Monday, December 31, 2007

J. Miller's Fearless 2008 Predictions!

1. The world is NOT going to end in 2008. There will be no Apocalypse, there will be no Armageddon, there will be no Doomsday. The world is going on. Get over it and deal with it. Learn to live a fuller life and care more deeply about other people. Stop obsessing about this end of the world CRAP, dammit!
By the way, this prediction goes double for all the braindead idiots who are worried about (or anticipating) the end of the world on 21 December 2012. On that date, I will be hoisting a Keoki dark beer and laughing my ass off at every disappointed moron on the planet.
2. The 2008 election campaign will be spectacularly ugly, especially if the Republicans are running against Hillary. The right wingers will drag out every vile, despicable lie they can and use any tactic, no matter how blatantly illegal or unethical to win. At least Hillary knows how to fight dirty herself. The Democrats SHOULD nominate John Edwards, but probably won't. (There, I endorsed somebody.)
3. The Republican candidate for president will be horrendously bad no matter who it is. Giuliani is a pathological liar and dangerous to America's freedom, Romney is utterly fraudulent and dishonest in every way, Huckabee is an idiot, McCain sold his soul to Satan aka W in 2000, and Ron Paul is nuts. Fred Thompson, however, has the best trophy wife among the GOP contenders.
4. The New England Patriots will win the Super Bowl. Unless they don't. The Bears will be much better than 7-9 this year. The White Sox will improve as well. The Cubs will make it 100 years of futility. (Sorry Dave and Will.)
5. The economy is sliding badly. I switched my (limited) holdings into gold stocks, energy stocks, and international funds. Maybe you should, too.
6. The U.S. will still be in mortal danger until 20 January 2009 at minimum.
7. Kauai will remain the best place in the world to live.
Happy New Year and much love to all of you,
Joe

Heh heh. Bill Maher Names "People" of the Year

Although "people" wasn't exactly the term he used.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Huckabee: Foreign Policy Moron

Juan Cole justifiably jumps all over lightweight Republican Theocon Mike Huckabee here for his utter lack of foreign policy knowledge/common sense/intelligence. Cole hits him hard:

The dark side of Huckabee, the anti-science and anti-gay side of Huckabee, and the anti-Palestinian genocidal side of Huckabee, are all much more dangerous than the incompetent fool side of Huckabee, but the latter is pretty dangerous, too.
The incompetent fool side was on full display in his remarks, apparently provoked by the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, about the alleged threat of illegal Pakistani immigration into the United States. He actually thundered about 660 persons, claiming that the Pakistanis came right after Latinos in the ranks of illegals. He also seemed to think that building a wall around Mexico would keep out Pakistanis (the illegals among whom likely mostly just overstayed their visas and landed at LaGuardia). He actually repeated his gaffe when questioned by reporters:

' "I am making the observation that we have more Pakistani illegals coming across our border than all other nationalities except those immediately south of the border," he said, repeating the assertion he made to his audience earlier. "And in light of what is happening in Pakistan it ought to give us pause as to why are so many illegals coming across these borders." '
There are an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the US. AP writes, "the Pew Hispanic Center said Mexicans make up 56 percent of illegal immigrants. An additional 22 percent come from other Latin American countries, mainly in Central America. About 13 percent are from Asia, and Europe and Canada combine for 6 percent." Even among the 1.5 million or so illegals from Asia, Chinese, Filipinos, Koreans, Vietnamese and others predominate. Pakistanis must be a vanishingly small proportion. Why even bring them up? Is it possible that our country preacher is bigotted against Muslims?

Huckabee also thinks Afghanistan is to the east of Pakistan. It's to the northwest. India is to the east, Mike.

Haven't we had enough of Bushism in this country?

Homicidal Thug Given New York Times Column

That would be the loathsome William Kristol, one of the most vicious of all the neocons. Kristol is not only wrong on every single issue imaginable, he is completely unrepentant about it. And why shouldn't he be, really? No matter how idiotic his "analysis" of a situation, he keeps getting promoted. Steve Benen reminds us of Kevin Drum's take on Kristol here:
The Bill Kristol phenomenon is a stellar example of what a nice suit and a sober tone of voice can do for you. When Curtis LeMay suggested bombing North Vietnam into the Stone Age and getting over our fear of using nuclear weapons, everyone saw him for what he was: a bellicose nutcase. Kristol is barely any less bloodthirsty, but he's smart enough to talk in more soothing tones. As a result, he gets columns in Time magazine, edits his own widely-read magazine, and shows up constantly on television.

Underneath it, though, he's every bit the bellicose nutcase that LeMay was. His answer to every foreign policy problem is exactly the same: a proposal to use the maximum amount of force that he thinks elite opinion can tolerate. But Kristol is well dressed, soft spoken, and a lively dinner companion. So everyone just sort of shrugs their shoulders at the fact that he basically wants to go to war with the whole world. It's a nice gig.
Damn right it is, and it shows again the sick, corrupt, morally bankrupt nature of the "insiders" who control our political discourse. If we can't overthrow the influence of these bastards, our country--and the world--are screwed, and yes I do understand what I'm saying. Kristol is one of the worst people in America, a war-loving jackass who's never had to do any of the risk-taking, suffering, and dying himself. If a prick like this can keep getting prominent platforms from which to fling his lying, delusional bullshit, then the media situation in America truly is catastrophic.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Potential Disaster in Pakistan

As you already probably know, Benazir Bhutto, leader of the political opposition in Pakistan, has been assassinated. Here is a link to the very thorough coverage by the New York Times.

I have been watching Pakistan warily for some time now. It is the refuge of Osama bin Laden; it is the only verified Islamic nuclear power; it has been on the brink of all-out war with India several times in the last 20 years; and, as today's tragic events show, it is highly unstable politically. The recent suspension of Pakistan's fragile democratic institutions by President Pervez Musharraf was an ominous sign, as was the recent distressing news that $5 BILLION in U.S. aid money cannot be properly accounted for. The U.S.'s diplomatic efforts are now in a shambles, and the possibility of widespread violence in this volatile country cannot be discounted. Although Pakistan's military keeps a tight grip on that nation's nuclear arsenal, the U.S. government is still deeply worried--as it should be--about the arsenal's security.

Political assassinations in shaky countries tend to have disastrous consequences. If a revolution of some sort against Musharraf were to erupt, or if there was a loss of nuclear material to Al Qaeda (the ultimate horrifying possibility), then all bets are off. Will the U.S. be forced to intervene in a much more significant way than it already has? Stay tuned. This vile and tragic act may resonate for a long time.

Monday, December 24, 2007

At Christmas 2007: For the Children

This is the night that millions of children look forward to with innocent excitement. But so many other little ones know only despair, and that's just not right in a deep, elemental, down-to-the-core-of-things way. Reach out this season (and in the new year) and do something tangible for the most helpless and most precious of all people:

UNICEF.

Feed the Children.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Merry Christmas to my loyal little group of readers.
Joe

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Just One Question:

How much of it ended up in Bin Laden's hands?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

"But...but..Where Are the Iranians?"

The disgusting, terrorist-loving, hate America crowd at that bastion of far-left liberal radicalism known as...West Point, has issued a study detailing where our enemies in Iraq are coming from. You can find a summary here. The breakdown?

The researchers at West Point's Combating Terrorism Center found that 41 percent of the fighters were Saudi nationals.

Libyan nationals accounted for the second largest group entering Iraq in that time period with about 19 percent of the total, followed by Syrians and Yemenis each at 8 percent, Algerians with 7 percent and Moroccans at 6 percent.

Isn't that interesting? And lest we forget, I am here to remind you that Georgie Boy just LOVES him some Saudis!





But hey, it's those filthy Iranians who need to be slapped down.

Just ask Dick Cheney, Rudolph Giuliani, or Bomb-Bomb-Bomb, Bomb-Bomb Iran McCain.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Truth About the "Bush Boom"

Some aspects of the "Bush Boom" (retch) that rightwingers never seem to talk about:

1. Credit card debt is now approaching $1 TRILLION.

2. NONE of the predicted gains in job growth, median income, or federal revenue have taken place because of the Bush tax cuts, and yes, I can cite specific data in each instance.

3. SEVENTY PER CENT of all the national debt accumulated since 1789 has been racked up by three Republican presidents, two of them named Bush.

4. Debt service in the U.S. budget exceeded $400 billion in Fiscal 2006 and is headed for $500 billion now. The "Bush boom" has all been put on the plastic.

5. Bush and the Republican Congress of 2001-2007 increased our national debt by 60%, or in actual terms, more than $3 TRILLION.

6. Republican opposition to alternative energy since Reagan has inflicted enormous oil debt on consumers--and made the financial contributors to the Republican party in the oil industry fabulously rich.

7. Foreign banks now hold so many rapidly depreciating dollars that if they start denominating their holdings in Euros, we're screwed.

8. The upper 5% in this country controls 70% of the assets. The upper 20% controls 91% of the assets.

9. For the first time since the Great Depression, savings are negative.

10. Income for the bottom 20% rose by 2% between 2003 and 2005. It rose by 43% (!) for the top 1% in that same period.

11. For the first time since the 1930s, median housing prices are collapsing.

Hey, but other than all that, the conservatives are right. Things are great.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

FACT: It is the REPUBLICANS Who Are Paralyzing Congress





They've used the filibuster in the Senate SIXTY-TWO times in one year, setting a new record for a term (only half way through the term!!) They oppose everything and then shout how the Democrats are getting nothing done. (And in fact Harry Reid has proven to be a weak leader, but that's another story.) Crooks and Liars has some thoughts here. I like this quote from Brian Young:
“Only a group with a near-pathological disregard for the actual health of our democracy, only a group with a single-minded focus on the cynical political strategies of their consultants, only a group with an imperious disdain for the people of the country could’ve pulled off such a feat.”
But it's the Republicans. What did you expect?
P.S. Do you remember the way Orrin Hatch from Utah used to say that the Democrats had no right to block Republican judicial nominees? He'd chant the phrase "Up or Down" [vote] like a deranged parrot. ("Rawwwk!! Upperdown! Upperdown!") Guess the parrot doesn't say much when it's in the minority.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

Chris Matthews is Mentally Ill and Should Not Be on Television

Think I'm being extreme? Check out his bizarre castration anxieties here. (Not to mention his pathological hatred for any woman in a position of authority or any woman who has the nerve to argue with him and contradict him on his show. And don't get me started about his weird, homoerotic man crush on Commander Codpiece while the latter was strutting around an aircraft carrier in May 2003.)
This guy has issues. I say, let's get him help.
But first, let's get him off the air.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Fiscal Catastrophe of Extending the Bush Tax Cuts

The first figure shows two projections. The top line is federal tax revenue expansion as a percentage of GDP if the Bush tax cuts are allowed to die. The bottom line shows their impact if they're extended.



In this figure, we see which factors have the worst impact on the projected fiscal liability of the federal government, with three major entitlements stacked up against the projected revenue losses caused by extending Bush's tax cuts.



And ALL of the Republican candidates for president ARE IN FAVOR of the insanity of extending these tax cuts and in fact want MORE tax reductions. I guess the predicted $11,000,000,000,000 national debt by 2010 is a non-issue for them. Maybe they won't be happy until America is financially ruined.
That seems to be their goal.


(By the way, read the whole item here.)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sign the Petition to Get Rid of Cheney

It's right here.

Make your voice heard against the most dishonest, dangerous criminal who has ever governed our country.

The Sickening Insanity and Hypocrisy of the Anti-Sex Right Wing

We all know deep down that our new Puritans are frauds and liars. We know of countless examples of Republican "Culture Warriors" who are little more than filthy degenerates. From Bathroom King Larry Craig to Serial Adulterer Rudolph Giuliani to Mr. Nailing-His-Secretary-While-Denouncing-Clinton Newt Gingrich to Hookers 'n' Porno Jimmy Swaggart to Sexual Harasser Bill O'Reilly, these people preach a repulsive hatred and intolerance toward others while engaging in the very behavior they claim to find repellent. Now, a new book that I must obtain appears to sum all this up nicely, while addressing the broader issue of right wing hatred of human sexuality itself. It's called America's War on Sex, authored by Marty Klein. From the review in BC Books by David Farthing:

It never occurred to me that President Bush wanted to eliminate the right of the American people to acquire dildos. That’s right. Dildos.

According to Klein, “The state of Alabama has been in and out of court, trying to criminalize the sale of vibrators for a decade. When a U.S. district judge ruled against the state ban on sex-toy sales - twice - the state appealed - twice. Finally, a federal court actually ruled that the government has a compelling interest in keeping ‘orgasm stimulating paraphernalia’ out of our hands. Were they concerned that women would stop having sex with their husbands if they could buzz off with a vibrator?”

Klein goes on to write in depth on the various “battlegrounds” the Right has chosen to fight:

1. Sex Education Abstinence-only programs. Do they work?

No.

a. In Minnesota, sexual activity of junior high school participants in an abstinence program doubled.- Professional Data Analysts, Inc. and Professional Evaluation Services, “Minnesota Education Now and Babies Later Evaluation Report 1998-2002,” as prepared for the Minnesota Department of Health, January 2004.

b. Young people who take a virginity pledge are one-third less likely than those who don’t to use contraception when they become sexually active.- Peter Bearman and Hannah Brickner, “Promising the Future: Virginity Pledges and the Transition to First Intercourse,” American Journal of Sociology 106, no. 4 (2001): 859-912.

c. Young people who take a virginity pledge have the same rates of sexually transmitted diseases as those who don’t.- Hannah Brickner and Peter Bearman, “After the Promise: the STD Consequences of Adolescent Virginity Pledges,” Journal of Adolescent Health 36, no. 4(2005): 271-78.2.

Reproductive Rights

Klein wants to know why the right to get pregnant, give birth, or not should be a major concern of the Right, both political and religious, though they don’t always overlap. “Other than your partner - and possibly your mother,” Klein asks, “why would anyone - especially a stranger - care about whether or not you use a condom…?”

The belief underlying the move to limit everyone’s access to contraceptives is that the only legitimate purpose of sex is procreation and marital intimacy. Contraception means that sex can be used for other reasons, that is, pleasure. That is what the battle over reproductive rights ultimately is: limiting sex for pleasure.

If you think it’s really about the right of the fetus to come to term, or the “every sperm is sacred” argument (see song by Monty Python’s Flying Circus), then look at this quote by Joseph Scheidler, national director of the Pro-Life Action League. He said, “I would like to outlaw contraception. It is disgusting - people using each other for pleasure.” [Emphasis added] He really said that. It isn’t often the power brokers of the Religious Right admit the truth behind their political maneuvering.

Yes, people like this appalling Stalinist Joseph Scheidler are the real threats to America's freedom. Every time I read something written by one of these hideous right wing authoritarians, I just want to shout, "Who in the hell do you think you are??" They want to control the most INITIMATE areas of human life and they don't give a damn what you think of it. (That alone is reason to vote against them in mass numbers. I also advocate acquiring weapons for the defense of individual freedom against people like Scheidler and all of his perverted ilk.)
And again from the review:
The most thought provoking idea in Klein’s book, however, can be found in chapter three “The Most Powerful ‘Minority’ in the United States.” He writes, “I’m confused. Exactly who is this ‘they’ that the Religious Right keep saying has hijacked the country?… And who are the consumers of the cultural products the Religious Right constantly criticizes? Who do they think is watching Desperate Housewives, going to see Maid in Manhattan, buying Cosmopolitan, and downloading Janet Jackson’s half-second nipple?…They have gotten the government and media to support them as defenders of America’s wholesomeness against some mythical, incredibly powerful ’them’… But the Right is like the kid who kills his parents and asks for mercy because he’s an orphan. Somehow, they neglect to mention that it’s the consumer choices and other preferences of their own constituents that are the so-called problem.”

In other words, it is the average, working- and middle-class, Republican voters that are watching porn in private and crying out (and voting) against it in public.
Damn right it is. And anyone who thinks I'm going to keep quiet while these sick, sexually crippled jackasses try to run other people's lives doesn't know me. I've said it a hundred times, I'll say it again: there is little difference between the Taliban and the radical American Right. Both of them are the enemies of human freedom, and both need to be utterly defeated.
And one more thing for Little Joey Scheidler: you stick your ugly face in my bedroom window, and you're going to regret it.
Permanently.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Public Service Announcement

Because I care!

Who Has Actually Benefited from Bush-Cheney Economic Policy?

Paul Krugman has the answer here and it ain't pretty.
Here’s what the numbers say about percentage gains in after-tax income from 2003 to 2005:

Bottom quintile: 2%
Next quintile: 2.4%
Middle quintile: 3.9%
Fourth quintile: 3.7%
Top quintile: 16%

Top 10%: 20.9%
Top 5%: 27.7%
Top 1%: 43.5% [!!!!!--Emphasis by J. Miller]

It was a boom, all right — but only for a few people.
Disgusting, but not surprising. Who in their right minds has ever thought that the people in the Bush Administration give a damn about anybody other than people like themselves? This is just sad confirmation of what most of us already knew. But it's good to be reminded.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Amazing! The Republicans Want a DIFFERENT "Intelligence Report" on Iran

When you get an answer you don't like (such as the NIE report on the halting of Iran's nuclear program in 2003), find someone to give you and answer you DO like:
The new report was received skeptically by some Republicans on Capitol Hill who believe Iran's nuclear program remains an immediate threat, and think the 2005 report is closer to the truth.

Republican Sen. John Ensign of Nevada plans to introduce legislation to create a bipartisan commission to produce an alternative report on the same intelligence.
"We just see politics injected into this," said Tory Mazzola, Ensign's spokesman.
"When it comes to national security we really need to remove politics. We're saying, let's take a second look."

The proposed commission is based on similar review panels convened in the mid-1970s to reconsider the intelligence agencies' analysis of the Soviet Union, and an effort in the mid-1990s to reassess the threat of ballistic missiles to the United States.

Last week, Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., said at a committee hearing he does not trust the new findings.

"I'm not sure we have a good, clear signal of what's really happening inside Iran," he said. "We've got a very big batch of mixed signals."

Twice in the last week, senior U.S. intelligence officials have been forced to defend what they consider the most rigorously reviewed National Intelligence Estimate they have produced.
"We need to remove politics" says the Republican who wants his new "report" to be nothing BUT politics, Neocon style. By the way, the "review" of the 1970s intelligence assessment of the Soviet Union was the notorious "Team B", which produced "intelligence" that turned out to be utterly false and dangerously misleading.
Face it. These idiots want their war with Iran and they want it now. If they can't get the intelligence agencies to "cooperate" then they'll appoint their own BS "commission" and get the justification for war that they're looking for.
Gee, I wonder what their "bipartisan" group will conclude about the "threat" of Iran?

The Republican Race Heats Up!

And Mitt is on the attack!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bushonomics in Action: A Hard Landing for the U.S. Economy Coming

Despite the lunatic ravings of the ridiculous right-wing cheerleader Larry Kudlow ("The Bush boom continues") at National Review, most REAL economists are predicting a recession for 2008:

So it is time to move away from the soft landing vs. hard landing discussion and start considering seriously how deep the coming recession will be; in the view of this authors the 2008 recession will be more deep, protracted and painful than the short recessions of 1990-1991 and 2001; this time around – unlike 2001 when only tech investment faltered - most components of aggregate demand are under threat: falling residential investment, falling capex spending by the corporate sector and now evidence of a sharp slowdown and near stall of private consumption that accounts for 70% of GDP. When the US saving-less and debt burdened US consumer is now under threat the risk of a more protracted and severe recession than the mild one of 2001 are significant.


Yes, the savings rate is the lowest since the Great Depression and credit card debt is closing in on $1,000,000,000,000. And the Bush-Cheney administration has added over $3,000,000,000,000 to the national debt since 2001--40% of all the debt in our history. Republican economics has been a disaster for America. Oh, and those "beneficial" tax cuts? Well let's take a look:

If there's one thing that Republican politicians agree on, it's that slashing taxes brings the government more money. "You cut taxes, and the tax revenues increase," President Bush said in a speech last year. Keeping taxes low, Vice President Dick Cheney explained in a recent interview, "does produce more revenue for the Federal Government." Presidential candidate John McCain declared in March that "tax cuts ... as we all know, increase revenues." His rival Rudy Giuliani couldn't agree more. "I know that reducing taxes produces more revenues," he intones in a new TV ad.

If there's one thing that economists agree on, it's that these claims are false. We're not talking just ivory-tower lefties. Virtually every economics Ph.D. who has worked in a prominent role in the Bush Administration acknowledges that the tax cuts enacted during the past six years have not paid for themselves--and were never intended to. Harvard professor Greg Mankiw, chairman of Bush's Council of Economic Advisers from 2003 to 2005, even devotes a section of his best-selling economics textbook to debunking the claim that tax cuts increase revenues
.

NONE of the Bush-Cheney predictions on job growth from the tax cuts has come through. Federal revenue has increased only modestly. And the Clinton economy of the 90s has proven superior in every way to the grotesque kleptocracy presided over by the Boy King. Now the subprime mortgage crisis is rippling through the economy, credit is being crunched, and a lot of big money people are in a cold sweat panic.

I hope there isn't a recession in 2008. Too many people get hurt by them in too many terrible ways. I hope all the economists who predict this are wrong. But if they're right, I know who will be to blame: Bush, the Republican congress of 2001-2007, Alan Greenspan urging people to use their homes as a cash register, and all the spineless Democrats who let it happen. If there is a recession, coupled with the ongoing mess in Iraq, I think it spells doom for whatever sacrificial lamb the Republican Party runs for president. Then President Clinton, President Obama, or President Edwards will have to dig us out of the dungheap that W and his conservative friends have left them.

It won't be easy.




"Cheney Would Be Dead By Now"

See why here.

By the way, God bless nurses!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Case Against Huckabee

I've been leery of Mike Huckabee for a long time. He's not as crazy as a lot of hard-core Republicans, but when you dig into his record, you realize he'd be an appallingly bad president. I've been gathering sources for a post summarizing Huckabee's disturbing record, but Avenging Angel at DKos beat me to it. Go here to see it.

And don't say you weren't warned.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Friday, December 07, 2007

Despite What Romney Thinks, I Am NOT A Second-Class Citizen

Mitt Romney's atrocious, insulting, and historically illiterate speech on religion and politics is being hailed as "genius" and "brilliant" and "JFK-like" by all the usual idiots-- Chris Matthews, Mona Charen, Hugh Hewitt, and the rest of the right wing chimpanzee cage. Personally, I found it to be enormously offensive. Kevin Drum speaks for me:

[When JFK spoke about religion in 1960] he at least threw out this bone:

I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end — where all men and all churches are treated as equal — where every man has the same right to attend or not to attend the church of his choice.


Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom....Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.

....Whether it was the cause of abolition, or civil rights, or the right to life itself, no movement of conscience can succeed in America that cannot speak to the convictions of religious people.

....Our greatness would not long endure without judges who respect the foundation of faith upon which our constitution rests.

Etc.

I can't tell you how much this pisses me off. I'm well aware that this is par for the course among Republican politicians these days, and Romney is doing nothing more than engaging in what's become routine conservative disparagement of those of us who aren't religious. But the cowardice and pandering here is just phenomenal.

Yes, folks, if you're non-religious--like me--you're just not free and really just not a true American. This kind of crap is exactly what Romney's Dominionist, theocratic audience wants to hear. Romney was telling them, in plain language, hey don't be against me because I'm a Mormon. Hate the same people I do--anyone who refuses to bow down to religion. The argument is designed to reduce people like me to second class citizenship. (Antonin Scalia, the most dangerous member of the Supreme Court with the possible exception of Clarence Thomas, feels the same way. See my post from 2005 here.)

"Freedom requires religion"? Where does THAT idiocy come from? I've said it before and I'll say it again: even if there were no God, there would still be moral rules and popular government could still exist. This fantasy that religion created America's freedom is nonsense. The historical record shows that religious tolerance in America was only painfully won. The Puritans, for example, didn't come here to advocate religious freedom--they came to escape Anglican persecution in England and to establish a theocracy in Massachusetts. Only with the greatest difficulty were the raging religious disputes in pre-independence America brought under control.

A letter by Chris Brown on TPM yesterday sums the history of this issue up very well:

I watched Romney's speech, which amounted to the pandering in which he specializes. Not only is the guy greasy, he's ignorant of the intent of the Fist Amendment establishment clause.

Thomas Jefferson explains clearly in his autobiography that at its very foundation our nation was created under God - not under Christ. This is particularly evident in Jefferson’s report of debate in the Virginia General Assembly (the oldest legislature of the U.S.) during its work of reviewing and rewriting the colonial legal code, to a form more appropriate “to our republican form of government”, an undertaking mandated by legislation proposed by Jefferson and adopted by the General Assembly.

A Committee of the Assembly composed of “Mr. Pendleton, Mr. Wythe, George Mason, Thomas L. Lee and myself”, Jefferson wrote, had divided the colonial code into statutes deriving from different historical periods “from the Magna Carta to the present”, to review and recommend appropriate revisions. The Committee (minus Mr. Lee who had died shortly after appointment) reported and recommended 126 different bills to the General Assembly on June 18, 1779, one of which, drafted by Jefferson, addressed religious freedom.

“The bill for establishing religious freedom”, Jefferson wrote, “I had drawn in all the latitude of reason and right. It still met with opposition; but, with mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that it’s protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that ‘coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion’, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word ‘Jesus Christ’, so that it should read ‘Jesus Christ the holy author of our religion.’ The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of it’s protection, the Jew, the gentile, the Christian, and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination.”

And so it was Jefferson, perhaps the leading political theorist of his time, who, some 10 years before the U. S. Constitutional Convention, produced a draft of the constitution for the new state of Virginia, which Madison later crafted into the U. S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Jefferson’s Virginia “Bill for Religious Freedom”, eloquently transformed by Madison, became the 1st Amendment guarantees of religious freedom. Madison was the craftsman - Jefferson was the architect.

In the ensuing years the Supreme Court has many times supported its church/state decisions by quoting Jefferson. From Taylor v United States (1879), the Court’s first decision under the religion clause, to Everson v Board of Education (1947), in which the Court used Jefferson’s “wall of separation” metaphor in declaring “The first amendment has erected a wall of separation between church and state. The wall must be kept high and impregnable”.

The guarantees of religious freedom for each of us, including “infidel(s) of every denomination”, were the creation of two prominent Virginia planters who chafed under the collar of the state established Anglican church, profession to which, in many colonies, was required for a citizen to vote or hold office, and financial support of which was mandatory and often coerced. Jefferson and Madison worked with George Mason and Patrick Henry and with Baptists and Presbyterians to finally, in 1786, disestablish the state church through the adoption by the Virginia General Assembly of Jefferson’s “Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom”. Disestablishment soon spread through the South, and ended in Massachusetts in 1833 with the separation of the authority of the Congregationalist church from that of the civil government.

Well said. This country is founded on religious liberty, which includes the right NOT to believe anything at all. Romney is simply sucking up to right wing religious prejudice and fanaticism and trying to exclude me from my own country. Well, he's damned well not going to. And, by the way, I have every right to criticize Mormonism without being called a religious bigot. That's not how things work, Willard (Mitt's real name). In America, free speech includes the right to attack other people's opinions. I think your religion is a crock, the most insane collection of nonsense this side of Scientology. I will defend to the death your right to believe it, but that doesn't make it any less of a steaming heap of manure.
You may think my non-belief is also a steaming heap, Willard. You've just gotten done saying so. Only I don't get the sense that you'd stick up for me the way I'd stick up for you. That's why I'll do everything possible to keep you out of power.
This country is better than you are.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

It's Time for a Rudy Sleaze Fest!

Featuring the zaniest Republican candidate and his whacky friends, including:

Rudy and the Pedophile priest!

Rudy and his terrorist-loving business
partner!

Rudy and Sex on the
City!

And of course, what Rudy Sleaze Fest would be complete without a visit from our favorite Mob-connected friend, Bernie
Kerik! (This is a good one, fans.)

It's a guaranteed laff riot!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Facts? The Neocons Don't Give a Damn, They Just Want War With Iran

It is my view that a political and policy war has been raging for at least two years in official Washington. On one side are arrayed various ideological fanatics and right wing lunatics, led by "Dick" Cheney, who are pressing for a war with Iran. On the other is the relatively sane part of the foreign policy establishment and the leaders of the military, who have been warning that such a war would be a catastrophe. This war has been fought mostly out of sight, but it has often erupted into the media through leaks and stories given "on background". It is my guess that Bush leans toward the lunatic side but has been restrained by the Pentagon. (Rumors have circulated of a revolt by the Joint Chiefs of Staff against the Cheney backed faction.) The whole story of this will only come out much later. But now the sane people have scored a big victory: the release of the new National Intelligence Estimate that Iran abandoned its nuclear program in 2003. In other words, all the saber rattling and threats emanating from the White House have been about a threat that didn't exist--just as was the case with Iraq. So this will quiet things now, right?

Maybe not.

Defending his credibility, President Bush said Tuesday that Iran is dangerous and must be squeezed by international pressure despite a blockbuster intelligence finding that Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program four years ago.

Bush said the new conclusion--contradicting earlier U.S. assessments--
would not prompt him to take off the table the possibility of pre-emptive military action against Iran. [Emphasis added] Nor will the United States change its policy of trying to isolate Iran diplomatically and punish it with sanctions, he said.

"Look, Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous and Iran will be dangerous if they have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon," the president told a White House news conference a day after the release of a new national intelligence estimate representing the consensus of all U.S. spy agencies.

Did you see that? He STILL retains the option to pre-emptively strike, even though his purported casus belli has been shown to be a phantom. (By the way, here's Bush lying, in a painfully obvious way, about when he first heard of the NIE estimate.)
And, predictably, the hardcore Neocons are brushing this all aside, particularly the hate-filled, war-intoxicated Norman Podhoretz, now a chief advisor to Giuliani. In fact, according to Larry Johnson, posting at TPM, the whole neocon coven is in an uproar:
“How can you trust the intelligence community to get it right on Iran? They got Iraq wrong in 2002 and now this?” The “this” is the NIE on Iran and its search for nukes.

That in a nutshell is one of the prevalent reactions of neocons and Bush true believers. But wait, there is more. John Bolton told Wolf Blitzer that the NIE was the handiwork of exiled State Department officials hell bent on undermining Bush and this country.

Well, I think it’s potentially wrong. But I would also say many of the people who wrote this are former State Department employees who, during their career at the State Department, never gave much attention to the threat of the Iranian program. Now they are writing as members of the intelligence community, the same opinions that they have had four and five years ago.

This is one of the neocon talking points. Check out the ravings of Norman Podhoretz, a senior statesman of the neocons. The Pod Man wrote:

I must confess to suspecting that the intelligence community, having been excoriated for supporting the then universal belief that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, is now bending over backward to counter what has up to now been a similarly universal view (including as is evident from the 2005 NIE, within the intelligence community itself) that Iran is hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons. I also suspect that, having been excoriated as well for minimizing the time it would take Saddam to add nuclear weapons to his arsenal, the intelligence community is now bending over backward to maximize the time it will take Iran to reach the same goal.

But I entertain an even darker suspicion. It is that the intelligence community, which has for some years now been leaking material calculated to undermine George W. Bush, is doing it again. This time the purpose is to head off the possibility that the President may order air strikes on the Iranian nuclear installations. As the intelligence community must know, if he were to do so, it would be as a last resort, only after it had become undeniable that neither negotiations nor sanctions could prevent Iran from getting the bomb, and only after being convinced that it was very close to succeeding. How better, then, to stop Bush in his tracks than by telling him and the world that such pressures have already been effective and that keeping them up could well bring about “a halt to Iran’s entire nuclear weapons program”—especially if the negotiations and sanctions were combined with a goodly dose of appeasement or, in the NIE’s own euphemistic formulation, “with opportunities for Iran to achieve its security, prestige, and goals for regional influence in other ways.”

This blog was one of the first to report that the NIE was being delayed for political reasons. George Bush tried his moron act again today (i.e., “I didn’t find out about this until last week.”) but this time the turd ain’t floating. The news that Iran ended its nuclear program in 2003 was briefed to George Bush in the Presidential Daily Brief. He has known about this, I am told, for at least one year. George Bush is lying when he insists he had no inkling, until last week, that the intelligence community believed Iran halted its nuke program in 2003.
No, folks, the possibility of a war with Iran HAS NOT BEEN eliminated. Cheney's people have reportedly been pressing this issue on an almost daily basis. How long will it be before the Boy King yields to his worst impulses anmd decides to go along with an idea that would make the Iraq invasion look like a tea party.
Yes, the sane people won a round today. But the outcome of the war is still very much in doubt.


UPDATE: You really owe it to yourself to read Juan Cole's assessment of all this here.

Monday, December 03, 2007

A Giuliani "Ad" I Can Get Behind!

Who would YOU prefer to have an affair with?

Har!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

This is Just Classic!

Tom Tomorrow eviscerates the ranting right wing psychotic Billo right here.

Haw haw haw!

Ah, That Good Ol' Bush Reverse Midas Touch

This time it involves Jeb!, the former Governor of Florida:

A government money market debacle unfolding in Florida is raising questions about former governor and presidential brother Jeb Bush's possible involvement in the mess.

Florida froze withdrawals from a state investment fund earlier this week when local governments withdrew billions of dollars out of concern for the fund's financial stability.

In the past few days, municipalities have withdrawn roughly $9 billion, nearly a third of the $28 billion fund (which is similar to a money market fund) controlled by the Florida's State Board of Administration (SBA). The run on the fund was triggered by worries that a percentage of the portfolio contained debt that had defaulted.

A majority of this paper was sold to SBA by Lehman Brothers. Bush, as the state's top elected official, served on a three-member board that oversaw the SBA until he retired as governor in January. In August, Bush was hired as a consultant to the bank. Lehman spokesperson Kerrie Cohen, speaking on behalf of Bush, said they had no comment and would not say when the bank had sold Florida the paper. SBA did not return calls

Isn't that just special? Bush steers business to Lehman and now Lehman steers money into Jebbie's pockets. But hey, folks, nothing to see here! No conflict of interest, no financial shenanigans, nothing anyone would be interested in.

Yes, there is a lot of corruption in America, and prominent Democratic families are part of it sometimes (the Kennedys being the most prominent example). But really, when you think about it, is there ANY family in American history more corrupt than our own home grown Borgias, the Bushes? From Prescott's dalliance with the Nazis to George H. W.'s Iran-Contra involvement to Neil's S & L fiasco to W's knack of always coming out richer from collapsing businesses, the Bushes always ruin everything they touch and then walk away with the money. Our mainstream press has been amazingly uncritical of this Blueblood Mafia for years. It's as Kevin Phillips said: the Bush family has been at the nerve center of the military-industrial complex, as well as being intimately connected to the world of big finance, for DECADES. (Check it out here.) They can smell money like a warthog looking for truffles. It's their extraordinary combination of dishonesty, ruthlessness, and malicious incompetence once they get what they want that makes them so dangerouus. From the link cited just above, an article published in February 2004:
In his 1961 farewell address, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned about how "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex." That complex's recent mega-leap to power came under George H.W. Bush and even more under George W. Bush — with the post-9/11 expansion of the military and creation of the Department of Homeland Security. But armaments and arms deals seem to have been in the Bushes' blood for nearly a century. ...

Oil: The Bushes' ties to John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil go back 100 years, when Rockefeller made Buckeye Steel Castings wildly successful by convincing railroads that carried their oil to buy heavy equipment from Buckeye. George H. Walker helped refurbish the Soviet oil industry in the 1920s, and Prescott Bush acquired experience in the international oil business as a 22-year director of Dresser Industries. George H.W. Bush, in turn, worked for Dresser and ran his own offshore oil-drilling business, Zapata Offshore. George W. Bush mostly raised money from investors for oil businesses that failed. Currently, the family's oil focus is principally in the Middle East. ...
Enron is another family connection. The company's Kenneth L. Lay made his first connections with George H.W. Bush in the early 1980s when the latter was working on energy deregulation. When Bush became president in 1989, he gave Lay two prominent international roles: membership on the President's Export Council and the task of planning for a G-7 summit in Houston. Lay parlayed that exposure into new business overseas and clout with Washington agencies. Family favoritism soon followed. When Bush senior lost the 1992 election, Lay picked up with son George W., first in Texas and then as a top contributor to Bush's 2000 presidential campaign. Before Enron imploded in late 2001, it had more influence in a new administration than any other corporation in memory. ...

Top 1% economics: Over four generations, the Bush family has been involved with more than 20 securities firms, banks, brokerage houses and investment management firms, ranging from Wall Street giants like Brown Brothers Harriman and E.F. Hutton to small firms like J. Bush & Co. and Riggs Investment Management Corp. This relentless record of handling money for rich people has bred a vocational hauteur. In their eyes, the economic top 1% of Americans are the ones who count. Investors and their inheritors are favored — a good explanation of why George W. Bush has cut taxes on both dividends and estates, where most of the benefit goes to the top 1%. Over the course of George H.W. Bush's career, he was close to a number of the merger kings and leveraged-buyout specialists of the 1980s who came from Oklahoma and Texas: T. Boone Pickens [Chief financier of the Swift Boat Liars in 2004-JM] Henry Kravis and Hugh Liedtke. "Little guy" economics has almost no niche in the Bush economic worldview. ...

Debt and deficits: Whenever a Bush is president, private debt and government deficits seem to grow. Middle- and low-income Americans borrow to offset the income squeeze of recessions. The hallmark of Bush economics during both presidencies has been favoritism toward capital over workers. Federal budget deficits have soared because of a combination of upper-bracket tax favors, middle-income job shrinkage, big federal spending to hype election-year economic growth, huge defense outlays and overseas military spending for the wars in Iraq and elsewhere. Imperial hubris costs a lot of money.
The Bush family is a collection of locusts who swarm in and destroy everything in their path to further their own gain. One day, perhaps, we'll know the whole astonishing story, but for right now, one thing is clear: whatever the Bushes touch turns to crap.
Except for their investments and bank accounts--those always seem to grow.
(Hat tip: Atrios)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Pretty Funny Assessment of the Republican Race

You can find it here, courtesy of BartBlog. Excerpt:

Meanwhile, Rudy can barely fill a coffee shop with his supporters and, like the winter weather that is descending on Corndog Country and the Live Free or Die Laughing states, he is a refreshing change at first, and then merely tedious and annoying. Soon, his dwindling audiences will remember to bring shovels, but not for the snow. Bernie Kerik’s BFF is also about to be slapped by another problem — a very well-funded media campaign by the NYC firefighters bringing down to Ground Zero-rubble Rudy’s claims of heroics and leadership on 9/11 that will be pretty hard for the GOP primary voters to ignore. And the sleaze continues to ooze out regarding Mayor Medici’s misuse of city funds, especially those earmarked for the handicapped and housing. Aside from that, he’s still nominally a liberal on social issues, although his recent bughouse comments about voting for McGovern in 1972 when he thought Nixon would be the better president — especially considering what happened after Dick was reelected — served only to make him look pretty damned stupid. As presidential fodder, Benito is entering the last act of one of those operas he craved in high school; one where the hero tragically dies of self-inflicted wounds. One more negative: Look at Rudy in profile — with his bald pate and hair plumped up in back, doesn’t he remind you of Dracula from Francis Coppola’s film? No wonder mothers hold their children tightly in the presence of the Artless Dodger from Flatbush.
Heh heh heh.

Item: Washington Post Uncritically Passing On Lying Rumors About Obama Being a Muslim


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

More on Karl Rove's Despicable Lies

Watch Keith Olbermann and Arianna Huffington calmly strip the bark off the lying criminal asshole Rove here. [There is a 30 second commercial at the start.]

"Obscene chutzpah" is the term Arianna uses to describe Rove's Orwellian attempt to rewrite history by asserting that Congress pushed Bush into the Iraq War and not the other way around. I'd say Ms. H is understating the case.

And most of the MSM Villagers like Rove. So what if he's a traitor (Plame) and a congenital, reflexive liar? Why, I'm sure he's very nice at Washington, D.C. dinner parties.

BTW, thought you'd be interested in this. It's a list of psychopathic traits as determined by psychiatrists. See how many apply to Rove or Rove's old boss, the Boy King himself:

glibness/superficial charm
grandiose sense of self worth
need for stimulation/prone to boredom
pathological lying
conning/manipulative
lack of remorse or guilt
shallow emotional response
callous/lack of empathy
parasitic lifestyle
poor behavioral controls
promiscuous sexual behavior
early behavioral problems
lack of realistic long term goals
impulsivity
irresponsibility
failure to accept responsibility for their own actions
many short term relationships
juvenile delinquency
revocation of conditional release
criminal versatility

It's kind of eerie, isn't it? I can apply at least 17 of these to Bush. No wonder he and Rove are so close. They're soul mates, after all.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Most Astonishing Lie Yet from Rove: CONGRESS Forced BUSH Into War

You wonder sometimes if there's anything this son of a bitch WON'T say, and then you see something like this. You then realize that the answer is no, Karl Rove will utter absolutely any lie to further the cause of the Radical Right.
Amazing. Absolutely amazing. Will these people ever take responsibility for anything? Don't be a fool. They're far-right conservatives. They blather on about "personal responsibility" but they don't actually believe in any of that crap. Everything has to be blamed on everybody else.
Will Rove be allowed to get away with this horseshit? Of course. He just got a regular column in Newsweek to "balance" Kos and he's got tons of friends in the Beltway Media Whorehouse, so yeah, he'll get away with it.
And our country moves another step closer to its death.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Giuliani: My Financial Affairs Are None of Your Damn Business

Remember when the Radical Right was obsessed with investigating Bill and Hillary Clinton's business affairs? The Wall Street Journal's editorial goons were so insanely obsessed with the so-called "Whitewater Scandal" that they published the equivalent of several VOLUMES about it, even though, as Right Wing Henchman Kenneth Starr later admitted, there was absolutely NOTHING to it. How much you want to bet the Journal devotes similar attention to this?


Every time reporters press Giuliani on his work with Giuliani Partners, his booming consultancy (Guiliani took home $4.1 million last year and his stake is worth anywhere from $5 million to $25 million), he's got the same answer: I'm not telling, but you should ask the firm. Then the reporter diligently calls over to Giuliani Partners to get the brush-off from its spokeswoman. That's what happened to The Wall Street Journal when the paper had questions about the firm's contract with Qatar. The Chicago Tribune got the same treatment when it asked about the firm's work for a developer's casino resort in Singapore.


When the AP asked him in an interview earlier this month if he'd disclose his client list, he responded that the business was "totally legal, totally ethical," "very ethical and law-abiding" and that there's "nothing for me to explain about it. We've acted honorably, decently." It was unfair to even ask, he said, employing the deft logic that since no one has found anything wrong, people shouldn't even ask the question...


Translation: Buzz off with your questions. You can trust me because I say so. The Journal was brushed off, as you saw. Will they press the matter Whitewater Style? Gee, I wonder.

The sad thing is that most of the MSM will simple let Benito Jr. get away with this crap. Don't want to make him mad, after all.
(BTW, make sure you click the link above to the Chicago Tribune article. It's very strong--and troubling.)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

How the Republicans Became the Party of Racial Hatred

When I was a kid, it was the (conservative) Southern Democrats who stood in ferocious opposition to justice for our country's African-American minority. Northern Republicans (such as Everett Dirksen of Illinois) were foursquare for civil rights legislation and used their legislative influence to help make it law. Among the most hateful of the Southern Democrats who opposed equal rights for blacks was the despicable Strom Thurmond, whose opposition to such measures bordered on the pathological. (He wore a diaper so he could conduct a 24 hour filibuster in the Senate against the 1957 Civil Rights Act!) Yes, the deal with the devil the national Democratic Party had made was truly shameful: tolerate the Southern racists as long as those same racists delivered states for Roosevelt or Stevenson on election day.
But in 1963-64 all of this began to change drastically. After John F. Kennedy's shocking assassination 44 years ago Thursday, a new president, a Southern Democrat named Lyndon Johnson, took over. And, fully aware of the political consequences of such a move, Johnson became the greatest civil rights president in American history. (The fascinating story of LBJ's courageous stand in favor of justice--and the price the Democratic Party paid in the South--can be found here.) Johnson was simply magnificent on these issues. His tragic legacy in Vietnam has taken attention away from his leadership on human rights, but it does not change the record. LBJ not only talked the talk, he walked the walk, more than any other president has.
In the same period, far-right conservatives began to take over the local machinery of the Republican Party. They found a hero in Arizona Senator Barry M. Goldwater. Goldwater, I am convinced, was not personally a racist, but he was willing to look the other way in regard to those who were. Goldwater's opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act made him a magnet to racists all over the country, especially in the former "Solid South". While the rest of America was shifting heavily Democratic in '64, there was a strong undercurrent of what used to be called "white backlash" in the country. It was already propelling George Wallace to national prominence, and it caused many southerners who had never voted Republican in their lives to support Goldwater. In the general disaster the Republicans suffered in 1964, this support stood out in startling contrast. From the article linked to above:
The one region in which Republicans gained was in the previously solid South. The five states that Goldwater won outside Arizona (Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and Louisiana) were the top five states in terms of black population levels. Goldwater's message of racial conservatism carried the day with the white electorate of those states, sometimes by landslide numbers (87 percent in Mississippi). Of the 507 Southern counties that Goldwater carried, 233 had never voted Republican before. [My emphasis.] The Goldwater effect was present even in parts of the urban ethnic North, if more muted...Moreover, while Goldwater was a disaster for most Republicans, of the twenty new Republican members of Congress, nine were from the South, and five were from Alabama alone. Eisenhower and Nixon had won border Southern states like Virginia and Tennessee. Goldwater lost those states while winning the heart of Dixie, the black belt.
And among the Southern Democrats who switched to being Republican was the aforementioned loathsome Strom Thurmond. The national Republican Party took a clear message from all this: opposing equal rights for black Americans (or at least slowing down the pace of such progress) was a political winner in the South (and in parts of Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, or in any white suburb where voters felt threatened by black "incursions".) Naturally, this racism had to be subtle, lest more moderate or liberal voters be put off. The turmoil of the 1960s, the urban riots in such places as Detroit and Watts (which were tragically self-destructive and harmful to racial relations in America), the anti-war agitation, and the rise of violent crime handed the Republicans the perfect vehicle--"Law and Order" as a codeword for "Let's stop the blacks from threatening White America." Now those who hated blacks could hide behind a convenient label.
It is here that the Democrats dropped the ball. Fear of crime was a legitimate issue; a public opinion poll at the time indicated that half the women in America were afraid to go out at night. Foolishly, short-sightedly, Democrats in the late 60s did not work hard enough to address the legitimate concerns of Americans about crime, but simply let the Republicans, in effect, "have" the law and order issue. For fear of seeming to support the racists who were using "law and order" as a cloak, the Democrats didn't take a strong enough stand. We should have said, "Crime is not a racial issue". We should have said "We are for law and order AND justice." We should have pointed out that blacks were among the worst victims of crime. But instead of de-linking race and crime, the Democrats conceded the field to the Republicans. Those who were worried about crime were drawn into an alliance with those who opposed civil rights. Richard Nixon's "Southern Strategy", drawn up by advisors such as Patrick Buchanan, worked to create such alliances. The results were disastrous. The Democratic share of the vote dropped from 61% in 1964 to 43% in 1968. In the Old Confederacy, the Democratic share of the vote fell to 31%! Hubert Humphrey actually finished third in Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee, running behind Nixon and Wallace.
By 1972, the Nixon-Wallace voter alliance led to an enormous victory for Nixon in the South, who carried every state in the region, the first time ANY Republican had ever done so. Many of these states provided Nixon with astonishing shares of the vote--71% in South Carolina, 75% in Georgia, 72% in Florida, 72% in Alabama, 78% in Mississippi, 73% in Oklahoma, 66% in Texas. Jimmy Carter's regional strength in 1976 seemed a promising reversal of fortune for the Democrats, but by 1980, Ronald Reagan was again able to use subtle (and not so subtle) appeals to racism to win, edging out Carter in many Southern states. In 1984 Mondale was wiped out in the South, losing most states in the region by margins of 20, 25, or 30 percentage points. In the rest of the country. "Reagan Democrats", drawn by the social conservatism of Reagan (and the subtly anti-black undertone of it) helped cement Reagan's national landslide. The "Willie Horton" message of the Bush campaign in 1988 was simply a logical extension of the now classic Republican strategy: stirring up fear of those Awful Negroes was a winner.
Now, for myriad reasons, many of them unrelated to race, many southern voters are now firmly Republican, providing Bush with his narrow margin of victory in 2004 (and making 2000 close enough to steal). The appeals to hatred are no longer overt. But the roots of Republican dominance in the South are clear: Starting in 1964, when the Democratic Party took a stand for human rights, our base in the South began deserting us in droves. The rise of the Republican Party in the South was based, more than any other factor, on race hatred and prejudice, and the Republicans have never repudiated, or even admitted, this shameful history.
To sum up, let me quote the summary to the superb article I have linked to:
In 1960 the Republicans made a serious effort for the black vote, and failed. In 1964 they accepted black hostility and tried to win without minorities. The pendulum that had swung quite far toward civil rights in 1960 now had swung far closer to George Wallace, although it never reached his pure anti-black malice. Neither strategy was successful in the short term, but in the ashes of the Goldwater defeat, Richard Nixon and others saw hopes for a Republican renewal, based on peeling off white voters from their Democratic allegiance. One lesson of 1964 for Republicans was that the open racism practiced by Goldwater's Southern supporters must be decried, denied, and denounced. Yet the second lesson of 1964 for the GOP was central to later Republican victories. If racial politics could draw white voters into the camp of a candidate as extreme and unelectable as Barry Goldwater, then it was indeed among the most powerful forces in American politics. What might it do in the hands of a more appealing messenger? By 1968 the political alchemists of the Republican Party had refined a heady mixture of codeworded backlash appeals and surface adherence to racial egalitarianism. Nixon's 1968 and 1972 "Southern Strategy" campaigns were designed to bring in the backlash votes without alarming the rest of the electorate. More recently, the 1988 Bush campaign used the rape of a white woman by a convicted black murderer to encourage white Democrats to vote Republican, an odious campaign that Barry Goldwater would have refused to run on. While 1964 was a tremendous victory for the Democratic Party and for Lyndon Johnson, it was also the election that taught Republicans how to use racial politics to help pave the road to the White House for the next three decades.
Our country is still dealing with the fateful consequences of the decisions made in 1964, the year that in many ways was the decisive one in modern American political history.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Giuliani Video You Won't See on NBC

And why won't you see it? Because NBC (Olbermann excepted) is too busy trying to shove Giuliani down our throats, even though he'd be a bloody disaster. But Channel 4 in the UK is actually engaged in journalism, and they have the goods on this lying, two-faced "hero" right here.
If you care about our country, spread this to everyone you know.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

One More Time: Al Gore and the Internet

From a poster on DKos:

Vinton Gray Cerf (born June 23, 1943) is an American computer scientist who is commonly referred to as one of the "founding fathers of the Internet" for his key technical and managerial role, together with Bob Kahn, in the creation of the Internet and the TCP/IP protocols which it uses.


And what did Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf have to say on the subject?


Al Gore and the Internet



By Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf


Al Gore was the first political leader to recognize the importance of the Internet and to promote and support its development.
...
Last year the Vice President made a straightforward statement on his role. He said: "During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet." We don’t think, as some people have argued, that Gore intended to claim he "invented" the Internet. Moreover, there is no question in our minds that while serving as Senator, Gore’s initiatives had a significant and beneficial effect on the still-evolving Internet. The fact of the matter is that Gore was talking about and promoting the Internet long before most people were listening. We feel it is timely to offer our perspective.

As far back as the 1970s Congressman Gore promoted the idea of high speed telecommunications as an engine for both economic growth and the improvement of our educational system. He was the first elected official to grasp the potential of computer communications to have a broader impact than just improving the conduct of science and scholarship. Though easily forgotten, now, at the time this was an unproven and controversial concept.

When the Internet was still in the early stages of its deployment, Congressman Gore provided intellectual leadership by helping create the vision of the potential benefits of high speed computing and communication. As an example, he sponsored hearings on how advanced technologies might be put to use in areas like coordinating the response of government agencies to natural disasters and other crises.

As a Senator in the 1980s Gore urged government agencies to consolidate what at the time were several dozen different and unconnected networks into an "Interagency Network." Working in a bi-partisan manner with officials in Ronald Reagan and George Bush’s administrations, Gore secured the passage of the High Performance Computing and Communications Act in 1991. This "Gore Act" supported the National Research and Education Network (NREN) initiative that became one of the major vehicles for the spread of the Internet beyond the field of computer science.

As Vice President Gore promoted building the Internet both up and out, as well as releasing the Internet from the control of the government agencies that spawned it. He served as the major administration proponent for continued investment in advanced computing and networking and private sector initiatives such as Net Day. He was and is a strong proponent of extending access to the network to schools and libraries. Today, approximately 95% of our nation’s schools are on the Internet. Gore provided much-needed political support for the speedy privatization of the Internet when the time arrived for it to become a commercially-driven operation.

No one in public life has been more intellectually engaged in helping to create the climate for a thriving Internet than the Vice President. Gore has been a clear champion of this effort, both in the councils of government and with the public at large.

The Vice President deserves credit for his early recognition of the value of high speed computing and communication and for his long-term and consistent articulation of the potential value of the Internet to American citizens and industry and, indeed, to the rest of the world.

Now--is everybody clear?

My Letter to Chris Matthews

[This is what I actually just sent.]

Dear Mr. Matthews--So how long do you intend to keep telling the same lies about Al Gore, e.g., that he claimed he "invented the Internet", when in fact he said no such thing? (By the way, which member of Congress do you think the major internet players credit with doing the most to boost and promote the development of the Web? Hmmm? Can you guess?)

I'm sick and tired of your pathetic, discredited lies about Al Gore. You're one of the most dishonest people on television, and as long as you're on Hardball, that show can count me OUT as a viewer.

Sincerely,

Joseph A. Miller

P.S. In light of your borderline-insane obsession with things like Hillary Clinton's clapping, do you intend to seek out psychiatric help?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Giuliani and the Kerik Indictment

Bernard Kerik, as you may recall, was a corrupt individual with ties to organized crime recommended by Rudolph Giuliani to the Little King for the post of Homeland Security chief. When Kerik's shady past was revealed, the nomination fell through. Now Kerik is under indictment. The whole matter isn't just a question of Giuliani's (severely flawed) judgment, it's a matter of the credibility of his candidacy itself:

The Kerik indictment isn't merely news because it calls into question Rudy's judgment or vetting skills on one appointment or even on his recommending him for DHS. Rather, its real importance lies in the fact that it undercuts the core rationale of his entire candidacy. It perfectly captures the fraudulent nature of Rudy's entire Presidential quest.

Rudy's argument to voters is simple: He's the candidate best equipped to protect us from what he likes to call the "terrorists' war on us." To justify this he likes to say that as Mayor he shouldered the burden of maintaining the "safety and security of 8 million people," and that as Mayor of New York on 9/11 he alone understands just how frightful the terrorist menace really is and hence would be most effective in countering it. This is Rudy's central message: I alone am the best equipped to keep the country safe from Islamofascisterror.

It hardly needs to be pointed out that the post of Homeland Security chief is kind of important when it comes to doing this. Despite this, Rudy is the primary reason that a cartoonish joke like Kerik was ever considered for the all-important post of defending the nation in the first place. Remember, Rudy privately vouched for Kerik to Bush. If somehow Kerik's various shenanigans and misdeeds hadn't come to light in time, it's not inconceivable that he could have ended up as DHS chief, with potentially catastrophic results that would have been primarily Rudy's fault. Now Rudy is telling us he's the guy to keep us safe?
I keep telling everybody that Giuliani is a fraud and danger to the Republic. I hope enough people wake up in time and figure it out for themselves.

New Poll: Clinton Leads Giuliani in New York City by FORTY POINTS

You know, New York, the city where Giuliani showed us all his "heroism" and his great management style, the city he personally saved from disaster, according to him? Read 'em and weep, Rudolph:
In New York City, Senator Clinton beats the former mayor by a whopping 41% (62% to 21%).

On the issue seen widely as Giuliani’s greatest strength nationally, New York State voters are divided on which one would do a better job keeping the country safe (Clinton 40 % vs. Giuliani 39%). In New York City, where the tragic events of 9/11 occurred and where then Mayor Rudy Giuliani became a symbol to the country, Hillary Clinton is seen as better able to keep the US safe by a resounding 20 points (Clinton 50% to Giuliani 30%).

The city’s former mayor is viewed favorably by only a third of the city’s voters (34%) and less than half of the state’s voters (41%).
Oooooh, that's GOTTA sting!
Wise up, America. The people of NYC know him best, and he's getting trounced there. Maybe you should ask why.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fox "News" Porn!!

Check out every steamy second of it right here!!

From your family values network.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Poem for Veterans Day

Since Veterans Day was originally Armistice Day, the end of the First World War, I thought a piece from that era would be appropriate.

Dreamers

SOLDIERS are citizens of death's gray land,

Drawing no dividend from time's to-morrows.

In the great hour of destiny they stand,

Each with his feuds, and jealousies, and sorrows.

Soldiers are sworn to action; they must win

Some flaming, fatal climax with their lives.

Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin

They think of firelit homes, clean beds, and wives.


I see them in foul dug-outs, gnawed by rats,

And in the ruined trenches, lashed with rain,

Dreaming of things they did with balls and bats,

And mocked by hopeless longing to regain

Bank-holidays, and picture shows, and spats,

And going to the office in the train.

--Siegfried Sassoon

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Giuliani, Robertson, and the Depths of Moral Degeneracy

Few things in the current presidential campaign have been as instructive and appalling as the utterly cynical and perverse alliance between Rudolph Giuliani and America's favorite psychotic right wing "holy man" Pat Robertson. Giuliani wants to sell you the fiction that he's a "moderate". Robertson wants you to believe he's morally consistent. Both narratives are utter bullshit.


You know my position on Giuliani. Read my blog archives if you're not sure. He's a closet fascist, an authoritarian who hates our Constitution and who dreams of dictatorship. He's also damn near a pathological liar. He combines all of Bush and Cheney's worst traits, and that's terrifying.


And just to remind you, here are some "highlights" of Robertson's sick, vicious career.


Robertson the Anti-Semite


From The Christian Century:


IN HIS PUBLISHED WRITINGS, especially his 1991 book The New World Order, Pat Robertson has propagated theories about a worldwide Jewish conspiracy. Michael Lind raised the issue in February in the New York Times Book Review, and in April Jacob Heilbrun, writing in the New York Review of Books, cited chapter and verse of Robertson's borrowings from well-known anti-Semitic works. After the New York Times and the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith called attention to the matter, Robertson issued a statement denying any anti-Semitic intent, affirming his alliance with the Jews and his support for Israel, and saying he "regretted" any offense his writings may have caused...


The New World Order was written principally to condemn the United Nations' command authority during the gulf war. Robertson presents a sweeping warning about an age-old conspiracy designed to control world politics and economics. In Robertson's view, the conspirators belong to a secret "society" led by satanic atheists and financial "money barons." [He means JEWS--J. Miller] According to the evidence he marshals, these conspirators have taken over international banking and American academic and cultural institutions, and have carefully planned to use the UN and Federal Reserve Bank to impose upon the globe a "one-world" government. The real purpose of the conspiracy, however, is the destruction of American Christian culture and of Christianity itself.


ROBERTSON TRACES the historical progress of this conspiracy, back to Lucifer and his machinations in antiquity. In the modem era the conspiracy has been promoted through a small secret society founded in late 18th-century, Bavaria called the Illuminati, whose members purportedly infiltrated Freemasonry, organized the French Revolution, recruited Friedrick Engels and other communists to their cause and orchestrated the Bolshevik takeover of Russia. Through their control of international banking, the Illuminati-dominated servants of Satan, [He means JEWS--J. Miller] according to Robertson, have imposed a system of national and private credit and interest that has saddled the nation with debilitating and enslaving debt, robbing the American people at once of their independence and their control over their religious life.



A 2004 Robertson attack on Jews is here. Excerpt:


A misleading article prominent on Robertson's CBN.com makes the stunning claim that the Jews manipulate their Sabbath services so that synagogue worshipers reject Jesus. The article, "The Passion According to Isaiah", claims that the weekly recitation of verses from the Prophets (haftara) in synagogues worldwide were specifically designed to avoid a passage in Isaiah that Christians interpret as a reference to Jesus.


"This is a serious charge against Judaism for which there is not a single shred of evidence…. The absurdity of this claim lies in the fact that the selections for the weekly reading of verses from the Prophets, including those from Isaiah, predate Christianity by two centuries. What motive did Jews have for preventing worshipers from converting to Christianity, when at the time the custom to read from the Prophets was created, Christianity and Jesus didn't even exist?" asks [Rabbi Toviah] Singer.


Robertson, btw, was, at the time, defending Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic religious pornography, known as The Passion of the Christ.


From The Virginian Pilot:


Sometimes, however, words speak louder than actions. If Mr. Robertson is surprised to find himself regarded as anti-Semitic, perhaps he should look to his own house: In the April 1992 issue of ``The Paper,'' a newsletter published by the School of Journalism of Regent University (one of the organizations Mr. Robertson controls), an editorial appeared titled ``Anti-Judaism is not anti-Semitism.''


While the editorial claims that "anti-Semitism goes against the very heart of Christianity,'' it states in the same sentence that "it is understandable that the world would hate Jews, the people called by God to be His chosen nation.'' It goes on to say, ``Even if the Jews were enemies of the church, Christians are commanded to love their enemies.'' Well, once you have called me your enemy, it hardly matters whether you label that epithet anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic. It is clearly anti-me.


The editorial says that ``Jews, as nice as they may be, if they do not believe in Jesus Christ as their savior, are eternally condemned by God.'' It states that God will punish Jews in hell forever. It calls Judaism a cult.


The editorial condemns the selection of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein (whom it calls a pagan) to give the opening prayer in the U.S. Senate because ``anyone who does not accept Christ as savior, does not acknowledge Jesus as the King of Kings, is therefore an enemy of God.''


The editorial ends by stating that Jews (and all non-Christians) are under God's wrath and should be pitied by Christians. The editorial concludes, ``We cannot allow them to lead us in worship until we have led them in the sinner's prayer.'' These words do not, to me, sound like "respect for the beliefs and traditions of the Jewish community.''



Robertson the General Lunatic



A collection of Robertson quotes here:


"You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense. I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist. I can love the people who hold false opinions but I don't have to be nice to them." Pat Robertson, "The 700 Club," January 14, 1991


"I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that's the way it is, period." Pat Robertson, "The 700 Club," January 8, 1992


"(T)he feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." Pat Robertson, 1992 Fund Raising Letter


(Talking about apartheid South Africa) "I think 'one man, one vote,' just unrestricted democracy, would not be wise. There needs to be some kind of protection for the minority which the white people represent now, a minority, and they need and have a right to demand a protection of their rights." at Robertson, "The 700 Club," March 18, 1992


"There is no such thing as separation of church and state in the Constitution. It is a lie of the Left and we are not going to take it anymore." Pat Robertson, November 1993 during an address to the American Center for Law and Justice


"Many of those people involved with Adolf Hitler were Satanists, many of them were homosexuals--the two things seem to go together." Pat Robertson, "The 700 Club," January 21, 1993


"Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to the evangelical Christians. It's no different. It is the same thing. It is happening all over again. It is the Democratic Congress, the liberal-based media and the homosexuals who want to destroy the Christians. Wholesale abuse and discrimination and the worst bigotry directed toward any group in America today. More terrible than anything suffered by any minority in history." Pat Robertson, 1993 interview with Molly Ivins


"[Homosexuals] want to come into churches and disrupt church services and throw blood all around and try to give people AIDS and spit in the face of ministers." Pat Robertson, "The 700 Club," January 18, 1995


"[The National Organization for Women] is saying that in order to be a woman, you've got to be a lesbian." Pat Robertson, "The 700 Club," December 3, 1997


"Maybe we need a very small nuke thrown off on Foggy Bottom (home of the State Department) to shake things up." Pat Robertson, "The 700 Club," June 2003



Robertson the Crook and Con Man:

Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign has hungered for some form of blessing from the religious right. Today, the former New York City mayor and supporter of abortion and gay rights got an unexpected endorsement from televangelist Marion G. "Pat" Robertson.


But the world famous Christian conservative's declaration of support left out a few things.It did not, for example, refer to Robertson's approval of abortions for the purposes of population control as expressed in China in a 2001 CNN interview.


Nor did the Giuliani campaign's press release mention Robertson's business partnership in a gold mining venture with former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor. For that matter, what about Robertson's suggestions that it might not be a bad idea to assassinate or "take out" Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and North Korea's Kim Jong-Il?


Robertson's near-legendary status on the Christian right is based on his founding of three institutions, the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN); his television program, The 700 Club; and the formerly extraordinarily influential Christian Coalition.


On matters affecting the bottom line, however, Robertson - who has made himself millions as the proprietor of a Christian empire - has repeatedly demonstrated his willingness to let his belief in free market capitalism override traditional morality.

Yes, this who Giuliani is proud to have teamed up with--an anti-Semite, a misogynist, a vile bigot in almost every possible sense, and someone who is just borderline insane as far I'm concerned. And while Giuliani savaged Ron Paul in a Republican debate for suggesting that U.S. policies may have had something to do with provoking the 9/11 attacks, it was Robertson (and Falwell) who blamed the attacks on America itself, particularly liberals, gays, and the ACLU!! Yes, the two fruitcakes were pressured into apologizing three days later, but you get the feeling Old Pat didn't really mean it.

If I ever needed another reason to fight to the utmost to keep Giuliani out of the White House, this idiot's endorsement would be more than enough. In making an alliance with each other, Robertson and Giuliani have found in each other kindred spirits--people who hate everything good that America stands for. In embracing the nominally pro-choice Giuliani, Robertson has blithely shed what was supposed to be his most sacred issue. In embracing Robertson, Giuliani has told much of his own home city to go to hell.

And if that isn't moral degeneracy, than I don't know what the hell is.