The Sideshow

Archive for August 2006

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Thursday, 31 August 2006

What I saw this morning

The Democrats are actually responding appropriately to Rumsfeld's equation of the administration's critics with appeasers of the Nazis. John Amato has Pelosi on MSNBC, and better still, Keith Olbermann's rebuttal to Rumsfeld, and it is a glorious thing. "And yet he can stand up, in public, and question the morality and the intellect of those of us who dare ask just for the receipt for the Emporer's New Clothes. In what country was Mr. Rumsfeld raised? As a child, of whose heroism did he read? On what side of the battle for freedom did he dream one day to fight? With what country has he confused the United States of America?" (Begala is less elegant but still spot on when he says Rumsfeld "sounded like a batty old man.")

It's on the Intertubes: Wouldn't you know it, the most likely suspect did indeed turn out to be the Mystery Senator who put the "secret hold" on the "porkbuster" bill: Ted Stevens, the "Bridge to Nowhere" guy.

A condensed version of an article by former secretary of the Navy (under Reagan) John Lehman appears as an op-ed in this morning's WaPo saying, "We're Not Winning This War." Except, then it says things like, "The Bush administration deserves much credit for the fact that, despite determined efforts to carry them out, there have been no successful Islamist attacks within the United States since Sept. 11, 2001." Is that true? I'm not so sure. I found a few inarguably correct sentences in the article, but they are interspersed with some humdingers, and there are some glaring omissions. The guy even appears to think that, with some "significant changes of policy", we can still win. I don't even know what "win" means, anymore.

Still stunned from finding out last night that Mike Malloy was fired from AAR: We are as shocked as you are, especially since as recently as last Tuesday we were told we had the go-ahead to announce our return to NY airwaves and that our contract was "on the way." We are told its a financial decision. More details to follow as we hear them ourselves.

13:05 BST

A little night linkage

"Mexican Court: Everything was nice and legalish."

Lambert remembers another fine moment in "maverick" straight-talking heroism: "McCain dressed supporters in Confederate uniforms. In the year 2000. WTF?"

About that Canadian funding of Republicans.... (Thanks to Ahistoricality* for the tip.) And more on the slush fund at CorrenteWire.

"The Warrant's Out On Judges" - Aziz Huq and James Sample on the attacks on Judge Taylor and other judges who don't do what the far-right wants.

Faithful Progressive says, "Poverty in Post-Katrina America: Just Keeps Getting Worse Under Bush."

Palast has a bunch of "Katrina One Year After" stuff up.

I don't know anything about this blog but apparently Yahoo and Google disapprove.

For those who are interested, the Home Office Consultation docs on "extreme pornography" can be downloaded here. (I didn't realize that there is a .pdf conversion tool.)

02:06 BST

Wednesday, 30 August 2006


I'm told we were good on Sky News. I'm glad I had an excuse to get out of the house on such a beautiful night, anyway. (I'm also tickled to learn that Fox News' ratings are sinking while CNN and MSNBC are both going up.)

So, what's been going on while I was roaming around?

23:53 BST

More stuff

Harold Meyerson in The Washington Post, in "Devaluing Labor", says his colleagues are missing the point when they defend Wal-Mart:

The young may be understandably incredulous, but the Great Compression, as economists call it, was the single most important social fact in our country in the decades after World War II. From 1947 through 1973, American productivity rose by a whopping 104 percent, and median family income rose by the very same 104 percent. More Americans bought homes and new cars and sent their kids to college than ever before. In ways more difficult to quantify, the mass prosperity fostered a generosity of spirit: The civil rights revolution and the Marshall Plan both emanated from an America in which most people were imbued with a sense of economic security.

That America is as dead as the dodo. Ours is the age of the Great Upward Redistribution. The median hourly wage for Americans has declined by 2 percent since 2003, though productivity has been rising handsomely. Last year, according to figures released just yesterday by the Census Bureau, wages for men declined by 1.8 percent and for women by 1.3 percent.

And while Wal-Mart isn't the only culprit, it plays a very big role in the declining standard of working in America.

Also in the WaPo, Kathleen Peratis discusses a diversionary attack on Human Rights Watch which accuses them of "bias" and compares them with Nazis for documenting human rights violations by Israel in its attacks on Lebanon.

Michael Brown, the man who ended up carrying the can for the administration's negligent homicide in New Orleans, has been making the rounds apologizing for lying on the administration's behalf during the first weeks of the continuing disaster. But by doing so, he's made the whole White House-talking-point approach to policy a news point. Will the media absorb this, now that it's been put into words in public? Probably not, unless we do something about it. You might want to save that piece of transcript John Amato has posted and include it the next time you write to the media to complain about press stenography. (Meanwhile, Jack Cafferty says Katrina may be viewed "as the defining moment in Bush's presidency.")

Sorry, I've been a little busy, we're having another stupid censorship eruption around here again. Might be on Sky News later.

18:16 BST

Fraudulent petitioners win in court

This is via Rachel, who did a great show today and I heartily recommend you give it a listen if you didn't have the chance earlier (stream and download links are top of this page). The story has the relatively uninformative headline, "Anti-Affirmative Action Proposal OK'd," but that doesn't even hint at how outrageous this really is

DETROIT -- A federal judge on Tuesday allowed an anti-affirmative action proposal to go before Michigan voters despite agreeing that it won a place on the November ballot through widespread fraud.
Opponents said the advocacy group misrepresented the referendum's ultimate aims while petitioning to put the issue on the ballot. The group submitted more than 508,000 voter petition signatures, far more than the 317,517 required by state law. The ballot wording approved by the state elections director twice refers to a ban on "affirmative action," a phrase that did not appear on the group's petition.
Short form: A group formed calling itself "the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative" and collected signatures on "a civil rights petition". Nothing on the papers informed signers that the initiative was for an anti-Affirmative Action proposal. The judge agrees that this was fraud but allows the proposal onto the ballot anyway despite the fact that it is not the proposal petition-signers were led to believe they were supporting.

14:50 BST

What's goin' on

Bill Scher tells us What We Know About PlameGate and reminds us that it is now 1,147 days since Karl Rove violated his security clearance agreement by discussing Plame's identity with reporters, "without the White House taking the necessary 'corrective action'."

"If there's no water" - While some of us in coastal regions and on islands worry about rising sea levels, tsunamis, and floods, Thoughts from Kansas considers the other problem: This summer, Kansas streams had "less volume of water than at any time since records have been kept," including the Dust Bowl years, said Steve Adams, natural resource coordinator for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. TfK says that, "The legislature has taken some good steps... But the real solution has to be a change in the way water is allocated and used." Via a linky post at Daai Tou Laam Diary.

It looks like Vladimir Putin has learned from the DLC, according to a WaPo article saying, Opposition Party Looks To Be a Putin Creation: The powerful and pro-Kremlin United Russia party has a new opponent -- one, however, that bears all the marks of a Kremlin creation.

The WaPo has a profile on how right-wing fabricator David Bossie is trying to be the wrong wing's Michael Moore. The article does mention that, "Bossie was fired as an investigator for the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee after overseeing the release of recordings of Hillary Rodham Clinton's phone conversations with Whitewater figure Webster L. Hubbell. The tapes were edited to create the impression that Clinton was involved in billing irregularities at the Arkansas law firm where she and Hubbell worked." In the third graf, no less. [Update: Charles points out in comments that they confused Bossie doctoring the Hubbell tapes with Greenfield doctoring the Clinton tape.]

More rumors that Labour is thinking about getting rid of Blair. Trouble is, no one wants to rally around Brown, and who else have they got? And there's this idea that going after Blair "would damage Brown". I see. So, nothing to be done, eh? I guess all that spending on spin has worked out really well for Tony.

The NYT says. "Women Suddenly Scarce Among Justices' Clerks: Just under 50 percent of new law school graduates in 2005 were women. Yet women account for only 7 of the 37 law clerkships for the new term, the first time the number has been in the single digits since 1994.

"US is in control of at least two regions infested by terrorists" - Charles at Mercury Rising locates the world's biggest terrorists.

Is there anything Republicans won't lie about? - I guess the news that First lied when he renewed his medical license puts him one up on all the Bush administration types who don't even bother to keep their papers straight and often practice without a license.

"Bankrollers of Swiftboat Vets and McCain Smear in Trouble With the Feds": Sen. Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who launched the investigation, said the Wylys "participated in a 13-year scam and scheme to circumvent U.S. tax, securities and anti-money laundering requirements."

12:47 BST

To dance beneath the diamond sky

Huh. The NYT had a headline article yesterday called "Details Emerge in British Terror Case," but if I click on that link I won't get it, because it's been suppressed in the UK, Gary Farber informs me. (He's right, I just get a message saying, "On advice of legal counsel, this article is unavailable to readers of in Britain. This arises from the requirement in British law that prohibits publication of prejudicial information about the defendants prior to trial.") Gary also links to some kind soul who set up a Blogger page for the original article, and to Bruce Schneier's comments on the article.

From jurassicpork: Apologists for the administration will doubtless claim that blame for the lack of progress rests not with Mr. Bush, but with the inherent inefficiency of government bureaucracies. Thats the great thing about being an antigovernment conservative: even when you fail at the task of governing, you can claim vindication for your ideology. (Also: Guitar. Seriously.)

Time Managing Editor: "The Internet has made us rethink the very premise of the newsmagazine." "You know, if Briton Hadden and Henry Luce were coming up with a newsmagazine today, it would probably be electronic only from the start."

Kevin Maroney has prepared a handy chart of historical dumbness. (via)

Cameron Scott at Mother Jones on Bushs Get-Out-Of-Court-Free Card - If the government claims it can't respond to your lawsuit because of "state secrets", well, they're probably just lying.

Progressive Blog Digest is amazingly linky.

At The Left Coaster, paradox asks, "What Happened to Us?" (I blame Clinton and his pals.)

The Cup O' Joe Double-Nothing Tax Switch Challenge - Think your taxes are too high?

The incredible simple Republican campaign plan.

Sam Seder says, "Thank you."

Wonderbra ad.

No one expects the fannish admonition

Architecture that "follows the logic of cancer."

00:17 BST

Tuesday, 29 August 2006

Hot news

"Finally, there's a focused and innovative national campaign against Republican voter suppression, voter intimidation, and voter fraud: Secretary of State (SOS) Project," says Glenn Smith at MyDD. And yes, it sure seems like something that should have started immediately after Katherine Harris' partisan tricks as Secretary of State in Florida. It should not be possible to put the head of a candidate's local campaign in charge of running the election, but this is what's going on in our country, and it shows.

The SoS campaign will allow us to contribute to candidates who will fight these undemocratic forces. How often do we talk to discouraged progressive voters who back away from participation because they believe the elections are rigged by suppression, or by voting machines that provide no auditable paper trail? Well, now we can tell them there's a national effort aimed precisely at that problem.
"Military lawyers see limits on trial input" is Charlie Savage's Boston Globepiece from Sunday: Despite assuring Congress that career military lawyers are helping design new trials for accused terrorists, the Bush administration has limited their input on their key request, that any tribunals must give detainees the right to see the evidence against them, officials said. [...] Instead, new guidelines are being drafted by Bush-appointed attorneys in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. They met just once with a working group of military lawyers on July 28, following up with e-mail exchanges that stopped after the first week of August, according to officials.

Via Rachel's blog, a WaPo article about a Lockheed Martin engineer who couldn't get his boss to pay attention, had no luck as a whistle-blower, and finally made this YouTube video saying, "It may be very hard for you to believe that our government and the largest defense contractor in the world [are] capable of such alarming incompetence and can make ethical compromises as glaring as what I am going to describe."

This is the list of Senators and how they have (or haven't) responded to queries about whether they are responsible for the "secret hold" on The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (S. 2590). At last count there are about 40 who either had not yet been asked, or confirmed, or who had refused to respond. You might want to give their offices a ring, particularly if you are a constituent of one of those Senators. (Don't shrug it off just because you're sure your Senator wouldn't do that; it's useful to get them all on the record.)

Quote: "When any of the victims complain, of course, the Republicans--with too many plutocratic Democrats cheering on the sidelines--complain about "class warfare." What happens when ordinary Americans figure out who declared this war?"

14:22 BST

Cursor chronicles the disdainful king's accomplishments

I'm often tempted to do this, but this time I just can't resist. Cursor doesn't have permalinks to this stuff and I want to preserve this series of paragraphs for all eternity:

A year after Katrina, Paul Krugman finds that "In America as in Iraq, reconstruction delayed is reconstruction denied," and the WSWS describes "a national humiliation without parallel in the history of the United States." Plus: 'Brown says White House wanted him to lie.'

As President Bush makes a 'Return to the Scene of the Crime,' to fight for his image, Frank Rich quotes historian Douglas Brinkley as saying that "the crucial point is that the inaction is deliberate....The last blue state in the Old South is turning into a red state."

Among the experts who say that critical U.S. infrastructure is 'coming apart at the seams,' is one Homeland Security analyst who warns that the U.S. risks becoming "the modern-day equivalent of the walled medieval city that responds to the arrival of the Black Death by widening the moat."

The New York Times reports that "wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation's gross domestic product since the government began recording the data in 1947, while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share since the 1960s."

Chronicling 'Bush's Disdainful Presidency,' Robert Parry writes that degrading treament of other people has been "a recurring part of Bush's persona dating back at least to his days as an 'enforcer' on his father's presidential campaigns."

People often remark that they can't imagine how I manage to read so many blogs. Cursor is the site that makes me wonder, "How is this possible?"

01:40 BST

A thousand points of dark

I am always happy to see anyone shredding the stupid straw men about how either (a) Arabs don't have a culture of democracy and that's why "democracy" isn't working out in Iraq or (b) people who suggest that "democracy" isn't working out in Iraq are just racists. But look, what's in Iraq isn't democracy, and if you want to give them a Jeffersonian democracy you have to have a government of laws - and since we didn't let them set up a real judiciary anyway, that's not gonna happen, is it? (For all we know about democracy....)

Gary Farber wants America back. So do I. Lord, so do I.

Riverbend says some good-byes: For me, June marked the first month I don't dare leave the house without a hijab, or headscarf.

There are a number of problems with racial profiling, but this one should be obvious.

Dan thinks this is funny, but it just makes me want to swear.

I guess that "macaca" thing gave Jim Webb name recognition that Miller just couldn't manage.

Good god, Wolcott appears to have actually been reading the Pajamas Media thing.

Natasha is thinking like a blogger about illegal speech after learning of the man who was arrested for rebroadcasting a Hizbollah station.

I see it's the end of science, again. (You know, the "Islamofascists" started out this way, don't you?)

"Hold Them Responsible" - Full-Figured Body Politic proposes some ads.

"Propaganda or Mental Defect?" - AltHippo explains the real reason why the left hates Wal-Mart.

Uggabugga has re-posted the contemporary Katrina timeline Quiddity did at the time. And egalia remembers.

00:01 BST

Monday, 28 August 2006

It takes all kinds

Here's something amusing going on in the Sluethosphere:

Just before the August recess, the Senate was set to vote on a bill co-sponsored by Sens. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) that would create a public, searchable database of all federal grants and contracts. Envisioned as a Google-like website, it would provide free, immediate access the information, which can be alarmingly difficult to obtain.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously passed the measure July 27th, and S.2590 seemed to be speeding on its way to full Senate passage when, in the dark of night, an unknown Senator placed a "secret hold" on the bill. According to Senate rules, the bill will never come to a vote as long as the hold continues.

So who's the culprit?

Now, Paul Kiel has been keeping a running tally of Senators' responses to queries from the public. In theory, they have to answer the question - and most are doing so with a firm "No." Which makes sense, since we're talking about only one mysterious Senator. However, in a few cases, we have offices where the answer is more along the lines of, "I don't know, but I don't think so." The search continues....

Ever wonder how many civilian casualties are acceptable? (And if Katherine Harris says that "God chooses our leaders," does that mean she thinks she's God?)

Via Atrios, we are happy to be told by Pam Spaulding that Ken Blackwell is tanking in the polls - but then, we also remember that last year's ballots were more than a bit questionable, and we think we know who to blame, too. Does it actually matter how people in Ohio actually vote?

And in Mexico, the worst possible outcome of all: The electoral court has dismissed all of the complaints filed in the recent election.

Ezra has a response to Mallaby on Wal-Mart to jump to a discussion of Wal-Mart's massive influence on the service sector.

I left the response to John McWhorter's lame defense of Andy Young and George Felix Allen to abler hands - Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog has that covered.

PZ Myers actually watched Darwin's Deadly Legacy.

22:09 BST

In which the WaPo depresses me again

I see the WaPo is having another Lie for the Corporate Thieves day, with Sebastian Mallaby giving us another attack on Democrats for criticizing Wal-Mart:

Once upon a time, smart Democrats defended globalization, open trade and the companies that thrive within this system. They were wary of tethering themselves to an anti-trade labor movement that represents a dwindling fraction of the electorate.
And they lost the electorate. So pathetic has this policy set been that voters couldn't see a difference between Enron and the Democratic Party.
How can supposedly centrist Democrats defend this betrayal of their principles?
Whose principles? Just because a flash-in-the-pan group of neocons in Dems' clothing hawked this crap, we're supposed to betray our other principles? What about the working Americans who have been losing consistently since the DLC became "The Democratic Party"?

The rest of this article is pretty incoherent. And then there's an op-ed from Bob Kerrey and Warren Rudman talking about all of the economic problems we are about to have that, strangely, echo that same old neocon crap about "entitlements". Kerrey and Rudman won't tell you that the "entitlements" are the one thing that is actually paid for. Ordinary working people pay for it and are entitled to its fruits. What's costing us money - and certainly not paying for itself - is the neocon program of making war on the entire world (with mercenaries!), allowing our cities to be attacked and flooded, and paying triple-premium prices to no-bid contractors who aren't even obliged to deliver.

Well, you know something? I'm not gonna trust anyone who looks at our dwindling resources and blames Social Security rather than the New Model Mafia we have ripping us off.

I suppose it's nice that there's also an op-ed from Dick Thornburgh (yes, him) and Richard Celeste advocating paper trails for ballots as a "back-up" against machine "errors" that might occur (hahaha) in the next election. Of course, this carefully-written article has one major problem with it above all others: It's appearing way too late to do any good.

On the other hand, this is wonderful: Ricky Lee Jones singing "Have You Had Enough?" - via Atrios.

17:53 BST

Last night's notes

"U.S. Journalist Charged In Sudan With Spying, 'Writing False News'": Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago Tribune correspondent Paul Salopek was charged with espionage, passing information illegally and writing "false news" today in a Sudanese court.

LGF Watch on faked photos and hypocrisy on the right, via Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns and Money, who also notes some exciting fun with delusion from the ever-popular Instahack himself.

I'm sorry, Stephen Elliot is a jerk if he thinks that Joe Lieberman's sudden interest in making public appearances in Connecticut has nothing to do with campaigning. Lieberman wouldn't even be in Connecticut if he wasn't campaigning. And when he shows up at public appearances where he is pretending to support popular programs with Republicans, then yes, he is campaigning with Republicans, and Jane Hamsher is right to say so.

President Gore is in Edinburgh and he says cash for TV commercials is "the only thing that matters in American politics now... The person who has the most money to run the most ads usually wins."

Ranting woman of the day: Debsweb

We got Spike Jones on the box. (Thanks to Dominic.)

14:18 BST

Why bother?

At Scoop, "Congressional Election Nullified - Nobody Noticed" - The story so far is that Brian Bilbray flew to DC and got sworn in well before the results of his special election race against Francine Busby were certified. You'll recall that his alleged victory was not only razor-thin, but also highly questionable. There are still those who don't buy it, and not without good reason. But Dennis Hastert swore Bilbray in on 13 June, though the election was still being audited more than two weeks later, after which an election contest was filed.

So, why are we bringing this up now, when everyone has already forgotten about it? Well, how about this:

On July 31, 2006, the Contestants filed an election contest, seeking a hand recount and to invalidate the election on several grounds, not only including the affirmative evidence of irregular results, but also including the stonewalling of citizen information requests and the pricing of recounts at an estimated $150,000 that made it difficult or impossible for any citizen to tell who won the election.

On August 22, 2006 the defendants moved to dismiss, arguing that the swearing in of Bilbray deprives everyone else of jurisdiction including specifically the San Diego Superior Court because Art. I, sec. 5 of the US Constitution has been held to mean that the House and Senate are the judges of the Qualifications of their Members, one of those qualifications is supposed to be "election."

So what we're hearing is that, because Bilbray rushed to Washington and was sworn in illegally, that invalidates any challenge to what may have been a completely false result, and thus no one can question that result, review the ballots, or anything else to verify the election. (So, how far are we from Republicans who lose elections simply flying to DC, getting illegally sworn in, and...?)

I'd really like to know why just about no one is paying attention to this. Have we already given up on that whole "election" thing? (via)

01:07 BST

Sunday, 27 August 2006

Another fine mess

 Beneath Perfect Basics double moulded braBra of the Week - Gosh, it's actually reasonably priced and kinda sweet. You know, I think I want one.

So, in case you haven't guessed, I have not gone to Worldcon. I stopped going to Worldcons a long time ago. So I'll still be sitting here blogging, even though most of my readers have run off to LA.

Thank you, Lt. Ehren Watada, for refusing to participate in an illegal war, even though you know it means you are almost certainly going to prison.

"How Do You Like Your 16th-Century Monarchy?" Matt O. correctly notes that it is not "modernizing" an army to start loading it up with mercenaries - as Machiavelli could tell you.

When Bush says, "I'm responsible for the federal government,: Lambert says, "No, you're not," and provides useful quotes from sources such as James Madison to help out.

But Bush seems to be ready to go it alone on this Iran thing - not just without the Security Council, but even without Congress. So we now have the prospect of the Executive Branch making war on half the world, by itself, even though the Constitution strictly prohibits any branch but Congress from being "the decider" on whether we go to war. Nice. And with so many members of Bush's fan club available and eagerly cheerleading for nuclear annihilation, we're not wandering in the realm of the impossible, here. You truly can't put anything past them.

(Meanwhile, the weather is strange, but probably not this strange.)

The George Felix Allen "macaca" apology blog, via Elayne Riggs.

Bill Maher says it's time we sever our ties with science, because it's our right as Americans never to have to learn anything.

14:42 BST

Freest country in the world

So, do you think some nice country will start providing safe haven when someone becomes a stateless person? Because it looks like this may be the fate of American citizens who decline to waive their Constitutional rights:

2 Lodi residents refused entry back into U.S.

The federal government has barred two relatives of a Lodi man convicted of supporting terrorists from returning to the country after a lengthy stay in Pakistan, placing the U.S. citizens in an extraordinary legal limbo.

Muhammad Ismail, a 45-year-old naturalized citizen born in Pakistan, and his 18-year-old son, Jaber Ismail, who was born in the United States, have not been charged with a crime.
Federal authorities said Friday that the men, both Lodi residents, would not be allowed back into the country unless they agreed to FBI interrogations in Pakistan.
The father and son were forced to pay for a flight back to Islamabad because they were on the government's "no-fly" list, Mass said. Muhammad Ismail's wife, teenage daughter and younger son, who were not on the list, continued on to the United States.
"We haven't heard about this happening -- U.S. citizens being refused the right to return from abroad without any charges or any basis," said Mass, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union.
Mass said Jaber Ismail had answered questions during an FBI interrogation at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad soon after he was forced back to Pakistan. She said the teenager had run afoul of the FBI when he declined to be interviewed again without a lawyer and refused to take a lie-detector test.

"They want to come home and have an absolute right to come home," said Mass, who has filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security and a petition with the Transportation Security Administration.

"They can't be compelled to waive their constitutional rights under threat of banishment," Mass said. "The government is conditioning the return to their home on cooperation with law enforcement."

Meanwhile, about that exciting terror plot that shut down Heathrow a while back: "Pakistanis find no evidence against 'terror mastermind'." Yes, that's right, "The Briton alleged to be the 'mastermind' behind the airline terror plot could be innocent of any significant involvement, sources close to the investigation claim."
But after two weeks of interrogation, an inch-by-inch search of his house and analysis of his home computer, officials are now saying that his extradition is 'a way down the track' if it happens at all.

It comes amid wider suspicions that the plot may not have been as serious, or as far advanced, as the authorities initially claimed.

Analysts suspect Pakistani authorities exaggerated Rauf's role to appear 'tough on terrorism' and impress Britain and America.

This is the kind of crap right-wing bed-wetters are willing to give up their rights for. Well, sorry, but I'm not.

12:25 BST

Saturday, 26 August 2006

The mirror crack'd from side to side

Via Thomas Nephew's Newsrack, an article that I wish was dated 1946 instead of 2006, "Black students ordered to give up seats to whites": Nine black children attending Red River Elementary School were directed last week to the back of the school bus by a white driver who designated the front seats for white children. Thomas also picks up on that Wal-Mart issue and discusses those anti-trust laws I alluded to. Interesting, Wal-Mart's own CEO appears to be all for anti-trust actions - when they are aimed at Tesco. Whenever a firm nears a 30 percent share of any market, Scott said, "there is a point where government is compelled to intervene." Too right.

Did I mention that you can watch the Frontline episode on Dick Cheney's seizure of power on 9/11 online? "The Dark Side".

Jamison Foser's weekly "Media Matters" column examines the contrast between coverage of the Lewinsky story as compared with the NSA story and describes the neglect of stories of national significance while the focus is kept on trivialities: This week, CNN aired a two-hour program about Osama bin Laden that didn't bother to mention a recent revelation that bin Laden escaped in the mountains of Afghanistan in November 2001 only after President Bush was personally warned that bin Laden would do so unless more U.S. troops were sent to get him rather than leaving the job to Pakistani and Afghan forces. No, but we had to hear the same non-news about JonBenet over and over and over.

Good Nonsense on Robert Reich: I'll just say that he is the perfect example of Beltway savants who don't understand how sick our democracy is and how it needs not a bandaid but a thorough cleansing of the toxins left by 40-50 years of authoritarian influence and power-grabbing. Reich's "advice" to Dems should they capture a house in 2006 is exactly the battleplan they followed after McCarthy, after Nixon, and after Reagan/BushI and Iran-Contra. And because the Dems failed to make the case that those people inflicted crippling wounds on our democracy and historical legacy, the Repubs came back into power each time further and further along in their quest to institute one-party authoritarian rule.

The Demoprotestant has a post and a seven minute video introducing the the beginnings of the NASCO Supercorridor and the Trans-Texas Corridor . Fact-esque says, "Nothing Good Has Come from NAFTA and I Blame Bill Clinton, Stupid Triangulating DLC Jerk," and invites you to learn more about why we should be organizing opposition to this thing.

18:25 BST

The only thing we have to fear

Schneier on Security, "What the Terrorists Want:

The point of terrorism is to cause terror, sometimes to further a political goal and sometimes out of sheer hatred. The people terrorists kill are not the targets; they are collateral damage. And blowing up planes, trains, markets or buses is not the goal; those are just tactics. The real targets of terrorism are the rest of us: the billions of us who are not killed but are terrorized because of the killing. The real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the act.

And we're doing exactly what the terrorists want.

Let's put that a little more precisely:

The Republicans are doing exactly what the terrorists want.

So the best way to fight terrorism is to be diligent, do proper police work, and don't be terrorized.

But the Republicans are diverting all of the resources we should be using to protect our own country into their Crusade against the Arab/Muslim world. They're not only creating more reasons for others to want to hurt us, but making us helpless in the face of any retaliation that might come as a result. And not only are they taking our defenses away, but they're encouraging us to cower in the dark.

So don't be terrorized. Demand that our lawmakers stop voting money into the hands of an unaccountable government, and then find other things to do instead of wasting duct tape on your windows. You could, for example, watch these instead:

C&L has a Howlin' Wolf clip I've never seen before - neat! And there's more!

I suppose I should have guessed that the video for Nine Inch Nails' "Closer" would be some sort of Bosch-in-leather thing.

13:44 BST

Be here now

The zombie movie was funny and gratifying and not really scary, but now Joe Dante and Sam Hamm are doing a story that's truly a gut-churner - Alli Sheldon's "The Screwfly Solution". UnderGroundOnline has a feature about it that includes interviews with Dante and two of the actors, Elliot Gould and Jason Priestley.

I keep meaning to mention this post from Daily Kos that Atrios linked the other day, with video of Howard Dean on Hardball with Tweety and The Situation Room with Blitzer, and Nancy Pelosi with Letterman, in which they all perform rather well and drove a few trucks through some GOP talking points.

LTC Bob Bateman wants to have a conspiracy against TV news.

In Defense of War Photographers - Greg Mitchell discusses the politically-driven attacks on photographers who risk their lives in war zones, at Editor & Publisher.

The best part of this is learning that The Simpsons are one of the two main causes of the breakdown of the American family.

USA Flooded With 290 Million Illegal Immigrants.

Have a look at The Backbone Campaign - I rather like the Chain Gang concept. And I see Maxine Waters is the latest recipient of their Backbone Award. Oh, and you can get a bumper sticker, too.

Oh, look, there's a new site for my favorite President, DC 4 Al Gore.

02:33 BST

Friday, 25 August 2006

Tell it like it is

Another re-run being linked by right-wingers is this crap about how western feminists are uninterested in condemning Islamic extremism. Of course, we do - all the time - but no one listens. We condemned Bush for leaving Afghan women high and dry after bombing Kabul, where the Taliban is now having a resurgence. We condemned the neocon plan to invade Iraq, thus unleashing extremist Islam in what had been a secular country. And we don't like the way Bush's policies have interrupted what had been a gradual weakening of extremism in Iran. Not one thing Bush-Cheney has done in the Middle-East has improved the lot of women, and in Iraq they have made things dramatically worse. The last thing the Islamic world's women need is more of this kind of help.

Over at Media Matters I see that the media is still covering up for Bush letting Osama go at Tora Bora, as well as covering up McCain's crooked talk. But C&L lets us know that it's not like that on, of all places, Hannity & Colmes, where, when Ann Coulter claims that things are going "swimmingly" in Afghanistan, she gets told off big-time and Kirsten Powers asks why Bush let Osama get away. I'm amazed they let two people on that show at the same time who could hand Coulter her hat. And what does she do? She complains to Sean that these people are being mean. And Democratic strategist Michael Brown even mentions that Homeland Security means looking out for people like Timothy McVeigh! Wow! Not sure how it happened but I wanna see more of that.

I just noticed a blog in my referrers called A Newer World. You might want to have a look at "President Bush is No Originalist and "Hold Republicans Accountable for Iraq".

Note to Monkeyfister: I only wish you were the last person in the country to notice that the United States helped create the modern "jihadis". It's fairly well known in the liberal blogosphere, but remarkably underreported.

17:26 BST

Word salad

I understood that Tony Blair was going to be a horrible Prime Minister as soon as I heard that he had gone to Australia for an audience with Rupert Murdoch. He has actually exceeded my expectations, but all that business about how, "We're all Thatcherites now," was a bit of a giveaway. And now we have Hillary Clinton arm-in-arm with Murdoch, and what message are we to take from this? David Sirota says the hostile takeover of our government "runs far deeper than we ever imagined, in a far more bipartisan way than we wanted to admit." Via Robert Greenwald, who also wants you to pre-order the DVD of his movie Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers.

Robert Farley has a post at Lawyers, Guns and Money that hits a remarkable number of my hobby-horses - idiots at TNR, the weirdness of the obsession with JonBenet (simultaneous with the refusal to acknowledge the many, many children who are abused and killed by their family members every year), the focus on punishing alleged abusers rather than actually doing things that protect children - and branding as "pedophiles" anyone who speaks up against this insanity. (via)

Paul Waldman says Democrats must start saying it - "Republicans Help Terrorists: So Democrats need to say just that: When Bush invaded Iraq, he answered Osama bin Ladens prayers, and everyone who thinks the war was a good idea has al-Qaidas gratitude. Furthermore, if a Republican wins the White House in 2008, bin Laden and Zawahiri will be popping the champagne. Don't imply it, say it: Republicans help terrorists.

Digby gave us a lovely word for the third party we are dealing with: Replieberman.

13:53 BST



The last time I visited the Washington Times building, the people upstairs handed me a pamphlet for a mysterious Rev. Moon event to be held at the paper's ballroom. Headlined "Needed: A New Paradigm For News," it suggested a new world in which journalists should de-emphasize "facts" and become "guide dogs, not watch dogs."
And the thing is, when the Messiah tells his people what he wants from them, they try to give it to him.

A part of me thinks this paragraph should be used as a .sig file for letters we send to members of the corporate media when we complain about "truthiness" in their reporting.

01:43 BST

Thursday, 24 August 2006

A few things

The LAT had an editorial yesterday in which they attacked the Democrats for attacking Wal-Mart. "Most Americans do not want their politicians ganging up on one company," they said, although I'm not sure what evidence they have for that view.

In fact, the ability of the government to gang up on one company is written into our laws precisely because Americans did indeed see a need for exactly that.

The editorial continues with some DLC-ish scare-mongering:

The gusto with which even moderate Democrats are bashing Wal-Mart is bound to backfire. Not only does it take the party back to the pre-Clinton era, when Democrats were perceived as reflexively anti-business, it manages to make Democrats seem like out-of-touch elitists to the millions of Americans who work and shop at Wal-Mart.
Right, because all businesses are exactly like Wal-Mart, objecting to Wal-Mart's practices is "anti-business". You could just as easily say the same about the Mafia - they are, after all, a business. But not all businesses are quite the same, and being against the Mafia, or loan sharks, or Wal-Mart, is not the same thing as being anti-business.

At TPM, Matt Yglesias makes a couple of good points about the way the right-wingers - and now even Bush - are referring to the various Muslim groups who oppose us as "Islamic fascists". One is that, "'Fascist,' in this context, just roughly means 'bad'." The other is that by lumping those groups together they not only blur the differences between them but do the opposite of dividing and conquering: Nevertheless, they are different things. And the essence of sound strategy has long been to look at potentially hostile actors and try to divide them. To decide what your top priority is and focus on it. The "Islamofascism" rhetoric is part of a continuing campaign to do the reverse.

Susie says it's a bad idea to take advice from Forbes - about marriage or anything else.

17:33 BST

Balls in the air

A gratifying read: Matt Taibbi notes that the DLC types are taking the low road, right alongside the Republicans, when Rahm Emanuel answers the question, "Are bloggers too powerful?" with, "Do I think they're important? Yes. Do I think the [bloggers] and Al Sharpton alone are the future of the Democratic Party? No! Welcome in, contribute, but it's about winning in November and moving the country forward, not about a firing squad in a circle." Taibbi can see where this is coming from, and asks, "How is it that these people have avoided being pitchforked to death for this long?"

The Heretik alerts me to the latest from the one and only Richard Posner, who has this brilliant idea that we don't need judges because we could have this thing called "rules" that could offer Bush some guidelines on how to issue warrants. This guy is a judge, remember. Imagine him not knowing that we have "rules", and rules that have force are called "laws", and they only work if you have judges - but they have to be judges who believe in the law.

Katrina Vanden Heuvel, noting on Monday that, "The latest Time magazine poll has Al Gore at 41%, right behind Hillary Clinton at 46 percent," says that numbers like that make it seem more possible that Gore could win - if he ran. But Eric Alterman looked at the same poll and observed that Hillary's "negatives are so high with independents and that Edwards' negatives are so low with everyone" that he already has the "electability" case covered. He thinks Gore could wipe out his own negatives if he ran, but at this moment, both Al and Hillary don't look good in that department.

Tom Schaller at Tapped compares Bush and Gore as educators of the public - well, you already know who wins that one. But what Schaller doesn't know is that Gore did make the environment a part of his 2000 campaign - the press just didn't bother to report that. As a commenter notes, they had other things to talk about.

"Back when IBM had balls" - Ah, yes, my first love.

11:48 BST

Media notes

Yes!!! Seder, whose "Majority Report" was promoted this week to the midmorning slot -- 9 a.m. to noon -- on more than 70 stations across the country, including New York and Los Angeles. Not only are they keeping Sam, but that's Springer's time slot. (via)

Congress voted billions of dollars to rebuild New Orleans, but not a single house has been rebuilt as yet. There was supposed to be money to rescue small businesses, but they deliberately delayed payment until the small businesses were out of business. Not that it's any surprise that the administration has failed to deliver on Bush's promises and the money seems to be going into the wrong pockets. Katrina turned out to be just another way for BushCo to scam more money from the taxpayers. And now they even have a fake "real person" go to the White House so Bush can look good after pulling off such a fraud - and the media falls for it. (And Ava made a video.)

Everyone got happy when Paul Hackett handled Tweety and they both handled Republican candidate Van Taylor on Hardball.

Here's a misleading headline: "Bob Dylan Says Modern Music Is Worthless." Well, no, he didn't say that at all. The quotations they have suggest he is complaining about the quality of the recording technology. "Even these songs probably sounded ten times better in the studio when we recorded 'em." (via)

Meet the press - and divulge classified information to them. There appear to be more new reasons to believe that Armitage was the point-man on the Plame project. But I guess that's not big news, is it? But I remember that Novak said that two senior White House officials gave him the info - so who was the other one?

Bill Maher says, "Why Not Impeachment?": But if this decision stands, and this program is unlawful and unconstitutional, federal law expressly makes the ordering of surveillance under the program a federal felony. That would mean that the president could be guilty of no fewer than 30 felonies while in office. Moreover, it is not only illegal for a president to order such surveillance, it is illegal for other government officials to carry out such an order. And that means Alberto Gonzalez could be tried, convicted, and deported. (I had to hit the pause button and wait for the whole vid to finish loading before watching it, but you can read the article in the meantime.)

I always thought "Because" was a pretty song, and Mike Smith was a pretty guy. (I didn't realize he'd started looking a little bit like Tony Head before the accident that put a stop to his performing career.)

00:50 BST

Wednesday, 23 August 2006

Lots to read

Kevin Drum has three good posts up today so far and I recommend them all. The first is about how in Israel, in contrast to a certain other country, people want to hold the government to account for its failed attack on Lebanon. The second is short but notes the chutzpah of George Bush for saying, "There must be consequences if people thumb their nose at the United Nations Security Council, and we will work with people in the Security Council to achieve that objective." And the third provides food for thought about whether even pulling out of Iraq is even harder now than it was a year ago.

Scoobie Davis has learned of some push polling for Kenneth Blackwell (against Ted Strickland) in Ohio.

Max discusses controversy over the inequality Krugman raised in his previous column. And Krugman's new one is up at the Progressive American, "Tax Farmers, Mercenaries and Viceroys": Yesterday The New York Times reported that the Internal Revenue Service would outsource collection of unpaid back taxes to private debt collectors, who would receive a share of the proceeds. It's an awful idea.

I like this headline from Eugene Robinson's column yesterday: "President on Another Planet": As for George Bush, what on earth is on his mind? Even conservatives have begun openly assessing the president's intellect, especially its impermeability to new information. [...] It's tempting to go there, but I'm not sure we'd get very far. While we have the president on the couch, I'm more interested in trying to understand his emotional response -- or lack of response -- to the chaos he has spawned.

Kyle at PFAW on Hitler as Darwin's Love Child - The latest talking point from the right against evolutionary theory.

I see Buzzflash is offering The Angry Right: Why Conservatives Keep Getting It Wrong by S.T. Joshi as one of its fundraising offers. (There's a review on that page.) They're also linking "A corporate takeover of American borders" from The Baltimore Sun.

Xymphora suggests, "It must be frightening to be an Israeli now," and also says: By the way, the test of good faith in reading anything on this issue is whether an attempt is made to claim that the Israeli attack on Lebanese civilians was an act of self-defense. If you see even a hint of 'self-defense', the writer is incapable of understanding that it is not acceptable to slaughter civilians and destroy an entire country in retaliation for the capture of two soldiers...

Rittenhouse Review introduces us to another witty right-wing woman.

18:18 BST

From the notebook

In The Nation, Norman Birnbaum asks, "Is Israel Good for the Jews?: Is it the supreme duty of American Jews to use our considerable influence to align US policy with that of Israel? There is, the Jewish organizations tell us, no conflict of loyalties and responsibilities; the two nations have common values and common ends. The assertion is nonsensical, but its repetition does negate one stereotype about Jews, our supposed intelligence.

Kathy at Liberty Street is not buying the latest attack on Judge Taylor from the right - a phony "conflict of interest" drummed up by Judicial Watch.

Kathy also discusses the Silence on the Right About Pat Buchanan's Racism in his new book in which he views with alarm the increasing number of funny-colored people in the United States. And Atrios calls our attention to a piece at Media Matters on how Buchanan's racism is now an acceptable feature in the corporate media.

I've been feeling too down-hearted about it to discuss it, but here's a linky post on Katrina-related matters.

On the other hand, I laughed out loud at the discovery that GlaxoSmithKline is adding a health warning to Dexadrine. No, really. Dexadrine. Only, oh, maybe 35 years or so after everyone else noticed. (via)

Kathy Flake is very interested in the Tesla. (And last week Metro had a 60 Second Interview with Chris Paine, director of Who Killed The Electric Car?.)

14:55 BST

Sleepy blogging

Bill Clinton's op-ed in the NYT is called "How We Ended Welfare, Together" - and makes it sound like the Republicans during his administration were holding hands across the aisle and singing "We are stardust, we are golden..." and working together with the President to pass legislation meant to help people. As Ezra reminds us, this is just a bit revisionist. (And read the first comment, from someone who actually remembers the government being shut down during Clinton's presidency because Newt Gingrich was playing games - and that doesn't count the fact that, oh, yes, they impeached the President for nothin'.) Via Atrios.

"You Get the Timothy Leary You Deserve" - Susie Bright has been reading about Dr. Tim.

Pam Spaulding discovers The family values of fundie Randall Terry.

"Beyond the Event Horizon, or Why News Sucks" - Weldon Berger discusses the national state of amnesia brought to you by your corporate media.

Arianna on "Hillary Clinton: TIME Cover Girl, a Profile in Followership ": With the latest poll showing 61 percent of Americans now oppose the war, who wants to make a wager on how many months after Jack Murtha called for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq will it be before Hillary, acting on the advice of her throng of consultants, courageously stakes her political future on the call for our troops to come home?

I probably saw this at the time but I didn't remember it. (And, Mr. Sideshow pointed out, the singer looks a bit like a young - and tall and slim - Charles Shar Murray.)

Bérubé has more evidence that some people didn't evolve.

You know, I don't think I'd want to eat here.

The Rude One watched Bush's press conference. Oh, boy.

Get your war on ... No, not that one!

03:16 BST

Tuesday, 22 August 2006

The landscape

Susie says you should read Glenn Greenwald's "Rules of polite Washington discourse," and you should. He explains "why there is so much desire to focus on the "quality" of Judge Taylor's written opinion while all but ignoring the fact that a federal court just declared that the President of the United States has been repeatedly violating federal criminal laws, and still is." This is Constitutional Crisis writ way, way large, folks, and the rats nest will be pretty hard to untangle if the decision is upheld. But then, it will be even worse if it isn't.

So, the principal weapon in the war of terror seems to be advancing racism. It is not "politically correct" to object to this. However, decent, civilized people must object. (By the way, Rachel Maddow has been pointing out that the language has changed again: insurgents in Iraq are no longer being captured, they are being "arrested". There are a lot of interesting things about that....)

Jonathan Schwarz (of) on Politicians' Middle-Class Delusions: The day before the Connecticut primary, Joe Lieberman was getting down with the folks in a restaurant in Southington, a small town near Hartford. As the American Prospect reported, a longtime state employee named Paola Roy told Lieberman she felt the middle class has been forgotten by the federal government. Lieberman responded that he shared her concerns, and for good reason: "I came out of the middle class," he said, "and, being a senator, I haven't gone much beyond the middle class." [...] Could anything better sum up the way American politicians seem to have relocated en masse to a new planet, and forgotten how things are back on Earth?

Skippy reviews Sorkin's new show about a comedy show and its writers as follows: but, apparently, nbc's slogan this season is, "when it comes to comedy, nbc knows drama!" No, I think it's Sorkin - his liberals weren't liberal, either.

Last night I was over at Making Light and clicked on the particle that said, "Anyanka has a blog!" Yes, that clever plastic disguise doesn't hide it. Anyway, I couldn't help but feel she deserved it when I read this, even though I don't think Mr. Swift truly understands the problem, which is Ex-fatgirl Syndrome.

13:51 BST

Some more links

"Slamming The Golden Door": We've been discussing corporate governance lately, and nothing can make that more of a reality than to lose the Internet to a metering, pay-for-play system. It would completely kill sites like The Left Coaster and cost users not only billions of additional dollars at a time when the cost of everything else is going up while wages go down - it could also cost us our nation.

George Lakoff talks to The Talking Dog about 9/11, how the Democrats have failed to nurture their own networks, and other things.

"A Proportionate Response" - Kathy Kelly and Beirut and a cab driver.

"Patriot Acts: Let's see. A frightened mob selects a couple victims, accuses them of being would-be criminals without any evidence whatsoever, forcibly robs them of the cost of transcontinental airfare, and threatens anyone (pilots and airline personnel) that questions either their verdict or their right to exact "justice." There's only one word for this. It's vigilantism, pure and simple. It's no different than any other kind of lynch mob. And it is beneath the dignity of a civilized society.

This made me laugh but you might find it obscure. Don't read the Lileks post he's talking about - I tried and all I found out was that, impossibly, he seems to have gotten even worse.

I should make an important typo so I'll get some comments. (And Helga, where have you gone?) oh, damn, my left shift key has packed up.

03:10 BST

Monday, 21 August 2006

Assorted links

"And I believe our appeals will be upheld." (Does that mean the fix is in?) Watch this little video clip of Bush responding to the NSA decision to see him lose it halfway through. v (via)

Missed this last week - Has Bush v. Gore Become the Case That Must Not Be Named? At a law school Supreme Court conference that I attended last fall, there was a panel on "The Rehnquist Court." No one mentioned Bush v. Gore, the most historic case of William Rehnquist's time as chief justice, and during the Q. and A. no one asked about it. When I asked a prominent law professor about this strange omission, he told me he had been invited to participate in another Rehnquist retrospective, and was told in advance that Bush v. Gore would not be discussed. NPR did a show about this over the weekend.

Dave Johnson says a sort of "political YouTube for 'citizen journalists'" is launching at The People Choose 2006 and you should go so it, although, being new, there isn't much content, yet.

You might want to check out Frank Rich's article from the weekend, Five Years After 9/11, Fear Finally Strikes Out: As the election campaign quickens, genuine nightmares may well usurp the last gasps of Rovian fear-based politics. It's hard to ignore the tragic reality that American troops are caught in the cross-fire of a sectarian bloodbath escalating daily, that botched American policy has strengthened Iran and Hezbollah and undermined Israel, and that our Department of Homeland Security is as ill-equipped now to prevent explosives (liquid or otherwise) in cargo as it was on 9/11. For those who've presided over this debacle and must face the voters in November, this is far scarier stuff than a foiled terrorist cell, nasty bloggers and Ned Lamont combined.

Don't you ever try to tell me American medicine is better than the NHS. (And there's a delightful denouement from "Anonymous" in the comments.)

Via Atrios, Tom Tomorrow on Taking Terror Seriously.

Do-It-Yourself Impeachment...

20:21 BST

Running government like a business

Yeah, but like it's someone else's business. The IRS has announced that it's going to outsource collections from people who owe less than $25K in back taxes:

The move, an initiative of the Bush administration, represents the first step in a broader plan to outsource the collection of smaller tax debts to private companies over time. Although I.R.S. officials acknowledge that this will be much more expensive than doing it internally, they say that Congress has forced their hand by refusing to let them hire more revenue officers, who could pull in a lot of easy-to-collect money.
More expensive? Oh, just a little:
The private debt collection program is expected to bring in $1.4 billion over 10 years, with the collection agencies keeping about $330 million of that, or 22 to 24 cents on the dollar.

By hiring more revenue officers, the I.R.S. could collect more than $9 billion each year and spend only $296 million - or about three cents on the dollar - to do so, Charles O. Rossotti, the computer systems entrepreneur who was commissioner from 1997 to 2002, told Congress four years ago.

So, let's see, we pay about eight times as much to get about a tenth of the income? Do I have that right? Do I need to rant some more about privatization?

15:40 BST

Too little, too late

 Valisere Kir Royal underwired braBra of the Week

A decade too late: TEN YEARS AGO today, one of the most controversial news articles of the 1990s quietly appeared on the front page of the San Jose Mercury News. Titled "Dark Alliance," the headline ran beneath the provocative image of a man smoking crack - superimposed on the official seal of the CIA. [...] What followed was one of the most bizarre, unseemly and ultimately tragic scandals in the annals of American journalism, one in which top news organizations closed ranks to debunk claims Webb never made, ridicule assertions that turned out to be true and ignore corroborating evidence when it came to light. The whole shameful cycle was repeated when Webb committed suicide in December 2004. The story still tries to blame Webb for the unforgivable behavior of The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times, but at least the LAT finally admitted Webb was attacked for a claim he never made, that his story was true, and that his treatment by our leading newspapers was outrageous. Via Kevin Drum, who also links to the 1998 Mother Jones stories on this, here and here. A commenter reminds us that the same had nearly happened to a newbie Senator named John Kerry 20 years ago when he "stood almost alone in the U.S. Senate demanding answers about the emerging evidence that CIA-backed Contras were filling their coffers by collaborating with drug traffickers then flooding U.S. borders with cocaine from South America." I've linked before to Norman Solomon's 1997 paper about Webb's story, "Snow Job".

Does anyone know what's happened to Sterling Newberry's Blogging of the President site? It seems to have disappeared.

Athenae: So that's maybe the worst of it. Pundits and politicians taken in by Bush's blather would have to admit they wanted to feel good about themselves more than they wanted 2,500 American soldiers to live. Not exactly a catchy campaign slogan, is it? (via)

"Protester Shot with Rubber Bullets Shows Police Disconnect, Brutality": Elizabeth Ritter was shot four times with rubber bullets by police while she was protesting a Free Trade Summit in Miami, August 10. This horrifying example truly shows the disconnect between police and the citizens they pose as protecting and serving.

George Harrison performing "Absolutely Sweet Marie"

11:59 BST

Books and pictures

Rumpole to defend terrorist suspect: John Mortimer says Britain's leaders are "selling out to fascism" He told the Edinburgh International Book Festival, "They've cancelled the Magna Carta, they've stopped trial by juries, and removed the presumption of innocence just because the terrorists are around, which is a certain way of changing our life - which is what the terrorists want to do." And that's what Rumpole's latest case is about.

At the end of his review of Julie Phillips' James Tiptree, Jr. - The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, "Alice's Alias", Dave Itzkoff writes: "Still, I don't completely agree with Phillips's conclusion that Sheldon's fiction can no longer offer 'the same shock that readers had when they first found out and had to go back and re-evaluate every word of Tiptree's they had read.'" So do I; I never had to re-read her work with this new knowledge in mind, because it was a conclusion I'd already reached: James Tiptree, Jr. was a woman. I'd suspected it when I read "Your Haploid Heart", but in spite of what some people seem to think, it was clear to me that "The Women Men Don't See" is a woman's story, as is "The Girl Who Was Plugged In." There were other clues, but I found them well after I read those stories and had already started saying I found it difficult to believe a man had written them. By the time I saw her letters in fanzines I had become even more sure, since Tiptree obviously had been employed by the DOD and probably the Agency. It just didn't seem possible that a man with Tip's history could have written those stories. So it really wasn't much of a shock to me so much as a vindication after being told that I couldn't possibly be right. But since the great revelation seemed to ruin being Tiptree for Alli, I could have waited another decade or two for that. (via)

I've seen Shadow Company, now, and it's probably worth watching if you want to get an idea of what mercenaries do and how they perceive themselves. It's remarkably dispassionate and doesn't really take a point of view, mostly leaving it up to the viewer to decide whether to feel sympathy for them or not.

Did you know the Beatles made an alternate video for "Hello Goodbye" wearing their street clothes?

Beautiful fractal

02:30 BST

Sunday, 20 August 2006


I could almost believe that Paul Krugman reads The Sideshow because of its insightful understanding of how money works - he keeps coming around to my point of view. On Friday, in "Wages, Wealth and Politics", he finally said what he wouldn't say before:

Recently, Henry Paulson, the U.S. Treasury secretary, acknowledged that economic inequality is rising in America. In a break with previous administration pronouncements, he also conceded that this might be cause for concern.

But he quickly reverted to form, falsely implying that rising inequality is mainly a story about rising wages for the highly educated. And he argued that nothing can be done about this trend, that "it is simply an economic reality, and it is neither fair nor useful to blame any political party."

History suggests otherwise."

History has always suggested otherwise, in fact, but it's not so long ago that Krugman was among the many who refused to credit the Clinton administration with having anything to do with the improved economic picture of the time. (Mind you, I'm not saying what Clinton did was all good by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I think a lot of it ranged from short-sighted to deplorable, and quite a bit of it set us up to be vulnerable under Bush's far more extreme push into oligarchy. For that matter, Bill Clinton is not the member of his administration who I think can really take credit for the good parts of the economy in the '90s - that honor goes to the guy who made the Internet into such a vast and important industry: Al Gore. But Clinton's willingness to rein in costs and earn us more money certainly helped a lot.)

However, as Krugman notes, there weren't any real gains for working people in general under Clinton, who was working against an increasingly conservative Congress during a period when anti-worker propaganda had been gaining ground. It's unclear what Al Gore, as he was then, would have done to prevent things from getting worse, but Gore's openness to technological problem-solving and his interest in alternative energy programs might have generated new industry that would have helped us rebuild our economic base.

But we never got to see that future, because Bush-Cheney took control instead, and consolidated the oligarchy's gains against ordinary people. Putting their ideology into practice, they have devastated our economy. It does matter who is in power.

Paul Krugman is smart and knowledgeable and has demonstrated that he can learn, but we have a lot of people who clearly cannot. Good Nonsense, citing a post by Billmon that takes off from another by Kevin Drum, alerts us to a discussion of this phenomenon with regard to how people make up imaginary reasons why bubbles - in this case, the housing bubble - don't mean what they obviously mean. Kevin notes a cycle based on the five stages of grief: deny that we're in a bubble, admit it's a bubble but pretend it doesn't matter because "the fundamentals of the market have changed in the past decade," fantasize that "we'll navigate a soft landing," admit that something bad is happening and call for something to be done, and then finally pretend that all the ordinary people who may have been conned by this Pollyanna-ish talk needed to be taught not to be so over-optimistic. But, as we have seen time and again, these same pundits will go into optimistic overdrive over the next big thing, once again advising us that there can never be a crash because it's all different now, and then when their projections prove false, blame the rest of us for having (they claim) believed such an unrealistic thing.

Sometimes I think they must do it on purpose: Their claims about the wonderful, Everything Has Changed-type economic miracle-of-the-moment make no sense, so people get the idea that economics is way over their heads and don't bother to follow it. Then when some moron claims that the economy can never go bad again because It's All Different Now, their alarm bells don't go off, because they figure it's just too complicated for them to understand. (I guess it's kind of like our foreign policy, then.)

In the article cited above, Krugman says he thinks people are starting to see the light about how corporatist ideology is beating them up. Maybe they are, I don't know, but that doesn't mean the punditocracy won't be there to keep trying to sell us dried water.

16:29 BST

It happened this week

A friend sends mail saying: The Sunlight Foundation (a group working to control earmarks) took an appropriation bill (Labor and HHS) and plotted the location of 1753 (out of 1810 total) earmarks that are contained in the bill. This is just one bill, with earmarks of ~$500 million. So now you can see which local facilities are getting earmarks. Their goal is for people to call their local congress-critters and see if they were responsible. This is all pretty depressing. Just randomly looking at these; I find very few which I think are appropriate for federal support and even fewer which could justify being an earmarked expenditure. And I'm a good solid liberal who does not oppose government spending when appropriate.

Media Bloodhound discusses the importance of the fact that CNN's Chuck Roberts apologized personally - and substantively - to Ned Lamont on the air for suggesting that "some" might call him "the al Qaeda candidate" - and how progressives made it happen. "But there's another vital component, at least as important, that led to Roberts' apology. And that's CNN's receptivity to this criticism." MB hopes this is a sign that maybe this signals a turning point.

Regular readers of The Sideshow know that one of the many conservative idiocies that make me livid is the abstinence-only sex miseducation program that has been polluting our nation's schools. It continues to astonish me that there aren't more people screaming about this, since the results are bound to be obvious. This week, many people applauded when the Canton, Ohio school board cancelled the program after 13% of one school's female population became pregnant in a single year - but since that is a predicted result, we should be wondering why more haven't cancelled it, too.

Faithful Progressive, reading books about the disastrous course of Bush's war of terror, discusses the rejection by national security experts of the Bush/Cheney/Lieberman view.

Oooh, look at this really neat picture Lucy took.

13:28 BST


I was just over at Maru's joint where I found a pointer to some inspirational posters and a reminder to see what Tild~ has been up to, and one of the things I found there was this post advising me to scroll down on this page and play with the little slide arrow a bit for some amusin' morphin'.

At Feministing there's a nostalgic little video of The Girl, the Body and 1960s Propaganda about the Pill.

And Patrick tipped me earlier to George Harrison on Rutland Weekend Television.

02:03 BST

Saturday, 19 August 2006

Stuff I saw

"Certainly, if we can imagine a group of jihadists smuggling the necessary chemicals and equipment on board, and cooking up TATP in the lavatory, then we've passed from the realm of action blockbusters to that of situation comedy," says The Register in an article explaining that the Liquid Terror in Your Make-Up Bag scenario doesn't make much sense. Read Teresa's round-up on the subject, then follow with Digby's "Duelling Pageants" on the parallel political campaigns we can expect to see this season.

The Washington Post is maintaining a political ads database called Mixed Messages where you can watch ads from everybody about everything, indexed by candidate/organization, by state, by party, by type of race, by issue, etc.

American Blackout "chronicles the recurring patterns of voter disenfranchisement witnessed from 2000 to 2004. Told through the life of Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney who took an active role investigating the scrubbing of the Florida voter roles and then found herself in her own election debacle after publicly questioning the Bush Administration about the terrorist attacks of 9-11. American Blackout travels from Florida to Georgia to Ohio examining the contemporary tactics used to control our democratic process and silence political dissent."

Oh, this is good - Custer Battles is get off the hook for fraud and theft because of the structure of payment, giving them a license to steal.

Deep Blade has a couple of smashing shots from Munsinger & Clemens Gardens (more, please!). (Also: James Zogby explains to Alan Dershowitz how he has met the enemy.)

Hsin-Hsien waterfalls in China

My fascination with raindrops on roses continues....

18:51 BST

All webbed up

IAVA has an action alert out to stop Congress from slashing funds for treatment of vets who have sustained Traumatic Brain Injury, the leading injury to those fighting in the current, um, engagements.

MahaBarb has been reading the right-wing reaction to the NSA spying decision and makes this realization: Let's get this straight: A federal judge rules that the executive branch is violating a law passed by Congress, and this guy wants Congress to overrule the judge so that the president can continue to ignore Congress. And not only that, but the Constitution supports terrorism.

Via Atrios, Matt Stoller says that a progressive primary challenger in Maryland's 4th just got a shot in the arm that makes her competitive. You might want to help her out.

Atrios also recommends this clever mock-up of what right-wingers see when they read The New York Times - mouseover each bit to get your right-wing decoding.

Note to self: Should make a list of all the really stupid reasons for staying in Iraq; don't forget to add, "if we withdraw, the enemy will follow us home." Someone needs to ask Bush why our being in Iraq stops them from coming over, anyway. It's not like they have to fight our soldiers if what they really want is to hit our "homeland".

One of the things that's been kind of exciting this campaign season is that we've had a few candidates we could actually support, rather than the usual hold-your-nose-and-vote-against-the-Republican situation. And then, there's Casey, who always comes up with new reasons not to like him. (BTW, I know where you can get an even better T-shirt.)

At The Left Coaster, pessimist on When The Rules Change.

Mary at Pacific Views reminds us that Targeting Civilians is Terrorism... and it's not going to be our victory.

Nivea threat.

U.S. Constitution arrested for aiding and abetting terrorists.

13:43 BST

Friday, 18 August 2006

People are talking

Anonymous Liberal thinks Judge Anna Diggs Taylor missed the mark with a hasty opinion in the illegal NSA spying program case, and this could come back to bite us later. But I don't think the same concerns were behind the WaPo's slam of Diggs, which reads more like excuse-making for that criminal in the White House they are always trying to cover for..

Lou Dobbs covered the recent report on Ohio voting machines. "The report found the machine's four sources of vote totals, individual ballots, paper trail summary, election archives, and the memory cards, did not all match up. The totals were all different." Transcript and video at The Brad Blog.

At Blah3, "FL "Christian military academy" goes underground" - I swear, child abuse is the Christianist family value.

TBogg notes that the fearbloggers think us liberal types "don't take terrorism seriously" because, unlike them, we didn't wet our pants when Bush made Tony Blair fake-up another terror alert for him. And No More Mister Nice Blog is irate when any old drunk can get three doctors thrown off a plane because one of them is funny-colored. And Muslim-only lines at the airport don't please Dr. Limerick.

Andy Young - well, I warned you about him, didn't I? Yeah, we remember what he once was, but that was a long time ago.

23:33 BST

Campaign season

Bill Scher says that what a new poll shows is that Lamont's focus "needs to be on winning over independent voters, not on getting Lieberman to drop out." He says Lamont beat Leiberman in the primary on the issues, and that's how to win the primary:

The questions to put before the voters are:

1. Did Lieberman's desire to work across the aisle get us a plan for energy independence?

Or did it give more of our taxpayer money to fossil fuel companies?

2. Did Lieberman's unwillingness to filibuster get us moderate, independent judges?

Or did it get us Sam Alito?

3. Did Lieberman's morality and principles save Terri Schiavo from government meddling in private medical decisions?

Or did he try to leave the tube in against her wishes?

4. Did Lieberman's bipartisanship look out for those in fiscal crisis due to medial emergencies?

Or did he help pass the bankruptcy bill that left them at the mercy of the credit card companies?

5. Did Lieberman's closeness to the Bush Administration bring sanity to our foreign policy?

Or did he help shepherd one of the biggest foreign policy blunders in our nation's history?

Independent voters like the idea of bipartisanship not for bipartisanship's sake, but because they want good results.

Lieberman's warped version of bipartisanship has consistently led to bad results.

The issues are on Lamont's side. Use them.

Republicans, of course, are campaigning the way they've done for the last five years - fear, war on terra, fear, war on tourism, fear, etc. "Charlie's Two Minute Hate" is probably the most concise summing up of the Heathrow Debacle, which, it turns out, we don't even have reason to believe involved much of a plot at all. So when the administration takes credit for it, they're right, but it's nothing anyone should want to take credit for. (And, below it, this reminder.)

20:56 BST

Blogging for love

"The area of the circle of the barrel of a gun": The Third Geneva Convention forbids the inhumane treatment of prisoners of war. This treaty was signed by nearly everybody -- more than 120 nations -- including the United States, whose ratification of it made it legally binding in this country. [...] You're not allowed to torture another human being. You're not allowed to kill civilians. Whether you like it or not.

Via Mike's Blog Round Up at C&L, another link for another chance to watch The Power of Nightmares if you haven't seen it yet. Genuinely must-see documentary.

Back home at Unqualified Offerings, Jim Henley picks up on the libertarian litmus test.

While attacking the liberal side of the blogosphere as crazy, far-left, "extreme", and even "blogofascists", the corporate media has had love affairs with right-wing blogs that really do spend most of their time in fascistic, genocidal, eliminationist rhetoric aimed at liberals, Arabs, Muslims, and the corporate media itself. Eric Boehlert on "Little Green Footballs, Staged War Photos, and the Story the Press Won't Tell."

"People can work masterpireces with empty cans" (Their typo, not mine.)

Blogs to check out today: Newsfare, Miblog Weighs a Ton, The Psychotic Patriot, Pacem Terra.

13:58 BST

A momentary taste of freedom

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

9th and 10th amendments to the Constitution in The Bill of Rights
"It was never the intent of the framers to give the president such unfettered control, particularly where his actions blatantly disregard the parameters clearly enumerated in the Bill of Rights," she wrote. " . . . There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution. So all 'inherent powers' must derive from that Constitution."
From the NSA case opinion (quoted from the WaPo article), as quoted by Last Night in Little Rock at TalkLeft.

Think Progress quotes this from the ruling:

In this case, the President has acted, undisputedly, as FISA forbids. FISA is the expressed statutory policy of our Congress. The presidential power, therefore, was exercised at its lowest ebb and cannot be sustained.
Glenn Greenwald says:
And now, a federal court in Michigan -- the first to rule on the legality of the President's NSA program -- just rejected all of the administration's defenses for eavesdropping in violation of FISA, effectively finding that the administration has been engaged in deliberate criminal acts by eavesdropping without judicial approval. And as I documented previously, Hamdan itself independently compels rejection of the administration's only defenses to its violations of FISA. Eavesdropping in violation of FISA is a federal crime, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine (50 U.S.C. 1809).
(Glenn's first post on the subject has been amended to include the right wing attacks on the judge.)

Jack Cafferty:

So it's not a discussion in the abstract. It's not hypothetical. There are laws on the books against what the administration is doing and it's about time someone said it out loud.
Russ Feingold:
Today's district court ruling is a strong rebuke of this administration's illegal wiretapping program. The President must return to the Constitution and follow the statutes passed by Congress. We all want our government to monitor suspected terrorists, but there is no reason for it to break the law to do so. The administration went too far with the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program. Today's federal court decision is an important step toward checking the President's power grab.

02:29 BST

Thursday, 17 August 2006

Rude awakenings

The Rude Pundit:

It's useless because Bush ain't talkin' to us anymore. He's only talking to those who could get into his public appearances, an increasingly small number. You wanna talk about the "polarization" of the nation? There's your bifurcation: those who can see their President speak in person and those who can not.
The Rude One will be taking us on his Katrina Plus One Year tour this week. Part 2 is here.

17:23 BST

The mirror

In a remarkably linky post over at And So It Goes, I found this in the Yemen Times:

Two weeks ago, I wrote in this column about the devastating attacks by Israel in Lebanon. I criticized the paralyzed stance of the international community towards what is happening, mainly the position of the US president, as the leader of a superpower, who has done nothing to stop the destruction of a country and the killings of its helpless citizens. I also criticized the Arab regimes and the Arab and Muslim citizens who broke all hell loose over the Danish newspaper cartoons, but are doing nothing now.

I do not know why this opinion upset one of my readers; he was angry and even sent me one of the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed made by the Danish newspaper. He wanted to wind me up. He didn't upset me because of the cartoon but because I realized mad and fanatic people do not only exist in the Arab and Muslim world but also in the West. What a pity!

Fanaticism, whether religious or political, brings about more counter fanaticism and hatred in the world. Such an environment of hostility will not make the world a better place to live.

14:09 BST

Waiting for the sun

Another embarrassing fact is that I meant to link Dominic's reactions to the whole Heathrow Terror thing when they appeared but forgot after they disappeared from my artificial memory in a browser crash. On the day itself, he said, "After decades of lies and cover-ups by a succession of Labour and Conservative governments, I am sad to admit that by now I have reached the stage where I automatically mistrust anything that politicians, government ministers or civil servants say and do." Three days later, when even I was no longer willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, the government confirmed all of our suspicions with the " truly incredible statements from British government ministers to the effect that the ever-increasing threat of terrorist attacks is completely unconnected to their policies."

Have I mentioned how stupid our child porn laws are? In the UK, they managed to whip up a lot of paranoia over "pseudo child porn" and now the definition of "child porn" extends well beyond any legitimate claim to be about protecting children. On the bright side, at least it hasn't gone as far as the Canadian law that banned writings that included descriptions of legal sexual acts by people under 18 (but above the age of consent) in their own diaries.

Meanwhile, we learn (via) that democracy is not so hot after all. Way down at the bottom of an article in the NYT, we find this: "Senior administration officials have acknowledged to me that they are considering alternatives other than democracy," said one military affairs expert who received an Iraq briefing at the White House last month and agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity. "Everybody in the administration is being quite circumspect," the expert said, "but you can sense their own concern that this is drifting away from democracy."

The Department of Homeland Decency has a handy, pocket-sized handbook for your convenience.

12:21 BST

Bedtime blogging

How the Democrats Lost, Period: This takes us to Ronald Reagan, who was still pandering to racism with his "welfare queen" remarks in 1980. Reagan was brilliant at playing the role of a strong, big-hearted representative of the common man while appealing to the meanest instincts and prejudices of voters. As explained in this Wikipedia article, by Reagans time white working-class voters no longer saw the Democrats as champions of middle-class issues and aspirations, as they had during the heyday of the New Deal coalition. (Note: I disagree with Wikipedia that these same voters saw "gains" during the Reagan Administration; I remember just the opposite. But thats another post, maybe.) Working class whites came to believe Dems were working only to benefit other people, who happened (ah-HEM) to be black.

It's amazing how many completely different sorts of people agree that the administration's approach to Iraq is "not related to reality."

Glenda Jackson: Those who are clamouring for an expansion of existing procedures are peddling several myths. The first is that this important tool for our nation's security is being withheld on grounds of some form of political correctness. This is preposterous.

I feel so naive after having given the government the benefit of the doubt about the Big London Terror Plot. Apparently, lots of Britons were more skeptical - and, I learn (via), they were right.

I wonder if we can get Hizbullah into New Orleans....

And more from Phil Ochs fandom - They Might Be Giants with a pretty decent version of "One More Parade".

03:27 BST

Wednesday, 16 August 2006

Citzens' media

Mary at The Left Coaster: In regards to the Mexican election, Bob Garfield interviewed Luis Mandoki a Hollywood director, originally from Mexico, who captured on film a number of examples of fraud. Many articles written wonder why Lopez Obrador and his supporters are being so obstinate. What they don't get is that if you actually look at the Mexican election, it is clear that the election was not conducted fairly. Therefore, the people of Mexico are right to demand that they won't just "trust their betters" on the election. They are asking for some legitimate proof. Just as we should be demanding for our elections.

Also at TLC, pessimist says, "We Don't Make It Here Anymore - But We Can." That's a response to the line of inquiry that begins with the question, "Why has Iraq war lasted nearly as long as WWII?" And eriposte discusses a must-read poll blog's must-read poll discussion.

You have to admit, this administration, and the warmongers in general, have just had amazingly good luck with how events conspire to work in their favor when they are facing an obstruction in the form of a human being who is in their way. (Also: Entertaining speculation on whether Roger Ailes, head-honcho of Fox News, belongs to That Religion.)

I love Steve M. of No More Mister Nice Blog, and yes, I know this, but I just don't want anyone to think Joe Lieberman represents us anymore. To me, the thought, "What if Republicans win 49 Senate seats -- and Joe Lieberman wins?" has only one answer: We can't let that happen.

Via Gary Farber, the NYT reports that Military's Discharges for Being Gay Rose in '05, yet another of our "further successes in fighting terrorism and protecting America."

At Crooks and Liars, a clip of Republican hack Joe Scarborough asking, "Is Bush an idiot?" Well, maybe, but this is also the guy who once lost an election to a dumber-sounding opponent and swore he'd "never be out-dumbed again."

Roxanne notices that girls are more plugged-in. (But doing well in school is not proof of doing better out in the business world. Girls have always done better in school. Boys have always been the ones with a future.)

Eddie Vedder had the same idea I did and updated Phil Ochs' "Here's to the State of...". I'm afraid that, like most of the re-writers around, he doesn't measure up to Ochs on scansion. Oh, well, see what you think. (But I prefer sticking as close to the original as possible - something like this, which appeared last year in a thread following a longer post commemorating the 65th anniversary of Phil's birth.)

17:42 BST

Wake up, Dems

LamontBlog is linking to an article in The Hill about Senate Democrats who are "growing increasingly angry about Sen. Joe Lieberman's (D-Conn.) [sic] campaign tactics since he lost the Democratic primary last week." That's nice to hear, but not as nice as it ought to be:

If he continues to alienate his colleagues, Lieberman could be stripped of his seniority within the Democratic caucus should he defeat Democrat Ned Lamont in the general election this November, according to some senior Democratic aides.
"Could be"? I hope that they're only saying that, and that what they're thinking is, "will be".

Another annoying thing about the article is that they're all still talking about process and electoral calculus, although I suppose it could be that The Hill chose not to include all those copious quotes they must have heard about how Americans want legislators who will hold this administration to account and that Lieberman has made clear that he will not do that.

And how about this:

Ironically, a lawmaker with a good shot of replacing Lieberman atop the Governmental Affairs panel, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), is spearheading the effort within the Senate to preserve Democratic support for Lieberman. Carper is the third most senior Democrat on the panel after Lieberman. But the two Democrats who outrank him, Sens. Carl Levin (Mich.) and Daniel Akaka (Hawaii) are likely to keep their perches as the most senior Democrats on the Armed Services Committee and Veterans Affairs Committee, respectively.
Why would Carper be seen as having "a good shot of replacing Lieberman atop the Governmental Affairs panel", given that (a) two people outrank him* and (b) he's part of the problem?
Carper, who like Lieberman often works across the aisle with Republicans, is one of a handful of Democratic centrists who have continued to support Lieberman since his primary defeat. The others include Sen. Ken Salazar (Colo.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii).
We've learned to expect this crap from Salazar, Pryor, and Nelson, but I still can't get used to the fact that Inouye is one of these "centrists". Funnily enough, he also used to be a centrist back when people knew where the center was; that is, he was a liberal. (via)

Now, Digby has a little something our elective representatives should be taking on board: voters want candidates who will promise to hold the administration's feet to the fire. Noting the article at MyDD about a poll that found a substantial minority of Republicans in California's ("bright red") 50th district also want the administration held to account* - and doesn't expect Republicans to do it* - Chris Bowers and Digby both emphasize that Democrats' unwillingness to demand accountability and make it central to their campaigns has undermined their chances at the polls. It is this, says Bowers, that most hurt Francine Busby with independent voters and many Democrats - and probably even many Republicans. Digby:

Democrats have been demonized as being weak and ineffectual for so long that Independent voters naturally figure that they can't or won't do anything to stop the Republicans. Democratic partisans may believe, but in order to get a robust turnout throughout the country, even many of them still need to be convinced that their party leadership will follow through. Democrats must make the case in no uncertain terms that they are prepared to hold Republicans accountable --- which means that they must be willing to talk about the lack of oversight and they must promise to hold hearings into specific issues.

The Republicans will scream like banshees, but that actually plays into the Democrats' hands if they have the nerve to just stare them down and tell them to bring it. Rove's tried to inoculate against this with his little "omg! they're going to act just like we did and impeach the president!" message but its primary purpose was to get Democrats to back off. He knew that if Democrats ran on holding his boy accountable they would win. Now we have the data to back that up.

The Democrats have had a hard time because without being able to hold hearings and issue subpoenas, no one sees them doing anything. But the fact that the entire job of pressing the point seems to be left to and , with no real backing from the party, has not helped. Democrats need to treat these people as heroes for trying to focus on the administration's "errors", and make plenty of noise about the accountability issue. The "Rubber Stamp" campaign was a nice bit of theater, but they should be bringing it up every time some political reporter tries to steer them to talking about RNC talking points.

("They're saying we're weak on security? When are they going to actually do something about national security?" "They're trying to equate us with Osama bin Laden? Is Osama bin Laden asking where the money for Iraqi reconstruction went? Is Osama bin Laden raising money to equip our troops because the administration refused to? Is Osama bin Laden trying to stop the administration from giving no-bid contracts to Brown & Root and telling them they don't even have to deliver?" "They're saying we are helping the terrorists? Do you think the terrorists are hurt by the fact that this administration refuses to put Homeland Security money into protecting our ports and equipment to detect explosives at airports?")

Bloggers have to talk about good strategies for beating the Republicans because Democratic consultants are failing to give decent advice to Democratic "leaders", but the candidates and legislators themselves should be talking about issues, and the number one issue that will hurt the Republicans is the fact that Bush is wrecking our national security and the Republicans in Congress are doing nothing to stop it, so throw them out.

And Lieberman? He's just another rubber-stamp, so throw him out.

13:28 BST

In the early mornin' brain

You know, I really don't think equating Hillary with Osama is gonna play well in New York.

At Daily Kos, "America is a Fascist Dictatorship by Definition, Pt..1" by Kujo AAR.

Dr. Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi sounds like a Republican to me. (I wonder what the "practical" reasons are for punishing gay men more harshly than lesbians.) (via)

Advocating a loss for conservatives in this year's elections...on Rush Limbaugh's show.

Discrimination against The Church of Latter Day Ain'ts.

"Salon's shameful six" - There was Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004. Here are the six states where vote suppression could cost voters their voice -- and Democrats the election -- in 2006. Here's a quote for you: There is rarely hard proof of the Republicans' real agenda. One of the few public declarations of their intent came in 2004, when then state Rep. John Pappageorge of Michigan, who's now running for a state Senate seat, was quoted by the Detroit Free Press: "If we do not suppress the Detroit [read: black ] vote, we're going to have a tough time in this election cycle."

Man, I am so glad Margaret Thatcher didn't bomb Northern Ireland, even though she was pretty macho. What she did was bad enough.

Where would you tell an interested reader where to start with the Discworld series? I agree with Lance.

God Fires Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson And James Dobson


Debbie thought playing D&D was fun... Jack Chick explains why she was wrong!

03:13 BST

Tuesday, 15 August 2006

Bits of stuff

Joe Lieberman lost the endorsement of the AFL-CIO, but his new campaign website claims otherwise in the source code.

"The reality of empire" - Benjamin Wise says it's based in America, but it's global, not American.

A bit belatedly, George F. Will supports John F. Kerry on security: Immediately after the London plot was disrupted, a "senior administration official," insisting on anonymity for his or her splenetic words, denied the obvious, that Kerry had a point.

Atrios: In other words, almost the entire economic package of sensible liberals in the 80s and 90s has been for shit, at best benefitting few and not hurting too many people. Part of the reason is that many of these things were con games. "Free trade" isn't really free trade - much of trade is still not free, and much of what is put under its banner has nothing to do with it - telecom and energy deregulation aren't really deregulation, but re-regulation benefitting existing interests, etc... That's the policy side. The politics side has to do with a a Democratic party in which all the leading Democrats are forever running against their own party. Triangulation can work for one man, but when every leading Democrat is constantly falling all over themselves (yes, this is exaggeration) to distance themselves from Those Damn Dirty Democrats, you have a party which is without foundation and where capitulation is confused with bipartisanship.

So, what do you think of this DSCC ad? Adele didn't like it.

Also from Tapped: Gerson is one thing, but this piece on Joe Lieberman by the magazine's religion columnist truly has to be seen to be believed. As M.J. Rosenberg put it, "Newsweek should be ashamed for publishing a Jackie Mason joke and calling it a column."

Sharpest Manmade Thing viewed with a field ion microscope (via).

22:55 BST

Dem's fightin' words

If there's one guy in Congress who you can be sure is there for all of us little people and not for corporations, it's Bernie Sanders. And he's such a popular guy that even the usual Democratic leadership idiots leave him alone, despite the fact that he is not, in fact, a Democrat. But now the Lieberman campaign is attacking Ned Lamont as being associated with commies, and look who they've singled out:

Gerstein had associated Lamont with three figures on the left: Sanders, the self-described socialist congressman from Vermont who caucuses with the House Democrats; the Rev. Al Sharpton, the New York civil rights advocate and former Democratic presidential candidate; and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, founder of Daily Kos, one of the liberals' most popular political weblogs.

The Lieberman aide's e-mail came the same day the Waterbury Republican-American editorialized about "Ned's true colors," describing the candidate's great-grandfather, Thomas W. Lamont, as not only chairman of J.P. Morgan but "the sugar daddy for the American Communist Party," and his uncle, Corliss Lamont, as "an unapologetic Stalinist and atheist."

The newspaper also suggested that Lamont has "surrounded himself with people who may be characterized fairly as dedicated socialists and borderline communists," and noted that "race hustlers Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton" had stumped for his victory.

Yes, along with the race-baiting, it's the return of red-baiting, right in front of God and everyone.

Joe Lieberman, you are officially a dickhead.

Via David Sirota, via Atrios.

Update: About that race thing....

11:34 BST

Late links

From the Cooperative Research Complete 9/11 Timeline page: "In 9/11: Press for Truth, five of the most prominent members of the Family Steering Committee tell their story for the first time, providing the most powerful argument yet for why 9/11 still needs to be investigated. The documentary is based in part on Paul Thompson's Complete 9/11 Timeline." See the trailer.

Max Blumenthal's "Birth Pangs of a New Christian Zionism " warns that AIPAC and Israel are playing a dangerous game by getting in bed with people who really, truly, mean to see them die in a nuclear holocaust. And, no, it's not just paranoid speculation.

Oh, no, I missed Krauthammer Friday! Do read the comments. (via)

Spencer Ackerman has a good piece in The American Prospect about how terrible Lieberman is on national security, and Digby jumps in. (And Digby says it's actually a good sign that even Joe Klein seems to be realizing who is really weak on security.)

But then, Paul Krugman says that by now pretty much everyone has worked it out.

Susie Madrak has the same question I had on hearing about the kidnapping of two Fox journalists. And she has Phil Ochs.

Non Sequiturs, or the logic of the conservative thinker.

Unusual hot dog barbecue spits.

02:30 BST

Monday, 14 August 2006

On the fabulous internets

Susie says Draft Al Gore.

RNC hack on your dime - This one is an assistant secretary in the Labor Department and she's going on TV to pose as someone who, in fact, is not just a Bush administration employee. Al Kamen makes excuses.

Alterman on Joe Klein: "The stupidity of our discourse".

Pessimist at The Left Coaster: "Want Proof Osama Is Winning?"

Phoenix Woman reminds us that Winston Churchill didn't trust J. Edgar Hoover, and it's time the Brits remembered why.

TChris on Rehabilitation: An Antidote to Prison Nation. I remind you once again that good rehab programs really do work - but some people have worked hard to make you forget that. (Also: Jeralyn says that the domain name for Right to is being auctioned, and fantasizes that it gets bought by a real right-to-life group - that is, an anti-death penalty group. The current price is $15K.

Guesting at Unqualified Offerings, Mona looks for the libertarian litmus test.

AltHippo liked it when Howard Dean mentioned that, "there's a war on the middle class going on."

Poll: Americans Back Air Restrictions - No word on how many of those polled have ever even been on a plane.

Via Atrios, Whiskey Fire's fine comeback to Dan Balz's ludicrous attempt to define Lieberman as being a force for "civility" in the face of... well, everyone who doesn't want to vote for him. (Oh, wait, only Democrats who don't want to vote for him. Neither Lieberman nor the media ever seem to find anything wrong with supporting even the most foul-mouthed and incivil Republicans.)

20:13 BST

Open windows

Ted Kennedy had a piece yesterday in The Hartford Courant saying that Dick Cheney is Demeaning Democracy by saying that Ned Lamont's primary victory might encourage "the al-Qaida types": Cheney and his crowd are all for free and open elections - as long as they turn out their way. They are all for free speech - provided it supports the administration. They are all for the rule of law - as long as the law does not prevent them from doing whatever they want to do. When elections, speeches or laws are inconvenient, he does not hesitate to declare that they are helping the terrorists. I can think of no graver offense against our democracy. (via)

Boing Boing reports that the president of Iran has a blog, and he wonders if the US and Israel are trying to start World War III. (Also: Does it really seem likely that Jihadis needed a thousand cell phones to make a detonator? Getting arrested is an expensive business. Being charged as terrorists can be even more terrifying. Is it really acceptable that we treat people of Arab descent as terrorists just because they buy cell phones?)

Alan Bostick emphasizes the point that Bush and Lieberman make us less safe.

Chris Floyd's final column for the Moscow Times recaps his relationship with Moscow and his career with the paper. Chris will have new columns at TruthOut. (Also: "The Ceremony of Innocence is Drowned": In the oceans of newsprint and tsunamis of pixels expended on the London bomb plot stories over the last two days, I don't recall seeing -- anywhere, either in the US or UK media -- that one little word which differentiates honest journalism from the noxious regurgitations of state propaganda: "alleged.")

Feministing says that, "Saudi women journalists seem to be the most fearless in the field."

Last week a right-wing group put an anti-porn ad in USA Today that had more lies than words in it. In "Theocrats Call On Justice Department To Bust Hotel Pay-Per-View", Adult Video News editor Mark Kernes debunks some of those lies, but is really way too kind to them. (And given the track record of these groups, I wonder whether this isn't really an attack on competitors - is there another hotel porn supplier who is not named in this ad?)

I have already written my letter of support, but I wanted to join other bloggers in making a plea for support for Air America to keep The Majority Report and Sam Seder on the air. Janeane Garafolo has left the show, but even she agrees that Sam has turned out to be absolutely brilliant at doing liberal talk radio - smart, funny, and lively - and he easily carries it all by himself (as he has done as well when he sits in for Randi Rhodes and Al Franken). The show gets great guests and has regular spots by Atrios, Bill Scher, and Kos. They do their homework and pay attention, and Sam reads the blogs avidly so he knows what's going on. I'm not going to threaten to stop listening to AAR (that trick never works) if he goes (how can I, when they still have Rachel Maddow and Thom Hartmann?), but I'm heartsick at the idea of losing Sam. Give the show a listen if you haven't heard it already. And if you share my feelings on the matter, please do write in and let them know.

Bob Geiger's Saturday cartoon round-up has some very nice ones by Auth, Sargent, and others.

Oh, and Joanie backs Bob up on "When The Ship Comes In".

14:24 BST

Ned TV!

Crooks and Liars has some refreshing stuff from the Sunday talking head shows this week:

I was not refreshed to actually see an interviewer on Face the Nation say, "On Tuesday it looked like a pretty good idea to run against the war in a Democrat primary..." He used that formulation at least a couple of times as he threw RNC talking points at Ned Lamont - but Ned did a great job of turning them into softballs. Watch it here; complain about Scott Pelly's inability to remember the name of one of the two major parties (or the English language) here.

Meanwhile, Dr. Dean told David Gregory on Meet the Press exactly why Joe Lieberman lost and why Lieberman should get out of the race - C&L has transcript and video.

Ditto Russ Feingold telling George Stephanopoulos on This Week that Lieberman "doesn't get it."

And Kudos to Arianna Huffington for making use of her time on Reliable Sources by hammering on Chuck Roberts for calling Ned Lamont "the al Qaeda candidate" - and on CNN for not punishing him for it.

12:04 BST

Thanks, Ralph! (Part 1,448)

Teresa Nielsen Hayden has just posted An odd thought concerning Ralph Nader, observing that:

It's been a long time since Ralph Nader's done more than inflict flesh wounds on the big corporations. He still Does Stuff, but he doesn't really make them bleed.

More to the point, it's been quite a long time since I've seen the big corporations go after Ralph Nader.

And this despite the fact that there seem to be clusters of corporate-funded astroturf groups out their ready to attack anyone and anything that is trying to protect you and me from them and theirs.

Which leads us back to an article Teresa posted back in January about the fact that Ralph got Cylert banned.

Now, see, Cylert was covered under the Orphan Drug Act, which forced companies to continue making it even though its patent had long since run out and it didn't have a huge constituency.

Under the circumstances, it was not terribly profitable for drug companies to sell Cylert anymore. And yet, the ODA made them keep it on the shelves for people just like Teresa who really need it.

And then along comes Ralph Nader, insisting that the drug is dangerous (although it's much safer than Tylenol) and getting it banned.

Whether he intended to or not, Nader did Big Pharma a big favor.

Why would he do that?

Now, you might think the fact that his stock portfolio* includes shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb (along with a lot of other rather unsavory corporates in the oil and arms industries, and of course Halliburton, McDonald's, and Wal-Mart) could have something to do with it - but I couldn't possibly comment.

03:13 BST

Izvestia on the Hudson "fair" to Republicans

Lambert alerts us that NYT Public Editor Bryan Calame has investigated the question many of us were asking when we learned that his paper had sat on the NSA illegal spying program story perhaps until after the election, although they attempted to mislead us about that - and is disturbed to learn that, yes, they really had done that, consciously - and it was Bill Keller's decision. Lambert says:

We can mau-mau the reporters all we want, and the God of Your Choice knows they deserve it, but really, the editors are the problem. They determine which stories get covered, who covers them, when (or if) they get printed, and whether they get frontpaged or buried. Plus they do the hiring and the firing, and set the newsroom culture. The editors are the managers - so by definition, they have the responsibility for the problem. Eh?

Case in point, Bill Keller. Thanks to Calame, we now know how and why Times executive editor Keller suppressed the story of Bush's illegal warrantless domestic surveillance until after Bush was safely elected.

Lambert also quotes a new Sy Hersh article saying that Lebanon is "A Demo for Iran", and has a name for it.

02:28 BST

Sunday, 13 August 2006

Like the stillness in the wind 'fore the hurricane begins

In Mother Jones, Sasha Abramsky on Nevada Conservatives Against the War on Drugs: Voters have been losing their taste for the war on drugs lately; in the past few years, states from Arizona and Alaska to California and Hawaii have moved toward making marijuana, in particular, a low priority for law enforcement, with first-offense possession cases often dismissed with small-time fines and medical-marijuana measures on the books in several states. But the initiative voters in Nevada will be considering this fall goes much further: The "tax and regulate" measure, whose supporters got it on the ballot by collecting 86,000 signatures, would allow anyone over 21 to possess up to one ounce for personal use, would set up a system of pot shops (at a specified distance from schools), and would tax marijuana in a manner comparable to alcohol.

"Bin Lovin'" - Simbaud updates us on Osama's tastes in women and television shows.

Rorschach says Mexican leftists blocked the banks, and, "I don't know whether there was election fraud or not, though I wouldn't be surprised. But the Mexican left is definitely demonstrating what we should have done back in 2000, when our presidency was, without a doubt, stolen."

Articles Of Impeachment Against George W. Bush

23:02 BST

And the rocks on the sands will proudly stand

In the Star Trib, Bruce Schneier says, "Focus on terrorists, not tactics":

None of the airplane security measures implemented because of 9/11 -- no-fly lists, secondary screening, prohibitions against pocket knives and corkscrews -- had anything to do with last week's arrests. And they wouldn't have prevented the planned attacks, had the terrorists not been arrested. A national ID card wouldn't have made a difference, either.

Instead, the arrests are a victory for old-fashioned intelligence and investigation. Details are still secret, but police in at least two countries were watching the terrorists for a long time. They followed leads, figured out who was talking to whom, and slowly pieced together both the network and the plot.

The new airplane security measures focus on that plot, because authorities believe they have not captured everyone involved. It's reasonable to assume that a few lone plotters, knowing their compatriots are in jail and fearing their own arrest, would try to finish the job on their own. The authorities are not being public with the details -- much of the "explosive liquid" story doesn't hang together -- but the excessive security measures seem prudent.

But only temporarily. Banning box cutters since 9/11, or taking off our shoes since Richard Reid, has not made us any safer. And a long-term prohibition against liquid carry-ons won't make us safer, either. It's not just that there are ways around the rules, it's that focusing on tactics is a losing proposition.

Bruce uses the term "security theater" for the kind of long-running inconvenience that the administration has used as a substitute for real anti-terrorist action.

And check out Aviation Critic Michael Boyd on our Airport Security explaining why all this massive inconvenience spread throughout the United States is a useless waste of resources - and travellers' time, too - to a vapid interviewer who whinges about expensive skin foundation and uses Boyd as a jumping-off point for yet another White House talking point about how "we" are "making progress toward being safer" (with a film clip of Chertoff on screen as she says this) because British cops did what British cops have been doing for decades without making your travel plans into a trip through hell. Even Boyd, who concentrates on the weaknesses of putting your security primarily at the airport gate, skips over the simple problem that the plots shouldn't be reaching the airport in the first place, and that's what police work prevented this time and should be placed to avoid at all times. Yes, there are security holes at airports, but letting people bring carry-on luggage isn't the real problem.

(However, leaving all your neat stuff at the airport does provide Christmas for those low-paid workers.)

Of course, if you really want to stop terrorism, you have to go way beyond these simple security issues to the things that might really be upsetting to people who sense that, you know, we are making war on them. And perhaps it's time to address the problem of the people who really, really hate our freedoms.

Elsewhere, Buffy St. Marie sings one of her most well-known compositions, "Universal Soldier".

18:49 BST

And the breeze will cease to be breathin'

Freya Millie half cup underwired braBra of the Week

Mark Kernes, editor of Adult Video News, considers the ramifications of the raised airport security requirements on porn stars. (You will be pleased to know they've decided that traditional tube-lipstick is okay, but gels and liquids are still right out.)

History of the Yellow Dog Democrat, via Biomes Blog.

Charles has an Election Rejection update: It's very hard to read the details of how people are denied their right to vote and then the sneers delivered by so-called liberals who are comfortable enough to not really care if elections are legitimate.. Also, Lieberman's Plans. (You can almost believe it.)

I have been taken to task for referring to Little Green Footballs as "Little Green Fascists" by the actual Little Green Fascists, who do not wish to be associated a Mr. Johnson's repulsive endeavor.

Digby and Kevin Drum have a good point about the likelihood that larger plots are going to prove too difficult to hide and so Osama will opt for smaller actions that are more difficult to catch in advance. (Or, at least, it would be a good point if I could be certain BushCo were making any effort to stop terrorism in the US and that Osama believed it, too. But maybe it's true for the UK.)

Also via Digby, I see that Jonathan Schwarz has lots of nifty graphs that tell us the truth about who really opposed the Vietnam war, and who supported it, and where the support is for staying the course or getting out of Iraq. This is not Bobo's world.

Atrios has linked to a post at TPMCafe noting that Bob Kerrey has voiced his support for Lieberman, but I am intrigued by a comment suggesting that Boltin' Joe's ties to the far right are even stronger than you might have thought.

14:14 BST

And the sun will respect every face on the deck

God, talk about your re-runs! Julia found this little item: A senior British official knowledgeable about the case said British police were planning to continue to run surveillance for at least another week to try to obtain more evidence, while American officials pressured them to arrest the suspects sooner. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case. In contrast to previous reports, the official suggested an attack was not imminent, saying the suspects had not yet purchased any airline tickets. In fact, some did not even have passports.

Dominic tipped me off to this, remarking that it is "Almost too true to be funny." Yes.

Fred Clark observes that, "Terrorists are Bad," but: This blurring of definitions has crossed over to muddle the meaning of the word "guerrilla" as well. Simple terrorists, again, like to pretend they're actually guerrilla fighters. And regimes battling actual guerrilla fighters like to pretend they're fighting simple terrorists.

Bill Scher: If this plot is a reminder of anything, it's a reminder that our current foreign policy is destabilizing the world and making us less safe at home. (Me: We're fighting them over here because we're fighting them over there.)

Making a better political ad - and Eliot Spitzer shows how it's done.

Hayden Christensen to star in film of Gould's Jumper

02:02 BST

Saturday, 12 August 2006

And the boat drifts on to the shoreline

As previously observed, the Associated Press carries water for the GOP, and their performance has been so astonishingly, libelously bad that of course they deserve a deluge of complaints. Unfortunately, the deluge can't come from you, because you are the end-user, not the customer. The customer is the newspaper or broadcast news organ that carries AP stories uncorrected. So when you see an AP story that does things like persisting in promoting a right-wing lie, it's not worth your time to complain to AP. It is worth your time to complain to the newspaper you saw it in and demand that they either get AP to stop doing it or they stop carrying the stuff.

When Terror Is the Foil, it's fear's victory: Terrorism is by definition a spectacular one-time event, sometimes serialized, always limited by its very strength: it's only as effective as its intended target permit it to be. Its intended targets are permitting it to be very effective indeed.

GOTV wants to draw your attention to the WaPo article by Roger Bate saying we should Make Federal Spending Transparent, starting with the Coburn-Obama bill to require the OMB to make the names of groups receiving federal funds publicly available: Proponents of the bill suspect that companies accustomed to feeding at the government trough will band together to deep-six the Coburn initiative. Barring outright opposition to the bill's passage, the best hope for contractors is to promote a weak substitute. Remarkably, Representative Tom Davis (R-Va.), whose district includes such contractors among his most affluent constituents, has given them just the vehicle. Davis introduced a House version of the Coburn Bill, minus the transparency requirement for contractors, leaving only grant-recipient NGOs like Doctors Without Borders in the crosshairs. Representative Davis told the New York Times that "contracts are awarded in a much more competitive environment" and grants "are more susceptible to abuse." If you live in Davis' district (VA-11), you might want to give some support to his challenger, Andy Hurst.

Faithful Progressive collects responses to the new pro-war McCarthyism.

MediaBloodhound takes aim at AdNags' stupid artifice about the Lamont victory.

"Is incompetence an act of God?" - PZ Myers ponders the portents when the roof of a church caves in.

More news from the shadowy Gnome Liberation Front? Edgar the Gnome wandered the American southwest for months before finally returning to Fulton.

17:09 BST

A song will lift as the mainsail shifts

I've been having one of those moments of being overwhelmed by news, nonsense, and really good blog posts. Atrios alone, back from Connecticut with a vengeance, has been posting enough to keep most anyone busy. I'm just trying to pay catch-up, here.

Charles Pierce correctly questions more silliness at TNR, this time from "the occasionally sensible Jonathan Chait," about the danger of "the left" (i.e., people who didn't agree with Joe Lieberman) taking over the Democratic Party. I quite enjoyed concurrence in comments from Derelict:

I frankly cannot understand the penchant for pursuing (and sticking to) strategies that have proven to be wildly unsuccessful by any measure. This seems to have become a real American trait, as ingrained in our psyches as mom and apple pie. Whether we're talking about "emboldened" Democrats who do not like the way the country is going or the ongiong catastrophe that is Iraq, people like Chait and Lieberman seems genuinely terrified at the thought of exploring other measures even in the face of overwhelming and uncontested evidence that the current course is not only not sustainable but completely counterproductive.

These people must be a laugh riot in any other venue. "Ya know, Larry, repeatedly kicking the copy machine really doesn't do anything to fill the empty paper tray."

"You're just a defeatist! You want the copier to win, don't you? You're obviously deeply unserious about getting copies made."

"But Larry--the paper tray is empty. Why don't you just refill it?"

"Refilling the tray would simply embolden other copy machines to run out of paper. If we don't make a stand against empty-trayism by continuing to kick this copy machine, we'll soon be faced with putting paper in FAX machines, too! But I guess you're the kind who would simply put paper in the tray as soon as it said the tray was empty. Not me! I'm a fighter! I don't cave in!"

In other news:

Think Progress sees CNN declaring Ned Lamont the al Qaeda candidate, and Hunter at Daily Kos notices Cal Thomas saying the Lamont primary victory "completes the capture of the Democratic Party by its Taliban wing."

Lawrence O'Donnell believes "Joe Lieberman Will Drop Out," because by late September the Democratic Party will be giving all its energy to Lamont and Joe will be trailing by double-digits. "The Clinton and Dodd defections will cost Lieberman ten points in Connecticut. If Dick Cheney continues to say nice things about Lieberman, it'll cost him another ten points." (I've heard rumors that the Republicans are still trying to field a real candidate against Lamont, so Joe may have no help there, either. The fact that the RNC chair has refused to ask Republicans to choose between Joe and the existing Republican candidate may help Joe among Republicans, but many of those have already jumped ship to support Lamont, too. With the Republicans split three ways and Democrats united behind Lamont, I fancy Ned's chances best of all.)

Jonathan Cook: What if the Islamic fascism President Bush warns us of is not just the terrorism associated with Osama bin Laden and his elusive al-Qaeda network but a set of views that many Arabs, Muslims and Pakistanis -- even the odd humanist -- consider normal, even enlightened? What if the war on Islamic fascism is less about fighting terrorism and more about silencing those who dissent from the Wests endless wars against the Middle East?

Also at Common Dreams, "Sense and Sanctimony" By Sidney Blumenthal and "The Devil and Senator Lieberman" by Tony Norman.

Good Nonsense has a good round-up post.

12:58 BST

Friday, 11 August 2006


"Groups Attacking Global Warming Science Attack ThinkProgress": ...the National Center for Public Policy Research accuses us of "libel" for suggesting that Cohen receives funding from the fossil fuel industry. That's interesting. Cohen was asked yesterday who funds the National Center for Public Policy Research and, after some prodding, he acknowledged that it receives funding from the fossil fuel industry.

A Gallup poll shows that Many Americans Harbor Strong Bias Against U.S. Muslims: Nearly one in four Americans, 22%, say they would not like to have a Muslim as a neighbor. ... While Americans tend to disagree with the notion that Muslims living in the United States are sympathetic to al-Qaeda, a significant 34% believe they do back al-Qaeda. And fewer than half -- 49% -- believe U.S. Muslims are loyal to the United States. Almost four in ten, 39%, advocate that Muslims here should carry special I.D. That same number admit that they do hold some "prejudice" against Muslims. Forty-four percent say their religious views are too "extreme."

One of the things that's falling apart for us is the image of the United States as the go-to country for advanced science and study. PZ Myers has a tidy little chart that provides one reason why.

14:03 BST


Max has noticed a lot of dissing of the dusky. So have I. So has The General. So has Steve Gilliard. The Republicans have spent years teaching us that black leaders are to be laughed at, sneered at, barked at. The Lieberman crowd has learned it well.

03:45 BST

Thursday, 10 August 2006

The terrorists win again

Terrorist Suspects Arrested Despite Lieberman Defeat In Primary. It's hard not to be cynical, although, oddly, I'm 99% willing to believe this actually happened. As always, I believe in ordinary police work for this kind of thing, rather than, y'know, starting wars and stuff. I'm not the only one.

However: My reaction to this crap is that I want to scream. I will have no larger thoughts on the subject until I calm down from my current state of I am totally screwed. How the hell do I tolerate nine hours on a plane without a goddam book? And I am not putting my laptop in checked luggage. Ohgodohgodthisbites.

Yeah, the plot was stopped, but as long as it means making it harder for ordinary people to go about their business, as it certainly does, it's a victory for the terrorists. And a hearty Up Yours to the jackass who came up with this latest method of protecting me from reading books. You little pricks.

17:09 BST

News and views

Norman Lear and Robert W. McChesney ask, "Does Big Media Need to Get Any Bigger?" and warn: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin ... just relaunched the FCCs formal review of media ownership rules. The agency's Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, issued July 25, is vague, but its intent is clear: to let a few giant media corporations swallow up more local television channels, radio stations and newspapers in a single market.

We really need to start calling these things what they are: genocidal mania. And people who think they can justify hating and killing Arabs (this means you, Alan Dershowitz) have a name: antisemites. (Things like these are appropriately called "lies". And if you fall for this stuff, you're just a moron.)

Via a whole lotta links on the primary results at Cursor, the stemwinder of a concession speech was preceded by the candidate playing some music from Pink: "Members of the press, as well as our political leaders, don't give us explanations that explain, or conclusions that conclude," McKinney said. (And following another link, I find a short but hilarious thread in which "Lamonts Billionaire Boys Club" is derided. It's rather breathtaking how Joe-bent'em's own, much larger support from billionaire boys, has somehow slipped below their radar, isn't it? Do you think they know about Republican funders like big oil and Scaife?)

Also via Cursor, Paul Waldman on why right-wingers are Hungry For World War III: What of the Pakistani teenager who admires Osama Bin Laden but is attracted to American culture and freedoms and so might through the proper application of our soft power and clever persuasion come to see things our way? Which side is he on? Is he ally or enemy? Are we supposed to hate him and kill him, or not?

13:20 BST

Lotta links

Billmon risks being called a [gasp!] antisemite by saying he'd like to discuss Israel as if it were just a real country.

Robert Parry says Lieberman lost most of all because he isn't bipartisan at all, but an all-out GOP partisan. Via Scoobie Davis, who also has his own suggestions for dealing with the Republican spin on Lamont's victory.

Right-wing anti-Muslim hate-blogger investigated by FBI. Yeah, it's Little Green Fascists, which is why the same media that has been complaining about "angry" liberal bloggers had to leap to defend LGF.

As is so often the case, I cannot disagree with Susie Madrak, and this time it's about Krauthammer. (Also:Draft Gore.)

After 18 years, Democrats suddenly notice that Lieberman is Jewish - yep, that's why we opposed him.

Faithful Progressive says that, "Time Magazine's Mike Allen Owes Lamont Voters an Apology."

Elton Beard counts the ways that Joe Lieberman thrills Peter Beinart.

Fred Clark at Slacktivist observes some anniversaries, more crazy behavior by Curt Weldon, another loony article by Max Boot, and more. (Oh, and you're not allowed to do that.)

Alleged Star Trek maze (via)

See the trailer for Shadow Company

03:27 BST

Wednesday, 09 August 2006

Speech balloons

At Sadly, No! I learn that, "James R. MacLean Is A Very Smart Man," and that he said this: ..[T]he Washington community that favored a permanent global role for the USA would essentially engulf the polity of the Jewish state. The practice of unlimited support for Israel's expansionism allowed a deviant faction in that country's politics to capture the state; the one guarantee for survival was not peace, but collusion with a superpower. Rather than Israel controlling the West, as some demagogues would have it, a small group of empire builders have exploited the USA and Israel; neither country has serious democratic accountability for its foreign policy, and both were sucked in by the path of least resistance. Instead of agreeing (through messy, democratic processes) on a general vision of the future, both countries have been seduced into the day-to-day coping strategy of doing what they've done before, attacking reformers as unsympathetic or even traitors, and defending useless carnage as self-defense.

While we are blogofascists for wanting to elect someone beside Joe Lieberman to the Senate, it turns out that the other side of the blogosphere is full of gloriously wonderful bloggers who are guardians of truth and accuracy. Glenn Greenwald continues his series of reports about the deranged media and their suicidal enablers in the mainstream press.

There are a few lovely comments over on the Making Light Lamont/Lieberman thread. I particularly liked Michael's suggestion that since,"The Republicans in TX 22 desperately need someone to vote for who is not a Democrat," and since the Republicans don't seem to have someone who can replace DeLay, Lieberman could solve his own problems and everyone else's by running for that empty seat in Sugarland. Also, Steve Gould alerts us to Wesley Clarke's reaction to Lieberman's non-concession: "Isn't this the same individual who questioned MY loyalty to the Democratic Party in 2004?"

22:44 BST

More post-mortem

Recently, the liberal blogosphere has been useful in helping to debunk lies about our elective officials - when they want to. Apparently, they didn't particularly want to in the case of Cynthia McKinney, despite the fact that she's been willing to stand up to this administration when few others were doing so - and even the knowledge that efforts to oust McKinney in Democratic primaries were Republican-led. To this day, she is accused (even by some progressives) of being guilty of wild conspiracy theories about 9/11. Her wild conspiracy theories have proven to be true, but never mind; you just have to accept the conventional conservative wisdom on this woman because, um, the Republicans said so.

Many people have gone after Lanny Davis' creepy WSJ article defending Lieberman against the blogofascists, but Gideon adds some icing by highlighting that lovely bit of false equivalency in which obscure commenters on blogs are just like Joe McCarthy and Ann Coulter.

At The American Prospect, Thomas F. Schaller suggests that the guy has earned that nickname: "Sore Loserman".

Kos tells us what to do next, and he's right. He also has a list of Democrats who have stepped up to support Lamont in the election, including those who backed Lieberman in the primary. Jane has more about that - and one of Ned's new supporters is Boxer, who should have listened.

Greg at The Talent Show with a sports analogy.

And Lance Mannion provides that part of the Joe-mortem that the corporate media wants to leave out.

18:06 BST


Glenn Greenwald was saying just the other day:

The idea that Lieberman is some sort of "centrist Democrat" and that the effort to defeat him is driven by radical leftists who hate bipartisanship is nothing short of inane. Why would Sean Hannity and Bill Kristol be so eager to keep a "centrist Democrat" in the Senate? Lincoln Chafee is a "centrist Republican." Are there any Democrats or liberals who care if Lincoln Chafee wins his primary? Do leftist ideologues run around praising and defending and working for the re-election of Olympia Snowe or Chris Shays or other Republican "centrists"? Do Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity love other Democratic "centrists," such as, say, Mary Landrieu or Joe Biden? The answer to all of those questions is plainly "no".

The love which right-wing extremists have for Joe Lieberman isn't based on the fact that he's a "centrist." If Lieberman were a "centrist," extremists would not care about him. They would not be vigorously urging his re-election, or praising his potential appointment as Bush Defense Secretary, or touting him as a Vice-Presidential running mate for George Allen. They do that because he is one of them -- a neoconservative extremist who is with them on virtually every major issue of the day.

One thing that last night's win by Lamont means is that at long last Traitor Joe will be nakedly supported by his real party instead of sucking up so much Democratic energy. Any Dem who sticks with him will be exposed, too.

I can't help liking the idea of all the DLC types having to split off and form their own party. Losing them can only make us stronger.

12:32 BST

Diversions while waiting for the count to come in

At FAIR, Jon Whiten on "Subverting, Not Preserving, Democracy: Marginalizing vote fraud 'conspiracy theories'": As the 2006 mid-term elections near, it is worth looking at the way the press handled the important claims of vote fraud in the last election. Extra! examined the 2004 post-election coverage of major news outlets, focusing on the New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today, along with network TV news coverage on ABC, CBS and NBC.
And Peter Hart on "The Internet Problem": Political reporters looking to identify a new obstacle standing in the way of Democratic electoral success often find it online, where party activists and progressives congregate around liberal blogs and websites. Writing under the headline "Blogs Attack From Left as Democrats Reach for the Center" (1/29/06), Washington Post reporter Jim VandeHei reported that "Democrats are getting an early glimpse of an intraparty rift that could complicate efforts to win back the White House: fiery liberals raising their voices on Web sites and in interest groups vs. elected officials trying to appeal to a much broader audience." Fiery liberals are exactly what used to win elections for Democrats, and their absence is why the party has been so lackluster over the last decade or three.

Greg Palast on "British Petroleum's 'Smart Pig' - The Brilliantly Profitable Timing of the Alaska Oil Pipeline Shutdown": Is the Alaska Pipeline corroded? You bet it is. Has been for more than a decade. Did British Petroleum shut the pipe yesterday to turn a quick buck on its negligence, to profit off the disaster it created? Just ask the "smart pig."

Seth Farber at The Talking Dog interviews Sgt. Erik Saar, "an Arabic linguist at the American detention facility located at the naval air station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, assisting in both interrogations and in routine translations between guards and detainees," who reveals many interesting things.

Susie Bright on the hand that blogs the cradle.

"That Old Time Religion" - no one enables the Taliban like the Republicans.

A different way of looking at nuclear proliferation?

01:46 BST

Tuesday, 08 August 2006

Election day

Today's the big day, and the prediction is for an Entertaining day ahead in Connecticut, with Chris Bowers and Matt Stoller of MyDD up in Connecticut along with TRex, Christy Hardin Smith, and Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake. Check there regularly for updates.

Atrios is up there, too, but his track record for eye-witness event reporting is, let's face it, not in the same class, so he's asked a couple of Atriots to sit in, and Attaturk has a reminder that what we're trying to beat up there is a well-oiled Republican machine. (And I'm glad there's finally someone beside me talking about this.) (Although the best line is about Byron York's* parenthood*.)

In other election news, Rhea County voters toss out commissioners who wanted to criminalize homosexuality. That's in Tennessee, folks. (via)

And from Mexico, Greg Palast explains why paper ballots are not enough. Necessary, yes, but if you aren't watching the count, you don't know what's going on. Via Mercury Rising.

12:46 BST

Up too late

From Haaretz, "A voluntary 'putsch'" (thanks t Neil). And Bill Scher recommends the following blogs: Meretz USA Weblog, From Beirut to the Beltway, and Tikun Olam. (via)

Mikey (of) alerts me that "WNYC-AM will be broadcasting live returns for Lamont-Lieberman race starting at 8pm ET tomorrow night. AM station (and FM, for that matter) streamable from their website."

Skippy reckons it's a real sign of Joe-nertia when Joe's close friends will vote for Lamont.

"Sometimes a banana is just a cigar."

The deleted "Jitterbug" scene from The Wizard of Oz.

03:44 BST

Monday, 07 August 2006

Things people say

Julia (who still doesn't have that link thing down, apparently) reports that Lieberman has a strategy: "Joseph had faith that God will take care of the haters and I have a certain faith that this Tuesday God will take care of the voters." The haters. The guy is just a walking case of bearing false witness, isn't he?

Jack K. has Low Expectations for Media Analyis - the Lieberman Edition. Martin Peretz is not going to prove him wrong.

If you're wondering why we're having so much fun with Bob Ney's announcement that he's not going to run, here's the bill of particulars about both Ney and the Democrat who is running for the same seat.

"Getting rid of bipartisanship was a conscious governing philosophy" by the Republicans, Digby reminds us, and yet while the Washington blitherati described it in print, they did not band together to condemn it. Then, they certainly should have; now, it's moronic to worry that "bipartisanship" will be lost if Lieberman is removed from the Senate. It was lost a long time ago, and Lieberman did nothing to preserve it. Digby quotes McJoan: "Bipartisanship only works when the other side compromises, too. Otherwise it's just capitulation."

Lance Mannion asks, "What is the difference between bipartisanship and bootlicking?": I'm sure I'm the last in a long line of bombthrowers to point out that the definition of bipartisanship ought not to be that Republicans get to say jump and Democrats have to reply, "How high?"

Matt O. discusses Blackwater, the flashpoint of the enormity that was Fallujah, in "An Indistinguishable Cog". They apparently think that for purposes of legal liability, they have the protections of our own uniformed troops, even though they are in fact a private company that hires mercenaries.

18:58 BST

Jive turkeys and the ballot

The Republicans like to pretend that a few innocuous fake names on voter registration cards represent thousands of actual fraudulent ballots. Since the two have little to do with each other, this is, of course, pure spin. There's always some wise-guy who wants to pretend to register as "Mickey Mouse", but Mickey never actually shows up at the polls. Anyone who believes the obviously fake registration card has anything to do with what goes into the ballot box is just too stupid to live - but Republicans keep telling this story about Mickey Mouse (or, in this case, "Jive Turkey") voting because these smart-ass registration cards turn up every year. That's because they think you're too stupid to live - and certainly too stupid to vote. Here's reality:

As for the level of threat posed by Jive Turkey: A report compiled in 2005 by Representative Bob Ney, later linked to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, cited news media reports of "thousands" of cases of voter registration fraud being investigated by local officials. But a separate study last year by the League of Women Voters found that voter registration fraud did not necessarily result in fraud at the polls. Out of 9,078,728 votes cast in Ohio in 2002 and 2004, the report said, only four ballots were fraudulent, according to statistics provided by officials from the state's 88 county boards of elections.
Four ballots. Republicans say they want to make it harder to vote because "thousands" of people fraudulently do so. What they really want is to prevent thousands of legitimate voters from being able to cast their ballots.

So the real Jive Turkeys are Republicans who spin us the story that Democrats are sore losers because we object to the illegal vote-blocking tactics of the right-wing and question whether exit polls could have suddenly become so wrong just at the time it has become possible for the actual ballot count to be massively fixed.

But since we know Al Gore won in 2000 and we have no proof that Bush won in 2004, you'd think the entire Democratic Party would be up in arms and, at the very least, ready to stop another dubious election result in 2006. I have no evidence that they are.

George Bush was able to get into the White House because he and the Republicans acted like he'd won it in 2000 even though the evidence indicated Gore had won. And the Democrats let him do it. In 2004, most of the evidence said Kerry had won but no one was willing to stand up and challenge the results even in precincts where Bush got more votes than there were voters.

You know, it would be a bad idea to let that happen again, but at the moment I still don't see the Democratic Party showing any sign that they recognize this as a threat. But we need to take a lesson from Mexico.

It's doubtful that the Republican leadership really believes they've been winning these elections - after all, why would they refuse to count ballots publicly if they did? Like Charles says:

One would expect a candidate confident of his victory to accede to a recount-- to demand it, since it would cement his legitimacy.
It seems likely that they don't because they believe a recount would show that they really lost.

17:20 BST

Blog notes

Juan Cole wrote a piece Sunday, "One Ring to Rule Them", which has already been quoted by a variety of people. What interests me is not that there is anything new and different about centralizing the role of oil politics in GOP foreign policy, because that's hardly new. What interests me is that we are seeing more and more articles like this that acknowledge oil politics as being central to those policies. It's not just bloggers who are talking about it, now, either - it's in the papers. And that's interesting, because this is, of course, one of the major issues that got Michael Moore labelled as a crazy - that he thought the invasion of Iraq had something to do with oil.

Norwegianity: After watching this outstanding video at Hullabaloo, I started wondering if this purge of Joe Lieberman isn't in part because Democratic party regulars are finally beginning to appreciate the fact that the 2000 Nader vote wasn't just about Al Gore.... Joe Lieberman's always been a tool. It's nice to see that even party regulars are finally figuring that out. (via)

Via TalkLeft, reviews of David Feige's Indefensible: One Lawyer's Journey Into The Inferno Of American Justice, from Chicago Reader and Blonde Justice. I heard the guy talking about it on the radio and hope fervently that a lot of people get to hear what he has to say.

Lambert wonders: "What new Bush surveillance programs are causing the NSA to run out of electrical power?"

12:56 BST

Sunday, 06 August 2006

A few links

My brain is now all fried about Lebanon, so let all these other smart people tell you about it. (If Israel's leaders were hoping for the US to intervene, they're in more trouble than I thought. They thought Bush and Cheney were going to help them make peace? Jeez.)

Charles recommends a C-Span interview with Susan MacDougal. You've all read and/or seen The Hunting of the President, right? MacDougal was a hero back then, and her work today to alleviate prison abuse is important, too.

We were discussing the speculation about Straw going for the top job and noting the fact that Blair is probably only still in Number 10 because all of his likely successors either (a) are Gordon Brown or (b) have already been removed from the picture. And it wasn't until that moment, oddly, that I even stopped to wonder about that. (Oh, my God! I failed to be paranoid! I hadn't even thought to joke about it before!) And though none of us had previously mused on the issue, suddenly we were all off on that tack: The one person who could probably have mounted a credible threat to Tony Blair over the last year was Robin Cook, who just happened to have suddenly died a year ago. And remember, the person everyone thought would be the new Labour leader years ago was John Smith, who died just in time to clear the path for Tony Blair. I don't know how I missed the much more serious suspicions of others about that. (And it's just a coincidence that it really was, exactly, one year ago that Robin Cook died, something I hadn't noticed until I saw Shaphan's post.)

23:56 BST

And then you blog

Triumph Pretty Lacy underwired braBra of the Week

Via Jeralyn, I see that Gary Hart has predicted that the GOP's October surprise will be a Bush announcement of a phony exit plan for Iraq, just in time to confuse the electorate. Also, on the War on Some Drugs front, don't you wish all cops understood this?

"The Senate better stand up to this" says Stranger at Blah3 of yet another leap by the Republicans to take away more states' rights: The nation's governors are closing ranks in opposition to a proposal in Congress that would let the president take control of the National Guard in emergencies without consent of governors. [...] The measure would remove the currently required consent of governors for the federalization of the Guard, which is shared between the individual states and the federal government.

Jane Hamsher is so smart. Check out her analysis of just how stupid Lieberman's campaign has been, it's delightful. And so is the photo Christy Hardin Smith posted this morning.

And is David Brooks the laziest op-ed columnist alive? You be the judge.

Pam explains what it's all about, at The Rude Pundit.

PSoTD: From today's talking head circuit: Lieberman and Lamont went on ABC's "This Week", and sent their surrogates to NBC's "Meet the Press". What does that say about MTP?

There's a new little flower in my garden. We put in about 30 plants earlier this year and this is the first to blossom. Not very impressive from across the garden but I thought they worked nicely in close-up.

Down in comments, Chris Vosburg said, " Likewise sad to hear of Arthur Lee's passing. Still can't get over the fact that he (and Love) actually managed to make a Burt Bacharach song sound angry (Little Red Book)." See for yourself.

19:34 BST

On not building a better mousetrap

I was watching Jon Stewart interview someone whose name I didn't catch about "Who Killed the Electric Car? and I started to get that creepy feeling again. You know the one - it comes whenever you find out that people in powerful positions are doing things that don't make any sense in your basic American context. (Or at least, what used to be your basic American context.) And you can't help wondering what the hell they're doing.

As I've said before, I find it strange that so many people have joined together to suppress, rather than exploit, the idea of a new group of alternative technologies. It's all very well to say they don't want the competition, but GM was making the electric car and therefore didn't have to worry about competition. But from the very beginning, they refused to sell them - they made people lease them. And as soon as they could, they withdrew the cars - frequently over strong objections from the people who had them and didn't want to give them up - and destroyed them.

Even if you don't believe in global warming, even if you don't care about the environment, none of this makes any real sense. Because even with lots of promotion, there was no guarantee that electric cars would overtake current automotive technology to the extent that it would drive it out too quickly for the big car-makers to adapt. Instead, it just created a new product that might compete or might not, but since it's all being made by GM, they have both markets. And for all we know, there may even have been a few new customers - people who currently refuse to have cars but might consider this one.

The same is true all the way up and down the line for renewables - particularly where solar energy is concerned. What was the point of Reagan removing those solar panels from the White House? It's not like everyone was instantly going to equip their own houses with them, but would it really hurt that much if a number of early-adopters did?

This would hardly have put the oil companies out of business. For one thing, electric cars have to get electricity from somewhere, and non-fuel uses of petroleum products are vast and increasing all of the time. Most people have no idea how much of their home environment alone is dominated by plastics. Think about how much of your furniture, your clothing, your pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, and virtually all of your entertainment and communications tech disappear if you take away oil products.

And if we really are going to run out of oil, wouldn't it be a really good idea to develop alternatives now, while we still have the technology to do it?

So where's the can-do American entrepreneurial spirit to exploit these new markets and new technological advances? Why is it so threatening? Why isn't anyone investing in it? They can't all be in thrall to auto manufacturers and petro-sellers who are less and less beholden to America every day, can they?

And, see, it's no longer just a matter of these big corporations hurting America - they have been killing it. Money is bleeding out of the country so fast that it's not even a paranoid theory anymore. They don't even seem to care if they're destroying the planet.

Can everyone in power really be this short-sighted?

Anyway, as someone who reads a lot of science fiction, I feel I'm looking at something that's so unreal to start with that it's not much of an effort to suspend my disbelief just that little bit more and try to figure out what this novel's explanation for the apparently-inexplicable would be. Some novelists would say the whole Capricorn One scenario was deliberately mooted as a way to encourage people to disbelieve in the moon-landing and the conspiracy theory was spread around precisely to take people's eyes off of a secret space program that already has lots of L-5 colonies spread around in space where no one notices the very wealthy are getting their orbiting plantations ready.

Or maybe some writers would posit that the Carlyle Group is really the board of directors of a group made up of The Very Rich and Powerful who, despite what they may say, believe even more fervently in climate change than Al Gore does and have been planning for it in ways that you don't even know are possible - that they know precisely which parts of the world will be habitable and are already setting themselves up where no one will even look for them. And this is why they are doing their best to cripple public science - because the less we know, the less able we will be able to detect what they are doing. Plus, this new location will not be in the United States, and they are reserving any technological advantages for their new home country. They're monopolizing science so they can stay way ahead of us.

In some ways, it makes more sense than that the whole goddamn world is run by people who are just so stupid they don't see what they're doing. But I'm afraid I already know that the world is full of people who are absolutely brilliant at succeeding personally while absolutely stupid about nearly everything else. (That's the part that Scott Adams doesn't get.)

16:11 BST

I saw this

Here's a story that should have surprised no one: "States stumble privatizing social services." Well, obviously, it surprised some people: "It sounds like a good idea: Replace state employees with a high-tech contractor to more efficiently screen thousands of applications for state support, and save taxpayers millions." No, it did not sound like a good idea. Private companies have to make a profit, which means they can't possibly be more efficient than a system that doesn't charge more in order to do so. It's amazing that anyone who can do simple arithmetic has trouble figuring this out. And yet people in government actually had to do it to find out it was a bad idea. (See, this is how you know "the MSM" ain't no liberal media. A real one would have pointed out how ludicrous this idea was as soon as anyone tried to float it.) (via)

More from the wonderful world of American medicine: how Kaiser kills kidney patients.

"Part of the problem with supply-side trickle-down theory is that, unlike Dickens, it sees no virtue in virtue." Fred Clark, here, on relative wealth, with more here on Dickens and Orwell: But set aside Dickens and apply this instead to the public religious discourse here in America, of which it could also be said that "Everyone who reads it feels that something has gone wrong." What is wrong is that it is pervaded, not faintly but overwhelmingly, by the cult of success. It sides with the upperdogs and goes astray.

There are no antiwar Democrats in, or running for, office, says Deep Blade, who also notes that people went a bit over-the-top on Nouri al-Maliki. Meanwhile, Dave Johnson says Israel is losing support among Lebanese Christians.

Via Donkey Rising (which is apparently about to more-or-less merge with the nascent Democratic Strategist), David Wasserman and Larry J. Sabato on trends for the mid-term elections: But there are already strong indications that this year is different: more voters and local Democratic leaders than ever before seem ready to cast aside their personal affections for longtime GOP incumbents for the sake of sending Congress and the Bush administration a message. With everybody wanting to elect Democrats instead of Bush-supporters, there's no reason to expect people in Connecticut to go the other way. (Dave also discusses the upside of having a draft.)

Nathan Newman warns that Democratic partisanship, while necessary, is not all we need, and Ned Lamont is not Paul Wellstone. (And why is "ideological" only a dirty word when applied to liberals? I hope we're motivated by an ideology of human rights and justice; if not, we are all too vulnerable to falling right back into the DLC's control.) That said, Nathan agrees that, "victory is better than defeat, and Lamont seems like a good guy who will be more progressive than Lieberman." And, like Nathan, what thrills me is the idea of Bernie Sanders in the Senate.

Ampersand says Measure 24 on changing how Oregon's Supreme Court is elected is win-win on presentation: So if you want Eastern Oregon to have guaranteed representation on Oregon's highest Court, vote for Measure 24. And if you want to guarantee that the Court will always be dominated by Portlanders. vote for Measure 24.

Jonathan Schwarz finds the silver lining in the Apocalypse.

11:49 BST

Saturday, 05 August 2006

"I'm a 'the glass is half-full of blood' kinda guy"

Charles says, "Mexico Recounts!, but Buzzflash has the more downbeat headline, "Senor Scalia Must be Down South of the Border: Mexico electoral court rejects ballot-by-ballot presidential recount."

23:00 BST

Dessert tray

At, Brad Brooks-Rubin, "Winning Battles in Lebanon and Gaza, Quietly Losing American Jews": Maybe quietly, well below the radar, but go they will. And this is not just my thought as someone on the left, someone outside the mainstream organizations. This is what the organizations and their surveys show. And, appallingly, Frank Luntz has been recommending the "remedy" of calling Palestinians "Arabs" because it's a less sympathetic term. (via)

Scott Lemieux continues his defense of the Supreme Court's decision in Roe. (And thanks, Scott, I feel better, now.)

The week in humor.

Does anyone remember this ? We were talking about it in 2003. Now when we mention it at all, we're told it never happened.

20:59 BST

Tea time

E.J. Dionne on how conservatives failed when "offering nickels and dimes to the working class to secure billions for the rich" in their version of a so-called minimum wage bill: The episode was significant because it meant Republicans were acknowledging that they would not hold congressional power without the help of moderates. That is because there is nothing close to a conservative majority in the United States. Yet their way of admitting this was to put on display the central goal of the currently dominant forces of politics: to give away as much as possible to the truly wealthy.

Two Jordanian reporters have quit Fox News because it is too biased - "just as bad as the state-run TV stations in the middle-east that we despise."

Alan Bostick finds a future member of the Washington press corps up in the Midlands, and gives here The Winston Smith Award for Ethics in Journalism. (And this is just disgusting.)

Born with HIV, and now they are teenagers, although once no one thought they could possibly live that long.

Attaturk on what we got for our money.

NTodd considers what Ana Marie Cox has to say about blogs.

The joke about the C of E is that if they had an inquisition, they'd sit you down and give you a cup of tea. But there is one thing that can really get them all steamed up - messing with their software. (Thanks to Neil Rest for the tip.)

Live performance of "Alone Again Or" by Arthur Lee and Love, 2003, Royal Festival Hall.

17:00 BST

A few things

TChris at TalkLeft says the Cybercrime treaty has been ratified. The treaty would require the US to help other nations investigate people who have broken no US law. Quoting from this article: What's controversial about those requirements is that they don't require "dual criminality"--in other words, Russian security services investigating democracy activists could ask for the FBI's help in uncovering the contents of their Yahoo Mail or Hotmail accounts, or even conducting live wiretaps. TChris says: "Even conservatives -- usually great friends of law enforcement -- are troubled by what 'liberals' could do under the treaty." (Also: The answer to the question, "How Many Laws Has the Administration Broken?" is answered, and "History was made this morning when North Carolina Governor Mike Easely, a former prosecutor, signed into law a bill establishing an Innocence Commission." Meanwhile, the Padilla case is "floundering".)

I think I got this from Atrios or someone and meant to link it earlier: DNC Doubles Hard Dollar Contributions Under Dean. The DLC has to make the false comparison between how much money Dean has been bringing in and how much the Republicans have, because they know that makes Dean look bad to anyone who doesn't understand the massive fund-raising advantage the GOP has always had. This way people might not notice that their own money people (like McAuliffe) actually did a lousy job compared to Dean's performance. It's becoming increasingly clear that the attacks on Howard Dean are because he is effective.

More recently at MyDD, Matt Stoller is up in Connecticut and caught the Lieberman lobbyist and his little friends on video, hogging cameras and causing trouble. Matt's doing good work and needs a bit of help - give it if you can.

Chef's surprise

12:05 BST

Friday, 04 August 2006

Words and music

Tom Tomorrow has Bruce doing a solo version of "Born in the USA" that doesn't sound anything like the album cut. It's pretty cool. He also links to George W. Bush singing "Sunday Bloody Sunday."

Susie Madrak says that polls aren't encouraging for Gore, but she also suspects that the support he does have might be enough. And have some blues.

It's bad enough Lieberman has been pretending to be a great supporter of Social Security, but now he's actually claiming to have been "one of the first Senators to stand up to George W. Bush's dangerous plan to privatize Social Security." Meanwhile, Lieberman supporters disrupt a Lamont appearance and start fights - and one of them turns out to be "a lobbyist in DC for the chemical and health supplies industry." (via) (And update.)

For those who haven't noticed, there's been a bit of a tussle in London as a minority of protesters managed to drive off the film company for Brick Lane, with the support of a few cowards and finks, including Germaine Greer, thus generating another chapter in the long-running Greer-Rushdie tiff.

Thanks to Dominic (of) for helping me achieve my dream of posting Bedazzled: The post-box scene on YouTube.

23:53 BST

News and analysis

Farewell: Arthur Lee, singer and guitarist of the influential 1960s band Love, has died in Memphis at the age of 61 following a battle with acute myeloid leukemia. (Full obituary.) I loved this band. I'm glad he came back and had his last hurrah before he went.

Natasha spent 45 Minutes With Darcy Burner, who is running for Congress in Washington state, and was told that the Democratic Party values are: Opportunity, individual liberties and individual rights, equality, and responsibility. Natasha says, "good ideas and principles don't have a sell-by date." Meanwhile, Mary explains why even the minimum wage part of the minimum wage/parasite-tax bill has some poison in it.

Via Wampum, Billmon throws up his hands and says, "We've already lost," while former Congressman (and still Republican) Pete McCloskey says that he has concluded, with difficulty, that, "the Republican House leadership has been so unalterably corrupted by power and money that reasonable Republicans should support Democrats against DeLay-type Republican incumbents in 2006." Also, What Hillary could have said, and the true heir to Ronald Reagan.

The conversion of Ayatolla Pat Robertson - it's sweaty out there, boys and girls. Via BlogDaveAfternoon.

I can't even begin to understand how this could happen: "It appears someone, somewhere got ahold of my lone credit card number and decided to go to town. Someone called my credit card company's automated system to get a PIN number on July XXth. Then on the following day, used it for hundreds of dollars in cash advances and a bizarre charge to a company at an undisclosed location (I know the name and place, but I don't want to say) for less than $10." The automated system gave out the PIN number without having to give up any identifying information? Gee, that's some security flaw.

Speaking of people getting a physical, how's Ken Mehlman doing?

17:45 BST

Senate watch

Observer at Carpe Datum, "Protecting Your Constituents": Republicans running this country have proved that they are good at one thing and one thing only: protecting the super-rich. Not the ordinary rich, mind you, the people who are well off but could still be financially ruined by a $500k medical bill for a family member (the recent bankruptcy bill ensures they'll be screwed). No, I'm talking about the 0.1% of people in the country so rich that literally no financial problems can touch them. They just don't have to think about money, but they do (often obsessively).

On the bright side, the parasite-tax repeal was successfully filibustered last night when Republicans failed to achieve the 60 cloture votes needed in the Senate to bring the bill to the floor. Lincoln Chafee and George Voinovich joined the Democrats and Jim Jeffords to oppose cloture; on the other side, "The 56-42 vote reflected the opposition of all but four Democrats: Sens. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Bill Nelson of Florida and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas."

Democrats continue to demand that parasite-tax repeal and the raise in the federal minimum wage be separated so that each can get a clean vote. Obviously, the Republicans don't want that to happen and continue to pretend that what Democrats voted against was the minimum wage hike rather than the $800bn bill that would be handed to Americans if the inheritance tax is repealed.

Elsewhere, I love this little twist in the Save Santorum Saga: it turns out that "every single contributor to the Pennsylvania Green Party Senate candidate is actually a conservative -- except for the candidate himself."

13:20 BST

Buncha links

The most interesting thing about this Steve Clemmons article to me is not the headline, but the suggestion that Hillary is not really that interested in running for president, but is surrounded by people who want her to.

I keep seeing opinionating about how there's all this antisemitism in Europe, but it seems to me the country I hear of most often having such incidents is the US.

When Don Rumsfeld told Hillary Clinton, "you would have a dickens of a time trying to find instances where I have been overly optimistic," Julia couldn't resist.

Who hates America? Conservatives, that's who. (More here.)

Top Military Lawyers Oppose Plan for Special Courts - just like any other sane American: The lawyers' rare, open disagreement with civilian officials at the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the White House came during discussions of proposed new rules for the use of evidence derived from hearsay or coercion and the possible exclusion of defendants from the trials in some circumstances.

Matt Taibbi on why Democrats lose: The DLC, a nonprofit created in the mid-1980s to help big business have a say in the Democratic Party platform, supports the status quo because they are paid agents of the commercial interests that define it. [...] The DLC are the lowest kind of scum; we're talking about people who are paid by the likes of Eli Lilly and Union Carbide to go on television and call suburban moms and college kids who happen to be against the war commies and jihadists. David Sirota calls the article "viciously accurate analysis of the things Washington insiders don't like to talk about."

Monkeyfister looks at the newly exposed information and says Cheney knew, and was the bottle-neck for the information on 9/11.

Gail Davis calls her "The bravest woman in the world. She just might be. (But not entirely correct; it's not just in the Muslim world that we see this, is it? [Clarity update: Yes, she may be the bravest woman in the world, but I think her criticisms can apply to any nation's majority religious group extremists.])

"A breast is a breast."

03:56 BST

Thursday, 03 August 2006

Bloggy bits

After news that the press briefing is now to be turned into a blatant, full-scale propaganda room, Bill Scher says reporters should boycott the briefings.

Since there is no such thing as a bad conservative, we now learn that Mel Gibson is a liberal.

Rude Bitch report: I had no idea that Echidne was storing up so much of this. I knew about Maryscott OConnor, because she doesn't bother to suppress it, but that's one hell of a good rant on gay marriage.

On the Curmudgeon front, Jack Cafferty on CNN: "Well, somebody's finally worked up the nerve to say it out loud: We have a Constitutional crisis in this country."

23:26 BST

Heading into Tuesday in Connecticut

With Lamont now leading in the polls, Lieberman shrugs off the fact that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have given Ned Lamont their support and says words to the effect that he'll see Ned's black preachers with his Bill Clinton. Lieberman's race-baiting over the fact that Lamont dropped his membership in a club that does not bar minorities hasn't impressed anyone.

Steve Gilliard says blacks won't forget Lieberman's betrayal of them over Affirmative Action and school vouchers. (Jane regrets an error.) (Good article in The Boston Globe.)

And now Lieberman has even more exciting support - from Tom DeLay. Meanwhile, Ralph Nader says he welcomes Lieberman to "the third-party world."

So Lieberman is trying to play catch-up with a sudden complete reversal of his "we undermine presidential credibility at our nation's peril" line. Too little, too late, and dishonest besides - so nothing new, there.

Suggestions that Lieberman will fire staff if he loses the primary are floated before someone realizes that the rumor is likely meant to cover-up for the fact that he probably won't have much staff to fire as Democratic workers peel off to support the Democratic nominee.

15:39 BST

You heard it here last

From Candide's Notebooks, "Connecting the Dots Back to Bush - A Premeditated War-Planned in 2005":

The alternative wasn't to "do nothing," as jingoes and conservatives immediately and snidely claim war opponents would rather do. The alternative was to use diplomatic means, including patience, pressure, smarts and consistency (something James Baker would understand and pull off, something Condoleezza Rice cannot). The alternative was to do what American foreign policy has strived to do since Woodrow Wilson, admittedly not always with success, and with dismal failures along the way, but the failures were failures of vision and diplomacy, and surrenders to unilateral military means, which have not worked anywhere since 1945 (Korea's half-hearted success was not a unilateral engagement).

Now my standard disclaimer: This is not to defend Hezbollah, nor to diminish the desire for Hezbollah's demise. But at the moment the Israeli assault is making Hezbollah look like the martyr, like the "resistor" it should never have been. But Israel, and Israel alone, enabled it as such. The invasion is making matters worse. And with Bush as the leader of nothing, and Olmert working out his Freudian inferiorities on Lebanon's back, and Nasrallah reveling in the bloodletting that only irrigates his popularity, no one appears either capable or willing to put an end to it all-to take even the miserable little step necessary to say: Enough.

"I learned the truth from Lenny Bruce" (and all my wealth won't buy me health) - It's been 40 years since the death of the patron saint of anti-censorship activists, who said, Take away the right to say "fuck" and you take away the right to say "fuck the government."

Perfectly Legal is, says paradox at The Left Coaster, excellent summer reading, and has a lot to tell you about how we're having our country stolen out from under us by people whose lust for power transcends even their greed.

The General's "The Week in Heroism (July 22-29)".

Rev. Flip Benham Is Right About Holocaust - but not in the way he means.

Lou Dobbs Slams Bush On 'Signing Statements' - via The Raw Story (Warning: Raw Story is now triggering that Winfix pop-up, so don't click unless you have some way to block it.)

Digby on Neoconservatism's First Family.

"Woman" was a gift to the brother of Paul McCartney's girlfriend, Jane Asher, and never recorded by the Beatles. Peter & Gordon's delivery on the studio cut was much, much stronger than this tepid live performance of a song that was high-drama on vinyl. Still one of my favorites, and I think I may even prefer it to Lennon's later song of the same name.

13:17 BST


I'm with Ezra - I don't think prison rape is funny, either. One reason why. (Also: Ezra interviews Feingold about his healthcare plan.)

"What's right with Kansas": Less than a year ago, a conservative majority on Kansas' State Board of Education adopted state science standards on how to teach modern biology. Or in Kansas' case, how to avoid it - the standards adopted by the state board represented the broadest challenge to evolution in the country. Democrats and moderate Republicans organized a fierce fight to take back the board and undo the damage. Yesterday, thankfully, they succeeded. John Scalzi figures it's only a temporary reprieve and says the nutjobs will be back. Scorpio agrees:I live in Kansas. All of you live there, too -- trust me on this. The ascendancy of the nutbags condemns all of you to perpetual vigilance or nutbag insanity.

It's just like old times when Ms. Magazine asks women to sign the statement: We Had Abortions.

Letter to the Editor in the WaPo on how Clear Channel kills music.

It's a measure of how freaked out I was by other news that I completely forgot to look up the latest Pombo story until now. Check out what a member of Pombo's staff said when asked for a response to an editorial criticizing Pombo's ANWR position.

Cursor: Robert Parry asks, 'Who Is Israel's Friend?' -- and the Wall Street Journal provides a possible answer. [...] What Really Happened rounds up media coverage indicating that the Lebanon crisis began after "Israel sent troops across the border into Lebanon ... claimed the captured invaders were [kidnapped]" and then "cast itself as the victim." Plus: An "inspired question."

Republicans hug Michael Moore. No, really.

Attaturk compiles the photolog of Stupidness - and Monkeyfister helps.

Second only to Freddie and the Dreamers as the Dorkiest-Looking British Invasion Group, Gerry and the Pacemakers still did some of the prettiest songs: "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying."

02:34 BST

Rude Bitches

On the heels of Jill's excellent pro-choice rant, egalia's "There Will Be No Ceasefire", and "I'll Go With the Trained Primate" by Shakespeare's Sister, I have posted a bit of whinging and whining at The Rude Pundit, under the title "Bitched off in London", which contains one link you didn't see here first.

00:55 BST

Wednesday, 02 August 2006

Notes from Cheney's war against America

I'm glad to see the libertarians at Hit & Run are appropriately appalled by that WaPo story discussed below: "Bush Administration Still Pushes For Outrageous Star Chamber Terror Trials." And John Aravosis asks, "Would new Bush military tribunals cover American reporters?"

And yes, it can happen. Adam Liptak in The New York Times:

U.S. Wins Access to Reporter Phone Records

A federal prosecutor may inspect the telephone records of two New York Times reporters in an effort to identify their confidential sources, a federal appeals court in New York ruled yesterday.

The 2-to-1 decision, from a court historically sympathetic to claims that journalists should be entitled to protect their sources, reversed a lower court and dealt a further setback to news organizations, which have lately been on a losing streak in the federal courts.

The dissenting judge said that the government had failed to demonstrate it truly needed the records and that efforts to obtain reporters' phone records could alter the way news gathering was conducted.

Meanwhile, another big story in today's WaPo - again, not worthy of the front page (although page 3 is better than page 4), of course - proves that it's almost impossible to be too paranoid: "9/11 Panel Suspected Deception by Pentagon":
Some staff members and commissioners of the Sept. 11 panel concluded that the Pentagon's initial story of how it reacted to the 2001 terrorist attacks may have been part of a deliberate effort to mislead the commission and the public rather than a reflection of the fog of events on that day, according to sources involved in the debate.
I like that term "fog of events". The commission was lied to and they admit that they still don't know why, but we're not going to hear anyone say, "What are they covering up?" in Pravda on the Potomac. But Will Bunch knows that the fact that there is such a story is "shocking".

(Just in case you were wondering, two stories on the heat - and energy - made the front page, one above the fold. Below the fold, there was still room for a story indicating that the Democrats are "scrambling" to win elections. Other A1 stories covered Israel's war on Lebanon [above the fold], funding reconstruction in Iraq, and possible transition in Cuba in light of Castro's age and health.)

17:12 BST


The administration's reaction to the Hamdan decision is apparently that they should simply set fire to the Constitution.

This story should have been on the front page with a banner headline, but it strangely only appears on A4 with a headline that doesn't mention that the administration is openly trying to remove all of your fundamental rights:

White House Proposal Would Expand Authority of Military Courts

A draft Bush administration plan for special military courts seeks to expand the reach and authority of such "commissions" to include trials, for the first time, of people who are not members of al-Qaeda or the Taliban and are not directly involved in acts of international terrorism, according to officials familiar with the proposal.

The plan, which would replace a military trial system ruled illegal by the Supreme Court in June, would also allow the secretary of defense to add crimes at will to those under the military court's jurisdiction. The two provisions would be likely to put more individuals than previously expected before military juries, officials and independent experts said.

The draft proposed legislation, set to be discussed at two Senate hearings today, is controversial inside and outside the administration because defendants would be denied many protections guaranteed by the civilian and traditional military criminal justice systems.
Some independent experts say the new procedures diverge inappropriately from existing criminal procedures and provide no more protections than the ones struck down by the Supreme Court as inadequate. John D. Hutson, the Navy's top uniformed lawyer from 1997 to 2000, said the rules would evidently allow the government to tell a prisoner: "We know you're guilty. We can't tell you why, but there's a guy, we can't tell you who, who told us something. We can't tell you what, but you're guilty."
"Basically, this is trying to overrule the Hamdan case," said Neal K. Katyal, a Georgetown University law professor who was Hamdan's lead attorney.

I didn't find anything in the article to suggest that there is any limit to who could be arrested and sent to kangaroo court. Peace nuns? Vegans? People who don't stay in the "free speech zones"? T-shirt-wearers? Bloggers? Anyone?

Let your reps know (Senate, House) that they should stand up immediately - and loudly - to demonstrate that they oppose dictatorship. You might also like to drop a note to a certain newspaper about why they buried this story. (Don't mention the Internet or blogs or any of that, just respond to the article.)

12:54 BST

Bleeding heart

I dunno. It seems pretty pointless to rail at Limbaugh or Savage or any of them when Alan Dershowitz is making the same kinds of arguments. Dershowitz defended torture earlier on, and thus enabled a further cheapening of the very concept of human life - and human decency. Once you proclaim collective guilt and advocate for collective punishment, you've pretty well eradicated the whole "Never again" thing. So now we get it from Rush Limbaugh and I bet Dershowitz will never understand what he's done. Savage has been saying that people who won't reach for the final solution are indulging in "Holocaust thinking" - that's kind of like "pre-9/11 thinking", only it means you're not prepared to commit genocide because you still think genocide is bad because of the Nazi terror and all that quaint old worrying.

And I see John Rogers had the same thought I did about strengthening the Lebanese army by bombing it about a week before I did. Among other things. Read it.

Okay, so I'm sitting here feeling all depressed and Patrick (this one) tells me to go play this, so I feel much better. Who expects to see the Beatles doing "Blue Moon of Kentucky"? Well, I didn't.

01:59 BST

Tuesday, 01 August 2006

'Twas ever thus

Down in comments, Darryl Pearce quotes from George Bush's 2000 campaign stump speech about how Clinton was abusing our military, and it's almost startling how true a criticism this is of Bush himself. But then, the whole speech is kind of like that.

23:31 BST

Get 'em while they're hot

The Open Voting Foundation reports on the "worst ever security flaw found in diebold": Upon examining the inner workings of one of the most popular paperless touch screen voting machines used in public elections in the United States, it has been determined that with the flip of a single switch inside, the machine can behave in a completely different manner compared to the tested and certified version. All the signs say these machines were built to cheat, and there is no reason to believe they won't be used for just that purpose - even if you assume they haven't already.

Media Matters reports on U.S. News cherry-picking data "to misleadingly suggest that Democrats face dire political consequences if they disagree with Republicans on national security issues."

Peter Daou is back and updating The Daou Report again. Lots of good stuff I want to quote all of.

Bitch Ph.D and AngryBlackBitch are rippin' it up at The Rude Pundit.

Do watch Ned Lamont on The Colbert Report to see a fine performance by a guy who is not intimidated by dealing with our favorite political heckler. (By the way, do you think the Republicans keep meaning to say "briar patch" rather than "tar baby", or are they just sending a message to their real base, again?)

16:40 BST

Making excuses

I am so sick of hearing some "liberal" Senator telling us that something that was as plain as the nose on my face (and mine of all noses!) is just becoming clear, now that it's too late. Like Ted Kennedy, explaining away the fact that the Senate confirmed two complete flaming loonies to the Supreme Court because "Roberts and Alito Misled Us":

But the careful, bipartisan process of years past -- like so many checks and balances rooted in our Constitution -- has been badly broken by the current Bush administration. The result has been the confirmation of two justices, John G. Roberts Jr. and Samuel A. Alito Jr., whose voting record on the court reflects not the neutral, modest judicial philosophy they promised the Judiciary Committee, but an activist's embrace of the administration's political and ideological agenda.

Now that the votes are in from their first term, we can see plainly the agenda that Roberts and Alito sought to conceal from the committee. Our new justices consistently voted to erode civil liberties, decrease the rights of minorities and limit environmental protections. At the same time, they voted to expand the power of the president, reduce restrictions on abusive police tactics and approve federal intrusion into issues traditionally governed by state law.

The confirmation process became broken because the Bush administration learned the wrong lesson from the failed Bork nomination and decided it could still nominate extremists as long as their views were hidden. To that end, it insisted that the Senate confine its inquiry largely to its nominees' personal qualities.

This is irrelevant. Roberts had voted only days before he was nominated to support the administration in Hamdan, a sure sign that his fealty was to the extremist reactionaries rather than to the Constitution. Alito was well-known to have been the creator of both the "unitary executive" theory and the "incremental" anti-abortion strategy. The idea that these people would perform within the mainstream of Constitutional thought merely because they said so in the hearings is ludicrous.
A few examples help illustrate how the confirmation process failed the American people. During Roberts's hearing, I asked him about his statement that a key part of the Voting Rights Act constitutes one of "the most intrusive interferences imaginable by federal courts into state and local processes." In response, he suggested that his words were nothing more than an "effort to articulate the views of the administration . . . for which I worked 23 years ago."
This is a well-known tactic of right-wing nominees, most recently made famous by William Rehnquist, who claimed that his consistently racist writings as a clerk were all someone else's idea - and, despite the fact that his opinions on the Supreme Court were consistent with those writings, he nevertheless disavowed them again for the purposes of elevation to Chief Justice, where he continued to undermine the legal equality of blacks.

Senator Kennedy might ask himself why a jurist might be willing to go on the record as being so outraged by the Voting Rights Act. We already know that the actual rights of states have nothing to do with conservative theory; they're just a dodge conservatives come up with to explain their basic, racist approach to governing when the law they don't happen to like is federal. When states disagree with conservative theory, suddenly the federal government is a perfectly legitimate remedy. Indeed, it is impossible to support the administration in Hamdan or the "unitary executive" theory if one believes that central government should keep its hands off of local and individual rights.

Of course, now Kennedy has realized that what is past is prologue:

The same Roberts who wished the federal government would leave Texas alone was unconcerned by federal intrusion into Oregon's approach to the issue of assisted suicide. In Gonzales v. Oregon , a majority of the Supreme Court held that the Justice Department lacked the power to undermine Oregon's Death With Dignity Act. However, Roberts joined a startling dissent by Justice Antonin Scalia, stating that the administration's actions were "unquestionably permissible" because the federal government can use the Constitution's commerce clause powers "for the purpose of protecting public morality."

It is difficult to believe that a neutral judicial philosophy explains Roberts's very different views in these two cases. He memorably claimed during the confirmation process that he wanted only to be a diligent umpire, calling balls and strikes without regard to what team was at bat. But it turns out that our new umpires have a keen interest in who wins and who loses.

Sure. The conservative movement rails against the commerce clause when its use has a "liberal" result, but suddenly they love it when it helps them suppress individual rights. The pattern has always been clear.

Even Kennedy acknowledges this. But, having learned nothing from John Ashcroft's protestations that he would uphold the law despite a consistent record of attacks on the Constitution that was continued after his confirmation as Attorney General, the Senate, including Senate Democrats, have been at best half-hearted in their willingness to stand up to an obvious strategy of lying and misleading by right-wing movement nominees.

There is no one in the Senate who should be more on his guard against this kind of thing than Senator Edward Kennedy, who should well recall the confirmation hearings of another nutty jurist who pretended to be mainstream and yet somehow ended up on the bench despite many clear reasons to reject him - Clarence Thomas. I certainly haven't forgotten Kennedy's troubled countenance as he articulated the warning against someone who obviously did not belong on the Supreme Court, and advised that if you care about the Constitution, you vote no.

Hearings are nice for trying to get someone to reveal their real thoughts - if they will do so. But there is no law that says acceptance or rejection of a nominee must be based on their performance in the hearings; when they dodge and weave in hearings, their record still stands.

Kennedy can't pretend that the lies of these nominees excuse the failure of Democrats to block their confirmation. The record already speaks for them.

Via Hecate.

14:57 BST

Thinner than water

Last night Atrios quoted from an incoherent defense of Lieberman by Al Hunt and challenged his readers to come up with a meaning for it. The quote:

"A Lieberman loss is very bad for Democrats; it says we are one dimension on Iraq," says Peter Hart, a top Democratic polltaker. "Politically, Iraq should be a debate about the Bush administration. A Lieberman defeat detracts from that."
Someone identifying themselves as "Me" wisely noted in the comments:
First they complain that Dems have no united message on Iraq...

Now they complain that if we DO have a united message on Iraq, it will detract from the debate about the bush administration?

The fact is that the idea that democrats don't have a United message on iraq (they actually do, of course...but the media currently believes this meme) is what really detracts from the debate about Bush admin. responsibility.

Of course. If people are serious about what to do in Iraq, they talk about what to do in Iraq, not whether all the Democrats can agree about what to do in Iraq.

But of course, people who say stuff like this aren't serious about Iraq. They're serious about enabling their favorite team, or in this case one politician they happen to be personally fond of, to further their own projects, whether that solves the problem of Iraq or not. Damned little of it has anything to do with facing little things like preventing more blood from being uselessly spilled at extraordinary costs to us all.

Meanwhile, Bush described the idea of calling for a cease-fire in Lebanon as "stopping for the sake of stopping." He thinks you stop killing people for an abstract reason that has nothing to do with the fact that you want to stop killing people. (I see the WaPo buried that quote, but I'm with the Times Argus on its significance.)

13:01 BST

Your happening world

Some meaty stuff from Eschaton, including:
a duet with Mark Schmitt, who said: But caring about bankruptcy, even if you're not teetering on the brink of it or a bankruptcy lawyer yourself, is part of a vision of a just society. And a vision of a just society - not just the single-issue push-buttons of a bunch of constituency groups - is what a center-left political party ought to be about. And at the end of this fight, I don't expect that we'll have a more leftist Democratic Party, but one that can at least begin to get beyond checklist liberalism.
He also recommends the Salon article by The Hartford Courant columnist Colin McEnroe, "How Joe went wrong". I was particularly interested in this quote explaining how Lieberman has gotten away with it for so long: He's done it to me too, and it's more than smiling and nodding. Lieberman really seems to be listening and considering the possibility that you're right and he's wrong. And he usually makes it clear that he still likes you, even though you sharply differ with him. Isn't that exactly the complaint so many people had about "Slick Willie" - that he always gave people the impression he was really listening to them and on the same page?

Thank goodness things aren't spiralling out of control or anything.... Krugman: For Americans who care deeply about Israel, one of the truly nightmarish things about the war in Lebanon has been watching Israel repeat the same mistakes the United States made in Iraq. It's as if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been possessed by the deranged spirit of Donald Rumsfeld. MahaBarb: It's apparent to most of the world that Israel has already lost its objective, assuming the objective was to route Hezbollah. The righties continue to make excuses, which mostly consist of "they started it" and "if civilians die, it's their own fault for not getting out of the way." They do not see that such "arguments" are not winning them any points; it just makes them look more childishly pathetic. And then TBogg - well, go look for yourself.

David Neiwert, "When hate hits home", about those "lone nuts" who find themselves wrapped up in the tendrils of hate that are sent out by "saner" people and take root in their troubled minds. (And, by the way, if you haven't read Strawberry Days, yet....)

Thanks to Roy Edroso, you can get your parenting advice from Charles Murray.

Charles has even more on the massive fraud, massive demonstrations, and burning ballots (!) in Mexico at Mercury Rising.

03:18 BST

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow, August 2006

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