Friday, November 30, 2007



A Republican vision of mental health

Today on NPR's "Left, Right & Center," the right-wing propaganda agent stated that he had read a survey claiming Republicans have better mental health than Democrats or independents. When I got home I googled around and found the new Gallup Poll he must have been referencing. In it, Republicans self diagnose themselves as being in excellent health. That would, of course include Republicans who have recently come to the public's attention claiming for example that they were only in public toilets to clean up some messy toilet paper (Idaho Senator Larry Craig) or escape from bad weather or scary African-Americans (Florida Rep. Bob Allen) or because they like the sounds in public men's rooms (former GOP candidate for the Louisiana state senate, Joey DiFatta. Each claimed he was perfectly balanced-- and straight. And that doesn't even address Republicans like child predator Mark Foley (who claimed he was mentally healthy after he was apprehended drunk breaking into the boys dorm in the congressional page program) or, more recently, Washington State Republican state Rep Richard Curtis (whose mental stability is so fragile that he sponsored viciously homophobic legislation to prevent gay men and women from employment while he was wearing women's silk panties and planning his next all-nighter of anonymous, drug-fuled sex). Yes, why would any of these Republicans possibly consider himself in anything but the most tip top mental health?

And what about Ron Paul? Millions of Republicans admire or even revere him. A few nights ago he stood on a stage with the rest of the pathetic pygmies™ ranting and raving about a superhighway from Mexico to Canada that will lead to the end of our national sovereignty. The rest of them were so busy trying to outdo each other on how bigoted and xenophobic they are that not one of them bothered to remark on Paul's apparent lunacy. I mean the man is not just one of the pygmies™; he's been a Republican member of Congress or over 10 years.
A border-spanning "NAFTA highway" now on the drawing board, Paul said, would link the U.S., Mexico and Canada, worsening illegal immigration and threatening American independence. "Our national sovereignty is under threat," Paul warned.

Federal and state highway and trade officials and transportation consultants reacted Thursday with befuddlement and amusement. The fearsome secret international highway project Paul described does not exist, they said.

"There is no such superhighway like the one he's talking about," said Ian Grossman, a spokesman with the Federal Highway Administration. "It doesn't exist, in plans or anywhere else."

"It's complete fiction," said Tiffany Melvin, executive director of NASCO, a consortium of transportation agencies and business interests caught in the cross hairs of anti-highway activists. "This is the work of fringe groups that have wrapped a couple of separate projects together into one big paranoid fantasy."

A loose confederation of conservative Internet bloggers and some right-wing groups, among them the John Birch Society, has seized on a burst of activity in federal highway projects in recent years as evidence that the Bush administration is pushing toward a European Union-style government for North America.

..."The ultimate goal is not simply a superhighway," Paul wrote to his constituents in October 2006, "but an integrated North American Union -- complete with a currency, a cross-national bureaucracy, and virtually borderless travel within the Union."

During the Wednesday debate, Paul also linked the purported NAFTA highway to his concerns about the Trilateral Commission -- an enduring bugaboo of conspiracy theorists -- and the World Trade Organization's "control [of ] our drug industry, our nutritional products." Paul added: "I don't like big government in Washington, so I don't like this trend toward international government."

Jesse Benton, Paul's campaign spokesman, said Thursday that Paul believed that the threat of a NAFTA highway was real. "Dr. Paul is not alone in thinking this is a substantial compromise of federal sovereignty," Benton said. "There's a strong belief by a lot of people that [the highway] would run clear up through Canada."

Benton noted that Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr. (R-Va.) had introduced a resolution expressing opposition to a NAFTA superhighway. It is signed by 42 congressmen, including Paul and two of his Republican presidential rivals, Reps. Duncan Hunter of California and Tom Tancredo of Colorado.

Virgil Goode, Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter and Ron Paul... now what have these 4 gentlemen have in common besides being bigoted loons? Well I bet they all fit in among the majority of Republicans who claim to be in "excellent" mental health.

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Maybe next General, er, President Musharraf will name Idiot Al "The Torture Guy" Gonzales as Pakistan's next attorney general?


Interns undergo a training session held in Islamabad under the Parliamentary Intern Program. Introduced in the national Parliament and all four Provincial Assemblies, this program has provided members with much-needed analysis, research and assistance.
--from the USAID/Pakistan website ("Developing Strong Legislatures")

There are, of course, people who think that if Chimpy our Prez were serious about spreading democracy and freedom, he would start by halting his assault on them at home. These people are known as "godless liberals," and God will make them burn in hell for eternity.

Many of those same people look at the ungodly mess in Pakistan, throw up their hands, and declare the whole thing utterly beyond repair--not exactly reassuring considering that it's not only a nuclear power but a nuclear power butted up against another one, India, where war could break out at any time not just from historic hatred but from the political convenience of one or the other government. (The likelier candidate is usually our Pakistani ally, whose government clings to power by a thread despite its determined protection of our old chum Osama bin Laden.)

As usual, the Washington Post's Al Kamen is awake at the wheel, reporting this exciting development:

Do Your Part for Pakistan

Are you an architect or engineer? Worried about losing work if we slip into recession? Think international. Think Pakistan.

That nuclear-armed country -- beset by jihadists, facing rebellion in the northwest provinces, confronting nuclear India over Kashmir, having had a democratically elected leader for only less than half of its 60 years as an independent nation -- is chronically unstable. These days, even the lawyers are rioting in the streets.

Washington is hunting hard for ways to shore up the country and improve the Pakistanis' view of the United States and democracy. A recent Pew poll found only 48 percent of Pakistanis think democracy can work.

Here's where you can help. The Agency for International Development is proposing a project vital to the country's future: the new Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services building. This building, which you will design -- offers must be submitted by Jan. 4 -- will house the Pakistan Legislative Strengthening Program. We're told this will "address the needs of members of Parliament and their staff to perform essential legislative processes such as budgeting, operation of committees, and rules of parliamentary process."

Of course! Kind of their very own Congressional Research Service. That's the ticket! Wait till the tribes in Waziristan find out about this!

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A couple weeks ago the NRCC operative were pulling their hair out of their heads because all their top tier candidates in NJ's seventh congressional district were backing out of running against Linda Stender after 37 year old Mike Ferguson announced his retirement as a Bush rubber stamp. They were soon scraping the bottom of the barrel looking for candidates who hadn't been arrested or were likely to be arrested before the election. But at least they had all their ducks in a row for the other New Jersey seat being abandoned by a Bush rubber stamp, NJ-03. Or so they thought.

As soon as James Saxton figured out that Democrat John Adler was likely to kick his ass from Cherry Hill to Beach Haven he decided to start looking for a job on K Street. The state and national Republicans were distraught but figured they get a carbon copy of Saxton, State Rep. Diane Allen, to run instead. Yesterday that particular duck made the kinds of quacks they didn't want to hear, not only bowing out but bowing out with a nasty remark aimed at a corrupt old machine faction in the Jersey GOP.
“Now is not the time in my life that I feel prepared to again fight a Democrat opponent, as well as a rogue faction of the Burlington County Republican Party simultaneously.”

So the GOP starts from scratch to find someone to run in what was once safe Republican territory. They have a gaggle of minor GOP operative eager to give it a shot but, as today's Congressional Quarterly points out, "Allen’s departure leaves Republicans currently without a major candidate for the seat-- creating, at least for now, a heightened risk for Republicans in a potential battleground district. While Saxton, who [misleadingly] cultivated an image as a GOP moderate largely because of his pro-environment views, easily won his House elections, the 3rd District went Republican for President Bush by just a 3 percentage-point margin in 2004."

This will be another congressional district where Hillary Clinton's place at the top of the ticket will help sweep down-ticket Democrats into office.

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Biden's bid for the vice presidency hasn't really taken off. Voters seem indifferent to him and his corporate-infused record doesn't light fires among the Democratic base. But he sure lit a fire yesterday when he "stated unequivocally that he will move to impeach President Bush if he bombs Iran without first gaining congressional approval."

Forget for a moment that Biden would probably lead the fight among Democrats to back Bush on a preemptive strike against Iran, popular among neocon-oriented Beltway Dems, even if completely anathema to grassroots Democrats. Biden's moment of glory at a campaign rally in Portsmouth, NH, complete with raucous applause was when he almost stopped talking about himself for a moment.
"The president has no authority to unilaterally attack Iran, and if he does, as Foreign Relations Committee chairman, I will move to impeach."

Biden said he is in the process of meeting with constitutional law experts to prepare a legal memorandum saying as much and intends to send it to the president.

But Pelosi-Hoyer-Emanuel need not start having fainting spells over the prospect. Biden, as always, is full of shit. When audience members pointed out that Bush has already committed a plethora of impeachable offenses and asked why Biden doesn't act now, the longtime Bush-enabler from Delaware started throwing sand in everyone's eyes. Impeachment now, he said, might not be "constitutionally valid" and it might be [politically] "counterproductive" and there is a need for "clear evidence." Yeah... isn't that what an impeachment investigation would be set up to determine? The applause had stopped and Biden, ever the craven political hack, found himself a one-liner to get back in the good graces of the audience:
"If you're going to impeach George Bush, you better impeach Cheney first."

And, like trained seals, they forgot that Biden is part of the problem, not part of the solution... and they fed him the applause he lives for.

MSNBC has a partial transcript up:
QUESTIONER: “I have a great fear that say you’re elected as the nominee of the party. Next August sometime during the summer, Dick Cheney and George are going to bomb Iran."

BIDEN: "Legitimate concern."

QUESTIONER: "What can you do about it?”

BIDEN: “I am not one, who if you’ve observed me for some time, I am not one who’s engaged in excessive populist rhetoric. [There's the understatement of the year.] I’m not one that pits the rich against the poor. [True, true; he's a consistent fighter for the prerogatives of the rich and powerful against ordinary Americans... just as if he were a Republican.] I’m not one who’s gone out there and made false threats against presidents about, and god love him he’s a great guy, I’m not Dennis Kucinich saying impeach everybody now. But let me tell you, I have written an extensive legal memorandum with the help of a group of legal scholars who are sort of a stable of people, the best-known constitutional scholars in America, because for 17 years I was chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

"I asked them to put together [for] me a draft, which I’m now literally riding between towns editing, that I want to make clear and submit to the Untied States Senate pointing out the president has no authority to unilaterally attack Iran. And I want to make it clear, I want it on the record, and I want to make it clear, if he does, as chairman of the foreign relations committee and former chair of the judiciary committee, I will move to impeach him."


SECOND QUESTIONER: " ... I say this not to fan flames, and not to sound like a raving lunatic. You did mention something about impeachment, if George Bush does something regarding Iran. I say this as a strategic or tactical question. Do you think it would be useful now to forward an impeachment motion as a signal to the world that we're headed in the right direction?"

BIDEN: "It’s a valid statement to make. It is not as clear constitutionally that articles of impeachment would lie absent his action, which is crystal clear if he acted without congressional authority in Iran. It is arguable constitutionally whether some of the action he has taken thus far amount to high crimes and misdemeanors that could be in fact proven.

"So it makes it difficult. But beyond that, it is counterproductive. Let me make it clear what the impeachment case I made is. I think the best deterrent is for the president to know, even at the end of his term, we would move and move to follow through with that so his legacy would be marred for all time if he acted in what was clearly, clearly an impeachable offense. In the absence of that, what happens is, and you’re gonna think I’m joking about this. I’m not. If you’re gonna impeach George Bush you better impeach Cheney first. Not a joke. Not a joke."

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One of the highlights of Wednesday's Republican debate-- maybe second only to the Giuliani/Romney cat fight over immigration-- was the appearance of Brig. General Keith Kerr (ret.). Predictably ultra right-wing and ultra corrupt San Diego area Congressman Duncan Hunter gave the most bigoted answer which probably insulted tens of thousands of American servicemen and women. Flip Flop Mitt, who in 1994, as closeted moderator Anderson Cooper pointed out, said that he looked forward to the day when gays and lesbians could serve in "openly and honestly in our nation's military." Romney tried weaseling out of that just like he tried weaseling out of everything he's ever done in his whole principleless career. He tap danced around a bit and finally, after being booed, said he'd let the people in the military decide, a typical Romney cop out. McCain joined him in saying he just wants to do what the military wants.

Last January General John Shalikashvili, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1993 to 1997 (which was when "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" first went into effect) penned an electrifying editorial in the NY Times. He unambiguously called for the scrapping of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
When I was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I supported the current policy because I believed that implementing a change in the rules at that time would have been too burdensome for our troops and commanders. I still believe that to have been true. The concern among many in the military was that given the long-standing view that homosexuality was incompatible with service, letting people who were openly gay serve would lower morale, harm recruitment and undermine unit cohesion.

In the early 1990s, large numbers of military personnel were opposed to letting openly gay men and lesbians serve. President Bill Clinton, who promised to lift the ban during his campaign, was overwhelmed by the strength of the opposition, which threatened to overturn any executive action he might take. The compromise that came to be known as “don’t ask, don’t tell” was thus a useful speed bump that allowed temperatures to cool for a period of time while the culture continued to evolve.

The question before us now is whether enough time has gone by to give this policy serious reconsideration. Much evidence suggests that it has.

Last year I held a number of meetings with gay soldiers and marines, including some with combat experience in Iraq, and an openly gay senior sailor who was serving effectively as a member of a nuclear submarine crew. These conversations showed me just how much the military has changed, and that gays and lesbians can be accepted by their peers.

This perception is supported by a new Zogby poll of more than 500 service members returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, three quarters of whom said they were comfortable interacting with gay people. And 24 foreign nations, including Israel, Britain and other allies in the fight against terrorism, let gays serve openly, with none reporting morale or recruitment problems.

I now believe that if gay men and lesbians served openly in the United States military, they would not undermine the efficacy of the armed forces. Our military has been stretched thin by our deployments in the Middle East, and we must welcome the service of any American who is willing and able to do the job.

This isn't what homophobic bigots like Hunter and Tancredo or those cravenly catering to them like McCain and Romney want to hear. But today, on the 14th anniversary of the flawed policy, they will hear a lot more of it. According to today's Times 28 retired generals and admirals sent Congress a letter urging them to repeal the disgraceful law.
“We respectfully urge Congress to repeal the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy,” the letter says. “Those of us signing this letter have dedicated our lives to defending the rights of our citizens to believe whatever they wish.”

The retired officers offer data showing that 65,000 gay men and lesbians now serve in the American armed forces and that there are more than one million gay veterans.

“They have served our nation honorably,” the letter states.

...Few issues have split the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates this year as clearly as whether to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

At a debate in June, all of the Democratic candidates said they favored rescinding the policy. The Republican candidates, meanwhile, have favored continuing it, saying that it is a sensible approach or that it would be a distraction to integrate openly gay service members into the armed forces at a time of war.

Efforts to prompt the House and Senate to repeal the legislation have gained little traction. Senior leaders at the Pentagon are on the record as saying the Department of Defense will follow the lead of Congress.

“Personal opinion really doesn’t have a place here,” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in March. “What’s important is that we have a law.”

Sounds like a dodge from the very people weak non-leaders like Romney and McCain are counting on to help them dodge the bullet. Or bullets-- one from an increasing number of Americans fed up with narrow-minded and senseless Republican bigotry, and one from the narrow-minded Republican bigots who define their pathetic selves by who they hate.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007



There are 30 candidates we've endorsed up at Blue America. I want to see every one of them get elected. Do I think some are better than others? Out of 30? How could it be otherwise? And right now, the ones I'm most concerned about are the true blue progressives running against reactionary and/or corrupt Democrats in primaries. That's why you've seen a lot of posts at DWT about Donna Edwards (MD), Mark Pera (IL), and John Laesch (IL). After the primaries, there will be a lot more time and energy being put into the important races where grassroots progressive Democrats are fighting wingnuts-- cases like Andrew Rice v Inhofe, Rick Noriega v Cornyn, Dennis Shulman v Garrett, Himes v Shays, etc.

But today I want to write about a special election coming up to fill the seat being abandoned by Denny Hastert in IL-14. If you read DWT with any frequency, you know that we have endorsed John Laesch again this year and that we're very enthusiastic about him as a candidate. We feel he can win in a tough district and, more important, he will make a great congressman, someone who will stand and fight and not just go along with the herd.

Democrats who stand and fight and who are grassroots-oriented and progressive and strongly against the war and, worst of all, not willing to go along with the herd... those are the born opponents of Rahm Emanuel. And he does what he can to nip them in the bud. In IL-14 he has a shill Blue Dog running against John in the primary, Bill Foster, someone who waxes eloquently about a pre-emptive strike against Iran and about working with the Blue Dogs, the putative Dems who have conspired with the Republican minority all year to keep most progressive legislation from passing. Just what we need; NOT!

Yet there is an undercurrent of anti-Laesch feeling in some parts of the blogosphere. Distortions and Establishment memes have circulated that, in some circles, have become "conventional wisdom." Laesch can't win; Laesch is nasty; Laesch has no support in the district; Laesch can't raise money; Laesch isn't ready for prime time. I've known John for a couple of years, online and in person. There is no better candidate anywhere running for Congress. There is no one more like Paul Wellstone anywhere that I've found. John is a natural and principled leader. He scares a lot of people. He doesn't scare Democrats in IL-14.

A guy like John, straight from the unwashed masses, will never be readily accepted by the Inside the Beltway crowd or those who still buy into their distorted vision of power. To someone like Rahm Emanuel-- who has never fought a Republican and who only knows no-holds-barred against progressives as a means to power-- John is the enemy. To the Democratic Party of IL-14, John is part of salvation. If you want to question his legitimacy, ask why all the county chairs taking a position have endorsed him and back him strongly. Here's a list of the counties that make up IL-14 and the names of the Democratic Party chairpersons who have endorsed John.

Kendall- Jim Birch
Whiteside- Lowell Jacobs
Henry- John Sovanski
Lee- Jerry Sheridan

Also part of the CD are Elgin Township (John Hamilton), Wayne Township (Laura Fletcher), and Winfield Township (Susan Lubonavich). Like the county chairs, they all support John. Democrats on the ground want a winner and they see that winner in John. In Bill Foster they find someone who is unpersonable and "clunky." Bob Steffen, an elected Precinct Committeeperson and the Chair of the Dundee Township Democratic Party sums up the whole congressional district's leadership opinion:
I support John because he is bright and understands the issues.  He has the best viewpoint to represent our district.

But that isn't the only local leader worth listening to. Jerry Sheridan: "John Laesch was the first Democrat with the courage to take on Denny Hastert. He has stayed with us and is always a welcome face in Lee County where he's built lasting friendships. I trust his judgment and the ideas he has for America." And this Monday Jim Swanson of Progressive News Daily hosts John on his broadcast.

Glenn Hurowitz sent me an advance copy of his brilliant new book, Fear and Courage in the Democratic Party. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to quote from it yet or not but I want to share a few lines with you that relate perfectly to the race in IL-14.
"Trim your sails," said Barack Obama.

"I can't make a mistake," said Hillary Clinton.


The spineless Dem is rising again.

The Potomac jellyfish just won't die. Democrats have nominated equally butter-boned candidates before. You'd think they'd have learned: these Gumby donkeys lose and lose. It should be obvious: fear of your own convictions, of your own hopes and dreams, not to mention those of your followers, just isn't that fetching. And crumbling into a quivering mass of blow-dried coiffure, $1,000 suits, and vague bromides in the face of determined right-wing attacks doesn't just lose elections. It allows extremist Republicans to start wars, attack basic rights, and imperil the planet while making their own backers richer and Democrats weaker.

Yet so many Democrats still believe that a Politics of Fear is the only path to victory. Some of the country's smartest and most talented politicians remain slaves to this creed of cowardice... Is caution [and surrender] really the only way Democrats can have a shot at winning?

The answer, thankfully, is no... courage works

And courage is what John's campaign is about. Even his worst detractors aren't saying he's spineless or a blow-dried gumby in a $1,000 suit. John's a former military intelligence analyst stationed in the Middle East. He makes a living as a union carpenter. He knows how to fight for regular folks against Establishment special interests whether those special interests are represented by the Rahm Emanuels of the world or the Dick Cheneys. If you want change, real change, you won't get it by just more sheepish Democrats. We need better Democrats. Like John Laesch. If you've never donated to a political campaign before, do it today. It's easy and you'll be proud of yourself for doing something to save your country from more of the kind of crap the Insider are shoveling our way. Do it here.


The Booman Tribune has asked every Democrat running for office to answer some simple, straight forward questions about the issues Americans care about most. I suggest you click the link above if you would like to see a series of answers as close to perfect as you're liable to see from anyone in any race.

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Tonight's art courtesy of Jesus' General

Many people who were listening to Giuliani during the debate last note noticed that he was lying his ass off. Friday's NY Times looked at his campaign utterances and comes to the conclusion he's a compulsive "stretcher" of the truth. Giuliani insists that his opponents-- and the public's-- insistence he start telling the truth is just "nitpicking." But Romney's claim that Giuliani has "a real problem with facts" is starting to take hold in the collective consciousness. "He has now done this time and again, making up facts that just happen to be wrong, and facts are stubborn things."

Are people noticing? Giuliani is counting on them not noticing, especially not the rubes in the early primary states. He seems to have gotten away with his lies about the relative cancer survival rates in the U.S. and England (in an attempt to prove that for profit medical care is better than the English socialize medicine, which is fairly irrelevant to begin with, since-- unfortunately-- none of the Democrats are proposing socialized medicine). His big lie was that someone diagnosed with and treated for prostate cancer in the U.S.-- and keep in mind, poor people don't get diagnosed or treated as frequently as poor people in this country-- has an 82% chance of surviving while in England they only have a 44% chance to survive. This is a flat out lie and an attempt to deceive the dumb kool-aid drinkers in his pathetic political party. The actual survival rates are nearly identical.

But Giuliani doesn't just lie about health case and about English statistics. He lies about virtually everything, which, of course is no problem in a Republican primary but could be an impediment in a general election if Hillary is lucky enough to wind up with him as her opponent. Republicans don't mind being lied to; normal Americans are less likely to take it as a given that we need another compulsive liar as a president. He has certainly been lying about his budgetary prowess.
Another radio advertisement that Mr. Giuliani ran over the summer stated that as mayor he “turned a $2.3 billion deficit into a multibillion-dollar surplus.”

That was also misleading. According to independent fiscal monitors, Mr. Giuliani did have to close a $2.3 billion deficit in his first budget, and did accumulate a multibillion-dollar surplus during his tenure. But by Mr. Giuliani’s last full fiscal year in office, the city was spending more than it was taking in in revenues, and Mr. Giuliani ended up spending almost all of the surplus to balance his final budget.

The long-term structural problems of the budget remained, and after Mr. Giuliani left office, his successor, Michael R. Bloomberg, faced an even bigger budget deficit than Mr. Giuliani had. Fiscal monitors said at the time that the gap was only partly caused by the economic effects of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

But the big one last night was how he (single-handedly you would be led to think) ended a crime wave in NYC. He cites incredible statistics about how violent crime was down by this percentage and murder was down by that percentage. Very impressive. But like all Giuliani's statistics, he pulls them right out of his ass. And like Hitler, another authoritarian with no sense of Truth, he thinks if you just repeat the lie enough times people, or at least gullible people, will start knowing it is true.
Discussing his crime-fighting success as mayor, Mr. Giuliani told a television interviewer that New York was “the only city in America that has reduced crime every single year since 1994.” In New Hampshire this week, he told a public forum that when he became mayor in 1994, New York “had been averaging like 1,800, 1,900 murders for almost 30 years.” When a recent Republican debate turned to the question of fiscal responsibility, he boasted that “under me, spending went down by 7 percent.”

All of these statements are incomplete, exaggerated or just plain wrong. [The Times just can't bring itself to come out and call him a bald-faced liar.]

Another major American city claims to have reduced crime every year since 1994: Chicago. New York averaged 1,514 murders a year during the three decades before Mr. Giuliani took office; it did not record more than 1,800 homicides until 1980. And Mr. Giuliani’s own memoir states that spending grew an average of 3.7 percent for most of his tenure...

An examination of many of his statements by the New York Times, other news organizations and independent groups have turned up a variety of misstatements, virtually all of which cast Mr. Giuliani or his arguments in a better light.

Giuliani has zero credibility. He's a complete stranger to the concept of telling the truth. Only a hard-core Republican-- or a fascist-- would consider this a qualification for office.

UPDATE: OK, GIULIANI ISN'T THE ONLY REPUBLICAN WHO LIES analyzed the Republican debate. Guess what they found. Not only did other pygmies™ lie, there was even an instance of Giuliani telling the truth about something... kind of.
The debate included a couple of lighter moments, when Giuliani jokingly claimed credit for reducing annual snowfall "dramatically" and for four World Series victories by the Yankees during his term as mayor of New York.

In a gag video, his campaign joked that King Kong roamed city streets before Giuliani became mayor, adding:
Giuliani Video: Rudy prevailed: crime down by half, taxes cut and annual snowfall dramatically reduced.
Later, Giuliani said:
Giuliani: [When] I was mayor of New York City, the Yankees won four world championships... I wanted to put this in our reel, but they cut it out, so I'm going to get it in-- and since I've left being mayor of New York City, the Yankees have won none.

It's true that snowfall was less than average under Giuliani, though it's a matter of opinion whether the difference is a dramatic one or not. According to the National Weather Service, between 1869 and 1993, the average snowfall in New York City's Central Park was 28.2 inches per year. During Giuliani’s term (from January 1994 through December 2001), average snowfall was just 26.7 inches.

And the Yankees did indeed win the World Series in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000 – but have failed to do so since.

Giuliani is clearly joking here, but he illustrates a serious point that we think voters should keep in mind: Politicians don't automatically deserve credit or blame for what happens while they are in office. Sometimes it's just luck. It's a logical fallacy to conclude a leader's actions are the cause of what happens afterward. Logicians have named this the "post hoc ergo propter hoc" fallacy (literally, “after the fact, therefore because of the fact.”)

The fallacy is easy enough to see when Giuliani takes credit for a reduction in snowfall during his term. It’s more subtle when he takes credit for halving crime during his term-- especially when he fails to mention that crime rates were already falling before he took office and that they dropped nationally as well.


When confronted with indisputable proof that you were making something up and you say "I'm going to reverse myself on that"... is that the same as saying, "OK, so you caught me; I'm a lying sack of shit. Today's NY Daily News pulls back the curtain a little more on the Giuliani team.

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ABC-News tells a different story of the latest Giuliani scandal than the one he tried passing off on Anderson Cooper at the Republican hatefest CNN/YouTube debate last night.
Well before it was publicly known he was seeing her, then-married New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani provided a police driver and city car for his mistress Judith Nathan, former senior city officials tell the Blotter on

"She used the PD as her personal taxi service," said one former city official who worked for Giuliani.

Giuliani calls the revelation a "hit job" by either one of his Republican opponents-- he won't speculate which Mormon one did it-- or by a Democrat. One Democrat, albeit a neocon, who isn't running for anything, former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, told the Huffington Post that "Giuliani acted improperly and appeared to be covering something up when he charged the cost of his and his girlfriend's security detail to obscure New York City agencies."

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When Flip Flop Mitt stopped attacking Giuliani for a few minutes he honed in on the Democrat that reactionaries like himself fear most, John Edwards. While none of the pathetic pygmies™ brought up Bush's name, Romney and the rest of them (other than the conspiracy theory guy) all made it clear that they aspire to be George Bush's third term. Romney went so far as to even promise to keep Bush's torture tactics exactly in place as they exist now, much to the chagrin of John McCain, who had his best moment of the night making it clear to the audience that Romney is the least qualified man to run for president since... George Bush. But if all the pygmies™ (but Ron Paul) agree that endless war in Iraq is the way to go-go, what would they do about the monumental domestic problems facing Americans after 7 years of Bush? If Romney is any indication-- and, unfortunately, he is-- they would address the problems the same way Bush has, by ignoring them and allowing them to get worse and worse. Watch:


Harsh. He shows why people think they're a pack of bigots, hypocrites, cowards, opportunists, xenophobes, homophobes, and flip floppers.

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by Zack Webber

Lately the United States Senate has become a great source of frustration for those of us who hope to see it turn the country away from the disastrous policies of the Bush regime. Although the Democrats have regained a slim majority since the 2006 elections our Senators have been unable to accomplish as much as we would like. The U.S. Senate is supposed to be the "world's greatest debating club" or something like that, but it looks to me like the least democratic legislative body this side of the House of Lords.

By claiming to represent states equally, it treats U.S. citizens wildly unequally. If you live in Wyoming, you have two Senators for half a million people. Here in California we have two Senators for around 37.5 million people, which means we have 75 times less voting power per person than the Wyomingites. If you live in D.C., Puerto Rico, or the other territories you have no voice at all in the Senate (and only nonvoting delegates in the House of Representatives). There are many small states, and while I appreciate the progressive Democratic and Independent Senators from Vermont (Leahy and Sanders), I can't help but feel cheated by the state system. When the Constitution was established the largest was only six times the population of the smallest. Now it is way out of line. There is no real hope of changing this part of the Constitution so maybe the best thing would be for California to subdivide into about ten states. As soon as we have a Democratic President, D.C. (which has a larger population than Wyoming or Alaska and almost as many people as Vermont) should be admitted as the 51st state and Puerto Rico (if it wants to be a state) as the 52nd.

The peculiar rules of the Senate make it even harder to accomplish anything. It takes 60 votes to be able to stop debate and vote on an issue. If debate cannot be stopped it usually will not get started because Senators don't want to waste their valuable time. The Senate was created to limit the ability of the government to act and as it has evolved it has become even more of a hindrance to change. There may be a small possibility of changes in the rules and customs of the Senate but not while it is as closely divided as it is currently. There are now 49 Democratic Senators, 49 Repubs and two independents who caucus with the Democrats (although Sen. Lieberman, I-CT votes with the GOP on foreign policy.) It is a situation where the Dems have an organizational majority but not a real working majority.

2008 is the opportunity. We Democrats are almost certain to pick up Senate seats next year because of the political landscape. The Greedy Old Party is following Bush over a cliff by continuing to support his unpopular policies on the Iraq war and misguided domestic priorities. No longer in the majority, they lag behind the Democrats in fundraising. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has about twice as much cash-on-hand as the Repub committee. [DSCC reported $23.4 million cash on hand at the end of October, compared with $9.5 million for the NRSC.] There will be only 12 Democratic seats up for election in 2008 compared to 23 GOP seats. All of the Democrats are running for reelection and only two are even remotely vulnerable (Johnson, D-SD and Landrieu, D-LA), and are still favored to win. There will be at least five GOP open seats (VA, NM, CO, NE, and ID) and maybe more if other GOP Senators decide that life in the minority is no fun [or if Ted Stevens of Alaska is indicted]. The most likely gain is in VA where Mark Warner (D), a popular former Governor is almost certain to beat Jim Gilmore (R), his predecessor as Governor who left the state a giant mess. Cousins Mark Udall (D-CO, son of Morris Udall) and Tom Udall (D-NM, son of Stewart Udall) may both win promotions from House to Senate. In NM all three House members are running for Senate so we may pick up one or both of the GOP seats there. Some GOP incumbents may lose as well. Sen. John Sununu running way behind in the polls against former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen in what is becoming Blue Hampshire. Norm Coleman (R-MN) is in a tossup race for his first reelection, whether or not Al Franken is his Democratic opponent. Even the Repub Senate leader, McConnell of KY could have a tough race in a state where more people currently view him unfavorably than favorably (47% to 44% 11/07). There will be other strong Democratic challengers in states across the country from Maine to Oregon and even Oklahoma and Alaska. The conventional wisdom is that the Dems will gain 3 or 4 seats but we could do much better, getting close to the magic 60 seats. If that happens we will start to see some positive changes in the Senate.

[Ed- The best of the Democratic field so far, Andrews Rice, Tom Allen, and Rick Noriega have been endorsed by Blue America and you can learn more about them-- and how to help them oversome Bush rubber stamps Inhofe, Collins and Cornyn-- at the link a few words back.]




Adam thinks Romney throws like a girly-boy

Last night I noticed that right-wingers were very unhappy about their debate. Who wouldn't be with a field like that? I mean Newt Gingrich didn't pull the term "a pathetic bunch of pygmies"™  out of a hat. There was a lot of right-wing teeth gnashing last night. And it wasn't just the horrible candidates. The horrible audience showed the ugly face of modern day Republicanism. They booed a decorated army general, Keith Kerr, with over 40 years of service because he thinks gay men and women should be able to serve their country openly. They boo-ed McCain because he came off as a mainstream conservative instead of a raving, ranting Nazi. The best characterization of the Republican base came from a right-wing propagandist in a right-wing journal, Richelieu in the Weekly Standard
What a depressing debate... a good night for the lowest denominator, a bad night for the GOP. America got to see a vaguely threatening parade of gun fetishists, flat worlders, Mars Explorers, Confederate flag lovers and zombie-eyed-Bible-wavers as well as various one issue activists hammering their pet causes. My cheers went to a listless Fred Thompson who easily qualified himself to be president in my book by looking all night like he would cheerfully trade his left arm for an early exit off the stage to a waiting Scotch and good Cuban cigar. The media will probably award a win to Mike Huckabee, the easy listening music candidate at home in any crowd, fluent in simpleton speak and the one man on the stage tonight who led the audience to roaring cheers by boasting that he had a special qualification to be president that none of the second-raters on the stage could match: A degree in Bible Studies from Ouachita Baptist University of Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

And, in the same reliably outlet for the radical right, Fred Barnes was just as depressed. He was moaning that Giuliani and Romney made themselves look petty by fighting over immigration to kick off the whole shebang and he wonders aloud if CNN didn't plan the whole thing to make the Republicans seem like a bunch of nuts. "[I]t was a good night for [marginal candidate Ron] Paul if only because he was treated as a major political figure rather than as the Republican version of Dennis Kucinich. The other candidates, with the exception of Mike Huckabee, were losers. They came off as a bunch of squabbling cousins."

They came off like a bunch of losers because they are a bunch of losers. Barnes is angry because the questions were kooky. "By my count, of the 30-plus questions, there were 6 on immigration, 3 on guns, 2 on abortion, 2 on gays, and one on whether the candidates believe every word in the Bible." That may not be the impression highbrow GOP insiders want the general public to have about the Republican base, but that is the Republican base. The raving lunatic from Dallas, high on home made meth, demanding that the candidates' adherence to a Bronze Age literalist interpretation of the Bible would determine whether of not they were fit to be president (of the United States), is exactly what the Republican Party has degenerated into.

Barnes thinks Huckabee won, primary because he's "not very substantive." And if Barnes and "Richelieu" are supposed to be the respectable face of old line conservatism, Michelle Malkin, like Ann Coulter, is something you don't talk about at the dinner table or in front of children. Malkin is ranting and raving today because CNN dared to have questions from people who support Democrats or even one from a member of a union. And the rest of the kooks and going on an anti-CNN rampage. And CNN has already apologized for having General Kerr on-- though sees nothing wrong with having Mr. Drown Government in a Bathtub ask a question-- even though General Kerr is a registered Republican who was representing no one but himself in the debate.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007



The audience was awesome! They were so filled with hatred and right wing fanaticism that they really showed the American public why the GOP is now just a small, narrow-minded regional party of the Old Confederacy. The winner tonight was the same guy who wins all the Republican polls: Mr. None of the Above. It was interesting how badly behaved all the candidates were. Not one of them paid any attention to the time limits; they are all rule-breaking, untrustworthy cheats. I can't imagine anyone with a bit of sense watching them and thinking any of them are fit for any public office.

It was off to an hilarious start with Giuliani and Romney ripping each other apart over immigration. After Romney attacked Giuliani for running NY as a sanctuary city, Giuliani's face got all tight and narrow and I thought he would lurch at Romney and tear his throat out. Instead he unveiled a well prepared rebuttal, accusing Romney of having a "sanctuary mansion." When the exchange was done there was blood all over the stage. Tancredo was giggling and said it was great seeing the other candidates trying to "out-Tancredo Tancredo."

Frederick of Hollywood kind of defended Romney's sanctuary mansion by preparing the country for when it comes out that he's hired plenty of undocumented workers over the years. McCain was loudly boo-ed when he tried tap-dancing over a definition of "amnesty" in front of an audience that could only accept one answer: deport them all. McCain answered back the boo-ers by declaring that the American people don't believe Washington on amnesty because "we failed on Katrina... Iraq... corruption... and out of control spending." Tancredo had the last word on immigration by saying he isn't just anti-illegal immigration; he's anti-legal immigration. The audience cheered. Welcome to Xenophobia. I wonder what Florida's large Cuban-Republican population was thinking just then.

I also found it awesome when someone asked Ron Paul if he's a conspiracy nut and he basically said "yes." Soon after McCain played the Hitler card against Paul. And that was followed by a demand from Grover Norquist that each candidate pledge to adhere to his philosophy of government (i.e.- more Katrinas); ironically it was either a weird shadow or he was sporting a Hitler mustache.

And since it was a Republican debate there were plenty of questions about their most beloved issues, guns, gays, gynecology and gods. One deranged loon from Dallas, Joseph Dearing, who seemed to be on meth, demanded each candidate reveal if he believed every literal word of The Buy Bull. Giuliani said he didn't believe in Jonah in the belly of a whale. Romney said it's the word of God and he claimed, disingenuously, that he believes every single word.

A couple of other good random moments
* McCain branding Romney (and without mentioning him-- no one did-- Bush) a torturer.
* When someone asked Huckabee what Jesus would do about the death penalty, Huckabee started bragging he was responsible for more executions than anyone else on the stage.
* Tancredo was so anti-immigrant that he even characterized defective Chinese toys as "item-immigration."
* Thompson's vicious attack ad
* The Republican audience booing a gay general who served his country for decades
* Giuliani straight-out lying about the security payments that were made for his trips to visit his mistress




CNN keeps referring to the overly polite and mild disagreements between the Democratic presidential contenders as "rolling in the mud" (ex-Fox talking head/right-wing propaganda agent Kiran Chetry). The pathetic pygmies™, on the other hand, are just engaging in high level debate. That high level debate took an interested and many-faceted couple of twists and turns today. Just as Giuliani's polling numbers were tanking in South Carolina, an e-mail went out to Iowa evangelicals about Giuliani's pedophile priest-in-residence/best buddy Alan Placa. Now regular DWT readers know exactly who and what Alan Placa is. Iowa evangelicals just found out today.
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2007 14:36:01 -0500
Subject: Giuliani and his Pedophile Friends

Dear Iowa Voters,

If Rudy becomes president, is he planning on putting people like Catholic priest Msgr. Alan Placa in his Cabinet? I hope not! Remember Fr. Placa when you go to the caucuses, and make sure your friends know, too!

Giuliani Adviser is an Accused Pedophile Priest?

Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2007 6:26 AM
To: Overholtzer, David
Subject: gmail blast

No; per Jill, send the Rudy one about the priest to the Evangelical list, gmail it, thanks

Couple of problems with this. First of all, Giuliani is barely a factor in Iowa-- certainly not in the top 3, and not really worth bashing Second, the purported sender, paid-off Mitt Romney stooge David Overholtzer didn't send the e-mail. But the e-mail was purposely made to look like it was a premeditated smear against Giuliani by the Romney campaign. It is generally acknowledged that it came directly from Huckabee's campaign in order to smear both Romney and Giuliani, which is odd because it has been assumed-- just ask Rahm Emanuel-- that all Huckabee really wants is to be Rudy's vice presidential nominee.

And if that isn't muddy enough for Chetry and her ilk, there's the story we reported on early about Huckabee's campaign making a not so subtle religious (read: anti-Mormon) appeal to Iowa evangelicals just as Romney was gratuitously assuring them that he hates Muslims as much as they do. And speaking about the religionists showing up at the races, today we had the son of one dead disgraced evangelical endorsing Huckabee while another pack of right-wing religionist nuts, the Republican Majority for Choice PAC, announced they are buying $100,000 worth of 30-second TV spots slamming Flip Flop Mitt in Iowa, as well as full page ads Sunday in the Des Moines Register and the Concord Monitor and an unspecified number of TV spots in New Hampshire. Ironically, the vicious campaign which talks about Romney as a pro-choice abortion advocate is being run by a bunch of Giuliani backers!

But the Republican story du jour may not have been leaked by one of the pygmies™ at all. Turns out Security Expert/multimillionaire Rudy Giuilani, back when he was mayor, was billing little known city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses so he could sneak out to the Hamptons are carry on one of his extramarital affairs without anyone knowing.
The documents, obtained by Politico under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, show that the mayoral costs had nothing to do with the functions of the little-known city offices that defrayed his tabs, including agencies responsible for regulating loft apartments, aiding the disabled and providing lawyers for indigent defendants.

At the time, the mayor’s office refused to explain the accounting to city auditors, citing “security.”

...Auditors "were unable to verify that these expenses were for legitimate or necessary purposes," City Comptroller William Thompson wrote of the expenses from fiscal year 2000, which covers parts of 1999 and 2000.

Giuliani refuses to comment. Give him a day or two to come up with something. I'm sure Kiran Chetry will tell us all about it.

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How long must we wait? And how much more must we endure?

The Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University and Demos released an important report today on the status, the sorry status, of the American middle class under Republican rule. The short story:
* Only 31 percent of families who would be considered middle-class by income are financially secure.

*One in four middle-class families are at high risk of slipping out of the middle class.

* Twenty-one percent of middle-class families have less than $100 per week ($5,000 per year) remaining after meeting essential living expenses. These families are living from paycheck to paycheck with very little margin of security.

* More than half of middle-class families have no net financial assets whatsoever.

And just think, Bush has another year to go before we're rid of him and his foul regime. He has another year to go because Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and Rahm Emanuel have decided that they know better than the Founding Fathers. The Founding Fathers didn't come up with a constitutional remedy to George Bush as an exercise. Impeachment was designed with Bush in mind.

Today David over at Art of Mental Warfare has a stunning and mind-boggling statement from an American covert operative who Nancy Pelosi ought to get to know. So should all Americans. Lets call him Mr. PsyOps, which is his specialty.
[Y]ou can get away with anything, nothing is illegal because no one knows about it, or the few who do are either in on it or have a vested interest in keeping quiet. Whether you’re runnin’ guns, weapons, drugs, gold, diamonds, women, children, it just doesn’t matter. As long as the old guard gets their resources, it’s all good. And in the end, it’s all about power. The people who really run this planet know that natural resources (oil, water, coltan [tantalum], cobalt, etc.) are the key. The “War on Terror” is just a front for a geo-strategic resource grab on a massive scale.

...Do you think they really give a shit about Iraqi freedom? We worked hard to make you believe that, but c’mon, they don’t give a shit about the Iraqi people. They’ve killed about a MILLION of them! And that’s NOT an exaggeration! They sure as hell give a shit about Iraqi oil though. They also care about Saudi oil, and have a nice deal with a dictatorship that brutally oppresses their people. If freedom and democracy are the issue, how about freeing the Saudi people? Why do you think 15 of the 9/11 terrorists came from Saudi Arabia? We support a regime that oppresses those people. We support them because they cooperate on the oil front. So, why strike back at them? Let’s hit Iraq. They don’t give us any oil-- let’s get’em!

...If you were to ask me who is a bigger threat to the people of the US, Cheney or bin Laden, or who has done more damage to the US, I would say Cheney without hesitation. Cheney, along with Bush Sr. and Kissinger, has been running the covert world for about 40 years now. A little side note for you: I firmly believe Robert Gates, the current Secretary of Defense and Bush Sr.’s right-hand man in the covert world, used computer cryptography and software security assets to get Bush Jr. elected both times. I do not have direct knowledge of the operation, but research “Robert Gates,” “Bill Owens,” “electronic voting security,” “HAVA,” “VoteHere” and “Scientific Applications International Corp.” The operation went so well that Gates was going to be made the first ever Director of National Intelligence. He turned down the job, but then took the Secretary of Defense position when Rumsfeld was removed from his public position. I don’t think there will ever be solid evidence linking directly to members of the administration; it’s all a tangled web of plausible deniability. But I do think it will eventually be proven that the elections were manipulated to deliver Bush the victory. Many people in the covert world take this for granted, as common sense.

There's a lot more like this and I very much recommend that you read the whole piece. I left out virtually all the dramatic and lurid parts. But his advice for what we can do actually goes well beyond impeachment. I doubt though that this is what Pelosi, Hoyer and Emanuel have in mind:
1. Try the Bush Administration for war crimes. If the case could ever be brought to court, the evidence to convict is definitely there. This is why the administration has been strongly against the International Criminal Court. If we are to begin repairing this country, and the world, we must begin by showing these power crazed and covert forces that they are accountable. If we can convict someone like Cheney, we will send a powerful message to the covert world. If we let them walk, we will keep having these problems. New people will follow them and take their place.

2. Investigate where all the military spending has been vanishing off to. There are literally trillions of taxpayer dollars unaccounted for. This money is fueling the covert world and terrorism in general. As part of this, I would include an investigation into war profiteering as well.

3. Make it mandatory that all electronic voting machines must have a 100% verifiable paper trail.

4. Get people into the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) who will smash the current media ownership rules. The concentration of media ownership is the foundation of the covert power structure. Without that, the whole thing is a house of cards. That’s why the FCC is currently trying to ram through rules that will further consolidate media ownership before the Bush administration leaves office. As part of this, it is pivotal that we protect the open architecture of the Internet. The media belongs to the people, as does the government, in theory anyway, but we need an information system that actually serves the public interest.

5. Declare a national and global emergency on the environmental front. We have already reached the breaking point. We need organized, governmental, policy driven, bold action now.

6. We need to address entities that now have power over the Constitution, such as the undemocratic and unelected corporate global governing structure - institutions like the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and “agreements” like NAFTA and DR-CAFTA, to name a few. Most Americans don’t even know what these power structures are, let alone that they have power that supersedes the Constitution. We must also address the National Security Act, that’s where the ultimate power of our country lies. The National Security Act has effectively made the Constitution meaningless and is the primary driver of the covert world. The PATRIOT Act and various other newly granted powers must also be drastically revised or eliminated completely in order to protect our civil liberties.

7. Lastly, we need to have publicly financed elections. As long as we have a system that requires candidates to raise tens of millions of dollars to even be considered for office, we will have politicians who bend over backwards for the richest one percent and the most powerful elements of society at the citizens’ expense. An important aspect of this has to be a requirement for large media companies to provide candidates with free airtime. Candidates have to spend the majority of their money on advertising in the mainstream media. That’s why the major news media spend so much time focusing on who is raising the most money, because they are the ones who end up with all that money. Once we have publicly financed elections and free airtime for candidates, we will get people in office who will work in the interests of the public because they are not beholden to the large and powerful entities. When you have politicians depending on the public instead of the private sector for survival, all the issues mentioned above could be addressed because they won’t have to fear the withdrawal of support from large corporations and the wealthy and powerful who do not want these things to happen. This will also enable us to eliminate tax breaks for the richest one percent, put an end to corporate welfare practices, and stop funding for obscene military and prison industrial companies that are profiting off of disasters and no longer serve security interests. Then we can redirect that money into environmental, education, health care and social security programs, to mention a few.

So, like a friend of mine at a labor union told me today, after reading the piece from Brandeis, "When Bush & Co talk about a strong economy, it's a diversion from the real state of affairs."

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As we mentioned Monday, there's a battle brewing inside the DCCC over the Democratic congressional candidate in the December 11 special election to fill the seat of Paul Gillmor (R-RIP). The whole Ohio Democratic congressional delegation, but especially Tim Ryan and Sherrod Brown, have been pushing for serious DCCC involvement. Everyone knows Van Hollen is sitting on tens of millions of dollars so why won't Emanuel let him spend some?

It's more than just wanting it to defend Bush Dogs who are unpopular with Democrats and face defeat due to low grassroots participation from people who look at congressmen like Jim Marshall and John Barrow and decide to stay home, correctly thinking, "What difference does it really make?" Sure Emanuel needs as many generic Democrats-- regardless of how they actually vote-- in order to maintain his power and get a good parking spot at the office. Today's Toledo Blade has a story by Josh Boak that gives strong hints about Emanuel would rather see a reactionary Republican win than a progressive Democrat: trade policy.

Emanuel made his bones by beating up on congressional Democrats on behalf of Bill Clinton's worst legislative initiative, NAFTA. Clinton had the Republicans behind him but he needed more Democrats to pass it. He sent over "tough guy" operative Emanuel. (Keep in mind this is when Emanuel was still getting away with his boastful, and false, claims that he lost a finger single-handedly capturing a Syrian tank in the Golan Heights and no one knew it had been amputated because a minor boo-boo got infected when he didn't wash it after an accident involving a pastrami sandwich at a deli in Chicago. Nor did they know, at the time that he was a ballet dancer and attended an all girls college.) Anyway, Mr Rough and Tumble, bribed and threatened enough Democrats to get NAFTA passed by 2 votes. It's the single worst thing to have come out of the Clinton Regime. And Emanuel stands by it to this day-- really stands by it. And that's why Bob Latta, the reactionary Republican in the OH-05 race (a district incorrectly deemed as "too red"), is his kind of candidate. Yesterday Latta "sketched out an economic agenda based on the traditional GOP pillars of limited government, reduced taxes, and expanded global markets."
The announcement highlighted the partisan differences on economic growth in the Dec. 11 run-off election for Ohio's 5th District congressional seat.

Democrat Robin Weirauch of Napoleon favors trade agreements that protect domestic factory workers from foreign rivals. She also believes that the federal government should enact policies to lower the price of gas, saying that existing laws enable the oil industry to reap substantial profits.

Emanuel hears a candidate "favors trade agreements that protect domestic factory workers from foreign rivals" and suddenly he forgets he's supposed to be a Democrat. It's much easier for him to blame the calamities caused by NAFTA on "illegal aliens" and to team up with Tom Tancredo and Heath Shuler is demonizing minorities than in facing up to a fatally flawed policy that has his name written all over it.

Perhaps one day Chris Van Hollen will tell Emanuel that he isn't the boss anymore. But don't count on it. Instead we need to count on ourselves.


Wes is a real leader and he just sent this letter out to his list:

Pouring rain. 10-hour long lines. A final margin of just 2%. This was Ohio in 2004.

But one year before any votes are cast in the general election, we have a chance to send a message to voters in Ohio and across the country: 2008 will not be 2004.

Robin Weirauch is running for the open seat in Ohio's 5th congressional district. Voters will be hitting the ballot box in less than two weeks on December 11.

A victory in OH-5 will send a message across Ohio and America that voters are ready to turn the page on George W. Bush and the Republicans. Contribute to Robin's campaign today!

As the daughter of a retired Master Staff Sergeant in the United States Air Force, Robin will do more than simply repeat slogans like "Support the Troops." She will fight to bring a responsible end to the war in Iraq and make sure our veterans receive the health care they deserve.

A former Emergency Medical Technician and the wife of a retired police officer, Robin has honest middle class values. She understands the critical issues for working-class people such as education, fair trade policies, and bringing good jobs back to Northwest Ohio. She will ensure that all Americans have access to the opportunities that will help them and their children succeed in the 21st Century.

Northwest Ohio and Congress need Robin's strong, honest, independent voice.

Give Robin the final push she needs to win this seat for Democrats and give us the momentum we need heading into the 2008 elections!

Like many of the races I've asked you to help with in the past, this is a tough district. It's a Republican district, but as I've said before, we've got to compete everywhere. Republican districts can become Democratic districts. Republican states can become Democratic states. But only if we contest the seats.

I remember campaigning last year in Montana with Jon Tester, standing with Jim Webb in Virginia, and barnstorming some of the reddest Congressional districts in the final days of the 2006 elections. With you by my side, we changed the map.

We have the chance to do it again. Bush won this district by 20 points in 2004, but in 2006, Governor Ted Strickland and Senator Sherrod Brown carried it for Democrats. Now in this special election, just 13 days away, Robin Weirauch can win Ohio's 5th district...with your help.

Please rush a contribution to Robin in these final days before the special election on December 11.

You are helping to change our country, and I can't thank you enough for all you do.


Wes Clark

And thank you, General Clark, for doing what Chris Van Hollen should do-- with or without Rahm Emanuel's blessing.

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And then there was one: Who's gonna harmonize now with Sen. Larry "Wide Stance" Craig?


Our Larry (2nd from left), "the last Singing Senator left standing, or
sitting, or whatever"--with former warblers (l-r) Trent, John, and Jim

To grasp the true significance of breaking news, some people look to those "news analysis" sidebars in the NYT or Washington Post, or scour the op-ed pages, or wait for the Sunday-morning D.C. TV gabfests. Whereas we try to remember to get "In the Loop" with the Post's Al Kamen, who once again rises to the occasion today, getting to the bedrock importance of Trent Lott's impending departure from the Senate:

Without Lott, the Singing Senators Are of One Voice

Sen. Trent Lott's resignation announcement Monday stunned the political cognoscenti, but the rationale seems pretty obvious. Lott (R-Miss.), 66, needed to cash in before he got much older. Being GOP whip isn't much of a job when you're in the minority and prospects are not good for a change in that status anytime soon.

The true significance of Lott's departure is that it leaves Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) as the last Singing Senator left standing, or sitting, or whatever.

The barbershop quartet, formed in 1995, stopped performing when baritone John Ashcroft lost his seat to a dead Democrat in 2000. Shortly thereafter, then-Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont bolted the party. And now bass Lott is soon to be out.

This leaves tenor and lead singer Craig -- who for now says he's quitting next year -- going solo, unless he wants to recruit some replacements.

It's the biggest musical breakup since the legendary Ben E. King left the Drifters.

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Not backward enough for South Carolina Republicans

Not many Americans have been following the run-up to the primaries and caucuses in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada the way DWT readers have. Even in those states, not many voters have been paying close attention. But they're starting to. A report filed today from a far right propaganda shill with GOP mouthpiece NationalReviewOnline explains what many people had long expected: Giuliani, in his words, is "cratering" in reactionary bastion South Carolina. His analysis of the just-released Palmetto Poll:
The poll shows Romney in the lead among Republicans with 17 percent – up from his fourth-place, 11 percent finish in the same poll in August. Fred Thompson is in second place at 15 percent, down from his first-place, 19 percent showing in August. Mike Huckabee is in third with 13 percent, well up from his fifth-place six percent in August. John McCain is in fourth place with 11 percent, down from his third-place 15 percent in August. And Rudy Giuliani – who was virtually tied with Thompson for first place with 18 percent in August – is in fifth place with nine percent in the new poll. Giuliani's nine-percentage-point drop is the biggest in the field. Finally, Ron Paul is in sixth place with six percent – up from one percent in August.

Of course, and as always, "none of the above" and "undecided" are the biggest vote getters among Republicans, a percentage that has actually grown as South Carolina Republicans have gotten to know their presidential field better. Or maybe South Carolina Republicans have just turned against Giuliani because they identify him with his most trusted statewide lieutenant, playboy/cocaine dealer Thomas Ravenel (and former Giuliani campaign chairman).

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So many people would be disqualified from a Romney cabinet because of their heritage

No one knows for sure but it appears that there are approximately the same number of Mormons and Muslims in the U.S. Yesterday Mormon Bishop Willard Romney (AKA: Mitt) stirred up a hornets' nest by stating it wouldn't be "justified" to appoint an American of the Moslem faith to the cabinet based on their number in the population. There are less Jews in the population. Doe she object to their participation in the cabinet as well? I doubt it but Senior Flip Flopper will say anything anytime to anyone in his quest for money and power. Since the infamous interview he's been tap dancing like a madman. But to no avail. He's been caught saying the same thing before.

It's kind of funny and ironic that a slippery hypocrite like Romney, who needs to persuade the already very narrow-minded and bigoted Republican base that Mormons don't have cloven hooves, will get caught winking and nodding to that base's prejudices against Moslems. And today's NY Times carries a piece by Michael Luo on how the spectre of Mormonism is cutting into Romney's early lead in Iowa and benefiting one of the least qualified of all the pathetic pygmies™, former Baptist preacher/mean drunk Mike Huckabee.

Evangelicals in Iowa who flirted with the idea of supporting Romney seem to be stepping back, impressed by a Huckabee TV ad that feeds right into their bigotry.
On Monday, Mr. Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, raised the stakes when he began broadcasting an advertisement in Iowa that emphasizes his faith and declares him to be a “Christian leader”-- all in capital letters-- which some might view as a shot at Mr. Romney.

The Huckabee camp, of course, practically denies even knowing someone in the race is a Mormon and states flatly-- at least in public and on the record-- that the ad doesn't have anything to do with reminding Iowans that Romney's in a cult instead of a real religion. In private, however, the Huckabee operatives are rubbing their hands together and drooling. "Mr. Huckabee’s advisers admit privately they are cognizant of how Mr. Romney’s religion can work against him and how Mr. Huckabee’s evangelical roots are to their advantage at least among some voters... The issue is a delicate one for Mr. Huckabee. He has waffled in recent interviews about whether he considers Mormons to be Christians."
Luo writes that at Huckabee campaign rallies it's easy to find the anti-Mormon crowd, although many of the Huckabee supporters prefer to couch their religious bigotry in terms of Romney being a serial flip flopper pointing to his "shifting positions over the years on abortion and gay rights to explain why they do not support him." But not all. Luo quotes on Iowa Republican supporter of Huckabee he met:
“Mormons spend two years of their lives as missionaries, preaching an anti-Christian doctrine,” she said. “I don’t want someone out there, if I can help it, who’s going to be acting on an anti-Christian faith as the basis of their decision-making.”

...Danny Carroll, a former speaker pro tem in the Iowa House and Mr. Huckabee’s Iowa campaign co-chairman, said he was drawn to Mr. Huckabee in large part because of the way religion permeates the former Arkansas governor’s life. Mr. Carroll said he had reservations about Mr. Romney because of his more moderate past positions in addition to his religion, saying he was concerned about where Mr. Romney went for strength and wisdom.

“I think it just causes some uneasiness as to how somebody is going to respond when heavy responsibility is placed on them,” Mr. Carroll said. “I think the Christian would like to know that the person has a strong anchor and prays to the God of the Bible.”

At a recent Huckabee event in Iowa, Glenda Gherkey, an evangelical from Evansdale, posed a question to the candidate.

“I’m concerned a lot of Christians are thinking about the values issues and forgetting about the creator behind the values issues,” Ms. Gherkey said. “I guess I feel like this country and this world needs a president who would be able to pray to the God of the Bible and he would be able to hear his prayers.”

She wondered, Would Mr. Romney’s prayers “even get through”?

Odd, even frightening, that people with this kind of a mindset are allowed to participate-- let alone participate in a way that it far out of proportion to their numbers in the population of the country-- is the selection of the president (of the United States).

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Last year Indiana, the reddest state-- by far-- in the Midwest, saw the defeat of 3 Republican incumbents by Democrats. This was the greatest percentage of any state's delegation to change from red to blue. (There wasn't a single blue to red change anywhere in the U.S., not even in the Old Confederacy.) This year Indiana Republicans are looking for a little payback. They can look as hard as they can, though. 2008 is just not shaping up to be a good year for them. The best news they're likely to get is that all 3 of the newly elected Democrats tend to vote with Republicans more than all but a few hardcore Dixiecrats. Baron Hill, Joe Donnelly, and Brad Ellsworth all have almost identical voting records and when Progressive Punch's Chips Are Down roll call tracking is examined the 3 show up at the very bottom of the barrel.

Republicans hoped they might pick up a seat when Julia Carson announced her retirement due to ill health. Of the 5 Democratic-held congressional seats, IN-07 (Indianapolis and much of surrounding Marion County) has the strongest Democratic registration advantage, Cook Partisan Voting Index of D +9 and can boast of having given Bush only 42% of it's vote in 2004, slightly less than he got in 2000. Carson won the seat last year with 54% of the vote. The Democrats are thinking about running Carson's grandson, City Councilman Andre Carson, although former Indian Democratic Party Chairman Robin Winston is also thinking of running, as are 3 state reps, Carolene Mays, David Orentlicher and Gregory W. Porter, and the recently defeated Indianapolis Mayor, Bart Peterson. The probably GOP nominee will be state Rep Jon Elrod. In giving up his state house seat, Elrod presents the Democrats with a nice gift, since they are sure to take that one back. It is highly unlikely he will be able to beat any viable Democrat in the 7th. And, in fact, Indiana Republicans have something much more serious to worry about. Mitch Daniels is one of the least popular governors in America.

Monday the Indianapolis Star reported that half the voters in Indiana think Daniels, Bush's former failed Budget Director, is doing a poor job, as bad in fact as he did when he worked for Bush. And that's bad. "Half of Hoosiers likely to vote in next year's election disapprove of Gov. Mitch Daniels' performance, and the two Democrats vying for Daniels' job have at least as much voter support as he does, according to a new Indianapolis Star-WTHR (Channel 13) poll."
Rising property taxes, their personal finances, the lease of the Indiana Toll Road and the state's switch to daylight saving time all contributed to Daniels' disapproval rate, the poll of 600 Hoosiers found.

If the election were held today, former Congresswoman Jill Long Thompson and Indianapolis architect Jim Schellinger could edge Daniels out, the poll found.

In a head to head match-up with Jill Long Thompson, she beats him 44% to 43% and Jim Schellinger is also ahead, 44% to 40%. Even Republicans are sick of him and hope he loses. Obviously a Republican Party ticket with Daniels up top will be bad for Republicans across the state. It could impact the dim hopes Republicans harbor to pick up any congressional seats and it could give hope to a progressive Democrat, Barry Welsh running an aggressive campaign against far right extremist and Bush rubber stamp Mike Pence (IN-06).


I want to share part of an e-mail I just got from a friend in Indiana, the part about IN-07.
As for IN-07, I am personally pulling for either Robin Winston or David Orentlicher to get into the race. They are both great progressives and Winston has fantastic contacts and fundraising acumen. He led the state party and was a very popular chair when he was there, then left under sunny circumstances to start a political consulting firm. He recently joined the board of the Indiana Progressives organization which is the Indiana DFA affiliate.

David Orentlicher is a state rep from the Northside, old money section of Indy. He is a populist economically and a pragmatic and well respected legislator who has been leading the Democrats on the response to the property tax crisis in Indiana. He is probably my favorite legislator in the General Assembly. He is very even tempered, a doctor by trade and really has great ideas for the health care crisis nationally. I think he has the most potential of any of the folks mentioned as possible Carson replacements. He has in the past and could in the future turn Republican voters into supporters. His district is one of the reddest districts in Indianapolis yet he managed to win by a decent margin in his reelection fight last year.

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