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)