" Joe Lieberman and makes a shrewd analysis: Lieberman is a Republican proxy, carrying water for Karl Rove in a blue state. Excerpts from Eskow's trenchant analysis:
With the National Republican Senatorial Committee's all-but-endorsement of his campaign, it's now pretty much official that he's conducting a GOP "proxy war" in Connecticut. The message needs to be: Joe Lieberman - along with his allies Dick Cheney and Karl Rove - is no "moderate." He's well to the right of Republican moderates, much less those other Democrats in the "Gang of 14."

Compare Lieberman's war stance with that of Chuck Hagel, and contrast his long-term advocacy of warrantless wiretapping with the positions taken by Sens. Snowe and Specter.

If Lieberman's more conservative than these Republican Senators, how can he be described as a "moderate Democrat" by any but the totally clueless?

Here's how Democrats can educate the voters on Lieberman's hard-right GOP stance in four simple sentences:

1. He supported the religious extremists when they tried to intervene in the Schiavo case - an action opposed by 70% of all Americans.
2. He wants more troops in Iraq, while 60-70% of Americans want an end to the war.
3. He doesn't support the Fourth Amendment. Period.
4. He's running a gutter campaign using sleazy tactics, with the active participation of the Rove/Cheney dirty-tricks gang.

That's the argument Lamont's supporters need to make. While Ned shares his positive vision with the voters, other Democrats need to hammer this message over and over again. Lamont doesn't need to win Republican votes. He needs to starve Lieberman of Democratic votes. Tepid endorsements from fellow Dems won't do: he needs fighters.
Amen to that last line. Let's get the Big Dog, Bill Clinton, into Connecticut (and Pennsylvania and Ohio and Missouri and Nevada, too, for that matter) to campaign for the Democratic nominee. Fight Lieberman's right-wing coordinated campaign by using his own tactics against him. Remember: in the new SUSA poll, Bush is down 32% to 66% in Connecticut. Sixty-six per cent disapproval!! Wrap Bush around Lieberman's neck like a diseased python, and watch Old Joe melt into the floor like the Wicked Witch of the East.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Interesting Highlights from George Allen's Life

You can find 'em here.

Really, how did this disgusting cretin get so far in life? Could it have been from riding on his father's name, just like another useless asshole named George?

Hmmmmm.

The Daily Show Tackles Allen's Macaca!

Right here!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

"Say it loud, say it often, 'Republicans are bad on national security'''

Larry Beinhart declares war on the lie that Republicans are actually "good" at protecting anything other than their own asses or the financial power of their chief contributors. The indictment he draws up is damning:
1. 9/11 happened on their watch.
2. George Bush and the Republicans failed to get Osama bin Laden.
3. George Bush and the Republicans gave Osama bin Laden what he wanted. He wanted our troops tied down in an Islamic country so that an insurgency could do to them what the Afghanis did to the Russians and to the British before them.
4. George Bush and the Republicans squandered America's power and prestige.
5. The Bush administration empowered Hezbollah.The 'insurgency' in Iraq was Hezbollah's textbook and their inspiration.
6. The Bush administration radicalized Hamas.
7. Bush and the Republicans tied down our forces in Iraq while Iran and North Korea invested in nuclear technology.
8. By the way, every major European nation has had successful arrests and real trials of real, dangerous terrorists. People on the level of this group that the British just took down.
9. We have trashed the bill of rights. We have trashed the Geneva conventions. We have a president and a vice president willing to go the mat to fight for the right to torture people. We have spent a fortune on illegal wiretaps. We have spent a fortune on collecting everyone's telephone data.
Beinhart has additional arguments attached to every point, so as we say in Blog Biz, read the whole thing.
The Republicans are going to run on fear and paranoia this year. It's all they've got. The Democrats have to use Karl Rove's jujitsu in reverse. Rove always attacks his opponent's greatest perceived strength. Well, that's how we need to smash the Republican effort this year. We've just got to keep making our case. Remember, over and over and over, the message must be:
REPUBLICANS ARE BAD ON NATIONAL SECURITY

The Freeway Blogger Strikes!

Check it out here!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My Favorite Freeway Sign

(Seen on Bartcop):

George Bush Couldn't Find Osama Bin Laden Even If He Wanted To

Scientist Absolutely DESTROYS Republican Psychoclown Coulter

Do you ever wonder whether Ann Coulter believes her own bullshit? Jerry Coyne, a prominent evolutionary biologist, asks this question (more politely than I) in this book review of Coulter's latest piece of smegma, Godless. Coulter's inaccuracies, lies, misunderstandings, and grotesque distortions are so ludicrous that one wonders about her sincerity. But Coyne points out the real problem: a lot of people do believe this tripe she's selling. Annoyed at this, Coyne calmly proceeds to rip Coulter's idiocy limb from limb. Excerpts:
Enamored of ID, and unable to fathom a scientific reason why biologists don't buy it, Coulter suggests that scientists are an evil sub-cabal of atheist liberals, a group so addicted to godlessness that they must hide at all costs the awful "truth" that evolution didn't happen. She accuses evolutionists of brainwashing children with phony fossils and made-up "evidence," turning the kids into "Darwiniacs" stripped of all moral (i.e., biblical) grounding and prone to become beasts and genocidal lunatics. To Coulter, biologists are folks who, when not playing with test tubes or warping children's minds, encourage people to have sex with dogs. (I am not making this up.)
********
What's annoying about Coulter (note: there's more than one thing!) is that she insistently demands evidence for evolution (none of which she'll ever accept), but requires not a shred of evidence for her "alternative hypothesis." She repeatedly assures us that God exists (not just any God -- the Christian God), that there is only one God (she's no Hindu, folks), that we are made in the image of said God, that the Christian Bible, like Antonin Scalia's Constitution, "is not a 'living' document" (that is, not susceptible to changing interpretation; so does she think that Genesis is literally true?), and that God just might have used evolution as part of His plan. What makes her so sure about all this? And how does she know that the Supreme Being, even if It exists, goes by the name of Yahweh, rather than Allah, Wotan, Zeus, or Mabel? If Coulter just knows these things by faith alone, she should say so, and then tell us why she's so sure that what Parsees or Zunis just know is wrong. I, for one, am not prepared to believe that Ann Coulter is made in God's image without seeing some proof.
Woo hoo! If you want to read an outstanding example of a true intellectual ass-kickin', read all of Coyne's devastating attack. You're expecting me to say something here to the effect that it makes me almost sorry for the anorexic, reputed cocaine abusing, suspected transvestite Coulter. Wrong, It didn't make me feel sorry at all.
It made me laugh with cruel delight.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Bush and Cheney Were Grossly Negligent in the Period Leading Up to 9/11

I thought you'd like to see what kinds of warnings the Boy King and his minions ignored in the period prior to the 9/11 attacks. The article from which this information is taken can be found here.


First line of each entry: WHEN
Second: SOURCE
Third: WARNING HIGHLIGHT

1998
CIA Intelligence sources
Fly explosive-laden plane into World Trade Center

1999
Report to National Intelligence Council
Bin Laden might crash plane into Pentagon, White House, or CIA Headquarters

March 2001
Italy
Warns of "very, very, secret" al-Qaeda plan

April 2001
Afghanistan
Warns of al-Qaeda plot to attack US in suicide missions involving aircraft

June 2001
Germany
Warns of plans to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons

May-July 2001
National Security Agency
Intercepted at least thirty-three communications about impending attack

July 2001
Great Britain
Warns al-Qaeda is in "the final stages" of preparing a terrorist attack

July 2001
Afghanistan
Taliban Foreign Minister warns of huge attack on America

July 2001
Argentina
Relays warning of an attack of major proportions

July 2001
Egypt
Warns that 20 al-Qaeda members have slipped into US and 4 of them have received flight training

Late summer 2001
Jordan
Warns that aircraft will be used in major attack inside US

1994-August 2001
Congressional Intelligence Committee
Twelve examples of intelligence data - possible use of planes as weapons (may include some above)

August 2001
Morocco
Bin Laden plans "large scale operations in summer or fall", disappointed 1993 World Trade attack failed

August 2001
Russia
Putin warns that suicide pilots are training for attacks on US targets

August 2001
Iran
Warns "spectacular terrorist operation" to take place soon

August 2001
Great Britain
Warns of multiple airplane hijackings – warning said to have reached Bush

August 2001
Egypt
Warns that al-Qaeda in advance stages of planning significant attack on US

August 2001
Israel
Warns "major assault on the US" imminent; gives CIA terrorist list (living in US); 4 actual hijackers on list

August 2001
France
Passes on Israeli warning (above)

Repeatedly - Summer 2001
CIA Director
Warns White House - "significant attack in near future"

I'd also like to highlight this section of the article:


During the spring of 2001, terrorism warnings surged dramatically and by that summer they had reached a crescendo. The President actually received 40 CIA briefings mentioning al-Qaeda or bin Laden before 9-11. In the now infamous briefing of Aug. 6, 2001, the CIA informed the President of al-Qaeda’s determination “to attack within the United States." On vacation in Texas, the President did not take control, call agency heads together or go into full crisis mode. He did not warn the public. He spent most of that day fishing. [Emphasis added]

The 9/11 Commission found that the Aug. 6, 2001 presidential briefing was not "historical" in nature, as purported, but instead revealed al-Qaeda’s intentions to attack the United States. The briefing said that al-Qaeda had operatives residing in the U.S. and that the FBI had found "patterns of suspicious activity consistent with preparations for hijacking." The CIA considered the Aug. 6 briefing an opportunity to tell the President that the bin Laden threat was “both current and serious.”
A significant number of Americans still persist in thinking of Bush as an effective leader against terrorism. There is also the myth of Bush's "brave" handling of 9/11. Both these misconceptions need to be destroyed. Bush and Cheney are the same lying, malicious, bumbling fools they were in 2001--and they cannot be trusted with our country's security. Their incompetence and indifference let our enemies kill 3,000 of us.

Heh Heh Heh

Josh Marshall has the good news this morning. Latest poll of Florida's Senate race:

Bill Nelson (D) 60%
Katherine Harris (R) 25%

I think Cruella DeVille is headed down the tubes.

Couldn't happen to a nicer thief and liar.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Think We've Got Santorum Beat? Think Again.

Rick Santorum is, arguably, the most dangerous and deranged member of the Senate, and that takes some doing in a Senate that contains Sam Brownback and Tom Coburn. He is an appalling, fanatical authoritarian who thinks that the government has the right to regulate our private sex lives and that women who work outside of the home are under the spell of "radical feminists". We're happy when we see that Santorum is endangered, and brag that he's through. Don't be so sure.

Santorum's commercials, according to a very recent story, are "proliferating" on Pennsylvania's airwaves. Santorum has taken the offensive, deliberately trying to belittle Democrat Bob Casey. Santorum has more than nine million dollars in cash on hand--more than $4 million more than Bob Casey, and he'll use every dime of it if he has to. And Santorum, the #3 Republican leader in the Senate, can tap into a lot more money where that came from. His corporate friends and lobbyist buddies will help him generously.

A recent survey gives Casey only a six point lead, hardly insurmountable three months out. Santorum will tap into the entire right wing blogosphere and the whole right wing noise machine to smear and destroy Bob Casey. He also has the Robertson-Falwell-Dobson axis that will support him ferociously. Our job is a daunting one and we're in a tough fight. We don't have him out yet, not by a longshot.

It would be tragic if a dangerous, far right lunatic like Santorum were to win another term. He is a passionate enemy of personal privacy, women's rights, and the right of people to live their own lives. He is a Bush-Cheney-Rove robot, as bad as any politician in America. He is also a pathological liar who will say anything to win. And yet he is, in my opinion, even money to get reelected. For the sake of America's future, we can't have that.

Please don't be complacent in this race. It ain't over yet, and it's gonna be tough as hell. I urge you to set aside any differences you have with Bob Casey and send him any support you can, financial or otherwise. Santorum has to go, and with our help, we'll have the joy of watching the son of a bitch give a concession speech on November 7.

Let's get the job done.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Bush's People Wanted to CUT Explosives Detection Money

This is freaking unbelievable:

While the British terror suspects were hatching their plot, the Bush administration was quietly seeking permission to divert $6 million that was supposed to be spent this year developing new homeland explosives detection technology

Congressional leaders rejected the idea, the latest in a series of steps by the
Homeland Security Department that has left lawmakers and some of the department's own experts questioning the commitment to create better anti-terror technologies.

Homeland Security's research arm, called the Sciences & Technology Directorate, is a "rudderless ship without a clear way to get back on course," Republican and Democratic senators on the Appropriations Committee declared recently.
Remember folks, it's Bush and his people who
  • STILL haven't implemented comprehensive cargo searches for ship-borne loads coming into the U.S.
  • Recently cut back homeland security funds for New York and Washington.
  • Issued an idiotic list of thousands of "terror targets" that earned universal ridicule.
  • Used the color-coded alert system as a political tool in 2004.

My God...when will EVERYONE see through these people?

Conservative Republican Education Strikes Again




The respondents had been asked to evaluate whether evolution was true or not.

Bush at a New Low!

And no, I'm not referring to frog torturing, freshman hot-iron branding, chronic drinking, cocaine snorting, draft dodging, bankrupting various businesses, using the governorship to reward his friends, vote stealing, war starting, or screwing the most helpless people in the country.
I'm talking about his newest AP-Ipsos Poll ratings:
An Associated Press-Ipsos poll conducted this week found the president's approval rating has dropped to 33 percent, matching his low in May. His handling of nearly every issue, from the
Iraq war to foreign policy, contributed to the president's decline around the nation, even in the Republican-friendly South.

More sobering for the GOP are the number of voters who backed Bush in 2004 who are ready to vote Democratic in the fall's congressional elections — 19 percent. These one-time Bush voters are more likely to be female, self-described moderates, low- to middle-income and from the Northeast and Midwest.

Two years after giving the Republican president another term, more than half of these voters — 57 percent — disapprove of the job Bush is doing.
Thirty-three per cent? Oh baby! And the Democrats hold an 18 point lead in the Congressional election preference--the same as in the most recent Fox "News" poll.
Democrats, speak up STRONGLY on national security this fall. Don't let the Republicans once again cynically exploit fears of terrorism. Smack them down hard for their failures. And above all--
MAKE THE ELECTION A REFERENDUM ON BUSH AND CHENEY.
I'll think we'll be happy with the results if we do.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Of COURSE the Republicans Are Going to Play It For Politics

What in the hell did anyone expect?

AGAIN: IRAQ AND 9/11 ARE NOT CONNECTED.

THE IRAQ WAR WAS BASED ON LIES, FRAUD, AND
DELIBERATELY MANIPULATED INTELLIGENCE.

THERE ARE NO WMDs IN IRAQ.

THE IRAQ WAR IS HURTING THE WAR AGAINST TERRORISM.

NO TERRORIST ON THIS PLANET GIVES A RAT'S ASS ABOUT
JOE LIEBERMAN LOSING.

THE REPUBLICANS HAVE, FOR FIVE G-D DAMNED YEARS,
BEEN RUTHLESSLY AND SHAMELESSLY EXPLOITING
FEARS OF TERRORISM FOR THE POLITICAL BENEFIT OF
THE RADICAL RIGHT.

Any doubt about where I stand?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Republican Priorities

This says all you need to know:

Congress appears ready to slash funding for the research and treatment of brain injuries caused by bomb blasts, an injury that military scientists describe as a signature wound of the Iraq war.

House and Senate versions of the 2007 Defense appropriation bill contain $7 million for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center - half of what the center received last fiscal year.

Proponents of increased funding say they are shocked to see cuts in the treatment of bomb blast injuries in the midst of a war.

"I find it basically unpardonable that Congress is not going to provide funds to take care of our soldiers and sailors who put their lives on the line for their country," says Martin Foil, a member of the center's board of directors. "It blows my imagination."

The Brain Injury Center, devoted to treating and understanding war-related brain injuries, has received more money each year of the war - from $6.5 million in fiscal 2001 to $14 million last year. Spokespersons for the appropriations committees in both chambers say cuts were due to a tight budget this year.

"Honestly, they would have loved to have funded it, but there were just so many priorities," says Jenny Manley, spokeswoman for the Senate Appropriations Committee. "They didn't have any flexibility in such a tight fiscal year." [Emphasis added]

And what might be causing such a "tight fiscal year"? You think maybe it might be related to the Republican obsession with giving huge tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans in wartime?

It's a disgrace. It's a f-----g disgrace.

A Forgotten Quote

Trying to eliminate Saddam .. would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible ... We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq ...there was no viable "exit strategy" we could see, violating another of our principles. Furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-Cold War world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations' mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land.

George H. W. Bush, President of the United States 1989-1993

A Composite of All Bush Polls--and It Ain't Good News for Him

Hey Washington Pundits: WE'RE the Majority! YOU Are the Elitist MINORITY!

From the most recent public opinion poll on the war:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sixty percent of Americans oppose the U.S. war in
Iraq and a majority would support a partial withdrawal of troops by year's end, a CNN poll said on Wednesday.


It was the CNN poll's highest number opposing the war since fighting began in March 2003, a figure that has risen steadily since then, according to the Opinion Research Corp. survey conducted last week on behalf of the cable network.

The poll showed 36 percent of respondents said they were in favor of the war -- half the peak 72 percent who supported the war as it began, said the poll of 1,047 Americans.
So can we stop hearing this puke about how the Democratic anti-war candidates are "radicals" and "extremists" and "out of the mainstream"? It's the incestuous, Republican ass-kissing Washington media elite who are grotesquely out of touch.
There needs to be a BIG housecleaning this year in Congress. But there also has to a BIG housecleaning in our political media as well.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ned Lamont Has Won; Lieberman Must Abandon Independent Bid

I welcome the primary victory of Ned Lamont over incumbent Joseph Lieberman. Lieberman has utterly offended me by his refusal to admit the Iraq War was a mistake and by his constant toadying toward Bush and his vile insistence that anyone who criticized Bush was undermining the country.(!)
But it wasn't just the war. It was Lieberman's yucking it up with right wing dirtbags like Sean Hannity. It was Lieberman supporting school vouchers and Social Security privatization. It was Lieberman constantly running down his own party and providing cover for the right wingers who are destroying America.
The voters have spoken. Lamont is the Democratic candidate for the Senate from Connecticut. I wholeheartedly support him, and I hope you do, too. Lieberman must be forced to drop out of his independent bid. The Clintons, Schumer, Biden--the whole Democratic establishment must now rally to Lamont.
Now, let's focus on whipping Santorum (oh HELL yes), Allen (stupid AND malicious), DeWine, Talent, Burns, Chaffee, Ensign, and every other Republican we can knock off this year.
Lieberman, your time is done.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Take Action!

The Democratic National Committee is doing a countdown of action items you can do every day until the election on 7 November. Check it out here.

And then get going!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Bonddad Again Crushes Republican Economic Lies

You owe it yourself to read this. It is the inimitable bonddad's smackdown of the radical Republican right's latest economic BS. Bonddad was good enough to include some handy-dandy graphics as well:








As we say in the Blog Biz, read the whole thing.

And pass it along to everybody.

America Betrayed: A Study in Right-Wing Mythology

Buzzflash, certainly one of the most valuable sites on the internet, has people that scour the web for articles. Buzzflash then posts dozens of them a week. One in particular caught my eye today, and I think it needs your attention. It is a brief history, appearing in Harper's and written by Kevin Baker, of what has been a recurrent conservative theme since the Second World War: the idea that domestic enemies have stabbed America in the back repeatedly.
Baker points out that betrayal stories have a long history in our species, forming the core of much of our literature. He also reminds us of the way the German far right used the myth of the "Back Stab" to gain power in post World War I Germany. The Back Stab story was that the German armed forces hadn't really been defeated in the war. Rather, they had been undermined by powerful domestic forces within Germany itself, especially Jews and Socialists. It was all complete idiocy of the worst kind, utterly false in every respect, but it gave millions of Germans a strange sort of comfort. They could blame their country's failure on someone else, a convenient target that would explain, with terrible simplicity, why they had failed. It became a psychological crutch to them, absolving them of responsibility for the disaster that had befallen their country.
In a similar sort of way, the political right in this country has persistently--and successfully--used betrayal stories not only to gain political power but to shape the whole cultural narrative of American life. Baker offers compelling, well-documented examples of right-wing myths that have been pushed into our nation's historical consciousness:
--At Yalta, FDR supposedly "handed over" eastern Europe to Stalin, egged on by State Department traitors who manipulated the sick and dying Roosevelt into delivering the east Europeans into Soviet tyranny. (FDR made no such agreement, by the way, and there is little the U.S. could have done to dislodge the Red Army from Poland, Hungary, and other eastern European nations without launching an all-out war for which the American public had zero enthusiasm.)
--In the late 40s and early 50s, Communist sympathizers in our government handed over China to Mao and refused to let Douglas MacArthur win the Korean War. (Yes, there were some Communists in the U.S. government, but the idea that they were driving U.S. policy in Asia is laughable.) Not only Joseph McCarthy but Richard Nixon built careers around these myths.
--In the 1960s and 1970s, it was the Vietnam war protesters that undermined our troops, spat on returning war veterans, and caused us to lose in Vietnam. (Amazing assertions, especially the overwhelmingly false notion that Vietnam veterans were regularly abused, ignored, or subjected to hateful activities.)
--Enlarging these themes into domestic politics, it is "ungodly", "immoral" liberals that are undermining our country by promoting the "homosexual agenda", attacking the "traditional family", trying to destroy free enterprise, waging "class war", and trying to destroy religion (witness their fiendish attacks on Christmas!!).
You see where this is going, don't you? The new backstab myth is being created. If the United States fails in Iraq, it won't be the fault of the conservatives that pushed us into war and then handled it with disastrous incompetence and dishonesty. It will be our fault, those who think the war was a disastrous mistake, for not "supporting the troops". The outlines of this new variation of the myth are being created even now.
Read this compelling article. For those who are older and versed in our nation's modern history, it will remind you of many things you may have forgotten. If you are younger, it will be an education to you--and a warning of what the radical right is preparing to throw in our faces once their disastrous policies have--once again--failed.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Lying Republican Sociopath Horowitz Hits a New Low

Eric Alterman linked to Media Matters for this item concerning one of the three or four worst people on the political right in this country, David Horowitz. (Think about that--one of the three or four worst. Now think about his competition in that category. Sobering, isn't it?) In his fevered determination to destroy progressive supporter George Soros, Horowitz reaches new depths of savagery and sheer viciousness. Examples:
In a book to be released August 8 that otherwise recycles the authors' old attacks from the discredited, Richard Mellon Scaife-backed right-wing website FrontpageMag.com, David Horowitz and Richard Poe newly charge that progressive financier, philanthropist, and political activist George Soros was a Nazi "collaborator in fascist Hungary" and "survived [the Holocaust] by assimilating to Nazism" as a 14-year-old boy.

Soros is a Hungarian-born Jew who survived the Nazi occupation of Budapest. The unsourced smearing of Soros as a Nazi collaborator echoes the obscure anti-Semitic rantings of political extremist Lyndon LaRouche and his followers, who have referred to Soros as a "Nazi beast-man" and a "small cog in Adolf Eichmann's killing machine," aiding "the Holocaust against 500,000 Hungarian Jews." (See, for example, the article "Dope Czar Bids to Buy Up The Democratic Party," from the 2004 LaRouche pamphlet Children of Satan II: The Beast Men).

In echoing the LaRouchite Nazi collaborator smear in their new book The Shadow Party: How George Soros, Hillary Clinton and Sixties Radicals Seized Control of the Democratic Party -- published by Nelson Current, an imprint of religious book publisher Thomas Nelson Inc. that started as a partnership with conservative website WorldNetDaily -- Horowitz and Poe mark a new low in the long-running Republican Party and conservative movement campaign of scurrilous personal attacks against Soros, a major supporter of progressive causes in the U.S. and abroad.
Vile. Monstrous. Despicable. Words fail me, actually, in describing these insane and shockingly ugly accusations. Read the entire Media Matters post, by the way. It details, in sickening clarity, the utter depravity of Horowitz and his neofascist collaborators. Like so many others on the Right, there is no lie Horowitz will not tell, there is no slander he will not utter, there is no tactic too gutter level for him, and no accusation too ridiculous for him to make. He's the worst, right down there with Coulter and the other Republican members of the Ministry of Propaganda.
In the 1960s, Horowitz was a member of the Idiot Left. Now he is a proud member of the Idiot Right.
But at least he's been consistent in one way.

Ominous News

Alerted to this issue by progressives on the major blogs, I read this very disquieting item from The Jerusalem Post:

[Israeli] Defense officials told the Post last week that they were receiving indications from the US that America would be interested in seeing Israel attack Syria.

God help us. I don't see who else can at this point.

Is He Delusional or Just Lying Through His Teeth?

Donald Rumsfeld, that is. By way of Think Progress, check out these statements. And then look below them for the punchline:
Dec. 18, 2002: KING: What’s the current situation in Afghanistan? RUMSFELD: It is encouraging. They have elected a government through the Loya Jirga process. The Taliban are gone. The al Qaeda are gone.

Feb. 7, 2003: “It is unknowable how long that conflict [the war in Iraq] will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.”

Feb. 20 2003: “‘Do you expect the invasion, if it comes, to be welcomed by the majority of the civilian population of Iraq?’ Jim Lehrer asked the defense secretary on PBS’ The News Hour. ‘There is no question but that they would be welcomed,’ Rumsfeld replied, referring to American forces.”

Mar. 30, 2003: “It happens not to be the area where weapons of mass destruction were dispersed. We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.”
Punchline: Today Rumsfeld asserted in his Senate testimony that he has NEVER been overly optimistic about Iraq.