Friday, June 30, 2006

The Stevens/Kennedy One-Two Punch on Bush. Every American Wins

With its ruling that the Bush administration lacks the authority to put Guantanamo detainees on trial before military tribunals, the U.S. Supreme Court has dealt the Busheviks a huge blow in its unprecedented, ongoing quest to expand the president's powers. King George has finally been told he cannot do whatever he wants, to whomever he wants, whenever he wants. Like it or not, he's finally being reminded that America governs under the rule of law and holds sacred the separation of powers and our system of checks and balances. Finally, someone has said, "We will not allow you to defile the U.S. Constitution, circumvent Congress and violate international law."

This is not merely a victory for Salim Ahmed Hamdan, the former Osama bin Laden bodyguard who was captured and sent to Guantanamo in 2002, and who brought the case before the High Court. Nor is it simply a victory for every other Guantanamo detainee who's been mistreated and stripped of his civil rights. It's truly a victory for every single American; every citizen whose Constitutional right of privacy and due process has been threatened since King George assumed his throne in 2000. It's a victory for all of us who believe that the Busheviks have consistently abused and misused power in a way that would make our Founding Fathers cringe. The injustices perpetrated by this administration have gone unchecked for way too long. Let's hope the Court's decision this week is just the first in a series of actions by both the Court and Congress to rein in this dangerous, monarchistic president and his arrogant inner circle.

In its 5-3 ruling, with the majority opinion delivered by 86-year-old Justice John Paul Stevens, the Court reaffirmed that even under times of war the president is bound by the Constitution and the rule of law, as well as the Geneva Conventions, and that he cannot arbitrarily interpret these laws as he sees fit. The Court also held that Congress, in passing its pre-war resolution authorizing the use of military force, did not give Bush a blank check to circumvent the other branches of government and concentrate power in the executive as he wages his open-ended "war on terror."

In "Power Grab", her brilliant and chilling account of the Busheviks' campaign to usurp power which appeared in the June 22 New York Review of Books, Elizabeth Drew perfectly frames the debate by explaining the Busheviks' Constitutional interpretation of the "unitary government" and the "inherent" power of of the commander-in-chief, which they claim gives Bush overriding power over Congress and the courts, thus eviscerating our system of checks and balances and judicial review as decided in Marbury v. Madison (1803). She cites conservatives and liberals alike, concerned that the balance of power has tilted decidedly toward the White House.

Conservative leader Grover Norquist said "If you interpret the Constitution's saying that the president is commander-in-chief to mean that the president can do anything he wants and can ignore the laws, you don't have a constitution; you have a king.... They're not trying to change the law; they're saying they're above the law and in the case of the NSA wiretaps they break it." Pretty heavy stuff for a staunch right-winger like Norquist. He's echoing the sentiments of many Republican pols like Sen. John McCain (AZ) and Sen. Chuck Hagel (NE) as well as a chorus of leading Democrats. In an era of highly partisan politics, the outrage over the Busheviks' overstepping their boundaries has worked to unify many on both sides of the aisle. That Congress has been neutered by Bush is not a partisan issue, and members have been stewing over being stripped of their Constitutional right to oversight.

Since 2000, the Busheviks have operated in virtual secrecy, making up the rules as it goes along. They've circumvented Congress, defied the courts, violated the Constitution and held contempt for the press. They've relentlessly bullied the judicial and legislative branches of government as they've strived to reshape the Constitution and concentrate power in the hands of the president, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld and Rice.

To be sure, greed and power corrupts. The Bush administration is a textbook example of that. Perhaps Guantanamo will prove to be our unitary executive's Waterloo; where the Supreme Court and Congress began their battle to rescue the Constitution from Bush and wrest back its equal power. They must, if our Democracy is to once again resemble what the Founding Fathers intended.

In her indictment of the Busheviks, Drew closes with a quote from James Madison, who wrote in Federalist paper No. 47, "The accumulation of all powers legislative, executive and judiciary in the same hands, whether of one, a few or many...may just be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

This Blogger's Getting a Little Worried About Al Gore

He's everywhere you turn these days. Saturday Night Live, Letterman, Larry King, The View to name a few. What's next, Desperate Housewives? His movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," as well as the book of the same name, have been out for weeks and The Goracle's been in heavy-duty promo mode. The problem is, with the exception of the hilarious SNL bit, Al seems more like his old stiff self than the passionate Democrat firebrand we've seen on the lecture circuit these past couple of years. Perhaps it's true that Al indeed suffers from TV camera-itis. Seems like whenever he's in front of that magic lens his body stiffens, his speech slows, and there's sighing. Oh God, lots and lots of sighing. His performances at times have made me wince.

As my readers know, I am a huge Gore supporter and proponent of a 2008 run for the White House. I've been front and center on this, and still believe he's the best candidate for the job. But as we've seen in 2000, Gore's not the best politician. In his televised interviews, he's not being the kind of Al Gore that he must be to win over the hearts and minds of voters. I want passion, fire, animation, personality; a genuine connection. I want a guy who's going to look straight into that camera and not be afraid to say, "This country's a mess, and here's why Bush and the Republican leadership is responsible. And here's what we need to do about it." I want a guy who's going to give a believable answer when asked the inevitable question of "will you run in '08", not some eye-rolling, sighing, long-paused duck as if he's taken aback by such a left-field question. When I want coy, I'll watch Paris Hilton (message to Al: you don't do coy well).

As much as I'm rooting for Al, I can't help but see much of the old nerd making people fall asleep. Forget Bill Clinton. I'd be happy if Al showed the charisma of Hillary, for Pete's sake. Yes, it's indeed true that in private Al's a very funny, charming, affable, laid-back guy. So say his closest friends and colleagues. And it's also true that on the lecture circuit he's amazing. But if he's going to run for president again, which I most certainly think he will, he's going to have to face the camera and learn how to speak in talking points and soundbytes. How to deliver some fiery partisan rhetoric and truly connect with voters. He may never be the guy you want to go grab a beer with, but he certainly shouldn't have the effect of Ambien either.

That said, we continue to believe he's the most qualified Democrat for the job, and here's our Top 10 reasons why:

1. Legislative Experience: two terms in the House, two in the Senate
2. Executive Experience: two terms as vice president
3. Economic Experience: presided over historic seven years of prosperity
4. Iraq: His staunch anti-war stand was early and forceful
5. Environment: His decades of sounding the global warming alarm give him more credibility on this issue than any other candidate
6. Family Values: Stemming from their record-label-warning campaign days, the Gores project strong family values and a sense of morality
7. Passion: Since 2000 he's been the most outspoken critic of Bush and the GOP
8. Results: He won the popular vote in 2000; was robbed of the electoral college. He 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
9. Fundraising: Gore has big, powerful, wealthy benefactors waiting on the sidelines to pour money into his campaign, and has the ability to compete with Hillary Clinton in this critical area. He also has the support of grass-roots organizations like, and is a favorite in the ever-increasingly important blogosphere
10. Skeleton-Free Closet: At this point in his career, if there was any dirt to dredge up, we'd have seen it by now

Despite these credentials and assets, he'll go nowhere without a serious injection of personality mojo. And it can be done. Maybe not with the people he's been surrounded by for years, but with some fresh new blood. Al, you out there? I'm ready to serve......

An 80-Minute DVD About Ann Coulter. I'd Rather Watch My Own Hemorrhoids Form

I received an email this week from the Conservative DVD Club, the outfit that brings us such riveting titles as "Jesus: Fact or Fiction," "The Evidence for Heaven," and "The Roots of the Ultra Left: What They Really Think." As if that wasn't enough excitement, they're now offering "Is it True What They Say About Ann?," which is touted as a "behind-the-scenes look at the fabulous Ann Coulter." What could be less appealing than to watch an 80-minute DVD about this despicable human being and her legion of Kool-aid-drunken racist sycophants?

Says the promotion, "Go behind the scenes with Ann Coulter, and meet the woman behind the stinging barb and the quick wit. You'll see the "conservative movement's diva" at her best in original interviews where she takes on the likes of Katie Couric and Phil Donahue. You'll see Ann give a college lecture, where she deftly handles her hecklers and graciously receives her many fans. You'll also get a rare glimpse of the real Ann Coulter when she talks about everything from her childhood in the suburbs to her passion for the Grateful Dead. Ann's legions of fans won't want to miss this DVD full of exclusive interviews, classic television clips, and Coulter insight.

Patrick Wright, the documentary's co-director, explained, "I think that we start with all the rhetoric and things that are said about Ann and then move in closer to what Ann is about." Now that's a nice idea. I wonder if it covers the real Ann:

-how Coulter uses fear, prejudice and hate to incite and scapegoat
-how Coulter thinks red-baiting, black-balling former Sen. Joe McCarthy was "misunderstood and under-appreciated"
-how Coulter has slandered U.S. war vets and attacked their patriotism for political purposes
-how Coulter lies and uses religion to divide people: "Liberals hate both God and America"
-how Coulter defends the racist Confederate culture
-how Coulter promotes racism and discrimination against Muslims, referring to them as "camel jockey", "jihad monkey" and "tent merchant"
-how Coulter publicly degrades women: "I think women should be armed but should not vote...women have no capacity to understand how money is earned"
-how Coulter slandered 9/11 widows with such heartless, gutless comments as "I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much"

I think we all know exactly "what Ann is all about."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Limp Hypocrite

Perhaps he should change his name to Rush Limpaugh. The conservative media blowhard was detained for over three hours Monday at Palm Beach International Airport after Custom officials found Viagra in his bag. Mr. Softee was returning on his private plane from a vacation in the Dominican Republic when his erectile dysfunction medication was confiscated. However, the prescription was in the name of his physician and not under his own name. His lawyer, Roy Black, said the prescription was written in Limpaugh's doctor's name "for privacy purposes." I guess when you blather on every day on the radio as if you have a monstrous 12-inch shmecky it could be a little embarrassing when it appears you're actually hung like an elevator button. And a soft button at that.

Limpaugh, 55, could be in for even more trouble as a result of his little blue pill-poppin'. Investigators will be seeking to determine whether or not old Limpy is in violation of his deal with prosecutors stemming from his 2003 OxyContin prescription fraud case. If so, he could end up in the slammer, where his flaccidity may end up being the least of his sexual problems (ouch).

Limpaugh deserves everything he gets. For years, he's built a reputation as a heartless he-man who relishes emasculating gay men, liberals, drug users and just about anyone who disagrees with his pig-headed, narrow-minded, ignorant opinions. The delicious irony that he can't get it up without Viagra actually makes me wet myself.

Monday, June 26, 2006

McCaskill Leads Talent by 6% in Missouri Senate Race

The Missouri race for senator is heating up, with Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill leading Republican incumbent Jim Talent by a 49%-43% margin, according to a new poll by the St. Louis Dispatch. With Talent consistently polling below 50%, and with just a little over four months before the November midterms, McCaskill moves closer to victory than ever before. McCaskill, former prosecutor and State Auditor, is highly charismatic and a tough scrapper who's giving Talent a run for his money. She is forward-thinking on social issues, fiscally responsible and a strong supporter of Israel.

The Democrats need six seats to regain control of the Senate. In addition to Missouri, the other hotly contested races are:

-Arizona: Jim Pederson (former Arizona Democratic Chair, businessman) vs. incumbent Jon Kyl

-Pennsylvania: Bob Casey, Jr. (State Treasurer) vs. incumbent Rick Santorum

-Montana: Jon Tester (State Sen. President) vs. incumbent Conrad Burns

-Virginia: James Webb vs. incumbent George Allen

-Ohio: U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown vs. incumbent Mike DeWine

-Tennessee: Rep. Harold Ford vs. the winner of the Aug. 3 primary (Sen. Bill Frist is retiring)

-Rhode Island: Sheldon Whitehouse (former State Attorney General) vs. incumbent Lincoln Chafee

Despite it Being the Worst Military Blunder in U.S History, the GOP Sees Iraq War as Campaign Opportunity. Am I Missing Something?

Sixteen U.S. soldiers were killed last week in Iraq, bringing the June total to 46. Sunday alone 29 Iraqis were killed in the escalating violence. On Saturday the NY Times reported that the tony Mansour district of Baghdad--like many of the city's western areas--has basically fallen to insurgents, seeming more like "wartime Beirut" than the peaceful affluent area it once was. On Sunday, Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki unveiled a plan to offer limited amnesty to insurgents. That same day Japan began pulling out its 550 troops. The killing of al-Zarqawi, like the many failed milestones before it, clearly has done nothing to lessen the violence and weaken the insurgency, and the war continues to spiral out of control, with no end in sight, and with the country teetering on the brink of large-scale civil war. According to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, when asked whether they'd be more or less likely to vote for a 2006 presidential candidate who favors a complete pullout within 12 months, 54% of respondents said "more likely" while just 32% said "less likely." Add all this up and it spells political disaster. But to the Republican Party, this debacle spells progress and success. And, incredibly, it's this debacle that they plan to make a cornerstone of their re-election campaign theme. Either they've totally moved their headquarters to DelusionVille, or they must know something we don't.

Last week Republicans defeated two Democratic resolutions to bring the troops home. One, sponsored by Sen. John Kerry (MA) and Sen. Russell Feingold (WI), called for complete withdrawal by July 1, 2007 and was defeated 86-13. The other, put forth by Sens. Carl Levin (MI) and Jack Reed (RI), was more of a compromise effort, a non-binding resolution urging the Bush administration to begin withdrawing troops but with no set timetable, and it lost by a vote of 60-39. The prior week, both the GOP-controlled House and Senate voted to "stay the course," which has become the Bushevik wartime mantra. In a 256-153 vote, the House approved a non-binding resolution that praised the troops, established Iraq as the central front in the war on terror, and refused to set a timetable for withdrawal. The day before, the Senate, in a 93-6 vote, defeated a measure that called for allowing "only forces that are critical to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces" to remain in Iraq in 2007.

So what gives with the Repugs? They are now embracing the war whole-hog. What do they know about it, or its political currency, that's getting them excited about November? The answer is simple: as it was in 2004, it's all about lies, deception and fear-mongering. A masterful campaign to scare the bejesus out of Americans. It's Karl Rove's game plan, and it worked like a charm before. The question is, will it work again? The Repugs are banking heavily on it.

Listen to the rhetoric; to the character assassinations. Close your eyes and it's '04 all over again. Witness the Swift-boating attacks on Kerry and Rep. John Murtha (PA), branded as "cut and run" cowards. Listen as VP Dick Chickenhawk warns that the Kerry/Murtha withdrawal plans tell the world that "Americans don't have the stomach for this fight" (a subject Mr. Five Deferments knows a lot about personally). Listen to the misuse and abuse of the word "terrorist." Throughout American military history, we've fought many types of enemies in battle: armies, rebels, guerrillas, insurgents. But since 9/11, and as a direct result of Bush's unjust invasion of Iraq, every enemy's a "terrorist" now. And this morphing process serves one purpose: to use 9/11 as a deceptive basis for, and justification of, the Iraq invasion. "Fight 'em over there so we don't have to over here," is the common Bushevik refrain. It's been over three years since the invasion, and we all now know that (a) there was no WMD in Iraq, (b) there was no direct connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda, and (c) Iraq had zero to do with 9/11. Yet it's astounding that the Repugs are back morphing the two, however overtly and/or subtly, in their quest to scare Americans into voting once again for their failed leadership.

As for "staying the course," it's a matter of survival for the Busheviks. As Feingold said on Sunday's Meet the Press, we're being told we need to "stay in Iraq so that Cheney and Bush get to say that they were right. That appears to be why we're there. That appears to be the only logical reason to stay. A situation that is draining our military, that is hurting our recruiting. That is allowing Osama bin Laden to have us exactly where he wants us."

And what about "cut and run" being a sign of the Democrats' weakness; of their "retreat and defeatism?" How about this: is it cut and run when the top American commander in Iraq, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., calls for a troop drawdown of 7000 by September '06? Or a withdrawal of all but 40,000-50,000 troops by the end of '07? The NY Times Sunday reported that a classified Pentagon briefing by Casey calls for significant troop draw-downs within the same timetable outlined by Kerry, Murtha and other Democrats. But it's highly unlikely the Repugs will brand their guy a cut and run defeatist . To the contrary, his prescience will be characterized as military pragmatism. They can't, and won't, have it both ways.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

It's Time to Do Away With Political Parties in America

The single biggest problem facing America today gravely undermines the viability of our once-great Democracy. This threat is posed by Republican voters who have lost their way. Their sense of purpose. The responsibility they have to themselves and to their fellow citizens. Their understanding of what it means to be a true American patriot. They've been brainwashed into putting party before country. Partisanship has become the new patriotism. Sadly, Republicans no longer vote for the most qualified candidates, or for those who best represent their self-interests. They vote purely along party lines, and the actual performance and overall record of an elected official has become secondary to his or her party affiliation. Worse, mob mentality has set in. Those who do not agree with the mob have had their reputations, characters, credibility and patriotism attacked and slandered. And when facing defeat, the mob has even resorted to blatant acts of election fraud. These are not signs of a healthy Democracy. If America is going to thrive and prosper, this type of thinking and behavior has to cease. That is why we should do away with our current party system and simply have candidates who run for office, seeking election on the merits of their positions and track-record, not on the basis of whether they are Republican or Democrat.

A great example of this alarming state of affairs is the presidency of George W. Bush, whose 5 1/2 years in office, by any reasonable historical comparisons and benchmarking, is a miserable failure. Whether the analysis is on domestic affairs; foreign policy; the economy; corruption and scandal; or the war in Iraq, Republican voters have been given a plethora of reasons to be more than angry at this president. By all accounts, they should have kicked him to the curb in '04. Instead, they awarded him 62-million votes, the most for any presidential candidate in U.S. history, and sent him back to the White House for another four years.

Judging from the current recent spate of polls, Republicans are indeed fed up. But if constitutionally Bush were able to run again in '08, these lemmings would again race to the polls and reward him with another victory. Just as they may likely do this November with House and Senate incumbents. And the odds are they'll do it again in '08 with whomever the GOP nominates for president. Bush and the GOP leadership have been given one too many free passes by party loyalists. When do these lemmings finally stand up scream, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore?" When do they race to the polls to send their angry message? The problem is, their party won't let them.

But just imagine an election system absent of parties. Where unethical, amoral operatives like Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman wielded no power. Where candidates start on a level playing field with no party advantages to hide behind or benefit from. Where questionable fundraising techniques are replaced with government-funded campaign financing for candidates who've met strict election requirements. A system where candidates would be forced to focus on positions and policy. Where their victories would occur only if these overall messages and platforms resonated with voters, who for the first time would actually vote on what's in their best interests, free from party distractions and pressures. No Democrats. No Republicans. Just individuals. Maybe then, and only then, would the red-state Kool-aid drinkers wake up from their party haze and start voting for the candidates best suited for the job, not those who spew the meaningless, diversionary and divisive rhetoric we have today.

I can dream, can't I?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

We Endorse Michigan Congressional Candidate Nancy Skinner. Deadline is 5PM EST Friday to Help Her Win DFA Grassroots Contest

It's time to once again lend a helping hand to our good friend Nancy Skinner, who's running for Congress in Michigan's 9th district. Nancy's been leading in Democracy for America's (DFA) Grassroots All-Star voting, an online contest to determine which congressional candidate will receive the next national DFA-List endorsement. A win would also lead to a great deal of much needed campaign funds. I'm supporting Nancy Skinner as my first choice candidate, and I strongly urge you to cast your votes for her as well. Voting for this final round closes on Friday, June 23 at 5:00 pm Eastern Time. Please join me in helping Nancy beat Republican incumbent Joe Knollenberg. Click here to cast your vote.

A special letter to our readers from Nancy is below:

Hello all you wonderful Ostroy Report readers. I am writing to ask you to vote for me in Democracy For America's Grassroots All-Star election. Voting ends Friday 6/23 at 5 pm so don't delay!

I am the Democratic candidate in a 50/50 district, trending Democratic, where the Republicans have a bitter primary battle ongoing. Democrats have unified and I have been endorsed by DFA of Metro-Detroit, Governor Jennifer Granholm, Senator Debbie Stabenow, the UAW, the AFL-CIO (and some 80 affiliated unions) and the National Organization for Women (NOW). We are also very focused on the netroots given my history in pioneering progressive radio. I attended the Yearly Kos convention and am bringing Joe Trippi on board the Skinner campaign.(he'll be here Friday!).

I am a finance major from the University of Michigan Business School but spent most of my career working on environmentally sustainable development after reading Al Gore's Earth in the Balance. My work was honored by a Presidential award for helping flood-stricken communities rebuild as models of sustainability.

Alarmed that Democrats were losing the media and message battle and that Rush Limbaugh and the right wing had taken over talk radio, I ended up getting my own show on WLS in Chicago in 1997 and went nationally syndicated in 2000. Two listeners to my program, Shelly and Anita Drobny, called in one day, said "we need more Nancy Skinners on the radio" and went on to co-found Air America Radio. I spent the last year doing mornings at 1310 AM, Detroit’s Progressive Talk. Since 1999, I have been a regular commentator on FOX News, CNN and MSNBC where I have been standing up to Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Joe Scarborough- even Ann Coulter- and the rest of them. (Just watch me in action on TV at Nancy on TV) or read my recent interview on Buzzflash on Skinner I believe that we Democrats sorely need excellent communicators in Congress, with passion and courage.

I have come full circle. My environmental background positions me perfectly to represent my home district, which happens to be suburban Detroit and home to the Big Three. I am focused on how we can “Green the Auto Industry” in Detroit by forming a federal partnership to expedite the production of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, flex-fuel and fuel cell vehicles. This is imperative for our economy, our environment and our national security. What better way to do that than elect a Congresswoman from Detroit who is a champion on global warming issue to send a loud and clear message to Congress? My opponent, Joe Knollenberg is vulnerable (only 43% will re-elect in the latest poll), chaired the Committee that passed the Transportation Pork Bill (a.k.a The Alaskan Bridges to Nowhere Bill), has a huge earmark scandal hanging over his head (NYT December 10, 2005), voted no on alternative fuels (HR4 Vote Number 201-311, 8-1-01) and votes with President Bush 96% of the time.

PS - If you help elect me, CSPAN is about to get a lot more interesting!

Nancy Skinner

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Here's a Winning Iraq Strategy for the Democrats

The Democratic Party is in a state of utter disarray and infighting over which Iraq war policy to adopt and present to voters as it heads towards the November midterms. Last Fall, Sen. John Murtha (PA) put forth a controversial, immediate troop withdrawal resolution which was ridiculed by Republicans and ignored by Democrats. He's been followed last week by Sen. John Kerry (MA) who first called for a complete withdrawal by December 31 of this year. Under fire from his colleagues, including Sens. Carl Levin (MI), Chris Dodd (CT) and Joe Biden (DE) who fear being branded the "cut and run" party by the right, Kerry compromised and has shifted his timetable for withdrawal to July '07, as reported Wednesday in the NY Times.

Kerry's right. So's Murtha. It's time to get out of Iraq. We'll get to more of the why in a moment. But first it's important to come up with the how. We've created a sensible plan for withdrawal that could be the winning ticket for Democrats headed into November.

Below is our plan, which we call Peace with Security: a 5-Point Plan and a Promise. We strongly urge the Democratic leadership to adopt this measure in a unified manner. They must craft the message, create the talking points, and take it to the public as soon as possible.

1. Set timetable for 125,000 troop draw-down by Dec 31, 2007: By then, the war will have dragged on for 4 1/2 years. That's more than a reasonable amount of time to have given Bush to topple Saddam and to create his "new kind of Democracy." The Iraqis need to understand that we will not stay forever, and a timetable is the best way to get them off their asses and into serious action. Considering that 90% of the insurgency consists of Saddam loyalists and Baathist holdovers who oppose the U.S. occupation, chances are much of the violence may subside as a result. The remaining 10% will be Iraq's responsibility to contain. Democrats have a plan to bring the troops home in a realistic timetable.

2. Leave 15,000 troops stationed in Iraq after 12/31/07 to assist with peace-keeping: For over 55 years we've had troops in dozens of countries, with major deployments in S. Korea, Japan and Germany. There's no reason we can't have a minimal yet meaningful military presence in Iraq. Democrats have a plan for post-withdrawal stability.

3. Increase funding for security training and equipment to $5-billion from less than $1-billion: the House on Tuesday passed a defense spending bill which also gave $1-billion for training and equipping Iraqi and Afghan security forces. This is not enough if we're ever going to be able to pull out and have the Iraqis defend its new democracy and protect its citizens. We must aggressively step up the training process and get Iraq's security forces fully prepared to take over. Democrats have a plan to successfully train Iraqi forces to stand on their own.

4. Commit to return if necessary: Assure the American public that the U.S. is ready at the drop of a hat to re-deploy over 100,000 troops to Iraq if our intelligence and military assets on the ground indicates that Al Qaeda and/or any other terror organization which threatens us here on U.S soil has gained a stronghold over the country.

5. Embark on major new enlistment drive for armed services and National Guard: the U.S. military is currently spread so thin that soldiers and guardsmen are being forced to serve multiple tours of duty. Recruitment has missed the army's goals, and America needs to increase its troop-strength. It's time for appreciable across-the-board pay raises and increased benefits for our servicemen and women. And it's also time to beef up the Guard so that we are fully prepared to take on a major national disaster like Hurricane Katrina even if our troops are at war overseas. Democrats will honor our soldiers and veterans with compensation they deserve, and will keep our military strong, prepared and on constant alert.

The Promise: as Democrats, we promise the American people that we will never, ever, send our soldiers--men and women, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters--off to war unless it is absolutely necessary, as a last resort, to defend against a direct, imminent threat to our country and/or to our allies.

This is a realistic plan to end the occupation, one that affords the U.S. government plenty of time to fully prepare our military for the transition, as well as to aggressively train the Iraqi security forces to assume the mantle on December 31, 2007. It is also a plan that will resonate with the majority of Americans who are fed up with this war and want a realistic, viable timetable and plan for withdrawal but who oppose a simple cut and run.

We need to demonstrate to voters that we are the party that can successfully end the war and continue to strongly defend our nation and protect our citizens. But more important, there has to be a very clear distinction between what we're offering voters and that of the Republicans. The Hillary strategy won't work. "Republican Lite" is not what Democratic voters want from the party, They want an alternative, not mirroring.

Now let's get back to the why. The Iraq war is an unjust, ill-conceived, under-planned, poorly orchestrated disaster that's spiraling out of control with no end in sight, and no real plan on the table from the Busheviks except "Stay the Course." As Murtha said this week, "that's not a plan." We just surpassed the milestone of 2500 U.S. soldiers killed. Contrary to what Bush says, there is no real progress. The violence and death has escalated in the last two years, and essential services--electricity, water, oil production--are at less than pre-war levels, as the Brookings Institute reported Monday. The course which Bush wants us to stay is completely undefined and unrealistic. Rather than use the pejorative cut and run, I'd much rather use the more sensible cut our losses. It's time to stop spilling the blood of our young men and women.

Peace with Security: a 5-Point Plan and a Promise. A winning campaign theme for November? We think so.

Bill Maher Says Al Gore Should Be the Next President

Comedian, television host and political pundit Bill Maher has come out in support of Al Gore, saying the former veep not only should run for president in 2008, but that he also smells victory for the The Comeback Kid.

Speaking to The Associated Press, Maher also said Democrats, not third-party candidate and supposed spoiler Ralph Nader, were responsible for Gore's 2000 loss. He also could think of nothing good to say about President Bush other than that he's spent more than Clinton to combat AIDS in Africa.

When the conversation turned to the subject of the 2008 election, Maher was supportive although less-than-emphatic about another Gore run:

AP: Who is going to be the next president?

Maher: That's the $64,000 question, isn't it? My guess would be Al Gore.

AP: And who should be the next president?

Maher: Al Gore. And I'm not the biggest fan. If he would just do what he didn't do in 2000, that is, talk about what he really cares about, then I think he would be the right man for the job. I think the country is so off the track and that's now recognized by the vast majority of Americans. They probably, in the next election, will just take stock and say to themselves, "Last time we voted for the guy we wanted to have a beer with. That didn't work out so well."

Let's hope this time around voters realize they should get a beer with their friends and, for president, elect the most qualifed individual.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Repugs Would Swift-Boat Jesus if he Came Out Against the Iraq War

Now that his legal troubles are behind him, President Bush's chief political operative Karl Rove is back commandeering his campaign Swift Boat. As usual, his attacks are targeted to true patriotic American veterans who served their country--people like Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)--while Rove and his chickenhawk pals in the GOP managed to avoid serving at all. And with the Iraq war spiraling out of control, and a movement by some Democrats to push for a troop withdrawal, Rove's attacks have intensified while he sits on his "big, fat backside," according to Murtha, while our soldiers are dying.

Used to be, the most patriotic thing one could do was enlist in the military to serve and defend his or her country. That's what Kerry and Murtha have done. But under the Bushevik monarchy, war and military service have been shamefully politicized. You're a patriot only if you agree with them. And they'll crucify you if you don't, regardless of how courageously and honorably you've served your country; worse, regardless if they haven't. I cannot think of a more despicable act by a government than to dishonor, exploit and vilify its war heroes purely for political purposes.

John Kerry enlisted for not one, but two tours of duty in Vietnam; requested command of a Swift Boat down the Mekong Delta, one of the most dangerous missions one could assume; and won five medals in the process. He is a hero. He served our country. He bled in battle. And he more than any GOP chickenhawk has the right to speak out on the horrors of war.

Murtha in particular is, by any benchmark, untouchable when it comes to matters of military and national defense. Up until the Fall of '05, when he introduced his controversial troop draw-down resolution, he was perhaps the most highly respected defense expert in Congress. A hawkish Democrat war hero with a highly decorated 37-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps. He volunteered for Vietnam in '66-'67 and received two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star with Combat "V". Retired from the Marine Corps Reserve as a colonel in 1990. Awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal by the Marine Corps Commandant when he retired. Well-respected by both parties for his first-hand knowledge of military and defense issues, of which he has dutifully served and advised both Republican and Democratic presidents. One of the most effective advocates for a strong national defense. A ranking member and former chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. He was an early key Bush ally on the Iraq war, serves as a de facto spokesman for the Pentagon, and has very close relationships with many top generals. Rove should be jailed for his attacks on such a true American patriot and hero. It's downright treasonous.

But Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and Rove's political legacies are inextricably tied to the Iraq war, and they will chew up and spit out anyone or anything that threatens their deception and propaganda campaign. I bet if Jesus Christ were alive today, and he came out against the war, he'd be Swift-Boated so fast his almighty head would spin. I can hear Rove & Company now:

"Hey, who's this Jesus guy, and what the hell does he know about war? He's a total fraud. A pawn of the liberal media. A long-haired pacifist freak who had sex with his prostitute mother. A Jew."

In fact, with his feed the poor and love thy neighbor teachings, Jesus would be Swift-Boated by these conservative thugs simply for being, well, Jesus.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

"When I'm 64..."

We don't usually post on the non-political here, but we thought it fitting to wish Sir Paul McCartney a very happy 64th birthday. Time sure flies. He's one of the greatest talents to ever walk the earth, and an over-romantic bloke who's a bit down on his luck right now. We wish him the very best.

Here's to another 64.....

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Here's the Difference Between What the Dems and Repugs are Offering Voters This Fall. The Contrast is Startling

Against a backdrop of constant Repuglican criticism that Democrats don't have a plan and don't stand for anything, the Dems unleashed their platform this week, "A New Direction," aimed at demonstrating to voters that they're worthy of regaining control after 12 years of right-wing rule. The platform includes the following promises:

-to raise the minimum wage to $7.25
-to make college tuition tax deductible
-to cut the interest rates of student loans by 50%
-to eliminate subsidies to oil and gas companies
-to impose lobbying restrictions
-to negotiate lower drug prices in the Medicare prescription plan
-to maintain social security
-to increase funding for stem-cell research
-to restore the pay-as-you-go policy for federal budgets
-to reduce oil consumption 25% by 2020 through development of fuel alternatives
-to help millions of illegal immigrants work towards U.S. citizenship
-to shore up homeland security
-to bring the troops home from Iraq "at the earliest practicable time"

This is interesting, huh? Democrats fighting for the little guy; the poor; the sick; college students and their parents; the elderly; minorities. Fighting for science and medicine; against big business and the fat-cat oil companies. Fighting to end an unjust war and to truly make America safe. Who would've thought? Throw in a possible movement to impeach Bush, and the power to implement election reforms to combat voting reforms, and we'll really have something to celebrate.

On the issue of the war, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) dismissed the Repugs' claim that Democrats are not unified on a position regarding troop withdrawal. "It's the president's war, and one of the things we'll do is hold the president of the United States accountable for his war. We don't foist any position on any of our members." She criticized Bush for using the war as a political wedge, and said that Democrats have discussed a plan for troop withdrawal in the near future, but that the lack of a single, unified position will not hurt the party's chances to win in November.

Now let's take a look at what the Repugs are promising voters:

-to keep the minimum wage at $5.15 for another ten years
-to continue giving fat tax breaks to their oil company pals
-to destroy social security
-to reduce funding for health, education and social services across-the-board
-to continue spending like drunken sailors in a whorehouse
-to restrict spending on stem-cell research
-to continue allowing the drug and oil companies to make federal policy
-to continue giving huge tax breaks to the wealthiest taxpayers
-to eliminate the estate tax (and $1 trillion in revenue in the process)
-to deny homosexuals the right to marry
-to send illegal immigrants to jail
-to make sure that "English is the official language of the United States"
-to outlaw flag-burning
-to continue sending troops to die in an unjust war, squandering precious military and financial resources that could be used to hunt down and fight our real enemy, Al Qaeda.

How's that for a platform chock full of dangerous, self-serving, elitist, race-baiting, discriminating policies?

"Americans can't afford the priorities of this Bush administration any longer," said Sen. Richard J. Durbin (IL). "Democrats are ready for this election. We have the message, we have the candidates, we're bringing that message to the American people."

I guess the American people have a decision to make this November. Will they choose to vote for the issues that serve their own interests, or will they allow Karl Rove and Company to fear-monger themselves to victory once again? Let's hope this time around voters make the right choice.

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It's time we have a real leader in the White House. Someone who is straight with the American people, who understands the issues, cares about the environment, and who believes in sending troops into battle only as an absolute last resort and when our nation is directly threatened.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Andy Ostroy Appearing Tonight on Air America's Marc Maron Show

Please tune in to The Marc Maron Show Friday evening, which broadcasts 10PM-12 midnight PST from Los Angeles over KTLK-AM 1150. I'll be out in the LA studio with Marc talking about Bush, Iraq, the midterm elections and more. For those of you in Los Angeles, you can listen live. For the rest of the nation, you can stream it at You can also Podcast this and other Marc Maron shows at AAR Premium.

The Bar is Set So Low for Bush That Anything Short of Drooling and Babbling is Considered a Monumental Success

Repuglicans across the land are rejoicing over President Bush's alleged resurgence. "He's back," they say. "The Comeback Kid," they're calling him. One right wing columnist, Clark S. Judge, went so far as to say that "the president just had the best week of his second term, perhaps of his entire presidency...." and talks of Bush's "stunning new momentum" that's "proving a transformative success on the domestic as well as international front." Excuse me, but I seem to have missed the memo outlining Bush's big accomplishments this past week. As usual, the bar is set so low for this president that all he needs to do is show a pulse and we're supposed to declare a national holiday in his honor.

Judging from the persistent and escalating violence in Iraq, we've passed one milestone that doesn't seem to matter much--al Zarqawi's death--with one that does--2500 dead U.S. soldiers. The war is spiraling out of control, yet a simple decision to board a plane to visit this debacle firsthand has brought much attention and praise on Bush, despite the fact that it'll yield little if any true change. A week from now it'll be just another faded photo-op. The bigger issue is, when are we going to exit? As David Letterman said, much has been said about Bush being able to find a secret way into Iraq. How about a finding a secret way out?

Using the low-bar expectations, this was a good week in terms of things happening that weren't dreadful. Al Zarqawi was alive, now he's dead. Ok, no one can argue that that's not a good thing. But he's already been replaced by Abu Hamza al-Muhajer as Al Qaeda-in-Iraq's leader. The real arguable point, however, is what effect Zarqawi's killing will have on the insurgency. So far, the violence and death has increased. Next, Bush hopped a plane to Baghdad, and it was greeted as some sort of Nixon-like foreign policy coup. Like al Zarqawi's death, this will yield little if anything in the grand scheme of things. But for an under-achieving president like Bush, I guess the trip was a big deal. Lastly, his chief political operative, Karl Rove, learned he will not face indictment in the CIA leak case. Another big win? Sure, if you don't mind that Rove still reeks of scandal and is probably guilty. But to the Bushies, "a lack of enough evidence to indict" translates to "innocence." Not to the rest of us. Sorry George, "Karl Rove not indicted" is not something to brag about.

The bottom line here is that we now have 2500 dead soldiers and an unjust war with no end in sight. We face a real nuclear threat from Iran and N. Korea. The administration's been plagued by scandal; Rove's clearing doesn't mitigate that. Al Qaeda has a new boss in Iraqi. The stock market's been crashing. Jobs growth has been dismal. Gas prices are astronomical. Wages are stagnate. Interest rates and inflation are rising. We're saddled with record debt. And Bush's abysmal approval ratings haven't budged at all from the mid-30's perch. To the low-expectation Repugs, this is not evidence of merely a good week, but signs of a rejuvenated presidency. To the rest of us, America certainly should have much higher standards for excellence.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Rove Outlines Busheviks' Iraq Strategy to Win Midterms: Lie Again About Dems Being Weak on Terrorism

You have to hand it to Karl Rove. When he finds something that works, he sticks with it. While the president was conducting his symbolic Iraq war strategy summit on Monday, the newly energized, indictment-free chief political operative outlined his game plan for November, borrowing heavily from his '04 playbook. The overall theme: Iraq is a success. The Busheviks and Repugs can take the credit for this progress. We just killed Abu Masab al-Zarqawi, which is another huge milestone. The Democrats are weak pansies who run from war and would not protect Americans from terrorism. Sound eerily familiar? What's scary is how well this crap worked the last time. Can it work again?

For one thing, unlike '04, two-thirds of voters are against the war, most of whom believe there was no reason to go in the first place. And many of those voters also believe the Busheviks lied about and/or misrepresented intelligence to justify the invasion. When you factor in the mounting violence and U.S. soldiers' deaths; the fact that Al-Zarqawi-like milestones have proved meaningless in slowing the insurgency (a new CBS poll shows that al-Zarqawi's killing did little to change Americans' perceptions about the war or Bush); and the lack of a clear exit strategy, voters are likely to reject Rove's rhetoric when they step inside the booth in November.

The simple fact is, the war is not a success. It's a disaster. And the Bushies know it. But rather than outline a plan for victory and withdrawal, they're choosing once again to attack and smear Democrats in the most irresponsible and reprehensible way.

"When it gets tough, and when it gets difficult, they fall back on that party's old pattern of cutting and running," Rove said at a state GOP event in New Hampshire on Monday evening. Surely he must be talking about his own party, whose chickenhawk leaders--Bush, Cheney, Frist, Hastert, Santorum and Rove himself--ran like scared little mama's boys when they faced having to fight in a war. Their delusions of machismo 35 years later makes me want to puke. What's more, that Rove & Company continue to attack the credibility, patriotism and courage of highly decorated war heroes like Sen. John Kerry and Rep. John Murtha--who are calling for an accelerated troop draw-down by year's end--is criminal. These two guys have more courage and military expertise in their fingertips than in the entire Bush administration.

The Democrats, if they had their way, would never have killed al-Zarqawi, Rove told his kool-aid drunk audience, and they'd have Iraq fall to terrorists. Well correct me if I'm wrong here, but hasn't Iraq already fallen to terrorists? Isn't that country in a state of chaos, with dozens of citizens and soldiers killed practically every day? Isn't it clear that the U.S. has absolutely no control over the violence there? Isn't it also true that al-Zarqawi has already been replaced, the violence has escalated, and the mastermind of the 9/11 attack, Osama bin Laden, still roams free and is allowed to see his Al Qaeda operation in Iraq prosper?

Last week the House voted on a resolution declaring Iraq the central front in the "global war on terror," a common GOP refrain (and fantasy) since 9/11. The fact escapes them that this "central front" did not exist until Bush opened it with his vanity war. And he gave animals like al-Zarqawi a pulpit and a base of operations. The resolution also criticized any attempts by Democrats to set a timetable for withdrawal of our troops. Majority Leader John Boehner (OH) predicted that this debate would show Americans that "there are clear differences between Republicans and Democrats on how best to confront the global war on terror."

I have to say, I agree with Boehner. There's a monumental difference between how Dems and Repugs think on this critical subject. Dems would not have knowingly invaded a sovereign nation which posed no threat to us whatsoever, squandering thousands of lives, $300 billion, and valuable military resources in the process. Instead, we would have chased down bin Laden and focused our efforts on Al Qaeda and those who carried out the murderous attack on our citizens. We would not have invaded Iraq as a means of distracting Americans' attention away from the real enemy, nor would we have masterminded a campaign of deception that successfully morphed bin Laden into Saddam, and Al Qaeda into Iraq in order to carry out this charade. We would have fought terrorism by going after the terrorists. Sounds simple, right?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Straw Poll Shows Al Gore is Preferred by Whopping 68% of Democratic Voters

Just how popular is Al Gore among Democrats? A recent straw poll of 11,000 voters shows an astounding 68% would support the former veep if he decided to run for president in 2008. The runners-up pale in comparison:

Al Gore: 7513 votes/68%
Russ Feingold: 1721 votes/15%
Wesley Clark: 539 votes/4%
Mark Warner: 370 votes/3 %
John Edwards: 282 votes/2%
John Kerry: 86 votes/0%
Hillary Clinton: 78 votes/0%
Bill Richardson: 67 votes/0%
Joe Biden: 56 votes/0%
Evan Bayh; 40 votes/0%
Chris Dodd: 23 votes/0%
Tom Daschle: 15 votes/0%
Tom Vilsack: 13 votes/0%

While Hillary Clinton has enjoyed early frontrunner status in the media, she is not a favorite among actual voters. She came in behind not only Gore, but Russ Feingold, Wesley Clark, Mark Warner, John Edwards and John Kerry, in that order. Her attempts at triangulation, a la hubby Bill, have backfired, leaving voters searching for a candidate who adheres to traditional Democratic ideology.

Gore's got the political experience, the fundraising machine and the overall gravitas to be the party's nominee and take back the White House, a domicile that many think is rightfully his. His strong and early anti-war stand and pro-environment advocacy are two significant messages that resonate quite well right now with voters.

"There's a lot of love for Al Gore. I mean if he were to enter the race, I think it would turn everything upside down," said DailyKos's Markos Moulitsas Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

George Will Joins the "Gore Will Run" Chorus

Conservative columnist George F. Will is the latest major pundit to predict that former vice president Al Gore Jr. will make another run for the White House in 2008, joining Robert Novak, Pat Buchanan, Eleanor Clift, Tony Blankley and others in the media and in Washington political circles who've already crystal-balled Gore's renewed presidential ambitions.

In his column Sunday, Will contends that Gore's concern over the environment, and the grave threat global warming poses to the world, will compel The Goracle to toss his hat into the ring.

We've written for almost a year now on this blog that Gore is The Comeback Kid , the "New Nixon" who will no doubt seek the presidency in '08 in what is likely his best opportunity to win. So it's especially gratifying to watch those influential in the mainstream media join the party as well.

Will's main premise is that Gore has inextricably tied the office of the presidency to the fight to save the environment. Gore's likely thinking? The biggest threat to our long-term survival is global warming. The clock is ticking. From the presidential pulpit one can mandate reforms and influence change on the global stage. Therefore, if I truly care about saving the world I must become president. This is a hard premise to ignore, especially if Gore is as serious and sincere about the threat of which he repeatedly warns.

In his new book and movie "An Inconvenient Truth," Gore has put a 10-year timetable on the near-term dangers of global warming, a critical threshold he calls the "point of no return" unless there's dramatic change to reduce greenhouse gases. Will points out that this period also coincides with the last year of the second term of the next president, suggesting that Gore sees his calling as something much bigger than merely touring the country with his PowerPoint presentation. "I'm under no illusions that there's any position in the world with as much influence" as the presidency, Gore asserts.

The Iraq war, homeland security, the economy, gas prices and right-wing corruption and cronyism are reasons enough to vote for change and to elect someone like Gore. But the dangers we face from global warming, and the raping of the environment by Repuglicans and their pals in corporate America, make Gore the most attractive choice. Will he, does he see how the country, the world beckons? Public denials aside, I believe it's clear he does. But as Will put it in his analogy to Abraham Lincoln as the future president lamented slavery, Lincoln did not exclaim: "That does it! Instead of running for president, I am going to prepare a PowerPoint presentation." Let's hope Gore agrees that he and his laptop will have greater power when plugged into the Oval Office.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Three Things Repuglicans Can Do If They Truly Want to Protect Heterosexual Marriage

Sorry, Repugs. Two married gays living in Providence has about as much negative impact on heterosexual marriage as a "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" marathon on ESPN. The constitutional ban on gay unions that conservatives dream of passing someday would do nothing to protect and uphold their precious holy matrimony. But there are several things that these bible-thumping lawmakers can do if they're really concerned about the survival of the great institution of marriage:

1. A constitutional amendment banning infidelity: The #1 marriage killer.

2. A constitutional amendment banning spousal abuse: over 4-million women are beaten each year by their husbands. 4000 are killed.

3. A constitiutional amendment banning divorce: 50% of all heterosexual marriages end in divorce.

Collectively, these three sins kill millions of heterosexual marriages each year. To the contrary, Ellen DeGeneres' love life poses no threat at all. If Repugs want to tamper with the Constitution, let 'em do so where it truly counts.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Idiot al-Zarqawi's Own Video Did Him In

U.S. and Iraqi officials announced early Thursday that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaida's leader in Iraq, has been killed along with seven aides in an air strike. The attack occurred 30 miles northeast of Baghdad just east of the provincial capital of Baqouba. Al-Zarqawi, whose identity was confirmed through fingerprints, was the mastermind behind some of the most violent, brutal acts of terrorism. He himself is believed to have personally beheaded Americans Nicholas Berg and Eugene Armstrong, earning him the nickname "the slaughtering sheik."

But now he may be saddled in death with the nickname, "the idiot sheik," as his appearance in a recent videotaped message helped Jordanian officials recognize the mountainous region of Baqouba in the background, enabling them, the U.S. and Iraqis to pinpoint his location, according to a news report Wednesday on the Don Imus radio program.

Questions which now remain: what effect will al-Zarqawi's death have on the intensity of the insurgency; the progress of the new Iraqi government; Bush's poll numbers; and the pro-war politicians who seek re-election in November? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

George Bush a Bi-Sexual Kinkster? We're Offering $5000 for Any Credible Evidence Which Proves He's the Manhandler-in-Chief

In a week which had the President come out (pun intended) strongly against gay marriage, an explosive new allegation surfaced of a 1984 bi-sexual menage-a-trois involving Bush (pun intended) and another man, Victor Ashe, the current U.S. Ambassador to Poland and Dubya's "special" friend since their cheerleader and roommate days at Yale. I kid you not, folks. This incredible story appears on the Wayne Madsen Report website, as told by Leola McConnell, the woman with the dubious distinction of being the female in the AsheBush sandwich. Crazy, huh? But wait. It gets even nuttier. McConnell also happens to be the current Liberal Democratic candidate for Governor of Nevada. She's also been the purported dominatrix of former Education Secretary Bill Bennett, he of virtue and morality and racial tolerance fame. You can read even more about this unbelievable allegation at , The story was all over talk Radio Wednesday, discussed by Air America hosts Rachel Maddow and Randi Rhodes among others.

So, can it be true that George W. Bush is actually bi or, God-forbid, gay? We're not sure, of course, and the above story can only be construed as a titillating case of he said/she said. But it sure would explain a heck of a lot about the man:

-his dominance by a strong, overbearing mother
-a father who he perceived as weak
-his penchant for touching, holding hands and kissing other men (John McCain, Saudi Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Abdullah)
-his constant need to prove his masculinity with tough talk ("bring 'em on")
-his constant need to prove his masculinity with tough actions (invading Iraq)
-his ridiculous tough guy rooster-like strut

Yep, kind of all makes sense, doesn't it? But why speculate? Let's find out for sure. Which brings us to the The Ostroy Report Booty Bounty on Bush. We're offering $5000 for the evidence which proves* (and we do mean proves) that our president is indeed a sword-swallower. A Liza fan. A Nancyboy. Let us know if you think you've got the iron-clad dirt on Bush. It'll be the most patriotic thing you do.

And if nothing else, got to Madsen's site and get a good laugh. Even George W. Bush deserves a good little Swift Boating every now and then.

*disclaimer: we're not talking hearsay, he said/she saids, or circumstantial evidence. We're looking for 100% bulletproof evidence; evidence that not even Dick Cheney could shoot a hole through. We want something akin to the 'money shot', kids.

How the Mainstream Media Consistently Panders to the Right and Screws the Left

Conservatives love to talk about the so-called "liberal media" and its influence over the news. But just the opposite is true. And they know it. The media is either dominated by full-fledged kool-aid drinkers like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Rupert Murdoch, or sympathizers like Wolf Blitzer, Tim Russert, Chris Matthews and, yes, even the NY Times. It's the Repuglicans whose influence dictates the media's direction, and its coverage of both parties.

In his recent brilliant, and stinging, essay on the different treatment of Democrats and Repuglicans in the press, Jamison Foser exposes the media's true conservative bias. He cites examples of how President Bush, mired in scandal and failure, has basically been given a free ride by the press while Bill Clinton was scrutinized endlessly and mercilessly in the 1990's over Whitewater, FileGate, VinceFosterGate, MonicaGate and more. To prove his point, Foser cites Eric Boehlert, author of the "Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush," who details how ABC's "Nightline" ran 19 programs about Whitewater, "but during the 24 months between Sept. 2003 and Sept. 2005, Nightline set aside just three programs to the unfolding CIA leak investigation, for which Scooter Libby, an assistant to the president, was indicted. On the night of the Libby indictments, Nightline devoted just five percent of its program to that topic." Now which "scandal" do you think merits over six times the coverage of the other, Whitewater or the CIA leak? NIghtline's reporting is hardly the covert work of some vast left-wing media conspiracy.

Foser points to many other double-standards the media has been guilty of involving Bush, Bill and Hillary, and Al Gore. His piece is a scathing indictment of the media's blatant right wing bias. It's a terrific, highly recommended read. Warning: it will make you angry.

Busby Loses House Race in California. Get Ready for the Repuglican Spin that the Democrats' Message Has Failed

The battle for the House seat vacated by imprisoned former congressman Randall "Duke" Cunningham is now over, and a Republican has retained the seat. Lobbyist and former congressman Brian Bilbray has defeated Democratic challenger Francine Busby in a costly and contentious race in California's 50th district special election. The district has for years been a Republican bastion, although recent polls showed the candidates in a dead heat. But it was a close call. In what is most certainly a blow to the GOP--the race should have been a cakewalk given the Repuglican stronghold on the district--Bilbray won by just about four points. The tightness of this contest could be a foreshadowing of major problems for the Repugs come November, as they desperately strive to retain control of the House.

But just wait. We're sure to be hammered by the Repuglican spin-meisters that the election proves that Democrats are losers with a failed message. You can just hear Rush, Hannity and the chorus of right wing blowhards....

"See? All this talk of Bush's low approval ratings, the war, Katrina, the economy, gas prices.....doesn't mean a thing. Voters simply sent another Republican in to replace the outgoing one. The Democrats had no resonating message in '04, they didn't have one Tuesday, and they won't have one in November."

But the Democrats weren't supposed to win in Cali's 50th district. Busby wasn't supposed to come so close. Nor was she supposed to run neck and neck in the polls leading up to Tuesday's election. The district's been controlled by the GOP for many years, and had voted for Bush in '04 by a solid 10-point margin. That Busby came as close as she did, in such a Republican dominated district, is an undeniable win for the Democrats, and a wake-up call to conservatives that November could be a disaster. Trying to claim bragging rights in this particular victory would be like Larry Brown boasting after the Knicks beat a high school team by 4 points.

Lastly, in the Bilbray-Busby contest, immigration was a key factor. The 50th district borders near Mexico, and Bilbray parlayed this proximity into an aggressive stand against illegal immigration. The reality? Take this issue out of the race, and take this race out of Southern California, and voters would've likely sent the Democrat off to Washington.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

More Repuglican Hypocrisy: Bible Belt States Have the Highest Divorce Rates. And they Worry About Gay Marriage?

Christian conservatives are hellbent on keeping gays from marrying, saying such same-sex unions are an affront to the great institution of marriage, threatening the very social, emotional and legal fabric which binds a man and woman in holy matrimony. Ironically however, it's these very same bible-thumpers who have the highest divorce rates in the country. The Bible Belt is the breeding ground for broken marriage.

Despite this fact, the right wing evangelical fanatics like to point to states like "liberal" Massachusetts, holding it up as some sort of Sodom and Gomorrah. To the contrary, Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate in the country at 2.4 per 1,000 population.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the states with the highest divorce rates are to be found in the Bible Belt, where they exceed by 50% the national average of 4.2 per thousand people. The 10 Southern states with some of the highest divorce rates were Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, North and South Carolina, Florida, Arizona and Texas. By comparison nine states in the Northeast-- where allegedly amoral, faithless, Volvo-driving, Birkenstock-wearing, NY Times-reading lefties are found--were among those with the lowest divorce rates: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Rhode Island.

Perhaps these born-again Christians should actually practice what they preach. Family values? Now that's a joke.

The Busheviks and Gay Marriage: The Hypocrisy is Enough to Make You Sick

Yesterday I reported on President Bush's White House speech in support of the anti-gay marriage scam called the Marriage Protection Amendment, and how the NY Post said that a Bush pal told Newsweek that the president is using this purely as a political ploy, and couldn't "give a shit" about whether gays marry or not. That Bush is politicizing the issue, or that he's lying about it, is surely enough to anger and frustrate. But after an entire day of hearing about the speech, and seeing Bush repeatedly on network and cable news pandering to the right wing Christian conservative freaks, I'm now seething over this criminal, corrupt and ammoral administration.

The hypocrisy is enough to make you gag. Back in the 90's, well-known Repuglican philanderers like Bob Barr, Bob Livingston, Henry Hyde and Newt Gingrich shoved their mistresses to the side just long enough to impeach Bill Clinton over his marital indescretions. Supposedly closeted gays like Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) and RNC chair Ken Mehlman discriminate against gays at every possible political turn. How about "Randy Randy" Cunningham, the Viagra-poppin' geriatric former congressman who cavorted in DC hotel suites with his Repuglican pals and a bevvy of prostitutes courtesy of GOP sycophant Brent Wilkes? And let's not forget male sex whore Jeff Gannon, who somehow managed to cop himself highly coveted White House press credentials, let alone a likely feel from some high-up Bushevik (or maybe the prez himself??). Or the countless congressmen and senators who are cheating on their wives with lobbyists, staffers and pages. Whatever happened to that wise old adage, "people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones?"

I am disgusted by this hypocrisy, and by what's happening in our country today. By how the Repuglicans have used hatred and prejudice to divide and conquer and turn American against American for political purposes. I am sick and tired of the Bushevik monarchy's lies. The deception. The arrogance. The self-righteousness. The double-standards. Their do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do mantra. This is a gang that would make the Roman Emperor Tiberius proud.

The GOP had the unmitigated gall to send its press secretary, Tony SnowJob, before reporters Monday to arrogantly declare that those seeking to ban gay marriage are fighting for "civil rights." I thought gays fighting for civil rights was a civil rights issue. Pardon my confusion.

It's time we say to the Bush administration and to the Repuglican party, stop insulting us with this gay-marriage non-issue. Enough. We're mad as hell, and we're not gonna take it anymore. And you're gonna see that in the polls come November. Focus your time and energies on fixing what you broke in this country. End the damn war. Shore up homeland security. Bring down the debt. Get gas prices back to reasonable levels. Stop insulting our intelligence with this asinine campaign to distract voters from the real problems in this country. And stop using gays as your political pinatas. They are some of the brightest, most creative, caring and endearing people I've met in my life. You could learn from them. They are not the problem. You are. If you're so worried about the sanctity and preservation of your precious marriages, keep your roving dicks in your pants. This may come as a shock to you, but cheating on your wife will cause a lot more damage to your marriage than two gay dudes tying the knot up in Massachusettes.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Bush Pal Says Gay Marriage is Nothing More Than a Political Issue for the Prez

President Bush in Washington Monday told a room full of revved up anti-gay Christian conservatives that, rather than focus attention on the pressing issues of the day--Iraq, Iranian nukes, the economy, gas prices--one of the biggest priorities facing the country today is making sure homosexuals cannot legally marry. If you believe Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's call for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage is critical to the moral survival of the country. No matter that recent polls show that Americans view the gay marriage issue as #7 on the priority list. We're in an election year here, folks, and these Repugs desperately need their wedge issue to rile up the base.

"Our policies should aim to strengthen families, not undermine them," Bush said in his speech. "And changing the definition of marriage would undermine the family structure." Honestly, has there ever been a more non-issue than this?

Despite his public support for the amendment, the NY Post Monday cited an unnamed friend of Bush who told Newsweek magazine that the the issue is nothing more than a Republican rallying cry for the president. "I think it was purely political. I don't think he gives a shit about it. He never talks about this stuff." I guess The Decider has decided to lie yet again.

The measure, which has virtually no chance of being approved in the Senate and becoming law, is merely a symbolic gesture to appease the right wing sickos who are once again demanding that Bush and the GOP cater to their extremist conservative views...or else. With the November midterms around the corner, it's placate or vacate.

The question is, will voters allow themselves to be duped again by the Repugs' discriminatory, racist, xenophobic campaign themes? Will they overlook their own self-interests, as they did in 2004, and focus their anger and frustration on gays, Mexicans and flag-burners? Or, as many suspect, and as polls indicate, will the Rovian game plan backfire this time, as voters demand an end to the war, a bigger paycheck, and lower gas prices?

As an aside, fifty percent of heterosexual marriages end in divorce. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Frist, Hastert, Delay, Rove, and the rest of the Busheviks are presumed hetero as well. If you ask me, not only should gays be allowed to legally marry, they should be running our country.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Another Swiss Cheese Gore Denial that Leaves the Door Wide Open for 2008. Who's He Kidding?

He's getting quite creative, this coy former vice president of ours. When asked if he's running for president in 2008, Al Gore devises every possible answer to throw his questioners off the trail: "I have no intention of running." "I have no plans to be a candidate for president again." "I don't expect to run." "I can't imagine any circumstances in which I would become a candidate again." "Politics is behind me." Every answer, that is, except the one that has any meaning: "If nominated I will not run; if elected I will not serve." That was the unequivocal answer famously given by Civil War-era general William Tecumseh Sherman when asked about his presidential aspirations upon retiring from the Army in 1884. Sherman, unlike Gore, left no doubt of his "intention."

"I haven't made a so-called Sherman statement, because it just seems unnecessary, kind of odd to do that....but that's not an effort to hold the door open. It's more the internal shifting of gears," said Gore in an interview broadcast Sunday on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

"I've found other ways to serve. I'm enjoying them," he said, referring to his work educating Americans on the harmful effects and dangers of global warming. His film, "An Inconvenient Truth," opened to strong reviews last week.

So what is it about Al Gore exactly that's causing him to do this utterly non-convincing little dance with the media? I'm a huge Gore supporter, as readers of this blog know, and I hope for the sake of the country, which needs him badly, that he does make a run for it. He was born to run for president, and he knows damn well that '08 presents him with the chance of a lifetime (after, of course, that other chance of a lifetime he had back in 2000). He's got the experience, the popular positions, the network and the bucks to make a successful run. And he's a changed man who, according to friends and colleagues, and even many Republicans, has shed his stiff wonkish skin and found his true inner voice.

But if Gore truly has no plans to run, he should be a mensch and issue his Sherman statement. Period. No ifs, ands or buts. In the absence of that unequivocal denial however, every time he states he has no intention of running, take that to assume he does.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Fear-Mongering Repugs to Scare Base With Talk of Pelosi as House Speaker if Dems Win in November

The Swift Boating of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has officially begun. As the New York Times reported this week, the GOP is ratcheting up the fiery rhetoric in a precursor to its likely attack ads this fall on the California congresswoman who's in line to become the next Speaker if the Democrats win the needed 15 seats to take back the House this Fall.

In a new campaign theme to rally its right-wing base, the Repuglican party's painted a bullseye on Pelosi's back that screams wealthy liberal San Francisco counterculture extremist. Pelosi-as-Speaker is not a scenario the Repugs like to think about on a full stomach. RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman said she was neither a "New Democrat" nor an "Old Democrat" but a "prehistoric Democrat."

"Is America ready for Nancy Pelosi's Contract With San Francisco?" asked Rep. Rick Keller (R-Fla).

Keller and his Repuglican cohorts may be in for a big surprise this Fall, as voters could likely reject President Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Denny Hastert's contract to destroy America. Recent national polls all show that a majority of voters are dissatisfied with Bush, the GOP leadership, and prefer Democrats on every single domestic and foreign policy issue.

Going into the home stretch, so far we have a Repuglican platform that consists of homophobia, xenophobia, red-neck-baiting flag-burning legislation, stop-Bush's-impeachment, and keep-Pelosi-from-Power themes. And they say we don't have anything to say.

Buy the Dixie Chicks' New Album and Send a Big F**k You to Repuglicans

Wanna send a strong message to the Repuglican Party, conservatives and red-necks across America? Go out and buy the new Dixie Chicks album, "Taking the Long Way." Not a country music fan? That's irrelevant. You're a Democrat. It'll be the best, most patriotic $10 investment you could make all year. Despite Repug predictions that the Chicks' career would be over after lead singer Natalie Maines' comment in March 2003 that she "was ashamed" of President Bush, the new album opened at #1 on the country albums chart and the Billboard 200 overall chart, sold 525,000 copies in its first week (100,000 more than industry projections) and is one of the most successful openings of the year. But that's not enough, folks. Let's drive album sales through through the friggin' roof and send a giant Fuck You to these right-wing fascists who wish to control our thoughts, our speech, our lives. At the very least, let's pay Natalie and the Chicks back for having the guts to come out three years ago and put country over career.

Click here to buy the album at and help support a terrific liberal news site in addition to the Chicks.

(disclaimer: this blogger has absolutely no financial interest whatsoever in Dixie Chicks record sales....but wishes he did.)

Tuesday's Bilbray/Busby House Election Could Be Key Window Into November's Midterms

The race to fill convicted California congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham's House seat comes to a head Tuesday, and could likely be a key early barometer into voter anger and a spotlight on illegal immigration.

Cunningham, a seven-term congressman in the 50th district bordering Mexico, resigned last Fall after pleading guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud, and tax evasion. He was sentenced in March to eight years, four months and was ordered to pay $1.8 million in restitution. Vying to fill out the remainder of his term is Democrat Francine Busby, a local school-board member, and Republican lobbyist Brian Bilbray, who represented the neighboring 49th District from 1995-2001. The 50th district has been a bastion of the Republican party for years.

It's an interesting match-up for several reasons. First, we'll possibly get to see on Tuesday just how deep the anger and frustration is with the current Republican leadership in the wake of the Iraq war, the Katrina failure, skyrocketing gas prices, rampant corruption and Bush's abysmal approval ratings. Will voters rebel as widely speculated and vote Democrat simply because they want change?

Next, the issue of immigration looms large over this election. Busby toes the party line, seeking limited citizenship and guest-worker programs, while Bilbray is more of a House hard-liner who seeks stiff criminal penalties for illegals and law-breaking employers.

What could also be a deciding factor here is Bilbray's moderate positions on abortion and gun control, which blur the social lines between him and Busby, and give life to Independent candidate William Griffith, a conservative who has virtually no chance of winning but who might pull critical votes away from the Republican.

Lastly, if Busby succeeds in turning the 50th blue from red, this could foreshadow Democratic success across the country in November. And this scares the bejesus out of the GOP, which is why they've unleashed their sleazy Swift-Boating campaign against Busby. A National Republican Congressional Committee ad says that "Busby even praised a teacher reported to have child porn, saying she was always willing to lend a hand. That's dangerous. Liberal Francine Busby. Poor management. Poor judgment. Dangerous." The Busby camp is furious.

"This is the most outrageous and slanderous attack I could even imagine," Busby said. "I have devoted my entire life to protecting children and fighting for better education, and to claim that I sympathize with child pornographers is the most despicable low anyone could sink to."

"If Brian Bilbray had an ounce of integrity, he would call for this ad to be taken off the air," Busby spokesman Brennan Bilberry added. "What is even more disgusting is that Brian Bilbray is standing by this ad, which is more evidence that he will say and do anything to protect his pay-for-play ways." The campaign also cited Andy Brown, a Republican member of the school board, who called the NRCC ad "outrageous and untrue."

So what do the numbers show so far? In May, Moore Information, a GOP polling outfit, had Busby holding a 43%-37% lead over Bilbray. Democratic pollster Lake Research has her ahead 47%-40%. And non-partisan Survey USA has it at a 45%-45% dead heat.

With the stakes so high, I suspect the ugliness will reach unimaginable heights by Tuesday.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Don Imus' Brilliant Suggestion

Talking with Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) on his radio program Thursday morning, Don Imus said, "We oughta make Saddam Hussein the president of the United States and put George Bush on trial in Iraq." Couldn't have said it better myself.

New Dixie Chicks Record Tops Charts in One of the Year's Biggest Openings Yet Reuters Calls it "Bush-wacked"

The Dixie Chicks' new album, "Taking the Long Way," opened at #1 on the country albums chart and the Billboard 200 overall chart, sold 525,000 copies in its first week (100,000 more than industry projections) and is one of the most successful openings of the year. Nice revenge for the country group whose lead singer, Natalie Maines, took it on the chin over controversial comments made in 2003 about President Bush on the eve of the Iraq war. But according to Reuters Wednesday, the Chicks have been "Bush-wacked" with "sharply lower sales." The group's 2002 album "Home" sold 780,000 copies in its first week, which is the apparent basis for this supposedly disappointing new opening. Kind of a stretch, don't ya think?

Since '02 we've heard the ubiquitous claims from the right that the Dixie Chicks are done. Finished. That country music fans have soundly rejected them as unpatriotic traitors and will no longer buy their records. To the contrary, first-week sales on "Taking the Long Way" were better than that of two of country's biggest stars, Toby Keith, whose "White Trash With Money" opened with 330,000 units, and Tim McGraw, whose "Greatest Hits Vol. 2: Reflected" opened with 242,000. So much for rejection.

Nice going, girls. Seems like the Chicks have been redeemed after all. Three years ago Maines was vilified for having the prescience to say she "was ashamed" of the president. Americans now seem to agree.