Saturday, October 21, 2006
Last night I watched a special one-hour NOW on PBS. The show went into great detail about how "Clean Elections" legislation works at the state level in Arizona and Maine. It's a voluntary program that allows average people to run for state office and not be beholden to special interest money. It's 'voluntary' due to the fact that one of the more bone-headed Supreme Court decisions is that political contributions are "free speech", even from Big Money special interests seeking access and influence over legislation.
"Clean Elections" is also on the ballot in California this November as Proposition 89. It went from conception to the ballot in less than six months, and set a new record for the shortest amount of time ever to collect the necessary signatures for a ballot initiative. It may not pass, but I hope it does: if California does it, the most populous state (dammit!) in the nation, other states may follow. See Yes on 89.
If "Clean Elections" legislation becomes popular in enough states, it may be extended to Federal elections as well. A worthy goal, in MNSHO.
I like the idea. Hit the links and noodle around. The show itself is here. Many links, MP3, etc. Let us know what you think.
I was worried about NOW when Bill Moyers left, but David Brancacchio is doing a fine job.
October 22, 2006
Elections in the Third Congressional District, which covers half of Nassau County and a slice of Suffolk along the South Shore, are usually yawners, with Democrats meekly stepping up to be stomped upon by the Republican incumbent, Peter King. He has not had a close race since his first, in 1992.
This year might be different. The Democrat David Mejias, is waging a lively campaign, brandishing his credentials as a member of the Nassau County Legislature and seeking to ride what he says is a general wave of disgust with Washington, with Congress and with President Bush.
Mr. King is the last Republican standing in
Those in its receiving end of his rhetorical bombardments are surely less charmed. He has blisteringly belittled many, from constituents criticizing Mr. Bush's Social Security plan to Catholic clergy members who condemned Mr. King's immigration bill and got a lecture in return about pedophile priests and an admonition to go to confession.
(The Times was also in Mr. King's cross hairs, for writing - treasonously, he says - about a secret terrorist-surveillance program.)
We do not support Mr. King, but not because he wants us in jail. Our decision has to do with temperament, effectiveness and differences on issues from taxes and
Mr. King does not get everything wrong. As chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Mr. King has been a vocal defender of
Mr. King also lost us with his singular devotion to hard-line immigration enforcement measures, particularly the bill he co-sponsored that would make felons of people giving charity to illegal immigrants.
Mr. Mejias is one of the few bright bulbs in the low-watt Nassau Legislature. He helped to create a bill of rights for domestic workers in
*Via email from the Mejias campaign. I'll try to find a link later.
Peter King Watch has it.
In Destined for Destiny, Dikkers joined with Peter Hilleren to "help" write Bush's "unauthorized autobiography" -- a description as impossible as Douglas Adam's five-book "trilogy" on hitchhiking the galaxy -- and lets the voice and comedy of WRA's George Walker Bush guide us on a satiric odyssey of the life of a man who will forever remain the epitome of "The Peter Principle."
Dikkers and Hilleren have a lot to work with, from Prescott's efforts to aid the Nazis in WWII to Bush's future presidential library. Add to that a running gag involving Jesus' personal involvement in Bush's every decision -- and the hilarious photo essay showing Jesus' involvement -- and this book will make you laugh out loud in quiet reading rooms and on crowded public transportation.
On Barbara Bush:
"Apart from my mother, George H. W. Bush is the finest man I ever knew. My father met my mother at a debutante party when she was 30. He was immediately enchanted by her horse-like beauty, her forceful nature, and her immense stature."
On meeting Laura Bush:
"I was blessed with the good fortune of meeting a wonderful small-town Texas woman who had a dazed and clueless stare reminiscent of a goat that had been struck between the eyes with a tire iron -- a halting kind of beauty which every man desires in a woman."
I'm glad the authors found something funny to write about that pathetic little wimp.
Second, the tabloids' and MSM's treatment of the Bushes:
You won't read it on the front of the New York Times (although they were eager to place under a microscope every salacious inquiry into the marriage of the Clintons).
But you will find it blaring as the front-page stories of the tabloids read by Bush voters in the fly-over states.
National Examiner Cover - Bush Marriage Over!"Bush Marriage Over! Laura Erupts After Drinking Binge," is the cover story of the October 23, 2006, National Examiner.
Globe - Bush Divorce Deal"Bush Divorce Deal: Laura Wins, Condi Loses," is the "World Exclusive" that the Globe ran in a photo-filled cover on August 14, 2006.
You may want to patronizingly dismiss tabloids, but remember that they almost did Bill Clinton in, as the mainstream papers cribbed from them to run front-page stories on Bill and Hillary.
This time, the mainstream media is adopting a double-standard and avoiding the allegations that the tabloids are boldly making. But the point to remember here is that the real readers of these publications are, in large part, the people who normally have voted for Bush.
Many of them are religious, and they aren't going to look kindly on the charges of boozing and philandering by Bush. Not at all.
If you are wondering about what might hurt Bush the most in the red states -- and have a spillover effect on the Congressional races -- these covers from the National Examiner and Globe may have more impact than FoleyGate and the Iraq debacle.
Don't snicker. This is the kind of grass roots tar that sticks.
Who knows, it may even be true.
Sorry, BuzzFlash - I'm snickering, and it doesn't matter if it's true or not, though it would be icing on the cake if it was. It's hilarious on one level, but disturbing on this one: there are folks out there, Americans who vote, who think they can't print something if it isn't true. That's also the basis for the success of F** N**s. Hey, if it's on TV (other than the Librul Media of course) it has to be true or they couldn't say it. Scary. On the other hand, if it makes them less likely to vote for Repuglicans, it's good scary.
I'll admit to a childish glee at Mrs. G's childish glee when she discovers these juicy George/Laura headlines on the covers of those birdcage liners (is that cruelty to animals?) while we're in the supermarket checkout line on Saturdays. She doesn't touch them!
Further, in the good Progressive spirit of transparency and disclosure, I'll cop to reading those rags at my late Mother-in-law's house. She usually had a stack of 'em. Reading those things is like riding a moped: it's fun, but you don't want your friends to see you.
The one tabloid headline that I'm sorry I missed was in '46: "Bar Gives Birth To Alien Space Baby!"
[Welcome BuzzFlash readers, make yourselves da home. ~ Fixer]
GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (AP) - Orange County Republican leaders on Thursday called for the withdrawal of a GOP congressional candidate they believe sent a letter threatening Hispanic immigrant voters with arrest.
Tan D. Nguyen denied knowing anything about the letter in an interview Thursday with The Associated Press but said he fired a campaign staffer who may have been responsible for it. Nguyen's attorney said his client had no intention of quitting.
County Republican Chairman Scott Baugh said that after speaking with state investigators and the company that distributed the mailer, he believes Nguyen had direct knowledge of the "obnoxious and reprehensible" letter. He told the AP that the party's executive committee voted unanimously to urge Nguyen to drop out of the race against Democratic U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez.
"I learned information that allows me to draw the conclusion that not only was Mr. Nguyen's campaign involved in this, but that Mr. Nguyen was personally involved in expediting the mailer," Baugh said in a telephone interview.
Nguyen said he has fired an employee in his office who he believes might have used his campaign's voter data base to send the letter without his knowledge.
That's right out of the Repug playbook: When caught, blame a staffer.
"If it is proven that a candidate was responsible for this action, that candidate is clearly not fit to serve the people of California and should withdraw immediately from his or her race," California GOP Chairman Duf Sundheim said in a statement.
In an interview Thursday morning, Sanchez said she had never spoken to Nguyen because her campaign didn't see him as a threat to her re-election.
"If it is in fact this guy (who sent the letter), the most disgusting and saddest thing about it is that it comes from another immigrant," said Sanchez, who was born in the U.S. to Mexican parents and whose 1996 election signaled Orange County's increasing diversification. "These communities have spent years trying to get naturalized immigrants to vote."
Nguyen's campaign Web site says he was born in 1973 in Vietnam, where his family fled the Communist regime.
This is not the county's first dispute over alleged intimidation of Hispanic voters. In 1988, Republican Assembly candidate Curt Pringle posted uniformed "security guards" at 20 predominantly Hispanic voting places in Orange County.
Republicans said the guards were stationed to prevent noncitizens from casting ballots. Pringle and the county GOP paid $400,000 to settle a civil rights lawsuit alleging intimidation of Hispanic voters.
I grew up in L.A. County, and Orange County, just to the south, became a joke when I was in my teens. It was always a Repuglican hotbed. Richard Nixon was born there, and they renamed their airport the "John Wayne Airport". There were always a lot of wealthy people there, and they elected people to look out for their interests. Hard-core right wingers.
I worked at motorcycle joints, a dealer and a distributor, in Orange County, but move there? No thanks! I commuted thirty miles from Burbank. Motorcycle jobs don't last, but mortgages do, and I didn't want to get stuck there.
With a big influx of Vietnamese, Koreans, and Latinos over the last thirty years, OC's political makeup has changed somewhat. I'm not exactly sure which demographic has had the most impact (inscrutable, them Orientals!) but the OC ain't quite as far right as it used to be.
It's still a joke.
The desperation is difficult to miss, yes, but sometimes it is astonishingly obvious. Take the following statement from Fred Barnes, executive editor for the right-wing whacko factory The Weekly Standard. Barnes, ever the optimist when it comes to permanent Republican control, warned the faithful in this week's edition to prepare for a total wipeout at the polls.
"Of course there's little time left for a major event to occur," wrote Barnes towards the end of his article, titled "How Bad Will It Be?" "The North Korean bomb test wasn't big enough to change the course of the campaign. So Republicans may have to rely on their two remaining assets: They have more money than the Democrats and a voter turnout operation second to none."
There it is, right there in black and white. "There's little time left for a major event to occur," wrote Barnes, who went on to lament that the GOP must fall back on their "two remaining assets." Ergo, a massive terrorist attack with huge casualties and the rise of total fear among the populace is an "asset" in the mind of Barnes, one that, sadly for Barnes, does not seem about to come to pass. After, all there is "little time left" for a bloodbath to come along and rescue the Republicans.
The worst part? Simple. The worst part is that few find it surprising anymore to see a Republican cheerleading for a devastating attack so as to maintain power in Congress. This from the "We Keep You Safe" party. Yes, the desperation is indeed there for all to see. [my emphases]
Notice the Repukes take for granted this 'major event' will happen in New York, or Boston, or Los Angeles, or San Francisco. I mean, they wouldn't nuke the 'base', would they? Or would Freddie and his butt-buddies volunteer to be at the next ground zero? Thanks for being so cavalier with our lives, assholes. These are Republican 'values'. Bloodthirsty motherfuckers.
I'd say it's a race.
Learn about the candidate and volunteer - Dave for America
Contribute - Dave's ActBlue page.
Vote for Dave Mejias. Do you live in NY-03?
Friday, October 20, 2006
MINEOLA - In a press conference today, Nassau County Legislator Dave Mejias, Democratic candidate for Congress in New York's 3rd Congressional District, proudly stood along side members of The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) and local elected officials to accept an endorsement from NJDC's Political Action Committee. Founded in 1990, The National Jewish Democratic Council is the national voice of Jewish Democrats, and the newly formed Long Island chapter is the only local representation of any national Jewish political organization.
Dave Mejias has turned this longshot race into a real battle. He's giving Peter King the fight of his political life and it's time for Long Islanders and those from out of state to step up. Peter King is the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, too sensitive a post for a delusional nutbag to hold. Support Dave in his fight to put King out to pasture.
Learn about the candidate and volunteer - Dave for America
Contribute - Dave's ActBlue page.
Vote for Dave Mejias. Do you live in NY-03?
I can't help but conclude that the increased deaths and frustration prior to the elections weren't expected. I suspect that the much-ballyhooed offensives in Ramadi and Baghdad were calculated to provide major successes in Iraq prior to the midterm elections, and now that they haven't, the likes of Caldwell are helping to reverse the spin in a way that will keep the ball in the GOP's court.
Personally, I think they have something else up their sleeves (Diebold notwithstanding) aside from some wishful thinking in Iraq. I'm sure somebody in the White House has enough grasp of reality to realize the situation in Iraq can nevermore be manipulated according to a political calendar.
I'm trying to pursuade the Mrs. not to go into the office until after Election Day if she can help it. I have this gut feeling these guys have too much to lose to pin their hopes on such a fluid situation in Iraq. Desperate men do deperate things when they know the end is near.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
So all you clueless boneheads with your yellow ribbons and empty "I support the troops!" bullshit slogans, well you can just stick all that into your butts. For those whose actions speak louder than words, kick some money to the Fisher House. That's supporting the troops and their families.
Here's the latest talking point from the Bush administration, explaining the surge in violence that has October on track to be the third deadliest month of the Iraq war: it's a campaign strategy. That's right, Sunnis and Shiites are killing each other -- and American soldiers -- in growing numbers because they are out to affect the '06 Elections.
So, regardless of how ineptly, corruptly, criminally, they have run the nation over the past 6 years, you should vote for them because the terrorists are trying to manipulate you. If you vote Dem, the terrorists win and the Baby Jesus will cry.
There you have it: Sunnis and Shiites are not killing each other over centuries-old religious conflicts; they're killing each other because they disagree about who should be Speaker of the House, Denny Hastert or Nancy Pelosi.
"Last throes", "turning a corner", "dead-enders", and now the "New Tet". Even the Jesus freaks ain't that gullible.
SANTA ANA, Calif. - State investigators have linked a Republican campaign to letters sent to thousands of Orange County Hispanics warning them they could go to jail or be deported if they vote next month, a spokesman for the attorney general said.
"We have identified where we believe the mailing list was obtained," said Nathan Barankin, spokesman for Attorney General Bill Lockyer.
He declined to identify the specific campaign, citing the ongoing investigation. The Los Angeles Times and The Orange County Register both reported Thursday that the investigation appeared to be focused on the campaign of Tan D. Nguyen, a Republican who immigrated to the U.S. from Vietnam as a child and is now challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (news, bio, voting record). Nguyen's Web site says he opposes illegal immigration.
Good. I hope they lock the sonofabitch up.
There are a lot of Vietnamese in Orange County. So many, in fact, that one of the freeway exit signs reads "Little Saigon". It appears that this particular Mr. Nguyen has successfully assimilated into the Repuglican way of doing things.
Ms. Sanchez is a favorite of mine for beating out long-serving Rethug Robert "B-1 Bob" Dornan several years ago. One of his lines was "Every lesbian spearchucker is hoping I get defeated." The guy was a real throwback, and red on the head like the dick on a dog to boot, and damn near as smart.
Josh Marshall, who runs the excellent blog Talking Points Memo, recently posted a reader's take on "The 5 Stages of Republican Scandal." As follows:
1. "I have not been informed of any investigation or that I am a target."
2. "I am cooperating fully, but this whole thing is a political ploy by the Democrats."
3. "I'm SHOCKED by the mistakes made by my subordinates."
4. "I'm deeply sorry for letting down my friends and family. I now recognize that I am an alcoholic. I will be entering rehab immediately, so I have no time for questions."
5. "Can I serve my time at Eglin Federal Penitentiary (aka Club Fed)?"
We have seen a fair amount of this already, and will soon see a lot more of it. The news media is all abuzz about Republican scandals, from Foley to Abramoff, but simply hearing about it from the television does not do the situation justice, if you'll pardon the bad pun. You have to see it all in one place to understand the depths to which the GOP has sunk.
Bear in mind, as you peruse the following roll call, that these guys are getting busted for this stuff while their party has absolute control over the House, the Senate, the White House and the Justice Department. Huffington Post columnist Stephen Elliot pegged it recently when he wrote, "The fact is if you control the Senate, the White House, and the courts, and you're still getting busted for bribery, stalking children, and money laundering, then something is really sick at the Republican core."
Indeed. Thus, without further ado and in no particular order .
Looong list follows. Heh.
Here's the best part: George W. Bush has officially declared that this is now National Character Counts Week. Seriously. You can't make this stuff up.
At the end of it, you have to think of this crew as being like the Mafia, only a lot dumber. Think about it. The Mafia's criminal enterprises operate under heavy scrutiny from local, state and federal officials, all of whom have subpoena power, not to mention the ability to tap phones and kick down doors.
The Republican criminal enterprise that is currently unraveling in all directions, on the other hand, operated virtually free from restraint or scrutiny. They own the government, from the Oval Office to the FBI to the Capitol Dome, and yet somehow they are managing to get busted left and right.
And, of course, the really serious criminal behavior - lying about weapons of mass destruction to initiate a war of conquest that has enriched White House allies while killing untold tens of thousands of people, including almost three thousand American soldiers, for starters - continues to operate with impunity.
For now. Rumor has it there is an election in November. Depending on how it shakes out, things might get really interesting after the New Year. These people above got nailed even though their allies are running the show. If that should change, several dozen varieties of Hell are likely to break loose.
That'd be the good kind of Hell, of course, the kind we deserve to eternally damn the Republicans.
Your words are lies, Sir.
They are lies that imperil us all.
"One of the terrorists believed to have planned the 9/11 attacks," you told us yesterday, "said he hoped the attacks would be the beginning of the end of America."
That terrorist, sir, could only hope.
Not his actions, nor the actions of a ceaseless line of terrorists (real or imagined), could measure up to what you have wrought.
Habeas corpus? Gone.
The Geneva Conventions? Optional.
The moral force we shined outwards to the world as an eternal beacon, and inwards at ourselves as an eternal protection? Snuffed out.
These things you have done, Mr. Bush, they would be "the beginning of the end of America."
And did it even occur to you once, sir - somewhere in amidst those eight separate, gruesome, intentional, terroristic invocations of the horrors of 9/11 - that with only a little further shift in this world we now know - just a touch more repudiation of all of that for which our patriots died -- did it ever occur to you once that in just 27 months and two days from now when you leave office, some irresponsible future president and a "competent tribunal" of lackeys would be entitled, by the actions of your own hand, to declare the status of "unlawful enemy combatant" for - and convene a Military Commission to try - not John Walker Lindh, but George Walker Bush?
I'll be proud to serve with Mr. Olbermann at Gitmo.
Let's see ...
#1 The schoolbus stops in front of your house.
#2 You could stay in your house until the bus comes and walk the hundred feet to the street from your front door.
#3 You choose to sit in a running car that drove you the hundred feet from your front door.
#4 Your mother, I presume or at least an adult female, is a willing participant in this behavior.
Are you fucking kidding me?
*The Penguin, blogging at Pauly's, reminded me of it. I'm going to work.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Something for everybody. Thank you, Nicole.
"Seriously, one of the reasons you're not seeing Democrats getting indicted in corruption scandals is that we've been out of the loop," says Rangel, laughing but not joking.
What no one in Congress knows -- and a lot of staffers I spoke to worried aloud about this -- is if Democrats will be any different in that respect than the Republicans if they win this November. The corruption issue is only part of it. More than anything, a lot of Democratic staffers are worried that ten years or so of having the light shut out on them by the majority, being frozen out of conference committees, having cops called to rouse them out of the library and being denied the chance to offer even the most harmless amendments -- that all of this will lead to a long, ugly period of payback time.
[...] The young Democrat sitting next to Rangel who looks at a Republican like a Crip lining up a Blood might be the future of politics generally.
Think about it; if there's ever been anything sadder than John McCain "taking a stand" against Bush on the torture bill a few weeks back, have you seen it? I sure haven't. McCain bent over faster than a college student on his first night in Attica. But I wouldn't expect anything better out of the Democrats -- at least not until they show they can act like men, and not like the hired clowns of their party's financial backers. Until that happens, we can expect more of the same: vicious partisan bitching while the cameras are on, obscene handouts behind closed doors.
"You can either govern or you can get even," says Rangel. "But you can't do both. I hope we make the right choice."
Note to Charlie: Get even. 'Payback' is a sucking chest wound. Anything short of that is JUSTICE with this Repuglican bunch, and the nation deserves it, wants it, won't settle for anything less. The Repugs deserve whatever they get. They need to learn that poor choices have bad consequences. Like jail, and worse, powerlessness. It wouldn't hurt the Dems to learn that object lesson, either.
It's not a 'choice'. It's your duty. Do it well.
This is is not a commentary. It is an obituary.
The United States, age 230, passed away yesterday following a short bout of internal complications.
Well, "passed away" isn't quite the term for it. It was murdered - cynically cut down in what should have been its prime; assassinated by fear, slayed by ignorance, silenced by contempt, butchered by congressional cowardice and whacked by a venomous president. Rasputin himself died at the hands of fewer conspirators.
The killing field was, of course, Washington, D.C., and the murder weapon was the Military Commissions Act of 2006 - Enabling Act of 1933, anyone? -- which authorized not a war on terror, but a war of terror - the rape of this erstwhile nation of laws, not men, and directed straight at the forehead of any who oppose the new American regime; directed at those who one man, and one man only, deems properly subject to indefinite incarceration, torture, and extermination.
The Act's wording of "unlawful enemy combatants" defies any definition other than: Whomever the president says is an unlawful enemy combatant. We'll just have to pray that over the next two years George doesn't go back on the bottle and start reading disagreeable newspapers and blogs.
Does writing this qualify me as a U.E.C.? Or any of its publishers? Does this open, expressed outrage at the gang of treasonous criminals at the helm of this mess of a reordered government complicate their lives enough or please our foes enough to land me under the prohibition against aiding foreign enemies and comforting them with material support?
Who knows? Could. Might. Maybe. That would be determined not by statute, not by rules of evidence, not by a jury, not by a judge, not even by the court of public opinion. That would, instead, be determined by one man, in secrecy -- an unsettling, intolerable peskiness to dictatorial tranquility to be whisked away under the cover of night.
And that is no hysterical exaggeration.
As I've heard it, part of the definition of an 'Unlawful Enemy Combatant' is one who has 'materially aided terrorists'. To me, that would be something like helping a terrorist make sure his Semtex corset is on nice and tight so it won't slip and embarrass him.
Who knows what it means to 'The Decider'? It appears as if it's entirely up to Bush.
Remember "you're either with us, or against us"? Who's "us"? Is it the United States of America, or the royal "us" of George W. Bush personally? I guess we'll find out. I'm definitely 'with' the United States, which is why I'm definitely 'against' Bush.
Are they gonna come get us anti-Bush bloggers and whisk us away for a lovely tropical vacation at Gitmo? Probably not, but the Chimp's nose is definitely under the tent. He could if he wanted to.
We have to trust his sanity and honesty. Let that one sink in for a minute. Sanity? Honesty? BUSH?
As for his 'sanity', we're dealing here with an incompetent petulant crybaby, a bully of a dry drunk with a mean streak and an overcompensated inferiority complex, who does not like criticism and likes to lash out at his critics, and who is fixin' to see his criminal agenda swirl closer and closer to the drain come election day. He is pretty famous for blaming others for his own mistakes, which he refuses to admit, convinced that his infallibility is absolute. Sane? Probably in the parallel universe he inhabits. In the reality-based dimension the rest of us live in, he's at best very seriously delusional.
As to his honesty, I won't waste much effort on that. He is one of the few people I've seen who turns the truth into a lie simply by speaking it. That's pretty rare, though. Most of the time, he just lies. 'Pathological' doesn't begin to cover it.
Bush has once again side-stepped the Constitution - belay that, he's fuckin' stomped it flat. That august document was designed specifically to protect us from devils in power by making this a nation of laws, not of men. With the help of his Congressional accomplices he has thrown another shovelful of dirt on the grave of Democracy and Liberty.
Our civil liberties and freedom are now even more firmly at the mercy of a cretin I wouldn't trust with the keys to my fifteen-year-old pickup if it was outta gas.
I worry less and less every day about the civil war in Iraq, and more and more about civil war here.
To close on a brighter note, Bush, Cheney et al have definitely 'materially aided terrorists' by enabling their recruiting program with their imperialistic power-and-oil driven criminal blunders. Perhaps, if the Military Commissions Act is still in effect in 2009, the next President will do the right thing and rendition them to the place of their soggy dreams, with orange clothes, no lawyers or other outside contacts, no charges, secret evidence that won't be shown, steel bars, and no appeal. And, oh yeah, 4000 calories a day! Let's pork 'em up good so the noose can do its work more easily.
In the meantime, R.I.P. America.
King: Conditions on the ground are different than what you see on television.- As we go through the city of Baghdad, it was like being in Manhattan. I'm talking about bumper to bumper traffic. Talking about shopping centers, talking about restaurants, talking about video stores, talking about guys - on the street corner, talking about major hotels. And so, at that moment, people must be amazingly resilient and you would never know that there was a war going on ... [my em]
Somebody I want in Congress. Maybe he's not a liar, but then he's just delusional*.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - A roadside bomb killed a provincial police intelligence chief in southern Iraq early Wednesday, police said. The military reported nine U.S. troops killed in bombings and combat a day earlier, raising to 67 the number of U.S. troops killed in October...
Yeah, we see NYPD vehicles getting blown up every day, random shootings and torture, and don't forget those beheadings in front of Saks 5th Avenue and the IEDs in Times Square. Although watching the Mets snatch defeat from the jaws of victory could be considered torture.
Time to send Peter King for a long rest, to Bellevue where be belongs. Help us put Dave Mejais in his seat.
Learn about the candidate and volunteer - Dave for America
Contribute - Dave's ActBlue page.
Vote for Dave Mejias. Do you live in NY-03?
Peter King Watch has debate video.
*Link via Attaturk.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
SANTA ANA, Calif. - The state attorney general's office is investigating a letter received by some Southern California Hispanics that says it is a crime for immigrants to vote and tells them they could be jailed or deported if they go to the polls next month.
"It's a very malicious and degrading letter. It's to pull Latinos down and make them afraid," said Benny Diaz, who is running for City Council in Garden Grove. He said his wife and five other people he knows had received the letter.
The letter, written in Spanish, tells recipients: "You are advised that if your residence in this country is illegal or you are an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that could result in jail time."
The truth is that immigrants who become naturalized citizens can legally register to vote.
Nathan Barankin, a spokesman for state Attorney General Bill Lockyer, said the letter was "something we are investigating aggressively right now." He said the sender could be charged with a felony and receive up to three years in state prison.
Several of the people who received the letters appeared to be naturalized citizens, said John Trasvina, interim president and general counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Attempted voter suppression, anyone? Gee, who could possibly benefit by Latinos being scared to vote? Could it be...Satan? Worse. Repuglicans.
Between Sept. 11, 2001, and his State of the Union Address in 2002, George W. Bush had America in the palm of his hand.
But in that speech, Bush blew it. Singling out Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as state sponsors of terror seeking weapons of mass destruction, Bush yoked them together in an "axis of evil" and issued this ultimatum: "I will not wait on events, while dangers gather. I will not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons."
Neoconservatives celebrated this bellicosity as neo-Churchillian. Yet all it accomplished was to fracture the U.S. and foreign coalitions that had united behind Bush. As some of us wrote at the time, to call Iran and Iraq, mortal enemies in the eight-year war of the '80s that took a million lives, an "axis" was absurd.
Bush's speech was a blunder of the first magnitude. First, he had no authority to attack any of those nations, as Congress had not authorized war. Second, he had neither the plans nor forces in place to do so. Yet he had put all three on notice this was what he had in mind.
When the United States invaded Iraq, North Korea and Iran got the message. Both accelerated their nuclear programs.
Because of the bluster-and-bluff of President Bush, the United States is today eyeball-to-eyeball with Iran and North Korea over their nuclear programs, and neither of these regimes appears ready to blink.
Why should they blink? They've got Bush figured for the punk he is, and he's only going to be around for two more years. Or less, God willing. They also know Bush and Rums bin Feld have wrecked our military to where a ground campaign is out of the question.
Great though its crimes, Kim's regime will never equal in evil those of Josef Stalin or Mao, both of whom had nuclear arsenals greater than Kim can ever achieve - and America never went to war with either.
Meanwhile, put the bellicose bluster on the shelf. It has done less than nothing to advance America's security.
In other words, Georgie boy, you've let your alligator mouth overload your hummingbird ass, at the expense of everything the United States has always held dear. Time to put a sock in it.
Please read the rest.
... She talked about how the government employees gave them grant review instructions - look at everything objectively against a discreet list of requirements and score accordingly. "But," she said with a giggle, "when I saw one of those non-Christian groups in the set I was reviewing, I just stopped looking at them and gave them a zero." ...
Now, as much as that tightened by sphincter, something else caught my attention that really chapped my ass:
Many of the grant-winning organizations that rose to the top of this process were politically friendly to the administration. Bishop Harold Ray of Redemptive Life Fellowship Church in West Palm Beach had been one of the most vocal black voices supporting the president during the 2000 election. His newly-created National Center for Faith-Based Initiatives somehow scored a 98 out of a possible 100. Pat Robertson's overseas aid organization, Operation Blessing, scored a 95.67. Nueva Esperanza, an umbrella of other Hispanic ministries, headed by President Bush's leading Hispanic ally, Luis Cortez, received a 95.33. The Institute for Youth Development, that works to send positive messages to youth, earned a 94.67. The Institute's head was a former Robertson staffer. Even more bizarre, a new organization called "We Care America" received a 99.67 on its grant review. It was the second highest score. They called themselves a "network of networks" an "organizer of organizations". They had a staff of three, all from the world of Washington politics, and all very Republican. They were on tap to receive more than $2.5 million. [all emphases mine]
This had nothing to do with what good works these groups were doing. This was, probably still is, all about giving welfare to Rethugs and their contributors at the expense of the American taxpayer. I believe it's called embezzlement.
Monday, October 16, 2006
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2006, divided into two equal parts, to Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank for their efforts to create economic and social development from below. Lasting peace can not be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty. Micro-credit is one such means. Development from below also serves to advance democracy and human rights.
Every single individual on earth has both the potential and the right to live a decent life. Across cultures and civilizations, Yunus and Grameen Bank have shown that even the poorest of the poor can work to bring about their own development.
Micro-credit has proved to be an important liberating force in societies where women in particular have to struggle against repressive social and economic conditions. Economic growth and political democracy can not achieve their full potential unless the female half of humanity participates on an equal footing with the male.
Yunus's long-term vision is to eliminate poverty in the world. That vision can not be realised by means of micro-credit alone. But Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank have shown that, in the continuing efforts to achieve it, micro-credit must play a major part.
A little background from ABC News, you know, the Democratic operatives the Repugs are blaming for Foleygate:
Through Yunus's efforts and those of the bank he founded, poor people around the world, especially women, have been able to buy cows, a few chickens or the cell phone they desperately needed to get ahead.
Yunus's told The Associated Press in a 2004 interview that his "eureka moment" came while chatting to a shy woman weaving bamboo stools with calloused fingers.
Sufia Begum was a 21-year-old villager and a mother of three when the economics professor met her in 1974 and asked her how much she earned. She replied that she borrowed about 5 taka (nine cents) from a middleman for the bamboo for each stool.
All but two cents of that went back to the lender.
"I thought to myself, my God, for five takas she has become a slave," Yunus said in the interview.
"I couldn't understand how she could be so poor when she was making such beautiful things," he said.
The following day, he and his students did a survey in the woman's village, Jobra, and discovered that 43 of the villagers owed a total of 856 taka (about $27).
"I couldn't take it anymore. I put the $27 out there and told them they could liberate themselves," he said, and pay him back whenever they could. The idea was to buy their own materials and cut out the middleman.
They all paid him back, day by day, over a year, and his spur-of-the-moment generosity grew into a full-fledged business concept that came to fruition with the founding of Grameen Bank in 1983.
In the years since, the bank says it has lent $5.72 billion to more than six million Bangladeshis.
Worldwide, microcredit financing is estimated to have helped some 17 million people.
Today the bank claims to have 6.6 million borrowers, 97 percent of whom are women, and provides services in more than 70,000 villages in Bangladesh. Its model of micro-financing has inspired similar efforts around the world.
Note to Mr. Yunus: Ya done good, pal. Loaning money to the poorest of the poor and the most downtrodden segment of the population is not an American/Western banking concept. Our banks could learn a lot from you if they cared to. Fat chance.
Note to Nobel Prize Committee: You squareheads made a Hell of a lot better choice this time than you did with Kissinger. Keep it up.
"Never give a sucker an even break," W.C. Fields, the comical con man of so many old films, was famous for saying. He'd be right at home in the Bush White House.
It must be hard for experienced con artists to feel anything but contempt for the suckers, or the marks as they're known on the street. Indeed, even onlookers feel little sympathy for marks, many of whom, maybe most, get scammed because they're promised something they shouldn't have in the first place.
What the evangelicals wanted from the Bushies was the power to impose a theology-driven order on government policy and the people it hires and appoints. What Rove wanted was to turn evangelical churches across the country into Republican ward clubs. It was the ultimate church-state roll in the hay.
Looks like the christofascists got rolled by experts while trying to steamroll the rest of us. Good. No sympathy here.
Kuo's book couldn't have arrived at the worse time for Bush and the GOP -- on the heels of the Foley-congressional page scandal. One of the aftershocks of the Foley affair is the revelation that homosexuals come in several varieties -- Republican as well as Democrat, probably independents and libertarians, too. Homosexuals have served on the GOP congressional staff, the Bush Cabinet departments downtown, even the White House.
All this comes after a year in which Republicans on Capitol Hill have been caught in the Abramoff lobbying scandal, former GOP House leader Tom DeLay being indicted and forced to resign, and Republican Congressmen Bob Ney and Duke Cunningham have been convicted on corruption charges. Evangelicals must be wondering how they ever fell in with such bad companions.
That's easy: The Devil, in the guise of a phony savior, offered 'em dominion over the beasts of the earth - those of us who don't buy their immoral, intolerant, phony small-c christian bullshit. They fell for it and sold their souls to Beelzebush.
Now they're pissed off and want 'em back. Not because they think they were wrong about the twisted way they think, not because they were used, Hell, they begged for it, but because their Repuglican false idols didn't pay off on the deal and laughed at 'em to boot!
Who's laughin' now, dipshits? We've known that you were being used for years. There is great joy in seeing you finally figure out that the ones who were gonna help you fuck us made you catch instead of pitch. Har-dee-fuckin'-har, assholes!
They shouldn't feel too bad, however. They're not alone. "There's a sucker born every minute," as the master entrepreneur P.T. Barnum discovered long ago. He'd have been a star in the Bush White House.
The other half of that quote is "...and one more born to pick him".
You phony christians got conned by experts and now you know it. Shit, you oughta be used to it: Falwell, Robertson, Dobson et al been doin' it for years.
"As ye sow, so shall ye reap" is just another way of saying "What goes around, comes around". Your karma done slapped ya upside the head on its return trip, didn't it?
To quote a friend of mine: "Idiots, morons, and fools. Go back to church and stay out of politics."
That said, I'd like to thank Gord for keeping a lid on this place, AOB for her compelling posts, and Nina for her excellent commentary while I was goofing off. Good job, guys. Thanks again.
Now, it's time for a good laugh. I laugh at all you stupid Jesus freaks. Out loud, rolling on the floor, laughing my hairy white ass off. Know why? Because we (the entire left side of the blogosphere) told you years ago that you were being used. That you were gullible fools who were too blinded by God to question the Rethugs' motives. They kissed your ass and you loved the feeling. Idiots. How's it feel?
How's it feel to know the Rethugs think the same way about you as I do?
In his book, Kuo wrote that White House staffers would roll their eyes at evangelicals, calling them "nuts" and "goofy."
Thing is, I'll say it to your face. Thing is, I won't use you to achieve my ends while giving you cheap lip service. I'll continue to tell you I don't want you in government and to shove your stupid anti-gay, anti-choice, faith-based rhetoric up your collective ass. In short, you will always know where you stand with me.
Specifically, Kuo says people in the White House political affairs office referred to Pat Robertson as "insane," Jerry Falwell as "ridiculous," and that James Dobson "had to be controlled." And President Bush, he writes, talked about his compassion agenda, but never really fought for it.
How's it feel to be fucked without a kiss? Let me ask something. Do you folks fall for those Nigerian lottery scams too?
But Kuo says the so-called compassion agenda has fallen short of its promise and he blames President Bush for that in his new book. As correspondent Lesley Stahl reports, he also says the White House was a place that cynically used religion for political ends and that White House aides ridiculed the very Christian leaders who helped bring Mr. Bush to office.
How does it feel to know your foolishness, your blind support for criminals, helped get us 9/11, the Iraq War, record deficits, pedophiles and perverts in Congress, and the loss of our credibility in the international arena? You compromised Jesus' teachings and what you know is right for a little political capital that you'll never see, never be able to use, because Bush never had any intention of giving it up. Jesus weeps, Satan laughs, and I'll see you all in Hell.
Idiots, morons, and fools. Go back to church and stay out of politics.
(All quotes courtesy of Crooks and Liars)
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Activists are flooding into the districts of Reps. Pombo and Doolittle on behalf of Democratic challengers, making the races more competitive.
The focus of attention: two candidates vying for seats in bedrock conservative districts to the east, currently occupied by Republicans John T. Doolittle of Granite Bay and Richard W. Pombo of Tracy.
Their Northern California races are considered the most competitive in the state. President Bush demonstrated his concern by showing up at fundraisers for the duo last week, garnering more than $1 million for their campaigns.
But the prospect of upset victories contributing to a Democratic takeover of Congress - potentially installing San Francisco's Nancy Pelosi as speaker - has added another dimension to the Doolittle and Pombo races. Hundreds of volunteers and activists in Berkeley and other Bay Area communities have mobilized on the Democratic side, raising money, manning phone banks and carpooling into the districts to canvass neighborhoods for votes.
Imagine that! Carloads of Berserkeley commie pinkos doing GOTV drive-bys! I love it!
Doolittle, whose 4th District stretches from the Sierra foothills east of Sacramento to the Oregon border, is opposed by retired Air Force Lt. Col. Charlie Brown, 56, of Roseville. Brown, a soft-spoken Air Force Academy graduate, is counting on his military background to help him in what is arguably California's most conservative district, based on Republican registration.
Pombo, whose 11th District includes Bay Area suburbs and San Joaquin Valley ranch lands, is challenged by wind energy scientist Jerry McNerney, 55, of Pleasanton. McNerney's intellectual and environmental credentials are an asset in some of the high-tech corners of the district, which includes the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
On the heels of the Abramoff matter came the congressional page scandal that led to the resignation of Rep. Mark Foley, a Florida Republican. With the environment for Republicans deteriorating, the independent Cook Political Report last week downgraded both the Pombo and Doolittle races from likely GOP victories to merely leaning Republican.
Both the Brown and McNerney candidacies, however, have been bolstered by activists from the Bay Area, the most Democratic chunk of the state.
The volunteer efforts for Brown and McNerney have impressed veteran political observers.
"They see this national Democratic tsunami in which they are on the verge of taking over the House for the first time since 1994," Hoffenblum said. "The best they can do to participate is work in these two congressional districts within driving distance of the Bay Area."
Doolittle and Pombo have characterized the Bay Area activists as carpetbaggers who want to implant liberal ideas in the largely conservative districts.
"Brown has become the ultimate chameleon candidate," Doolittle said on his campaign website. "By day, he pretends to be a conservative. By night, his true colors come out as he raises money and recruits volunteers from the most liberal activists in the Bay Area."
Pombo has played up the Bay Area liberal invasion theme in his political mailers. Doolittle is expected to make it the theme of his television ads. But the volunteers say they have met with little hostility from potential voters. Political analyst Hoffenblum says the effect of the political activists is still uncertain.
I guess raising money and recruiting volunteers from all of 50 - 100 miles away is somehow un-American, but getting corporate money and turning a blind eye to corporate-forced abortion and sex slavery is just fine? Typical Repug hypocrite.
I'm damn glad that the Bay Area folks have noticed what's going on out here in the hinterlands (That's a joke. Both districts have their largest number of voters in the Sacramento-Stockton area) and have come to help.
What Doolittle fails to mention are his campaign's machine phone calls that negatively depict Col. Brown. We've gotten two of them.
As a point of local color, "Brown for Congress" signs and bumper stickers are everywhere in my town. I have yet to see either in favor of Doolittle, although his name appears on the "Dump Doolittle" stickers. Truckee and North Lake Tahoe are Blue spots in a Red district because we have lots of old hippie granola bars and Bay Area transplants, who are sometimes one and the same.
Charlie Brown appeared in my town yesterday, but I didn't go see him. I got to thinking about it, and realized that I've done all I can for him by way of support by displaying his bumper stickers and a yard sign, passing out same to friends, and by donating to his campaign. He has a real go-getter in this area named Jen, "Espresso", who is really doing a great job for him. I figured I really had nothing to gain by going to meet him other than getting a picture of myself with him for the Brain. It would have just been an ego thing for me, and I don't much care about stuff like that. Besides, we had been traipsing all through the mountains all day on our bi-weekly shopping trip and my feet hurt.
Fixer did that with Dave Mejias in his district, and that was a good thing, but our situations are different. I don't give a shit what Brown does once he gets in. He's a Veteran and a good man, and it's enough for me that he beats the Repug Doolittle.
It's looking more and more like he's got a good shot at it.
Charlie Brown for Congress
"Has the social agenda of the GOP been stalled by homosexual members and/or staffers?" asks [Family Research Council head Tony] Perkins.
He has a point, the Republicans have controlled the government for six years, and yet abortion is still legal and gays aren't routinely rounded up and sent to forced reorientation camps.
But if "nuts" like Perkins and Wildmon want to cleanse all but God-fearing breeders from the party's top ranks, will they stop with the Congress?
That's what Jesus would do, right?
No. Here's what concerns me. What if Congress passes laws Bush don't like?
Well, he may just go along with some of them. And for some he will surely release a signing statement or just quietly ignore them. But for certain laws that he thinks his actively opposing them will play well to other rightwing extremists - say bills that roll back the "Patriot" Act to something more befitting a free society - I think the odds are good that Bush may actually publicly refuse to follow them, citing the "overriding principle of the unitary executive."
In short, Bush will say, "Try 'n make me." And the amen choir at Fox and elsewhere will stand up for him, deploring a fascist Democrat [sic] Congress trying to Subvert the will of the People.
And do you think the Dems would force a constitutional question? Personally I, like Tristero, think not. If the past is any indication, they'll abdicate their spines in favor of 'not rocking the boat', gun-shy their majority would be lost in '08 as well as their chance at the Presidency. A good read.