Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

Hope all your trick or treaters are this cute. As for me, unless the local deer population decides to drop by, I don't think I'm going to get any at all.
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Spirit of dissent alive and well in Raleigh

This is a little embarrassing. I've lived here almost two years and I had no idea that Raleigh has a Mexican Consulate. But it does, perhaps in response to the large Hispanic population here, and several dozen people protesting the killing of an American journalist in Mexico last week stormed the place on Monday.

The protesters, who appear to be mostly white male college students, took over an office and one even chained himself to a TV set. Kind of reminds me of the 60s. Now if we could only get these kids to start storming the registrar of voters offices and demanding fair elections, we would be getting somewhere.
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Noxious New Element Discovered

Just received this one in the email. Made me laugh but Bush supporters may want to skip down to the next post.
Bushcronium: Noxious New Element Discovered

A major research institution has just announced the discovery of the densest element yet known to science. The new element has been named "Bushcronium." Bushcronium has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 311. These particles are held together by dark forces called 'morons', which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called 'peons'. The symbol for Bushcronium is "W".

Bushcronium's mass actually increases over time, as morons randomly interact with various elements in the atmosphere and become assistant deputy neutrons in a Bushcronium molecule, forming new, slave-like 'iso-dopes'. This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to believe that Bushcronium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as "Critical Morass".

When catalyzed with money, Bushcronium activates Foxnewsium, an element that radiates shrill, incoherent noises. Foxnewsium is related and monetarily connected to Bushcronium, but has 1/2 as many peons, yet twice as many morons. Both Bushcronium and Foxnewsium are considered to be inherently criminal, noxious and potentially deadly to all human life on earth.
[hat tip John Wilmerding of John Woolman College of Equity-Restorative Justice Peacemaking and Conflict Transformation [CERJ] ]
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Monday, October 30, 2006

Freedom of the press belongs to the printer

Here's a small item of interest from the WSJ free section. It's one of those little factoids that we sometimes forget when we bitch about the MSM. Newspapers started out as mouthpieces for politicians, who would print anything, true or mere rumor, in an effort to curry favor and win government printing contracts. It wasn't until the Government Printing Office was established in 1860 that newspapers reached out to a bi-partisan audience.

It's almost hard to imagine a time when the only source of news was a sheet of paper handed on street corners by young boys wearing jaunty caps and anybody with a idea and a printing press could become a nationwide pundit when their pamphlets were passed from hand to hand.

But then again, it's not so different from today. After decades of diverse, locally owned media, once again, a handful of rich white men control the main message and serve as unofficial political press offices, but anyone with an internet connection can become a pamphleteer and challenge the status quo. The big difference, of course, is that there's so many more of us now that the cacophony of voices drown each other out.
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Short term wins and long term goals

He's getting quite a mixed reaction among both sides of the fence on this post, but I think Matt Stoller nails what's wrong with the Democratic Party today.
"The American people know...that Democratic Senators are moral lepers, weaklings, and that is the only reason we aren't further ahead when the Republicans screw everything up. The Democratic Senate leaders will sell us out at every opportunity, be it torture, Iraq, Alito, Lieberman, the Bankruptcy Bill, or stopping war with Iran. They aren't poll-driven, they aren't fear-driven, and they aren't driven by strategic differences. They are simply driven to beat us down, their voters, by any means necessary. That's why they cheered Joe.
This shameless sellout of the Democratic party stalwarts to a man who disowned them for his own political power illustrates what ails the former "people's party" today. Stoller goes on:
Whether it was a standing ovation at a caucus meeting when Joe got back to the Senate after his primary loss, or Obama refusing to come to Connecticut or criticize Joe in any way, or Bill Clinton praising Lieberman on Larry King, or Harry Reid promising Lieberman seniority, or Chuck Schumer refusing to get involved and practically being forced to not back Lieberman after the primary, or insiders telling Lamont's campaign that they would talk Joe out of the race if Lamont didn't go on the attack, it's very clear that the Democratic Party leadership is rotten to the core. With the exception of John Kerry and Wes Clark, no high profile Democrats have been there for Lamont.

It's sad. Lamont can win this, and we're all doing our best to make that happen. But the important story here is not that the country supports the war, it doesn't. Lieberman is running on an antiwar platform, promising to bring the troops home in a transparently dishonest pander to the left. The important story here is that the DC Senate Democrats and DC lobbyists are not on our side. They have their own side, a side that is out of touch, immoral, and dishonest.

We can win this fight, as the polls are tightening. But it would be a whole lot easier without that knife in our back.
A lot of leftie bloggers are criticizing Matt for his honesty, and yeah, maybe the timing isn't so great for a push to win at any cost, but I'm with Matt. The Democrat's conduct in Connecticut has been nearly unforgiveable. If we forget our principles, and fail to remind the Democrats in power that we still have them, then we're no better than Karl Rove. And it won't do anything but solidify the corporate stranglehold on our government.
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A world without Cheney would be a brighter place

Steven Clemons thinks Cheney needs to be neutralized in order for any significant change in policy to occur. But Brad DeLong thinks Clemmons is naive.
Don't believe it. Stupid, ill-informed, and incompetent as he is, George W. Bush has views. He does not want to change his mind. And, whether or not there once was an opportunity to convince George W. Bush to follow not-insane, not-destructive, not-criminal, and not-stupid policies, that moment has passed.

In the real word, "neutralizing Cheney down to the roots of his power" requires impeaching and removing from office Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, Hadley, and company.
DeLong says that as if it's a bad thing. I can't think of anything I'd rather see happen.
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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Photoshop of the Day

Hat tip to Notellin.
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Must read of the day

Peter Goldmark , a candidate for Congress in Washington state has a stunning post at Kos. It's long but it's Sunday. You got some time, read the whole thing. Here's one of the best grafs.
Fact Three: It's not the death tax that's the problem. It's all the life taxes. When Republicans help big pharmaceutical companies by making Americans pay more for their medications than any other consumers in the world, it's a life tax that you and I are paying so Republicans can keep getting their big political donations. When the Republican Congress offers corporate welfare to Exxon/Mobil after it made $35 billion in profits for fiscal year 2005, that increases your life tax because we have to pay that corporate welfare at the gas pump. When Republicans permits insurance companies to throw sick people off their insurance plans, or Walmart uses government health plans to pay its employees' health care costs, then your life tax goes up because your government has to pay for all those additional medical expenses. The point is that tax policy can either be used by Democrats to help Washington's working families and farmers or it will be used by Cathy McMorris and the Republicans to help their donors, and make your life even tougher than it already is. Bottom line. The real, inflation adjusted income for households has fallen five years in a row. That's the Republican Revolution and it's coming out of your hide.
He doesn't stop there. He covers everything from the national debt to the fictional free trade agreements and beyond. I almost wish I lived in Washington just so I could vote for him.
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The GOP Follies

I think Blogger is punishing me for not going to the beta version. It has been giving me fits for three days now. It takes about a dozen tries to publish anything so here's a few links I didn't get to yesterday, assuming this publishes eventually.

Think Progress has a interesting item on Iraq. One of the highest ranking, active duty men in the United States military has recommended to the civilian leadership of the United States that we remove all troops from Baghdad.

Keith Olbermann has the most amusing video of the day. Stay the course. It's more powerful when you see the facial expressions and hear the delivery of the many times Bush uttered that phrase. You have to wonder what Tony Snow was thinking, claiming Bush had only made it 8 times. Even the dumbest diehard can remember more than that -- without Google.

I'm seeing more pieces on the economic slump and the impending disaster when the Bushenomic house of cards falls. Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) blames that dangburned liberal media. If they didn't report all those incovenient facts, everything would be just sweets and roses.

Enron is so yesterday. Bush is asking the financial corps to draft proposals to avoid any more messy lawsuits like that ever again. It's quite the fiendish plan.

It's been over five years since 9/11 but the TSA says the airline industry just can't meet a deadline to run background checks on cargo handlers for passenger airlines. There's only 50,000 of them. How long could it take? Maybe they should give the job to the NSA. They don't have a problem checking into every aspect of the lives of millions of Americans.

It's disgraceful. Five years and so far all they've managed to do is keep us safe from shampoo and toothpaste.

And why is Rove so sure he's going to win? Here's another clue. Gotta love those little voting machine anomalies that always favor the GOP. Ever notice that you never hear about a touchscreen showing a Democratic vote, when a person voted Republican.
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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Corporations going bullish on Democrats

It appears corporate America has more faith than I do in the integrity of the electoral process. There's been a flurry of last minute donations to the Democratic Party. Or maybe they're just hedging their bets as usual. God knows they have plenty of windfall profits to shower on both parties. Still it's significant.
For the first nine months of the year, for example, Pfizer’s political action committee had given 67 percent of contributions to Republican candidates. But October ushered in a sudden change of fortune, according to disclosure reports, and Democrats received 59 percent of the Pfizer contributions.
I expect they want to protect their interests in the deeply flawed Medicare "reform" bill. Meanwhile, Michael van der Galien at the Moderate Voice wonders, "how far corporate donations influence policies and, more importantly, wonder about in how far corporations should be able to influence policies. Sometimes I cannot help but think that the American fund raiser system has a tendency to make politicians the puppets of big corporations."
This is what I left in comments.
You just noticed Michael? The corporatocracy is the greatest threat to our Republic going and it has been for decades now. That being said, it's much too late to do anything about it in this round. The only short term solution is to get the Democratic party back into power in the House, and one would hope also the Senate, right now.

Starting on Nov 8, we can start holding the Dems feet to the fire for selling us out to corporate interests. At least with them, there's a chance, albeit a slim one, they'll listen. If not, my strategy for 08 is going to be a push to dump every blessed incumbent with more than two terms, out of office. I don't care what party they represent.
We need to prove to the Dems we can elect them, but more importantly we need to let them know we can also kick them out. That's the only way I see to fix what's broken in the system.
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Hypocrisy, thy name is Peggy Noonan

I love how the big time Bush boosters are suddenly pretending that they knew all along Bush was an arrogant, clueless, careless, disrespectful buffoon caught in arrested adolescence. Good old Pegs trots out a little anecdote from last year to "prove" her prescience, where she privately predicted the GOP would lose in 06. Funny, she didn't care to share those thoughts sooner. Up until a couple of weeks ago, she was still up there waving her pompoms and effectively calling the Democratic party treasonous for daring to challenge the president.

Well she's still mocking the Dems, but now that it's clear to everybody that in a fair election the GOP would get trounced, she offers up her "mature and experienced" nuanced view that the GOP needs to lose in order to reclaim its conservative roots. If she's so bloody smart, why did it take her almost six years to notice our president is incompetent?

I'm still not convinced Rove won't steal the vote again with the ever present Diebold anomalies, but on the off chance that he figures out an inexplicable win by the GOP could likely start a citizen's uprising this time, and he allows a fair election to occur, that doesn't let Peggy and the rest of Bush's fair weather, bootlicking pundits off the hook. As Glenn Greenwald so succintly points out:
The disasters facing our country didn't happen because George Bush, the individual, was flawed. They have happened because the entire movement which propped him up and glorified him for so long is craven, corrupt and radical. It is critical that they not be permitted to jettison Bush (now that he has outlived his purpose) while pretending that he failed to adhere to what they wanted.
Exactly. If it wasn't for the smug, gravy train riding pundits like Noonan and her ilk, we would have been rid of Bush in 04 and avoided a whole lot of unneccessary death and debt. It's a little too late for her to be asking the left to forgive and forget their transgressions. We'll probably forgive them when this nightmare presidency is over. It's in our nature to forgive, but we will never forget, nor should allow them to either.
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Thursday, October 26, 2006

What does Rove know that we don't?

I'm just throwing these quick hits up while I have a window of connectivity here. Here's more on what's behind Rove's confident proclamations of a GOP win. He lays it out in an NPR interview and the way I see it, Rove is setting up for plausible deniability when they steal the elections.

He says he has access to polls no one else does. Translate that to mean, bwahaaaahaaaa! We have control of the Diebolds and nobody can stop us from stealing this election too. One can only hope the electorate won't sit by quietly when it happens.
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Dissent - nor just for Democrats anymore

Add the military retired and currently serving, to the list of those who say the GOP must go. Worth watching the Salon ad to read the whole piece, but here's the key quote.
[Retired General] Batiste said he was tormented by reading daily casualty reports and knowing that the deaths are, in part, the result of a bungled, backward strategy that focuses on lofty but unattainable goals. But while he and others admit they have no particular love for the Democrats, they see the party as perhaps their last, best hope of reaping anything other than more death and destruction in Iraq.
Read the rest to find out how 100 of our bravest serving members of the military are pitching Congress to get the hell out of Baghdad.
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Bushspeak decoded

Well now that Blogger seems to running pretty well again, my broadband service is having connectivity issues today, but assuming this makes it to the blog, here's A much better translation of Bush's press conference yesterday.
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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Stolen moments

Blogger has been barely functioning so I've been posting up a storm at the Detroit News lately. If you haven't been following that blog, I have a few posts worth reading. If you don't feel like reading through them all, at least check out this horrifying story and this on the impending failure of our national power grid and this on votes for vets.

Meanwhile, I've been reading about where the money went in the so-called rebuilding of Iraq. As usual, half of it went straight into Halliburton's pocket.

Even more depressing, is this alert from Brad's Blog that explains at least in part, why Rove is so confident the GOP will retain control of the Congress. And if that didn't piss you off, try this reminder of what other tricks Rove has up his sleeve on the homefront. Stuart has a suggestion as to where we could put our energy for the next two weeks though.

Personally, I think it's too short a time frame to make a difference but it's a good idea for November 8th, and every day thereafter, if the GOP really get away with stealing the election -- again.
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Bush speech knocks me out...

...Literally. I feel asleep during the question and answer period but I did manage to stay awake long enough to catch his speech. I translate it here and Josh Marshall has some amusing on the spot commentary. If it wasn't for my concerns about the GOP stealing the election again, I'd be feeling pretty confident right now about a Democratic party sweep.

Josh also posts the new DNC ad. I thought it was pretty good, particularly in comparison to the last six years of spineless silence. Maybe there's hope for the Dems yet.
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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Gotta vote for Dems dammit

Normon Solomon issues a rousing call to arms. I'm not climbing out on a limb with him because I'm not convinced the elections won't be rigged and the Dems have not been nearly strong enough to motivate the disengaged voters. But as pissed as I am at the Democratic party, he sums up my feelings at the moment here.
The first step, of course, is to throw out the Republican majority in Congress.

Then we have to turn our political sights and our righteous rage on the Democrats who, through their decade of habitual cowering, have enabled and are now protecting this criminal regime from the aggressive investigation that it so richly deserves.
That's the way I see it. Except for a handful of third party candidates, we have to vote in the Democrats, but it's not going to be free ride for 08.
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Buddy can you spare a Dime?

I found this at Agitprop and man did it bring out the conspiracy theorist in me.
The health ministry in Gaza reported that these injuries came from an "unprecedented type of projectile," and also noted severe burning and badly damaged internal organs. It called for an investigation into the cause of the wounds.

"You have complete burns that lead to amputation. You find shrapnel entering the body and leaving very, very small holes. We have never seen this before," said Khalid Radi, a spokesman at the health ministry.

Tissue samples from patients in Gaza were given to journalists from the Italian television channel RAI. In a documentary shown last week, the channel said the injuries appeared similar to the effects of Dime. An Italian laboratory that analysed the samples reportedly said its results were compatible with the hypothesis that a Dime weapon was involved.

The weapon is new and in the US it is still in the early stages of development. It has a carbon-fibre casing and contains fine tungsten particles rather than ordinary metal shrapnel. It causes a very powerful blast, but with a much more limited radius than other explosives.

However, the Israeli military denies the use of Dime weapons.
I read that and immediately recalled the sudden rushing of "additional bombs" to Israel at the height of the Lebanon crisis. Think about it. The weapons are in development. They need to be tested... Draw your own conclusions, but I find it an rather odd coincidence.
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A kinder and gentler revolt

I meant to post this the other day. I read these things and I think, cripes, it's less trouble to handle a three year old than this president. I mean we wouldn't want to hurt his tender feelings or anything, would we? Here's the money quote:
Those involved with the Baker commission hope that its recommendations, coming from friends and camouflaged as tactical tweaks, could offer President Bush a face-saving way out of the current bloody impasse. But they concede there is no guarantee of a decisive change.

There is no consensus on the way out of Iraq among the president's critics while resistance to change is entrenched and led by Vice-President Dick Cheney."I know what the president thinks. I know what I think. And we're not looking for an exit strategy. We're looking for victory," Mr Cheney told Time magazine.
Now if they could only define victory. I have a bad feeling that victory for Cheney means completely destroying our current form of government and installing a permanent one party system.
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Inspirational poster of the day

This one is for Democrats only but you GOPers might enjoy it anyway. Warning: Not safe for work.

[hat tip Jules Siegel]
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Monday, October 23, 2006

Send in the clowns

Quote of the day from a story on a White House pep rally to cheer up the party pessimists. Apparently no one gets to contradict the King.
In an interview shown Sunday on ABC News, Mr. Bush was asked about a comment by the first President Bush, who said this month that he hated to think about life for his son if Democrats took control of Congress. “He shouldn’t be speculating like that, because he should have called me ahead of time,” the president said, “and I’d tell him they’re not going to.”
Oh baby. Can you say Oedipus Rex?
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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Laugh of the day

As in incredulous, derisive laughter.
STEPHANOPOULOS: James Baker says that he’s looking for something between “cut and run” and “stay the course.”

BUSH: Well, hey, listen, we’ve never been “stay the course,” George. We have been — we will complete the mission, we will do our job, and help achieve the goal, but we’re constantly adjusting to tactics. Constantly.
Incredible. Does he not know that video of his speeches are archived? He must have used those exact words hundreds of times in the last three years.
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Politics make strange bedfellows

This is the video of the day. It doesn't look likely to our troops on the group that the Iraqis are going to be able to make any deadlines for standing up so we can stand down. [Via Digby]
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When is a timetable, not a timetable?

When it's called a "blueprint." Big doings afoot in the back rooms of the White House. They're not calling it "cut and run" but it does sound suspiciously like every proposal for a timed withdrawal made by Democrats and other anti-occupation critics.
Details of the blueprint, which is to be presented to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki before the end of the year and would be carried out over the next year and beyond, are still being devised. But the officials said that for the first time Iraq was likely to be asked to agree to a schedule of specific milestones, like disarming sectarian militias, and to a broad set of other political, economic and military benchmarks intended to stabilize the country.
But remember, it's not a timetable. Timetables are for appeasers, not deciders.
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How long?

Quote of the day goes to Kevin Drum
I wonder how long it will take America to recover from George Bush's uniquely blinkered and self-righteous brand of ineptitude? In the past five years he's demonstrated to the world that we don't know how to win a modern guerrilla war. He's demonstrated that we don't understand even the basics of waging a propaganda war. He's demonstrated that other countries don't need to pay any attention to our threats. He's demonstrated that we're good at talking tough and sending troops into battle, but otherwise clueless about using the levers of statecraft in the service of our own interests. If he had set out to willfully and deliberately expose our weaknesses to the world and undermine our strengths, he couldn't have done more to cripple America's power and influence in the world. Beneath the bluster, he's done more to weaken our national security than any president since World War II.
That pretty well sums up what's been keeping me awake at night. I'm afraid it will take a very long time. We can only hope we'll survive in the interim as a world power. The only thing we have going for us right now is our economic superiority and that's shaky. If our economy tanks, we're screwed.
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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Catch a Buzz

I spend many hours every day perusing the news. I rely on many sources but the singlemost essential read of any day is Buzz Flash. I don't know how they do it, but they're the best news aggregator in the business. Every single day of the year they furnish an astounding list of links to the news that matters to the left and they provide this invaluable service for free.

They've just started a new group which they bill as a community-driven Internet site for pro-democracy progressives. It's appears to be shaping up as a Kos-like community without the egos. Check it out. I joined today and if I hadn't I would have missed these stories.
The Simpsons (yeah the cartoon) will be airing their most political episode ever with an alien invasion of Homer's hometown that includes such lines as, "But you promised we would be welcomed as liberators."

I came late to appreciating this show myself. I didn't get the Bart Simpson cowabunga thing at all but when someone finally forced me to watch it, I found it to be a surprisingly politically astute cartoon, along the lines of Rocky and Bullwinkle. This is one episode I don't want to miss.

And it's official. Bush has now declared himself Lord of the Universe. I guess he took all those references to Cheney being his Darth Vader a little too seriously. Where's Luke Skywalker when you need him?
There's plenty more where those came from and if you've got something you think needs more exposure, now you can create your own Buzz in what is so far a clique free environment. What could be better?
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Bush on Iraq

Same old story. Same old song and dance. What's that definition of insanity again? Oy.
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From the mailbag

I get a fair amount of email from people who are pitching their blogs and want a plug. Oftentimes it's a form mail and you can tell they've never even read your stuff but occassionally actual readers do send a fun link. Since I'm moving slow in the freezing cold today, here's a couple of them to entertain you while I reach consciousness levels.

Thanks to Peter for this one. Some I knew about, but some are new. Under the heading, don't quit the day job, here's some unlikely rockers.

I'm sorry to say I inadvertently deleted this email, so I forgot who sent it to me but thanks, whoever you were. A little Lieberman humor. And you thought the guy couldn't be funny?
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Friday, October 20, 2006

Change of course

It's not just for Democrats anymore. This struck me as significant as I was reading through the Friday morning news dump.
Few officials in either party are talking about an immediate pullout of U.S. combat troops. But interest appears to be growing in several broad ideas. One would be some kind of effort to divide the country along regional lines. Another, favored by many Democrats, is a gradual withdrawal of troops over a set period of time. A third would be a dramatic scaling-back of U.S. ambitions in Iraq, giving up on democracy and focusing only on stability.
That third is the big one. It makes the most sense but it destroys the myth that we're spreading freedom and democracy. As does the first option. Dividing the country is to admit that our troops died to give an Islamic theocracy control over Iraqi oil.

I almost feel sorry for the warmongers. They're going to have a tough time spinning a new justification for this ill-fated folly, especially since so many of us have been predicting this moment since the day Bush invaded Baghdad.
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McCain has a dream

John McCain should probably cancel his order for that custom made tie with the presidential seal on it. I don't think he'll be needing it after all. It's clear McCain has lapsed into pre-senile dementia.

In an appearance with Chris Matthews, McCain unveiled his "grand plan" to solve the morass of Iraq. He says all we need to do is send 100,000 more troops. He's unconcerned that we don't actually have that many troops to send and he's certain a draft to enlist more troops is completely unnecessary. He believes young people will flock to enlist in droves, just as soon as they realize how necessary the occupation is to the battle against terrorists.

As Glenn Greenwald reports, the first test of his theory did not go that well.
Matthews and McCain were appearing before an audience of college students at Iowa State University, and after McCain unveiled his grand serious Plan for Victory -- relying on spontaneous bursts of volunteers for combat in Iraq -- Matthews asked those in the audience who supported the war in Iraq to stand up. Large numbers of them bravely stood in support of the War. Matthews then asked those who plan to join the military to fight in Iraq to stand up. A tiny fraction of them did.
But not to worry. McCain is convinced that any day now, young folks will be flocking to enlist for combat duty in the meatgrinder of Iraq. Right. And no doubt the fearless 101st Fighting Keyboarders will be first in line at the recruitment office.
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Looking at the bright side

I didn't post here last night because I went to the fair. It was good to take a break from the computer and the news. Meanwhile, I'm off to work for a few hours. I hope to have some time to post later this afternoon but in the interim, check out the most heartwarming video I've seen in months.

I think we should turn this into an international movement. Hugs, not bombs. Via the lovely Lisa.
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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Death be not proud

Quote of the day goes to Riverbend in Iraq, who returns from a long hiatus to blog about the Lancet report on Iraqi war dead.
We literally do not know a single Iraqi family that has not seen the violent death of a first or second-degree relative these last three years. Abductions, militias, sectarian violence, revenge killings, assassinations, car-bombs, suicide bombers, American military strikes, Iraqi military raids, death squads, extremists, armed robberies, executions, detentions, secret prisons, torture, mysterious weapons – with so many different ways to die, is the number so far fetched?
Really. Anyone who has been reading the news for the last three years looking for truth rather than talking points would have to admit that not every death is reported to or by official sources. And that's just in Iraq. What about Afghanistan? Has anyone counted the innocent deaths there?

For the record I was against going into Afghanistan as well. I never believed you could "wage war" on terror by military means. But that invasion was widely supported pretty much solely on the basis of "revenge." Americans were angry about 9/11 and wanted retribution for our own innocent deaths and that theme carried us into Iraq.

I have to ask, whether you believe 40,000 or 600,000 deaths have occurred as a result trying to militarize an ideological conflict - how many deaths does it take to satisfy that blood lust? And for those who still support the WOT because they're terrorized by their own unreasonable fear of death by terrorist attack, what is it about the ongoing daily carnage in the terrorist training ground of Iraq that makes you feel safer?
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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Remember to Save the Internet tonight

A quick reminder that Bill Moyers' "Net @ Risk" will be aired tonight. On the east coast this should be airing at 9:00pm, but you can check for your local listings here.

Immediately following the program, there will an live on-line debate between Free Press Policy Director Ben Scott and phone industry flack Mike McCurry. You can join the festivities by logging in here. Participation by regular folks like us is likely to make a big difference. Please be there if you can.

UPDATE:It was an excellent program. Leave your comments at the thread here.
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Laugh of the day

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Blackwell testing Bush master plan for 08?

How can this even be legal? In the latest twist in Ohio's governor’s race, "Republican nominee, Kenneth Blackwell, who is also the Ohio secretary of state, could rule that his opponent is ineligible to run because of a technicality." The challenge rests on totally bogus nitpicking over which of two residences the Democratic candidate used when he registered to vote. The NYT sums this monkey business well.
Election administration should be removed from partisan politics, in Ohio and everywhere else. Decisions like these should be made by nonpartisan bodies or, failing that, by people who do their utmost to insulate themselves from partisan politics. In 2004, Mr. Blackwell chose to become co-chairman of President Bush’s Ohio campaign, and then issued rulings that helped the campaign. Now we have the even more bizarre prospect of Mr. Blackwell, or his deputy, potentially participating in the baseless disqualification of his opponent.
Blackwell has been a thorn in the side of ethical conduct and a detriment to democracy since at least the 04 election. The real question is why hasn't he been removed from the office he currently holds? If his conduct isn't illegal, it certainly should be. And if he gets away with it, will Bush use it as a model in 08 to cancel the election altogether?

Six years ago, that question would have sounded pretty far-fetched. Today, it rings to me of a real and frightening possibility.
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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Question marks in history

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Thanks for the encouragement

I don't know who Agent for Change is, but thanks for the link over at Information Clearing House. I needed the traffic boost and that's a readership that I would love see more of over here.
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Monday, October 16, 2006

Desperate times bring desperate measures

Quote of the day goes to Dick Polman who catches Fred Barnes in a moment of angst.
He thinks this situation is very unfair, of course, since he considers the Democrats to be “obstructionist, anti-tax-cut, soft on terrorism, and generally obnoxious.” Not to mention “wimpy.” Nevertheless, he doesn’t foresee any scenario that would help the GOP keep the House…although he does say this: “There's little time left for a major event to occur. The North Korean bomb test wasn't big enough to change the course of the campaign.”

He's hoping for a "major event?" What’s he rooting for, anyway - a bigger nuke? a horrific terrorist attack? Whether he intended to imply that or not, at the very least he was signaling the current state of conservative desperation.
This is what is keeping me awake at night. The calendar nothwithstanding, Bush, or should I say Rove, has three weeks to come up with a really big October surprise and I hate to imagine what that could be in their hour of desperation.
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Blog mining

Via the inimitable skippy, a reminder that home grown anti-abortion terrorists are living in our midst and they're mostly those GOP "value based" voters.

Via the astute No Blood for Hubris, an update on the paralegal who exposed the guard's admissions of abuse of prisoners at Gitmo. She and her lawyer have been ordered not to talk about it.

And my favorite politician, Hizzoner, the Mayor of Simpleton discovers any citizen can petition for impeachment.
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Media Bytes

I'm back on the work rotation this week, so posts will appear as I have time to blog. Here's a couple of video links to keep you entertained in the interim.

Via Jonathan Z Souweine, a really good comedian who does a kickass Bush impersonation. He doesn't look a thing like Bush but he's got the mannerisms down to a tee. And not to shortchange the rightwingers, he also does a fair job of impersonating Clinton.

I may be the last person in Blogtopia (y!sctp) to hear about this video documentary. Via Avedon, I give you The War of the Words. This may only interest those of you who follow the Tall Dogs of the right wingers since it's about the 101st Fighting Keyboardists, as they like to be known. Those being the people who "fight" to support Bush's war as long as they don't have to actually, you know, risk their lives from anything greater than carpal tunnel. It's a five part series, with only two installments on line so far and it's much more politely done than this snarky review. Great production values on this one. I can't wait for the next episode myself.

And for the old hippies, or those who wish they were born then, my pal Marc Catone sent me Take Me Back to the 60s. I haven't seen the whole thing yet and personally I'm not fond of the forced soundtrack but it does cover the period well in as far I've watched it. Something for everyone here from politics, to TV shows to cars.
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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Why should they worry?

The WaPo notes that despite the general anxiety among the GOP, Bush and Rove aren't at all worried about losing seats in the Congress. It begs the question, what do they know that we don't?

I'm on record in thinking that they figure they have the lock on the Diebolds and can beat the exit polling one more time by stealing the votes and this quote doesn't do a thing to ease my fears.
The RNC is also planning another big get-out-the-vote drive in the final three days before the elections.
Booman Tribune is with me on this one. Something stinks on Pennsylvania Avenue and it's not just the propaganda.
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Death Sentence update

The WaPo picks up the story I pulled off the wires yesterday on the American citizen who was just sentenced to death in Iraq at the request of our military. I'm glad to see this one getting some wider play, especially on the right. Andrew Sullivan picks up the thread, although he hardly counts as right wing anymore, but Balkanization also puts up a critical post so at least the usual rightwing nuts can't pretend they didn't see it.

If anyone has the stomach to check out Malkin's blog, I'd be curious to see if she picks up the story and to see how she'll spin it.
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Another regime change for Iraq?

I predicted this a week and half ago. John Warner alluded to it days later. Now David Brooks adds fuel to my fire. Appearing on "The Chris Matthews Show," he says, "Bush is thinking about replacing the entire Iraq government."
Matthews: David, do you believe the President is looking for an out from his doctrinaire policy of staying the course?
Brooks: Not really, no I don't. I think they're looking at policy options. One of those options is trying to replace the current government which seems to be doing nothing.
So much for spreading democracy and freedom.
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Presumed guilty

I'm way ahead of the NYT on the "torture bill." They finally weigh in with an editorial on the subject and make many of the same points I've been making. I especially like this line though.
It prohibits claims of habeas corpus — the ancient right of prisoners in just societies to have their detentions reviewed — or any case based directly or indirectly on the Geneva Conventions.
In "just societies." In my years at the law firm I often complained that justice no longer existed in our system, except for those who could afford to buy it. Who could have ever dreamed that this administration would not only make a mockery of justice, but actually send it to the morgue along with the half a million innocent civilians that now rest below the ground in Iraq?

And the Times is still behind me with this remark.
Our nation is outraged when an authoritarian government jails an American, or one of its own citizens, on trumped-up charges and brings him or her before a phony court.
I guess they aren't reading The Impolitic over there or they would have noticed that our Generals are apparently demanding our citizens be executed for the political convenience of the White House.
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Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Changing Case for War

Somebody in the MSM has finally put together a good chronology rounding up the metamorphic reasoning in the president's cloudy mind on why we invaded and continue to occupy Iraq. Surprisingly, it was the AP who also offered up a companion piece, with a great time line of quotes by our Great Undecider.

Gotta love our incurious George. He decides, and if it turns out to be wrong -- he just undecides it and decides something else. What could be simpler?
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Planned incompetence?

Well this isn't exactly news. Bush reportedly has no plan for a big GOP loss in November. And.... he never plans for anything. The man has divine intervention going for him remember.

But Karl not having a plan worries me. It suggests they're pretty damn certain they have control of the process and can return enough "electoral (or would that be electrical) anomalies" to keep control of the Congress.

Frankly, if was in the GOP right now, I'd be wanting to lose. At least then, they can blame Bush and disassociate him from the party in the next two dismal years under our Boy Blunder's rule. Otherwise, they're looking at a big debacle in 08 that could spell the end of the Republican party for decades to come.
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US General requests death sentence for US citizen

Under the heading, if you can't find any terrorists - invent some:
A U.S. citizen who allegedly orchestrated the kidnapping of three Romanian journalists near Baghdad last year was sentenced to death in an Iraqi court Thursday, prompting his lawyers to ask a federal judge in Washington to block the U.S. military from transferring him to the Iraqi government.

Mohammad Munaf, 53, has been in U.S. custody since May 23, 2005, when he was arrested during a military raid to rescue the Romanian journalists nearly two months after they were snatched. Authorities have alleged that Munaf -- who had ushered the journalists into Iraq and was acting as their guide and translator -- posed as a kidnap victim but was actually involved in a conspiracy for ransom and led them into a trap.

Military officials have said in sworn statements that Munaf confessed to elements of the crime and helped arrange the kidnapping. Munaf has been held at Camp Cropper, where the U.S. military keeps high-value detainees on behalf of Multinational Force-Iraq.
So let's review. We have an American citizen with Islamic sounding name who "confesses" to a crime after months of confinement in a prison where we just know they never coerce confessions and he's sentenced to death? But wait. The plot gets thicker.
Munaf's Iraqi attorneys reported that the Central Criminal Court judge was prepared to dismiss the charges at a hearing on Thursday but that two American officials -- including an unnamed general -- stepped into the courtroom and requested a private meeting. The judge returned 15 minutes later and sentenced Munaf and four other defendants to death without hearing additional evidence, according to a sworn statement by Sean Riordan, a legal intern at the Brennan Center who spoke with Munaf's attorney in Baghdad.

"In 36 years practicing law in Iraq, [the lawyer] had never before seen or heard of a death sentence being handed down without deliberation or consideration of the merits," Riordan said in the statement filed in Washington yesterday. [all emphasis added]
So let's extrapolate from the clues. An unnamed US General intevenes in an Iraqi court case and a US citizen with a "suspicious" name suddenly is sentenced to death and the White House position is that we can't stop them because we're a "multinational force" who is merely caretaking the prisoner?

Please tell me that the Bush administration is not so crass as to use an innocent citizen as a pawn in a game of polical power chess. I mean they wouldn't insist this guy be executed just to prove how "tough on terror" they are -- would they?
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Friday, October 13, 2006

Don't quit the day job Peggy

I think Glenn Greenwald may have misread Peggy Noonan's lament for the loss of civility and grace in political disagreements. Surely, she was just making the little civilized and graceful jest. I mean, the world needs more genteel debaters like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly and Dick Cheney. And you just can't get enough Malkins and Coulters rounded up these days for a good old-fashioned civil discourse. We need more Jeff Goldsteins and Joshua Goldbergs and there aren't enough of James Dobson and Don Rumsfeld's ilk to remind the people of the value of dissent.

Shame on us close minded liberals for failing to notice "the right" are so graciously defending an administration that values freedom of dissent above all else. Why they're spying on Quakers and prosecuting non violent, tshirt wearing dissenters for capitol crimes against the state, to protect them from terrorists. And you know, "treasonous appeaser" is just a little pet name among those value-based folks. It don't mean nothin'.

Clearly, Noonan's piece was a satire. If not for the fact that she writes in all seriousness for the Wall St Journal, it would certainly be funny.
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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Clinton gets the blame, Rummy gets the money

This is a bombshell from May 2003. While the GOP is busy blaming Clinton for North Korea exploding nukes this week, history would show that Rummy was sitting on the board of the Zurich based company that sold them the light water nuke technology in the first place. This is so big, I'm going to excerpt more freely than usual.

(FORTUNE Magazine) – Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld rarely keeps his opinions to himself. He tends not to compromise with his enemies. And he clearly disdains the communist regime in North Korea. So it's surprising that there is no clear public record of his views on the controversial 1994 deal in which the U.S. agreed to provide North Korea with two light-water nuclear reactors in exchange for Pyongyang ending its nuclear weapons program. What's even more surprising about Rumsfeld's silence is that he sat on the board of the company that won a $200 million contract to provide the design and key components for the reactors.

The company is Zurich-based engineering giant ABB, which signed the contract in early 2000, well before Rumsfeld gave up his board seat and joined the Bush administration. Rumsfeld, the only American director on the ABB board from 1990 to early 2001, has never acknowledged that he knew the company was competing for the nuclear contract. Nor could FORTUNE find any public reference to what he thought about the project. In response to questions about his role in the reactor deal, the Defense Secretary's spokeswoman Victoria Clarke told Newsweek in February that "there was no vote on this" and that her boss "does not recall it being brought before the board at any time."

...The director recalls being told that Rumsfeld was asked "to lobby in Washington" on ABB's behalf in the mid-1990s because a rival American company had complained about a foreign-owned firm getting the work. Although he couldn't provide details, Goran Lundberg, who ran ABB's power-generation business until 1995, says he's "pretty sure that at some point Don was involved," since it was not unusual to seek help from board members "when we needed contacts with the U.S. government." Other former top executives don't recall Rumsfeld's involvement.

...Even so, ABB tried to keep its involvement hush-hush. In a 1995 letter from ABB to the Department of Energy obtained by FORTUNE, the firm requested authorization to release technology to the North Koreans, then asked that the seemingly innocuous one-page letter be withheld from public disclosure. "Everything was held close to the vest for some reason," says Ronald Kurtz, ABB's U.S. spokesman. "It wasn't as public as contracts of this magnitude typically are."

...By 1998 a debate was raging in Washington about the initiative, and the delays were infuriating Pyongyang. Inspectors could no longer verify North Korea's nuclear material inventory. Still, at some point in 1998, ABB received its formal "invitation to bid," says Murray. Where was Rumsfeld? That year he chaired a blue-ribbon panel commissioned by Congress to examine classified data on ballistic missile threats. The commission concluded that North Korea could strike the U.S. within five years. (Weeks after the report was released, it fired a three-stage rocket over Japan.) The Rumsfeld Commission also concluded that North Korea was maintaining a nuclear weapons program--a subtle swipe at the reactor deal, which was supposed to prevent such a program. Rumsfeld's resume in the report did not mention that he was an ABB director.

In his final days in office, Clinton had been preparing a bold deal in which North Korea would give up its missile and nuclear programs in return for aid and normalized relations. But President Bush was skeptical of Pyongyang's intentions and called for a policy review in March 2001. Two months later the DOE, after consulting with Rumsfeld's Pentagon, renewed the authorization to send nuclear technology to North Korea. Groundbreaking ceremonies attended by Westinghouse and North Korean officials were held Sept. 14, 2001--three days after the worst terror attack on U.S. soil.

The Bush administration still hasn't abandoned the project. Representative Edward Markey and other Congressmen have been sending letters to Bush and Rumsfeld, asking them to pull the plug on the reactors, which Markey calls "nuclear bomb factories." Nevertheless, a concrete-pouring ceremony was held last August, and Westinghouse sponsored a training course for the North Koreans that concluded in October--shortly before Pyongyang confessed to having a secret uranium program, kicked inspectors out, and said it would start making plutonium. The Bush administration has suspended further transfers of nuclear technology, but in January it authorized $3.5 million to keep the project going.
So as late as 2002, Bush was allowing this project to go forward so Rummy could collect his fees. Is it me, or does this whole test thing suddenly take on the air of a set-up?

[hat tip Jules Siegel]
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Best political ad of the season

Where was this YouTuber in 04? Could have made a difference.

[Via Shakes]
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No where to run to....

Bush is amazed at how Iraqis "tolerate" the daily level of violence in their country. As if they have a choice?

Anybody with any money (some 890,000) has left the country altogether. Another 300,000 have left their homes in Baghdad to escape the carnage. The only Iraqis "tolerating" violence aren't doing it because they love freedom, it's because they have no other choice but to stay and hope they survive it.
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Habeas Corpus - RIP

I already did a longish post on this at the Detroit News, but I do have couple more thoughts on death of Habeas Corpus. This quote, from a great post of Digby's that I urge you to read in full, really struck me.
...al Qaeda looks for any excuse. But the truth of the matter is, they hate us, and they hate freedom, and they hate people who embrace freedom. And they're willing to kill innocent Iraqis because Iraqis are willing to be free. Iraqis are sick of foreign people coming in their country and trying to destabilize their country. And we will help them rid Iraq of these killers.
How times has he repeated that propaganda? I want to call him up and say, "Hey George. Didn't you notice that we're the foreign people who came into their country, uninvited, and destabilized it?" They didn't have all these killers until we threw our "fly paper" around. And how on earth can he talk about freedom with a straight face when he killed Habe? If that's not the death blow to democracy, I don't know what is.

As Keith Olbermann notes in another kickass commentary, without Habe we're down to one rule in the Bill of Rights and I figure when Bush declared martial law, we can kiss that one goodbye too. There will be nothing to stop the jackboots from taking over your house.

But Glenn Greenwald has the really scary stuff. If you read nothing else, read the description of what happened to Padilla, the alleged dirty bomber. It makes Abu Ghraib look like a church picnic and it happened right here in America. Whether the guy is guilty or not, (and he's never been charged with a real crime), this shouldn't happen in a free country but this is what the Senate "torture bill" codified as law. It could happen to anyone who pisses the White House off.

If this is the cost of safety, I'll take my chances with the terrorists. Less chance of them destroying our freedoms, that is if we ever manage to restore them after this administration is through shredding them to "save us from terror."
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Best laid plans....

Am I the only one who notices that every time I say I'll be right back, something always happens. Well, my plans were scuttled yesterday on account of connectivity issues and car trouble. That will teach me to try to be a normal productive human being.

Meanwhile, I'm working today and tomorrow. I'm not making a prediction on when I'll be back cause clearly it's a jinx but I do have a lot to talk about.
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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Net Neutrality still on the table

I just got off an internet blogger's conference with Save the Internet, Free Press (who hail from my old digs in lovely downtown Noho) and Bill Moyers of PBS.

Since I'm not equipped for voice conferencing, I was stuck in the text chat, which as regular readers know, I'm not very good at -- my typing skills crack under that kind of pressure. So I'm going to take a break and enjoy the lovely afternoon but I'll be back with more details later after I've had time to review the thread, which I understand is about 35 pages long.

The conference was convened to strategize and to introduce Bill Moyers latest documentary video, The Net @ Risk which will be airing next Wednesday. You can see an advance clip here. It looks to be a promising vehicle to promote net neutrality awareness among the non-tech public. I'm glad to see some organizing going on around this before the telcos just steal the internets right out from under us.

Check it out. I'll be back later tomorrow.
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Iran's new tourism "hot-spot" ?

I don't know quite to make of this.
Iran’s nuclear sites open to foreign tourists: official TEHRAN, Oct. 4 (MNA) – President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has issued a permit for foreign tourists to visit Iran’s nuclear facilities, Vice President and Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO) Director Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaii said here on Wednesday.

“CHTO is considering the instructions in this regard,” the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) quoted Rahim-Mashaii as saying.
“This order is to show Iran's nuclear activities are peaceful and transparent,” he stated.
I'm not familiar with this site and a lot of the links don't work but it looks pretty legit to me. What do you folks think? Real, hoax or Iranian propaganda? And if it's real will it stop Bush from going ahead with his reckless plan to bomb Iran to sway the elections?

[hat tip Jules Siegel]
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To be a Liberal

The Chicago Tribune has an interesting editorial on what it means to be a Liberal. They're asking for feedback by 2:00 today. I just sent this:

To be a Liberal is to seek facts rather than mere affirmation of one's views. A Liberal persuades with reasoned analysis rather than with insinuation, intimidation and ugly epithets. To be a Liberal is to work towards the common good at the expense of personal gain. A Liberal accepts responsibility for the well-being of the "least" of our citizens, in order that all Americans may enjoy the security that only some gain through accident of birth. Most importantly, a Liberal understands that shared power is preferable to unilateral rule and that power gained by consensus is preferable to power taken by trickery and tyranny.

Now if we could just get rid of the "Centrists" and get some Liberals back into office, we might still save our Republic.
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Monday, October 09, 2006

Write a book - get fired

It's bad enough that criticizing the president is enough to get yourself labeled a traitor, if not hauled in as an enemy combatant these days, but
when the press starts cracking down on free speech what hope is there left for us
? Not much, I'd say.

Joe Maguire, one of two editors in charge of markets coverage at Reuters has been sacked after submitting the galley of his new book, “Brainless: The Lies and Lunacy of Ann Coulter,” to his bosses.
When asked what changed once the book was ready, a company statement pointed to Reuters’ principles of “integrity, independence and freedom from bias.” The statement reads: “Our editorial policy and The Reuters Trust Principles are prominently displayed for all to see on www.about.reuters.com. Mr. Maguire’s book will soon be available. Both speak for themselves.”
Give me a break. Seems to me Reuters is running scared of the fringenuts on the right after the trouncing they took over the fake photos in Lebanon. Every right wing talking head on TV has a book out. It's not like this is some groundbreaking change in the political climate and that abrasive harpy Coulter is long overdue for a debunking.

Shame on Reuters for running scared. That's what got us into this mess in the first place. And good luck to Maguire. I hope he makes millions on his book.
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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Health Advisory

There's another E.Coli threat, this time in packaged ground beef . Oddly, just as with the spinach scare, it involves quite a few brands that bill themselves as organic.

Update: Add lettuce to that alert. Great. I just ate a veggie burger with lettuce on it.

If I was conspiracy buff, I might think the goods were being sabotaged by the food industry in order to put these small organic companies out of business so the corporations could take over the market.
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Saw in the Sunday papers

A short list of long articles today.

Project Censored's list of the 25 most under-reported stories of the year. Depressing but vital reading.

When he's not busy using it as a tool to further the war on some drugs, threatening to withhold aid if countries don't comply with failed US tactics, Bush is using foreign relief aid to bolster evangelizing Christians.
President Bush has almost doubled the percentage of US foreign-aid dollars going to faith-based groups such as Food for the Hungry, according to a Globe survey of government data. And in seeking to help such groups obtain more contracts, Bush has systematically eliminated or weakened rules designed to enforce the separation of church and state.

Bush's orders altered the longstanding practice that groups preach religion in one space and run government programs in another. The administration said religious organizations can conduct services in the same space as they hand out government aid, so long as the services don't take place while the aid is being delivered. But the rule allows groups to schedule prayers immediately before or after dispensing taxpayer-funded aid.
Raise your hand if you think the people who attend the church services, get the limited supplies of relief goods first.

And this is quick read, A Soldier's "Secret" Letter from Iraq to his family.

The funniest bits:
Most Surreal Moment — Watching Marines arrive at my detention facility and unload a truck load of flex-cuffed midgets. 26 to be exact. We had put the word out earlier in the day to the Marines in Fallujah that we were looking for Bad Guy X, who was described as a midget. Little did I know that Fallujah was home to a small community of midgets, who banded together for support since they were considered as social outcasts. The Marines were anxious to get back to the midget colony to bring in the rest of the midget suspects, but I called off the search, figuring Bad Guy X was long gone on his short legs after seeing his companions rounded up by the giant infidels.

Coolest Insurgent Act — Stealing almost $7 million from the main bank in Ramadi in broad daylight, then, upon exiting, waving to the Marines in the combat outpost right next to the bank, who had no clue of what was going on. The Marines waved back. Too cool.
The most indicative:
Most Profound Man in Iraq — an unidentified farmer in a fairly remote area who, after being asked by Reconnaissance Marines if he had seen any foreign fighters in the area replied "Yes, you."
The money graf:
Biggest Outrage — Practically anything said by talking heads on TV about the war in Iraq, not that I get to watch much TV. Their thoughts are consistently both grossly simplistic and politically slanted. Biggest Offender: Bill O'Reilly.
Read it all. It's a good snapshot of a soldier's eye view. The author who posted it at TIME seemed to think it was going to dismay the administration's critics, but I don't know why. It looks to me like it makes our points for us.
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Saturday, October 07, 2006

GOP "Values"

Garrison Keillor has a good column out on the Republican base. This is money quote:
I got some insight last week into who supports torture when I went down to Dallas to speak at Highland Park Methodist Church. It was spooky. I walked in, was met by two burly security men with walkie-talkies, and within 10 minutes was told by three people that this was the Bushes' church and that it would be better if I didn't talk about politics. I was there on a book tour for "Homegrown Democrat," but they thought it better if I didn't mention it. So I tried to make light of it: I told the audience, "I don't need to talk politics. I have no need even to be interested in politics - I'm a citizen, I have plenty of money and my grandsons are at least 12 years away from being eligible for military service." And the audience applauded! Those were their sentiments exactly. We've got ours, and who cares?

The Methodists of Dallas can be fairly sure that none of them will be snatched off the streets, flown to Guantanamo Bay, stripped naked, forced to stand for 48 hours in a freezing room with deafening noise. So why should they worry? It's only the Jews who are in danger, and the homosexuals and gypsies. The Christians are doing fine. If you can't trust a Methodist with absolute power to arrest people and not have to say why, then whom can you trust?
Funny, I never expected him to be such a good political columnist.
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Will Abramoff take down Rove and the GOP?

This could be big. Brent Budowsky in an op-ed at BuzzFlash picks up a bombshell out of the Friday news dump. In an unprecedented move, Rove's chief deputy, Susan Ralston has resigned in the midst of scandal and on the eve of a major election. You remember of course, that Susie worked for Abramoff before he "gave" her to Karl. Could it be that Abramoff, whose contacts with the White House are now numbered in the 400s, is offering up some prime sacrifical lambs at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

Brent has been a Beltway insider for decades and he thinks the signs point to a major scandal breaking out of the Abramoff corruption case before November. I hope he's right. What we need to protect the vote is a public approval rating that is low enough that the GOP can't get away with stealing the election by manipulating the tallies.

UPDATE: The WaPo has more on what forced Ralston's resignation. It appears she accepted pricey gifts from Jack while passing on inside information to him. It appears she fell on the sword to spare Rove and save her own shapely ass. The investigation into her conduct has been closed on the assumption that her resignation makes it moot. Gotta love that logic. Criminal conduct is only criminal if you take a salary? Of course, we are talking about the White House. That is the standard M.O., first priority being to disappear and drop out of the news cycle.

And once again, it will keep Rove out of the spotlight as it's hard to believe he didn't know about it, when recently released emails between Susie and Jack, mention Karl and there's well over a hundred documented interactions either between them, or involving Jack's various scams.
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Friday, October 06, 2006

A Tale of Two Gitmos

This has been a popular link with the Bush apologists this week. Some reporter went on a press tour of Gitmo and came back with stories of Barcoloungers and bahklava. How desperate do you have to be, to believe in this stuff? This is the self serving pap the White House stenos always offer. Does anyone really think a Pentagon sponsored press junket is going to be shown what really happens behind the cell doors?

Try balancing that carefully orchestrated view with this one. Take a look at what the guards say when they're partying at the local bar.
A 19-year-old sailor referred to only as Bo "told the other guards and me about him beating different detainees being held in the prison," the statement said.

"One such story Bo told involved him taking a detainee by the head and hitting the detainee's head into the cell door. Bo said that his actions were known by others," but that he was never punished, the statement said. The paralegal was identified in the affidavit as a sergeant working on an unidentified Guantanamo-related case. [...]

Other guards "also told their own stories of abuse towards the detainees" that included hitting them, denying them water and "removing privileges for no reason."
"About 5 others in the group admitted hitting detainees" and that included "punching in the face," the affidavit said.

"From the whole conversation, I understood that striking detainees was a common practice," the sergeant wrote. "Everyone in the group laughed at the others stories of beating detainees." Vokey called for an investigation, saying the abuse alleged in the affidavit "is offensive and violates United States and international law."
Which one rings truer to you? I have a feeling those kids are going to be sorry they tried so hard to impress the cute young paralegal at the cantina.
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Talking points

I've been posting in Detroit today. Bush is relentlessly issuing signing statements after the ceremonious signing of "consensus bills" from the Congress the latest proclaiming his right to ignore the job description when appointing FEMA directors. I say, Why not just call him King George? And thanks to Kathy for the link to the Boston Globe piece.

In other news, Sen. John Warner is down on Iraq. If he's not calling for regime change, I want to know what he meant by that remark.

And there's an encouraging reader's poll in Detroit with 60% favoring diplomacy over military action in Iran. Can't read much into that as they often go against the national polling but still it's encouraging to see with all the inflammatory rhetoric that goes on in the comment section.

Which goes to prove the remaining die hard loyalists are noisy but shrinking. It looks to me like there's a new silent majority and they're not backing Bush.
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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Points to Ponder

I have a couple of posts up at the Detroit News. Bush is at it again with the signing statements. I wonder, "Who needs Congress when you have The Decider?"

Condi is in Iraq hollering at Maliki, Bush is on the road collecting cash for the party and Shia militias have taken over the hospitals. It looks like Iraqis are free to live in fear -- again. I'm suggesting regime change.

We knew this, but Atty Tood has proof that Ashcroft was briefed on the 9/11 threat weeks beforehand and protected his own sorry ass but did nothing to inform the traveling public. Tood still has no answer to why "on Sept. 10, 2001, 'a group of top Pentagon officials suddenly canceled travel plans for the next morning, apparently because of security concerns.'

I think this was underreported. British troops find no evidence that Iran is supplying Iraqi insurgents with arms. This of course refutes the Bush administration's contention that Iran is regularly doing so.

This one also slipped under the radar this week. The NLRB continues its mission to destroy unions with new ruling on supervisor classification this week. Center for America Progress estimates 8 million workers could be affected.

Kevin Drum has the best quote on this story.
This is, by the way, the kind of thing I'm talking about when I say that Republicans have made it steadily harder over the years to organize unions. Most people will never hear about this ruling, just as most have never heard of the dozens of other under-the-radar rulings, laws, regulations, and court decisions that have slowly chipped away at the ability of unions to organize over the years. But believe me: business lobbies have. And since this ruling mostly affects service industries, they can't pretend that globalization has forced their hand. They just want to eliminate any organized pressure to pay their workers more.
And pity poor Afghanistan. After five years, the reconstruction is going rather badly and the government has even less control outside of Kabul. Heck it's barely hanging on in the capital. But don't even read the article, just click into the photo gallery on the side bar and let the beautiful pictures tell the ugly story.
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Foleygate turning in a Fellini circus

I've been having a really bad day and I'm sick of the circus around Foley. I can't believe we are having this debate and the emerging accusations and counter-accusations aren't doing a thing to solve the problem, that being young kids subjected to unsolicted sexual advances by adult authority figures. I don't what's creepier, Foley, the cover-up or the people defending both.

I feel like asking everybody who has been trying to deflect the criticism or miminize the acts for the IM address of their kids. Perhaps they won't find it disturbing if I get a pedophile to just send them some "joshing around" messages. Starting with the Instapundit's daughter. I think she's just about the right age to work as a Congressional page. Surely, he won't object to some creep IM'ing her about her underwear as long as they never actually try to have sex with her. At least, not as long as it's a Republican pedophile.

I'm just disgusted by the whole mess, however, if you feel like reading some of the latest revelations, some dim bulb blogger outed one of the pages and the kid is now receiving death threats.

The FBI lied to reporters about the investigation.

And Bush is still on the road raising money but no one cares that the Dems are allegedly soft on terrorism when sex is so much more interesting.
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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Deluding Voters 101

Glenn Greenwald has a good, link rich post on GOP hypocrisy and the right wing sleaze machine. The money quote:
We have been barraged with laws, programs, sermons, demagoguery and all sorts of moral demonization from a political movement whose most powerful pundit is a multiple-times-divorced drug addict who flamboyantly cavorts around with a new girlfriend every few months in between Viagra-fueled jaunts to the Dominican Republic. It is a political movement whose legacy will be torture, waterboards, naked, sadomasochistic games in Iraqi dungeons (or, to Rush, "blowing off steam"), with all sorts of varied sleaze and corruption deeply engrained throughout its DNA -- all propped up by a facade of moralism and dependent upon the support of those who have been propagandized into believing that they are voting for the Party of Values and Morals.
You have to wonder how they can continue to sell that image. But then again, I suppose it doesn't hurt to have Fox News spreading false propaganda for you. I mean, how simple. Make a little "mistake" on the prime showing of Bill O'Reilly and identify the pedophile as a Democrat and then quietly drop the banner with no attempt at correcting the record. How many people are going to watch both the orginal airing and the repeat to catch it for themselves?
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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Is Foley's folly a smokescreen?

I can't help but feel uneasy about Foleygate. It's like shooting fish in a barrel. The pundits are pronouncing the GOP dead in the water. Hastert is whining to Rush that it's a political hit case perpetrated by mysterious forces in the Democratic Party. But the more I think about it, the more Foley stinks of Rove.

No matter what the media manipulated polling says, the GOP's public approval is in the tank. They need something big for an October surprise to turn it around. Rove could be throwing up a smokescreen with Foley for a surprise strike on Iran. It's not so unlike the strategy they used with Harriet Miers. Rile up the base and then give them something to believe in again.

Because the thing is, even while we're obsessing about pedophiles in the House, a massive naval task force is deploying toward Iran. The tone of this piece is a bit alarmist but I have to agree with this:
The World is at the crossroads of the most serious crisis in modern history. The US has embarked on a military adventure, "a long war", which threatens the future of humanity. In the weeks ahead, it is essential that citizens' movements around the world act consistently to confront their respective governments and reverse and dismantle this military agenda.
Foley is a sideshow. We can't afford to take our focus off the real danger to our children and that's the reckless folly of this administration's Mid East policy.
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Will Foley's folly take down the GOP?

The GOP has no shame. Rep. Tom Reynolds, head of the NRCC and a major player in the coverup, had a press conference today, knowing full well Foley's dilly-dallying with underage pages would come up and he filled the stage with young children, so the press couldn't talk about it. Neither does the NRCC home page mention Foley at all and I think it rather telling their poll on the side bar asks what scares their readers about Democrats. Wouldn't you think they might want to ask what issues their supporters consider important instead?

Meanwhile, the Foley scandal just keeps getting bigger. In the latest revelation, Foley interrupted a vote on the floor of the House in 2003 to engage in Internet sex with a high school student who had served as a congressional page." Further, he invited this underage boy to his home outside of DC for drinks. So in other words, this coverup has been going on for at least three years.

But you know what, such is my suspicion of this administration, that I have to ponder why ABC is breaking this story. They've been a reliable White House steno for too long for me not to wonder why they're making this so easy.
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Will Foley seal the deal for the Dems?

Good editorial in the NYT this morning, remarking on how quickly the GOP slipped into crass opportunism and "turned itself into the partner of every special-interest lobbyist with a checkbook." The choice cuts:
History suggests that once a political party achieves sweeping power, it will only be a matter of time before the power becomes the entire point. Policy, ideology, ethics all gradually fall away, replaced by a political machine that exists to win elections and dispense the goodies that come as a result...

The good news is that American democracy, so flawed in many ways, is often fairly efficient at punishing parties that become addicted to self-perpetuation. This November may not force Congress to come up with a plan for Iraq, or even immigration. But if it reminds elected officials that there’s a punishment waiting for those who fall in love with their own sense of entitlement, it will have done its job.
Of course that assumes that the vote will be counted fairly and not stolen again by mysterious quirks in electronic voting machine tallies. One can only hope the electorate will not complacently accept suspect and apparently fraudulent results this time around, as simply politics as usual.
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Monday, October 02, 2006

We're all enemy combatants on this bus...

Must read of the day is Elliot D. Cohen's op-ed at BuzzFlash. Put together the broad definition of enemy combatant with the suspension of habeus corpus and judicial review. Add in the allowance of secret evidence and consider the contract recently awarded for the building of detention camps in "case of an illegal immigrant crisis" and I'd say these are dark days for activists.

Read Cohen's piece or at least read the key quote at my post at the Detroit News.
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Slow readers?

My other blog, Last One Speaks is so old that as far as I can tell, I can't get email alerts when someone leaves a comment. However, here at The Impolitic, I get notified when they do and I'm always amazed when I get hate mail on really old posts. Take for instance, this one from almost a year ago. You remember when Bill O'Reilly was making his famous enemies list and we were all trying to get on it? I just got this comment this morning on that post.
Anonymous said...
It's people like you who give liberals a bad name.

Do you honestly think that you'll change anyone's minds through your senseless criticism and sarcasm? Perhaps you think you'll "enlighten" people by spouting out irrational opinions instead of forming a reasonable argument.

I'm glad you're only blogging; it saves people from listening to "self-serving blowhards like yourself."
You notice how the rudest commenters are always afraid to put their real name on their complaints?
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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Journalism is dead and Hastert isn't looking so good himself...

We knew it would only be a matter of time before somebody made a comparison between Mark Foley and Bill Clinton. Brit Hume lowers himself into the snake pit to hiss out that bit of misplaced venom. I don't know how he dares call himself a journalist when he spits out such obvious GOP propaganda.

There is no comparison between Clinton and Foley. Clinton engaged in a consenual act with a more than willing partner. The only reason he got caught is his partner couldn't resist bragging about her conquest to a "friend" who ratted them out. Foley was sending unsolicited messages to an underage boy who reported the incident himself, because it was creeping him out. And the GOP leadership sat on that complaint for over a year without addressing it and in fact actively worked to cover it up.

And that's the real story here. GOP House leaders, Dennis Hastert and John Boehner were informed of the problem and did nothing about it. Their inaction exposed hundreds of other children to potential abuse by Foley. Furthermore all indications are Hastert is lying about what he knew and when he knew it. It seems a few more resignations are in order and when Capt. Ed jumps overboard, you know that ship is going to sink.

Update: This gets bigger by the minute. The GOP knew about Foley as far back as 2001 and allowed him to send these unsolicited, creepy messages for all that time.

[hat tip Midwestern Progressive]
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Night out

John was kind enough to escort me to The Office last night to see my home boys, the Stuntmen. Except for the fact that the entire crowd was chain smoking and you couldn't breathe in the house, it was a great show. These guys just get better every time I see them.

Steve Sanderson was burning up the house with his vocals.

Steve and Freddy. Freddy just keeps blowing me away with his guitar work.

Speaking of work, I'm back on the rotation, so I'm off. More photos of the rest of band here.
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