Saturday, April 29, 2006
Check out the new Al Gore interview with Newsweek's Eleanor Clift. Our next president discusses his new global warming documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth", which opens May 24, and also riffs on Bush, the GOP, Hillary, the '06 elections and more. Is it me, or is The Goracle getting more and more relevant every day?
It's called "Nuestro Himno," and it's causing quite a ruckus, especially in the White House. The new Spanish version of the national anthem was released on Friday as part of the growing immigrants' rights movement. When asked whether he believed the anthem would have the same value in Spanish as it did in English, Mr. Bush said, "No, I don't. And I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English."
Holy Abramoff! Did Bush really say that? Maybe we misunderestimated him? Surely he must know that in an election year it would not be an advisable strategery to alienaterate hisself from the Hispaniard population.
Yes George, our citizens should speak English, and that includes you. You're the leader of the free world and you can't string two sentences together without mangled syntax and mucho malapropisms. Our Hispanic immigrants may have crossed the border from Mexico. We know why they don't speak English. You went to Yale. What's your excuse?
Let us revist a few of Bush's language-butchering greatest hits:
"The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country."
"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."
"One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor, and that one word is 'to be prepared'."
"I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future."
"The future will be better tomorrow."
"We're going to have the best educated American people in the world."
"There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."
"I stand by all the misstatements that I've made."
" We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe We are a part of Europe."
"Public speaking is very easy."
"We must not stop OB/GYN doctors from spreading their love of woman across the country."
"A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls."
"We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur."
"For NASA, space is still a high priority."
"Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children."
"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it."
"It's time for the human race to enter the solar system."
Lo siento mucho, Mr. Presidente, but I think most Hispanics speak the language better than you do. Time for a little remedial English class, perhaps?
Making its rounds on the 'net and sent to me by Emily in LA......
The 23rd Qualm
Bush is my shepherd; I dwell in want.
He maketh logs to be cut down in national forests.
He leadeth trucks into the still wilderness.
He restoreth my fears.
He leadeth me in the paths of international disgrace for his ego's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of pollution and war, I will find
exit, for thou art in office.
Thy tax cuts for the rich and thy media control, they discomfort me.
Thou preparest an agenda of deception in the presence of thy religion.
Thou anointest my head with foreign oil.
My health insurance runneth out.
Surely megalomania and false patriotism shall follow me all
the days of thy term, and my jobless child shall dwell in my basement
Friday, April 28, 2006
With gas prices barreling their way past $3.00 per gallon in many parts of the country, Republicans seeking re-election this year are starting to see the handwriting on the wall, and are making desperate attempts to connect with voters on this issue. But as usual, they're offering nothing more than mere window dressing and lip service. Proposals were unveiled this week that would give all taxpayers a $100 rebate to compensate them for skyrocketing fuel costs. This was announced on the same day as Exxon Mobil's $8-billion quarterly profit news. I guess that's the GOP's idea of parity.
The rebate would be part of a bill that would also allow the ReTHUGs to finally sink their environmentally-unfriendly teeth into the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to drill for oil. It was also announced that Congress might ease the exorbitant tax breaks afforded the Bushevik-friendly oil companies.
"The American consumer is the one that needs the break today, and we need to be taking steps to make sure that they aren't emptying their wallet every time they fill their tank," said Senator John Thune (R-SD).
"Americans today are unfairly being asked to empty their wallets at the gas pump," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN).
And my personal favorite: "This gas price issue is huge," said Senator Susan Collins (R-Me). You said it, Susan. And you guys are gonna see just how big it is come November.
Even Fox's Bill O'Reilly chimed in, proving once and for all that yes, he has lost his mind, as he urged in his syndicated column Friday that the government "strongly suggest that oil companies voluntarily roll back prices to 2005 levels for the good of the country." What are you smokin', Bill?
Without a precipitous drop in energy costs between now and the midterms, it's looking pretty ominous for the Repugs.
"High gas prices are going to be the final nail in the G.O.P.'s coffin this election year," said Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
G. Gordon Liddy, you have some new Watergate competition. Just when you think the ReTHUGs have hit a new low comes news that the FBI is investigating whether former Rep. Randall "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA), who plead guilty last Fall to taking $2.4 million in bribes in exchange for doling out defense contracts, may have been plied with prostitutes in D.C.'s Watergate hotel as part of the corruption scandal involving two contractors. The FBI is also investigating whether other members of Congress and their staffs may have also accepted the services of hookers, as well as hotel rooms, limousines, cash and other freebies, reported The Wall Street Journal. Cunningham was sentenced to eight years and four months.
The two contractors in the bribery case are ADCS, Inc. owner Brent Wilkes and MZM, Inc. president Mitchell Wade. Wilkes is at the center of this new revelation of prostitution and politicians. He's known to have run a multi-bedroom hospitality suite, first in Washington's infamous Watergate Hotel and then in the Westin Grand near Capitol Hill. Named in government documents as "co-conspirator No. 1," Wilkes gave Cunningham more than $630,000 in cash and favors in order to receive millions of dollars in federal defense contracts.
The Watergate Hotel is forever etched in the public memory as the site of the May 28, 1972 break-in at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, which ultimately lead to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. Let's hope the mounting White House and GOP scandals lead Bush down a similar path soon.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
It's beginning to look a lot like Fitzmas, as they say in Democratic circles. It's likely the former top policy advisor for President Bush will soon come under federal indictment for his role in the CIA leak case. In the Fall '05 indictment of VP Dick Cheney's former chief I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Rove is repeatedly referred to as "Official A." According to legal experts, individuals given that status typically get indicted. More significant, of all the cases prosecuted by independent counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, who's leading the investigation, every single "Official A" was indicted. Not a good sign for Turd Blossom.
On Wednesday, Rove was called before the grand jury for a fifth time, and faced 3 1/2 hours of grueling questioning by Fitzpatrick. Given the amount of times he's been called to testify, and the amount of time he spent under oath this week, it's becoming increasingly certain that an indictment is imminent.
"Anytime your client has been identified as a subject, and has gone to the grand jury five times, and the last time is 3 1/2 hours, you have a lot to worry about," said Fmr. Deputy Independent Counsel Sol Wisenberg on MSNBC's Hardball Thursday.
Rove, who's likely to face charges of perjury and obstruction similar to Libby, was very upbeat and optimistic at a D.C. party Wednesday night following his testimony. But like many things in the Bushevik Monarchy these days, it's all window dressing. Rove has to be seriously concerned about his fate despite putting on a good public face. He reportedly told pals the day was extremely intense and difficult; like he had "gone to the doctor."
Sitting in for host Chris Matthews, Norah O'Donnell said "With gas drying up, with leaks spilling out, and with polls falling down, Republicans face some tough times in Washington." At least for now, let's just hope, for Karl Rove, the party is officially over.
The Texas GOP's dysfunctional family is at it again, this time engaging in a feeding frenzy over who's going to be naming the candidates to run for embattled former House Leader Tom DeLay's soon-to-be-vacated 22nd Congressional district seat. Whoever is chosen will be facing former Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Texas)in November.
According to Texas law, four precinct chairmen--one from each of the four counties that make up DeLay's district--will be selected by party officials and given one vote each in selecting the candidates. Many local ReTHUGs support the law and are concerned over an attempt to undermine the process by party officials who claim it's unfair and arbitrary. They're specifically upset that Fort Bend County Republican Party chairman Eric Thode plans to mail an informal poll to 18,000 GOP voters, at a cost of about $12,000, to gauge the popularity of the prospective candidates. He also plans to publicize the poll results in an effort to put pressure on the precinct electors.
"It is very clearly not a representative sampling of Republicans," said Thode. "It’s horribly undemocratic, but it’s the process we’re stuck with."
The main concern of party officials is that the selection committee might choose a candidate who does not appeal to a broad swath of the GOP. In a letter that will be sent with the poll, Thode wrote, "We must ensure that our nominee has the support of a majority of Republicans across the district and not just the choice of a group of four."
Many of the candidates--who include Houston City Council member Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, state Rep. Charlie Howard, state Rep. Robert Talton, Sen. Mike Jackson, Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt and Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace--have criticized Thode's plan.
"It strikes me as someone who does not have a lot of faith in the precinct chairs [to communicate] what voters are thinking," said Talton. "I don’t quite understand what he’s doing, other than it will favor a candidate from that area."
Howard also believes the poll favors local candidates and leaves the door open for political hanky-panky: "There are a lot of things that don’t make sense. Who is going to count the votes? What’s to prevent fraud?
Others, like Harris County GOP Chair James Woodfill, believe the law and the process is fair. "The precinct chairs are probably more educated than 99 percent of the voters."
Wallace also supports the poll and calls it "a wonderful idea" that protects the rights of voters.
One of the leading candidates, Harris County Judge Robert Eckels, in a surprise move, recently abandoned his race for DeLay's seat after claiming that his polls showed he'd beat Lampson by over 15 points. "It looks like I can do a whole lot more with the issues that are important to me…as a county judge." he said.
As for the growing GOP fracas overall, DeLay has so far stayed out of the cross-fire and his reps say he doesn't plan to endorse any particular candidates.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Tony Snow, the Fox News fox, is now in charge of the HenHouse Press Room. But the former Bush 41 speechwriter and conservative television commentator's track-record of knocking his new boss makes his new appointment as press secretary a bit dubious. What exactly is the logic behind Bush's decision here? Is his new strategery one of self-deprecation? "Hey, no one can bash me better than me and my own staff!" Or will Snow simply forget everything negative he's ever said about Bush and start drinking the Bushevik Kool-Aid? Given all the bad press and poll numbers Bush has had to contend with lately, perhaps Snow's mission will be to use the podium to spin, lie and deceive more than ever. Scott McClellan, by comparison, could end up looking like Abe Lincoln.
Here's a partial list of Tony Snow's Reasons Why I Think My New Boss is a Dummy:"
-Bush has "lost control of the federal budget and cannot resist the temptation to stop raiding the public fisc." (3/17/06)
– "George W. Bush and his colleagues have become not merely the custodians of the largest government in the history of humankind, but also exponents of its vigorous expansion." (3/17/06)
-On South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds' abortion ban: "President Bush brushed off South Dakota, repeating his oft-stated belief in exceptions for pregnancies initiated through rape and incest. Not a single Republican of stature uttered so much as an "attaboy." (3/10/06)
– "President Bush distilled the essence of his presidency in this year’s State of the Union Address: brilliant foreign policy and listless domestic policy." (2/3/06)
– "George Bush has become something of an embarrassment." (11/11/05)
- "George Bush's desire to court the opposition explains his refusal to veto a single measure as president, including the execrable campaign-finance reform law. It also accounts for his meek surrender when Democrats killed most of his faith-based initiatives, watered down his attempts to overhaul public education, and slapped back his quest to reform an unforgivably dishonest and shaky Social Security system." (10/7/05)
– Bush "has a habit of singing from the Political Correctness hymnal." (10/7/05)
– "No president has looked this impotent this long when it comes to defending presidential powers and prerogatives." (9/30/05)
– Bush "has given the impression that [he] is more eager to please than lead, and that political opponents can get their way if they simply dig in their heels and behave like petulant trust-fund brats, demanding money and favor — now!" (9/30/05)
– "When it comes to federal spending, George W. Bush is the boy who can’t say no. In each of his three years at the helm, the president has warned Congress to restrain its spending appetites, but so far nobody has pushed away from the table mainly because the president doesn’t seem to mean what he says." (The Detroit News, 12/28/03]
– "The president doesn’t seem to give a rip about spending restraint." (The Detroit News, 12/28/03)
- "Bush tried in passing to court black voters, but he got the lowest percentage of the African-American vote in the post-Jim Crow era." (11/16/00)
– "Bush, for all his personal appeal, ultimately bolstered his detractors’ claims that he didn’t have the drive and work ethic to succeed." (11/16/00)
– "Little in the character of demeanor of Al Gore or George Bush makes us say to ourselves: Now, this man is truly special! Little in our present peace and prosperity impels us to say: Give us a great man!" (8/25/00)
– "George W. Bush, meanwhile, talks of a pillowy America, full of niceness and goodwill. Bush has inherited his mother’s attractive feistiness, but he also got his father’s syntax. At one point last week, he stunned a friendly audience by barking out absurd and inappropriate words, like a soul tortured with Tourette’s." (8/25/00)
– "He recently tried to dazzle reporters by discussing the vagaries of Congressional Budget Office economic forecasts, but his recitation of numbers proved so bewildering that not even his aides could produce a comprehensible translation. The English Language has become a minefield for the man, whose malaprops make him the political heir not of Ronald Reagan, but Norm Crosby." (8/25/00)
– "On the policy side, he has become a classical dime-store Democrat. He gladly will shovel money into programs that enjoy undeserved prestige, such as Head Start. He seems to consider it mean-spirited to shut down programs that rip-off taxpayers and mislead supposed beneficiaries." (8/25/00)
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
By all accounts, the Republican Party is handing over the November midterms to the Democrats on a silver platter. The key question is, do the Dem's know what to do with it? Will they craft a coherent message that will unify the party; arouse the base and attract independents and moderate Republicans; and walk away with the big prize? Or will they simply trip over their own two left feet like so many times before?
If smartly crafted and delivered properly, Democrats have a built-in, no-lose message: the miserable failure of almost six years of the Bush presidency and twelve years of Republican rule. You'd have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to realize that the GOP sludge has officially risen to the top to wreak utter havoc on the party. Just when you think it can't get any worse for them, it does. Consider what the Dem's have to run on in terms of the Busheviks' abysmal domestic and foreign policy:
1-Iraq war: WMD, poor post-war planning, Niger/Uranium, Downing Street Memos, 2400 dead soldiers
3-Isolation of America
4-Proliferation of S. Korean and Iranian nukes programs
5-Failure of Democracy in Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, and Palestine
6-Dreadful response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
7-Torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo
8-Halliburton contracts and overpayments
9-CIA leak scandal
10-No-confidence vote of Rumsfeld by many in the military
11-Failed Social Security reform campaign
12-Failed Medicare prescription drug plan
13-Letting the oil companies write the energy bill
13-Culture of cronyism and corruption: Rove, Libby, DeLay, Cunningham, Abramoff, Safavian, Ney, Taft and others
14-Largest debt in U.S history
15-Obscene tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of Americans
16-Soaring cost of health care
17-Declining housing market
18-Rising interest rates
19-$287-billion, earmark-loaded transportation bill
21-Failure of public education
22-Failed immigration legislation
23-Astronomical gas and oil prices
Is this not enough for the Democrats to sail through the election in a landslide victory? It sure as hell ought to be. It's time for Howard Dean and Rahm Emanuel to sit down with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and draft our Indictment of the Republican Party. They then must issue a mandate: that every Democrat running for office this Fall must pound the table and drive home these GOP failures. And then they must draft its version of the Contract with America. They must remind voters of these colossal Republican failures, and excite them with a plan for change. A plan for peace and prosperity. Lastly, they must build a truly effective spin machine in the left-wing media to recite the talking points ad infinitum. It's time to start ripping out the pages of the Republican play book.
I've had this little fantasy lately....
Bush Resigns! Dick Cheney Imprisoned!
In a stunning turnaround of political fortunes, George W. Bush has followed in the footsteps of another embattled Republican, Richard Nixon, to become only the second president in United States history to resign from office. According to White House insiders who were granted anonymity for fear of being yelled at by an unnamed petulant high-ranking politician from a very dynastic Texas family that rhymes with "tush", Bush made the decision to avoid becoming the third president to be impeached. Under constitutional law, vice president Dick Cheney would become America's 44th president, but he's already begun serving a prison sentence stemming from his 2007 tax evasion conviction over false Hurricane Katrina contribution write-offs (why do they always get 'em on tax evasion?).
Ever since Democrats regained control of both houses of Congress in the November 2006 midterm elections, the likelihood of Bush facing impeachment had increased significantly. According to former top Bush advisor Karl Rove, the president grew more and more agitated each day, frustrated that his administration could not defend him and his policies in the court of public opinion, as well as in the hostile chambers of Congress.
"Since I was fired, it seems like everything's gone downhill for him," said Turd Blossom. "There's no one there who's able like I was to masterfully distort the truth and flat out lie to the American people. And when Bill O'Reilly replaced Tony Snow (who replaced Scott McClellan as press secretary), things got really bizarre. O'Reilly wouldn't know a successful talking point if it hit him in the head. For Bush, the White House had become a place he dreaded going to. One report even had him trying to paint Dick Cheney in the colors of the U.N. and then have him shoot Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi in order to provoke an uprising; a battle in the streets between Red and Blue. Good and evil. The thinking was that Americans would not want to change leadership in the middle of a civil war. Man that's dirty! Someone as scummy as me wouldn't even concoct a plan like that. Ok, I guess I would," said Rove.
According to Bush's close friend Pat Robertson, Rove was fired after God told the president that the previously highly-esteemed advisor was a pathologically lying, criminally-motivated ruthless dirtbag.
We sat down with President Bush yesterday in an exclusive, unprecedented interview two hours after his resignation announcement. The following is an excerpt:
Time: "President Bush, why resign?"
Bush: "Why the heck not? I've had it with politics. I've had it with Democrats."
Time: "Are you saying that Democrats are responsible for this decision?"
Bush: "You bet I am. Once gas hit $5 a gallon they've been up my ass like a suppository. Nothin' but evil doers. Every last one of 'em.
Time: "But sir, that occurred on your watch."
Bush: "You apparently have not been listening to anything I've said since 2000. I only take credit for the good stuff (laughs that nervous, snivelling laugh as shoulders shake up and down uncontrollably). The bad stuff, that ain't my fault. Hell, gas prices started rising under FDR. And Jimmy Carter screwed that up even more. And..uh...uhm...er....Bill Clinton too."
Time: "Well, what about the Iraq war then?"
Time: "No WMD?"
Time: "Dubai Ports?"
Time: "Harriet Miers?"
Time: "Gas prices?"
Time: "CIA leak?"
Time: "Mr. President, with all due respect, are you really going to suggest to the American people that you are not accountable for one single misstep or bad decision?"
Bush: "Now you got it!" It's my new strategery. I'm not gonna take this partisan BS anymore. I'm the Decider. I make the decisions. Like I've always said...fool me once, shame on you; shame on you. Fool me, er, you can't ...er...get fooled again...well, you know what I mean."
As for what happens next in the White House, next in line would be House Speaker Dennis Hastert, whose office has declined comment. His spokesman, Tom DeLay, is in Scotland golfing.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Trying to Make Ends Meet, Voters Are Angrier Than Ever With The Busheviks. It's Still The Economy, Stupid
If you listen to President Bush, the economy's just hummin' along, experiencing solid growth and expansion and increasingly robust. The only problem is, the average American isn't feeling this prosperity in their wallets. To the contrary, they're feeling more squeezed and shortchanged than ever. That's because there's a huge disconnect between how the Bushies evaluate the economy and how ordinary citizens do. They're asking themselves, "are we better off than we were two and six years ago?" and the answer, according to every poll, is a resounding "hell no." And that spells trouble for the GOP this November.
To be sure, there are key indicators that would support Bush's claim of a strong economy, such as low 4.7% unemployment, solid 3.5% GDP growth and a stellar stock market. But in terms of significance to Mr. and Mrs. Average Joe, these metrics pale in comparison to skyrocketing fuel costs, runaway health expenses, rising housing costs and interest rates, stagnant real wages, and record home foreclosures. The typical American couple needs two jobs just to make ends meet. And now it costs them another $20 bucks a week just to fill the tank, with the average self-serve gallon of gas nearing $3.00. It's also cost them significantly more to heat their homes this Winter, and the effect of rising interest rates on credit card payments and home equity loans has created a real squeeze on the pocketbook.
In the critical area of healthcare, spending has doubled from 1994 to 2004. Each year, insurance premiums increase 12-20%. Employers, feeling the pinch themselves, are asking workers to contribute more and more of their coverage costs every year. Unpaid medical bills are the number one cause of bankruptcies in America today. And for a couple retiring in 2006, they're going to need $200,000 in savings just to cover their healthcare needs. Is it any wonder then that a new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that 59% believe the economy is "not good" or "poor?"
Middle class voters across the country were duped in 2004 into focusing much of their attention on diversions such as gay marriage, religion and manufactured terrorism threats. This year, while the war in Iraq and the plethora of ReTHUGlican scandals will surely be primary get-out-the-vote themes for the Democrats, there's every reason to believe that the almighty shrinking dollar will be #1 on voters' minds as they close that curtain behind them. It's still the economy, stupid.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who is also chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), makes no bones about it: he passionately supports the 2008 presidential candidacy of New York's Sen. Hillary Clinton and thinks she can and will win. Emanuel, who served as a top White House advisor to President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1998, is widely regarded as one of the party's most tenacious, aggressive and highly calculating operatives. Many in the party refer to him as their junkyard dog; the go-to-guy who will do whatever it takes to get the Democrats back in power. His unrelenting support of Hillary therefore stands out as either an uncharacteristic political anomaly in his fiery, focused career, or he may actually be quite prescient. Given his fairly steady, successful track-record, his backing of his former boss's wife is worth consideration.
We've all heard the endless talk about Hillary Clinton's unelectability. That she's a Northeastern liberal and one of the most polarizing figures in Washington. I must admit I am in that chat club. But I also must admit there are days where I furrow my brow, put fingers to chin and go, "hmmmm, maybe the old girl does have the chops and a fighting chance." But then reality returns, and I usually realize I'm either fantasizing of having Bill back in the White House, or of the very cool notion of having a woman president. I still struggle with the prospect of Hillary succeeding beyond the primary.
But the conventional wisdom of the bean-counters is that all Hillary needs to do to get elected is carry former presidential hopeful John Kerry's blue states, and pick up just Ohio or Florida. Candidates must receive a majority of 270 out of 538 electoral votes to become President. Kerry's electoral tally was 252. With Ohio's 20 votes, or Florida's 27, Clinton would become the first woman president in history. Looking at the numbers this way, and realizing how precipitously the nation's fortunes have dropped since 2004, it's not such a stretch that she could actually pull it off.
The landscape may actually be quite ripe for Hillary. There have been several political scandals that have rocked Ohio, chiefly the criminal indictment of Gov. Bob Taft and the imminent indictment of Rep. Bob Ney. And over in Florida, thanks to term limits, outgoing Gov. Jeb Bush will not have a chokehold on Florida's election process in '08. Throw in mounting voter anger and frustration over stagnate wages and astronomical gas and oil prices, Ohio and Florida may be within easy reach of the former First Lady.
Let's get one thing straight: I'm still an Al Gore guy, and I'm hopeful he'll enter the race. But let's just say I'm startin' to percolate a little over Hillary's real chances. Maybe, just maybe, Emanuel's onto something. Hmmmm....
Friday, April 21, 2006
Al Gore's Documentary Set For Release as Dem's Ratchet Up the Heat on Repug's Over Astronomical Energy Costs
Hurry, wake the kids and Grandma! The Democrats seem to have found an issue they can unify around, and are making it their campaign mantra for the November midterms. They've apparently discovered that most Americans couldn't give a rat's tuchas about Social Security reform or abortion, and instead are getting angrier by by the nanosecond over $3+/gallon gas prices and the belief that the Iraq quagmire is a direct cause. Finally, voters are starting to connect the dots about the consequences of the war. And it couldn't come at a better time with the upcoming release of the new Al Gore book and documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," a cinematic indictment of mankind's assault on the environment.
Democratic candidates from coast-to-coast are refining their talking points on the gas prices issue, and are being coached by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) on how to best connect with voters. A DCCC memo advises telling voters "Americans are tired of giving billion-dollar subsidies to energy companies and foreign countries while paying record prices at the pump." Many candidates, including Minnesota Senate hopeful Amy Klobuchar, are making skyrocketing fuel costs their central campaign issue.
The DCCC memo suggest holding a campaign speech at a gas station "where you call for a real commitment to bringing down gas prices and pledge that, as a member of Congress, you will fight for families in your district, not the oil and gas executives for which the Republican Congress has fought so hard."
Honestly? I think the Democrats truly have something here that's going to resonate with the average American whose wallet has been plundered by big business and the gas and oil industries, the latter of which has been given $15-billion in highly generous subsidies by the oil-loving Busheviks. The energy companies have been posting record earnings (Exxon Mobil's 2005 profit was an astounding $34-billion), and their CEO's have been raking in embarrassingly huge bucks. Well, Mr. and Mrs. Joe American are finally starting to get real pissed about having to shell out $60 to fill the tank while these fatcats get fatter. And they're starting to blame the Repugs, regardless of their party affiliation.
Voters are also angry over the war in Iraq and its effect on energy costs. A new Public Agenda non-partisan survey showed that 88% said problems abroad were endangering supplies and increasing prices. And this frustration is nowhere more evident than in Middle America, where driving longer distances is a fact of life, and where it's taking its toll on the Bushies and the GOP in a big way. A new Survey USA poll indicates that just four U.S. states--Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska and Idaho--remain solidly "red", or pro-Bush. And gas prices are single-handedly skewing Americans' views of the economy. A Washington Post/ABC News poll this week shows that 59% believe the economy is "not good" or "poor." So it's no longer just Democrats who are calling for Republicans' heads. There's an obvious revolt occurring among Bush's base, and the Democrats are smartly mobilizing around this key issue as a November rallying cry.
And just as all this intense, focused pressure mounts on the GOP, our pal Al Gore's gonna give the Dem's some serious wind at their backs late next month with the scheduled opening of his film. "An Inconvenient Truth," at times chilling, chronicles the former veep's career as he criss-crosses the country pounding the table over global warming, potentially one of the biggest issues facing future generations, and a subject for which he's been sounding the alarm for 30 years.
Many Democrats are still hopeful that Gore will use his leading position on the environment and his unassailable anti-war stand to eventually toss his hat into the 2008 presidential ring. Many believe he has a far better chance of winning than any other candidate likely to run. Want some interesting stats to bolster this claim? Gore won 51-million votes in 2000, more than any other Democrat candidate in history, more than any Republican except Ronald Reagan in 1984, and 500,000 more than George Bush. Just think of the numbers he could put up after eight dreadful years of Bush.
Republicans close to senior Bush advisors are saying that the president is neither responsible for the recent spate of staff changes or is happy about them, according to the NY Times. Newly appointed Chief of Staff Josh Bolten apparently is calling the shots, and the result has been a reassignment of top advisor Karl Rove's responsibilities, and the "resignation" of press secretary Scott McClellan. Bolten is also floating the idea of replacing White House counsel Harriet Miers, another capo in Bush's Texas mafia.
In defense of his defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld this week, Bush barked at reporters like a petulant 10-year-old: "I'm the decider, and I decide what is best." But "The Decider" may be just another Bushevik catchphrase written by some witty advisor to make the decidedly un-presidential president seem as presidential as possible.
But what do all these staff changes mean to the average American anyway? Ever watch Jay Leno when he hits LA's Melrose Avenue for his man on the street interviews? You'd be surprised how many people think Hillary Clinton is the vice president. The level of ignorance is astounding. Think they even have a clue who Scott McClellan or Andy Card is? The recent, and apparently ongoing, West Wing shake-up is nothing more than window-dressing. A rearranging of deck chairs on the Titanic. And besides, the cronies are being replaced with more cronies. For example, rumor has it that ex-Bush 41 speech-writer and current Fox News hack Tony Snow has officially been offered McClellan's job. To paraphrase Jon Stewart this week, Great Idea...we'll pay a guy from Fox News to come up with all the stuff we want Fox News to cover. Watch out, the Fox (pun intended) is back in the henhouse.
Bolten's moves are designed to appease House and Senate Republicans running for re-election in November's midterms. They desperately need to be able to go back home and tell constituents that the party's doing something to address the mounting scandals and political failures of the Bush administration. But can you picture Sen. Rick Santorum out in the rural patches of Western Pennsylvania explaining the benefits of having a new White House policy director, a new chief of staff and a new press secretary? Yawn. He'd be met with shouts of "when are gas prices gonna come down?"...and "when are my wages gonna rise?"...and "when the heck are we gonna get out of Iraq?" The average American still sees Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice as the face of the GOP, and they still unfortunately have their jobs. Their free-falling approval ratings, and the abysmal ratings of the GOP-controlled House and Senate, is enough to make the incumbents cringe. But until the administration makes some real changes--firing Cheney, Rumsfeld and/or Rove--it's the same old mob.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Rove's "Demotion" Means He Now Sets His Unscrupulous Sights Squarely on November Midterms. Democrats Better Watch Out
With the announcement Wednesday that "Bush's Brain" Karl Rove has been stripped of his coveted policy post to focus on electoral politics comes the key question, is this really a demotion? Don't kid yourself.
Rove is the most brilliant, manipulative and devious political operative in modern history. This is no demotion at all, rather than a highly calculated effort by the ReTHUGlican leadership to fully unleash on the election landscape the most ruthless campaign manager of all time. With Bush and Cheney's poll numbers in the proverbial toilet, and with the GOP desperately trying to salvage its base and maintain control of the House and Senate, the Repugs have shifted into high gear. The only thing they've stripped Turd Blossom of is any distraction that'll get in the way of his delivering yet another decisive win. And that's a scary thought for Democrats.
Rove has a history of playing dirty. Real dirty. As dirty as it takes to win. His career highlights:
1-In 1970, 19-year-old Rove snuck into the office of Illinois Democrat Alan Dixon, stole sheets of letterhead, and then printed up 1,000 party invitations promising "free beer, free food, girls and a good time for nothing," which he then distributed to homeless shelters.
2-Worked in 1972 for dirty-trickster Donald Segretti, the top White House operative responsible for vicious smear campaigns on Nixon rivals including Edmond Muskie, George McGovern and George Wallace.
3-In 1973 Rove became chairman of the college Republicans when George Herbert Walker Bush was chairman of the Texas Republican Party. Rove also learned the tricks of his trade early on from Lee Atwater, who managed Rove's college campaign and went on to become the attack dog for the Reagan/Bush team. Bush 41 later hired Rove to run his failed 1980 presidential campaign, and he's been working with Bush Jr. since his 1993 Texas gubernatorial run.
4-Smeared many of his clients' opponents--such Paul Wellstone, Tom Harkin and former Texas Governor Mark White. In the latter case in 1986, White ran against Rove's client Bill Clements, a Republican. Prior to a highly anticipated debate between the two candidates, Rove called the media to report that his office had been bugged, claiming, without proof, that it was the White camp who was responsible. The story distracted attention from the debates, Clements won, and Rove's political capital soared. However, the police ultimately determined that it was Rove himself who most likely planted the bug.
5-Using emails and anonymous flyers, Rove smeared John McCain in the 2000 presidential election over his war record, that he was mentally unstable, that his wife was a drug addict, and that he had fathered an illegitimate black child.
6-Smeared Al Gore in the 2000 campaign by ridiculing the veep by playing the "invented the internet" card.
7-Smeared John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election mainly through the vicious "Swift Boat" attacks on his war record.
8-Oversaw the voting irregularities and voter intimidation tactics in both the 2000 and 2004 campaigns. Masterminded the infamous "Brooks Brothers riot" of 2000, where ReTHUGlicans from out-of-state waved fists, chanted "Stop the fraud!" and pounded windows to intimidate officials in the Florida recount effort.
9-Masterminded the nationwide "gay-marriage" amendment campaign to assure that the GOP's "values" base went to the polls.
10-Coordinated and commanded the false WMD, Niger Uranium and biolabs claims, as well as the overall Saddam/Al Qaeda connection rhetoric.
11-Masterminded the leak of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity as revenge against her husband Joe Wilson's criticism of the Busheviks' Niger Uranium claims.
In short, Rove is a bad dude. He will do everything in his power, and then some, to get his clients elected and keep them in power. That he is now 100% dedicated to the ReTHUGlicans' re-election efforts this November is by no means a demotion, a reduction of his power, or an action that should be taken by the Democrats as anything but downright frightening. This is a wake-up call to the left. The enemy has just moved its most powerful weapon straight to the front lines.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Sounding like a petulant, spoiled little brat (which he is), our president took to the microphone yesterday in yet another in a series of "Donny, you're doing a heck of a job" defenses of the Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, who's been under fire from several generals, the media, and Democrats. The generals, seven in total, have come forward in a vote of no-confidence to call for Rummy's resignation. The media, no fan of the secretary, are gleefully reporting every syllable. And the Democrats? They simply would love to see Rummy's head roll down Pennsylvania Avenue.
Standing in the Rose Garden, after introducing his new White House budget director Rob Portman, Bush was insolent, emotional and, frankly, quite juvenile as he loudly asserted his unrelenting support for the embattled Rumsfeld:
"I listen to all voices, but mine is the final decision. And Don Rumsfeld is doing a fine job. He's not only transforming the military, he's fighting a war on terror. He's helping us fight a war on terror. I have strong confidence in Don Rumsfeld. I hear the voices, and I read the front page, and I know the speculation. But I'm the decider, and I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense."
If at the end of that diatribe he shouted "It's my ball" and stormed off it wouldn't have surprised me one bit. Wah, wah, wah. It's embarrassing to see our whiney president throw a temper-tantrum on national TV. He certainly wasn't very presidential. But then again, when the hell has he been?
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Soldier's Grieving Mom Chillingly Illustrates the Profound Success of the Bushevik Propaganda Campaign
Ever since they took office, the Busheviks have painted a bullseye on the back of Saddam Hussein's uniform, aiming squarely to take out the Iraqi dictator no matter what. We now know this, of course, through the infamous Downing Street memos, firsthand testimony of former terrorism czar Richard Clarke, and other accounts of those early Bush days made public by various sources. The Bushies wanted Saddam and they wanted him bad. All they needed was a reason. Any reason. In 2001 Osama bin Laden gave them Christmas in September. And so began what is now a four-year campaign of lies and deception; a well-oiled, highly effective propaganda machine that was never more evident than in Tuesday's Hardball with Chris Matthews on MSNBC.
Discussing the controversy surrounding several U.S. generals' demand for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's resignation, Matthews interviewed the mothers of two soldiers killed in battle in Iraq. Defending Rummy was Deborah Meyer, whose stepson, PFC Jason Meyer, 23, was killed in action three years ago. Her son Jonathan will be deployed to Iraq this Fall. She is a member of Families United for Our Troops and Their Mission. Taking the opposing position was Rosemary Palmer, who with her husband founded Families of the Fallen for Change. Her son, Lance Corporal Edward "Auggy" Schroeder, 23, was killed in August.
Palmer stated what was obvious: that Rumsfeld has grossly miscalculated the war effort and the insurgency, and should be removed from his cabinet post. She simply stated the facts. No spin, no truth-stretching. Just a grieving mom trying to understand how our government, and those in charge of the war, can screw up so badly.
Turn to Meyer, another unfortunate victim of this tragic war to whom our collective hearts go out. As expected, she offered some of the standard pro-war, everything is wonderful rhetoric, reading from notes: "Well I think Sec. Rumsfeld has served our country with incredible distinction and commitment to the defense of our country. He's been confronted with some incredibly challenging circumstances, and he's met and continues to meet those challenges. He has the full confidence of the president, and his steady leadership is exactly what we need in Iraq right now."
Ok, we can certainly accept this highly partisan support, and even excuse it, coming from the mouth of someone who's experienced heartache. But then her comments started to get less partisan and more convoluted as Matthews asked if we should've gone into Iraq.
"I think we didn't have a choice. I believe that the Taliban and Saddam Hussein had power, and under Sec. Rumsfeld's leadership our military have liberated millions of people. There are many improvements happening in Iraq on a daily basis and I don't feel we had a choice." The Taliban? I guess I must've missed that memo.
And finally, Meyer's response became downright bizarre and highly strained when a polite and deferential, yet noticeably frustrated, Matthews asked, "A simple question: why did your son and all those hundreds of thousands of troops get sent to Iraq? What was the reason for going to Iraq?"
Appearing like a deer caught in the headlights, Meyer hesitated and began to answer the question, peppering her reply with long, uncomfortable pauses and much stammering: "Um...we went to Iraq, in my estimation, to, um, fight against the terrorism that is invading our country. We were attacked. It was on 9/11 and many times before that. Um...we needed to (long pause) help the Iraqi people free themselves and, um, free themselves from Saddam Hussein's regime, um, and the terrorism that we're living under. I would rather be fighting them in their backyards than having them come to my backyard and fight here."
There is just so much wrong with what this poor woman has said, and with what she believes. Listening to her made me angry. Not merely angry that a mother had to experience the loss of a child, which is the worst possible thing a parent can go through, but moreso how this grieving woman has been lied to and manipulated by a callous, war-mongering administration. And it scared me to see someone so clueless and ignorant of the facts desperately trying to defend something of which she doesn't even have the slightest understanding.
It's truly unfathomable to think that in 2006 someone can still believe that the Taliban was in Iraq, that Iraq and Al Qaeda were the same, that Saddam caused 9/11, and that we invaded Iraq to fight the terrorists who attacked us. But she's not alone. There are millions and millions of misguided, gullible souls just like her who've been brainwashed by the Busheviks' highly orchestrated propaganda machine. It's shameful, and an utter disgrace. Perhaps people like Meyer, in order to get through each day, need to believe that their sons and daughters did not die in vain, and thus cling to the Bush rhetoric for dear life. That the Bushies still feed them this pack of lies knowing this is even more reprehensible.
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, well guess what? Al "I'm not running for president" Gore is hiring back one of his top 2000 presidential campaign aides, Roy Neel, to help steer the former veep's global warming efforts. Gore sure seems like he's setting his political table, doesn't it? Can former campaign manager Donna Brazile be far behind?
Neel is a former lobbyist amd senatorial chief of staff for Gore. He also headed Gore's 2000 transition team in anticipation of winning the election. In 2004, he was abruptly named Howard Dean's campaign manager after the former Vermont governor and presidential candidate unceremoniously dumped Joe Trippi, who's been widely credited with single-handedly transforming modern campaigning by using the internet for fundraising, get-out-the-vote drives and overall messaging.
The Gore camp says Neel's appointment is to facilitate the broader agenda of the former VP's pro-environment efforts, a move which coincides with the opening of Gore's new documentary and book, "An Inconvenient Truth", which has Gore warning of the dangers of global warming, his signature subject. He's also authored Earth in the Balance, first published in 1992 and then again in 2000.
We continue to stress on this blog that Gore will undoubtedly run for president in 2008. His credentials and overall political pedigree make him the most experienced, spirited and passionate candidate in a field of utter yawners. He's got two terms in the House, two in the Senate and eight years as vice president under his belt. Along with Bill Clinton, he presided over one of the most prosperous, peacetime periods in U.S. history. And in 2000, he won the popular vote, and was robbed of the electoral college by the Florida Bush mob and the right-wing non-federalist Supreme Court. His anti-war, pro-environment positions resonate now more than ever.
Hillary Clinton? Has about as much chance of being elected president as Chelsea Clinton. Joe Biden? I've seen loofah sponges with more personality. Evan Bayh? Buh-bye. Mark Warner? If I want to vote for a pro-life, gun-toting religious zealot, I'll vote for John McCain. Tom Vilsack... who? John Edwards? Perceived as too meek. Russ Feingold? Would be skewered as the new Howard Dean. John Kerry? Oy vey, see what I mean here? Al Gore is the only Democrat that can craft the right message, attract the big-name financial supporters, rally the masses and win the big contest in November. And isn't winning the White House what it's really all about?
Al Gore. The Comeback Kid. The Goracle. Watch him run.
Andy Ostroy Appearing Wednesday on Air America's Marc Maron Show; Also Check Out Russ Baker on Ostroy/DeLaite Report TV Show
Please tune in to The Marc Maron Show Wednesday evening, which broadcasts 10PM-12 midnight PST from Los Angeles over KTLK-AM 1150. I'll be talking with Marc about Bush, Rummy, Iraq, immigration, the '06/'08 elections, Gore and more. For those of you in Los Angeles, you can listen live. For the rest of the nation, you can stream it at http://www.airamericaradio.com/maron/. You can also Podcast this and other Marc Maron shows at AAR Premium. My segment is scheduled for approximately 11:30PM PST.
And while you're at it, please watch Wednesday's Ostroy/DeLaite Report...Where Democrats Play Rough, as we'll be joined by journalist Russ Baker. Baker’s investigative reporting, analysis pieces, features, and essays on politics, power, and perceptions have appeared in the NY Times, Washington Post, The New Yorker and other major publications.
The Ostroy/DeLaite Report is a weekly political call-in talk show that tackles the Right Wing spin machine head on. It covers the ever-changing political landscape with guests that include WABC Radio's Ron Kuby, syndicated radio host Stephanie Miller, Congressional candidate Nancy Skinner, author Mark Crispin Miller and The Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel. The show airs every Wednesday at 6:30PM in NYC on Time Warner channel 67. It can also be viewed live over the internet at MNN.org. Just follow the steps to "Watch MNN/ch 67."
Another terrorist attack in Israel killed nine people Monday. And Hamas, the Middle East's Sopranos of suicide-bombing insanity, has called the murderous attack a legitimate response to "Israeli aggression" and promised "more such operations." To the critics of Israel's recent decision to cut off funding to the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority I ask, how can you in good conscience condone such a violent regime? Do you honestly expect the Israeli government to financially support these brutal killers? Perhaps you also believe the United States should start funding Al Qaeda?
The suicide bomber phenomenon has bred a new species of pest. They are the new rats and cockroaches. A burden to society that cannot be killed. The suicide bomber has become the unbeatable enemy. They're invisible; how do you fight an enemy you cannot see? How do you fight someone who has zero regard for human life, especially his own? How do you put the fear of God into someone whose God has instructed him to blow himself up and take innocent children with him? And like rats and cockroaches, they are multiplying faster than we can kill them or they kill themselves. For every one of these misguided 72-virgin-seeking fools who pulls his cord, there's dozens more waiting to serve Allah with the ultimate sacrifice. Probably the only truthful statement ever to come out of Donald Rumsfeld's mouth was in the fall of 2003 when he said the U.S. is not winning the war on terror "because new terrorists are being created faster than we can kill or arrest them." Thanks, Donny, my point exactly.
So back to the Israeli situation. Israel has cut off some $50+ million in tax payments to the Palestinian Authority. The U.S. and the European Union has cut funding as well. The Palestinians as a result face economic devastation if the payments are withheld long-term, but unfortunately that's the price they'll pay for electing a murderous bunch of terrorists hellbent on Israel's destruction. The Palestinians have spoken, and have made their choice. But Israel should not be expected to fund this madness.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
A chorus of retired generals have come forward this past week to sharply criticize Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and call for his resignation. They are united in their belief that he's unfit to lead the nation's military forces as the United States seeks to extricate itself from the Iraq war. Rummy and President Bush are inextricably tied to this quagmire, and the war itself is inextricably tied to Bush's legacy as president. Rumsfeld symbolizes the war and the war is how history will judge Bush. To fire Rumsfeld is an admission of failure in Iraq.
Bush is not one to readily accept blame or acknowledge mistakes, and on something so central to his presidency as Iraq, he is not about to start now. What we will continue to get is more of the same spin and delusional rhetoric as before: "the war was justified...everything's going great...there's tremendous progress in Iraq...and Rummy and me are the brilliant masterminds of this obvious military success." And this message could not be more evident than on the airwaves of the Busheviks' loyal conservative radio and TV spinheads, who have embarked on a ludicrous campaign of character assassination of the highest-ranking military commanders in the land. Not surprising.
The generals, seven in total so far, include two former commanders of Army divisions in Iraq--Maj. Gen. Charles H. Swannack Jr and Maj. Gen. John Batiste--and another who trained the Iraqi forces, Maj. Gen. Paul D. Eaton. The others are Gen. Anthony Zinni, a frequent and outspoken critic of Rummy and the Busheviks; former presidential candidate Gen. Wesley Clark; Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, former director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of staff; and Maj. Gen. John Riggs. And it's not just the retirees. Newbold wrote an essay in Time Magazine in which he said he was encouraged to speak out by current high-ranking officers in the military. By law, active-duty officers are prohibited from speaking out against the civilian military leadership. No matter what the ReTHUGlicans say, the characters of these generals is unassailable. That's what makes their criticisms so meaningful.
The generals' main beef? That Rumsfeld is an arrogant, bullying micromanager who grossly miscalculated strategy in Iraq while ignoring and/or discounting the advice of the military commanders on the ground. Even one of his staunchest supporters, retired Marine Lt. Gen. Michael DeLong, in a NY Times op-ed Sunday, admitted Rumsfeld is a micromanager who wanted to be involved in all decisions. As such, several of his strategic decisions have come under intense scrutiny from the generals. First, Rummy's "modern war" premise grossly underestimated the level of troops needed despite strong opposition from Gen. Eric Shinseki, who was later booted from his post for stating that hundreds of thousands of soldiers were needed to maintain order post-invasion. Furthermore, it was Rumsfeld who decided to cancel the deployment of the First Cavalry Division, which would've bolstered the initial invasion force and helped stave off the mounting insurgency. And perhaps the biggest blunder was Rumsfeld's unilateral decision to dissolve the Iraqi military without consulting the Joint Chiefs.
Now while the prevailing political logic would have Bush canning Rumsfeld to at least create some specter of accountability and thus improve the Republicans' chances in the November midterms, Rumsfeld's ouster is simply not going to happen. And while he likely did not intend his words to be construed this way, most profound is the statement made by Texas Senator John Cornyn that Rummy's resignation would be a mistake: "If this were to happen, it would encourage demands for other members of the cabinet or other people close to the president to resign." Given the abysmal performance of the Busheviks, just what the hell would be so wrong with that?
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Republican Senators Mike DeWine (OH) and Jim Talent (MO) have two extremely bright, energetic, popular Democratic challengers hot on their trail. In the Ohio race, Rep. Sherrod Brown has served the state's 13th Congressional District since 1992 and has served two terms as Secretary of State. He's an outspoken critic of the Iraq war (voted against the invasion), favors fair trade policies, is an advocate for small business, and voted against making the Bush tax cuts permanent
In Missouri, Talent's seat is being chased by Claire McCaskill, who's spent years in public service as a prosecutor and more recently as the State Auditor. She is forward-thinking on social issues, fiscally responsible and a strong supporter of Israel.
Both will be at an intimate fundraiser to be held Thursday May 4th at 7PM at a townhouse in Manhattan. If you wish to attend and make a donation, $500 minimum, please email me at email@example.com for details. Several prominent guests such as NY Senator Chuck Schumer will also be present. If you cannot attend and wish to support these two fine candidates and help Democrats win back the Senate, please visit their web sites:
With the Iraq war, Katrina, the economy, illegal wiretappings, Bushevik leaks, lies about WMD and other political fiascos, the Republicans are handing us this election on a silver platter. Show your support, volunteer, and send your money. We cannot win this without you.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Despite all the patriotic gobbledygook about democracy in the Unites States, we are still in the dark ages compared to other nations like France who regularly heed the calls for change from its disenfranchised populace. Taking to the streets in Europe sure seems like a much better bet than doing so here in America these days. In the States, the protestors' cries fall on deaf D.C. ears.
Earlier this year, French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin introduced a law abolishing dismissal protection for all workers under the age of 26, thus granting employers the ability to fire workers without cause during a two-year trial period. The law is intended to reverse youth unemployment. But opponents say the law only serves to reverse a generation of job security afforded all French workers. Needless to say, in a country where protest and striking is as commonplace as drinking wine, this prompted outrage from students and unions who fear that the new law would lead to a total abolishing of social welfare and dismissal protection. Since February they've demonstrated aggressively, often violently, occupying universities and holding strikes. Police clashed with hundreds of students and union members just blocks from the Eiffel Tower after a small number torched cars and smashed store windows. More than 600 people have been arrested in the last few weeks. A general strike was in the works if the protests had failed.
Showing more true leadership than President Bush will ever experience in two lifetimes, French President Jacques Chirac, demonstrating that his government is more "of the people, by the people, for the people" than our own, announced plans this week to replace the controversial employment law. The people took to the streets and their government listened. And its president had the maturity, self-confidence and foresight to admit error and reverse course before the country was torn apart further. How refreshing. If only the Busheviks had the same humility, and regard for its citizenry.
In America, not since the 1960's have we seen truly successful protest. The ReTHUGlican leadership in our country hates dissent and disdains protestors. The Busheviks rule like a monarchy, and social advances made over the last 40 years are, incredibly, at risk of being reversed. The ReTHUGlican mantra is "our way or the highway." Civil rights? Workers' rights? Gay rights? Women's rights? Religious freedom? The GOP bullies couldn't care less. It's their movie, and we're nothing but extras. And the hundreds of thousands protesting in our streets over the immigration issue this week? See how far it gets them. Bush, Cheney, Rove and Mehlman are sitting around Washington with their noise cancellation headphones planted firmly on their big fat narrow-minded Republican heads.
Every day brings new surprises in the wild and wacky world of the Bush Monarchy. One day its WMD lies, the next day illegal wiretappings, the next day leaks of classified data, and now news that the Busheviks and the GOP may be central figures in the 2002 phone-jamming scheme that kept New Hampshire Democrats from voting in that year's midterm elections, according to court documents.
Phone records show that Bush campaign operative James Tobin made dozens of calls to the White House in the immediate days leading up to New Hampshire's election for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Robert C. Smith. Tobin and two others were convicted in December 2005 of hiring Virginia-based GOP Marketplace on behalf of the New Hampshire GOP to jam another phone bank being used by the state Democratic Party and the firefighters' union to get-out-the-vote for then-governor Jeanne Shaheen. John E. Sununu, the Republican candidate, won 51% to 46%. The phone records show that most calls to the White House were from Tobin, who became Bush's presidential campaign chairman for the New England region in 2004.
Democrats will seek a federal court order Tuesday to force the White House and GOP to answer questions about the phone jamming in a civil lawsuit alleging voter fraud.
According to the AP, a Democratic analysis of phone records introduced at Tobin's criminal trial show 115 outgoing calls to the White House political affairs office between Sept. 17 and Nov. 22, 2002. Most conspicuous are the two dozen calls made from 9:28 a.m. the day before the election through 2:17 a.m. after the election.
In their civil suit, Democrats are pushing for answers concerning the nature of the calls to government offices "at the time of the planning and implementation of the phone-jamming conspiracy ... and the timing of the phone calls made by Mr. Tobin on Election Day."
For anyone out there who still harbors serious doubts over the allegations that the ReTHUGlicans have rigged recent elections, news of this scandal has to give reason for pause.
The rumormill is once again aflutter with talk that Vice President Dick Cheney will soon be sacrificed as the Busheviks bow to their plummeting poll numbers, and the ReTHUGlican-controlled Congress, with just a 35% approval rating, fights for its political survival. As the chief architect of the Iraq fiasco, and the poster-boy for divisiveness in Washington, Cheney, as I first predicted here February 15, will be forced to resign.
New polls show Bush earning the approval of just 38% of Americans. He's currently been under serious fire over his authorized leak of classified intelligence about Iraq to indicted Cheney chief Scooter Libby. Compounding this controversy is the fact that his military debacle there is raging out of control amid a rapidly expanding civil war, with calls from Democrats, Republicans and voters alike all calling for an imminent end to the carnage. Cheney's recent hunting incident only served to exacerbate Bush's growing frustration with his alleged subordinate. Shooter and Scooter have become not just political embarrassments, but liabilities. In short, in order to remedy the Busheviks' mounting leadership crisis to possibly salvage the November mid-terms for the GOP, heads need to be rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue. To date, the only head that's rolled anywhere belongs to former Bush chief Andy Card. There's also speculation that Press Secretary Scott McClellan is next. But combined, sacrificing these two would be like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad firing his chauffeur and his food-taster. At least one or more major players must go, and with his approval rating hovering around the age of the average high school kid, Cheney will be the sacrificial lamb.
By June, it's likely that Rudy Giuliani, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour or perennial hopeful John McCain will be United States vice-president. Ladies and Gentlemen, place your bets.
Monday, April 10, 2006
Politicians, pundits, journalists and bloggers have been debating President Bush's ultimate motivation for authorizing the leak of classified information about the Iraq war to Scooter Libby. But the central issue in the case is not whether or not Bush broke the law per se, or whether he sought isolated revenge against Joe Wilson. What's important to understand and determine here is whether or not this leak is part of a much broader scandal; part of the Bush administration's cover-up of a pre-planned invasion of Iraq, and the cherry-picking of intelligence to fit that mission.
There's been much speculation and documentation (Downing Street Memos; Richard Clarke's book; etc) that indicates that the Busheviks, as early as January 2001, had their military sights on Saddam. What's more, recent documents out of Britain show that in January 2003 the war plans, and a date for the March invasion, had already been set, even before weapons inspectors had completed their work and before then-Secretary of State Colin Powell was set to appear before the U.N. Security Council to make the U.S.'s case for war. These war-mongers had every intention, from day-one, of invading Iraq whether or not WMD existed. Eidence continues to surface which strongly suggests that the Bushies hand-picked intelligence which bolstered their WMD rhetoric, while intentionally ignoring any dissenting advice or concerns from generals and military experts who doubted the existence of WMD and questioned the overall viability of the mission.
And that's the real issue here. On its own, Bush's leak falls into a very gray area of what a U.S. president can and can't divulge to the press and the public in the interest of national security. That argument can be debated for the next 50 years without coming to any substantive conclusion. But when a president leaks classified information for purely political purposes, to cover up the fact that he manipulated intelligence in order to justify war, and to punish those detractors who refute his bogus claims, then that's an entirely different matter. In fact, those would be impeachable offenses.
Several critical questions exist. Americans have a right to know whether or not they were lied to by their elected representatives. Whether or not they were deceived in Bush's rush to war. Whether or not the Busheviks knew WMD did not exist, and whether they manufactured evidence anyway to justify the invasion. Whether or not their sons, daughters, husbands, wives, friends and relatives have died over a lie. And whether or not there's been a highly orchestrated campaign, still being executed, to cover up all the lies and deception. And that's why Bush's leak is such an important issue.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
What do GOP Senators Bill Frist (TN), John Sununu (NH), Orrin Hatch (UT), Tom Coburn (OK), Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX), Rick Santorum (PA), John Thune and many others have in common? They've all voted to keep the Unites States minimum wage at the shamefully oppressive $5.15 per hour, the level it's been since 1997. They are also part of the growing chorus of Republicans who are decrying the illegal/legal immigration issue on the grounds that it drives down wages for poor Americans. Here's a little suggestion, Republicans: if you care so much about how much the little guy takes home, how about voting to increase the minimum wage? How about you stop defeating the Democrats' proposals to raise them? The hypocrisy in your position is mind-numbing.
The minimum wage in this country, in real dollars, has declined every year since '97, when it was raised to $5.15 from $4.75. That year, $5.15 was worth $5.03. Take a look at the chart below to see the effect inflation has had on the minimum wage since then:
1997 5.15 5.03
1998 5.15 4.96
1999 5.15 4.85
2000 5.15 4.69
2001 5.15 4.56
2002 5.15 4.49
2003 5.15 4.39
2004 5.15 4.28
2005 5.15 4.15
Last year bills by Democrats were brought before the Senate, and in both cases the Republicans voted against raising the minimum. Yet these very same Senators, who earn $162,100 per year, have voted themselves eight pay raises totalling $31,600 since '97 while minimum wage workers still earn only $10,700 a year. They also get upwards of $2-million, depending on the population of their home state, to cover health and life insurance, pensions, office supplies and expenses, travel, telecommunications and mass mailings. But these elitist Republicans, many of whom were born on 3rd base and think they've hit a triple, repeatedly shoot down Democrats' proposals to put another buck or two per hour into the hands of Mr. & Mrs. Working Stiff. What balls.
Here's the real shame: at the current $5.15 level, a full-time, year-round worker with one-child earns about $5,400 less than the $16,000 needed to stay above the poverty level. Health care coverage alone exceeds this amount.
In defense of their stinginess, Republicans have created their own economic rationale.
"Wages do not cause sales. Sales are needed to provide wages. Wages do not cause revenue. Revenue drives wages," said Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.).
"When you raise the minimum wage you are pricing some workers out of the market," said Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.).
On Santorum, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) said, "The senator from Pennsylvania has a record of opposing increases in the minimum wage. He has voted against it at least 17 times in the last 10 years."
If Republicans in the Senate truly care about the wages of the poor, then they should raise the minimum wage to a meaningful level and stop hiding behind the inane supposition that immigration keeps wages down. Senate Republicans are what's keeping wages down.
The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives and Senate is so mired in partisan bullshit these days that it's been rendered impotent by its own leadership. It's no wonder a healthy majority of Americans, according to every poll, are dissatisfied with their elected leaders. And Democrats lead in the polls by 16% among voters who'd rather see them control both chambers.
As the 109th Congress headed out this week for its undeserved 2-week vacation, it's continued to leave major pieces of legislation on the table, unresolved and caught in the partisan crossfire. Taxes, the budget and immigration are three such issues that are stuck in the political muck. What we have in Washington is a serious case of inertia; elected representatives whose judgments are so clouded by self-serving interests and self-preservation instead of the best interests of the American people. With their eyes focused on November like a Russian MIG, this sorry bunch of whores is doing nothing but jockeying for position and cat-fighting like a gaggle of high-school girls. And at our expense.
They don't care about the billions wasted and being spent in a runaway budget. They don't care that the average American wants and needs an equitable system of taxation. They don't care about the protests in the streets over immigration; of the 11-million people in this country whose legal status must be somehow resolved at the same time we do whatever necessary to secure our borders. They don't seem to care that our ports are a terrorist disaster waiting to happen. And why not? They're too busy worrying about other important issue like gay marriage and 'the war on Christianity.'
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Will Al Gore Use Current TV For 2008 Launchpad? Network Expands to 28-Million Households With New Comcast Deal
Under a new deal with Comcast, Al Gore's Current TV network will expand its reach by an additional 8 million households by June 1, to a total of 28-million. Current was created as an outlet for viewer-created content, or VC2, which currently accounts for about a third of all programming. Targeted primarily to tech-savvy viewers 18 to 34 years old, it features short, fast-paced programs called pods produced by both professionals and amateurs. The deal increases Current's household reach substantially, to most of the cable company's subscribers. Current TV was previously only available to about 500,000 Comcast customers.
Some in Democratic circles are speculating that Gore, who founded the network in 2004 along with other investors, could very well be planning to use his access to 28 million households as a major launchpad for what could be a very different 2008 presidential campaign. Over the last few years, the grassroots/'netroots movements have allowed candidates like Howard Dean to raise tremendous funds using alternative media, attracting younger people into the election process and forever changing how the political game is played.
Many are hopeful that Gore will be running, despite his half-hearted attempts to squash such rumors. The field of Democrats is weak, with Hillary Clinton leading the pack. While she appears at this stage to have frontrunner status and could likely win the nomination, most rational Democrats believe she doesn't have much chance of winning the national election. Gore on the other hand not only has the gravitas to win the nomination, but to go all the way in the presidential contest as well.
As Jason Maoz wrote last week in the TheJewishPress.com, "It was a far-fetched scenario as recently as a year ago, but Al Gore is quietly making something of a political comeback. Moderate Democrats who despair that the early frontrunner for their party’s 2008 presidential nomination, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, is likely unelectable, can’t help remembering that Gore won half a million more votes than George W. Bush in 2000. Meanwhile, the party’s base voters, appreciably more to the left than the country at large and angry at what they perceive to be Clinton’s drift to the center, are looking for someone other than her to carry the anti-Bush, antiwar banner."
Several major pundits on both sides of the aisle, from Robert Novak and Pat Buchanan to Eleanor Clift and Donna Brazile, believe The Goracle can and should become the party's top candidate. And many political experts also believe Gore will eventually toss his hat into the ring.
If and when he does, do not underestimate the power he'll have using Current TV to gain traction for the campaign.
Friday, April 07, 2006
News from The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is circulating the 'Net Friday stating that the Republican Party has contracted a new virulent strain of a
sexually transmitted disease called Gonorrhea Lectim (pronounced "gonna re-elect him)", which is contracted through dangerous and high risk partisan greed, cronyism and corruption. Several GOP leaders previously or currently running for re-election have been politically crippled by this debilitating condition, including Tom DeLay, Bob Ney, Rick Santorum, John Boehner and Duke Cunningham. Other high-ranking ReTHUGlicans including Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice seem to have contracted a version of the dreaded illness as well.
Cognitive characteristics of individuals infected include:
-Anti-social personality disorders
-Delusions of grandeur with messianic overtones
-Extreme cognitive dissonance
-Inability to incorporate new information
-Pronounced xenophobia and paranoia
-Inability to accept responsibility for own actions
-Cowardice masked by misplaced bravado
-Uncontrolled facial smirking
-Ignorance of geography and history
-Tendencies towards evangelical theocracy
-Categorical all-or-nothing behavior
Naturalists and epidemiologists are amazed at how this
destructive disease originated only a few years ago
from a bush found in Texas.
CNN reported Friday morning that suicide bombers struck the Burathaa Shiite mosque in Baghdad, killing at least 40 people. The mosque is affiliated closely with the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, one of the large Shiite political groups.
Both bombers were reportedly wearing suicide vests. One detonated an explosive inside the hallway of the mosque, and the other set off an explosive outside the site as worshippers were leaving, according to CNN. Another bomb killed 10 people a day earlier near the Imam Ali shrine in Najaf, the holy Shiite city in south-central Iraq.
The situation is spiraling out of control, and despite what Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Condescending Rice and the ReTHUGlican leadership tells us, Iraq is crushing under the weight of a full-blown civil war. Our mission, whatever the hell it was intended to be--WMD, nation-building, humanitarian--has failed. It's done. We must pull our troops out of this bloody disaster and let the Iraqis play out their political destiny however they see fit.
Things could not be worse for President Bush. Iraq is imploding, he's just been fingered as the Iraq intelligence leaker, and his poll numbers have sunk to even lower lows. Can you say, worst president in U.S. history?
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) has come up with the perfect solution. Earlier in the week he wrote in a NY Times op-ed piece that the United States must give the Iraqis a deadline to form a government or we'll pull our troops. He took that proposal another major step Friday morning. Speaking on Don Imus' radio program, Kerry said, "I really wanted to say, let's give the Iraqis until May 15 to form a functioning government, and give the Bush administration until May 16." Brilliant, just brilliant! If only we could act on this.
The bad news for Bush just keeps piling on. A new AP/Ipsos poll has his approval rating at a new low of 36%. But it gets even uglier. The Bushies have lost their national security edge, which they've heretofore clung to for their political survival. Only 40% approve of his performance on foreign policy and the war on terror, and just 35% approve of his Iraq war handling. Both of these numbers are new lows as well.
"These numbers are scary. We've lost every advantage we've ever had," GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio said.
And if that wasn't enough, the mainstream media is finally starting to do its job, reporting today with prominent front-page stories in both the NY Times and Washington Post that Bush authorized former Cheney chief of staff Scooter Libby to leak parts of a classified pre-war intelligence estimate on Iraq.
Yes, President George "Leak-Hater" Bush, who's boldly declared in the past that, "If there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is and if the person has violated the law, the person will be taken care of...If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration," is himself the highest leaker in the land. Why are we not surprised?
More lies, more deception, more crimes committed. Every week this dreadful, miserable failure of a president drags down America's honor. Can we really stand 2 1/2 more years of this? Both of Kerry's deadlines deserve some very serious consideration.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Nick Lampson wants Tom DeLay's job representing Texas's 22nd Congressional District. He wants it bad. Especially since he lost his House seat as a result of The Hammer's 2004 redistricting scheme. He's been gaining serious momentum and leads the polls. DeLay's announcement this week that he's dropping out of the race and resigning from Congress in June only enhances Lampson's chances at winning. And that makes many ReTHUGlicans very, very angry. They showed that anger Thursday by disrupting a press conference Lampson held on the steps of the Sugar Land city hall. The city is DeLay's hometown.
In calling on Tom DeLay to immediately resign so a May 13th special election can be held to fill his seat, Lampson's words were drowned out by demonstrators reminiscent of the dozens of screaming, bullying GOP thugs who converged on Miami/Dade election headquarters during the 2000 recount. People were pushed, shoved and shouted at. Lampson and his supporters were surrounded by these bullies, who held up hand-written signs that read "Liberal Lampson," "I Stand with Tom DeLay" and "Go Lose Somewhere Else."
In an email sent to supporters, Lampson's campaign manager Mike Malaise said that "DeLay's goons showed up to harass, assault, and intimidate. A number of female Lampson supporters, including Marsha Rovai, a 69 year-old woman from Richmond, reported being pushed and shoved by belligerent DeLay goons at the event."
"I can't believe my Congressman, Tom DeLay, would organize this type of assault," said Ms. Rovai. "I was assaulted by two different people. One of the men hit me and another shoved his sign into my face, and then when I pushed his sign away he violently pulled my hat down over my eyes and pushed me. I'm considering filing an assault charge. This is just very upsetting and I'm so disappointed in Tom Delay for organizing this attack."
The disruption was well-orchestrated: "Let's give Lampson a parting shot that wrecks his press conference," read a mass e-mail to supporters by DeLay campaign manager Chris Homan. He promised more agressive protests. "Mr. Lampson is going to have to get used to being confronted about his voting record the next seven months."
"This incident certainly shows that Tom DeLay continues to try and intimidate the people of this district from speaking out against his unethical activity," Malaise said.
Take notice, Democrats. This is just the beginning of the type of brutish intimidation and devious acts the ReTHUGlicans will resort to in order to hold onto power. Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
As part of his official spin on why he's decided to drop his bid for re-election and resign from Congress in June, Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) offered the following: "Because I care so deeply about this district and the people in it, I refuse to allow liberal Democrats an opportunity to steal this seat with a negative, personal campaign."
What DeLay really should've said was, "Because I care so deeply about this district that I've unscrupulously carved out for myself over a 12-year period using negative, personal campaigning, as well as other GOP districts I stole from liberal Democrats through my devious 1994 redistricting scam, I refuse to allow liberal Democrats an opportunity to steal this seat with a negative, personal campaign." Now that's more like it.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
The corpse is not even 24 hours old and already the vultures are circling the wagon in Texas's 22nd Congressional District. Vying to replace the outgoing disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is Sugar Land Mayor David G. Wallace, 44, a popular second-term city leader who's schedule to run for a third term in the upcoming May 13 municipal elections. As I've been saying, the decision by the GOP to push out DeLay was intended to take the national spotlight off of this tarnished district and thus take the heat off of Republican incumbents who are fighting for political survival in the November midterms. But the strategy might just backfire, as DeLay's replacement will likely be Wallace, who's in bed with controversial Houston businessman and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth financial backer Bob Perry.
Wallace, who's in business with Perry's son Will, issued a press release last month disclosing the relationship. "I have consummated a business transaction with W. C. Perry Realty Investment Fund, LP and W. C. Perry Properties, LP whereby I will serve as Chairman of the Investment Committee....I have relocated my business office to Perry's office in Sugar Land in early January." The elder Perry is a major Texas fundraiser and pal of Karl Rove. He made headlines in 2004 when he donated $200,000 to fund the sleazy Swiftboat Veterans ads that shamefully attacked Sen. John Kerry's war record.
Perry's also caught flak this past week for a gift he gave to Bill Ceverha, the former treasurer of Texas Republicans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC), one of DeLay's PAC's that's a major focus of Texas District Attorney Ronnie Earle's investigation of The Hammer's 2004 shady redistricting scheme in which Ceverha's been implicated. Perry's helped pay Ceverha's legal bills.
You have to question the GOP's ultimate strategy here. And you have to admire their creativity. Their idea of cleaning up dirt (DeLay) is to use even more dirt (Wallace).
The Democratic challenger, Nick Lampson, who's been leading DeLay in recent polls, continues to see the scandal as a boon for his campaign. "From day one I have been running because this district needs a Congressman who will make headlines for the right reasons and work for the mainstream values I share with the people of this district."
In the wake of indicted former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's announcement that he's not seeking re-election and will likely resign in June from his 22nd District seat in Texas, the sounds of "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" can be heard throughout Washington's Democratic circles. But this is one Democrat who's not singing. I kind of liked having the witch around. Liked having him perched high above as our political pinata. Someone we could use as the poster-child who symbolizes the rampant cronyism and corruption of the Republican Party. A catalyst to drive Democrats to the polls this November. In short, Tom DeLay was good for business, and I will sorely miss him.
DeLay is dirty, and the GOP wants no part of him anymore. Make no mistake: DeLay's not resigning because of any "war on Christianity" or due to any vast "liberal conspiracy." The Hammer is the focus of very intense federal investigations, with the walls closing in him now that two of his former top aides, Michael Scanlon and Tony Rudy, have pleaded guilty. The feds are also circling around his former chief of staff, Edwin A. Buckham, as a possible co-conspirator.
What the GOP has now is opportunity. A chance to say "Hey, we got rid of Duke Cunningham. We got rid of Scooter Libby. We got rid of Tom DeLay. And others. Surely we've had some problems, but we've cleaned House, literally and figuratively." Don't think for one second that Rove, Mehlman & Company have not thought this through 1000%; that this is anything but a well-orchestrated, highly calculated ploy to take the heat off the incumbents who see re-election; to win back voters' trust and support. To the Repug's, the party's over and the pinata's coming down.
Now don't get me wrong. DeLay is scum, pure and simple. And America, and Congress, will be a much better place without him. I just would rather have had him kicked to the curb on our terms and timing--after we're done with him and have used him fully to our advantage--not theirs.
And in a final coup by DeLay, in pulling out, he gets to take all the cash from his campaign war-chest and use it towards his legal defense, which as the Washington Post reported Tuesday, has so far been "financed largely by corporations with business before Congress." But that's ok. He's gonna need it.