Countdown to Bush's Last Day

Grim Statistics

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Moving

This will be the last post at this site. There are plenty of people doing progressive blogging much better than I am, so as of tomorrow I am changing to a more Maine-life focus but with a decidedly blue bent.

You can find me here and if the Red Sox are your thing, I'm also still here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Overheard Today at the Water Cooler

"Face it, if liberals were not attempting to change long-held traditional values, conservatives would have nothing to oppose."

You mean the pre-emptive doctrine is a traditional conservative value? Who knew?

Revising Goals

From CNN:

Nightmarish political realities in Baghdad are prompting American officials to curb their vision for democracy in Iraq. Instead, the officials now say they are willing to settle for a government that functions and can bring security.

"I would describe it as leaving an effective government behind that can provide services to its people, and security. It needs to be an effective and functioning government that is really a partner with the United States and the rest of the world in this fight against the terrorists," said Mixon, who will not be perturbed if such goals are reached without democracy.


A nonelected government in Iraq installed for the expressed purpose of providing it's benefactor, the United States of America, cover in the region. A puppet government set up in the middle of the perfect storm of the fractious, anti-American Middle East.

You think you got problems with Iran and Syria now? You ain't seen nothin' yet.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Tale of God's Will



You can read about the the making of this album here.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Comment on "The Other War"

In the July 30 edition, The Nation ran a special investigation entitled, "The Other War: Iraq Vets Bear Witness," an article which detailed brutal, gratuitous and cruel attacks on Iraqi civilians by American servicemen and women. The attacks, when perpetrated, are rarely reported, leading to a distorted perception of civilian casualties of the war; when they are reported, they are routinely dismissed as the cost of doing business by military officials. It reminds me of that scene in "Casualties of War," a film which tells the story of four soldiers who rape and murder a Vietnamese girl and the efforts of one soldier to bring them to justice. At one point, frustrated with the Army's response to his reports, PFC Eriksson (played by Michael J. Fox) physically attacks one of the perpetrators who has been threatening him for speaking out, shouting, "Nobody cares! I told everybody. I told them. You don't have to worry. You don't have to try to kill me, man. I told them, and THEY DON'T CARE!" Some things never change, apparently.

(Another great line from that film: "Everybody's acting like we can do anything and it don't matter what we do. Maybe we gotta' be extra careful because maybe it matters more than we even know.")

The article is unsparing to say the least, and an unflattering portrait of the perpetrators of these crimes-the near-diefied American soldier (or the "self-sacrificing white male patriotic hero" as described by one Nation detractor)-comes into sharp focus during these vignettes. It is not necessarily, however, an indictment of the individual servicemen that are being held up to task in this piece, but rather the policies, and bureaucracies, and take-no-prisoners idealism that define the American military that make such situations almost unavoidable, if unspeakably tragic.

Needless to say, the article received a lot of feedback. Some soldiers who were interviewed for the piece wrote to say that they were misquoted and taken out of context (two out of 50 interviewed, actually ) while others thanked the Nation for their accurate representation of their words. What was most interesting is the response from Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, who bristled not at the idea that the Nation was reporting on atrocities committed by American servicepeople but that they weren't laying appropriate blame, which he places squarely at the feet of the Bush Administration. "Anyone who wants to write a serious piece about the ethical lapses of US troops should start and end the article by putting the blame where it belongs-on the politicians who sent our troops to war unprepared and without a clear mission."

This is not the first time Paul Reickhoff has made these accusations. He has been an unwavering critic of the Bush war policy. In a 2006 interview to PBS, he made the same claim-stress, poor leadership and repeated deployments are causing these outbreaks of extreme violence against Iraqi civilians. (Ironically, he also says, "I think the press has fallen asleep at the switch in many ways or has been intimated by the administration in many different ways.")

All this is likely very true, and it's hard to imagine what you yourself would do under similar circumstances. Still, it all conjures up the idiocy of Rush Limbaugh dismissing the Abu Ghraib abuses as guys just "blowing off steam" (the Limbaugh mantra of "personal accountability" ends as soon as one enters the military, apparently). Mr. Reickhoff, in his zeal to protect the soldiers (as in Rush's zeal to protect the administration), misses the point and weakens his cause. You can't tell the full story of the administration's failings in the war without telling the stories of the soldiers, even if it may not be pretty and even if some of your soldiers come out looking like little more than petty thugs. As despicable and without moral compass as George Bush may be (and he is)-these guys should never be there in the first place-there were no direct orders to anyone from the president to shoot the family dog in front of the children, deny a badly beaten man medical care and send him back to whence he came so the job could be finished, or pretend to eat the brains of a dead Iraqi man lying on the street. While that may be the result of poor planning, poor execution, and administration lies-and I know it is-part of trickle-down effect of a blustering, "Bring 'em on" and "We will get him dead or alive" is that it often inspires a specific type of personality to action-the type who is more likely to see the world in the black-and-white terms of the president and thus see all Iraqis as less-than-human "hajis" and potential terrorists ("I also know, because of that same base of knowledge, that the military has some folks in it that should never have passed the psych evaluation. Because military recruting rules have become so lax, folks that should be locked away for their own protection have instead been sicced on Iraqis" notes another Nation responder.)

The problem is when you take already troubled, angry, disaffected young people-many of whom would have been ineligible for military service on 9/10/01-and give them guns and power and no training, no oversight and no sense of accountability, it is a recipe for a disaster of epic proportions. Shooting pets and children, terrorizing families at gunpoint, and indiscriminately detaining anyone who looks suspicious is not a recipe for winning "hearts and minds," nor is it likely to contribute to a feeling that Americans are "liberators" of a foreign country, 80% of whom want us gone. It is a recipe for an endless cycle of violence, resistance, and war.

You can also read an interview here with Carmelo Mejia, a veteran who went to prison rather than return to Iraq.

You can read more about civilian casualties in Iraq here.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Dick Tells The Truth!

What Changed Between 1994 and 2002?



Thanks to moveon.org for digging this up!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Plea For Animals

From my Inbox:

Dear Lisa,

Barnes & Noble, Powells and other online booksellers do not sell these magazines, but Amazon does. Get your friends to ask Amazon to stop their ridiculous fight for animal fighting.

The cruelty of animal fighting is not news to you, and I thank you for taking online action in the past against this bloodsport. But I still need your help in asking your friends to speak up, too.

The time to do this is now, because the indictment of Michael Vick has awakened the rest of the nation to the cruelty of animal fighting. But Amazon is still in the lonely position of promoting animal fighting activities. It's the only online retailer of subscriptions to animal fighting magazines in the United States!

We need as many voices as possible telling Amazon to stop -- please tell your friends and family right now how they can help.

As you know, Amazon claims that its commercial sale of cockfighting magazines like The Gamecock and The Feathered Warrior is protected by the First Amendment. But the First Amendment does not protect companies advertising illegal contraband, and that's exactly what the magazines sold by Amazon are doing. The Feathered Warrior even advertised fighting dogs from a dogfighter whose operation makes the enterprise described in the Michael Vick indictment look like a bunch of amateurs.

Please ask your friends and family to add their voices to yours in demanding that Amazon stop selling animal fighting materials.

Thank you for all you do for animals.

Sincerely,

Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

P.S. Get the full story on Amazon and animal fighting on our new Animal Cruelty and Fighting campaign website.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Bob Murray is More Concerned With Saving His Own Ass...

...than saving his employees. And making himself a buck in the process.

The proof?

The mine in central Utah where six miners lay buried was cited 300 times since January of 2004, including 118 "significant and substantial" violations that are considered serious enough to cause injury or death;

His Galatia mine in southern Illinois counts at least 2,787 violations and more than $2.4 million in fines from the Mine Safety and Health Administration since 2005;

He flat out lied about the cause of the collapse, saying it was caused by an "earthquake" despite the assertions by seismologists that the collapse caused the tremors and the company knew about structural problems with the roof at least since March;

And then there's this, from the Washington Post last June:

A senior coal company executive on Wednesday lambasted U.S. lawmakers for proposing caps on emissions blamed for global warming, saying the Democrats were out to destroy America's coal industry.

Robert Murray, chairman, president and chief executive of Murray Energy Corp., also blasted the federal government's mine safety agency for "outrageous" new fines that he warned could put some miners out of business.


He is, of course, a huge donor to the Republican party, members of which share much of his dim view of workers' rights and safety issues, as well as his take on the environment.

Poor, put-upon, persecuted bastard.

Here's Murray in action, railing against unions and safety regs to Barbara Boxer in June.

Another One Bites the Dust

Holy crap! What do they HAVE on him?

Investigative journalists, take note: Do your goddamn jobs for once and DO NOT let this story die. There is something fishy going on here. This is part of a deal.

"Spend time with my family" is the refuge of the guilty and the hunted, who have entered into agreements to leave to save their own necks.

From the Washington Post:

Karl Rove, the architect of President Bush's two national campaigns and his most prominent adviser through 6-1/2 tumultuous years in the White House, will resign at month's end and leave politics, a White House spokeswoman said this morning.

Bush plans to make a statement with Rove on the South Lawn this morning before the president departs for his ranch near Crawford, Tex. Rove, who holds the titles of deputy chief of staff and senior adviser, has been talking about finding the right time to depart for a year, colleagues said, and decided he had to either leave now or remain through the end of the presidency.

"Obviously it's a big loss to us," White House spokeswoman Dana M. Perino said this morning. "He's a great colleague, a good friend, and a brilliant mind. He will be greatly missed. But we know he wouldn't be going if he wasn't sure this was the right time to be giving more to his family, his wife Darby and their son. He will continue to be one of the president's greatest friends."

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Guess Who's Back? The Taliban! Fightin' in Afghanistan!

Read about the failure of the Bush administration in Afghanistan here.

Can You Imagine It Here?

File this under "And the world didn't come to an end!" We learned this week that Canada will have an elected member of parliament married to his same-sex partner. Canada passed a same-sex marriage law in 2005. Oh, the humanity!

Liberal MP Scott Brison is set to become the first federal politician to tie the knot in a same-sex ceremony since MPs made gay marriage the law of the land just over two years ago.

Brison, 40, will marry partner Maxime St. Pierre next Saturday in his Kings-Hants riding, a bucolic corner of Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley.

He follows Ontario cabinet minister George Smitherman in smashing one of elected politics' last social taboos. Smitherman exchanged vows last week with partner Christopher Peloso at a northern Ontario resort.

Having a spouse has traditionally been considered an important asset on the hustings — but not one of the same sex.

Only in the last decade have many gay and lesbian politicians begun publicly acknowledging their sexual orientation.

Brison, a former Progressive Conservative party and Liberal party leadership hopeful, came out in 2002 and became Canada's first openly gay cabinet minister in 2004. But he's never defined his political persona around the issue and has closely guarded his private life.

In Brison's words, he is "not a gay politician, but a politician who happens to be gay."

After his engagement to St. Pierre was first reported by the Canadian Press in October 2005, Brison played down the social significance.

"I'm looking forward to the day when the idea of a gay or lesbian politician getting married is not a story at all," he said at the time.

Brison's office said Friday he was not available for an interview, and friends — some of them invited to the ceremony — were reluctant to discuss the wedding plans.

After the highly divisive debate on the same-sex marriage bill in June 2005 that saw more than two dozen Liberals join with the Conservative Opposition in voting against the legislation, Brison joked that then prime minister Paul Martin told him: "Well, after all I've been through on this Brison, you'd better get married."

Brison, in an autumn 2005 interview, made it clear he's been deeply affected by the steady reminders of young Canadians who tell him he has served as a role model, however reluctant.

"Sometimes when somebody can express something like that to you, that you've made a difference in terms of their confidence or their life — not based on something that you've really done, just by the fact that you're there — I don't think I can articulate how that makes me feel," said Brison.


Universal health care, gun control, and now married gays in high places? Sounds like my kind of place, if only winter weren't ten months long. And the right wing's new battle cry?...

Blame Canada!
Blame Canada!
Seems like everything's gone wrong
Since Canada came along...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A Second Hand Fatal Illness

Of interesting note in this week's news is the disclosure by the White House that George Bush was treated for Lyme disease a year ago. However, it seems that there was a misunderstanding on the part of the major news outlets that reported the story.

The president was not diagnosed with Lyme disease; rather, he was found to be suffering from a far more common and obvious affliction, Lying disease. It was found as well in his staff and close associates, although it is unclear who gave the disease to whom, or if they were all infected independently of each other.

There is no cure except permanent removal of the carriers from office. If left untreated, it is fatal to U.S. citizens and the world at large.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Change in Nothing

From today's Portland Press Herald:

"The surge isn't working," said Susan Hudson-Wilson, 55, of
Chebeague Island. "Every kid who dies from now on, it's just –
you really want to go right to that kid's parents and apologize."


Of course, I've said all along that every person who cast a vote for George Bush needs to apologize for their part in propagating this murderous sham. To do so to the parents of dead soldiers would be as good place to start as any.

Susan Collins, as the article notes, supports "a change in mission," but not troop withdrawal, making her no different than the other Republican drones who are standing by their man.

Empty words from an empty head. Mainers who cast a vote for Collins in this upcoming election need to apologize to the parents of dead soldiers as well.

Republicans: He's a Miserable Failure, But He's Our Miserable Failure...

According to a new CNN poll, George Bush's approval rating got a little better last month, going from 32% in June to 36%. According to poll analyst Keating Holland, the increase reflects Republican sentiment only, as Democrats and independents remain disdainful of the Schmuck in Chief. Hard to understand why, though, given the administration's series of victories in July...

1. The surge report card revealed an Iraqi government woefully unable to meet the simplest conditions laid out for continuing American participation in the "war effort"...

2. An NIE report that demonstrated that Al-Qaeda had grown "significantly stronger" in Pakistan over the past two years (whatever happened to that "no safe haven" declaration, George?)...

4. Woes in the mortgage market threatened to spread to other sectors, and caused real concern that the stock market would soon tank under the weight and cause a global economic crisis...

3. Robert Muellar became only the latest in a long line to out Alberto Gonzales as a lying, clownish political hack with no observable redeeming qualities.

Geez, given all that, it's hard to see why even Essenes wouldn't be jumping on the Bush approval bandwagon...what I want to know is, where were all these low-standard bearers while I was in college? I could have used their type of grade inflation...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Buck Henry Lives

Yes, I'm back, and I'm still here...I'm still thinking about expanding the focus of the blog, but for now, I'm here.

For those of you of a certain age, you'll probably appreciate that Buck Henry is back as a regular contributor to The Daily Show, although this time, thankfully, not playing a pedophile (remember, that sketch was from the mid-'70s, when dirty old men were just a smutty joke). Here's Buck taking on media madman Murdoch last night.


Thursday, August 2, 2007

TTFN

The blue state blogger is headed on vacation to another blue state, that bastion of decadence and conduit of conservative antipathy, Massachusetts-Cape Cod to be exact. When I get back, I'm considering shutting down this blog and starting a new one with a broader focus but decidedly left bent. I'll let you know where it is when I get back.

In the meantime, let's hope for peace for the people of Minneapolis, especially those who have lost loved ones in that horrible bridge tragedy yesterday.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Focus on the Hypocrites

"In this time of call-ups and alerts and mobilizations and deployments, your employers are standing behind you, and so is your government. The country owes you something in return for your sacrifice"-George Bush, speaking to the Idaho National Guard, 8/24/05

Given the results of the study summarized below and printed in the 8/1/ edition of JAMA, I fully expect Focus on the Family's James Dobson and The Family Research Council's Tony Perkins to be making strong statements condemning the war's effects on military families soon and calling for more federal support of those left behind...

Any day now, in fact...

I can almost hear it from here...

Rates of neglect and abuse of the children of servicemen and women rose 42% within the family when the enlisted parent was deployed on a combat mission, according to a new study led by senior health analyst Deborah Gibbs of RTI International, a research institute in North Carolina. Previous studies have shown an association between combat-related deployments and higher levels of stress in the family, and it is this stress that is thought to play a major role in the maltreatment of children by the parent who stays home.

The current study is the first to take a comprehensive look at how deployment affects child neglect and emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Backed by funding from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, the researchers harvested data from the U.S. Army Central Registry of 1,771 families worldwide with at least one instance of child neglect or abuse between Sept. 2001 and Dec. 2004, a period during which many soldiers were deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. The results show that a staggering 1,858 parents had maltreated their children during that period — boys and girls in equal numbers, with an average age of 6. Nearly 10% of those parents neglected or abused their children on more than one day. The number of times a parent was deployed, however, whether once or twice, did not significantly affect the rate of maltreatment — researchers speculate that by the time of a soldier's second tour of duty, the homebound parent has developed at least few coping strategies.


-Time.com

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Wall Street Junk-al

The Bancroft family finally caved to greed, and crowned Rupert Murdoch king of the Wall Street Journal. Family members earlier had stated they were reluctant to sell to Murdoch, fearful that he would turn the Journal into the Post (which is really kind of stupid-haven't they been reading their own editorial pages? The Journal already IS the Post! The editorial page of the WSJ is actually so spectacularly and predictably dishonest it's hard to see how Murdoch could do it any harm, frankly).

There's likely to be lots of groaning and hand-wringing in the journalistic community about how this signals the death of serious journalism in this country, but in reality, they've got no one to blame but themselves. By pimping themselves to outfits like the Post and Fox News, the reporters in this country have done as much to impinge journalistic credibility as William Randolph Hearst ever did. More, in fact. While Murdoch may be the general, he cannot implement the coup by himself. He needs foot soldiers. Interestingly, the reporters at the WSJ are unionized and have staged at least one walk-out protesting the sale of the WSJ to Murdoch. We'll see how many stick to their principles now that he is, in fact, their boss.)

Monday, July 30, 2007

A Medical Marvel

Chief John Roberts is cooling his heels at Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport tonight, after reportedly suffering a seizure while sullying our great state on vacation.

This makes Judge Roberts a bit of a medical curiosity, as seizures are a disorder of the brain, an organ the judge has previously shown no evidence of possessing.

I hear Oscar the Cat is in town for a visit, Judge...better watch your back.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Five Surgeons

Five surgeons from big cities are discussing who makes the best patients to operate on.

The first surgeon, from New York, says, "I like to see accountants on my operating table, because when you open them up, everything inside is numbered."

The second, from Chicago, responds, "Yeah, but you should try electricians! Everything inside them is color coded."

The third surgeon, from Dallas, says, "No, I really think librarians are the best, everything inside them is in alphabetical order."

The fourth surgeon, from Los Angeles chimes in: "You know, I like construction workers . . those guys always understand when you have a few parts left over."

But the fifth surgeon, from Washington DC, shut them all up: "By far, Republicans are the easiest to operate on. There is no guts, no heart, no balls, no brains and no spine, and the head and the ass are interchangeable."

George Bush Accuses Poor Children of Cheating Big Insurance

Next week, he takes on Michael Vick's pit bulls, accusing them of frivolous lawsuits.

Bush: No Deal On Children's Health Plan

President Says He Objects On Philosophical Grounds

By Christopher Lee
Washington Post Staff

President Bush has rejected entreaties by his Republican allies that he compromise with Democrats on legislation to renew a popular program that provides health coverage to poor children, saying that expanding the program would enlarge the role of the federal government at the expense of private insurance.
The president said he objects on philosophical grounds to a bipartisan Senate proposal to boost the State Children's Health Insurance Program by $35 billion over five years. Bush has proposed $5 billion in increased funding and has threatened to veto the Senate compromise and a more costly expansion being contemplated in the House.

"I support the initial intent of the program," Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post after a factory tour and a discussion on health care with small-business owners in Landover. "My concern is that when you expand eligibility . . . you're really beginning to open up an avenue for people to switch from private insurance to the government."

Friday, July 27, 2007

Justice Perverted

To all those who advocate the unbridled power of the federal government as the only way to stamp out threats across the globe, a cautionary tale:


BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP) -- A federal judge Thursday ordered the
government to pay more than $101 million in the case of four men who spent
decades in prison for a 1965 murder they didn't commit after the FBI
withheld evidence of their innocence.

The FBI encouraged perjury, helped frame the four men and withheld for more than three decades information that could have cleared them, U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner said in issuing her ruling Thursday.

She called the government's argument that the FBI had no duty to get
involved in the state case "absurd."

Peter Limone, Joseph Salvati and the families of the two other
men who died in prison had sued the federal government for malicious
prosecution.

They argued that Boston FBI agents knew mob hitman Joseph
"the Animal" Barboza lied when he named the men as killers in the 1965 death
of Edward Deegan. They said Barboza was protecting a fellow FBI informant,
Vincent "Jimmy" Flemmi, who was involved. The four men convicted on
Barboza's lies were treated as "acceptable collateral damage" because the
FBI's priority at the time was taking down the Mafia, their attorneys
said.

"No lost liberty is dispensable. We have fought wars over
this principle. We are still fighting these wars," Gertner told the packed
courtroom.
And, apparently, getting the same results: bupkiss. The Mafia is still with us, and these guys sacrificed 30 years of their lives. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't sell thirty years of my life for $100 million dollars.

And how many more like them are still languishing in our prisons today?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Gonzo Apparently a Con Man

Robert Mueller today became the 970,000th person to call Alberto Gonzales a liar.

But Gonzales still has the confidence of the president, who is, of course, a liar himself. Tony Snow is a liar by proxy, saying that Gonzales was "speaking consistently."

Consistent with what? Advanced senile dementia? Or chronic fabulism?

Reminds me of a song...

When I'm just trying to get along
We were friends
But now it's the end of our love song...
So let's leave it alone
'Cause we can't see eye to eye
There ain't no good guys
There ain't no bad guys
There's only you and me and we just disagree

Btw, news outlets are such pussies. CNN on it's website titles the story, "FBI head apparently contradicts Gonzales." Mueller said in fact that Gonzales did indeed discuss the U.S. surveillance program with a half-dead John Ashcroft, which is exactly the opposite of what Gonzo himself testified to.

There's no "apparently" about it, CNN. Grow some stones, for Christ's sake, or the next thing I'll expect to see is "Anna Nicole Smith apparently still dead."

Monday, July 23, 2007

Mitt Deflects Responsibility Again






Mitt Romney...the gift that keeps on giving. From CNN:


WASHINGTON (CNN) — GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has a message for those who are criticizing him for recently posing next to a supporter’s controversial campaign sign: “lighten up.”



The former Massachusetts governor took heat over the weekend from one town-hall audience member for recently posing with a supporter who donned a sign saying “”No to Osama, Obama and Chelsea’s Moma.”



The sign is an obvious grouping of the two leading Democratic presidential candidates — Sens. Hillary Clinton, the mother of Chelsea Clinton, and Barack Obama — with Al Qaeda leader and 9/11 organizer Osama Bin Laden.


“I don’t look at all the signs when I’m having pictures taken,” Romney said during a town-hall meeting in Exeter, New Hampshire when pressed to apologize by one member of the audience.


The comments were captured and made available to CNN by New Hampshire Public Radio.


“I have a lot of pictures taken with people, Romney also said. “I don’t really spend all that much time looking at the signs and the T-shirts and the buttons. I don’t have anything to say about a sign somebody else was holding.”


What a fucking moron. First, we learn that he thinks it's ok to tie his dog to the top of a car speeding along the highway at 65 miles an hour, telling us that if he doesn't know how to take care of a pet, he certainly can't be trusted with the keys to the free world. Now we find out that he has no eye for detail or subtlety, can't anticipate the consequences of his actions and basically just does what people tell him to do. You don't have anything to say about it, Mitt? Maybe not, but you do have something to say about what tactics you endorse. Standing and smiling broadly with a right wing fruitcake who equates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to Osama bin Laden says a lot about your principles and priorities, whether you admit it or not (of course, we can't forget this is the same guy who effusively introduced Ann Coulter at the CPAC a couple months ago, right before she called John Edwards a faggot).


He then went on to say, “You know what? Lighten up slightly. There are a lot of jokes out there. I’m not responsible for all the signs I see.”



Bah. You are respondible for the essence of your public appearances, and how you respond to your so-called supporter's tactics...and as far as jokes go, the biggest one by far is Mitt Romney himself.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Must See Theater

"No End In Sight," opening in select theaters July 27.



You can read more about it here.

Courage of Convictions?

A lot of cynical pundits on both the right and left have been wondering why John Edwards has chosen to make poverty a signature point of his campaign. After all, they muse, these people don't donate any money; the majority don't even vote. Why is he wasting his time?

Maybe this is why.

Because for so long, these people have had no one to speak up for them-not even each other. Certainly not their elected officials, who cut their housing funds while making sure big oil and millionaires get fat tax breaks.

I wonder what Ann Coulter has done for the poor lately, besides call their champion a slur?

Tom Allen's Guns A-Blazing

Despite Stoogan Collins' efforts to minimize the importance of Iraq to her constituents back here (how out of touch is this fool? And how little respect does she have for our intelligence?), Tom Allen has made it clear he's going to make the war front and center in his campaign. To wit:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, JULY 18, 2007

CONTACT: VALERIE MARTIN
207-774-9696

COLLINS OPPOSES LEVIN-REED ON IRAQ

PORTLAND – Susan Collins today stood by her opposition to timelines for withdrawal from Iraq although she attempted to hide behind her record with a vote for cloture on Levin-Reed today. Her vote for cloture was simply a vote to end debate, not for the legislation.

In an AP story, a Collins spokesperson said the Senator still opposes the legislation.

“Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who is up for re-election next year, also voted to advance the bill. Spokesman Kevin Kelley said Collins believes the measure should be subject to a simple majority vote and not the 60 votes needed to end a filibuster. Kelley said the senator still opposes the legislation.”
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070718/ap_on_go_co/us_iraq


Valerie Martin, campaign manager for Tom Allen for U.S. Senate, said Collins has been wrong on Iraq since the beginning, while Allen has been a consistent and staunch opponent to the war in Iraq from the outset.

“For four and a half years, Susan Collins has been wrong about Iraq and has voted consistently to continue Bush’s failed policies. For four and a half years, Susan Collins has stood by the administration instead of standing up for what is right. For the past week, Susan Collins has been talking about changing missions and has hidden behind votes for cloture. That isn’t leadership. Maine needs a Senator who consistently does what is right,” said Martin.

By contrast, Tom Allen voted against authorization for the war in 2002 and has been an outspoken critic ever since, backing his words up with actions. Just last week, Allen voted in favor of H.R. 2956, a measure requiring the President to being troop withdrawal from Iraq within 120 days, to be concluded by April 1, 2008. The measure passed in the House on July 12.

Compare the Records on Iraq:

Collins Voted For Legislation She Said She Opposed. Today, Collins voted in favor of moving forward on legislation that would begin withdrawing American troops from Iraq. Immediately after the vote Collins’ spokesman claimed that in fact, she did not support timelines. “Spokesman Kevin Kelley said Collins believes the measure should be subject to a simple majority vote and not the 60 votes needed to end a filibuster. She opposes the legislation.” [HR 1585, Vote #252, 7/18/07; AP, 7/18/07]

Allen Again Voted For Timeline For Redeployment From Iraq. Last week, Allen again voted to end U.S. involvement in the Iraqi civil war. The vote mark the fifth time Allen had voted for a binding proposal to begin bringing troops home from Iraq. After the vote, Allen said, “Setting a binding timetable is the most effective way to remove American troops from Iraq. I will continue to advocate for a binding timetable so that the men and women serving so bravely in Iraq return home safely to their families.” [HRES 533, Vote #621, 7/12/07; Office of Representative Tom Allen, Press Release, 7/12/07]

Collins Said She Opposed Beginning To Withdraw Troops With 120 Days. Earlier this year, Collins said she opposed the 2007 Supplemental Funding bill for Iraq because it would begin to withdraw troops within 120 days. "Ms. Collins said she was more troubled by the requirement that the administration begin removing troops within 120 days of the legislation rather than the March 2008 deadline for having most of the military out." [New York Times, 3/28/07]

Allen Said There Was A Clear Choice Between Supporting Timetables Or Supporting Bush’s Failed Policies. Earlier this year, Allen said, “This week, the House of Representatives has a choice: either endorse the President’s open-ended commitment, or adopt a plan that demands accountability, sets a timeline for redeployment, and restores the readiness of our armed forces.” [Office of Representative Tom Allen, Press Release, 3/22/07]

Collins Voted To Authorize The War In Iraq. In October 2002, Collins voted authorize the use of force against Iraq. [Vote #237, 10/11/02]
Allen Was One of Only 133 Members To Vote Against Use Force Against Iraq. In 2002, Allen voted against allowing President Bush to use the military against Iraq [Vote #455, 10/10/02; New York Times, 10/11/02]


Collins Voted Against Withdrawing U.S. Troops. In March, Collins voted three times against setting a goal of withdrawing most American troops from Iraq by March 31, 2008, with the redeployment beginning within months.[Vote #126, 3/29/07; Vote #116, 3/27/07; Vote #75, 3/15/07]

Allen Supported Measure to Bring Our Troops Home by August 2008. In March, Allen voted for a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq by the summer of 2008. The legislation included strong benchmarks for the President to meet in Iraq. [Vote #186, 3/23/07]

Collins Wanted to “Stay the Course” In Iraq. In late 2003, Collins said, “it’s important that we hold the line in Iraq and that we stay the course…” [CNBC, 11/6/03]

Allen Has Consistently Advocated For A New Direction In Iraq. In February 2007, Allen spoke on the House floor “Recent experience shows that the U.S. must impose deadlines with consequences so that Iraqi leaders will be compelled to take responsibility. An unending U.S. military presence in Iraq creates a climate of dependency that undermines the goal of having the Iraqi Government control internal security.” [Congressman Tom Allen Floor Statement, 2/6/07]

The Server is Busy

Got this from the HSUS this morning concerning their campaign to suspend Michael Vick:

"WE ARE SO SORRY! Shortly after we sent you this email earlier today, our system went down due to the high volume of communications from those outraged about this case. If our links did not work for you, we hope you will contact the NFL now. Again, our deepest apologies for the breakdown and the extra email from us today."


Nice job, people. Keep the heat on the NFL over this asshole. If you tried to hit on the links yesterday and couldn't, please do so now here!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Suspend Michael Vick!

From my inbox. This shit has got to be stopped somehow.


Tell the NFL to Suspend Michael Vick!

Dear Lisa,


This dog was one of 52 pit bulls seized from Michael Vick's property.

Late yesterday, a federal grand jury indicted NFL star quarterback Michael Vick and three cohorts on felony dogfighting charges. It’s the latest disturbing news in a case that The Humane Society of the United States has assisted with since the alleged cruelties came to light in Virginia last April.

I hope you will take action today to urge the NFL to suspend Michael Vick indefinitely.

The abuses described in the 19-page indictment are almost beyond belief:

In or about March of 2003, PEACE [one of Vick’s co-defendants], after consulting with VICK about the losing female pit bull's condition, executed the losing dog by wetting the dog down with water and electrocuting the animal.

In or about April 2007, PEACE, PHILLIPS, and VICK executed approximately 8 dogs that did not perform well in "testing" sessions...by various methods, including hanging, drowning, and slamming at least one dog's body to the ground."

The NFL expressed “disappointment” and said yesterday that “we believe that all concerned should allow the legal process to determine the facts.”

Well, that’s just not good enough. These acts were not petty or harmless; they were nothing short of gruesome and barbaric. And there is precedent for a suspension: Other NFL players, such as Pacman Jones and Chris Henry, have been suspended while they awaited trial and before they were convicted. Please contact the NFL today and urge the league to suspend Michael Vick.

For details about the case and The HSUS’s role in assisting federal prosecutors with the investigation and the care of 52 pit bulls taken from Vick’s property, click here. And if you are able, please make a special donation today to help us care for those animals while the case is being pursued by federal authorities.

Thank you for all you do for animals.


Sincerely,

Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

In case you need more encouragement to do the right thing here, you can watch some video of the sordid way Michael Vick gets his jollies here.

The Right Wing Fringe is Getting VERY Nervous...

You know how I can tell? Boston-based complete knee-jerk asshole Howie Carr is suddenly seeing parallels between last night's Senate Iraq all-nighter and the Chappaquiddick tragedy.

How lame. That's the best you've got, Howie? Chappaquiddick, horrific as it was, hasn't worked as a political tool for thirty-eight years despite the desperate right-wing's best efforts.

For all his blustering and posturing about the "irony" of the two events falling decades apart, Carr apparently fails to see the irony of his attack on Kennedy for his action after an accident in which a person died, and his failure to attack President Bush for his cold blooded murder of thousands of American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens. Yes, Chappaquiddick, for all the conspiracy theories surrounding it, was an accident. Iraq was a purposeful military action founded on deliberate, bald faced lies, yet I see no outraged columns by Carr denouncing the calculated sacrifice of American soldiers for a lie concocted for pure political gain.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hypocrite Deux Fois

Check out the look on Wendy Vitter's face while the most recent nominee for Hypocrite of the Century is speaking. Doesn't she look like she just threw up in her mouth a little bit?



Is it her husband, or did she just catch sight of herself in that dress? Yikes.

While the holier-than-thou senator was calling for Bill Clinton's resignation over his indiscretions, wife Wendy was making her own case for a Hypocrite of the Century award. She had this to say when asked by the Times-Picayune if she could forgive her husband if he strayed, as Bob Livingston's wife had done: "I'm a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary [Clinton]. If he does something like that, I'm walking away with one thing, and it's not alimony, trust me."

It's hard to tell from this angle if Sen. Vitter remains intact...or of the only thing he's been stripped of is his credibility.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Book Plug

A must-read for all sports fans with a social conscience.

"When professional athletes speak out for social justice, it's usually the sign of deeper discontent in society. Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali and Billie Jean King were exceptional individuals, but also products of social movements that shaped them and that they in turn helped shape.
The responses to Hurricane Katrina, among other recent rumblings and grumblings in our SportsWorld, writes Dave Zirin in an excerpt from his new book, demonstrates that struggle and its relation to sports is a question not of the past but of the future.
If you like this excerpt from Welcome to the Terrordome, check out the book itself. Zirin is currently in California in the middle of a series of readings. Click here for the full national schedule."

If you like what you see and want to read the book, please consider ordering from your locally owned bookstore instead of Amazon. I got mine from Nonesuch Books in South Portland.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

From the Mouths of Babes

So, to write this post, I'll have to admit I was, once again, watching "Meet the Press"...so sue me.

Anyway, right wing neanderthal columnist Bob Novak was on a panel discussion. Say what you want about Novak's positions-and I have-but he can't be accused of being shrewdly politically astute all the time. As such, he sometimes gives us wide open windows as to why anybody who has any kind of principles or sense of social responsibility is NOT a Republican. To wit:

"A lot of Republicans like McCarthyism."

Not that that's a great insight, but it's nice to hear it out of the mouth of a less fringe right-winger than Ann Coulter. Novak admits that the modern Republican party yearns for the days of witch hunts and smear campaigns leading to demonization leading to public hysteria which corrals power in the hands of the few, while the rest are too cowed to speak out, fearing they'll be next.

Oh...wait a minute...isn't that post 9/11 Bush administration policy...?

"Republicans are, are very pessimistic about 2008, when you talk to them off the record. They don't see how they can win this thing. And then you--they think for a minute, and only the Democratic Party, with everything in their favor, would say that, OK, this is a year either to have a woman or an African-American to break precedent, to do things the country's never done before, and it gives the Republicans hope."

Again, Novak is stating the obvious-Republicans are sexist and racist, and count on that in their "base" to win elections-but you have to think that the RNC cringed a little bit when they heard that. Your base from "Jesus Camp" may be nodding in approval, but you won't get the all-important "independent" vote admitting that sort of thing.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Michael Moore on Countdown

Watch it here.

You Flatter Yourself, Joe

"George Bush's approval ratings are lower than my IQ!"-Joe Scarborough this morning on his new am show on MSNBC.

Ehhh, no, Joe. They haven't quite hit single digits yet, although if he keeps up performances like this one, I suspect it's coming.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Shocking Truth Revealed

From CNN.com:

President Bush on Thursday acknowledged publicly for the first time that someone in his administration likely leaked the name of a CIA operative, although he also said he hopes the controversy over his decision to spare prison for a former White House aide has "run its course."

President Bush addresses questions during a Wednesday news conference.

"And now we're going to move on," Bush said in a White House news conference.


And in doing so, also break yet another pledge: "If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration," Bush told reporters in July of 2005. Of course, we all know that identifying covert operatives is against the law, and that the perps in charge of that crime-Cheney and Rove-are still sitting pretty in the White House.

Don't make promises you're not prepared to keep, George, although you have stood by another statement you made concerning the whole mess: "If the person has violated law, that person will be taken care of," you said in February of 2004, and that much is true...Scooter has been very, very well taken care of, and I'm sure he thanks you for it.


Parade of Pipsqueaks

"I'm trying to be consistent and perhaps have not done a great job of that...I have tried"-Sara Taylor, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the attorney general firings.

Kyle Sampson, 37. Monica Goodling, 33. And now Sara Taylor, the former Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Political Affairs at the White House, who is 32.

Apparently the Bush administration could find no mature, experienced conservatives to assume positions of responsibility in their administration.

Probably because they don't exist...or when they do exist, they turn out like James Comey.

Just too big a risk.

Lucky Seven


Until these Senators are prepared to vote against continued funding for the war—and none of them are now—Bush and Cheney can go on their bloody way. -Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive Magazine, July 5

We saw what happened yesterday-Mitch McConnell continues to hold the country hostage to the now-delusional George Bush, who is beginning to remind one of Dreyfus ("No crater? But I want a crater! I want wreckage, twisted metal! Something the world will not forget!") playing the organ in The Pink Panther Strikes Again. This is no longer a Bush war-this is now a fully Republican war. The Congress now has the power to hold the president accountable for this nightmarish mess, but in true partisan fashion they opt not to...and the country will remember, Mr. McConnell (the state of Maine will also remember the mind-numbing lack of leadership Susan Collins has shown on this issue).

It's time to put your money where your mouth is, guys. Defund this war.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Virile Vitter

David Vitter, senator from Louisiana and stringent defender of "traditional marriage" has been caught, literally, with his pants down. His phone number was found among the voluminous records of the Washington madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey, and a New Orleans madam's charge that Vitter was a frequent guest at her house as well also puts the senator in a, um, compromising position. Monday night Vitter issued this statement: "This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible...several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and from my wife in confession and marriage counseling."

Vitter was also seen wearing a yellow bracelet with the letters WWBLD on it. He responded to reporter's questions that the letters stood for "What Would Bob Livingston Do?" Ok, I made that last part up, but don't you think it's more than a little ironic that Vitter took Livingston's House seat after Livingston stepped down over a sex scandal? And before his departure, Livingston had been chosen to succeed Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House-who was also boffing a Woman Other Than His Wife at the time? Christ, don't these Republicans ever work?

Vitter did get a lukewarm vote of approval from that other paragon of sexual fidelity, Republican front runner Rudy Guiliani, who also noted that, "Some people disappoint you." Your son couldn't agree more, Rudy.

Sen. Vitter is currently seeking spiritual advice from Jimmy Swaggert and Ted Haggard.

Ok, I made that up too. At least, I think I did.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Karl Rove Brings Down the House

"I make no apologies," Rove said when an audience member asked how personally responsible he felt for the war. "It was the right thing to do. The world is better off with (Saddam Hussein) gone. We all thought he had weapons of mass destruction. The whole world did. He didn't. ...
"In the aftermath of the removal of the regime, al-Qaeda decided to make its stand in Iraq. And we have got to, in my opinion, fight 'em and beat 'em there; otherwise we are going to face them somewhere else." -Karl Rove at the Aspen Ideas Festival, July 8


Is the truth just allergic to this man? Or any sense of conscience or accountability? Or does he just lie so spectacularly and with such abandon that he can be considered certifiably insane, a danger to himself and others, the standard for being what is quaintly known in the psychiatric world as "blue-papered"-committed without consent.

Karl, they're coming to take you away, hah-hah...Yes. I think it's time. Would that it were true...

You can read a full accounting of the farce here.

Where Do You Stand, Tom?

From the American Research Group, released on 7/5/07:


Question:
Do you favor or oppose the US House of Representatives beginning impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush?

45% of all adults in favor, 46% oppose, 9% unsure. Sixty-nine percent of Democrats report they are in favor of this action, as well as 50% of independents. (Republicans, as expected, are apparently waiting for Dubya to get a blow job to decide that enough is enough. If my reaction to the president is the same as most women's-and I suspect it is-they will be waiting a long, long time.)

Question:
Do you favor or oppose the US House of Representatives beginning impeachment proceedings against Vice President Dick Cheney?

54% of all adults in favor, 40% opposed, 6% unsure. Seventy-six percent of Democrats and 51% of independents favor this action. Republicans must figure the chances of the veep getting a BJ are even infinitesimally smaller than some drunk, blind floozy going down on Dubya, so they're feeling pretty safe there (unless, of course, Ann Coulter decides to fulffill a fantasy...)

Nearly half the population of the republic wants the president impeached (compare that to the number who supported Clinton's impeachment, which was essentially the right wing fringe; that little gamble backfired badly, crystallized support behind Bill Clinton and cost Newt Gingrich his job) with the number growing by the day as more evidence of his criminal and duplicitous behavior emerges. The vast majority of Democrats certainly want to see the president held accountable in a criminal proceeding.

Tom Allen, who is asking for our support is his effort to unseat Stoogan Collins (who has apparently just awakened from a five-year coma and decided that, hey! Maybe the war is important after all!) has not come out with a strong statement in support of impeachment of either the president or vice president. While this in and of itself is not enough to sway my support of him-yeah, right, like I'm going to vote for that sniveling lapdog Lieberman suck up Collins-I think he needs to be reminded where his supporters stand on this issue and make his position transparent. I wrote and told him exactly that. You can reach him at:

rep.tomallen@mail.house.gov

or via his Portland offices at 774-5019.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Quote of the Year

"I'm busy teaching my students all about the Constitution (and) wondering if we'll ever get anybody here who actually reads it"-Bill Greenberg, a high school teacher from Arizona, at the White House during a field trip to Washington with his students.

(Kudos for your bluntness, Bill, especially in light of the fact that Arizona's a red state...hope you still have a job!)

A Call for Resignation

If you haven't seen this, it will bring tears to your eyes...especially the gut-wrenching laundry list of accusations of how this president has turned our country into a cesspool of political fear and cronyism:

I accuse you, Mr. Bush, of lying this country into war.

I accuse you of fabricating in the minds of your own people, a false implied link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11.

I accuse you of firing the generals who told you that the plans for Iraq were disastrously insufficient.

I accuse you of causing in Iraq the needless deaths of 3,586 of our brothers and sons, and sisters and daughters, and friends and neighbors.

I accuse you of subverting the Constitution, not in some misguided but sincerely-motivated struggle to combat terrorists, but to stifle dissent.

I accuse you of fomenting fear among your own people, of creating the very terror you claim to have fought.

I accuse you of exploiting that unreasoning fear, the natural fear of your own people who just want to live their lives in peace, as a political tool to slander your critics and libel your opponents.

I accuse you of handing part of this Republic over to a Vice President who is without conscience, and letting him run roughshod over it.

And I accuse you now, Mr. Bush, of giving, through that Vice President, carte blanche to Mr. Libby, to help defame Ambassador Joseph Wilson by any means necessary, to lie to Grand Juries and Special Counsel and before a court, in order to protect the mechanisms and particulars of that defamation, with your guarantee that Libby would never see prison, and, in so doing, as Ambassador Wilson himself phrased it here last night, of becoming an accessory to the obstruction of justice.


You can see the rest of the commentary here:



By all accounts, most people agree with you, Keith. Thank you for being our voice.

Hey! He Called Us Traitors!

Byron York, neocon lapdog and White House correspondent for the ideological toilet paper known as "The National Review," wrote an opinion piece that was reprinted in the Washington Post last Friday. As is typical with the crap that eminates from this entity, there was plenty to take issue with, but my eye fell and I paused at this particular sentence more than halfway through the article:


Many conservatives are still hopping mad over the president's description of the bill's opponents as people who "don't want to do what's right for America."

Huh. Well, imagine that!

Apparently, Mr. York didn't quite catch the irony of that statement-if he did, I'm sure he never would have so casually inserted those lines in the middle of that paragraph. As is my wont, I sat down and sent him an email (I sent a similar letter to the editors of the Post), which began with the quote above and continued:

"Amazing. I'm sure that was a real eye-opener for the group that has been told
they are the only Americans that matter since 2000. Doesn't feel very good, does
it? To those people I would say, welcome to the world we on the left have lived
in for the past seven years. If you're not 100% with him then you're
100% against him, and there's no room for discussion. Once people have
been told they are not good Americans, the chances that you're going to get them
back you on anything is pretty slim, so perhaps this became the jumping off
point for Republicans to start breaking in earnest with the president on Iraq?
Maybe they thought, he thinks we're anti-American anyway, so to hell with him. I
can tell you from experience that's a powerful motivator.

Although this is clearly not a new tactic in this administration's arsenal, in
this case it seems more like friendly fire instead of an enemy
strike. Being essentially called a traitor by your president hurts, no
matter what side of the aisle you're on, and it's not ever true. What I'd
really like to know is where was all the outrage from conservatives when the
president was saying EXACTLY the same thing about those of us who were opposed
to the invasion of Iraq-and other various neocon undertakings-as far back as
2002, before anti-Bush sentiment was fashionable?

Lisa Keenan"

Saturday, July 7, 2007

An Unbiased Opinion?

Ok, I was watching a sports talk show the other day, where they were discussing the aforementioned George Bush at Washington Nationals game. One of the panelists, a prominent journalist, mentioned that perhaps Mr. Bush should take over as commissioner of baseball when his term is finished as he is such a devotee of the game. It's a guy I usually like, and I immediately fired off this tongue in cheek email to him:

"George Bush as commissioner??? Sweet tapdancing Jesus! Thanks to this country's destruction by that arrogant, overbearing, lying f*ck, baseball is practically the only thing we have left to enjoy, and you want him to take over that, too???? He'd probably send the White Sox in to invade the Cubs during interleague play! Are you seriously trying to destroy MLB???

What were you thinking when you said that?????

Lisa Keenan"

Within minutes, I got this reply:

"I was thinking-and this is ----------, private citizen talking, not ----------, reporter-that this country would have been a helluva lot better off if Bud [Selig, current baseball commissioner] had stepped aside years ago and allowed Bush to become commissioner, where by definition he could not have wreaked as much damage as he has caused in his current capacity."

Touche, my friend. Excellent point.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mr. President

Yes, and many happy returns for ol' Dubya, who turns 61 today. Reports say he is celebrating at Camp David with the first lady.

Our gift to him? The lowest approval ratings in a generation. Awwww, isn't that nice?

Meanwhile, the Pentagon reports that two more soldiers were killed in Iraq on Wednesday, our country's birthday, bringing the number of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq war to 3,580. In a display of public grief and solidarity, the president went to a Washington Nationals game on Thursday and munched on chicken fingers and nachos with rich people. Hmmm, I wonder if any of those 3,580 dead shared your love of baseball, George? Even if they didn't, I imagine most of them would at least liked to have seen their 61st birthday...

Ahhh, Iraq, the president's most enduring present to us. The gift that keeps on giving.

So, happy birthday, George. May you be constantly haunted by the ghosts of those you have denied the same privilege.

(btw, Turn Maine Blue has a great post up reporting Stoogan Collins' breathtaking flip-flop in her opinion about how Mainers view the Iraq issue. Please, people. I beg of you. Get this idiot out of office!)

Impeach Dick Cheney



More at impeachcheney.org

Fantasy Busted

The Fantasy:

"Our troops will have a well-defined mission: to help Iraqis clear and secure neighborhoods, to help them protect the local population, and to help ensure that the Iraqi forces left behind are capable of providing the security that Baghdad needs."

"Many listening tonight will ask why this effort will succeed when previous operations to secure Baghdad did not. Well, here are the differences: In earlier operations, Iraqi and American forces cleared many neighborhoods of terrorists and insurgents, but when our forces moved on to other targets, the killers returned. This time, we'll have the force levels we need to hold the areas that have been cleared."

"To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November. To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country's economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis. To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs. To empower local leaders, Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections later this year. And to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation's political life, the government will reform de-Baathification laws, and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq's constitution."

The Reality:

Increased troop presence in Baghdad has not led to an increase in security in the area, and has only driven the insurgents out to other provinces, like Anbar and Diyala, where American casulaties are high and the surge is essentially a nonfactor.

The Iraqi forces are nowhere near prepared to assume defense of their own country.

The Iraqi government is unable to keep up any part of it's end of the bargain. Kermit and Fozzie could do a more credible job. What good is a puppet government that won't dance when you pull the strings?

Pete Dominici, apparently on break from trying to bulldoze US attorneys into filing fraudulent charges against political opponents, becomes the latest johnny-come-lately GOP weasel to blast the president on Iraq. Thanks a pantload, Pete. Where were you when we needed you? Oh, I remember: you were on the phone with David Iglesias...

Monday, July 2, 2007

Where's the Justice?

Paris Hilton had to go to jail...in fact, she was sent back to jail after they let her out. And she didn't even have a cushy right-wing think-tank job waiting for her after she was finally sprung.

What makes Scooter Libby any better than Paris Hilton? Except that he knows where all the president's bodies are buried, and George was frantic to keep his mouth shut.

Sheesh. Even Nixon didn't commute the sentences his law breaking associates.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

A Classic Song of Battle Revisited

From my inbox...

Battle Hymn of the Republicans
(to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic)

Mine Eyes have seen the bungling of that stumbling moron Bush;
He has blathered all the drivel that the neo-cons can push;
He has lost all sight of reason 'cause his head is up his tush;
The Doofus marches on.

I have heard him butcher syntax like a kindergarten fool;
There is warranted suspicion that he never went to school;
Should we fault him for the policies -- or is he just their tool?
The lies keep piling on.

Glory! Glory! How he'll Screw Ya'!
Glory! Glory! How he'll Screw Ya'!
Glory! Glory! How he'll Screw Ya'!
His wreckage will live on.

I have seen him cut the taxes of the billionaires' lone heir;
As he spends another zillion on an aircraft carrier;
Let the smokestacks keep polluting -- do we really need clean air?
The surplus is now gone.

Glory! Glory! How he'll Screw Ya'!
Glory! Glory! How he'll Screw Ya'!
Glory! Glory! How he'll Screw Ya'!
Your safety net is gone!

Now he's got a mighty hankerin' to bomb a prostrate state;
Though the whole world knows its crazy -- and the U.N. says to wait;
When he doesn't have the evidence, "We must prevaricate."
Diplomacy is done!

Oh, a trumped-up war is excellent; we have no moral bounds;
Should the reasons be disputed, we'll just make up other grounds;
Enraging several billions -- to his brainlessness redounds;
The Doofus marches on!

Glory! Glory! How he'll Screw Ya'!
Glory! Glory! How he'll Screw Ya'!
Glory! Glory! How he'll Screw Ya'!
THIS...DOO...FUS...MAR...CHES...ON

Friday, June 29, 2007

I Bet the Feeling was Mutual

Brownback harbored ‘hatred’ of Clintons

Brownback writes he once hated the Clintons until realized those thoughts were ‘wrong.’

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sam Brownback says he harbored a “hatred” of Bill and Hillary Clinton until he experienced a religious awakening in the mid-1990s.

Brownback, a Republican presidential hopeful, details in a new book how the change in outlook led him to make a stunning apology to Hillary Clinton a few years later during a Senate prayer breakfast.

“I was considering what I should say when I confronted all the anger that I held for the Clintons,” the Kansas senator writes in the book, “From Power to Purpose: A Remarkable Journey of Faith and Compassion.”

“I thought, I hate them for what they are doing to the country and I feel justified in hating them for it,” he writes.

But Brownback says he realized there is never justification for hating someone regardless of what their actions.

He told the prayer breakfast audience that he used to have a “hatred for Bill and Hillary” because of their politics. He spotted Sen. Clinton in the crowd and, speaking directly to her, said he “realized that those thoughts of hatred were wrong. I apologized to her for them. I don’t know what she thought, but I believe it made a difference.”


Religion permeates nearly every corner of Brownback’s book, written with Jim Nelson Black and officially slated for release July 3. His soul searching began in 1995, hastened by two dramatic events in his personal life. His marriage was in real trouble — he was “on track” to getting divorced — as he devoted all his energy to the conservative agenda that fueled the Republican takeover of the House in 1994.

Even more traumatic was his 1995 bout with cancer and surgery to remove malignant melanoma from his right side. Brownback says he finally found peace when he resolved to devote himself to God.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Nurses Like Mike

Knowing that more influential players like big for profit insurance giants and even physicians weren't going to challenge the country to rethink the way healthcare is delivered in this country, nurses have taken the lead in ensuring that Michael Moore's "Sicko" has the backing of a credible group of healthcare providers who are sick and tired of business as usual. I personally have LONG said that we don't necessarily need socialized medicine in this country, but at the very least we should operate in a nonprofit system. I'm proud of my fellow nurses, and plan to go see the movie with a fellow nurse, Kathy, later on this week.

Here's Mike and some nurses at a rally in California:



Here in Portland, "Sicko" is playing at the Nickelodeon on Temple Street. Here's the trailer for the movie:

Animal abuse by Mitt

Another reason not to vote for Mitt Romney, as if you needed one. What a completely stupid fuck, and the Globe is even stupider for not picking up on the implications of the story. If you can't be trusted to properly care for your dog, how in hell can you be trusted with nukes and armed forces?

Romney's Cruel Canine Vacation
Wednesday, Jun. 27, 2007 By ANA MARIE COX

The reporter intended the anecdote that opened part four of the Boston Globe's profile of Mitt Romney to illustrate, as the story said, "emotion-free crisis management": Father deals with minor — but gross — incident during a 1983 family vacation, and saves the day. But the details of the event are more than unseemly — they may, in fact, be illegal.

The incident: dog excrement found on the roof and windows of the Romney station wagon. How it got there: Romney strapped a dog carrier — with the family dog Seamus, an Irish Setter, in it — to the roof of the family station wagon for a twelve hour drive from Boston to Ontario, which the family apparently completed, despite Seamus's rather visceral protest.

Massachusetts's animal cruelty laws specifically prohibit anyone from carrying an animal "in or upon a vehicle, or otherwise, in an unnecessarily cruel or inhuman manner or in a way and manner which might endanger the animal carried thereon." An officer for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals responded to a description of the situation saying "it's definitely something I'd want to check out." The officer, Nadia Branca, declined to give a definitive opinion on whether Romney broke the law but did note that it's against state law to have a dog in an open bed of a pick-up truck, and "if the dog was being carried in a way that endangers it, that would be illegal." And while it appears that the statute of limitations has probably passed, Stacey Wolf, attorney and legislative director for the ASPCA, said "even if it turns out to not be against the law at the time, in the district, we'd hope that people would use common sense...Any manner of transporting a dog that places the animal in serious danger is something that we'd think is inappropriate...I can't speak to the accuracy of the case, but it raises concerns about the judgment used in this particular situation."

Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, was less circumspect. PETA does not have a position on Romney's candidacy per se, but Newkirk called the incident "a lesson in cruelty that was ... wrong for [his children] to witness...Thinking of the wind, the weather, the speed, the vulnerability, the isolation on the roof, it is commonsense that any dog who's under extreme stress might show that stress by losing control of his bowels: that alone should have been sufficient indication that the dog was, basically, being tortured." Romney, of course, has expressed support for the use of "enhanced interrogation" techniques when it comes to terrorists; his campaign did not return repeated calls and emails about the treatment of his dog.

As organizer of the Salt Lake City Olympic Games, Romney came under fire from some animal welfare groups for including a rodeo exhibition as part of the Games' festivities. At the time, he told protesters, "We are working hard to make this as safe a rodeo for cowboys and animals as is humanly possible."

UPDATE 6/29/07: Mitt's response:

“He scrambled up there every time we went on trips, got in all by himself and enjoyed it,” Romney said of the Irish Setter.

Romney also conceded any endorsement of his candidacy by the group was unlikely.

“PETA has not been my fan over the years. PETA was after me for having a rodeo at the Olympics,” he said in reference to his role as chief executive of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. “PETA was unhappy when I went quail hunting in Georgia, and they’re not happy that my dog likes fresh air.”

(Yeah, Mitt. I like fresh air, too, but not while tied down going 60 miles per hour. What's more ignorant, folks-abusing the pet in the first place or defending it over 20 years later? With all the flip-flopping Mitt has done in the past few months, you'd think this would be an obvious one to change your position on. But even if he had, you couldn't trust that he was sincere about it, now, could you?
Massachusetts, this toad was your governor? You elected him to the position? You should be ashamed of yourselves.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bandwagoners

If Richard Lugar were a Red Sox fan, I'd expect him to be wearing a pink cap and asking who Rod Beck was. Check this out, from Monday...



Lugar wasn't the only one to have a change of heart-Pete Voinovich of Ohio also threw his hat in the anti-war ring yesterday. Now, that's all good, really. Nothing is going to happen to change course in Iraq until Republicans decide that enough is enough. But what irks me is that Lugar is probably following the numbers more than his heart (although he does seem to be one of the precious few Republicans left standing with a modicum of principle, he is more conservative than he's lead you to believe). A new poll out shows Republican support for the war dropping like a stone-38% of Republicans now say they oppose the war, and 42% think it's time to start bringing at least some troops home, and those numbers are only likely to rise. While Lugar himself is not up for reelection in 2008, he's well aware than over 20 of his Republican peers are, and is using his position as the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations to allow the rest of them to fall in line. This is a coordinated effort by Republican leadership to try to some way end around George Bush and save their party, and who better to stick their toe in the rebel waters than Dick Lugar? It projects the image to other worried Republicans of, if Dick Lugar says it's wrong, well, then, I won't be going too far out on a limb if I say the same thing...and maybe it will help my re-election chances, especially considering the president has an approval rating under thirty percent...

Sincere? Maybe. Calculated, definitely. One notes that Stoogan Collins has not had the fortitude to speak out on this, nor is she likely to (Tom Allen, on the other hand, has been all over the place, noting he was against the war before it was cool to be against the war.)

One only wishes this had all happened five years earlier. Where were all you Republican anti-war bandwagoners then, when you might actually have done some good?

You can read Lugar's entire speech here.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Why Do I Bother...

...watching "Meet the Press?" There is never anybody on there anymore to promote discussion and dialogue-it's always just to promote an agenda, which MTP surely knows and apparently doesn't care as long as it generates an audience.

Today is a good case in point-the issue is the illegal immigration bill, and who does MTP showcase? No one other than that xenophobic, anti-semitic fascist Pat Buchanan, whose hatred of all things foreign and dark is well documented and who could be expected to add nothing of substance to the debate other than his well worn racist dogma, ie, "If we do not get control of our borders, by 2050 Americans of European descent will be a minority in the nation their ancestors created and built [with a lot of help from some unwilling Africans, which Pat doesn't mention, ever]. No nation has ever undergone so radical a demographic transformation and survived." It's clearly not about national survival with Pat. It's about keeping whites (specifically, white men) in the majority, which keeps them in power. Why does no one in the national media-much less that ass-kissing Tim Russert-ever challenge him on this? Why not call a spade a spade? Are they all afraid of him?

In other words, since we know what Buchanan is going to say (Punishment! Dehumanization! White nationalism!), and it's not going to be seriously challenged, why put him on except to fan the flames?

Pathetic, Tim. And I'm even more pathetic for tuning in. I won't make that mistake again.

(Sent as an email to Meet the Press)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Neocon Bubble Burst

The right wing fringe's capacity for spin is remarkable, although it does have it's limits-nobody but Dick Cheney is claiming now that the war in Iraq has had tremendous successes. It's an unmitigated disaster and to say anything different is to risk ridicule and scorn, a la...well...Dick Cheney.

So what's a right wing pundit to do, as those of us on the left sit with our arms crossed, toe tapping, "I told you so" on our lips, waiting for an apology? Will these guys accept acountability and call out the administration for the tragic consequences of their criminal actions?

Of course not. We got a hint of what was to come when billo pronounced that he "never wanted to hear about Sunnis and Shiites again." It's not Dubya's fault that we're stuck in the Muslim Vietnam...it's the fault of the people themselves. Not only do they hate our freedom...they don't even want our freedom, not even for themselves. It's not Dubya and Cheney's fault the war went sour so quickly. It's the Middle Eastern Way.

If you don't believe me, just ask right wing neanderthal par excellence Jonah Goldberg, who floated such a hypothesis in the NRO this week that was, of course, reprinted in the right wing fringe rag Portland Press Herald yesterday. Goldberg asks a legitimate question that, well, we really should have asked five years ago before we went in and upended all the chairs over there:

"But what if the Arab world just isn’t interested in our path?"

For some reason, it seems that Goldberg is actually floored by this proposition. It's typical American neocon arrogance to think that the rest of the world wants to be just like us and, like Jonah Goldberg, they are shocked to learn that isn't the case. It's not that hard a concept to grasp. Even Americans don't want to be like other Americans of a different region usually. But practically that means also that encouraging democracy in places where everybody hates you is a dicey undertaking for U.S. interests. Maybe the local people elect those who...well...have an anti-American agenda? Who are vowing to blow us off the face of the earth? Another thing the Bushies didn't think of before they went in and upset the apple cart. I don't know why this is so stunning to the right wingers, except that they are natural bigots and xenophobes who took no time to educate themselves about Muslim priorities before deciding that simply ousting a dictator is all they needed to do.

Maybe if we asked the Muslim world earlier what they would like their world to look like, we wouldn't now be asking, why don't they want to be us?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Stay Tuned!

Bush administration close to shutting down Guantanamo; White House meeting Friday
By Associated Press
Thursday, June 21, 2007 - Updated: 05:25 PM EST

The Bush administration is nearing a decision to close the Guantanamo Bay detainee facility and move the terror suspects there to military prisons elsewhere, The Associated Press has learned.

President Bush’s national security and legal advisers are expected to discuss the move at the White House on Friday and, for the first time, it appears a consensus is developing, senior administration officials said Thursday.

The advisers will consider a proposal to shut the center and transfer detainees to one or more Defense Department facilities, including the maximum security military prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, where they could face trial, said the officials. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing internal deliberations.

UPDATE/EDIT: The White House announced that "there will be no meeting" today about Gitmo after the above was leaked to the press. If I had a Hummer, what do you think I'd do with it at this point? I'd bet it that that leak came from Dick Cheney's office, that's what I'd do. And I'd win.

No Tissue Death, Just Soldier Death

Once again, by vetoing the most recent effort to promote stem cell research-and thus hope for millions of Americans suffering from diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's-George Bush proves he is not interested in doing the will of the people. Most studies, including the one showcased in this CNN report, indicate that between 60-70% of Americans approve of the use of embryonic stem cells for research purposes. When asked what they thought should be done with the embryos they think they are saving which are just destined for the dustbin anyway, the right wing fringe has no answer, and doesn't care to manufacture one. This is the most purely political issue on their docket, as none of these blastocytes has any hope of finding a hospitable womb).

Then the Republicans in Congress will prove that they also are not interested in the will of their constituents by failing to provide the votes to override the president's veto-are you listening, Stoogan Collins?

Of course, when you consider that the president and Republicans have willfully ignored the people's will in Iraq-where they don't mind the loss of life of thousands of Americans and tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of Iraqis, it makes the all-out effort to save a few pieces of tissue even more hypocritical.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mike Gravel is Throwing a Rock and Running for President

I know this space is rented to mock the right wing fringe, but I'm making an exception here...Mike Gravel is, shall we say, unpolished, but I like him, and for some reason this video makes me laugh hysterically:



He's also got another one out where he throws branches into a fire and then watches it burn for over seven minutes.

Mike says that nobody over 30 understands these videos (that explains my reaction to them, I guess-Mike himself is pushing 80). Check out some of the comments posted as well. They're as funny as the videos.

The Puppies Will Thank You

More good news from my Inbox:

Dear Lisa,

Thank you for signing the pledge to stop puppy mills! I'm writing today to tell you about a groundbreaking class action lawsuit filed yesterday on behalf of members of The Humane Society of the United States against a notorious Florida puppy mill dog dealer.

This lawsuit is the latest step in a multi-year legal battle by The HSUS against a company called Wizard of Claws and its owners in response to widespread reports that this store routinely sells sick and dying puppy mill puppies to unsuspecting customers.

The suit underscores Rule #1 when looking for a new pet: Don't buy unless you see first-hand where the pet came from.

The suit -- filed in Broward County Circuit Court on behalf of more than 100 Wizard of Claws' former customers -- is based on numerous consumer complaints about Wizard of Claws misleading customers and selling unhealthy puppy mill puppies in blatant violation of Florida law. The suit claims that puppies purchased in their stores had serious genetic defects or fell sick or died within days of purchase, and that the retailer refused to either reimburse customers or pay expensive veterinary bills.

The purpose of this class action suit is to prevent Wizard of Claws from selling puppy mill puppies to unsuspecting buyers. And we want to send a powerful signal to other pet stores and Internet retailers that business as usual cannot continue.

With your help, we can advance our fight to stop puppy mills. As The HSUS prepares to battle in court, here are some actions you can take right now:

If you are thinking of bringing a new dog into the family, or know someone who is, request a free copy of our puppy buyer's guide for information on how to find reputable breeders, shelters, and rescue groups.

Download one of our Stop Puppy Mills campaign badges or banners to your own MySpace or Facebook page, blog, or website.

Download Puppy Mill Cruelty flyers and post them or give them out at your neighborhood dog park, to engage fellow dog owners and help spread the word. (AUTHOR'S NOTE: SEE SIDEBAR!)

The puppy mill industry will continue to thrive as long as consumers are kept in the dark about the tactics and conditions employed to mass produce purebred puppies and designer dogs. With your help, we'll shed light on the cruelty of puppy mills and put this brutal industry out of business.

Thank you for your commitment to stopping puppy mills and for all that you do for animals.

Sincerely,

Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States