The Sideshow

Archive for July 2007

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Tuesday, 31 July 2007

News cruise

Another thing I missed due to Harry Potter was the 43rd birthday of Medicare, but eRobin did not, and, there are several posts full of links (including many recent Bush administration atrocities) at Fact-esque:

Bruce Schneier heroically interviews Kip Hawley, head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Part 2 is here, and tomorrow's promised segment is on the no-fly list.

At Dkos, mgris presents PowerPoint Politics: Gonzales perjury explained, while geomoo says in Impeachment 101: Perjury is beside the point. Also, Michael Winship WGAE on Why TV and Radio Journalists Can't Be Like Murrow Anymore. More here.

Anonymous Liberal agrees that Ruth Marcus has it wrong on whether Gonzales perjured himself. And Karen Tumulty notes that the group of legislators who are co-sponsors of the Gonzales impeachment resolution are politically and ideologically diverse, ranging from progressives to Blue Dogs.

Cheney Says He Is A 'Unique Creature' - God, I hope so. But he's still unwilling to admit that he is part of the executive branch. Let me help, Darth: The bumper-stickers say, "Bush/Cheney", and the ballots listed you two together. And anyway, you still work for me, so answer the damned questions.

No surprises when Froomkin surmises that Brown will be just another poodle for Bush.

Don't you just love it that Senator Tubes got raided? "Agents from the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service raided the Alaska home of Sen. Ted Stevens (R) yesterday as part of a broad federal investigation of political corruption in the state that has also swept up his son and one of his closest financial backers, officials said." Seems like Gonzales and his little friends have been distracted from their mission of preventing Republicans from being investigated. DownWithTyranny: "Would you think it strange if some visitor came here, looked over our newspapers and assumed the Republican Party was a huge criminal enterprise? Would they be wrong?"

I used to watch Snyder because it was less boring than other talk shows. Most of the time, it still is.

How to spend your Sunday lunchtime: say ENOUGH!

15:23 BST

Morning news and views

I got side-tracked by the big fat book and missed all the Falafel Day fun yesterday, but even the Freeway Blogger got into the act. And The General dragged me in anyway in a letter to BillO exposing me as being even more suspicious than Kos.

According to this morning's Seattle Times, Jay Inslee (D-WA) is planning to "introduce a resolution today directing the House Judiciary Committee to investigate whether Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should be impeached. [...] Inslee and his co-sponsors are all former prosecutors. Inslee prosecuted cases for the city of Selah, Yakima County, while working as a private attorney in the late 1970s and early 1980s." (Meanwhile in the WaPo, Ruth Marcus is being an idiot.)

The New York Times isn't exactly admitting they got conned by the administration over the NSA spying scandal, but at least it's on the record. I'm not holding my breath for them to finally get serious about doing due diligence about their stories. I mean, it's not like they've ever apologized for Whitewater or the 2000 election or anything, is it?

The Crone returns to the subject of the Insignificant DLC - but I wish the were finally sufficiently insignificant that we'd stop having to hear from them altogether. I'd especially like to stop hearing about how "the left" is irrationally hostile to trade agreements that destroy American security. And as far as "personal responsibility" goes, I'd just like to say to them: "You first."

Speaking of "centrists", what kind of a moron thinks you can "depoliticize" reproductive choice - or anything else - when you have a minority dominating the discourse who have made demonizing these mainstream views central to their core ideology?

12:49 BST

Monday, 30 July 2007

After dinner links

Paul Krugman on An Immoral Philosophy: Now, why should Mr. Bush fear that insuring uninsured children would lead to a further "federalization" of health care, even though nothing like that is actually in either the Senate plan or the House plan? It's not because he thinks the plans wouldn't work. It's because he's afraid that they would. That is, he fears that voters, having seen how the government can help children, would ask why it can't do the same for adults.

What you get for having faith in American business today.

James Fallows wrote "Why Americans Hate the Media" in 1996; things have not improved since then: "Earlier in the month [President Clinton]'s performance had been assessed by the three network-news anchors: Peter Jennings, of ABC; Dan Rather, of CBS; and Tom Brokaw, of NBC. There was no overlap whatsoever between the questions the students asked and those raised by the anchors. None of the questions from these news professionals concerned the impact of legislation or politics on people's lives. Nearly all concerned the struggle for individual advancement among candidates." (via)

Damn, now I gotta send a note to my Congressman to tell him to keep his oath.

Who do these people think they're fooling trying to claim that O'Hanlon and Pollack are liberals just because they come from Brookings? Didn't I already tell everyone that Brookings is not a liberal organization? (Also: Look, it's not "just" about data mining - there was obviously something else going on. Atrios is right about this, and I don't for a minute doubt that they were spying on people anyway they wanted to for reasons that had nothing to do with national security, let alone terrorism.)

Former narc does penance for busting drug users by teaching people how to stay out of jail.

Huh. And these people want to tell the rest of us how to dress at the White House?

20:55 BST

Fruit of the intarweb

At TPM, Steve Benen has a reminder that Bush won over many people - including conservatives - by falsely representing himself as having liberal views and policies. Josh, meanwhile, notes a little-remarked passage in the NYT's editorial supporting a Gonzales impeachment if a special prosecutor is not appointed stating baldly that "Vice President Dick Cheney sent Mr. Gonzales and another official to Mr. Ashcroft's hospital room to get him to approve the wiretapping." He also gives Representative Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) an F in high school civics for not knowing that any public official can be impeached. (But, Josh, don't hold your breath waiting for Gordon Brown to enlighten Bush.)

I realize I'm possibly the last person in the world to comment on this, but even when I was a kid I thought it was understood that once a woman reaches a certain age, you just shut up about the fact that she's suddenly started wearing tops that are more sheer or lower-cut, because there comes a point in every woman's life when how you look is less of a priority than trying to avoid a lot of hot flashes. Debbie Howell certainly looks old enough that she should have first-hand experience with this phenomenon, even if she didn't have a lot of elderly female relatives around like I did. Sheesh.

John Cole thinks it's a great idea for right-wing hacks to choose the questions for the GOP YouTube debate. Or maybe not.

"Come to think of it, Robert Samuelson is an idiot." (Also: Glenn Greenwald's bizarre obsession. Oh, yeah, it's also time to get your nominations in for the 2007 Golden Winger Awards.)

Wikipedia is wrong about who invented "stargates".

15:57 BST

Things I saw this morning

There are three reasons to doubt the American leadership's commitment to democracy. One, of course, is the way they've run "democracy" in Iraq. Another, not incidentally, is how they've run "democracy" in the United States. But there is also their treatment of countries that are already democracies. (via)

Stranger reports that the wingers have come up with a "solution" to the problem of CNN's "liberal bias" - a YouTube debate where only other right-wingers choose the questions. Yeah, like we don't already have that.

Jennifer Pozner has a report-back on what Elizabeth Edwards said at BlogHer07 about media reform and net neutrality; unsurprisingly, she's on our side.

Hm, it hadn't occurred to me until Monkeyfister mentioned it, but the best take-downs of the DLC written in response to Noam Scheiber's silly article were by women, although I'd give Howie at Down With Tyranny! an honorable mention for being clear that the DLC never had anything useful to offer. It's amazing how many people they fooled with their talk of modernized economics, as if even the law of gravity had been voided by their hot new paradigm. Does it help to remind folks that the DLC and the Republican spin tanks are funded and informed by the same people? They're just AEI with different initials, and frequently even too right-wing for Cato.

How to Talk About God and Politics


13:26 BST


Kagro X has an interesting piece on Impeachment and accountability regarding Gonzales' position, from a historical context, at The Next Hurrah. Mimikatz was suggesting Congress should stay in session to avoid Bush suddenly firing Gonzales and putting a recess appointee in his place. (But doesn't that give Ted Stevens too many chances to sneak in when no one is looking and pass some weird law? He's already tried it once before.) But since they've recessed, it's a good time to go talk to them while they're home.

Lambert says, "The heart of the warrantless surveillance was domestic data, not voice" - but if that's true, it's only because it's technologically easier than wiretapping.

You can watch unRepresentative Michael Turner (R-Ohio) smear Lawrence Korb for knowing more about the military than Turner does.

Rorschach links to the latest Katrina report, and also to Peanuts, by Charles Bukowski.

Eli notices a funny thing about Killing "Taliban" in Afghanistan.

Lots of people are talking about the fact that no conservative agreed to come on Fox to defend Gonzales.

02:51 BST

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Some people say

At The Left Coaster, eriposte says: "You may have heard that some of the top contenders of the Republican Presidential nomination declined to participate in a CNN-hosted YouTube-based election debate. At face value, the reasons given by some of the campaigns were as transparently phony as the candidates themselves, but it is interesting that CNN seems to be calling their bluff. I wanted to comment on this incident because I believe it is a reflection of a historical inflection point in American politics."

At Seeing the Forest, a simple test for voting machines: "Prove it." What do I mean? Suppose you have a perfect voting machine and every possible security problem that anyone can think of is accounted for. The machine's code is carefully inspected. The hardware is working. So I go in and cast a vote, and they say, "Your vote was recorded accurately." I say, "Prove it." But of course, they can't prove that your vote was accurately recorded on an electronic counter. The only way you can prove it is to count the paper ballots - by hand, in front of everyone, on the night.

Wayne Pearce found an article by chess champ Garry Kasparov on how to understand today's Russian government, "Don Putin", that sounds...painfully...familiar: "The web of betrayals, the secrecy, the blurred lines between what is business, what is government, and what is criminal--it's all there in Mr. Puzo's books."

I saw pretty pictures like this one over at Maru's place, along with many links, many rude things, and a link to this NYT editorial saying Gonzales should be impeached. Well, okay, they say "Democratic lawmakers are asking for a special prosecutor to look into Mr. Gonzales's words and deeds. Solicitor General Paul Clement has a last chance to show that the Justice Department is still minimally functional by fulfilling that request. If that does not happen, Congress should impeach Mr. Gonzales.", but c'mon, he should be impeached, we already know what he's been doing and saying.

From the Nancygram files: "I Can Has Impeachmentz?" (Sounds good to me.)

21:26 BST

Dem Dems

I think The Crone goes too easy on the DLC when she calls them Republican Lite. As near as I can tell, they support the same crap the Republicans do, they just aren't quite as noisy about it, and sometimes they kinda lie so it looks like they're not supporting it - that's what it means when Joe Lieberman votes against cloture when he knows it's the only way to stop a bill he says he opposes, but then casts a meaningless vote against it on the floor.

And while I'm glad that our candidates have seen the writing on the wall and decided to distance themselves visibly from the DLC, I want to see where their policies truly differ, and so far I'm not entirely comfortable with how different they are. The only place they are starting to look different is that they don't spend so much of their time bashing liberals. It's good to see Noam Scheiber acknowledge that, "Despite what you hear from the council, the biggest problem facing the Democrats, and the nation, is not the party's liberal activists."

But Scheiber still misses the larger point that the real problem the Democrats had in the late '70s, the '80s, and the '90s was not with liberal policies, but with a failure to defend those policies to the public in meaningful ways. The leadership was already so sympathetic with the conservative revulsion against "the dirty hippies" that, rather than act against an already-growing dominance of right-wing memes, they came to be part of the chorus. And, to a certain extent, they still are:

The council grew out of frustration with Walter Mondale's crushing 1984 defeat. Mr. Mondale had maneuvered to win the A.F.L.-C.I.O.'s endorsement during the Democratic primaries, but his victory was pyrrhic. The endorsement solidified Mr. Mondale's reputation as the candidate of special interests.
The real problem here, of course, was not that Mondale was "the candidate of special interests", but that the Democratic leadership persisted in treating them that way - like the concerns of the majority of Americans was something they could give short-hand support to by merely accepting the endorsements of organizations and then, when they had to, throwing them the occasional legislative sop. Merely having union endorsements is pointless if you don't remind the public that the "special interests" the Republicans are talking about are everyone who has to work for a living.

And, to this day, the DLC has never acknowledged that one of the greatest selling-points Clinton ran on was an issue that Democrats had been ignoring ever since it started to become an issue much earlier - health care. When the Clinton administration allowed their promised healthcare plan to be derailed by the Republicans and also allowed the perception (created by the Republicans) that this happened because the administration thought gays were more important, they allowed a larger picture to be painted of a party that made big promises and then betrayed the public - on things that really mattered to them.

Scheiber acknowledges that the DLC made mistakes on the bankruptcy bill and the war, but seems curiously unable to let go of the idea that supporting right-wing legislation was necessary back in the "welfare reform" days to counteract the image of "fiscal irresponsibility" the GOP had painted liberalism with. What the DLC did was treat that lie as if it represented the truth - that liberal programs just threw money around recklessly while Republicans were frugal and prudent. That was never true, but the DLC never had the guts to stand up and call a lie a lie. Maybe they were just too stupid to know it for what it was. But they hurt the party and the country far more deeply than any of them are prepared to admit.

We now have a primary race where the leading candidates (and the one everyone still hopes will run) either used to be members of the DLC or too often sound like them. Although they've distanced themselves from the council, they have too seldom shown a real willingness to shake off the fear of liberalism that has infected the party leadership.

Obama opened his campaign by having a "Sister Souljah moment" on a weekly basis.

Hillary Clinton has never repudiated her vote for the invasion of Iraq, still makes excuses for it that sound silly at best, and still doesn't seem that interested in really getting out of Iraq and getting rid of the very idea that we can use military might to pound other countries into doing things our way. She also seems to be rather too comfortable with the idea of an all-powerful executive.

Edwards is better on most things, but still not good enough.

And Al Gore... Well, we know that Al Gore opposed the invasion when it counted, and that he was the first to advocate a single-payer healthcare plan. But we haven't heard from him on getting out of Iraq, and we haven't heard him repudiate any of the other stupid ideas that the DLC had - and he supported - while he was still in it. So even if he does decide to run, there are still questions to answer, there.

And yet, this is what we have to work with. And we have to work with it, because your choice is either to try to make the Democratic Party work for you or to accept the end of democracy. Even Nader had it right when he said that we don't need a third party - what we need is a second party. Making the Democratic Party into that party is our job.

16:45 BST

Lunching on links

This morning's WaPo has an article saying that more Americans have noticed that the Supreme Court is too far right, but to me it just looks like not enough have figured it out. The article mentions only abortion and affirmative action as issues, but it's clear that more people need to be talking about the fact that the court now appears to take the view that the only "people" who have rights are corporations and highly-placed Republicans. The NYT had an op-ed the other day suggesting a number of court-packing methods that could be used to change the balance - a suggestion Anonymous Liberal says is "a truly terrible idea". The Senate is expressing dismay that the two right-wing hacks they allowed to rise to the highest court have turned out to be right-wing hacks on the job, a bit of meeping that evokes bitter laughter from those who warned that refusing to filibuster was stupid, cowardly, and irresponsible. Clearly, the level of stupidity, cowardice, and irresponsibility extends to the clear duty of Congress to impeach public officials who act against the Constitution. Even bitter laughter is becoming difficult. Soon it will probably be illegal.

Digby continues the discussion of The Village Bipartisan Block Party and notes that the source of the "bipartisanship" meme that has dogged the Dems since the 2006 election is pretty obvious - it's a Republican talking point. I said a long time ago that one great strength of Paul Krugman was that he was hanging around the Econ department at Princeton rather than with the Washington press corps, and thus he was more able to form his opinions without the corruption of imbibing the continuous stream of lies that permeate the atmosphere on The Hill. Krugman shares this strength with you and me, of course, and Digby reminds us that Peter Beinert actually warned us about the evils of Krugman's untainted viewpoint back in 2003. (Oh, and Jim Henley is worse than Stalin.)

Sighted at Lawyers, Guns and Money, Jon Stewart on Alberto's lies, Peggy Noonan on on how hard it is to get good help, Al Gore=Hitler - and how much of this do we have to see before people start asking whether their one "triumph", over Dan Rather, was just more of the same?


13:16 BST

Saturday night reader

Elle Macpherson Intimates Dentelle underwired bra

Bra of the Week

OK, they can't do anything about the general release of Sicko, which is already out there and people are going out and seeing it and getting all worked into an organizing fever, but the DVD will be coming out when the election season really heats up, and people will be buying it and having house parties to watch it, and that might make the Republicans uncomfortable, so it wouldn't surprise me to know that they've decided to subpoena Moore over his perfectly legal trip to Cuba just to try to interfere with all that politically uncomfortable stuff - just another partisan political use of the process, of course. (Meanwhile, don't forget to get your Sicko Health Care Card.)

I remember being pretty upset early in the Bush Occupancy about the way they were consistently reducing public access to the White House, but now they are telling the public how they can dress when they do let them in. So much for "the people's house".

Glenn Greenwald is talking about the weird group-think that goes on within the Washington media establishment and how they truly seem to convince each other of not only their off-the-wall beliefs, but that the majority of Americans actually share those beliefs - even when the polls clearly show that this is not true. In an update at the bottom, Glenn mentions this item by Andrew Sullivan, particularly interesting because he is saying much the same thing - but describing his own experience of having fallen into exactly this trap over the invasion of Iraq. (In the same post, Glenn talks about how he and Anonymous Liberal, who is also a lawyer, have jointly concluded that Gonzales' really did lie, and that his testimony does form a good case for perjury.)

Think Progress reports that people are starting to ask out loud about whether Pat Tillman was killed because of his views. Also, Robert Greenwald's Fox Attacks campaign to get people to complain to companies about their sponsorship of Bill O'Really's shows seems to have borne some fruit with the cancellation of Lowe's advertising on The O'Reilly Factor.

02:00 BST

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Bloggy notes

I have to take issue with both Atrios and Jim: While Anne-Marie Slaughter's "Partisans Gone Wild" is certainly very stupid (why is it that when Lieberman criticizes Democrats, it's "centrist", but when Democratic bloggers criticize Democrats, it's "partisanship"? And how can it be "partisanship" to criticize members of your own party, anyway?) - but really, there have been plenty of Broder and Cohen articles at least as bad, not to mention the complete derangement of Krauthammer.

Lis Riba calls our attention to news that at least one judge remembers what Constitutional rights mean: "The genius of our Constitution is that it provides rights even to those who evoke the least sympathy from the general public. In that way, all in this nation can be confident of equal justice under its laws. Hazleton, in its zeal to control the presence of a group deemed undesirable, violated the rights of such people, as well as others within the community. Since the United States Constitution protects even the disfavored, the ordinances cannot be enforced."

I feel terrible about having missed Sysadmin Appreciation Day, since we have a really great Alpha Geek keeping an eye on our tech here at the fabulous Sideshow Publishing Empire. Go read what he has to say about his spam, stupid state secrets, Tesla-esque experiments, copyright extensions, and many other things. Also, the current state of the RIAA's war on file-sharing - and you.

23:43 BST

Stuff to check out

We ran off to see the Harry Potter movie. 'Tweren't bad.

War is Heck: Mona learns that PTSD is no big deal. And Jim Henley considers the possibility that Blackwater broke its contracts with the contractors and therefore the clause requiring contractors not to sue Blackwater is nullified. Given that Scott Horton describes some pretty egregious breaches on Blackwater's part, Mona responds in comments, the courts are likely to allow the suits, especially since they tend not to like no-lawsuit clauses much anyway.

Sameer Lalwani at The Washington Note discusses the upside of the tiff between Clinton and Obama - that they are creating a public debate on Diplomacy That's More Than a Punch Line, noting that the reason that diplomacy (under this administration) appears not to work is that the administration kept claiming it was doing it when in reality it was not.

Charles Pierce says, "Tony Snow always was insufferably smug and mendacious." And he still is.

Jamison Foser on how far the press corps has fallen.

Bob Geiger's Saturday Cartoons (and an act of kindness from the DNC to Fred Thompson's campaign).

"We're hard-working, taxpaying people like you."

Thomas Friedman, Private Eye, in Dial "M" For Moustache, by Tom Tomorrow. (via)

19:02 BST

Look out, here comes the master race!

Digby is always good at analyzing the warped sexuality of the conservafreaks, and "Frederick of Hollywood and the Tiny Silicone Penis" is no exception, but sometimes they still manage to amaze (and squick) me with how openly they expose themselves. I do wish they'd zip it up. (Tristero on the John Birchers is good, too.)

I've mentioned before the folly of privatizing your national security and putting it into the hands of people who have sworn no allegiance to our country and may even come from a nation that is hostile to the US, and I'm pleased to see that Democracy NOW! did a segment on it: Outsourcing Intelligence: Author R.J. Hillhouse on How Key National Security Projects Are Contracted to Private Firms.

Atrios has discovered that Chuck Schumer appears to have noticed that confirming Bush's nominees is a very bad idea. A bit late in the day, innit?

Jon Swift sums up the war on "Scott Thomas".

Jane Hamsher is proud to be a partisan. (via)

Rachel Maddow's Campaign Asylum takes you on a tour of Tancredoland.

Will Bunch and Keith Olbermann discuss the mystery of terrorist ice-pack warnings.
Bruce Fein and former White House counsel Stan Brand discussing the Watergate-like nature of the current situation, on Hardball.

Springtime for Hitler [1968 original, 2005 w/ John Barrowman]

12:58 BST

Midnight ramble

Who better to review Tim Weiner's Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA than Chalmers Johnson? And kudos to Tom Engelhardt for getting him to write "The Life and Times of the CIA: Wall Street Brokers, Ivy League Professors, Soldiers of Fortune, Ad Men, Newsmen, Stunt Men, Second-Story Men, and Con Men on Active Duty for the United States". Via Altercation.

When they say, "There's nothing we can do," it's bollocks.

Gosh, I missed it when Matthews accused Michael Moore of being fat, but Somerby caught it. But not much has changed since 1999 - the media still doesn't want to have a serious discussion of healthcare. Meanwhile, it looks like our news media is going to support Fred Thompson for president because he played a prosecutor on TV.

The Pentagon is going to win the hearts and minds of the American people by catapulting the propaganda.

Barbara Jordan's statement on the articles of impeachment (Thanks to D. for the tip.)

12:01 BST

Friday, 27 July 2007

Extra coffee

In my post about the spy program, I didn't speculate on whether the administration had been blackmailing Republicans, but we do also know that exactly that happened right on the the House floor - but without using any personal secrets. In comments, Mary reminds us that blackmail helped Dusty Foggo control an official, and may very well account for the fact that Mark Foley stayed around after he wanted to quit. Mark Adams (who is not sounding terribly dispassionate on the subject over at Dispassionate Liberal), reckons it explains Arlen Specter, among others.

Chuck Dupree explains why the media hates Edwards (and links to his "Hair" video - which I liked). He also says that Cindy Sheehan demonstrated in the wrong office, and has some interesting quotes and some good advice. (And Jerome Doolittle explains ticks.)

Debunking our first Muslim Congressman - He compared Bush to Hitler, but was he right?

Lately I've seen it even in The Nation - misusing the term "Swift-Boat" to describe any group that has a campaign to criticize a candidate. But Eric Boehlert reminds us that that's not what it's about: "The problem with that analogy is that it completely ignores what set the Swift Boat Vets apart: They manufactured nearly every claim they made about Kerry. They lied about documents; they lied about eyewitnesses. And they lied about their partisan leanings and connections."

Colbert's interview with Paul Krugman.

When your plants talk back. (via)

18:19 BST

Blood, sweat, and tears

I'm sure I won't be hearing much from the right-wingers about how Muslims oppose suicide bombings and Osama bin Laden.

Digby returns to a consistent problem with the hawks - they just never seem to absorb that the reason people say that war is Hell is because it is: "I hear so much from the right about how they love the troops. But they don't seem to love the actual human beings who wear the uniform, they love those little GI Joe Dolls they played with as children they could dress up in little costumes and contort into pretzels for their fun and amusement. If they loved the actual troops they wouldn't require them to be like two dimensional John Waynes, withholding their real experiences and feelings for fear that a virtual armchair lynch mob would come after them."

The party of cowards appears to be copping out of the YouTube debate. What a bunch of tough guys, eh? They can stand up to anything except ordinary people.

My favorite Republican quote so far today, found here: "Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) was this evening lamenting 'an end to bipartisanship' during the Farm Bill debate on the House floor, in reference to the terrible tax loophole shutdown on corporations headquartered in tropical file drawers. It's been included in the Farm Bill as an offset for nutrition programs. Dreier said that Democrats were 'demonizing' good corporations like Toyota and 'the Bayer Corporation that makes the baby Aspirin!'" (Is there still baby aspirin? I thought there'd been a bunch of hysteria about aspirin for children and they'd taken it off the shelves.)

15:21 BST

More things that ruin breakfast

Alberto Umbridge Gonzales and Harriet Bellatrix Miers have given the Congress, the people, and the US Constitution a great big dirty word.

Was Pat Tillman fragged? Even his mother suspects it. Via Atrios.

Shelley Murphy in The Boston Globe on the price-tag on 33 years of false imprisonment: "A federal judge held the FBI "responsible for the framing of four innocent men" in a 1965 gangland murder in a landmark ruling yesterday and ordered the government to pay the men $101.7 million for the decades they spent in prison. The award is believed to be the largest of its kind nationally. In a decision that was as dramatic as it was stern, US District Judge Nancy Gertner said from the bench that the FBI had deliberately withheld evidence that Peter J. Limone, Joseph Salvati, Louis Greco, and Henry Tameleo were innocent, and that the bureau helped cover up the injustice for decades as the men grew old behind bars and Tameleo and Greco died."

Susie Madrak finds that Democratic Doublespeak that we love so much. Do our candidates really have no interest in leaving Iraq - or should we be suspicious of even-the-neocon oil-warrior Ted Koppel and his unnamed sources? (Also: Impeach Them Now for illegal voter-suppression.)

Down with this sort of thing.

13:33 BST

Serious business

This analysis of Gonzales' testimony by Spencer Ackerman and Paul Kiel suggests that something even more sinister than has been previously acknowledged is at the heart of the whole spy program issue. A few bloggers have wondered just what must have been going on - and how bad it must have been - that Ashcroft and Comey wouldn't sign off on it, but the corporate press so far has failed to ask that question. Ackerman and Kiel are raising the speculation to a higher level. I forget now who it was (Somerby?) who originally suggested that this has been about spying on Democrats, but we already know they have been spying on peace groups. (We also know that Republicans in Congress were essentially hacking Democratic members' e-mail.) It's not at all far-fetched to suggest that the administration has been using the program against political enemies, not just to anticipate their moves, but for blackmail. It would certainly explain a lot.

Bill Scher says Hillary is picking a fight with Obama on spurious grounds over foreign policy, trying to paint him as making naive promises that, in fact, he never made.

Glenn Greenwald is justly offended by the suggestion that people like Joe Lieberman, and those who agree with him, are taken as "serious" thinkers on foreign policy, especially after Lieberman takes a public stand in favor of Zionist supremacism and claims common cause with extremist Armageddonistas. Joe Klein responds, and Glenn isn't impressed. (Neither am I. I have no idea what Joke Line thinks he means when he presents himself as a "reporter". He's not a reporter in any meaningful sense. He just says stuff, the same way most bloggers just say stuff. The difference is that most bloggers are using facts to back up what they say, and the best Joe ever comes up with is Capitol Hill gossip.)

"Pop goes to war: "Music and movies are vital coping mechanisms for US servicepeople in Iraq. And often, say four local troops, after they get home."

I know Arthur isn't begging for money in his most recent post, but I suspect it would help a great deal if you could kick in a few bucks. If you can't, a friendly e-mail (arthur4801 at yahoo dot com) might cheer him up. Arthur writes some smart and passionate stuff, and I miss him when he's not posting.

02:21 BST

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Everbody knows

MediaBloodHound notes that the big problem with the YouTube debate was that the usual suspects on CNN still meddled and got rid of popular questions because they didn't fit their own prejudices. Ironically, they dismissed as "fringe" a question that was one of the most popular: impeachment.

Bruce Fein tells Keith Olbermann why the most unpopular president in modern history should be impeached.

And finally, after all this time, Josh Marshall begins to understand the threat:

Without going into all the specifics, I think we are now moving into a situation where the White House, on various fronts, is openly ignoring the constitution, acting as though not just the law but the constitution itself, which is the fundamental law from which all the statutes gain their force and legitimacy, doesn't apply to them.
They've been doing that all along, and of course it was the message they gave us when they went to the Supreme Court to overrule a state's right to decide to count all the ballots in the 2000 election - and it was the position that the US Supreme Court confirmed.
Whether because of prudence and pragmatism or mere intellectual inertia, I still have the same opinion on the big question: impeachment. But I think we're moving on to dangerous ground right now, more so than some of us realize. And I'm less sure now under these circumstances that operating by rules of 'normal politics' is justifiable or acquits us of our duty to our country.
(Via Corrente, where the comment thread has a few interestsing comments.)

We haven't been operating by the rules of "normal politics" since before this administration came into office. It's very late to acknowledge this. But if the anti-impeachment forces have lost Josh, we may be at that turning point when we've run out of white feathers.

16:27 BST

Obvious to all

Despite the fact that they have been willing to cast aside the Constitution on other matters, even P.X. Kelley and Robert F. Turner are now concerned about War Crimes and the White House in light of Bush's executive order last Friday:

It is firmly established in international law that treaties are to be interpreted in "good faith" in accordance with the ordinary meaning of their words and in light of their purpose. It is clear to us that the language in the executive order cannot even arguably be reconciled with America's clear duty under Common Article 3 to treat all detainees humanely and to avoid any acts of violence against their person.


To date in the war on terrorism, including the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and all U.S. military personnel killed in action in Afghanistan and Iraq, America's losses total about 2 percent of the forces we lost in World War II and less than 7 percent of those killed in Vietnam. Yet we did not find it necessary to compromise our honor or abandon our commitment to the rule of law to defeat Nazi Germany or imperial Japan, or to resist communist aggression in Indochina. On the contrary, in Vietnam -- where we both proudly served twice -- America voluntarily extended the protections of the full Geneva Convention on prisoners of war to Viet Cong guerrillas who, like al-Qaeda, did not even arguably qualify for such protections.

I'd have to take issue with that last bit - the Geneva Conventions make exceptions on torture for no one, regardless of their status.

Glenn Greenwald on Gonzales: "That is what Alberto Gonzales does. He lies to protect the President. And the President will never fire him. Gonzales isn't keeping his job despite his willingness to lie to Congress, but because of it. Congress has no choice but to act meaningfully -- impeachment of Gonzales and a Special Prosecutor -- and if they do not, then, I suppose, one could say that Congress deserves to be lied to." (Also: Michelle Malkin's hate sites.)

14:01 BST

Standing tall

Cernig: "It's difficult to read the recommendations of the UK parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee new report on illegal rendition as anything other than an explicit warning to Brown's government that the Bush administration cannot be trusted to stick to long-standing deals on co-operation." (Also: It's pretty obvious that the neocons really do intend to attack Iran. They're even trying to develop some "facts" to make it look economically viable.)

Sitting in at The Agonist, Xanthippas is bugged that Liberal Hawks Still Don't Get It that it was always obvious that invading Iraq was wrong.

The thing about registered sex offenders...

Keith Olbermann talks to Shuster and Leahy about Gonzales's perjury and other contempt of Congress. Just about everyone knows Fredo should be fired, but we're still waiting for enough Republicans to acknowledge that he should be impeached and jailed.

Reading wingnuts so you don't have to, Thers takes another stab at explaining the obvious about the difference between using strong language and being "hateful". You'd think grown-ups would already understand this.

12:04 BST


Jeez, it's beginning to look like even the neocon Washington Post might be ready to impeach Gonzales when they publish editorials about his Credibility Collapse and say, "At what point does someone lose so much credibility that he should no longer serve in public office? In the case of Mr. Gonzales, we believe that time has come and gone." Via Suburban Guerrilla.

The Politico reports that Arlen Specter is planning to review Alito and Roberts' decisions in light of their implied respect in confirmation hearings for stare decisis: "Specter, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, who served as chairman during the hearings, said he wants to examine whether Roberts and Alito have "lived up" to their assurances that they would respect legal precedents." Don't hold your breath for this to go anywhere, but someone really should impeach these guys for their open hostility to the Constitution.

I had fun reading James Wolcott on Mark Steyn (and Conrad Black).

More on Republicans' "principles" from BooMan, via Atrios.

Party like it's 1973!

01:45 BST

A few good links

Three from Think Progress:

And Orcinus has a lot on things like the real head of the White Supremacist movement, Falafel Bill; Harry Potter and the Loony Right; and how Bush's executive order ups the ante on how brave you have to be to fight for your freedoms inside the United States.

It's What's On the Table!

00:07 BST

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Frog a la peche

I keep saying that when Bush sounds like he's saying it's a "war on tourism", it's because it is: "The travel and tourist industry is one of the United State's biggest money-makers, generating $103 billion in tax revenue every year. Without this tax revenue, every American household would pay nearly $1,000 more in taxes every a year. But while the travel business is flourishing internationally, tourism to America has been on a steep decline, dropping 36 percent between 1992 and 2005, with a loss of $43 billion in 2005 alone. The nation's international tourism balance of trade declined more than 70 percent over the past 10 years - from $26.3 billion in 1996 to $7.4 billion in 2005." Why? Because people don't even have to leave the airport to feel like they have entered a police state. And who wants to go to one of those?

Scott Swenson at RH Reality Check says, "You Tube Wins Debate: Age Appropriate Sex-Ed Discussed" - and the public made the press corps look even worse than usual. (Still wonder why they hate blogs?)

Will Bunch recommends an article by Richard Engel giving his on-site report on what he suggests is not the war Bush thinks we're fighting.

Faithful Progressive usually sounds restrained and thoughtful, but watching Gonzales seems to have raised a lot of blood pressure around the blogosphere, and FP's place is no exception.

Conscience of the Conservatives - Karl Rove helps show Rick Perlstein what conservatives mean when they talk about "principle", live and in-person.

And speaking of principles, Glenn Greenwald takes a look at John Yoo, then and now, and discovers just another partisan hack who thinks the Constitution only exists to limit what Democrats can do in government.

18:17 BST

Money doesn't make the world go 'round

At Mercury Rising, Phoenix woman notes a bit of a sea-change:

This Is Astonishing: Ben Stein, the man who never saw an upper-income tax cut he didn't like, suddenly sounding like frickin' Che Guevara - and in the pages of the Scaifetator, too:
[...] Here is what's new and hot and exciting (or terrible) in the world of money today:

The average wage of the American worker adjusted for inflation is lower than it was in 1973. The only way that Americans have been able to maintain their standard of living at the middle and lower ends has been to send more family members to work and to draw down savings or go into debt or both.

The most sought after jobs in the United States now are jobs in finance in which basically almost no money is raised for new steel mills or coal mines, but immense sums are raised to buy companies, recapitalize them - which means pay the new owners immense special dividends and other payments for going to the trouble of taking over the company. This process results in fantastically well-paid investment bankers and private equity "financial engineers" and has no measurably beneficial effect on the economy generally. It does facilitate the making of ever younger millionaires and an ever more leveraged American corporate structure.

And Charles sees something similar when he announces that, "Bill Gross Joins the Ancient and Hermetic Order of the Shrill" - because Goss is not what you'd call a flower child, and yet he says:
That the golden glazed surfboards of the 21st century seem unique with their decals of "private equity" and "hedge finance" is mostly a mirage. Wealth has always gravitated towards those that take risk with other people's money but especially so when taxes are low. The rich are different - but they are not necessarily society's paragons. It is in fact society's wind and its current willingness to nurture the rich that fills their sails.
More and more business people with strong monetarist credentials are suddenly saying out loud what a lot of "lefties" have been saying for decades: that merely investing in money is not good for the nation's economy.

14:23 BST

Last night's notes

Crooks and Liars has a clip of Michael Moore on Hardball - First Matthews interviews Moore, and then both of them interview a woman in the crowd who wants to speak up for free-market solutions. It's a real testament to Moore that he doesn't break up laughing at her complete lack of knowledge on the subject. More clips at DKos here.

Also at C&L, I am astonished to learn that a guy was arrested for selling anti-Bush buttons at a market in my home town! "McConnell was at the market in Kensington as usual yesterday, selling buttons that say "Impeach Him" He has sold the $1 buttons for months; he told The Washington Post he uses the money earned to pay for "Impeach Them Both" yard signs."

TBogg explains Althousen Syndrome.

A message from the Founding Fathers (Thanks to Stu for the tip.)

12:01 BST

In the shadow land

Three interesting pieces at The Next Hurrah:

  • Kagro X, Another view on censure and contempt: "As a Senator, of course, Feingold is simply not empowered to introduce articles of impeachment, so in terms of direct action, censure is probably about the best that can be expected. Rep. Robert Wexler, on the other hand, who introduced his own resolution of censure in the House, does not have that excuse. And while he surely has a whole raft of reasons to prefer censure over impeachment, none of them are that his hands are tied by the terms of the Constitution. The advantage of censure -- if it is an advantage -- is that it doesn't face the hurdle of having to garner a 2/3 supermajority in the Senate in order to pass. On the flip side, neither does ordering a large pepperoni pizza with extra cheese. And both pose about the same threat to the White House."
  • Marcy says it's Time to Talk to the Gang of Eight after Gonzales' claim that the leadership of both parties, "advised BushCo to go forward with the domestic wiretap program, which is why, he explains, he thought a man in ICU should have the opportunity to override the judgment of the Acting Attorney General." But, "Rockefeller, for one, noted his concerns about the program in a letter to Cheney and has said Congress never had the opportunity to approve or disapprove of the program."
  • Marcy also discusses Diane Feinstein's questions about how the DOJ has suddenly been Changing the Rules to make it easier to use faked voter-fraud prosecutions in order to affect elections.

I know it's a few days old, but since people are sending me links to it I gather some people missed the fact that I'd previously linked the story of how Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR), a member of Homeland Security Committee, responded to calls from his constituents who were "worried there was a conspiracy buried in the classified portion of a White House plan for operating the government after a terrorist attack" by asking the White House to see it, and, though his request was originally allowed, he was then told it was denied. "Norm Ornstein, a legal scholar who studies government continuity at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said he "cannot think of one good reason" to deny access to a member of Congress who serves on the Homeland Security Committee. "I find it inexplicable and probably reflective of the usual, knee-jerk overextension of executive power that we see from this White House," Ornstein said." I think they're secretive because they're overthrowing our form of government.

Demosthenes says there's no point in having the weapon if everyone knows you're not going to use it.

02:10 BST

Toy surprises

Digby responds to Gonzales' testimony: "I famously set forth my reservations about impeaching Bush and Cheney (and paid the price in pieces of my hide.) But I have none about impeaching this guy and I think it might even be (remotely) possible to get 17 Republicans to vote to convict. Even Jeff Sessions sounded pissed today."

The town I was born in votes unanimously for impeachment of Bush and Cheney.

Re-bunking a myth - Long after everyone knows it's not true, Bush revives his BS.

Time-waster: Trilox, via Elayne.

What are these things?

My thanks to MadKane for alerting me to Miss Cellani's underwear post.

00:09 BST

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Chicken in a bun

Here, Gonzales seems to be telling Arlen Specter that the "disagreement" Comey testified about had to do with a different illegal spying program than the one he was being asked about - but that's not what he said in his testimony last June. Schumer and Leahy strongly implied that he was lying, and Leahy said he would investigate.

Yep, there's flooding up north. But only one country is threatening a nuclear holocaust. It's not Iran. But we can't let that little fact interfere with a three decades-old plan.

"What can one say about Joe Klein?" The sad thing is, he looked like he was almost on the way to getting it right. (I put that Swampland link in for posterity's sake, but for some reason I can't open Swampland links today. Is it just me?)

Transcripts of Thom Hartmann's interviews with Paul Craig Roberts and Bruce Fein.

The Moral Imperative for Impeachment
An argument for impeachment as a moral and political prerogative
What happened to the Oath?

19:08 BST

It might be news

Cindy, Conyers, and impeachment - Cindy came to Washington to present a petition to Conyers supporting impeachment. Conyers said the votes didn't exist, it wasn't gonna happen. Then everyone staged a sit-in and got busted.

The Crone has a linky post that leads me to another reminder that a state that thinks it has "an interest" in controlling your reproduction will do so in both directions. Also a reminder that Kevin Drum provided a short, clear explanation of why the Republicans are so happy to be quietly filibustering everything in sight: "The real reason is a desperate desire to kill popular legislation quietly (the press doesn't spend much time reporting on routine filibusters) rather than force President Bush to kill popular legislation in full public view (the press does report on presidential vetoes)."

I see Richard Cohen has written a deeply important column about the flaws of two candidates: Fred Thompson (who lied about the purity of his support for a major right-wing policy), and John Edwards (who got some haircuts). Trifecta reports.

Great news! Bush plans to start protecting your food! Yeah, right.

I don't know what to make of this - it just seems so over the top and unSpitzer-like that I'm completely nonplussed.

I was about eight or so the first time I read a Monkey's Paw story in some DC comic or other. This one is scarier.

14:50 BST

In words and pictures

Glenn Greenwald on The Weekly Standard's "9/11 Generation", and another astonishing right-wing trip through a history in which the hated Baby Boomer generation failed to answer the Call to Glory the way this generation has.

John Nichols is enthusiastic about Feingold's measures to censure Bush. Since Feingold is in the Senate rather than the House, he can't move impeachment, but he can do this much: "Censure is not the cure. Impeachment is. But censuring Bush and Cheney ought not be seen as a compromise, or an insufficient response to the crisis. It is a senatorial compliment to the burgeoning movement for impeachment -- a movement that today delivered petitions with more than 1,000,000 signatures to Congressman John Conyers appealing to him to begin impeachment proceedings."

Al Gore's The Assault on Reason reviewed in Ecolanguage.

Bill Moyers interviews The Yes Men: "And I think that this is really the point is that as long as we are deferring all of our responsibilities to a marketplace to make the decisions, we're going to be in trouble. And we're gong to keep heading down these paths that are leading us on the course toward destruction."

KathyF notices blue on the landscape, and finds out why.

11:57 BST

Monday, 23 July 2007

Quick links

At Why Now, a proposal in lieu of impeachment for an administration that is Inherently Contemptible.

Takoma Park is voting on impeachment today - and Thomas Nephew responds to Jim Henley's snarky comments, too.

Nicole Belle says, "Tell Congress to Begin Impeachment Proceedings NOW."

I Got Dem Counterinsurgency Blues Again, Mama: Or How Iraq Became Vietnam.

Reasons not to be entirely happy with Jim Webb.

23:58 BST

Big words

John Conyers is back to supporting impeachment - if he can get a few more members of Congress to sign on with it. (I think there may be some original reporting by A Tiny Revolution staff, there.)

I was just reading this excellent post by Hilzoy about The Cabbage's bizarre claim that Republicans can't "distance themselves from" Bush because "Harry Reid!" - Harry Reid is making it "impossible". Hilzoy points out that this is stretching the meaning of "impossible" beyond all recognition. And in the comment thread, KCinDC asks, "What exactly is it that Brooks believes these Republican senators would be doing if it weren't for that dastardly Harry Reid? These guys have been spectering since before Reid was majority leader, and I don't believe they'd stop doing it simply because Reid did something different. And I don't know what Reid would be doing in Brooks's ideal world either -- offering McConnell co-leadership?" I think "spectering" is a great verb. (I also think it's incredibly dangerous to pass any bills as long as Richard Bruce Cheney and George Walker Bush are running the country and can do anything they want. If the votes exists to stop the war, what won't BushCo do to turn things into an even bigger disaster? It wouldn't surprise me if 15 minutes after passage of a withdrawal bill there was a successful terrorist attack on the Empire State Building, which would pretty much be Game Over. I just don't see how we can do anything without first impeaching the entire administration.)

Procedural Roadblock Mania! at Fact-esque: "The corporate media is letting the Republicans go unchallenged when they use one of their favorite talking point about how 60-vote thresholds have become standard when debating "controversial legislation." I'd like to see a story that examines the details behind that statement. Relying on my faulty memory and without the benefit of a research assistant or anything higher powered than Google, I remember two controversial bills that didn't require sixty votes."

Democracy is hard to create and not always stable - but why pick on Muslim countries for being undemocratic when there's so much lack of democracy going around - even in Catholic countries? (Also: Harry Potter and the unitary town council.)

Lots of people had lots of smart things to say about Bush's shut-up-or-I'll-seize-your-assets order, and many of them are linked here.

15:19 BST

You be putting your soul up on ice

We were just children when it happened: My mother received the call telling her that her sister Victoria, and her father, along with Aunt Vicky's mother-in-law, had eaten something home-preserved by the aforesaid mother-in-law and died of botulism. This had a devastating effect on our family - we were all pretty close, but particularly to Vicky's family, who only lived a couple hours away in Philly, and our grandpa, who used to stay alternately with Vicky and with us. (He was the oldest person ever to play at Carnegie Hall - he played the flute.) A year or two ago my brother - the youngest of us - told me he had actually been there when Mom got that call. "She just fell apart," he said. But if there's one thing we all learned from that, it was to be wary of home-preserving, and to be grateful that in the best country in the world, we didn't have to worry about anything that we found at the supermarket unless there were dents, breaks, or bowing in the packaging. Eventually botulism was even a plot device on television shows and everyone knew those things, but not up-close-and-personal the way our family did. And now we can unlearn the part about commercially-produced foods being safe, because botulism is now available at your grocery store. We'd been calling it "e-coli conservatism", but its just been upgraded. (PS. Pledge or the zucchini gets it!)

Greg Sargent on how Rudy Giuliani exploited racial tension when he ran for mayor, and his vengeful campaign against David Dinkins. There are some interesting comments with other creepy things about Rudy, such as this one on how he was a grandstanding prosecutor who made a big show of arresting people (and thus ruining their lives) when he had a case so flimsy he couldn't even get a grand jury to indict. (Also found in comments, a link to a video of Noam Chomsky saying that Bush's threats and actions could cause an "accidental war".)

Steve Benen notes that the wingers have been stressing the anti-Kos meme and calling for Democratic leaders to distance themselves from liberal voices that right-wingers find intemperate - which is pretty rich coming from some of the most extreme and/or intemperate people in broadcasting, none of whom seem to think the GOP should distance itself from serious lunatics who do things like calling for the murder of a Supreme Court justice or even terrorist attacks on The New York Times.

Bill Scher notes that Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, on Meet the Press, explained the resurgence of Al Qaeda's strength this way: "In Pakistan, where they're enjoying a safe haven, the government of Pakistan chose to try a political solution. The political solution meant a peace treaty with a region that's never been governed -- not governed from the outside, not governed by Pakistan." It's popular in the right-wing to treat virtually anything other than out and out military force in any situation as being indistinguishable from Chamberlain's treaty with Hitler, and this appears to be the McConnell's strategy - but Bill reminds us that the treaty was encouraged and approved by George Walker Bush.

At The Left Coaster, paradox asserts - correctly, I think - that what all of the investigations in Congress are accomplishing now is merely to reiterate to those who already know it (a majority of the population) that we have the worst administration ever - and that, so far, no one is doing anything about it: "By making a huge fuss but not impeaching, investigating Democrats in fact spur Bush on to more abuses, for it simply proves no matter what he does he'll finish his term. By trying to weaken him with scandal they in fact make him stronger. Paradox can be a toughie, guys, sorry."

An evening in Veracruz.

Chris Whitley, "Poison Girl".

12:52 BST

Trawling the links

Eric Edelman, Hillary Clinton, and Valerie Plame - Edelman is the guy who came up with the idea of outing Plame. He released his creepy non-response to Hillary Clinton's query publicly, and now the wingers are blaming Clinton for letting the issue become public.

Christy has a good linky post here.

The Talking Dog examines the astonishing truth about how well America is winning the hearts and minds of Iraqis, and what sort of PR could be needed to re-brand the enterprise.

Glenn Greenwald considers The Cabbage's trip to the White House.

LizardBreath considers defunding the executive branch.

What Jesus Said.

Take MadKane's Impeachment poll.

Ah, hell with it - Mr. Sideshow picked the new Harry Potter book up at the grocery store Saturday and finished it earlier and I haven't even cracked it yet, so I think I'll do that.

01:41 BST

Sunday, 22 July 2007

From beneath you, it devours

In the olden days, the newspaper that hit our doorstep every morning was The Washington Post, but some of our neighbors took The Evening Star, the more right-wing paper. It died eventually, partly of mismanagement and probably helped by things like the antisemitism of its general manager, among other things. We used to have a good laugh at some of its more obvious emanations of racism, too. But I hadn't realized how many of today's extraordinary horrors came from that paper until I saw a post at GOTV that just said: "It is remarkable how much damage a small group of people can inflict when they hold key positions within a society." It's the section of the Wikipedia page for the Star on the paper's final years, and it includes this:

Writers who worked at the Star in its last days included Nick Adde (Army Times), Michael Isikoff (Newsweek), Howard Kurtz (Washington Post), Fred Hiatt (Washington Post) Sheilah Kast (ABC News), Jane Mayer (The New Yorker), Chris Hanson (Columbia Journalism Review), Jeremiah O'Leary (Washington Times), Chuck Conconni (Washingtonian), Crispin Sartwell (Creators Syndicate), Maureen Dowd (New York Times), Michael DeMond Davis, Jules Witcover (Baltimore Sun), Jack Germond (Baltimore Sun), Judy Bachrach (Vanity Fair), Lyle Denniston (Baltimore Sun), Fred Barnes (Weekly Standard), Kate Sylvester (NPR, NBC, Governing magazine) and Mary McGrory (Washington Post.)
(Also, Alice has a Reality check on Webb and includes an interesting graph showing average monthly growth under the last eleven presidents.)

21:10 BST

Jimmy Breslin is shrill

Simply Left Behind says that Jimmy Breslin "can crank out a high hard one when he gets angry enough. Today, he got angry enough." Yeah, he did:

Impeach George Bush to stop war lies, deaths

Consider what is accomplished by the simple power of the word impeachment. If you read these broken-down news writers or terrified politicians claiming that an impeachment would leave the nation in pieces, don't give a moment to them.

It opens with the appointing of an investigator to report to the House on evidence that calls for impeachment. He could bring witnesses forward. That would be all you'd need. Here in the impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon came John Dean. His history shows how far down the honesty and honor of this country has gone. Dean was the White House counsel. Richard Nixon, at his worst, never told him not to appear or to remain silent in front of the Congress. Dean went on and did his best to fill prisons. After that came Alexander Butterfield, a nobody. All he had to say was that the White House had a taping system that caught all the conversations in the White House. Any of them not on tape were erased by a participant.

The same is desperately needed now. Curious, following the words, an investigator - the mind here sees George Mitchell and Warren Rudman, and you name me better - can slap a hand on the slitherers and sneaks who have kept us in war for five years and who use failing generals to beg for more time and more lives of our young. A final word in September? Two years more, the generals and Bush people say.

Say impeachment and you'll get your troops home.


That president had been in charge of a government that kidnapped, tortured, lied, intercepted mail and calls, all in the name of opposing people who are willing to kill themselves right in front of you. You have to get rid of a government like this. Ask anybody in Rosedale, where Le Ron Wilson wanted to live his young life. His grave speaks out that this is an impeachable offense.

George Walker Bush, Richard Bruce Cheney, and all of their minions - they've filled a lot of graves. Impeach them all.

19:36 BST

Signs and portents

Triumph Romantic Desire underwired bra

Bra of the Week

Via Bob Geiger's Saturday Cartoon round-up, I see Cliff Schecter is reporting that so many Republican lawmakers are ditching the party in Kansas that now they have to sign a loyalty oath.

Paul Craig Roberts: ""Unless Congress immediately impeaches Bush and Cheney, a year from now the US could be a dictatorial police state at war with Iran." Via The Raw Story, via Maru.

He who must not be named - Another bad word you might not be allowed to say in the courtroom is "Bush", because it might prejudice the jury, since everyone hates Bush.

This week, Seeing the Forest is celebrating its fifth year of publishing, and Dave reposts a couple of his first articles, which seem remarkably timely, still.

Fred Hiatt got another well-earned Wanker of the Day award from Atrios yesterday, and he linked to several other blogs that had much to say about it. From Maha: "I'm no military expert, but I take it Fred Hiatt isn't, either, so I say my opinion is at least as informed as his. I question whether a "residual" force could be kept in Iraq for very long. In March 1973, when the last combat troops were withdrawn from Vietnam, the U.S. planned to keep a "residual" force there, also. Two years and one month later, as North Vietnam took control of Saigon, the last Americans were airlifted out. My fear for the "residual" troops is that they would be targeted by insurgents - some of whom are part of the Iraqi military they'd be training - and there'd be not enough protection for them." I also rather liked the acronym for Republicans who talk like they are "wavering" on Iraq, or for "compromise" proposals that are "for" withdrawal without actually being for withdrawal: WINO. In any case, Hiatt tells us it's all the Democrats' fault for not compromising and blah blah blah. Is he still fooling anyone? "The game the Republicans seem to be playing - with Fred's help - is 'let's obstruct everything the Dems try to do so we can campaign against do-nothing Dems.'"

Hmm, NYT columnists are a little sex obsessed today. (Includes full Rich and Dowd columns.)

Frankie says impeach - the T-shirt.

16:10 BST

Now more than ever

You read it here first, but I see Gary Farber has picked on it: "It's necessary to initiate impeachment to prevent Mr. Bush from further closing off lines of investigation by use of the pardon power. Then we proceed from there." Note the word "initiate", there. Just starting the proceedings makes a big difference. (And via Gary, this is pretty neat.)

But there are more reasons every day. At Ezra's place, Deborah Newell Tornello says, "Impeachment Matters--Even More [...] We must impeach the President and Vice President of the United States, and we must begin proceedings to do so immediately, not just for the purpose of exacting a punitive remedy, but also toward enacting a vitally important preventive measure--one that may be the only available means by which to protect the country from the impending imposition of martial law at home as well as the declaration of war against Iran and possibly other countries in the Middle East."

At Pacific Views, Magpie asks, "Are you scared now?" Well, if you aren't, you should be.

02:14 BST

Saturday, 21 July 2007

A few more things

I had to look it up online to see what title they had for it there, and alas, it is boring, but I'm looking at the dead tree edition of Friday's International Herald Tribune and, clear as day, the article about how the Senate's GOP members are obstructing any resolution in Iraq has the title, "Republics buy time for an aimless war." Bit of tit for tat, there, y'think?

Via Make Them Accountable, New Report Busts Telco Myths about U.S. Internet , and Brent Budowsky writes Al Gore's inauguration speech.

John Kerry finally asks when the hawks are finally going to show that they support their war.

"Cheney Suppressed Evidence in California Energy Crisis" - details of a story you already know. (Thanks to Rich for the tip.)

23:57 BST

Eternal vigilance

I'm pleased to say that, just in time for me to hector you again about complaining to the media whenever they play their dirty tricks, Jamison Foser is doing it for me:

Somerby has long argued that one of the reasons the media's hatred for Gore was able to define the 2000 campaign so completely is that too few people talked about it -- and demanded that it stop -- at the time.


This isn't going to stop unless you make it stop.


There's another lesson to be drawn from 2000. Too often, those who weren't actively participating in the media's War Against Gore were enabling it by suggesting he brought it on himself. Sure, the media was unduly harsh toward Gore -- but he gave them ammunition. We hear the same thing said about John Edwards today: The Washington Post's decision to assign its star investigative reporter to count Edwards' haircuts may be absurd, but Edwards opened himself up to the attack by getting the pricey cut in the first place. It showed poor judgment; he should have known it would provide fodder for the media.

This is blame-the-victim nonsense.


But shouldn't the candidate have known it would be unfairly held against him? No. If reporters don't like a candidate and decide to "bury" him, they're going to do so. If they can't do it by pointing to his "ostentatious" displays of wealth, they'll do it by claiming he is hiding his wealth. It isn't hard to imagine the media reaction if John Edwards, like Fred Thompson, rented a red pickup truck to campaign for office: he's a phony, they'd say; a rich man pretending to be otherwise. Or they'd find out he gets the Biggie Fries during his anniversary dinners at Wendy's. The key details here are that reporters don't like him, and they're willing to be unfair in order to bury him.

John Edwards could not have avoided making a "mistake" that the media would trash him for, because they were willing to trash him for any dumb thing they could think of. And if they couldn't have found something dumb-but-real, they'd have used something dumb-but-made-up, like they did in falsely claiming Al Gore had taken credit for discovering Love Canal. If it is impossible for a candidate to avoid unfair, absurd coverage like this, then it is unfair to hold that candidate responsible for a meaningless "mistake" that is only a "mistake" in that it plays into that coverage.

Something that a lot of people don't seem to get is that when we hear about these "mistakes", it isn't because the candidate did something unusual or phony. There was nothing unusual about Edwards getting an expensive haircut - as presidential candidates' haircuts go, it wasn't even extravagant. But the press decided to write about it as if it was unusually extravagant, and just left enough facts out to leave that impression with you. An honest article would have told you what the other candidates spend on their haircuts, and why it's more expensive to get professional grooming on the campaign trail. (It also would have been in the Style section rather than in the news pages.) But they didn't, because it wasn't just an amusing article about the little details of campaigning, nor were they trying to inform you - they were just trying to smear Edwards, and that was the sole purpose of making a big deal out of Edwards' haircut.

If the price of Edwards' haircuts hadn't been inadvertently released, they would have found something else - rearranged his words so that they meant something else (as with the Love Canal story in 2000), or changed them ("invented the Internet"), or even fantasized his reasons for wearing a particular suit ("earth tones").

The truth about 2000 is that the media looked at a virtually unassailable candidate and a pathetic excuse for a candidate and simply switched the descriptions - you never would have known that it was Al Gore who'd been the captain of the team while George Bush had been a cheerleader, or that Al Gore had really worked (hard!) on the family farm while Bush was just a wastrel who only does fake work on his fake Crawford "ranch" (which would more honestly be called a villa), that Bush grew up rich but Gore did not, and that Gore had a reputation in Washington as a straight-arrow who - like him or not - could never be accused of dishonesty (while Bush was openly lying throughout his campaign about what his tax cuts would do to the national coffers). Twice, the press helped the GOP portray Bush as someone who had "served in uniform" while suggesting that Gore had very nearly sat out the war and Kerry faked his way into getting unearned Purple Hearts.

It doesn't matter how perfect a Democratic candidate is; the press will make them look pallid, phony, weak, and crazy while building up another GOP thug or Alzheimer's sufferer to look like a bright, shiny hero to the public. The Spite Girls will call the Democrat "cute" little belittling names, Matt Drudge will post misleading headlines, and the rest of the Stepford Press will join in while ignoring much more substantive problems with the Republican.

It will happen. You have to be ready to let them have it every single time they do it.

Make it stop.

18:29 BST

Tea time links

A tale of two judges - At Firedoglake, Lewis Z. Koch compares a comment by the right-wing judge in the Padilla case against those of another judge who was not so injudicious.

Also at FDL, Christy Hardin Smith wants to know what questions you would ask the Democratic presidential candidates - because you just might get an answer at Yearly Kos. (Also, Christy, Digby, and Atrios will be on Sam Seder's show - starts at 4:00 PM Eastern tomorrow - so you might want to give that a listen.)

I'm glad people are going after the right-wing talking point, recently highlighted by Tom DeLay, that somehow we're "forced" to fill jobs in the US with illegal immigrants because of all those abortions. No one is "forced" to fill jobs with illegal immigrants; the people who employ them don't want to hire Americans, because Americans have a legal right to be in the United States and therefore aren't afraid that if they complain they'll be deported.

Althouse actually says something I agree with - that Mitt Romney was wrong when he said, "How much sex education is age appropriate for a 5-year-old? In my mind, zero is the right number." Responses like that don't happen in your mind, they happen in your gut, and if you stay there, it's because you never gave it any actual thought. Almost no one can stand the thought of putting the word "sex" in the same sentence with "my daughter" (no matter how old she is), but sooner or later you have to get over it and remember that ignorance of a subject you are definitely going to be exposed to is never going to help you deal sensibly with it. There are mistakes I would rather not have my kid learn from - especially if she's only five years old. Since you can't guarantee a lack of exposure to the subject, you might as well arm kids with knowledge.

Down in comments, musicgirl provides a link to Eric Proffitt's website and asks us to give it a listen.

16:27 BST

Stuff I saw

US Court of Appeals says judges must see all defense evidence for POWs and kidnap victims' cases: "The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected the Bush administration's plan to limit what judges and the detainees' attorneys can review when considering whether the Combatant Status Review Tribunals acted appropriately."

If they're planning to let any Democrats be on the Sunday shows this week, I hope whoever it is makes a big point of responding to this mendacious crap from the little monster yesterday. I don't care what question they're asked, they should start by saying, "Don't you want to talk about the fact that Bush threatened to veto a pay raise for the troops and the Republicans filibustered it, even though we had the votes to pass it on an up-or-down vote? Don't you think it was amazingly dishonest of Bush to pretend Friday that he wants to pass the pay raise for the troops? His nose should grow every time he pretends to care about the troops he put in harms way with all his lies. We keep voting to give more to the troops, and then he diverts it to Halliburton or just loses it somewhere. Our troops have been out there for years now and they still don't have proper equipment and the Republicans have only cut their benefits instead of giving them what they need." Your tax cuts at work.

Even after all this time, the wingers can surprise me with how stupid they are. They are actually clamoring for Cheney to use his hours of presidency while Bush gets his head examined to pardon Irve Libby. They've really got no idea why Bush commuted his sentence instead of pardoning him, do they? It certainly wasn't because he didn't have the nerve to go too far....

This is an okay article about Sicko, but I'm tired of people harping on how Moore said European-style universal healthcare is free. Of course it's free. Everyone knows taxes pay for it - no one thinks they won't. But since everyone is already paying taxes for healthcare, the question is whether or not you still have to pay to use the system you're paying for - and yes, actually using that system is free.

I have to admit, I feel a bit of envy for people who still have the energy to do things like this - it looks like fun. (The NYT seems to have given up on looking like a professional outfit, I guess.)

12:32 BST

You've been up all night listening for his drum

Glenn Greenwald looks at Bush's 2001 condemnation of Russia's human rights abuses, and... Well, let's just say it's pretty rich, now.

I just can't seem to bring myself to talk about the little dictator just now.

I nearly wrote something about how completely brainless Friedman is for claiming that green technology can't be outsourced (especially given that we've already let the rest of the world get ahead of us on developing that technology), but Jill found someone who'd already done it.

In which Thomas Nephew attends the filibuster rally, and learns he is not just one guy who wants impeachment.

Mary notes that General Petraeus has lost his shine. If I were trying to maintain an image of non-partisan military professionalism, I wouldn't be writing op-eds in The Washington Post, either, but I sure wouldn't be going on Hewitt's show.

I see Canadian politicians have a familiar lack of perspective about which country's human rights abuses makes them too dirty to hang out with - and which doesn't.

Olbermann tells Bush, "This, sir, is your war" - and tells him to fight it himself. (It occurred to me listening to this that even Benedict Arnold fought heroically before he betrayed his country.)

Warren Zevon with Jackson Browne on The Old Grey Whistle Test.

04:07 BST

Friday, 20 July 2007


Krugman on All the President's Enablers: "What I don't understand is why we're supposed to consider Mr. Bush's continuing confidence a good thing." More from Maha.

I see John Stossel is lying about health care, just like everything else. The Anonymous Liberal reports.

Brian Beutler on another one of them: "To me, the fact that Michael Gerson was awarded--as a gift for his fabulous service to our nation--a regular column in the Washington Post is one of the great outrages in the history of political punditry. Nothing that I can think of is greater evidence that the editors and publishers who choose opinion makers have nothing further from their minds than reasoned analysis and a strong record good judgment." (via)

Jeez, no wonder I keep thinking some British journalists seem awfully right-wing.

23:47 BST

Assorted items

HP in comments*:

Regarding Fein/Greenwald: A couple of months ago I was sitting in a bar with a handful of likeminded folks. At one point I blurted out the rhetorical question: "What kind of man is worried about appearing to be weak?" There was a woman at our table, not particularly political, who was struggling with an unwise cocktail of licit and illicit chemicals in her bloodstream. Her eyes got really wide as it slowly dawned her: "I know! I know! A weak man!

I wish more people would understand that without the help of pot, Ecstasy, and alcohol.

And speaking of Fein, it didn't surprise me much to know that Bob Barr is part of his American Freedom Agenda [Update: cached page - don't know why it disappeared], and I didn't give much thought to David Keene, but I hadn't realized Richard Viguerie was part of it. In any case, I'd be happy to consider giving my support to anyone who agrees with their 10-point agenda.

Wolcott has Tucker Carlson down cold on his faux passion on issues he really doesn't appear to care very much about.

Orcinus: "As someone whose work involves tracking the activities of neo-Nazis, the Klan, and other elements of the extremist right, it's time that someone pointed out the profound damage that O'Reilly is inflicting on our national discourse by promoting the notion that somehow, DailyKos is comparable to hate groups like the Klan and the neo-Nazis."

Right-wingers apparently believe that we didn't have movies during the Vietnam war that supported their position, which is why we lost that war and are losing this one. What a shame there was nothing like, say movies about Patton (not that Liberal Hollywood would have given it seven Oscars or anything) or the Green Berets to support the hawkish point of view.

Okay, I'll say it: What have Gordon Brown and Iain Duncan Smith been smoking?

Why I don't automatically trust eye-witness reports of crimes: The amazing color changing card trick, via Biomes Blog.

17:30 BST

I have a lake in my driveway
Boy, it really rained this morning.

Ezra Klein knows one reason why the press hates Edwards: "To engage in some pop-psychology, my sense is that folks in the press corps are very unsettled by social justice types. No end of folks got into journalism through activism, or as a close alternative to it, and as the mores of the profession took them further and further away from direct work on the issues that once enraged them, they've grown somewhat defensively contemptuous of those who took the other path. The poverty activists I know are ecstatic that John Edwards has brought so much visibility to their issues. The media types are aching to point out his hypocrisy, and expose him as a fraud. For the first group, Edwards' focus on poverty doesn't call their life choices, and occupational compromises, into question. For the second group, it does, and so there's an urge to explain it away. If everyone is a fraud, than having turned into a suit is a relatively minor sin." Via Mercury Rising. Also, Iraqis ready to stand up when we stand down - by talking to each other.

Jeff Fecke at Shakesville reads our right-wingers and asks, "Why Do They Hate America?"

At DKos, dlcox1958 reports back on Thom Hartmann's interview with Bruce Fein. (via) (Impeach.)

Will Bunch alerts us that Giuliani thinks we're at war with Pakistan. Or something. But he might just be telegraphing Bush's next move. (Will also has some really pathetic wingers in his comment thread.)

For some reason, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette chose not to publish Gene Lyons' column this week, so he passed it on to Moose & Squirrel to post. (I've reproduced it here as a back-up.) I'm not sure why the paper decided not to print this one, but if I were his editor I would have told him he had two incomplete columns there - rather surprising from this usually very good columnist (who is usually the one good thing about the AD-G).

Acme HTML Sampler.

13:14 BST

More reasons to hate the corporate media

I came home tonight to learn from Little Thom that the Plame case has been dismissed. Oh, and that the WaPo, um, misstated the reason why. The judge didn't rule on the substance of the case, although he seemed to think there was a case, but dismissed it on "jurisdictional grounds". But the WaPo said, "U.S. District Judge John D. Bates said that Cheney and White House aides cannot be held liable for the disclosure of information about Plame ...". Man, you just can't get that many things so wrong by accident. Mark the name "Carol Leonnig", a staff writer. More, of course, from Jane Hamsher, and some other bad news from Swopa.

Digby is on the case of a stunning post by Marc Ambinder, professional press corps hack, who frankly states that (a) he doesn't think Mitt Romney's $300 make-up job is as "real" a story as John Edwards spending $400 for haircuts and (b) the press is out to bury Edwards because they just don't like him, so it's all okay. Commenters have pointed out his misuse of the word "hypocrisy" to describe a politician who talks about helping the less fortunate even though he is rich, but failed to take note of Ambinder's misuse of the word "ostentatious" to describe something that wasn't ostentatious at all. Edwards didn't alert the media as to how much money he paid his hairdresser. The reason for that is that it's not news that it costs presidential candidates more money to arrange haircuts while they are on the campaign trail. (Also: Edwards never got "a $400 haircut" - he paid a total of $400 for two haircuts plus the time and inconvenience to his stylist for having to come to a campaign to do the job. So subtract more points from Ambinder and his cronies for poor reportage.) The professional nitwit failed to explain why the press corps hates Edwards - or, for that matter, why they want to repeat the disastrous mistakes of 2000 when they allowed complete scum to take over our government and stay there because they wanted to have a beer with a fake cowboy who drinks fake beer on his fake ranch and is therefore more "authentic" - with the result that our nation was attacked on 9/11 and no one tried to stop them, we are stuck in a suicidally stupid and morally indefensible war, and our economy is in the dumpster. And by the way, how come Romney's make-up job is unimportant when Al Gore's make-up at the first presidential debate was headline news? I don't suppose it could have anything to do with the fact that Gore isn't a right-wing loony Republican, could it?

03:09 BST

Thursday, 19 July 2007

The riches of the Internet

I'm glad I decided to start my day with Brilliant at Breakfast, where I learned of another conservative who has lost faith in both Bush and the right-wing web-press, a Kristof article that compares Ahmadinejad with Cheney,*, and a creative use of a horrible fact.

George Walker Bush issues another scary executive order. I keep wondering when the libertoonians are going to start being bothered by these attacks on property held by individuals. (I wonder what "undermining" in clause B means....)

I am generally a fan of Nicole Belle, but the headline for this post really should have been: "Republicans filibuster troop withdrawal bill to a standstill." (What I hope is that before September Democrats can actually get it together to simply refuse to pass any bills that do anything to continue the war, something they are perfectly capable of doing.)

Did I mention that Karl Rove should be in jail? Well, he should.

Guys like this make me want to reinstate the draft. But just for them. (At least lock them in a room and make them listen to Phil Ochs for a while. "Sarge, I'm only 18 I got a ruptured spleen...")

I realize this is really kind of redundant to say about a famous wingnut, but my god Larry Kudlow is a moron.

Scandalous nudity

The Queen of Vibrato sings, " My Country 'Tis of Thy People You're Dying".

13:21 BST

Bananas and cream

I must see at least four TV shows a month in which the bad guys take something valuable or kidnap someone and then let the good guys know about it, and one or more of the good guys suit up to go get it, and someone else says, "It's a trap!" and the good guys say they know but they have to go anyway because it's the only way to get the hostage or the ancient scroll or whatever. And sometimes it turns out that the hostage has already been killed, or the ancient scroll is a forgery, and if only they'd known that they wouldn't have to take the risk, but they don't know it so they have to go. However, I don't recall ever seeing the TV show where the good guys walk into a trap even though there is no hostage or valuable artifact or stolen money to recover, even though everyone is warning them that "It's a trap!" In real life, however, people claiming to be the good guys did do exactly that when, for no reason, and despite all the warnings, we invaded Iraq.

"The Big Lie of George W. Bush: It is repeated today by Republicans on the floor of the Senate and restated on this site, only yesterday, and it goes like this: The Democrats have an al Qaeda problem, and this war, which was started with the Big Lie that claimed it was necessary to defeat bin Laden, must be continued to promote the Big Lie that to change the policy would help the terrorists, when the exact opposite is true."

"Baseline of Violence: "The level of violence in Iraq is extraordinarily high and this immense level of violence has provided a skewed reflection of progress when measured against previous levels of violence that were sufficient to bring about complete US and Iraqi government strategic mission failure. I bring this point up because there is the predictable, routine bleating of triumph from the warbloggers that are pointing out the fact that attacks against US forces are down in Anbar Province. So let's look at the tape and pull up the recently submitted report by the Pentagon to Congress."

Alterman provides his Quote of the Day: "Bloggers, it seems to me, don't really care what the facts are. -- Robert Novak"

Go here to listen to Thom Hartmann's interview with Bruce Fein about impeachment from the 07/18/07 show.

01:38 BST

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Lovecraftian beasts

It occurs to me that someday, when Ann Coulter's oeuvre becomes part of the collection of works that are taught in college, along with the works of Leni Riefenstahl, as examples of using the media to promote fascism, that Coulter, if she survives the way Reifenstahl did, will be interviewed as an old woman trying to explain that she didn't really mean any of that stuff and that it never occurred to her that anyone would take it seriously and it wasn't really her fault that it all turned to crap because of people like her. And she'll even claim she felt she had no choice, no other option if she was to survive. "After all, the polls said 90% of the people supported him!" Just like Riefenstahl did. [pause] Or maybe not.

Remember the other day when I quoted Bruce Fein as saying, "They're trying to create the appearance that they're tougher than all of their opponents 'cause they're willing to violate the law, even though the violations have nothing to do with actually defeating the terrorism"? Today, Glenn Greenwald returns to Johann Hari's revealing story on his trip with the National Review right-wing crackpot cruise, and notes that this is pretty much what they say themselves when talking about how they need to be tougher in the fight on terrorism. Even Lucy-the-Bat's baby boy seems to think that we should be "ruthless" enough to do things that are illegal. Not because it works (it doesn't), but because tough guys like him aren't afraid to break the rules.

What do you know? Digby is in the War Room at Salon, and I think is absolutely right about what the Unitary Executive Theory is really all about.

Like Atrios, we like to remember the anthrax attacks every now and then to remind people that not only were they a terrorist attack on US soil that occurred "since 9/11", but that they involved assassination attempts on two US Senators and that they miraculously occurred just as the Senate was getting ready to vote on an insane bill designed by the lunatics in Bush's cabinet. If you ever wonder how so many Democrats could have been so cowed on that day, you might consider that they were afraid for their lives - and not necessarily of people very far from home. (For added paranoia, there's always this event that had a profound effect on political reality when it happened, too. Maybe it even created a sense of, I dunno, unease on the part of a few Senate Democrats in the months leading up to the Iraq vote.)

I can has your soul?

23:44 BST

Words to the wise

James Boyce: "Al Gore thinks he is a lousy politician, he's right. He is. We need some lousy politicians who say what they mean and mean what they say. We need some lousy politicians who can't stop themselves from rolling their eyes when a member of the press asks a moronic question. We need someone who points out how stupid the captions are on t.v. shows. We need Al Gore." Via Dave Johnson, who also notes that The First Problem in Iraq is BUSH. (Dave is one of those people who can use, and deserves, your support.)

"In the Lawless Post-Katrina Cleanup, Construction Companies Are Preying on Workers: After Hurricane Katrina pummeled the Gulf Coast, construction companies have squeezed billions out of federal contracts with few labor regulations and almost no oversight, allowing outrageous worker abuses to occur." (via)

I do get tired of the so-called Republican "moderates". If they still existed, we probably wouldn't have these problems. Deepblade explains why Snowe and Collins are not moderates - and how you can help get rid of one of them.

The new PM: Brown announces fresh review into cannabis classification - Just what we need, another excuse to put more kids in jail.

Another town council for impeachment, in Colorado.

MadKane has a nice children's song about the filibuster.

17:44 BST

Loose talk

Dumber than a box of dumb things: Thers has awarded the title of "dumbest blog post ever" to an item at Red State [actual wingnut link] comparing the fact that Democrats plan to use the web (i.e. live blogging), speakers, and public statements to highlight the filibuster with a propaganda campaign that US forces "discovered" Al Qaeda is using. Because, of course, the GOP would never ever use the web, speakers, and public statements to promote their own propaganda.

The NYT has an editorial this morning hitting Bush for misrepresenting the new terrorism report to exploit The Politics of Fear just in time for the "showdown" on Iraq. (via)

David Corn was in the WaPo yesterday explaining Why Bush Is A Loser after Bill Kristol's deranged article Sunday insisting that Bush's presidency "will probably be a successful one." The article could as easily have worn the title, "Why Kristol Is A Loser."

At the HuffPo:

14:31 BST

Morning skim

Found at Think Progress: "VA Secretary Resigns After Record Of Neglecting Veterans" - and some of the loathsome beast's hits:

- In February 2005, Nicholson kicked off his tenure by calling praising a VA budget proposal that cut "health care staffing, reduced funding for nursing home care and [included] staffing cuts for the Board of Veterans Appeals." He said it demonstrated of the Bush administration's "ongoing commitment to provide the very best health care and benefits to those veterans who count on VA the most." [LINK]

- In May of 2006, Nicholson waited two weeks to notify the Justice Department and FBI of the "largest loss of personal data in U.S. government history." He then waited another full week before notifying the 26.5 million effected veterans of the theft. [LINK]

- In April of 2006, Nicholson rejected four separate bills "pending before Congress to reduce the 600,000-case backlog of veterans' benefits claims." [LINK]

- In May of 2007, the AP revealed that Nicholson awarded "$3.8 million in bonuses to top executives in fiscal 2006? - many as much as $33,000 - despite the department suffering from a $1.3 billion shortfall. [LINK, LINK]

Think Progress has also been Live-Blogging The Senate Iraq Filibuster.

Josh Marshall has a round-up of how the press is or mostly isn't using the word "filibuster" - or misusing it when they do. Even Reuters refuses to identify what the Republicans are doing as a filibuster, and Diane Sawyer persists in saying that it's the Democrats who are filibustering. The Guardian, unfortunately, is using the AP stories, which are more or less written by the RNC.

"Joint project" - cannabis cars. (Also: pigs.)

11:40 BST

Some stuff

The Vatican now thinks it's too good for Amnesty International.

Your Right Hand Thief is having fun covering the Vitter diaper hooker story in a continuing series.

Before you read this article by Charlie about trying to explain some small facet of "the future" in a novel, it might be useful to know that once upon a time in Greenwich Village in the basement of a coffeehouse called Figaro's (before it was turned into a Blimpie base - and, I understand, then turned back), there were people who played Go down there continuously. Eventually, one of them died and left their home to the Go players to play Go in. I say this just to remind you that people made a lifestyle out of playing a game that didn't include a winner's purse long before the Internet existed. And when you're done reading that article, read the one in Kung Fu Monkey about scripting Asimov's Foundation trilogy. (As a science fiction fan, I have no problem with the idea of Rogers writing the movie of Foundation, by the way.) I can't believe the number of typos I made while writing that paragraph.

Over at TNG, egalia has a bunch of impeachment links. Meanwhile, Julie O. has sent off her "Impeach Them" postcards.

Another linky post from wood s lot.

01:55 BST

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Data points

At Fact-esque, eRobin advises us that children's healthcare is under even more threat, and reminds us to be ready to fight the push-back against Sicko from the commercial medical complex. (You don't have to wait for the DVD release of the movie - it's on the net, so burn it and arrange those house parties now.) And eRobin also alerts us to the fact that Krugman's article yesterday points out that, "the large majority of hip replacements in the United States are paid for by, um, Medicare." So, if we have shorter waiting lines for hip replacements, it's because our socialized medical system is better than Canada's, not because the commercial sector serves us better. (The rest of Krugman's article can be read at Truthout. Another quote: "A cross-national survey conducted by the Commonwealth Fund found that America ranks near the bottom among advanced countries in terms of how hard it is to get medical attention on short notice (although Canada was slightly worse), and that America is the worst place in the advanced world if you need care after hours or on a weekend.")

Yeah, I'm really going to trust right-wing media because they are so much more accurate and carefully-sourced than, say, your average left-wing blog. Not that it will stop the corporate media from putting them on your TV....

"Look, Mike Gravel is crazy. So is Ron Paul." Paperwight explains (read the comments - there are only two.)

Feorag alerts me to this article in the Guardian rebutting the anti-soy article.

Progressive Pr0n! If you give Corrente your pledge, Chicago Dyke promises to do weekly posts of her racy novel. How can you refuse?

21:54 BST

On the landscape

Digby notes that attacks on Romney from the Christian right are part of the Hollywood Fred campaign. And Fred himself doesn't want to declare until his Law & Order re-runs air, providing him with free advertising without violating any campaign laws.

Scaife paper's editorial disses Bush: "And quite frankly, during last Thursday's news conference, when George Bush started blathering about 'sometimes the decisions you make and the consequences don't enable you to be loved,' we had to question his mental stability. President Bush warns that U.S. withdrawal would risk 'mass killings on a horrific scale.' What do we have today, sir?"

Molly Ivors advises Bush on how to save his legacy. Don't you wish he would listen?

I think Kevin Drum is missing the point here that a "killer bees" moment in the US Senate by Republicans who might leave town in order to avoid having to publicly filibuster or vote on ending the occupation just will not play well with the public, which is why they've felt perfectly comfortable with simply threatening a filibuster, so far - as long as they knew they wouldn't actually have to do it. If they can do it quietly and no one notices, they can let people think it's all the Democrats' fault. But if Harry Reid has to send the Sergeant at Arms out after GOP members after they ignore a quorum call, well, that's another story, as is three days of filibuster against doing what the people want.

Trifecta points out that today's WaPo has an ad for the commercial healthcare industry among its op-eds this morning. Gosh, I wonder how that happened....

Are You Doing Something Else More Important?

15:18 BST

Newsflash: War actually hell, more Americans believe

Josh Marshall reminds us that, Capitol Hill "wisdom" to the contrary, there was extensive polling during WWII and the public always supported the war by at least 80% or more. Any comparison between that war and the mess we're in now is either amnesiac or purely dishonest. And while it's true that many people supported the invasion of Iraq "as long as they thought we were winning", Americans today are far more aware than they were four years ago that their own reasons for supporting the war originally were just plain wrong, and that the critics were right all along - even about the fact that war in general most often causes more problems than it is likely to solve. Some have been growing up during this time and now understand that "the left" were correct in their criticisms both pragmatically and morally. But even for those who haven't had that come-to-Jesus moment, Josh points out, some real understanding has dawned:

The reason the war is unpopular is because people don't think we are accomplishing anything that promotes our security or national interests -- indeed, quite the contrary. Not because we're not doing it right or not doing it well but because the whole concept is flawed. People can see that we're digging a hole into the Earth and a lot of them want to stop and climb out even though it will be messy.
(And when we do get out, yes, there will always be those who will use the "stabbed in the back" ploy, just as they did after Vietnam, and those who will believe it. Be on guard. They will also hold us responsible for every single Iraqi who dies after we leave, without ever having acknowledged the blood on their own hands for the Iraqis who died because we were there.)

As Jonathan Freedland said last month:

One of the few foreign policy achievements of the Bush administration has been the creation of a near consensus among those who study international affairs, a shared view that stretches, however improbably, from Noam Chomsky to Brent Scowcroft, from the antiwar protesters on the streets of San Francisco to the well-upholstered office of former secretary of state James Baker. This new consensus holds that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a calamity, that the presidency of George W. Bush has reduced America's standing in the world and made the United States less, not more, secure, leaving its enemies emboldened and its friends alienated. Paid-up members of the nation's foreign policy establishment, those who have held some of the most senior offices in the land, speak in a language once confined to the T-shirts of placard-wielding demonstrators. They rail against deception and dishonesty, imperialism and corruption. The only dispute between them is over the size and depth of the hole into which Bush has led the country he pledged to serve.

Bill Scher on the people's victory in convincing Harry Reid to make the Republicans filibuster. But don't sleep - we have to keep pushing. (And there's Dick Durbin standing up for this on the floor.)

And speaking of pushing, has your Senator signed on to restoring habeas corpus? If their name is on that list of Democrats who are still no-shows, better ask them why. I note that one of my Senators is still listed, and I plan call to find out what the hold-up is. (I also see Evan Bayh is on that list. Yeah, that's showing leadership - and you actually thought you should run for president? Jerk.) Schumer, Tester, Webb and Wyden haven't come in, either, and they have no excuse. (via)

Who are the troops supporting? About half of donations from members of the military to presidential campaigns went to one candidate: Ron Paul. Gosh, I wonder what he's saying that makes him so popular. Meanwhile, his supporters back home are worried that the Iowa straw poll will be unreliable since it's now in the hands of Diebold.

13:16 BST

Monday, 16 July 2007

We, the People

I think my web host was napping on me for a bit, there. Sorry about that.

Mercury Rising has more on the Lieberwar amendment. When you talk to your reps and they tell you that the amendment explicitly says it is not an authorization for war, remind them that the Iraq resolution was pretty explicit that force was only to be used if Saddam didn't let the inspectors in, but that didn't work, either.

Christy Hardin Smith tells you three times to tell Harry Reid to make them filibuster. Do it. [Update: It seems to be working, on one bill, at least. Now let's have them do it on all those others. Oh, and, um, habeas corpus, anyone?]

Oh, and Dr. B has more homework for you.

Charles Dodgson: "The time for impeachment was some time ago, but these guys don't have the guts to insist on a spending cap. And I'm sitting in my living room, listening to my upstairs neighbor's off-key rendition of "All Along the Watchtower", and asking myself, what --- what lie, what scandal, what no-bid contract to cronies, what obstruction of justice, what imprisonment under torture without any pretence of justice, what ruined city, what futile war, what hitherto undreamed-of outrage will finally make them say, "Enough"? What on Earth are they waiting for?"

The thing I can't figure out is whether these rich creeps just think we're dumb enough to believe the things they say, or whether they're actually so unreflective that they believe it.

The dark side of soy.

Lizardbreath wonders why no one ever mentions that John Edwards isn't all that rich for a presidential candidate.

Tales of the One True Church.

What more and more Republicans are doing.

23:38 BST

The phones, the keyboards, the streets

I don't know about you, but my choices just got whittled down to two: Gore and Edwards. And if they don't have something to say about it, that means the only person I'm sure I can trust to run the country is Avedon Carol, because I know she won't attack Iran.

Arthur Silber:

This past week, the United States Senate passed unanimously -- 97 to 0 -- what amounted to a declaration of war against Iran. A few weeks ago, the House passed a resolution -- 411 to 2 -- that similarly provided an alleged rationale for war against Iran. In this manner, Congress, nominally controlled by the opposition party, has granted the Bush administration advance approval for the commencement of hostilities against Iran. Since the Senate has announced, with no dissenting votes at all, that Iran is itself responsible for acts of war against the United States, and the House has stated, with only two voices in opposition, that Iran is illegally and clandestinely developing nuclear weapons, no prominent Democrat will be able to offer any principled, significant policy objection when Bush announces that the bombs have already begun to fall.

These detestable actions by Congress represent the triumph of pure propaganda, and of warmongering fiction over reality. In fact, it has never been shown that Iran has violated even one provision of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, to which it is a signatory. Instead, the United States has deliberately engineered a situation whereby arbitrary, extra-legal demands are placed on Iran. Then, when Iran fails to comply with these nonbinding, illegitimate demands, Iran is declared to be the criminal -- when the "crime" has been created out of nothing. (See Gordon Prather's latest article on this subject, and read his many earlier articles, listed on the right side of that page, for a much fuller history.) In the same way, it is far from clear exactly what Iran's influence and actions in Iraq are. But even if it were true that Iran is aiding groups that attack U.S. forces in Iraq, the United States is in no position to complain -- since we have no right to be in Iraq in the first place. If we wish to take our personnel out of harm's way, leave Iraq. That is the right course of action, it is the only practical course of action, and it is the one thing we absolutely refuse to do. Even if our troop levels should be reduced over the next year or two, the plan is for the United States to remain in Iraq for decades to come.

[The three Senators who didn't vote for this week's lunacy were Brownback (R-KS), Johnson (D-SD), and Vitter (R-LA).]

But before you just swear at our elective officials (and you should), Arthur reminds us:

Several days ago, I offered some harsh words about the lack of sustained protest to these developments on the part of those who say they are deeply opposed to the current administration. The truth appears to be still worse. In looking over some of the major liberal and progressive blogs last evening and this morning, I see that several of them have not even mentioned the Senate resolution from several days ago. Are these bloggers truly so unintelligent that they fail to see the significance of this action? I don't think so. So what explains this silence? Is it simply that they refuse to criticize the Democrats on a matter of such grave significance? Is their tribal loyalty the value of greatest importance to them?
I'm not sure everyone realized it, to tell the truth; I didn't. The fact is that so much happened over the last week - as usual - that it was easy to miss the usual dozen or so other outrages that were going on, no matter how egregious they were. It happens every day: 90% of what I post about is absolutely, terrifyingly urgent, and the rest is mostly there in an attempt to retain my battered sanity - and, I hope, help you do the same. Since I'm not going to write about my admittedly outstanding love life, that leaves various toys, art, music, natural wonders, and of course the roses.

But the realization that Senate Democrats, now, after all that has happened, could do something like this, well, it leaves me a bit dumb-struck. I can only echo Arthur, who reminds us that when Bush was pushing that immigration bill, right-wing radio told its listeners to make those calls, and they did, and the bill failed. We don't have anything near as powerful a broadcast network as the right does, but I can't say I picked up on this issue on Air America, either. Now would be a good time to phone anyone you can think of and make it known that you really, really can't stand the idea of attacking Iran. Post on candidates blogs if they have 'em, hammer legislators with phone calls, fire off faxes to the press - whatever you can think of.

But, you know, you could mount a protest in your own area by Saturday - at local malls. 10 or 20 people all wearing the same T-shirt with a simple slogan - like, "DON'T BOMB IRAN" - just quietly walking through the place, can make a statement. Anyone who has Word and a printer can make a credible leaflet simply stating that Congress has let this monster slip into the room, and including the phone numbers for the state's Senators and the House reps in the area. (And if you can, it might be really smart to give free T-shirts to your local mall rats to wear anywhere they go. They're already walking billboards for every housewife in America.)

And I still think that protests at media offices are more likely to make the point than hanging around government buildings on a weekend. How's your telephone tree? You don't really have to wait for to tell you when to speak up, do you?

For the love of - well, whatever it is you love - don't let them do this. It really is up to you.

12:35 BST

Caught up in a summer shower

I know some of you didn't bother to click on that Moyers' link no matter how hard I've pushed it, so let me quote one of my favorite bits from the transcript:

BRUCE FEIN: They're trying to create the appearance that they're tougher than all of their opponents 'cause they're willing to violate the law, even though the violations have nothing to do with actually defeating the terrorism. And we have instances where the president now for years has flouted the Foreign Intelligence Act. He's never said why the act has ever inhibited anybody. Remember, this act has been around for over a quarter of a century, and no president ever said it impaired his gathering of foreign intelligence. And suddenly the president's, "No, we have to violate it and flout it because it doesn't work." Well, why? He's never explained it. He's never explained why this act stopped gathering of all the intelligence that was needed to fight the terrorists.
Digby is looking for a an explanation for a couple of frighteningly stupid moves by Democrats. The first we have covered here in mounting frustration as the Dems fail repeatedly to force the Republicans to actually filibuster the bills they are defeating without even having to vote. The second is perhaps best explained in this post at Daily Kos by Kagro X: "I'm forced to ask how it is that Senator Levin can find himself time and time again faced with the most absurd and outrageous assertions of executive power imaginable, each time perpetrated by the identical cast of characters, and still not see what's going on. We're all glad, of course, that Senator Levin tried to help bring about yet another vote to withdraw our troops from Iraq. But you've got to wonder what makes a guy like that tick when he turns around and cosponsors Joe Lieberman's Expand the War to Iran amendment." And Dover Bitch returns to the subject, noting that Russ Feingold voted for it, too. Where have these people been?

Glenn Greenwald: "Senior Washington Bush spokesman Fred Hiatt -- who also works as the Editorial Page Editor of The Washington Post -- shatters conventional wisdom this morning by defending the Bush administration's mild, balanced, and restrained use of government secrecy. Government secrecy, you see, is a complex and serious issue -- we desperately need our leaders to act in secret, but they should try to balance that with a concern for civil liberties. And, decrees Hiatt, let us all be grateful that we have a Government that is so sensitive about this need for balance and is so fair and judicious in its use of secrecy privileges."

The Indy has an article called "Hillary Clinton: Why is she hated by progressives and right-wingers alike?" A lot of it is, unfortunately, true, though most of it still has that crappy Capitol Hill gossip feel.

Lovin' Spoonful, 1966.

02:48 BST

Sunday, 15 July 2007

A few words

Frank Rich wants to give Chertoff credit for thinking Al Qaeda is the enemy, but I don't know about that - seems to me there might have been other Chertoff-related stories in the news that he'd rather not have seen given a high profile, so he started talking about his "gut" instead.

I always have a problem when Maureen Dowd writes something that actually makes sense, like her article the other day where she said: "W. thinks history will be his alibi. When presidents have screwed up and want to console themselves, they think history will give them a second chance. It's the historical equivalent of a presidential pardon. But there are other things - morality, strategy and security - that are more pressing than history. History is just the fanciest way possible of wanting to deny or distract attention from what's happening now." The problem is this: How can she write that - how can she know that - and still write all those other articles that help to guarantee that we will continue to have more of the same?

Arianna: "We learned this week that, even though White House counsel Fred Fielding had advised him that the Libby jury had reached a reasonable verdict, the president decided to commute Libby's sentence because if he didn't "it would have caused a fracture with the vice president." So Scooter got off because George Bush was afraid to piss off Dick Cheney. Is the same dynamic driving the president on Iraq? Are the efforts of administration pragmatists like Robert Gates and Condi Rice to shift the White House on the war being thwarted by 43's reluctance to face the wrath of his venomous veep? There's a scary thought: Americans continue to die in Iraq not because Bush is worried withdrawal would embolden al-Qaeda over there but because it would infuriate al-Cheney here at home."

21:21 BST

Dinner time

TBogg explains:

Rudy Giuliani is pro-baby killing
Mitt Romney was for baby killing before he was against it
and Fred Thompson is against baby killing unless he gets a paycheck, making him the only true Republican in the race.

Live HuffPo chat with Michael Moore: "Q: I would like to ask Mr. Moore... Have you ever thought about running for president? MM: No. I would like to live."

Susan Blumenthal, MD compares Democratic candidates' healthcare proposals - as near as I can tell, Kucinich is the only one who gets it.

Inside the surge: The Guardian's award-winning photographer and filmmaker Sean Smith spent two months embedded with US troops in Baghdad and Anbar province. His harrowing documentary exposes the exhaustion and disillusionment of the soldiers. "I challenge the president or whoever has us here for 15 months to ride alongside me. I'll go another 15 months if he comes along and rides with me every day." (Thanks to who knew.)

This is a pack of lies. The best chocolate bars are Swiss. The British stuff is just as rubbishy as Hershey's, but in a different way. (And Terry's are worst of all.)

Galaxy Zoo - help classify galaxies. (Thanks to Richard Reich.)

19:17 BST

Sunday lunch

Young Attitude Everyday Lace balconette bra

Bra of the Week

Must see/read: The full video of that Bill Moyers interview with John Nichols and Bruce Fein explaining why we must impeach them. Transcript here if you can't play the video. I like the fact that Fein insists on impeaching Bush and Cheney together, because they are not just individual malefactors, but acting in conspiracy. What they forget to say is that we have to make them do it - write, call, use the word constantly.

Democracy Now! (video and transcript), "If Soldiers Came From Another Country And Did This To My Family, I Would Be An Insurgent Too" - War Vet Describes Iraq House Raid. "Staff Sergeant Timothy John Westphal, who served in Iraq for one year, recalls raiding a sprawling farm on the outskirts of Tikrit in 2004 and the screams he can still hear of the man he woke up inside." (via)

Fred Clark reads Maha and starts a good thread on religion as tribal totem - like those people who want the Ten Commandments in every courthouse but don't actually know what they are.

Powerline's John Hinderaker Fails the Turing Test - Trifecta tries to explain the bleedin' obvious to yet another right-wing shill who just hasn't noticed that Bush's war on Iraq is Osama's favorite thing.

Heroically, Thers reads Krauthammer* so you don't have to, and finds the stupidest argument yet for staying in Iraq: It would be disrespectful to General Petraeus.

More condom fashions.

12:45 BST

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Crazy for the red, white and blue

Scorpio at Eccentricity is celebrating by remembering why they sing "La Marseillaise", and also says, "Indict Cheney First."

MEC's Grounds for Impeachment is accompanied by the appropriate graphic - which would make another nice postcard to send to your reps.

Sarah Rubenstein, "Industry Fights Switch To Generics for Epilepsy: In state legislatures across the country, the Epilepsy Foundation has been campaigning for bills that would make it harder for pharmacists to switch patients to inexpensive generic epilepsy pills. The effort is getting behind-the-scenes support from drug companies -- a sign of how the industry, long a potent lobbying force in Washington, is increasingly looking to states to achieve its goals. The foundation, a nonprofit group supported by the drug industry, says switching to generics could cause dangerous seizures. The Food and Drug Administration says it hasn't seen persuasive evidence for that, and it believes each generic is equivalent to the brand-name drug it copies." This article exposing a fake "grassroots patients group" appeared in The Wall Street Journal yesterday. Can we hope that such pieces will continue in that paper's news pages once Murdoch has control?

Mark Kleiman isn't impressed with stories about waiting lists for elective surgery after having his insurer impose numerous delays and administrative hassles on him that nearly ran out the clock after he was diagnosed with cancer. (via)

22:48 BST

Words and pictures

Charles Pierce on "an unusually boisterous festival of fruitcakes the last few weeks" among our leading monotheists, and: "When you get people talking about "true" religions, that's when we should all go back and read our James Madison very carefully. This is what he warned us against. This is what he saw happening if religion is mixed with the secular government. This is why you're wrong, Begala and Carville. There simply are not enough votes to be had among these people to make abandoning a secular position on, say, abortion worth wading into this slime. The people you're trying to appeal to already believe what you believe because their politics and their faith are separate. The other people think you're heathens and, no matter how much incense you swing their way, they always will."

At Kung Fu Monkey, John Rogers corrects the record on abortion.

If you're in Illinois, you might want to get involved with people working on the Illinois Clean Elections Act. There's a legislative launch party planned for Sunday, 29 July in downtown Geneva.

Frameshop with A Picture of the GOP on Civil Rights. (via)

"Note to America: Next time you feel like voting for the guy you'd rather drink beer with, do us all a favor and write in the name of the guy you actually drink beer with." This and more from the Freeway Blogger. (Thanks to apikoros.)

Evolution in realtime: "Researchers on the island of Samoa have witnessed evolution in action, as the population of male "Blue Moon" butterflies has returned from the brink of extinction. The researchers, from Berkeley University, put the resurgence of the species down to an evolutionary arms race, in which the butterflies' latest weapon is a gene that fights off a parasite."

Bob Geiger's Saturday Cartoons!

Gosh, a movie about Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap-Box. (via)

There are a few good pictures of the latest Ghost Orchid find here, and some close-ups of one such bloom (different sighting) here.

16:55 BST

Divided worlds

The Democrats have enough votes to pass a real withdrawal from Iraq in the Senate. So why aren't they doing it? Because some Republicans are pseudo-filibustering - that is, they are promising to block any attempt to overturn a Bush veto. But, you know, that is absolutely no reason not to pass it. Yes, Republicans might filibuster, but they should be forced to actually do it, so all of their constituents can see them doing it - including the ones who will be up for re-election next year. Let them stand up on the floor and explain - non-stop - why more of our troops should die for no reason.

America used to do this as a matter of course, before we became "modernized" - but now Germans are talking about how, rather than letting foreign investors take them over, they want to protect "important industrial sectors from the political influence of other states." In the US, about 65% of those sectors are not only in foreign hands, but often in the hands of nations that may be hostile to the US.

Yesterday Michael Gerson claimed to ask What Atheists Can't Answer - that is, how you can tell right from wrong if you don't believe in God. Today, An Atheist Responds, and his name is Christopher Hitchens. Of course, Gerson's "challenge" is obviously an idiotic one, since even people who claim to be within the same faith can't seem to agree with each other on what's right and what's wrong, and ultimately the answer from theists is no different from the one you get from atheists, which is basically, "If you believe in what I believe, you're right, and if you don't, you're wrong." Invoking God as the basis of your beliefs may make your arguments more convincing to yourself than reason does, but that doesn't stop them from being gibberish to people who do not share them. If you need God to tell you not to run around killing people and slandering others, you already don't know the difference between right and wrong, anyway. And too many people who "believe" seem to find that reason enough to go around killing and bearing false witness, so I'm not impressed. I note that both of these men, for example, thought invading Iraq was a good idea, and neither questioned the morality of murdering hundreds of thousands of innocents for no apparent purpose.

Who are the insurgents in Afghanistan?

The Summer of '77.

15:19 BST

Feed your head

Linkiest posts: Brad DeLong presents The Past Week in "Shrillblog": July 13, 2007 and The Past Week in "Egregious Moderation": July 13, 2007.

"Slop Will Eat Itself" - Two days later, I am still awed by the simple perfection of Jim Henley's conclusion in this post: "But you've got to love the idea of "force protection" as a main mission. The US military could stay in Iraq for the purpose of trying to keep its members from being killed for being in Iraq. There's a stirring cause. I know a much more effective "force protection" plan, which I call "get the hell out." This is what they're down to: inertia. The "bipartisan" compromise the Ignatiuses of the world envision is that we stay in Iraq so that we can stay in Iraq. Because if we pulled out of Iraq, well, we wouldn't be there any more."

Mitch McConnell knows that a majority in his state opposed the "surge" and support getting out of Iraq, but nevertheless "justifies" his support of Bush's policies on grounds that "my constituents are overwhelmingly on the side of General Petraeus..."

Alterman: "The big difference, as I see it, is that when I criticize a certain baseball player, a certain owner, a certain sportswriter, a certain announcer, a certain hot dog consumed in Shea Stadium, a certain No. 7 train on the way there, nobody accuses me of being a "self-hating" baseball fan or being "anti-baseball." Everyone understands that being in love with the sport means having passionate thoughts and feelings, both positive and negative about different aspects of the game. Alas, with Judaism, and particularly with Israel, this is not the case."

Jonathan Power makes some good points in "Living under the threat of terrorism", but I don't remember Baader-Meinhof doing breakfasts for neighborhood school kids. That is to say, I don't think the Black Panthers are an appropriate comparison.

John Nichols of The Nation and conservative Bruce Fein discuss impeachment with Bill Moyers.

13:45 BST

Happy Bastille Day!

How are you spending it? How about at the Bastille Day Impeachment Party Blogswarm? drew up suggested Articles of Impeachment against Bush last December.

Eric Rauchway asks, "Is it a constitutional crisis yet? [...] So we have come this far: The president and vice president assert a right to defy the law, and if Congress lets them get away with it, then the law is not the law." Why, yes, Eric, I believe this is a Constitutional crisis.

The S.N.A.F.U. Principle provides highlights from Bill Moyers' list of Richard Bruce Cheney's impeachable offenses.

Jonathan Zasloff thinks that, since the grounds for impeaching Gonzales are obvious, doing anything about it could end up precipitating the Supreme Court decision that cements the Imperial Presidency. Could that be what the Democrats are really afraid of?

11:00 BST

When criminals run the government

Whoa! Did I say the prosecution of Alabama Governor Don Siegelman raised questions? Scott Horton's piece in Harper's about Noel Hillman and the Siegelman Case makes it look like Siegelman may have been the only guy in this case who wasn't dirty, save for the (Republican) judge who originally threw the case out because it lacked merit. But dig this, too:

A second key figure from the Alabama clan of Abramoff associates is Dan Gans, who served as Riley's chief of staff both in Washington and Montgomery. He left Riley to work with Ed Buckham and Christine DeLay at the Alexander Strategy Group, which has been repeatedly implicated in the Abramoff Scandal. Gans is a Republican "voting technology expert" who played a mysterious role in the 2002 gubernatorial election-he was in Republican controlled Bay Minette, Alabama, when 6,000 votes inexplicably shifted from Siegelman's column to Riley's due to a "computer glitch." Now this is significant for a number of reasons. The likelihood that this was an innocent "computer glitch" in which only one single candidate-Don Siegelman-lost votes is approximately zero. "Glitches" do occur in computer vote processing, but they do not produce a shift in a single, photo-finish election contest, and not affecting any other race. The only explanation for this is willful manipulation of the voting equipment, and that is a very serious crime. Indeed, Auburn University's Professor James Gundlach studied the 2002 returns in Baldwin County and found all clues pointing to the same result:
Someone is controlling the computer to produce the different results. Once any computer produces different election results, any results produced by the same equipment operated by the same people should be considered too suspect to certify without an independently supervised recount.
Hmm, is that anything like the 16,000 votes for Al Gore that mysteriously disappeared in Volusia County, Florida in 2000?
The irregularities identified by Gundlach are far more severe than those which occurred in the Ukrainian presidential elections of October 31, 2004, which the United States Government denounced as fraudulent, forcing a new vote which overturned the officially certified results of the first round. In reaching these conclusions, the U.S. Government relied on exactly the sort of sampling comparisons that Gundlach used in his study. So how did the law enforcement authorities with responsibility for this issue behave?

Well, that would be two gentlemen who are now both federal judges. One, then-Alabama Attorney General William Pryor, intervened in opposition to Siegelman's demands for a recount connected with this serious irregularity-essentially shutting the process down. Indeed, Pryor seems to have done everything within his power to obscure the matter and to insure that Siegelman was defeated. Pryor's partisan interests throughout this process were completely obvious. As was his interest in avoiding any deep examination of the strange events that had transpired in GOP-controlled Baldwin County, Alabama.

That left the Justice Department in Washington, which had a long and highly respected record of intervention in the Deep South when questions of voting fraud have arisen. This record, however, came to an abrupt end in 2001. The Justice Department official responsible for a question of voting fraud which directly involved the conduct of voting officials - as was the case in the Bay Minette incident - was Noel Hillman. Hillman should have looked at the case and acted upon it. However, Hillman did nothing.

Siegelman lost the 2002 election and was forced from office in Montgomery in one of the strangest and most bitterly contested elections in Alabama history. Three men, William Pryor, Noel Hillman and Dan Gans, played a decisive role in this process. Each of these three then also appear to have played a critical role in setting a prosecutorial process in train to "get" Siegelman, apparently on the theory that not withstanding his doubtful "loss," Siegelman posed a continuing threat to the dominance of the GOP in Alabama.

So that's just part of the prelude to the unmerited case that has gone so far over the top that the prosecution is demanding that Siegelman be fined or jailed for charges he was acquitted on.

But if you're wondering why so many felonious activities on the part of Republicans all over the country (including all that election fraud) don't seem to get challenged in court, now you know why: These are the same guys who decide whether to prosecute.

(Thanks to apikoros.)

02:22 BST

Friday, 13 July 2007

Who's counting?

Judge to Nullify Election Results of 2004 Alameda County Ballot Measure, According to Tentative Ruling: "County Had Refused to Allow Public Examination of Electronic Votes and Audit Logs on Diebold Voting Systems After 'Numerous Machine Malfunctions' in Medical Marijuana Election... Late news this afternoon, sent to The BRAD BLOG moments ago, reveals that a judge in an Alameda County, California election contest is set to rule that a contested ballot measure election from 2004 must now be reheld since the county destroyed data from the election when they sent the Diebold DRE voting systems back to the company in Plano, Texas." (Thanks to Rich for the tip.)

At Fact-esque, eRobin says that the Holt bill was a lot better before the proprietary software industry got involved: "There's movement on the electronic voting front. Unfortunately, it's in the wrong direction. H.R. 811, Rep. Rush Holt's (NJ-12) bill is a darling of the any-legislation-is-better-than-no-legislation crowd. Apparently they haven't learned the lessons of Medicare Part D, NAFTA, CAFTA and No Child Left Behind. H.R. 811 may have come from a good idea, but the bill has been so weighed down with dangerous changes that at this point, it will do more harm than good if passed. You can read Voters Unite's take on what needs to be changed here. I'd like to see the whole bill scrapped in favor of a simple bill that bans DRE's (touchscreen/touchbutton machines) and provides federal funds to states for the purchase of precinct-based optical scan systems in time for 2008."

George W. Bush, War Profiteers, and the Terrorism-Industrial Complex - Brent Budowsky reminds us that we can't say we weren't warned. (Last time around, Linkmeister thought Budowsky was only half right on Congressional Republicans.)

At The Black Commentator, David A. Love on Why YOU Should Be Concerned About Big Media.

"The Maverick That Never Was" - McCain's phony integrity and his real meltdown, at Prose Before Hos. (Also, a map.)

Impeachable stains

23:09 BST

Picture this

Imagine a criminal trial in which no one is allowed to name the crime or even describe it

No one can say that the hospital did a "Rape Kit" and they can't say that at the hospital she was treated by the "Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner." In fact, inside the courtroom no one can even say that the defendant is charged with 1st Degree Sexual Assault.

So what, if anything, was allowed?

Ms. Bowen is allowed to say that she and the defendant had "sex" or "intercourse", which she complains (and very rightly so) implies the exact opposite to a jury, that the acts were consensual and non-traumatic.

BTC News says that the withdrawal bill isn't really a withdrawal bill, and anyway the Republicans are filibustering, and the Democrats are letting them get away with another filibuster without a filibuster. (And in comments, DallasNE says the whole non-filibuster filibuster thing is even worse than that.) Really, the Dems have to make them actually filibuster instead of letting them get away with just threatening it.

Ezra says they're all just jealous of Michael Moore. But: "Here's a radical thought, though: Maybe if these mainstream media types were as incredulous towards the powerful as they are to Moore, his productions wouldn't pose a threat. After all, there's nothing wrong with fact-checking, and asking hard questions, and raising an oppositional eyebrow towards pabulum and propaganda. The problem isn't that the media is so quick to doubt Moore. It's that they're so trusting the rest of the time."

Simon Crubellier's photos of London and other parts of these islands. (Hey, isn't that George Spigot?)

17:45 BST

Rocky landscape

Amazingly, an article by Michael Gordon and Jim Rutenberg in the NYT acknowledges that "Bush Distorts Qaeda Links, Critics Assert":

"The president wants to play on Al Qaeda because he thinks Americans understand the threat Al Qaeda poses," said Bruce Riedel, an expert at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy and a former C.I.A. official. "But I don't think he demonstrates that fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq precludes Al Qaeda from attacking America here tomorrow. Al Qaeda, both in Iraq and globally, thrives on the American occupation."
Orrin Hatch has a strange new theory about how the White House has a right to keep secrets from Congress - a theory that, interestingly, he did not hold back in the '90s.

Sean Paul Kelley calls it "Shameful" when fundamentalists interrupt a few brief words of non-Christian prayer in the Senate's morning prayer because it's not monotheist. Cliff Schecter has more.

Jack Balkin ponders the question, "Is Legal Reasoning Experimental Science or Reflective Equilibrium?"

The House passed the Iraq withdrawal bill last night. I don't have much to say about it because I was out during the whole thing and haven't really had time to catch up. But the "serious" people still have a stupid argument for why we must stay.

I'm confused. Mark Crispin Miller has more than a few reservations about the Holt Bill and says it protects DREs, but EFF says the critiques you're hearing of this bill aren't true, and that in fact it is a good first step in restoring voting integrity. "The higher standards required by HR 811 would provide the beginning, not the end, of serious election reform. States wishing to, say, ban all electronic voting machines, impose stricter audit requirements, or force vendors to publicly disclose all of their source code will remain free to do so, as they are today. If HR 811 becomes law, however, states would not be permitted to lag behind in many important areas as so many do today."

Don't forget: It's always a good idea to talk to as many people as you can about impeachment, why we need it, and how popular the idea has become.

15:46 BST

"Does it stink like rotten meat?"

Bruce Fein in Slate on Executive Nonsense, notes that Fred Fielding seems to have changed his tune since he worked with John Dean in Nixon's White House:

Mr. Fielding served as Dean's deputy. He has never maintained that President Nixon could have muzzled Dean by invoking executive privilege. But that is the inescapable implication of his defense of President Bush's prerogative to silence former presidential aides Sara M. Taylor and Harriet E. Miers, whom Congress has subpoenaed, and to shield presidential documents that have also been subpoenaed. Fielding elaborated his reasons in a July 9, 2007 letter to the chairmen of the House and Senate judiciary committees. If his unconvincing rationale is accepted, the congressional power to check executive-branch lawlessness or maladministration will be crippled. A second edition of Watergate could go undetected.


President Bush errantly claims that Congress must prove that presidential communications are "demonstrably critical" to its oversight functions to trump executive privilege. In the Nixon case, however, the Supreme Court did not require the special prosecutor to establish that the presidential tapes and documents at issue were "demonstrably critical" to winning convictions. Relevance was sufficient. The standard for Congress should be no different when criminality or maladministration is under investigation. Unless it is examined, there is no way to know whether a piece of evidence is the proverbial smoking gun, akin to Dean's testimony against Nixon. If Congress knew in advance that the information it seeks was vital, no further investigation would be needed.

Of course, given the information we already have, it shouldn't be hard to work out that the two guys who are responsible for this administration are corrupt, and have corrupted everyone who works with them or for them, and we don't actually need further investigation to know that we should impeach every single one of them. Like Dover Bitch says, it's not as if there aren't plenty of reasons. We already have several smoking guns and the bodies to prove it.

(Hey, even my Congressman is giving impeachment the thumbs up!)

11:40 BST

Late night links

The Talking Dog Interview with Michael Otterman, "a journalist and the author of "American Torture: From the Cold War to Abu Ghraib and Beyond", documenting the institutionalized use of torture by the United States intelligence services and military from World War II and the early Cold War through the extensive use of torture by the United States in the Global War on Terror."

Faces of vets: "For the many Americans for whom the Iraq War has required little or no personal commitment, and especially for the politicians in Washington...these photos and stories should be required viewing."Craig Murray notes that there has been a terrorist attack in Glasgow that the media has ignored - and it shows all the signs of being an attempt at revenge for the event at the airport.

Just how well does the US do on waiting times for medical care, compared to other countries? Not so hot.

Susie Madrak is getting tired of just reading good articles about how warped our media is - and wants to know when we can do something about it.

Lucasfilms offers creators a deal with the Devil.

It's Easy to Accuse Your Opposition of Not Supporting the Troops, but Actually Supporting the Troops is Much More Difficult - and, apparently, impossible for Republicans.

The Clinton Excuse Torpedoed - Lance Mannion finds the difference between the Marc Rich pardon and the Irve Libby commutation explained in an editorial in The Cape Cod Times.

Is the new Prime Minister trying to relieve debt bondage? (Some people are suggesting that Brown is starting to distance himself from Blair's policies.)

03:25 BST

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Department of yellow panties

Don Singleton [actual wingnut's link] thinks we will have to fight them in Muskogee if we stop fighting them "over there". Leaving aside the sheer cowardice exposed by this position, Singleton's faith in Bush's ability and willingness to protect our country (expressed in the standard rhetoric of the right-wing - he has very little original material) has many serious flaws in it - like the fact that we've only had one 9/11, and we had it on Bush's watch.

And, face it: Osama doesn't need another 9/11, because he accomplished everything he wanted with the first one. The other terrorism we've seen in Europe and elsewhere from Muslims is largely the knock-on effect of Bush's war against Muslims. (And yes we have had terrorism in the United States since 9/11 - but it was done by people who were already "over here".)

I note that an awful lot of right-wingers envision the terrorists hitting the offices of The New York Times. Are these people actually stupid enough to think such a strike would come from Iraqis? We already know who sends anthrax to journalists and the Democratic leadership, and it ain't Muslims. (By now, the terrorists probably realize that if they actually want to hurt the Bushistas, New York is the wrong target, since they hate New York anyway. Maybe they'll hit Kennebunkport.)

In any event, if foreign nationals actually wanted to hit the United States, they would come to the United States to do it. The fact that our military is tied up in Iraq does nothing to stop that. What's probably stopping them is the fact that there's no point: that mission is already accomplished the moment Bush invaded Iraq.

17:50 BST

Giving new meaning to the phrase, "junk bond"

The Problem: Sara Taylor actually said, "I took an oath to the president, and I take that oath very seriously." Patrick Leahy questions whether that was what she meant to say. I get the impression that, like the rest of the Bushminidstration, it's what she really meant. Meanwhile, Bush himself appears to have committed a felony when he told Taylor and Miers not to testify.

I do find it hard to feel much sympathy with people who knew the administration was scum but said nothing until now.

Chris Floyd discusses how the administration has basically been Saving Al Qaeda as it fails in one plan after another for taking over Iraq's oil.

Mac Thomason explains the proper name for Cheney's branch of government. (Nice new site, Mac - when did this happen?) Also, squid news.

You've heard it said that the Republicans in Congress are a bunch of whores, but I didn't actually expect to find out it was literally true. So now they're even giving a bad name to hookers. Republicans: They can lower the tone anywhere.

Speaking of whores (in the bad sense of the word), Digby compares what the press said about an impending White House event and what actually happened. On the long list of things I'm never going to forgive the Washington press corps for is the years-long spectacle of watching them perform like begging dogs for this creep. Like Digby, I've never seen the charm of Bush's style, but you'd think anyone with an ounce of pride would recoil at being treated the way he treats the press. (I imagine their fathers at Thanksgiving dinner shouting across the table, "The only man among you is Helen Thomas!")

Why they put ammonia in cigarettes (or why you get addicted when Amerinds didn't).

15:58 BST

Systems failures

At Angry Bear, cactus recommends a post at Robert Reich's Blog (I had no idea that Robert Reich had a blog!) on Financial Entrepreneurship Versus Product Entrepreneurship in which Reich says:

America is the greatest entrepreneurial nation in the world. But there are really two kinds of entrepreneurs here - product entrepreneurs and financial entrepreneurs -and only one of them truly builds the economy. Product entrepreneurs find new ways of satisfying customers. Financial entrepreneurs find new ways of ... well, making money off money.

Problem is, financial entrepreneurship is becoming more and more dominant in the economy. Thirty years ago, finance was the handmaiden of American industry. Now industry is run by finance. For every budding Steve Jobs or Bill Gates there are now thousands of aspiring private equity or hedge fund managers. That's because this is where the big bucks are. Which means, it's where some of our most talented young people are going.

It's where the big bucks are, but it's not where a healthy future lies. The financial industry has always been a bit of a parasite, but by my reckoning, it's become a giant leech, producing nothing real but sucking us all dry.

* * * * *

"Libby, Bush and the lapdog press" is by Eric Boehlert, although his name appears nowhere on the page.

DHHS website replaces factual information about teen pregnancy with lies about abortion. (And isn't it interesting that even the remarkably young people who work at the White House have as many memory problems as Reagan had from his Alzheimer's?)

Blitzer's follow-up interview with Michael Moore, and Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow discussing Blitzer vs. Moore.

Rachel Maddow's latest Campaign Asylum video on whether the candidates are still being stupid on Iraq, and the Blame the Iraqis ploy.

12:14 BST

Open windows

Cursor: Andrew Sullivan says "It's time to out-Cheney Cheney," and the Seattle Post-Intelligencier reminds "America, you are the boss of Gonzales' boss. You can have the attorney general -- a civil officer -- impeached." Plus: 'What Special Project Lives in FBI HQ Room 4944?' (Did I mention that you should give Cursor some money? Give them some money.)

E&P says The Chicago Sun-Times is turning left - They're shaking off the curse of Murdoch, having decided that Chicago doesn't really need two right-wing papers, and returning to their roots.

Barbara Boxer says: "Impeachment should be on the table."

Sara takes off on Bill O'rally ("O'Lie-ly" is another popular variation) and the lesbian gangs.

Fred Clark says, "You're not the pope of me." Too right. It's not like he's the Catholicos* or anything. The Catholic Church is just a Johnny-come-lately to me.

I failed to wish Skippy the Bush Kangaroo a happy blogiversary before, so let me do so now. Skippy has been keeping us company for most of the time we've been here, and we're grateful to have him, and his additional colleagues, with us.

00:28 BST

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

I heard it through the grapevine

Digby nods in agreement with Jane Hamsher's observation it will be too difficult for any presidential candidate to stand up with the majority of Americans who condemn the commutation of Irve Libby's jail sentence. Libby is part of the Capitol Hill Culture and has tremendous symbolic meaning to their crowd. Yes, the Founders said a president who used the pardon power the way Bush did in this case should "surely" be impeached, but the Gang of 500 will never allow the suggestion. That's why if you bring the subject up, they go out of their way to tell you nobody cares.

Tim Francis-Wright laughs at The Cabbage after his amazingly lame lament [paywalled link] in the NYT about how three songs in current release are just too unladylike for an earlier time, even ten years ago, a period when, um, there had never been Alanis, Benatar, and for that matter a whole lotta country music. Dana Goldstein calls The Cabbage Retro Dave, and Ezra says that Brooks unfairly smeared Pink.

Diane noticed something I missed in the NYT story of Bush's first Surgeon General's charges that the administration muzzled him and made him subservient to the propaganda: "Dr. Carmona said he was ordered to mention President Bush three times on every page of his speeches. He also said he was asked to make speeches to support Republican political candidates and to attend political briefings." Jeez.

Hmm, the Enterprise and the Nimitz are joining the 5th Fleet in the Persian Gulf. Wonder what that means....

"Coming: The Helicopter Moment in Iraq."

20:43 BST

Everybody's talkin'

Jon Swift addresses the question I raised earlier (here and here): "Do We Need Another Terrorist Attack?" He's found more examples of it, too. Cernig knows the fear card is the last one in their deck. Radley Balko notes that the phenomenon is real. Jim Henley says I'm right, and Attaturk concurs, as does Richard Blair at All Spin Zone. Impolitic confesses to having the same thought. Lambert says he expects more malign neglect. Ron at Middle Earth Journal points out that there is even worry about this sort of thing on a right-wing site. Matt Yglesias notes that Republicans have structural reasons for preferring that there be another terrorist attack. Big Tent Democrat disagrees with my approach, but I think he's wrong. (More here.)

However, I agree with Big Tent Dem about Moore vs. Gupta. And with Atrios. Why is it more important to fact-check - however badly - one guy who puts out a documentary every few years than it is to fact-check - properly - the people who actually make and carry out our nation's policies? Well, we know why, and it's not a good reason.

"Child porn allegations: New tactic in fighting file sharing?" - The only things wrong with that headline are the question mark and the word "new". It's not new. It's been the excuse the authorities have used for decades to go after whoever or whatever they really want to go after but legally can't.

"Pope Ratzi declares Protestants heretics" - Believe or not, the headline, though sarky, is not parody: "Protestant churches yesterday reacted with dismay to a new declaration approved by Pope Benedict XVI insisting they were mere 'ecclesial communities' and their ministers effectively phonies with no right to give communion." (Also: Trent Lott calls for return of the Fairness Doctrine. Sure, when your ox is being gored....)

18:46 BST

Of interest

Demosthenes asks: "so, er, anybody else getting a rather nasty "cyberpunk" jolt after reading that Gazprom is going to become a military power? I mean, obviously companies have been contracting help from other companies for a while, nothing new there, but it's the precedent that boggles the mind."

"A Crack in the System: For the fourth time in 20 years, the U.S. Sentencing Commission has asked lawmakers to reform mandatory cocaine sentencing policy. Might this be the year Congress listens?"

Lenin on Tony Blair's sudden eruption of open racism. (And I have no hope that Brown will be any better. He's already pretending that terrorism in the UK has nothing at all to do with the invasion and occupation of Iraq.)

Eli has a whole passel of good stuff over at Left I on the News, but for some reason my browser is being weird about acknowledging any links on the page at the moment, so just go there and read. I did open up the sourcecode and retrieve a link to this article over at Candide's Notebook about Obama's tendency to sound just like a "serious" DC insider hawk.

Morford, "Bush Pardons Entire GOP [...] Dems: 'Can he do that?'

14:28 BST

Watching the defectives

Jim Henley: "Say this for the Republicans. They decided that all you need to know is that quote from Machiavelli about how it's better to be feared than loved, and have taken us halfway there: We are no longer loved. Admittedly we don't strike nearly as much fear since they broke the Army as we did back in early 2002, but the "loved" part they have totally dealt with."

Digby: "Seriously, lead poisoning is a scourge and it does make people stupid and violent -- which explains why Bush is pushing to loosen the restrictions. It's the last of Rove's plan to create a Republican majority."

It fascinates me that Kristol actually tells the truth about how outrageous the administration's behavior is all the time - because he approves of it - and there is precious little recognition that (a) he is a crazy man and (b) he's describing a criminal organization. I'm sure that if he thought anyone was actually paying attention, he'd shut up in an instant, but he knows he can say all this loony stuff and no one outside of the liberal blogosphere will have anything to say about it. His statement that the timing of the Libby commutation was meant to be exploitable against the Clintons while Hillary was in Iowa is pretty small fish when there's such a whale of a heist going on, but he's nevertheless telling everyone that the White House is totally, unremittingly cynical about every little thing it does, and yet the talking heads will continue to behave as if the only cynical politicians out there are Democrats who, you know, get haircuts or have any kind of ambition.

12:40 BST

Heroes and Villains

"Santorum Suggest New Terror Attacks Will Change View Of War." A lot of Republicans seem to be running around heralding the next attack like it's the Second Coming - ah, what a great day it will be! Democrats would be smart to trumpet loudly the fact that these guys are aching for another 9/11 to rescue their party from facing the music. (Thanks to Rich.)

Bill Scher on The Sorry History of Bush's Pakistan Policy - it's been disgusting since the very beginning.

You know, they really do have some crazy people writing for The Washington Post.

Strange as it may seem, Rudolph Giuliani still looks like a threat.

The Wisdom of Doubt, Part V - Mahabarb examines the place of "religion" in American politics.

Fascism Unmasked: "Some people say we're on the ragged edge of fascism. Some people say it's already here. On a scale of one to ten, where do you think we stand?" (Thanks to D.)

Hear an old radio interview with Mike Finnigan, who does the blog roundup at Crooks and Liars.

And don't we all owe a debt to Larry Flynt after he continues to expose professional blue-nosed Republicans for the whoremongers and closet catamites they really are?

Brian Wilson live.

10:17 BST

Things to read

Brent Budowsky on George Bush's Iraq Obsession: America Held Hostage: "From the minute George Bush planned to let Osama bin Laden escape from Tora Bora by diverting our military to his obsessive hunger for the Iraq war, the conduct of Republicans in the Senate has been one of the most morally shameful abdications of conscience and duty in the history of the American Congress."

The Carpetbagger Report: "Dr. Richard Carmona, Bush's first appointed Surgeon General, never quite fit in as the rigid right-wing ideologue the president likes to have around. He disagreed with the White House on a variety of public health issues (stem-cell research, sexual health), and even suggested he'd like to see all tobacco products banned in the United States. Today, Carmona told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that he wanted to use his stature as the "nation's doctor" to speak out on issues, but the Bush gang wouldn't let him."

Bob Herbert: "This sort of thing, the police wildly overreacting to behavior by schoolkids that is not criminal, happens much more often than most New Yorkers realize. Officer Gonzalez behaved as if he were rounding up the James gang. He arrested the girl. He arrested Mr. Soguero. And he arrested a school aide who had tried to come to the principal's defense. [...] The Soguero incident is among many outlined in a report from the New York Civil Liberties Union titled "Criminalizing the Classroom: The Over-Policing of New York City Schools." Students, teachers and principals who have done nothing wrong are frequently harassed, abused and in some cases arrested and jailed by cops who are supposed to be on the lookout for criminal activity." (Thanks to Rich.)

This week: Save the Internet.

00:34 BST

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Snacks, dinner, and afters

Steve Benan: "Senate Republicans, in the most cynical part of all of this, are basing their strategy on the notion that voters won't know better. They're counting on public ignorance and confusion to conceal their tactics. The GOP has created a mess in the Senate. Dems need to make an effort to help expose those responsible." And that's why I think Democrats should force them to filibuster. For real.

What's not going to happen.

This must be Lance Mannion's shortest rant ever: "Every third word out of every Democrat and Liberal's mouth ought to be 'Nixon.' Every fourth word ought to be 'guilty.'"

"Every Thing Secret Degenerates..."

Dean Baker is also waiting for an apology from CNN for the sloppy numbers they used to try to make Moore's numbers look sloppy.

Sam Boyd has an an amazingly rosy view of the possibility of the Supreme Court going back to sanity in our lifetime. Sure, if you impeach the corrupt ones who sit on cases where they are not disinterested parties and who lie under oath in their confirmation hearings. Let's see, that would be Alito, Thomas, Roberts, and Scalia. And I do think they should be impeached. ASAP.

Feminist of the day: Emma Watson.

Wow, I never knew Twinkies originally had banana filling. I must have one.

23:15 BST

Things I saw

Gonzales lied again: "Attorney General Alberto Gonzales received reports detailing legal or procedural violations by FBI agents in the months before he told senators that no such abuses had occurred, The Washington post reported Tuesday."

How are you spending Bastille Day? You could always join the Blogswarm for Impeachment.

Taylor Marsh wants to see the press pay attention to Edwards' poverty tour. She says it will drive the wingnuts crazy, because they have a massive hypocritical thing about the idea of someone who has some money caring about people who don't. And: "If Edwards and his team are smart they'll use the wingnuts to their own political advantage. People love a good fight. If Edwards gets the opportunity he should take it." (I love the little picture of her.)

"Throwing Stones: What is this Republican obsession with Democrats' hair? [...] Big, generous, charismatic Clinton. Tall, stately warrior Kerry. And now scrappy, self-made Edwards. The entire psychological basis of the GOP begins and ends with its overheated masculinity fetish; but 90% of the men in that party can only wish they had half the cojones these three guys do. Say what you will about them as candidates; but when it comes to alpha, they're the real deal. And the Republicans, still stuck in psychosexual seventh grade, can only think up one comeback to being so clearly outclassed: Make fun of their hair."

Not sure what I think of the new layout at Talking Points Memo, yet. But check out Dick Lugar versus Tony Snow.

James Wolcott wonders about the strange relationship Republicans have with animals.

19:17 BST

Various media

Michael Moore has posted the video of his combative interview with Wolf Blitzer at his site [direct YouTube link] along with the promised fact-check of the CNN piece. (Moore actually understates the case about supplementary commercial healthcare in Britain. Some employers offer non-contributory commercial health insurance to employees who would not otherwise have it or want it. Since you get it with the job whether you want it or not, and it's free, I doubt anyone refuses it if they accept the job.) Via The Raw Story.

Cheney found to be in violation of the law--of quantum mechanics. (Thanks, Rich.)

Scats reads the hieroglyphics in that NYT editorial: "Got it, America? Those are your choices. Allow Bush to do what he wants to do, or insist that he not do what we know he's gonna do anyway. Whatever you do, do not under any circumstances get the idea into your head that you can get rid of Bush. Even though, by our own admission, getting rid of Bush would actually make it possible to do what we think should be done. You can allow or you can insist, you can stand aside quietly or you can stand aside and talk, but you cannot affect outcomes. You must stand aside. You are spectators."

It was a great week for fearmongering, misogyny, scolding, insults, and ignorance at FOX. Pop over to News Hounds and vote for the Outrageous Quote of the Week.

Kaziah Hancock paints: "When she heard about the first Utah soldier killed in Iraq, she wanted to do something for his family. Three years later, she's done something for the families of nearly 300 fallen soldiers." Video here. Via The Group News Blog.

12:15 BST

The American scheme

Charles in comments:

But for me, at least, Iran Contra was simply part of a pattern of Republican lawbreaking and Democratic leniency. Part of the reason that people trust Democrats less than they should on law and order is that Dems don't punish Republicans when that's indicated.
Digby says "It's Not Freedom":
It's very important that we not attribute the failure of the last few years solely to George W. Bush or even Dick Cheney's assault on the constitution. The virulent form of conservatism they represent is not just political, it's a systemic, cultural ill that has seized our society and made us lose our sense of common purpose --- and decency.

That is not an accident. Perlstein refers to his Independence Day post, to which I linked before, and which I highly recommend you read if you haven't done so. He discussed a new book, The Trap: Selling Out to Stay Afloat in Winner-Take-All America that talks about how conservatism, which babbles incessantly about freedom and liberty, is actually anything but. It's not a Marxist argument, it's a simple series of observations that show the conservative cultural message and government policies have ended up narrowing people's freedom to pursue their own destiny rather than expand them as they insisted they would do.

* * * * *

Thanks to Rich for supplying a link to the list of White House Subpoenas, which includes this note: those who believe Congressional subpoenas that are delivered to the White House will be enforced by Federal courts are sadly mistaken. Congress must ask the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia to enforce their subpoenas - but all of the U.S. Attorneys have been thoroughly corrupted by the Bush Administration. The only way Congress can enforce its subpoenas is through the little-known process of "inherent contempt" in which "the individual is brought before the House or Senate by the Sergeant-at-Arms, tried at the bar of the body, and can be imprisoned."

Toast wasn't impressed with the NYT when they finally admitted that we should get out of Iraq. He responded to the editorial with a bit of acid.

01:11 BST

Monday, 09 July 2007

Freedom on the march

Chris Floyd: "None of it was necessary. None of it was justified. Abdullah's grandson was shredded into fragments of meat and bone because George W. Bush wanted to be a "war president" and prance around in his "Commander-in-Chief" socks. Abdullah's wife had her brains dashed out because Dick Cheney wanted to impose American dominance over the oil lands of the Middle East, for the greater glory and profits for his oil cronies and his military servicing paymasters. Abdullah's daughters were mutilated and disemboweled by shrapnel because the blind, monstrous engines of barbaric militarism and greasy war contracting have spread their moral rot from the wasteland called Hell's Bottom where the Pentagon was built throughout the entire American Republic. Abdullah's daughter-in-law had her skin eaten away by ravenous fire because the leading lights of the American Establishment -- in government, in media, in business, in academia, in "think tanks" and "policy centers" - were giddy at the thought of empire, or dazzled by the prospect of loot, or maddened by ideological fervor, or driven by some private evil. or turned into cowards by 9/11, ready to sacrifice anything and everything - morality, reason, common sense, legality, the lives of their nation's soldiers and endless multitudes of innocent foreigners - in order to keep themselves safe, to keep living high on the hog, to stay well-wadded, cozy and comfy, forever protected from any adverse consequences of the destructive policies that have enriched them."

Isn't it great that Bush has prevented more terrorism in the United States? "Three Burleson men who belong to a "radical Christian activist group" were in the Johnson County Jail on Friday night after a church deacon caught two of them attempting to ignite an explosive device on Independence Day at a church under construction in north Burleson, authorities said Friday."

Just how much clarity can we take?

23:37 BST

Stalking the wild web

Congratulations to commenter thebewilderness for having inspired an entire post at BTC News.

MediaBloodHound: "Maureen Dowd Unintentionally Writes Self-Parody" - On most days, Dowd is just Coulter with a better job. Sure, once in a while she stops to gaze at the wreckage and realizes it looks pretty bad, and she can write a decent column when that happens. The only problem is that the rest of the time, she's instrumental in actually causing the wreckage.

Diane on Duplicity: "Most of this country knows the president is a liar, and most of the rest of the world knows it as well. Evidence of that international knowledge comes from an op-ed piece published July 5, 2007 in Canada's The Star. The piece is an extended rant, emotional and jagged, but it makes the point clearly that this administration will lie about the color of the sky, especially when it comes to policy in the Middle East." (Well, I don't think they treat the Middle East any differently from anything else - they lie about everything. Everything.)

Thomas Nephew asks, "digby, what is the alternative to impeachment?"

"The American gulag [...] it is policy at the highest levels of government to keep employees insecure, in a state of fear about their medical care and jobs."

I see the Telegraph is trying to alarm people about a perfectly sensible provision of reproductive healthcare to kids who actually need it.

Echidne on Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Dammit, Maron is going to be in Edinburgh and I won't be able to see him unless someone wants me to come up there to talk about porn in a coincidentally convenient slot.

17:15 BST

Linking lazily

Can't get enough - because nothing else will do.

Paul Krugman saw Sicko, Neil Cavuto, and Health Care Terror: We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics." So declared F.D.R. in 1937, in words that apply perfectly to health care today. This isn't one of those cases where we face painful tradeoffs - here, doing the right thing is also cost-efficient. Universal health care would save thousands of American lives each year, while actually saving money. So this is a test. The only things standing in the way of universal health care are the fear-mongering and influence-buying of interest groups. If we can't overcome those forces here, there's not much hope for America's future.

Really? A government shut-down in Pennsylvania? Blimey!

Cindy Sheehan threatens to run against Pelosi if Madam Speaker doesn't put impeachment back on the table soon.

My Congressman vs. a wingnut: The wingnut says US Attorney Iglesias was fired "because he's an idiot." I wish Chris had said, "No, he was fired because he wouldn't gin up malicious prosecutions against people who hadn't done anything wrong!" (via)

More from "The Constitution, version 2.0".

Our friend Skimble has been on holiday, but left some interesting stuff before running off, such as posts on the war with Richistan and faith-based investment.

14:52 BST

It wasn't supposed to be like this

Charles Pierce says, "THIS is the parallel, not Nixon and Archibald Cox."

I don't know if it counts if you only said it in a bar and never wrote it down anywhere, but back in 1988, when it became plain that absolutely nobody was going to pay a price -- criminal, civil, or in the case of the senior Bush, political -- for the staggering mess that was Iran-Contra, I was in the late, lamented Eliot Lounge in Boston, chewing it over with a friend who'd reported extensively on the scandal. I told him that the country was going to pay a fearsome price one day for having let these crimes go unpunished. That the whole business lodged something malignant deep in the government that needed to be roughly, and bloodily, excised. I believed an impeachment inquiry should have been opened on both the president and the vice-president. I believed that Beltway wise-man schemes like the Tower Commission and the Joint Congressional committee investigation would muddy the waters and likely would do more harm than good. (It was the committee that created the loophole through which ultimately squeezed, among other people, Oliver North.) I believed the whole thing should have been left in the hands of Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh, since the DOJ until Edwin Meese had been hopelessly entangled in the original cover-up.

Moreover, no matter how often the pundits and Important Reporters told me the whole thing was too complicated for anyone to understand, I believed that selling missiles to Islamic crazoids in order to help finance our own Central American crazoids in defiance both open and covert of the laws and the Constitution was worth sending a whole lot of somebodies to the sneezer. I believed it was worth bringing down a president, just so no other president would ever again hire fly-by-night think-tank cowboys to sell the country's soul wholesale to grifters like Manucher Ghorbanifar.

Oh, man, was he ever right. Go read the rest.

* * * * *

He's had enough: "The 26-year-old Port St. Lucie man has been ordered to report to Fort Jackson, S.C., on July 15 for his fifth deployment. And that has compelled Botta, a first-generation American who counts himself a quiet patriot, to do something he never thought he'd do: sue the Army."

The Midas Plague, or running the military according to the comedy stylings of Fred Pohl.

Watergate buff Gary Farber finds something stupid in the AP article about Fred Thompson's Watergate role.

"Why does the Bush Administration look like it is enabling Al Qaeda rather than pursuing them?"

01:38 BST

Sunday, 08 July 2007

On the internets

Sara at Orcinus: "The Cold War enemy was gone; but the imperative to carve the world up into "good" and "evil" persisted. We are still chasing the conservative movement's demons; and, as so often happens when people pursue their own shadows, we are becoming the thing we most despise in the process. [...] Those who remember America The Good are passing, leaving the world in the hands of those who only know America the Evil. Any PR person can tell you that a good reputation lost takes Herculean efforts to regain. Of all the battles that await us, this one may be the hardest -- and, realistically, it's one we probably shouldn't expect to win in our lifetimes."

Well, we'd head that the NYT's appointment of Clark Hoyt as the new Public Editor was a promising sign, and it looks like it was true - he's actually criticizing the paper for parroting administration claims that everyone we are fighting in Iraq is "Al Qaeda". (via)

Bill Scher: "Sen. Pete Domenici is the latest GOP senator to pretend to become a war opponent, after others such as Richard Lugar, Mitch McConnell and Jeff Sessions. All have garnered attention for criticizing the "surge" and proposing a reduction in troop levels. But all have also rejected actually ending the occupation."

Jim Gerard (who blogs here) has written a book called Beam Me Up, Jesus: A Heathen's Guide to the Rapture that might come in handy later.

Henry Rollins explains why you need to say, "impeachment".

22:35 BST

A moral compass

Did you happen to see Egil Krogh's op-ed [paywalled link] last week? I admit to some surprise at finding his name on an article in the NYT - I couldn't even remember if he was still alive, really. But there he was, a guy who did time for the other break-in, into the office of Daniel Ellsberg's shrink:

The premise of our action was the strongly held view within certain precincts of the White House that the president and those functioning on his behalf could carry out illegal acts with impunity if they were convinced that the nation's security demanded it. As President Nixon himself said to David Frost during an interview six years later, "When the president does it, that means it is not illegal." To this day the implications of this statement are staggering.

With the Fielding break-in, some of us in the Nixon White House crossed the Rubicon into the realm of lawbreakers. In November 1973, I pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy in depriving Dr. Fielding of his civil rights, specifically his constitutional right to be free from an unwarranted search. I no longer believed that national security could justify my conduct. At my sentencing, I explained that national security is "subject to a wide range of definitions, a factor that makes all the more essential a painstaking approach to the definition of national security in any given instance."

Judge Gerhard Gesell gave me the first prison sentence of any member of the president's staff: two to six years, of which I served four and a half months.

But no one pardoned Egil Krogh.
I finally realized that what had gone wrong in the Nixon White House was a meltdown in personal integrity. Without it, we failed to understand the constitutional limits on presidential power and comply with statutory law.

In early 2001, after President Bush was inaugurated, I sent the new White House staff a memo explaining the importance of never losing their personal integrity. In a section addressed specifically to the White House lawyers, I said that integrity required them to constantly ask, is it legal? And I recommended that they rely on well-established legal precedent and not some hazy, loose notion of what phrases like "national security" and "commander in chief" could be tortured into meaning. I wonder if they received my message.

Alas, Dick Cheney and his pals took an entirely different message from the events surrounding Watergate and Nixon's resignation, because they agreed with Nixon's "staggering" statement.

17:53 BST

All engrossed in mental chatter

Progressive Gold: "20 years ago in the US multiple emergency admissions for an acute kidney infection and complications cost me a total of $40,000 and that just was my 20% share, despite having had Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance. I dread to think how much it would cost now - and that's if I could get affordable cover to begin with. Yeah, right. [...] I was lucky - if my parents hadn't come and fetched me back to the much-maligned NHS, I'd've been dead in my early twenties. As it was I could never return to the US because I'd never get insurance again. Too risky."

Lance has a theory about why journalists are talking so crazy. It's not entirely separate from mine.

Ellen Goodman has a new bumper sticker for you: "There Justice Thomas is certain to remain. He was confirmed by the smallest margin in history. He not only convinced senators that Anita Hill lied, he convinced them that he wouldn't be a rigid ideologue. Honk if you believe Anita now." (via)

At Wampum, more on Land Politics.

Charles Dodgson has a new layout for Through the Looking Glass, and if it was anyone else I'd probably be cheering, but I liked the old one.

Commenter thebewilderness said*: "The only difference between you and the guy you are torturing is that he might be innocent, but you are not."

Spencer Davis Group (and it's not a cover).

14:51 BST

Brioche and butter

6ixty 8ight Preppy cotton T-shirt bra

Bra of the Week

Joseph Galloway, the author of We Were Soldiers Once ... and Young, actually fell for Bush in 2000, but now he wonders, "What happened to the George Bush who insisted on honest government? Why is it that the Bush administration, in its dying throes, looks remarkably more like an organized crime ring than one of the arms of the American government? A poorly organized and run crime ring, truly, but a crime ring nonetheless." I'm always startled by people who saw any part of the 2000 campaign and didn't notice that Bush was lying his hiney off (I mean, come on, we can cut taxes without it costing anything? Should that make sense to anyone?), but I really thought the whole "If they count the ballots they'll steal the election!" thing was a dead giveaway. Still, it's nice to know that people do get the message eventually if you hit them over the head with a tank for seven years.

Donna Edwards versus the DLCocrats! Man, I would so like to lose Al Wynne and undermine Steny Hoyer's power base. Give this woman your help if you can. Also, Political Stand-up Comic Mort Sahl Not Dead at 80, and Jack Riley definitely still on it, too; David Shuster and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) hammer Dan Burton; and Keith Olbermann really enjoys himself. Plus! 25 Good Ideas!

One last post at The Rittenhouse Review.

Eli has a nice little tribute to Bill Pinkney, the last surviving member of The Drifters, who finally went to rejoin the rest of the band the other day.

10:58 BST

Late notes

Just had the first day in weeks when it didn't rain, and I've been enjoying the sun in the garden all day. And tonight the sky is gorgeous out there. It's been a distraction.

Standing tall: So, an eye-witness to the Glasgow airport event was interviewed on ITV and, when he was asked if he had a message for the terrorists, said, "This is Glasgow, we'll just set about you." CNN asked him how they'd restrained the guy they caught, and he told them, "Me and other folk were just tryin' to get the boot in and some other guy banjoed him!" All of which seems to have inspired a lot of Scots to compare this with what would happen if it'd been an American airport, and apparently it's going around in e-mail. Seems that over the last few years, we've established ourselves as a bunch of panty-wetting hysterics.

"Why Progressives Should Look Westward - David Sirota: The big chance to stand with the little guy, split apart conservatives' coalition and protect the environment all at the same time." It's all about Land Politics.

Weekends are a good time to marvel at the latest installment of Left Behind at Slacktivist.


01:57 BST

Saturday, 07 July 2007

In Blogtopia
Yes! Skippy!

Privatization gold rush: "Two important articles yesterday make plain that the Bush administration continues U.S. occupation of Iraq mainly for profit... not ideology or national security. "

Down With Tyranny! says the Republicans are already planning the jihad against President Rodham Clinton.

Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL) wants Congress to look into the Siegelman case and is writing to John Conyers about the whole, you know, Malicious Republican Prosecution Against A Democrat thing. The case against him gets thinner by the day, and they want to lock him up fast before anyone notices. And the ACLU wiretap case isn't over, either.

Yeah, Gordon "National ID" Brown is just the staunch defender of civil liberties... caving in to the Islamofascists! (Would that there were an alternative beside these creeps.)

"Gentilité, Comité, Civilité!!" The Editors is just a bleedin' genius. "If the Scoot stays mute, you must commute!!!"

Bob Geiger and the Saturday Cartoons (good name for a doo-wop group).


15:50 BST

First cup of coffee

Anne Zook wonders, "Who Are We?"

How do you fight bad guys and stay good? "You don't. You can't."
If you're no longer "good" then can someone tell me the difference between you and the guy you're torturing?


You know, one of the excuses we were given for the invading Iraq is that these were just dreadful people who murdered and tortured and were a danger to innocent people around them and now, yes, I'm still having trouble understanding why us murdering and torturing and invading and endangering innocent people is somehow different.

It's not a failure of "patriotism" on my part at all. It's more likely to be a failure of patriotism from the White House.

There are two kinds of countries: the kind where you're allowed to demand the best from your leaders and hold them to account without having to use violence, and the kind where you're not. I think patriotism is wanting your country to be the first kind.

* * * * *

How Reagan Republicans keep raising your taxes.

I always feel so much safer when the police are out protecting me from sex toys. (Also: I don't know what to be more jealous of, the fact that Al Gore has three monitors, or the fact that he's got a desk with room for them. And a room with room for the desk.)

Bwana Broder and the White Man's burden.

Why Bush keeps vetoing stem cell research (via).

John Edwards on trade agreements - much applause. And Tom Tomorrow with Standard Conservative Responses to Health Care Reform.

11:42 BST

Countin' the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike

Glenn Greenwald:

So much of the intensity and anger driving the criticisms of the Bush presidency -- certainly my own, and much of what I read (as exemplified above) -- is grounded in a fervent belief in American political values, its political principles and its constitutional framework. The anger comes not from a belief that the U.S. is an evil and corrupt entity, but from the opposite view. It comes from witnessing the all-out assault on these vaunted political principles and values and the complete corruption, close to the destruction, of our country's national character that has made the U.S. such an important and admired presence in the world for so long.

To believe in America's political values and to observe the importance of its role in the world is not "American exceptionalism." Like all countries, America has erred many times and has been capable of evil. Other countries have critically important virtues that America lacks. As I detail in my book, America has been far too quick to use war as a foreign policy option and has become increasingly imperialistic in precisely the way the Founders so stridently warned against.


You gotta admit, the claim that universal healthcare is a breeding ground for terrorists is breathtaking.

Someone who works at Blue Cross sent an internal memo to Michael Moore with talking points for industry response. Via The Raw Story.

DIY impeachment.

S&G, young and live in the park: "America".

01:38 BST

Friday, 06 July 2007

Stuff I saw

Robert Farley makes a recommendation: "Read Gene Healy's fantastic post on conservatives and Presidential power. No principles, not even bad, historically and constitutionally indefensible ones."

I was reading this thing cactus wrote about suicide bombers, and I was thinking that by launching the "War on Terror" Dick & Lame gave a number of crazy people a sense that they could be a part of something bigger and more important as terrorists for Allah.

Charles says Susie isn't asking for enough.

It's an odd thing, Iran's PressTV launched a few days ago and then suddenly it seemed they'd gone dark. But, no, they're still there, though for some reason they made their root URL restricted, and moved their home page off the root.

I'm always happy when someone sues the RIAA for their sleazy harassment of people for alleged file-sharing.

23:46 BST

Open windows

"Bush 'Anti-Protester' Manual Discovered: A lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union has uncovered a manual from the Bush Administration detailing its tactics for suppressing protests at presidential appearances. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two people from Colorado who were forcibly removed from a presidential 'Town Hall Meeting' because their car had a bumper sticker that said, 'No more blood for oil.' They have obtained a copy of the 'Presidential Advance Manual,' which details tactics 'to stop a demonstrator from getting into the event.' [...] The manual's guidelines are designed for use at all presidential events, not just fundraisers or political rallies. However, the ACLU noted that there are stricter constitutional guidelines for taxpayer-funded events than for privately- or politically-funded events. 'When the president attends a public event, the First Amendment does not allow him to speak or listen only to those who agree with him,' said Arthur Spitzer, Legal Director of the ACLU of the National Capital Area and co-counsel in the lawsuit. 'Public places cannot be 'cleansed' of all dissent just to make the president look popular on television.'" (Thanks to Rich.)

Jonathan Schwarz wants us to know that is here, with an assist from Robert Greenwald. You can start by signing the petition.

"Former Bush Speechwriter Hints at 9/11 Inside Job: [...] Gold confirms that war in Iraq was decided upon from day one, and that a fake pretext was readied and anticipated before 9/11 happened. Though Gold still pins the blame on Al-Qaeda, in acknowledging the fact that the Bush administration would have staged a false flag attack anyway had it not been for 9/11, he is one small step away from intimating that the attacks on the WTC and Pentagon were an inside job."

Meanwhile, Julie O. at They Get Letters liked my idea for sending your reps a postcard so much that she came up with a design, and you can get it on T-shirts, stickers, magnets, and postcards in packs of ten, too.

Excessive Irony

I don't know, it looks like the shadowy Gnome Liberation Front is getting violent.

21:58 BST

Bits of stuff

How do people feel about Bush commuting Libby's sentence?

                   Approve Disapprove Undecided
Democrats    (38%)   13%      76%        11%
Republicans  (29%)   50%      47%         3%
Independents (33%)   19%      80%         1%
Meanwhile, 54% of Americans think it's time to begin impeachment proceedings for Cheney, while 45% think proceedings should begin against Bush. (via)

"At Woolton village fete I met him. I was a fat schoolboy and, as he leaned an arm 'round my shoulder, I realized that he was drunk." And it still matters, even to people who weren't born at the time.

Someone complained that their filter at work was blocking this page. Hmph!

Free Online Dating
Via The Pink Chimpanzee

19:25 BST

Living with the animals

Susie Madrak is furious not just at our healthcare system, but at the way the Democratic Party's neglect of the people who work for their benefit is like a Bizarro image of the rather generous welfare system the right-wing machine has for its own. (I mean, their demonstrators don't even have to find their own transportation when the GOP wants a bourgeois riot at a polling place.) "No More Dead Bloggers," she says. And yes, it's maddening - Jim Capozzola would have been comfortably fixed if he'd been a Republican, but instead he didn't have healthcare and he ended up dead. He's not the first writer I've known who is dead for lack of health insurance, of course, but it's pretty outrageous with this much money floating around that no one is doing anything to back people up. So, Susie wants to put an organization together where we can help our own. Meanwhile, "I know a lot of us aren't all that thrilled with the Democrats right now. So, until we get this foundation set up, you can directly support the people who do keep standing up to the Republican regime - bloggers, the ones who aren't making a living off this insane labor of love. Go hit those donation buttons!" (And, folks, I like getting money as much as the next person does, but Arthur and Gary and a lot of other Blogtopians* don't have the NHS.)

KathyF complained in comments that I didn't tell her how easy it is to register for the NHS, but she just found out. Oops, sorry about that. But yes, it's pretty easy to keep it simple. I note that in Kathy's comments, Phoenix Woman mentions that in America, she's been waiting since 2002 for her HMO to okay a procedure. I'm trying to remember if I've ever heard of anyone here having to wait that long.

Paul Krugman, "Sacrifice Is for Suckers: [...] The Bushies, it seems, like starting fights, but they don't believe in paying any of the cost of those fights or bearing any of the risks. Above all, they don't believe that they or their friends should face any personal or professional penalties for trivial sins like distorting intelligence to get America into an unnecessary war, or totally botching that war's execution."

In 2003, Thom Hartmann wrote about American Rebellions, having found a few documents most of us don't know about. One is from someone who was actually a member of the Boston Tea Party protest. Another explains how a Supreme Court decision was overturned by a clerk. The latter is of particular interest because in that judgment, the Court determined that corporations were not people, but the clerk's headnote claimed otherwise, and that has been used as the basis for law ever since.

18:10 BST

Uneven weather

Over the last few days I noticed wingers were calling into AAR shows that take call-ins and claiming that Bill Clinton was convicted of perjury. You all know this isn't true, right? We'd certainly remember such a conviction. But that's not how right-wing talking points work.

I'm trying to remember where I originally saw the story about Lynn Cheney showing up at (pre-9/11) security meetings and trying to convince everyone that China was our biggest threat. I've always wondered whether she actually believed this or was just looking for another enemy to replace the USSR. Now I know. My God these people are evil - and crazy. (via)

Bill O'Reilly pulled from DC station - Apparently, he's just not that popular in a city where people actually know what's going on. (Despite what the story says, I bet Sam Seder would do pretty well in that market. It'd be such a relief.)

I was annoyed about the derailment on the Central Line yesterday, but it worked out in the end. But for some people, it was Not a good 24 hours.

A few links from Rich in comments:
Supreme Court overturns "a 96-year-old law that prevented manufacturers from setting minimum retail prices."
JFK Speech on Secret Societies and Freedom of the Press - I'm going to ignore the irony and just say it's a great speech.
Hyperion. (I think it's where all the bees went.)

15:25 BST

Poisoned orchard

Steve Benen: "I suppose if there were a competition for worst professional analysis of the Plame scandal and the Scooter Libby commutation, Marty Peretz's contribution would have to be the leading contender."

By contrast with the Libby case, we have the now demonstrably politically-motivated persecution of a Democrat in which Governor Siegelman's lawyers are arguing with the judge over whether Siegleman should pay a fine for a charge on which he was acquitted, and the prosecution is saying that if the judge lifts the fine he should impose a jail sentence instead. Interestingly, the office of one of his lawyers was ransacked by someone who went through the client files. Hmmm.

And Frank Rich: "When the Vice President Does It, That Means It's Not Illegal [...] but hiding in plain sight was the little-noted content of the Bush executive order that Mr. Cheney is accused of violating. On close examination, this obscure 2003 document, thrust into the light only because the vice president so blatantly defied it, turns out to be yet another piece of self-incriminating evidence illuminating the White House's guilt in ginning up its false case for war."

The Field Negro wants to know, when will the outrage begin? And he's talking about you. Maybe it's a start to join Wes Clark, Jr. and Cenk by going out at noon every Sunday just to show a presence, because you need to do that, too. Contact the media, your Congressbeing, your Senators, anyone you can think of. (If it were up to me, there would be huge protests at all the major broadcast network studios every Sunday - maybe you could rotate which studios - with people dressed for a funeral, sombre, just holding a sign with the American flag and the phrase, "Impeach them.") Just send a postcard to your member of Congress: "Impeach them." Do something. Make your voices heard. Let them know you care. It matters. (And How bad will it get if they continue?)

13:34 BST

Thursday, 05 July 2007

Three things

Since American conservatives always moan about how high the taxes are in Europe for all these services we get, I keep wondering what an ordinary American with an average income pays in taxes these days compared to Brits, but I'm too lazy to do the research to look it up. The charts at The Institute for Southern Studies seem to indicate that take-home pay for people in the same brackets is actually greater over here than it is in the US. (Note also that the only taxes on income in Britain are national - there is no equivalent of state income taxes in addition to national taxes.) So it appears that Americans may actually be paying higher taxes. It may cost a bit to convert America's medical system to single-payer, but I don't see how the long-run costs could possibly be more expensive for citizens than what Americans are paying now. (Via Why Now?)

Glenn Greenwald has a good piece on a subject I have brought up here from time to time - the collapse of the world's opinion of America and American democracy. I've had the kind of conversations he's talking about with people from both sides of the spectrum who don't get this, but we were truly loved and admired, even by people who knew we were not always flawless, and now it's a very different story - and it's under the Bush regime that the story had changed. And I know that some people on the left, including some of my readers, think it's all to the good that our standing has been so reduced, but I honestly believe that we were an inspiration to other countries that really did try to follow the lead of our ideals and our attempts to live up to them. I've seen the way we were held up as an example - and I've seen the way the decline of our good example has been held up as "proof" that living up to those ideals is unnecessary. "After all, the Americans are doing it." But it's now gone beyond that; America has become another bad example, an object lesson on the infections of power and corruption. We no longer have standing to criticize other governments that abuse their people; they laugh at the idea that a nation led by barbarians who launch unprovoked attacks on other countries and kidnap (and torture, and kill) people has any authority to lecture others on morality. No one even knows anymore what we mean by "democracy", or what we are criticizing when we call other governments "corrupt" or "despotic". We once had the power to influence other governments positively to expand freedoms; those days are gone. And I don't think that's a particularly good thing.

Susie Bright was asked to speak about "how to make safer spaces online" - and reacted with, "But I don't want to be safe online, Mom!" At length.

23:59 BST

Get out and stay out

I realize that there's one law for Democrats and another for Republicans and all that, and this was written with Clinton in mind, but:

English practice allowed post-term impeachment. Other perceived excesses of the English impeachment system were limited explicitly by the Constitution. Impeachment can only be for high crimes and misdemeanors; punishment cannot include death, as it did in England; a supermajority is required for conviction. The English practice of post-term impeachment, however, was not similarly limited in the Constitution.

Article II specifies that sitting civil officers are to be removed upon conviction. It does not say, however, that the ability to impeach ends with an official's service. Given that executive officials have limited terms, there was debate at the Constitutional Convention over allowing an already-powerful Congress this weighty check on the executive. The Framers decided that Congress should have this power, and so specified the ability to remove sitting officials. Ex-officials? That went without saying, and nothing in Article II eliminates the possibility.

The punishment described in the Constitution for impeachment includes not just removal from office, but also "disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States." That is, a successful impeachment does not say merely "Get out!" to a sitting President; it adds an emphatic "And stay out!" While removal becomes moot after a President leaves office, disqualification does not.

You can ask your favorite lawyer if this makes any sense, but if impeachment proceedings don't become moot on inauguration day, all this wibble about how there's not enough time becomes just more excuse-making, of which we have plenty already.

Being subject to impeachment proceedings for the remainder of the term would at least hamstring the thugs. And Bush wouldn't be able to run around throwing pardons and commutations at anyone who might squawk. Bring articles of impeachment against all of them, and keep the fire hot right up to the 20th of January 2009 if necessary. I don't see any other way to hold them accountable, and it's the best way to get a snowball effect going. The more the public sees, the more they'll have to say about it, and the more legislators will be hearing about it. You never know, it could even mean they'd finally find the votes in the Senate (although I wouldn't hold my breath).

But, you know, if you want to bring things to a boil, you have to light a fire.

14:30 BST

Yesterday's hits

Michael Kranish in The Boston Globe says, "Not all would put a heroic sheen on Thompson's Watergate role":

WASHINGTON -- The day before Senate Watergate Committee minority counsel Fred Thompson made the inquiry that launched him into the national spotlight -- asking an aide to President Nixon whether there was a White House taping system -- he telephoned Nixon's lawyer.

Thompson tipped off the White House that the committee knew about the taping system and would be making the information public. In his all-but-forgotten Watergate memoir, "At That Point in Time," Thompson said he acted with "no authority" in divulging the committee's knowledge of the tapes, which provided the evidence that led to Nixon's resignation. It was one of many Thompson leaks to the Nixon team, according to a former investigator for Democrats on the committee, Scott Armstrong , who remains upset at Thompson's actions.

"Thompson was a mole for the White House," Armstrong said in an interview. "Fred was working hammer and tong to defeat the investigation of finding out what happened to authorize Watergate and find out what the role of the president was."

So much for the way he tries to paint himself as a principled prosecutor, eh?

American dream over: "The economic dream that has united a diverse population for generations, that children would be more prosperous than their parents, is in question as perhaps never before. [...] Overall, there is actually less economic mobility in the U.S. than in Canada and many European countries, notes John Morton, Managing Director, Program Planning and Economic Policy, for the Pew Charitable Trusts. But for immigrants "the economic assimilation machine is in fact still very strong," says Mr. Morton, who is helping lead a long-term Pew project on the American dream's health."

Put it on the table - and on your car.

Had Enough?

Holy American Jewry, Batman! (Also, I am astonished to learn that the guy who wrote "Unchained Melody" also wrote "One Meatball".) (via)

Hecate: "Stars and Stripes has a respectful, heartwarming story about the dedication of at least the third pentacle-engraved headstone at Arlington National Cemetery."

Whisperado live at Kenny's Castaways, "Fourth of July".

11:59 BST

Plenty to read

I nearly forgot to blog against theocracy, didn't I? Oh, damn. Well, what can I say? Whether you're a stone atheist or someone who takes your faith seriously - or just someone who would rather not have someone else's religion shoved down your throat - you ought to be horrified at the idea of breaking down the wall between church and state and therefore allowing each one to corrupt the other. As I've said before, it's one thing that made the American form of government unique, and we've always been proud of it before, for good reason. It's slipping away, folks, and that is definitely not a good thing. Anyway, click the image and see what lots of other bloggers had to say on the subject.

In other news...

Sinfonian gets a letter from his right-wing dad.

Behold the Amazing Jebusaurus!

Get in touch with your inner racist!

HTML Mencken brings you a sneak preview of Ask A Celebrity-Lawyer Torture-Enthusiast. (via)

Uncle Reamus' Tales of Moralness

Know your enemy.

02:03 BST

Wednesday, 04 July 2007

American landscape

Even if you've already watched Sicko at home, it might be worth your while to go see it at the local movie house, where you might also experience something like this: "In all my thirty years on this earth, I have never ever seen any movie have this kind of unifying effect on people. It was like I was standing there, at the birth of a new political movement. Even after 9/11, there was never a reaction like this, at least not in Texas. If Sicko truly has this sort of power, then Michael Moore has done something beyond amazing. If it can change people, affect people like this in the conservative hotbed of Texas, then Sicko isn't just a great movie, seeing it may be one of the most important things you do all year." Via Cory, and thanks to Dominic for the tip.

Fact-esque: "I've been reading the reaction to the Libby scandal and I've been waiting for someone to mention the big picture, of which Libby's commuted sentence and even the obstruction of justice charges and the increasing calls for impeachment are only a very small part. Here's what I've known since I watched the election of 2000 stolen and what has become clearer to me every day since, with moments of crystal clarity happening during events like the passage of Medicare Part D; Katrina; the 2002, 2004 and 2006 elections; the DoJ scandal; the signing statement scandal and every time BushCo passed another budget designed to bankrupt this country: The powers that be, who right now function primarily through the Republican party and a chunk of the Democratic one as well, want to destroy the image and functionality of our government because a strong, capable and fully functioning American government is all that stands in the way of the complete corporate takeover of this country." And that's why you shouldn't let all this other stuff take your eye of the great big ball: the ballot box.

David Corn offers helpful advice to The Cabbage to correct his scurrilous attack on Joe Wilson. You have to marvel at a fatuous imposter like Brooks trying to give the impression that the one guy who faced down Saddam Hussein (in person, and for real) is just some popinjay playing at international expertise.

Jeez, even the ultra-conservative Moonie paper says Libby's sentence should not have been commuted.

Patrick compiles Patriots and fireworks. (More great shots here.)

Norman Solomon's War Made Easy has been made into a movie, narrated by Sean Penn and featuring news footage showing the similarities between the pro-war news media of during the Vietnam war and in 2003. You can watch the trailer here.

22:50 BST

What everyone should be talking about

You know, one big piece of framing that's holding the Democrats up is the idea that pushing for impeachment of Bush and Cheney represents a "power-grab" because the next person in line for the presidency would be Nancy Pelosi - and yet, any impeachment would certainly have to include Cheney (both because he is at least as culpable, and because you don't want to impeach Bush and make Cheney president).

So here's the challenge: Come up with some sound bites (preferably of bumper-sticker length) that directly attack that idea, or any idea suggesting that there is any downside to putting Pelosi in the White House. It's not that I think she'd make a fabulous president, but it would be a real victory for our country against the forces of darkness.

At After Downing Street, John Nichols reports that Representative Jackson of Illinois said: "In her first weeks as leader of the Congress, Speaker Nancy Pelosi withdrew the notion of impeachment proceedings against either President Bush or Vice President Cheney," announced Jackson. "With the president's decision to once again subvert the legal process and the will of the American people by commuting the sentence of convicted felon Lewis Scooter' Libby, I call on House Democrats to reconsider impeachment proceedings"

Thom Hartmann has been holding a contest lately for best post during his show on his blog. Here's the winning entry from yesterday, from Jeffinator:

The Last Straw?

Why is the commutation of Libby's sentence the last straw? That's what I want to know. Personally for me it was when Bush gave his State of Union after 9-11 and publicly praised General Musharraf the Military Dictator of Pakistan! But why is THIS STRAW the LAST STRAW.

Why wasn't leaking the name in first place the last straw?

Why aren't thousands of "signing statements" the last straw?

Why wasn't violating FISA the last straw?

Why wasn't lying to congress about Iraq's nuclear program the last straw?

Why wasn't declaring US citizen's "enemy combatants" and detaining them indefinitely the last straw?

Why wasn't the torture of detainees the last straw?

Why wasn't the use phosphorous as a weapon in a combat zone the last straw?

Why wasn't the response to Katrina the last straw?

Why wasn't the Caging lists and election fraud the last straw?

The poor camel is buried under a MOUNTAIN of straws and NOTHING has been done to check Bush's depraved leadership of OUR country!


There are more than a thousand reasons.

Have you told your reps yet?

17:51 BST

Some news

Josh Marshall says there's something you should know about: "Now, one of these DOD programs was something called TALON (Threat and Local Observation Notice), a program to collect information on Americans involved in anti-war protests. This evening I saw this post from Emptywheel which discusses the recently release Pentagon IG report on the program (released June 27th). There's quite a lot of interest contained in the report. But emptywheel immediately fixes on the key finding, or rather impediment to findings. In the report's words, 'all TALON reports were deleted from their database in June 2006 with no archives.'" (That's Marcy Wheeler, in case you forgot.)

Cindy Sheehan says the Libby commutation "has dragged me kicking and screaming back in. [...] I have sat quietly back these past five weeks as the slaughter in Iraq sorrowfully surges along with George's bloody escalation-and as the philosophical opposition to the war has soared to almost four out of every five Americans. I have remained silent when Senator Barack Obama said that impeachment is only reserved for "grave, grave" breaches! Well, BushCo has created hundreds of thousands of graves dug by their lies and greed. For cripes' sake, George admitted to breaking the FISA Act (which is a felony) that also breached the 4th Amendment to our Constitution that already prohibited illegal search and seizure. How was Bill Clinton's offense graver than George's, Dick's, or Scooter's? Did we ever think that the criminality and arrogance of the Nixon White House would be eclipsed in our time with nary a "baaaah" from the Sheeple in Congress?"

Making infrastructure sexy - Rick Perlstein thinks Merle Haggard's song could be just what we need to get more people to think about counteracting "the Third Worldization of America's built environment".

The triffids are escaping!

16:40 BST

They'll shut us down

FTC abandons net neutrality

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided to abandon net neutrality and allow telecoms companies to charge websites for access.

The FTC said in a report that, despite popular support for net neutrality, it was minded to let the market sort out the issue.

This means that the organisation will not stand in the way of companies using differential pricing to make sure that some websites can be viewed more quickly than others. The report also counsels against net neutrality legislation.

Via The American Street, via The Crone Speaks.

15:27 BST

For patriots

I was really looking forward to seeing Keith Olbermann's Special Comment posted at Crooks and Liars, and here it is. Keith talks about the contract Bush has broken:

We as citizens must, at some point, ignore a president's partisanship. Not that we may prosper as a nation, not that we may achieve, not that we may lead the world - but merely that we may function.

But just as essential to the seventeen words of John Wayne is an implicit trust - a sacred trust: That the president for whom so many did not vote can in turn suspend his political self long enough, and for matters imperative enough, to conduct himself solely for the benefit of the entire Republic.

And he talks about James Madison's explicit insistence that a president must be impeached if he does exactly what Bush did when he commuted Libby's prison sentence.

Unfortunately, John clipped the end a little bit, so it's a good thing the whole transcript is posted. Here's that ending:

And for you, Mr. Bush, and for Mr. Cheney, there is a lesser task.

You need merely achieve a very low threshold indeed.

Display just that iota of patriotism which Richard Nixon showed, on August 9th, 1974.


And give us someone - anyone - about whom all of us might yet be able to quote John Wayne, and say, "I didn't vote for him, but he's my president, and I hope he does a good job."

Good night, and good luck.

They won't do that, of course. Which leaves the other remedy, and that alone. It's up to us. Write those letters and make those calls, folks - there is no one who shouldn't be talking about impeachment, now.

I have to correct Keith on one thing, though, because he says Bush pardoned Libby in all but name. In fact, what he did was worse, because had he actually pardoned him, Libby would have lost his right to plead the Fifth. And nothing stops Bush from delivering that pardon later, as he leaves office. (Via a good piece at The Mahablog.)

Old Fashioned Patriot asks, "Has Anyone Else Noticed? The only people who served any prison time in Bush and Cheney's crime of revealing an undercover WMD intelligence agent are the reporters who reported it?" Actually, Judith Miller didn't even report it. Via Semidi, who also quotes a few others, including John Rogers at Kung Fu Monkey, who stresses that Bush's "explanation" of his pardon of Irve Libby is a clear statement that he just thinks people like Libby shouldn't have to do time for committing crimes. In Europe, despotic leaders have been brought down enough times that politicians usually hesitate to do things like this.

13:36 BST

Some late links

Hmm, what's Fox trying to tell us, here? (And who did punch Bush in the face?)

Shuster debunks "Wilson is a liar" talking point when Tucker tries to float it. And Josh Marshall puts The Cabbage in his place.

Joe Bageant says it's time the Democratic Party starts Recruiting Trench Liberals and Leftnecks: So the party of Roosevelt begins to dimly understand that now is the opportunity to re-associate itself with populism. The problem is that Democratic Party "leadership" has no notion of what populism means. First they ignored real working class people, then they forgot they existed. (Thanks to Buck Batard for the reminder.)

Fred Clark on Scaife-funded blasphemy.

Bill Scher says, "there's only one question to ask the GOP presidential candidates: Do you pledge not to hire the convicted felon Scooter Libby to serve on your White House staff?"

WorldNetDaily Feminism turned me into lesbian. (Thanks to Mark Kernes for the tip.)

02:40 BST

Tuesday, 03 July 2007

Open windows

A good question from clammyc: "Why Did the GOP Concede so Quickly in November?: [...] What could they possibly gain by throwing in the towel so quickly in all three states? Not just conceding an electoral defeat that was unthinkable a few months earlier, but a demoralizing crushing defeat where the permanent majority that was envisioned a few years earlier was gone for good. [...] Why were Virginia and Montana not challenged? Why, after all of the miles and miles of paper trails indicating a very concerted and deep running effort to use any means necessary to hold onto power - why did Burns and Allen throw in the towel? Why did we not get a word from Rove? Why didn't they go down in the same dirty mud slinging fight that they have become famous for?" Maybe we really need to find out before November of 2008. (via)

John Sudbay has more Joe Wilson TV about how Bush has "short-circuited our system of justice."

Even Free Republic knows that there has been a massive transfer of wealth from the American people to a handful of MGWs (Malefactors of Great Wealth). Also: Worst footwear ever.

Three of the folks who kept up Steve Gilliard's News Blog while he was hospitalized have decided to keep up the tradition, at The Group News Blog.

Epicycle has an irate essay up about the recording industry's further outrages and more evidence that whatever they're up to, it has nothing to do with protecting artists.

23:17 BST

Who's talking

I've been out all day getting caught in the rain, and I was already grumpy.

Meanwhile, Memorandum tells me that, unsurprisingly, many people share my grief: Sisyphus Shrugged, skippy the bush kangaroo, TalkLeft, Shadow of the Hegemon, The American Street, Hullabaloo, rubber hose, TBogg, All Spin Zone, Pen-Elayne on the Web, Ezra Klein, Wampum, Jesus' General and Pharyngula.

C&L has video of David Shuster explaining to Tucker Carlson why Libby belongs in jail, and of Jonathan Turley explaining to Shuster why Libby belongs in jail, and Marcy Wheeler telling Shuster why Cheney deserves his own cell. Also, Joseph Wilson saying Bush is "corrupt to the core".

CNN Inadvertently Reproduces UK Terror Bomb Failures, terrorists still Beavis and Butthead.

And heartfelt sympathy to Lindsay.

19:44 BST

James Martin Capozzola, 1962-2007

Susie Madrak told me in e-mail earlier that Jim Capozzola was dying. I didn't want to say anything 'til he was gone, but that's why I went back and read his Alpha Girls post, and why I posted the link to it earlier - so you'd know who he was when this post came along. I've been dreading this all day.

Jim was one of us in the early days of the liberal blogosphere, he started The Rittenhouse Review about six months after I started The Sideshow, and we often used to mail each other a lot in those days. If you've ever wondered why I have a category on my blogroll for "VLWC" and it only has nine blogs on it, it's because that was the list that Max Sawicky sent a mail-out to about getting a project going - like I've said, there weren't a lot of us around back then - and he addressed us as the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy. Jim used to post a lot more frequently, then things went bad for him for a while, and then they got better and he was just too busy. And now, suddenly, he's gone.

This comes as a shock to me, completely unexpected. I still thought I'd make it up to Philly on one of my trips back home and be able to arrange to meet him, and now I feel utterly deprived of that experience - especially after seeing Susie's own tribute to Jim.

But now I can say it: Jim had the ugliest dog I've ever seen.

03:41 BST

It's an emergency: Impeach them all

Doesn't this photo look like the rose is encrusted with jewels? I love it. (It's even better if you click for the larger size.)

See, I had to go out and spend some time with my roses after hearing about Bush's great big obstruction of justice.

By commuting Libby's sentence, Bush has not only made clear that there is one law for He and a different law for thee, but he has announced that any attempt to hold accountable anyone whose transgressions touch upon the White House will be nullified if investigations imperil George Walker Bush or Richard Bruce Cheney.

This means that the only way to ensure that this White House can be held accountable is to start impeachment proceedings against them all now, because:

Section 2. The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.
Here and here, Christy Hardin Smith discusses the announcement and Bush's statement.

Rachel Maddow, re-writing her show on the fly (because the news broke just as she went on the air), did interviews on her show with Jane Hamsher, John Nichols, and Michael Isikoff on the implications of this, and you'd be smart to listen to it when it's posted to the stream, which should be around 10:00 PM Eastern and will play for 24 hours. Rachel has also linked the statements from Democratic leaders:

John Conyers says the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing next week. (When Ford pardoned Nixon, he was called to Congress and explained himself. I find it really hard to imagine Bush doing that.)

John Edwards said: "Only a president clinically incapable of understanding that mistakes have consequences could take the action he did today. President Bush has just sent exactly the wrong signal to the country and the world. In George Bush's America, it is apparently okay to misuse intelligence for political gain, mislead prosecutors and lie to the FBI. George Bush and his cronies think they are above the law and the rest of us live with the consequences. The cause of equal justice in America took a serious blow today."

Harry Reid said, "The President's decision to commute Mr. Libby's sentence is disgraceful. Libby's conviction was the one faint glimmer of accountability for White House efforts to manipulate intelligence and silence critics of the Iraq War. Now, even that small bit of justice has been undone. Judge Walton correctly determined that Libby deserved to be imprisoned for lying about a matter of national security. The Constitution gives President Bush the power to commute sentences, but history will judge him harshly for using that power to benefit his own Vice President's Chief of Staff who was convicted of such a serious violation of law."

Nancy Pelosi: "The President's commutation of Scooter Libby's prison sentence does not serve justice, condones criminal conduct, and is a betrayal of trust of the American people. The President said he would hold accountable anyone involved in the Valerie Plame leak case. By his action today, the President shows his word is not to be believed. He has abandoned all sense of fairness when it comes to justice, he has failed to uphold the rule of law, and he has failed to hold his Administration accountable."

Chuck Schumer: "As Independence Day nears, we are reminded that one of the principles our forefathers fought for was equal justice under the law. This commutation completely tramples on that principle.""

Those are all fairly decent, but Obama missed a beat:

This decision to commute the sentence of a man who compromised our national security cements the legacy of an Administration characterized by a politics of cynicism and division, one that has consistently placed itself and its ideology above the law. This is exactly the kind of politics we must change so we can begin restoring the American people's faith in a government that puts the country's progress ahead of the bitter partisanship of recent years.
Barack Obama keeps harping on this "bitter partisanship" theme as if there is anything in the world Democrats can do about the fact that the Republicans have placed their party and their friends (and themselves) above the needs of the country. If he talked about the Republicans' partisanship, I might be able to stand it, but he doesn't - he often implies that it's the Democrats who need to apologize for this state of affairs. (Is that why he supported Lieberman against his own party's candidate? He thought that would be a cool, non-partisan thing to do, maybe?)

This is the same administration that does this, but they think it's too much to let Scooter Libby spend some time in jail because it would be hard on him? Because he's a "good man"? Is this a joke? They're torturing innocent people, they're holding innocent bystanders in Guantanamo indefinitely, and a convicted criminal can't do time because that would be mean to him?

We're past the point of talking about partisanship, here. It's the Bush White House and their enablers against the Constitution, the law, and the whole country. Talking about "partisanship" now trivializes the entire situation.

This isn't about political parties. This is about justice, the rule of law, and America versus a group of thugs who've taken over our country and are gutting it.

So, you see, I'm really glad I have these beautiful roses to enjoy.

02:14 BST

Monday, 02 July 2007

Grumping toward midnight

Digby on Chief Justice Roberts: "Roberts is a particularly unctuous character, with his sunny smile and youthful energy, while he dishonestly passes off wingnut bumper stickers like "the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race" as judicial reasoning. (I can hardly wait for him to read his decision on gun rights where he says "guns don't kill people, people kill people")"

After reading Ana Marie Cox's short McCain Death Watch Watch post, and news that McCain just fired 50 staffers and he has only $2m on hand, well, I think it would not be surprising to see him bow out of the race. Wouldn't it be amusing if he did the same thing Lieberman did when his party rejected him and started going on television and trashing them?

At TPMCafe, Glenn Greenwald discusses a section of his new book, A Tragic Legacy, that deals with Iran: "The cartoonish depiction of Iran embraced by Bush and his supporters is nothing more than pure fiction, completely removed from reality. The view of the Iranian government as irrational, intractable, single-minded evil-doers bent on threatening the United States and wreaking world destruction stands in stark contrast to their actions over the last several years."

Mark Adams seems somewhat surprised that rightwing nuts have right-wingnutty beliefs. Yes, they really do mean to overturn the Constitution, didn't you know?

If you live in Takoma Park, you want to take note of the impeachment vote schedule. (Learn more about how you can help.)

And I just heard Rachel say on the radio that Bush just commuted Libby's sentence.

23:20 BST

A few things

CNN doesn't appear to be mentioning this, but the evening papers here all seem to have it: "The suspected ringleader of the Al Qaeda car bombers is a brilliant neurologist working for the NHS. Saudi Mohammed Asha, 26, was arrested with his 27-year-old wife, who was in traditional Muslim dress, on the M6 in Cheshire on Saturday night." Of course, Muslim leaders throughout the country have been strongly condemning the bombers, which I doubt CNN is talking about much, either.

Slate's weekend attack on Michael Moore is the usual mishmash of ignorance about insurance programs that refuses to acknowledge the simple administrative savings of having a single-payer system. Anyway, the facts are simple: Other countries are spending less for healthcare than we are, even though they provide healthcare to everyone and the US doesn't. The simple fact is that the US system is not saving any money by denying healthcare to the uninsured (and to the insured). The cost of denying healthcare is pretty damned expensive in and of itself. Ezra has more. Meanwhile, News Corpse Blog has a good go at Kurt Loder's hatchet job.

Not stupid - the guy who replaced Peter Pace, Admiral Michael Mullen, is apparently smarter than the press corps: "Mullen, a tough-minded and hard-nosed conservative, is known for his scoffing (if private) dismissal of Washington's neo-conservatives, though sometimes he can barely keep it under wraps. During a recent Washington reception, he was asked by a reporter whether he would oppose an attack on Iran: 'It's your job to convince the politicians just how stupid that would be,' he said, 'not mine.'" (via)

Christy Hardin Smith says: "What this says to me is that Libby - or, as I like to call him Inmate 28301-016 - is headed to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect anything." Joe Wilson says people who call for a pardon for Libby are "accessories to an ongoing crime."

20:39 BST

Notes from the blogosphere

It's almost worth re-registering as a Republican to vote in the GOP primaries now that shamanic and Jim Henley have thrown their hats into the ring in order to save the Republicans from themselves.

Watching Those We Chose is a blog I probably should have been paying attention to earlier, but I really only heard about it recently. A few posts of note include Apollo 13's "Senator Leahy and the WH subpoenas", saying it looks like Leahy really means to fight, and "Act like a liberal Democrat, dammit!" Pay particular attention to "Insanely Useful Websites" from Corpus Juris, which you should probably bookmark as a resource for citizen activism as well as issue blogging in general.

I was just re-reading Jim Capozzola's "Al Gore And The Alpha Girls: The Enduring Power of Cliques in a Post-High-School World" in The Rittenhouse Review and it occurred to me that those of you who are more recent additions to the blogging world may never have seen what is one of the foundational pieces of Blogtopian* media analysis.

And as long as I'm referring to Skippy: Beavis and Butthead terrorism, and Lego Grease.

16:25 BST

Late for breakfast

Peter Baker seems to think we should feel sorry for poor little isolated George. I think my favorite paragraph is this one: Stelzer said Bush seemed smarter than he expected. The conversation ranged from history to religion and touched on sensitive topics for a president wrestling with his legacy. "He asked me, 'Do you think our unpopularity abroad is a result of my personality?' And he laughed," Stelzer recalled. "I said, 'In part.' And he laughed again." Apparently, Bush really believes that stuff about how history will vindicate him. Yeah, somewhere up the road when we are struggling with the post-collapse world he is creating, we will thank him for all the brilliant stuff he's done. Of course, the history books might indeed laud his heroism, since education will have collapsed with everything else, and the people who publish the textbooks are already Republicans. (via)

I see The Black Commentator is up to its 23rd installment of the series on healthcare, and they liked Sicko. (And while you're there, do throw 'em some change - they're a great little website.) One of the things I forgot to mention that I did learn from Sicko, by the way, is that, once again, the rule applies: It's all Nixon's fault.

And speaking of Nixon, Charles alerts me to the fact that the web pages for Jules Whitcover's new book, Very Strange Bedfellows: The Short and Unhappy Marriage of Nixon & Agnew, include some excerpts and some illustrative audio clips.

Larry Johnson's reaction to the whole London/Glasgow thing was much the same as mine: "My main beef remains that much of the cable news media reacts to this nonsense like a fifty year old guy on Viagra or Cialis--they pop major wood. And the same warnings are appropriate--an erection lasting more than four hours may be harmful. Amen."

Over 700 Scientists named Steve agree!

13:36 BST


Jonathan Schwarz explains why you should give Cursor money.

Jerome Doolittle says to enjoy this video of Sy Hersh talking to college students.

John Dean: "It has long been apparent that Cheney's genius is that he lets George W. Bush get out of bed every morning actually believing he is the President." Mary: "Bush's gullibility and lack of insight into himself along with the obvious need to see himself as the ultimate leader (better than dad) allows him to be easily played."

"I am not scared," says paradox. Can't say I've noticed a lot of people running around scared, either. Nor am I. Mostly, I've noticed a lot of rain in London.

Republican lies need Republican polls.

What's happening out there in the world isn't a Muslim thing, it's a people thing.

Are suitcase nukes like snuff movies? (via)

Mitt Romney has a problem with faith.

Im in ur blogosphere writin ur book.

02:09 BST

Sunday, 01 July 2007

At the movies

So, we watched Sicko, and of course there was nothing we didn't already know, although it's always a horror to be reminded that these things are going on in the country that my entire family and a considerable portion of my friends still have to live in. (Yes, I also buy millions of pounds worth of insurance whenever I go to America. I can afford it for a couple of weeks. I think it costs me the equivalent of about $100.)

It was fun to see Tony Benn praising democracy as a truly revolutionary tool. (Benn is one of only three MPs we've ever been able to get to agree with us that censorship is a bad thing. He told me so himself - and in public - so I'm already a fan.) It was also entertaining watching Moore's camera aim at a whole bunch of places I see regularly when I'm in town, including a pub I've been to. I got a bit of a sniffle watching the Cuban and American firefighters together.

Mr. Sideshow was impressed with the understated approach Moore took for most of the film, not much polemic, mostly just saying, "This is what's here, this is what's there."

I see CNN fact-checked the movie and said it was accurate, but they complained that Moore didn't talk about the painted schoolhouses what was good about American healthcare. Thing is, there's not much I can think of that is good about it by comparison with other healthcare systems in the industrialized world.

In comments, Rich (who seems to be on a jag) supplies a link to this article which appears to be by someone who was working hard to say nasty things about Moore. Although he acknowledges that Moore has performed a service by exposing the healthcare industry, he insists Moore is a con man. Rich quoted this:

Moore's most ardent enthusiasm is reserved for the French health care system, which he portrays as the crowning glory of a Gallic lifestyle far superior to our own. The French! They work only 35 hours a week, by law. They get at least five weeks' vacation every year. Their health care is free, and they can take an unlimited number of sick days. It is here that Moore shoots himself in the foot. He introduces us to a young man who's reached the end of three months of paid sick leave and is asked by his doctor if he's finally ready to return to work. No, not yet, he says. So the doctor gives him another three months of paid leave - and the young man immediately decamps for the South of France, where we see him lounging on the sunny Riviera, chatting up babes and generally enjoying what would be for most people a very expensive vacation. Moore apparently expects us to witness this dumbfounding spectacle and ask why we can't have such a great health care system, too. I think a more common response would be, how can any country afford such economic insanity?
We are not actually told that the young man had an expensive vacation, of course. What we're shown is a few photographs of him enjoying himself at the beach (and I think there was one on a boat) - and for all we know, he just drove there and crashed with a friend. We don't know how much time he spent at the beach or whether it cost him much. What we're told is that after he was released from medical care, he was able to recover his health because he was allowed the time.
As it turns out, France can't. In 2004, French Health Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy told a government commission, "Our health system has gone mad. Profound reforms are urgent." Agence France-Presse recently reported that the French health-care system is running a deficit of $2.7 billion.
It's an investment. It's not really in deficit in real terms, it's just that someone decided it shouldn't cost as much as it does. And maybe it shouldn't. But it would cost a lot more to expect the people to pay as much for healthcare as Americans do.

21:30 BST


David Cole in the Harper's Undoing Bush: how to repair eight years of sabotage, bungling, and neglect series, on The Constitution:

Restoring the Constitution will be a monumental task, but doing so is critical to maintaining the character of our democracy. Terrorism does not pose an "existential threat" to the United States in the traditional meaning of that term-the nation's sovereignty is not seriously threatened by Al Qaeda. But in a more subtle sense, terrorism poses precisely that threat. We cannot destroy the Constitution in order to save the country, because the Constitution is the country. The first and most important step toward restoration of constitutional principle, then, will be the next election. If the public does not demand fidelity to our founding principles, our representatives will not do so on their own.
Dahlia Lithwick on The Courts:
The best the next president can do, then, will be to dramatically reform the judicial-confirmation process. Nominees should not be able to hide their views behind claims that an issue may come before them when they sit on the bench. They should have to answer questions about their jurisprudential records, and there must be consequences if they do not. Senators who use confirmation hearings as days-long infomercials should instead use their time for rigorous constitutional inquiry. Finally, Americans need to reclaim the language of the rule of law. We need to recognize that we have all been speaking Karl Rove's language; that "activist judges" and "strict construction" are political, not legal, code words.
Ken Silverstein on Civil Service:
To begin with, Congress should slash the number of presidential appointees, a figure that has grown from roughly 600 during the Kennedy Administration to 3,000 today-even as the overall size of the civil service has remained roughly the same. Rules need to be established to bar ideological litmus tests for government advisory panels and otherwise prevent them from being turned into weapons of political warfare. And, in general, government decision-making needs to be made more transparent.

19:56 BST

Gimme blueberries

Susie Madrak calls our attention to Ken Silverstein's article in the LAT about how, when he went undercover to find out what lobbying firms are really up to, the press didn't react very well: "Now, in a fabulous bit of irony, my article about the unethical behavior of lobbying firms has become, for some in the media, a story about my ethics in reporting the story. The lobbyists have attacked the story and me personally, saying that it was unethical of me to misrepresent myself when I went to speak to them." No it wasn't; it would have been understood to be brave and necessary if he'd just been investigating ordinary criminals, but he was investigating crooks in the power structure. But this is our modern press corps. Says Susie, "And the cherry on the whipped cream? The tut-tut piece Howie Kurtz wrote in response."

Lynne Olson in the WaPo, "Why Winston Wouldn't Stand For W: George W. Bush always wanted to be like a wartime British prime ministers. He is. But it's not the one he had in mind."

"Moving Beyond Kyoto" - Al Gore contributes an op-ed to the NYT. (Via Hecate.)

Lenin's Tomb and Craig Murray on the recent terrorism in the UK.

Stuff Rich left in comments:

  • "The coming collapse of the US dollar [...] In effect, the question that is confronting us is not 'whether' but 'when' and by 'how much.'"
  • "Super-rich paying no income tax: Only a fraction of Britain's super-rich are paying income tax, the Standard reveals today."
  • "Study: Men View Faces in Sexy Photos Discussion at PhysOrgForum: Contrary to popular opinion, men are more likely to look at a female's face before other areas when looking at pictures of naked women, according to a study by Emory University researchers. And women will gaze at pictures of heterosexual sex longer than men, the study found." (But I'm not sure how much you can take from that latter; first you need to know whether people's attention moves from visual to somewhere else once they are really aroused.)
  • File under Paranoia Report: "How the USA is becoming a police state" - Most of this thing is actually true. (Note: Even if you believe that Cheney et al. were responsible for the planning and execution of the 9/11 attacks, it's still just one great big mass murder, and they could otherwise simply be prosecuted and sentenced to a few thousand years in prison; it's the other stuff - the stuff we know with a certainty and that is officially documented - that cements the elimination of what remains of our Republic.)

14:39 BST

And now it's time for...

Vanity Fair Orchid side shaping bra

Bra of the Week

Bob Herbert, "When Is Enough Enough? [...] And now this new majority on the Supreme Court seems committed to a legal trajectory that would hurl blacks back to the bad old days of the Jim Crow era. Where's the outcry? Where's the line in the sand that the prejudiced portion of the population is not allowed to cross?" [NYT link]

The Talking Dog Interview with Gaillard Hunt, who "represents Pakistani national Saifullah Paracha, a businessman and father of four who was detained by American officials at an airport in Bangkok, Thailand in July 2003, where he was abducted, and in a pattern consistent with other so-called extraordinary renditions, had his clothing removed, and was thrust on a waiting plane and taken to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan where he was interrogated for over a year, and then moved to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he has been detained ever since."

Seeing the Forest and Bob Geiger report back on the conference call with Nancy Pelosi, in which she confirms that the reason they haven't moved faster is that the courts are riddled with right-wing judges and they don't want to risk setting precedents that finalizes issues in the wrong direction. (And, of course, the Saturday cartoons.)

"How do you know he's Viet Cong?" (Also: A great T-shirt.)

Mary at Pacific Views on What not to do when fixing the health care system, and at Truthout, Mr. Moore goes to Washington.

11:48 BST

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow, July 2007

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