The Nattering Nabob <$BlogRSDUrl$>
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Saturday, April 30, 2005

*sigh*
 
17 bombs kill at least 50 people across Iraq.

At the Press Conference, Bush claimed that we were "making progress." Some progress.

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Obvious question
 
The Democrats should ask the obvious question about the Filibuster and Bush's nominations:

Why can't Bush (you know, the uniter) simply nominate someone who can get 60 votes?

I mean, there are hundreds of qualified candidates who would receive BIPARTISAN support.

And Bush CLAIMS to want bipartisanship.

Ok - so all he has to do is nominate people who can get five stinking Democratic votes. Simple. Five. That's not a lot.

If someone who is destined for a LIFETIME APPOINTMENT can't even get five Democratic Senators to vote for him, then he IS an extremist, and SHOULDN'T be given a lifetime appointment.

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Nixon and Rumsfeld
 
Nice to know that the original corrupt sons of bitches are back in charge, isn't it?

NIXON: It doesn't help. It hurts with the blacks and it doesn't help with the rednecks because the rednecks don't think any Negroes are any good.

RUMSFELD: Yes.

NIXON: The second point is that coming out - coming back and saying black Americans aren't as good as black Africans - most of them, basically, are just out of the trees. Now let's face it, they are. ... Now, my point is, if we say that, they say, "Well, by God!" Well, even the Southerners say, [affecting a drawl] "Well, our n-gg-rs is just better than their n-gg-rs."

Rumsfeld laughs.

Nixon: You know, that's the way they talk.

RUMSFELD: That's right.


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Friday, April 29, 2005

NK has more nukes.
 
North Korea appears to be making giant leaps forward in its technological ability to nuke Japan or the Western United States.

The head of the Defense Intelligence Agency said Thursday that American intelligence agencies believed North Korea had mastered the technology for arming its missiles with nuclear warheads, an assessment that if correct, means the North could build weapons to threaten Japan and perhaps the western United States.

I just want ot point out that this DISASTER occured while John Bolton was in charge of the situation in North Korea.

When Bolton was in charge, there were six-nation talks between NK, the US and four other nations (China, Japan, Russia and South Korea) whose sole purpose was to persuade NK to give up its weapons program.

The Beijing talks are aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program. (December 2, 2003)

But John Bolton, despite being our top envoy to North Korea, REFUSED to participate in these talks. Basically, he thought the proper approach to North Korea and Kim Jong-Il was to stand at a distance and call him names.

[ US Deputy Secretary of State Richard] Armitage also said the top US envoy on North Korea, John Bolton, who recently infuriated North Korea by calling its leader Kim Jong-Il a "tyrannical dictator", would not take part in the six-nation talks.

"The US government will make the decision on who will participate in the upcoming six-way talks and Mr. Bolton was not scheduled and will not be participating in these talks," he said. (August 12, 2003)

North Korea announced that it had nukes, and pulled out of talks.

North Korea said it has produced nuclear bombs and is pulling out of negotiations with the U.S. and four other nations to abandon the weapons program.

``We are compelled to suspend our participation in the talks for an indefinite period,'' the state-run Korean Central News Agency said today in Pyongyang, because the Bush administration has a policy ``not to coexist'' with the communist nation.

And now they are building nukes completely unchecked.

Look, Kim Jong-Il is a lunatic - he's possibly the craziest sonofabitch running any country on earth.

But he IS running a country. Which means that you have to deal with him.

Bush keeps saying, "He's a madman, he's a madman, he's a madman." Well, he IS a madman. But what the hell makes them think that you can successfully bully a MADMAN?

Yes, it may be emotionally satisfying to stand there and just tell the sonofabitch off, but it's STUPID. And dangerous. You don't play chicken with nukes. You have to deal with this guy.

Bush and Bolton had the chance to deal with him, and they chose not to.

And this is the result.

When Bush took office, North Korea did not have nuclear weapons.

Now they do.

Because Bush and Bolton thought name-calling and bullying was the correct way to deal with a lunatic.

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Bush Social Security Plan Would Cut Future Benefits
 
That's the Washington Post headline

Watch for the right wingers to declare this evidence of "bias" when it's simply the sober truth.

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9 car bombs
 
went off in Iraq and killed 23 people.

At least 23 people, including civilians and Iraqi forces, were killed and up to 93 people were wounded today in nine car bombs in the Baghdad area, just one day after the first fully and freely elected government in Iraq's history was approved.

Three car bombs exploded in the Al-Madain, killing nine people; two car bombs were detonated in the Al-Ghadeer area of Baghdad, killing one, and in Al-Adhamiya neighborhood 13 people were killed in four car bombs, according to the Interior Ministry. Of the dead, seven were civilians and the rest of the casualties were Iraqi forces, the ministry said.

The nine bombings suggested that fighters in Iraq were keeping up the momentum of an undiminished insurgency.


Bush's top General says that the insurgency is just as strong as a year ago.

There is a pattern here: the attacks go through a lull for a while, during which the press talks about how the insurgency is disappearing, and then they start up again, but more sophisticated, more organized and more effective.

And I'm sure the troops on the ground and the Generals have noticed.

But the press is supposed to pretend not to.

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If he recalls.
 
From the press conference:

Question: Your top military officer, General Richard Myers, says the Iraqi insurgency is as strong now as it was a year ago. Why is that the case? And why haven't you been more successful in limiting the violence?

BUSH: I think he went on to say we're winning, if I recall.


If he RECALLS. He THINKS the General said we were winning. If he recalls.

Gee, Commander-In-Chief, I would think that you know for sure whether or not your top General said we were winning.

At least I sure-as-shit hope so.

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Thursday, April 28, 2005


 
"If we get rid of the moon, women, whose menstrual cycles are governed by the moon, will not get PMS. They will stop bitching and whining." - Governor Musclebrain of California

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Ignorance is Strength.
 
The number of major incidents of terrorism worldwide TRIPLED last year.

Terrorist incidents in Iraq went up NINE TIMES.

And what do you suppose is the Bush Administration's response to this bad news?

To try and do something that will actually impede the growth of terrorism?

To fund anti-terrorist programs?

To hire some intelligence experts who actually know arabic?

Of course not.

Their response is: Don't talk about it.

Stop publishing the figures.
Hide them. Pretend that everything is going just fine. Politics is everything.

The number of serious international terrorist incidents more than tripled last year, according to U.S. government figures, a sharp upswing in deadly attacks that the State Department has decided not to make public in its annual report on terrorism due to Congress this week....

The State Department announced last week that it was breaking with tradition in withholding the statistics on terrorist attacks from its congressionally mandated annual report. Critics said the move was designed to shield the government from questions about the success of its effort to combat terrorism...

The controversy comes a year after the State Department retracted its annual terrorism report and admitted that its initial version vastly understated the number of incidents....

Both Republican and Democratic aides at the meeting criticized what a GOP attendee called the "absurd" explanation offered by the State Department's acting counterterrorism chief, Karen Aguilar, that the statistics are not relevant to the required report on trends in global terrorism. "It's absurd to issue a report without statistics," said the aide, who is not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

According to the Bush administration, what matters isn't whether or not something happened, but whether or not we find out about it.

If we don't know that it happened, that means it didn't happen, according to this totally Orwellian White House.

They will keep us in the dark about their own danger. They will look us in the eye and swear that their failures are successes.

The chicanery of the Bush's Government is right out in the open. They are doing this crap in broad daylight. And our nutless press corps acts like it's just the way things are supposed to be.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Thank you, Jon Stewart
 
Oliver Willis has the video of our news media letting bigots rant and lie unchallenged. Stewart seems to be the only one who calls them on it.

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Ethics Rule Reversal
 
This is Reid's doing, I think:

U.S. House Republican leaders have decided to roll back a rule change that has left the ethics committee in a stalemate for weeks, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

The rules were approved in January by the Republican-led House after Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas was admonished by the ethics panel on three separate matters in 2004.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the package was certain to include a reversal of the rule that would automatically dismiss an ethics complaint after 45 days if the committee is deadlocked, according to the report.

A House Republican aide told the newspaper the automatic-dismissal rule was "the rule that is most commonly believed to be designed to protect Tom DeLay" and that it was "impossible to win the communications battle" on it.


Yes, I know Reid isn't in the House. But he has done a terrific job in using the Republicans actions as tools to beat them over the head with. If the Republicans find "impossible to win the communications battle on it," it's because Harry Reid has defined it, and used it to define the Republican Party.

The Republicans tried to change the ethics rules to protect one of their unethical own. And Reid shone a spotlight on it.

And we know what roaches do when the light is turned on.

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Asshole
 
From yesterday's Social Security "event" (which Josh Marshall calls the "Bamboozlepalooza"):

MR. BENTLEY: And we’re operating in central Iraq. I’ll be back there next week.

[Snip]

THE PRESIDENT: How many children you got?

MR. BENTLEY: We have two children. We have a four-year-old son named Patrick, and a three-month-old daughter named Elaine that I just got to meet for the first time.

THE PRESIDENT: Really?

MR. BENTLEY: Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: No wonder you’re emotional. (Laughter.) That’s awesome.

MRS. BENTLEY: She was born two days after he deployed.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, great.



Is it possible for this man to be a bigger asshole?

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

I already knew that
 
From Nothing Matters:

Email destroys the mind faster than marijuana - study | The Register

"Modern technology depletes human cognitive abilities more rapidly than drugs, according to a psychiatric study conducted at King's College, London. And the curse of 'messaging' is to blame."

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Press release
 
From the office of Senator Harry Reid:

As a matter of comity, the Minority in the Senate traditionally defers to the Majority in the setting of the agenda. If Bill Frist pulls the nuclear trigger, Democrats will show deference no longer.

Invoking a little-known Senate procedure called Rule XIV, last week Democrats put nine bills on the Senate calendar that seek to help America fulfill its promise.

If Republican's break the rules Democrats will use the rule to bring to the Senate floor an agenda that meets the needs of average Americans, such as lowering gas prices, reducing the cost of health care and helping veterans.

"Across the country, people are worried about things that matter to their families - the health of their loved ones, their child's performance in schools, and those sky high gas prices," said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. "But what is the number one priority for Senate Republicans? Doing away with the last check on one-party rule in Washington to allow President Bush, Senator Frist and Tom Delay to stack the courts with radical judges. If Republicans proceed to pull the trigger on the nuclear option, Democrats will respond by employing existing Senate rules to push forward our agenda for America."

Democrats have introduced bills that address America's real challenges. (Details attached)

1. Women's Health Care (S. 844). "The Prevention First Act of 2005" will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions by increasing funding for family planning and ending health insurance discrimination against women.

2. Veterans' Benefits (S. 845). "The Retired Pay Restoration Act of 2005" will assist disabled veterans who, under current law, must choose to either receive their retirement pay or disability compensation.

3. Fiscal Responsibility (S. 851). Democrats will move to restore fiscal discipline to government spending and extend the pay-as-you-go requirement.

4. Relief at the Pump (S. 847). Democrats plan to halt the diversion of oil from the markets to the strategic petroleum reserve. By releasing oil from the reserve through a swap program, the plan will bring down prices at the pump.

5. Education (S. 848). Democrats have a bill that will: strengthen head start and child care programs, improve elementary and secondary education, provide a roadmap for first generation and low-income college students, provide college tuition relief for students and their families, address the need for math, science and special education teachers, and make college affordable for all students.

6. Jobs (S. 846). Democrats will work in support of
legislation that guarantees overtime pay for workers and sets a fair minimum wage.

7. Energy Markets (S. 870). Democrats work to prevent Enron-style market manipulation of electricity.

8. Corporate Taxation (S. 872). Democrats make sure companies pay their fair share of taxes to the U.S. government instead of keeping profits overseas.

9. Standing with our troops (S. 11). Democrats believe that putting America's security first means standing up for our troops and their families

"Abusing power is not what the American people sent us to Washington to do. We need to address real priorities instead -- fight for relief at the gas pump, stronger schools and lower health care costs for America's families," said Senator Reid.


This is GREAT.

My opinion is that they should do this whether the filibuster thing takes place or not. But Reid is probably correct in using it as a tool to put pressure on the Senate.

Narrative, narrative, narrative. Force the Republicans to vote AGAINST this stuff. Then use that vote - and Terri Schiavo, AND "Just Us Sunday" AND Tom Delay - to tell the story of what sort of power hungry corporate whores the Republicans really are.

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American People: Nuclear Option and Bush both suck.
 
The polls show Bush tanking:

As the Senate moves toward a major confrontation over judicial appointments, a strong majority of Americans oppose changing the rules to make it easier for Republican leaders to win confirmation of President Bush's court nominees, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The survey found that Bush's overall job approval rating stood at 47 percent, matching his all-time low in Post-ABC News polls. Half disapproved of the job he is doing as president.

On several other key measures of performance, Bush's standing with the public was at or near new lows, with less than half the public supporting the way the president is handling the economy, energy policy and Iraq.


Ok, so why are the Democrats showing a willingness to compromise on the filibuster.

Let the Republicans have all the rope they frigging want.

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Miserable failure
 
Kristof - who can be an insufferable ass - has a solid column today about Bush's utter failure in North Korea.

Here's a foreign affairs quiz:

(1) How many nuclear weapons did North Korea produce in Bill Clinton's eight years of office?

(2) How many nuclear weapons has it produced so far in President Bush's four years in office?

The answer to the first question, by all accounts, is zero. The answer to the second is fuzzier, but about six.

The total will probably rise in coming months, for North Korea has shut down its Yongbyon reactor and says that it plans to extract the fuel rods from it. That will give it enough plutonium for two or three more weapons.

The single greatest failure of the Bush administration's foreign policy concerns North Korea. Mr. Bush's policies toward North Korea have backfired and led the North to churn out nuclear weapons, and they have also antagonized our allies and diminished America's stature in Asia.

The upshot is that there's a significantly greater risk of another Korean War, a greater likelihood that other Asian countries, like Japan, will eventually go nuclear as well, and a greater risk that terrorists will acquire plutonium or uranium.

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We know, we know
 
Weapons Inspector Ends WMD Search in Iraq
By KATHERINE SHRADER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Wrapping up his investigation into Saddam Hussein's purported arsenal, the CIA's top weapons hunter in Iraq said his search for weapons of mass destruction "has been exhausted" without finding any.


Is this official announcement #60 or #61? I've lost track.

The question is: when is somebody going to PAY for this gigantic, disgraceful LIE?

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Monday, April 25, 2005

Letter to Scott McClellan
 
April 25, 2005

Scott McClellan
Assistant to the President and Press Secretary
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. McClellan,

We write to ask you to identify who in your office, or in the White House generally, gave Mr. James Guckert a.k.a. "Jeff Gannon" virtually unfettered access to the White House. In reviewing the response to our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to the Department of Homeland Security several of our specific concerns were validated. While your office and the White House have claimed Gannon was treated as just another reporter, the records we have obtained affirm that Gannon was granted access to the White House which appears to be unusual for any reporter. Out of concern for not only security, but also avoiding White House dissemination of propaganda, we request an explanation to the following:

1. The Department of Homeland Security's records indicate that Mr. "Gannon" entered the White House Complex 196 times in the past two years. He attended 155 of the 196 press conferences held at the White House in the two year period. This is disconcerting considering that your office and "Mr. Gannon" have maintained that his access was sporadic. At what point is a "hard pass" required?

2. The records show that Mr. "Gannon" was allowed access to the White House 38 times when no public press events occurred. He also spent hours in the White House both before and after press events took place. With whom did he meet on those occasions and what was the subject matter of those meetings?

3. On 13 occasions there is a record where he checked in with security, but is never registered as leaving the White House complex. How do you explain this?

4. Your Media Assistant, Lois Cassano, requested a total of 48 day passes for Mr. "Gannon" which helped facilitate his access for nearly 200 times over the last two years. It is nearly impossible that she would have made Gannon such a priority without direction from a supervisor. Would you like to revise your claim that, "I don't involve myself in that process, it's handled at a staff level."[1]

These records appear to confirm our concern that Gannon was treated in a manner that deviated from standard White House procedure for determining who receives press credentials, and to what degree members of the press and public are granted access to the White House complex. In fact, these entry and exit records only raise more questions, as your office has issued conflicting statements about his activities and apparently abused the press pass policy to avoid a full-fledged background investigation and allow Republican propaganda to be disseminated through a counterfeit media operation and a fake reporter.

Mr. McClellan, we have yet to receive any direct communication from your office in response to our repeated requests for information. The American people deserve to know what is happening in the White House Briefing room. It is unacceptable that you continue to deny them this information.

Sincerely,

Rep. Louise Slaughter
Ranking Member
House Rules Committee

Rep. John Conyers, Jr.
Ranking Member
House Judiciary Committee

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Loonies R Us
 
How crazy are these people?

This crazy.

"The majority on the Supreme Court are unelected, unaccountable, arrogant, imperious, want to redesign culture according to their own biases, are out of control, and I think they need to be reigned in." -- Dr. James Dobson, Founder and Chairman, Focus on the Family


Do you realize who he is talking about? He's talking about the SUPREME COURT. Rehnquist and Scalia's Supreme Court. And he thinks that they are radical liberals. Out of control. Wanting to redesign culture according to their own biases. (Not much projection there, eh?) The Supreme Court.

Oh, and he's also upset that they're unelected. Hey, you ignorant clown, of COURSE they're unelected. They're SUPPOSED to be unelected. That's what it says in the Constitution. You've heard of it? See, the IDEA is to keep REAL radicals - that's YOU loonies - from causing real damage by going on a mob frenzy. "What? We're in charge this year? Oh, boy! Let's dismantle the Constitution!"

See if you could do that, the Constitution wouldn't still be with us after 217 years. We have checks and balances. Keeps the theocrats down.

By the way, apparently the Republicans have discovered that the phrase "nuclear option" doesn't poll well. Suddenly, they are declaring that that's what Democrats call it:

Democrats say such an action would be a "nuclear option" that would force them to bring the Senate to a virtual standstill, except for action on national security legislation.
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"Democrats call that the "nuclear option," but Frist says it's just democracy."
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“Now if Senator Reid continues to obstruct the process, we will consider what opponents call the ‘nuclear option.' - Bill Frist


Well, the Republicans were the one who started calling it that when they first proposed to idea.

I went hunting around cyberspace and found this from the New Yorker, courtesy of Josh Marshall:

Changing the Senate’s rules on judicial filibustering was first addressed in 2003, during the successful Democratic filibuster against Miguel Estrada, whom Bush had nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Ted Stevens, a Republican Senate veteran from Alaska, was complaining in the cloakroom that the Democratic tactic should simply be declared out of order, and, soon enough, a group of Republican aides began to talk about changing the rules. It was understood at once that such a change would be explosive; Senator Trent Lott, the former Majority Leader, came up with “nuclear option,” and the term stuck.


And this from Eschaton

If we continue to see obstruction where one out of three of the president's nominees to fill vacancies in the circuit court are being obstructed, then action would be taken. One of those is the nuclear option. - Bill Frist


Gee, Trent Lott came up with the phrase. Frist has used it. So why are the Republicans afraid of it now, and why are they pretending that it's only a phrase that Democrats use?

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Saturday, April 23, 2005

One more nail
 
God, this Bolton is a clown.

A former U.S. ambassador to South Korea said Thursday that John R. Bolton, President Bush's choice for U.N. ambassador, might have misled the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about a provocative and controversial 2003 speech on North Korea.


"Might have misled." That's ambassador speaks for "is a lying sack of shit."

The former ambassador, Thomas Hubbard, also described Bolton yelling and slamming down a telephone on him during a confrontation. It was the latest example of the allegedly confrontational behavior that had helped stall Bolton's nomination.


Isn't it amazing how often this wannabe diplomat throws temper tantrums?

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It's official: Halliburton sucks
 
According to the State Department:

Serious cost overruns and "poor performance" have plagued the Halliburton Company's continuing $1.2 billion contract to repair Iraq's vital southern oil fields, a new State Department report says....

The report does not detail what it called the poor performance and excess spending. But it said that on Jan. 19, the American Embassy took the unusual step of issuing a "Cure Notice," a threat to terminate the contract. Kellogg, Brown & Root replaced some senior managers but the government remains dissatisfied, the report says.


If your one of Bush's buddies, you can make billions of dollars by doing crappy work.

It's the Bush way.

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The War On Judges
 
I took this from Oliver Willis. I had wanted to collect quotes like this myself, but he did a better job than I would.

In an unprecedented effort, the right has decided to attack judges in America, even going so far as to threaten violence.

Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX): "The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior" ("DeLay: Judges will answer for Schiavo actions", New York Times, 4/01/05)

Sen. Tom Coburn's (R-OK) Chief of Staff: "I'm a radical! I'm a real extremist. I don't want to impeach judges. I want to impale them" ("In Contempt of Courts", The Nation, 4/11/05)

Pat Robertson, Christian Broadcasting Network: God "will remove judges from the Supreme Court quickly" (Media Matters, 1/04/05)

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) Said Judge Killings Might Be Understandable.

"And I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters, on some occasions, where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in, engage in violence." ("Senator Links Violence to 'Political' Decisions", Washington Post, 4/01/05)

DeLay: "We set up the courts. We can unset the courts. We have the power of the purse" ("2 Evangelicals Want to Strip Courts' Funds", LA Times, 4/22/05)

James Dobson, Focus On The Family: "They don't have to fire anybody or impeach them or go through that battle. All they have to dois say the 9th Circuit doesn't exist anymore, and it's gone." ("2 Evangelicals Want to Strip Courts' Funds", LA Times, 4/22/05)

Dobson Compared America's Judges to the Klan: "I heard aminister the other day talking about the great injustice and evil of the men in white robes, the Ku Klux Klan, that roamed the country in the South, and they did great wrong to civil rights and to morality.

And now we have black-robed men, and that's what you're talking about." (Media Matters, 4/11/05)

Tony Perkins, Family Research Council: "There's more than one way to skin a cat, and there's more than one way to take a black robeoff the bench" ("2 Evangelicals Want to Strip Courts' Funds", LA Times, 4/22/05)

Majority Leader Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) will appear on 'Justice Sunday' with Dobson and Perkins:

""Justice Sunday" at Highview Baptist Church, organized by the conservative Family Research Council, will feature a videotaped speech by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist" ("'Justice Sunday' Event Sparking Protests", AP, 4/22/05)

This is creating a climate of fear for America's judges.

Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor: "I think it energizes people who are a little off base to take actions that maybe they wouldn't otherwise take." ("The War On Judges", Newsweek, 4/25/05)

New Requests for Protection: "The U.S. Supreme Court asked for more police on Tuesday, citing recent attacks on judges and the need for more visible patrols to thwart terrorists." ("US top court seeks more money for police security", Reuters, 4/12/05)

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Smearing Christian Judges
 
Paul Gaston has written a great piece that makes a great point: the right-wing theocrats aren't smearing "secular humanists" - they are actually smearing other Christians.

"What these self-avowed Christians do not acknowledge -- and what the American public seems little aware of -- is that the war they are waging is actually against other people calling themselves Christians. To simplify: Right-wing and fundamentalist Christians are really at war with left-wing and mainstream Christians. It is a battle over both the meaning and practice of Christianity as well as over the definition and destiny of the republic. Secular humanism is a bogeyman, a smoke screen obscuring the right-wing Christians' struggle for supremacy."


Go ye and read.

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Boys will be boys
 
Big Dick is trying to use his non-existent charm to push through Bolton:

"If being occasionally tough and aggressive were a problem, there are a lot of members of the U.S. Senate who wouldn't qualify," Cheney said in a speech to Republican lawyers, echoing an increasingly common defense of Bolton.


I guess that Dick Cheney calls this being "tough and aggressive":

"Mr. Bolton proceeded to chase me through the halls of a Russian hotel -- throwing things at me, shoving threatening letters under my door and, generally, behaving like a madman. For nearly two weeks, while I awaited fresh direction from my company and from US AID, John Bolton hounded me in such an appalling way that I eventually retreated to my hotel room and stayed there. Mr. Bolton, of course, then routinely visited me there to pound on the door and shout threats." - Testimony of Melody Townsel

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Friday, April 22, 2005

Heh.
 
From the New York Times:

As the Senate battle over judicial confirmations became increasingly entwined with religious themes, officials of several major Protestant denominations on Thursday accused the Senate Republican leader, Bill Frist, of violating the principles of his own Presbyterian church and urged him to drop out of a Sunday telecast that depicts Democrats as "against people of faith."

Religious groups, including the National Council of Churches and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, plan to conduct a conference call with journalists on Friday to criticize Senator Frist's participation in the telecast. The program is sponsored by Christian conservative organizations that want to build support for Dr. Frist's filibuster proposal.

Among those scheduled to speak in the conference call is the Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, a top official of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., in which Dr. Frist is an active member.


I guess the head of Frist's own church isn't a "person of faith."

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Harry Reid
 
smacked Bush and Cheney upside the head.

Cheney said this:

“These nominations were held up strictly for partisan political reasons, in an astounding departure from historical precedent,” Cheney said. “If the Senate majority decides to move forward and if the issue is presented to me in my elected office as President of the Senate and presiding officer, I will support bringing those nominations to the floor for an up-or-down vote,” he said to applause from the politically friendly audience. “On the merits, this should not be a difficult call to make.”


So Reid swatted him with this:

BUSH GOES BACK ON WORD AND ENCOURAGES IRRESPONSIBLE ABUSE OF POWER

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid released this statement in response to the vice president’s comments on the nuclear option earlier today.

“In the span of three minutes, the vice president managed to reinvent 200 years of Senate history and ignore the fact that Congress has already approved 205 of this administration’s nominees. Apparently, a 95 percent confirmation rate is not enough for this president. He wants it all, even if it means shattering the checks and balances in our government in order to put radical judges on the bench.

“Last week, I met with the president and was encouraged when he told me he would not become involved in Republican efforts to break the Senate rules. Now, it appears he was not being honest, and that the White House is encouraging this raw abuse of power.

“It is disturbing that Republicans have so little respect for the separation of powers established by our founding fathers. Based on his comments last week, I had hoped that the president was prepared to join Democrats in taking up the work of the American people, but it is clear this is no longer the case. If the White House and Congress insists on proceeding down this road, Democrats will do all we can to ensure that Congress pursues an agenda the American people can be proud of.”


Senator Reid understands the concept of being on message.

"Abuse of power." Keep saying it.

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Well, well, well.
 
From Atrios. There WAS a link to ABC News, but they have removed the story. I don't think the press wants this to get much coverage:

In an exclusive interview, Hyde delivered a big dose of candor and some reflective second guessing. He said, among other things, he might not try to impeach President Clinton if he had it to do all over again.

...

When asked if he would go through with the Clinton impeachment process again, Hyde said he wasn't sure. It turned into a personal and political embarrassment for Hyde when an extra-marital affair he had in the 1960's became public amid accusations of hypocrisy. He called the affair a youthful indiscretion.

...

The veteran DuPage County congressman acknowledged that Republicans went after Clinton in part to enact revenge against the Democrats for impeaching President Richard Nixon 25 years earlier.

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From Whiskey Bar, unintentional irony:


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We're all sick and tired. Let's say so.
 
Kerry:

"I am sick and tired of a bunch of people trying to tell me that God wants a bunch of conservative judges on the court and that's why we have to change the rules of the United States Senate," Kerry told a group of Bay State residents who traveled to Capitol Hill for U.S. Rep. Martin Meehan's annual legislative seminar.

"I am sick and tired of (them saying) they somehow have a better understanding of Christianity, of the Judeo-Christian ethic, of values," Kerry added. "We're talking about values? You show me where in the New Testament Jesus ever talked about the value of having taxes and taking money from poor people to give to the rich people in this country."


Senator Kerry? A whole carload of people voted for you. So open your mouth more - it actually gets covered.

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Shocker - Pope condemns gays
 
Ratzinger isn't wasting time

Pope Benedict XVI has responded firmly to the first challenge of his papacy by condemning a Spanish government bill allowing marriage between homosexuals.

The bill, passed by parliament's Socialist-dominated lower house, also allows gay couples to adopt.

A senior Vatican official described the bill - which is likely to become law within a few months - as iniquitous.

He said Roman Catholic officials should be prepared to lose their jobs rather than co-operate with the law.


You know what? Spain will almost certainly respond to this with a big yawn. Spain - which was once the most Catholic of countries - probably couldn't give a raw crap about what the Pope says anymore. And that rapid secularization has taken place largely BECAUSE of the Vatican's total lack of sense and complete cluelessness about real life in the modern world. And the Vatican still doesn't get it.

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To be taken with a large grain of salt.
 
Judicial Watch is an organization of cranks that makes a career out of filing Freedom of Information requests, filing lawsuits and spreading innuendo. But they don't actually lie. So take it from whence it comes. But:

FBI PROTECTS OSAMA BIN LADEN’S “RIGHT TO PRIVACY” IN DOCUMENT RELEASE
Judicial Watch Investigation Uncovers FBI Documents Concerning Bin Laden Family and Post-9/11 Flights

(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch, the public interest group that fights government corruption, announced today that it has obtained documents through the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) in which the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) has invoked privacy right protections on behalf of al Qaeda terror leader Osama bin Laden. In a September 24, 2003 declassified “Secret” FBI report obtained by Judicial Watch, the FBI invoked Exemption 6 under FOIA law on behalf of bin Laden, which permits the government to withhold all information about U.S. persons in “personnel and medical files and similar files” when the disclosure of such information “would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” (5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6) (2000))


There is also an article about this in Al Jazeera.

The FBI documents that Judicial Watch is talking about can be viewed in pdf format here.

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Damned Spanish Appeasers.
 
Remember when Spain elected a new President, and the right-wingers declared that they were appeasing terrorists?

Well, they've actually arrested more people who were actually involved in 9/11 than WE have.


Spain opens major trial of al-Qaida suspects
3 are believed to have had roles in Sept. 11, 2001, attacks

MADRID, Spain - Twenty-four Muslim men went on trial Friday as suspected members of an al-Qaida cell accused of using Spain as a staging ground to plot the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

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Holy Crap
 
While our intelligence resources have been focused on trying to prove that non-existent weapons existed:

Vital Nuclear Parts Missing

Critical components and specialized tools destined for Libya's nuclear weapons program disappeared before arrival in 2003 and international investigators now suspect that they were diverted to another country, according to court records and investigators.

Efforts to find the missing equipment have led to dead ends, raising what investigators said was the strong likelihood that the sophisticated material was sold to an unidentified customer by members of the international smuggling ring that had been supplying nuclear technology and weapons designs to Libya.

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Filibuster Showdown
 
It looks like the now-nearly-suicidal Republicans have renominated two extremists for the bench who were blocked by filibuster in Bush's first term.

This may set the stage for Bill Frist (R - kills cats) to try and kill the filibuster.

I was struck by this sentence:

Lawmakers have been told the filibuster battle may now be seen less as a stand for principle -- that Democrats are abusing the rules by preventing up-or-down votes on judicial nominees -- and more part of a larger GOP strategy to bring the federal judiciary to heel. Complaints by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and other Republican lawmakers about federal judges in the aftermath of the Terri Schiavo case have dramatically changed the framework for the Senate debate.


I don't know if the Republicans have quite figured out what has happened: The Democrats - thanks in large part to Harry Reid - have taken control of the narrative. The Republicans have been in control of the narrative for so long that they may not quite get that they aren't controlling it.

The Democrats have figured it out: they have artfully woven Terri Schiavo, Tom Delay, the filibuster, and the extreme attacks of judges into a single public story - the Republicans abuse power.

And I think trying to ram through two more extremists plays right into that narrative.

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Powell opposes Bolton
 
Poooooooooooooooor George.

Just when he goes out to stump for Bolton and declare that opposition to him is all political, his own, Republican, former Secretary of State is revealed as lobbying against Bolton's nomination.

"But associates of Colin L. Powell, the former secretary of state, said he had expressed reservations about Mr. Bolton in conversations with at least two wavering Republican senators.

The associates said Mr. Powell, in private telephone conversations, had made clear his concerns about Mr. Bolton on several fronts, including his harsh treatment of subordinates."


According to article, Powell would not go public with criticism himself, but notably did not deny that he had spoken to two Republican Senators about his problems with Bolton. Which pretty much IS a public confirmation of the gist of the article.

Powell is still publicly viewed as moderate despite his massive and indefensible screw-up in declaring that non-existent WMDs existed. If the public becomes aware that he opposes the nomination, it could well make the nomination - which is already in trouble - crumble like a cookie being hit with a sledge hammer.

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Action Alert
 
A commenter named Leah has posted a comment below to the post titled "These clowns need to be exposed." I'm posting it up here to give it more exposure. She accidently cut it off at the end, but I'll leave it as is. If she reads it, perhaps she can fill out the end for us.

SHALOM CENTER URGENT ACTION ALERT


Dear Folks,

Senator Frist, majority leader of the US Senate, is leading a major national TV campaign to accuse opponents of ultra-right-wing judicial appointments of being "anti-faith." (See page 1, col. 1, of NY Times of Friday, April 15. If you think I must be over-reacting, read the article below this letter. )

We cannot let this bigotry slide by, and we cannot let him impose lifetime judges on us all who hold his narrow view of America. NOW is the time for action.

You can act by clicking here: http://en.groundspring.org/Email...401588&u=248594

Most of the 21,000 people on this Email list -- and by far most Americans -- don't share the Senator's version of religious faith. He's welcome to his. But he's not welcome to slander mine, or yours, and he's not welcome to install judges that will stuff his version down the throats of us all.

So far as he is concerned, if you have any religious conviction or roots other than right-wing Christian, you are "anti-faith." Even if you ARE a "right-wing Christian" in religious faith but don't want to impose those beliefs on others, you are "anti-faith."

If he were just taking part in a disgusting act of bigotry and slander, bad enough. But he wants to make his bigotry into public policy.

What is Senator Frist's slander about? Senate Hard Right ultras are proposing to abolish the present rules of debate on confirming judges.

If the present rules stay in place, it will take 60 Senators to confirm a judge. If they are changed, it will take only 50 Senators plus VP Cheney.

Even its supporters call this change the "nuclear option." Indeed, it could "nuke" an important bulwark of American democracy and religious freedom -- the independence of Federal judges.

Why not let a bare "majority" of Senators confirm judges? These judges will sit for 20, 30, years.

So what could be temporary Hard Right Congressional/ Presidential power -- reversible in elections -- would instead be enshrined for two generations in the courts.

Many of the Bush appointees are hard-core ideological right-wingers. (The Senate has approved hundreds of Bush appointees who were conservative, but not Hard Right fanatics.)

If we doubted the insistence of the new Hard Right to press its power to the hilt of every knife, check out Congressman DeLay's threats to the judges who upheld judicial independence and refused to obey the Congressional/ Presidential diktat on the Schiavo case. (Many Americans who would have preferred to continue the heroic measures on Ms. Schiavo were horrified by the Presidential/ Congressional intervention.)

The Bush Administration is trying to pack the courts with ultra-right-wing judges.

These new judges will be making decisions about torture, abortion, gay rights, permanent imprisonment of US citizens without access to lawyers or crimina

Leah

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"Un-Christian"
 
I am very pleased to report Senator Ken Salazar, right-leaning Democrat, has actually said out loud what everyone is thinking about these theocratic lunatics:

Senator calls group's political tactics over judges 'un-Christian'

Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., lashed out at Focus on the Family on Thursday, saying the group is using "un-Christian" political tactics in the fight over White House judicial appointments.

"I do think that what has happened here is there has been a hijacking of the U.S. Senate by what I call the religious right wing of the country," Salazar said at a Capitol Hill news conference Wednesday.

He singled out Focus on the Family by name, objecting to full-page newspaper ads that the ministry's political arm recently placed, targeting 20 senators in 15 states.

"I think what has happened is Focus on the Family has been hijacking Christianity and become an appendage of the Republican Party," Salazar said in an interview. "I think it's using Christianity and religion in a very unprincipled way."


Focus on the Family is shocked, of course, that anybody would have the nerve to call bearing false witness "Un-Christian."

Well, sorry, James Dobson and all the rest of you lunatics, but that's what lying is.

"I'm flabbergasted the senator would call our Christianity into question," said Tom Minnery, the group's vice president of public policy.


Why? You constantly call everybody ELSE'S Christianity into question.

As the Big Man said, With the measure you measure others, you yourselves will be measured.

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Backs against the wall.
 
So suddenly the Republicans are offering to investigate DeLay.

In an ethics stalemate that is rivaling the most partisan legislative struggles, House Republicans are proposing an investigation of Majority Leader Tom DeLay while threatening to put several Democrats under scrutiny as well.

Republicans made their second attempt in two weeks Wednesday to get a deadlocked House ethics committee functioning again, adding the new proposal to blunt Democratic demands for an investigation of DeLay. Some House Republicans have acknowledged the steady Democratic attacks have made them nervous.

Democrats gave no ground. They said they wouldn't allow the evenly divided committee to conduct investigations unless Republicans reversed a rule providing for automatic dismissal of cases.


So it looks like the heat has gotten hot enough for the right-wingers to try and get a little pathetic political cover.

And make no mistake about it: that's all it is. If anyone tells you that the Republicans are actually suddenly concerned about Tom DeLay's ethics, you are cordially invited to laugh mockingly in his face.

He's their bagman, and every single one of them has politically benefitted from his corruption.

Keep in mind: Last January, the Ethics Committee dumped all members who were believed to be insufficiently loyal to Delay.

They changed the ethics rules so that one party could unilaterally kill a complaint and they did it specifically to shield DeLay from ethics complaints.

And they did this because they were OUTRAGED that committee members had had the sheer gall to admonish DeLay for unethical behavior.

In other words, the Republicans are now offering to investigate DeLay with a committee that they intentionally rendered non-functional so that it COULDN'T properly investigate DeLay.

And the Democrats are dead right to demand a bipartisan rewrite of the Ethics Committee's rules to give those rules some damned teeth again so that they CAN investigate. Any findings of the current committee will be extremely suspect, since the current committee operates under rules that were specifically formulated to protect the person who is currently under suspicion.

DeLay insists that he's clean.

Well, if he's so damned clean, why did the Republicans go to such gigantic lengths to to protect him from scrutiny?

Unless the whole stinking pack of them wishes to share in his corruption and disgrace, they have to stop protecting him from the consequences of his own actions.

As long as they continue to protect him, they are all equally guilty.

And they deserve the political hanging that they shall receive.

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Ooops
 
Seen on kos:

"The time has come that the American people know exactly what their Representatives are doing here in Washington. Are they feeding at the public trough, taking lobbyist-paid vacations, getting wined and dined by special interest groups? Or are they working hard to represent their constituents? The people, the American people, have a right to know...I say the best disinfectant is full disclosure, not isolation." - Tom DeLay, November 1995

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Political Reasons
 
The most totally political White House in memory is shocked - SHOCKED, I tell you - to think that someone ELSE may do something for political reasons.

The White House accused Democrats on Wednesday of blocking John Bolton's nomination for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations for political reasons, as lawmakers examined fresh information Democrats said pointed to Bolton's abusive behavior.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Democrats were trying to "score political points" with the nomination of Bolton, a hard-line conservative and staunch U.N. critic.


But, gee whiz, guys, blocking Bolton's nomination would only "score political points" if the American People didn't want him to be nominated!

It looks like the White House is tacitly admitting that the Citizens of the United States don't want this extremist lunatic, either.

The only ones who want him are the OTHER extremist lunatics.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Extra!
 
Simon Bar Ratzinger elected Pope.

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Bolton vote postponed
 
As the hearings unexpectedly take a turn toward relevance.


Unexpected cracks in Republican support threw into limbo President Bush's high-profile nomination of John R. Bolton to be the country's representative at the United Nations.

The postponement Tuesday of a Senate committee vote on Bolton was a political defeat for Bush at least in the short term and opened the possibility that the nomination could fall....

Among the new allegations were those of a Dallas businesswoman who said Bolton grew irrationally angry over a business dispute, chased her through a hotel and threw things at her at an international conference a decade ago. Bolton was "genuinely behaving like a madman," Melody Townsel, a former U.S. Agency for International Development worker, wrote in a letter to the committee read aloud at Tuesday's hearing by Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del.


Looks like there are enough sane people in the committee who think that allegations of insanity are actually important enough to investigate.

At the White House, press secretary Scott McClellan called allegations of abusive personal behavior unfounded.


Ummm....how the hell would you know, Scottie? You were staying at the hotel at the time?


"I am NOT the Walrus!"

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Bush will sign the Usury Bill
 
Remember when loan sharking was illegal?

Americans weighed down by credit card bills and other financial obligations will have a harder time wiping out their debt under a bankruptcy bill President Bush is poised to sign.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Internet? Eeeeeevil.
 
Just when you thought the loonies couldn't get loonier, THIS pops up on the news:

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay intensified his criticism of the federal courts on Tuesday, singling out Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's work from the bench as "incredibly outrageous" because he has relied on international law and done research on the Internet.

"We've got Justice Kennedy writing decisions based upon international law, not the Constitution of the United States? That's just outrageous," DeLay told Fox News Radio. "And not only that, but he said in session that he does his own research on the Internet? That is just incredibly outrageous."


He does research on the Internet! Ooooooooooooh!

I'm horrified. Aren't YOU horrified?

Incredibly outrageous.

Tom Delay is an incredible nutcase.

THIS is who the Republicans chose as their leader.

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You know what this country needs?
 
Tax breaks for oil companies.

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Independent Judiciary
 
To hear the Republicans talk, you would swear that the American judiciary was a screaming hotbed of socialism, with judges secretly having a hammer and sickle tatooed on their chests under their black robes.

Like most of the excreta that emanates from the Republican mouth, this one is directly in the teeth of the facts.

Most of the judges in the United States are Republican appointees. You would never know it, would you?

Out of the nine judges on the Supreme Court, seven were appointed by Republican Presidents.

There are 13 federal appeals courts in the country. Out of those 13, ten have majorities that were apppointed by Republican Presidents.

There are 162 appeals court judges. 94 were appointed by Republican Presidents. (source: LA Times)

Bush has sent 215 judges to the Senate for confirmation. Out of the 215, 205 have been confirmed.

And the Republicans STILL WON'T STOP WHINING.

Did you ever see a group of grownups whine like such children because they only get their own way 95% of the time?

See, it isn't enough for them to appoint all the judges: they want to appoint all the judges and then guarantee that those judges will always rule the way that they are told to rule.

Which, of course, a judge is not supposed to do. That's the whole idea of having a judge. A judge isn't SUPPOSED to be influenced by politics, but the Republicans get incensed when they aren't.

The Republicans hate an independent judiciary.

They hate an independent ANYTHING.

And I'm beginning to think that they hate independence itself.

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Monday, April 18, 2005

Pathological
 
A lady named Melody Townsel has sent a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Commitee regarding her experiences with John Bolton's behavior. kos has the story.

This is seriously loonie. Emphasis mine.

Dear Sir:

I'm writing to urge you to consider blocking in committee the nomination of John Bolton as ambassador to the UN.

In the late summer of 1994, I worked as the subcontracted leader of a US AID project in Kyrgyzstan officially awarded to a HUB primary contractor. My own employer was Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly, and I reported directly to Republican leader Charlie Black.

After months of incompetence, poor contract performance, inadequate in-country funding, and a general lack of interest or support in our work from the prime contractor, I was forced to make US AID officials aware of the prime contractor's poor performance.

I flew from Kyrgyzstan to Moscow to meet with other Black Manafort employees who were leading or subcontracted to other US AID projects. While there, I met with US AID officials and expressed my concerns about the project -- chief among them, the prime contractor's inability to keep enough cash in country to allow us to pay bills, which directly resulted in armed threats by Kyrgyz contractors to me and my staff.

Within hours of sending a letter to US AID officials outlining my concerns, I met John Bolton, whom the prime contractor hired as legal counsel to represent them to US AID. And, so, within hours of dispatching that letter, my hell began.

Mr. Bolton proceeded to chase me through the halls of a Russian hotel -- throwing things at me, shoving threatening letters under my door and, generally, behaving like a madman. For nearly two weeks, while I awaited fresh direction from my company and from US AID, John Bolton hounded me in such an appalling way that I eventually retreated to my hotel room and stayed there. Mr. Bolton, of course, then routinely visited me there to pound on the door and shout threats.

When US AID asked me to return to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in advance of assuming leadership of a project in Kazakstan, I returned to my project to find that John Bolton had proceeded me by two days. Why? To meet with every other AID team leader as well as US foreign-service officials in Bishkek, claiming that I was under investigation for misuse of funds and likely was facing jail time. As US AID can confirm, nothing was further from the truth.

He indicated to key employees of or contractors to State that, based on his discussions with investigatory officials, I was headed for federal prison and, if they refused to cooperate with either him or the prime contractor's replacement team leader, they, too, would find themselves the subjects of federal investigation. As a further aside, he made unconscionable comments about my weight, my wardrobe and, with a couple of team leaders, my sexuality, hinting that I was a lesbian (for the record, I'm not).

When I resurfaced in Kyrgyzstan, I learned that he had done such a convincing job of smearing me that it took me weeks -- with the direct intervention of US AID officials -- to limit the damage. In fact, it was only US AID's appoinment of me as a project leader in Almaty, Kazakstan that largely put paid to the rumors Mr. Bolton maliciously circulated.

As a maligned whistleblower, I've learned firsthand the lengths Mr. Bolton will go to accomplish any goal he sets for himself. Truth flew out the window. Decency flew out the window. In his bid to smear me and promote the interests of his client, he went straight for the low road and stayed there.

John Bolton put me through hell -- and he did everything he could to intimidate, malign and threaten not just me, but anybody unwilling to go along with his version of events. His behavior back in 1994 wasn't just unforgivable, it was pathological.


I cannot believe that this is a man being seriously considered for any diplomatic position, let alone such a critical posting to the UN. Others you may call before your committee will be able to speak better to his stated dislike for and objection to stated UN goals. I write you to speak about the very character of the man.

It took me years to get over Mr. Bolton's actions in that Moscow hotel in 1994, his intensely personal attacks and his shocking attempts to malign my character.

I urge you from the bottom of my heart to use your ability to block Mr. Bolton's nomination in committee.

Respectfully yours,

Melody Townsel
Dallas, TX 75208


Joe Biden was interviewed by Chris Wallace last night and asked about it. Here's what he had to say:

CHRIS WALLACE: Senator Biden, the word around Washington is the Democrats are trying to find more cases of this serial abuse, where John Bolton allegedly yelled at or tried to fire staffers who disagreed with him.

Have you come up with any other cases or witnesses, and are you going to ask for more hearings?

BIDEN: Yes, and maybe.

Yes, in that we have not — they've come to us. For example, a woman, a former AID worker in Kyrgyzstan wrote an open letter to the committee that we received, I guess, Thursday or Friday, saying that she'd been essentially harassed by John Bolton and said that, "He claimed I was under investigation for misuse of funds and likely to be facing jail time to undermine me," all the way from individuals with whom he has worked who've said that he's not treated them well.


If this is accurate, if wouldn't be the first time that Bush has tried to place a man who was completely over the edge into a position of authority.

As Drudge would say, developing...

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Michael Bolton vs. John Bolton
 
From the Poor Man

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Free fallin'
 
President’s Job Ratings Fall to Lowest Point of His Presidency

The last month has not been a good one for President Bush and the Republicans. Most people have opposed the President’s proposals for reforming Social Security and most were unhappy with the positions taken by Republicans in the Terri Schiavo case. The result is that the president’s job ratings have fallen to 44 percent positive, 56 percent negative, the worst numbers of his presidency, and a drop from 48 percent positive, 51 percent negative in February (and 50% positive, 49% negative last November).


And the response seems to be to lurch still further to the right.

Keep trying to stuff extremism down America's throat guys.

Keep calling for a theocracy.

Keep insisting that government should butt out of the affairs of corporations, and butt into the affairs of families and citizens.

Keep lying.

Keep trying to gut our retirement benefits.

Keep falling.

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Holy crap.
 
Why aren't the media all over this?

John R. Bolton -- who is seeking confirmation as the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations -- often blocked then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and, on one occasion, his successor, Condoleezza Rice, from receiving information vital to U.S. strategies on Iran, according to current and former officials who have worked with Bolton.

In some cases, career officials found back channels to Powell or his deputy, Richard L. Armitage, who encouraged assistant secretaries to bring information directly to him. In other cases, the information was delayed for weeks or simply did not get through. The officials, who would discuss the incidents only on the condition of anonymity because some continue to deal with Bolton on other issues, cited a dozen examples of memos or information that Bolton refused to forward during his four years as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.


This clown intentionally witheld national security information if he thought that reveal it would undermine his wishes?

And they still may confirm him?

How about if he was caught knocking over a bank, would THAT be a problem? Guess not.

Holy Crap.




Got Milk?

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Please, God, let it be true
 
A senior House Republican said on Sunday he thought embattled Majority Leader Tom DeLay would stay on in his post despite the cloud of ethical allegations swirling around him.

"Tom DeLay will stay as leader," said Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri, the No. 3 Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives. - Reuters


Conservative n. one who believes in fiscal conservatism.
one who adheres to tradition methods or views.
one who defends Tom DeLay and his corruption at all costs.

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Saturday, April 16, 2005

Under God vs. the Golden Rule
 
Diary from MyDD.

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Get me rewrite.
 
"House Republicans brushed aside the Democrats' latest attempt to rewrite ethics rules on Thursday, one day after a closed-door discussion that touched on the perils of political arrogance." - AP


1) Notice the transaparent bias in the article's opening sentence: "the Democrats' latest attempt to rewrite ethics rules." It sounds like it came right out of an RNC press release, and maybe it did. Those nasty Democrats - they are always trying to rewrite the ethics rules. In this case, of course, the Democrats were trying to undo the fact that the Republicans' ALREADY rewrote the ethics rules to protect Delay. The Democrats aren't "trying to rewrite" them - they are trying to go back to what they were before the Republicans rewrote them. It's the REPUBLICANS who keep rewriting the ethics rules, not the Democrats.

2) In a demonstration of just how pathetic the press has become, you can search this AP article all day long and one thing you will not find is what's actually in the bloody bill. Reading this "news" article leaves you stone ignorant. You wind up with NO idea of what they actually voted on, beyond that it had some relationship to "ethics."

3) What the Democrats are doing is perfect: The idea isn't to rewrite ethics rules - they know that won't pass. Instead, they are rewriting the public political narrative. And that narrative says that the Republicans are unethical and corrupt. Pelosi and Reid seem to understand that you don't merely propose bills for the purpose of making law: you propose them to make a statement about what you stand for, and to force the other party into exposing what they stand for.

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Airport Security hasn't improved
 
Of course it hasn't. For one thing, that would actually be useful, and for another, improving airport security wouldn't make Bush and his friends any money.

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Religious test
 
From the NY Times Editorial Page

Right-wing Christian groups and the Republican politicians they bankroll have done much since the last election to impose their particular religious views on all Americans. But nothing comes close to the shameful declaration of religious war by Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader, over the selection of judges for federal courts.....

It is one thing when private groups foment this kind of intolerance. It is another thing entirely when it's done by the highest-ranking member of the United States Senate, who swore on the Bible to uphold a Constitution that forbids the imposition of religious views on Americans....

We fully understand that a powerful branch of the Republican Party believes that the last election was won on "moral values." Even if that were true, that's a far cry from voting for one religion to dominate the entire country. President Bush owes it to Americans to stand up and say so.


From the point of view of politics, the last sentence of the Times article ("President Bush owes it to Americans to stand up and say so.") is EXACTLY what the Democrats should demand. Your with us or against us, and all that. The Democrats should insist that Bush either reject this sort of extremism, or publicly admit that he embraces it. And, if he fails to, accuse him (accurately) of mealy-mouthed trying-to-have-it-both-ways flip-flopping. You know the sort of thing: "I thought Bush was supposed to be a straight talkers. So, Mr. Bush, do you agree with Senator Frist that only those who support your nominees are "people of faith"? Or not? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm?"

But the Times should ALSO run this little piece from our Constitution. On the front page. The Republicans seem to have forgotten that it exists:

"[N]o religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." - The Constitution of the United States, Article VI, Clause 3


Think about it: by saying that rejecting Bush's nominees is an attack on "people of faith," Frist is tacitly admitting that "faith" is a major criterion in selecting those nominees, isn't he?

Incidentally, I called Senator Frist's office yesterday and let the person who answered the phone know what I think. UNfortunately - although I had intended to remain calm and reasoned (you get a better hearing that way), I didn't. I started the phone call that way, but didn't end it that way, at all, at all.

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Friday, April 15, 2005

Statement by Harry Reid
 
I am disappointed that in an attempt to hide what the debate is really about, Senator Frist would exploit religion like this. Religion to me is a very personal thing. I have been a religious man all my adult life. My wife and I have lived our lives and raised our children according to the morals and values taught by the faith to which we prescribe. No one has the right to judge mine or anyone else’s personal commitment to faith and religion.

God isn’t partisan.

As His children, he does ask us to do our very best and treat each other with kindness. Republicans have crossed a line today. America is better than this and Republicans need to remember that. This is a democracy, not a theocracy. We are people of faith, and in many ways are doing God’s work. But we represent all Americans, regardless of religion. Our founding fathers had the superior vision to separate Church and State in our democracy. It is a fundamental principle that has allowed our great, diverse nation to grow and flourish peacefully. Blurring the line between Church and State erodes our Constitution, and our democracy. It is a blatant abuse of power. Participating in something designed to incite divisiveness and encourage contention is unacceptable. I would hope that Sen. Frist will rise above something so beyond the pale.

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These clowns have to be exposed.
 
From the New York Times:

As the Senate heads toward a showdown over the rules governing judicial confirmations, Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, has agreed to join a handful of prominent Christian conservatives in a telecast portraying Democrats as "against people of faith" for blocking President Bush's nominees.

Fliers for the telecast, organized by the Family Research Council and scheduled to originate at a Kentucky megachurch the evening of April 24, call the day "Justice Sunday" and depict a young man holding a Bible in one hand and a gavel in the other. The flier does not name participants, but under the heading "the filibuster against people of faith," it reads: "The filibuster was once abused to protect racial bias, and it is now being used against people of faith."


This SCREAMS for a very obvious counter-response: The religious left - in fact, ANY religious person who votes Democratic - has got to stand up and yell: "The Republicans don't think Episcopalians are people of faith! Or Methodists! Or Lutherans! Or Presbyterians! Or Jews!"

This people are actually going to stand there and define "people of faith" as "people who agree with all of Bush's judicial appointments"?

If these guys actually want to swing to that level of totally insane extremism, they should be hung with it. And they deserve it, because it's DISGUSTING.

I am so sick of these jerks behaving as though "people of faith" means faith in GEORGE BUSH, instead of faith in God.

This is not only non-christian - it's raw blasphemy.

And the REAL people of faith should say so.

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Thursday, April 14, 2005


 

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At least 18 dead
 
Car bombs. When stuff like this starts to seem like so much background noise, we've lost part of our humanity.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Ms. Pelosi, will you marry me?
 
‘Republicans Are Engaged in Abuse of Power and the American People are Paying the Price’

“Ten years ago, the Republicans, in their Contract with America, claimed that they had to restore the trust between the American people and their representatives in government. Here we are today with the radical right-wing Republican majority that is destroying that trust, and doesn’t want to play by the rules. In fact, this Republican majority wants to be above the law.

“They want to be above the law when it comes to respecting minority rights, which are part of the law of our land, and witness what they are doing now in the Senate to try to stifle debate by eliminating the right of the filibuster."


Nancy Pelosi, of course. Read the whole thing.

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"There's a difference, when Lincoln prayed, he talked to God. When Bush prayed, God talked to Bush." – Mario Cuomo

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...but that would be insulting to the March Hare.
 
Tom Delay thinks that Gingrich's Contract With America is a "Great Document of Freedom" comparable to the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

The AP was kind enough to notice:

To House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, the Republican Party's "Contract With America" ranks right up there with the Magna Carter, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights among the "great documents of freedom." So says Delay's Internet Web site.


Here's Delay's actual page, just in case you think they're kidding.

Remember: The entire Republican Party could have chosen ANY Congressman - and this is the madman of whom they said, "HERE is our leader!"

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The New Republican Party
 
"I'm a radical! I'm a real extremist. I don't want to impeach judges. I want to impale them!" - Michael Schwartz, Chief of Staff of Republican Senator Tom Coburn

IOKIYAR.*

You can threaten to murder judges and nobody raises a peep.

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*"It's OK If You're A Republican.

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This is actually a good idea.
 

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A middle-finger "thank you."
 
"I want to thank you for extending freedom to millions, and I want to thank you for making America proud." - Bush, yesterday, at Fort Hood


As Hamlet said, "Words, words, words."

Saying "Thank you" with your mouth while saying "Fuck you" with your actions does the troops no good whatsoever.

"Thank you for all you've done. Now excuse me while I cut your funding."

What a shit.

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Support the Troops
 
To Republicans "Support the Troops" apparently means "Use them as cannon fodder and then forget about them."

Amendment to boost veterans' health care rejected by legislators

The Senate on Tuesday rejected an amendment offered by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., that would have boosted money for veterans' health care by $2 billion, money the senator said was urgently needed to ensure soldiers returning from the Iraqi war receive the medical care they need.

"Part of the cost of the war is caring for the men and women when they return," she said on the Senate floor. "There is a train wreck coming in veterans' health care, and I'm offering an amendment to deal with the emergency now -- before it turns into a crisis."

More than 240,000 servicemen and women have left the military since the Iraq war began, and more than 50,000 of those already have applied for Veterans Administration benefits at a time when VA medical services are overextended, Murray said.

The votes were virtually party line with only one Republican, Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, supporting Murray.

Murray said she tried to convince Republicans to support her amendment but was told they had "received their marching orders" from the GOP leadership.


This is a REAL crisis in the making, not a phony one like Bush's Social Security "crisis." But the right-wingers apparently don't give a crap about providing health care for the folks they claim to support, and whom they have sent to get shot at. It's so much easier when your "support" consists entirely of sitting on your ass and yelling "rah, rah." God forbid that it should cost you anything.

Give us our pork; screw the vets.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Delay: Blame Democrats
 
Tom Delay has officially told his party to blame the Democrats if anyone asks about HIS ethical failings.

"House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, hoping to hold support among fellow Republicans, urged GOP senators Tuesday to blame Democrats if asked about his ethics controversy and accused the news media of twisting supportive comments so they sounded like criticism."


What is it with Republicans and their inability to accept responsibility for thei actions? Is it genetic?

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Because the press sucks, that's why.
 
Kristof has a column in today's New York Times, about the reputation of the American Press. And he just doesn't get it.

I don't see any easy solutions, but print, radio and television all need to take much bolder steps to reconnect with the public.

More openness, more willingness to run corrections, more ombudsmen, more acknowledgement of our failings - those are the kinds of steps that are already under way and that should be accelerated. It would help if news organizations engaged in more outreach to explain themselves, with anchors or editors walking readers through such minefields as why we choose to call someone a "terrorist," or how we wield terms like "pro-life" or "pro-choice."


I sent him the following:


Why does the press have a bad reputation? I can't imagine.

Did you know that Al Gore claimed to have invented the Internet? Really, he did. He must have. You guys said that he did over and over and over again. It was a gross distortion of the facts, but you said it over and over and over again anyway.

Did you know that Howard Dean couldn't possibly be a good President? After all, he yelled "yeah!" at a rally! That's clearly evidence of severe mental imbalance. Let's play that clip over and over again. Let's talk about nothing else for three days, Let's spend more time on this stupid yell then we spend on - I don't know - WAR or something. And let's lower the volume on the crowd so no one can tell that he's yelling to be heard.

Why lookie here: During the debate, Bush said that he "never said" that he wasn't concerned about Osama Bin Laden, when we have him on tape as saying exactly that, in those words. In other words, he lied through his teeth, publicly and provably, during a debate, about how he responded to an attack on the United States. But let's not mention that. THAT'S not important. Instead, let's spend days talking about the shocking fact that John Kerry mentioned that Dick Cheney's daughter is a lesbian even though everyone already KNOWS that she's a lesbian and it wasn't any secret.

Oh, and the White House planting a phony reporter into press conferences to lob fake questions? No story there, either.

In short, you guys have a bad reputation because you do your jobs like SHIT. You breathlessly talk about CRAP while ignoring IMPORTANT stuff, and you do it ALL THE TIME.

Many of us now go onto the internet and read foreign newspapers in order to find out what's going on in our own country. That's disgraceful.

You don't report AT ALL. You cherry-pick the facts in order to tell the story you WANT to tell. You regurgitate pre-determined scripts. You don't report. You parrot.

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Good Idea
 
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld delivered a terse warning to Iraq's new leaders on Tuesday urging them to avoid political purges that could lead to charges of corruption in the new government. - AP


Good idea, Donald. You should probably tell them that it's a bad idea to torture prisoners and lie to start a war, too.

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Saturday, April 09, 2005

Right wingers: Murder Judges?
 
They have begun to invoke Stalin as the man who had the solution for what to do with a judge you don't like. Specifically when Stalin said "No man, no problem."

Is this advocating the murder of judges whom they disagree with? It certainly could be interpreted that way. In fact, that the most obvious way to interpret it.

From Dana Milbank and the Washington Post:

Phyllis Schlafly, doyenne of American conservatism, said Kennedy's opinion forbidding capital punishment for juveniles "is a good ground of impeachment." To cheers and applause from those gathered at a downtown Marriott for a conference on "Confronting the Judicial War on Faith," Schlafly said that Kennedy had not met the "good behavior" requirement for office and that "Congress ought to talk about impeachment."

Not to be outdone, lawyer-author Edwin Vieira told the gathering that Kennedy should be impeached because his philosophy, evidenced in his opinion striking down an anti-sodomy statute, "upholds Marxist, Leninist, satanic principles drawn from foreign law."

Ominously, Vieira continued by saying his "bottom line" for dealing with the Supreme Court comes from Joseph Stalin. "He had a slogan, and it worked very well for him, whenever he ran into difficulty: 'no man, no problem,' " Vieira said.

The full Stalin quote, for those who don't recognize it, is "Death solves all problems: no man, no problem." Presumably, Vieira had in mind something less extreme than Stalin did and was not actually advocating violence.


Why are you presuming that he had something less extreme in mind, Dana?

This people appear to have fallen over and are openly embracing clear fascism.

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President Clinton
 
Remember when we had a President who wasn't afraid of the public?


A Lovely Day for a Stroll: Bill Clinton in His Element

Clearly unwilling to spend a beautiful day in Rome cooped up in his hotel, he went for a midday stroll, stopping in at a few of the luxury shops on the narrow, cobblestone streets off the square, known for its fountain and familiar to film buffs as the backdrop for a scene in "Roman Holiday."While Romans were unlikely to catch a glimpse of President Bush - he moved only in motorcades and appeared only at a few official events - Mr. Clinton was clearly reveling in the fact that shoppers, tourists having lunch at outdoor cafes and Italian business people walking to meetings all stopped to greet him."Isn't this a great city?" he said. Along the streets, people starting yelling "Bill, Bill, Bill," and a few shouted "U.S.A.!" One shopkeeper raced out with a photograph of Mr. Clinton on a past visit.


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Cream Pie
 
Somebody smacked David Horowitz - who is, no doubt, a repulsive, disgusting asshole - with a cream pie.

And yes, it's satisfying. But in the sacred name of Mabel Normand, Billmon is right.

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Friday, April 08, 2005


 
“I think it was all done to get oil. And the loss of life that we had, and the cost of it, was to me just a re-election move, and they're going to try to live off it. Probably start another war, wouldn't be surprised, next year. Probably in Iran.” - Senator Jim Jeffords

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'Tis a puzzlement.
 
From David Ignatius column in the Washington Post:

"It was less than three months ago that President Bush launched his second term with a soaring inaugural address and bold promises about how he would spend his new political capital. Today much of that momentum seems to have been lost, and analysts are puzzling over why."

What's the puzzle?

1) He decided that an unenthusiastic, small lead was a sweeping mandate to shove an extremist agenda down America's throat. They don't want it, and that isn't what they voted for.

2) The first thing he did was say, "Hey! Now I get to hand the Social Security Trust Fund over to my rich friends!"

3) The Democrats are much better when they aren't making decisions by playing stupid polling games, and they aren't. Bush is actually experiencing a real opposition for the first time in his Presidency.

4) He HAD no new political capital. He had spent it over the last four years. Political capital consists of having your opponents believe that it in THEIR best interest to support you. That's what it is. It isn't money. It isn't something you build up and spend. It isn't REAL capital - that's just an analogy. But Bush spent four years proving that any Democrat who supported him would get screwed. So where could his political capital come from?

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Please don't go
 
I'm a selfish scumbag.

God forgive me, but I don't want Tom Delay to go.

Delay's great strength with the Republican Party - the reason All The Republicans Chose Him As Leader despite the fact that he's a gutter slug - is that the guy truly has been a great bagman. He gets the money, and he's good at it. True, he doesn't always get it in the most ethical manner, but he does get it, and as long as he gets it, the Republicans don't care where it comes from, anymore than a pig cares about the source of its slop.

And Delay has spent his whole career flying under the radar. Excepting political junkies, the American public has barely ever heard of him, even while he has wielded enormous power and has negatively impacted every one of our lives. But they have heard of him, now. They can't miss him. He's standing there big as life. And he's stinking like a three-day-dead mackeral, and looks every bit as appetizing.

But with ethical scrutiny around every corner, Tom Delay has lost his ability as a bagman. With media scrutiny behind every microphone, he has lost his stealth. Which means that his only assets are his sterling personality and his extremely attractive ideology.

And Lord, how I would love to have that arrogant, nasty face to be the official face of the Republican Party.

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Thursday, April 07, 2005

Freedom isn't free
 
Fan-tastic.

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DeLay = Conservative
 
Stolen whole from Liberal Oasis - one of the best sites in cyberspace:
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This is an attack on the conservative movement. It is not just about Tom DeLay.
-- Rep. Eric Cantor, House chief deputy whip, 4/6/05 (via The Stakeholder)


The Republican Party has not only decided to stand by Tom DeLay.

It has explicitly embraced DeLay’s view that the attacks on him are the equivalent to attacks on conservatism itself.

It has explicitly rejected the Wall Street Journal-David Brooks-Lindsey Graham view that, for the sake of the movement, conservatism must be kept far, far away from the whiff of ethical transgressions.

It has implicitly sent the message that the DeLay way is the conservative way.

Not only that creating a seamless relationship between Congress and corporations -- foreign or domestic, through legal or illegal means – is ideologically in sync with conservatism.

But that pragmatically, the conservative movement does not have the popular support to survive without the kind of well-financed corporate network that DeLay has built.

In classic projection mode, House Majority Whip Roy Blunt said Dems were attacking DeLay because they have
“no competing policy ideas.”

But of course, DeLay is not cherished because he’s the GOP’s idea man.

He’s cherished because he’s the GOP’s bag man.

And if the GOP’s ideas were as politically potent as they like to claim, then they wouldn’t so badly need a bag man, and wouldn’t so badly need to protect him at all costs.

Apparently, selling our government to the highest bidder is the greatest idea conservatives got.

But the GOP has done the country a great service by making their deepest principles crystal clear.

And they are helping the nation make an informed choice about the kind of Congress they want in 2006.


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