Monday, October 31, 2005

Many liberal bloggers are writing about the expected heated war to occur over the nomination of Alito, with Dems ready to throw the gloves off and really mix it up.

Although I hope they're right, I just can't fathom how it can happen. The Dems have been soggy wet noodles for as long as I can remember, all bark no bite. Sure, during the hearings we may see lots of grandstanding for the cameras, but will we see them go nuclear? Will we see them fulminating on TV and radio, not in a controlled, paced manner ala Schumer, but in a passionate, piercing delivery? Will they orchestrate a unified, all-front attack that will effectively register with the public? Or will they instead opt for MoveOn.org-type coma-inducing meet-ups and sit-ins?

Sorry, I have near zero faith in Reid, Pelosi, and Dean when it comes to such things. A first step could be connecting the dots for the public to see with regards to polls showing most Americans in favor of choice and yet this president nominated someone who would overturn this majority sentiment. They need to spell out how GW is repeatedly about pleasing the minority at the expense of the majority. He takes care of the select few special interests first, whether it be the ultra rich, oil executives, friends and cronies, or in this case, religious extremists. The big moderate middle -- which is most of us -- is of little use or concern to him.
  • Hilarious, and very true, JibJab poke at Wal-Mart.

  • In the spirit of Halloween, a truly scary story. If this trend continues, the country is doomed.

  • I've always found Lawrence O'Donnell to be too much of a mild-mannered, overly cordial and polite liberal talking head. Well, I don't know what's happened to him of late but he appears to have gone through a transformation since writing for The Huffington Post.

    His latest entry pulls no punches:
    'The White House dodged a bullet' is the single stupidest bit of nonstop echo punditry we've heard this weekend. Karl Rove not getting indicted presents the White House with a worse problem than an indictment would have. The problem being -- Rove is going to go to work Monday morning at the White House with TV cameras following his every move and with 47% of the public believing he did something wrong, according to today's Washington Post poll.

    What the White House desperately needed on Friday was Rove's resignation. As long as he keeps his White House pass, Rove is a cancer on the presidency.

    The Washington Post poll shows that the best outcome for the Democrats would be Rove staying in the White House till Bush's last day. The Post reports, "Barely a third of Americans -- 34 percent -- think Bush is doing a good job ensuring high ethics in government, which is slightly lower than President Bill Clinton's standing on this issue when he left office." Keeping Rove on the job will keep that number where it is today.

    The pundit world, having spent years in awe of Karl Rove, will never understand how bad he is at his White House job. His second term agenda destroyed this presidency long before Patrick Fitzgerald's press conference. Rove sent his president on a political death march on Social Security reform with the most hopeless legislative idea since the Clinton health care bill. That showed Congress how powerless the second-term Bush would be. Without the Social Security collapse-which I predicted on day one of the Social Security crusade -- Senate Republicans and the right wing would not have dared defy their president on a Rove-managed Supreme Court nomination. And Rove obviously had no feel for the politics of Katrina which pulled Bush poll numbers to record lows.

    As long as Karl Rove stays in the White House doing the terrible job he is doing and bringing the stench of scandal with him every time he walks in the door, the Bush presidency will remain a powerless gang that couldn't shoot straight. And the 'dodge the bullet' chorus will never understand that.
  • From David Rosenberg at Merrill Lynch:
    The President's approval rating was already at a lifetime low going into last week's trio of bad news - the 2,000 U.S. fatality in Iraq, the Harriet Miers withdrawal and "Scooter" Libby's indictment. It can no longer be taken for granted that the GOP will sweep the House and the Senate again come the November 7, 2006 midterm elections at this point, and what is interesting is that Mr. Bush's approval rating of 40% is exactly where Bill Clinton's was at this same stage in the fall of 1993 - and the Dems were booted out of both houses the next year.
  • Sunday, October 30, 2005

    Fred Kaplan makes the point: where have these GOP critics been with their insightful, harsh words? To come out now, Johnny come lately, translates into much less purposeful effect and is a bit like the cowardly boy who kicks the bully once he's been pummeled by a fed-up gang. The numerous failures of Bush are not suddenly evident but rather have been readily apparent for quite some time. To not acknowledge this point is to simply admit to being overly influenced by partisan rhetoric and to be in denial of reality (i.e. drinking the Roveian Kool-Aid).

    Shame on these late-to-the-party, bandwagon GW bashers. Now that their clown/tool is down for the count it's very easy to jump ship, esp. since he's the lamest of ducks. Some say with Miers withdrawing that GW may regain some backers, as if they're willing to give him a second chance. Fine, let it happen, but the cards have been dealt and the smart ones will continue to look for convenient excuses allowing them to flee this loser with some dignity/face.

    As for the others, if they truly believe winning in '08 will require that they stay the course with GW, I say go for it! Just like they believed with Newt in the '90s. You think you can go to the well one more time by scaring the public with 9/11 imagery to win votes? Fool me once, fool me twice, but three times? Who knows with this voting public but I like to think they've finally come to their senses and realize that we can do MUCH better than this guy in office.

    The wingnuts love to harken back to this past election, as if frozen in time, when they had the smear campaigns at full blast and gay marriage used as a Blair Witch scare tactic. They're very good at such things to gain votes ("win at all costs"). But over the last several months, removed from the pre-election hysteria and thus without the benefit of $$-backed orchestrated smears and lies, GW's poll numbers have gone steadily down. What will cause them to go back up? I haven't a clue. And again, many of the brighter Republicans realize this also and will shrewdly venture away from GW and his corrupt, failed cabal. In effect, the party will splinter.

    As I predicted in January, the GOP is imploding and once an implosion starts it's very difficult to stop.

    UPDATE: Today's Washington Post reminds that Bush was down once before in '01 but 9-11 helped to reverse his fate. Uh, big difference now in that 1) can he depend on another 9-11 type incident?, and 2) then he wasn't lame duck; fellow GOPers had to play ball.

    Friday, October 28, 2005

    The right-wing blogs continue to play down the case against Libby/Rove, pretending to see no wrongdoing. After today, don't believe them.

    Kevin Drum puts it best:
    For now, here's the bottom line: Fitzgerald didn't charge Scooter Libby with mistakenly making a few unimportant false statements to the grand jury. He charged him with deliberately constructing a false story about how he learned about Valerie Plame, and then repeatedly telling this story to both FBI agents and the grand jury. That story was a lie, and it was a premeditated lie designed to cover up the fact that he had engaged in a long and persistent effort to uncover information about Joe Wilson's wife and disseminate it to reporters.

    Libby could have told the truth, but then he would have had to admit his role in outing a CIA agent in order to score political points against a critic of the administration. He didn't want that campaign to become public, so he invented a cover story, repeated it under oath, and stuck to it on multiple occasions.

    It's serious stuff.
    Will a Rove indictment be necessary to fatally wound Bush for the next 2+ years? Has the public seen enough already to all but consider Rove guilty and a forever-tainted official? Or lacking an indictment, will they eventually forgive & forget, no doubt helped by the tidal wave of brainwashing rhetoric sure to come from the GOP?
    With the onset of this in-house turmoil, GW will likely replace existing charlatans with new charlatans. Nothing will change because the deeper problem is at the nexus of power: GW himself. He's not wise and he surrounds himself with these types of bottom-feeding cronies and filthy dirtbags, making it just a matter of time before bad decisions are put forth due to incompetence and laws are broken due to the lack of morals in those chosen to serve.

    A fish rots from the head....
    No doubt the timing of the Miers announcement (which comes as a shock, NOT) was purposeful, wag-dogging the Fitzgerald indictment announcement, but does it really serve the intended goal? Yes it may drown out the indictment news due to sheer noise and crowding out of newspaper headlines, however my reaction may be the one many Americans experienced. I just shook my head and absorbed (further) the astounding mess this administration has created and sadly forces the country to wallow in.

    The bang-bang announcements help to crystallize the obvious realization that the current state of affairs is like an Etch-a-Sketch screen that is bombarded with hundreds of crazy lines: it begs for a vigorous, thorough shaking to clear the screen and start anew. There's really nothing worth saving, nothing meaningful to build on, but instead too much that needs to be erased with enormous amounts of required fixing to occur.

    The next decade or two will be all about mending the damage that's been inflicted on the country and getting us back to square one -- if it's not too late already. GW's eight years will go down as the most unproductive and wasteful in the Republic's history.

    UPDATE: The day came and went, no Fitzgerald announcement. Was this to be all along or did he wait due to the Miers news? Do we have a cat-and-mouse game in process? Nonetheless, Fitzgerald best be ready for an organized, Swift Boat-ish smear campaign ("criminalization of politics" etc.) the likes of which has not been seen versus a completely decent & fair person.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2005

    Needlenose is describing in premise what I supported during Clinton's Monica mess: for Bill to resign and allow Gore two years of on-the-job performance to run on come 2000. Then it was easy to see that post-hearings Clinton would become lame-duckish so what better for the party then to give Gore a substantive running start. In my mind, it would've made all the difference for Gore's chances, allowing not just the image of President to take hold and resonate but also for him to more easily distance himself from Bill's stupid indiscretions.

    That said, I'm not sure if I completely agree with Needle's dire warning for the Dems. Yes, it would hoist Condi into a better position to run in '08 but nonetheless she would still have hefty obstacles to overcome. If Bush remains unpopular, it will be very difficult for her to distance herself from his wreck-of-a-legacy (similar to Gore with Clinton/Monica problem), and in this case she was complicit on many of the issues and reasons for why GW's eight years were awful. Is it any wonder why McCain in particular is already creating distance between himself and Bush on the issues? Rice as VP will just make it that much easier for him to run against her. Also, let's be brutally realistic, her other obstacles include she's 1) a woman, 2) African-American, and 3) never married. Those three facts combined with her close association to GW will likely be enough to sink her, esp. versus a popular McCain.

    The question is, given the above and assuming she does in fact want to run in '08, will she decline the VP spot if it's offered?
    Guess in which red state these fine folks reside.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2005

    Kay Baily Hutchinson (R-TX) on Meet The Press yesterday:
    "I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation were not a waste of time and dollars."
    Compare the above to her quote years ago about the Clinton impeachment:
    "The edifice of American jurisprudence rests on the foundation of the due process of law. The mortar in that foundation is the oath. Those who seek to obstruct justice weaken that foundation, and those who violate the oath would tear the whole structure down. Every day, thousands of citizens in thousands of courtrooms across America are sworn in as jurors, as grand jurors, as witnesses, as defendants. On those oaths rest the due process of law upon which all of our other rights are based. The oath is how we defend ourselves against those who would subvert our system by breaking our laws. There are Americans in jail today because they violated that oath. Others have prevailed at the bar of justice because of that oath. What would we be telling Americans -- and those worldwide who see in America what they can only hope for in their own countries -- if the Senate of the United States were to conclude: The President lied under oath as an element of a scheme to obstruct the due process of law, but we chose to look the other way? I cannot make that choice. I cannot look away. I vote `Guilty' on Article I, Perjury. I vote `Guilty' on Article II, Obstruction of Justice."
    Wow, just look at the sheer volume of bloviating she had to convey regarding Clinton, as compared to Rove/Libby.

    The level of hypocrisy is both astounding and yet unsurprising.

    Monday, October 24, 2005

    Jonathan Chait states the obvious:
    Bush is mainly interested in harvesting votes from religious conservatives in order to implement an agenda dominated by his economic backers. In liberal-ese: Social conservatives are hapless GOP dupes.
    I agree, and have for years. In fact, Bush is playing this hand quite shrewdly. The religious right are indeed zombie-like voters, usually basing their entire rationale on one, maybe two, issues, and that's it. If a candidate is against abortion rights and gay marriage then that person is VERY likely to get their vote no matter what they stand for on anything else. If the candidate also supports anti-environmental measures or the NRA or tax cuts for the extremely rich, well that doesn't matter, it's ignored. What counts are those few issues that would seem to insure that the voter is on the side of Jesus. But as I constantly remind, Bush endorsed pro-choice Specter over pro-life Toomey, i.e. politics before supposed principles.

    Again, can you blame Bush? He realizes he can continuously stomp on these folks since they have no alternative. What are they going to do, vote for the Satan-loving Democrat? Behind closed doors, he and Rove simply laugh at the fools -- but thank the Lord they exist! As Chait writes, "With allies like these, Bush doesn’t have much incentive to work harder to reward his social conservative base."

    Saturday, October 22, 2005

    From Harold Meyerson in The Washington Post:

    Congress is back in session, and it's gunning for the American poor.

    A revolt of House conservatives has persuaded that body's Republican leadership to offset the increased federal spending going to rebuild the Hurricane Katrina-devastated Gulf Coast by reductions in Medicaid, food stamps and other programs for the indigent. If things go according to plan, this week the House will begin to cut $50 billion from those efforts.

    The emerging Republican response to Katrina, apparently, is to comfort the drenched poor and afflict the dry.

    For a moment last week, it looked as though the Republicans were going to enact across-the-board spending cuts.

    That, however, would have meant less money for defense contractors and the highway industry and other contributors to congressional Republicans' campaigns. GOP committee chairmen made that point so forcefully that the idea was scrapped.

    The beauty of taking the cuts out of Medicaid and student loan programs, by happy contrast, is that it doesn't reduce the flow of funds to the Republican campaign committees by a single dime.
    <..>
    What we have here is an ideologically driven dereliction of duty. If the Bush White House had been put in charge of the Manhattan Project, Oppenheimer and Teller would still be puttering around in the New Mexico desert today.

    And it gets worse. The same Republican zealots who demand fiscal responsibility by cutting $50 billion for the indigent sick are now also demanding a new $70 billion in tax cuts, including the permanent repeal of the estate tax, that would chiefly benefit the rich. For a few brief weeks after Katrina, Republicans actually suspended their advocacy of tax cuts, but this onset of sanity came to a shuddering halt once the cameras were removed from the Superdome.

    Not that it seems to bother them in the least, but the Republicans' post-Katrina priorities and those of the American public couldn't be more diametrically opposed. Earlier this month, Peter Hart's polling firm asked respondents if they believed cutting Medicaid and like programs by $35 billion (the GOP's targeted cut had not yet risen to $50 billion) and cutting taxes by $70 billion was the right or wrong priority. By a margin of 67 percent to 24 percent, the respondents said it was wrong. And in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll last week, 48 percent of those questioned said they wanted the Democrats to control the next Congress, while just 39 percent favored the Republicans.

    You'd think these figures would give the Republicans pause. Instead, they increasingly act as though they were immune to the laws of political gravity. Republicans have grown so accustomed to winning elections by gerrymandering districts, activating their faithful and attacking Democrats over trumped-up issues that they believe they can survive even major shifts in public sentiment.
    Perhaps their obscene hubris stems from their knowing confidence in the tipping point that favors them: the no-paper-trail electronic voting machines; whatever state uses them "miraculously" becomes a red state.

    What happened to the uproar and calls for investigating the flaws in these robo-vote-deliverers? Reid? Pelosi? Anyone??

    Friday, October 21, 2005

    In just the last two evenings, avowed "traditionalist" Bill O'Reilly has had the following topics featured on his TV show: Mexico and illegal immigrants, the Horowitz murder, hurricane Wilma, a high school principal banning a prom, the Minnesota Vikings sex/boat scandal, and John Gibson discussing his "War On Christmas" book. (And of course Bill plugging his "Factor gear," i.e. shilling coffee mugs and doormats at a price).

    Do you notice any oddly missing topics of the day? Yeah, right, where's the controversy surrounding DeLay, Rove, Libby, and Frist, not to mention Bush and Cheney? The only item I noticed in the two evenings was when Dick Morris appeared to plug his book. He first commented on illegal immigrants (of course, to O'Reilly the #1 problem facing the country), and then O'Reilly brings up Miers but then when finally referring to Rove/Libby (forget DeLay's recent mugshot, etc.) all he did was in ten seconds time ask Morris for a prediction on indictments. That's it, no discussion, nothing. And then back to plugging Dick's book.

    I know, I know, you can't take this guy seriously, who in their right mind would? But that's the sad part, many people do.

    Thursday, October 20, 2005

    And the GOP implosion accelerates.
    Those who thought investigations were a wonderful thing when Bill Clinton was president are suddenly facing prosecutors, and they don't like it. It seems like a hundred years ago when Clinton's defenders were accusing his opponents of using special prosecutors, lawsuits, criminal charges and, ultimately, impeachment to overturn the will of the voters.

    Clinton's conservative enemies would have none of this. No, they said over and over, the Clinton mess was not about sex but about "perjury and the obstruction of justice" and "the rule of law."

    The old conservative talking points are now inoperative.
    <..>
    These cases portray an administration and a movement that can dish it out, but want to evade responsibility for doing so and can't take it when they are subjected to the same rule book that inconvenienced an earlier president. An editorial in the latest issue of the conservative Weekly Standard is a sign of arguments to come. The editorial complains about the various accusations being leveled against DeLay, Libby, Rove and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and it says that "a comprehensive strategy of criminalization had been implemented to inflict defeat on conservatives who seek to govern as conservatives."

    I have great respect for my friends at the Weekly Standard, so I think they'll understand my surprise and wonder over this new conservative concern for the criminalization of politics. A process that was about "the rule of law" when Democrats were in power is suddenly an outrage now that it's Republicans who are being held accountable.

    -- E. J. Dionne Jr., 10/18/05
    In sum, it's irony and hypocrisy in their most primal, naked state. Period. (And they're the chosen party for followers of Jesus?! Incredible.)

    But after all, isn't this always what this version of the GOP has represented? Whether it be supposedly pro-life Bush endorsing pro-choice Specter, or lockem-up-and-throw-away-key Rush Limbaugh doctor shopping for drugs, or supposed free-market Republicans insuring that a prescription bill was passed that blocked price competition, this party for far too long has been about saying one thing and doing another, bilking the distracted public every step of the way.

    May the might of justice slam them hard.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2005

    I completely agree with this. McCain is offering up more of a GW alternative than anything brewing in the Dem tent. Amazingly, he appears to be more at odds with Bush/Cheney on issues than any potential Dem prez candidate. Yeah, where is Cheney -- but likewise, where the hell is Hillary?

    As for Reid, he simply must go. He's been a disaster. Incredibly, he has managed to make Daschle look like DeLay!

    It would be bad enough if you simply focused on that absurd filibuster deal he helped orchestrate. Recall where he pledged not to filibuster in exchange for nothing. But then how also do you explain his voting "Ney" for Roberts but indicating to Bush that he's A-OK with Miers? Huh? I am simply stumped as to the logic behind these actions.

    I understand any Dems reservations with Roberts, but at least he was on-paper absolutely qualified and although it was difficult to discern his biases on certain issues, we could at least hang some hope on his apparent high-intellect and respectful knowledge of the Constitution. Now turn to Miers, who lacks much of what I just described about Roberts, and worse yet has pledged to GW/Rove (thanks Dobson) that she will overturn Roe/Wade. As opposed to Roberts, Miers is being sent in as a one-purpose-only justice, like a heat-seeking missile and Roe/Wade is the hapless target. Anything else she rules on will likely match the Thomas mode of functioning: plagiarize Scalia.

    Yes, Reid either must go or perhaps even better, other figures in the party should compete for the high-profile pulpit, speaking out and behaving in a way that makes he/she the defacto leader. Much like DeLay runs the House even though Hastert is the official stooge in charge.
    Regarding the sham 212-210 vote for helping out the profit-laden oil companies with taxpayer money, it would be nice if we discovered what DeLay offered the two Republicans to flip their votes. It took 45 minutes past the deemed time for the vote to close -- so what graft was finally agreed upon in that lengthy time? Reason would dictate it must've been some generous enticing to get the two flippers to say "it's a deal!"

    Imagine how many close votes could've been changed under Clinton's eight years if he had a corrupt Congress that was willing to operate as they pleased, defying rules and keeping vote times open until the outcome was finally modified. These are people who respect our government and the Constitution? It's beyond shame.
  • "Right now, with the Bush administration in meltdown on multiple issues, we're hearing a lot about President Bush's personal failings. But what happened to the commanding figure of yore, the heroic leader in the war on terror? The answer, of course, is that the commanding figure never existed: Mr. Bush is the same man he always was. All the character flaws that are now fodder for late-night humor were fully visible, for those willing to see them, during the 2000 campaign." -- Paul Krugman, 10/14/05

  • "The conservative standard is clear - when a Democratic President is the target it is about the 'rule of law' and when the 'victim' is a Republican it is about the 'criminalization of politics.' It is particularly rich that Tom DeLay, the relentless pursuer of Clinton, is making this claim." -- Bull Moose

  • Bloomberg: "In an interview yesterday, [Joseph] Wilson said that once the criminal questions are settled, he and his wife may file a civil lawsuit against Bush, Cheney and others seeking damages for the alleged harm done to Plame's career. If they do so, the current state of the law makes it likely that the suit will be allowed to proceed -- and Bush and Cheney will face questioning under oath -- while they are in office. The reason for that is a unanimous 1997 U.S. Supreme Court decision ruling that Paula Jones' sexual harassment suit against then-President Bill Clinton could go forward immediately, a decision that was hailed by conservatives at the time."

    Beautiful, delicious irony.

  • So John Fund writes that Dobson was assured Miers would overturn Roe v. Wade. Imagine if under Clinton a similar such arrangement was made for Rev. Jesse Jackson....

  • "If a senior White House staffer had intentionally outed an American spy during World War II, he'd have been shot. We're at war, George Bush keeps reminding us. We cannot continue with business as usual. A pre-9/11 mentality is deadly. Putting the lives of our troops at risk is treason. Then why is the White House and the Republican party engaged in a concerted campaign to make treason acceptable during a time of war?" -- AMERICAblog
  • Sunday, October 16, 2005

    From the Financial Times:
    Even among the strongest advocates in Washington of the war in Iraq there is a sense of alarm these days, with harsh criticism directed particularly at the draft constitution, which they see as a betrayal of principles and a recipe for disintegration of the Iraqi state.

    Expressions of concern among conservatives and former Iraqi exiles, seen also in the rising disillusionment of the American public, reflect a widening gap with the Bush administration and its claims of “incredible political progress” in Iraq.

    Over the past week, two of Washington's most influential conservative think-tanks, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Heritage Foundation, held conferences on Iraq where the mood among speakers, including Iraqi officials, was decidedly sombre.
    Just more evidence of the rightwing suddenly and miraculously waking up to reality -- the timing coincident with the wheels fast falling of the GW fantasy train. Yup, the implosion continues.

    Oh, and more evidence: McCain shrewdly backing positions that are in stark contrast to GW's (recent example: bill against torture). He knows to begin now to create massive distance between what he believes and what the current mess of an administration supports. Any hopeful GOP presidential candidate is going to do likewise, to quite overtly be on the side of issues that oppose GW/Cheney/Rove. It's no-brainer stuff.

    Saturday, October 15, 2005

    I ask, does anyone buy that the wingnuts are truly annoyed that GW selected Miers? I don't. Instead, I believe they're using this latest GW decision to finally jump ship, from one that is sinking mighty fast. GW's poll numbers continue to plummet each week and with indictments mounting many extreme followers have come to the realization that this is as good a time as any to flee association with a certain loser and to start anew.

    Ann Coulter recently said on Bill Maher's show that unlike liberals, the rightwing has principles. Hah! The audience erupted into giggles as Maher correctly feigned laughter. What the rightwing does care about more than anything else is winning, getting their way. When signs point to this not happening, they panic, first attacking each other and finally just abandoning their own currently in power. Principles -- yeah, OK.

    As I've been predicting since early January, the GOP will implode -- if it hasn't already.

    Thursday, October 13, 2005

    It's hilarious. The wingnuts remain pissed off about the Miers nomination. They simply don't believe that she can be trusted to not turn Souter on them. This despite both Cheney (on Limbaugh's show) and Rove (to Dobson) have attempted to calm the base by assuring them that Miers will do what they desire. And yet the continued resistance.

    Hmm, it appears as if the rightwing does not trust the word of Cheney, Rove, or GW these days. Is there anyone left who believes anything these clowns have to say? Even their staunch followers are highly skeptical and doubtful regarding their reassurances -- speaks volumes.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2005

  • "Everybody is hoping that something will happen on Miers, either that the president would withdraw her or she would realize she is not up to it and pull out while she has some dignity intact." Look for a new nominee, either by forced withdrawal or an unflattering leak. It's actually quite pathetic that GW chose an already flawed crony as opposed to a more qualified person on paper and yet one who was extreme enough in his/her views that it would've meant for a bitter, dragged out fight. GW chose the more timid and safe route. He's showing his true colors.

  • Apparently DeLay is still running the House show. That's not surprising. What is is that he still wields power enough to change votes. He's feared and his underlings are just a hoarish bunch of cowed suck-ups.

  • Fitzgerald is putting together quite a blockbuster case. You go boy!

  • Kevin Drum makes an excellent point regarding the many people who say Rumsfeld should've originally sent more troops to Iraq:
    Why do people keep saying stuff like this? The fact is that we didn't, and don't, have any more troops. Rumsfeld's misjudgment wasn't that he decided to use fewer troops than he could have, his misjudgment was in thinking that the occupation could be pulled off successfully with the troops we had available.

    Bottom line: if you argue that we needed more troops in order to invade and occupy Iraq properly, you're just arguing that we shouldn't have invaded and occupied Iraq at all. When will conservative supporters of the war own up to this?
  • Finally O'Reilly utters something truthful.

  • From Reason.com:
    First Five Years, Percentage Changes in Real Discretionary Spending

    LBJ: 25.2%
    Nixon: -16.5%
    Reagan: 11.9%
    Clinton: -8.2%
    Bush: 35.2%
    GW blows away LBJ, but look at Reagan compared to Clinton.

  • USA Today: "A newly released report published by the CIA rebukes the Bush administration for not paying enough attention to prewar intelligence that predicted the factional rivalries now threatening to split Iraq.
    Policymakers worried more about making the case for the war, particularly the claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, than planning for the aftermath, the report says." Simply more proof of thorough and complete incompetence.

  • Regarding Frist, another guy who's toast: "What I find most appalling is the Senate calls it a qualified blind trust when it's not blind," Clark said. "Since the Senate says it's OK, the Senate has made it a political question. It's up to the voter. But there's no doubt it's a conflict of interest."

  • Wasn't invading Iraq supposed to make oil cheaper for the U.S.?

  • Hasn't Al-Qaeda's #2 guy been killed about 9 times over?
  • "Call it environmentalism, Bush style. A new federal tax credit will help allay the extra cost of purchasing hybrid vehicles, but the Byzantine formula for calculating the savings provides greater financial incentives for buying heavy SUVs than more fuel-efficient cars."

  • Recruiting efforts has dropped off so much thanks to GW's Iraq debacle that the Army is now borrowing personnel from the Air Force.

  • "The U.S. administration is spending about $7 billion a month to wage the war on terror and costs could total $570 billion by the end of 2010."

  • From Harpers:
    Year in which perfluorochemicals, used in Teflon and other nonstick products, were first introduced : 1956

    Percentage of U.S. children who now have one of these nonbiodegradable chemicals in their bloodstreams : 96

    Minimum number of prescription drugs currently under investigation for Medicaid price-gouging or marketing fraud : 500

    Percentage markup that Abbott Laboratories charged in 2001 on solutions of sodium chloride, i.e., salt water : 20,735
  • Tuesday, October 11, 2005

    Just desserts.

    From the Washington Post:
    Republican politicians in multiple states have recently decided not to run for Senate next year, stirring anxiety among Washington operatives about the effectiveness of the party's recruiting efforts and whether this signals a broader decline in GOP congressional prospects.
    <..>
    With an unpopular war in Iraq, ethical controversies shadowing top Republicans in the House and Senate, and President Bush suffering the lowest approval ratings of his presidency, the waters look less inviting to politicians deciding whether to plunge into an election bid. Additionally, some Capitol Hill operatives complain that preoccupied senior White House officials have been less engaged in candidate recruitment than they were for the 2002 and 2004 elections. These sources would speak only on background because of the sensitivity of partisan strategies.

    Historically, Senate and House races are often won or lost in the year before the election, as a party's prospects hinge critically on whether the most capable politicians decide to invest time, money and personal pride in a competitive race. Often, this commitment takes some coaxing.
    <..>
    A senior Republican familiar with the recruiting process agreed that the climate has shifted for the GOP because of a confluence of problems from Iraq to Hurricane Katrina and high gasoline prices: "Looking at polls from June or July and then looking at them now, the deterioration is really bad."

    Another Republican, pollster Tony Fabrizio, said a recruiting chill was inevitable. Candidates "aren't stupid," he said. "They see the political landscape. You are asking them to make a huge personal sacrifice. It's a lot easier to make that sacrifice if you think there's a rainbow at the end."
    Hey wingnuts, apparently poor poll numbers do have some impact. Remember this the next time you swiftly wish to dismiss anything other than rigged elections. As for the above, I sure hope the Dems are actively taking advantage of these circumstances, but there's no guarantee. Most evidence still points to the other party remaining in some sort of stunted coma, as if the severely wounded DeLay and Rove still wield tremendous whipping power. Hey, and perhaps they still do; in DC, it takes more than a few indictments to neuter a man.

    Sunday, October 09, 2005

  • "President George W. Bush's overall job approval rating has reached the lowest ever measured in this poll [since 1983], and evaluations of his handling of Iraq, the economy and even his signature issue, terrorism, are also at all-time lows."

  • Washington Post:
    "The CIA will not seek to hold any current or former agency officials, including ex-director George J. Tenet, responsible for failures leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, CIA Director Porter J. Goss said yesterday, despite a recommendation by the agency's inspector general that he convene an "accountability board" to judge their performance."
    <..>
    "The inspectors general of the departments of State, Justice and Defense completed their own investigations without publicized disciplinary actions taken against anyone. The CIA's report, which severely criticized actions of senior officers, will remain classified, Goss said in his announcement, which was welcomed by some former officials mentioned in the document but assailed by families of victims of the attacks."
    So in other words, Goss protects the guilty at the expense of the innocent. Just one more crony in high power.

  • Molly Ivins:
    Separation of church and state is in the Constitution because this country was founded by people who had experienced both religious persecution and state-supported religions. I think John F. Kennedy's 1960 statement to Baptist ministers ("I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.") should stand as a model of how public servants should handle the relation between religious belief and public service.

    Nevertheless, we are now beset by people who insist on dragging religion into governance--and who themselves believe they are beset by people determined to "drive God from the public square."

    This division has been in part created by and certainly aggravated by those seeking political advantage. It is a recipe for an incredibly damaging and serious split in this country, and I believe we all need to think carefully before doing anything to make it worse.

    As an 1803 quote attributed to James Madison goes: "The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries."
  • Financial Planning.com:
    It is possible that this Peak Oil is an empty threat, like Y2K--something to keep alarmists up at night. But even if this is so, bear in mind that preparations for Y2K served the U.S. well in a later emergency, the terrorist attacks of 2001. Despite serious damage to electric, phone and data lines in lower Manhattan, the vital financial information generated there was never endangered.

    Likewise, it can't hurt us to prepare for Peak Oil. In the worst case, we'll have spent some money to develop alternative energy sources while oil remains plentiful. That's hardly a disaster, and could even have positive economic consequences.

  • Saturday, October 08, 2005

    I think Chad might be on to something:
    I'll be the first to say that my skills for political analysis are pretty much on par with my aptitude for Nigerian basket-weaving: both are non-existent. Which is why I feel comfortable saying that I think Miers is a set-up.
    <..>
    I think Bush has chosen a nominee that he expects will be shot down. On the chance she is confirmed, she's still a strong conservative voice on the Supreme Court.

    However, if rejected, how much harder would it be for the Dems to shoot down a second, more qualified (and possibly more conservative) nominee?
    As I referred in a prior post, say what we will about GW's unimpressive intellect, the man does get advice from some pretty cagey and shrewd folks. If Chad's right, in the confirmation hearings, look for the Republicans to do the heavy hammering against Miers. By doing so, they'll throw red meat to the highly upset voter base and at the same time insure Miers' sinking, allowing for a second go-around with a more qualified on paper, and more hard right leaning, nominee.

    While this outcome could be very negative for the Dems, let's not forget that there's some extremely explosive stuff going on that could erupt into huge news. Reports are that one or more high-ranking Bush official will soon be indicted -- this in addition to the DeLay indictments and Frist stock scandal.

    I thought GW said in 2000 he was going to clean up Washington? It looks as dirty as Texas air to me.
    The more things change the more they stay the same. We've seen this before, the House holding open a vote for an extra 50 minutes past schedule to strong-arm fence sitters. It succeeded as the bill passed by a razor-thin 212-210 margin. It's reported that DeLay was instrumental in all the behind-the-scenes, sleazeball shenanigans. The bill was another in a series of gifts (from taxpayers) to the already bursting-with-profits energy companies. Sacrificed: environmental regulations and the federal budget.

    As we saw with CAFTA and the prescription drug bill, the House continues to defy accepted rules and make up their own procedures as they see fit, extending vote deadlines to get their way. Imagine the outcry if Dems were in control and pulled this shit. Also, the emphasis remains on producing more oil and not conserving what we use. As energy companies would want it, the #1 message is CONSUME, with weak, maudlin pleas to conserve getting just lip-service with no serious legislation passed to encourage this "virtuous" behavior.

    The runaway train that is the GOP-controlled Congress continues to race us towards the grim abyss....

    Thursday, October 06, 2005

    George Will recently criticized Bush in a NY Post piece regarding his selection of Miers, and Peggy Noonan recently did the same in the WSJ. Ho hum. Yeah, we're supposed to raise an eyebrow when GW's buddies lash out at him, but I'm not buying it.

    What I believe is all this right-wing bluster is simply meant to blunt any frontal attack from Democrats. With the likes of Will, Noonan, and Trent Lott not pleased, many a liberal is going to think Miers can't be that bad. Don't fall for it!

    Look, Rush Limbaugh was initially hesitant but it took a stunt like Cheney calling in to his radio program to allay any doubts, saying Miers "has a conservative judicial philosophy that you [Limbaugh] would be comfortable with." Effectively, this was a wink-wink "trust me" moment directed at Rush. Cheney was reassuring Limbaugh that she won't be another Souter (I love how the right deems this as such a heinous thing).

    I am willing to bet that Cheney and his thugs metaphorically threw Miers up against a wall, forearm hard against her throat, and menacingly threatened, "You will NOT pull a Souter -- kapisch?!"

    It's almost certain that she will most likely be like Thomas: a Scalia lackey. She'll change a few words but ultimately write decisions that more/less mimic that of Antonin. The fact that she lacks the impressive qualifications or seasoning as a prior judge makes her less likely to be impervious to the imposing influence of the brutish Scalia. Also, it stands to reason she might be more impressionable since there's less of a for-the-record stance on anything. Besides, like I said, I'm certain GW & Cheney et al have given her firm, definite marching orders, specifically addressing the now infamous Souter tendency.

    Sound sexist? Nope, I'd say the same if it were a male with similar lacking qualifications or known positions (picture FEMA's Brown). The fact is because of Souter, there is now much less of a chance of a future Souter. He's become such a bugaboo and poster boy of what could go wrong that great measures are now taken to insure against it. I mean heaven forbid you have someone who's moderate and reasonable....

    No, better to have a Scalia, who's stridently partisan enough to pen the Gore 2000 decision, a legal abomination. Mark my words, odds favor Roberts pulling a Souter much more so than Miers (not that either will necessarily become moderate).
  • House ethics committee has decided they won't investigate DeLay. Reason: "We don't have the resources." Ahh, but they seem to have unlimited resources to investigate Democrats, specifically with the last name of Clinton.

  • "Prediction: at least three high level Bush Administration personnel indicted and possibly one or more very high level unindicted co-conspirators."

  • I've been saying for weeks that the land down there in New Orleans will, unfortunately, be toxic and uninhabitable for many years to come. (Similar to the air around 9/11 WTC site for weeks/months after). One can only hope that people are informed of the facts, else we'll have many a lawsuit down the road against the government (which you and I will pay for).

  • More Americans are beginning to wake up and ask: "Why isn't energy conservation a higher priority?" And not just lip-service via GW but passed into legislation.
  • Wednesday, October 05, 2005

  • If you can't recruit the best, lower your standards and get what you can. More evidence that GW's trumped-up Iraq war will cost our military in quality soldiers for many years to come.

  • It's time to demand more polls on impeaching Bush.

  • Look for more and more former soldiers to run for office (nearly all as, surprise, Democrats).

  • Who's more nuts, O'Reilly or Pat Robertson? And why is Wesley Clark dignifying this show? Oh, and O'Reilly defames WW2 troops.
  • Tuesday, October 04, 2005

  • Cronyism over experience continues. You'd think at the very least GW would've picked someone who was at least a judge -- at some point in their life! I don't think the top court in the land is where one should bang the gavel for the first time ever. It's actually absurd, but then again no one should be shocked at this point. The degree of incompetence in this administration has far surpassed staggering.

  • Right-wing Political Teen writes, "Rush is staying neutral on Miers because he [like all of us] doesn't know much about her." Hilarious. Implying Limbaugh stays mum about anything in which he lacks knowledge. Again, side-splittingly hilarious. Rush may be silent about Miers but trust me, it ain't because he doesn't have the facts on her. Perhaps this is the reason.

  • The corruption is swiftly piling up all around King GW -- oh, but look, the King himself may be directly involved in some of the scandal. Don't forget, a fish rots from the head down and by 2008 we could be looking back and reconsidering Nixon, and Warren Harding for that matter, as saintly in comparison.

  • More evidence of incompetence: "Ninety-one thousand tons of ice cubes, that is, intended to cool food, medicine and sweltering victims of the storm. It would cost taxpayers more than $100 million, and most of it would never be delivered."

  • The White House lied about the involvement of two top people in a treasonous act. Compare that to Clinton's lie about a blowjob. Hmm, high crimes and treason vs. sexual indiscretion -- oh yeah, the latter is MUCH worse.
  • Saturday, October 01, 2005

    Notice how DeLay, and his defenders, have attempted to make the case against him sound more complicated than it really is. This tactic is a Rove/GOP favorite. Purposefully try to create an atmosphere of complexity and confusion about an issue that is in fact fairly straightforward and quite easy to comprehend.

    In this instance, it's extremely simple. It's illegal for corporations in Texas to give money to state political races. DeLay's PAC, TRMPAC, accepted corporate money and then laundered it via writing a check to the RNC stipulating which candidates should receive the money.

    He of course claims ignorance to this scheme but it stands to reason that Ronnie Earle would not have indicted him if he did not possess enough evidence and/or that Earle has someone(s) who is ready to sing against DeLay. In addition, newspaper reports have already established that DeLay was very much directly involved with the corporate contributions.

    And as for Ronnie Earle himself, it's already been published here and everywhere that he's prosecuted more Dems than Republicans (12 to 3 ratio!). In addition, it's been stated that every single person that Earle has indicted over the years, whether Dem or Republican, has cried foul due to politics. You can now include DeLay in that group.

    The fact is liberals can only hope that new Chief Justice Roberts will be as "partisan" a judge as Ronnie Earle has been.

    The most recent issue of The New Republic has some insightful things to say about this latest bit of DeLay scandal, pointing out that his indictment actually symbolizes a greater stench:
    Of course, even DeLay himself is merely a cog in a Washington Republican machine that has abandoned morality in its fanatical pursuit of power. Beyond rooting for a jury in Travis County,Texas, to return a guilty verdict in the months ahead, Democrats need to make clear to the public that his indictment represents a mere fraction of the Republican Congress’s corruption. The House ethics committee, for instance, must continue to investigate Abramoff’s sleazy lobbying, which envelops several other GOP congressmen and reveals the disgusting influence K Street lobbyists enjoy over federal lawmaking.
    DeLay has taken the House and turned it into the revolting, decaying house in this movie. As TNR writes, "with any luck, it could be the beginning of a desperately needed fumigation of Capitol Hill."