Friday, December 31, 2004
US Media Dutifully Cleans Up After Bush's Tsunami Comments
The US corporate media, ever-eager to put Our Dear Leader in as good a light as they possibly can, are now striving to pretend that Bush's initial offer of aid was $35 million, when in fact it was only $4 million, which was then upped to $15 million, then to $35 million.
Oh, and the last $20 million of that promised $35 million is actually a "line of credit" -- aka a loan, presumably with interest. So even the $35 million is not as generous as BushCo's media buddies pretend it to be. As Atrios mentioned earlier this week, Bush is spending at least that much on his second inauguration party in DC.
Now, those of you who might be inclined to excuse the US press on this -- or let them excuse themselves with the "laziness/sloppiness" excuse -- consider this:
In his remarks to the media on the tsunami relief efforts, Bush actually said "35 billion", not "35 million". But every single member of the US press has graciously corrected this rather glaring error without comment.
If they're paying enough attention to know when and how to clean up after him on a routine basis -- even as they pounce on far-less-egregious misstatements by Democrats (remember their attacks on Gore, Dean and Kerry?) -- then they're paying enough attention to know that $35 million was NOT the initial offer.
But you know, Bush can say whatever he wants, promise whatever he wants, and lie like a rug whenever he wants -- the lapdog media cleans up after him and looks the other way when he does something truly horrific.
Bush promised $400 million for African AIDS relief two years ago. $400 million.
Guess how much he has actually sent? None. Period.
And no one in the US press will call him on this -- at least, no one on a medium that might actually be seen or heard by most Americans.
Happy New Year! A (Mostly) Non-Political Post
Happy New Year, everybody!
Loved One's got the first Star Wars (A New Hope) DVD playing, while we're drinking Fess Parker's Frontier Red (a tolerable red, actually) and digesting a pretty good din-din. Appetizers were bangers (yes, small bits of rusk sausages wrapped in pastry), and the main course was Pollo alla Sale with Maryland crab cakes on the side.
Pollo alla Sale is also known as Salt-Crust Chicken, and it goes like this: Get a 3.5-pound bird, then get 5 cups of kosher or sea salt and six cups of flour. (For a Cornish Game Hen, which is what we used, halve the amounts of both salt and flour.) Mix the flour and salt together, then add two to three cups of water -- enough to make a moist dough, but not a wet dough. Set aside and preheat the oven to 400F.
Take the chicken -- or in this instance, a Cornish Game Hen (aka a baby chicken that weighs 1.5 lbs) -- and fill the innards with a few garlic cloves, a sprig of rosemary, and some sage (or herbes de provence, in this case), then season the outside with whatever you wish. Next, roll out the dough onto a floured surface until it is flat enough to be wrapped over the entire chicken, then place the bird in the center and wrap it up in the dough until the chicken is completely sealed within. (Hint: If you put wax paper or cling wrap on the counter first, you can get the dough up over the chicken simply by lifting up the paper -- and you won't have a big mess on the countertop.)
Put the dough-encased bird on a cookie sheet or pizza tin and put it in the oven for at least an hour and ten minutes. When it comes out, use a blunt knife or chisel and a hammer to remove the dough crust, which you can then discard. (Another hint: Remove just the top of the crust, then lift the bird out of what's left. Less messy that way.)
Result: A nice, juicy, flavorful bird. Mmmmm!
And by the way: Don't forget to check out the sidebar, wherein you can find links to groups working to help the tsunami victims.
Happy New Year!
Thursday, December 30, 2004
"Tort Reform" = Destroy Safety
The excellent blog It Affects You weighs in on the "tort reform" scam.
"Tort Reform", of course, really means two things:
1) Let big corporations do whatever they want without having to face the music when they hurt us,
2) Hurt a key Democratic fund base, the trial lawyers.
"Tort Reform" = Destroy Safeguards.
BushCo Playing the Race Card in Iraq
So is Karl Rove advising the PNAC Platoon on Iraq strategy? Sure sounds like it. From Military.com:
"We are starting to play the ethnic card in Iraq, just as the Soviets played it in Afghanistan," said former CIA chief of Afghanistan operation Milt Bearden. "You only play it when you're losing and by playing it, you simply speed up the process of losing," he said. Phoebe Marr, an analyst who closely follows events in Iraq, told United Press International that "having the U.S. military unleash different historical enemies on each other has become an unspoken U.S. policy." Bearden, Marr and others also referred to the Pentagon's tactic of pitting one group of enemies against another in Iraq as being fraught with danger. For example, during the assault on Fallujah, wary of the reliability of Iraqi forces, the Marines used 2,000 Kurdish Peshmerga militia troops against the Arab Sunnis. The two groups share a long history of mistrust and animosity, according to Marr. Both ethnic groups are Sunni, but Kurds speak a different language, have distinct customs, and are not Arabs. "I think the U.S. military is trying to get ethnic groups to take on the insurgents, and I don't think it will work," Marr said. According to a former senior CIA official, the agency is dealing with reports of ethnic cleansing being undertaken by the Kurds in areas near Kirkuk. "It's all taking place off everyone's radar, and it's very quiet, but it's happening," this source said.Oh, lovely. These particular reports, the story goes on to note, haven't been confirmed. And one of them -- the alleged forced relocation by Kurds of 150,000 Sunnis -- has been debunked. Let's hope that none of this is really happening. The confirmed bad news is bad enough:
Former Defense Intelligence Agency chief of Middle East operations, Pat Lang, said the key blunder was the disbanding of Iraq's 400,000-man army. "At a stroke, we went from a liberator to an occupier." .... [...] The Sunni Arabs, once the leading political group under Saddam Hussein, feel threatened and made politically impotent by the Shiite majority, according to U.S. officials. This partly explains their leadership of a broad, deeply entrenched insurgency designed to humiliate American military power, keep the bulk of the Sunni population on the fence, and rally anti-U.S. forces in the region, U.S. officials said. [...] Another problem is the Iraqi middleclass, many of them Sunni, and almost all of them anti-American, according to Marr. "They disliked us in the past because the U.N. sanctions made them suffer. When the war came, they had expectations that were much too high. Then they became passive and they won't work with us, and yet this is the only chance they're going to get." "The Sunnis and Shiites don't like the occupation and want us out as soon as possible," she added. "Their idea is that if a security force is needed, they want to do it themselves." [...] The war has made all three groups, Kurds, Shiites and Sunni, "crawl into themselves," she said. And the future? "All sorts of ugly things could happen -- the Kurds could declare independence or the split between the Shiite and Sunni could deepen. The new Iraqi state could fail," an administration official said. For Marr the outlook was also grim: "The whole Bush administration policy has been outrageously careless" and because of this, she said, the tenuous unity of Iraq "could break down."And here's the kicker:
Said former senior CIA Iraqi analyst Judith Yaphe: "Elections will not solve anything -- we are grasping for events that will enable us to get out of Iraq, but there are no such thing. Democracy is not an event but a process."That's why Bush is insisting on January elections -- because even he has realized that he has to scale back the US troop commitment in order to persuade the Asian financial markets to keep propping him up. Note that I said "scale back", not "leave". We'll never really leave Iraq -- Bush has installed too many US military bases to allow that to happen, and and as noted in the story, he's hoping for the chaos and disunity so as to ensure that the US, even with a reduced force, is more powerful than any single Iraqi armed group. Sounds like something Karl Rove would dream up, doesn't it? So we'll guard our own bases, and the oil wells, and leave the rest of Iraq to rot and fester amid the "Shock and Awe" rubble our planes and tanks created. And just as the Republicans have used the racist divide-and-conquer "Southern Strategy" to keep poor and middle-class Southerners voting against their own interests, they'll try to use the same tactics to keep the Iraqis from uniting to fight us. Or so they hope.
Rupert Wuuvs Uzbekikitty!
Blogger Justin Logan notes that Rupert Murdoch has apparently told his wage slaves that they are to defend all the members of Bush's Coalition of the Billing, even Islam Karimov, the current ruler of Uzbekistan. (Thanks to Atrios and Big Media Matt for finding this.)
Now, who is Islam "Uzbekikitty" (scroll all the way down) Karimov?
Simply put, he's a guy who could give Saddam Hussein a few lessons in torturing people to death. Saddam did lots of evil things, but he's never been accused of boiling people alive, much less proved to have actually done it.
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
GOP Congressman Tom Feeney Implicated in Computerized Vote Fraud
You know this would be front-page news nationwide if Feeney was a Democrat. Get a load:
Congressman sought to alter totals, testimony in Ohio case says By Alex Babcock | December 16, 2004 Republican Congressman Tom Feeney of Oviedo asked a computer programmer in September 2000, prior to that year's contested presidential vote in Florida, to write software that could alter vote totals on touch-screen voting machines, the programmer said. Former computer programmer Clint Curtis made the claim Monday in sworn testimony to Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee investigating allegations of voter fraud in the 2004 presidential election involving touch-screen voting in Ohio. In his testimony, Curtis said that Feeney, then a member of the Florida House of Representative, met with Curtis and other employees of Yang Enterprises, an Oviedo software company, and asked if the company could create a program that would allow a user to alter the vote totals while using the touch-screen machine. The program had to be written so that even the human-readable computer code would not show its illicit capabilities, Curtis recalled. Curtis said he wrote a prototype program for Feeney, and that he believed the program might not only be usable on touch-screen voting machines, which some counties - predominantly in South Florida - now use, but also on optical-scan machines, which most of the state's counties used in the 2004 elections. Feeney could not be reached for comment.Heh. I'll bet he couldn't be reached. He was hiding.
Michael O'Quinn, an attorney for Yang Enterprises, said Curtis' claims are outrageous and that Feeney never discussed such a program with the company. He said Feeney's only relationship with the company was as its legal counsel. Feeney worked at the law firm with O'Quinn until 2002, when he resigned after being elected to Congress.Well, if Curtis is lying, why don't you sue him for slander? Or perjury? I mean, y'all are lawyers, right? Or could it be that you're afraid of drawing attention to his claims -- especially if they're proved to be right? C'mon, big boys. Sue him. I dare you. For you kids who weren't actively following the 2000 Florida follies, Tom Feeney played a vile role during the whole affair, using his power in the Florida House to obstruct the Florida Supreme Court -- which had called for counting all the votes -- at every turn. And the national media either looked the other way, or gleefully spun everything in the GOP's favor. I hope this means that Feeney goes down. That'd be a lovely Christmas present.
FoxBlocker: Scam or Salvation?
When I first heard about the FoxBlocker, I liked it a lot -- and I gave up my cable years ago. I've been contemplating creating a neato pic link for them -- free advertising, if you will.
But there have been naysayers (most of them conservatives, natch) stating that the product is a ripoff, and that the same effect can be achieved for free merely by reprogramming the remote or the cable box. (Note well: FoxBlocker doesn't work on digital or satellite systems. Yet.)
Then again, if you've ever wasted a few hours of your life trying to reprogram a remote (and let's not even talk about pulling off the back of the cable box -- or the risk of doing something that requires the cable techs to make a service call), spending $9 plus shipping for something that even Spongebob Squarepants can install in thirty seconds suddenly seems like a pretty good deal. (Besides, with each order, FOXBlocker sends an e-mail in your name to FOX's advertisers letting them know what you've done and why.)
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
DLC: We Gotta Placate the White-Flighters!
Over at Donkey Rising Ruy Teixeira explains again (here and here) why the DLC's much-touted Exurban Republican Voter Upsurge is largely mythical, and how, if anything, the exurbs nationwide are less Republican than they were under Reagan. The DLC, of course, is pushing the we-gotta-placate-the-exurbs line because they want to argue that we must ignore our base voters: Urban, multi-ethnic, socially AND fiscally liberal men and women. In the Greenberg report on Minnesota's exurbs, which are populated to a large extent by white-flighters from urban areas in and out of the state, we find this little passage:
... Moreover, residents outside of metro areas, in particular, perceive that increased immigration is draining resources from public schools and other services, and that immigrants appear to shun integration. All of this takes place in a partisan environment where politicians appear not to be addressing the state’s most important challenges – the rising cost of health care and the quality of public education. These concerns are strongest in exurban areas, where residents are trying to escape the perceived challenges of urban living – poor public schools, increasing racial and ethnic diversity, crime, and a high tax burden. Here, we find the greatest skepticism about government and the role of immigrants in society, and the greatest reluctance to make a public investment in helping the disadvantaged or in public services more broadly."Placating the exurbs" means placating racists who don't want their tax money going to help people whose skin tone is darker than theirs. Even if this really would get us votes, is this something we really want to do?
Social Security Outperforms DJIA
From the Christian Science Monitor:
One man's retirement math: Social Security wins At the heart of President Bush's plan to sell Social Security private accounts is a simple notion: You're always better off investing your retirement money than letting the government do it. By doing it yourself, you can stow some money in the stock market, and over the long run will get a better return on that investment than today's Social Security system offers. The idea is broadly accepted. That's why the administration's plan to partially privatize the system sounds appealing to many. But that better return won't always happen. Just ask Stanley Logue of San Diego. For 45 years, the defense-industry analyst paid into the system until his retirement in 1994. But with all the recent hoopla over reform, Mr. Logue, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate, decided to go back and check his own records. Would he have done better investing his money than the bureaucrats at the Social Security Administration? He recorded all the payroll taxes he paid into the system (including the matching amount from his employer), tracked down the return the Social Security Trust Fund earned for each of the 45 years, and then compared the result with what he would have gotten had he been able to invest the same amount of payroll tax money over the same period in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (including dividends). To his surprise, the Social Security investment won out: $261,372 versus $255,499, a difference of $5,873.More at the link above.
Monday, December 27, 2004
DNC Chair Follies: The Letter Box Edition
I apologize, Alice! I should have known better than to trust the GOP/Media on this one.
For those of you following at home, I was worried earlier because prominent DNC member and alleged liberal Nancy Pelosi was, far from heeding the grass rooters' call for Howard Dean as DNC Chair, doing everything she could to block it -- and getting lots of media coverage while doing so. To me, this seemed like it meant that the DNCers were going to snub Dean and shove a DLC DINO down our throats, no matter what we did.
Guess what? It looks like it's a GOOD thing that Howard hasn't got the Pelosi endorsement. Seems that Pelosi and her cohorts are so ID'ed with the Beltway Establishment that a nod from her is the proverbial Kiss o' Death -- which is apparently why each DINO she anoints goes down like Ann Coulter with a boat anchor tied to her feet.
So Alice was right: Ignore Pelosi and concentrate on contacting your own state's DNC members. She'll come around soon enough.
Whistling in the Dark, 2004 Tory Holiday Edition
Talk about your crazed juxtapositions.
This morning I read a StarTribune reprint of an LAT column by two Tories who work for The Economist, in which it was stated that those crazy decadent Yurrupeen surrender monkeys have, now that Bush is squatting for another four years, seen the manly Ayn-Randian/Coulterian light and are face-punching each other for a chance to lick Bush' boots.
Which is funny as hell, because the Europeans don't seem to be doing that at all.
Instead, as Atrios points out, they're enjoying watching their common currency rise to unprecedented heights. Remember, it wasn't that long ago that the euro was mocked in conservative circles, and the mocking trickled down into the "mainstream" press, which then trickled it on us.
Oh, by the way: If Europe was in such an all-fired hurry to placate Big George and His Mighty Hairy Sack of Doom, then why haven't they been pouring troops into Iraq to help out our overstretched forces over there? Why hasn't the Coalition of the Willing grown? Instead, Hungary still went ahead with its troop pullout for November and December 2004, and other COW members are set to join the growing COTUTSAPTDFGWBI, or Coalition Of Those Unwilling To Send Anymore People To Die For George W. Bush's Idiocies.
Next from these same authors: Why We Really ARE Winning In Iraq, Honest!
Sunday, December 26, 2004
DNC: Biting Off the Last Hand that Feeds It?
Let's recap: The Democratic leadership has been, at the behest of the corporate cronies running the DLC, been for the past decade-and-a-half, shoving the Democratic party farther and farther to the right? Why? Because the DLC says we'll lost corporate backing if they don't. Guess what? The farther to the right we went, the more the corporate donors backed the Republicans. Before the DLC started their rightward magic, we used to get near-parity, or at worst a 2-to-1 deficit, with the GOP in terms of corporate donations. Now, during the 2004 election cycle, Corporate America's donations are ten-to-one in the GOP's favor. With Corporate America gone from the Democratic picture, that leaves Hollywood and the grass roots -- both of which the DLC falsely blames for the 2004 losses when in fact Hollywood and the grass roots, especially at the local levels where Democrats made some strong gains, are what kept the Democrats from a total disaster á la 1972 or 1994. So what do the leaders of the Democratic party do? Why, they work like crazy to make sure that someone who would actually shake things up is not allowed within a million miles of the DNC Chair. Read the whole sickening story here. (12/27/04 edit: And here's the PDF file list of DNC members that Blogswarm provided. Write and call them.) And after you do that, give Nancy Pelosi a call and ask her why the hell she's backing yet another DLC DINO:
DC Address: The Honorable Nancy Pelosi United States House of Representatives 2371 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515-0508 DC Phone: 202-225-4965 DC Fax: 202-225-8259 Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org WWW Homepage: http://www.house.gov/pelosi/(12/27/04 Second Edit: On second thought, skip Pelosi and focus on your own state's DNC members -- it looks like her approval is the Kiss of Death.)
Saturday, December 25, 2004
Argentina Defies the IMF -- And Prospers
As the electronic media dutifully promotes the conservative movement's latest regurgitation of the blatantly anti-Semitic "Let's Protect Christmas from the Jews" campaign, actual bits of news, like this New York Times story, just seem never to make it onto prime time or even onto NPR:
When the Argentine economy collapsed in December 2001, doomsday predictions abounded. Unless it adopted orthodox economic policies and quickly cut a deal with its foreign creditors, hyperinflation would surely follow, the peso would become worthless, investment and foreign reserves would vanish and any prospect of growth would be strangled. But three years after Argentina declared a record debt default of more than $100 billion, the largest in history, the apocalypse has not arrived. Instead, the economy has grown by 8 percent for two consecutive years, exports have zoomed, the currency is stable, investors are gradually returning and unemployment has eased from record highs - all without a debt settlement or the standard measures required by the International Monetary Fund for its approval. Argentina's recovery has been undeniable, and it has been achieved at least in part by ignoring and even defying economic and political orthodoxy. Rather than moving to immediately satisfy bondholders, private banks and the I.M.F., as other developing countries have done in less severe crises, the Peronist-led government chose to stimulate internal consumption first and told creditors to get in line with everyone else.In other words, they put their own people ahead of the IMF's loan sharks. Amazing.
"This is a remarkable historical event, one that challenges 25 years of failed policies," said Mark Weisbrot, an economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a liberal research group in Washington. "While other countries are just limping along, Argentina is experiencing very healthy growth with no sign that it is unsustainable, and they've done it without having to make any concessions to get foreign capital inflows." The consequences of that decision can be seen in government statistics and in stores, where consumers once again were spending robustly before Christmas. More than two million jobs have been created since the depths of the crisis early in 2002, and according to official figures, inflation-adjusted income has also bounced back, returning almost to the level of the late 1990's. That is when the crisis emerged, as Argentina sought to tighten its belt according to I.M.F. prescriptions, only to collapse into the worst depression in its history, which also set off a political crisis.Two million jobs, eh? That's better than America's done since Bush first stole the White House four years ago.
Some of the new jobs are from a low-paying government make-work program, but nearly half are in the private sector. As a result, unemployment has declined from more than 20 percent to about 13 percent, and the number of Argentines living below the poverty line has fallen by nearly 10 points from the record high of 53.4 percent early in 2002. "Things are by no means back to normal, but we've got the feeling we're back on the right track," said Mario Alberto Ortiz, a refrigeration repairman. "For the first time since things fell apart, I can actually afford to spend a little money."If you go on to read the rest of the article, you find that the IMF tries to claim that Argentina's just doing what the IMF had recommended all along, which is bullshit. You also find the conservative ding-dongs trying to claim that the economy is showing signs of slowing down. Well, gee, I should certainly hope so -- 8% growth rates are not generally sustainable, and too much growth too soon is thought to have its own problems (which is why Allen Greenspan spent most of Clinton's second term using his Federal Reserve chair to apply the brakes with both feet on America's wild growth during that time; he wanted a soft landing). But anyway: Argentina defies the IMF in favor of helping its own people -- and guess what? It's doing a hell of a lot better because it did so. And if you're wondering why you're not hearing about this story anywhere else but the New York Times and this blog, consider that according to a June 1998 study by FAIR.org, American journalists are both wealthier and more conservative than the rest of America. That might be a subtle hint.
Tell Rossi to Concede!
A message from the folks at Progressive Majority:
Everyone at Progressive Majority has gone home for the holidays, and I just couldn't leave without making sure that all of our members learned about what's happening in the Washington State Governor's race because we can make a difference. For months, the Right has been calling on Chris Gregoire to concede before all the votes are counted. They've gone to court to prevent the counting of more than 700 valid ballots from King County. But just recently we've found out that none of that matters, because even without those votes, Gregoire has won the hand recount. Now it's time for Dino Rossi to concede. The right wing in Washington is now up to the same dirty tricks that the right wing in Florida used in 2000 and we must stop them. They have had their moment in the sun, declaring an early victory and crying foul at every turn. But now we know that the true results, even on their terms, will make Chris Gregoire the next governor of Washington. She promised that if she lost the hand recount, she would concede gracefully. Let's send a message to Dino Rossi demanding that he do the same thing. Take action: http://involve.progressivemajority.org/ctt.asp?u=1881539&l=72648 Progressive Majority fought hard to elect progressive champions to the Washington state legislature. Together, we took back the state senate. We cannot -- and will not -- stand by and let those gains be canceled by the right wing's well-oiled machine attempting to steal this election. Dean M. Nielsen Washington State Director Progressive Majority P.S. - This is going to be decided in hours so I urge you to act quickly... we must increase public pressure so that local officials know that progressives support every vote being counted. Tell a friend to take action too! Paid for by Progressive Majority, www.progressivemajority.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. Contributions to Progressive Majority are not tax deductible
Here's a few Fun Facts you all can cite and use to irritate your FOX-believing rellies in between servings of goose and egg nog:
Jesus, if he ever existed, was in all likelihood born in September.
The first people to oppose the celebrating of Christmas were... (drum roll, please) Fundamentalist Christians.
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Brent Bozell III's Twisted Heritage
In an earlier post, I mentioned how WWE wrestler and all-around decent guy Mick Foley, in his book Foley is Good, discussed the life and antecedents of one L. Brent Bozell III. Here's a bit of follow-up for you: On page 496 of the paperback edition of Foley is Good, Mick mentions finding out from Linda McMahon, the wife of Mick's boss Vince McMahon, that Brent's dad was a speechwriter for Joe McCarthy. (He also co-founded the National Review with William F. Buckley.) On page 498, we find out that Bozell the Second had joined McCarthy's staff AFTER the old fascist bastard Senator had been censured and discredited, when even most Republicans wanted nothing to do with him. On page 499, Mick brings up the fact that Bozell the Second was the ghostwriter for Barry Goldwater's 1960 book The Conscience of a Conservative -- and also brings up the likelihood that Goldwater never even read the pre-publication manuscript for the book that bears his name. In the very next paragraph on that same page, Mick writes of Bozell the Second that:
Around this time some people began questioning his conscience and his sanity. "He was my first realization that you could look wonderful and be bright and intelligent, clear-eyed and be totally bananas," recalled John Leonard, who had worked with Bozell on the National Review. Bozell, you see, was a strong proponent of a nuclear strike on Moscow, and didn't seem to care a whole lot about the consequences of that action. Said Leonard, "I just had this sense of a red-haired guy who could wipe out a city without really being able to imagine that there were people in the city."Foley goes on to document further instances of Bozell the Second's increasing conservawackiness, as well as his eventual parting of the ways with the National Review because it just wasn't conservative enough for him. His nutty behavior doomed his attempt to run for a Maryland Congressional seat, and culminated in his 1970 arrest and conviction for smashing his way into the Student Health Service at George Washington University, using a giant wooden cross as a sledgehammer, because he said that abortions were being performed there. (Meanwhile, his wife Patricia Buckley Bozell, William F. Buckley's sister and the mother of L. Brent Bozell III, was herself arrested for attempting to assault the noted feminist Ti-Grace Atkinson when Atkinson was speaking onstage in the auditorium of Catholic University.) This is the heritage of the man who would clean up our TV screens. And isn't it interesting that you're finding all of this out, not from a network or cable news show or a newspaper, but from a blogger who just happened to have a copy of a book by a guy who had a run-in with Bozell III in the past. Can you imagine the US media keeping mum about it if, say, Jesse Jackson's parents did the wacked-out things that Bozell III's parents did? Me, neither.
GOP Congresscritters Worried About Bush's Plan To Gut Social Security
Here's David Sirota on the GOP's getting nervous about Bush's plan to gut Social Security.
(By the way: Thanks, Rep. LaHood, for giving us such a useful and colorful term to describe what Bush is doing.)
The GOP Congresscritters are starting to worry that Bush, now that he doesn't need to worry about getting elected, doesn't need to worry about their political futures, either. And they know all too well that for Bush, loyalty is a one-way street: He expects it from you, but he won't show any of it to you when it counts.
Keep up the pressure, boys and girls! We can do it! The pension you save will be your own!
Bozell, Anti-Semitism, and What Pro Wrestling Can Teach Us
From the LA Times:
Thursday, for example, the Parents Television Council and the National Religious Broadcasters released a study of prime-time television, which they said found that shows produced by Hollywood have "virtually no respect for religion."
That's hardly surprising, since Hollywood, by and large, has no respect for women, families, minorities, intelligence or anything else, except ratings and the increasing number of awards it seems to give itself each year.
More interesting — and revealing — was the reason for this disrespect, according to L. Brent Bozell, president of the parents' group. "Is it because Hollywood is Jewish and taking care of its own?" he rhetorically asked during a conference call with reporters. "No, I don't think that. In the general public and in Hollywood, there is an understanding that respect is owed to Jews. It's as simple as that. That same respect ought to be paid to other faiths as well."
In other words, Bozell doesn't want to say it too clearly, but the Jews control Hollywood. Or as Bozell, a Catholic, subsequently told The Times' Lynn Smith, that's what "many would say."
Read the rest here (registration or BugMeNot required) If this were going on before World War II, Bozell would have felt free to just go ahead and call them "Christ-killers". But the religio-racist right has subtled up their act: They're now in favor of the state of Israel -- but only because it makes a nice staging ground for Armageddon. Want to read a really good treatment of the history of Brent Bozell and his equally-whacked-out father? Go check out the last chapters of WWE wrestling star and Kerry voter Mick Foley's book Foley is Good, available at Barnes and Noble (use ISBN 9780061032417, or search for it by name). (Yes, it's also at Amazon.com, but they donate to the GOP while B&N donates to the Democrats.) There are a lot of boneheaded wrestlers out there, but Mick Foley -- chair shots to the head notwithstanding -- is not one of them. (He's been a frequent guest and guest host on Air America Radio's "Morning Sedition" program -- and he's GOOD.) The deal is that Bozell has been after the WWE for ages -- and thus, in the spirit of Know Your Enemy, the WWE has learned chapter and verse about Bozell. Foley even did outreach to Joe Lieberman to try to pry him away from Bozell's orbit! If you understand pro wrestling, you understand what it takes to win in American politics. Foley helped bring a lot of his fan base into the voting booth for Kerry -- and remember that the youth vote was Kerry's strongest bloc. Remember how Clinton's ratings soared as he stood his ground under the media barrage and the OIC's Starr Chamber attacks? That's because of two (2) things that any second-rate wrestling promoter could tell you: 1) People like fighters and hate quitters. A guy who fights until the last dog dies is regarded more highly than someone who throws in the towel right away. 2) The quickest way to turn a "heel" (or bad guy) wrestling character into a "face" (or good guy) is to have him/her undergo what's called "piling on". That's when a bunch of other wrestlers start attacking the guy/gal for no good reason. As for Rule #1: Clinton stood and fought when everyone in the GOP/Media alliance -- and even a number of really stupid and/or self-serving Democrats -- was urging him to "do the honorable thing" and step down. Because he stood and fought, he saved his party and his country. And as for Rule #2: The OIC's harrassment, brought to the surface in all its sliminess where the American public could see it, was the best pile-on Clinton could have hoped for. The OIC tried to embarrass and humiliate Clinton, and instead wound up looking like the bullies and thugs and cheaters that they are. If the Democrats had actually followed Clinton's lead and ran against the OIC in 1998, they'd have won both houses of Congress and set it up for a very good run for Al Gore -- so long as he stayed the hell away from Lieberman.
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
The "Planted Question" That Wasn't (Planted, That Is)
By now, it's accepted as fact in the US press: An AP journalist planted a question with a soldier, who then in turn used the planted question to attack and embarrass Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld during a recent photo-op visit to Iraq.
There's only one problem: The question wasn't planted.
Both the journalist and the soldier agree that the only thing the AP guy did was talk with that soldier, and many other soldiers, about questions that could be asked of Rumsfeld during his visit. The AP guy didn't plant any specific questions -- the soldiers came up with those all by themselves.
And the questions, to judge from the applause they got from the soldiers present when they were asked, were definitely ones worth the asking.
Cutting and Running
Eric Alterman notes today that even the hawks over at Rand are saying we've lost the war in Iraq.
The question is whether anyone can get Bush or the PNAC Platoon leader Cheney to listen.
BushCo's using the January elections as a marker. They're insisting on sticking to the January deadline, in spite of the pleas from various Iraqi factions to push them back a few months. The idea is that once the elections are held, they can then claim, in the face of all the evidence, that Iraq is now firmly on the road to becoming a sound, healthy, democratic nation. And doing that gives them, so they hope, the ability to pull out of Iraq without looking like the abject, bloody-handed, oil-addled failures that they are.
The insurgents, of course, understand this perhaps even better than BushCo itself, which is why they are doing everything they can to make it impossible to have elections next month. If you haven't already, go read Kos diarist Pericles' essay on terrorist strategy to see just how much smarter these guys are than BushCo.
Safir versus Safire: Revenge of the Nephew
Noblesseoblog gives us William Safire's much-smarter nephew, Ken Safir. (Yes, Safir. Seems Uncle Bill put an "e" on his surname, supposedly to make sure that the "i" was pronounced long.)
Go read it. It's lovely.
Two Cool Blogs
This one and this one. Though the latter isn't really a blog, by my standards, as it doesn't allow for feedback.
Speaking of feedback: This blog has forced right-wing spammers to waste time sending me tons of virus e-mails. Good! The time they waste doing so is time they won't be spending on mailing out anthrax letters or filling up suitcases with explosives.
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Pulling a Gilly
Steve Gilliard is a knowledgeable guy and a very smart one. But every so often, he'll do something that I like to think of as "pulling a Gilly".
"Pulling a Gilly" is where Steve, in order to try to pull people out of what he sees as non-productive or wrongheaded yammering, will say something so bizarre, provocative and flat-out wrong that he winds up pissing off a good chunk of his readership. It's... er, interesting to watch.
A few weeks ago, he wanted to short-circuit the post-election cries of "we have no hope, we did our best and we failed, we're screwed forever," yadayadayada. Well and good. But how did he choose to do this? By saying that censorship-minded liberals, especially feminists, were a bigger threat to America than George W. Bush and his friends.
Yeah, Steve. Sure. Whatever.
Needless to say, this touched off a firestorm in the comments section, and Steve lost a ton of readers.
This week, he took exception to Kos' dissing of how Kerry ran the post-primary campaign. He wanted to put a stop to what he sees as the circular-firing-squad mentality that he thinks Kos and other Democrats and lefties exhibit.
So how did he try to do this? By making an unprovable claim against Howard Dean -- namely, that Dean's comments about outreach to white Southerners hurt him among black voters.
Steve, Steve, Steve.
I know you're trying to defend Kerry, and I can see many of your points. Kerry did the best he could against a press that was and is solidly in the GOP's hip pocket. (Though he still should have come out hard and early against the Swift Boaties. By not responding, he looked wussy.)
But you don't have to defend Kerry by repeating Kerry's untruths about Dean.
Wanna know where black people first heard Dean's comments about needing to talk to the people with Confederate flags in their pickups, because their kids don't have health care, either?
During the February 2003 DNC Winter Meeting. Where those comments were applauded loudly by both blacks and whites.
You read that right: The prominent black persons there LIKED what he had to say. Several commentators have already mentioned this -- including William Saletan of Slate.
These remarks were part of Dean's stump speech for months, and everyone who's been paying attention knows this. And for months, no one thought there was anything wrong with them. No one.
It wasn't until November of 2003 -- nine months later, when Kerry and Gephardt were in Big Trouble, that they both -- with the help of the media, which was never fond of Dean anyway -- decided to misrepresent what Dean said. John Edwards jumped in, and so Al "I take money from the GOP" Sharpton -- mainly, I suspect, to piss off Jesse Jackson, whose son was and is a big-time Dean supporter. (Jesse Jr., in fact, was busy fighting the Kerry-Gephardt smears on Dean's behalf.)
Steve, if you want to argue that Kerry and Gephardt's twisting of Dean's stump speech comments hurt Dean, fine. But don't pretend that all blacks disliked Dean's actual comments from the get-go, because we know that ain't so.
Gallup: Internet The Only US Media That's Not Losing Ground
It looks as if people are turning off their TVs, dumping their radios, and throwing out their newspapers in droves, according to Gallup (via DailyKos and E&P):
Now 2002Here's the original E&P story. And here's a link to Gallup's free synopsis of the poll (the poll itself is behind a pay-to-view wall). I don't mind cable losing eyeballs -- CNN stopped being worthwhile ages ago. And I'd like to think that blogs like Kos and Eschaton and overseas news websites like that of The Guardian would pick up the slack and then some. But it looks as if people just aren't bothering to follow the news at all any more. NPR lost 5% in two years -- that's worse than how cable fared, and almost as bad as how broadcast news did. (I'd love to know how Jon Stewart did.) Hey, Media Borg! Think this might be because you all stopped doing real news back when Ronnie Reagan killed the Fairness Doctrine for you? Isn't it the least bit interesting that Kos and Eschaton together have in three years gone from nothing to getting more readers than the Philadelphia Inquirer? Maybe if the US Corporate Press stopped genuflecting in front of the RNC, they might be able to regain the customers they've lost.
TV Local News 51 57
Local Newspaper 44 47
Cable News 39 41
TV Network News 36 43
Internet 20 15
National Newspapers 7 11
Bush the Unpopular: No Bounce At All
Most people who've allegedly won Presidential elections get some sort of 'bounce' in the weeks and months afterwards. Not Bush.
As Eric Boehlert notes, every single major poll taken after the election shows Bush with either flat or falling numbers. (He also notes that the only other person in recent memory to suffer such wretched post-election numbers was none other than Ronald Reagan, who to this day the SCLM pretends was wildly popular when he wasn't -- and isn't.)
Don't be afraid to attack this clown. If we'd done more of it over the past three years, we could have overcome the Diebolding.
They Won't Let Ivins or Chomsky on TV, But They'll Tout THIS Ethically-Challenged Twit?
So, the So-Called "Liberal" Media has just hounded Bill Moyers into retirement, allowed scads of knuckle-draggers their own 100% right-wing airspace, and now feels that the dangerously liberal son of a Republican president must be counterbalanced by a plagiarizing no-talent dingbat? What is she, Candy's sister?
I'd much rather watch this Crowley on TV, but unless somebody at the networks is good with a Ouija board, we're about eighty years too late for that.
Monday, December 20, 2004
If Not for His Human Shields in Iraq, Bush Would Have Lost Big Last Month
I know most of you are out doing holiday preparations, but if you have time to shoot off a letter to your local paper and/or to one of the national papers (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org), you might want to mention this information from the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll:
Most Americans do NOT approve of the job Bush is doing. The only thing that saved his butt last month was the circle-the-wagons mentality left over from 9/11 and which extends to the human shields Bush is hiding behind, aka Our Troops.
Here's what we think of Bush's handling of:
The Economy: 46% approve...51% DISAPPROVE.
Iraq: 42% approve...57% DISAPPROVE.
Social Security: 38% approve...52% DISAPPROVE.
Health Care: 37% approve...56% DISAPPROVE.
The only "approval" bush gets is on his "war on terra"...and that's because most Americans don't have a clue (thanks to our less-than-informative media) what that even means.
The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that President Bush's overall job approval rating is just below 50 percent, with 48 percent of Americans approving of his performance and 49 percent disapproving.
More respondents disapprove "strongly" (38 percent) than approve "strongly" (27 percent) of his performance. This is Bush's lowest "strong" approval since Sept. 11, 2001.
The upshot? Don't feel as if Bush's "big win" means you must keep silent. Keep hammering away!
Sunday, December 19, 2004
Back from the Grave: The GOP Moderates?
Yesterday, we had the announcement of Christine the Fondler's "Here I stand. I can do no other" moment.
Today, we have the Gropinator saying the same thing as Christine (albeit nur auf Deutsch):
The Republican Party must turn to the left, and away from the wacko Fundie/Bircher fringe.
Looks like what's left of the GOP moderates have realized that they have to get up off their keisters and fight the "moral values" crapola or they will be just as marginalized as the Democrats are nationally.
Now, Rudy Giuliani would normally be expected to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with these folk, but a) he's never been one to stick his neck out unless there's a certain payoff at the end, and b) he's going to be a little too preoccupied trying to keep his good buddy Bernie Kerik, the Gambino bambino from taking him along as Bernie goes down for the count.
Of course, the conservatives will fight back, if they aren't doing so already. And I don't know about the Fondler, but the Gropinator is not exactly a profile in courage. He'll be cowed back into the fold soon enough.
Expect to see Arnold choose to refrain from saying to the American press what he says to the German news media. Either that, or expect sudden revelations of more sexual hanky-panky as more script girls and gaffers step forward. This will be happening just as the wingnuts find new things with with to attack Christine the Fondler -- or maybe they'll just dig up those pictures of her feeling up a black man in bondage.
Bipartisanship = Date Rape
Norquist said it, I believe it, that settles it.
Atrios and Yglesias are right. Any Democrat caught lending the fig-leaf of "bipartisanship" to the privatization scam must be made to pay.
2001 Memo Shows Bush Push for Dictatorial Power
The only surprise over this little ditty is that we now know about it -- albeit only via TruthOut and a Newsweek "Web Exclusive" (translation: We don't dare run it in the print version, where far more people can see it):
Just two weeks after the September 11 attacks, a secret memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales' office concluded that President Bush had the power to deploy military force "preemptively" against any terrorist groups or countries that supported them - regardless of whether they had any connection to the attacks on the World Trade Towers or the Pentagon. The memo, written by Justice Department lawyer John Yoo, argues that there are effectively "no limits" on the president's authority to wage war - a sweeping assertion of executive power that some constitutional scholars say goes considerably beyond any that had previously been articulated by the department."Some constitutional scholars"? Make that "anyone who's actually studied the goddamn Constitution and who isn't in the pay of some right-wing dipshit-coddling troll hatchery". But I digress.
Although it makes no reference to Saddam Hussein's government, the 15-page memo also seems to lay a legal groundwork for the president to invade Iraq - without approval of Congress - long before the White House had publicly expressed any intent to do so.The magic word here is "publicly". As we all know, Bush's neocon buddies in the PNAC Platoon -- most importantly Dick Cheney and his ideological mentor Don Rumsfeld -- had been, at Ahmad Chalabi's behest, pushing to invade Iraq since 1997. 9/11 merely provided a convenient pretext. Just look and see how eager Rumsfeld was, as the Pentagon was still smoking, to pin it all on Saddam -- "things related and not". Speaking of "things related and not":
"The President may deploy military force preemptively against terrorist organizations or the States that harbor or support them, whether or not they can be linked to the specific terrorist incidents of Sept. 11," the memo states.Uh-huh. So much for Congress being the branch of government with the power to declare war. Though, what with the Executive Branch's growing fondness for "police actions" and the like, we've been moving towards this for over fifty years now. But here's what's really interesting:
The existence of the memo, titled "The President's Constitutional Authority to Conduct Military Operations against Terrorists and Nations Supporting Them," was first reported by NEWSWEEK in the fall of 2001. But its contents - including the conclusion that Bush could order attacks against countries unrelated to the 9/11 attacks - were not publicly available until late this week when, with no notice to the public or the news media, the memo was posted on an obscure portion of the Web site of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. (There is nothing on the site calling attention to the memo. It is was simply added to a list of previously published memos posted for the calendar year 2001.) A senior White House official alerted a NEWSWEEK reporter to the memo's posting after mentioning that a copy was also being sent to Sen. Patrick Leahy, ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who has been pressing the White House to release this and other memos in time for Gonzales' confirmation hearings next month to be attorney general.Okay. So who among the Bushistas has it in for Gonzales? And would this be in any way connected with the efforts to throw Rumsfeld over the side? Has Karl Rove finally decided that invading Iraq was a Bad Move, and does he now want to eliminate all those who either pushed most strongly for it, or were instrumental in making it possible? Rove can't get rid of Cheney -- yet. But if Rumsfeld goes and Gonzales goes down, expect Cheney, after a discreet interval of a few weeks or months, to suddenly step down due to "health and family matters".
Saturday, December 18, 2004
Christie Whitman: GOP Too Conservative
Christine Todd Whitman, whose moment of greatest fame was in 2000 when conservative Republicans leaked this photo of her to the news media in order to ensure that those gosh-darned feminist pie-wagons shut their traps about making her Bush's Veep, and who later went on to a short stint as Bush's first EPA appointee, has apparently found a spare spine out in the back storeroom and strapped it on. According to this NYT piece (which can also be found at TruthOut), she's written a book in which she warns that the Republican Party is going much too far to the right:
Christie Whitman, the former New Jersey governor and Bush environmental official, says in an upcoming book that Republican moderates must speak up or the party could move so far to the right that it will lose its influence and strength. [...] The main focus of Whitman's book "It's My Party Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America," is on her desire for moderate Republicans to regain control of the party. The more conservative wing of the party has claimed much credit for Bush's re-election. [...] Whitman says fellow moderates, such as former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, were instrumental in Bush's re-election win, often campaigning with him in battleground states. The role of moderates is to bring the party back to its center, she says. "It is time for Republican moderates to assert forcefully and plainly that this is our party, too, that we not only have a place but a voice, and not just a voice but a vision that is true to the historic principles of our party and our nation, not one tied to an extremist agenda," she says.Of course, this doesn't fit in with the GOP/Media's and Vichy Democrats' shared storyline, which is that The Right Wing Won It For The GOP (Which Is Why Democrats Must Keep Moving Ever Rightward Themselves). So don't expect to see Katie Couric interviewing her on the Today show any time soon -- unless it's to attack her book's premise. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the only places she gets airtime to hawk her book will be Jon Stewart's The Daily Show and Air America.
Friday, December 17, 2004
How Big Media Gets Rolled by the GOP on Social Security (and Everything Else)
MediaMatters.org has been keeping close watch on the ways that Big Media has been bamboozled by the Republicans -- or is actively helping Republicans to bamboozle us -- with regard to Social Security.
Check it out -- you'll see why one should be very, very careful about trusting TV pundits, in particular:
Digby on Social Security
If any of you are still tongue-tied WRT Social Security:
Go. Read. Do.
As Digby says, all we have to is revive the old truth that Democrats used to be capable of uttering before the mealy-mouthed types took over:
The Republicans have always wanted to destroy Social Security. Always.
This is the theme we need to repeat, over and over and over again.
The destruction of Social Security has been on the wingnut/Republican agenda since Day One. It's part of the John Birch Society platform. Republicans fought tooth and nail to keep Roosevelt from implementing the program, and they have fought ever since to kill it -- though it's such a popular program that they have to lie about their true intentions and claim that they're 'reforming' it.
The SSA Privatization Wall of Shame
Cribbed from Eschaton this morning:
Allen Boyd (D-FL) DC: (202) 225-5235, Tallahassee (850) 561-3979, Panama City: (850) 785-0812
Thursday, December 16, 2004
NYT Snowed by BushCo WRT Social Security
As Bob Somerby shows today, the guy the NYT assigned to cover this issue is a totally clueless regurgitator of Bush spin.
Maybe we should all send Somerby's piece, along with this, this, this, this, this, this, this, and ESPECIALLY THIS to the NYT Newsroom:
The Religio-Racist Right
Been reading boatloads on how Democrats Must Make Further Concessions to the "Values Crowd" (read: the Religious Right) in order to win elections.
Setting aside the fact that exit polling showed that more people were worried about terror and Iraq than "moral values", let's look at exactly who it is that we're being told we must humor:
The very racist Bob Jones.
The very racist Jerry Falwell.
The very racist Pat Robertson.
The very racist James Dobson.
And that's just off the top of my head.
Note that three of these four clowns are Southern white Neo-Confederate males.
The morality scam is a way for these racists to cloak their bigotry in altar cloths and repackage it as "values". (Note how they actively oppose government programs to help black people?)
Call them The Religio-Racist Right, because that's what they are. Don't let their hiding behind the cross deter you. The best defense is a good offense.
Let this guy be your guide.
(On Edit: Thanks to Doug Wiken at Dakota Today for posting this article on Robert Reich. It runs along the same lines as what I've written in this post.)
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Since it seems to be the "in" thing to do, and since I'd love to con some trolls from LGF into wasting time farting in the comments threads, I'll throw out the raw meat and bring up the issues of abortion and birth control.
Ever wonder why the leaders of the anti-choice crowd have historically opposed both abortion AND birth control? Because the real issue isn't about saving babies, it's about making sure women can't have sex lives like men's.
Don't believe me? Check this out:
Here's a history of the Catholic Church's varying attitudes towards abortion over the last two thousand years.
Note that while the Catholic Church has generally frowned on abortion, it didn't start equating it with murder until 1869, and it didn't outright forbid it in all circumstances until the 20th century.
Note this well:
St. Augustine, the guy who formulated much of the early Church's basic doctrine, attacked abortion NOT because he thought it was murder (he didn't, and said so), but because it removed the linkage between sex and procreation. Other theologians followed his lead.
In other words: It's always been about making sure sex has consequences for women; "saving babies' lives" didn't enter the picture until later.
Remember, condoms were invented to keep men from getting VD, not to keep women from getting pregnant.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Alert the FCC and Brent Bozell: Rush Cusses!
First, go here and do what the nice man says.
Or, if you prefer, go here and report to the FCC via Brent Bozell that Rush Limbaugh said "dick" in a sexual context on the air.
Have fun, kids! Let's see if we can get as many complaints in to the FCC as Bozell did over a white woman pretending to seduce a black man.
'Nanny' or Smokescreen?
With all the revelations of the past few days about Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani's protégé and proposed SuperCop to the nation -- the secret first wife, the Iraq sleaze, girlfriend abuse, Mob sleaze, and other sleaze, and the Bushies' not caring about all of that, we still don't know one thing: The name of Kerik's alleged 'nanny'.
Media Cynic, to her credit, smelled a smokescreen right from the start. And Josh Marshall notes that we know nothing for sure about the nanny: the information we've been given is all contradictory.
"On Hard and Soft": Digby Nails It
Worth reading in full, but here's some choice excerpts:
If, in order to be “hard” we must support irrationality and grievous error then we are doomed as a country. ... Letting the faith based morons who planned this debacle of a response to 9/11 off the hook and holding their hands in solidarity not only looks weak, it is weak.
....We are once again drowning in perceptions, in which the alleged Democratic tough guys are accusing the alleged Democratic sissies of fucking things up and losing elections because the American people won’t support a party that is “soft” on … anything. They are right in a way but they fail to see why this perception is so widely held, who is responsible and how to change it. Mainly this is because the ones making this accusation think they are hard when they are actually soft.
I agree that we need a change in strategy. But, we’ve hit a wall compromising or cooperating with this modern Republican Party on issues. They have left us no room on policy except total capitulation. Anybody who doesn’t see that is definitely soft. (In the head.)...
But there is one surefire way to convince the American people that Democrats are “hard” enough to take on the enemies of the United States. And that would be for us to take on the goddamned Republicans. As long as we do not respond in kind to their in your face bully boy style of politics we will continue to look weak in the face of an existential threat --- because we ARE weak. We can look to history for Scoop Jackson lessons or Arthur Schlessinger lessons, but they are not relevant to the problem at hand. Our problem is that since 1968 the Republicans have waged a take-no-prisoner war against the Democratic party and they use that proxy war to prove to the American people that they are tough enough to protect the American people from threats, both internal and external, and the Democrats are not. (Indeed, to listen to their most skilled polemicists, Democrats are the threat.) And despite the fact that they are completely full of shit, it works quite well because they practice what they preach by fighting every last Democrat to a standstill and when they lose they get right back up and start fighting again with everything they have. People can see exactly what they are about. They demonstrate it. We, on the other hand, talk a lot.
One word of advice. When George Will backs your ideas you need to rethink your position. Prominent Republican mouthpieces do not have our best interests at heart. Ever.
digby 7:49 PM
Monday, December 13, 2004
The Discreet Racism of the GOP
This was the first paragraph from the headline article in today's paper edition of the Strib:
As the Electoral College meets today, here's something to ponder: The states carried by Democrat John Kerry in 2004 were almost the same as those carried in 1860 by Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president. The 2004 election practically completes the parties' swap of their geographical bases. And while President Bush won the popular vote this time, it was the smallest margin of victory of any president winning a second term.The StarTribune is pussyfooting around this for fear of raising the ire of the local Republican party hordes. Pity -- they're going to get flak over this no matter how gingerly they treat the subject, so they might as well go balls out on it. And the subject is this: How the Republican party, by the deliberate jettisoning of its heritage as The Party of Lincoln, sold its soul to appeal to racists both northern (such as the "white flighters" that swell suburbia's ranks) and southern. Go Google the phrase "Southern Strategy" and you'll see what I mean. That is, if the history of the past forty years hasn't been proof enough.
Smells Like CNP Spirit
The Poor Man spots yet another wingnut, Kaye Grogan, whining about The Liberal (Read: Jewish) Conspiracy to Kill Christmas When All We Want to Do Is Shove Our Brand of Christianity Down Everyone's Throats.
FOX's O'Reilly has been leading the charge on this particular idiocy, even going so far as telling Jews who dare object to "move to Israel".
Hmmmm. Sounds like the sort of concerted, planned effort that would come out of the weekly meetings that Grover Norquist holds. Or maybe it came from Tim and Bev LaHaye's Council for National Policy.
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Kerik, Bush, and Rookie Mistakes
Interesting, that Bernard Kerik, Rudy Giuliani's gofer, officially got tanked because of a "nanny problem" á la the first few Cabinet nominees of the first Clinton administration.
Setting aside the mounting evidence that a "nanny problem" was the least of Bernie's worries, what does it say about BushCo's competence that, four years into the job, they are still making rookie mistakes like this one?
Though, as Josh Marshall says, it is somewhat reassuring to know that Alberto Gonzales, the Abu Ghraib torture authorizer and the guy Bush has tapped to be our new Ashcroft-style Constitution Shredder, is not all that thorough when it comes to snooping on people.
(By the way: Josh also notes that according to a new NYT article, the Bushistas already knew about the dirty financial dealings, the mob links, the civil lawsuits, the philandering, and the general corruption -- and were cool with all that. But it really was the nanny that brought him low. If that's true, these people are stupider than even I can believe.)
GOP: Really Sore Losers
Remember all the bogus articles from early 2001 about how the awful Clintons pulled "w"s off the computer keyboards before leaving the White House?
Of course, nobody in the "mainstream" press bothered to give anywhere near as much time to the legitimate complaints that the Clintons themselves had eight years earlier, when the outgoing Bushistas trashed computer files, shredded documents (especially those involving the Iraqgate scandal, wherein the first Bush administration looked the other way while Saddam took money earmarked for agriculture and put it into munitions) and generally refused to be at all helpful to the new Democratic administration.
And we won't be hearing much in our GOP-friendly national press about this little story out of Illinois.
This morning's Chicago Tribune had a feature on GOP legislator Phil Crane's impending retirement after 35 years in Congress. Crane lost to Melissa Bean, one of the many Democratic candidates backed by Howard Dean's DFA.
Crane, nearly two months afterwards, still hasn't called to concede or even to congratulate his opponent. Not only that, he won't even let his staff turn over files to Bean's people so she can start addressing concerns already raised by her new constituents! In typical Republican fashion, Crane thinks more about scoring points against his Democratic opponent even after she's won the election than he does about taking care of the voters in his district.
Shades of how they had to damn near dynamite B-1 Bob Dornan out of his offices at the Capitol after Democrat Loretta Sanchez beat him in the 1996 midterm elections.
Minnesota: High Taxes, Good Business Climate (...at least until Pawlenty and the (Rich) Taxpayers League took over...)
Here's some good stuff from my hometown Strib:
Hey Big Spender! Minnesota's Economic Performance Is Strong BECAUSE of Taxes
Nan Madden: 'High Tax' State is only average for tax burdens
Strib editorial: State's high quality of life endangered by GOPer Pawlenty's subservience to the (Rich) Taxpayers' League
The wingnuts are of course going to be howling, but facts are facts. Plus, we've finally got a strong enough Rapid Response group that we can howl right back!
Drum Scores on Social Security
Kevin Drum redeems himself a bit in my eyes by summarizing quite nicely why the pension privatization scam has been a disaster worldwide. Keep these URLs handy and send them to your friends!
UPDATE: It's not just Chile and Sweden. Privatization has been a disaster everywhere it's been tried. Here's some links I found tooling around the Googleverse:
#1: The Role of Social Security Privatization in Argentina's Economic Crisis
#2: The Thatcher privatization scheme hasn't worked out well in the UK
#3: And here's an article on privatization's nasty effects worldwide.
Friday, December 10, 2004
DLC DINOs versus Actual Democrats, Take 345480
Kos links to David Sirota's excellent American Prospect piece on how to build a Democratic majority. He also links to blogger Ed Kilgore's attack on the piece, an attack which of course is highly touted by Josh Marshall. Marshall claims that Kilgore's bogosity-filled attack is justified because that icky Sirota's trying to drum the DLC out of the party -- yet somehow, the DLC's constant fifteen-year efforts to control Democratic party philosophy and destroy all liberals is not justification, in Marshall's mind, for any efforts by liberals to defend themselves. I'd also like to point out to Marshall that regardless of whether From himself has any power, that isn't the issue. The ideas that From espouses have been embedded into the ganglia of the Democratic party. The DLC philosophy, to a large extent, is the party leadership's philosophy. And as such, it has cost the Democrats both Houses of Congress, not to mention the White House twice in a row. (And the big irony is that the corporate titans that the DLC claims great prowess in wooing have, over the fifteen-odd years of the DLC's reign, moved from backing both parties equally to a ten-to-one bias in favor of the Republicans.) Anyhow, Sirota responds thusly:
I'd also like to add that Montana's Schweitzer -- who Sirota has worked for, but whom the DLC tries to claim as their new poster boy -- got arrested for leading buses of seniors into Canada to get prescription drugs they couldn't afford in the States. That's not a DLC-approved action. Go read the whole link. It should tell you something about just how dishonest the DLC and their Vichy Democrat fellow travelers are.
In response to my new American Prospect cover story, the corporate-backed Democratic Leadership Council has responded with a pathetic and laughable attack on me that is so defensive/dishonest/factually inaccurate it reeks of desperation. For those who are interested, here is a quick "Claim vs. Fact" on the DLC's attacks on me:
DLC CLAIM: "I hate to sound like a pointy-head here, but the argument Sirota's making--that economic 'populism' of the most atavistic sort trumps cultural conservatism--has been around for a long time, dating back at least to the early '70s."
FACT: The implication here, in classic-DLC denial, is that economic populism was tried and it failed. Yet, what goes unmentioned is that when the Democratic Party did fracture and factions did embrace the DLC's corporate model, Democrats lost the congressional majority for the first time in 40 years, and are now, unnecessarily, on the verge of permanent-minority status.
DLC CLAIM: "Schweitzer blasted Montana Republicans for corporate subsidies, government inefficiency, etc....[this is a] strateg[y] the DLC has strongly and repeatedly endorsed."
FACT: As just one example of how false this statement is, according to the New Democrat Coalition (the DLC's congressional arm) "New Democrats have long been supporters of the Export-Import Bank, and it has been a key part of our pro-trade agenda. This year, 96 percent of NDC Members supported the conference report on Ex-Im reauthorization." As you may recall, 80 percent of Ex-Im money goes to Fortune 500 companies including Boeing, General Electric, Catepillar Inc., Mobil Oil, Westinghouse, AT&T, Motorola, Lucent Technologies, Enron, IBM , FedEx, General Motors, Halliburton, Siemans, Raytheon, and United Technologies (many who bankroll the DLC). These companies are some of the biggest job cutters in the country, yet when progressives tried to prevent Ex-Im subisidies from going to companies that are sending jobs overseas, they were voted down with the help of DLC leaders in Congress. Even the Cato Institute notes that "the Export-Import Bank is corporate welfare - it benefits a small number of private businesses at the expense of other businesses and taxpaying citizens."br>
Keep Bush's Paws Off Your Future: Save Social Security
I sent this letter to Senator Mark Dayton (D-MN). Feel free to send it, or variants thereof, to your Senators (contact information below). If we act NOW, and in force, we can stop this in its tracks. We must let Congress know that we will not tolerate this. ----------
Dear Senator Dayton: Please stand up to Bush's lies about Social Security. As both the CBO and the Social Security Trustees' Report state, the Social Security program is in very good shape for decades to come, and only needs a minor cash infusion equal to a .5% raise in the FICA -- the equivalent of about $8 every two weeks for most workers -- now to keep it safe forever. But Bush, of course, wants to kill it, dismember it and hand out the bloody pieces to his brokerage-firm buddies. Worse, he wants to borrow $3 trillion to do it, at a time when our economy is groaning so much under Bush's deficit spending that the Chinese investors propping it up are being to mutiny. Please, for the good of our country, come out now and oppose this reckless nonsense, which is so unwise it borders on treason.------------- Persons to Contact: Senate (General): http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm email@example.com House (General): http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.shmtl And of course, don't forget to contact the Usual Media Suspects: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Thursday, December 09, 2004
Liberals, Terrorism and the Manly Urge
Josh Marshall, who thinks rationally about 65% of the time but who was one of the many, many "war liberals" who rushed to back Bush's invading Iraq, tries to explain himself (and by extension Peter Beinart) by accusing the invasion's opponents of not really wanting to fight the war on terror.
Excuse me, Josh, but as David Neiwert has already pointed out, that's just so much bullshit.
We did indeed want to fight the war on terror. That's why we didn't want to waste time, lives and money hitting the wrong goddam target just because the known forger and convicted embezzler Ahmad Chalabi sold his buddies at PNAC a bill of goods.
Face it, Josh: It's all about the Manly Urge, isn't it?
Don't wanna look like those damned patchouli-scented, femmy, weakling HIPPIES, now, do you? Even though they, those unwashed louts, without any of your Beltway connections, were right -- and you were wrong.
Over one hundred thousand people are dead, millions injured, starving, made homeless, all because certain people wanted to look manly.
God damn it.
Oh, and as for those of you out there who still wonder about how liberals would fight a war on terror, go take Pericles' Terrorist Strategy 101: A Quiz. The results should be enlightening.
First O'Reilly, Then Scalia: How Republicans Treat American Jews
Hard on the heels of Bill O'Reilly's thoughtful and sensitive efforts at outreach to the Jewish community, I found the following message in my mailbox:
Published on Thursday, December 2, 2004 by CommonDreams.org
Scalia To Synagogue - Jews Are Safer With Christians In Charge by Thom Hartmann Antonin Scalia, the man most likely to be our next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, turned history on its head recently when he attended an Orthodox synagogue in New York and claimed that the Founders intended for their Christianity to play a part in government. Scalia then went so far as to suggest that the reason Hitler was able to initiate the Holocaust was because of German separation of church and state. The Associated Press reported on November 23, 2004, "In the synagogue that is home to America's oldest Jewish congregation, he [Scalia] noted that in Europe, religion-neutral leaders almost never publicly use the word 'God.'" "Did it turn out that," Scalia asked rhetorically, "by reason of the separation of church and state, the Jews were safer in Europe than they were in the United States of America?" He then answered himself, saying, "I don't think so." Scalia has an extraordinary way of not letting facts confound his arguments, but this time he's gone completely over the top by suggesting that a separation of church and state facilitated the Holocaust. If his comments had gotten wider coverage (they were only noted in one small AP article, and one in the Jerusalem Post), they may have brought America's largest religious communities - both Christian and Jewish - into the streets. [...] Oh, and in addition to being such a learned scholar of American history, Justice Scalia is the same Baron of Moral Righteousness that said recently that sex orgies were just fine as far as he was concerned.
Where Do I Start?
So much asshattery, so little time: Do I mention how the Junior Senator from Minnesota, Senator Blow-Dry, was allowed to go waaaay out on a limb with his Ten Minutes' Hate bit against Kofi Annan before the Bushistas yanked the rug out from under him? Do I discuss how Tom DeLay's house of cards just took another major hit from the Ronnie Earle wrecking ball? Or do I hold forth on how Bill O'Reilly, not content with telling American Jews uncomfy with the idea of forced worship of the Christ Child to "move to Israel", is digging himself in deeper by attacking the head of the Anti-Defamation League? Nahhhh. Atrios is doing a good enough job of that himself. Check it out, here, here, and here. Instead, I'm going to pass on a memo I got from Steve Rosenthal, of America Coming Together (ACT). It goes kinda like this:
Dear Phoenix Woman, This past Sunday I wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post titled "Okay, We Lost Ohio. The Question Is, Why?". In it, I try to dispel a few of the most popular myths about how John Kerry lost Ohio (and the election overall) by interpreting the most recent exit polling and results of a post-election survey taken by ACT.... Our work in Ohio and around the country achieved record turnout and key victories for Democrats in Congress, state legislatures and gubernatorial races across the battleground states. But the bottom line still remains -- George Bush won reelection and, now more than ever, we must stand together to fight against the Republicans' extremist agenda. http://www.act04.org/future In the month since Election Day, ACT has begun an extensive review. The lessons from it are great and sometimes difficult, but only by thoroughly understanding what happened -- in every precinct of every state -- are we able to effectively build a strategy for the future. And just as you did on Election Day, you are leading the way today! Not waiting for us, reunions of ACT volunteers have been organized around the country with hundreds of ACTivists at each. You are the heart of this organization and I am incredibly honored and excited for the opportunity to work for you leading ACT into the New Year. We want to continue to be your home, your campaign and your cause. So, will you stand with ACT in 2005? Will you recommit your time, passion and money to helping build a sustained progressive movement in the United States? Will you help keep ACT field offices open in Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona and elsewhere? Will you continue to lead the fight against George Bush and the radical Republican agendas in federal, state and local governments? I know your answer is yes. Please help chart ACT's course today. http://www.act04.org/future We have started building comprehensive plans for 2005, 2006 and, of course, 2008. We are identifying key races -- on the federal, state and local levels -- which are critical to our party and our future. Now it's up to you. Your pledge of support today will help us make some very difficult decisions. So please take a moment now to help chart the future course of the largest voter mobilization effort in history. Change is more than a mouse-click away, but this is the first important step. ACT didn't end on November 2nd, it's just beginning today -- with you. http://www.act04.org/future Thank you for all you do. Best wishes for a safe and happy New Year. Steve Rosenthal
America Coming Together PS. You are receiving this message along with nearly 400,000 volunteers, donors and online supporters of ACT. Help us spread the word by announcing your continued support of ACT to your friends and family. http://www.act04.org/future
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Divide and Conquer: The DLC plays the GOP's game
O'Reilly jumped vertically out of his chair over a foot (with no visible physical means of levitation) expostulating "Media Matters! Media Matters!", and stated that he might as well get his own talking points from David Duke Sorta what they did with Michael Moore. The meme got out there that Moore wasn't to be believed on anything. This meme was embraced by the media at large as well as far too many Dems. Beware that they will try to do this with Media Matters.Exactly. Republicans may be idiots when it comes to governing responsibly (watch as the dollar continues to fall, thanks to Bush's combination of reckless spending and tax cuts for the rich!), but they've got the divide-and-conquer scam down cold: 1) Find your enemy's strongest ally 2) Falsely demonize that ally 3) Laugh as enemy stupidly backs away from said ally 4) Repeat until dictatorship is achieved. And the DLC DINOs (that's "Democrats in Name Only", folks) just keeping playing the Republicans' game by the Republicans' rules -- and we all are getting our butts kicked because of it. Just look at Peter Beinart's recent babbling in The New Republic(an), and how so many "war liberal" bloggers (most notably Drum and Yglesias gleefully chimed in. These guys all got it wrong on Iraq, so what do they do? Attack the people who got it right. More on this subject from the always-sane David Neiwert, the best researcher alive on the question of terror movements in the US (emphases mine):
...Of course, if the Democrats have any grassroots strength now, it is associated with the MoveOn and Howard Dean factions (and mentioning Michael Moore is just silly, since he is a nonentity organizationally speaking). How exactly does he intend to transform the party at its grassroots by excising the people who are its grassroots? If we jettison these folks, as he's suggesting, who do we replace them with? This sounds like a classic formula for self-evisceration. More to the point, why exactly should we drive out the faction that proved, in fact, to be right about the Iraq war? Perhaps so people like Beinart won't have to be constantly reminded reminded just how wrong they were? MoveOn.org has never indicated anything but support for combating terrorism, and particularly for hunting down bin Laden. What the grassroots antiwar factions objected to was a willy-nilly invasion of another country without adequate assessment in the case of Afghanistan, and in the case of Iraq, the unwarranted invasion of another country, one only marginally associated with terrorism and unconnected to 9/11, under false pretenses and without a well-planned exit strategy. And you know what? They were right in most cases. Very few mainstream progressives opposed the Afghanistan invasion on principle; many questioned its necessity and its planning and execution, questions that remain legitimate in light of the outcome there, with bin Laden and Al Qaeda still at large and the Taliban still a political force. But generally speaking, liberal opposition was very muted and generally limited to the factions that oppose war in any form. Iraq, however, was a wholly different matter. Many mainstream liberals immediately questioned the rationale for invading Iraq (as well as some mainstream conservatives who made similar cases) -- and were pooh-poohed by the New Republic crew as a bunch of peaceniks. Then as now, the essence of their attacks on the antiwar factions boiled down to image over substance. I had some specific experience in this area. I was one of the first journalists to ask whether Saddam was involved in the 9/11 attacks, and based much of my early reportage on interviews with people like James Woolsey and Laurie Mylroie, who it turned out were also the people directly influencing the White House as well. But the more time I spent on the matter, the more clear it became that the case connecting Saddam to 9/11 was utterly ephemeral, as I explained in one of my first posts at this blog. Even later, it was proven beyond a doubt that Mylroie had been selling everyone a bill of goods.Laurie Mylroie, you will remember, is the loony tune who claimed that Wales -- WALES?!?! -- was a terrorist hotspot. Why the hell should we suck up to nutjobs like her, over any issue? Because Vichy DINOs like Peter Beinart say we should? Sorry, not good enough. Here's what Arianna Huffington -- a former Republican who is now a progressive -- had to say in a 12/08/04 e-mail about people like Beinart, Drum and the DLC:
As cognitive psychologist George Lakoff told me: “Democrats moving to the middle is a double disaster that alienates the party’s progressive base while simultaneously sending a message to swing voters that the other side is where the good ideas are.” It unconsciously locks in the notion that the other side’s positions are worth moving toward, while your side’s positions are the ones to move away from. Plus every time you move to the center, the right just moves further to the right.At the direction of the DLC, the Democratic party has moved ever rightward over the past decade-and-a-half. And during that time, we have gone from controlling Congress and having a lead in the number of governorships to being a near-permanent minority party at the national level. And all this moving rightward hasn't given us the big corporate dollars that the DLC said it would. In fact, in 2004, corporate America gave ten (10) times as much money to Republicans as it did to Democrats -- the biggest disparity EVER. If the small-donor machinery perfected by Howard Dean, MoveOn.org and the other grass-roots progressive groups hadn't existed, the Democrats would have done far, far worse at the polls in 2004. So, if the grass-roots is what kept the Democrats going in 2004, why the hell do Peter Beinart and the DLCers want us to distance ourselves from it? I can't think of any reasons that aren't connected to cowardice, stupidity, greed, and self-interest. Can you?
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