Wednesday, January 31, 2007
As you may have noted, Molly Ivins was one of my favorite people. She was a consistent voice of good-natured, persistent liberalism. She loved what she loved and hated what she hated, and was able (and willing) to laugh at both.
Growing up in Texas, as it feared from thoughtless libertarianism to soulless fascism, I found her columns, whether in the Dallas Times Herald, the Fort Worth Star Telegram (affectionately known as the Startle Gram), the Observer, or any other source, offered a voice of reason, of solace, of hope. She was never ashamed of being labeled a 'liberal'; in fact, she reveled in it.
She was a populist in the southern, open-ended sense. Willing to listen to and accept or reject any like-minded themes, always moving on in the interest of the 'people' and not the powers-that-be. Many an icon withered beneath her gaze, her scorn, her written sneer.
She was a great lady, a great hearted person, and a true giant. There will never be another like her. The left, and all of America, is diminished with her passing.
The Houston Chronicle (the Cronk) has a collection of her wit and wisdom.
Her books, Shrub and Bushwhacked, both with Lou DuBose, as stunning exposes of Dumbfuck, and if Shrub had been read by a few more people before Nov 2000, we might not be on the verge of Armageddon.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Monday, January 29, 2007
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Friday, January 26, 2007
Both Rove and Bartlett have already received trial subpoenas from Libby’s defense lawyers, according to lawyers close to the case who asked not to be identified talking about sensitive matters. While that is no guarantee they will be called, the odds increased this week after Libby’s lawyer, Ted Wells, laid out a defense resting on the idea that his client, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, had been made a “scapegoat” to protect Rove.
What ANY of this has to do with whether the Scooter lied under oath or not, I can not imagine. Nor, really do I care. As long as the flames lick around their feet and waft gently upwards, I don't really care whether the fire was started for light or for heat.
It won't stop. Because they can't stop. You don't try to compromise and reason with irredeemable assholes. You stand up to them. Let them expose themselves for what they are. Let McConnell filibuster the anti-surge resolution. Let him tell the American people to go to hell. Don't give any tax breaks tied to the minimum wage - let them tell people they just don't give a shit about the poor.
Finally, like that poor deluded spouse that eventually has enough, the American people will come to their senses, the people will have had enough.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
The one unsleepy member member was Sen. Grassley who, in response to the demand for more corn than we grow to use for biofuel, looked like he'd won the lottery with a bottle rocket up his ass. Could a grown man, supposedly a serious, nay ponderous, one have looked ANY goofier?
How that scapegoating might mitigate Libby's alleged crime of perjuring himself to investigators isn't exactly clear -- but it sure gives us a rare and troubling view of the viper pit that apparently lurks beneath the West Wing's placid veneer.
Was Libby a scapegoat or a liar? Was he a victim of White House backstabbing, or a puppet in Cheney's obsessive war against those who dared question the highly questionable case for war in Iraq? Neither would reflect well on the White House. And they're not mutually exclusive.
If nothing else, the Libby defense hints at an answer to what I have long considered one of the great mysteries of this administration: How do Bush's two Svengalis -- Cheney and Rove -- get along? Apparently, not so great.
On the SOTU:
Dan Balz writes in The Washington Post: "President Bush used his State of the Union address last night to try to revive his presidency against what may be the greatest odds any chief executive has faced in a generation."
But, Balz concludes: "Bush may have been speaking into the void."
Marc Sandalow writes in the San Francisco Chronicle: "President Bush acknowledged the change in political order in the opening minute of his State of the Union address Tuesday with a gracious tribute to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, seated on the podium behind him.
"He then spent most of the next 49 minutes behaving as if the November election never happened.
"Bush pitched a health care policy he knows stands no chance in a Democratic Congress, an education plan Democrats have already rejected and an energy policy that did little to wow his opponents.
"On Iraq, Bush implored a Congress that is poised to pass a resolution condemning his latest war plan to 'find our resolve, and turn events toward victory.'"
Glenn Kessler does some fact-checking for The Washington Post: "In his State of the Union address last night, President Bush presented an arguably misleading and often flawed description of 'the enemy' that the United States faces overseas, lumping together disparate groups with opposing ideologies to suggest that they have a single-minded focus in attacking the United States.
"Under Bush's rubric, a country such as Iran -- which enjoys diplomatic representation and billions of dollars in trade with major European countries -- is lumped together with al-Qaeda, the terrorist group responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. 'The Shia and Sunni extremists are different faces of the same totalitarian threat,' Bush said, referring to the different branches of the Muslim religion. . . .
"[H]is description of the actions of 'the enemy' tried to tie together a series of diplomatic and military setbacks that had virtually no connection to one another, from an attack on a Sunni mosque in Iraq to the assassination of Maronite Lebanese political figure."
Kessler questions Bush's insistence that "free people are not drawn to violent and malignant ideologies" and that "we have a diplomatic strategy that is rallying the world to join in the fight against extremism."
He also finds room for a little domestic fact-checking as well. For instance: "Bush claimed credit for cutting the budget deficit ahead of schedule and proposed to eliminate it over the next five years. He did not mention that he inherited a huge budget surplus -- $236 billion in 2000 -- compared with a $296 billion deficit in the 2006 fiscal year, largely as a result of Bush's tax cuts and spending increases."
Steven Thomma writes for McClatchy Newspapers: "Bush wanted to convince Americans watching on television that he's heard them and that he wants again to work with Democrats....
"Yet the chasm between the parties is wide and deep, the politics between them are poisonous and Bush bears much of the blame.
"After reaching out to Democrats his first year, Bush governed after the 2001 terrorist attacks as the leader of a one-party state.
"In Congress, his party locked Democrats out of negotiations, then hammered votes through without chance of input.
"From the White House, Bush tacked 'signing statements' onto bills he signed and used the threat of terrorism in three successive elections to attack Democrats as weak or, worse, aiding the enemy. Last fall he warned that if the Democrats won control of Congress, 'terrorists win and America loses.'"
On Webb's (brilliant) response:
Here's the text of Webb's address.
Jonathan Alter blogs for MSNBC: "Something unprecedented happened tonight, beyond the doorkeeper announcing, 'Madame Speaker.' For the first time ever, the response to the State of the Union overshadowed the president's big speech. Virginia Sen. James Webb, in office only three weeks, managed to convey a muscular liberalism-with personal touches-that left President Bush's ordinary address in the dust."
The director of public prosecutions, Ken Macdonald, warned Wednesday of a "fear-driven and inappropriate response" to the new threat that could lead to the abandonment of respect for fair trials and due legal process.
In a speech to the Criminal Bar Association, reported by the Guardian newspaper, Macdonald rejected the assertion that a "war on terror" was being played out in Britain.
"On the streets of London, there is no such thing as a 'war on terror', just as there can be no such thing as a 'war on drugs', said Macdonald, who heads the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
"The fight against terrorism on the streets of Britain is not a war. It is the prevention of crime, the enforcement of our laws and the winning of justice for those damaged by the infringement."
Amen! Couldn'ta said it better.....
(h/t to Americablog and Chris in Paris)
To Joe Lieberman, anyone who opposes whatever Iraq plan he happens to be currently favoring is a frivolous, defeat-hungry traitor -- giving "some comfort" to the "enemy." He's really the Senate's modern-day Joe McCarthy, smearing everyone's character and impugning everyone's motives who doesn't march faithfully along behind the President. What makes it all the more deceitful is that he never ceases to piously masquerade around as the Beacon of Civility and Honor, a disguise long propped up by an adoring Beltway media. But now, Lieberman's behavior has become so toxic and ignoble that even decorous, restrained Senate Republicans -- no strangers to the art of the political smear -- have begun condemning him in unusually strong terms. What is more pernicious than for a politician, in a Senate hearing with the country's new top General in Iraq, to expressly equate disagreement with their war views with treason? Not much.
Kevin Drum, at Political Animal, who's been banging this drum for a long time, weighs in.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
The rest of world sees Bush in the same light WE see Ahmedinajad. Loud, obnoxious, and crazy.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Kos weighs in....
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Maybe the most interesting thing so far is that Hillary announced on her website, on a weekend. Talk about sang-froid! I'm still behind Edwards, but I can live with any of these guys as candidate/President, altho I do buy into the argumnet that, even tho Hillary can probably win, she would hurt the Dems down-ticket, where most of the others wouldn't. But we'll see.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says federal judges are unqualified to make rulings affecting national security policy, ramping up his criticism of how they handle terrorism cases. In remarks prepared for delivery Wednesday, Gonzales says judges generally should defer to the will of the president and Congress when deciding national security cases. He also raps jurists who "apply an activist philosophy that stretches the law to suit policy preferences."
UPDATE: dkos has commentary here and here
Kevin has the best take on it. The money shot:
Of course, if Gonzales is telling the truth, that's even worse for Bush because it's a clear sign that the previous program was patently illegal. In fact, so illegal that it took two solid years to finally develop an alternative that a judge deemed acceptable. If the program merely needed a few tweaks here and there, it would have taken a month for a judge to approve it, not two years.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Donald Rumsfeld, the then defence secretary, was unimpressed, but Kagan’s views got another hearing when Bush was searching for ways to ditch the seemingly defeatist recommendations of James Baker’s Iraq Study Group. “Wow, you mean we can still win this war?” a grateful Bush reportedly said.
For a little background on Kagan's supposed 'expertise', check out this other post at TPM.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
But it appears that hope may be at hand, at least on the mandatory sentencing part. Baby steps, but steps nonetheless. Any progress is progress.
I don't much care for Jones, but his opposition has been longstanding and earnest. Duncan Hunter is an ass, but you'd think some of the Repugs might have noted that opposition to the war is sorta kinda not a bad thing, even with Repug voters. But they are obtuse, disconnected from reality, and mortally stupid and venal.
Have a french fry in Jones honor.
There's so much wrong with this group of crooks in Bu$hCo, but this sort of sums up the total contempt for law, order, due process, civil rights, ad infinitum, that these guys think is what America should be. NEVER vote for a Repug again, if this is what we get. At this point, if you had a child molesting bank robber running against a Repug, I'd probably vote for the molestor, but then, given recent history, he'd be a Repug, wouldn't he?
Friday, January 12, 2007
On Dumbfuck's speech in GA:
It was a bold attempt by Bush to rebut the widely-reported story that he stopped listening to his commanders -- and in fact, reassigned some -- when they stopped telling him what he wanted to hear.
But Bush's new story lacks a certain important quality: Believability.
Previous reporting -- see, for instance, Michael Abramowitz, Robin Wright and Thomas E. Ricks in The Washington Post on Wednesday -- has made it abundantly clear that adding U.S. troops was not an idea that emerged from the American commanders -- nor, for that matter, from the Iraqis.
He quotes Brzenski on the Way Forward:
Carter administration national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski outlines five flaws in Bush's plan, in a Washington Post op-ed. Among them:
"The decision to escalate the level of the U.S. military involvement while imposing 'benchmarks' on the 'sovereign' Iraqi regime, and to emphasize the external threat posed by Syria and Iran, leaves the administration with two options once it becomes clear -- as it almost certainly will -- that the benchmarks are not being met. One option is to adopt the policy of 'blame and run': i.e., to withdraw because the Iraqi government failed to deliver. That would not provide a remedy for the dubious 'falling dominoes' scenario, which the president so often has outlined as the inevitable, horrific consequence of U.S. withdrawal. The other alternative, perhaps already lurking in the back of Bush's mind, is to widen the conflict by taking military action against Syria or Iran. It is a safe bet that some of the neocons around the president and outside the White House will be pushing for that. Others, such as Sen. Joseph Lieberman, may also favor it."
His colum/blog/whatever is always worth reading.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
What if Maliki is in bed with Sadr (highly possible, if not probable, given the nature of Maliki's political connections). What if the push against Sadr, with Iraqi support, is a setup? What if we go in with Iraqi 'allies' to Sadr City, and the allies evaporate, or turn up, confused, at the wrong place at the wrong time? A lot of our boys could end up massacred.
Just my inner demons exercising themselves (exorcising them failed years ago). Noah Schachtman (h/t to Kevin Drum) thinks exactly the opposite, so.... take it all with a grain of salt till something happens.
At the very moment that Bush wants to isolate Iran we are taking steps to strengthen the very elements in Iraq most closely aligned with Iran. At the same time we are stepping up our efforts to destroy the Iraqi elements least sympathetic to Iran. What is Bush trying to do?
I started thinking about that. Can anyone name one thing, just ONE thing, in any endeavor that they have gotten right. Supreme Court nominess? Pretty Awful. SCOTUS nominee handling? VERY amateur. Environment? Katrina? Subordinate nominess? ANYTHING? ANYFUCKINGTHING?
DO NOT DO IT.
Send it to the Senate. Amendment and compromise free. Make the Repugs tell their constituents that they are opposed to them getting a living wage. Make them pay for their ideological purity. Make them bleed. And GET THEM ON THE RECORD! It's not as much about getting the minimum wage through (Dumbfuck is not going to sign it unadorned) NOW, as it is setting the groundwork for being able to do this, and so much more, post '08, with Dems in the House, Senate, and White House.
Per dKos, it appears Pelosi is proposing to do just that. So the struggle is in the Senate alone. Contact your Senator and tell him/her to put this to a straight up/down minimum-wage-only vote.
UPDATE: The bill passed out of the House with a veto-proof majority. Apparently, every Dem voted for it, as well as about 65-70 Repugs.
WTF does this have to do with Lily Tomlin? She uttered one of my favortie quotes, tres apropos of Bu$hCo:
No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Monday, January 08, 2007
Saturday, January 06, 2007
The current thinking is that they should water things down to the point that they can suck some of the moderate (or just frightened) Repugs over to their side. WRONG! Write the bills as they should be written, go for the goals you want, negotiate in good faith, but don't give in on basic principles. Then send the bills on for action. The enabler wing of the Repugs will go ballistic, oppose everything, and attempt to filibuster.
In the long run, with the country overal 2-1 on our side on the war, and well over 50-50 on our side on virtually everything else, letting the bad guys get up and play obstructionist, will make them look stupid, out of touch, and all the things they really are. Let this build as needed over the next two years, and then deal with the problems, in 2009, with a majority in both houses AND a Dem Prez. Other than the war, everything can wait, and regardless of what the Congress does or does not do (short of impeachment), Dumbfuck is going stay the Decider and do whatever the hell he wants anyway.
And, if you favor impeachment, the more angry the populace becomes at the antics, the more time we give him, the more likely Shrub is to do something so heroically awful that impeachment is, to coin a phrase, a slam dunk.
Friday, January 05, 2007
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Electronic voting machines meant to streamline the Election Day process have resulted in late poll openings, data-retrieval errors and widespread machine failures, according to a new report about last year's midterm election.
"The evidence presented indicates that electronic voting in its current form is systematically flawed and will require significant corrective measures to remedy the problems that have been exposed," concludes the 23-page report issued by Voter Action, VotersUnite.Org and VoteTrustUSA.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
CHEERS to sitting on your asp. Out today on DVD: Snakes on a Plane. The gripping story of Air Force One during the Bush years.