Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Who REALLY supports our war veterans?

You can find out from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. IAVA grades senators and congresscritters according to their votes on veterans' issues. Thus far, AM New York picked up on the story. I'm happy to find out that New York State's senators both get high grades--a B+ for Schumer and an A- for La Hill. Arch-conservative Rep. Peter King earns a measly C+, proving that his actions don't match his bluster. To be fair, there are some Democratic congresscritters who earned a C from the IAVA. But in the US Senate, it's much more cut and dry. Democratic senators receive high grades, never slipping below a B-. Republican senators, on the other hand...well, check out Bob Geiger to find how much they really support veterans.

Monday, October 30, 2006

What liberals could learn from Bugs Bunny

When I was a little girl, watching cartoon reruns in the early morning hours before school, Bugs Bunny was my hero. Saturday morning was the time for "Yogi Bear's Laffalympics" and "Scooby-Doo" spinoffs, but Yogi and Scooby could never match Bugs for cleverness and cool.

In 2002, TV Guide ranked Bugs Bunny #1 on the list of the greatest cartoon characters of all time. How does one explain his appeal? You could say it's a combination of brilliant animation, clever catchphrases, smart writing, and cheerfully irreverent nods to high and popular culture. But it's also because Bugsy is a quintessentially American icon. He could've only been conceived, written, and drawn right here in the USA. He epitomizes street smarts and resourcefulness. He's unflappable and fearless. He makes mistakes, like that wrong turn en route to Pismo Beach, but he always bounces back. He's the cartoon icon for those who grew up believing in the American dream.

Watching those animation shorts, one realizes that Bugs never goes looking for trouble; trouble always comes to him. That's the difference between Bugs and, say, Daffy Duck. Like American liberals, Bugs is always underestimated by the enemy. And his enemies bear a strange resemblance to today's odious conservative archetypes. I'm not just talking about Cheney's likeness to Elmer Fudd here. There's short-tempered, unhinged, gun-crazy Yosemite Sam, fighting the Civil War 90 years after it ended. There's greedy, backstabbing Daffy Duck, who would've fit in perfectly at Enron. There's the Tasmanian Devil, as batshit crazy as anyone in Osama bin Laden's inner circle. And, of course, Wile E. Coyote, super genius. Can't you imagine Acme delivering crappy products in exchange for exclusive government contracts?

American liberals have plenty of righteous anger, but the trick is to respond with sass and irreverence as well as passion. Bugs Bunny would let his opponent foam and froth, keeping his wits about him, never losing his cool. And, in the end, you knew Bugs would get the upper hand...and he'd do it in style. Not unlike Keith Olbermann, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert today.

Today's liberals can find inspiration in Bugs as they respond to GOP mismanagement and right-wing lies. For starters, we can imagine what Bugs Bunny would say: "He don't know me very well, do he?"

More prog blogging!

Below is an early-1970s TV appearance from Caravan, a flagship band of the so-called "Canterbury scene" that also spawned Soft Machine. (Various Softs and Caravans played together in a band called the Wilde Flowers.) Caravan were poppier and more accessible than the Softs--that is, when they weren't doing side-long album suites. As you can see, Caravan sported the long hair, loose-fitting hippie shirts, and bell-bottoms that were ubiquitous among 1970s proggers. They also had the same frequent lineup changes as their fellow proggers. One other thing they had that their fellow proggers most definitely lacked was a sense of humor. Below is "Golf Girl," a droll tune sung by bassist Richard Sinclair.

Friday, October 27, 2006

And the sweet, sweet schadenfreude continues...

Tonight on CNN: "Where the Right Went Wrong." Prominent right-wingers, from Bruce Bartlett to Andrew Sullivan, fretting about the state of American conservatism. It's just awesome watching!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

What's that about activist judges, again?

The Gothamist weighs in on Noo Joisey's ruling for gay couples, with the following, erm, eye-opening passage:
The three dissenting voices that wanted to push for gay marriage were all appointed by Republicans, while three of the four justices on the majority were appointed by Democrats. Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz, who was Christine Todd Whitman's Attorney General, emphasized in the dissenting opinion that it was important for gays to to have the word marriage in their vernacular as well: “We must not underestimate the power of language...Labels set people apart as surely as physical separation on a bus or in school facilities." She also wrote a "1999 decision, later reversed by the United States Supreme Court, requiring the Boy Scouts of America to retain a gay assistant scoutmaster. And she wrote for the majority in a 2000 opinion striking down a parental notice requirement for minors seeking abortions."

Yet another Crybaby Conservative Alert!

Today's wounded soul is Tucker Carlson, who's really upset about that Michael J. Fox ad:
It's a form of moral blackmail. No matter where you stand on stem cell research, I look at this ad and say I can't disagree with Michael J. Fox. Because his illness is so sad it pulls on me emotionally so much that it feels immoral to me to disagree with him....

Oh boo-sy, woo-sy hoo. Try imagining life with Parkinson's or cancer or paralysis before you open your mouth, Bowtie boy.

Li'l Tucker told Senate candidate Claire McCaskill that it was "unfair" to run the ad. Wait'll he finds out about all the Republicans who support stem cell research. Including Missouri's former senator, John Danforth, whose brother died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (aka Lou Gerhig's disease).
"When you see somebody you love suffer and die from one of these diseases, and medical researchers say this could be the key to finding the cure, then you want the researchers to go forward so other people won't go through the same experience," Danforth said.

Danforth said he has met many Republicans who refuse to vote for Talent because of his opposition to the research as well as his opposition to the ballot initiative.

Interestingly enough, Danforth has declined to support Sen. Jim Talent for re-election. Quick, someone pass Li'l Tucker some tissues.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

More Van der Blogging

I admit that Van der Graaf Generator is an odd choice for casual iPod listening. But hey, if band's ghostly organs, scattershot saxophones, and primal, proto-punk howls can't keep you awake during the morning commute, what can?

'Sides, I find myself listening to those 1970 arty prog whatever tracks and nodding in agreement. For a 1970s arty prog whatever band, these guys managed to write some songs that are surprisingly...well...relevant. Forget about dusting off those Vietnam protest songs. Who needs 'em when you've got...

We have looked upon the heroes and they are found wanting;
we have looked hard across the land but we can see no dawn;
we have now dared to sear the sky but we are still bleeding...

--"Lemmings," Pawn Hearts

Live by sword and you shall die so,
all your power shall come to nought,
every life you take is part of your own:
death, not power, is what you've bought.

--"The Emperor in His War Room," from H to He, Who Am the Only One

Okay, it's not as catchy as "Fortunate Son" or "Eve of Destruction." But day-yum if you can't recognize the Chimp in Charge in these lyrics. Peter Hammill was more ahead of his time than anyone thought.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Heeeeyyyy! What happened to the GOP's October surprise?

It's almost the end of the month and it has yet to materialize. Instead, Bushco promises more of the same regarding Iraq. It must be tiresome to try and sound so upbeat about Situation FUBAR.

I really WISH this were a joke...

Kevin Federline is playing Webster Hall on November 4. The only way to explain it is that he must own incriminating pictures of the club owners.

The American Taliban's Candidates for 2006

Just in case anyone's keeping track...

AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl

AZ-01: Rick Renzi

AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth

CA-04: John Doolittle

CA-11: Richard Pombo

CA-50: Brian Bilbray

CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave

CO-05: Doug Lamborn

CO-07: Rick O'Donnell

CT-04: Christopher Shays

FL-13: Vernon Buchanan

FL-16: Joe Negron

FL-22: Clay Shaw

--ID-01: Bill Sali

IL-06: Peter Roskam

IL-10: Mark Kirk

IL-14: Dennis Hastert

IN-02: Chris Chocola

IN-08: John Hostettler

IA-01: Mike Whalen

KS-02: Jim Ryun

KY-03: Anne Northup

KY-04: Geoff Davis

MD-Sen: Michael Steele

MN-01: Gil Gutknecht

MN-06: Michele Bachmann

MO-Sen: Jim Talent

MT-Sen: Conrad Burns

NV-03: Jon Porter

NH-02: Charlie Bass

NJ-07: Mike Ferguson

NM-01: Heather Wilson

NY-03: Peter King

NY-20: John Sweeney

NY-26: Tom Reynolds

NY-29: Randy Kuhl

NC-08: Robin Hayes

NC-11: Charles Taylor

OH-01: Steve Chabot

OH-02: Jean Schmidt

OH-15: Deborah Pryce

OH-18: Joy Padgett

PA-04: Melissa Hart

PA-07: Curt Weldon

PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick

PA-10: Don Sherwood

RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee

TN-Sen: Bob Corker

VA-Sen: George Allen

VA-10: Frank Wolf

WA-Sen: Mike McGavick

WA-08: Dave Reichert

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Iraq: Situation FUBAR

Via the Defeatists, we discover what everyone else already knows and Bush has yet to figure out: Iraq is an utter disaster. The US media is too busy covering the World Series, so it's up to the BBC to fill us in on Bush's video conference with the generals over in Iraq. No plans for withdrawal. Just a change in tactics for handling the insurgents.

It has been a lousy Ramadan for the Iraqis and it's going to be a lousy Eid. Won't someone have the guts to laugh in Cheney's face next time he tries to paint a rosy picture of what's going on over there?

To wit: not only are insurgents killing kids who only want to celebrate the holidays, but the Iraqi police can't handle them:

[T]he Iraqi president's security adviser said Iraqi forces trying to improve security in Baghdad were under-funded, badly trained and poorly equipped.

Wafiq al-Samarra'i said that sometimes the insurgents and death squads had better weapons than the security forces trying to combat them.

The comments come a day after the US military said there had been a "disheartening" 22% rise in attacks in Baghdad this month, despite a two-month-old security operation.

Launched in June, Operation Together Forward is a joint US and Iraqi security drive in which thousands of extra troops have been deployed in Baghdad.

On Wednesday, Mr Bush said the escalation of violence in Iraq "could be" comparable to the 1968 Tet Offensive against US troops, which helped turn public opinion against the Vietnam War.


No wonder Sixties protest anthems are making a comeback.

Prog Blog Saturdays

Yup, it's the only prog band that the punks ever liked: Van Der Graaf Generator, fronted by the inimitable Peter Hammill, performing "Darkness 11/11" from The Least We Can Do Is Wave to Each Other. Judging from the program, I'd say they're on the German show "Beat Club."

VDGG reunited last year, but copies of their reunion album are hard to come by--at least copies that don't cost under $30.00. Sigh. Any US distributor wanna distribute the thing? Anyone?

More on the band's history at THE greatest VDGG fan site on the web. Also, see Sofa Sound, Hammill's official homepage.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Kansas GOP Diaspora Makes Its Way to the National Media

Yes, you got it. WaPo has noticed those Kansas Republicans jumping ship and running as Democrats. Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as colossal overreach. Proof of this can be found in Kansas, where moderates find themselves out of place in the American Taliban Party. A typical race between an American Taliban and an ex-Republican is as follows...

Paul Morrison, a career prosecutor who specializes in putting killers behind bars, has the bulletproof résumé and the rugged looks of a law-and-order Republican, which is what he was until last year. That was when he announced he would run for attorney general -- as a Democrat.

He is now running neck-and-neck with Republican Phill Kline, an iconic social conservative who made headlines by seeking the names of abortion-clinic patients and vowing to defend science-teaching standards that challenge Darwinian evolution. What's more, Morrison is raising money faster than Kline and pulling more cash from Republicans than Democrats.

The head of the Kansas GOP sniffs at the this exodus, calling it "political opportunism." Of course, the Kansas GOP is smarting over the fact that their former head is now a. a Dem and b. the running mate of Kathleen Sebelius.

Meanwhile, Morrison has the endorsement of John Walsh, of "America's Most Wanted" fame.

I can't help but wonder what ol' Bob Dole thinks of this. Not to mention Nancy Kassebaum Baker. Kassebaum Baker in particular is a classic old-school GOP moderate, and she can't be too happy with the Talibanization of the GOP.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Homophobes on gay GOPers: Now it's getting fuuuuuuuuuun!

The aforementioned Gun Toting Liberal points to this Nation piece featuring the whacked-out ravings of the whacked-out religious right. Now that it's painfully apparent that gay Republicans do indeed exist, the Rev. Wildmon is babbling about secret gay cabal in the party. It's not of the same comedic caliber as AIM's "Gay Republicans Are Really Dems" argument, but it's pure comedy gold nonetheless. Wildmon got his hands on a list of gay GOP staffers and he's maaaaaaaad.

Wildmon is convinced that a secretive gay "clique" boring within the Republican-controlled Congress is responsible for covering up Foley's sexual predation toward teenage male House pages. Moreover, Wildmon calls on the Republican Party leadership to promptly purge the "subversive" gay staffers.

"They oughtta fire every one of 'em," Wildmon told me in his trademark Mississippi drawl. "I don't care if they're heterosexual or homosexual or whatever they are. If you've got that going on, that subverts the will of the people; that subverts the voters. That is subversive activity. There should be no organization among staffers in Washington of that nature, and if they find out that they're there and they're a member, they oughtta be dismissed el pronto."

James Dobson was more nonchalant about the whole affair, claiming that Foleygate is "sort of a joke by the boy and some of the other pages." And Foley didn't think to tell the kids to back off or call the kids' parents? Uh huh. You know, Dobby, if you're going try to one-up Conservatives for American Values, you'll have to do better than that.

Of course, Wildmon has managed to look at the bright side of having his party taken over by an evil gay cabal. From his Nation interview:

"This [scandal] might backfire in that if the 'values voters' see the methodology being used here, that could irritate them more than ever and motivate them to vote," Wildmon assured me. "George Soros and his wrecking crew might have made a tactical mistake."

Wait. I'm confused. Is he saying that George Soros is part of a gay GOP clique? Someone please explain this to me. Is there a wingnut-to-English dictionary out there I could borrow?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Did US troops murder a journalist?

The link says it all. This is truly ugly, IF it's true.

Should Manhattan be a no-fly zone?

The crash was a tragic accident and the investigation is still ongoing. The two men killed, Cory Lidle and his flight instructor, Tyler Stanger, are described as decent people. Doesn't sound like a case of reckless flyboys here, folks. Toxicology reports are still to come, but people remember Lidle as a good ballplayer and a good guy, while Stanger was supposed to be an excellent flight instructor whose students said good things about him. Gothamist has the basic info. Basically, there are still questions, not only about what happened, but about the rules for aircraft flying over NYC. And here's more:

And, in a strange, strange twist of fate, the plane landed in the bedroom of Kathleen Caronna. She is the woman who was in a month long coma after the Thanksgiving Day parade Cat in the Hat balloon hit a streetlamp and fell on top of her, fracturing her skull. Caronna was on her way home.

The most hee-larious Foleygate analysis to date!

The Gun Toting Liberal points to wingnut watchdog group Accuracy in Media (AIM), who've offered this, erm, odd take on the Foley scandal. To wit: the gay Republicans involved are closeted Democrats and Foleygate is a "Democratic dirty trick." As far as I can see, the AIM article is not satire, and it was written with a straight face.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Oh NO. Not again...

A plane crashed into a high-rise. Of course, the report gets the geography all wrong.

Police say an aircraft has crashed into a building on Manhattan's Upper East Side at 72nd Street and York Avenue. It is near Rockefeller Center.

There was no word on casualties.

Video from the scene shows at least three apartments in the high rise fully engulfed in flames.

It's unclear if it was a small plane or a helicopter.

Uh, folks? York Avenue and 72nd Street is NOT near Rockefeller Center. Still, reports like this give me the willies. More news to follow, I'm sure.

Update: NY1 has more on the crash. It's not terror-related, but the details are still awful.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Republicans who've had it

Surfing on into Kos, I was pleasantly surprised to stumble on this editorial from the Times Herald-Record in Middletown, New York. From the aforementioned editorial, by business editor Douglas Cunningham:

I've had it. The Republican leadership in the House, beginning with Speaker Dennis Hastert, has got to go. As in now. I'm thinking we need to plow through four or five people right below Hastert, too. If the Republican members of the House had any guts, they'd have ousted these people last week. If the Republican leadership had any shame, they would have quit last week.

Apparently, not very many people these days have either, at least in Washington. Anyone who knew anything about the scandal, I want them gone. If the Republicans come to be known as the party that protects gay sexual predators, we're finished. I am not ready to abandon the party of Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater to the likes of Mark Foley.

The Hastert storyline is one in which there's no percentage. The most degenerate gambler wouldn't place a bet on Hastert and the rest surviving. The Hastert line is this: I take responsibility, but I've done nothing wrong. This is no worse than Democratic sex scandals. We, personally, have done nothing wrong.

Well, to start with, you did nothing about Foley. Do we need to know more? The Republican sex scandals are suddenly pure and virginal? Foley, to the pier. Hastert, to the bench.

Some of you then trot out, Oh, sure, it's a sex scandal that gets you upset. Everything else was A-OK.

No, it's not just that we understand this sex scandal, though it is awfully easy to understand. Pretty much everyone knows, on a visceral level, that what has gone on with Foley is deeply wrong.

The reason Republicans are bent out of shape is that this Foley scandal is the proverbial last straw. We've had it. The out-of-control spending. The earmarks. The graft with the lobbyists. The arrogance. The abrogation of principles that Goldwater, Reagan and others worked decades to spread.

I saw this crackup coming in 2004, even as the GOP were doing their victory dance. That was the year, after all, that John Eisenhower, son if Ike, announced that he'd switched his voter registration to independent and was voting for Kerry. "The fact is that today’s 'Republican' Party is one with which I am totally unfamiliar," he wrote. The Log Cabin Republicans and Republicans for Environmental Protection refused to endorse the president for re-election. The most surprising Kerry Voter was one Mary Lou Halliburton, whose cousin formed that Halliburton.

Republican dissatisfaction was already there. One disillusioned Republican was Jazz Shaw, who explained his decision to leave the party:
The fact is, what I feel more than anything else is embarrassed. There really isn't a better word. I am, at this point, simply embarrassed to tell anyone that I'm a Republican. I can't even recognize the party anymore, and the damage that the GOP is doing to this country on more levels than I could possibly enumerate in one post is quite simply more than I can stand.

Again, this was in 2004, folks. Right after the election hailed as such a victory for the new, not-so-improved GOP. The GOP that no longer stood for restraint, fiscal responsibility, or individual freedom. Some Republicans were happy to go along for the ride with the "new" GOP. Others didn't.

The rift really wasn't such a long time coming, was it?

Last year, another ex-Republican summarized his disgust as follows:
We're poisoning our planet through gluttony and ignorance.

We're teetering on the brink of self-inflicted insolvency.

We're selfishly and needlessly sacrificing the best of a generation.

And we're lying about it.

While it has compiled this record of failure and deception, the party which I'm leaving today has spent its time, energy and political capital trying to save Terri Schiavo, battling the threat of single-sex unions, fighting medical marijuana and physician-assisted suicide, manufacturing political crises over presidential nominees, and selling privatized Social Security to an America that isn't buying. We fiddle while Rome burns.

Enough is enough. I quit.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Okay, okay, enough being mean...

Via Avedon Carol's Sideshow, I have discovered Cliff Schechter's How to Talk to a Republican (Because You Absolutely Must). He says, "Democrats, Independents and Republicans of character, who have rightly abandoned this party of circus freaks, don't be afraid to tell them exactly what they are." (Emphasis mine)

It should go without saying that plenty of conservatives are disgusted with what the GOP has become. That said, it's heartening when conservatives acknowledge that--yes!--there are areas where they can agree with liberals re Bushco. Take
Karen Kwiatkowski, retired Air Force colenel, Pentagon whistleblower, and conservative libertarian:

Progressives and traditional conservatives share a respect for the individual over the state, and they share a love of the freedom of thought and action that made this country the great place it has been. Both have been appalled at the restriction in civil liberties, including infringements on free speech, property rights, privacy, and the right to defend oneself in speech and action against government infringement or interference. Both love the Constitution, in contrast to the neoconservatives in both political parties and the current administration.

Wow. A conservative who doesn't view liberals as a "fifth column" in American life. Who'd believe it?

The GOP revolution is O-V-E-R

So proclaims Time. And when a right-leaning newsweekly like Time makes a bold statement like that, you know there's a problem. Time has been very GOP-friendly, with Karl Rove writing about Teddy Roosevelt and a glowing cover story about Ann Coulter. It's telling that the magazine doesn't have a single progressive, left-wing columnist in its pages. In other words, this is not the "liberal media." At all.

It's the beginning of the end for this generation of GOPers.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Olbermann does it again!

The full text of tonight's special comment is here. But these are some choice bits:

Yesterday at a fundraiser for an Arizona congressman, Mr. Bush claimed, quote, “177 of the opposition party said, ‘You know, we don’t think we ought to be listening to the conversations of terrorists.’”

The hell they did.

One hundred seventy-seven Democrats opposed the president’s seizure of another part of the Constitution.

Not even the White House press office could actually name a single Democrat who had ever said the government shouldn’t be listening to the conversations of terrorists.

President Bush hears what he wants.

Tuesday, at another fundraiser in California, he had said, “Democrats take a law enforcement approach to terrorism. That means America will wait until we’re attacked again before we respond.”

Mr. Bush fabricated that, too.

And evidently he has begun to fancy himself as a mind reader.

“If you listen closely to some of the leaders of the Democratic Party,” the president said at another fundraiser Monday in Nevada, “it sounds like they think the best way to protect the American people is — wait until we’re attacked again.”

The president doesn’t just hear what he wants.

He hears things that only he can hear.

It defies belief that this president and his administration could continue to find new unexplored political gutters into which they could wallow.

Yet they do.

It is startling enough that such things could be said out loud by any president of this nation.

Rhetorically, it is about an inch short of Mr. Bush accusing Democratic leaders, Democrats, the majority of Americans who disagree with his policies of treason.

These lies are nothing new, of course. Being a bleeding heart liberal/progressive, East Coast-dwelling city girl, I've been hearing for years that I'm part of a great left-wing "fifth column" that hates America and doesn't give a shit about its security. Even though I live in New York City, and my state's senior senator has been screaming for years about the lack of adequate funding for port security.

At the risk of sounding like a meanie, I suspect a lot of these lies have to do with certain right-wing authoritarians and their craving for money and fame. For the professional conservative pundit, 9/11 was the best thing that could've ever happened. It provided cover for their continued crusade against anyone who might be slightly to the left of Barry Goldwater. Include liberals on your list of threats to America, but weave in current events and figure out a way to equate liberals with their ideological opposites--religious extremists. (In fact, Islamic extremists have much more in common with the American right wing than with the left.)

And we now know that this attitude extends all the way to Capitol Hill. The president shares their zeal to reshape reality. Only KO won't let him get away with it.
No Democrat, sir, has ever said anything approaching the suggestion that the best means of self-defense is to “wait until we’re attacked again.”

No critic, no commentator, no reluctant Republican in the Senate has ever said anything that any responsible person could even have exaggerated into the slander you spoke in Nevada on Monday night, nor the slander you spoke in California on Tuesday, nor the slander you spoke in Arizona on Wednesday ... nor whatever is next.

You have dishonored your party, sir; you have dishonored your supporters; you have dishonored yourself.

But tonight the stark question we must face is — why?

Why has the ferocity of your venom against the Democrats now exceeded the ferocity of your venom against the terrorists?

Why have you chosen to go down in history as the president who made things up?

The same questions could be asked of Bushco's followers.

The lies and fantasies have gone on long enough. If the Bush administration would like to play blame games and if their supporters would like to spout more flatulent rhetoric, then they should examine their own mistakes. Bush should admit that his present cabinet can't hack it, and fire Rice and Rumsfeld. The remaining 35 percenters should accept that they made an error and that Bush's critics were right.

No more baseless accusations that they know to be untrue. Period.

More Olbie, to sum things up:

They are never wrong, and they never regret -- admirable in a French torch singer, cataclysmic in an American leader.

Thus, the sickening attempt to blame the Foley scandal on the negligence of others or “the Clinton era”—even though the Foley scandal began before the Lewinsky scandal.

Thus, last month’s enraged attacks on this administration’s predecessors, about Osama bin Laden—a projection of their own negligence in the immediate months before 9/11.

Thus, the terrifying attempt to hamstring the fundament of our freedom—the Constitution—a triumph for al Qaida, for which the terrorists could not hope to achieve with a hundred 9/11’s.

And thus, worst of all perhaps, these newest lies by President Bush about Democrats choosing to await another attack and not listen to the conversations of terrorists.

It is the terror and the guilt within your own heart, Mr. Bush, that you redirect at others who simply wish for you to temper your certainty with counsel.

It is the failure and the incompetence within your own memory, Mr. Bush, that leads you to demonize those who might merely quote to you the pleadings of Oliver Cromwell: “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.”

It is not the Democrats whose inaction in the face of the enemy you fear, Sir.

It is your own—before 9/11 - and (and you alone know this), perhaps afterwards.

Mr. President, these new lies go to the heart of what it is that you truly wish to preserve.

It is not our freedom, nor our country—your actions against the Constitution give irrefutable proof of that.

You want to preserve a political party’s power. And obviously you’ll sell this country out, to do it.

These are lies about the Democrats -- piled atop lies about Iraq -- which were piled atop lies about your preparations for al Qaida.

To you, perhaps, they feel like the weight of a million centuries -- as crushing, as immovable.

They are not.

If you add more lies to them, you cannot free yourself, and us, from them.

But if you stop -- if you stop fabricating quotes, and building straw-men, and inspiring those around you to do the same -- you may yet liberate yourself and this nation.

Please, sir, do not throw this country’s principles away because your lies have made it such that you can no longer differentiate between the terrorists and the critics.

The party of *cough cough* personal responsibility blames Clinton AGAIN!!

This is beautiful. Just beeeeeee-yoooooo-ti-ful! Denny "soon-to-be-has-been" Hastert knows who to blame for the Foley scandal.

When asked about a groundswell of discontent among the GOP's conservative base over his handling of the issue, Hastert said in the phone interview: "I think the base has to realize after a while, who knew about it? Who knew what, when? When the base finds out who's feeding this monster, they're not going to be happy. The people who want to see this thing blow up are ABC News and a lot of Democratic operatives, people funded by [liberal activist] George Soros."

He went on to suggest that operatives aligned with former President Bill Clinton knew about the allegations and were perhaps behind the disclosures in the closing weeks before the Nov. 7 midterm elections, but he offered no hard proof.

When in doubt, blame Clinton. That's the party of "personal responsibility" for you. Hmmmmmmmm. An aide warned Hastert about Foley's fondness for boys about 2-3 years ago. And WHO was president then?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Can the Republicans do ANYTHING right? ANYTHING at all?

Now their whole family values schtick has been blown out of the water, you can't help but wonder--do these guys ever stick to their principles? You know, the ones Democrats don't have?

Folks? Denny the soon-to-be-has-been Hastert has no reason to be surprised by Mark
Foley. An aide told him THREE YEARS AGO that Foley was behaving inappropriately toward the congressional pages.

The aide, Kirk Fordham, said he had "more than one conversation with senior staff at the highest level of the House of Representatives asking them to intervene" several years ago.

The claim drew a swift, unequivocal denial from Hastert's chief of staff. "What Kirk Fordham said did not happen," Scott Palmer said through a spokesman....

Fordham resigned Wednesday as chief of staff to Rep. Thomas Reynolds (news, bio, voting record), R-N.Y., the House GOP campaign chief who says he alerted Hastert to concerns about Foley last spring.

The longtime Capitol Hill aide said that more than three years ago, he repeatedly asked GOP staffers to intervene with Foley. He declined to identify them, but officials said Palmer, Hastert's chief of staff, was one of them.

Fordham also disputed allegations that he covered up any misdeeds by Foley. "At no point ever did I ask anyone to block any inquiries," said Fordham, who was Foley's longtime chief of staff until leaving in January 2004.

He said he intends to fully disclose to the FBI and the House ethics committee "any and all meetings and phone calls" about Foley that he had with senior aides in the House leadership.

This is disgusting. Unacceptable. Absolutely obscene. If I were the parent of a Capitol Hill page, I'd be outraged. And I hope the parents of that kid Foley exchanged the IMs with consider filing a lawsuit.

So let's see...the "tough on terror" party can't seem to find this guy. You know, the evil fucker behind 9/11. The evil fucker seen gloating about it on tape.

C'mon, you assholes, it can't be that hard. It's been what, five years now?

The Senate majority leader and 2008 hopeful is also suggesting that the Taliban can just be integrated into the Afghan government. You remember the Taliban's guest of honor, don't you? The evil fucker behind al Qaeda and 9/11.

Sure, let's let him go free and have the Afghans make nicey-nice with a bunch of fundie wackos who hate our guts. Show us how much you care about national security. That's it!

And their "family values" rhetoric is just that--and empty rhetoric too, I should add. It has no basis in reality and never has. Remember the impeachment, when some of Clinton's most ardent foes (Bob Barr, Henry Hyde) were revealed to be serial adulterers and men with a series of failed marriages? Well, this scandal should be the last word on today's GOP "family values." Next time some GOP stooge babbles about the topic on television, I hope someone has the good sense to laugh in his face.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Bill Frist to Taliban: Can't we all just get along?

Okay, those weren't his exact words. Here are his exact words:
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Monday that the Afghan guerrilla war can never be won militarily and called for efforts to bring the Taliban and their supporters into the Afghan government.

The Tennessee Republican said he had learned from briefings that Taliban fighters were too numerous and had too much popular support to be defeated by military means.

"You need to bring them into a more transparent type of government," Frist said during a brief visit to a U.S. and Romanian military base in the southern Taliban stronghold of Qalat. "And if that's accomplished we'll be successful."

Yes, that Taliban. The same guys who protected bin Laden and think flying kites is a sin. That Taliban.

And this guy wants to be president in 2008.

Oh, who am I trying to kid. Yo, Bushbots! Everyone knows you hate McCain, so if you want a viable candidate--a nice, cave-in-to-the-nutcase-fringe candidate whom TIIC can love, please please please PLEASE pick Frist. Please! Frist will be an awesome candidate! He's a doctor, he's photogenic, he's perfect for your party, and if you've got a brain (guffaw), you'll nominate him as the (cough cough) most electable Republican candidate.

Frist in '08! Frist in '08! All the way bay-baaaayyyyy!

Crybaby conservatives and how to respond to them

I usually don't spend much time at Democratic Underground, but this is funny.

Kos at Cato Unbound: Libertarian Democrats

Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, founder of my fave hangout, DailyKos, is now making the case for the libertarian Democrat.

A caveat: I'm a little mistrustful of libertarians, as all too many of them seem to be, in the words of one Kossack, "Repubicans who like to smoke dope and fuck." Others are conservatives who adopt the libertarian label because it seems edgier and less scary than "Republican" or "conservative." Tucker Carlson and Mary Matalin both have called themselves libertarians, but if you believe them, I've got property on Mars to sell you. Matalin in particular is a stooge for the big-government BushCo--i.e., NOT a libertarian AT ALL.

There's also the blind spot that some libertarians have regarding big business. They deplore a social welfare state but have very little to say about government subsidies to big business. They pooh-pooh environmental laws as impediments to the free market, yet they forget that why we have those laws in the first place (can you say Love Canal, folks?). Moreover, they seem unconcerned with corporate responsibility and seem to treat the free market as a magic wand of sorts--which it certainly isn't. Small wonder that libertarianism has been described as "the Marxism of the right."

But does it necessarily have to be? There's also a lot to respect about libertarianism--the emphasis on civil liberties, the belief that government should stay out of people's private lives, the sincere love for the nation's founding principles.

But that said, why do so many libertarians turn a blind eye to BushCo's decidedly un-libertarian policies. Ballooning government? Check. Government intrusion? Check. If you are a libertarian living in America today, the Republican-led government is NOT your friend. Period!

But can libertarians find kindred spirits in the Democratic party? My believe is yes. I'm speaking as a pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-drug legalization liberal Democrat who belives in fiscal restraint and believes people should have the right to carry guns for protection and hunting (but still believes in background checks). Plus, plenty of libertarians absolutely loathe Bushco and all it stands for. See LewRockwell.com for more. Some of the writers are plain wacky, but you'll also find excellent articles by Pentagon whistleblower Karen Kwiatkowski.

Kos argues that an unregulated market isn't truly a free one:
There is also no individual freedom if corporations aren’t forced to provide the kind of accountability necessary to ensure we make proper purchasing or investment decisions. For example, public corporations are regulated to ensure that investors have accurate data upon which to base their trading decisions. If investors can’t trust the information given by corporations, the stock markets couldn’t function. If the stock markets couldn’t function, our current market system would collapse. Matters such as deceptive advertising, labeling, and some safety regulations are also important. Does anyone doubt that requiring food companies to label ingredients and nutritional data doesn’t enhance our liberties by giving us the information we need to make informed decisions?

On the flip side, much of what’s known as “corporate welfare” is not designed to protect personal liberties. Rather it rewards inefficiencies in the market and the politically connected. Intellectual property law protections, constantly extended at the behest of Walt Disney in service to its perpetual Mickey copyright, have created a corporate stranglehold over information in an era where information is currency. Patent law allows companies like Amazon to patent simple and obvious “business processes” like “one-click shopping,” which they protect with armies of lawyers and deep pockets. In the non-virtual sphere, cities use eminent domain to strip property owners of their rights on behalf of private developers.

A libertarian might get the willies at the very thought of government playing a role in how a company operates. There is, however, a difference between corporate welfare and laws ensuring that corporations can't pollute the local rivers.

That said, there's definitely a libertarian left and a wave of new Democrats who believe in efficient government, fiscal restraint, and--gasp!--even the right to keep and bear arms. Howard Dean, after all, balanced Vermont's budget as governor and received an A from the National Rifle Association. Kos argues that it's in the Rocky Mountains where libertarian-leaning Democrats are making inroads. Examples are Montana governor Brian Schweitzer and Montana Senate candidate Jon Tester.

Libertarians are fervent believers in the Second Amendment, and Montana's Democrats have actively courted the state's hunters and fishers. A Democratic candidate should support responsible gun use and recognize that not all gun owners are militia-loving fanatics. In fact, as Kos points out: "The Mountain West, in particular, has a individualistic libertarian streak that has been utterly betrayed by the governing Republicans. State legislatures in Alaska and Montana proudly voted to defy the PATRIOT Act." He adds that "many traditionally Republican voters simply want to live their lives in peace, without undue meddling from unaccountable multinationals or the government."

This seems like more of a moderate libertarian view, rather than a strict, doctrinaire perspective. It would be intersting to have a dialogue between
libertarians and progressives, because there is definitely common ground there.