Monday, October 30, 2006

American Prospect Offers Solid Argument for Voting

Lately I've been reading The American Prospect online. This morning I read a column illustrating the need for Democrats and independents disgusted by GOP corruption and criminality to vote.

Hold, Hamper, Hinder, by columnist Robert Kuttner, contains in its closing paragraph a message all disenfranchised voters should heed:
The real fraud is the theft of our democracy, by deliberate suppression of the right to vote and to have one's vote counted. The popular revulsion against the Bush administration is so powerful that even with these abuses, Democrats are likely to take back the House. Then the recovery of American democracy can begin.
One week from tomorrow, the future of our nation will be decided. This is no exaggeration; whether the Bush regime continues to abuse the power it has stolen with impunity, or is stopped cold in its tracks, will be determined by which party controls Congress after November. Democrats are favored in the polls by a significant margin, according to news reports.

It is therefore imperative, in this age of Republican corruption so pervasive as to be unprecedented in the history of the United States, for voters against the regime and its enablers in the GOP to turn out in such numbers that no amount of electoral fraud on the part of Republicans will be enough to steal another election.

With the death toll for American troops in Iraq reaching 100 this October, with yet another day and a half left in the month, we owe it to those men and women stuck in the midst of a civil war of the Bush regime's making, to ensure a Democratic victory next week.

Friday, October 27, 2006


I've now joined the ranks of people coming down sick with colds and other respiratory illnesses this Autumn. I was feeling really miserable despite my homemade cold remedy that contains tea, honey, lemon juice and a bit of blackberry wine (elderberry wine is best, but I was out and blackberry works about as well).

Then, something happened that improved my spirits. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the GOP has pulled its ads for incumbent U.S. senator Mike DeWine.
The Republican Party has canceled its plans to run ads supporting Mike DeWine in the crucial final week of his tough re-election race, the party confirmed Thursday night.

The Republican National Committee notified television stations in Ohio that it will not use time it reserved from next Tuesday until the Nov. 7 election.

Rumor had it that the RNC had threatened to pull DeWine's funding unless he got really nasty in the last month of the campaign. The creepy, lying little troll complied, putting out an ad lying about Democratic challenger Sherrod Brown's unemployment taxes.

Apparently, there was some error on the part of the IRS involving his unemployment taxes. Brown was not informed for eight months. But when he learned of this, he paid the back taxes in full. DeWine's ad nevertheless flat out lied, saying Brown hadn't paid his taxes for twelve years. The state of Ohio, however, backed up the truth: that Brown had in fact paid the money he owed back in 1994. DeWine lied, again, and it blew up in his face.

But this isn't surprising; earlier this year the incumbent had used doctored images of 9/11 in an ad lying about Brown's record on the issue of security. The ad received immediate criticism, enough that it was soon pulled.

DeWine is a lying creep, and nothing more than a rubber stamp for the policies of George W. Bush. For the GOP, that's qualification enough. But he is incompetent when it comes to waging a dirty campaign. The RNC knew that earlier this month, when it allegedly threatened to pull his funding with polls showing him lagging behind by a significant margin. But they wasted the money on him anyway, and it backfired.

So now, with less than two weeks to go before the midterm elections, the GOP has finally given up on DeWine in order to focus its monetary power where it thinks it'll do more to help other embattled Republicans who have better electoral chances.

While the incumbent has outspent Brown, according to the Plain Dealer article many of the Democratic challenger's ads have already been paid for and fundraising this month has been strong. If this is the situation, DeWine must divide his money trying to salvage his floundering campaign while Brown may choose his expenditures with a fair amount of confidence.

If the Senate does manage to remain under Republican control, it'll be worth it to see Sherrod Brown in place of the lying, creepy little troll that is Mike DeWine.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

NJ Court Hands GOP Election Reprieve, While Soldiers Go Ignored

The Republican Party got a slight reprieve in its downward spiral yesterday, with the New Jersey supreme court making what is sure to be a controversial ruling on gay marriage.

The ruling grants gay couples in that state the same legal rights as married heterosexual couples, but ultimately leaves it up to the New Jersey legislature to decide on the issue of full-blown marriage.

But this couldn't have come at a better time for the GOP, which stands to lose control of Congress in November barring massive, systemic electoral fraud.

Plagued by scandals -- including one in which a Florida Republican's sexual predations of teenaged boys was covered up by top House GOP leaders including Dennis Hastert and John Boehner -- things appeared to be looking up for America despite the passage of legislation further gutting the Constitution while granting the Bush regime broad powers to torture prisoners.

It didn't help that a top evangelical who served in George W. Bush's office of faith-based initiatives at the White House released a book exposing the pandering assholes for what they are.

But now, we have this gay marriage ruling in New Jersey, with which to rile up the evangelical whackos too stupid to know they're being used.

Which is a shame, really, because time is short with less than two weeks to go before the midterm election. Democrats don't have a whole lot of time to kill this ruling as a spinmeister's wet dream.

But even worse than having the potential to weaken America's chances of restoring freedom to herself, this ruling has the potential to bury a significant news item. More than 200 active duty U.S. soldiers are calling for a withdrawal from Iraq.
The campaign, called the Appeal for Redress from the War in Iraq, is the first of its kind in the Iraq war and takes advantage of Defense Department rules allowing active duty troops to express personal opinions to members of Congress without fear of retaliation, organizers said.

"As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq," states the appeal posted on the campaign's Web site at

"Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home," it adds.

This news story is important, because the invasion and occupation of Iraq stands to be the referendum on which this election will be decided. Ned Lamont, the Democratic nominee to replace Republican-in-all-but-name Senator Joe Lieberman, won the Connecticut primary largely because constituents are sick of the incumbent's endless rubber stamping for Bush's policies, especially in Iraq.

Republican corruption, and the party's insane focus on wedge issues at the expense of meat and potatoes issue like jobs, health care, the economy and education, has also contributed to the crises facing the nation. Rather than actually do anything about the important issues, the GOP chooses to focus on gay marriage as if that and not the Bush regime were somehow the bigger threat to Americans.

When hundreds of U.S. soldiers, given a rare opportunity to have a voice, call for a withdrawal from Iraq it should be big news. It should gain front page headlines, over the New Jersey court ruling.

Unfortunately, with the GOP standing to lose its grip on power, its friends in the corporate media will ignore the real story in favor of yet more fluff.

Friday, October 20, 2006

What are we to make of it all?

As a "top Republican" testifies in the scandal involving the covering up of a Republican sexual predator's activities by Republican House leaders including Speaker J. Dennis Hastert and GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio, the Washington Post reports the chilling enactment of the unConstitutional Military Commissions Act.

From Reuters:
Boehner said he told the ethics panel privately what he had earlier said in public -- that he first learned about contact between Foley and a former page several months ago, and believes he informed House Speaker Dennis Hastert, an Illinois Republican.
Hastert, however, has changed his story several times, in his attempt to lie his way out of trouble. So has Boehner, who became infamous for trying to bribe fellow House members on the Floor of the House of Representatives with checks from the tobacco lobby in an attempt to kill anti-tobacco legislation.

Polls show Democrats leading in the race to control Congress in the wake of the sex scandal, and a new book by a conservative evangelical, called Tempting Faith, has further tarnished the White House in the eyes of fundamentalist whackos by revealing the fact Bush & the Republican Party have simply been using the religious base for votes.

Well, DUH! What, was anyone with a fully functioning brain really fooled into believing the GOP actually cares about religion? It's simply a means to an end for the far right, which controls the Republican Party. But this is somehow news to the gullible fundies, who have allowed themselves to be led astray by frauds such as Pat Robertson, D. James Kennedy and Jerry Falwell.

This, combined with the sex scandal, may turn evangelical voters off enough to keep them home on November 7th, and thus determine the outcome of a critical midterm election that will ultimately decide the future of our nation.

Why is this election so important? Because George W. Bush has gotten his way once again, and gotten the Republican-dominated Congress to make the Judicial Branch irrelevant.

The Washington Post reports:

Moving quickly to implement the bill signed by President Bush this week that authorizes military trials of enemy combatants, the administration has formally notified the U.S. District Court here that it no longer has jurisdiction to consider hundreds of habeas corpus petitions filed by inmates at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

In a notice dated Wednesday, the Justice Department listed 196 pending habeas cases, some of which cover groups of detainees. The new Military Commissions Act (MCA), it said, provides that "no court, justice, or judge" can consider those petitions or other actions related to treatment or imprisonment filed by anyone designated as an enemy combatant, now or in the future.

What we are watching is a police state in action, stripping the accused of their right to challenge the government in court. The Military Commissions Act also grants immunity to Bush & Co. from being prosecuted for war crimes -- and retroactively at that. This means not only can Bush authorize torture in the present and the future and get away with it, he is exempt for past authorizations of torture. And there is nothing anyone can do about it.

The MCA is, of course, unConstitutional. And it is highly unlikely it will stand up in court especially if the Democrats manage to regain control of Congress and repeal the law (even if Bush's puppets on the Supreme Court uphold it).

But what to make of it all?

Congressional Republicans, with the aid of some turncoat Democrats, have sanctioned war crimes committed by the dictatorship residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Even if this weren't reason enough to oust the GOP from power, the damning NIE report showing the occupation of Iraq has strengthened terrorism combined with the predations of a Republican politician covered up by his party's leaders demonstrate that the biggest threat to America is not al-Qaeda, but the Bush regime and the Republican Party.

I cannot stress this enough: do not rest on your laurels thinking the GOP is toast, and that Democrats will sweep the midterm election. The GOP controls the electoral process in a great many states, including Ohio. So despite polls showing significant leads for Democrats, we cannot dismiss the very real likelihood that the Republicans will steal yet another election. Get off your asses, dear readers, and vote by absentee ballot. Make sure those ballots get fully, properly and accurately counted, and that they are not thrown away. Don't give in to fear, and let righteous anger fuel you.

This is our country, and we need to take it back. If we don't, then get used to living in an Orwellian police state.