Saturday, January 21, 2006

License to Bork

Related to my earlier post, from Sizemore:


If a Democrat would've said a SCOTUS nominee was "the worst nightmare of Conservative Republicans", Sheik Robertson and Osama Bin Falwell of the Tali-Born Again would be issuing fatwahs 24/7 on the Fox Propaganda Channel, resulting in a Republican filibuster. Thank you, Bill Frist, for giving our Democrats a license to Bork (and they better use it).

I can't say it enough, the Alito comfirmation will either be a turning point for the Dems or business as usual for the Repubs. It's time for the Dems to put up or shut up.


More from Steve Cobble at HuffPo.


Looks like EveryNo Child Left Behind is getting a bit of an 'enhancement'. Whatever happened to the conservatives favoring less government?

Republican Osama

Jill makes sense when she says the latest Osama tape might be a Repub propaganda ploy.

Christian values

Shakes looks at a show that didn't air on ABC. I wonder why not?

...ABC says they were worried that some of the overt intolerance expressed by the white Christians toward the competitors, whose fates they held in their hands, may have turned off viewers before their evolutions into being, you know, nice...

Might just show how intolerant your average 'christian' really is. Might just show 'em for the racist assholes they really are.

Yes, please do

Rove tells Republicans to run on Bush's record

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House political adviser Karl Rove on Friday said Democratic critics of the Iraq war were wrong and Republicans should highlight the issue in November's congressional elections.


Yes, as more kids die for a goal that moves farther away, please align yourself with Preznit Chickenhawk Coward. The Dems need all the help they can get.

Our worst nightmare

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist told Republican Party activists on Friday night that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito was the "worst nightmare of liberal Democrats."


Gee, I thought he was a moderate? I hope this gives the Dems enough cause to filibuster...but probably not. Losers.

Great thanks to DR.

Weekend reading

One of my sci-fi novels The Captains is up in its entirety. Nothing deep, just a sappy little love story set a couple hundred years in the future...during a another galaxy...

Another year

And they'll let me reenlist.

WASHINGTON, Jan 18, 2006 (AFP) - The US Army said Wednesday it has raised its maximum enlistment age from 35 to 40 years old and is doubling signing up bonuses to a high of 40,000 dollars.

The measures are the latest in a series of steps the army has taken over the past year to offset a slump in recruiting as it faces ongoing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Gotta love them 'last throes'.

Great thanks to Froggy, blogging at Skippy's.

Fluffy, Destroyer of Worlds*

Enigma has a great rant up about the illegal spying on American citizens by Chimpy Inc.


And if one more little size 2 Twinkette in Vera Wang on the screen calls it "Eavesdropping" I may have to start throwing something sturdier than marshmallows at the TV. I am sick of Religous Geesus crap and Military uniforms paraded Fauntleroy Style across my screen giving speeches about protecting the Homeland. See after my home has been entered illegally numerous times in the past three years, I don't really know much about "security", especically at home. And some other time we can talk about what they did to my Medical Records and Library and Bookstore records. (or you can read my post from earlier in the month about Closing the Cafe).


She's been dicked over for being a voice. This will happen to more and more people until these crooks and fascists are run outta Washington.

*Click the link and it'll make sense.

Friday, January 20, 2006


Republican scandal.
Republican corruption.
Republican mismanagement.
Republican ineptitude.

Oh look, shiny shit!

Cavity searches

From Kevin Hayden:


In all the hoopla about Bush's illegal wiretaps, with civil libertarians suing for justice, one complicit group is seemingly getting off scot-free: the telecommunications companies. They acceded to the Bush encroachments on our freedom, rolling over on all Americans without objection.


Thank God Google has the balls to stand up to the Chimp.

I don't want Molly Ivins mad at me...

If you think Left Blogtopia (y!sctp) is hard on the Dems for their jelly spine, go see Molly. I think she's about had it with 'em, especially Sen. Clinton. Thanks to Bob Geiger.

Oh come on, people -- get a grip on the concept of leadership. Look at this war -- from the lies that led us into it, to the lies they continue to dump on us daily.

You sit there in Washington so frightened of the big, bad Republican machine you have no idea what people are thinking. I'm telling you right now, Tom DeLay is going to lose in his district. If Democrats in Washington haven't got enough sense to OWN the issue of political reform, I give up on them entirely.

Bush, Cheney and Co. will continue to play the patriotic bully card just as long as you let them. I've said it before: War brings out the patriotic bullies. In World War I, they went around kicking dachshunds on the grounds that dachshunds were "German dogs." They did not, however, go around kicking German shepherds. The MINUTE someone impugns your patriotism for opposing this war, turn on them like a snarling dog and explain what loving your country really means. That, or you could just piss on them elegantly, as Rep. John Murtha did. Or eviscerate them with wit (look up Mark Twain on the war in the Philippines). Or point out the latest in the endless "string of bad news."

Do not sit there cowering and pretending the only way to win is as Republican-lite. If the Washington-based party can't get up and fight, we'll find someone who can.

I wish Molly wouldn't mince words so much. Ha!

The K Street Prescription

Paul Krugman via Tennesse Guerilla Women with another piece on the prescription scam and the influence of lobbyists. Go read. Last paragraph:

So I have a question for my colleagues in the news media: Why isn't the decision by the White House to stonewall on the largest corruption scandal since Warren Harding considered major news?

Good question.

Greater Georgelandia

Fiore, just for fun.

Why neocons can't stop landslide of 'Brokeback Mountain'

Great rant on the "culture war" being waged by the hardly-ever-right, by Mark Morford of the EssEffChron.

As soon as people begin realizing there's more to this brief little slice of existence than hate and war and the constant drumbeat of fear, there's always resistance, a reactive sneer at the idea that people might be waking up, even a little, and it's all in the name of protecting the status quo and defending the power base and not upsetting any of those carefully wrought prejudices, about making sure everyone stays quiet and doesn't ask any difficult questions of the Authority.

Religious groups make phone calls and complain. Big chunks of money get thrown into the pockets of sanctimonious politicians. Quasi-religious bonk-job leaders declare sex and music and gay people the source of all woe, vice and disease. Ugly new laws get passed. And yes, bitter, convulsive justices get appointed to the Supreme Court.

If you don't want to read the rest of it, have someone check your pulse.

Matthews should apologize

The Daou Report has a good piece on Lardass comparing Osama bin Laden to Michael Moore. Many links, hit 'em all. Don't miss it.

DEMAND AN APOLOGY: "Bin Laden sounds like Clint Eastwood" -- "Bin Laden sounds like Ron Silver" -- "Bin Laden sounds like Rush Limbaugh" -- "Bin Laden sounds like Bill O'Reilly"-- "Bin Laden sounds like Mel Gibson" -- "Bin Laden sounds like Bruce Willis" -- "Bin Laden sounds like Michelle Malkin"... Imagine the outrage on the right and in the press (but I repeat myself) if a major media figure spat out those words. Well, on Hardball, Chris Matthews just blurted out that Bin Laden sounds like Michael Moore. Simple: Matthews should apologize. On the air. This has NOTHING to do with Michael Moore and everything to do with how far media figures can go slandering the left.

Matthews might have stepped on it good this time. Let's hope he notices he's being called on it.

Dems choose, we lose

Following up on Fixer's post about having Col. Murtha respond to the SOTU, it appears the Dems are steppin' on their weenies again. From Arianna:

So the Democrats have chosen Virginia Governor Tim Kaine to deliver the party's response to President Bush's State of the Union speech. Chalk up another one for the What the Hell Are They Thinking? file.

On the same day that Osama Bin Laden's chilling warnings make it Red Alert clear that Bush's obsession with Iraq has not made us safer here at home -- and, indeed, has caused us to take our eye off the real enemy -- the Dems decide that the charge against Bush shouldn't be led by someone who can forcefully articulate why the GOP is not the party that can best keep us safe, but by someone whose only claim to fame is that he carried a red state.

Talk about clueless.

I know I've said this before and before, but the Democrats will never become the majority party until they can prove to the American people that they have a better plan for keeping us safe. And that means having someone like Jack Murtha give the State of the Union response -- someone with the authority to make the point that, on every level, Iraq is the wrong priority. And that the hundreds of billions already spent on Iraq (and the countless billions to come) would be better spent shoring up our ports, roadways, railways, securing our nuclear installations and chemical plants, and properly supporting our first responders.

I've got a better idea. Why don't the Democrats reconsider their choice and pick someone more able than Kaine to make the national security argument? They don't even have to make a big deal out of the switch. Kaine can simply come down with a really, really bad cold that night. Cough, cough... and Murtha is waiting in the wings.

The Friday before the 2004 election, bin Laden re-emerged from another protracted silence and released another tape, dominating the news. But instead of aggressively making the point that his reappearance proved that Bush had failed to make America safer, Democratic strategists flinched and had Kerry focus on the economy instead. And we all remember how well that turned out.

The question is: Do the leaders of the Democratic Party remember?

My question is: what has to happen before the Dems learn that we are in the fight of our lifetime against this administration's evil agenda. Why do they insist on lobbing softballs when what's called for is a line drive to the enemy's head?

Friday Cattle Dog Blogging

Dad, if you take my picture, I'm gonna bite you in the . . . [click, flash]

A good week

Last week was a miserable Democratic failure and I gave 'em Hell for it. This week was much better. Democrats showed some ball. Clinton, Gore, and Kerry scored well and there was little Republican counterpunch. The weak faux outrage over the use of the word 'plantation' is not reminiscent of the Republican best and withered a news cycle later. And, just to throw a little more cold water on the Repubs' already shriveled weenies, Osama bin Forgotten pops up to remind the Chimp they are still joined at the hip. Shouldn'ta got all John Wayne on us 4 years ago because all anybody remembers is "Dead or Alive" and he still is.

So I ask you all; how does it feel? How does it feel to win one? How does it feel to see the Repubs back up a step? How does it feel to see that look in the bully's eyes after someone hits him back. "Hey, maybe I pushed this guy too far?" Because that's what the Dems did this week. They showed unity and strength and the Repubs had to shut up. Feels pretty good to me.

So I ask the Dems today, because it's Friday, are you gonna forget the lesson you learned this week by the time Monday rolls around? It's time to do the same with Alito. Stand up, say no, and take that idiot from Nebraska, who said he'd vote for Alito, out back and set him straight. Filibuster, I'm beggin' ya.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Long time, no see

(CNN) -- CIA officials believe an audiotaped message threatening the United States is from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who warns that plans for terror attacks are under way -- and also offers a "long-term truce."


Just the fact this guy is still breathing is grounds for impeaching the Chimp.

This guy's in biiig trouble...

Mrs G. sent me this in an e-mail:

A husband was in BIG trouble when he forgot his wedding anniversary.

"Tomorrow," his wife angrily told him, "there had better be something in our driveway that goes from zero to 200 in two seconds flat!"

The next morning, the wife looked outside and saw a small package in the driveway. She brought it inside, opened it .... and found a brand new bathroom scale.

Man, I wouldn't wanta be him!

Sharkey the Impaler

On a lighter note, the Minneapolis/St. Paul City Pages has an interview with the 'vampyre' who is running for governor up there.

Sharkey: Let me put it this way. I wrote this on my [Iraq] war page. When I become president, Bush will be charged, tried, and if convicted of murder, I will impale Bush at the White House and enjoy impaling him as much I will [enjoy impaling] bin Laden when we get a hold of him.

CP: I see.

Sharkey: A normal, civil, sweet-hearted Christian doesn't have it in them to impale somebody, even bin Laden. There's a saying, fight fire with fire. Well, everybody has an evil side, but because of their personal beliefs they try to subdue it. While me, I'm not going to subdue it. At times, unleashing your evil part, especially in the type of world we're living in, is a good thing. I want criminals to fear me. I want bin Laden and all his al Qaeda buddies to think back to when their ancestors, the Turks, were trying to invade Romania, and Vlad Tepes, Dracula, impaled them for it. I want them to think they're dealing with another Vlad Tepes. I want them to think of me as the impaling governor-slash-president.

Well, OK, sounds good, but, can he wrestle?

Assisted suicide case shows the Administration's true colors... if we needed more proof of their hypocritical disregard for compassion, the law, and 'state's rights' in the furtherance of their religio-political agenda. From Glenn Greenwald:

In 1994, Oregon citizens approved legislation allowing doctors to assist terminally ill patients (i.e, patients who are reasonably certain to die within 6 months) who want to bring about a peaceful and painless death. In 1997, Oregon voters rejected a referendum to repeal the law. The democratic process in Oregon twice resulted in a judgment by its citizens that terminally ill individuals should be permitted to have the assistance of their physician in choosing a dignified and peaceful death.

So, Republican opponents of Oregon's assisted suicide law tried and failed: (a) to have Oregon's law repealed by referendum; (b) to induce the Justice Department to revoke the licenses of Oregon's doctors who assisted in suicide; and (c) to enact legislation in Congress giving the Justice Department the right to revoke the registration of doctors assisting in suicide. Again and again, these crusaders were rebuffed by the democratic and legal processes.

It cannot be overstated how reprehensible this is. Ever since September 11, the Bush Administration has insisted again and again that the threat of terrorism is an unprecedented existential threat. We are at "war," and must devote our full attention to capturing terrorists and winning the war, even if it means severely restricting our constitutional liberties and taking other extreme measures to fight this war.

And yet, less than two months after September 11, what was the Justice Department doing? What was the Attorney General's attention devoted to? Working in secret, and in violation of its promises to the State of Oregon, to figure out how it could trample on the democratic process and on principles of states rights which conservatives claim to believe in, all in order to block terminally ill people from choosing how to die because John Ashcroft and James Dobson think that it's immoral to exercise that choice. That's what Ashcroft's DoJ was doing in the weeks after September 11.

The Administration has skillfully used fear-mongering over terrorism to obscure the extent to which intrusive religious conservatism is shaping and molding almost every aspect of U.S. domestic policy. Agencies and sub-agencies which receive relatively little attention but which have great influence on domestic policies have, in many cases, been turned over to religious extremists, and the lack of light being shined on these bureaucratic crevices in Washington means that they are running wild, without any real restraint or opposition.

I'm particularly struck by this today because my brother-in-law died yesterday of leukemia at age 70. He deteriorated over several months due to cancer and pain. I don't know if he would have availed himself of this type of law, were it in effect in California. Probably not. Hope springs eternal, after all, but it would be comforting to have the option. Us old farts think more and more about this shit.

I have always admired Oregon (aka 'California's Canada') for being among the most progressive of states. They don't particularly care for federal intervention up there in matters they feel are theirs to decide, and for this I applaud them.

Rare kudos as well for SCOTUS, for not going along with pseudo-christian bullshit. In this case, at any rate.

Today's war story

A story in today's WaPo about U.S. Paratroopers in the Iraqi oil patch town of Baiji. Here's a little taste:

The sheik was holding a large gathering and was unavailable, they were told. The American convoy tried to turn around, but Iraqi cars blocked the way and people waved the soldiers down an alternative, dirt route (my em) along the Tigris nicknamed "Smugglers' Road."

"It was weird," Bartlett recalled thinking. A few hundred yards down the road, bordered by fields, the convoy was hit by a massive explosion.

Behind the blast, Goudy jumped out of his Humvee and ran forward toward the huge cloud of smoke and debris. As it cleared, he was confused by what he found.

"I saw this big piece of flesh and thought it was a goat or cow. I thought, 'Wow, these guys put an IED in a dead animal,' " he recalled. He went on, hoping to find his men sitting in the truck. But as he got closer, he recalled, "I didn't see the truck. I started seeing limbs and body parts." Goudy tripped over what was left of one soldier. Then he found the only survivor of the five soldiers in the Humvee, blinded and screaming.

"It was horrible," Bartlett said. "We had to pick up body parts 200 meters away." The Humvee was "ripped in half and shredded," he said, by a monster bomb later found to contain 1,000 pounds of explosives and two antitank mines, with a 155mm artillery round on top (my em).

Fixer's the authority on explosives, but even my old grunt mind tells me that's a shitpot full. Certainly more than enough to blow up a Humvee. It appears the insurgents have an ample supply if they can use enough explosives to sink an aircraft carrier on a truck, fer chrissake. Can you say 'Al-Qaaqa', boys and girls? And the friendly Iraqis told the soldiers right where to find them. How nice of them.

It appears that the Iraqis are taking care of their own security problems. Us.

Let's get the fuck out of there.

Medicare Drug Plan Looks Like a Big Scam


Zwelling-Aamot is a private internist who accepts a limited number of patients but places herself at their beck and call. She and her staff have spent months helping her patients navigate the new benefit, a process that requires at least an hour and a half of research per patient (time for which she's not compensated by Medicare). Like many other health professionals who have become familiar with this program, she has come to see it not as a boon for elderly consumers, but as a scandal.

"As a patient, you are totally hoodwinked by this system," she told me. "It's not just an economic tragedy; it's a moral tragedy."

The Medicare drug benefit is shaping up as the single most cynical scam perpetrated by the Bush administration on American consumers. Designed to maximize profits for drug makers and health insurers, the program was launched so ineptly Jan. 1 that hundreds of thousands of patients have been prevented by computer glitches from filling their prescriptions. California and 25 other states have had to step in temporarily to pay for improperly rejected prescription claims.

It's worth remembering that the prescription drug program was born in an act of fraud. The Bush administration sold it to Congress in 2003 by estimating its cost at less than $400 billion over 10 years. Scarcely a month after its enactment, the White House issued a new estimate: $535 billion. That figure might well have killed the bill, which had passed the House by a razor-thin margin even with the lower price tag.

As written, the legislation complied with a drug industry demand that Medicare be prohibited from negotiating with manufacturers for lower drug prices. Among those helping the industry make its stand was Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-Louisiana), whose committee on energy and commerce oversaw Medicare. In an odoriferous development, Tauzin soon quit Congress to become president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America — Big Pharma's Washington lobbying group.

Keep in mind whose money the Republicans are swindling us out of - ours. They're not exactly doing our seniors any favors, either. They will never, repeat, never, pass any meaningful health care bills.

The time for health care for profit has passed. The medical industry knows it, too, but they are in business to make money. Actually helping people is pretty far down on the list. In order to keep them $100-dollar bills rolling in from their dope business, they have purchased a fine band of legislative accomplices to keep the gravy train on the rails for as long as they can.

Jane sez...

In its entirety:

When John Murtha stuck his neck out to call Bush's war a fiasco, he must've known that he would be the next one to be Swift Boated. That no major Democrat has endorsed his plan or called out the Washington Post and others for legitimizing the attacks of GOP-funded "Cybercast News" is shameful.

A couple of nights ago a commenter here suggested that Murtha be the one to give the Democratic rebuttal to the SOTU address. It is usually a pretty lackluster affair and everyone agreed that having Murtha do it would really invigorate the event, throwing Commander Codpiece into sharp contrast with a genuine military hero who spent 37 years defending his country.

On a blogger conference call with Harry Reid yesterday, I asked Reid who was going to be giving the rebuttal and he wouldn't say. I think it would be a good thing for Reid and all the Democrats to know just how strongly we feel about Murtha and the courage he has shown, because I'm not sure they do.

Democratic Underground has set up a board dedicated to Murtha giving the SOTU address. I urge everyone to stop by and let the Democrat establishment know just how you feel about John Murtha.

(Note: the registration link on the Murtha page seems to be broken, so if you're not a registered DU member, you can do so here.)

Email Senator Reid and Dr. Dean and tell them of your support.

Supporting the troops

Just plain old props:


The next day, May 5, 2004, an Army officer notified Buryj's wife and parents in Canton, Ohio, that he had been killed in a crash early that morning. Several days later, as the family pressed for more information, a casualty assistance officer said that Buryj also had been shot. A death certificate that arrived in July listed a gunshot wound as the cause of death, but provided no information about the circumstances.

Peggy Buryj asked everyone she could to help find out the details of her son's last hours. She even asked President Bush when she and other grieving parents met with him during a campaign stop in hotly contested Ohio. He promised to look into it. Soon afterward, she said, his campaign called and asked her to appear in a commercial for him, but she declined.


Real good. Fuck this lady, fuck her family, fuck the memory of her son, what's in it for me. But, like a good, brainwashed Ohioan:


Even today, 20 months later, Peggy Buryj -- a Bush supporter who believes strongly in the Iraq war -- is left with swirling questions, a shattered faith in the Army, and the unsettling feeling that her son's death has been sullied by partisan politics and international intrigue. [my em]


Denial or stupidity, you decide. But good god, woman, the man murdered your son. His death wasn't sullied, his life was wasted. Hold the Chimp accountable for cryin' out loud.

Link via Lambert.

Programming note

For those who've been following The Captains, click here.


I hadn't played Pink Floyd's Have a Cigar for a while but I stuck the disk in on the way to work yesterday. Wish You Were Here struck me as very apropos for the times, though it was written in '73.

So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell,
blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?
How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have you found? The same old fears.
Wish you were here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

First, do more harm...

Paul Krugman at ToppleBush has more on Bush's health care scam:

It's widely expected that President Bush will talk a lot about health care in his State of the Union address. He probably won't boast about his prescription drug plan, whose debut has been a Katrina-like saga of confusion and incompetence. But he probably will tout proposals for so-called "consumer driven" health care.

So it's important to realize that the administration's idea of health care reform is to take what's wrong with our system and make it worse. Consider the harrowing series of articles The New York Times printed last week about the rising tide of diabetes.

But it turns out that the U.S. system of paying for health care doesn't let medical professionals do the right thing. There's hardly any money for prevention, partly because of the influence of food-industry lobbyists. And even disease management gets severely shortchanged. As the Times series pointed out, insurance companies "will often refuse to pay $150 for a diabetic to see a podiatrist, who can help prevent foot ailments associated with the disease. Nearly all of them, though, cover amputations, which typically cost more than $30,000."

As a result, diabetes management isn't a paying proposition. Centers that train diabetics to manage the disease have been medical successes but financial failures.

he bottom line is that what the Bush administration calls reform is actually the opposite. Driven by an ideology at odds with reality, the administration wants to accentuate, not fix, what's wrong with America's health care system.

Trust me -heh- there's more.

The Medicare drug debacle

Excellent post at Crooks and Liars:


"It is said only in hushed tones and not by anybody of prominence, but a few brave souls in the Bush administration admit it. President Bush's Medicare drug benefit that went into effect Jan. 1 looks like a political blunder of far-reaching consequences. Furthermore, these critics assign major responsibility to Karl Rove." [my em]


Gord touched on this last week too. It's unconscionable what they're doing to our seniors. And just a note, how come the 'news' media hasn't jumped on this I wonder?


Let's talk reasonably.

What the fuck are we gonna do? I mean, if it is found they're building nukes, just what the fuck are we gonna do? One word answer: nothing.

Know why? Because they have a lot of oil.

Have you heard all the saber-rattling over the past couple weeks? I hear words bandied about. 'Security Council', 'sanctions', 'instability in the region', 'regime change'. That's all it is, words. Have you noticed the price of oil going up over the past couple weeks; a 4 month high yesterday by the way? That's just because of the saber-rattling and one oil platform going down off the Nigerian coast. I'm not the only one who's noticed.

People see what's happened in Iraq, how the U.S. has botched the occupation and the response to the insurgecy. What do you think will happen if the Iranian fields meet the same fate as the Iraqi oil infrastructure? You'll see $5 - $7 dollar/gallon gas in no time, maybe going even higher. Do you think the American economy would survive that? I doubt it, the domino effect on other sectors would be catastrophic.

Bush might be an idiot, but his people must know what could happen should we (or the Europeans at our behest, don't laugh) attack Iran. I doubt you'll see anything more than toothless sanctions and a lot of bluster at the U.N. The war in Iraq has emasculated the United States and the Iranians (and the rest of the world) know it. Saber-rattling by the Bush administration means next to nothing anymore. If anything good has come out of Iraq, I believe, is that people might be a little more cautious before allowing their President to go to war for anything other than obvious national defense.


Digby's thinking is along the same lines.

Democratic Corruption

I like Susie's take on it:

Gee, I dunno. Democrats lie about blowjobs and paying mistresses, and Republicans lie about serving in the National Guard, make up fake WMDs to start wars and cover up spying on civilians.

Is is just me? I'm a lot happier with Democratic corruption.

Links over there.

Body Armor Follow-up

Following up on my post from yesterday, I direct you to Yelladog, who's done his homework.

Perpetual Reform

Molly Ivins on campaign finance reform in the wake of the long overdue lobbying scandal:

Barton's campaign manager told the Morning News, "It's just a normal fund-raiser. You've got to have a fund-raiser if you're going to raise money and have a campaign. Everybody does it."

That's always been one of my least favorite excuses, "Everybody does it." You can't find a mother who will let her 5-year-old get away with that, but politicians often whip it out as though it held moral water.

The corruption of Congress has reached such a noxious level, the country is simply falling down a hole. Tax cuts for the rich! Reckless spending on everyone but those who need it most! Not a grown-up in sight. There is no sense of responsibility. The Republicans' response is to elevate Mr. Blunt, a man who represents zero improvement. Talk about not getting it: Tom DeLay is losing in his own district, 36 percent to 49 percent for "any Democrat." Wouldn't you think Texas congressmen would sit up and take notice of something like that?

I think we can rely upon the Democrats to seize the moment and punt. Their best play, of course, is to take the reform issue and own it, to go long, for the whole reform package every goo-goo group in America has been agitating for years -- starting with public campaign financing for Congress. The package should include changes in House rules, lobby rules -- and even though it is done at the state level, proposals for non-partisan redistricting.

I can almost hear the condescending cynics: "You don't really think you can get the money out of politics, do you?" I guarantee you can do it for several cycles -- and do you know what happens when it starts to creep back in again? You reform again! Perpetual reform, a truly great concept. No human institution is ever going to remain perfect, they have to be watched and adjusted like any other mechanism. Why use that as a defeatist excuse for doing nothing at all?

What matters here is not what the Republicans or the Democrats do -- it's what you do before November. Sit up, join up, stir it up, get online, get in touch, find out who's raising hell and join them. No use waiting on a bunch of wussy politicians.

We're tryin', Hon.

Hackett calls 'em like he sees 'em

Soon-to-be Senator Paul Hackett in an editorial in the Columbus Dispatch:

"The Republican Party has been hijacked by the religious fanatics that, in my opinion, aren't a whole lot different than Osama bin Laden and a lot of the other religious nuts around the world," he said. "The challenge is for the rest of us moderate Americans and citizens of the world to put down the fork and spoon, turn off the TV, and participate in the process and try to push back on these radical nuts - and they are nuts."

Much more. Go read. My favorite quote, with which I wholeheartedly agree:

Hackett said he opposes capital punishment - too much risk of executing an innocent person - for everybody except the fool who violates his family and home.

"Break into my house, we won't have to worry about the application of the death penalty. It's going to be a simple 911 call: Come pick up the body."

With succinct coherence, Hackett said: "I'm pro-choice, I'm pro-gayrights, I'm pro-gun-rights. Call me nuts, but I think they're all based on the same principle and that is we don't need government dictating to us how we live our private lives."

Amen, brother.

Purple Heartbreakers

James Webb is sort of a hero of mine. He was a Marine infantry officer in Vietnam and author of a coupla novels, one of which, "Fields of Fire", I've read three times. He was also Secretary of the Navy under Reagan, but I don't hold that against him.

Anyway, in today's NYTimes he goes off on this administration's contempt for the military , especially if they throw their hats in the political ring on the "wrong" side, and rightly so.

Military people past and present have good reason to wonder if the current administration truly values their service beyond its immediate effect on its battlefield of choice. The casting of suspicion and doubt about the actions of veterans who have run against President Bush or opposed his policies has been a constant theme of his career. This pattern of denigrating the service of those with whom they disagree risks cheapening the public's appreciation of what it means to serve, and in the long term may hurt the Republicans themselves.

During the 2000 primary season, John McCain's life-defining experiences as a prisoner of war in Vietnam were diminished through whispers that he was too scarred by those years to handle the emotional burdens of the presidency. The wide admiration that Senator Max Cleland gained from building a career despite losing three limbs in Vietnam brought on the smug non sequitur from critics that he had been injured in an accident and not by enemy fire. John Kerry's voluntary combat duty was systematically diminished by the well-financed Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in a highly successful effort to insulate a president who avoided having to go to war.

And now comes Jack Murtha. The administration tried a number of times to derail the congressman's criticism of the Iraq war, including a largely ineffective effort to get senior military officials to publicly rebuke him (Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, was the only one to do the administration's bidding there).

I'm ashamed of Pace for that.

The political tactic of playing up the soldiers on the battlefield while tearing down the reputations of veterans who oppose them could eventually cost the Republicans dearly. It may be one reason that a preponderance of the Iraq war veterans who thus far have decided to run for office are doing so as Democrats.

A young American now serving in Iraq might rightly wonder whether his or her service will be deliberately misconstrued 20 years from now, in the next rendition of politically motivated spinmeisters who never had the courage to step forward and put their own lives on the line.

Rudyard Kipling summed up this syndrome quite neatly more than a century ago, writing about the frequent hypocrisy directed at the British soldiers of his day:

An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;

An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!

Bloody fookin' roight 'e does, mate. Just for fun, the whole poem is here. Kipling knew. Some things never change.

A related article at Frameshop, "Swiftboaters are 'Gangs' in a Moral America", lays out how to deal with them.

Tradin' punches

Here's a twofer fer ya. Truthout has "White House Whines About Responds to Gore's Speech" and Gore's Response to same on the same page.

"We must disenthrall ourselves..."

William Rivers Pitt on "The New Fascism":

Say "fascism" to anyone you meet, and you will be greeted with the boilerplate response of the blithely overconfident: such a thing cannot happen here. This is the United States of America, land of the free and home of the brave. Ours is a nation of laws, of checks and balances, of righteousness and decency. Our laws and traditions stand as a bulwark against the rise of totalitarian madness. It cannot happen here. Thus we are indoctrinated into the school of our own assumed greatness.

This new fascism is not fed only by lies, though to be sure the lies are there in preposterous abundance. This new fascism is fed by myths, our myths, the myths by which we rock ourselves to sleep. This new fascism is in truth an elemental fascism, reborn today by a confluence of events; the diligent work of the few, in combination with the passivity of the many, have brought forth this new

he manipulation of this population by fear has been ham-fisted, to be sure, but has also been cruelly effective. We do not want the evidence to be a mushroom cloud. Weapons of mass destruction and al Qaeda in Iraq. Nuclear designs in Iran. Plastic sheeting and duct tape. Orange alert. Argument becomes tantamount to treason simply because everyone has been made to feel fear at all times. A frightened populace is easily governed, and governs itself; this lesson was well-learned in the duck-and-cover days of the Cold War. Those lessons have been masterfully applied once again. Today, the citizenry polices itself, and the herd moves as one body. Even the surveillance of innocent citizens by the state is brushed off as a necessary evil. Remember: you are being watched.

We must disenthrall ourselves from the idea that our institutions, our traditions, the barriers that protect us from absolute and authoritarian powers, cannot be broken down. They are being dismantled a brick at a time. The separation of powers has already been annihilated. It is a whispered fascism, not yet marching down your street or pounding upon your door in the dead of night. But it is here, and it is laying deep roots. We must listen beyond the whispered fascism of today to the shouted fascism of tomorrow. We must look beyond the lies and the myths, beyond the dogmas by which we sleep.

Much more. A must read, in my not-so-humble opinion.

Maybe they heard us?

As you know, I've been bitching about the Dems, and their chronic condition of soft-spine and zero-nut, for the last couple days. It seems someone has heard me or the big shots are actually seeing the same thing after a bunch of miserable failures last week. John Kerry came out yesterday on Wolfie's show and backed up what Hillary and Al Gore said in the previous two days. Good for him.

Seems to be working too because the Republicans have their panties in a wad. After Al, Hil, and John (sounds like there's a song in there) spoke out, the pundits were yapping like underfed Yorkies. You know they're worried when, in response to truth, all they can say was Hillary's use of the word 'plantation' in that context was racist. The mock outrage was laughable. Seems that Al Sharpton and all the other brothers and sisters who came to see Hil speak in Harlem on MLK Day didn't have a problem with it, in fact they cheered heartily. So, are the Repubs saying Hil is biased against whites? Shut the fuck up.

Next I hear the Repubs are putting McCain out there to 'take the high ground' in this ethics mess. Note to the GOP and John McCain in particular. There is no high ground left for you people. You are a crooked, criminal organization and parading McCain's ass around will do nothing to change that opinion. Not when that fat little troll Denny Hastert comes out and says 'we have to adjust the rules'. Asshole. The GOP has been adjusting the rules to suit them for 5 years and throwing McCain out there won't change that. No adjustment necessary, guys, just follow the fucking rules and things will be just peachy.

Five years ago, there was a different public perception of McCain. Now we know he's just suffering from battered wife syndrome. Has to be the way the Chimp has disrespected him and he still comes back for more. Five years ago he would have found support among Dems. Today, he's nothing but a White House fluffer. Time for the people of AZ wise up and send him to his retirement house in Sedona.

Ladies and gentlemen, the high ground is closed to the GOP unless we surrender it to them. Don't be fooled by McCain's 'reaching across the aisle'. We know where 'bipartisansip' has gotten us. We don't need an 'ethics deal' right now, we can wait until next January for that. The Repubs are the ones who need it to give them political cover come November. Let them swing and don't give them a place to hide.

In this Congress, there are no ethical Republicans. By their deeds it should be obvious. By their unquestioning support of the Chimp it should be obvious. Do not give them sanctuary by allowing them to 'adjust the rules'. Remember that when you see the bullshit coming in like the high tide.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Jimmy's baack!

I think James Wolcott musta spilled some Viagra on his keyboard. Go read 'til your eyes hurt. Wonderful stuff.

The Ex Post Facto Constitution

Go read Main and Central.

Cronkite: Time for U.S. to Leave Iraq

OK, I'm showin' my age. Put a sock in it. Yahoo! News:

Former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite, whose 1968 conclusion that the Vietnam War was unwinnable keenly influenced public opinion then, said Sunday he'd say the same thing today about Iraq.

"It's my belief that we should get out now," Cronkite said in a meeting with reporters.

Now 89, the television journalist once known as "the most trusted man in America" has been off the "CBS Evening News" for nearly a quarter-century. He's still a CBS News employee, although he does little for them.

Cronkite said one of his proudest moments came at the end of a 1968 documentary he made following a visit to Vietnam during the Tet offensive. Urged by his boss to briefly set aside his objectivity to give his view of the situation, Cronkite said the war was unwinnable and that the U.S. should exit.

Then-President Lyndon Johnson reportedly told a White House aide after that, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost Middle America."

In those days there were only three network anchors and none of them were blowing the president.

Today there are maybe fifty and not one of them is "the most trusted man in America". Instead, we have a bunch of corporate shills who are scared pissless of offending Bush and losing their cushy jobs.

24/7 "news" might sell a lot of Preparation H, but it doesn't seem to do much about the human hemorrhoids that run this country.

Use your own body armor, lose your life insurance

Remember when the military couldn't provide up-to-date body armor for the troops, so their moms had bake sales to buy 'em some? From Soldiers for the Truth:

Two deploying soldiers and a concerned mother reported Friday afternoon that the U.S. Army appears to be singling out soldiers who have purchased Pinnacle's Dragon Skin Body Armor for special treatment. The soldiers, who are currently staging for combat operations from a secret location, reported that their commander told them if they were wearing Pinnacle Dragon Skin and were killed their beneficiaries might not receive the death benefits from their $400,000 SGLI life insurance policies. The soldiers were ordered to leave their privately purchased body armor at home or face the possibility of both losing their life insurance benefit and facing disciplinary action.

According to the article, the troops have been ordered to quit using "all" non-issue gear, but Dragon Skin is the only thing mentioned by brand name.

One of the soldiers who lost his coveted Dragon Skin is a veteran operator. He reported that his commander expressed deep regret upon issuing his orders directing him to leave his Dragon Skin body armor behind. The commander reportedly told his subordinates that he "had no choice because the orders came from very high up" and had to be enforced, the soldier said.

I guess Cheney and Rumsfeld have a lot of Point Blank stock. That's Pinnacle's competitor who manufactures the issue gear. Maybe the SEC should look into this.

I hope their rifles still shoot...


A Naval Academy tradition that lasted 155 years has come to an end.

The gates and crypts of Revolutionary War Capt. John Paul Jones at Annapolis have been guarded by Marine sentries since before the Civil War.

The military has now withdrawn Marines from that post and redeployed them to Iraq. The four dozen Marines will be replaced by Navy enlisted personnel.

When tradition in a tradition-bound service is thrown out the window, the jig is nearly up. If one platoon makes enough difference to justify that, my Marine Corps is in big trouble.

I guess I shoulda seen this coming: The cooks, bakers, and messmen have already been replaced with Halliburton, and the bandsmen and field musics are playing tunes on M-l6s and SAWs instead of instruments.

Jack who off?

Crooks and Liars

Clooney won a Golden Globe tonight for his performance as Best Supporting Actor in "Syriana," and thanked Jack Abramoff.

Clooney: I want to thank Jack Abramoff, you know, just because-I--I'm the first one out- lets get this thing rolling. I don't know why. Who would name their kid Jack with the last words "off" at the end of your last name? No wonder that guy is screwed up. Ahh-alright I just got bleeped. Thank you very much...

Well so much for the RNC keeping Jack's name quiet. I'm sure there will be many downloads tomorrow as people who don't know already-will say, Jack who?

Believe it or not, C&L has video!


As Gord wrote below, Gore made an excellent speech yesterday and I caught the highlights last night. Hillary also came out forcefully too, I hope it rubs off on the rest of them.

Over the past few days, I've been going over (reading and watching) a lot of historical information about the time of our revolution. It seems to me, none of us are cut out of the cloth our Founding Fathers were, especially our elected representatives. Same for the press. The people I see coming closest are the progressive bloggers.

The conservatives of the time were motivated by the same things they are today, money and power. They wanted to preserve the status quo and their 'peculiar institutions'. Say what you will about them, they've stuck to their principles, regardless of what they call their party.

Where are the progressives today? On Benjamin Franklin's birthday, where are they? Where are the Franklins, the Jeffersons, and especially the Adams'? Where are the agitators who will stand up in front of Congress and speak the truth? Where are the ones who will stand up and dare King George to silence them? I want to know the answers to these questions because the times are similar.

I want representatives who would rather be 'hanging on some far off British hill' instead of covering their asses and being unwitting tools of the 'monarchy'. I want people like Tom Paine in the mainstream press who will write of the crimes committed by our boy King. Our population has increased a hundred-fold in 230 years, where are all these enlightened folks?

You'll find them in the progressive blogosphere, mostly. There are a couple in Congress, and a couple in the press, columnists mostly, but where are our icons? Where is the 'voice'? Where are the eloquent writings of Jefferson? Where are the policy gurus like Franklin? And especially, where are the agitators like Adams?

As John Adams sang in the musical 1776, where are those with commitment? "Is anybody there? Does anybody care? Does anybody see what I see?"

Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to cross the Rubicon and burn the bridges behind us. It is 1776 all over again and it's time to send our own King George back where he came from.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Band of Brothers

I just heard about Band of Brothers, an outfit formed to assist Veterans who are running for office in 2006. Their motto is "Veterans for a secure America".

Band of Brothers is a new political organization formed to assist Democratic veterans running for elected office. We've already identified more than three dozen fighting men and women who need our help to challenge the current administration on its failed policies at home and abroad.

They are all strong, principled citizens who have had enough of the current direction of our country, and are ready to fight - as Democrats have always fought - for solutions to the problems of security, health care, and corporate and political corruption. Some have served in the current war in Iraq, some have served our country at other times. But each candidate supported by Band of Brothers must in turn support Our Values.

Sounds good to me. Vets, and the rest of you, MOUNT UP*!

* For those of you unfamiliar with this dreaded phrase, it means get off yer dead ass and on yer dyin' feet, shoulder your pack and rifle and move out.

Dr. King's Day

In the spirit of Martin Luther King Day, I offer the following by Geov Parrish:

Real story of Dr. King could inspire action; instead, we hear feel-good whitewash

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., would be 77 on Sunday. He has been dead for 38 years. As his living memory fades, replaced by a feel-good "I have a dream" whitewash that ignores much of what he stood for and fought against, it's more important than ever to recapture the true history of Dr. King -- because much of what he fought against is resurfacing or still with us today.

King is not a legend because he believed in diversity trainings and civic ceremonies, or because he had a nice dream. He is remembered because he took serious risks and, as the Quakers say, spoke truth to power. King is also remembered because, among a number of brave and committed civil rights leaders and activists, he had a flair for self-promotion, a style that also appealed to white liberals, and the extraordinary social strength of the black Southern churches behind him. And because he died before he had a chance to be widely believed a relic or buffoon.

What little history TV will give us in the next few days is at least as much about forgetting as about remembering, as much about self-congratulatory patriotism that King was American as self-examination that American racism made him necessary and that government, at every level, sought to destroy him. We hear "I have a dream"; we don't hear his powerful indictments of poverty, the Vietnam War, and the military-industrial complex. We see Bull Connor in Birmingham; we don't see arrests for fighting segregated housing in Chicago, or the years of beatings and busts before he won the Nobel Peace Prize. We don't hear about the mainstream American contempt at the time for King, even after that Peace Prize, nor the FBI harassment or his reputation among conservatives as a Commie dupe.

And we forget that of those many dreams King had, only one -- equal access for non-whites -- is significantly realized today. A half-century after the Montgomery bus boycott catapulted a 26-year-old King into prominence, even that is only partly achieved. Blacks are being systematically disenfranchised in our presidential elections, and affirmative action and school desegregation are all but dead. Urban school districts across the country these days are as segregated and unequal as ever, and the imminent confirmation of Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court likely heralds a new era where employers and landlords can discriminate with near-impunity.

Opponents of affirmative action and racial equality can claim King's mantle and "if he were alive today" approval only because in 2006, pop culture's MLK has no politics. And, for that matter, no faith. For white America, King's soft-focus image often reinforces white supremacism. "See? We're not so bad. We honor him now. Why don't those black people just get over it, anyway? We did."

All that is a lie. Dr. King's vision is today as urgent as ever. While Jim Crow and the cruelties of overt segregation are now largely unimaginable, much remains to be done. And for those who carry King's banner, the challenges of apathy and official hostility remain the same: the FBI and NSA spying on peace groups, listening to phone calls, monitoring e-mails. An administration -- voted for by almost no African-Americans -- that reviles nonviolence and labels its critics as treasonous (rather than as communist dupes). And the moral outrage of Americans, that made King's work so politically effective? We don't do that any more. We can torture thousands of mostly innocent Iraqis and Afghans, in plain sight, and nobody is held accountable. It'd take a whole lot more than Bull Connor's police dogs to make the news today.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., nonviolent martyr to reconciliation and justice, has become a Hallmark Card, a warm, fuzzy, feel-good invocation of neighborliness, a file photo for sneakers or soda commercials, a reprieve for post-holiday shoppers, an excuse for a three-day weekend, a cardboard cutout used for photo ops by dissembling Cabinet members and ungrateful Supreme Court justices. Be sure to check out the Three-Day-Only White Sale at WalMart. Always lower prices. Always.

King deserves better. We all do.

Good rant. Saves me from having to do it. Read the rest.

Dr. King is gone, but a lot of what he tried to change is still here and still needs to be changed. Continue to speak truth to power.

Gore on C-Span

I just watched Al Gore give a speech on C-Span, sponsored by the Liberty Coalition, and I'm still awake!

The subject of said speech was the illegal wiretapping and the expansion and abuse of presidential power. Also the complicity of Congress in letting Bush do it, the culture of corruption, and the danger to the Constitution. He called for Congress to take back their equality as a branch of government.

It was a stirring speech. If he had spoken like that five years ago he'd be President today. I'm not particularly an Al Gore supporter, but it's obvious to me we'd be better off as a nation with him in the Oval Office. He dropped the ball big time in '00, but he seems to be getting a second wind.

It's too soon to get a link to this speech, but I'll keep my eyes open. You do the same.


Raw Story has the speech. Thanks, Sis.

Where are we?

This past week has made me sick. I'm sick of the Democrats. I thought the Repubs were inept. At least the Repubs can mount a propaganda offensive. In a week where opportunities abounded to kick the Repubs in the nuts repeatedly, what did the Dems do? They let every opportunity slip by. This is becoming a joke. I thought being a fan of the New York Mets was masochistic.

After the Dems' complete clusterfuck this week, it makes me want to pack it in. If it weren't for the fact the Repubs were so bad for this nation, I probably would. The Democratic Party is a captain-less, rudder-less ship, adrift and foundering because there is zero leadership, zero coordination. If we win back even one House of Congress in November, I'd be seriously surprised. Look:

The DeLay/Abramoff scandal
Illegal wiretaps
The economy

And the list goes on. It's like having a pile of ammo and rifles and they're still using a make-believe pistol with their thumb and forefingers.

Note to Dems: You're the only ones in a position to do something about the Repubs. If you don't want to fight for our country, just let us know. I'll put my house up for sale now and head off to Europe. I might be willing to fight to the death for this nation, but I'm not willing to commit suicide for it. I'm tired of being your cannon fodder when you won't even give us close air support, let alone covering artillery. I'm sure I speak for a lot of progressive bloggers who have just about had it with you.


And just so nobody gets the wrong idea, I ain't nowhere near ready to give up. There's a lot of fight left in me. If the Dems can't do it, we'll find somebody else, maybe take a page from Sharon's book and form a new party. I'm pissed at the Dems but for now they are our only hope.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Is Abramoff the New Monica?

Frank Rich explains the Abramoff/Bush/DeLay/Republican Culture of Corruption very succinctly. At The Era via Tennessee Guerilla Women.

THERE'S nothing this White House loves more than pictures that tell a story - a fictional story. And so another mission was accomplished when President Bush posed with the 13 past secretaries of state and defense he hustled into the Oval Office 10 days ago: he could pretend to consult on Iraq with sages of all political stripes - Madeleine Albright, yet - even if the actual give-and-take, all 5 to 10 minutes of it, was as substantive as the scripted "Ask the President" town hall meetings of the 2004 campaign.

But this White House, cunning as it is, can't control all the pictures all the time. That photo op was quickly followed by Time's Jack Abramoff cover and its specter of other images more inopportune than op. Mr. Bush's aides, the magazine reported, were busy "trying to identify all the photos that may exist of the two men together." Translation: Could a Bush-Abramoff money shot as iconic as Monica on the rope line be lurking somewhere for a Time cover still to come?

But it's not only the genealogy of the Abramoff scandal that separates it from its predecessors. So does the distinctive odor of its possible criminality. In its financial shenanigans and some of its personnel, the Abramoff affair doesn't so much echo Teapot Dome as the business scandal that engulfed Mr. Bush's former No. 1 corporate patron, Enron, in our new century. The Abramoff scandal's pious trappings are sui generis as well. They adhere to the Karl Rove playbook that wraps every hardball White House tactic in godliness and exploits "faith based" organizations as political machines to deliver the G.O.P.'s religious right base.

Read it. That's our Pop*!

*According to That Colored Fella (no link, site is down today), anyway. Our Mom is Randi Rhodes. They're not married. At least to each other. That makes us their high-volume way vociferous really smart illegitimate offspring.


Zogby via Atrios.

By a margin of 52% to 43%, Americans want Congress to consider impeaching President Bush if he wiretapped American citizens without a judge's approval, according to a new poll commissioned by, a grassroots coalition that supports a Congressional investigation of President Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003.


Why is it the press gets all orgasmic when the Chimp's approval rating goes up a point, yet haven't said a word about this? Ya think maybe all of 'em are in the Republicans' pocket?