Wednesday, October 31, 2007


It's sad to read entries like this, where people apparently feel that the voters ought not to have a say in which candidates may be heard. No, it's money that makes that determination.

UFOs and Halloween Costumes!?

Did anyone else catch last night's Democratic presidential debate on MSNBC last night? Toward the end, when the moderators decided after ignoring Dennis Kucinich most of the time to zero in on a claim by Shirley McClain that he had once witnessed a UFO and the experience had a profound impact on him, did you think the question both silly and completely unnecessary to the debate? How about asking what costumes the candidates planned to wear for Halloween? I realize it was toward the end and no more relevant questions could be asked, but come on!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Torturing University Cops Let Off the Hook.

Remember that little incident a few weeks ago, where a student at the University of Florida was asking John Kerry some questions (paranoid and frankly rude, but nevertheless an exercise of 1st Amendment rights under both the Florida and U.S. constitutions) and was assaulted, arrested and tortured by way of electrocution by campus cops as he stepped away from the microphone?

Andrew Myer is a citizen who was attending a public event on public property. Under Florida law, what his attackers committed was felony assault and battery. Who after this attack on Myer thought there might be an ounce of justice? Raise your hand if you did.

No hands, eh? Good. Because I'd hate to have disappointed anyone reading this for having pointed out that Florida's department of law enforcement has let Myer's attackers off the hook. The message of the highly publicized attack and the quiet aftermath is clear: cops in Florida are unfettered; they can assault you, torture you, falsely arrest you, and do it all with absolute impunity. Do not dare talk back, do not try to get away, just shut the fuck up and obey -- or you'll find yourself arrested and probably worse.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Kudos to Pete Stark (D-CA)

If only we had enough Democrats like Pete Stark (and his colleague from Ohio, Dennis Kucinich) telling it like it is. If we did, the war would be over and the shrub and his minions impeached by now.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

U.S. sick of the shrub, Congress

As if that were actually news, but it's nice to see it at least confirmed in the lazy mainstream press.

Bush's job approval rating fell to 24 percent from last month's record low for a Zogby poll of 29 percent. A paltry 11 percent gave Congress a positive grade, tying last month's record low.

"There is a real question among Americans now about how relevant this government is to them," pollster John Zogby said. "They tell us they want action on health care, education, the war and immigration, but they don't believe they are going to get it."

What will this mean going into next year? According to Reuters,

The bleak mood could present problems for both parties heading into the November 2008 election campaign, Zogby said.

"Voter turnout could still be high next year, but the mood has turned against incumbents and into a 'throw the bums out' mindset," Zogby said.

In other words, the same mindset that tossed the GOP out of power in Congress last year is increasing going into next year -- this time against Democrats, who have for the better part of a year now demonstrated they are no different in rubber stamping whatever batshit insane legislation or policy the shrub demands they rubber stamp than the Republicans (who were at least honest enough not to bother making pretenses otherwise).

Push people far enough, eventually they push back. Republicans in Congress never learned that lesson, not officially anyway, which is why instead of doing things like actually working with the majority party a bunch have simply chosen to retire while they still can; none of them want to exhaust themselves in losing campaigns in an anti-incumbent campaign season. So the GOP will probably lose even more seats in the Senate, only because they're the ones most visibly standing in the way of everything on everything. But what about the House of Representatives? Democrats will probably lose that chamber of Congress because of the complicity of Nancy Pelosi, and other so-called leaders, in the Bush regime's crimes. If any political party should have learned the lesson that people pushed too far will inevitably push back, it should have been the Democratic Party; they won power because of voter disgust, so why shouldn't they realize they'll lose it for the same reason?

Sure, some Democrats are showing leadership in the House (Kucinich, for example). But they are few and the Bush Dogs, along with their leader, Pelosi, wield too much influence -- and make no mistake, if Whiny Nancy really were opposed to the shrub she wouldn't even be letting his bullshit bills come up for debate yet alone a vote; instead, she has done the exact opposite and gone so far as to protect the boy from ever having to answer for his crimes.

My prediction: Democrats solidify their hold on the Senate by simple "virtue" of GOP obstructionism, while losing the House of Representatives. Don't even try to fool yourselves into thinking they'll win the White House.

Want to discuss this entry? Do it on my discussion forum.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Just when you thought the outrages couldn't get any more outrageous...

They do. In an Associated Press article today, it is reported that three telecommunications companies -- AT&T, Qwest and Verizon -- have refused to divulge information to Congress regarding the Bush-Cheney regime's illegal gathering of American citizens' telephone and computer records. The excuse given? They're following orders from the White House to assert "executive privilege".
Three telecommunications companies have declined to tell Congress whether they gave U.S. intelligence agencies access to Americans' phone and computer records without court orders, citing White House objections and national security.

Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell "formally invoked the state secrets privilege to prevent AT&T from either confirming or denying" any details about intelligence programs, AT&T general counsel Wayne Watts wrote in a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Qwest and Verizon also declined to answer, saying the federal government has prohibited them from providing information, discussing or referring to any classified intelligence activities.

What. The. Fuck. What this means is that the White House is telling private businesses they can flaunt Congressional authority. It means that the Congress has been publicly declared irrelevant, a toothless body with no power to do anything except rubber stamp the shrub's royal edicts.

How much do you want to bet that Congress will, in response to this latest outrage, do absolutely nothing? Oh, Conyers is meekly asking the Bush injustice department to answer allegations that it began mining citizens' data immediately after the terrible duo seized power. But he'll just be told to go Cheney himself, and he'll shut up like a good little dog. But let's be honest with ourselves about what's going on. The same people selling you telephone and Internet services on lines you as taxpayers own are happily turning over records of your conversations and web surfing to a dictatorship that is hellbent on transforming this once-great nation into a bastard hybrid of the Roman Empire and Nazi Germany.

Don't count on the consciences of the telecommunications companies' CEOs to save you from this tyranny; when former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio refused to hand over your records without a court order, he found his corporation being punished and himself prosecuted and convicted for insider trading. I want you to think about the implications of this for a few minutes. Nacchio was probably guilty of the crimes with which he was charged. But what are the chances that the reason he was prosecuted and convicted, in an era where CEOs break the law while DoJ turns a willfully blind eye, because he defied the dictator? The message the other CEOs got is that being complicit in White House illegal spying keeps their asses out of prison.

So what's to be done now? Congress is irrelevant as long as impeachment is kept off the table and the legislature continues to rubber stamp the regime's crimes. DOn't count on elections to change anything; they're rigged to "elect" mostly those who will keep the status quo going, not people who will actually do anything to stop this fascism.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Malkin the Hypocrite, or Malkin the Spurned?

Give credit to Christopher Hayes for pointing out that, as recently as 2004, right-wing liar Michelle Malkin was all whiny about health care.

After my husband quit his job earlier this year (to become a full-time stay-at-home dad), we had a choice. We could either buy health insurance from his former employer through a program called COBRA at a cost of more than $1,000 per month(!) or we could go it alone in Maryland’s individual market. Given our financial circumstances, that “choice” wasn’t much of a choice at all. We had to go on our own.

We discovered that the most generous plans in Maryland’s individual market cost $700 per month yet provide no more than $1,500 per year of prescription drug coverage–a drop in the bucket if someone in our family were to be diagnosed with a serious illness.

With health insurance choices like that, no wonder so many people opt to go uninsured.

Is the reason Malkin went all apeshit over Graeme Frost's family's speaking out in favor of the SCHIP extension (that went down in a hell of veto-inflicted flames courtesy of the shrub) that they dared speak out in favor of a health care bill for children, or because they spoke out in support -- by osmosis -- of a bill backed by most Democrats? It's kind of difficult to figure out.

On the one hand, there's the hypocrisy; Malkin was whining just three years ago about how tough it is to get affordable health insurance in this country (can you believe her when she wrote, "[w]e couldn’t qualify for the preferred rate because Golden Rule says I am underweight"? I guess all that stalking gives her a terrific workout). And now, here she is viciously attacking a lower-middle class family on a combined gross annual income of $45,000 because they ended up in a situation that -- fate being fickle -- could just as easily have befallen her own kids. Far right-wingers like Malkin are nothing if not the epitome of hypocrisy, holding themselves to a different standard than everyone else.

On the other hand, there could be an element of the spurned ideologue effect going on here. After all, if Malkin could get lucky and strike it rich penning insane diatribes against anything left of the farthest reaches of the right wing, why couldn't the Frosts? Why, reasons Malkin, they ought to be thankful their brats are even alive! How dare the parents do anything other than suck it up and work three or four jobs each?

I'm more inclined to believe the former than the latter, because liars such as Malkin do nothing that isn't 100% calculated to get what they want by instilling fear in the hearts and minds of their opponents. Want to eradicate that pesky Constitution? Drag out Osama every now and then. So what if in the process the right-wingers compromise vital intelligence operations that took years to achieve results? As long as they can scare Democrats and the American public into shutting up and accepting whatever Nazi-esque policy the shrub and his gargoyle want us to accept, it's all good, right? Want to galvanize the ever-shrinking base? Whip up fantastical bogeyman tales of that "evil" socialized health care! And if you want to intimidate families from speaking out in favor of health care reform so average Americans can have fewer worries, stalk them -- with all the threat of harm that comes with that depraved action.

It's possible there's an element of both in this; hypocrisy combined with insane incredulity that any middle class family could possibly, openly support something that Democrats have as part of their platform. But wouldn't this imply that the far right-wingers have a glimmer of human feeling? They don't care about the suffering of those they hold beneath them. Why should they care if an average lower-middle class family gets behind a program supported by the opposition?

It's because SCHIP and other publicly-funded programs supported by the public still have power to determine the outcomes of elections in this country, and that sparks one of the three emotions extreme conservatives do feel (the other two being hatred and contempt): unreasoning fear -- fear that enough voters will go to the polls and turn out in such numbers that Republican vote fraud will not stop Democrats from winning even more power from the GOP. The loss of power is the only thing the far right truly fears, and it has the ideology's preferred political party in such a state of mortal terror that they must stamp out anyone -- ANYONE -- whose plight may tug at the already stretched heartstrings of the American public. It's the loss of even more advantage going into next year's elections that is behind the viciousness and unreasoning hatred so gleefully indulged by the Malkins of the world.

As Yoda said, "fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate...leads to suffering."

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Better late than never?

And yet another retired general crawls out from the woodwork to give his assessment [1] [2] [3] of the disaster that is the Iraq war, laying the vast bulk of the blame on the politicians. From CNN:
Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, coalition commander in 2003 and 2004, called the Iraq war "a nightmare with no end in sight," for which he said the Bush administration, the State Department and Congress all share blame.
Or, as Reuters put it:
A "catastrophic failure" in the Bush administration's leadership of the Iraq war has mired the United States in a nightmarish conflict with no clear way out, the former top U.S. commander in Iraq said on Friday.
But wait, there's more (from the CNN link).

The administration, he said, has ignored messages from field commanders that warned repeatedly that "our military alone could not achieve victory" without corresponding help from the State Department.

"Our National leadership ignored the lessons of World War Two as we entered into this war and to this day continue to believe that victory can be achieved through the application of military power alone," he said.

"From a catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan, to the administration's latest surge strategy, this administration has failed to employ and synchronize its political, economical and military power," he said.

Sanchez said the current strategy, which included a "surge" of troops into Iraq, was "a desperate attempt by an administration that has not accepted the political and economic realities of this war and they have definitely not been able to communicate effectively that reality to the American people."

"Too often, our politicians have been distracted and they have chosen loyalty to their political parties above loyalty to the Constitution because of their lust for power," he said.

And, not one to mince words about the lack of Congressional action over the war, Sanchez stated:

Congress, he said, has failed its job of oversight.

"Who will demand accountability for the failure of our national political leadership involved in the management of this war," he said. "They have unquestionably been derelict in in the performance of their duty. In my profession, these types of leaders would be immediately relieved or court-martialed."

Finally, from the Reuters article:
Sanchez said military commanders on the ground would continue to make progress in Iraq, providing time in which a "grand strategy" could be developed. But he predicted the effort would be wasted and in the meantime U.S. troops "will continue to die."
Well, that's all well and good that you're coming forward now General Sanchez. Better late, I suppose, than never. But why, may I ask, do you and the other retired military commanders never come out while you're on active duty to speak these truths? You ought to know the impact your condemnations would have if you would do this while still active. Instead, you wait until you're retired to do this. Why? You are under no obligation whatsoever to obey unlawful commands. Keeping your trap shut about the realities of this war, or lying about them to Congress, could very well be interpreted as such since lying to Congress is a crime and therefore not one you are duty-bound to obey.

This is one of the great tragedies of this ridiculously fucked up war: that military commanders allow a misguided sense of duty to tyrants to prevent them from speaking out when it really matters. Don't get me wrong; I think it's great that Sanchez has finally come out with the truth. More military commanders need to do this, especially those directly overseeing operations in Iraq (and, by the way, the all-but-forgotten ones in Afghanistan). But waiting until they're retired and after thousands have already died needlessly just strikes me as being too little, too late.

Another great tragedy is that nowhere in any of the articles I've linked to does Sanchez provide us with his initial opinion of the invasion, or what constitutes "victory". (This requires some kind of goal, which has never been publicly and concretely laid out before the nation -- what are we trying to "win" in Iraq?) You can't define victory unless you understand what it is you're trying to achieve. Sanchez, like so many others, hasn't fully accepted or publicly acknowledged what the true goal in Iraq is for the Bush regime: the first step on the road to global empire.

How many lives, I wonder, might have been spared if even one top-ranking military commander still serving were to step forward and state unequivocally what this war is really all about, and -- as Sanchez and so many others have done -- tell the truth that this war is a disaster and it's because of the politicians whose lust for power has made it such.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pelosi the Whiner isn't fit to be Speaker of the House.

Reading Dana Milbank's blog entry on the Washington Post web site, about Nancy Pelosi:

her spirits soured instantly when somebody asked about the anger of the Democratic "base" over her failure to end the war in Iraq.

"Look," she said, the chicken breast on her plate untouched. "I had, for five months, people sitting outside my home, going into my garden in San Francisco, angering neighbors, hanging their clothes from trees, building all kinds of things -- Buddhas? I don't know what they were -- couches, sofas, chairs, permanent living facilities on my front sidewalk."

Unsmilingly, she continued: "If they were poor and they were sleeping on my sidewalk, they would be arrested for loitering, but because they have 'Impeach Bush' across their chest, it's the First Amendment."

Since Pelosi is too busy playing the part of a spoiled, overgrown child to stop and think, it's up to we adults to set her straight on a few things.

1.) Remember, Nancy, you wanted to be Speaker of the House. Just because you don't want any of the duties and responsibility that go with the job doesn't mean you are free to ignore them. Believe it or not, the position is more than just your way of making your mark on history as the first female to hold it. That means when your constituents tell you what they want you to do, you do it. Your wishes, and your concerns, are irrelevant.

2.) Remember that your constituents are your employers. You will treat them with the respect they earned by electing you to public office and keeping you there. Remember also that, depending on the quality of your job performance -- or, in your case, the lack thereof -- they can and will terminate your employment. Don't think you can use the same excuse you exploited for years, namely that you couldn't do squat as long as the GOP held the reigns of power, to get you off the hook in next year's primary. You've been the top dog in charge for the better part of a year now, and you have no such excuse this time.

3.) Patronizing comment like the following:

"We have to make responsible decisions in the Congress that are not driven by the dissatisfaction of anybody who wants the war to end tomorrow," Pelosi told the gathering at the Sofitel, arranged by the Christian Science Monitor. Though crediting activists for their "passion," Pelosi called it "a waste of time" for them to target Democrats. "They are advocates," she said. "We are leaders."

Do not endear you to your employers, who know far more about this subject than you do. Again, these are the people who elected you to office, and whose taxes pay your salary. They are smart enough to make their own judgments about issues ranging from health care to the Iraq war to impeachment of Bush and Cheney. You are not smarter, or shrewder, than those whose votes you rely on to keep you sitting high on the hog. In fact, you're an idiot if you think so.

4.) This was a real gem, from the Milbank piece.

"What do you see as your greatest mistake?" asked one reporter.

Pelosi smiled. "Why don't you tell me?" she proposed. She smiled again, then laughed. " 'Cause I think we're doing just great." She laughed again.

Okay, I will. Letting funding for the Iraq war pass with nary a token restraint on the shrub; passing a bill that lets the shrub violate the Constitution by spying on American citizens without a warrant or any form of court oversight; letting a bill condemning a newspaper advertisement be brought up for debate and passage, when far more important legislation awaits consideration; abusing your authority to have members of the public arrested for daring to express their disgust with you in keeping with their Constitutional rights as Americans and as your employers; passing a gutted version of the SCHIP bill, when you should have refused to back down; removing and keeping impeachment off the table; refusing to enforce Congressional subpoenas issues in the House of Representatives. Need I go on, or have I named enough mistakes? And those were just off the top of my head.

You know what, little girl? You've gotten away with pulling a lot of crap in your time, but you keep doing what you do best and see how numbered your days in public office are. Don't think you can keep that seat you occupy by following Joe LIEberman's example. If Cindy Sheehan, God bless her soul, doesn't whup your scrawny chicken ass in next year's primary someone else will. You will not make it past the general election next November. Guaranteed. You have lied, manipulated, abused power, and treated your betters (those you're supposed to be serving) as though they and not you are the petulant, recalcitrant child who needs to be spoken to with condescension. We are done with you, but you're too self-absorbed to notice. Well, don't go whining next Spring when the voters of your district give you the proverbial boot.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Democrats to OK endless, warrantless wiretaps.

It has been painfully obvious for months that electing Democrats to power in Congress has changed, and will change, absolutely nothing. Continue the war in Iraq, in spite of seven in ten Americans demanding withdrawal? Check. Pass a six month legalization of an illegal and unconstitutional spying program? Check. Help the GOP pass a resolution condemning for daring to suggest in a newspaper ad that a suck-up to the shrub might suck up to the shrub? Check and check.

And once again, Congressional Democrats are prepared to sacrifice the Constitution for the sake of illegal, warrantless wiretaps by the Bush-Cheney regime. Desperate to avoid appearing weak on national security, they have chosen to be weak on national security -- for the gravest threat to what used to be the United States of America is not al-Qaeda, but the Bush-Cheney regime. The political party we elected to power has proven time and time and time again that is is incapable of, and unwilling to, stand up to this regime and has instead chosen to be complicit in its crimes against us and against our Constitution. Nothing short of the 'r' word (I hesitate to type it out, lest I find myself disappeared to some CIA torture gulag) will free us from this tyranny.

Friday, October 05, 2007

When is refusal to compromise OK?

Is refusal to compromise OK when it's Harry Reid saying he won't allow further compromise over SCHIP funding, this after he allowed the House version of SCHIP to be compromised? If that's so, then why did Kos come down on Dennis Kucinich for refusing to compromise on SCHIP from the beginning?

Kucinich made a stand on funding SCHIP, and he wasn't going to accept having the bill he voted for gutted. For that, you skewered him. But now, after the shrub vetoes that gutted legislation, and after Harry Reid says he won't allow further cuts to SCHIP just to be able to say he got in a PR statement, you're holding him up on a pedestal. You can't have it both ways, Kos. I don't expect a retraction of your earlier smear job on Kucinich, but I would appreciate it if from now on you'd learn to be consistent in your condemnation of people who refuse to compromise.