The Republican National Committee, hit by a grass-roots donors' rebellion over President Bush's immigration policy, has fired all 65 of its telephone solicitors, Ralph Z. Hallow will report Friday in The Washington Times.
Faced with an estimated 40 percent fall-off in small-donor contributions and aging phone-bank equipment that the RNC said would cost too much to update, Anne Hathaway, the committee's chief of staff, summoned the solicitations staff last week and told them they were out of work, effective immediately, the fired staffers told The Times.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Bush is staying in Iraq, and all of this is about "sensible" Republicans having excuses to let him keep doing so while David Broder pats them on the back.
That these dynamics are not obvious to everyone is very worrisome.
As usual, Digby finds it:
Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated "I am the president!" He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of "our country's destiny."
The only way out of Iraq is to force him out of Iraq, take the keys away, and stop his allowance.
He completely broke me with his recent lies, and subsequent snarky defense of those lies, about immigrants and leprosy. I'm sure there are lots of legitimate health concerns about unregulated immigration, but jesus freaking christ??!?!?! LEPROSY?!?!?! It's just sad to see what has always been (to me, at least... but what do I know? I always liked Tom Friedman, till the war) a voice of thoughtfulness and reason.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Clearly we should have promptly invaded their country at such an outrage and diplomacy be damned.
This seems a bit of reckless saber-rattling by someone who has never even held a saber. In the middle of a massive conflict in Iraq that is spiraling out of control, rising sentiments against the West, and constant worry that the Iraq War will spill over into a regional conflict, why in the world would you want Britain to suddenly pounce in and attack another country over 16 individuals that were not being harmed when Iran initiated diplomatic talks themselves?!? Sure Ahmadinejad played up the whole benefactor thing about how gracious he was to release them but we knew he’d do that as nothing more then political theater. The fact is that 16 Brits came home safely and Iran is still officially on the sideline while the Iraq war continues. Diplomacy has a purpose and this is a clear example of it.
The last nation we faced that threatened any kind of nuclear attack was the USSR. I don’t seem to recall any kind of backing down in the face of that. I seem to remember us winning the Cold War. Sorry... I mean World War III.
Winning the cold war without a single direct engagement and not having even one nuclear weapon fired on either side must be too old-fashioned for Mr. Podhoretz. Deterrence is clearly part of that Pre-9/11 World we hear derided so often.
And those are just the semi-snark-a-licious parts; read it all.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
...In responding to that charge, the special counsel evidently felt obliged to put Libby's crime in context. And that context is Dick Cheney.
Libby's lies, Fitzgerald wrote, "made impossible an accurate evaluation of the role that Mr. Libby and those with whom he worked played in the disclosure of information regarding Ms. Wilson's CIA employment and about the motivations for their actions."
It was established at trial that it was Cheney himself who first told Libby about Plame's identity as a CIA agent, in the course of complaining about criticisms of the administration's run-up to war leveled by her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson. And, as Fitzgerald notes: "The evidence at trial further established that when the investigation began, Mr. Libby kept the Vice President apprised of his shifting accounts of how he claimed to have learned about Ms. Wilson's CIA employment."
The investigation, Fitzgerald writes, "was necessary to determine whether there was concerted action by any combination of the officials known to have disclosed the information about Ms. Plame to the media as anonymous sources, and also whether any of those who were involved acted at the direction of others. This was particularly important in light of Mr. Libby's statement to the FBI that he may have discussed Ms. Wilson's employment with reporters at the specific direction of the Vice President." (My italics.)
Not clear on the concept yet? Fitzgerald adds: "To accept the argument that Mr. Libby's prosecution is the inappropriate product of an investigation that should have been closed at an early stage, one must accept the proposition that the investigation should have been closed after at least three high-ranking government officials were identified as having disclosed to reporters classified information about covert agent Valerie Wilson, where the account of one of them was directly contradicted by other witnesses, where there was reason to believe that some of the relevant activity may have been coordinated, and where there was an indication from Mr. Libby himself that his disclosures to the press may have been personally sanctioned by the Vice President." (My [bold].)
"There is a cloud over what the Vice President did that week. . . . He had those meetings. He sent Libby off to [meet then-New York Times reporter] Judith Miller at the St. Regis Hotel. At that meeting, the two-hour meeting, the defendant talked about the wife. We didn't put that cloud there. That cloud remains because the defendant has obstructed justice and lied about what happened. . . .
"That's not something that we put there. That cloud is something that we just can't pretend isn't there."
To those of us watching the investigation and trial unfold, Cheney's presence behind the scenes has emerged in glimpses and hints. (The defense's decision not to call Cheney to the stand remains a massive bummer.) But I suspect that people looking back on this story will see it with greater clarity: As a blatant -- and thus far successful -- cover-up for the vice president.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Saturday, May 26, 2007
But I have a quick follow up question: If opposing money for the troops in a time of war is necessarily anti-military and un-American, why did Bush reject war funding less than a month ago? If supporting the military means supporting funding measures, didn't the president deny those in uniform the resources they need?
Or is it more likely that rejecting funding for the troops in a time of war is perfectly acceptable to Republicans, just so long as they think there's a good reason to do so?
I still think they should have followed Edwards' advice (admittedly neither he nor I have to deal with the politcal consequences) of just sending the original bill back repeatedly and letting Bush veto it.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
The new proposals, which in the end passed overwhelmingly, would expand the information available about how business is done on Capitol Hill and make it available online. They would provide expanded, more frequent and Internet-accessible reporting of lobbyist-paid contributions and sponsorships, and would for the first time impose prison terms for criminal rule-breakers. They would also require strict new disclosure of "bundled" campaign contributions that lobbyists collect and pass on to lawmakers' campaigns. Yesterday's legislation passed 396 to 22.
Kos has a great post reminding us that things ebb and flow, and that we should get mad, but not give up. I concur, but I'm going to be very mad for a long time.
Kevin Drum has an insightful commentary on this.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
Any boy who has every built a model ship has probably built a model of the Cutty Sark; and probably drove his dad nuts helping him try to rig it. It's one of those classic pieces of history that we all share. It just struck a chord when I heard.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
"What was once seen as a liability for Democrats and progressives in the past -- they couldn't get 20 people to agree to the same thing, they could never finish anything, they couldn't stay on message -- is now an asset," Leyden said. "All this talking and discussing and fighting energizes everyone, involves everyone, and gets people totally into it."
If conservatives have mastered talk radio -- with Limbaugh as the undisputed king of the AM dial -- those on the left hope to achieve the same dominance on the Internet. Daily Kos, a sounding board for opposition to Bush and the Iraq war, among other topics, leads most political blogs in Web traffic and notoriety. Last year, the site spawned Yearly Kos, the first political blogger convention. Its founder, Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, refers to himself as the site's "mayor," with everyone else "doing their own thing, managing their own projects, while I keep the plumbing running."
"Sure, conservatives can point to the Dan Rather controversy and the Swift boat episode as a measure of their success online. But that's it," Moulitsas said. "Progressives can claim to an actual movement that raises a lot of money, that helps put politicians in office. . . . Progressives can claim to actually having communities online, where an average Joe can have a voice, and not just a radio personality who happens to write a blog, too."
"But look at the short history of online politics," Glover said. "For Republicans, the Internet is where bad things happen. Take [former U.S. senator] George Allen and his 'macaca' moment. . . . You can kind of understand why Republicans have this almost instinctive fear of the Internet, where the mob rules."
"Sometimes I wonder if it will take losing the White House for the Republicans to take the Internet more seriously," Turk said.
Friday, May 18, 2007
There's another option, one that we know now is supported by a majority (albeit slim) of Democrats in the House and Senate. Give the President his money now for the remainder of FY 2007, or for the next 9 months. Without benchmarks, without goals, waivable or otherwise. And, when offering this legislation, advise the President that this money should be used to plan the redeployment of troops out of Iraq, because after March 31, 2008 (in accordance with the Iraq Study Group) he won't get any more money.
She's responding to Greg Sargent's post at TPM, which is also worth a read.
Kevin pretty well sums up my ennui.
My personal inclination, as noted often below, is to just keep sending the same damned bill over and over, and let him veto his ass off. He can only claim the Dems arent funding the troop for so long before SOMEONE in the MSM notices the string of vetoes (altho, thus far, they apparently havent much noted the first one.....)
Thursday, May 17, 2007
I was a grade school kid in Dallas when JFK was shot. Like most Dallasites, I have been consumed over the years by the various arguments and delusions that have sprung up over the years. I don't think we'll ever really KNOW the answers, but searching for the truth is seldom the wrong thing to do.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Update: Obama has apparently agreed to vote for it.
More Updating: Hillary signs on
Update: Carpetbagger has a CV of Falwell's evil lunacy......
I was reminded this evening of Bette Davis' response of 'glee' to Joan Crawford's death. When told she should only speak good of the dead, she supposedly responded, "She's dead? Good!" My feelings in a nutshell.
Here's the list, with my qualifications checked off!
Update: In fact, as long as we're on the subject of useless Presidential criteria, here's some more things I'd like to see in the next President:
- Knows which wine to match with the foie gras-stuffed quail being served at a state dinner [check]
- Won't wink at the Queen [check...altho I do wink at queens......]
- Doesn't hunt, fish, or go with girls who do [check]
- Smokes cigars [check]
- Is sometimes accused of having a metrosexual streak [check the bf calls me Frazier]
- Only drinks beer with foods that would score at least 10,000 on the Scoville scale [check-ish.... maybe we can compromise at 2500?]
- Can credibly debate the relative claims of The Matrix, Star Wars, Bladerunner, and Star Trek II to be the greatest science fiction movie of all time [check]
- Can credibly debate the relative claims of The Who and Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band to be the world's greatest rock and roll band [miss.... I'd still pick the Stones]
- Came from a state that didn't secede [check/miss... born in Texas, but now a Californian]
- Can recite at least one Monty Python skit from memory [CHECK! Only one? You fag!]
- Can credibly debate the relative claims of Blazing Saddles, The Producers, and Young Frankenstein to be Mel Brook's best movie, while explaining why Spaceballs is a candidate for the worst movie ever [check... but could never pick]
- Has never sat through an entire Woody Allen movie, an entire Nascar race, or an entire Dixie Chicks concert [does 2 for 3 count? I do like Woody Allen]
- Wouldn't camp out 5 days to get Garth Brooks tickets even if s/he was camping at the time [Check]
- Went to Germany on vacation because s/he couldn't find a highway with high enough speed limits in the US [Check-ish... haven't but would!]
- Prefers football to basketball to baseball to soccer [CHECK...A-fucking-men!]
- Doesn't play golf [Check]
- Doesn't bowl [Check]
- Has no kids to foist subsequent generations of politicians on us [CHECK!]
- Has a spouse with no political ambitions [Check.... makes him comatose!]
- Lives with at least one golden retriever [Had one as a kid... no yard now]
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Several news reports this week about Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards illustrate the flawed ways in which media too often treat the champions of progressive economic policies; among them:
Media often give short shrift to the actual substance of progressive proposals, focusing instead on their cost.
Media portray wealthy candidates who advocate progressive economic proposals as out-of-touch hypocrites. Bizarrely, wealthy candidates who advocate conservative economic policies that would actually enrich themselves often escape similar scrutiny of their personal finances.
Friday, May 11, 2007
We didn't get elected to be popular," he said. "We didn't get elected to worry just about the fate of the Republican Party.
Well, they worked that well. They are about as unpopular as it's possible to be while Texas and Alabama are allowed to participate. And if they're worried aboutt he fate of the Repug party, they should be. Their scurrilous activites over the past 6 years have pretty much ripped the guts out of the GOP.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
McKay said he began to have concerns about politics entering the Justice Department in early 2005, when Gonzales addressed all of the country's U.S. attorneys in Scottsdale, Ariz., shortly after he took over as attorney general.
"His first speech to us was a 'you work for the White House' speech," McKay recalled. " 'I work for the White House, you work for the White House.' "
McKay said he thought at the time, "He couldn't have meant that speech," given the traditional independence of U.S. Attorneys. "It turns out he did."
He looked around the meeting room and caught the eyes of his colleagues, who gave him looks of surprise at Gonzales' remarks. "We were stunned at what he was saying."
mcjoan at dKos weighs in....
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Update: dKos responds AND HOW!
UPUpdate: davenparts at dKos has a great post on how fucked up FEMA and disaster have been rendered by Bu$hCo, mostly because they thought they were too NICE to New Orleans... jeebus!
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Just In: Broder is at his desk, still waiting for signs of a bounce......
Friday, May 04, 2007
P.S. Imagine if all the students [at Kent State] had been allowed to walk around with concealed weapons, a concept that makes Republicans drool in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings. That would've worked out swell, huh.
This is deja vu all over again. We saw it in Vietnam and we saw it earlier this year. We don't need any more non-binding resolutions or big statements; we need to end the war. I've been in Washington, so I understand the urge to make a statement - but in this situation, statements can be an excuse for inaction. Congress has a clear choice - they can talk about ending the war, or they can just end it. The only way for Congress to end the war is to cut off the money for it, and they should concentrate on doing just that. Anything else is just noise.
Couldn't have said it better.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Note: I have to admit I'm prejudiced against Beck.... my bf thinks he's HOT! Someone explain to me how I got involved with a crazy person?!?!?!!?
Of the lot, and given the dynamics of the campaign so far, I'd say Romney probably will be the nominee, IF (MAJOR IF) he can get around the whole Mormon thing. He just looks the most Presidential of the lot, and he's willing to say anything anyone wants to hear. Altho, I did find myself wondering the whole time if he was wearing his holy underwear.
UPDATE: Let me echo Kevin in his reaction to Romney. I'm not saying above that he struck me as the best of the bunch, just as the one most likely to crawl out of the mudpit.
And now...Great Moments in Presidential Greatness!
George Washington: "I have no other view than to promote the public good, and am unambitious of honors not founded in the approbation of my Country."
Abraham Lincoln: "With malice toward none, and with charity for all..."
Franklin Roosevelt: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
George W. Bush: "I'm the commander guy!!"
Now back to Cheers and Jeers...
Note: I'm not slamming DK.... it's a site I visit multiple times during the day, and generally read in depth. It's just that given the current situation(s), the content is generally dark and often depressing. The people that post regularly are all progressives with heart and brains and the ability to analyze news in depth, which is why I say it's dark and dreary, since the news is unremittingly dark and dreary, altho less so than, oh so, BEFORE last Nov 7th.
The accusation focuses on Goodling's meddling in a particular group of hires: entry-level attorneys working for acting or interim U.S. attorneys -- in other words, U.S.A.s who had not been confirmed by the Senate. The New York Times explains:...when an interim United States attorney is in place, one who has not been confirmed by the Senate, he or she must seek the approval of officials at department headquarters [to hire attorneys], a rule that perhaps allowed Ms. Goodling to investigate the political backgrounds of the applicants.
As the Justice Department has underlined, if Goodling was checking to see if these applicants were Republicans before hiring them, that would be against the law.
An interesting note at the end of the post:
Note: The Wall Street Journal adds some insight into what the Justice Department deems newsworthy:
In mid-March, The Wall Street Journal sought information from the Justice Department on Ms. Goodling's role in the selection of [entry-level assistant U.S. attorneys]. The department turned down a request for expedited handling of the Journal's query, citing that it "does not believe the specific topic of your request is the subject of widespread and exceptional media interest."
Note: The Wall Street Journal adds some insight into what the Justice Department deems newsworthy:
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
See any signs of 'good will' or 'compromise'?
With the public resoundingly against him, Republican support wearing thin, and -- most importantly -- Congress in Democratic hands, President Bush today finds himself in the unusual position of actually having to negotiate.
The question is: Does he have it in him?
A day after vetoing legislation that would have established a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, Bush has invited congressional leaders to the White House for a sit-down.
"I am confident that with goodwill on both sides, we can agree on a bill that gets our troops the money and flexibility they need as soon as possible," Bush said in a short televised address last night, announcing the veto.
But the president's language was inflexible: "It makes no sense to tell the enemy when you plan to start withdrawing," he said. "All the terrorists would have to do is mark their calendars and gather their strength -- and begin plotting how to overthrow the government and take control of the country of Iraq. I believe setting a deadline for withdrawal would demoralize the Iraqi people, would encourage killers across the broader Middle East, and send a signal that America will not keep its commitments. Setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure -- and that would be irresponsible."
With no apparent sense of irony, Bush described the Democratic plan as "a prescription for chaos and confusion."
So what happens now? Will Bush refuse to genuinely engage with his critics? (His traditional response to Democrats who disagree with him.) Will he try to find some way to make it look like he's compromising when he really isn't? (His traditional response to Republicans who disagree with him.) Or will he start talking in earnest about ways both sides can compromise?
The conventional wisdom is that the White House's big concession will be to entertain discussions about benchmarks for the Iraqi government. But it's important to keep in mind that the White House has been talking about such benchmarks for many months now. In his prime-time address in January, Bush even announced: "America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced."
The administration has even previously indicated it had some deadlines in mind for those benchmarks. It's just that none of them have been met. On the same day in January that Bush made his announcement, senior administration officials promised that the Iraqis would deliver three additional Iraqi brigades to Baghdad by the end of February. That didn't happen. And the following day, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acknowledged in Senate testimony that without progress toward some key benchmarks within "one or two months . . . this plan is not going to work." It's now been four months, with little or no progress. (For background and links, see my Thursday column, Keep Your Eye on the Benchmarks.)
So the central issue is not whether there are benchmarks, or even timetables. The central issue is whether failure to meet those benchmarks has any genuine consequences -- and whether those consequences include the withdrawal of American forces.
First is the one of the two, I prefer; giving him the funding but for a shorter period, three-six months. I like this better than the other, the full funding bill with benchmarks, for two reasons: one) Bush will sign off on benchmarks and either 'signing statement' out his 'beautiful mind' or just ignoring them altogether and two) it will force the Repugs and the Blue Dog Dems to repeatedly signal their support of the war. The Repugs I want to see yoked to this war like Prometheus to his rock, and if the Blue Dogs want to join them, then fuck them, and chain them to the rock as well.
Not a pretty prospect for anyone, particularly the troops, who regardless of the path followed at the far end of Pennsylvania Av, are stuck in hell indefinitely.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Does McCain's war support depend entirely upon who started the war? It would seem so. McCain doesn't appreciate having this flip-flop pointed out, however.
Matt David, McCain's campaign spokesman, said it is "intellectually dishonest" to compare Iraq to Haiti and Somalia because of the volatility now in the Middle East and terrorist threat.
"Haitians and Somalians do not want to follow us home and attack us on American soil," David said in a statement.
Now that's interesting. Does that mean McCain doesn't believe al Qaeda was in Somalia? The 9/11 Commission would beg to differ [pdf]:
Bin Ladin said in his ABC interview that he and his followers had been preparing in Somalia for another long struggle, like that against the Soviets in Afghanistan, but "the United States rushed out of Somalia in shame and disgrace." Citing the Soviet army’s withdrawal from Afghanistan as proof that a ragged army of dedicated Muslims could overcome a superpower, he told the interviewer:"We are certain that we shall—with the grace of Allah—prevail
over the Americans."He went on to warn that "If the present injustice continues . . . , it will inevitably move the battle to American soil."
Of course the Haitians and Somalians didn't want to follow us home. The Iraqis don't want to follow us home. They want nothing more to do with Americans at all. The Somalians, the Haitians, and the Iraqis didn't attack us in the first place and don't want to attack us now. The threat then, and the threat now is al Qaeda and bin Laden (who, by the way, is still alive and free). Bin Laden does not need the excuse of Somalia, or Haiti, or Iraq to want to attack the United States.
Tony Blair has indicated that Gordon Brown is likely to replace him as Prime Minister within a matter of weeks.
"Within the next few weeks I won't be Prime Minister of this country. In all probability, a Scot will become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom," Mr Blair told party supporters at a Labour rally in Edinburgh.
With the party braced for a disastrous night at the polls on Thursday, Mr Blair is seeking to prevent disillusionment over his own premiership from overshadowing the arrival of his successor.
There has been growing speculation Mr Blair will announce his resignation next week and then stand down towards the end of next month, with June 30 emerging as the favourite date.