Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Thank God this man is on our side

Does anyone write better than James Wolcott? Here he is on Kristol's suggestion that we just haven't tried hard enough in Iraq:

...[I]t would be political suicide for Bush to follow such counsel and lift the troop levels in Iraq to crank the war up an aggressive notch: Iraq 3.0: This Time We're Not Dicking Around. Mind you, I'm all for Bush's political suicide, but what's in it for him? Not much and he knows it. He's lost too much political trust and capital, Americans are tired of the war (more tired than the political class and punditocracy), and the military is stretched max. It's too late for a Victor Davis Hanson cavalry charge into the black heart of the Sunny insurgency led by Kristol and his neocon comrades embedded in cable-news green rooms 3000 miles in the rear, cheering, "Kill them! Defeat them!" at the TV monitor in voices loud enough to be heard but not loud enough to disturb Richard Perle napping in his portable coffin.

Top that, pundits.

The Declaration of Dependence

In honor of the Patriot Act debates going on in the Senate today, it is fitting to highlight Mark Bradley's Pusillanimous Proclamation of the Fifty United States:

When, in the course of Divinely Ordered Events, it becomes expedient for a distracted and terrified people to renounce the political independence which has long plagued and bedeviled them, and to assume among the powerless, the complacent, and the meek of the world the rightfully subservient place to which God and his Earthly Minions have justifiably consigned them, an indecent contempt for the opinions of mankind absolves them from any responsibility of having to declare the causes which impel them to this shameful, yet exhilarating, abdication.

We hold these generally accepted talking points to be self-evident . . . .

Most germane. Oh, and it's time to contact our senators again:
Snowe: (202) 224-5344
Collins: (202) 224-2523

Monday, February 27, 2006


Aravosis speaks for me:

Those who would call us "extreme" confuse our extreme anger with extreme politics. And they're two entirely different things.

And Digby's even better.

P.S., go read Bill Moyers. The link below only hints at the riches within.

This about sums it up

In a recent speech, Bill Moyers references the book Economic Apartheid in America, which describes how "thirty zipcodes in America have become fabulously wealthy" while "whole urban and rural communities are languishing in unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, growing insecurity, and fear."

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Here's a frame: they're ludicrous.

Now this is more like it. Instead of asking Beltway consultants how to tiptoe around the "issue" of gay adoption without offending swing voters or pundits, Ohio state senator Robert Hagan goes on the offense. Following state rep. Ron Hood's proposal to ban gay adoption, Hagan introduces a similar measure to ban Republican adoption.

He says that children raised in Republican households are at risk for "emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, and alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different than themselves and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities."

I wish more Democrats would handle outrageous Republican behavior in exactly this fashion.

And to think I almost let my subscription lapse

My copy arrived yesterday. Available for $7 at your local newsstand.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Poetic justic

Digby enjoys watching Bush squirm on the ports controversy:

Hysteria launched Bush's invasion of Iraq. It created that monstrosity called Homeland Security and pumped up defense spending by more than 40 percent. Hysteria has been used to realign US foreign policy for permanent imperial war-making, whenever and wherever we find something frightening afoot in the world. Hysteria will justify the "long war" now fondly embraced by Field Marshal Rumsfeld. It has also slaughtered a number of Democrats who were not sufficiently hysterical. It saved George Bush's butt in 2004. Bush was the principal author, along with his straight-shooting Vice President, and now he is hoisted by his own fear-mongering propaganda.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Our Lady of Perpetual Conventional Wisdom

Damn, I hate Cokie Roberts.

UPDATE: For background on the Great Regurgitator, check out these Waldman and Alterman pieces.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Poker party

David Mamet:

In politics as in poker, the only way to win is to seize the initiative. The Democrats need to make bold wagers or risk being rolled over again.

ONE NEEDS TO know but three words to play poker: call, raise or fold. Fold means keep the money, I'm out of the hand; call means to match your opponents' bet. That leaves raise, which is the only way to win at poker. The raiser puts his opponent on the defensive, seizing the initiative. Initiative is only important if one wants to win. ...

If you are branded as passive, the table will roll right over you -- your opponents will steal antes without fear. Why? Because the addicted caller has never exhibited what, in the wider world, is known as courage. In poker, one must have courage: the courage to bet, to back one's convictions, one's intuitions, one's understanding. There can be no victory without courage. The successful player must be willing to wager on likelihoods. Should he wait for absolutely risk-free certainty, he will win nothing, regardless of the cards he is dealt.

For example, take a player who has never acted with initiative -- he has never raised, merely called. Now, at the end of the evening, he is dealt a royal flush. The hand, per se, is unbeatable, but the passive player has never acted aggressively; his current bet (on the sure thing) will signal to the other players that his hand is unbeatable, and they will fold. His patient, passive quest for certainty has won nothing.

The Democrats, similarly, in their quest for a strategy that would alienate no voters, have given away the store, and they have given away the country.

Committed Democrats ... watched, passively, while the Bush administration concocted a phony war; they, in the main, voted for the war knowing it was purposeless, out of fear of being thought weak. They then ran a candidate who refused to stand up to accusations of lack of patriotism.

The Republicans, like the perpetual raiser at the poker table, became increasingly bold as the Democrats signaled their absolute reluctance to seize the initiative. ...

One may sit at the poker table all night and never bet and still go home broke, having anted away one's stake. The Democrats are anteing away their time at the table. They may be bold and risk defeat, or be passive and ensure it.

I have so had it with our Democratic leadership and their well-fed consultants that urge caution, always more caution. There was an incredible exchange at Kos two days ago when Nancy Pelosi posted one of her "we're fighting for you!" diaries and people, after some initial reflexive fawning, finally just lost it in the comments. You have to sift through some drivel, but there's a lot of eloquent passion, pleading, and disgust that's worth a read.

Like this:

If you're unwilling to stand up to a lying, doughy troll like Karl Rove, what reason do you give anyone to believe you'll stand up to Al Qaeda?

For roughly half of this country, the debate is truly that simple. In a post-9/11 world, people respect strength and conviction -- and Democrats aren't showing much of either.

Friday, February 17, 2006

National security

Okay, you've probably seen this, but I need a break and besides, it's nicely on topic.

A guy is driving around Tennessee and he sees a sign in front of a house: “Talking Dog For Sale.” He rings the bell and the owner tells him the dog is in the backyard. The guy goes into the backyard and sees a Labrador retriever sitting there.

“You talk?” he asks.

“Yes, I do,” the Lab replies.

“So, what's your story?”

The Lab looks up and says, “Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA about my gift, and in no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping. I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running. But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn't getting any younger so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals. I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I'm just retired.”

The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner how much he wants for the dog.

“Ten dollars,” the guy says.

“Ten dollars? This dog is amazing. Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?”

“Because he's a liar. He never did any of that shit.”

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Can this be possible? The story was late getting out because Dick Cheney has a girlfriend?

It's a rumor. It's only a rumor. (Quick! Pass it on!)

Snowe caves (again)

Snowe is backing down on her call for an investigation of Bush's illegal domestic spying program. She's signalling that, in today's closed Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, she'll settle for DeWine's bill that simply sweeps the lawbreaking under the rug and declares the whole thing legal. No further mention of any lying or trampling of the Constitution. As Georgia10 notes, "Oh, that's right. The lawlessness of a President is exempted only when that President wears a 10-gallon hat and calls himself a 'conservative.'"

The toll-free number for the Senate switchboard is 888-355-3588. There's still time to call Snowe's staff and tell her what you think.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Bag it

If you enjoy parsing visual language, you really need to check out The Bag (recently added to my blogroll). They do stuff like this and this.

Pop quiz

Who said this and what country is he describing?

The government was always right and never apologized;

Any dissent was suppressed, ridiculed, banned or worse;

Secret prisons were denied and never acknowledged or spoken about;

The torture of captives was condoned;

State incarceration was not subject to the checks and balances of a legal system;

Economic plans, like for oil, were established/determined in closed sessions between politicos, commissars and production managers, far outside public view, and where government claimed privilege in so doing;

Wages were set at the lowest common denominator, no matter what Bloc country you were in;

Government agents had access to your medical records, your library records, your telephone, and your e-mail.

A place where judicial power and judicial review were proclaimed concepts, but simply ignored in application;

Where criminal records of young adults were closed to all but the military;

Where a Constitution was a mere facade and ignored by state actors.

Any dissent, debate and protest were deemed unpatriotic;

The public media was bought, paid for, and provided by the state;

The military clandestinely and shamelessly influenced the national media and public opinion;

A place where wrong was declared right;

Where tapping a phone was like tapping a pencil;

Where lying was considered a patriotic skill;

The extraction of natural resources was paramount to any concern for the environment and the impact on the health of its people;

Where the use of “state secrets,” (those things embarrassing to the government) were confused with legitimate issues of “national security”;

A place where "secrecy" and "national security" were used to control debate;

Where legitimate secrecy, was subject to political use and abuse;

Where "legislators" were mere mouthpieces for and rubberstamps of whoever was in power;

Where you lived and died with the permission of the government;

A place where foreign policy was more important than domestic concerns;

Where fear was used as a political weapon and an acceptable means of control;

Where the best medical care was reserved for the influential;

Where wealth was concentrated in the top 5%;

A place where there was no middle class -- just a small economic and political elite, and the working poor.

The speaker is Jim Marcinkowski, former Republican and CIA officer, now running for Congress as a Democrat in Michigan's 8th. The country is the Soviet Union. And he went on to note that our Republican party and its corporate friends have, in just 10 years, built a system here just like the one we spent 50 years trying to defeat.

Thanks to Steve Clemons.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Idiot, dolt, moron

If you're like me and you love bonddad and hate Treasury Secretary Snow, you'll want to read this.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Out of the bubble

The president and first lady do not appear to be enjoying themselves at Coretta Scott King's funeral, in what has to be their first unscripted appearance in years before a large, non-handpicked, non-prescreened American audience. For Mr. Bush it was a no-win decision: skip and get eviscerated later, or attend and face 10,000 real American voters - many of whom are deeply invested in issues of social justice like poverty, voting rights, and racism - and whaddya know, they're pissed.

The speaker is the Rev. Joseph Lowery, and you simply must watch the video. Yes, he speaks of war, lies, and broken promises and gets a standing ovation and surely causes some presidential squirming. But watch it to hear the heartfelt words of a true civil rights hero speaking so personally and with such joy of his friends Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King. Please don't miss it.

The righties are already snorting and steaming about how black people don't know how to behave at their own funerals. Just for once, let's ignore them.

P.S. Evidently there were other delicious moments.

I fought the law, and the law....?

Helen Thomas at yesterday's gaggle via Raw Story. That woman knows how to ask direct questions:
Q: Does the president think he should obey the law? He put his hand on the Bible twice to uphold the Constitution. Wiretapping is not legal under the circumstances without a warrant.
MR. MCCLELLAN: Well, I guess you didn't pay attention to the attorney general's hearing earlier today, because he walked through very clearly the rationale behind this program.
Q: There is no rationale --
MR. MCCLELLAN: And Helen, I think you have to ask --
Q: -- (inaudible) -- the law.
MR. MCCLELLAN: I think you have ask are we -- well, he's not -- are we a nation at war.
Q: That's not the question.
MR. MCCLELLAN: No, that is the issue here.
Q: The question is, the point is, there are means for him to go to -- get a warrant to spy on people.
MR. MCCLELLAN: Enemy surveillance is critical to waging and winning war. It's one of the traditional tools of war.
Q: But he says he doesn't have running room --
MR. MCCLELLAN: The attorney general outlined very clearly today how previous administrations have used the same authority --
Q: That doesn't make it legal.
MR. MCCLELLAN: -- and cited the same -- and cited the very same authority.
Q: (Inaudible) -- they broke the law, that's too bad.
MR. MCCLELLAN: And we're going to continue doing everything we can --
Q: You know what happened to Nixon when he broke the law.
MR. MCCLELLAN: -- within our power to protect the American people.
This is a very different circumstance, and you know that.
Q: No, I don't.
Emphasis added (though it was perfect in the original).

Monday, February 06, 2006

Leahy does the unthinkable

Gonzales invokes 9/11 and Leahy cuts him off:

"Mr. Gonzales, I am aware that we were attacked. I was here in this building, and I joined with Republicans and Democrats -- virtually every member of Congress -- to give you the authority we thought you needed. Now answer my question."

Omigod, the earth is going to open up and swallow him. Lightning will strike him dead. Karl Rove will feed him to ravening pundits on live TV. And voters are going to think that Democrats are weak on national security!!!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Cave, quiver, and repeat

Okay, this is the best deconstruction of Beltway Democrat pathology I have ever read.


Jesus Christ. Watch this British Channel 4 newscast on Blair and Bush conspiring to start war. After you finish weeping (for the demise of our own press if not for our country), pass it on. This needs wide distribution.

Note: the site may overload or get scrubbed soon - if so, partial transcript is here and more will doubtless get cached soon.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Grand Ol' Docket

What'd I tell you? It's up to 25 already. And it includes only DC scandals - so don't look for Bob Taft, or Larry Franklin, or Tom Noe, or George Ryan, or John Rowland, or any of the people caught up in the Kentucky governor's scandal....

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

See? Democrats do stand for something!

Think Progress has the video of Democrats' standing ovation last night on Bush's failure to destroy Social Security. Priceless!

Constitutionally speaking

Thomas Eddlem of Antiwar.com makes some interesting points:
  • He's not your commander in chief (unless you're active duty military).
  • We're not at war, because Congress didn't declare war.
  • He can't have war powers.