Sunday, October 29, 2006

Olbermann: R.I.P. “Stay the Course” 1885-2006

Like habeas corpus last week, Keith eulogized the death of "stay the course" last night by taking a look back at all the good times we've had together. From Reagan, Bush 41 and Dana Carvey to Bill Frist, Joe Lieberman and Bush 43, Keith takes us on a stroll down memory lane to pay tribute to the passing of one of our (least) favorite mainstay rhetorical strategies.

New Rule: We Don't Need Drug Tests for Librarians

They can't have very nice lives - librarians. It's like being a teacher, only without the opportunities for dating, because the only kids you meet are the nerds. So the last thing America's shsssshing minority needs is the indignity of a urine test. But that's just what we're doing. I'm not sure this is the best use of our time.

The last time a librarian did something really stupid and reckless on drugs was when Laura married George.

Last year, Florida's Levy County introduced drug testing for library volunteers. Whose average age is between 60 and 85. The volunteers were required to drive to another city - Gainesville - and urinate in a cup "within hearing distance" of a laboratory monitor. That'll teach 'em for offering to work for free. "Okay, grandma, now get pissing. And I'd better hear a nice even unbroken stream."

And then something weird happened. Inexplicably, the number of volunteers dropped from 55 to two. It's almost like they didn't enjoy being degraded. And they call themselves the greatest generation.

I know what you're thinking. If Aunt Iris has nothing to hide, she can get a little of her own urine on her hands and prove she's not strung out on junk. Then we can feel safe, and she can go back to mis-shelving the Readers Digests. But then a second thought occurs to you, later, when you really, really think about it. And that thought is this: What the fuck is wrong with us? Are we high?

They're not flying planes. They're showing the homeless how to use the microfiche readers. For free. The only people who profit from this are the stockholders of the drug testing company, who stood to make $33 a head, money the library would have otherwise just wasted on books.

A spokesman for the libraries said she wouldn't make the volunteers drive to Gainesville for their cavity searches anymore. And she also thought the problem wasn't the drug test itself, but the method they used. That's why they're looking into switching from urine tests to mouth swabs. The same method used by the Florida Department of Corrections.

Bill Maher is the host of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" which airs every Friday at 11PM.

Virginia Republican George Allen & Lesbian sex novelist Lynne Cheney owe the US Marine Corps an apology

One of Virginia Democratic Senate candidate Jim Webb's books that Republican Senator George Allen thinks is vulgar and inappropriate reading is actually on the recommended books list for the US Marine Corps. VP spouse Lynne Cheney also finds this literature inappropriate for children, which is kind of obvious considering it's literature for the Marines.

The book, Fields of Fire, is one of the three books that Allen has a problem with. I guess Mr. Allen will need to take his complaint all the way to Iraq and tell our troops that they're unfit for command since they have read, and recommend for reading, Mr. Webb's book.

Not only that, but the Commandant of the US Marine Corps put Webb's book on the Corps' "official reading list."So George Allen thinks he the Commandant of the US Marine Corps is having our soldiers read trash? I think George Allen and Mrs. Cheney owe the Commandant, and all of our troops risking their lives in Iraq, an apology.

by John in DC, AmericaBlog

Karl Rove, military strategist

This may explain why the U.S. is in so much trouble in Iraq. Rove is dispensing military advice... well, to Rove and Bush the military is political:

Presidential advisor Karl Rove blasted Democrats on Friday for even suggesting the U.S. withdraw from Iraq, saying the U.S. can't leave one of the world's largest oil reserves in terrorist hands.However, Rove also said the military must be flexible in its tactics. He did not elaborate."More sacrifice is going to be required," Rove, President Bush's chief political strategist, told a ballroom full of Republicans at a fundraiser for Wisconsin candidates. "We will either create a world in which our children and our grandchildren have a hope of an optimistic future or we will leave to them a world with a hateful empire centered in the Middle East."

That sacrifice of which he speaks isn't coming from Republicans.

by John in DC, AmericaBlog

LSB: So it is about the oil, just as I thought all along. Several thoughts: first, let’s reduce our dependence on foreign oil by further developing alternate energy sources and expanding public transportation. Secondly, it’s a little late now for an optimistic future in the Middle East – our continued presence in the Middle East only increases the number of terrorists and their hatred of the U.S. Thank you, Karl, for your part in all of that. Maybe our best hope for an optimistic future in the Middle East is for the U.S. to get the fuck outta there and let them handle it. Various religious sects there have been fighting each other for centuries - who really thought we were gonna clean up that mess overnight? And third, when does this chicken hawk get a say in the military tactics? We have a couple of elected chicken hawks for that.

Republican National Committee regularly takes contributions from gay porn "king"

Why is this relevant? Because the RNC went after Tennessee Democrat Harold Ford last week claiming he took money from Hollywood porn movie producers. Leave it to the Republicans to one up the Democrats and not just take porn money, but take GAY PORN money.

:-) I love Republicans. They make me smile.

More from Josh Marhsall:
RNC Chief Ken Mehlman accepted political contributions from gay porn king?... the Republican National Committee is a regular recipient of political contributions from Nicholas T. Boyias, the owner and CEO of Marina Pacific Distributors, one of the largest producers and distributors of gay porn in the United States. ... Some recent releases include "Fire in the Hole", "Flesh and Boners", even a "Velvet Mafia" series.

Maybe we can get Ken to guest blog a few reviews for us.PS As Josh notes, I have no problem with porn, gay or otherwise. But Ken Mehlman (who will always be my king of porn) does. Or so we thought.

by John in DC, AmericaBlog

Cheney's "No-Brainer"

How did the Bush Office of Legal Counsel actually conclude that "waterboarding" - finally publicly confirmed as a "no-brainer" by the vice-president and practised by the U.S., following the Khmer Rouge - actually qualify as "legal" and "not torture"?

Marty Lederman explains why here.

Kay Bailey – Flip-Flopper

With the looming midterm elections and the imminent report from James Baker's Iraq Study Group facing them like a double-barreled shotgun, Congressional Republicans are beginning to cut and run on President Bush's failed Iraq strategy. In recent days, Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and John Warner (R-VA) have garnered most of the attention with their critiques of a "stay the course" policy that has left Iraq "drifting sideways."

But it is Kay Bailey Hutchison from the President's home state of Texas who is now performing the greatest pre-election turnabout. And in seeking cover from the woes of President Bush, Senator Hutchison has paradoxically lauded President Clinton's intervention in the Balkans, a policy she once vehemently opposed.

Hutchison completed her desperate flip-flop with her endorsement of a plan to decentralize Iraq into distinct Shia, Sunni and Kurdish zones. In essence endorsing proposals such as those from Joe Biden (D-DE) and other to create a de facto, federated Iraq along religious and communitarian lines, Hutchison rejected the views of both the President and long time Bush family consigliere James Baker:
"We have to step back and stop trying to put our American ideas onto this problem and start trying to get an understanding of their views and strong-held prejudices and biases and ethnic preferences...Yes, it would be hard to do, but it would be worth trying. People say, 'Well, that would balkanize the country.' Well, things are pretty stable in the Balkans right now. It's looking better than Iraq."
For that, Kay Bailey Hutchison has Bill Clinton to thank. After all, it was President Clinton's determination in the face of staunch GOP opposition to end the ethnic cleansing and slaughter in Bosnia (and later, Kosovo) that made stability in the Balkans anything more than a pipedream.
Heading up the Republican opposition to Clinton's efforts to save Bosnia was none other than Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. On September 26, 1995, Hutchison proclaimed:
"I don't support the mission and I don't think the American people do. This is not where we should be taking the leadership role."
Just weeks later on November 30, 1995, Hutchison reiterated her opposition to the Dayton Accords plans for a federated Bosnia and the American presence needed to implement it:
"I think it is very important that we have an alternative because many of us feel that this is the wrong decision and that for us to exercise our responsibility as members of the Senate that we must speak out against deploying troops to Bosnia."
In December 1995, Hutchison sponsored a resolution stating the Senate's opposition to the Bosnia intervention. Defeated by a slim 52-47 margin, Hutchison's resolution expressed support for the 20,000 U.S. troops headed to the former Yugoslav republics while condemning their mission.

Hutchison's fierce opposition to Commander-in-Chief Clinton's Balkans policy did not end there. With the U.S. presence in Bosnia was reduced to 8,500 troops by May of 1998, Hutchison again called for their withdrawal following a tour of American forces there:
"The biggest picture that we saw is that we've got to take care of our troops [...] And speaking only for myself, I believe we're going to have to be more capable and more sure that when we send our troops out, it is for United States security interest or a commitment that we have to our allies."
While Hutchison's partitioning plan for Iraq is a non-starter at this late date, her born-again conversion to Bill Clinton's Balkans policy is long overdue. What a difference 10 years, a different commander-in-chief and the prospect of electoral annihilation make.

LSB: Kay Bailey "not-some-perjury-technicality" Hutchison is just one-half of the dumbfuck duo representing Texas in the Senate. The other is John "activist-judges-beware" Cornyn. (Cornyn, of course, is the worst - he's nose is buried so deep in Bush's ass he can't see anything.) Both flip-flop on the issues and talk out of both sides of their mouths. Why, my Texan brethren, are they sent to Washington to represent us?

AP seeks action on detained photographer

The U.S. military's indefinite detention of an Associated Press photographer in Iraq, without charges, is an outrage and should be seen as such by the journalistic community, AP editors said Friday.

"We are angry, and we hope you are, too," AP International Editor John Daniszewski told a gathering of the Associated Press Managing Editors.

In interviews, the leaders of APME and the American Society of Newspaper Editors shared frustration with the case of Bilal Hussein and said they would urge the Pentagon to release the photographer, who has been held by the military since April, or to provide the AP with justification for his continued detention. The president of the Associated Press Photo Managers, Steve Gonzales, said in an e-mail that his group would sign onto that effort, saying it understands "the necessity of unbiased visual journalism in theaters of conflict."

The AP similarly has called for the military to release the photographer or charge him with a crime.

Hussein was arrested in April and accused, "vaguely," of being a security threat, said Santiago Lyon, the AP's director of photography. The military has said Hussein was in the company of two alleged insurgents. Daniszewski said that when the news cooperative pressed for further details, the best it could learn was that Hussein was allegedly involved in the kidnapping of two journalists by insurgents in Ramadi.

However, Daniszewski said the two journalists were asked by AP about the incident and that they recalled Hussein as a "hero," who helped evacuate them from harm's way.

Lyon said he reviewed Hussein's images and interviewed his colleagues and found nothing to suggest he was doing more than his job in a war zone. The vast majority of images depicts the realities of war, Lyon said, and "may be an inconvenient truth, but a truth nonetheless."

David Zeeck, president of ASNE and executive editor of The News Tribune, of Tacoma, Wash., called Hussein's detention without charges "contrary to American values."

"This is how Saddam Hussein dealt with reporters; he would hold them incommunicado," Zeeck said.

Some of Bilal Hussein's images were shown to the newspaper editors Friday. One showed a man sweeping up a blood-drenched floor; another, a row of four dead children and others of wounded Iraqis. Lyon said Hussein captured important and compelling images of the effects of war.

Hussein is an Iraqi national, as are nearly all AP journalists in the war-torn country, Lyon said. He also is one of about 13,000 men and women being detained in Iraq without getting a trial, Daniszewski said.

Suki Dardarian, deputy managing editor of The Seattle Times and outgoing president of the APME, said what's happened with Hussein could have a chilling effect on the work of other journalists. Hussein's detention has virtually halted the production of photographs from the dangerous region in which Hussein worked, Daniszewski said.

LSB: And don’t you think this was the real intention?

Photo: Bilal Hussein, center, a photographer for The Associated Press based in Fallujah, Iraq, visits with his brother Dr. Abdul Hadi, left, and Hadi's daughters Ban, 14, and Batool, 7, in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday Nov. 14, 2004.

"The President Knows more than He Lets on"

One hundred suspected terrorists from all over the world are still being held in secret American prisons. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, CIA expert Ron Suskind accuses Washington of "running like a headless chicken" in its war against al-Qaida. He reserves special criticism for the CIA's torture methods, which he argues are unproductive.

Read more of the interview with terror expert Ron Suskind.

LSB: Maybe the President doesn’t know more than he’s stated - it’s called ‘Plausible Deniability.’ But I bet I know somebody who does know more than he's saying!

LEAKED MEMO: Karen Hughes Thinks Small In Combating Iraq Insurgency

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes heads off to the Middle East this weekend for a round of public diplomacy. Think Progress has obtained this internal memorandum sent from Hughes to National Security Council Principals earlier this month entitled “Thinking ‘bigger.’”

A key section of this memo offers the Bush administration’s strategy for “Public Diplomacy to Counter Insurgency in Iraq.” Far from “thinking bigger,” the recommendations for defeating the insurgency are small-minded, unambitious, and disconnected from reality. Here are Hughes’ three ideas:
  • Substantially expand…[the] “Micro scholarship” program…targeted at youth in key disadvantaged areas in Iraq, such as Sadr City or Anbar Governorate.”
  • Create a fund to support media projects by Iraqis, such as documentaries, short films, animation, audio-visual productions and other material that would show Iraq’s reality to pan-Arab and pan-Islamic audiences.
  • Revive book publishing in Iraq to fill the intellectual vacuum…and support…Iraq’s hard-pressed intellectuals.
See the full memo HERE.

These are all nice ideas in theory, but the problems affecting Iraqi society go much deeper and are far more serious that the administration wants to admit. Iraq is in a state of endemic chaos, marked by four raging internal conflicts, ethnic cleansing, and few significant advances in Iraq’s economic reconstruction.

These recommendations fail to scratch the surface of the underlying problems and do not address what the recent Iraq NIE described as “a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world.” Hughes’ memo sadly reveals that the administration is not “thinking big” enough about the problems resulting from our current occupation of Iraq. To get things right in Iraq, we need to embrace a complete shift in strategy and adopt a policy of strategic redeployment.

Brian Katulis

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Weekend Comics

World's Crappiest Campaign Sites

Fort Worth House Representative Kay Granger, R-TX 12, seems to be in a safe seat, and doesn’t need some “net roots” hi-tech nonsense. A basic website is fine.

But Kay is not the kind of Republican to sit around and let the world go to Hell like some other Repubs we’ve already mentioned a few thousand times this month. After all, her slogan is “Celebrating Our Nation’s Values.” And those values, apparently, include getting fucked up on the most disgusting “margarita” in history.

For Easy, Killer Margaritas and other recipes, visit the Congresswoman's website.

Report: Israel used uranium-based warheads in Lebanon war

Studies carried out by a European Union-affiliated organization suggest the Israel Air Force used experimental missiles employing uranium against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, the British newspaper The Independent reported on its website on Saturday.

The Independent:
… But scientific evidence gathered from at least two bomb craters in Khiam and At-Tiri, the scene of fierce fighting between Hizbollah guerrillas and Israeli troops last July and August, suggests that uranium-based munitions may now also be included in Israel's weapons inventory - and were used against targets in Lebanon. According to Dr Chris Busby, the British Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, two soil samples thrown up by Israeli heavy or guided bombs showed "elevated radiation signatures". Both have been forwarded for further examination to the Harwell laboratory in Oxfordshire for mass spectrometry - used by the Ministry of Defence - which has confirmed the concentration of uranium isotopes in the samples.

Dr Busby's initial report states that there are two possible reasons for the ontamination. "The first is that the weapon was some novel small experimental nuclear fission device or other experimental weapon (eg, a thermobaric weapon) based on the high temperature of a uranium oxidation flash ... The second is that the weapon was a bunker-busting conventional uranium penetrator weapon employing enriched uranium rather than depleted uranium." A photograph of the explosion of the first bomb shows large clouds of black smoke that might result from burning

Enriched uranium is produced from natural uranium ore and is used as fuel for nuclear reactors. A waste productof the enrichment process is depleted uranium, it is an extremely hard metal used in anti-tank missiles for penetrating armour. Depleted uranium is less radioactive than natural uranium, which is less radioactive than enriched uranium. …

Asked by The Independent if the Israeli army had been using uranium-based munitions in Lebanon this summer, Mark Regev, the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, said: "Israel does not use any weaponry which is not authorised by international law or international conventions." This, however, begs more questions than it answers. Much international law does not cover modern uranium weapons because they were not invented when humanitarian rules such as the Geneva Conventions were drawn up and because Western governments still refuse to believe that their use can cause long-term damage to the health of thousands of civilians living in the area of the explosions.
More here.

REPORT: Top U.S. Military Officer Recommends ‘We Remove All Troops From Baghdad’

President Bush has consistently said that his strategy in Iraq is dictated by military officials on the ground. Last night on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, columnist Mark Shields revealed that one of the “highest ranking men” in the military has recommended removing all U.S. troops from Baghdad. Here’s the key excerpt:

MARK SHIELDS: The highest ranking or certainly one of the highest ranking men in the United States military today has recommended that we remove all troops from Baghdad, all American troops from Baghdad…All of the troops out of Baghdad, secure the road to the airport, secure the oil fields and the borders, and say that the pacification and the maintaining of order in Baghdad is the responsibility of the Iraqis. That is the recommendation of probably one of the most — probably the most respected man in uniform today.
JIM LEHRER: You mean in uniform, serving on active duty today?
MARK SHIELDS: That’s right.
JIM LEHRER: So who did he make this recommendation to?
MARK SHIELDS: He made it to the civilian leadership of the United States.
If Shields’ report is true it represents an acknowledgment by the military that the conspicuous presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is actually making the situation worse. This is one of the core rationales of the American Progress plan, Strategic Redeployment.


McCain Calls For Escalation In Iraq, Wants 20,000 More Troops On The Ground. Today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) called for sending 20,000 more troops to Iraq. The AP reports:

Republican Sen. John McCain, a possible 2008 presidential candidate, said Friday the United States should send another 20,000 troops to Iraq.

A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain said increasing U.S. forces would require expanding the standing Army and Marine Corps - a step the Bush administration has resisted. […]

‘’Another 20,000 troops in Iraq, but that means expanding the Army and the Marine Corps,'’ he said.
McCain’s call for escalation would exacerbate the deteriorating situation in Iraq and would only further damage U.S. national security. Here’s at least two reasons why:

1) No troops to send. “Sending more troops to Iraq would, at the moment, threaten to break our nation’s all-volunteer Army and undermine our national security.” McCain suggests enlarging the force to send them to Iraq, an idea that is implausible to carry out over the short-term and would damage the military’s ability to recruit over the long-term.

2) The insurgency would grow more inflamed. “A more visible presence of U.S. troops risks further stoking the flames of the insurgency by feeding perceptions of long-term U.S. occupation among many Iraqis.” The recent effort to increase troop numbers in Baghdad has only increased violence. A recent poll of Iraqis indicated that support for attacks on US-led forces has grown to a majority position — now six in ten — a number sure to increase if more U.S. troops are put on the ground.
Phased withdrawal is gaining consensus as the last best option for Iraq. A growing group of experts — including the Iraq Study Group and host of conservative senators — are consolidating behind a redeployment. 63 percent of Americans believe Congress should set a timetable.

Sullivan: Listening to Jesus

From Andrew Sullivan’s book, The Conservative Soul:

The message of the Gospels seems to me to be constantly returning to this theme: those who set themselves up as arbiters of moral correctness, the men of the book, the Pharisees, are often the furthest from God. Rules can only go so far; love does the rest. And the rest is by far the most important part. Jesus of Nazareth constantly tells his fellow human beings to let go of law and let love happen: to let go of the pursuit of certainty, to let go of possessions, to let go of pride, to let go of reputation and ambition, to let go also of obsessing about laws and doctrines. This letting go is what the fundamentalist fears the most. To him, it implies chaos, disorder, anarchy. To Jesus, it is the beginning of wisdom, and the prerequisite of love.
Love. Agape. How much of it do you see on the gay-baiting, fear-mongering, politically controlling Christianist right?

LSB: Amen!

SMACKDOWN: Letterman vs. O’Reilly

David Letterman didn't try to hide the fact last night that he just plain doesn't like Bill O'Reilly. He wasted no time bashing FOX News and doing what few people can do — ridiculing O'Reilly’s ratings. (Letterman's audience is more than 2x as large.)

While sparring over Iraq, Letterman interrupted the giant talking head saying he "doesn't care" what Bill has to say. When Bill O, in typical FAUX form, tried to suggest that Dave believes "Bush is an evil liar" and that "America is a bad country" Letterman comes back with the line of the month: "You're trying to put words in my mouth just the way you put artificial facts in your head."

If you missed the first battle between Letterman and O'Reilly, you should go take a look see. It's a good read. This one was good, too. But it wasn't as hot as the first one.

Transcript here and Video here.

Report: Halliburton unit exploited rules

WASHINGTON - The Halliburton subsidiary that provides food, shelter and other logistics to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan exploited federal regulations to hide details on its contract performance, according to a report released Friday.

The special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction found that Halliburton's Kellogg, Brown & Root Services routinely marked all information it gave to the government as proprietary, whether it was or not. The government promises not to disclose proprietary data so a company's most valuable information is not divulged to its competitors.

By marking all information proprietary — including such normally releasable data as labor rates — the company abused federal regulations, the report says.

In effect, Kellogg, Brown & Root turned the regulations "into a mechanism to prevent the government from releasing normally transparent information, thus potentially hindering competition and oversight."

Lynne Cheney's Anger Management Problem

Move over, Naomi. Step aside, Hillary. The new queen of mean is Lynne Cheney.

Today, in a face-off with Wolf Blitzer worthy of inclusion in the Gender Stereotypes Hall of Fame, the nation's second lady used exactly the kind of rhetoric that led Republicans to cast Senator Clinton as (in Maureen Dowd's summary) "an angry woman, a she-monster melding images of Medea, the Furies, harpies, and a knife-wielding Glenn Close in 'Fatal Attraction.'"

Mrs. Veep was bitter about John King's "Broken Government" special on CNN. "A terrible distortion!" she lectured. She was petulant when Wolf cited VPOTUS's recent kind words for waterboarding. "A complete distortion!" she fumed. She was pissed when Wolf cited sapphic soft porn from her novel, Sisters. Lesbians? Rape? Brothels? "Lies, baloney" she seethed through clenched teeth. If there'd been a gun handy, Wolf might be spending the weekend picking buckshot out of his face.

I can't wait for the right to defend Lynne Cheney's appearance on CNN. Every quality that Republicans demonized in Hillary will be lionized in Lynne. Witchy? Bitchy? Don't be ridiculous -- she's displaying righteous indignation. Rage? Hysteria? Oh, no, that's standing your ground. And hey, she was set up: the booker said she'd be talking about her children's book…

Marty Kaplan,

Piling On: George Allen - Spitter

Emails began pouring in earlier today about a rumor on Capitol Hill about some trouble in Sen. George Allen's (R-VA) divorce file. Josh Marshall and others cannot get a response from the Allen campaign. A very reputable political reporter tells me this isn't from Democratic opposition research and that it's probably coming out because many feel Allen "crossed the line" when he started talking about Jim Webb's novels. I'm told divorce records are usually sealed for two reasons: (a) to protect kids; and (b) to protect large financial fortunes. Neither situation applies in Allen's case, so the suspicion is that it's something not very nice. A clue might be in Ryan Lizza's recent piece on Mark Warner that cites a story that had been "making the rounds" about a 2008 presidential contender who "once spit on his wife." That rumor was also about Allen.

Allen is a renowned spitter. A former reporter posted a diary at DailyKos based on a column she wrote for a paper in Virginia:

I stepped near the governor and smiled, told him my name and that I wrote for the local newspaper. Then I asked him a softball question, what some reporters call a "set-up."

"Does Southwest Virginia need these jobs?" I asked.

He stopped and looked straight at me. He had to look down at me, because he stood so tall in those cowboy boots. I thought I spotted a twinkle in his eye, and for a moment, I suspected he might give a humorous, light-hearted answer. Then he leaned forward and looked all the way down at the pavement. I figured he was planning a perfectly crafted answer to my question. I put pen to paper, ready to take it down. His lips puckered as if he might speak.

Then, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia gathered up a glob of tobacco-laced saliva. He used his lips to squirt it out, as if he had practiced. The spit landed just at the tip of my shoe. He grinned, but didn't say a word. Then he walked into the building.

LSB: In the final days of the campaigns it seems that everything in the “opposition research files” is coming to light. Some of it sheds light on a candidate’s character, and some just seems to be silly.

Allen is clearly trying to link Webb’s fictionalized accounts of the sexual deviations he saw in Viet Nam (when is that war ever gonna be over?) with the salacious accounts of the recent GOP exploits. Allen is also highlighting Webb’s report where he wrote negatively about the role of women in the military. First, both of these pieces were written more than 30 years ago. Second, Webb’s books were praised by Sen. John McCain, another Viet Nam veteran. (Allen never served in the military in any capacity.) Third, flash forward 30 years and look at the highest levels of Webb’s campaign staff and you’ll find more women in prominent positions than in the Allen campaign staff. That, to me, reflects a personal growth.

This "spitting" stuff is just silly, especially if it is anything like the erroneous reports that Allen had a black lab named Sambo and a cat named Buckwheat. If this spitting stuff is true, however, that behavior is childish and unbecoming a U.S. Senator.

What I really want to know is that if Webb's fictional books can be drawn into the debate, why isn't George Allen's secret arrest record fair game, too? In fact, isn’t an arrest record even more relevant? Shouldn’t the voters have a right to know more about the man who wants to represent them in the Senate? Why is this arrest record secret – shouldn’t it be public information? Shortly after an arrest warrant for him was issued in 1974 (roughly the same time period as Webb’s book was written), Allen applied for membership in the Virginia Bar Association and had to detail his arrest record. If the original arrest record is missing Allen can clear up the controversy over his arrest records by simply making the Bar Association documents public. If this is just about parking tickets or a lapsed fishing license, as Allen’s aides have suggested, then what’s the big deal? Clear it up for us, George – release the information on your arrest.

Johnny Reb Allen's Swift Boating Of Jim Webb

Bear with me as I try to figure out this Jim Webb situation. Senator Allen and the mighty GOP cabal are making a big deal about several historical novels written by Jim Webb and endorsed by Senator McCain which depict the horrors of the Vietnam War. The horrors include sexual references and acts which many veterans observed in the war. This somehow proves Jim Webb's lack of character.

Am I getting it so far?

Good. Let's continue.

Senator Allen and many of his fellow right wing parrots never served in Vietnam or in any war for that matter and one of the only Republicans who did in fact serve in Vietnam is actually on the record claiming the book is a vivid depiction of the some of the war's atrocities.

Got it. But wait...

Senator Allen, meanwhile, made a cameo appearance in the awful movie Gods and Generals (far right with mustache). [In the interest of fairness, Stephen Lang, who played Stonewall Jackson, was brilliant.] Gods and Generals, apart from being a preachy love letter to the Confederacy with an editorial pace making it seem only about two minutes shorter than the actual war, contained repeated instances of the word "darkies" to describe African-Americans while glorifying the generals who engaged in what technically amounted to an organized military and political insurrection against the United States. Senator Allen is seen in the movie singing the Bonnie Blue Flag lyric, "Hurrah! Hurrah! For Southern rights, hurrah!" implying, in part, the right to own slaves. Senator Allen, when you boil it right down, portrayed a traitor against the United States. An insurgent, if you will.

Yet few would be insane enough to indict Allen for this, other than his taste in writer/directors. It was a movie about actual events and actual behavior in Virginia during the American Civil War. He was involved in a production which fictionalized actual historical events -- events which included the ugliness of American war. Even after repeated allegations of racism, no-one I can think of has actually made an argument against Allen based on his Gods and Generals appearance. If anything, the Republicans could've made a gigantic hoohah over the fact that Allen appeared in the same scene as "far-left secular progressive" Ted Turner who, by the way, financed the movie and portrayed a Confederate officer.

That said, Senator Allen has again exposed his own lack of character and, more than anything, his myriad of political weaknesses in this latest desperate smear of his opponent. Allen dressed up in a mustache and butternut uniform and performed in a theatrical account of the Civil War which dramatized, in part, some of the ugliest truths of that era. Webb actually served meritoriously in the Vietnam War and wrote about the ugly truths he witnessed in wartime and its aftermath. Allen pretended to be a soldier, which is as close as he ever came to actual military service, while Webb served bravely and honorably.

Now tell me -- because maybe I'm missing it -- do Senator Allen and his chickenhawk supporters in the wingnut media have a leg to stand on? Does Lynne Cheney, who has written salacious books and whose husband received five deferments from the draft during Vietnam ("Dick did not"), have any right to impugn Jim Webb on CNN? Do the hypocrite roster. It's not too difficult. Check out some of Arnold's movies. Check out what the president and others did while members of Yale's Skull & Bones society.

At the end of the day, the Rove Republicans have once again highlighted how shameless they can truly be. Not only have they brazenly and without remorse attacked the patriotism of decorated veterans like Max Cleland and Senator McCain, but now they're attacking a decorated veteran who wrote about the war. They've ripped these passages out of context for the easily led masses and posted them on Drudge. Then, in the most ridiculous strategic move in this outrageous stratagem, they pooped out Lynne Cheney and dumped her in CNN's lap to perpetuate this trumped up outrage against a Vietnam War veteran.

Now Jim Webb, a well-vetted Reagan appointee, has been forced to defend his stories of the war. Likewise, Michael J. Fox has been forced to defend his Parkinson's symptoms. What kind of party is this which controls our entire government and most of our media right now? It's surely a party which hasn't deserved a single second of that kind of success. And the only reason why they've managed to attain this power is very simply because they're good at "one thing," as Karl Rove quoted from City Slickers this week. That one thing is manipulation. They manipulate you and everyone they encounter through fear, deception and ignorance of the truth. They manipulate good people into defending themselves when no defense would otherwise have been required.

I think I've grasped this now. Thanks for your patience.

A final note to anyone who's written about the atrocities of the Iraq War and who plans to one day serve in politics. Delete now -- especially if there's a chapter about Abu Ghraib containing the phrase "naked men smeared with feces forming a human pyramid." Who knows what brand of futuristic cyberwingnut will try to nail you on it.

Bob Cesca,

Friday, October 27, 2006

VIDEO: Lynne Cheney Unhinged On CNN

Lynne Cheney came prepared to The Situation Room with the classic conservative tool – "liberal bias" – as a way to deflect criticisms of her husband's awful water-boarding remarks. Cheney also said a CNN special that aired yesterday was a “terrible distortion of both the president and the vice president’s position on many issues,” in part because CNN used the phrase “domestic surveillance” to describe the so-called “Terrorist Surveillance Program.” When Wolf Blitzer pointed out that some individuals have been arrested and interrogated despite having no ties to terrorism, Cheney warned, “I think that you might be a little careful” declaring someone has “clean hands.”
Later, Cheney criticized Virginia Senate candidate Jim Webb for including sexually explicit material in his novels. Asked whether her own novel Sisters had “lesbian characters,” Cheney said, “no, not necessarily. This description is a lie. I’ll stand on that.” In fact, her novel did contain multiple scenes describing a lesbian love affair. Lynne Cheney said that, in contrast to her own lesbian love novel, Jim Webb's novel isn't appropriate for grandchildren to hear.


“James Webb’s new novel paints a portrait of a modern Vietnam charged with hopesfor the future but haunted by the ghosts of its war-torn past. It captures well the lingering scars of the war, and exposes the tension between the dynamism of a new generation and the invisible bondage of an older generation for whom wartime allegiances, and animosities, are rendered no less vivid by the passage of time. A novel of revenge and redemption that tells us much about both where Vietnam is headed and where it has been.”— Senator John McCain

“Webb’s cultural and political portrayal of Vietnam 25 years after the war’s end is delivered with such bold strokes and magical detail... This is a highly personal and empathetic look at today’s Vietnam... This detailed, lovingly drawn portrait of Vietnam reveals a sad, tortured country that has never recovered from the horrifying events of a quarter-century ago.”— Publishers Weekly

Let's find out whether Lynne Cheney's book about lesbian love, attempted rate, and whorehouses is appropriate for your grandchildren. Gather the kids around and read a few passages of Lynne Cheney's lesbian love novel, Sisters. Then ask the kids what they think.

Read the full transcript with this lunatic.

Prickly Peacock Nixes Chicks

Barbara Kopple's new documentary, Shut up and Sing, chronicles the hostile and sometimes threatening conduct directed towards the Dixie Chicks after one of the group's members criticized the Commander-in-Chief, President George W. Bush, during a 2003 concert. Lead singer Natalie Maines said she was ashamed that the president is from Texas, her home state.

The documentary is being distributed by Harvey Weinstein's film company. According to the Weinstein Co., in rejecting the promotional spots for broadcast NBC's commercial clearance department said in writing:

"[NBC] cannot accept these spots as they are disparaging to President Bush."

The national spot shows a clip of Bush authorizing troops to fight in Iraq, then cuts to a clip of Maines' comment. Next is a clip of the president saying publicly that the Dixie Chicks shouldn't have their feelings hurt if people don't want to buy their records anymore. The final frame shows Maines saying that Bush is a "real dumb (bleep)."

"It's a sad commentary about the level of fear in our society that a movie about a group of courageous entertainers who were blacklisted for exercising their right of free speech is now itself being blacklisted by corporate America," Harvey Weinstein said in a statement. "The idea that anyone should be penalized for criticizing the president is profoundly un-American."

Ralph G. Neas, president of the nonpartisan People For the American Way, which advocates free speech, strongly criticized the reported NBC decision.

“If these reports are true, it would be astonishing for NBC to censor criticism of President Bush less than two weeks before the election,” Neas said. “This is a film about censorship, and now it sounds as though it’s being censored.”
Funny, but the networks don't seem have a problem with racist or homophobic ads, but when ever the ads are critical of Bush, or worse, promoting inclusive religions, suddenly they're not fit for television. The irony of course is that in Russia, Vladimir Putin has to threaten and kill reporters in order to get them to do his bidding. In America, folks like NBC and ABC [Path to 9/11] don't even need to be threatened in order to lose any sense of journalistic credibility.

The major media have gone conservative because they think that's where the money is. Come November 7th a Democratic House of Representative needs to take a long and hard look at media consolidation, and more importantly, media bias and whether the large networks have essentially been bought off by the Republicans. The Fairness Doctrine went away a long time ago, and as a result, whether through coercion or wooing, the networks have gone Republican.

Here's the ad that NBC found offensive. You decide, then dial 212-664-4444 to be connected with the NBC switchboard.

Rumsfeld To Iraq Critics: ‘Back Off’

At his news conference yesterday, President Bush repeatedly mentioned “benchmarks” for progress in Iraq, using the word 13 times. “But he did not discuss the consequences of the Iraqi government missing those targets. Such a question, he said, was ‘hypothetical.’”

At the Pentagon press conference this afternoon, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was asked what would happen if the Iraqi government failed to meet the “benchmarks.” Rumsfeld first responded that “it is not complicated,” but just seconds later said, “This is complicated stuff. It’s difficult. We’re looking out into the future. No one can predict the future with absolute certainty.”

He added, “So you ought to just back off, take a look at it, relax, understand that it’s complicated, it’s difficult.” Video


Musgrave tried to have Terri Schiavo's husband thrown out of the audience during her debate, Schiavo claims

From Michael Schiavo’s Journal:

Sadly, what happened in Colorado on Tuesday [October 24, 2006] is true and unbelievable.

At the conclusion of a three-day, three-state campaign trip to promote candidates who will bring needed new leadership to Washington, I flew to Ft. Collins, Colorado to attend the only "debate" between Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave and her courageous and forceful challenger Angie Paccione in the Colorado 4th district.

What happened there made the clearest case I could ever imagine for why change isn't just needed - it's required…

[J]ust minutes after taking my seat, I noticed a flurry of activity around my seat including about four uniformed police officers who were - I would learn later - called in by Musgrave staffers and asked to remove me from the building.

At this point, I had made no speeches, I had no signs, had made no attempt to disrupt or cause any commotion. I only came into the auditorium, spoke to a dozen or so reporters and took a seat.

To their credit, the police refused the Musgrave campaign's appeal to have me removed.

There's more to come, but I still can't get over even that part. A sitting member of Congress asked the police to remove me - a taxpaying citizen - from a public debate. Obviously, I misunderstand the concept of a political debate. I thought a debate was a place to share ideas, answer questions, defend your record and tell citizens what you've done and what you will do. Marilyn Musgrave believes, I have to gather, that debates are places to have the police remove people who don't agree with you.

After the police talked with obviously irritated Musgrave staffers and the debate organizer, the Musgrave campaign complained that my seat, next to the timekeeper, was inappropriate because - get this - Marilyn Musgrave would have to look at me. In an effort to appease the Musgrave camp, the debate organizers moved the
timekeeper to the other side of the stage - about 15 seats away.

If you need to re-read that again, it's okay. A member of Congress who took to the floor of our Congress to speak about my wife, my family and my values made the debate timekeeper move so she wouldn't have to look at me. Just amazing...

But underneath it all I'm left with something I can't get past. Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, as said, had no problem at all in speaking about me and my family on the floor of Congress. Yet she can't bring herself to even look at me. She has to seek help from the police to have me removed from a public debate.

It's crystal clear that Marilyn Musgrave not only can't admit she's wrong, she can't even face the consequences of her own actions. She must believe that if she runs away fast enough or surrounds herself with enough people who tell her she's great, it never happened.

Well, Marilyn, it did happen. You were wrong. And that you don't have the decency to admit it or even face me - even to disagree with me - is more than cowardice. It's un-American and disgusting...

After seeing Marilyn Musgrave in action, I hope more than ever before that voters in Colorado are wise enough to make a change. I just can't think of any better reason to dump her from Congress than her refusal to even see the people she hurts. I just don't know how you can get any worse than that.

Bush Reserves The Right To Repeat Katrina Failures

President Bush reserved the right to ignore key changes in Congress's overhaul of the Federal Emergency Management Agency -- including a requirement to appoint someone with experience handling disasters as the agency's head -- in setting aside dozens of provisions contained in a major homeland security spending bill this week.

Besides objecting to Congress's list of qualifications for FEMA's director, the White House also claimed the right to edit or withhold reports to Congress by a watchdog agency within the Department of Homeland Security that is responsible for protecting Americans' personal privacy.

The standards for the FEMA director were inspired by criticism of former FEMA chief Michael D. Brown's performance after Hurricane Katrina last year. Brown, a lawyer and judge of Arabian horses, had no experience in disaster response before joining FEMA.

Bush's moves came in a controversial assertion of executive authority known as a "signing statement," which the White House issued late Wednesday, the same day the president signed the $34.8 billion measure. Congress has assailed the unprecedented extent of Bush's use of signing statements to reinterpret or repudiate measures approved by lawmakers instead of exercising a formal veto.

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said the actions, first reported by the Associated Press, upheld the president's right to choose his advisers and control executive branch activities.
"There's nothing new here. The president has the authority to choose which of his subordinate officers he'll rely on," Fratto said. "The president has the authority to determine what the relationship is between them."

Conservative icon Richard Vigeurie says GOP offers conservative voters nothing this election, Democratic House may help cut back on spending

Richard Viguerie is commonly considered the father of direct mail marketing. He is one of "the" gurus of the entire conservative movement, going back decades.

Note that in this email he just sent to his list he not only blasts the Republicans, in shockingly harsh language, as offering voters nothing, he also says that it would probably be better if the Dems wont back one house of Congress.

And one final, very telling point. Viguerie provides a list of issues the GOP must focus on in order to win back ec economic and social conservatives - yet he doesn't mention one single social issue of concern to those who are commonly considered "social conservatives," the religious right. Abortion and gays are missing totally from his list. So are school prayer, the Ten Commandments, flag burning and pretty much every other issue the religious right cares and screams about.

We are witnessing the beginnings of a Republican civil war that is very much at odds with the current GOP leadership and the religious right.Here's a portion of Viguerie's email (read the entire email/release here):

Richard A. Viguerie, Chairman of, warned Republicans that scare tactics against Democrats will not succeed in increasing social or economic conservative voters on Election Day.

“The big-spending, high-deficit, morally-deficient Republican Party hasn’t anything to offer conservatives except Halloween scare tactics about the Democrats. But since the GOP majority in Congress has engaged in an unprecedented spending spree, conservatives know that Democrats cannot be any worse and that divided government may lead to less spending,” Viguerie said.

“And conservatives have learned that, while Republicans sometimes provide significant symbolism on social issues, in truth, many of them have a disdain for values voters,” he added.

“Trying to frighten conservatives by yelling ‘Nancy Pelosi’ and ‘Harry Reid’ won’t work this time."

- John in DC, AmericaBlog

Iraq misadventure crippling democracy development in greater Middle East

Earlier this week, I wrote, "Hard to imagine that an administration could single-handedly ruin the Freedom brand for the Middle East and the developing world, but I think this one has done it." I wrote it almost as an aside to the post's focus on the collapse of civil society in Iraq, but the idea is brought into stark relief by a revealing article in today's Washington Post.

The piece definitely doesn't bury the lede, beginning bluntly with awful news for anyone who supports democracy:

Horror at the bloodshed accompanying the U.S. effort to bring democracy to Iraq has accomplished what human rights activists, analysts and others say Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had been unable to do by himself: silence public demands for democratic reforms here.
This debacle isn't just ruining Iraq, it's serving as an object lesson for use by autocracies and tyrants throughout the region. Reformers now have no credibility -- to ruin the legitimacy of any democratic reform efforts, all the old guard has to do is say, "So you want it to be like our neighbor, Iraq?" And even people who would otherwise favor liberal reform are having second thoughts.

"If democracy brings such chaos in the region, and especially the destruction of society, as it did in Iraq and in Lebanon, it's absolutely normal, and I think it's absolutely a wise position from the people to be afraid to imagine how it would be in Syria," Amiralay said. "I think that people at the end said, 'Well, it is better to keep this government. We know them, and we don't want to go to this civil war, and to live this apocalyptic image of change, with civil war and sectarianism and blood.'"
I'm a big fan of democracy (note the difference between "democracy" and "holding elections"), and I'm in favor of democracy promotion (note the difference between "promotion" and "forcible implementation"). When leaders are accountable to their people, it's harder for those leaders to blame all of their nations' ills on outside influences (e.g., the infidel West), and additionally, I think self-determination is an inherent good, one that is a foundation of our nation.

Contrary to such a goal, the Bush administration is ruining that ideal for an entire region in a war that not only harms our foreign policy but also makes us less safe, proving once again that the rhetoric of freedom and democracy doesn't match the policies that are now solidifying autocracies.

- AJ in DC , AmericaBlog

"I don't care if I vote for Happy the Clown, just so it's not who's there now."

Associated Press:

Middle-class voters who deserted the Democratic Party a dozen years ago are now giving the party its best chance to reclaim the House since the GOP swept Democrats from power in 1994.

Motivated by anger at President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress, 56 percent of likely voters said they would vote on Nov. 7 to send a Democrat to the House and 37 percent said they would vote Republican.

Voters in the latest Associated Press-AOL News poll rated Iraq and the economy as their top issues.

"I don't care if I vote for Happy the Clown, just so it's not who's there now," said Mary Nyilas, 51, an independent voter from Cologne, N.J., who said she would do everything she could to "vote against the powers that put us in this situation" in Iraq.

LSB: How many of us are voting "for" something rather than "against" something?

Playing Catch-up

LSB: I’ve neglected this blog for the past couple of days, so I’m attempting to draft some Cliff Notes to highlights the stories that caught my attention.

Stay the Course – Not! Will news organizations that obligingly aired the RNC ad free of charge treat the Democrats' ad the same way? That's an easy one - No!

Cheney confirms that detainees were subjected to water-boarding. Vice President Dick Cheney has confirmed that U.S. interrogators subjected captured senior al-Qaida suspects to a controversial interrogation technique called "water-boarding," which creates a sensation of drowning. "It's a no-brainer for me," Cheney said at one point in an interview.

Hannity to Cheney: Should We Even Debate the Patriot Act and NSA Wiretapping? Sean Hannity asks Vice President Cheney if he's "as surprised as he is that the country is so divided" and, given the all-consuming nature of the terrorist threat, if we should "even be debating the Patriot Act and NSA wiretapping". Video Democrats, liberals and even some Republicans don't oppose the Patriot Act because we're "soft on terrorism;" it is the egregiously curbed civil liberties, idiot.

Bush Among Friends The president met with "Kuds" and seven other conservative columnists on Wednesday, and declared, among other things, that we had to invade Iraq because they attacked us. "Don't write me down as trying to always put lipstick on the pig," he instructed.

Wesley Clark and Billy O O’Reilly got very angry at Wesley last night because he thinks he's the expert on everything. Billy O might be the Culture Warrior, but he forgot that Clark was the NATO Supreme Commander at one time and knows a thing or two as well. Clark told Billy that George Soros is a good man which almost made O'Reilly's head explode. Video

Confession that formed base of Iraq war was acquired under torture: journalist An Al-Qaeda terror suspect captured by the United States, who gave evidence of links between Iraq and the terror network, confessed after being tortured, a journalist told the BBC. FYI, “W”, like you’ve been told many times before, torture doesn’t work!

US naval war games off the Iranian coastline: A provocation which could lead to War? The exercise, set for Oct. 31, is the 25th to be organized under the U.S.-led 66-member Proliferation Security Initiative and the first to be based in the Gulf near Bahrain, across from Iran, the officials said.

U.S. generals call for Democratic takeover Disgusted with the leadership of the Iraq war, two retired generals say the GOP must go. Plus: More than 100 current military personnel join a campaign to get the U.S. out of Iraq -- now.

Vote for Corker, he's whiter Bob Corker, the Republican candidate for US Senate from Tennessee, is now running ads about his African-American opponent Harold Ford and playing jungle drums in the background every time Ford's name is mentioned. You can listen to the ad here.

How would Jesus vote? Tennessee Democrat Harold Ford Jr. goes after the GOP's faithful base in the state with the most white evangelicals in the nation. Polls show his campaign is resonating in the pews.

Rove Protégé Behind Racy Tennessee Ad A protégé of White House political guru Karl Rove produced the controversial Republican National Committee ad targeting Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Harold Ford Jr., that some have called racist.

State of the unions Religious conservatives seize on New Jersey's ruling for same-sex couples -- but it won't save Republicans at the polls.
G.O.P. Moves Fast to Reignite Issue of Gay Marriage Republicans across the country have seized onto the threat of gay marriage in a desperate attempt to hold onto Congress. Now that the “security” issue no longer offers the boost it once did, the GOP is counting on homophobia to drive voter turnout.

The GOP Florida governor candidate is not gay, really. I mean it.GOP frontrunner in FL Governor’s race declares, “I have never had sex with a man.” Jason Wetherington, a 21-year-old GOP staffer, and Bruce Carlton Jordan, a convicted thief who recently worked for Kathryn Harris in her long-shot Senate bid, beg to differ. Crist Denies Trysts.

Killing gay men is OK, says British imam The leading imam in the English city of Manchester confirms that he thinks the execution of sexually active gay men is justified.

Mark Foley scandal grows - Former House Clerk says GOP Rep. Kolbe was a problem as well, apparently this was known for years So now we have a potential cover-up of two GOP members of Congress who were "overly-friendly" with Pages.

Sen. Clinton: She Feels Gay Pain Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton indicated that she would not oppose efforts by Eliot Spitzer, the odds-on favorite to become the new governor, to enact a same-sex marriage law in New York. She’s had "many long conversations" with "friends" and others says her advocacy on LGBT issues "has certainly evolved."

In Nevada, Gibbons Maintains Edge Huh? Drunk, Gibbons assaults his “date” (a woman who is not his wife); the battered woman alleges Gibbons tried to bride her to keep quiet; Gibbons hides an illegal immigrant nanny in his basement; and his wife commits perjury about the alleged illegal immigrant in the basement… and he’s still up six points in this contest?

Limbaugh physically mocked Parkinson's patients What the media didn't show, but Keith Olbermann did, was that Rush Limbaugh didn't just make fun of people who suffer from Parkinson's, he even threw in a little physical comedy to show how funny people are who have Parkinson's. Check out the video.

Michael J Fox makes a fool out of Limbaugh Will Rush apologize to MJ Fox after he told Katie Couric that he was on his medication while filming an ad promoting embryonic stem cell research? Video Limbaugh will never apologize or honestly regret what he's done because it's part of a long term strategy to once again attack the messenger.

Lauer: "Didn't Rush Limbaugh just say what a lot of people were privately thinking?" NBC's Today, co-host Matt Lauer suggested that when nationally syndicated radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh "said [that] perhaps [actor] Michael J. Fox was exaggerating or faking these effects of Parkinson's disease" in a recent campaign ad. [LSB: That never crossed my mind, Matt. What did cross my mind was, that like Limbaugh, you're an asshole - and a lot of people are not so privately thinking that!]

Speaker Hastert Lies About Leader Pelosi Embattled House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), in a transparent attempt to scare the wingnuts, released a statement fabricating a complete lie that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) plan is to leave our borders open, grant blanket amnesty and provide Social Security benefits to illegal immigrants.

Mean Jean’s Denny Hastert letter Jean Schmidt is very proud of showing us how little she knows. In a letter to Speaker Hastert, Schmidt blasted Democratic candidate Victoria Wulsin for allegedly breaking a U.S. House rule that prohibits using the broadcast of House floor proceedings in campaign ads. Schmidt apparently doesn't quite grasp the concept that Coach Hastert has no control of Victoria Wuslin because — she's not part of the House – yet! [Here's the Wuslin ad.]

Ohio GOP Smears Al Franken In Press Release With Doctored Photo, Fabricated Quote The Ohio Republican Party sent out a news release attacking Rep. Sherrod Brown (D) for enlisting the support of comedian Al Franken. The problem: the quote used in the news release is taken from a fictional exchange that the Ohio Republican Party represented it as fact. Likewise, the accompanying photo was doctored as well

Michael Steele's subway attack backfires Maryland's Republican Senate candidate, Michael Steele, had a press conference yesterday to attack his opponent, Ben Cardin, for not knowing the exact route of a proposed now subway line. Steele's attack, however, was misplaced: Steele held his media event at a Metro station that was part of an old proposal – four miles from the actual site of the new line.

IRS Gets Political The commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service has delayed the collection of back taxes from Hurricane Katrina victims until after the election in order to avoid political fallout. Four former IRS commissioners called the move “improper and indefensible.”

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Go, Barney, Go!

Double-click on the pic above to view the video.

Support Our Troops!

Active duty troops press Congress to end U.S. presence in Iraq

In an extraordinary move, 65 active duty members of the military are asking members of Congress to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq and bring American soldiers home. These individuals have each sent what is called an "Appeal for Redress", a communication that is legally protected from any reprisal by the Military Whistle-Blower Protection Act (DoD directive 7050.6), asking that Congress act to redeploy U.S. troops from Iraq.

While military (and intelligence) professionals have special restrictions on speech and expression while serving, under military law, members of the armed forces are free to make this kind of protected communication to members of Congress without fear of sanction from command authorities.

It's obviously important for national defense personnel to have different standards than the average citizen, but this seems to me an appropriate and provocative action, indicating the widespread dissatisfaction regarding the scope and direction of our presence in Iraq within the military. U.S. forces are far smarter and better informed than many of our nation's civilian leaders give them credit for, and they know when they're being lied to just like anybody else -- more so, perhaps, because they've seen the failures and the incompetence up close and personal.

There are, of course, many soldiers who support the war. There is no shortage of opinions within the armed forces, but for such a large number to take such a strong, public step speaks volumes. It also may reinforce polling done last February indicating that 72% of American troops serving in Iraq think the U.S. should exit the country within the next year (i.e., a year from eight months ago).

Iraq is a disaster, our presence isn't making it better, and more and more people know it. This election is turning out to be an emperor-has-no-clothes moment for the Bush administration's Middle East policies, and deservedly so.

AJ in DC, AmericaBlog

Freedom on the march – except for the troops fighting for that freedom

Guess what websites are being blocked by the Pentagon to make sure U.S. troops in Iraq don’t get any big ideas? One hint: Free Republic is coming through loud and clear!

A Marine writes Wonkette:

I am currently stationed in Al Taqaddam, Iraq with the Marines…you’ve done a short piece about this before, but this is getting ridiculous.

It seems that every non-conservative politics website has been blocked by our firewall guys…including your site. The reason it is blocked is because it is a “personal page.” Which means they don’t have a reason to block it … but they want to block it, so they do. This was done recently, just in time for mid-term elections. As I said, it was not only your website, I have gone through lists of liberal sites and most of them are blocked. I’ve also taken the time to go to some conservative sites….none of which are blocked.

I don’t have the words to describe how I feel. They have sent me to this desert three times…each time saying that we are defending freedom…which is BS and everyone knows it. And on top of that they have taken away many of the freedoms that we are supposedly fighting for….

I don’t think there is much anyone can do about this, but I just wanted you to know that this was still going on.

Administration Sends Troops Info on Foley Replacement, Doesn’t Mention Other Candidates

Last week, U.S. troops received messages from the State Department and the Pentagon explaining how to vote in the congressional race in ex-Rep. Mark Foley’s (R-FL) former district.
The emails provided detailed instructions explaining how to vote for Foley’s replacement, Joe Negron, but failed to even mention the two other candidates in the race:

On September 29th, Mark Foley resigned from the United State House of Representatives. He also withdrew as the Republican Candidate for the House of Representatives in Florida’s 16th District.

Pursuant to Florida Law, the Florida Republican Party nominated Joe Negron as the Republican Candidate in the 16th District replacing Foley. Pursuant to Section 100.111(4) of Florida Statute, Foley’s name will remain on the ballot for both absentee and regular ballots. Any votes cast for Foley will count towards the total of the substitute candidate.

Voters from Florida’s 16th Congressional District should be aware that any votes cast for Mark Foley will be counted toward the total of Joe Negron. Additionally, voters who wish to cast a vote for Joe Negron should cast their vote for Mark Foley.
Read the full text of one of the State Department emails HERE.

There is no mention in this email of the other candidates in the race, Democrat Tim Mahoney and independent Emmie Ross. As a result, Mahoney had to issue a separate message to soldiers yesterday explaining that troops could also vote for him or Ross. Mahoney’s letter also included instructions on how soldiers could vote for Joe Negron.

Another Stem Cell Ad

When Dems Fight Back!
(Double-click the pic to view the video.)

News Flash: terrorist killed - in April

CNN tows the line, again.

Sure the world is better without someone like him, but why the big announcement and hype now? The air strike happened months ago in April and suddenly out of nowhere, it makes a splash. Give me a break.

If only Tom Ridge was around to call more alerts, on queue, during the election season.

These people are so pathetic and I can't wait until they get thrown out on their asses. I have had it with the fear card being over-played and so-called accomplishments being over-hyped.

Yes, I have had enough.

Chris in Paris, AmericaBlog

LSB: When it comes to 'fair and balanced,' CNN is usually the bride's maid to Fox's bride.

Gibbon’s (R-NV) Illegal Nanny

Today we find out that the very anti-immigration Jim Gibbons (R-NV), the candidate for Nevada governor, – the guy who was accused last week of attacking a young woman in a parking lot – had an illegal alien working for him for years and even hid her in the basement.

The local news coverage (double-click the pic for the video news coverage) makes clear that Gibbons' wife Dawn signed federal legal documents in 1988, under the penalty of perjury, stating that everyone knew the woman, Patricia, was undocumented and that she'd worked for the family since 1987, cooking, cleaning and babysitting, and even had an employment contract for $800/month. The employee, Patricia, says she was paid every two weeks, and worked ten hours days, 50 hours a week.

At the end of the broadcast we learn that the TV news team had just received a statement from Dawn Gibbons claiming that she tried to help Patricia for a time, but only with occasional odd jobs, and not as a full time employee. The news broadcaster said that this statement contradicts what Dawn Gibbons said under oath in the federal documents. If true, that's called perjury - from the woman who plans on being Nevada's next First Lady.

John in DC, AmericaBlog

Senate candidate Bob Corker (R-TN) says Republican National Committee is refusing to remove racist TV ad from Tennessee

Well that's interesting. Bob Corker, who is a Republican running for Senator from Tennessee, says that the Republican National Committee - that would be the Republican party in Washington, DC - is refusing to stop running a racist TV ad that they're broadcasting in Tennessee. When pressed by CNN's Wolf Blitzer as to whether he has called anyone at the RNC or the White House to demand that the ad be taken down, Corker couldn't answer the question.

Bottom line, he's not trying very hard to get the racist ad off of TV. (Or, it's as he says - the Republican Party leadership is refusing to stop running a racist ad because it believes racism wins white votes, and I suppose on that account they're immoral but correct.) How hard is it to get the head of the Republican party to stop running a racist ad in your state that you, the Republican Senate candidate, feel is hurting your race? It's not difficult at all.

Corker is lying.

Josh Marshall has the racist ad, an analysis of it, and he exposes how the RNC is now lying about it simply has no power to pull down its own ad.

So much for that Republican outreach to the black community. I guess, in the end, the Republicans figured that you can get a lot more white voters with racism than you can black voters with civil rights. Disgusting.

Here is how Josh describes the ad:
The ad, in case you aren't familiar with it, is a cartoonish spot which might be
subtitled, 'Harold Ford is an uppity negro who does the wild thing with white
John in DC, AmericaBlog

LSB: When Corker ran against Frist in the 1994 GOP primary, Corker was called "pond scum" by Frist campaign manager Tom Perdue for airing an ad that suggested Frist had dodged the draft.

Cheers and Jeers: Wednesday

The first 100 hours of a Democrat-controlled House promise to be an orgy of excess for the loony smear merchants on the left and their radical San Francisco hippy liberal agenda. Fair warning, America: this is why you should be mortified at the thought of a "Speaker" Nancy Pelosi:
Day One: Put new rules in place to "break the link between lobbyists and legislation."

Day Two: Enact all the recommendations made by the commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Time remaining until 100 hours: Raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, maybe in one step. Cut the interest rate on student loans in half. Allow the government to negotiate directly with the pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices for Medicare patients. Broaden the types of stem cell research allowed with federal funds – "I hope with a veto-proof majority."
But here's what Nancy Pelosi won't tell you: these actions only apply to gays, feminists and George Soros. On November 7th, vote Republican. You won't get anything from us in return, but at least... neither will they.

[This message paid for by Republicans Hanging By A Thread – Rick Santorum, Treasurer]

JEERS to compassionate conservatives. Lovely bunch of knuckledraggers: Rush Limbaugh calls Parkinson's sufferer Michael J. Fox a big faker who's off his meds. Wyoming congresswoman Barbara Cubin threatens to slap the daylights out of MS sufferer and Libertarian candidate Thomas Rankin who's confined to a wheelchair. And let's not forget Peter Roskam, the GOP candidate in Illinois who told his opponent, Tammy Duckworth, she wanted to "cut and run," knowing full well she lost both legs in Iraq. And here's something to watch for at their '08 national convention: instead of balloons they'll be dropping old ladies from the rafters.

CHEERS to Barney Frank. The Massachusetts Congressman reduced a smirking, guffawing Steve Moore to a seething, squirming blob of Republican goo on Real Time with Bill Maher Friday night. Firedoglake has a must-watch example here. If that was a preview of how Frank will handle a committee chairmanship if we take back the House November 7th, the noble opposition has good reason to be scared out of their polyester knickers.

CHEERS to Keith Olbermann. His "Special Comments" are always a treat to watch because they have such a perfect rhythm. He starts by teasing his target (usually President Bush) with snarky derision. But then, slowly, his words become daggers so sharp that by the time he says "Good night and good luck," even the dog is ducking behind the sofa. I'm glad he's on our side.

Bill in Portland Maine

Rising tide of global warming threatens Pacific island states

While rich nations tinker with policies that may shave their carbon dioxide emissions, low-lying South Pacific nations such as Kiribati are sinking beneath the waves.

Kiribati, an archipelago of 33 coral atolls barely 6ft above sea level, is vanishing as global warming sees the oceans rise. Yesterday, its president, Anote Tong, warned Australia and New Zealand - the two developed countries in the region - to prepare for a mass exodus within the next decade.

Speaking at the annual South Pacific Forum in Fiji, Mr Tong said that rising sea levels would create countless environmental refugees. "If we are talking about our island states submerging in 10 years' time, we simply have to find somewhere else to go," he said.

Environmentalists have warned that global warming, caused by a build-up of greenhouse gases, will cause thermal expansion and a meltdown of glaciers. That could lead to seas rising by up to 23ft, and would be devastating for countries such as Bangladesh, India, Vietnam and China. But the tiny nations of the Pacific, where some of the world's lowest-lying islands are situated, would be the first to be swamped. Those considered particularly vulnerable, as well as Kiribati, are Vanuatu; the Marshall Islands; Tuvalu and parts of Papua New Guinea.


P.S. There is already a major shortage of dock space for mega-yachts, so please plan your day accordingly.