Saturday, August 27, 2005

Iraq Clusterfuck: Joe Biden, please shut up! 

Preening Presidential hopeful and Washington General Senator Biden (D-MBNA) just doesn't get it:

However, Biden also expressed doubts that Iraq's unity could hold without genuine consensus on a draft constitution. If it does not, he said, the only choice would be to support the Kurds and Shiites and try to prevent Sunni areas from becoming a terrorist haven.

"At this point, we have to choose between bad options: Leave with chaos in our wake or stay and squander more American lives," Biden said. "Without the Sunnis, this is a losing game."
(via LA Times)

In the words of the old joke, Senator, "What do you mean we?" In case you've forgotten, this is Bush's war of choice. He owns it, 100%, and everyone of the 2000 American bodies needs to get hung around His neck. And your job is to help do that. Because you know what? If the Republicans win again... Well, that wouldn't be good, would it?

Digby has it exactly right:

hy are people so unwilling to admit what they are seeing before their eyes, even today? The Republican party is corrupt, incompetent and drunk with power. And no matter what their intentions, they are incapable of setting things right. We have seen this over and over again.

Yet still I see a flurry of earnest discussion about how we should deal with Iraq and what plans should be implemented --- as if they have real world implications. They do not. As I wrote earlier, I think there is political value in doing this as it pertains to positioning for the next election. But I have no illusions, and never have, that anyone in the Bush administration gives a damn what we think or will follow any policy advice from liberals, hawks or otherwise. They do not operate that way.

[The liberals] are not going to affect Bush administration policy. There is still a chance they could affect politics, however, if they will just stop pretending that the Republicans are operating on a logical basis in which they can find some common ground.

I think this is where we separate the men from the boys and the women from the girls. If, after all you've seen these last five years you still believe that the Bush administration can be given the benefit of the doubt, that they will do the right thing, change course, follow sage advice, reevaluate their strategy, bow to the facts on the ground --- then you have the same disease the Bush administration has. As Ben Franklin said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Actually, that's an A.A. slogan, but let that pass.

Listening, Hillary?

Operation Ignore The Yellow Elephant in the Middle of the Room Continues 

AskMen.com's "Model of the Week" is—drumroll please—a twofer!

Two of the Bush spawn children girls:

The quote from Jenna:

[JENNA] "We [work] really hard to make sure we accomplish everything we want in life, but we don't think about being the president's daughter; we don't think about that, really."
- Jenna Bush, on her and her sister's attitudes towards their positions [as Residential Daughters].

And we know that "accomplish everything we want in life" does not not NOT mean serving a tour of duty in Iraq! Aaw, isn't that precious? Just like her Dad!

And now, Neil's daughter Lauren:

"My friends and I are collecting prom dresses to give to girls who can't afford them for their proms."
-Lauren Bush, on the importance of charity

Well, that says it all, doesn't it.... Maybe when She gets done, She and her friends can collect burkhas for the women of Iraq, 'cause they're sure going to need them!

Focus-grouped, soulless, and commercial (back)...

This picture needs a caption! 

SCOTUS: Stealthy John Roberts lets ambition get in the way of ethics 

Think Progress has the PDF. Roberts in 1986:

I must recuse myself from this matter, in light of pending discussions with Mr. Ayman's firm concerning possible future employment. [page 2]

Yet, in July 2005 Roberts was, at the very same time, ruling (for Bush) on a challenge to Bush's procedures at Guantanomo Bay, and being interviewed (by Bush) for possible future employment on the Supreme Court.

The conflict of interest seemed pretty obvious in 1986. So, why didn't Roberts recuse himself in 2005?

Aaaw, but Roberts has such cute kids!

Atrios was right to assess Roberts this way: made man.

Friday, August 26, 2005

SCOTUS: Where did Stealthy John Robert's affirmative action papers go? 

They seem to have been, um, lost. By Bush's lawyers!

A file folder containing papers from Supreme Court nominee John Roberts Jr.'s work on affirmative action more than 20 years ago disappeared from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library after its review by two lawyers from the White House and the Justice Department in July, according to officials at the library and the National Archives and Records Administration.

Archivists said the lawyers returned the file but it now cannot be located. No duplicate of the folder's contents was made before the lawyers' review. Although one of the lawyers has assisted in the Archives' attempt to reconstruct its contents from other files, officials have no way of independently verifying their effort was successful.

It is rare for the Archives to lose documents in its care and the agency has requested an investigation by its inspector general, said Sharon Fawcett, the assistant archivist for presidential libraries.
(WaPo via Bradenton News)

Well, I'm sure it's just a coincidence. The kind of thing that could happen to anyone. But it would be nice if the investigation were complete before Robert's hearing, wouldn't it?

And while we're at it, could we get the lawyer's story on the record? Did they lose the papers in a cab? Make airplanes out of them? Did they use them as toilet tissue? What? Hey, these lawyers work for Gonzales—maybe we could torture them!

NOTE Thanks to alert reader chicagodyke, who pointed me to Unknown News. Somehow, in all the hurly-burly, I missed this one.

For those who don't have their car confused with their dick 

This is the car for you:


The Citroen "Deux Chevaux"—two horsepower, two-stroke engine.

Saw one in Old City the other day, and had this curbside conversation with the owner:

"How's the mileage?"


"How many miles per gallon do you get?"

"I don't know."

Guess he's not spending a lot of money on his gas fix, now is he?

Not only that, he's not helping his pushers buy big new yachts—or finance fundamentalist schools and the next jihad.

What's not to like?

UPDATE Actually, 9 hp, 56 mpg. And the article says 37 mph, but I remember seeing them blasting along French highways going a hell of a lot faster than that. Probably late models.

Rumsfeld's Fractured History Fairy Tales 

Kevin points us to this Marc Cooper post providing us with yet another example of Rumsfeld's faulty recollection of U.S. history. If you recall, Rumsfeld has had major problems getting historical facts straight in the past. This hilarious example from a couple of years ago has still got to take the cake.

Did Rumsfeld not take any U.S. history in school?

Isn't it a travesty that someone in his position could know so little about his own country's history?

Or is history like everyone else to them -- just grist for the mill or yet another thing they'll twist or mangle or distort wildly in order to assist in the administration's latest agitprop effort?

The Matter With Kansas, Indeed 

As the Kansas City Star is still, I believe, registration, I post this in near-entirety:

A Kansas City municipal judge on Thursday dismissed a disorderly conduct case against a Vietnam veteran who spit tobacco juice on Jane Fonda’s face four months ago.

Police cited Michael Dean Smith, 54, of Gladstone after the April 19 incident at Unity Temple on the Plaza, where the actress was signing copies of her memoir.

Smith, who served as a Marine in Vietnam in 1970, said he was expressing his anger at Fonda for her actions opposing the war, particularly a 1972 visit to North Vietnam, where she was photographed at an anti-aircraft battery.

Once the judge dismissed the charge, it became a closed record, prohibiting prosecutors and court officials from commenting on why the case was thrown out. Smith’s attorney also declined to comment Thursday.

Smith said he had planned to plead guilty.

“I did it, and I was going to pay for it,” he said Thursday.

But at a court appearance last month, a judge “took the case under advisement” and told Smith he would dismiss the charge in one month if Smith stayed out of trouble.

Smith stood before the judge for less than a minute Thursday as the charge was dismissed. Smith then filled out paperwork to get his $100 bond back.

“It’s over and that’s that,” Smith said afterward.

One day after the incident, Fonda told police she didn’t want to press charges.

Police charged Smith anyway because an off-duty officer working at the event witnessed the disorderly conduct. The officer chased Smith outside and arrested him on the sidewalk.

The spitting tapped a vein of deep emotion across the country. News of the incident sparked national media coverage. The Star received hundreds of e-mails, with supporters outnumbering those who condemned Smith’s actions about 3 to 1.

Smith was one of 900 people at the April event organized by Rainy Day Books. He purchased Fonda’s book, stood in line about 90 minutes and presented her the copy. At book signings, Rainy Day has patrons write their names on sticky notes to give to the authors.

On Smith’s note, he wrote Jodie. Fonda looked up, smiled and asked, “Are you Jodie?”

Smith faced Fonda as she signed his book. He spat at her, spraying tobacco juice on the right side of her face, neck and blouse. He then jumped off the stage and ran.

Smith said Thursday he still had no regrets.

“I still feel it was the right thing to do,” he said. “If I didn’t think it was the right thing to do, I wouldn’t have done it.”
So somebody who spent more time in Vietnam than George W. Bush ever did, really did get spit on upon her return. And the guy who did it, while believing it was "the right thing to do," still ran away afterwards. And the judge let him the fuck off any charge whatsoever.

Please note though, that they counted the emails they got in response to the original story. They might just count the ones they get after this one too.

The economy is "flexible" like my back is "flexible" when you put your boot on it 

The view from the top:

[GREENSPAN] Our most valued policy asset: the increased flexibility of our economy, which has fostered our extraordinary resilience to shocks."
(via AP)

The view from the bottom:

he administration and some political commentators seem genuinely puzzled by polls showing that Americans are unhappy about the economy. After all, they point out, numbers like the growth rate of G.D.P. look pretty good. So why aren't people cheering?

About employment: it's true that the economy finally started adding jobs two years ago. But although many people say "four million jobs in the last two years" reverently, as if it were an amazing achievement, it's actually a rise of about 3 percent, not much faster than the growth of the working-age population over the same period. And recent job growth would have been considered subpar in the past: employment grew more slowly during the best two years of the Bush administration than in any two years during the Clinton administration.

It's also true that the unemployment rate looks fairly low by historical standards. But other measures of the job situation, like the average of weekly hours worked (which remains low), and the average duration of unemployment (which remains high), suggest that the demand for labor is still weak compared with the supply.

Employers certainly aren't having trouble finding workers. When Wal-Mart announced that it was hiring at a new store in Northern California, where the unemployment rate is close to the national average, about 11,000 people showed up to apply for 400 jobs.

Because employers don't have to raise wages to get workers, wages are lagging behind the cost of living. According to Labor Department statistics, the purchasing power of an average nonsupervisory worker's wage has fallen about 1.5 percent since the summer of 2003. And this may understate the pressure on many families: the cost of living has risen sharply for those whose work or family situation requires buying a lot of gasoline.

Some commentators dismiss concerns about gasoline prices, because those prices are still below previous peaks when you adjust for inflation. But that misses the point: Americans bought cars and made decisions about where to live when gas was $1.50 or less per gallon, and now suddenly find themselves paying $2.60 or more. That's a rude shock, which I estimate raises the typical family's expenses by more than $900 a year.

You may ask where economic growth is going, if it isn't showing up in wages. That's easy to answer: it's going to corporate profits, to rising health care costs and to a surge in the salaries and other compensation of executives. (Forbes reports that the combined compensation of the chief executives of America's 500 largest companies rose 54 percent last year.)

(Krugman via the New York Times)

11,000 people for 400 jobs at a Walmart? That's cold...

The Wecovery: Call it a dildo, 'cause we got fucked.

Cui bono: 

It's an ill wind ...

In the United States, the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks are seen as the catalyst for a period of fear, war and economic worry.

But in the oil-rich Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, Sept. 11 is increasingly viewed as the event that kicked off a galloping economic boom, when Arabs divested from America and reinvested at home.

Arab investors pulled pull tens of billions of dollars out of the United States. They were angered by perceived American hostility toward Arabs. They worried their assets would be frozen by U.S. counter-terror measures. And U.S. markets happened to be plummeting while economies in the Gulf were on the upswing, buoyed by rising oil prices.

The results have been spectacular.

Since late 2001, economies in the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries - Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia - have soared, with stock markets up a collective 400 percent. Over the same period, the Standard & Poor's 500 rose 24 percent.

Most of the credit for the wealth influx here is due to the near-tripling of oil prices since 2001 to current levels of more than $67 a barrel.
(via AP)

So, all things work together for good, don't they? After 9/11, all the Arabs get rich, and the Republicans get to abolish the Bill of Rights, start putting a theocracy in place, and dominate all three branches of of government, completely disenfranching 50% of the population. Really, what's not to like? Mission accomplished!

Remember the Alamo dynamo! 

Lone star checkmate:
On one side of the road, the grieving mother of a soldier son cut down in his prime. On the other side of the road, a self-indulgent, insensitive little man masquerading as president of the United States.

Continue reading here

bring it on



My shed is painted, finally. I settled on a nice blue with white Darwin fish on two sides that contains the word “EVOLVE.” My goats live in and around it. Subtle message.

Radical Fundamentalist Cleric TV: where are the FCC boob police? 

The next time some demented religious quack appears on your television screen advocating the assasination of, oh, lets say George W. Bush for instance - well, you can thank Pat Robertson and the Christian Broadcast Network for changing the tone of our national discourse. Praise the Power Lord.

Yepper, you'll have Diamond Pat and his like-minded confederacy of theo-caudillo cranks to thank for dropping the tv broadcast discourse bar as low as it will go with respect to international terrorism advocacy from a so called Christian nation perspective.

See, it's like this: Pat, he's a real trail blazer (het, het, het, snicker). Of course if Robertson had proposed the assassination of Russia's Pooty Poot or former Canadian Prime Minister Jean french fry and gravy Poutine (ha, ha, ha) or Tony Blair or Ariel Sharon or any number of other world leaders he'd probably be placed inside a sweaty black zip-lock bag, chained to a millstone, and skidaddled off to Egypt for some further probing and examination and general all-round bone snapping workover. An ill-tempered German Shepherd would be salivating six inches from his shriveled nutsack as I write this here now.

But no. Mr. Squinty will be back. Blowing it out his blowhole as always. Homicidal ravings and all. And his servile easily bewitched audience of clodhopper crusaders will carry on as before. The Cakewalk News Network (CNN) and the MoonShine Bottling Company (MSNBC) and FoxNoise will continue to drop a dime on their favorite radical fundamentalist(s) jackass cleric(s) whenever the purported Christian perspective is required for one more installment of whatever bark-n-blather junk journalism theater production happens to be dripping off the back of the cable "news" tv info-tainment garbage truck on any given day.

Deborah James writes:
The Christian Broadcasting Network should also be investigated for the potential illegality of using federally licensed airwaves to call for an assassination. In light of the $550,000 fine against CBS for the accidental airing of Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction," it would be extremely ironic if the CBN were not similarly punished for airing a call for terrorist homicide.


For years the US government has been working to create a climate hostile to the democratically elected government of Venezuela -- Pat Robertson's statements are, unfortunately, consistent with the actions of the Bush administration. The administration supported the 2002 coup against President Chávez, and has continued to fund coup leaders in their efforts to remove President Chávez from office after the coup.

Recently, the US has stepped up efforts to isolate Venezuela in the region (although these efforts have been largely rebuffed by other Latin American leaders.) Last week, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld continued the Bush administration's rhetorical assault against President Chávez, re-issuing old and unsupported claims regarding Venezuela.

Yet in August 2004, President Chávez won a referendum on his presidency by 59%, results which were certified by the Organization of American States (OAS) and Carter Center as free and fair. His popularity currently stands at over 70% -- much higher than his US counterpart's, and one of the highest in Latin America. There is complete freedom of press, assembly, speech, and civil rights in the country, and there are no serious human rights organizations that have argued that these rights have been reduced under Chávez, nor do they compare unfavorably to other regional governments.

The policy of America's governmental antipathy towards Venezuela stems more from that country's creation of an alternative economic vision than unsubstantiated concerns regarding democracy. President Chávez has embarked on a series of economic reforms, such as funneling billions of oil industry profits into massive programs for health care, education, literacy, and clean water, and promoting regional integration, which fly in the face of Bush's failed efforts to promote corporate globalization by establishing a Free Trade Area of the Americas.

The US "free trade" economic model has failed to deliver growth in the region; according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Latin Americans have experienced less than .5% per capita economic growth overall in the last 25 years. Meanwhile, Chávez's economic policies (combined with oil profits) have made Venezuela the fastest growing economy in the region. But the American government's dislike for Chávez's vision certainly does not give anyone a license to kill.


Robertson's comments have little basis in US or Venezuelan reality. He stated that if Chávez were to be assassinated, he didn't "think any oil shipments will stop." President Chávez has repeatedly stated that oil shipments from Venezuela - which represent approximately 15% of US imports - will continue steadily as long as the US does not commit violent acts of aggression against Venezuela's sovereignty. Articles quoting his repeated declarations on this topic are available here.

Venezuela is expanding exports to other countries, including China, the Caribbean, and South America, but has maintained shipments to the US, which light up our Eastern Seaboard with heating oil and keep 14,000 Venezuelan-owned Citgo gas stations in business. Chavez has also offered to provide lower-cost gasoline to struggling Americans. But in the case of an attack on the physical integrity of the Venezuelan leader, the immediate cessation of exports from the US's fourth largest source would be all but guaranteed.

The US government’s ongoing hostility towards President Chávez have created the climate in which a Republican leader feels comfortable in calling for the US to kill an elected head of state as part of US foreign policy on the cheap. Robertson’s comments should be a clarion call for a new foreign relations policy with Venezuela – one based on respect for a thriving democracy and an important economic ally.


Under Title 18 of US Code Section 1116, "whoever kills or attempts to kill a foreign official, official guest, or internationally protected person shall be punished." Section 878 of the same title makes it a crime to "knowingly and willingly threaten" to commit the above crime.


The 1973 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Internationally Protected Persons makes it a crime to commit a "murder, kidnapping, or other attack upon on the liberty of an internationally protected person;" [including] a "threat to commit any such attack."


Deborah James is the Global Economy Director of Global Exchange, www.globalexchange.org, and a frequent traveler to Venezuela. She is reachable at deborah@globalexchange.org.

The human rights group Global Exchange is encouraging citizens to call the White House to ask the Bush Administration to "condemn the call for terrorist homicide. [The administration] must investigate the legality of calling for the assassination of a democratically elected foreign head of state, and abide by international law in prosecuting terrorist activity." The public comment line at the White House is (202) 456-1111.

Entire article here

Also on topic:
Oil Fat Cats vs. Hugo Chavez by Juan Gonzales (NY Daily News)

Hugo Chávez and Petro Populism by Christian Parenti (The Nation)

What's Really Bothering Pat Robertson About Chavez by Russell Shaw (Huffington Post)

"Violence Needed Against Chavez, Venezuela Opposition Leader Says. Dictatorship Must Follow" - See: Everybody Loves Hugo by Tresy (Corrente)


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Republican election fraud: Phone jamming grand jury to reconvene 

Interesting, and true:

A federal prosecutor said he will reconvene a grand jury in a case involving the jamming of Democratic phone lines in 2002 - raising the possibility that other Republicans might be implicated.

Phone lines were bombarded with electronically generated calls, jamming lines set up for voters seeking rides to the polls on Election Day. Two GOP operatives have pleaded guilty in the case and a third is scheduled for trial.

A grand jury has indicted James Tobin, former regional director for the Republican National Committee, for allegedly orchestrating the jamming. Tobin, who was the regional chairman for President Bush's 2004 re-election campaign, has pleaded innocent.

"Based on what I know, [Ooh! How very parseable!] the whole phone-jamming scheme was concocted by one person, and that was [made man and state GOP executive director in 2002] Chuck McGee [who pled guilty and served seven months], who did this without authorization," Lamontagne said.
(via AP)

Well, I'm sure the Republican leadership couldn't possibly have known anything about this, even though James Tobin was working for Bill Frist at the time, because they would never countenance anything like election fraud, let alone get caught doing it.

And I'm sure the Republicans are paying Tobin's $700,000 worth of trial lawyer's fees (back) out of pure Christian charity, and not to buy Tobin's silence.

NOTE Josh Marshall's been tenaciously pursuing this story since 2003.

UPDATE Xan points out that Republican election tampering by phone jamming isn't the exception, but the norm. They'll say anything, do anything, as long as they get to hold onto power. Because they know if we ever get to lift off the lid, the stench is going to knock a lot of heads back.

What DIgby said 


I have never been much of a revolutionary. Even when I was young I tended to cringe at any kind of earnest, "to the barricades" kind of thinking. I tend to think in smaller strategic and tactical terms rather than large sweeping movements. However, I have come to realize that this is one of those times when something has to happen from the ground up. Washington has become a kind of aristocrisy, with all the attendant inbred, insular, corruption that eventually befalls a ruling elite.

The biggest sickness in our politics is this top down, elitist mentality in which people are fed a diet of information, entertainment, products and ideas that are focus grouped, soulless and commercial --- and which are then filtered through a ruling media class that is so psychologically cramped, so emotionally sterile, so stuck in their own feedback loop that they are presenting a totally distorted version of reality. It's important that we look elsewhere for wisdom and leadership.
(via Digby)

Two, three, many Cindy Sheehans!

But and also: We need to start avoiding the "focus grouped, soulless, and commercial" wherever it is found, not just in politics as it is conventionally understood. That goes for food, music, sex, even money—experiences and emotions we all share that become "psychologically cramped" and "emotionally sterile" to the extent that we have allowed our minds and hearts and tastes to be colonized by the large corporations that the Republicans service. (I think a Christian might call these artificial persons "thrones and dominions.") Cramped and sterile for us, but very very profitable for them. I think this goes for everybody, cockroach people or not.

Dammit, a real tomato tastes better than a corporate tomato, no matter what. And every single one of us eats a tomato one at a time. Plus, when you go to a farmer's market, you're helping the farmers as against the factory farms, and you're getting to talk to people, too.

Was it legal for Pat Robertson to call for Chavez to be assassinated? 

Any alert readers who are also lawyers? Can you answer this?

I mean, we expel kids from school for writing up violent fantasies, but apparently a so-called Christian can call for a hit on national TV, before an audience of 1 million, and nobody says Boo.

So, did Robertson break any laws? I mean, besides the laws of his God of choice.


What an asshole:

In other resort news, Bush, who caught no fish on Tuesday, also didn't tip his fishing guide.
(via WaPo's Froomkin)

Our Godly Preznit caught no fish?! I'm surprised He didn't just "cast the net on the right side of the boat" (John 21:6)

Hey, kids, let's put on a show! 

After what we know, from campaign 2004 and the Social Security bamboozlepalooza, about how the White House works, can anyone seriously believe that Bush's "private meeting" with parents of the war dead wasn't (a) tickets only and (b) 100% scripted?

Didn't think so.

Damn, those White House script writers are good, though. And our oh-so-skeptical press laps it right up:

After his speech, Bush met for three hours with 68 members of 19 families who have lost loved ones in Iraq or Afghanistan.

" 'The president made me feel like he cares,' Ann Thurber said. 'My son wasn't just lost in the numbers for him. He felt our grief the way we do.'

" 'I think he feels it every time a soldier dies,' her husband added. 'A little of him dies with them. It's like they're his kids, too.' "
(Idaho Statesman via The Amazin' Froomkin)

"It's like they're his kids"...

Well, it isn't very much "like" that, because Babs and Jenna aren't serving, are they?

That Kool-Aid sure is powerful stuff....

Hillary: If you can't lick 'em, join 'em 

Who said triangulation was dead? Party like it's 1996! AP's Ron Fournier:

One Clinton jets to Alaska and Iraq with Republicans, and enthusiastically sponsors legislation with GOP lawmakers who impeached her husband. The other plays golf with former President Bush and accepts assignments from the current one.

Sen. Clinton flew to Alaska last week with a Senate delegation that included Republicans John McCain of Arizona, a potential 2008 candidate, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who as a member of the House in 1998 helped present the case for impeachment.

She also traveled with both Republicans - the three serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee - to Iraq seven months ago, a trip that aides hoped would establish her as a terrorism hawk.

Clinton and the elder Bush have forged an almost familial relationship, according to some Clinton associates who say he has long sought a father figure. Others say the bond is due more to the fact that Clinton and Bush belong to an exclusive club of ex-presidents.

What else is driving the Clintons into the arms of Republicans? They understand that voters are tired of gridlock and partisanship, so reaching out to the GOP can help their causes and further their ambitions. For the ex-president there is also the part of his personality that hungers to convert enemies into friends, critics into colleagues.
(via AP)

God knows, I want a Democrat in the White House, and part of me chortles at the picture of the wingers frothing and stamping at our first woman President...

But still.... The impeachment proceedings were part of a slow-moving, media-fuelled, winger-funded coup against a Democratic elected President—a coup which, if you think of Florida 2000 as part of the gameplan, succeeded.

So, do you really want to hang out in the same beer halls these putschers hang out in? Hillary, and you DLC types, WTF?

NOTE Not that I would want to lick Lindsay Graham anyhow. Eew.

Forget All This 

Animal%20021%20-%20turkeys But then you may rather not deal with the rising tide of putrescent media offal filling up our nation's public avenues of discourse with commerce, government, and hog fighting, and you may be sick of hearing about the numerous crucifixions and imprisonings of Christians across the country, or their endless besigement as noted by the tender pleadings of peacemonger Pat Robertson or his brethren-under-the-skin like Gary North, Larry Pratt, Rousas John Rushdoony, , and Andrew Saldlin. And in that case I say, get thee hence to The Unencyclopedia, where they roll in the dying carcass of what's left of television "entertainment", and make you enjoy it, too:
"E(xtreme)M(akeover):H(ome)E(dition) was a popular TV show airing during the early part of the 21st century. Every week, for an excruciating 60 minutes, the show embarrassed average people down on their luck by exploiting them for higher ratings and lucrative endorsement deals. The presumed premise of the show was to give a deserving family a ridiculously expensive mansion, fashionable furniture, drug money, pimped-out car and a closet full of designer shoes for free. But the real premise of EM:HE was to showcase the acting of the moderately talented cast members.
Close-ups during highly emotional segments were de rigueur, especially when crocodile tears were flowing with reckless abandon. In a recent episode, homeless shelter residents were forced at gunpoint to shop for winter clothing at a local Wal-Mart. Upon exiting the store, the poor folks were publicly humiliated when EM:HE cast and crew played a game of "Frisk the Indigent Shopper."
At the end of each episode, Donald Trump would show up with a meat-ball pizza and fire the family. The producers then took everything back and moved the family out as part of a government-sponsored witness relocation program. All products used on the show were sold for pennies on the dollar on eBay, with the proceeds going to Ty Pennington's Hair Plug Fund. "
You don't have to put up with all this bad news. Go enjoy yourself.

Planting A Seed 

Last Wednesday's ad hoc coalition of Cindy Sheehan supporters came together with only 2 days' notice to create over 1600 candlelight vigils across the country, which were attended by numbers in the "tens of thousands".

Last week's vigil in Chestnut Hill brought out over 100 people.

In the hope that this energy can be stoked to build enough momentum to evolve into a truly powerful national peace movement, some of the original organizers are continuing the vigils, including a small group in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, of which I have made myself a part. I don't know that it has a name yet, but 20 of us showed up last night at 7:30 to keep vigil on the sidewalk in front of Borders and across the streets, holding candles and signs, and waving at the cars that honked in support (the SEPTA bus driver came through the intersection again, honking like mad and giving the thumbs up).

It's a small thing, but it makes people think when they pass by, and in a country where avoiding thought is what got us into this mess (and so many others) in the first place, it isn't too small a thing. Anyone can do it, just about anywhere. All it takes is a candle, a sign, and the willingness to set aside 1 hour a week to stand up and be seen. Not much of a sacrifice, compared to those being made in Iraq.

Meet The New War, Same As The Cold War 

"So long as I'm the president, we will stay, we will fight, and we will win the war on terror," Bush said.

---Bush: Terrorists converging on Iraq, US must stay, Reuters 8/24/05

"I don’t think you can win it."

---Bush in answer to Matt Lauer's question, "Do you really think we can win this war on terror in the next four years?" on Today, 9/2/2004.

American Woodchuck 

pat robertsonCrucifixion Coalition Inc. pilot, and chronic strabismus sufferer, Diamond Pat Robertson has - as each and every one of you already know - been vigorously backpaddling his cuckoo-canoe away from the fast and furious white-water thrills and spills of international state sponsored terrorism.

Assassination to be more precise.

Yes siree. And who can blame the crazy cluck. Afterall, once ya start ordering up hits on national television, well, next thing you know everyone will be doin' it. How'd ya like to turn on your tee-vee one sunny morning to find Soledad O'Brien soliciting the assistance of some yet unidentified bravo willing to drag Billy "the haircut" Hemmer into a bathroom stall and strangle him with his own shoelaces? How'd you like that, huh? Don't answer that.

In any case, the Rev Marion Gordon Patrick Robertson, has since, as I noted above, artfully backed away from his previous excitable fulminations. Rather, Robertson, skulking ahead, has now downgraded his earlier call to murder and mayhem to mere kidnapping. Whew.
"I said our special forces should go 'take him out,' and 'take him out' could be a number of things, including kidnapping."

UPDATE: Pat is apparently working his way down the list of potential felonies he might inflict upon the elected leaders of sovereign nations. Listen to what he's saying now:

11:30 pm: "I said our special forces should go 'knock him out,' and 'knock him out' could be a number of things, including aggravated assault."

midnight: "I said our special forces should go 'burn him out,' and 'burn him out' could be a number of things, including arson."

12:20 am: "I said our special forces should go 'bugger him out,' and 'bugger him out' could be a number of things, including rape."

12:50 am: "I said our special forces should go 'bum him out,' and 'bum him out' could be a number of things, including breaking into his apartment and stealing his stereo."

No more bossa nova for you Mr. Hugo!

Jeebus Christo, huh? By 4am Mr. Pat's "special forces" will be issuing citations for the plastic lawn flamingoes in front of Chavez's mango tree. You there in Venuzuela, this is a zoning abomination. Halt in the name of special forces!

By this time tomorrow evening I fully expect the invitation to "take him out" to be fully devalued. Redressed to little more than a fashion violation - or - perhaps - something like this.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Boiled Shirt Americanism 

American Legion legionaire revisits extremist roots:
Disgruntled American Legion goosestepper Thomas Cadmus declares war on non-violent democractic declarations of dissent. At least those declarations of dissent that he finds unpleasant. By whatever means it takes:
the group's national commander called for an end to all “public protests” and “media events” against the war, constitutional protections be damned.

And there's much more -- John McKay also revisits American Legion chief Alvin Owsley's infamous roman salute to Italian fascism (circa 1930's). -- so Read all about it!... via archy: Street fighting thugs.

Another comparison comes to mind here as well. Circa 1938. Head of the American Legion's "Constitutional Defense Committee", one Charles B. Swift, was famous for announcing and organizing meetups and hootenannies and git-to-know-yas in which legionaires might mingle and cavort and generally whoop it up with like-minded fellow far right nativist and pro-fascist gracioso luminaries belonging to such notable outfits as the Silver Shirts, Christian Front, and Knights of the White Camellia.

One such mixer organized by Swift featured Silver Shirt "field marshall" T. Roy Zachary who, in May of 1938, during a joint German American Bund/Silver Shirt rally in Chicago, announced his willingness to assassinate president Roosevelt should no one else step to the plate on behalf of the home team. All of this of course eventually earned T. Roy and his fellow parade ground martial churls a front row seat at the Dies Committee hearings.

Hip hip hoo-ray for the 'W'ing-nutter way.

addendum (Comment note): Bryan, who also comments here frequently, makes the following observation at archy with respect to American Legion damn the Constitution nozzel Thomas Cadmus:
And people wonder why I refuse to join veterans organizations.

The guy who made the speech spent his two year draft commitment in a Munich beer hall. He pull[ed] basic in Kentucky and then was shipped to Germany as an Armor Recon Specialist. He was a Specialist 5th, which means he didn't even have to give orders. comment here

And I think we all know what Munich beer halls were famous for. Too bad "commander" Cadmus, apparently, does not.

And: U.S. Navy vet Bob Geiger has a message for legionaire Cadmus:
I hurt every day when I read the names of those who have been killed in Iraq. My loyalty is with them, not with you and your misguided organization, which seems to have decided that the best way to help in the war on terror is to seize the very rights we veterans have always protected and toss them in the toilet. - continued reading at: The Yellow Dog Blog


On day of impeachment Clinton was twice as popular as W 

Holy cow! Why isn't the press going bananas over this?

Oh yeah, and W is now less popular than Nixon was at the height of Watergate.

Um, why am I not hearing this trumpeted from the rooftops?


Why not?

Aaaugh, my B.S.S. is spiking again! 

I'm reading aWol's latest in Idaho:

[BUSH] There are few things in life more difficult than seeing a loved one go off to war.
(via AP)

Vivid imagination these yellow elephants have, yes?

NOTE I don't see any reporting on whether these events were tickets-only, and, if so, who doled out the tickets and who kept the blacklist (back). Not that I'm angry about it.

UPDATE Looks like alert reader Sonoma found out where the radio controls are. Here's what Inerrant Boy said next:

[BUSH CONTINUES] ".. a loved one off to war. My mother (applause) has often spoken, eloquently, of her great trial of the spirit, during my father's tour of duty overseas. It was a combat tour during another war, one that saw our nation's best and bravest assume the burden of selfless duty to God, and liberty, and country.

I sometimes reflect upon the fate of the nameless patriot who assumed my place in a later war, whose cause I so deeply supported. Surely his mother, perhaps even his wife, too, endured the same agonies of the soul as did my mother. Did he live, or die? Was his body torn, his spirit shattered? These questions have, at times, intrigued me for decades. The answers, I know now, will never come. (applause) The only certain knowledge I shall ever possess is the memory of my abject cowardice; of my dereliction of duty during wartime, even in the safe refuge that birth, wealth, and privilege had afforded me.

Yes, I stumbled, but I did not fall. And the moral imperatives conferred upon a sitting president in a time of war is absolute. (applause) The opposition party in congress themselves recognize this absolute fact. By their enduring silence, in the face of the great cause for which I have led the nation to war, my redemption has been effected. In their own hearts, they know this cause to be just. Why else have they forsworn criticizing my actions? Why else has the Democratic party, in congress assembled, unquestioningly supported my initiatives down the line? The answer, I trust, is apparent to all but those who will not see.

I testify before you today that the Lord has sustained me. In all my trials, in my weakness, and in my strength, the Lord has been my shepherd. In turn, I have sustained my people. Blessed be the Lord, our saviour." (applause)

So, what's in the bag? 

(The Idaho Statesman via The Amazin' Froomkin)

Theocracy rising: Robertson retracts his fatwa (but not really) 

AP tries to help Robertson out of a jam. Note the word "apologized" in the lead:

Religious broadcaster [sic] Pat Robertson apologized Wednesday for calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, only hours after he denied saying Chavez should be killed.

''Is it right to call for assassination?'' Robertson said. ''No, and I apologize for that statement. I spoke in frustration that we should accommodate the man who thinks the U.S. is out to kill him.''
(via AP)

A pillar of Republican theocracy, with 1 million viewers on ABC, calls for Chavez to be assassinated, and that crazy Chavez—He takes it seriously! After all, Chavez just had to listen to the clamor of the rest of the theocracy denouncing Robertson's fatwa to know—oh, that didn't happen? (back). Damn.

Anyhow, Robertson, like the good Republican that he is, is just lying again, even in his apology. He didn't call for Chavez to be killed because he was frustrated. Robertson called for Chavez to be killed because he wants Chavez's oil. Here's the original quote:

'You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war, and I don't think any oil shipments will stop.''

Right. Nice to see Robertson taking the lessons of "starting a war" in Iraq to heart, isn't it?

But let's not rely on what AP says. Let's look at what Robertson his telling his own, um, flock. Did Robertson really apologize?

Oddly, or not, the so-called Christian Broadcasting Network has nothing about Robertson's "apology" on its front page. (They are, however, doing their level best to prepare for the next war. Ater all, wars in our own hemisphere are so much easier!)

However, CBN does have Robertson's press release, if you search for it. It's really not much of an apology. Especially if you read down to the end. After quoting Bonhoeffer (!), Robertson says:

There are many who disagree with my comments, and I respect their opinions. There are others who think that stopping a dictator is the appropriate course of action. In any event, the incredible publicity surrounding my remarks has focused our government’s attention on a growing problem which has been largely ignored.

So, no apology at all, right? Surprise! AP got it wrong!

I think it's time for Robertson, the theocracy, the Republican Party, and a large slice of the Beltway Dems to take The First Step: "We admitted we were powerless over oil."

I mean, what are we going to do when the golf courses start going brown? Invade Canada for their water?

"That Thine enemies May snuff it, in Thy mercy" 

Congrefs shall make no Law respecting an establishment of religion...

(via L A Times)

By Stephanie Simon, Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — In the blue and gold elegance of the House speaker's private dining room, Jeremy Bouma bowed his head before eight young men and women who hope to one day lead the nation. He prayed that they might find wisdom in the Bible — and govern by its word.

"Holy Father, we thank you for providing us with guidance," said Bouma, who works for an influential televangelist. "Thank you, Lord, for these students. Build them up as your warriors and your ambassadors on Capitol Hill."

Nearly every Monday for six months, as many as a dozen congressional aides — many of them aspiring politicians — have gathered over takeout dinners to mine the Bible for ancient wisdom on modern policy debates about tax rates, foreign aid, education, cloning and the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

Through seminars taught by conservative college professors and devout members of Congress, the students learn that serving country means first and always serving Christ.
Okay (heavy sigh) for anyone who might read this and say "What's the big deal?" please try this exercise: Go through this and, everyplace it says "Christian", substitute in your mind the word "Muslim." Or "Mormon." Or "Flying Spaghetti Monsterism" (or its heretical offshoot known as "Pastafarianism").

Do you want adherents of any of those sects using US Government property to persuade the people who actually do the work of legislating that their first allegiance should be to their notion of the True Faith rather than the best interests of all the people?

Christ on a crutch and Buddha on a pogo stick, I want it a requirement that these people have to spend at least six months living in a country where their religion is a despised, if not illegal, minority faith. (Saudi Arabia comes to mind.) Evidently pure exercise of empathy is beyond their beautiful minds.

Everybody Loves Hugo 

Ignored in Media Matters' coverage of Batshit Pat's denial that he'd ever advocated assassinating Hugo Chavez, was the claim in the same interview by Thor Halvorssen, former Venezuelan ambassador, that Chavez had "attempted to assassinate" President Carlos Andrés Pérez" in 1992. Googling "Chavez assassinate Perez" turned up nothing to substantiate Halvorssen's apparent lie (Chavez did lead a failed coup attempt), but it did turn up this interesting pronouncement from Halvorssen's former boss:

Violence Needed Against Chavez, Venezuela Opposition Leader Says. Dictatorship Must Follow

Caracas, Venezuela. July 28, 2004 - Venezuelan opposition leader, and two time president Carlos Andres Perez, made a series of statements calling for violence and hinting at an eventual dictatorial period that the Venezuelan opposition must implement if current President Hugo Chavez is to be removed from office.

"I am working to remove Chavez [from power]. Violence will allow us to remove him. That's the only way we have," said Perez in an interview published Sunday in El Nacional, one of Venezuela's main daily newspapers.

Perez, who was speaking from Miami, denied being involved in a plot to assassinate Chávez, but said Chavez "must die like a dog, because he deserves it.
"We can't just get rid of Chavez and immediately have a democracy... we will need a transition period of two or three years to lay the foundations for a state where the rule of law prevails… a collegiate body (junta) must govern during that transition and lay the democratic foundations for the future," Perez said.

"When Chavez falls, we must shut down the National Assembly (Congress) and also the Supreme Court. All the Chavista institutions must disappear," the opposition leader added.
(via Venezuelan Analysis)

More here. Perez, we will recall, was the darling of neoliberals who wound up being impeached for rampant corruption, paving the way for Chavez's later electoral landslide. Twelve years later he's calling from US soil for the assassination of his elected successor and the reimposition of dictatorship, while an almost certainly US-backed effort to unseat him is underway in Venezuela, all without raising an eyebrow here, diplomatically or otherwise.

Chavez claims that the US wants him dead, and he's dismissed as a nut. As William Burroughs said, a paranoid is someone in possession of all the facts.

What's That Sound? 

chirp, chirp:

But other conservative Christian organizations remained silent [about Pat Robertson's call to assassinate Hugo Chavez], with leaders at the Traditional Values Coalition, the Family Research Council and the Christian Coalition saying they were too busy to comment.
(via NYT)

I guess that's because Chavez isn't a blob of cells in a petri dish or a brain-dead woman in a swing state.

UPDATE Robertson backpedals lies, says, "I didn't say 'assassinate' [false] I said 'take him out,' and I meant 'take him out' to dinner". Or words to that efffect.—Lambert

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

SCOTUS: Why have Stealthy John Roberts's papers been censored? 

Here's a buried nugget from WaPo:

Large sections of the Roberts files that have been made public have been heavily redacted with black ink.
(via WaPo)

How odd. And how very odd we're not hearing about this ...

Great headlines of our time 

"Bush Administration Distances Itself From Religious Broadcaster's Call for Assassination"

Weird, huh? What's the "religion" here? Christianity? I'm going through the Sermon on the Mount in my mind as I write this, and I'm almost certain there's nothing about assassination in it...

And now read this highly parseable non-denial denial from unindicted felon (back) Donald Rumsfeld:

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, appearing at a Pentagon news conference, said when asked: "Our department doesn't do that kind of thing. It's against the law. He's a private citizen. Private citizens say all kinds of things all the time."

Rumsfeld said he knew of no consideration ever having been given to assassinating Chavez.

"Not to my knowledge and I would think I would have knowledge," Rumsfeld said.
(via AP)

"Our department"?! Some other department, perhaps?

"Not to my knowledge"?! Sounds like Rummy's already gotten himself lawyered up...

Iraq Clusterfuck: AP seems to have used Babelfish to translate the Iraqi draft Constitution 

Yglesias has some fine examples.

Until we truly know how the text reads, only the most superficial analysis is possible, right?

NOTE I visited Hewitt's site to see what he had to say about this; he'd gotten what turned out to be a cheap link from Memeorandrum based on a content-free one-liner; how very wingerly!

So, OK, I'm incensed that the greatest of weeklies, the New Yorker, actually covered Hewitt, a well-funded cog in the Republican Noise Machine, before covering the roots, unfunded blogging scene here in, um, the Eighth Borough, home to 10 of the top 50 liberal blogs. WTF?

Iraq Clusterfuck: Bush war propaganda carved on soldiers' tombstones 

Man, every time you think these guys can't sink to a new low...

Unlike earlier wars, nearly all Arlington National Cemetery gravestones for troops killed in Iraq or Afghanistan are inscribed with the slogan-like operation names the
Pentagon selected to promote public support for the conflicts.

Families of fallen soldiers and Marines are being told they have the option to have the government-furnished headstones engraved with "Operation Enduring Freedom" or "Operation Iraqi Freedom" at no extra charge, whether they are buried in Arlington or elsewhere. A mock-up shown to many families includes the operation names.

The vast majority of military gravestones from other eras are inscribed with just the basic, required information: name, rank, military branch, date of death and, if applicable, the war and foreign country in which the person served.

Nadia and Robert McCaffrey, whose son Patrick was killed in Iraq in June 2004, said "Operation Iraqi Freedom" ended up on his government-supplied headstone in Oceanside, Calif., without family approval.

"I was a little taken aback," Robert McCaffrey said, describing his reaction when he first saw the operation name on Patrick's tombstone. "They certainly didn't ask my wife; they didn't ask me." He said Patrick's widow told him she had not been asked either.

"In one way, I feel it's taking advantage to a small degree," McCaffrey said. "Patrick did not want to be there, that is a definite fact."

The owner of the company that has been making gravestones for Arlington and other national cemeteries for nearly two decades is uncomfortable, too.

"It just seems a little brazen that that's put on stones," said Jeff Martell, owner of Granite Industries of Vermont. "It seems like it might be connected to politics."

The Pentagon in the late 1980s began selecting operation names with themes that would help generate public support for conflicts.
(via AP)

Yeah, the least they could have done was ask. But these guys aren't really into that, have you noticed?

What next? Tombstones out of those stupid made-for-TV blue backdrops Bush uses at his photo ops?

Though give 'em credit—"Operation Iraqi Freedom" looks a hell of a lot better on a tombstone than "Operation BOHICA," let alone "Operation Islamic Theocracy"...

Carving a marketing slogan onto a soldier's gravestone without even asking—the essence of modern Republicanism.

NOTE This is real belly scraping the ground stuff too (via Atrios) And we'd better not tell Santorum about it...

In Addition To What We're Not Angry About, What MJS Is Willing To Stand For 


MJS, he of MortalJive: The Rest Is Silence, left what follows in the comments thread of Lambert's last compilation of all the things we are not angry about, but I think it deserves wider distribution:
Some folks claim that Democrats don't stand for anything--this meme conjures in my mind images of townspeople griping about a knight while he holds off a dragon. Standing up to the baser, untoward and unsavory ravenous conmen of our world is a pretty good start from where I sit.

Stand up between the wage monster and the wage-earner, the wildlife slayer and the wildlife, the wilderness destroyer and what's left of the wilderness.

Stand between our lives and the cowardly war mongers, between the penis and vagina patrol and you-get-the-idea...

These straw men, these hollow men, the fake men and fake god-lover, the phony doctor and his phony crowd-whippin' diagnosis "from afar", the war merchants, the bought news stations and the bought news reporters, the dirty congress person covered in pork grease--the natural opponent of the Lord of the Flies is the liberal, the intellect, the valiant and the clear eyes of reason and decency--common decency, not some arbitrary "decency" for prudes.

Stand between me and those freaks who want to tell me what to believe, what to say, who I can make love to: this is what a proud liberal democrat can stand for, and this is what I admire in those who do (in case anybody cares).


We do care, we care very much.

In a similar vein, don't miss this "Toast To Noble Causes."

John W. Whitehead: pettifogger plagiary 

Dominionist activist lawyer John W. Whitehead steals other people's words and pretends they're his own.

See: The Right Wing Constitutional Lawyer/Plagiarist

Apparently the great and glorious Intelligent Designer failed to outfit Mr. Whitehead, for the long haul anyway, with enough original multiplying fruitfullness of his own. Hence, JWW, it would certainly appear, has been reduced to accessorizing his treatsies with entire sentences plucked from others more bountifully blessed orchards.

John W. Whitehead (Rutherford Institute) - for all of you not familiar with the Christian Reconstructionist (Dominionist) movement - is an ideological disciple of such splendent theocrat mountbanks as R.J. Rushdoony and Gary North (among other notables).

As Frederick Clarkson notes: "The Rutherford Institute was founded as a legal project of R. J. Rushdoony's Chalcedon Foundation, with Rushdoony and fellow Chalcedon director Howard Ahmanson on its original board of directors." ( see: The Public Eye Magazine, Vol. VIII, Nos. 1 & 2, March/June 1994 - Theocratic Dominionism Gains Influence )

"Thou shalt not steal" ~ Exodus 20: 15

Perhaps some charitable Christian order of some variety or another will drop one of those 4000 pound marble obelisks with the ten commandments drilled into the rind on the floor of Whitehead's office. Just as as a reminder. Kind of like a enormous inexorable posty-note from hell.


Monday, August 22, 2005

Things we are not angry about 

(New things we are NOT ANGRY about are in blue.)

We at Corrente have worked humbly and tirelessly to bring civility in American
political discourse to the next level.

So that's why, when alert reader acorn expressed his sincere surprise and distress that "you folks on this site are so full of hatred and anger," I felt acorn's distress keenly.

Readers, I was mortified.

So, in the spirit of "brighten the corner where you are," I decided to make a list of the things that we aren't angry or hateful about.

And whaddaya know? It's a very long list:

  1. We are not angry at Bush for his war of choice in Iraq.
    1. We are not angry at Bush because 2,000 Americans have died in Iraq, together with many thousands of Iraqis.
    2. We are not angry at Bush because in Iraq "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
    3. Nor are we angry at Bush because the WMDs were not found.
      1. Nor angry that the aluminum tubes story was not true.
      2. Nor angry that the drones story was not true.
      3. Nor angry that the bioweapons story was not true.
      4. Nor angry that the "yellowcake uranium" story was not true.
    4. Nor are we angry at  Colin Powell because nothing he said in his UN speech to justify the war was true.
    5. Nor are we angry at Bush for claiming that Iraq and 9/11 were connected when they were not.
    6. Nor do we hate the members of the press who enabled Bush's war of choice.
      1. Especially we do not hate Judy Miller whose WMD reportage helped Bush "fix the facts"
        1. Nor her boss, Bill Keller.
          1. Nor his boss, Arthur Sulzberger.
    7. We are not angry at Donald Rumseld because his "Revolution in Military Affairs" resulted in sending our troops into urban warfare in Iraq without proper armor.
      1. Nor do we hate Donald Rumsfeld because after three years the problem is not yet corrected.
      2. Moreover, we do not hate Donald Rumsfeld for using an automatic signature machine to sign condolence letters to the parents of dead soldiers.
      3. And furthermore, we do not hate Donald Rumsfeld for taking souvenirs from the Pentagon site on 9/11, a felony.
    8. We are not angry at Alberto Gonzales for writing memos purporting to justify torture.
      1. Nor are we angry at the higherups who set up torture camps and then let their subordinates take the blame when the truth came out.
        1. Nor do we hate the higherups who got promotions after torture occured on their watch
      2. Neither do we hate the doctors and psychiatrists who violated their Hippocratic oaths by abetting torture at Gitmo.
      3. And if the torture techniques we have spread in Iraq are ever used in this country, we promise not to get angry about it.
    9. We are not angry at the Republicans for losing $8 billion dollars meant for Iraq.
    10. We are not angry that Iraq has become what it was not before the war, a training ground for terrorists.
    11. And we promise we will not get angry if Iraq ends up as an Islamic theocracy.
      1. And we further promise not to get angry that 2,000 Americans will have died to make that happen.
    12. And we promise never to hate the members of the White House Iraq Group (Hughes, Libby, Card, Matalin, Wilkinson, and Rove), who worked together to make it all possible.
      1. Even if Bush gave them all promotions. Every single one of them.
  2. We are not angry at Bush for stealing election 2000 in Florida by using the "felon list."
    1. Nor do we hate those who helped him to do so.
      1. We do not hate Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris.
      2. We do not hate Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Bush's brother
      3. We do not hate the freepers who staged the "bourgeios riot" to intimidate the vote counters, not even Buckhead.
      4. We do not hate the majority in Bush v. Gore, not even Antonin Scalia
      5. We do not hate Al Gore for not getting all the votes counted.
    2. Nor are we angry at the Republicans for claiming a "Bush Mandate" in 2000.
    3. Neither are we are angry at the press for dropping the story.
  3. We are not angry at Bush for stealing election 2004 in Ohio by preventing Democrats from voting
    1. Nor do we hate those who helped him to do it
      1. We do not hate Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell
      2. We do not hate any Republican election official
        1. We do not hate Tom Noe and his wife, Bernadette, even though they steered contracts to Diebold for machines that left no paper trial.
        2. We do not hate the Republicans in Warren County who closed their building during the count, claiming a terrorist threat when there was no threat
      3. Nor do we hate any of the electronic voting machine manufacturers
        1. We do not hate them, even though they are all Republican contributors
      4. Nor do we hate any of the authorities that certify electronic voting machines
        1. We do not hate them, even though they too are all Republican contributors
    2. Nor are we angry at the press for refusing to cover the story.
  4. We are not angry at Bush for making all his appearances before screened audiences of Republicans only.
    1. We do not hate Bush for doing this during the campaign.
    2. We do not hate the Republicans for removing citizens who visibly did not support Bush from campaign events.
      1. We do not even hate the Republicans for removing schoolteachers and then stripsearching them.
    3. We do not hate Bush for doing the same thing during his Social Security barnstorming
      1. Nor are we angry because we, as taxpayers, must pay for events that we will never be allowed to attend.
    4. Nor are we angry because White House political operatives removed citizens from a barnstorming rally while impersonating Secret Service agents.
      1. Nor are we angry that the White House will not tell us the name of this operative.
  5. Because we consider hypocrisy the tribute that vice plays to virtue, and a natural part of the human condition, we do not hate any Republican who exhibits it, not even those put forward to us as moral exemplars
    1. We do not hate Rush Limbaugh, even though he had a 30-a-day Oxycontin habit
      1. In fact, we do not even hate Rush Limbaugh because he got his housekeeper to buy his drugs for him.
    2. We do not hate Bill Bennett, even though he had a million-dollar gambling habit.
    3. We do not hate Bill O'Reilly, even though we can't forget the word "loofah."
    4. We do not hate Newt Gingrich for handing his wife the divorce papers when she was in a hospital bed recovering from cancer.
    5. We do not hate Henry Hyde for his "youthful indiscretions."
      1. Or Robert Livingstone
        1. Or Arnold
    6. Especially we are not angry at the Republicans for spending $70 million investigating a blowjob.
    7. We do not hate war-backers who do not or have not served their country in the military
      1. We do not hate any administration official who has not served the country in the military.
        1. Above all, we do not hate Dick Cheney for having "other priorities."
      2. Nor do we hate Bush, even though his missing year in TANG has never been explained.
      3. Nor do we hate those Republican war-backers who do not ask their eligible adult children to serve.
        1. Not even Bush.
      4. Especially we do not hate Jonah Goldberg, even though he says he can't serve because he has a job and kids.
    8. We do not hate gay Republicans who back a constitutional amendment against gay marriage.
      1. Not even Ken Mehlman.
        1. Let alone "Jeff Gannon."
  6. Nor are we angry that Bush used Homeland Security as a pork barrel in the red states while leaving blue state cities unprotected against nuclear attack.
  7. We are never angry at Beltway Dems even when they are gutless and feckless.
    1. Especially we are not angry at John Kerry for taking the Swift Boat attacks lying down.
    2. Nor are we angry at John Kerry for not keeping the Ohio 2004 in the forefront of the public mind.
      1. Even though he solicited contributions for doing precisely that
    3. Nor are we angry at Tom Daschle for losing the 2002 mid-terms because he wouldn't confront Bush on the war.
    4. Nor are we angry when Joe Lieberman attacks other Democrats on FOX.
    5. Nor are we angry when the Democratic Leadership Council calls war opponents "anti-American."
      1. Not even when they don't call Republican war opponents, like Chuck Hagel, anti-American.
    6. Nor do we hate any Democrat who voted for Bush's war of choice in Iraq, not even John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, or Evan Bayh.
      1. Even though the Democratic netroots had Bush dead to rights on this one from the start.
    7. Nor are we angry at any Beltway consultant, not even eight-time-loser Washington General Robert Shrum.
  8. We do not hate Rush Limbaugh, or any Republican, or any member of Little Green Footballs, even when they call us traitors and call for our exile or summary execution.
  9. We do not hate any member of any Republican think tank, not even the Discovery Institute.
  10. We do not hate the right wing for calling political operatives "scholars."
  11. We do not hate any so-called Christian.
    1. Not the so-called Christians at the Air Force academy who called their fellow pilot a "filthy Jews."
    2. Nor Pat Robertonson, who supports assassination as a way to get rid of Hugo Chavez.
  12. We are not angry at the billionaires who funded the right.
    1. We do not hate Richard Mellon Scaife, who funded the attacks on President Clinton.
    2. We do not hate R.J. Rushdooney, who funded the Dominionists
    3. Nor do we hate Koch, Olin, Coors, or Bradley
      1. Nor the Bush Rangers and Pioneers, even though many of them are criminals
  13. We are not angry that 50 million Americans don't have health insurance.
  14. We are not angry that the No Child Left Behind Act is designed to destroy public education by requiring tests but not funding the teaching for the tests.
  15. We do not hate Doctor James Dobson, or any other theocrat, not even Reverend Moon, or Reverend Moon's backers on Capitol Hill.
  16. Nor are we angry that Bush is trying to destroy Social Security.
  17. Nor are do we hate the CEOs who make hundreds of millions of dollars while their companies fail and workers lose their jobs.
    1. In fact, we don't even hate Bush's top contributor, Enron's Ken Lay, who is not yet in jail.
      1. Even though Enron's market manipulation caused California Democrat Gray Davis to lose the governorship to a Republican.
  18. Nor are we angry that ...

NOTE I'd like to throw in the links, but it's late and I must retire to my tiny cot in the room under the stairs in The Mighty Corrente Building. And you know what? I'm going to sleep just fine...

UPDATE I forgot to say that I don't hate Karl Rove for being an Episcopalian.

UPDATE This post met with a reasonably enthusiastic response, so I thought I'd update and repost it. Maybe this bill of particulars against the malAdministration can become a permanent feature at the renovated Mighty Corrente Building (a "book," in CivicSpace parlance) that we can maintain and add to.

I also note that this is not yet a list for RDF's "cockroach people," who are probably NOT ANGRY about a lot of different things. We should add those things.

Radical Cleric Robertson Waves Red Cape 

So Atrios points us over to MediaMatters for word that, just this morning, Radical Cleric Pat Robertson quite openly and casually called for the murder of Hugo Chavez, the duly elected (twice), coup survivor (once) and landslide winner of a recall election president of Venezuela.

Now why, one might ask, if one had just recently beamed in from that newly discovered Kuyper Belt object out past Uranus, would a cleric, even a Radical one, propose such an act which is, last we checked, clearly and repeatedly forbidden by the User's Manual of the sect for which he purports to yammer?

Hmm, what else as RC Robertson been up to lately, publicity-wise? Ah, what have we here? The Richmond VA Times-Dispatch I do believe:
Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson's "age-defying" diet shake is causing quite a stir.

Robertson recently teamed up with General Nutrition Corp., a Pittsburgh-based health-food chain, to distribute the shake nationally.

That's caused at least one evangelical watchdog group to claim Robertson is abusing his nonprofit status and a scorned bodybuilder who used the shake to help lose nearly 200 pounds to threaten legal action.

Trinity Foundation, a Dallas-based religious media watchdog organization, has been critical of past Robertson pursuits, including his African gold and diamond mines and Kalo-Vita, a marketing company that sold vitamins and cosmetics.

Trinity's president, Ole Anthony, claims Robertson improperly used his tax-exempt, nonprofit ministry to market his shake on his show and CBN's Web site.

"It wouldn't exist unless it was promoted on the donor-paid-for airtime," Anthony told The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk. [snip details of other sordid acts involving a washed-up bodybuilder who thought he had an endorsement deal.]

Robertson's attorney, Louis A. Isakoff, said..."Dr. Robertson, as a private individual, certainly has the right to engage in personal business ventures," Isakoff wrote.

As for Busch, he said he won't bad-mouth the shakes.

"It tastes delicious. The bad thing is (Robertson) is a liar," [screwed-over bodybuilder Phil] Busch said. "It works tremendously, though."
Of course now everybody will be talking about Robertson's call to Assassinate a President for Jesus rather than his Screw a Trusting Viewer and Abuse Your Tax-Exempt Status problems. What, you thought Karl Rove had some kind of a patent on the wave-the-red-flag technique?

Hmm, speaking of Rove, how is ol' Ratfucking Traitor anyway? He gone home to spend more time with his family yet?

Iraq clusterfuck: Mush from the chimp 

Oh, puh-leeze:

Bush said the only acceptable outcome is "total victory over the terrorists and their hateful ideology." He did not define what [H]e meant by total victory.
(via WaPo)

I'll bet He didn't.

But the article is silly. As we all know, the only war Bush really cares about is the one against us: "Total victory" means Republican dominance over all three branches of government for a generation and the rolling back of the New Deal! Iraq, GWOT, GSAVE, or whatever they're branding it these days... War is the continuation of politics by other means, eh?

NOTE The headline is in honor of the Boston Glob's famous headline about Jimmy Carter..

Alpo Accounts: Just because Bush screwed the pooch doesn't mean the Republicans aren't still trying to fuck us 

As usual, the Beltway Dems didn't hammer home the fact that we beat Bush and won the first battle on Social Security. So now we're going to have to climb the mountain all over again.

And pray God no bills ever come to the floor. Because if a Social Security "reform" [gag] bill ever reaches a conference committee, Republican abuse of power will mean that the entire program is doomed.

[Rove is] planning Bush's fall agenda, which will include a renewed push for Social Security overhaul.
(via WaPo)

The Republicans just never stop, do they? They're like zombies, always marching forward...
Je repete:

The Democrats have a plan. It's called "Social Security."

The Republicans have a plan. It's called "hand your guaranteed retirement over to our campaign contributors from Wall Street."

Iraq clusterfuck: Was an Islamic Republic the "noble cause" for which Casey Sheehan died? 

Apparently so:

The draft also stipulates that Iraq is an Islamic state and that no law can contradict the principles of Islam, Shiite and Kurdish negotiators said. Opponents have charged that last provision would subject Iraqis to religious edicts by individual clerics.
(via AP)

Well, our theocrats should like this, right? At least in principle. There is the little matter of basing a Constitution on the Koran instead of the Bible, of course...

Whoops, wrong God!

Science for Republicans: Americans easily distracted by bright, shiny objects 

As if the Republicans didn't know that... Heck, the numberless cadres of The Department of Changing the Subject operate on that very principle. Still, the science is interesting:

Asians and North Americans See the World in Different Ways

Shown a photograph, North American students of European background paid more attention to the object in the foreground of a scene, while students from China spent more time studying the background and taking in the whole scene, according to University of Michigan researchers.

Nisbett illustrated this with a test asking Japanese and Americans to look at pictures of underwater scenes and report what they saw.

The Americans would go straight for the brightest or most rapidly moving object, he said, such as three trout swimming. The Japanese were more likely to say they saw a stream, the water was green, there were rocks on the bottom and then mention the fish.

The Japanese gave 60 percent more information on the background and twice as much about the relationship between background and foreground objects as Americans, Nisbett said.
(via AP)

Ultimately, I have a lot of faith in the American people's ability to cut through the crap—except for the ones who have really drunk the Kool-Aid; for them, nothing short of deprogramming will do. Remember that Clinton's ratings were never higher than during the attempted coup by the House Republicans during Whitewater. You can't fool all of the people all of the time, and Bush has been kept afloat only by the exceptional viciousness of his political team, a spirit of rally round the flag, and the fecklessness of the Beltway Dems.

That said, I think a lot of the issues we face in communicating our message come from this foreground/background thing. 9/11, for example, has been a "bright, shiny object" dangled to hypnotic effect by Rove for quite some time. However, material like the Downing Street Memo—"the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy"—is background material, contextual. The Downing Street Memo gives the lie to everything Bush has said or done since the twin towers fell, but it's not the fish; it's the moving stream.

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" He's in the background...

Monday Morning Fruitbowl Roundup 

Over at Yellow Doggerel Democrat, Steve Bates picks up the story on those murderous WalMart employees who held a suspected shoplifter on the blistering sidewalk at a Texas store until he died:
"...one of the Wal-Mart employees had Driver in a choke hold as other employees pinned his body to the ground.
"He was begging, 'Please, I'm burning, let me up,' " Portz said of Driver. "He'd push himself up off the blacktop, like he was doing a push-up.
"About 30 people were saying, 'Let him up, it's too hot,' " Portz said. He said another employee brought a rug for Driver to lie on, but one of those holding Driver said he was fine where he was. "After about five minutes, (Driver) said, 'I'm dying, I can't breathe, call an ambulance,' " Portz said.
Employees struggled with Driver before he was handcuffed, Martin said.
"There was a struggle, and when they finally succeeded after getting him detained in handcuffs, he continued to struggle," Martin said.
After Driver was handcuffed, Portz said one employee had his knee on the man's neck and others were putting pressure on his back.
"Finally the guy stopped moving" and the employees got off him, Portz said. "They wouldn't call an ambulance.
"I looked at him and said, 'Hey, he's not breathing,' but one guy told me (Driver) was just on drugs. I told them his fingernails were all gray, and finally they called an ambulance." "
perfume So tell me...was it the low wages, the shitty working conditions, the management inequities, that drove them to it? Or do you think these people were all just born so dumb and mean? Don't worry, Bentonville...Andy Stern's dream may yet come true, and you and your minions will reap your rewards.

Meanwhile, the story Xan pointed to yesterday on the Pittsburgh protesters is getting some legs.

And Clear Channel does its masters' bidding over in Salt Lake City, pulling down the curtain on Cindy Sheehan's right to be heard.

And Iraq continues to devolve into a nightmare of Vietnam-ish proportion with blinding speed, and some Democrats start to get the idea that maybe they were lied to. Smells like...victory!

Yes, it's a brand new day, and as Lambert pointed out in his excellent post just below, we are not angry about any of it.

Because we here at Corrente have access to the best Canadian drugs, and you can't tell the outrages apart without a chemical lobotomy.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Vote for Cindy Sheehan 

Here, too (Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville, NC).

Iraq clusterfuck: Hagel gives the Beltway Dems cover 

Apparently, only a Republican can say the unsayable. And get SCLM coverage, that is:

"We're past that stage now because now we are locked into a bogged-down problem not unsimilar, dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam," Hagel said. "The longer we stay, the more problems we're going to have."

Allen said that unlike the communist-guided North Vietnamese who fought the U.S., the insurgents in Iraq have no guiding political philosophy or organization. Still, Hagel argued, the similarities are growing.

"What I think the White House does not yet understand - and some of my colleagues - the dam has broke on this policy,," Hagel said. "The longer we stay there, the more similarities (to Vietnam) are going to come together."
(via AP)

Hillary? Evan? Joe? All you "responsible" Beltway Dems? Perhaps you need to reconsider your carefully crafted positions? And to think of all that money you threw away on consultants....

Here's a Republican saying the best way to support the troops is to bring them home—better get on the bandwagon before it's too late!

Sounds of Silence, Sounds of Lies 

So I'm over at MSNBC looking for something else entirely, and I run across this item, which is datelined from Pittsburgh, PA:
Two women protesting the war in Iraq were taken to a hospital Saturday after police broke up an unauthorized march involving about five dozen people on a busy one-way street near an Army recruiting station.

Sgt. Clint Winkler, a supervisor on duty, told The Associated Press that one woman who would not leave was subdued with a Taser. He also confirmed that a police dog bit another woman on the leg when she refused police orders to disperse. Both women and a man involved in the march were arrested, Winkler said.

“They were told to disperse, peacefully disperse, and failed to do so, so we started down the sidewalk — officers in front, K-9’s behind us, and started pushing the crowd down the sidewalk,” Winkler said. He said the march broke up after the arrests.

The recruiting station was not open at the time.
Now we will momentarily overlook the Abu Graib/Gitmo-style use of force--TASERS AND POLICE DOGS FOR GOD's SAKE--against what are said to be some 60 people with the temerity to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances, outside an office that wasn't even open, goddamit. But this is a wire service/AP report of an incident. Let's first see how the local media covered this event:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Go. Look. Seek. You will find...


Not one single word on the front page of their website about this event, as of 11:11 AM CDT anyway.

I was originally going to rant about the papers that ran the headline "Patriotic Camp Counters Peace Mom Protest" but apparently the AP already caught a good deal of shit about this and changed "Patriotic" to "War Backers." (Not everybody got with the program, ex. front page of Atlanta Journal-Constitution) You get the feeling there's a fight going on at the wheel of the Titanic?

NOTE: Edited to put the damn "h" on Pittsburgh, which should have been removed way back when they took the "h's" off all the other "burg" towns, dammit.

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