Saturday, December 30, 2006

Paul Krugman

PAUL KRUGMAN: A Failed Revolution

After first attempting to deny the scale of last month’s defeat, the apologists have settled on a story line that sounds just like Marxist explanations for the failure of the Soviet Union. What happened, you see, was that the noble ideals of the Republican revolution of 1994 were undermined by Washington’s corrupting ways. And the recent defeat was a good thing, because it will force a return to the true conservative path.

But the truth is that the movement that took power in 1994 — a movement that had little to do with true conservatism — was always based on a lie.

The lie is right there in “The Freedom Revolution,” the book that Dick Armey, who had just become the House majority leader, published in 1995. He declares that most government programs don’t do anything “to help American families with the needs of everyday life,” and that “very few American families would notice their disappearance.” He goes on to assert that “there is no reason we cannot, by the time our children come of age, reduce the federal government by half as a percentage of gross domestic product.”

Right. Somehow, I think more than a few families would notice the disappearance of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — and those three programs alone account for a majority of nondefense, noninterest spending. The truth is that the government delivers services and security that people want. Yes, there’s some waste — just as there is in any large organization. But there are no big programs that are easy to cut.

As long as people like Mr. Armey, Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay were out of power, they could run on promises to eliminate vast government waste that existed only in the public’s imagination — all those welfare queens driving Cadillacs. But once in power, they couldn’t deliver.

That’s why government by the radical right has been an utter failure even on its own terms: the government hasn’t shrunk. Federal outlays other than interest payments and defense spending are a higher percentage of G.D.P. today than they were when Mr. Armey wrote his book: 14.8 percent in fiscal 2006, compared with 13.8 percent in fiscal 1995.

Unable to make good on its promises, the G.O.P., like other failed revolutionary movements, tried to maintain its grip by exploiting its position of power. Friends were rewarded with patronage: Jack Abramoff began building his web of corruption almost as soon as Republicans took control. Adversaries were harassed with smear campaigns and witch hunts: Congress spent six years and many millions of dollars investigating a failed land deal, and Bill Clinton was impeached over a consensual affair.

But it wasn’t enough. Without 9/11, the Republican revolution would probably have petered out quietly, with the loss of Congress in 2002 and the White House in 2004. Instead, the atrocity created a window of opportunity: four extra years gained by drowning out unfavorable news with terror alerts, starting a gratuitous war, and accusing Democrats of being weak on national security.

Yet the Bush administration failed to convert this electoral success into progress on a right-wing domestic agenda. The collapse of the push to privatize Social Security recapitulated the failure of the Republican revolution as a whole. Once the administration was forced to get specific about the details, it became obvious that private accounts couldn’t produce something for nothing, and the public’s support vanished.

In the end, Republicans didn’t shrink the government. But they did degrade it. Baghdad and New Orleans are the arrival destinations of a movement based on deep contempt for governance.

Is that the end for the radical right? Probably not. As a long-suffering civil servant once told me, bad policy ideas are like cockroaches: you can flush them down the toilet, but they keep coming back. Many of the ideas that failed in the Bush years had previously failed in the Reagan years. So there’s no reason to assume they’re gone for good.

Indeed, it appears that loss of power and the ensuing lack of accountability is liberating right-wingers to lie yet again: since last month’s election, I’ve noticed a number of Social Security privatizers propounding the same free-lunch falsehoods that the Bush administration had to abandon in the face of demands that it present an actual plan.

Still, the Republican revolution of 1994 is over. And not a moment too soon.

Saddam is dead.

Good. NOW can we leave Iraq?

Didn't think so.

One thing about this that I find sickening and always have: Saddam Hussein the mass-murderer was propped up and aided by the very people who now claim to be horrified by it. He was a creation of the Republican Administrations of the United States of America. Reagan and Bush 41, specifically, with scads of help from people like Rumsfeld and Cheney.

They were for Saddam Hussein before they were against him.

In fact, they had NO PROBLEM with his gassing the Kurds and being a mass murderer when he was actually DOING it, because he was dancing to their tune at the time, and that's all that they really cared about.

His crime was not gassing the Kurds and being a mass murderer: his crime was that he stopped obeying the Bushes.

And that's sickening.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Friday, December 22, 2006

But global warming isn't a problem.

Allstate to stop insuring homeowners in coastal areas.

Allstate Corp., one of Maryland's largest insurers, will stop writing homeowners' policies in coastal areas of the state, citing warnings by scientists that a warmer Atlantic Ocean will lead to more strong hurricanes hitting the Northeast.

The company will no longer offer new property insurance beginning in February in all or part of 11 counties mostly along the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Existing customers won't be affected; a spokeswoman said Allstate intends to renew those policies even in coastal areas. It will continue to write new policies in Baltimore and Baltimore County.

"We have been looking at hurricane and storm projections, and we're going to see a lot more severe storms further north on the coastline," said Allstate spokeswoman Debbie Pickford. "We are working to minimize our risk."

Hammered by losses from storms such as Hurricanes Katrina and Andrew, insurance companies are raising rates, dropping coverages and refusing to accept new customers in certain areas.

This has been happening for years in states such as Florida, where homeowners saw rates multiply or lost insurance altogether after Andrew flattened much of South Florida in 1992. Now the trend is edging north.

Allstate also decided recently to let thousands of homeowner policies lapse in the Carolinas, New York and Texas, and to no longer write new policies in parts of Virginia and all of Connecticut, Delaware and New Jersey.

But why would you believe scientists and insurance companies when RUSH LIMBAUGH says it isn't so?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Disney to actually draw pictures

Off of the political track, and you probably missed it, Disney has announced that they will return to hand-drawn animation, instead of computer produced.

I have no idea why this announcment makes me so happy, but it does.

Bush vs. America, the army and reality

"The business about how I would listen to the commanders on the ground? Sorry, that was bullshit, too."

The debate over sending more U.S. troops to Iraq intensified yesterday as President Bush signaled that he will listen but not necessarily defer to balky military officers, while Gen. John P. Abizaid, his top Middle East commander and a leading skeptic of a so-called surge, announced his retirement. - Washington Post

News Flash: John Lennon was not a terrorist

The FBI has officially released documents that they've been sitting on for a couple of decades declaring that John Lennon was apparently not a threat to the United States.

I'M certainly resting easier, now.

However, they still don't know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Or: What a difference a month makes.

"We're not winning, we're not losing," - Bush, yesterday.

"Absolutely, we're winning." - Bush, just before the November elections.

Is he saying that sometime in the last month and a half, we STOPPED winning?

Or was he just full of shit the first time?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

EVERYONE opposes increasing the troops.

St. John McCain has proposed increasing the troop levels. Thanks, John. Being a neocon means never having to say you're sorry. And Bush is said to be seriously considering it. Because he is desperate to do SOMETHING to avoid admitting that he screwed up.

This particular brainchild, however, has the support of (ready?) a whole ELEVEN PERCENT of the American People.

I do believe that Jack the Ripper would enjoy wider support.

And is UNANIMOUSLY opposed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

So whatcha think? You think Bush is actually going to ignore the overwhelming wishes of both the citizens and his own military command? In a desperate attempt to save himself a little face, at the expense of a few thousand more lives?

NOBODY could be THAT foolish and morally bankrupt, COULD they?

Unfortunately, one person COULD be that foolish and morally bankrupt.

And he's in the White House.

Monday, December 18, 2006

"Failure in Iraq at this juncture would be a calamity that would haunt our nation, impair our credibility and endanger Americans for decades to come." - Robert Gates, Defense Secretary.

Which means that George W. Bush placed the United States in the way of CALAMITY by choosing to invade Iraq.

Potential gain: ZERO.

Potential loss: EVERYTHING.

And the idiot apparently STILL thinks that was a smart gamble.

The United States is Insolvent

According to the Financial Report of the United States Government.

Details here.
“Even Saddam Hussein had more legal counsel than I ever had. ”

- David Vance, American Citizen, veteran and security contractor held by the American military in Iraq.

Powell says we're losing.

Powell, in a sharp break with the Bush administration, offered a grim picture of the war. He said the United States is losing in Iraq and should seek to turn the situation around by making plans to hand over responsibility to Iraqis by mid-2007. - Boston Globe

Of course, what the hell does HE know? He's just the only one in the Bush administration who actually has a rat's ass worth of experience when it comes to conducting a war. Why listen to him? A bunch a fat chickenhawks who have a lot of theories on paper MUST know more about it.

The Bushites have begun to resemble those people in the asylum swearing that everybody else is crazy.

They seem to be the ONLY ones left who don't get it.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I like Craig's List

I always did, and now I like them more.

Got this from Sharon.

Craigslist meets the capitalists.

Jim Buckmaster, the chief executive of Craigslist, caused lots of head-scratching Thursday as he tried to explain to a bunch of Wall Street types why his company is not interested in “monetizing” his ridiculously popular Web operation. Appearing at the UBS global media conference in New York, Mr. Buckmaster took questions from the bemused audience, which apparently could not get its collective mind around the notion that Craigslist exists to help Web users find jobs, cars, apartments and dates — and not so much to make money.

Wendy Davis of MediaPost describes the presentation as a “a culture clash of near-epic proportions.” She recounts how UBS analyst Ben Schachter wanted to know how Craigslist plans to maximize revenue. It doesn’t, Mr. Buckmaster replied (perhaps wondering how Mr. Schachter could possibly not already know this). “That definitely is not part of the equation,” he said, according to MediaPost. “It’s not part of the goal.”

“I think a lot of people are catching their breath right now,” Mr. Schachter said in response.

My God, they actually understand what the Internet is supposed to be about.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Iraqi refugees

WASHINGTON -- Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have fled their homeland are likely to seek refugee status in the United States, humanitarian groups said, putting intense pressure on the Bush administration to reexamine a policy that authorizes only 500 Iraqis to be resettled here next year.

The official US policy has been that the refugee situation is temporary and that most of the estimated 1.5 million who have fled to Jordan, Syria, and elsewhere will eventually return to Iraq. But US and international officials now acknowledge that the instability in Iraq has made it too dangerous for many refugees, especially Iraqi Christians, to return any time soon.
Maybe it's me, but I think that one obligation that we DO have is to take in any Iraqis that need to leave the hellhole we helped create and take them in. ANY of them. And especially Iraqi Christians, who now - thanks to US - have a government that has made their religion against the law.

How much you want to bet that the right-wingers will scream bloody murder at the very idea? They are all gung-ho at the idea of somebody ELSE sacrificing an arm or a leg or an eye or a life to "liberate" the Iraqi people (well, the non-Christian Iraqi people), but watch the reaction if you suggest that THEY cough up a few dollars to help one of those "liberated" folks live in their town.

Is there anyone who still thinks we should be in Iraq?

If so, WHY?

BAGHDAD, Dec. 10 — President Jalal Talabani said Sunday that the American program to train Iraq’s security forces had been a repeated failure and he denounced a plan to increase the number of American advisers working with the Iraqi Army, saying it would subvert the country’s sovereignty....

American commanders have poured more than $12 billion into training and equipping Iraq’s security forces and have tied a withdrawal of American troops to success in these efforts. But Mr. Talabani ridiculed them. “What have they done so far in training the army and the police?” he said. “What they have done is move from failure to failure.”...

American and some Iraqi officials say some Iraqi police and army units are more beholden to Shiite militias than to the government and have helped to drive the cycles of retributive violence by attacking Sunni Arabs. Some Iraqi officials have also said that Sunni Arab officers have abetted the Sunni-led insurgency.

The Americans, Mr. Talabani said, “gathered them from the street regardless of their loyalty to the new Iraq, their capacity, their ability.”

So - the President of Iraq regards American attempts to train Iraqis as throwing money down a toilet - largely because we don't care WHO we train - we'll grab an Iraqi who is hostile to the new Government and say, "Hey, want to be in the army?"

AND he regards increasing our OWN troops as threatening their new soveriegnty.

Ok - so why the hell ARE we there?

So Bush can save a little face?

Using American soldiers' blood to do it?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

From the ACLU

Here's something neat from the ACLU:

An Overdue Visit

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the nation
Friends of Freedom knew it was a special occasion.
Lady Liberty stood taller just off the shore
Her torch shining brighter than a few weeks before

But it wasn't the flame turning her cheeks all rosy
It was thoughts of Snowe, Feingold and Nancy Pelosi
And leaders from every side of the aisle
Who would soon bring the Bill of Rights back into style.

The Amendments had all hurried out of their beds -
Which was no easy task, they were nearly in shreds -
And they rushed to the window on papery feet
As a jolly old man flew right over their street.

"Could it be!?" they inquired as the roof shook and trembled
And they crept toward the mantle, peaceably assembled,
Just as someone emerged from the chimney with flair
In a shiny red suit, with a shock of white hair

And a top hat, and pants all in red, white and blue -
"Wait a minute," the Amendments exclaimed, "Who are you?"
"Don't be frightened my children," he said, "it's no scam.
"You can't have forgotten your old Uncle Sam!"

"Holy crap!" said Free Speech. "Stop right there!" yelled Bear Arms
And Privacy cried "Who shut off the alarms?!"
The Fifth remained silent, but Uncle Sam said
"We've been having some trouble, but Freedom's not dead."

The Amendments were cautious. "It's just been so long
"We've seen Liberty lost, we've seen so much go wrong.
"The President's trying to mangle and warp us,
"The Fourth is in tatters, so's Habeas Corpus!"

The old man sat down - he had had quite a ride -
But he told them "Don't worry, the Law's on our side,
"'Cause the nation's fed up and more people are crying
"For Justice and an end to illegal spying,

"And secret abductions by the CIA,
"And laws that would take women's choices away,
"And Gitmo tribunals and secret detention,
"And other intrusions too numerous to mention - "

"Not so fast," said a grinchity voice from above
And Don Rumsfeld pushed past the Fourteenth with a shove.
He was covered in soot and he looked kind of scary.
It seemed like his Christmas had not been so merry.

The Amendments said they weren't happy to see him:
"You tried to throw all of us in the museum!
"You've done so much the Constitution forbids!"
"And I would have gone on, but for you meddling kids!"

Uncle Sam told him "Rummy, your plans just won't do,
"So we've got a brand new timetable for you!"
And as Rumsfeld retired and crept into the night
The Amendments cried out "Have a good secret flight!"

From the distance they heard him reply with a snort.
"Bye-bye, Rummy!" they answered, "we'll see you in court!"
Uncle Sam rode the chimney up out of the room
And, like Frosty, he said "I'll be back again soon."

But they heard him exclaim "Oh, and just one more thing!
"This year, when the holiday bells start to ring,
"Try to honor religion. Honest faith can't be wrong.
"It's America, can't we all just get along?

"So, on Christian," he cried, "Muslim, Hindu, and Jew!
"On Quaker! On Shaker! And Atheist too!
"On Buddhist! On Taoist! And to show we're not chickens
"We'll file a few lawsuits defending the Wiccans!

"Your belief is your right, so get out there and savor it.
"Uncle Sam's not a preacher, and he doesn't play favorites!"
So this holiday season, whatever you do,
Warmest wishes for Freedom, from the ACLU.

You know, the right-wingers are always calling those of us who live on the coasts - in the Northeast and California - a bunch of liberal latte-sippers, while they're all a bunch of tough guys who fight, fight, fight.

The map above shows who is fight and dying in this war, and where they are from.

The liberals finally get to destroy Christmas


What many liberals and progressives don’t seem to understand is that banning Christmas is the linchpin of our entire agenda. As Mr. O’Reilly once astutely noted, the war on Christmas is “part of the secular-progressive agenda to get Christianity and spirituality and Judaism out of the public square” and pave the way for “secular progressive programs like legalization of narcotics, euthanasia, abortion at will, [and] gay marriage.” When the man is right, he's right.

I for one understand that Christmas is the only thing standing between me and my lifelong dream of euthanizing my relatives, grabbing their inheritance, buying lots of drugs, getting a sex change, and marrying a lesbian. If Nancy Pelosi is as dedicated to her San Francisco values as the conservative media say she is, then she should put ending Christmas and subsidizing my lifestyle at the top of her legislative agenda. After all, if Speaker Pelosi decided to forsake destroying Christmas in favor other policies, it could signal that the right-wing punditocracy has been exaggerating the left’s ambitions to abolish religion from the public square all along. And, really, what are the chances of that?

Paul Krugman



Shortly after U.S. forces marched into Baghdad in 2003, The Weekly Standard published a jeering article titled, "The Cassandra Chronicles: The stupidity of the antiwar doomsayers." Among those the article mocked was a "war novelist" named James Webb, who is now the senator-elect from Virginia.

The article's title was more revealing than its authors knew. People forget the nature of Cassandra's curse: although nobody would believe her, all her prophecies came true. And so it was with those who warned against invading Iraq. At best, they were ignored. A recent article in The Washington Post ruefully conceded that the paper's account of the debate in the House of Representatives over the resolution authorizing the Iraq war — a resolution opposed by a majority of the Democrats — gave no coverage at all to those antiwar arguments that now seem prescient.

At worst, those who were skeptical about the case for war had their patriotism and/or their sanity questioned. The New Republic now says that it "deeply regrets its early support for this war." Does it also deeply regret accusing those who opposed rushing into war of "abject pacifism?"

Now, only a few neocon dead-enders still believe that this war was anything but a vast exercise in folly. And those who braved political pressure and ridicule to oppose what Al Gore has rightly called "the worst strategic mistake in the history of the United States" deserve some credit.

Unlike The Weekly Standard, which singled out those it thought had been proved wrong, I'd like to offer some praise to those who got it right. Here's a partial honor roll:

Former President George H. W. Bush and Brent Scowcroft, explaining in 1998 why they didn't go on to Baghdad in 1991: "Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land."

Representative Ike Skelton, September 2002: "I have no doubt that our military would decisively defeat Iraq's forces and remove Saddam. But like the proverbial dog chasing the car down the road, we must consider what we would do after we caught it."

Al Gore, September 2002: "I am deeply concerned that the course of action that we are presently embarking upon with respect to Iraq has the potential to seriously damage our ability to win the war against terrorism and to weaken our ability to lead the world in this new century."

Barack Obama, now a United States senator, September 2002: "I don't oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne."

Representative John Spratt, October 2002: "The outcome after the conflict is actually going to be the hardest part, and it is far less certain."

Representative Nancy Pelosi, now the House speaker-elect, October 2002: "When we go in, the occupation, which is now being called the liberation, could be interminable and the amount of money it costs could be unlimited."

Senator Russ Feingold, October 2002: "I am increasingly troubled by the seemingly shifting justifications for an invasion at this time. … When the administration moves back and forth from one argument to another, I think it undercuts the credibility of the case and the belief in its urgency. I believe that this practice of shifting justifications has much to do with the troubling phenomenon of many Americans questioning the administration's motives."

Howard Dean, then a candidate for president and now the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, February 2003: "I firmly believe that the president is focusing our diplomats, our military, our intelligence agencies, and even our people on the wrong war, at the wrong time. … Iraq is a divided country, with Sunni, Shia and Kurdish factions that share both bitter rivalries and access to large quantities of arms."

We should honor these people for their wisdom and courage. We should also ask why anyone who didn't raise questions about the war — or, at any rate, anyone who acted as a cheerleader for this march of folly — should be taken seriously when he or she talks about matters of national security.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Georgie is not happy.

WASHINGTON -- The bipartisan Iraq Study Group yesterday delivered a broad indictment of US strategy in Iraq, recommending that the military mission shift from combat to training local forces and urging the White House to enlist Syria and Iran to help rescue the "grave and deteriorating" situation.

Like Nixon before him, he has become completely isolated, a lone madman insisting that the rest of the world is crazy.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Oh no! Republicans will have to work 5 days a week!

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 Before assuming their congressional majority in January, Democrats have shocked lawmakers by announcing a full 5-day work week.

For much of this year, when the legislature wasn't in recess, the work week started late Tuesday and ended by Thursday afternoon, but U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., who will become House majority leader in January, said legislators will be expected in the Capitol for votes each week by 6:30 p.m. Monday and will wrap up about 2 p.m. Friday.

Were you aware that Republican Congress' "work week" was Tuesday evening to Thursday morning? I sure wasn't. Sort of makes the fact that they have messed everything up even MORE infuriating, doesn't it?

The new calendar didn't sit well with everyone, including Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga.

"Keeping us up here eats away at families," Kingston told the Post. "Marriages suffer. The Democrats could care less about families -- that's what this says."

You WORK for American families, you moron. They employ you.

The poor thing - spends his whole congressional life denying health care and decent wages to poor families, and then whines about having to work roughly that same hours - less actually - than all those families that he has legislatively screwed.


Seen on kos:

The Front Page of the Independent.

Admirers swarm Clinton in Vietnam

And just a week ago, the little fake president was afraid to walk the streets of the place. He'd be afraid to walk the streets of the place using someone else's body.

Remember when we had a President who was actually respected by the world?

If you wonder why t he world no longer respects us, remember: the voters sent the world a message that preferred NOT to be respected, but would rather have a callow, adolescent moron in charge instead of a grownup.

Admirers Swarm Bill Clinton in Hanoi

The Associated Press
Wednesday, December 6, 2006; 8:09 AM

HANOI, Vietnam -- Former President Clinton was swarmed for autographs, handshakes and photographs on the streets of Hanoi Wednesday by throngs of admirers whose warm welcome contrasted sharply with the restrained reception given President Bush last month.

Clinton, in town to sign an agreement between his foundation and the Vietnamese to get more AIDS drugs to children, left the Hilton Hotel in the center of Hanoi, crossed an intersection buzzing with motorbikes, and strolled toward Hoan Kiem Lake, the spiritual heart of the city.

The United States normalized relations with its former foe under Clinton, who was greeted by adoring crowds when in 2000 he became the first U.S. president to visit Vietnam since the war ended in 1975.

"It feels great to be back," Clinton said as he set off for his stroll.

The feeling among most Vietnamese was mutual.

"I love you!" a young man shouted, reaching over the crowd for a handshake.

"There are no words to describe how happy I am," squealed 17-year-old Nguyen Thu Hang, jumping up and down and clutching Clinton's freshly signed autograph. "I'm going to frame this and hang it on my bedroom wall!"

Bush didn't emerge from inside tight security to mingle with crowds during his four-day visit to attend the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

Outside of official meetings, the president's touring included a visit to Vietnam's stock exchange, where he struck a gong to open a day of trading. He then met with a group of Vietnamese and American businessmen.

Clinton came to Hanoi to sign an agreement with the Vietnamese government under which his Clinton Foundation will increase the amount of pediatric drugs it is providing to Vietnamese children living with HIV and AIDS.

The foundation provided medicine for 400 children in 2006, but plans to triple the number of children it is helping by the end of 2007.

Followed by Secret Service agents and Vietnamese police, Clinton stopped along a half-mile route to chat with his Vietnamese admirers before making his way to an art gallery in Hanoi's Old Quarter and then to the tomb of Ho Chi Minh, who led Vietnam's communist revolution.

After he and Health Minister Tran Thi Trung Chien signed the pediatric AIDS agreement, Clinton took part in a discussion about AIDS with several university students and a young woman living with HIV.

The Vietnamese government estimates that 260,000 Vietnamese people were infected with HIV last year, but public health experts think the actual number is higher. In Vietnam, most infections are linked to intravenous drug use and unprotected sex for money.

The Clinton Foundation's activities are being financed by UNITAID, an organization formed by France and 19 other nations that have earmarked a small portion of their airline tax revenues for HIV/AIDS programs in developing countries.

Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter is pregnant.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Mary Cheney, the openly gay daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney and wife Lynne, is pregnant, according to a published report.

Mary Cheney, 37, and her partner of 15 years, Heather Poe, 45, are "ecstatic" about the baby, due in late spring, The Washington Post reported in Wednesday's editions, quoting an unnamed source close to the couple.

You'd THINK something like this might help end the insane double standard of the right-wing, but don't expect it. Just watch while they turn cognitive dissonance into an art form.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Neat new toy

Rummy Dress Up

"No, sir."

The first question that was asked of Robert Gates at his confirmation hearing, by Carl Levin, was, "Why is the United States in Iraq?"

His answer: "No, sir."

That's pretty much everybody except for George W. Bush. Reality must not intrude on the boy's bubble.

UPDATE: Think Progress pointed this out:

Just weeks ago, President Bush expressed the opposite position. From 10/25/06:

REPORTER: Are we winning?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Absolutely, we’re winning.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Bolton is gone

How sad. We no longer have an ambassador to the UN who hates the UN. What a good idea THAT was.

Bush, of course, will probably nominate somebody just as unpalatable. Or at least try. But the poor liitle boy may actually have to nominate someone who isn't an extremist to get the nomination through. The rubber stamp is gone.

Paul Krugman

Two More Years

At a reception following the midterm election, President Bush approached Senator-elect James Webb.

"How's your boy?" asked Mr. Bush.

"I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," replied Mr. Webb, whose son, a Marine lance corporal, is risking his life in Mr. Bush's war of choice.

"That's not what I asked you," the president snapped. "How's your boy?"

"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," said Mr. Webb.

Good for him. We need people in Washington who are willing to stand up to the bully in chief. Unfortunately, and somewhat mysteriously, they're still in short supply.

You can understand, if not condone, the way the political and media establishment let itself be browbeaten by Mr. Bush in his post-9/11 political prime. What's amazing is the extent to which insiders still cringe before a lame duck with a 60 percent disapproval rating.

Look at what seems to have happened to the Iraq Study Group, whose mission statement says that it would provide an "independent assessment." If press reports are correct, the group did nothing of the sort. Instead, it watered down its conclusions and recommendations, trying to come up with something Mr. Bush wouldn't reject out of hand.

In particular, says Newsweek, the report "will set no timetables or call for any troop reductions." All it will do is "suggest that the president could, not should, begin to withdraw forces in the vaguely defined future."

And all this self-abasement is for naught. Senior Bush aides, Newsweek tells us, are "dismissive, even condescending" toward James Baker, the Bush family consigliere who is the dominant force in the study group, and the report. Of course they are. That's how bullies always treat their hangers-on.

Even now, it seems, the wise men of Washington can't bring themselves to face up to two glaringly obvious truths.

The first is that Americans are fighting and dying in Iraq for no reason.

It's true that terrible things will happen when U.S. forces withdraw. Mr. Bush was attacking a straw man when he mocked those who think we can make a "graceful exit" from Iraq. Everyone I know realizes that the civil war will get even worse after we're gone, and that there will probably be a bloody bout of ethnic cleansing that effectively partitions the country into hostile segments.

But nobody--not even Donald Rumsfeld, it turns out--thinks we're making progress in Iraq. So the same terrible things that would happen if we withdrew soon will still happen if we delay that withdrawal for two, three or more years. The only difference is that we'll sacrifice many more American lives along the way.

The second truth is that the war will go on all the same, unless something or someone forces Mr. Bush to change course.

During his recent trip to Vietnam, Mr. Bush was asked whether there were any lessons from that conflict for Iraq. His response: "We'll succeed unless we quit."

It was a bizarre answer given both the history of the Vietnam War and the facts on the ground in Iraq, but it makes perfect sense given what we know about Mr. Bush's character. He has never been willing to own up to mistakes, however trivial. If he were to accept the failure of his adventure in Iraq, he would be admitting, at least implicitly, to having made the mother of all mistakes.

So Mr. Bush will keep sending other men's children off to fight his war. And he'll always insist that Iraq would have been a great victory if only his successors had shared his steely determination.

Does this mean that we're doomed to at least two more years of bloody futility? Not necessarily. Last month the public delivered a huge vote of no confidence in Mr. Bush and his war. He's still the commander in chief, but the new majority in Congress can put a lot of pressure on him to at least begin a withdrawal.

I'm worried, however, that Democrats may have counted on the Iraq Study Group to provide them with political cover. Now that the study group has apparently wimped out, will the Democrats do the same?

Well, here's a question for those who might be tempted, yet again, to shy away from a confrontation with Mr. Bush over Iraq: How do you ask a man to be the last to die for a bully's ego?
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- White House national security adviser Stephen Hadley said Sunday that President Bush realizes "we need to make some changes" in Iraq policy.

A little behind the curve there, aren't you, bright boy?

Civil war? No, it's worse

At least that's what Kofi Annan says.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Rummy writes to dummy

You probably already heard about Rumsfeld's memo, two days before he resigned, revealing that the Bush administration was feeding America a line of bullshit. Not that that's news.

Two days before he resigned as defense secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld submitted a classified memo to the White House that acknowledged that the Bush administration’s strategy in Iraq was not working and called for a major course correction.

“In my view it is time for a major adjustment,” wrote Mr. Rumsfeld, who has been a symbol of a dogged stay-the-course policy. “Clearly, what U.S. forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough.”

But what always really pisses me off about these people is that they think the only thing that matters is politics.
Nor did Mr. Rumsfeld seem confident that the administration would readily develop an effective alternative. To limit the political fallout from shifting course, he suggested the administration consider a campaign to lower public expectations.

“Announce that whatever new approach the U.S. decides on, the U.S. is doing so on a trial basis,” he wrote. “This will give us the ability to readjust and move to another course, if necessary, and therefore not ‘lose.’ ”
Here is Rumsfeld, talking about the fact that they all know that a policy which has KILLED THOUSANDS is a failure. And what the big concern? The POLITICAL fallout.

They are far more worried about their sorry political lives than they are about the soldiers' and Iraqis' REAL ones.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


This interview is in GQ.

Let's hope it doesn't stay there.

Do you feel that we would be safer today if you had been president on that day?

Well, no one can say that the 9-11 attack wouldn’t have occurred whoever was president.

Really? How about all the warnings?

That’s a separate question. And it’s almost too easy to say, “I would have heeded the warnings.” In fact, I think I would have, I know I would have.

We had several instances when the CIA’s alarm bells went off, and what we did when that happened was, we had emergency meetings and called everybody together and made sure that all systems were go and every agency was hitting on all cylinders, and we made them bring more information, and go into the second and third and fourth level of detail. And made suggestions on how we could respond in a more coordinated, more effective way.

It is inconceivable to me that Bush would read a warning as stark and as clear [voice angry now] as the one he received on August 6th of 2001, and, according to some of the new histories, he turned to the briefer and said, “Well, you’ve covered your ass.” And never called a follow up meeting. Never made an inquiry. Never asked a single question.

To this day, I don’t understand it. And, I think it’s fair to say that he personally does in fact bear a measure of blame for not doing his job at a time when we really needed him to do his job.

And now the Woodward book has this episode that has been confirmed by the record that George Tenet, who was much abused by this administration, went over to the White House for the purpose of calling an emergency meeting and warning as clearly as possible about the extremely dangerous situation with Osama bin Laden, and was brushed off! And I don’t know why—honestly—I mean, I understand how horrible this Congressman Foley situation with the instant messaging is, okay? I understand that. But, why didn’t these kinds of things produce a similar outrage?

And you know, I’m even reluctant to talk about it in these terms because it’s so easy for people to hear this or read this as sort of cheap political game-playing. I understand how it could sound that way.

But dammit, whatever happened to the concept of accountability for catastrophic failure? This administration has been by far the most incompetent, inept, and with more moral cowardice, and obsequiousness to their wealthy contributors, and obliviousness to the public interest of any administration in modern history, and probably in the entire history of the country!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


America has two large problems.

One is terrorism. The other is the guy who is in the driver's seat charged with DEALING with terrorism

George W. Bush is a giant problem.

In times of crisis, George Bush is intent on creating MORE crises instead of solving the ones we already have.

And not only does he create crises over and over again - he pretends that everything is just FINE even while he is causing stuff to explode right and left.

He fails - and just keeps doing the same things that failed.

He has made EVERY decision for 6 years now. Every one. Look at the result. Disaster.

And the worst part is that after making EVERY decision, he thinks OTHER people should be responsible for the results.

How insane do you have to be - how stupid - to decide to START A WAR - and have NO PLAN WHATSOEVER for the occupation?

And then - surprised that starting a war, toppling a government and occupying a foreign country actually has major consequences - he stands there stupidly demanding that everybody ELSE figure out a way to clean up the mess he made.

When ALL of the decision that CREATED this horror - were HIS.

He's the "decider."

But he wants to be the "decider" - WITHOUT being responsible for the RESULTS.

That's not only nuts. It's dangerous.

And America can't afford to indulge that sort of shit. These REALLY ARE serious times, and we need a serious President - one who will actually THINK THINGS THROUGH, and one who actually has a sane understanding of the way things work.

Not one who just goes with his feelings and stands there befuddled when his feelings don't work out.
Frist Won't Run

Kittens rejoice.

Maliki decides that Bush can wait.

Bush, al-Maliki Talks in Jordan Postponed

Iranian-backed cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who leads the Mehdi Army militia, carried out his threat to boycott parliament and Maliki's coalition if the premier met the U.S. president.

Sadr's faction, which helped elect Maliki to his post, denounced his visit to see Bush as "a provocation to the Iraqi people." It was not clear how long the boycott would last.

This is such a total embarrassment to Bush that he probably wants to STAY out of the United States.

Our puppet in Iraq just decided that it was more important to listen to Al-Sadr than George W. Bush.

Bush isn't even liked by people that he installed himself.

It is not possible for Bush to look like more of an abject failure than he now looks.

Bush was going to go to Jordan to show how important he still was.

But the Prime Minister of Iraq decided that an Iranian cleric was more important than he was.

This duck isn't lame - it's paraplegic.

You knew this, didn't you?

Well, I at least SUSPECTED it.

Lohse, a social work master’s student at Southern Connecticut State University, says he has proven what many progressives have probably suspected for years: a direct link between mental illness and support for President Bush.

Lohse says his study is no joke. The thesis draws on a survey of 69 psychiatric outpatients in three Connecticut locations during the 2004 presidential election. Lohse’s study, backed by SCSU Psychology professor Jaak Rakfeldt and statistician Misty Ginacola, found a correlation between the severity of a person’s psychosis and their preferences for president: The more psychotic the voter, the more likely they were to vote for Bush.
I'm sorry, but some things are not political, and still must be shared.

How to Calculate Pi by Throwing Frozen Hot Dogs

Throwing a pie in someone's face is good. Throwing food at pi is better. Believe it or not, of all the countless ways to approximate the most prolific irrational number in the universe, there are none quite as interesting or as surprisingly satisfying as throwing perfectly good food around your kitchen. In fewer steps than it takes to circumscribe your house in a circle of baguettes, you, too, can easily add a slice of pi into your dinner menu tonight. The best part really works!


  1. Select your food item to throw. There are a couple of qualifications. First, it must be long, thin, and straight, like a frozen hot dog, for example. There are lots of other items that fit this criterion including Otter Pops, celery sticks, and churros. (If you simply can't come to grips with throwing perfectly good food, see the Tips section for some additional ideas.) Second, it must be a reasonably stiff item. Third, it should be somewhere between six and eighteen inches long. The experiment can be performed otherwise, but read on, and you will see why this size is optimal.
  2. Select the spot from where you will throw your mathematical cuisine. You will probably need about 6-10 feet in front of you as you will be throwing straight ahead.
  3. Clear the area. The place at which you are throwing should be devoid of objects that your food item could possibly run in to. So, if you are throwing in your kitchen, consider moving the table into another room or at least throwing in such a way that your food won't hit the table during its flight.
  4. Measure the length of your projectile (i.e. your frozen hot dogs). A tape measure should do the trick. Be as accurate as you can, even down to the millimeter, for best results.
  5. Lay down masking tape in parallel strips across the floor as far apart as your projectile is long. The strips should be perpendicular to the direction you will be throwing (see picture below). Do about 6-10 strips if your item is 6-18 inches long; fewer, if longer; more, if shorter.
  6. The throwing set-up

    Get a piece of paper and across the top make a column for “Tosses” and another column for "Crosses." The "Tosses" column is to keep track of how many times you throw your food item. The "Crosses" column is to keep track of how many times your item, once it lands and stops moving, is laying across one of the lines.
  7. Now, get into position, and THROW YOUR FOOD! Throw just one item at a time. Once it is at rest, observe whether or not it is crossing one of the lines. If it is, put a tick under "Crosses" and a tick under "Tosses." If it isn't, just put a tick under "Tosses." Repeat this as many times as you like. You should start seeing some interesting results by around 100 to 200 throws (it doesn't take as long as it sounds, especially if you use a pack of 10 frozen hot dogs so you're not out retrieving the one hot dog after every throw).
  8. Once you are done throwing your food, multiply the number of tosses by two and divide by the number of crosses. For example, if I threw 500 times, and it crossed 320 times, I would calculate 500 x 2 / 320. And, as if a miracle has occurred, you will have an approximation for pi! Now, don't you feel less stressed?


  • For those who are troubled by throwing perfectly good food, consider throwing sticks, dowels, bats, or a very stiff person. In fact, any item will do so long as it is long, thin, straight, and stiff.
  • If room is a concern, consider just drawing lines on a piece of paper and dropping toothpicks onto the paper from about three feet up. This definitely is not as refreshing as throwing food across the room, but it works.
  • The more the merrier! If two or three throw food together, you will get a better approximation faster because you will be able to get more throws in a shorter amount of time.
  • As long as you have your calculator, you could just press the "pi" key.
  • For the mathematically-inclined, this experiment is actually real! The proof and other details can be found at Buffon Needle Problem


  • Remember that this is an experiment, so the idea is not to TRY and get the food to land on one of the lines. Just throw it randomly towards the lines. It should still land amongst them, but don't jinx the experiment by encouraging your dinner to land onto the tape.
  • Resist the temptation to use bananas. Not only are they not really straight, but they really won't last more than 50 throws before creating a big mess. Really.
Colin Powell says it's a civil war, and says Bush should call it that in order to "come to terms with the reality on the ground."

Think Progress has the video.

Jim Webb may be my new hero.

Here's why.

At a recent White House reception for freshman members of Congress, Virginia's newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn't long before Bush found him.

"How's your boy?" Bush asked, referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

"That's not what I asked you," Bush said. "How's your boy?"

"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.


If the exchange with Bush two weeks ago is any indication, Webb won't be a wallflower, especially when it comes to the war in Iraq. And he won't stick to a script drafted by top Democrats.

"I'm not particularly interested in having a picture of me and George W. Bush on my wall," Webb said in an interview yesterday in which he confirmed the exchange between him and Bush. "No offense to the institution of the presidency, and I'm certainly looking forward to working with him and his administration. [But] leaders do some symbolic things to try to convey who they are and what the message is."

From a former boxer, former military officer and former Republican.

I think we actually have a fighter in the Senate.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Now Bush wants to know Maliki's plan.

Nov. 28 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush said he will press Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on what is needed for success in Iraq and that increased sectarian violence there is part of a pattern than began nine months ago, downplaying concern the country is in civil war.

``I will ask him what is required and what is your strategy to be a country that can govern itself and sustain itself,'' Bush said today at a news conference in Tallinn, Estonia.

"What's the Democrats' plan?" "What's Maliki's plan?"

Hey, moron, what's YOUR plan?

Why did you invade a country WITHOUT one? And now you want everybody else to tell you what to do about your own damned mess.

IRAQ is supposed to tell YOU what the plan is? Pardon me for mentioning it, but you invaded THEM.

And you had no idea what you were doing THEN, and you have no idea NOW.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

If history is embarrassing, rewrite history.

Remember "Mission Accomplished"? They don't want you to. The official video of the event on the White House webpage has the video cropped so that the banner over Bush's head that says "Mission Accomplished" is no longer visible.

Check out the video:

Friday, November 24, 2006

Good God Almighty, this stuff ain't real.

While we were stoking the fear of Saddam Hussein's WMDs, Hussein was investigating the idea of having the Iraqis stock up on crossbows, slingshots, and Molotov Cocktails.

I'm not kidding.
From an old copy of the Onion, just discovered by me:

Ünited Stätes Toughens Image With Umlauts

April 30, 1997 | Issue 31•16

WASHINGTON, DC—In a move designed to make the United States seem more "bad-assed and scary in a quasi-heavy-metal manner," Congress officially changed the nation's name to the Ünited Stätes of Ämerica Monday. "Much like Mötley Crüe and Motörhead, the Ünited Stätes is not to be messed with," said Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK). An upcoming redesign of the Ämerican flag will feature the new name in burnished silver wrought in a jagged, gothic font and bolted to a black background. A new national anthem is also in the works by composer Glenn Danzig, tentatively titled "Howl Of The She-Demon."

Remember, just a few weeks ago, when Bush claimed that the increase in violence in Iraq was due to them trying to influence our election?

Well, those silly insurgents apparently haven't been told that our election is over. They're STILL trying to influence our election.

Sectarian Attack Is Worst in Baghdad Since Invasion

BAGHDAD, Nov. 23 — In the deadliest sectarian attack in Baghdad since the American-led invasion, explosions from five powerful car bombs and a mortar shell tore through crowded intersections and marketplaces in the teeming Shiite district of Sadr City on Thursday afternoon, killing at least 144 people and wounding 206, the police said.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Rube Goldberg goes bowling.

Bush won't go to Bagdhad

Bush is going to meet with the Prime Minister of Iraq. But in Jordan. For God's sake, not in Bagdhad. It's not safe there.

The meeting between Bush and Maliki in the Jordanian capital Amman, a much safer venue than Baghdad, will follow a weekend visit to Iran by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and this week's landmark visit to Iraq by Syria's foreign minister.

Bagdhad. Green Zone. Surrounded by his own frigging army. And it's too dangerous for him to go.

Keep telling us how well everything is gooing over there.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Report: Syria to demand Golan as price for aiding U.S. on Iraq

AP - As Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem arrived in Baghdad for a landmark visit to Iraq on Sunday, Damascus was reportedly set to demand that Washington press Israel over the issue of return of the Golan Heights,as the price of its cooperation with the Bush administration on Iraq,

Is there ANYTHING that could make the United States look more pathetic and defeated in the eyes of world than asking SYRIA for help in Iraq? And having Syria demand the Golan Heights as a concession?

Bush thought that destabilizing Iraq would have no unforseen conquences.

Which makes him a negligent moron.

And this is the price paid.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sorry, Charlie

Don't try and understand 'em:
Just rope 'em, throw and draft 'em.

Rangel wants the draft reinstated.

Now, I LIKE Charlie Rangel. I really do. I've voted for him. He's been around forever, he wins with 80% of the vote all the time because his contituents love him. Heck, I once performed in a spoof of the stupidity of Congress when Charlie was sitting in the audience (really).

But I don't even know where to START with all that I think is wrong with THIS move.

1) The Democrats just took the House. How stupid is it to make reinstating the DRAFT the first order of business? Not investigating the lies that led to Iraq. Not protecting Social Security. Not health care. Not fiscal responsibility. No, let's put all of that off, and make the draft priority number 1.

That isn't why people voted for Democrats. They voted for Democrats in order to wind down the war. Conscription is what you do when you are stepping it up, not winding it down.

2) Rangel wants to reinstate the draft to make a point. Well, pardon me for mentioning it, but that's a damned stupid reason to have a draft.

You don't completely up-end the lives of tens of thousands of citizens to make a point.

The only possible reason to have a draft is a dire emergency where there is no choice.

Frankly, I wonder if the draft shouldn't be retired forever and permanently. It's kind of hard to claim that "it's a free country" - and that you have "freedom from Government intrusion" - when the Government can order you to leave your home and spend years in a foreign country whether you like it or not, shooting people and getting shot at, entirely for the crime of being young and healthy.

But whether a draft can sometimes be justified or not, one thing's for sure: you don't do something like THAT to people just because you want to make a point.

3) And if Rangel actually thinks that a draft would balance the scales and make the sons and daughters of politicians and the societal elite serve just like the poor kids, he's living in fantasyland. Of COURSE it won't. It didn't during Vietnam, and it won't now.

Sorry, Charlie. Real, real dumb, Charlie.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Katie, Bar the doors.

There is a REAL LIBERAL in the Senate.


And he wrote the following in the Wall Street Journal.

The world has turned upside down.

Class Struggle

American workers have a chance to be heard.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 12:01 a.m. EST

The most important--and unfortunately the least debated--issue in politics today is our society's steady drift toward a class-based system, the likes of which we have not seen since the 19th century. America's top tier has grown infinitely richer and more removed over the past 25 years. It is not unfair to say that they are literally living in a different country. Few among them send their children to public schools; fewer still send their loved ones to fight our wars. They own most of our stocks, making the stock market an unreliable indicator of the economic health of working people. The top 1% now takes in an astounding 16% of national income, up from 8% in 1980. The tax codes protect them, just as they protect corporate America, through a vast system of loopholes.

Incestuous corporate boards regularly approve compensation packages for chief executives and others that are out of logic's range. As this newspaper has reported, the average CEO of a sizeable corporation makes more than $10 million a year, while the minimum wage for workers amounts to about $10,000 a year, and has not been raised in nearly a decade. When I graduated from college in the 1960s, the average CEO made 20 times what the average worker made. Today, that CEO makes 400 times as much.

In the age of globalization and outsourcing, and with a vast underground labor pool from illegal immigration, the average American worker is seeing a different life and a troubling future. Trickle-down economics didn't happen. Despite the vaunted all-time highs of the stock market, wages and salaries are at all-time lows as a percentage of the national wealth. At the same time, medical costs have risen 73% in the last six years alone. Half of that increase comes from wage-earners' pockets rather than from insurance, and 47 million Americans have no medical insurance at all.

Manufacturing jobs are disappearing. Many earned pension programs have collapsed in the wake of corporate "reorganization." And workers' ability to negotiate their futures has been eviscerated by the twin threats of modern corporate America: If they complain too loudly, their jobs might either be outsourced overseas or given to illegal immigrants.

This ever-widening divide is too often ignored or downplayed by its beneficiaries. A sense of entitlement has set in among elites, bordering on hubris. When I raised this issue with corporate leaders during the recent political campaign, I was met repeatedly with denials, and, from some, an overt lack of concern for those who are falling behind. A troubling arrogance is in the air among the nation's most fortunate. Some shrug off large-scale economic and social dislocations as the inevitable byproducts of the "rough road of capitalism." Others claim that it's the fault of the worker or the public education system, that the average American is simply not up to the international challenge, that our education system fails us, or that our workers have become spoiled by old notions of corporate paternalism.

Still others have gone so far as to argue that these divisions are the natural results of a competitive society. Furthermore, an unspoken insinuation seems to be inundating our national debate: Certain immigrant groups have the "right genetics" and thus are natural entrants to the "overclass," while others, as well as those who come from stock that has been here for 200 years and have not made it to the top, simply don't possess the necessary attributes.

Most Americans reject such notions. But the true challenge is for everyone to understand that the current economic divisions in society are harmful to our future. It should be the first order of business for the new Congress to begin addressing these divisions, and to work to bring true fairness back to economic life. Workers already understand this, as they see stagnant wages and disappearing jobs.

America's elites need to understand this reality in terms of their own self-interest. A recent survey in the Economist warned that globalization was affecting the U.S. differently than other "First World" nations, and that white-collar jobs were in as much danger as the blue-collar positions which have thus far been ravaged by outsourcing and illegal immigration. That survey then warned that "unless a solution is found to sluggish real wages and rising inequality, there is a serious risk of a protectionist backlash" in America that would take us away from what they view to be the "biggest economic stimulus in world history."

More troubling is this: If it remains unchecked, this bifurcation of opportunities and advantages along class lines has the potential to bring a period of political unrest. Up to now, most American workers have simply been worried about their job prospects. Once they understand that there are (and were) clear alternatives to the policies that have dislocated careers and altered futures, they will demand more accountability from the leaders who have failed to protect their interests. The "Wal-Marting" of cheap consumer products brought in from places like China, and the easy money from low-interest home mortgage refinancing, have softened the blows in recent years. But the balance point is tipping in both cases, away from the consumer and away from our national interest.

The politics of the Karl Rove era were designed to distract and divide the very people who would ordinarily be rebelling against the deterioration of their way of life. Working Americans have been repeatedly seduced at the polls by emotional issues such as the predictable mantra of "God, guns, gays, abortion and the flag" while their way of life shifted ineluctably beneath their feet. But this election cycle showed an electorate that intends to hold government leaders accountable for allowing every American a fair opportunity to succeed.

With this new Congress, and heading into an important presidential election in 2008, American workers have a chance to be heard in ways that have eluded them for more than a decade. Nothing is more important for the health of our society than to grant them the validity of their concerns. And our government leaders have no greater duty than to confront the growing unfairness in this age of globalization.

Mr. Webb is the Democratic senator-elect from Virginia.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Moral issues.

"I told my colleagues yesterday that the biggest ethical issue facing our country for the past three and a half years is the war in Iraq." - Nancy Pelosi

"The Biggest Ethical Issue."

I like that. It would have been even better if she said "moral issue," but "ethical issue" is good, too.

The Democrats for years and years have allowed the Republicans to use "morals" and "ethics" to exclusively refer to the stances of their party, and to exclusively refer to matters like sex.

Greed is not a moral issue. Healing the sick is not a moral issue. Alleviating poverty is not a moral issue. WAR is not a moral issue. What you do with your wee-wee is the beginning and end of morality, according to the Republican Party.

And the mainstream media goes along with that nonsense.

The media frame given our political discourse is that health-care, poverty, and war are NOT actually moral issues, when, of course, they are. The result is that the Democrats have come across for years and years as astonishingly passionless. A bunch of weak bureaucrats, sitting in a panelled room playing all sorts of esoteric, wonkish games. The Republicans, on the other hand, have used passion and emotion and heart to whip up actual fervor.

This process has been aided and abetted by the mainstream media, of course, but the Democrats haven't helped. The result has been that an issue like healthcare is viewed as an abstract conundrum, instead of the focus of the question being where it belongs: on actual sick and dying human beings. That would be treating it as a moral issue.

And that is part of the reason why the media were so shocked when Howard Dean yelled "YEAAARGH!" He broke the rules. He was a Democrat, and he actually had the nerve to exhibit actual excitement and passion. Republicans get over-the-top emotionally all the time, and the media don't bat an eye. Because it's part of the accepted media frame that Republicans are expected to be passionate. Democrats aren't.

But they were all wrong. That passion of Dean's is exactly what led to the recent election victories. And Speaker Pelosi's understanding that war IS a moral issue, poverty IS a moral issue, health care IS a moral issue is exactly the frame needed to bring passion and focus back to the left side of the political spectrum, and resurrect the concept of actual morality from the dead ossified sexual rules and regulations and phony Pharisaism masquerading as morality so beloved by the Republican Party.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Bush is truly deranged now.

"One of the most poignant moments of the drive in," he said at the Sheraton Hanoi, "was passing the lake where John McCain got pulled out of the lake. And he's a friend of ours; he suffered a lot as a result of his imprisonment, and yet, we passed the place where he was, literally, saved, in one way, by the people pulling him out." - TIME

Those people who pulled him out of the lake were enemy soldiers who took him prisoner and brutally tortured him.

Bush just gave them a compliment for "saving" him.

Is there ANYTHING this moron can say that would piss off the Republicans? If a Democrat said anything that dumb and vile, they'd be screaming "treason."

UPDATE: The Washington Post points out what McCain's autobiography says abut how he was "saved.":

In fact, according to McCain, who broke both arms and his right knee while ejecting from his A-4 Skyhawk, he was hauled out of the lake on two bamboo poles and beaten on the shore by an angry mob.

In his autobiography, "Faith of My Fathers," McCain wrote that the crowd, shouting wildly, stripped his clothes off, "spitting on me, kicking and striking me repeatedly." A woman, possibly a nurse, intervened, and a Vietnamese army truck arrived "to take me away from this group of aggrieved citizens who seemed intent on killing me," McCain wrote.

Bush went to Vietnam, and tried to spin this into something to feel GOOD about.


Reid: Stop campaign fraud

Reid and Schumer are drafting legislation to make it illegal to lie and commit blatant fraud to win an election. If you remember, the Republicans had machines do robo-calls to people that SEEMED like they came from Democrats, and were designed to irritate and anger voters. Also, attempts at voter intimidation, and lying.


Remember those abusive Republican robo-calls and the sample ballots that suggested -- falsely -- that Michael Steele is a Democrat? The soon-to-be Senate majority leader does, and he's prepared to do something about them.

In a breakfast meeting sponsored by the American Prospect, Harry Reid told reporters today that the calls and the phony campaign literature were "absolutely wrong," and that one of the first 10 bills he introduces in the next Senate will deal with such abuses. "We need to make these criminal penalties," Reid said, saying that civil liability was apparently not enough to deter what happened in the run-up to last week's election.

But the way, the "liberal" New York Times, still carrying water for the Republicans, characterizes lying, fraud, dirty tricks and intimidation as "negative campaign tactics." And they are clearly trying to downplay the severity of the Republicans' disgraceful behavior. Why would the liberal media do that?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Majority Leader

Steny Hoyer is the new Majority Leader.

I want you to notice what's important about that: He's the MAJORITY Leader. As in "more of us than of them."

The Republicans, of course, are trying to make it sound as though the disagreement over whether Murtha or Hoyer should get the post was the Fight of the Century. "The Democrat are in disarray!" they bleat excitedly, not two weeks after getting their heads handed to them.

Disarray, my ass. There was a difference of opinion, Hoyer was chosen, he's the majority leader, and now we move forward. That's how grown-ups do things. Maybe not Republicans, but grown-ups.

Remember: Republicans will spin ANYthing the Democrats do into an excuse to attack. If the Democrats disagree with each other, they are "in disarray." If they AGREE with each other, then they are accused of not thinkng for themselves.

The current Republican party doesn't care about helping America - to them, it's all a dumb political game. So you might as well just completely ignore their incessant whining.

Strange, though. The Republicans JUST LOST, and they didn't take a breath before returning to the same childish foolishness which got them rejected in the first place.

Reputation is everything.

Found in my email:

I am a crack dealer in Bradenton who has recently been diagnosed with HIV. My parents live in a suburb of Tampa and one of my sisters, who lives in Sarasota, is married to a transvestite. My father and mother have recently been arrested for growing and selling marijuana and are currently dependent on my other two sisters who are prostitutes in Miami.

I have two brothers. One is currently serving a non-parole life sentence at Stark for murder of a teenage boy in 1994. The other brother is currently being held in the Manatee County Jail on charges of neglecting his three children.

I have recently become engaged to marry a former Thai prostitute who lives in Jacksonville and, indeed, is still a part-time "working girl" in a brothel.

My problem is this: I love my fiance and look forward to bringing her into the family and of course I want to be totally honest with her.

Should I tell her about my uncle who voted for Bush?

Worried About My Reputation

Is it Civil War yet?

Yes, according to everyone but the reality-deniers-in-charge.

Bush's folly has endangered the entire Middle East.

Sectarian Strife in Iraq Imperils Entire Region, Analysts Warn

By Ellen Knickmeyer
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, November 16, 2006; Page A01

BAGHDAD -- While American commanders have suggested that civil war is possible in Iraq, many leaders, experts and ordinary people in Baghdad and around the Middle East say it is already underway, and that the real worry ahead is that the conflict will destroy the flimsy Iraqi state and draw in surrounding countries.

Whether the U.S. military departs Iraq sooner or later, the United States will be hard-pressed to leave behind a country that does not threaten U.S. interests and regional peace, according to U.S. and Arab analysts and political observers.

Bush attacks Americans on Foreign Soil

In Asia, Bush takes on Democrats at home

SINGAPORE - From across the world, President Bush took on anti-war and anti-free trade Democrats who won control of Congress, saying Thursday any drift toward isolationism would hinder America's security and economic vitality.

"We hear voices calling for us to retreat from the world and close our doors to its opportunities," he said in a speech at the National University of Singapore. "These are the old temptations of isolationism and protectionism, and America must reject them."

My, my. Aren't we told by the right-wingers - including Bush's father - that it's a the Crime of the Century to criticize America on Foreign Soil (said with appropriate music playing in the background, of course)?

And I love "isolationist." Apparently, Bush thinks not wanting to nation-build and start foreign wars for no good reason is the same thing as being an isolationist.

And when are this guy's supporters - who, unlike Democrats, often actually ARE isolationists - going to realize that George W. Bush is the biggest globalist and internationalist we've ever had as President? The man is only American as an accident of birth.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Helmet Head Returns


Trent Lott Wins Back Leadership Slot

WASHINGTON -- Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott, ousted from the top Senate Republican leadership job four years ago because of remarks considered racially insensitive, won election to the chamber's No. 2 GOP post Wednesday.

What a GREAT WAY to signal to America that you are changing direction: recycle your old leadership.

What did they do? Hold a caucus to determine what would be the single stupidest move?

It pisses off the base. It gives giant ammo to the Democrats. It cements their
image as a pack of racists. It pleases NOBODY, except (I guess) Trent Lott.

Mitch McConnell and Trent Lott. Nothing says "Stuck on Stupid" like it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Democrat's best friend

George W. Bush.

There's plenty of evidence to suggest that President Bush may have been the deciding factor that killed the GOP's momentum in some key Senate races over the last week. One Republican consultant is convinced that Bush's last-minute visit to Missouri on behalf of ousted GOP Sen. Jim Talent did the incumbent in. According to the network exit polls, Democrat Claire McCaskill crushed Talent among those late-breaking voters who decided in the final three days (a full 11 percent of the electorate). Bush also made a last-minute trip to Montana, where anecdotal evidence indicates the president's rally for Republican Conrad Burns stopped the incumbent's momentum in Billings.

Liberal Madia

Some clown send death threats and white powder to Nancy Pelosi, Jon Stewart, David Letterman, Chuck Schumer and Keith Olbermann.

The article doesn't mention that every single one of them - whether politician, pundit or entertainer - is known to be very critical of George W. Bush.

An oversight, I'm sure.

Bush meets with Demcrats

The president, along with Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser chief Stephen Hadley, will meet Monday with a bipartisan panel studying the war in Iraq. - AP

But, wait a minute. I thought those Democrats were all traitors. Are you telling me that our President is meeting with traitors?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Armistice Day

May this one finally BE the War to End All Wars.

Porkypine: "Y'know, it seems to me this is all backwards... We, ever'body, ought to keep our big mouths shut all the whole year long so's we'd have time to think of two minutes' worth of somethin' to say on the eleventh day of November."

Maureen Dowd

MoDo got the mojo.

Drapes of Wrath

The new Democratic sweep conjures up an ancient image: Furies swooping down to punish bullies.

Angry winged goddesses with dog heads, serpent hair and blood eyes, unmoved by tears, prayer, sacrifice or nasty campaign ads, avenging offenses by insolent transgressors.

This will be known as the year macho politics failed — mainly because it was macho politics by marshmallow men. Voters were sick of phony swaggering, blustering and bellicosity, absent competency and accountability. They were ready to trade in the deadbeat Daddy party for the sheltering Mommy party.

All the conservative sneering about a fem-lib from San Francisco who was measuring the drapes for the speaker’s office didn’t work. Americans wanted new drapes, and an Armani granny with a whip in charge.

A recent study found that the testosterone of American men has been dropping for 20 years, but in Republican Washington, it was running amok, and not in a good way. Men who had refused to go to an untenable war themselves were now refusing to find an end to another untenable war that they had recklessly started.

Republicans were oddly oblivious to the fact that they had turned into a Thomas Nast cartoon: an unappetizing tableau of bloated, corrupt, dissembling, feckless white hacks who were leaving kids unprotected. Tom DeLay and Bob Ney sneaking out of Congress with dollar bills flying out of their pockets. Denny Hastert playing Cardinal Bernard Law, shielding Mark Foley. Rummy, cocky and obtuse as he presided over an imploding Iraq, while failing to give young men and women in the military the armor, support and strategy they needed to come home safely. Dick Cheney, vowing bullheadedly to move “full speed ahead” on Iraq no matter what the voters decided. W. frantically yelling about how Democrats would let the terrorists win, when his lame-brained policies had spawned more terrorists.

After 9/11, Americans had responded to bellicosity, drawn to the image, as old as the Western frontier myth, of the strong father protecting the home from invaders. But this time, many voters, especially women, rejected the rough Rovian scare and divide tactics.

The macho poses and tough talk of the cowboy president were undercut when he seemed flaccid in the face of the vicious Katrina and the vicious Iraq insurgency.

Even former members of the administration conceded they were tired of the muscle-bound style, longing for a more maternal approach to the globe. “We were exporting our anger and our fear, hatred for what had happened,” Richard Armitage, the former deputy secretary of state, said in a speech in Australia, referring to the 9/11 attacks. He said America needed “to turn another face to the world and get back to more traditional things, such as the export of hope and opportunity and inspiration.”

Talking about hope and opportunity and inspiration has propelled Barack Obama into the presidential arena. His approach seems downright feminine when compared with the Bushies, or even Hillary Clinton. He languidly poses in fashion magazines, shares feelings with Oprah and dishes with the ladies on “The View.” After six years of chest-puffing, Senator Obama seems very soothing.

Because of the power of female consumers, some marketing experts predict we will end up a matriarchy. This year, women also flexed their muscle at the polls, transformed into electoral Furies by the administration’s stubborn course in Iraq.

On Tuesday, 51 percent of the voters were women, and 55 percent of women voted for the Democratic candidate. It was a revival of the style of Bill Clinton, dubbed our first female president, who knitted together a winning coalition of independents, moderates and suburbanites.

According to The Times’s exit polls, women were more likely than men to want some or all of the troops to be withdrawn from Iraq now, and 64 percent of women said that the war in Iraq has not improved U.S. security.

The Senate has a new high of 16 women and the House has a new high of at least 70, with a few races outstanding. Hillary’s big win will strengthen her presidential tentacles.

Nancy Pelosi, who will be the first female speaker, softened her voice and look as she cracked the whip on her undisciplined party, taking care not to sound shrill. When she needs to, though, she says she can use her “mother-of-five voice.”

At least for the moment, W. isn’t blustering and Cheney has lost his tubby swagger. The president is trying to ride the Mommy vibe. He even offered Madame Speaker help with those new drapes.
"Donald Rumsfeld , the fellow once hailed as a matinee idol for older women who watch C-SPAN, bungled every major decision in the war: how many troops to send (not enough); whether or not to dissolve the Iraqi army (he did); whether or not to mount an extensive de-Baathification campaign (he did); how to respond to the looting and the incipient insurgency in the weeks and months after the invasion (not expeditiously). Of course, Rumsfeld was wrong on the WMD question, and he was wrong to declare before the invasion that the war would last less than six months. His Pentagon was a home to neoconservative war advocates who cherry-picked intelligence data and factoids to craft the false case that Saddam Hussein was in league with al Qaeda. In the years after the invasion, Rumsfeld routinely and falsely claimed the Pentagon was making significant progress in training Iraqi security forces. Looking at his management of the war, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that a local weatherman using a Magic Eight Ball could have done better."

David Corn

If you think YOU'RE relieved...

Iraqis cheer Rumsfeld departure
09/11/2006 12:45 - (SA)

Baghdad - Iraqis on Thursday cheered the resignation of US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, blaming him for policy failures and scandals they say helped spawn the daily sectarian carnage wracking their nation.

"Rumsfeld's resignation shows the scale of the mess the US has made in Iraq," said Ibrahim Ali, 44, who works at the oil ministry. "The efforts by American politicians to hide their failure are no longer working."

Friday, November 10, 2006

What were they thinking?

Ok, hindsight is 20/20 and all that, but when I think about the way things have been done by the Republicans in the last couple of years, I can't imagine what they were thinking, or WHY they thought it was a good idea.

For two years, they have been accusing everyone who was against the war, or didn't like Bush, of little things like treason.

Did they think that they could accuse people of treason, and still get their votes?

Did they think that it was a good idea to accuse New Yorkers of supporting the scum that flew jumbo jets into the World Trade Center, devastated their city and killed their friends? Didn't they realize that that would make the people so accused completely FURIOUS?

And when every single survey showed that Americans were sick of the Iraqi war, why didn't the Republicans actually try and figure out if maybe there was a REAL REASON for that? Instead, the response was to just call all of those people the filtheist names, and accuse them all of being TRAITORS and supporters of terrorists.

Did they not realize that in the last two years they were saying that about the majority of Americans?

And the idiots in Congress - what were they thinking?

Why would you rubberstamp every whim of a President with a 38% approval rating? Why would you think that that was a good idea? And why would you then expect the 60% who don't like him to vote for you?

"I don't like what Bush is trying to do."

"Well, as long as I'm in office, he can do anything he wants, traitor. Now vote for me."


Bitch-slapped twice

Lame Duck Senate Won't Approve Bolton

(CBS/AP) John Bolton's prospects for staying on as U.N. ambassador essentially died Thursday as Democrats and a pivotal Republican said they would continue to oppose his nomination during this year's lame-duck session of Congress.

Lincoln Chafee, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters that he did not believe Bolton's nomination would move forward without his support.

"The American people have spoken out against the president's agenda on a number of fronts, and presumably one of those is on foreign policy," the Rhode Island moderate told The Associated Press.

"And at this late stage in my term, I'm not going to endorse something the American people have spoke out against."

It DOES tell you something about Bush, though, that the first thing he does after being bitch-slapped by the American People is play MORE games and try and ram through something ELSE that they don't like.

This is the sort of crap that caused the Republicans to lose Tuesday.

And Thursday, Bush tries more of the same.

Chafee gets it.

Bush, however, is apparently incapable of learning.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Rummy to be charged with war crimes?

The president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Michael Ratner, is heading to Germany today to file a new case charging outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld with war crimes for authorizing torture at Guantanamo Bay.

Would Rumsfeld stepping down leave him open to prosecution? In 2004, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a criminal complaint in Germany on behalf of several Iraqi citizens who alleged that a group of U.S. officials committed war crimes in Iraq. Rumsfeld was among the officials named in the complaint. The Iraqis claimed they were victims of electric shock, severe beatings, sleep and food deprivation and sexual abuse.

Here's the interview with the guy who is filing the complaint.

You KNEW Bush wouldn't stop

Bush is trying to ram Bolton's nomination through before the Republicans become the Minority in January.

White House resubmits Bolton nomination
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A Congressional source says the White House has re-submitted the nomination of UN Ambassador John Bolton to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in an effort to get it considered during the lame duck session.
--CNN Correspondent Andrea Koppel

You didn't think the asshole would actually listen to America, did you?

Now is the time to filibuster. What can they do about it?
Allen conceded. It's official. Democrats control the Senate.

Memory Hole II

At 10 am this morning, the Stock Market started a little down. The AP said:

"Stocks Fall on Election Results ~ Stocks Fall After Democratic Congressional Wins"

With a little gloating copy, anti-Democrat copy:

Wall Street retreated Wednesday after Democrats scored a huge victory in congressional elections, raising questions about how sympathetic the federal government will be toward business.

Investors had largely expected Democrats to win control of the House of Representatives for the first time in a dozen years, but still undecided Senate races in Montana and Virginia that left the leadership of that house unclear created the type of uncertainty investors dislike.

Then, later in the morning, the thing turns around, and the SAME LINK says:

"Stocks rise after Democratic election wins ~ Wall Street welcomes big Democratic victory; Dow hits a new high"