Saturday, July 30, 2005

Gone sailing.

We're off to Swans Island music festival and then Nova Scotia for a few weeks. May the coming days bring fair winds, little fog, and few ledges. And an e-café now and then! Happy August to all of you.


It's OK if you're a Republican.

It's OK to loot the treasury, lie us into war, flout the Geneva Conventions, enable war profiteers, botch war planning, undersupply troops, manipulate elections, flood the media with covert propaganda, let a porn hustler pretend to be a White House correspondent, promote incompetents, give them medals, out a CIA agent, destroy opponents with lies and slander, and undermine civil liberties and constitutional checks and balances at every opportunity. Most recently, we learn, it's OK to impersonate a Secret Service agent and throw people out of taxpayer-funded public events because of their bumper stickers.

What will our Democratic leaders do about this latest outrage? Don't worry, they're all over it. Why, the three Democrats in Colorado's congressional delegation have issued chiding public statements!

Says an observer:

Face it, folks, your representatives are cowards. A couple of testy letters isn't going to get the job done. There is a REASON why it isn't okay if you're a Democrat. It's because Republicans act like it isn't okay.

If the shoe was on the other foot, Republicans would be making a big deal about this. Democrats won't. They suck.

Democratic leaders will forget about this. Like they forgot when Tom DeLay illegally used the DHS to track down the Texas Democrats.

Like they forgot about Republicans hacking into their electronic files.

Like they forgot about Republicans calling the Capitol Police to arrest them.

Like they forgot about James "Bulldog" Guckert.

Like they forgot about Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004.

Like they are forgetting about the Ohio coin scandal.

Like they forgot about Plame for two years.

Like they forgot about the forged Niger documents.

Like they forgot about the forged TANG memos.

Like they forgot about Bush unconstitutionally diverting hundreds of millions of dollars from Afghanistan to Iraq.

Like they forgot about Paul Bremer "losing" $8 billion.

Like they forgot about the GOP paying Ahmed Chalabi to provde bogus intelligence and leak secrets to Iran.

Like they forgot about Condoleeza Rice blowing the cover of a Pakistani-Al Qaeda double agent.

Like they forgot about about the WH lying to Congress about the costs of the prescription Medicare bill.

How many times does the GOP have to walk all over Democrats before they give a crap?

We have no answer to that question. And that's why IOKIYAR.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Let's hang this around Snowe's neck she campaigns in 2006. From my hero, Harry Reid:


Radical Judges, Over 30 Days: The Republican majority used over 30 days of the Senate's time to pick a fight over radical judges and to find jobs for five people who were already gainfully employed. [Congressional Record]

Bankruptcy, 9 Days: The Republican majority used 9 days of the Senate's time to pursue special interest legislation that benefited few Americans. [Congressional Record]

Class Action, ­­4 Days: The Republican majority used 4 days of the Senate's time to pursue special interest legislation that benefited a narrow minority. [Congressional Record]

Putting Aside Our Country's Defense, 3 Days: "Senate Republican leaders decided Tuesday that a gun manufacturers' liability bill is more important than next year's $441.6 billion defense authorization bill. With Democrats expressing amazement that there could be any higher legislative priority in a time of war than the annual defense bill that includes money for pay and benefits, operations and maintenance, and weapons' purchases and research, Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee, the Senate Republican leader, decided Tuesday that a bill protecting gun manufacturers from lawsuits over the illegal use of firearms was a higher priority." [Army Times, 7/26/05]

And here's the follow up:


Health Care: The Republican majority has not spent a single day on the Senate floor focused on the health care crisis in this country. With 45 million Americans without health care and prices skyrocketing, the Senate has failed to address this issue. [Congressional Record]

Protecting Americans from Terrorism: The Republican majority rejected Democratic efforts to increase protection for our rail and transit systems and also failed to find time to help keep the most dangerous weapons and materials out of the hands of terrorists. [RC 184, S. Amdt. 1218 to HR 2360, 7/14/05]

Retirement Security: While the Republican majority has spent months using hot rhetoric about dismantling Social Security through their privatization schemes, the Senate has not spent a single day working to strengthen Social Security, address the pension crisis or increasing savings among Americans. [Congressional Record]

Veterans Health Care: By making the Gun Liability Bill a higher priority than the Defense Authorization Bill, Senate Republicans have stripped the Senate the opportunity to fully fund veterans' health care. [Congressional Record]

Education: As Americans continue to struggle with the rising cost of college tuition, the Senate has not spent a single day to help more Americans achieve the American Dream by making a college education more attainable. [Congressional Record]

Guard and Reserves: The Senate has failed to address the concerns of the National Guard and Reserves while they are being depended on like never before in our history. The Senate has failed to address the crucial issues of health care, child care and pay that these soldiers have deserve to have addressed. [Congressional Record]

As I've pointed out before, it matters not a whit how moderate she is on individual votes. She supports this administration, she voted to put Frist in charge of the senate, she adds another R to the majority ledger. A vote for Snowe is a vote for Bush, period.

Where oh where is a credible opponent? We don't need challenges to Baldacci right now, thank you. (Or maybe we do, but we need Snowe out more.) Paging Steve Rowe....

Hat tip to Rolet.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Paging Snowe and Collins (again)

Chris Bowers has a question for you: Why can't a single elected Republican say that there was something wrong with what Rove did?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Good news from Texas and other outposts

Another idiosyncratic news summary. First, an amazing report of GOP meltdown in Texas as the state legislature sinks under the weight of its own corruption.

Then, this story of a local Democratic club that marches each year in an upscale, conservative July 4th parade in Texas:

Last year, as we were handing out candy, a woman grabbed her child by the arm and jerked her painfully back while yelling "we don't take candy from democrats". My club has not been dismayed by the hecklers, because you often see the disgust on the faces of nearby parade watchers and even their own families at their outrageous behavior.
This year it was different! From the beginning of the Parade, everybody was waving and smiling at us. When we reached the most crowded areas, all I could see were people jumping up and down, applauding, yelling "go democrats" and several even screamed "save us democrats". I'm sure not everyone was behaving this way, but those that were had such animation that it seemed like everyone considered us to be conquering heroes or something!
Then, in Ohio, a Marine just back from Iraq runs for Congress in a district held by Republicans for three decades. He calls Bush a chickenhawk and wants to bring home the troops. His name is Paul Hackett. Ignored at first, he starts outraising his opponent, recently taking in $200,000 from the netroots. A GOP campaign toad questions his military service because he "only" served in a civil affairs unit. Says Hackett to the toad, if you support this war, "leave your wife and three kids and go sign up for the Army or Marines and go over there and fight. Otherwise, shut your mouth." And the conservative Cincinnati Post endorses him, calling him "a gust of fresh air."
Mr. Hackett, the Democratic candidate in the Aug. 2 special Congressional election, is not an ordinary politician. Until four months ago, he was serving in the Marines, commanding a civil affairs unit in Iraq. . . .
The national Democratic Party initially ignored the race. But Mr. Hackett has changed some minds, and the party has begun dispatching young staff members to the field, hoping to send a message that Mr. Bush is weak in one of his most loyal districts. . . . .
Mr. Hackett has been bluntly dismissive of Mr. Bush, saying the United States should have focused on capturing Osama bin Laden instead of invading Iraq so quickly. In a public forum, he called Mr. Bush the biggest threat facing the United States, a remark that has infuriated voters, Republicans say. . . .
Todd Schulte, a Republican, said Mr. Hackett's service had caused him to consider voting Democratic on Aug. 2. Mr. Schulte, a 40-year-old business owner, happened on Mr. Hackett's event in Blue Ash and was impressed with the candidate's decision to volunteer for Iraq. "He's got a wife, kids and a good job but he's not sitting in the back row," Mr. Schulte said. "That gives me something to think about."
All this gives me something to think about, too. It's called "hope."
UPDATE: Oh yes, and the Washington Post runs a huge front-page story on Rovegate with lots of new CIA info, and Gallup's latest poll has Americans calling Bush a liar.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Thought exercise

Here is a handy and flexible technique you can use to pry a wingnut loose from his president when facts just won't do the job, by IndyScott:
  • If Bill Clinton had been in charge of the national security of this country on September 11, 2001 and terrorists murdered 3,000 Americans, what would you be saying about him?
  • If Bill Clinton had invaded Iraq based on WMD that didn't exist, what would you be saying about him?
  • If Bill Clinton had dressed up in a flight suit and landed on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln five weeks after the war began and told us it was over, what would you be saying about him?
  • If Bill Clinton had said "Bring 'em on" and encouraged Iraqi insurgents to kill American troops, what would you be saying about him?
  • If Bill Clinton had made us the face of torture in the world, what would you be saying about him?
  • If James Carville and other members of a Clinton White House outed an undercover CIA officer during a time of war, what would you be saying about them?
  • If Bill Clinton had sent troops to Iraq without adequate body armor and other equipment, what would you be saying about him?
  • If Bill Clinton's hatchet-men claimed that John McCain and Chuck Hagel never served honorably in Vietnam and didn't deserve their medals, what would you be saying about him?
  • If participants at the Democratic National Convention handed out Purple Heart band-aids to mock McCain and Hagel, what would you be saying about them?
  • If a male prostitute posing as a White House "reporter" for a left-wing media organization was throwing softball questions to Bill Clinton, what would you be saying about him?
  • If the Clinton White House had paid off Molly Ivins and Paul Krugman to endorse administration policy in friendly opinion pieces, what would you be saying about him?
  • If Bill Clinton's administration had inherited a budget surplus and turned it into a $400 billion deficit, what would you be saying about him?
  • If Bill Clinton had been elected without winning the popular vote, what would you be saying about him?
  • If Bill Clinton's electoral victory was decided by roughly 500 votes in a state where Bill Clinton's brother was the Governor and his state campaign co-chair was the vote-counting Secretary of State, what would you be saying about the integrity of that election?
  • If Al Franken (not Rush Limbaugh) had three failed marriages and a drug habit, what would you be saying about him?
  • If Michael Moore (not Bill Bennett) had a gambling addiction, what would you be saying about him?
  • If Keith Olbermann (not Bill O'Reilly) had a phone sex addiction, what would you be saying about him?
  • If Bill Clinton (not George W. Bush) was born into political and financial royalty with a grandfather in the Senate and a father who would later be President of the United States, would you still consider him to be "one of us" or "authentic" or "a guy you'd want to have a beer with"?
Because facts, after all, are stupid things.

Framing abortion

What should we call the movement that seeks to make abortion illegal? They are pro-criminalization.

You can't trust Republicans with your money

Next time you have to listen to a bunch of wingers bloviate about their great economic policies, go read bonddad's Refutation of Republican Economic Talking Points. You'll be glad you did.


Have been net deprived for 48 hours. The horror!

Check this out:

Here's what GOP calls treason

  • Being a Democrat (Ann Coulter's book Treason) (1)
  • Being a union supporting teacher (Education Secretary Rod Paige) (2)
  • Disagreeing with Bush's methods (RNC ad, 11/2003) (3)
  • Free Speech as Treason (Greenpeace charged for putting a banner on a ship) (5)
  • The post 60's culture (Why John Walker Lindh joined Al Qaeda) (6)
  • Speaking out against war crimes (Kerry's treason according to Swifties) (4)
Then consider the stuff they've been up to. (And if you haven't seen the testimony of retired CIA agents Larry Johnson and James Marcinkowski at Friday's joint hearings, you'll want to check that out, too.)

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Quick news update

All hell has broken loose on Rove. Get your summary here.

The Bush administration is bullying Congress to suppress evidence of the worst Abu Ghraib abuses yet, along with all future investigation and oversight of such abuses.

Rep. John Conyers has released a timeline of events leading up to and subsequent to the Iraq invasion. It’s called Last Throes of Credibility: Five Years of Lies and Deception (36-page PDF). Here's his press release regarding the work in progress. He adds, “However, I am not done yet. It is just a draft, and obviously, the story of DSM, Rovegate, and the ongoing deception in Iraq is still evolving.”

Running against Bernie Sanders for Senate, a Vermont Republican wants to impeach Bush.

Morrisseau said he imagines there is a lot of soul-searching going on among the Republicans who continue to support Bush.

"If you're an old and decent Republican and politics takes a 180 in your country, it sometimes takes a while to tell what you ought to do. It took me a while. I've been at this for years." . . .

"I'm a Republican," he said. "I'm not a Brown Shirt. I've never, in any contemplation of U.S. history, seen anything like that asserted at any time. I don't think we're going to get much done in the way of standard politics until we clean this neo-con nest out."

This is the least we ought to expect of Senator Snowe in her 2006 campaign.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Things aren't looking that good for Karl

Despite the misdirection, spin, counterattacks, and distractions spewing out of the White House (Roberts a week early, anyone?), the Republican Noise Machine is having trouble controlling the debate on Karl. The White House press corps grows a spine, Cooper contradicts Rove's testimony, Powell produces the missing CIA memo, Scooter Libby gets dragged in, retired CIA agents go public protesting Plame's treatment, the memo turns out to have Top Secret stamped all over it, the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal (!) go back to front page Roverage only 24 hours after Bush's dramatic bait n' switch Supremes announcement, and now it appears that Bloomberg news will report a new bombshell tomorrow: Libby and Rove committed perjury before a grand jury.

But that's not all. Reports have been trickling in to the blogosphere all week: when it comes to this story, for once, the man on the street knows what's going on. In diners, in bars, on the sidewalks, in VFW halls, Mr. and Mrs. Average Voter are both aware and pissed off:

I was posting "Fire Rove" flyers on Chicago's Near-North Side last Sunday & would have gotten a lot more done except i had to get into a conversation about every fourth or fifth light pole. I was ASTONISHED. (A) i didn't initiate a single conversation; i was buried in sunscreen, sunglasses, & a big floppy hat & was intent on my tape gun. Other people wanted to talk to me. (B) EVERYONE knew EXACTLY what i was doing & why. I didn't get a single "Who's that guy in the picture?" (C) EVERYONE agreed! (D) The people i talked to defied categorizing by appearance, age, race, sex. Two middle-aged white men who claimed to be Republicans ("life-long," "staunch" -- is there any other kind?) said "fire the SOB!" Same words, different dudes, hours & blocks apart, & no one i know says "SOB." At first i felt that making the flyers was just juvenile acting out or trying to recapture youthful outrage, but it turned out to be a really fun Sunday. I think i'll do it again this weekend.
-- Posted by Anonymous to lefter, warmer at 7/21/2005 05:55:08 PM
La la la.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The liberal media

Wish I could write a letter to the editor as well as Mr. Daniel Soshnik of LaCrosse, Wisconsin:

We have a Republican president, a Republican Congress and a Supreme Court dominated by seven Republican nominees. The mainstream media in this country are dominated by liberals. I was informed of this fact by Rush Limbaugh. And Thomas Sowell. And Ann Coulter. And Rich Lowry. And Bill O'Reilly.

And William Safire. And Robert Novak. And William F. Buckley Jr. And George Will. And John Gibson. And Michelle Malkin. And David Brooks. And Tony Snow. And Tony Blankely. And Fred Barnes. And Britt Hume. And Larry Kudlow. And Sean Hannity.

And David Horowitz. And William Kristol. And Hugh Hewitt. And Oliver North. And Joe Scarborough. And Pat Buchanan. And John McLaughlin. And Cal Thomas. And Joe Klein. And James Kilpatrick. And Tucker Carlson. And Deroy Murdock. And Michael Savage. And Charles Krauthammer. And Stephen Moore.

And Alan Keyes. And Gary Bauer. And Mort Kondracke. And Andrew Sullivan. And Nicholas von Hoffman. And Neil Cavuto. And Mike Rosen. And Dave Kopel. And John Caldera. And Matt Drudge. . . .

Hat tip to All Hat No Cattle.

Bush issues clarification

As noted by the Boston Globe and the newly awakened White House press corps in their Monday briefing with Scott McClellan.

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition

You name the topic and the Democratic Policy Committee has provided you with some handy ammo. Let's start with Iraq:

Approximate number of U.S. troops currently in Iraq: 139,000
Percent of coalition forces contributed by the U.S. 85.7
Weeks since the Pentagon developed a plan to draw down U.S. forces in Iraq to roughly 40,000 by mid-2005: 91
Approximate amount appropriated by Congress for Iraq operations so far: $218 billion
Approximate amount spent in Iraq by the U.S. last week: $1.03 billion
Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) found: 0
Number of U.S. service members killed in Iraq: 1,755
Number killed since the President announced the end of major combat: 1,616
Number reported wounded by the Defense Department: 13,336
Approximate number of medical evacuations of U.S. military personnel performed since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom: 55,000
Number of National Guard soldiers killed in Iraq through June 2005: 268
Number of National Guard soldiers killed in the entire Vietnam War: 97
Number of Iraqi military and police killed since training began (June 2003): 2,751
Estimated number of insurgents in Iraq (November 2003): 5,000
Estimated number of insurgents in Iraq (June 2005): 15 - 20,000
Estimated number of 107 Iraqi military and special police battalions that are capable of operating independently: 3
Total amount of taxpayers' money spent by Halliburton that the Defense Contract Audit Agency has deemed either excessive or insufficiently documented: $1.47 billion
Amount charged to American taxpayers by Halliburton to build a movie library for its employees: $152 million
Number of movies in the library: 10,000

War on terrorism:

Days since September 11, 2001 that Osama bin Laden has remained uncaptured: 1,404
Days after bombing Pearl Harbor that Japan surrendered to U.S. forces: 1,365
Number of times President Bush mentioned the "war on terror" in one month before the 2004 elections: 71
Number of times in the six months since the 2004 elections: 66
Chances of a WMD attack in the next ten years, according to leading arms experts: 70 percent
Number of discovered cases of potential illicit smuggling of nuclear or radiological material out of the former Soviet Union last year: 200
Percent of former Soviet nuclear material stockpiles secured under Nunn-Lugar counterproliferation programs: 26
Number of terrorist suspects the Bush Administration claims have been convicted since September 11, 2001: 200
Number that have actually been convicted: 39

U.S. military personnel:

Percentage of the Army's Third Infantry Division currently serving a second tour in Iraq: 50
Number of 333 Army National Guard infantry, military police, armor, and Special Forces units currently combat-ready without reinforcements: 6
Recruits needed per month for the rest of the fiscal year, if the Army is to meet its annual goal: 11,000
Average new Army recruits per month so far this year: 5,200
Highest monthly total of Army recruits this year: 8,086
Number of months the Marine Corps missed its recruiting goals between January and April 2005: 4
Number of months the Marine Corps missed its recruiting goals in ten years before January 2005: 0
Prior to 2004, years since the Army National Guard last missed its annual recruiting goal: 11
Consecutive months the Army National Guard has missed its monthly recruiting goals: 9
Number of the six Reserve Components that missed their recruiting goals for the first four months of Fiscal Year 2005: 5
Resignation requests submitted by Army Reserve Officers in 2001: 15
Resignation requests submitted by Army Reserve Officers, September 2003-September 2004: 370
Total National Guard and Reserve personnel currently deployed: 138,457
Value of total Reserve Component equipment shortage, beginning Fiscal Year 2005: $15.21 billion
Army National Guard equipment shortage, as a percentage of the total: 76.7
Percent of Army Reserve currently ineligible for deployment because of recent deployments, lack of training, medical reasons, etc.: 84
Shortage of Captains, who serve as unit-level leaders, in the Army Reserve: 52 percent
Increase in the divorce rate among Army officers since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom: 317 percent

North Korea:

Estimated number of nuclear weapons produced by North Korea during the Bush Administration: 4-6
Estimated number produced by North Korea from 1953 to 2000: 1-2
Days since the last round of six-party negotiations: 387


Estimated number of conflict-related deaths per day in Darfur, Sudan: 500
Estimated number since President Bush took office: 400,000
Days since Secretary of State Powell first called the situation "genocide": 312
Number of days after the Senate passed the Darfur Accountability Act as an amendment to H.R. 1268 that the Administration wrote a letter pressuring House Republicans (successfully) to remove it from the final bill: 1
Number of Darfuris expected to require food assistance during the August-October "hunger season": 3.5 million

Homeland Security:

Factor by which passengers on mass transit systems exceed passengers on airlines: 16
Funding per passenger the Bush Administration has spent to secure mass transit systems since September 11, 2001: $0.01
Cost of security upgrades needed to protect rail and transit systems as estimated by U.S. transit authorities: $6 billion
Amount of funding designated specifically for rail and transit security in President Bush's budget: $0
Total amount of funding added to the Fiscal Year 2006 Homeland Security Appropriations bill for rail security in the wake of the July 7 London Bombings: $0
Number of provisions in federal law requiring chemical facilities to establish safeguards against a terrorist attack: 0
Number of chemical facilities at which a terrorist strike could threaten the lives of over 1 million people: 123
Percent of cargo arriving at U.S. ports inspected for WMD: <1
Percent of "high-risk" cargo inspected: 17.5
Estimated economic impact of a terrorist attack to a U.S. port: $1 trillion
Percent of Transportation Security Administration Fiscal Year 2005 budget allocated for port security grants: 2.8
Deadline for meeting port security standards set by the Maritime Transportation Security Act: 2004
Year in which MTSA port security standards will be met if port security funding levels remain constant: 2050
Ratio of federal air security screeners to federal surface transportation (rail and public transit) security screeners: 450:1
Homeland security grant dollars per capita awarded to the U.S. Virgin Islands in Fiscal Year 2004: $104.35
Homeland security grant dollars per capita awarded to California in Fiscal Year 2004: $4.97


Total Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom veterans discharged from service, through February 2005: 360,674
Total Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom veterans seeking health care from VA hospitals, through June 2005: 103,000
Total funding requested specifically to meet the needs of Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom veterans in the President's 2006 budget: $0
Total Compensation and Pension Claims Backlog: 506,701
Percent change in pending claims from the end of Fiscal Year 2003 to March 2005: +33
Gap between veterans' needs and President Bush's 2006 budget proposal: $3.5 billion
Percent increase needed each year just to maintain existing programs in the face of medical inflation and other rising costs: 13-14
Percent increase in veterans health care funding requested in President Bush's 2006 Budget Proposal: 0.4
Fiscal Year 2005 budget shortfall announced by the VA: $1 billion
Number of weeks prior to the VA's budget shortfall announcement that VA Secretary Nicholson told Congress, "I can assure you that VA does not need emergency supplemental funds in FY 2005": 11
Total funding shortfall for Fiscal Years 2005 and 2006 now identified by the Bush Administration: $3 billion

Democracy and development:

Number of Botswanan AIDS patients the Bush Administration claims are receiving treatment because of U.S. assistance: 32,839
Number of Botswanan AIDS patients the Botswanan government says are receiving treatment because of U.S. assistance: 0
Total amount appropriated to the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) so far: $2.48 billion
Total value of compacts signed with MCA recipient nations: $435 million
Total aid distributed by the MCA so far: $0
Average amount per year to be distributed through the three compact agreements signed so far: $31.1 million
Annual amount President Bush has requested for the MCA: $5 billion
Number of the world's ten poorest nations with whom the United States has signed an MCA compact: 0
Number of the world's 50 poorest nations with whom the United States has signed an MCA compact: 1
Rank of U.S. among 21 developed nations in foreign assistance spending measured as a percentage of Gross National Product: 20
Number of children dying each day from preventable diseases: 27,000
Portion of the world's population living on less than $2 per day: 1/2
Cut in funding for foreign development assistance proposed in President Bush's Budget: $345 million

Statistics of the week:

Has the Bush Administrations efforts in Iraq made us safer from terrorism?
Minimum number of terrorist attacks likely carried out by al Qaeda and related groups since the U.S. invaded Iraq: 11
Minimum casualties caused by these attacks: 450
Number of international terrorist attacks reported by the National Counterterrorism Center in 2004: 651
Number of attacks reported by the State Department in 2003 (then reported to be the highest number in 21 years): 175
Number of Americans killed by international terrorism last year (not including U.S. troops fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan): 68
Iraq's rank among worldwide terrorist breeding grounds, according to the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department: 1

I suggest we all pick our favorites (mine are in red) and get to work with letters to the editor.

Polite politics

I'm back and catching up on all the John Roberts scuttle. Here's Jeffrey Feldman at Frameshop (emphasis mine):

With the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court, President Bush has trapped Democrats in the frame of "polite politics."

With the exception of Chris Bowers over at, Democrats all over the place are voicing the same argument: let's be polite until we learn more.

Think about this: Why do we believe it is impolite to aggressively question the nominee of George W. Bush?

Bowers points out that Roberts has only been a justice for two years but has been a partisan GOP hack for 20 years - and that Bush is treating the highest court in the land like a backwater ambassadorship.

Feldman goes on to explain why the "polite" frame is so damaging for Democrats, why Roberts is worth opposing, and how we might break out of their frame. He notes in closing:

This is not about yelling or being angry. George W. Bush has shown time and time again that he believes the purpose of government is to obey the will of the President. And he has nominated and promoted those individuals who have proven their loyalty to the President by obeying even the most questionable requests.

America deserves a Supreme Court justice who obeys the Constitution, not a Justice who obeys the President.

This politeness issue (or "speak moderately" or "don't give offense") keeps coming up and it really gets my attention. More soon.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Republicans perfect; party trumps country

Kos has a great take on Rove et al:

[T]o modern-day Republicans and their apologists, they can do no wrong. No Republican's action is worthy of scorn or censure. They are perfect. Flawless. Immune to error. Godlike.

. . .Republicans have now sent notice that they place allegiance to party and power above their allegiance to the United States of America. To them, the elephant flies above the Stars and Stripes.

I agree. Bye for now.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Hmmm. How could we support the troops? Think!

I've been wanting to comment on chicken hawks, the 101st Fighting Keyboardists, magnetized ribbons, and Young Republicans for some time but this cartoon does it better than I ever could. Click here for the full-sized version and marvel anew at the genius of Tom Tomorrow.

P.S. Going sailing for a few days - back Wednesday. Happy summer and enjoy the Rove show.

Going nukular

Jeffrey Feldman has another framing angle on the Plame affair:

Instead of asking who was the real source in the White House that released the name of Valery Plame to the press, we should all be asking a much more important question: If the President knew Iraq did not have nuclear weapons and that Iraq could not launch a nuclear attack against the United States, why did he tell Americans that they were in danger of nuclear attack? Why did the President claim to be protecting American from a nuclear threat that did not exist? And why did President Bush campaign for re-election on the basis that if the Democrats were to be elected, the nation would once again be in danger of a nuclear attack?

When a President, who is in charge of protecting the nation, uses his power to spread fear in the population - so as to garner support for policies that the public might otherwise not support - how should Americans respond?

A President willing to use false claims to toy with the emotions of the American people - to scare the public and to convince young men and women to die in war - is a President who must answer for more than the emails of his advisers.

Worth reading in full. (You'll get angry all over again.)

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Bob Boudelang, Angry American Patriot

"The London Bombing Shows Our Great President's Strategy Is Working, Whatever It Is"
He's not to everyone's taste, I know. But I would be remiss in not telling you that Bob Boudelang's latest post is up.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Talking points

Think Progress has done all the work for you: How To Talk To A Conservative About Karl Rove (If You Must).

UPDATE: Paul Waldman comes at the story from the opposite direction, explaining how the GOP has perfected the art of damage control in four easy steps. The first is the big one (emphasis added):

Step 1: It’s not really about us, it’s about them.
This is one of the fundamental divides between the two parties today, something Republicans understand and Democrats don’t: If the controversy is about you, you lose; if it’s about your opponent, you win. So when Democrats responded to Karl Rove’s slander about their response to 9/11 by saying that they supported the war in Afghanistan, they were making the mistake of arguing about whether they were or weren’t a bunch of wimps. Every time one of these controversies erupts, the Republicans always make it about Democrats: Who they are, what they’ve said and what they’ve done.

So must we focus in return. This controversy is about Rove. It's about Bush. It's about Republicans endangering national security for petty political gain. It's about neocons fixing the facts around the policy so they could invade Iraq.

Waldman's other three steps are perfectly straightforward:

Step 2: Lie through your teeth. . . .
Step 3: Argue the semantics, or, it depends on what the meaning of “identify” is. . . .
Step 4: It’s all partisan politics. . . .

For good measure, he goes on to remind us just how unprincipled Rove is and always has been - the raw grabs for power, shady tactics, filthy whispering campaigns, personal and professional destruction of opponents, and now possibly treason in his quest to win at any cost.

Best is this quote from Ron Suskind, writing two years ago. Though he's referring to Rove, for my money his words could serve as the epitaph for the entire Bush Administration.

For Karl Rove, it’s all and only about winning. The rest—vision, ideology, good government, ideas to bind a nation, reasonable dissent, collegiality, mutual respect—is for later.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Qualified optimism

These are pre-Rovian numbers from the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll. Leaving aside the issue of how anyone at any time could find the Preznit any of those things, I'm reminding myself that it's way too soon to gloat. (Because you never know what might happen next in the Global War on Terra™.) But I can't help but be encouraged.

Note that the slide in the number of people finding him "honest and straightforward" is 9 whopping percentage points in just six months.
Again, that's before the Rove story went mainstream. "Easygoing and likeable" dropped 7 points. So all those people who didn't like his policies but voted for him anyway because he's such a godly, straight-shootin', down-to-earth, just natural regular guy are about to have a thought or two different. That's going to hurt.

As Digby notes, he's no longer a beer buddy.

"I am tired of being embarrassed and horrified by my president"

A friend puts into words what we're all feeling and takes the extra step of mailing it to Bush. Here (edited for layout and space):

When I was a girl I wrote a letter to the president of the US, then Dwight Eisenhower. I received a signed reply. I was proud of my country and my president. Now, in my 60's, I write again - this time an angry letter. I am tired of being angry, I am tired of being ashamed of my country. I am tired of being embarrassed and horrified by my president. But that is how I feel today.

The American people have stood by while the president has taken us into a hugely mistaken and misbegotten war. The American people have stood by while our reputation for our "values" and "standards of justice" were trashed at Abu Ghraib. . . . Now we learn of Karl Rove's horrible lies and the coverup underway to "parse" the words spoken when the intent is crystal clear.

Enough! We have had enough lies, enough pandering, enough killing in our name. STOP! The American people will THIS TIME not stand for the "business as usual" of avoiding the subject, prolonging the inquiry, lying when everyone is listening and knows the truth. STOP IT!

. . . If Clinton could be impeached for lying about a sexual affair, Bush beware. We treasure our nation's youth - so brave in futile battle. We treasure our nation's wealth - so spilled in futile imperialism. We treasure our nation's honor - so despoiled by leaders lying about their own despicable behavior while incessantly disparaging and slandering the character of others. Foolery... that is what half this nation voted to keep in office for another 4 disastrous years. Honesty is what the other half will demand. Rove goes. Then we'll see who is next to answer the questions that everyone is now asking about how, why, and exactly WHEN was this war begun.

We await your answers, and will not tolerate silence.

Barbara Carr
New Harbor, ME

Doesn't that just sum it up? You can send your own letter to

Remember CREEP?

Jeff Feldman at Frameshop has an important post about the next stage in Rovespinning. We've passed the "who" and "how" stages and are now talking "why." Hint: the name of his piece is Nixon All Over Again.

Guardsmen in Iraq

Over at AllSpinZone, Richard Cranium writes about a new casualty of the war - truth in National Guard recruiting:

The risk to National Guard soldiers of getting killed or wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan has been exaggerated, making recruiting more difficult, the general in charge of all National Guard forces said Tuesday.

...‘It is dangerous, but it is — I shouldn't say it to this group but I'm going to — it is misrepresented, how dangerous it really is,’ he said.

The casualty rate for Guardsmen is ‘remarkably low,’ compared with any previous armed conflict, Blum said, adding that he recognizes that every individual loss is a tragedy for that person's family. ‘But I lose, unfortunately, more people through private automobile accidents and motorcycle accidents over the same period of time,' he added.’

You're right about one thing, Gen. Blum - you shouldn't outright lie to any group, much less a group of ‘defense reporters’... What fucking alternate universe do people like Blum live in? It took me all of 120 seconds to come up with these statistics:

Vietnam Conflict:

  • 58,193 KIA
  • 97 were National Guard
  • 1.6% was the death rate for National Guardsmen in Vietnam

Iraq Quagmire:

  • 1,750 KIA
  • 262 were National Guard
  • 14.9% is the death rate for National Guardsmen in Iraq
This isn't spin; it's outright lying.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

What the hell is water

This is a nonpolitical post, except in the sense that everything, of course, is political. Also, I wish hereby to acknowledge the high ratio of paste 'n link to analysis that has lately characterized this site. My plea for which is, it's summer in Maine and company's coming.

Just came across this graduation speech by David Foster Wallace in which the central idea is how to construct meaning from experience, even at the most mundane level:

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says "Morning, boys. How's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes "What the hell is water?". . .

As I'm sure you guys know by now, it is extremely difficult to stay alert and attentive, instead of getting hypnotized by the constant monologue inside your own head (may be happening right now). Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. Think of the old cliché about quote the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master.

It's really terrific and mind bendy and, of course, just slightly political. A good short read.

Gotta run and get the guest room ready.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Have a ---------- day, George

Today is the president’s birthday (he’s 59). In case you were wondering what to get a guy who already has three branches of government, his own flight suit with codpiece, and a servile press, don’t despair! The folks at Think Progress have sifted through his public utterings (ugh) looking for signs of intelligent wishful thinking and come up with this birthday list:
  • A Magic Wand (as in, "I wish I could simply wave a magic wand and lower gas prices tomorrow!" 4-20-05)
  • More Free Time to Work Out (as in, "I wish I had time for a workout!" 11-13-03)
  • Questions Written Out In Advance (etc.)
  • More Time to Fish
  • More Love For One Another
  • A War With A Timetable
  • A War Without Troops
  • A War Without a President
Worth a visit. The quotes and sources are impeccable and, sadly, hilarious.

UPDATE: The DNC has put together a birthday card you can sign for free, as opposed to the tacky RNC version, which requires a donation. Sign it!

Me, I'll just refer to this old Christmas list dictated from the bathtub by my then 4-year-old son, as it seems to be about the right level (though I'm not sure about the banjo and sponges).

But we'll let you keep Schwartzenegger

This is making the email rounds and cheered me up, so I'm passing it on.

Dear Red States,

We're ticked off at the way you've treated California, and we've decided we're leaving. We intend to form our own country, and we're taking the other Blue States with us.

In case you aren't aware, that includes Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and all of the Northeast. We believe the split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially to the people of the new country of New California.

To sum it up: You get Texas, Oklahoma and the slave states. We get stem cell research and the best beaches. We get Elliot Spitzer. You get Ken Lay and Tom DeLay.

We get the Statue of Liberty. You get OpryLand. We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom and Enron. We get Stanford, Harvard and Yale. You get Ole' Miss.

We get 85% of America's venture capital and entrepreneurs. You get Alabama. We get two-thirds of the tax revenue, you get to pay your fair share for once.

Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22% lower than amongst you Christian Coalition types, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms.

Please be aware that Nuevo California will be pro-choice and anti-war, and we're going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at once.

If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have kids they're apparently willing to send to their deaths for no purpose, and they don't seem to mind if you don't show pictures of their children's caskets coming home. We do wish you success in Iraq, and hope that the WMD turn up, but we're not willing to waste our resources on Bush's Quagmire.

With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80% of the country's fresh water, more than 90% of the pineapple and lettuce, 92% of the nation's fresh fruit, 95% percent of America's quality wines (you can serve French wines at state dinners), 90% of all cheese, 90% of the high tech industry, most of the low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, the Ivy and Seven Sister schools -- plus Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.

As for you Red Staters, you get to cope with 88% of all obese Americans (and their projected health care costs), 92% of US mosquitoes, nearly 100% of the tornadoes, 90% of the hurricanes, 99% of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100% of televangelists, along with Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia.

We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you.

Additionally, 38% of you Red Staters believe Jonah was really swallowed by the whale, 62% believe life is sacred unless you're discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 44% say evolution is a wacky theory and believe dinosaurs walked the earth 6,000 years ago, 53% still think Saddam was involved in 9/11, and 61% believe you have higher moral standards than us progressives. So we won't miss you crazy bastards much.

By the way, we're taking the good pot too. You can have that dirt weed they grow in Mexico.

Unknown Author in New California

Call for local action

From Equality Maine:

Here are 3 important things that supporters of the non-discrimination law can do to help us win in November:

  1. Help us find people who have been discriminated against. The Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence is conducting a comprehensive, statewide study on the nature and extent of LGBT discrimination in Maine. The report will be released during the campaign, countering the fact that many voters believe that LGBT discrimination does not exist.
  2. Visit the updated Maine Won’t Discriminate website. The new website will serve as a key rallying point for people seeking facts about the law and its importance, and for anyone who wants to volunteer, contribute money, or just get the truth about the non-discrimination law. One of the features of the website will be an ongoing series of testimonials from Maine people who have experienced discrimination first-hand.
  3. Join us for a voter ID canvass in Portland on Saturday, July 9. A critical element to winning in November will be talking to voters one-on-one about the non-discrimination law. This is hard but incredibly rewarding work. It could mean the difference between winning and losing the campaign.
For more on Heath's special brand of bigotry and spin, head over to Maine Politics.