The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Monday, April 30, 2007

The Day in Stupidity (Condensed)

There's always too much of this stuff for one lone blogger to handle, but here are some low points...

The MSM has run amok with stories of John Edwards' haircuts, much as they did with Bill Clinton's haircuts. It's pretty obvious to anyone with a three-digit IQ that looking good is really important in politics these days-- and when you're on the campaign trail, it's both more important and harder to accomplish. None of which explains why this story never caught on:

A few years ago, I wrote this story about George W. Bush's presidential campaign, which was apparently (and illegally) using money Bush had raised for his gubernatorial races in Texas to finance parts of his 2000 run for the White House. Among other interesting things, Texas campaign finance records showed that the governor's campaign committee had paid $275 to Glenda Facemire, the head make-up artist for the TV show Austin City Limits. When I called her in 2003, she told me she made up both George and Laura throughout the 2000 campaign.

Oh, right. It's because they were all talking about Al Gore's wardrobe. In other shameful news...

Condi Rice does the Sunday shows to bolster case for "lying and incompetent."

American Conservative magazine is informed that their review of Barack Obama's book is full of lies-- and publishes it anyway.

Tony Snow returns to his job with the White House. And bolsters case for "lying and incompetent" right away. "[T]here's been no attempt to try to link Saddam to Sept. 11."

Dana Perino, who took care of the egregious lying during Snow's absence, capped things off with yet another completely false "it's Clinton's fault" moment.

Fearless Leader? Well, he's still the reliably idiotic punchline we know and lo.... well, we know him: "I'm absolutely convinced the Japanese people will be better off when they eat American beef."

Here's a thought-- maybe the First Imbeciles could just wear His 'n Hers t-shirts in public.
For Laura, a classic "I'm With Stupid." And for King George, "I'm with Stepford."

President George "Got a Condo Made-a Stone-a" Bush

Federal agents bust radical group with "truckloads of explosives and weapons"

Remember those guys in Florida who were allegedly Muslim terrorists trying to blow up the Sears Tower? Or the alleged terrorists with an "advanced" plan to flood Manhattan? Boy, we sure heard a lot about those guys from the White House and every conservative talking head and blogger in the nation. Until it turned out that it was pretty much nothing. No, exactly nothing.

Which is why it seems so strange that this story of a genuine bust of some radicals who were armed to the teeth isn't being touted by BushCo as a shining example of anti-terrorist efforts that work. I mean, really. Just because they were white, right-wing Southerners doesn't mean they should be completely ignored by the press. That's so racist.

Simultaneous raids carried out in four Alabama counties Thursday turned up truckloads of explosives and weapons, including 130 grenades, an improvised rocket launcher and 2,500 rounds of ammunition belonging to the small, but mightily armed, Alabama Free Militia.

Six alleged members of the Free Militia also were arrested by federal authorities and are being held without bond. . . .

Bobo was living with his adoptive parents in the Lancshire Brentwood neighborhood in Trussville, a fairly new subdivision near the Cahaba Project with tree-lined streets and brick homes that cost upward of $600,000. He worked for his family's pest control company.

His red pickup truck, usually parked at the house, displays bumper stickers such as "Welcome to the South, Now Go Home," "The Second Amendment: `You do not know you need it until they come to take it away' - Thomas Jefferson" and "Work Harder, Millions on Welfare Depend on You."

Recommended reading. Especially with BushCo using money and manpower to spy on pacifist groups.

Bill Moyers and prostitutes!

The thing about missing a couple of days of blogging is that stuff keeps happening. And sites with lots of posts that keep abreast of breaking stories get all the readers. Sadly, I don't have the time I did in the past. But here's a recap of recent stories and some other nuggets of news.

First up, Bill Moyers' special on the MSM playing eager dupe in the run-up to Iraq. And the remarkable way in which spreading lies to the public which helped facilitate a pointless war hasn't really been a bad career move for anyone. It aired last week, but the good news is that you can watch Buying Iraq online. Now that's what I call public television.

I'm sure everyone knows about the DC escort service that had a cozy relationship with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Randall Tobias. The sad part is that at this point I've pretty much lost the ability to be surprised by prominent Republicans with sleazy skeletons in the closet. Even the stranger-than-fiction twists of rank hypocrisy
don't liven things up anymore. Or maybe it's just that another anti-contraception, pro-abstinence-only education headcase has a kinky story of illicit sex to sell. And I don't even mean Ted Haggard! I'm just talking about people BushCo hired! In this case, the headline says it all:

Bush's FDA Advisor On Women's Health Issues Accused By Former Wife of Serial Rape And Sodomy

And yes, online conservatives are already expressing shock and outrage that a public figure's sex life has become grounds for impea--I mean calling for his resignation.

Having read a few mystery novels in my time, I'm familiar with the gumshoe trying to get a list of clients from a madam bit. Usually that's just what they're willing to kill to keep secret, but you know... they're just novels. But thousands of clients? And the thing that interested me most about the article was this passage, which has largely escaped comment: the list of escorts included "university professors, legal secretaries, scientists, military officers." I'm sure there is a market for men who want to have a high-powered companion for high-powered Beltway events, but this is genuinely bizarre. If anyone has any thoughts on the significance of that bit, please share.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sick Day

These things happen. Usually when there's a ton of stuff to write about.

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Better Tomorrow-- Through Today's GOP!

Of course, while the GOP is very busy protecting classic American values like unprecedented corporate profits and blaming your political opponents for tragic murder sprees, they still find the time to pursue what is probably the newest tradition for the Republican party. That's right, red-blooded patriots! In the grand tradition of FEMA, Walter Reed, abstinence-only education, and the Department of Justice, it's the FDA!

The Food and Drug Administration has known for years about contamination problems at a Georgia peanut butter plant and on California spinach farms that led to disease outbreaks that killed three people, sickened hundreds, and forced one of the biggest product recalls in U.S. history, documents and interviews show.

Overwhelmed by huge growth in the number of food processors and imports, however, the agency took only limited steps to address the problems and relied on producers to police themselves, according to agency documents. . . .

William Hubbard, who retired as associate commissioner of the FDA in 2005 and founded the advocacy group Coalition for a Stronger FDA, said that when he joined the agency in the 1970s, its food safety arm claimed half its budget and personnel.

"Now it's about a quarter . . . at a time in which the problems have grown, the size of the industry has grown and imports of food have skyrocketed," Hubbard said.

Enrollment Climbs at School of Hard Knocks

This tidbit appeared in Robert Parks' weekly mailing last week:

Sallie Mae began as a quasi-governmental agency in 1972, but began privatizing 10 years ago. This week Sallie Mae announced it is selling itself and will become will become fully private. The CEO will walk away from the deal with about $257 million, while 10 million students will graduate with debts that average nearly $20,000.

Not a bad little bonus for making education less affordable. Today, a more detailed story turned up on the Prospect enumerating some of the problems besides corporate profiteering:

  • Bribes paid by loan companies to colleges and universities. For example, Drexel University in Philadelphia was promised $250,000 in exchange for designating Education Finance Partners as its sole "preferred lender." Since 2005, according to Cuomo's office, Drexel has steered more than $16 million in loans to the company, costing students more than available alternatives.
  • Personal conflicts of interests by some college student aid officials. At Columbia University, an associate dean owned substantial stock in a "preferred lender." At Johns Hopkins, a financial aid officer got consulting fees and had her graduate school tuition paid by Student Loan Xpress, one of the worst offenders.
  • Self-dealing by U.S. Department of Education officials. Matteo Fontana, a senior department official held at least $100,000 in stock of one loan company he was overseeing. Several other Bush officials in charge of student aid come from the industry.
It's another major success of reactionaries in the past few decades that they have managed to sell Americans on the idea that anything more structured than laissez-faire capitalism is a Bolshevik plot-- and make the common-sense conservative virtually non-existent. On one side, you have a government program with low overhead that helps millions of Americans and turns a profit. On the other, you have a costly, inefficient operation which gouges millions of Americans to fill the pockets of an already-wealthy few. Guess which one the GOP started fighting for when they took over Congress in '94?

Here's a friendly hint for those deluded enough to require it at this point:

The House [on April 20th] passed the Shareholder Vote on Executive Compensation Act, which would, “for the first time, allow shareholders of corporations to at least have a say in the salaries given to executives.” Passage came only after conservatives attempted to use a legislative device called a “motion to recommit” to kill the measure. It’s been a common tactic in the 110th Congress. “The strategy is to institute a divisive change to the bill at the last moment, often unrelated to the original intent of the legislation, hoping that the altered bill can then be defeated on final passage.”

While using such procedural moves is something both parties indulge in, it's standard stuff for today's GOP-- and while there is such a thing as manipulating the system for principled reasons, does oversight of executive pay (already something like 485 to 1 vs. US worker pay) really count? Nope.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Right-wing hacks crash Special Olympics ceremony! Steal medals!

There are a lot of things that really piss me off. Which is one reason I started blogging in the first place-- most of the things these days are centered around the GOP-led, fundamentalist-approved, corporate-funded attempt to turn America into a feudal state. Not to mention the pitiful ramblings of their online, on-air, and in-print enablers, obediently playing outraged patriot in hopes of a pat on the head and some table scraps. Or for a lucky few, monstrous salaries and a devoted following of "please tell me what to think" idiots.

See? You can tell I'm pretty upset this time. And what's done it? The continuing effort by right-wing shills to talk about how different the scene would've been at Virginia Tech had a couple of pot-bellied BushCo lapdogs been on hand to give a lunatic-on-a-murder-spree what for. It's beyond repellent to begin with-- and definitely beyond so-stupefying-it's-hilarious. But, while these over-the-hill toadies for hire are looking in the mirror and thinking that-- if you squint a little bit-- you've got a real Charles Bronson thing going on, they are, once again, completely full of shit.

Of all the arrogant ignorance displayed in the past couple of days regarding the Blacksburg Massacre, nothing trumps what John Derbyshire and Nathaniel Blake had to say Tuesday about the alleged passivity and cowardice of students at Virginia Tech. As numerous commenters pointed out, it's easy to pin medals on yourself from the comfort of your parents' basement. Today, we've got more of the same from Mark Steyn at NRO. . .

As reported in the The New York Times (and noted in jhritz's Diary), one of those was Engineering Professor Liviu Librescu, an Israeli Holocaust survivor, who blocked Cho Seung-Hui from entering the room, urging students to escape. Many did. He was murdered on the spot.

Caroline Merrey is one of the students who jumped. ...

In the flurry of students dialing 911 on cell phones, taking cover on the floor and twisting open second story windows to escape, Merrey, 22, glanced over her shoulder before jumping.

"I just remember looking back and seeing him at the door," the Virginia Tech senior recalled of her professor. "I don’t think I would be here if it wasn’t for him." ...

"It wouldn’t amaze me he would do such a thing," fellow engineering professor Muhammad Hajj said. "He’s that kind of person, willing to take care of others, protect others."

Astounding, isn't it? While those gutless turds argue about how glorious it is to send others off to die in the sand, and write preening articles about how much more heroic they would've been, their contempt is aimed at a man who survived the Holocaust, devoted his life to teaching young Americans, then gave his life to help a handful of them continue theirs. Any one of those things shows more humanity, strength, and bravery than you'll ever see from the peddlers of authoritarianism. But they're too busy jerking off to war footage to notice.

Gonzales v Swank

Even as Gonzales catches a lucky break-- since you'd have to be actively pursuing information about the senate hearings amid the sensationalism surrounding the Va. Tech tragedy-- Salon has published another facet of the politicization of the Department of Justice (link above):

Two of the fired U.S. attorneys, Dan Bogden of Nevada and Paul Charlton of Arizona, were pressured by a top Justice Department official last fall to commit resources to adult obscenity cases, even though both of their offices faced serious shortages of manpower. Each of them warned top officials that pursuing the obscenity cases would force them to pull prosecutors away from other significant criminal investigations. In Nevada, ongoing cases included gang violence and racketeering, corporate healthcare fraud, and the prosecution of a Republican official on corruption charges [!].

Stories about the DOJs Bush-era focus on pursuing vanilla pornography have been around since Ashcroft. And so have kiddie-porn afficianados who are working for the Bush administration. This piece takes a long, hard look at just how much a tool the DOJ has become under the one-party rule of the GOP, and has also gotten plenty of well-deserved attention on the blogs today:

In late 2001, Ashcroft also hired three Republican political operatives to work in a secretive new unit in the division's Voting Rights Section. Rich said the unit, headed by unsuccessful Republican congressional candidate Mark Metcalf of Kentucky, bird-dogged the progress of the administration's Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and reviewed voting legislation in the states.

You know what that means-- another BushCo maxim. "The name of legislation is the opposite is its goal." And while I no longer hesitate to point out the fascistic, Soviet-era activities of the Republican party, I'm glad to see John Chait do the same. Even in its sadly necessary, half-assed sort of way.

AS ATTY. GEN. Alberto R. Gonzales takes to Capitol Hill to testify today, it's worth keeping in mind what this whole imbroglio is really about. It's not about whether Gonzales and his minions lied to Congress and the public. (They did, repeatedly.) It's not even about whether the Justice Department improperly fired federal prosecutors. (It did, of course.) It's about whether the Bush administration sought to subvert democracy by turning the federal judicial system into a weapon of the ruling party.

Many people think of democracy as free elections, some other basic rights (like free speech) and not much more. But really, that's only the beginning. There are plenty of countries that have free and fair elections and yet are clearly not democratic because their ruling parties have a permanent, immovable hammerlock on power.

One key thing that separates strong democracies (such as the United States) from weak democracies (such as Russia) is that the latter use the police power of the state as a tool of the ruling party.

The thing is, with all the polls showing that Americans are aware of the story, and onto the fact that Gonzales et al. are lying through their teeth, I think the MSM's insistence on making it yet another all-sides-are-equally-valid travesty. Or worse, showing outright contempt for the very idea that anyone could take it seriously. All three articles are pretty much must-reads.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Fun with the SCOTUS

After reading my share of posts on the latest 5-4 decision to make conservatives ecstatic and the rest of us very, very concerned, I decided that this quote from Justice Ginsburg's dissenting opinion, summed it up ably:

The Court's hostility to the right Casey and Roe secured is not concealed. Throughout, the opinion refers to obstetrician-gynecologists not by the title of their medical specialties, but by the pejorative label "abortion doctors."

I sure can't wait for the day when progressive America can say "I told ya so" and actually enjoy it. As Tim Grieve notes, there was no outcome less surprising than GOP-appointed justices turning out to be ideological zombies.

If you're looking for some kind of silver lining in today's Supreme Court decision restricting abortion rights, this is about as close as you're going to get: While John Roberts and Samuel Alito sided, predictably, with the conservative majority, they didn't join Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia in declaring that the Supreme Court's "abortion jurisprudence, including Casey and Roe v. Wade, has no basis in the Constitution." (. . .)

In 1990, Roberts signed a legal brief in which he argued, on behalf of the first Bush administration, that Roe was "wrongly decided and should be overruled." In 1985, Alito argued, in a memo to his Justice Department colleagues, that they shouldn't advocate a repeal of Roe, but only because he thought an incremental approach would be more effective in reaching that result eventually. "I find this approach preferable to a frontal assault on Roe v. Wade," he wrote then. "It has most of the advantages of a brief devoted to the overruling of Roe v. Wade: it makes our position clear, does not even tacitly concede Roe's legitimacy, and signals that we regard the question as live and open."

Judicial activism. At this point, I'm pretty exhausted by the infallibility of the 21st-century maxim "If Republicans accuse others of it, they're doing it themselves."

Rocky & Hoodwinkle

Ahhhh, Bush and Cheney. On the one hand, you've got the Boy King's Rambo shtick, doing his best easoned veteran impression in front of a giant flag while struggling to read someone else's words off cue cards. While everyone is distracted, Frankenveep is landing juicy contracts for robber barons-- in between shooting people and having heart attacks in his knees. Five years and seven months after 9/11, they're still doing everything they can to make America a secure nation. And they even find the time to let American cities waste away and go to war on a whim!

The U.S. Coast Guard will beef up oversight of a $24 billion modernization project run by a Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT.N) and Northrop Grumann Corp. (NOC.N) joint venture, amid mounting delays, soaring costs and design flaws, sources familiar with the move said on Monday.

The venture, Integrated Coast Guard Systems (ICGS), will continue work on the program to overhaul Coast Guard ships, helicopters, airplanes and communications, known as Deepwater.

But the Coast Guard will take over responsibility as the ''lead integrator'' or program manager, a move aimed at answering recent lawmaker demands.

The Coast Guard also plans to announce the permanent retirement of eight 123-foot patrol boats that were pulled from service late last year due to hull problems, the sources said.

That's an incredible amount of beating around the bush just to say "military-industrial complex uses national security contracts to fleece America." I'll bet they punished people for that in less enlightened times.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Spinning Tragedy

Horrors like the Virginia Tech shooting are bound to become a rallying point for people pushing all sorts of pet theories, sometimes justly and sometimes inappropriately. But nothing brings out the hatred, callousness and sheer supidity of American conservatives quite like a tragedy, eh?

Presenting... the Very Special Olympics:

Proudly claiming the gold is Debbie Schlussel, who took reports that the killer was Asian and decided that he was probably from Pakistan. When that turned out to be incorrect, her new assertion was that the incident "is a demonstration to Muslim jihadists all over that it is extremely easy to shoot and kill multiple American college students." After all, what's the point of senseless mass murder if not to sell a race war?

National Review's John Derbyshire takes the silver with his assertion that if he'd been there, things would've been different: "Setting aside the ludicrous campus ban on licensed conceals, why didn't anyone rush the guy? It's not like this was Rambo, hosing the place down with automatic weapons. He had two handguns for goodness' sake -- one of them reportedly a .22." Because this is just the type of total badass you'd want at your side in a crisis. Or at least ridiculing you for getting shot the next day.

For a valiant effort, some idiot snatches the bronze for suggesting that this could actually have been a terrorist attack for a very clever reason-- it looked nothing like one. "What really worries me is if this was a test for other attacks. If the man was testing College responses then the key would be to make this look like anything BUT a terrorist attack." Wow! What a supersleuth! I'll bet evildoers the world over are breathing a sigh of relief that this brilliant mind is too busy with nuanced political commentary to solve the planet's most baffling crimes.

Honorable mention goes to the always-reliable Instaputz. The site fails to claim a medal because it actually uses the words "we'll never know" in relation to the shooting, an astounding admission in the right-wing blogosphere. Unfortunately, it's to defend his own totally hypothetical bit of only-outlaws-will-have-guns illogic: "Reader John Lucas, who works with a Virginia law firm, emails that Va. Tech is a "gun-free zone." Well, for those who follow the law. There was an effort to change that but it failed: "A bill that would have given college students and employees the right to carry handguns on campus died with nary a shot being fired in the General Assembly." That's unfortunate. Had the bill passed, things might have turned out differently, though we'll never know now." Man, that's profound. But I can think of one possible result of putting shootin' irons in the hands of binge-drinking teenagers.

Sadly, I have to report that at least one member of the progressive blogosphere was also in the race. While Garance Franke-Ruta didn't have a chance against this crowd, she certainly deserves mention for making a sweeping and completely unsubstantiated overgeneralization. Then trying to wiggle out of it when gently corrected by readers-- three times. "Because the first victim was a woman, and possible had a romantic connection to the killer, the police did not see her murder as a threat to the community. Now the police are pretty plainly telling the public that they failed to warn the campus there was a killer on the loose because they failed to understand that men who kill their partners are also threats to society." This is breathtaking stuff. Not just because it's free of conditionals, but because it's every bit as idiotic as claims based on race. Credit to Prospect readers for being so remarkably polite in their responses, but GFR's recent posts have all been the object of comment by co-workers for her insistence on finding the whiff of patriarchal conspiracy in any and all issues. As a doctor(al candidate in literature), I've seen many cases of this among otherwise bright women, and I have a simple prescription. "The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees, in every object, only the traits which favor that theory." Sure, it's from dead, white, heteronormative colonialist patriarch Thomas Jefferson, but he was a pretty sharp guy.

Friday, April 13, 2007

On The Strength Of A Nation

Everyone got a kick out of Fearless Leader's latest bit of douchebaggery, when he showed up at today's National Catholic Prayer Breakfast and said this:

"Prayer breakfasts show the true strength of our nation."

Stupid? Yep. Inane? Checkaroony. But to me it sounded like just the sort of cheesy bromide that an imbecile like Bush would throw out at every opportunity. I'm sure this would be a lot more fun with Lexis-Nexis, but Google will have to do for me.

On faith-based government, 2001: "The good news about America is there are so many willing to serve. It's the great strength of our nation."

To Poland's President Kwasniewski, July, 2002: "Mr. President, the strength of our nation is not our balance sheet, it's not our military. [Boy, he hadn't seen anything yet.] The strength of our nation is the American people."

To Pennsylvania coal miners in August, 2002: "I asked to come by to meet our nine citizens and their families because I believe that what took place here in Pennsylvania really represents the best of our country, what I call the spirit of America, the great strength of our nation."

National Hispanic Heritage Month, 2002: "America’s cultural diversity has always been a great strength of our Nation."

National Hispanic Heritage Month, 2002: ". . .the strength of our nation is built on the strength of our ideas."

Radio address, Dec. 2003: "With their good works, volunteers are living out the spirit of this season. And year round they are showing the heart and soul of our people -- which is the greatest strength of our nation."

USA Freedom Corps, 2004: "As the President says, the true strength of our nation is not in our military might, but in the hearts and souls of our people."

Presidential proclamation, April, 2005: "The great strength of our nation is found in the hearts and souls of the American people."

Fourth Anniversary of the Freedom Corps, Jan, 2006: "Americans have continued to demonstrate that the true strength of out Nation lies in the hearts and souls of our citizens."

Radio address, Nov. 2006: "Thanksgiving reminds us that the true strength of our nation is the compassion and decency of our people."

In Uruguay, March, 2007: ". . .a tradition which is a welcoming society; a tradition that says we welcome our diversity because we believe in our diversity we can find the strength of our nation."

I think I'll leave it at that. Cataloguing Bush's stupidity is no way to spend an afternoon.

Iacocca to Bush: You suck butt.

Everyone who was around in the early 80's remembers Lee Iacocca and his ubiquitous (and eponymous) book, which launched a really unfortunate publishing trend of where-are-they-now vanity projects by countless self-admiring businessmen.

But it sounds like he's managed to find his voice when it comes to the future of America under neo-fascist rule...

"Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening?" Iacocca writes. "Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, 'Stay the course.'". . .

He savages Bush's famous determination: "George Bush prides himself on never changing, even as the world around him is spinning out of control. God forbid someone should accuse him of flip-flopping," Iacocca writes. "There's a disturbingly messianic fervor to his certainty."

He accuses Bush of substituting macho for courage: "Swagger isn't courage. Tough talk isn't courage. Courage in the twenty-first century doesn't mean posturing and bravado. Courage is a commitment to sit down at the negotiating table and talk."

And he scoffs at Bush's business-degree background: "Thanks to our first MBA President, we've got the largest deficit in history, Social Security is on life support, and we've run up a half-a-trillion-dollar price tag (so far) in Iraq. And that's just for starters."

Indeed it is, Lee, indeed it is. Welcome to the blogosphere.

The Right's Favorite Historian, Part 2

Less than two weeks ago, I put up a post on the British author that was being roundly praised by the White House:

Bush invited [conservative British writer Andrew] Roberts for a discussion over lunch at the White House earlier this month. The author was joined by Dick Cheney (who was recently photographed carrying the book), Rove, and a group of neoconservative intellectuals including Norman Podhoretz and Gertrude Himmelfarb, along with various other officials and conservative journalists.

Sure, we already know these people are frighteningly delusional. And we've seen their messianic zeal to rule the world. Not to mention their disturbing sense of entitlement-- that they're the rightful rulers of the earth, and can therefore do no wrong.

But TNR has a new look at this "historian" who (as if you didn't see this one coming) is derided by actual historians as a dangerous fraud with ties to racist and fascist groups. Be sure to watch for him on Fox News as their expert historical analyst.

Bush, Cheney, and--in a recent, glowing cover story--National Review, have, in fact, embraced a man with links to white supremacism, whose book is not a history but an ahistorical catalogue of apologies and justifications for mass murder that even blames the victims of concentration camps for their own deaths. The decision to laud Roberts provides a bleak insight into the thinking of the Bush White House as his presidential clock nears midnight. . . .

n 2001, Roberts spoke to a dinner of the Springbok Club, a group that regards itself as a shadow white government of South Africa and calls for "the re-establishment of civilized European rule throughout the African continent." Founded by a former member of the neo-fascist National Front, the club flies the flag of apartheid South Africa at every meeting. The dinner was a celebration of the thirty-sixth anniversary of the day the white supremacist government of Rhodesia announced a Unilateral Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, which was pressing it to enfranchise black people. Surrounded by nostalgists for this racist rule, Roberts, according to the club's website, "finished his speech by proposing a toast to the Springbok Club, which he said he considered the heir to previous imperial achievements."

And it just gets scarier from there. Highly recommended.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Earth to John McCain.... do you read us?

This is to be expected of the incompetent lapdog Condoleezza Rice, but it's a pity to see John McCain take up permanent residence in Bizarroworld (I hear his estate is right next to Joe Lieberman's). Particularly after McCain's embarrassing "casual stroll" through the Green Zone and the latest tragic sign that things aren't going too well there: the bomb that detonated in the Baghdad parliamentary building. What do the feckless Rice and ol' Dopey Joe have to say about this critical security failure? Yep. Not just White House talking points, but White House talking points from several years ago.

Question: Madam Secretary, Senator McCain ... do you have any reaction on the Green Zone bombing?

Rice: John, do you want to shake hands for them first?

McCain: Sure. Oh, sure.

Question: Any reaction on the Green Zone bombing?

Rice: Well, we're still trying to get the facts ... It's obviously, again, the terrorists and those who wish to stop the Iraqi people from having a future that would be based on democracy and stability. And I noted that this is the parliament building and that, in a sense, this is an attempt to make an attack on the institution itself. But it's obviously a time -- we've said there are going to be good days and bad days concerning the security plan. But the commanders are carrying out their responsibilities and working to try to make the population more secure. We're really at the beginning of this, not at the end of it. But there will be good days and bad days.

Question: Well, what does it say about security overall in Iraq, and the surge and how that is looking?

Rice: We've known that there is a security problem in Baghdad, which is why the president has structured a new strategy and why Gen. Petraeus and his commanders are carrying it out. But this is still early in the process, and I don't think anybody expected that there would not be counterefforts by terrorists to undermine the security progress that we're trying to make.

McCain: Hang on a second. We're just getting the third of the five brigades over to Baghdad. This is early in the strategy being implemented. I fully expect the enemy to try to orchestrate more spectacular attacks such as rocketing the Green Zone and other acts which would understandably grab the attention and the headlines in the United States of America because they realize that if they can erode the American public's will, then they will be able to achieve success.

But my fingers were crossed!

The Progressive Democrats for America sent out what must be the 653rd tragicomic look at the GOP since 2001. Throw in the Contract On America, and it's well over a thousand. Throw in the Reagan years, and the sky's the limit.

In 2000, Team Bush took over the Republican Party and laid out its promises to the American people. The following pledges and claims are taken directly from the 2000 GOP Platform. . . .

Honest Government
“Trust, pride, and respect: we pledge to restore these qualities to the way Americans view their government.”

Keeping Intelligence Free of Politics
"Nor should the intelligence community be made the scapegoat for political misjudgments. A Republican administration working with the Congress will respect the needs and quiet sacrifices of these public servants as it strengthens America's intelligence and counter-intelligence capabilities…”

Diplomacy and Maintaining Allies
“The arrogance, inconsistency, and unreliability of the [Clinton] administration's diplomacy have undermined American alliances, alienated friends, and emboldened our adversaries."

Endless Military Missions, Exit Strategies and Troop Readiness
"The current administration has casually sent American armed forces on dozens of missions without clear goals, realizable objectives, favorable rules of engagement, or defined exit strategies.” [Emphasis added.]

"Sending our military on vague, aimless, and endless missions rapidly saps morale. Even the highest morale is eventually undermined by back-to-back deployments, poor pay, shortages of spare parts and equipment, inadequate training, and rapidly declining readiness. When it comes to military health, the administration is not providing an adequate military health care system…"

Restoring the Rule of Law and the Justice Department
The rule of law, the very foundation for a free society, has been under assault, not only by criminals from the ground up, but also from the top down. An administration that lives by evasion, coverup, stonewalling, and duplicity has given us a totally discredited Department of Justice. The credibility of those who now manage the nation’s top law enforcement agency is tragically eroded. We are fortunate to have its dedicated career workforce, especially its criminal prosecutors, who have faced the unprecedented politicization of decisions regarding both personnel and investigations.”

Gas Prices (then $1.55 per gallon)

“Today, gas prices have skyrocketed, and oil imports are at all-time highs....By any reasonable standard, the Department of Energy has utterly failed in its mission to safeguard America’s energy security."

In the e-mail, PDA also provides a link to the official Republican party platform of 2000. I doubt you should even bother sharing it with true-believers, though. They'll just tell you the quotes were taken out of context.

Giuliani, LDS: Least Distasteful Schmuck

The Prospect put a feature from their upcoming issue on the Web, and I thought it was pretty interesting (not least because it echoes the very sentiments I expressed on Giuliani's campaign a few nights ago).

Conservative leaders are panicked. The loss of Congress last fall -- one can't overestimate the shock Republicans felt upon seeing that they'd lost the Senate as well as the House -- only intensifies the condition. Democrats have a good shot at retaining control of both chambers (21 GOP senators face re-election, and just 12 Democrats). And if they claim the White House -- well, just think of it. A mere two years ago, Karl Rove could still speak of building his permanent conservative majority. But if this scenario plays out, the GOP could be a neutered minority party for eight years.

This lightning-fast change, says conservative writer and Republican observer James P. Pinkerton, has driven conservatives to conclude that they must win the White House at all costs. And that's where Giuliani comes in. Of course 9-11 remains the wellspring of his appeal, and the fact that movement conservatives viscerally loathe John McCain helps him enormously. But he also benefits handsomely from conservatives' desperation, which makes them more likely to accept someone they disagree with on certain issues. "Giuliani is the kind of candidate a party nominates after it's lost a bunch of elections," Pinkerton says. "You know: 'He's not from the base, but we're desperate to win.'"

But I suspect that Giuliani has another ready-made-- and quite sizable-- group of supporters in the GOP base. Namely, people who want to look like thoughtful citizens and need a rationale for their inevitable support of a Republican. They don't trust McCain, they don't trust a Mormon, and Giuliani has the veneer of authority and leadership. As long as you don't know anything about him. I'm not sure how much he can milk 9/11 after the last two elections (and it didn't pay off last November), and even his posturing during that event earned him the eternal enmity of the NYFD. Interestingly enough, one of the biggest Clinton-haters I know, who thought he should be kicked out of office, if not imprisoned, for his extra-marital dalliance, is now a Giuliani supporter. As the article notes, while Clinton embarrassed his family, Rudolph knowingly and intentionally humiliated his wife and children in public. But, that's the GOP for ya.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Yesterday was slow, but today there were all kinds of stories I wanted to touch on-- McCain gets even more InSane (and is lying/incompetent about his health), the "seen it all before in its baffling stupidity, dishonesty, and near-insanity" campaign against Nancy Pelosi, with the MSM dutifully gobbling up the spin-nuggets right off the RNC grill. Of course, it's much easier than actually producing journalism, and who knows?-- if Katie Couric's Stepfordian reportage and bland inoffensiveness are the new criteria for America's top anchor, it's hard to blame them.

In other news, Don Imus did stuff, and it was bad, and his producers slapped him on the wrist while MSNBC feigned shock and profound sorrow but decided the money was pretty good, and neo-fascists everywhere showed the incisiveness and acumen that have given them control of the GOP. By attacking Al Sharpton.

Oh, and Michelle Malkin is fighting for the future of the America the way any red-blooded patriot would-- by spitting loogies on laundry soap. But it's evil, Stalinist soap that wants to destroy America!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Technical Difficulties

Nothing serious. Should be back at it on Tuesday.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The flip side of the US Attorney scandal

It was as painful as always to watch the neo-fascists bend over backwards to claim that the purge of US Attorneys was a manufactured scandal, nothing to see here, please move on... But the lame cries of "politicizing justice" are a perfect example (about the 83rd, in fact) of the maxim "If Republicans accuse you of it, they're doing it themselves." As the lying to Congress, Fifth Amendment pleas, and incriminating documents have demonstrated.

But it isn't just about firing attorneys who didn't do the White House's dirty work-- it's once again about rewarding loyal incompetents with important positions they're too inept to handle.

Example 1 : Last year, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle (D), seeking a second term, was considered relatively vulnerable by the Republican establishment. The GOP had successfully recruited then-Rep. Mark Green (R-Wis.) to be their gubernatorial candidate, they cleared the field so he could get the nomination, fundraising was brisk, and some early polling showed Green within striking distance.Right around the time that Green officially became the GOP nominee in Wisconsin, U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic brought charges against a top official in Doyle’s administration, accusing the state purchasing supervisor of corruption. Were the charges politically motivated? It’s hard to say for sure, but consider how quickly a federal appeals court dismissed the charges yesterday.

Example 2: Four top staffers to Rachel Paulose, the U.S. attorney in Minnesota, have voluntarily demoted themselves in protest of Paulose’s “highly dictatorial style” of managing. Paulose has also “earned a reputation for quoting Bible verses and dressing down underlings.”

According to news reports, the staffers’ dramatic moves were “intended to send a message to Washington — that 33-year-old Paulose is in over her head.” The Bush administration tried to prevent the resignations by sending a “top justice official to Minneapolis Thursday to mediate the situation. The mediation failed.” . . .

Paulose had been in her position for a year as an interim U.S. attorney before she was sworn-in officially last month. She created controversy when her lavish swearing-in ceremony included a professional photographer, a color guard, and a choir.

That level of hubris is positively Ashcroftian. She's a loyal Bushie, all right.

Things stay the same

It's really sad to follow up on stories that should be dead and buried, but I feel bad even for righties when they keep making the same embarrassing mistakes.

But Mitt Romney just keeps asking for it with his invented history of being a sportsman. He tries to fix it, he makes it worse. And provides a sound bite that will probably haunt him 'till the end of his days: I’ve always been a rodent and rabbit hunter. Small varmints, if you will.

It's just like John Kerry's oft-cited "Who among us doesn't like NASCAR" bit. Except, of course, that he never actually said that. And very much like the endless citation of Al Gore and the Internet, which has become a part of popular culture, in spite of it being untrue. So it's fitting, if you will, that Romney is not only being directly quoted, instead of slandered, but that it stems from a glaringly obvious attempt to pander by lying about himself.

Having put it that way, I guess I don't feel bad for Mitt at all. And to be honest, I'm thrilled that Newt Gingrich's off-the-cuff racism made headlines, and that he tried to fix it with a stilted and whorish attempt to prove what an inclusionary guy he is by reading some cue cards-- in Spanish. Of course, with all the focus on his bigotry, Newt's ignorance of the actual issue at hand has largely been overlooked.

And while it isn't an ongoing thing, I've noticed that lots of progressives are waiting (in vain, I suspect) for the MSM to start talking about Giuliani's disturbing history of authoritarianism and egotism-- which is eerily reminiscent of the current president.

"It's a no-risk society," Giuliani went on. "If we continue with this idea of collective responsibility, we'll become a society that deteriorates. And it's a battle that has to be fought now."

He offers health care as an example. "Democrats want universal health care, collective responsibility--honestly, it's their version of socialized medicine." Even the recent health care reform in Massachusetts, designed by the Republican governor Mitt Romney, was tainted with collectivity, because it required every citizen to get health insurance.

This is also eerily reminiscent of current White House ideology-- which never moved beyond the early 1980s and the Cold War, where anything to the left of Milton Friedman is an excuse to play red scare. It's idiotic, childish, and outright dangerous in a nation where almost 15% of the citizenry has no medical coverage, yet costs are increasing by 10% annually.

These people shouldn't be serious contenders for the presidency of the United States-- they should be marginalized kooks, only good for a laugh. And as the last six years have shown us, taking stone-headed demagogues seriously instead of laughing at them can result in a whole lot of tears down the road.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

How's that economic recovery goin' for ya?

If you were already a fat 'n sassy millionaire, the answer is 'great.' Anyone else? Not so much. As Kevin Drum pointed out, it's good to keep in mind that workers' wages haven't improved at all during the recovery.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The World Backwards

The nice thing about "the free market" is that even though there's no such thing, it's omniscient, omnibenevolent, and infallible. All you have to do is open up your markets, and health, wealth and happiness are inevitable. Awesome.

[In China], since March of last year, the government has been considering a labor law that promises a smidgen of increase in workers' rights. And since March of last year, the American businesses so mightily invested in China have mightily fought it. . . .

As documented by Global Labor Strategies, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization headed by longtime labor activists, the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and the U.S.-China Business Council embarked on a major campaign to kill these tepid reforms. Last April, one month after the legislation was first floated, the chamber sent a 42-page document to the Chinese government on behalf of its 1,300 members -- including General Electric, Microsoft, Dell, Ford, and dozens of other household brand names -- objecting to these minimal increases in worker power. In its public comments on the proposed law, GE declared that it strongly preferred "consultation" with workers to "securing worker representative approval" on a range of its labor practices.

Remember all those ferocious debates over renewing favored-nation trade status with China over their lousy human rights record? Well, the right finally got what it wanted-- access to the markets, and a perpetual crappy human rights record. Because that way, you're sure to get more.... money.

Fox in the henhouse-- literally.

It was a small, but pleasant victory when the White House withdrew the nomination of Swift Boat funder Sam Fox ambassador to Belgium. After all, he was clearly not going to pass muster and be confirmed. So what's a president to do when Congress can overrule his despotic inclinations? Ignore the law.

President Bush named Republican fundraiser Sam Fox as U.S. ambassador to Belgium on Wednesday, using a maneuver that allowed him to bypass Congress where Democrats had derailed Fox's nomination. . . .

Recognizing Fox did not have the votes to obtain Senate confirmation, Bush withdrew the nomination last month. On Wednesday, with Congress out of town for a spring break, the president used his power to make recess appointments to put Fox in the job without Senate confirmation.

Chris Dodd had a thing or two to say about it himself:

“It is outrageous that the President has sought to stealthily appoint Sam Fox to the position of ambassador to Belgium when the President formally requested that the Fox nomination be withdrawn from the Senate because it was facing certain defeat in the Foreign Relations Committee last week. I seriously question the legality of the President's use of the recess appointment authority in this instance. I intend to seek an opinion on the legality of this appointment from the General Accountability Office and invite other Senators to join with me in that request. This is underhanded and an abuse of Executive authority -- sadly this behavior has become the hallmark of this administration.”

The Nimrods Who Would Be King

All right. So I spent a little time yesterday pointing out the egregious flaws of the Republican hopefuls, but it just keeps coming. There's McCain's rejection of reality, and Romney and Giuliani's seeming ignorance of basic constitutional precepts. But the hits keep coming...

Newt Gingrich, who appeared to be prepping for a run with that whole "radio confessional with James Dobson" bit. Obviously his multiple extramarital affairs would come up plenty (and rightly so, given his sanctimony and hypocrisy), and this would be a weird sort of inoculation-- "I've already come clean! How dare you bring this up!"

Then he had to go and claim that bilingual education would produce a nation capable only of ghetto-speak. Bigoted? Yes, very. After a cringe-inducing attempt to turn the tables in classic GOP style-- "You assumed I meant Spanish just because that's the only form of bilingual education that's ever been discussed in this country!?! How dare you bring this up!"-- he followed up with a possibly-even-worse apology. Delivered in Spanish. Not just any Spanish, but read-off-a-prompter, as-my-accent-indicates-I-don't-know-what-the-hell-I'm-saying Spanish. I'm honestly not sure what he could've done to look like anything other than the egomaniacal whitebread prick that he is, but as others have noted, there's no reason for him to do this unless he's planning on a run. The YouTube clip is also notable for the comments from supporters.

Then there was the fun bit with Mitt, who's been trying really, really hard to demonstrate what a down-home, red state kinda guy he really is. This is achieved, as usual, through a rhetorical technique called 'lying through your teeth.'

Part of Mitt Romney's strategy for appealing to conservative primary voters has been to portray himself as a gun-lover, a strong defender of the Second Amendment and a sportsman himself.

But the more the presidential campaign wears on, the more questionable that portrait looks.

Romney has already been forced to acknowledge, after touting his membership in the National Rifle Association, that he joined the group less than a year ago. And after saying that he had "a gun of my own," he later conceded that he didn't personally own guns, but that one of his sons did.

Now, Romney's campaign is acknowledging that, despite his assertion that he was a longtime hunter, Romney, 60, had in fact hunted one summer as a teenager and then just once when he was in his late 50s.

So, Republicans, will you support the fraud, the fraud, or the fraud? When in doubt, you can always shout "Chapaquiddick!" or "I did not have sex with that woman!" until nasty ol' reality is safely out of your head.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Spreading the love. And by love, I mean hate.

It's tough to say how much has been written about the newest incarnation of the Republican party-- authoritarian, bigoted, corporatist, corrupt, amoral, bellicose. All that stuff. The normalization of dirty tricks under Nixon, who famously stated that it's not illegal if the president does it? LBJ signing the Civil Rights Act and famously stating that the Democratic party had lost the South for a generation? The rise of reactionary media and corporatization of the media?

According to a UC Davis history professor, it goes back just a tiny bit further. Recommended reading.

Republicans identifying threats to social order were not wrong. Anarchists, communists, socialists, and even plain old trade unionists could cause chaos. But the GOP depicted every eruption of unruliness as a menace equal to the Confederacy. Every time was "a time like this," in Garfield's phrase, requiring stern leaders to discipline their people.

The enemy within was eternal and everywhere because the enemy was within each of us. "The worst evil that could be inflicted upon the youth of this land would be to leave them without restraint and completely at the mercy of their own uncontrolled inclinations," Coolidge said. Republicans knew what evil lurked in the hearts of their fellow men because they fought it within themselves. "How lofty is the nature of Mr. Lincoln," Blaine wrote during the Civil War. "How he keeps himself free from the ordinary passions ... . He has gained control over others by constantly maintaining it over himself."

Politicians who persuade themselves they've controlled their worst impulses and thus entitled themselves to control yours, who identify the good of their party with the good of the country, who see every dissenter as an enemy, can justify breaking the law--or so nineteenth-century Blaine-watchers concluded. The astute political observer Henry Adams thinly fictionalized Blaine in his novel Democracy as Senator Silas Ratcliffe, and let him defend his shady behavior thus: "We believed ... that the result of that election would be almost as important to the nation as the result of the war itself. Our defeat meant that the government must pass into the blood-stained hands of rebels, men whose designs were more than doubtful." It was a sincere belief, and also politically useful: Rutherford B. Hayes, seeking to avoid charges of party corruption in 1876, told Garfield, "Our main issue must be It is not safe to allow the Rebellion to come into power.

It's Mourning In America

Prominent conservatives have spent the week reminding us of the great things about America. The diversity, the freedoms, the civil rights guaranteed to all, and the principle that no American is above the law. All of which fill them with disgust.

George W. Bush on the separation of powers: Members of Congress are entitled to their views and should express them. Yet debating these differences should not come at the expense of funding our troops.

Condi Rice on the results of four years of war: I'm not going to sit here and tell you that the problem's been solved or that we've made substantial progress. I can tell you that there are initial signs that are good.

Dick Cheney on the Constitution: Clearly, Congress has a role to play. They are responsible for appropriating funds. But there's an area, once they cross over a line, that's pretty well drawn in the Constitution that says, under I think it's Article II of the Constitution, the president is the commander in chief. He's the one who makes the decisions about the use of military force, how they're deployed, when they're deployed, what purposes they're deployed for.

Well, sorta. As long as you deny the existence of Article I. The Congress shall have the power...

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States.

But fascism isn't just found in the White House. No, it's taken firm root in the Republican party.

Mitt Romney: [Cato Institute President Ed Crane] asked if Romney believed the president should have the authority to arrest U.S. citizens with no review. Romney said he would want to hear the pros and cons from smart lawyers before he made up his mind.

Rudolph Giuliani: Crane said that he had asked Giuliani the same question a few weeks ago. The mayor said that he would want to use this authority infrequently.

Two of the men who want to run the nation have publicly stated that it's fine-- although there are pros and cons-- for the president to deny citizens due process of law

...and your journey to the dark side will be complete.

John McCain. Right after his asinine propaganda tour of Iraq-- or more accurately, one street in Baghdad while wearing body armor and a helmet and guarded by 100 soldiers and 5 aircraft-- he's decided to take yet another page out of the G-Dub playbook.

Mr. McCain’s aides said that to deal with his fund-raising problems, he would adopt what had been a centerpiece of Mr. Bush’s fund-raising technique, and one that has been embraced by most major presidential candidates: creating an honorary campaign designation to reward the campaign’s top money raisers. Mr. Bush called his Rangers and Pioneers; Mr. McCain will call his the McCain 100’s, for supporters who collect $100,000 for the campaign, and the McCain 200’s, who collect $200,000.

Mr. McCain has been identified throughout his career as an advocate of curbing the influence of money in politics, notably as a co-sponsor of a landmark bill limiting political contributions. He criticized Mr. Bush, when the two were opponents in 2000, as leading overly aggressive fund-raising efforts.

At this point, I wouldn't mind seeing the "maverick" end his career with a whimper and ignominious defeat. He's spent the last six years earning it.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Giuliani Endorses Voodoo Economics. MSM whistles and looks at ceiling.

The funny thing about actual experiments with supply-side economics is that the result-- in the 80's and today, under the most inexplicably revered Republicans in modern history-- was crushing debt, record deficits, decreased government income, and huge increases in the number of Americans reduced to poverty. Which probably explains why filthy-rich Republicans are such huge fans.

But why Giuliani would whole-heartedly endorse another decade of our current, mind-bogglingly horrendous fiscal policy is beyond me. Maybe we'll just be in for another four (or God forbid eight) years of the same old question: "Lying or incompetent?"

Richard Perez-Pena reported, in a March 29 New York Times article about Steve Forbes endorsing Giuliani, that the former mayor "calls himself an advocate of supply-side economics and tells audiences that he cut taxes and restrained spending as mayor." What's supply-side economics, wonders the curious reader -- is it by any chance a crank doctrine holding that tax cuts will increase revenues? Well, Perez-Pena won't tell you.

The AP, in a similar story, noted meekly that "Giuliani, a front-runner among Republicans seeking the White House in 2008, said he and Forbes share 'an economic vision that embraces supply-side economics, tax relief, and spending restraint.'" Here, again, the leading candidate for the Republican nomination is saying he places a debunked crackpot economic theory at the heart of his agenda for the country and arguably the nation's most important news organization … doesn't see fit to explain.

No news organization remarks on the fact that Giuliani has pronounced himself a proud crank, nor does anybody remark on the news organizations not remarking on it. We've come to expect nothing better from our political coverage.

To be fair, while they flubbed the supply-side issue, both articles did mention that Steve Forbes, when he ran for president, was an advocate of a flat tax and that Giuliani, who was mayor of New York City at that time, was opposed to such a tax because it would be detrimental to the financial interests of people who live in high-tax jurisdictions, such as Giuliani's then-constituents in NYC.

Wait, no -- of course they didn't.

Recommended. And there was this piece, also on the Prospect's site today and also recommended:

If supply side economics really did so much for government revenues, then the people who cared about increasing government revenues would support supply side policies, and those who wanted to shrink the government till it could drown in a tub would oppose them. That it's quite the opposite is telling. If supply side economics were really so great for the poor, than those who primarily care about how government treats the economic underclass the policies. They oppose them.

The only interesting thing about the debate, in fact, is that supply siders think the rest of us such knuckleheads that we'll not notice any of this, nor notice that while supply-side policies were being pursued by Reagan and Bush 43, revenues fell, poverty grew, and the classless socialist utopia Jack Kemp promised failed to materialize. This is, thankfully, a straightforward debate, where the data is fairly clear and the coalitions largely as one would expect.

Which is exactly why the GOP will continue to lie about it until it stops working. With a nice assist from journalists so afraid of losing cocktail party invites that they'll even treat established facts like a hot controversy.

Into the Fifth Dimension, with George Bouche!

Newt wasn't the only one to excoriate the 'Democrat Party' for going on vacation while their Republican counterparts apparently stayed behind to do big, important things during the Congressional recess. Il Douch-ay made a stop in the Rose Garden to talk to the press about how happy Democrats are that 9/11 happened.

First he wanted to be absolutely sure he could squeeze a little more mileage out of that whole Iraq-9/11 connection that never existed until he turned Iraq into the biggest terrorist recruiting effort in history:

"What makes Iraq different from previous struggles is that September the 11th showed that chaos in another part of the world and/or safe haven for killers, for radicals, affects the security of the United States."

Right, right. Which is why it was so important to send too few troops there with shitty, outdated equipment and rook 'em real good if they happened to wind up in Walter Reed.

But why don't they have the great equipment the GOP failed to provide them for the last four years? Yep.

As the White House puts it in today's "Morning Update," "it has now been 57 days and counting since the president submitted his emergency war supplemental funding request to Congress. While Democrats are trying to score political points, our military is preparing to make budget cuts forced by Congress' inability to pass a responsible troop funding bill that does not force retreat, handcuff our commanders, or include billions of dollars in wasteful pork spending."

A couple of points here.

First, if the administration were budgeting for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as if they were the ongoing things that they are, it would be including more than token amounts to fund them in its annual budget requests. Having chosen instead to get war funding through a seemingly unending string of "emergency" spending requests, the administration has all but invited down-to-the-wire scrambles on funding.

And maybe more to the point, this particularly funding package isn't really as down to the wire as the White House would like to suggest. The president has been painting dire pictures of deprivations for the troops if the supplemental spending bill isn't signed into law by April 15, and he's sure to do so again today. But as the Associated Press reported last week, the Pentagon has the "bookkeeping flexibility" to keep the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan going as is until at least mid-July by simply shifting around money it already has. "The steps under consideration include borrowing from training, maintenance, personnel and procurement funds set to be spent later in the budget year, which runs through September," the AP explains. "They have become routine in recent years."

But, like monumentally scuzzy Newt Gingrich (you know, the guy who cheated on at least two wives), he wasn't done with the liberal traitors yet. And a reporter actually called him on this particular bit of hypocrisy:

Bush: “And now they have left Washington for spring recess without finishing the work. Democrat leaders in Congress seem more interested in fighting political battles in Washington than providing our troops what they need to fight the battles in Iraq.”

CNN’s Elaine Quijano: “We should mention President Bush is heading to his ranch in Crawford, Texas tomorrow to begin his own Easter weekend break.”

Newt Shores Up The Base

When you think bilingual education in the US, you probably think of English and Spanish. Not, say, French, German or.... Hebrew. But that probably just means I'm one of those rabidly racist liberals who think that Alberto Gonzales should resign not for subverting justice or turning the DOJ into an arm of the RNC, but because he's Latino.

Enter Newt Gingrich to air his opinion on bilingual education on Faux News:

Newt Gingrich said this past weekend that the U.S. should abolish bilingual education so that people aren’t speaking “the language of living in a ghetto.”

But last night on Hannity & Colmes, Gingrich claimed his statement “did not refer to Spanish.” Gingrich insisted, “What I meant is very clear[],” but then wouldn’t say which language he was referring to.

Gingrich said, “Now, I’ll let you pick — frankly, ghetto, historically had referred as a Jewish reference originally. I did not mention Hispanics, and I certainly do not want anybody who speaks Spanish to think I’m in any way less than respectful of Spanish or any other language spoken by people who come to the United States.”

It's just like the White House's argument against having their lackeys testify under oath: "They're clearly such honest and pure individuals that there's no need for them to explain anything."


The right wing has repeatedly criticized the congressional leadership for staying silent on Iran’s capture of British hostages. Last night on Fox News’s Hannity and Colmes, Newt Gingrich said that “it would be wonderful if people on the left would speak up,” and was “saddened” that “the Democrats in Congress [failed to] pass any resolution before they left town indicating how wrong this was.”

Both Republicans and Democrats have condemned the hostage situation. The Senate agreed to, and passed, S. Res. 136, a resolution “expressing the sense of the Senate condemning the seizure by the Government of Iran of 15 British naval personnel in Iraqi territorial waters, and calling for their immediate, safe, and unconditional release.” The bill was sponsored by Republican Sen. Norm Coleman (MN) and had 22 co-sponsors — 11 of whom were Democrats.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Treason, actually.

The official-sounding Media Research Center has dedicated itself to singling out instances of hate speech and anti-American sentiment for observation. Here's a recent example:

"Americans are puzzled over why so many people in the world hate us. We're trying to protect ourselves with more weapons. We have to do it, I guess, but it might be better if we figured out how to behave as a nation in a way that wouldn't make so many people in the world want to kill us."

This incendiary piece of anti-American rhetoric is clearly designed to lend aid and comf-... Wait. The Media Research Center? Hmmmmm....... (strokes chin thoughtfully as harp music plays)

The Media Research Center, the right wing's premier sniffer of liberal bias, had its awards show last night. It was a hotel ballroom affair with tuxedos and fancy flower arrangements and a keynote address by Rush Limbaugh, who accepted an award for "Media Excellence." Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity could not make it because they were sick.

The annual MRC awards show is generally a lighthearted affair, a time for like-minded ideologues to shower each other with praise and make common cause against the unseen pinko minions who supposedly inhabit the nation's newsrooms and labor every day to flush America down the toilet. Most of the awards go to liberal pundits and so-called liberal journalists for saying things critical of President Bush and his policies. . . .

I was caught by the criticism rained down upon Andy Rooney of "60 Minutes," who was nominated for the "God, I Hate America Award."

That's right. Suggesting we adopt a foreign policy more sophisticated than unilateralism is now considered 'America-hating' by the nations most prominent conservative intellectuals.

Is that a rubber turkey in your pocket, or are you just John McCain?

As irritated as McCain must've been after getting dirty tricked right out of the race at BushCo's hands in 2000, the only lesson he seems to have taken from it all is 'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.' And if last week's reports of McCain thinking of switching parties only until Jim Jeffords took the headlines for himself are true, he took that lesson to heart very, very quickly.

And now, faster than you can say "Mission Accomplished," he's become another Orwellian Republican. As you no doubt recall, McCain was arguing last weekend that real progress is being made in Iraq, that (some) Baghdad neighborhoods were so safe you could just walk down the street with a pal. When rightly called on this load of horseshit, he decided to show just how hardcore an ailing old man can be by heading to Iraq to stroll down one of those streets with a close friend-- an Army general, no less!

Yes, just the two of them in body armor and helmets. Unfortunately for McCain and his attempt to highlight Iraq's safety, he drew a small crowd of chance onlookers and well-wishers. One hundred of them, in fact-- armed to the teeth, armor-clad, and helmeted. Not wanting to get lost in the totally spontaneous crowd, however, as soon as the general gave the OK and the cameras were rolling, McCain ditched that helmet of his in no time flat.

Oh, right. People showed up in vehicles to watch, too! I don't know about kids enjoying a bike ride, or mothers on their way to do some grocery shopping, but by some cool coincidence, "3 Blackhawk helicopters and two Apache gunships" stuck around to watch. What are the odds of that?!? Awesome!

As neat as it would've been to shake the hands of those brave men and women, and see that badass hardware in action, I have to admit that I'd be a little less keen on the mortar fire in Baghdad just after McCain's press conference. And the sniper fire there today. That's the kind of thing that makes people think-- totally inaccurately-- that it isn't safe to walk the streets of Baghdad in a pair of zubaz.