Monday, July 31, 2006



Earlier today Associated Press moved a story entitled "Key Democrats Call For Iraq Withdrawal". Imagine that! Who would think anyone who hadn't already done that would be allowed to even call himself or herself a Democrat, let alone be referred to as "key." Why didn't the headline read "Reactionary Corporate Whores Inside the Democrat Party Finally Call For Iraq Withdrawal?"

They sent Bush a letter. "U.S. forces in Iraq should transition to a more limited mission focused
on counterterrorism, training and logistical support of Iraqi security forces and force protection of U.S. personnel." Reid and Pelosi signed it. I guess the congressional Dems are unified. I wonder if that means Rahm Emanuel will stop torpedoing anti-war congressional candidates. I bet he won't. I mean they're not that unified.

Anyway, the Washington Post has also run a piece today, emphasizing that the Beltway Dems have pulled their heads out of their asses long enough to realize that "public discontent over Iraq as their best chance for retaking the House or Senate." Aside from Democrats like Pelosi and Murtha, who long ago saw Bush for what he is and saw his Iraq occupation for what it is, even some of the worst idiots in the Democratic leadership, like Steny Hoyer (House Minority Whip who will make a mockery out of grassroots hopes for a Democratic victory by becoming House Majority Leader if the Dems take back the House) are backing this new approach. Lieberman, one of the 6 Senate Democrats to had voted against a similar resolution in June is keeping his trap shut on this until after the August 8th primary.

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman pulled his head out of his boyfriend's ass long enough to wipe the shit eating grin off his repulsive face and blurt out that the "letter 'underscores the critical choice facing the American people in November.' At a time of 'jihadist attacks on civilians in Baghdad, Mumbai and northern Israel,' he added, 'Democrat leaders propose to cut and run from the central front in the war on terror. Waving a white flag in Iraq may appeal to the Net roots, but it will embolden the enemy, encourage more terrorism and make America less secure.'" Then he re-inserted his head into his boyfriend's ass, although he'll clean up in time to testify at the New Hampshire election tampering trial in which he is implicated for having helped steal a Senate seat for right wing (anti-gay; I hope Mehlman's proud of himself) rubber stamp John Sununu.

Quote of the day: (2) Are you ready for the shocking answer to Monday's Quiz-Quote?


What we wanted to know was:

Who said--

"So now we're judging each other based on things we've done? Real fair! Class act!"

Now it could have been any of the others: Karl Rove, President Bush, Attorney General Al "The Torture Guy" Gonzales, former AG John Ashcroft, Supreme Court Justice "Sammy the Slug" Alito, Vice President Cheney or Sen. Joe Lieberman. In fact, we wouldn't be surprised to learn that one or more--maybe all--of them said it.

However, the answer we were looking for was:

(h) Homer Simpson, to Marge, in the episode of The Simpsons that was just rerun Sunday night



Every Saturday at 2PM (East Coast) Blue America features a live chat with a progressive candidate for Congress. The next few weeks look really exciting: Charlie Brown (CA), Dave Mejias (NY), Victoria Wulsin (OH), Jerry McNerney (CA)-- four Democrats in a row aiming to help retire 4 of the absolute worst Republican rubber stamp corporate shills in the entire country: John Doolittle, Peter King, Mean Jean Schmidt, and Dirty Dick Pombo. But before we proceed into a future with no Pombos and no Mean Jeans and No Doolittles and no Peter Kings, I thought it would be a good idea to look at how some of the men and women we've helped out so far have been progressing.

Last night that great-looking photo arrived from Rick Penberthy. His campaign has printed up and mailed out just over 10,000 cards, completely paid for by Blue America community members. Since we got together with Rick on July 8th, he has been endorsed by several labor unions including the AFL-CIO. The best news for Penberthy however comes from the Pasco County, the biggest and fastest growing county in the district, where the registrar of voters confirmed that over 10,000 new voters have registered as Democrats since the 2004 election.

If you've had the impression that John Laesch is a hands-on kind of guy who grabs the bull by the horns and confronts issues directly, you won't be surprised to learn that he marched into Denny Hastert's campaign office to personally challenge him to a debate on immigration. After all, it was Hastert, and only Hastert, who single-handedly killed a House/Senate compromise on the explosive issue. Hastert is very frightened of John and hasn't answered the challenge. The last thing Hastert wants is for residents of IL-14 to make a side by side comparison between the athletic, energetic, quick-witted, Laesch, bristling with earnestness and integrity and the slothlike, ponderously gluttonous Hastert who is a posterboy for dishonesty, corruption and badly conceptualized, failed policies.

Of course, Hastert isn't the only Bush-enabler afraid to be seen side-by-side with his opponent. Joe Lieberman, another rubber stamp Republican (or whatever he's calling himself these days), just piulled out of an agreed-upon debate with Ned Lamont that had been scheduled for August 6th on the local ABC affiliate. Apparently Holy Joe thinks his shot to win is to depend on multiple robo-calls to every voter in Connecticut "from" Bill Clinton between now and the August 8th primary. Lieberman has also bailed out of his scheduled Al Franken interview on Air America. Ned taped the Colbert Report today (and it's on tonight) and Jane was with him and she says it was great. I can't wait to watch.

You may have noticed that last week I let loose on John Edwards a little for his use of the DCCC in "his" candidate selection process. It was big of Edwards to kind of admit he was wrong at least about one thing-- he had left out fellow North Carolinian Larry Kissell. After a flood of e-mail and phone calls he's remedied that and he's added Larry to his contest.

July 28th was the one year anniversary of Larry's opponent, Robin Hayes' doing the most perfect demonstration of rubber stamp Republicanism in the history of this Congress. 365 days earlier, a teary-eyed  Hayes was beaten down by DeLay and Blunt and Boehner and provided the reactionary forces of bad trade policy with the one-vote margin they needed to pass CAFTA, depriving untold numbers of working families in his own district with opportunities for employment. According to Larry "we've yet to get a single straight answer from Mr. Hayes on why he changed his vote on CAFTA. It still seems that every time the Congressman talks about his vote he changes his story. Local North Carolina bloggers have started a campaign to get people to donate $7.28 to Larry's campaign as a protest against Hayes' and Bush's abysmal trade policies. (Never too late!) Alternatively, if you're in Raleigh next Saturday (August 5th), by all means join Congressmen Brad Miller and David Price at a Kissell for Congress statewide rally/BBQ, 6PM at the Kerr Scott Building on the State Fairgrounds.

Although we haven't had Donna on for a chat yet, we did look at her campaign and we managed to raise over $3,600 for her in her primary battle against Democratic corporate whore Al Wynn. Good news since then: Donna has been endorsed by Future PAC, the first national political action committee developed by African-American women to support progressive African-American women candidates at the federal, state, and local levels by creating a network of support and funding. Last week Congressional Quarterly did a story explaining how Donna's primary against Wynn is very much like Ned Lamont's battle in Connecticut against George Bush's and Ann Coulter's favorite Democrat, Joe Lieberman.

You may have noticed that one of the candidates we have started raising money for but who hasn't joined us for a Saturday session yet-- though we hope he will-- is Admiral Joe Sestak. Christy and I did some preliminary work on him last week and today Joe demonstrates again how a fighting Dem does politics. Basically the Philadelphia Inquirer story looks at how Sestak handles the Inside-the-Beltway consultants. Consultants pressed him, for example, to abandon his call to set a deadline to withdraw from Iraq within a year, saying that many voters wouldn't agree. "He declined. A candidate 'should be a leader,' shaping public opinion rather than following it, Sestak said... Sestak says he is his own chief architect. Paraphrasing what he says was John F. Kennedy's conclusion after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, Sestak said, 'Never trust the experts. Listen to them, and then do what you think is right.'"

And when the Democratic professional consultants, who have so blurred the meaning of the party so many people don't even know what the difference between a Democrat and a Republican is anymore,
"warned him about other damage-control problems lurking in what they considered dangerously specific position papers... Sestak wrote them himself." That's exactly what has drawn so many grassroots Democrats and Independents to Joe's banner.

I was going to leave it at Joe today, but I just got a thank you note from Steven Porter, the Pennsylvania progressive taking on humongous rubber stamp Republican Phil English. This is a campaign the DCCC is completely ignoring. Why? Is it because Porter is too independent minded for Rahm Emanuel? Is it because he is siding with fellow Pennsylvanian Jack Murtha on the approach to Bush's occupation of Iraq?  Is it because Steven Isn't a corporate whore and will never be a corporate whore? The latest poll in PA-03, by the largest newspaper in the district, the Erie Times News shows Porter beating English 58.4% to 41.6%. Is there something wrong with the DCCC? Even the registration in the district now favors Democrats, 46%- 44%. Porter is worth backing. I think Rahm's leaving this one up to us though.



Every Saturday there's a live netroots get together at Firedoglake called "Blue America". Each week we have a progressive Democrat over to tell us about his or her campaign and to answer questions. I've been noticing they all bring up something called "the donuthole." For the last two weeks Bruce Braley (IA-01) and Eric Massa (NY-29) were pounding it, explaining why it's part of the #1 issue in their districts. Today's Washington Post explains why it may be the #1 issue, at least for senior citizens (the biggest voting bloc in the country) come November. And that is very bad news for the rubber stamp Republicans who have been taking millions and millions of dollars from Big Pharma in return for passing this horrendous piece of... legislation.

The calls are starting to come in from shocked or angry seniors. They have just learned that their Medicare drug plans are maxing out on early coverage and that they must now spend $2,850 from their own pockets before coverage will resume. "I can't pay for my medications," one man told Howard Houghton of the Fairfax Area Agency on Aging the other day. "What do I do?"

Over the next five months, several million Americans with high medicine costs could find themselves in a similar bind. The gap in insurance, popularly called the doughnut hole, is an unusual provision in most of the private plans offered in Medicare's new Part D prescription drug program. Advocates for the elderly say it is misunderstood and problematic.

"There's nothing sweet about the doughnut hole," said Deene Beebe, spokeswoman for the New York-based Medicare Rights Center... Advocacy groups and some independent health analysts have warned of serious health consequences for older and disabled Americans living on low or moderate fixed incomes. Their resources, though minimal, often are too much to qualify for extra help. They face difficult choices, advocates fear: buy medicines or food and other necessities?

The average senior citizen enrolled in Bush's rip-off program, designed primarily by and for the big political contributors in the Pharmaceutical Industry, will fall into the potentially deadly doughnut  hole in late September. That very tangible disaster could jeopardize as many as 50 Republican congressional seats. The Post explains why: "Retired teacher Elise Cain walked into her Silver Spring pharmacy last week for a pill she takes for diabetes, one of her dozen daily medicines. The 77-year-old woman had paid $20 in June. Her charge now is $175.24... Columbia resident Mary Ann Anderson, 81, was caught by surprise even though she had carefully reviewed the plans. She knew she had to choose wisely given the long list of medications she is taking after having double bypass surgery in December. 'It was a huge success,' she said of the operation. 'But not having the drugs could kill me.' This month, Anderson went to the store to pick up three refills. With her coverage, the bill had been about $125 a month. Suddenly, it had more than doubled. 'You hit the limit,' the pharmacist told her. 'What do you mean?' she asked, bewildered. She quickly learned. She also learned that the $14,952 she nets from Social Security annually made her ineligible for many assistance programs, including those offered by pharmaceutical companies. She spent five days on the phone trying to find alternatives, taking detailed notes of each conversation. She contacted elected officials, federal and state, and Howard County's Office on Aging. She asked her cardiologist for samples.

Among the Republicans most likely to lose their seats because they abandoned the interests of their constituents for payoffs from Big Pharma are Jim Gerlach (PA), Curt Weldon (PA), Sue Kelly (NY), Peter King (NY), John Sweeney (NY), Mary Bono (CA), Richard Pombo (CA), John Doolittle (CA), Chris Chocola (IN), Ginny Brown-Waite (FL), Clay Shaw (FL), Robin Hayes (NC), Charles Taylor (NC), John Kline (MN), Robert Ney (OH), Deborah Pryce (OH), Heather Wilson (NM), Charles Bass (NH), Rob Simmons (CT), Chris Shays (CT), Nancy Johnson (CT), Mike Ferguson (NJ), Virgil Goode (VA), and Mike Rogers (MI). Among the Republicans 204 voted for this Big Business boondoggle. Only 16 corporate sell-out Democrats voted with the Republicans, including many of the worst and most notorious Bush supporters like Jim Marshall (GA), Jim Matheson (UT), Collin Peterson (MN) and Lincoln Davis (TN).

Liberal Democrat Menendez, conservative Republican Martinez. It's all the same thing, just like tomato-potater—if you don't know (or care)


In case you missed this nugget, here's Al Kamen's account in his Washington Post "In the Loop" column:

You're Not Yourself Today

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), at the White House this spring for a meeting with other senators to discuss immigration with President Bush, was surprised when Bush approached him as the meeting broke up and observed: "Senator Martinez, you've been very quiet."

"That's Martinez," Menendez said, pointing to Mel Martinez--Florida's junior senator and Bush's former secretary of housing and urban development.

[See the uncanny resemblance? That's Bob Menendez of New Jersey at left above and Mel Martinez of Florida (and formerly of the Bush cabinet) at left below. Let's see, they're both male, and . . . uh . . . well, their last names begin with "M," and . . . . ]

And you thought there was no bright side to the horror in Lebanon? If you're a neocon wacko, you can use it to try to cover the world's biggest ass


Effing unbelievable. You could understand if it was the Moonie Washington Times, but the Washington Post? Yet there it is on the front page:

Crisis Could Undercut Bush's Long-Term Goals

If you don't smell a rat yet, read a couple of grafs:

The Israeli bombs that slammed into the Lebanese village of Qana yesterday did more than kill three dozen children and a score of adults. They struck at the core of U.S. foreign policy in the region and illustrated in heart-breaking images the enormous risks for Washington in the current Middle East crisis.

With each new scene of carnage in southern Lebanon, outrage in the Arab world and Europe has intensified against Israel and its prime sponsor, raising the prospect of a backlash resulting in a new Middle East quagmire for the United States, according to regional specialists, diplomats and former U.S. officials.

Well, those "regional specialists, diplomats and former U.S. officials" could well have talked about how disastrous the Lebanon crisis is to U.S. foreign-policy interests, but the implication here that it is undercutting current U.S. foreign policy ("Bush's long-term goals"?!) not only is pure bullshit but can only have come from the neocon psychopaths who got us into the Iraqi quagmire or their apologists.

The strategy is as transparent as it is dishonest: See, it's not our fault that Iraq is all effed up! It's just these darned things that keep happening, things that are beyond our control!

Of course, an excellent argument can be made that the emboldening of Hezbollah is an indirect, or maybe even direct, result of our cosmic blundering in the Middle East, by turning most of the world against Israel and ourselves and at a markedly higher level of potential violence, and by emboldening Iran to challenge U.S. power, like by encouraging its Hezbollah clients to make trouble.

But instead, you see, the neocon wackjobs, who apparently still have no clue what went wrong with our Iraq adventure, are apparently promoting the line that our policy there would be a glorious success if not for (sigh) all these mysterious setbacks. To use one of the most popular ass-covering phrases in Bushworld--now, it appears, trying desperately to cover the world's biggest ass: "Who could have foreseen?"

The simple answer, of course, is: anyone with a working brain. For a more detailed workup, see Paul Krugman's column today.



Jack Straw is taking on Tony Blair for blindly and irresponsibly following suit with Tweedle dim and Israel as well, in not calling for a cease fire, or worse yet, obstructing one. The casualties in Lebanon are outnumbering those on the Israeli side by about 10-1 according to some sources. In our news this headline appears: 34 youths among 56 dead in Israeli strike.

The reality on the ground does not match the sanitized reports we are hearing. Sanitized or not, it is deplorable.

The majority of Americans did not vote for George Bush in 2000. He did not win the popular vote, and in my opinion that fact has been obscured by the tussle over uncounted Florida votes. No matter what you think of the Electoral College, I happen to think that means something. We will not even talk about 2004 and the help he got from Bin Laden and Ohio’s Ken Blackwell. This “Uniter not a Divider” “Mission Accomplished” “They Hate our freedoms” “We could not have foreseen the breach of the levees” “I will fire anyone involved in leaking” decider is making bad decision after bad decision. And, if he is not making bad decisions, then he is sitting on the sidelines waiting for trouble to cease and for Americans and the world to forget the failure du jour. He knows soon they will go back to business as usual. This is wearing thin.

Most of us are not behind his illegal war in Iraq. Most of us do not want prisoners in our care to be tortured. Most of us hate what is going on in Guantanimo. Most of us do not approve of the billions which pour into the Iraqi black hole, the use of illegal weapons, the mistreatment and slaughter of civilians. Most of us understand that he went into this war with a bad plan and he does a disservice to our troops and our country. Most of us consider this man to be anything but a statesman or a man capable of creating any policy that was not either slipshod or self-serving. The list of his betrayals and failures becomes so long as to become meaningless by becoming a commonplace occurrence of absurdity, malfeasance, and incompetence. (And, these are just some the military issues. Don’t even get me started on the domestic woes we face due to corruption and poor decision making.)

But, some of us are not lulled into a trance, but are still paying attention as the tragicomedy of the century continues. We are sick at heart over the death and destruction of so much of the world we live in. I have to wonder, has the Bush family become so rich that it can buy all of our lives? Has their influence and power grown to the point where the world is set to do their bidding? I can think of few other reasons why so many bow to the will of this maniacal, incompetent, and scheming George W. Bush.

The parade of competent people who have fled his administration are speaking out, Richard Clarke, Colin Powell, Christie Todd Whitman, Tommy Thompson. The list goes on. Longtime CIA and FBI members are coming forward and in plain and simple terms telling the American public the truth. Are we listening? And, even though notable folks are talking, we can expect only smatterings of the truth to reach the Main Stream Media. (If neocons do not like the blogosphere, they really have no one to blame but themselves. No one else would do the job.)

But, I do digress, and I wish to make another point. In the article above, late in the 6th paragraph Tony Blair is quoted as saying, “I will never apologize for Britain being a strong ally of the US.”

I have news for Mr. Blair. George Bush is NOT the U.S.; also read us. He does not represent us in the true spirit of representation. Roughly 35% of Americans approve of the job he is doing. Not only that, but Mr. Blair, please be so kind as to notice that not only doesn’t George represent us, neither does his party.

So, Mr. Blair since Barbara Bush has failed in her job of mothering, and since George will not listen to his daddy (we can only hope this is the truth) and since those surrounding our illustrious idiot have failed in their jobs of telling George the truth, I find that I am moved to say to you what most certainly needs to be said. Stop humoring him. It does not help. Look, the rest of the world is wising up and telling our emperor he has no clothes. Your country would be better served if you could stop lapping at the feet of our toddler in chief. Really, this sort of pandering to a spoiled rich kid is embarrassing.




I honestly do not know where the mass media comes up with absurdities like 29% or 35% of the people in this country supporting Bush. I mean there aren't that many multimillionaires and religionist fanatics in this country. Take a look at the new MSNBC poll. You can even add your voice. It seems to reflect a lot more accurately what I'm seeing than any of the polls claiming all that support for Bush's catastrophic regime.


Not only are more and more people wishing they never had heard the words "George W. Bush," but Americans seem to be finally waking up to the truth about the fake Beltway values that he's been masquerading as all-American. In South Dakota the Argus Leader and KELO-TV just released the results of a Mason Dixon poll showing that South Dakota voters plan to reject Governor Mike Rounds' restrictive abortion ban. 47% of South Dakotans say they will vote "no" and only 39% favor it.

Quote of the day: For the first time ever, we have a DWT quiz-quote—who said it? (Plus: Paul Krugman takes a grim look at the mess in Lebanon)


"So now we're judging each other based on things we've done? Real fair! Class act!"

Who said it?

(a) Karl Rove, to President Bush

(b) President Bush—and for extra credit, who did he say it to?
• his mother, former First Lady Barbara Bush
• his wife, First Lady Laura Bush
• his brain, Karl Rove
• his Fox News enabler, Brit Hume
• a joint session of Congress

(c) Attorney General Al "The Torture Guy" Gonzales, to Tim Russert on Meet the Press

(d) former Attorney General "Honest John" Ashcroft, recalling his Senate confirmation hearings

(e) Supreme Court Justice "Sammy the Slug" Alito, recalling his Senate confirmation hearings

(f) Vice President Cheney, to the only person he allows to judge him, himself

(g) Sen. Joe Lieberman, in a letter to the editor of the New York Times

(h) Homer Simpson, to Marge

For the shocking answer, check here.

ALSO TALKING—Paul Krugman on the war in Lebanon

"For Americans who care deeply about Israel, one of the truly nightmarish things about the war in Lebanon has been watching Israel repeat the same mistakes the United States made in Iraq. It's as if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been possessed by the deranged spirit of Donald Rumsfeld."

—start of today's NYT column, "Shock and Awe"*

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
*The complete text of the Krugman column is appended in a comment.



Today's Washington Post, in an editorial called The Favor Factory, gets into some of the nitty gritty of how House Appropriations Committee Chairman/GOP crime kingpin Jerry Lewis and his associates became fabulously wealthy feasting at the public trough. Although this is hardly news to DWT readers (refresh your memories here and here for starters) Lewis' criminal rampage has gone largely unreported by the national mass media.

If you're wondering how the Post came up with the awesome title, they had a real pro working on it. According to the Post "Jack Abramoff memorably dubbed [the House Appropriations Committee] the 'favor factory.'" And, of course, Lewis' favors were being done exclusively for those who paid him off.


The only reason I have been keeping up the barrage on the Lewis front is because from what I can tell Louie Contreras isn't even really running! I hope I'm wrong but there zero activity on his website, no one answers his office phone, he doesn't return e-mail messages and when I dialed the cell phone number I always used to reach him on someone answered and said it was her new number.

What a shame. Lewis is the single most corrupt man in Congress. Just today another Lewis scandal came oozing to the surface. Making the ultra rich uber rich-- namely Jerry Lewis.

Sunday, July 30, 2006



In 1999 I was still president of Reprise when a quartet of college faves of mine, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young reunited to record, release and tour behind LOOKING FORWARD. So long ago... remember what it was like in the world before George Bush? The new CSN&Y tour, Freedom of Speech Your '06, is very different from the LOOKING FORWARD Tour.

Ben Werner of the Orange County Register doesn't want to mince words. "The quartet of 60-somethings has rallied around a decidedly strident work, Young's LIVING WITH WAR, easily the most bluntly outspoken response to the president and the Iraq war yet recorded. Slammed out in a six-day rage, the disc's nine straightforward anthems (and choir rendition of "America the Beautiful") scream for CS&N's harmonies and willingness to take a similar stand... Trust me, these won't be your grandfather's CSN&Y shows. Yeah, across 30-plus songs in two sets, they typically toss in 'Our House' and 'Helplessly Hoping' to temper the attack. But with the majority of Young's fed-up firebombs alternating with Vietnam-era staples like 'Ohio' and 'Chicago' and 'For What It's Worth,' this throwback to change-the-world rock will surely be the most protest-heavy series of shows since 2004's Vote for Change.

Crosby was interviewed by Werner and he pointed out that "part of our job is just to rock you, and part of our job is to be like troubadours, carrying the news from one town to another, like town criers. And that part of our job this time is much stronger because Neil came with an entire album of immensely strong songs. And they're very direct songs, man. They're not complex and wispy and out there. They're not 'Guinnevere.' They are right in your face. You know, Neil's (angry). He doesn't think this is a just war, and neither do we. A lot of people in this country feel like they've been hoodwinked. If they're Democrats, they feel that the elections were stolen. If they're Republicans, they feel like their party got swiped and dragged off to the extreme right. There are a lot of people who are unhappy about the lies that have been told. There's a huge mistake going on there, man. It's war for profit rather than principal, and that's really, really a gross thing. The way we feel-- we think that the young people who go to war are some of the best ones we've got. They're the ones who believe in this country enough to put their lives on the line. And to send them over there so Haliburton and Bechtel and Exxon can make a profit, man? That's just not good enough. This administration has been disrespectful to those soldiers all along-- unless they're behind them on the TV cameras. To them, they're just cannon fodder. But to us they're human beings, and every one of them has a mother."

Werner points put the Republican bastion of Orange County is (finally) receptive to and ready for this message but he asks Crosby how the mood of their audiences compare to how it was during the Vietnam era.

It's very similar, man. The country is very, very polarized. There are two distinct sides, and they have very strong feelings. And the administration that is in power is doing a lot of the very same things that were going on during the Nixon years. What people seem to dislike most is having this administration try to marginalize them, tell them that if they don't agree with their politics, then they are being un-American.

Which is just nonsense. We don't agree with this administration, but we love the country. And the people in our audience seem to feel the same way. They believe in this country, in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence. They love this place, and they don't like having it swiped away. We don't either... I guarantee you we will make some people leave. And I'm fine with that. I'm very happy to see that sort of dissent. I heard, actually, that there were going to be people picketing us at some of the places. I think that'd be great, but I haven't seen it yet.

Watch this awesome 9 minute documentary about the tour and the why its relevant to the war and the Bush Regime:

After you watch, if you feel like helping Patrick Murphy's campaign... here you go.

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Surprise, surprise! Thanks to one-party rule, even the Senate whitewash on how we were lied into Iraq isn't coming anytime soon (if ever)


The least surprising shock of the day is that the GOP has already all but succeeded in preventing release before the election of the long-promised, sure-to-be-heavily-sanitized Senate report on how the administration lied its (and, more important, our) way into Iraq.

And don't hold your breath after the election either. Remember the reports we weren't going to get until after the last national election?

It seems like just yesterday--actually, it was the day before--that I was whining about how gullible Democrats had been hornswoggled into spreading the Republicans' carerfully crafted propaganda lie that it didn't matter how we got into the Iraq quagmire, all that mattered was what we did now. ("The very fact that the righties are so fraidy-scared of the truth should tell us that it's worth digging out and preserving and building on," I wrote.) Today comes a report by Dafna Linzer in the Washington Post headlined:

Report on Prewar Intelligence Lagging
Information Democrats Want Most Might Not Come Out Until After Election

Nine months ago, "when angry Democrats briefly shut down the Senate last year to protest the slow pace of a congressional investigation into prewar intelligence," Linzer recalls, "Republicans called it a stunt but promised to quickly wrap up the inquiry. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which is overseeing the investigation, said his report was near completion and there was no need for the fuss."

It turns out--surprise!--that Roberts (pictured above) was just plain lying. Linzer quotes anonymous "committee sources" as saying that there was essentially nothing written back then, that in fact "they had started almost from scratch in November after Democrats staged their protest."

Pat Roberts--not to be confused with the Rev. Pat Robertson, though he's every bit as odious--is nothing but a pathetic, dimwitted, dishonest cog in the right-wing propaganda machine, and every step of the way has done literally everything in his power to prevent and then limit any investigation.

Now, of course, Roberts's stooges are busily concocting new and even more preposterous lies to replace and cover for their many previous sets of lies. You can be sure that the report they are concocting will be the most sanitized whitewash of the unbroken chain of lies and outright crimes with which the Bush administration tricked tragically gullible Americans into blank-checking their war of ideological adventurism.

It is, of course, only Americans' seemingly limitess gullibility and don't-give-a-flying-fuck-about-reality attitude that stand between a worthless scumbag like Roberts and the lifetime prison sentence he should be serving for his eager participation in a massively criminal coverup.

Here's what I wonder: When a creature like Pat Roberts looks in the mirror in the morning to shave, what do you suppose he sees?

Well, when there is no price to be paid for lying, not to mention willfully incompetent management and turning wars and disasters into opportunities for large-scale profiteering by cronies and cash customers, I guess there's no reason for some politicians not to do it--assuming that they themselves don't see any reason.



Once in a while events conspire to teach us a few life lessons. Here is your Late Weekend Chuckle.

As it turns out Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has decreed that only Persian words will be used and foreign words banished from use in government and cultural material. For example, Pizza will now be known as "elastic loaves."

We cannot help but notice that Great minds think alike!

Don’t worry, the GOP is nothing if not vigilant.

Nuff said.



Mags' apt analogy between Iranian extremist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Republican extremists Bob Ney and Walter Jones (whose brush with Ney and French Toast contributed to him eventually coming to his senses and realizing Bush and rubber stamp congressloons were dead wrong about Iraq) brought to mind another weak-minded, grandstanding American kook, Florida's Ginny
a poor excuse for a congressperson who thinks American soldiers from World Wars I and II, buried in France (and Belgium), should be dug up and reburied in America. Reading Mag's story immediately reminded me we need to do more to help get rid of grandstanding nutcases like Ney and Brown-Waite who always seem to have time for this kind of nonsense but never any time at all to attend to their constituents' interests. If you're so inclined, even a small contribution to Rick Penberthy, the commonsense progressive running against Brown-Waite in FL-05, could go a long way in help making Congress a serious institution again.


Yep, today's Moonie Times is reporting that after 3 years of Republican vengeance against France "the fries on Capitol Hill are French again. So is the breakfast toast in the congressional cafeterias, with both fries and toast having been liberated from the appellation 'freedom.'" Ney won't make any comments but Nancy Pelosi's spokesperson had a great suggestion: "Now that they've changed the name of the french fries back, maybe they will admit their other foreign policy mistakes were wrong, too."

Quote of the day: Now that he's lost the NYT, will Holy Joe figure out it's time to go? (Plus: Frank Rich ponders where the war in Iraq went)

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We expect Howie will have more to say about this, having been in on the Lamont challenge to Holy Joe from the beginning. But it's hard to think where else we might turn for today's QOTD.

"The United States is at a critical point in its history, and Mr. Lieberman has chosen a controversial role to play. . . .

"In his effort to appear above the partisan fray, he has become one of the Bush administration's most useful allies as the president tries to turn the war on terror into an excuse for radical changes in how this country operates. . . .

"There is no use having a senator famous for getting along with Republicans if he never challenges them on issues of profound importance.

"If Mr. Lieberman had once stood up and taken the lead in saying that there were some places a president had no right to take his country even during a time of war, neither he nor this page would be where we are today. But by suggesting that there is no principled space for opposition, he has forfeited his role as a conscience of his party, and has forfeited our support. . . . "

—from today's New York Times lead editorial endorsing Ned Lamont for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat from Connecticut currently held by Joe Lieberman*

ALSO TALKING--Frank Rich plays Sherlock Holmes, investigating the case of "The Peculiar Disappearance of the War in Iraq"

"CNN will surely remind us today that it is Day 19 of the Israel-Hezbollah war--now branded as Crisis in the Middle East--but you won’t catch anyone saying it’s Day 1,229 of the war in Iraq. On the Big Three networks’ evening newscasts, the time devoted to Iraq has fallen 60 percent between 2003 and this spring . . . .

"The steady falloff in Iraq coverage isn’t happenstance. It’s a barometer of the scope of the tragedy. . . .

"[I]t’s the collapse of the one remaining (and unassailable) motivation that still might justify staying the course in Iraq--as a humanitarian mission on behalf of the Iraqi people--that is most revealing of what a moral catastrophe this misadventure has been for our country. The sad truth is that the war’s architects always cared more about their own grandiose political and ideological ambitions than they did about the Iraqis, and they communicated that indifference from the start to Iraqis and Americans alike. . . . "

—from his column in today's NYT*

- - - - - - - - - - - -
*The full texts of the Times editorial and the Rich column are appended in comments.

Saturday, July 29, 2006



The U.S. vs John Lennon isn't a movie about Beatles music. Please take a look at the trailer (at the link above) and you'll see why this September release is one of the most crucial and important films coming out in the lead-up to the November elections. "His message is still alive."



Condi is making the Tea and Cake for peace circuit. And, after talking with “everyone” in the whole world, the US took a stand of all or nothing at all. Condi explains it in laughable terms by citing the need for an urgent and lasting cease fire.

Steve Clemons of The Washington Note captures Bolton’s response to pressure by Lincoln Chaffee to transcend the simplistic term “terrorism” as the whole of the problems plaguing the Middle East peace process:

"Bolton gave a long and convoluted response but also stated: 'There is no basis for peace in the Middle East right now.' He suggested that one of the reasons why the US has resisted calls for immediate cease fire in the region is that it wants to generate a 'comprehensive solution.' He said 'we need to use current circumstances as a fulcrum to move towards a more stable, longer term solution.'"

The pattern here is to hold out for the desired outcome. Wonderful you say? Upon first inspection, such terms sound strong and they sound decisive. By all outward appearances this stance looks noble.

This approach is deceptive. Let me show you how. Let us consider a person walking in the woods. Maybe they are even in the habit of walking in a portion of the woods that is steep and too challenging for their abilities. One day you come across this person and they have fallen and broken their leg. Well, you say, "I will not splint your leg or help you get to the doctor because it is a temporary fix. I will wait here until a doctor shows up to put on a permanent cast and to also garner a promise from you that you will engage in no more walking on the dangerous portion of the path."

That is silly, obviously so. The temporary fix of the splint is necessary to relieve your suffering now to get you to the doctor in order to get the permanent fix. And, in the future we can come to terms regarding your afternoon stroll.

Consider the motorist who has a flat who rails against the car company because they have a donut for a spare because it is only a temporary fix. Instead of simply using the spare, they stand in traffic refusing to budge until they have a real tire in perfect condition. Or the person who has cut themselves and refuses to apply direct pressure and instead demands stitches immediately.

On a lighter note, it is tantamount to saying "I cannot kiss you dear, we do not have time for sex just now." Or, "Dr. Doe, don’t bother with that temporary crown, just forget it if you cannot give me the real thing today." I am sure you can come up with a host of examples here.

In my college years I experienced this on a more sophisticated level. This story is for you doubters who think my analogy is too simplistic and does not work in matters of peace and diplomacy. The Women’s Studies Department of the university was undergoing difficulties. We were trying to establish a major in addition to the minor which we already had in place. We needed resources and had other difficulties to work out. The department was controversial in our conservative area. It was not favored by our conservative president.

The meetings to solve the problems were a study in Condi’s and Bolton’s method of obstruction in that we were distracted by the Dean telling us that they were considering instituting a Masters program in Women’s Studies. Why the people involved were floored. Of course, wonderful! But, here is the meat of the issue. If we could not solve the matters before us on a smaller level, how were we going to solve the larger issues of a instituting a Master’s program? What we needed was an effective accredited Bachelor’s program. Needless to say, they took the bait. They really wanted a Master’s program. It was highly desired. But, what they got was neither.

A cease fire is a measure to save lives. Period. A cease fire is not a lasting anything. It is simply a stop gap that might save someone’s child or husband or mother or father. It might save the life of my friend. It might sooth the people enough to assure them that someone cares enough to stop the suffering, even if it is for an hour or a day or a month, until something that is enduring in nature might be established. A cease fire is the splint, it is the direct pressure on a bleeding wound, it is the donut. It is the bridge from hostility to an agreement.

It is typical operating procedure for the policy makers today to set out some idea of perfection and hold the world to their fantasy of what it should be like. They are the ones who told us Iraq would greet us as liberators. The war would "probably not last 6 months." They will not stand for what they see as imperfection on any level. They refuse to acknowledge that people are born gay. They will not acknowledge that teens have sex and will always do so. If reality is unpleasant, they will simply legislate it away. Or berate us all until we conform.

Condi and John Bolton have the same dilemma, they cannot envision a world other than one that matches up with their ideological perceptions of perfection. And, if they can’t have that, then we will all just have to suffer until they do. Theirs is an ivory tower policy. They do not roll up their sleeves and work with the parties involved. They dictate. And, they will hold to this method and this ideology, no matter how many innocents die, no matter how many wars ensue. They will not let go of their delusions.

It is up to the sane to help them. It is up to us to stop allowing them to make their delusions into policy and tidy nonsensical media blurbs. Perfection does not exist. The work will never be finished. There will always be a problem after this one. But, knowing that arms us to solve the next one and the next one. We have to stop buying the line that this war and the next war will end the next war. No matter how tired we get, working to save every life is worth it. Working to solve the impossible is worth it. Bolton and Rice are simply lazy. They have decided to throw bombs at the problem in hopes that it will go away. It will never go away. Relationships always take work. They always have. They always will.

The end to which we aspire is peace. I say we start there and figure out how to keep it rather than promoting war and figuring out how to stop it. We have tried the other way.




Could a big mainstream movie star in Hollywood, no less, really be anti-Semitic. I mean, in 2006? It's so easy to call everyone you disagree with a Nazi. So Mel Gibson made a movie that potentially stokes a little hatred towards ancient Jews. Does that mean he's some kind of a subhuman who should be shunned and avoided and whose films should be boycotted? Well... maybe yes.

Today's New York Daily News has a story by Michelle Caruso that is pretty damn scary. Even bearing in mind that Gibson was drunk out of his mind-- or zonked on drugs and out of his mind-- his tirade on being arrested is something we all ought to look at carefully before we think about seeing a movie that has something to do with Mel Gibson. I sure don't behave like this when I get pulled over!

Gibson was zooming down Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu just after 3 AM when he was pulled over. He failed an alcohol breath test and a field sobriety test. His response? "Fucking Jews!" is what he started screaming. He demanded to know if the Asian-American police officer was a Jew. Claiming he "owns Malibu," the power-crazed and very right-wing Gibson reacted a little differently than most of us do when we get into a mess with a policeman. "You motherfucker. I'm going to fuck you." He claimed he'd spend "all my money" to get even. "Fucking Jews! The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world."

Hat Tip: AmericaBlog


Gibson's publicist penned a really shameful and pathetic excuse of a pseudo-apology today. Basically, it claims the far right extremist was apologizing for his "belligerent behavior" towards the cops. The celebrity damage control shill had him saying that "I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested, and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable... I am deeply ashamed of everything I said, and I apologize to anyone who I have offended." And, like all Republicans who never take responsibility for anything, Gibson blamed it all on "alcoholism." No mention of Jews or of his raging anti-Semitism.

Ken doesn't think it was alcoholism or drugs or anything like that. He told me on the phone earlier that he suspects Gibson was just attempting to appeal to his base.

Quote of the day: Keith Olbermann explains once and for all about the thing with him and Bill O'Reilly


On last night's Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Craig asked guest Keith Olbermann: "I want to talk to you about the thing with you and O'Reilly. What is going on with you and Bill O'Reilly, America's perky sweetheart? How can you have anything against Bill?"

Keith thought for a moment and then explained:

"He's an idiot."



People get attracted to candidates for different reasons. Eric Massa is running for Congress in one of the country's most forgotten and remote districts, NY-29-- New York has 29 districts-- what we learned in school to call the "Southern Tier." People asking me to write about Eric have mentioned many things about him, that range from his integrity to his True Blue progressive values, but what got me interested in Eric's campaign originally was something else entirely. Like me, Eric was diagnosed with cancer. And, like me, Eric stood up and fought back-- hard. And won. I know from personal experience what that battle means and how it tests the soul as well as the body.

So it was no surprise to me when this Fighting Dem, who spent such a large part of his adult life in the military, speaks out most forcefully and most passionately about... affordable healthcare. Eric doesn't believe in taking any money from Big Business PACs pushing their bottom-line-oriented agendas at legislators. He'd rather lose the election than sell his soul and become a prostitute for the Big Business interests that harm the people he proposes to represent in Congress. The incumbent, Randy Kuhl is a one-stop shopping market for special interest groups looking for a whore to take their money and vote for their interests. Kuhl voted for the disastrous Bush Medicare bill and was rewarded by Big Pharma.

"I don't know where my opponent learned about healthcare," Eric told me a few days ago. "I learned about healthcare at the sharp end of a chemotherapy needle. To deny access to healthcare to Americans is... unAmerican." Eric's run in with cancer changed his life and his worldview.

Today I was talking to my hiking partner about how powerfully his sense of personal integrity comes through when you speak to him. "How can someone go so far with such strict rules for himself?" she asked me. That's where Eric's military career comes in. You really can go far in the U.S. military without selling your soul to the highest bidder. It's harder in the private sector, especially the corporate end of the private sector. "I've found two sets of values out there," Eric explained. "There are the values of the breakroom and the values of the Boardroom. I'm much more concerned about what's happening on the factory floor than what's happening on the stock trading floor. We really do need to return to true American values where a family can raise children and have a future... in American, not in Beijing."

"The biggest employer in America is WalMart and they don't provide adequate health insurance for their employees. WalMart is unAmerican. They're stealing taxpayer money by forcing their employees to go on Medicaid."

When the conversation turned to Iraq, Eric was equally clear and concise. "Out is better than in. And sooner is better than later. George W. Bush disagrees. He says staying is better than leaving and he says staying forever is best of all. How telling is it that he says that the decision about when to leave will be up left for future presidents... Kuhl tells voters we have to bring the troops home and then he says he stands with George Bush who says we're not bringing the troops home... It comes down to staying the course versus changing the course."

Eric served as Wes Clark's Special Assistant when Clark was Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. He extolls the Bosnian model for how to deal with the Iraqi occupation. "Separate the warring factions; create 3 semiautonomous viable states; let them choose a government of their own making. We will never, ever, be successful in creating a democracy at the end of a bayonet."

The day I spoke with Eric on the phone the big news around his campaign was that Kuhl has finally, albeit reluctantly, agreed to Eric's challenge to debate-- sort of. Eric asked Kuhl to meet him for 8 one-hour debates, one in each county of the district so that voters could get a chance to see each man up close and in action. Kuhl said he's prefer one debate.... for thirty-minutes.

Thirty minutes?? What's he hiding? Well, Randy Kuhl has a nearly perfect voting record-- if your goal is to be an utter rubber stamp for Bush and for Big Business interests. Of the 14 major ProgressivePunch categories on which to rate incumbents' voting records, Kuhl has 10 zeroes. I've never seen that before. Whether it's Fair Taxation, Corporate Subsidies, Family Planning, Government Checks on Corporate Power, Health Care, Housing, Iraq, Labor, Justice... Randy Kuhl is a perfect zero. DMI also rates his entire voting record a zero (grade: F) when analyzing how his votes have impacted the middle class. With a record like that to debate, you can kind of see why he wants to keep as far away from a quick-witted fighter like Eric Massa.

But can Eric win in this district? It was, after all, the biggest percentage district in NY for George Bush in 2000 and in 2004. And although Kuhl has just been serving for 2 years and isn't well-known or entrenched, he's loaded with corporate bribes cash and Kuhl was the very first incumbent in the whole country Bush and Rove rushed to campaign for. The only publicly available polling of the district was done by Coopers and Seacrest. Things seem to have turned around a bit since NY-29 gave Bush 56% of its vote in 2004. His approval ratings are in the low 30s and 71% of voters in the district say the country has been headed in the wrong direction since Bush took over. I asked Eric if people in the sprawling 29th are connecting that disapproval of Bush with their congressman.

"People might not be associating Bush with Kuhl. Kuhl is associating himself with Bush! He's voted with Bush 93% of the time; he's the ultimate rubber stamp. This week he took the gavel and gaveled in the President's only veto in five and a half years. And later he voted to sustain that veto [which will deprive Americans of the benefits of stem cell research]... Kuhl went to Washington and married Tom DeLay. In fact he has still refused to give back the $20,000 DeLay gave him."

In 2004 the AFL-CIO endorsed Kuhl, calling him a "strong advocate for working men and women and their families." They have been kicking themselves ever since as Kuhl voted against every single labor issue that has come before Congress. This year labor unions are stepping all over themselves to endorse Eric-- and endorse him early and strongly. The day I was on the phone with Eric, the Sheet Metal Workers of New York voted unanimously to endorse him. Last week the United Auto Workers endorsed him and the week before the United Plumbers did the same.

"This Administration," says Eric, "believes in something called 'Yo-Yo'-- you're on your own. Whether we're talking about privatizing Social Security, the donuthole in Medicare part D, sending troops to Baghdad without adequate body armor... you're on your own... Americans know the Mission has not been accomplished-- not in Iraq, not in our schools, not in our hospitals, not in New Orleans, not in our military, not in our economy... If we don't stop the neo-Con minority in 2006, they will have 24 months of unfettered unaccountability to complete their destructive agenda."

If you can, join us today over at Firedoglake for a live chat with Eric (2PM East Coast/11AM West Coast).

Above Eric referred to WalMart behaving in an unAmerican fashion. I remembered that one of the Firedoglake community members is film maker Eric Greenwald and one of the movies he made that I like most is WALMART-- THE HIGH COST OF LOW PRICE. Eric just rushed over 30 DVDs of the film, each one autographed by himself. Be one of the first 30 people to donate to Eric's campaign through the Blue America ACT BLUE Page and we'll rush you one of the DVDs. (If you don't want a DVD, add a .01 to your donation.)

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Friday, July 28, 2006



You may have gotten the same mass e-mail from John Edwards yesterday that I did. It came from his One America PAC. I met John early in the last presidential cycle and I thought he would make a really good candidate and an even better president. He seemed more real to me than most politicians and his concern with working people seemed sincere and struck a chord. A few weeks later I met Howard Dean and... well, that was that-- until, ironically, the California primary (from which Dean had already withdrawn). I voted for Edwards. I also see him as one of the better candidates proffering themselves so far for 2008. He's no Russ Feingold and I think Al Gore would have a better shot at winning, but after those two... Edwards has more appeal for me than the rest of the pack so far.

In case you didn't get his e-mail, let me quote from it before I launch into a tirade about why I called him on the phone just now.

The tide is turning in Democrats' favor. We have a strong chance of winning back the House in the 2006 elections. I've been working hard, traveling the country, and have already raised more than $6.65 million for Democrats. I've attended fundraisers for strong congressional candidates in more than a dozen states this election cycle and I'm committed to helping as many candidates as possible before November. Now, I'm looking to the One America online community to tell me which competitive races should be my primary focus.

Today, I'm launching One America Votes. This fall, I will headline fundraisers for two Democrats running for the House who have been selected by our online community. You-- the voters-- can choose candidates in any of the districts targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The DCCC has targeted critical races where extra help can make a real difference in November. We need to hear from you by Friday, August 4th.

Cast Your Vote Now.

If we want to build One America, we need to change our country's leadership. George Bush and the Republicans have done everything in their power to increase the gap between rich and poor. It's time to replace them with Democrats who will build One America-- One America that is committed to ending poverty, lifting more families into the middle class, and giving everyone who works hard something to show for it.

I am committed to helping as many House candidates as possible before November and am looking for your input as to which races should be my primary focus. Please take a moment to vote and choose two candidates who will work hard to build One America that works for everyone. The deadline for voting is August 4th.

If we want to build One America, we need to change our country's leadership. George Bush and the Republicans have done everything in their power to increase the gap between rich and poor. It's time to replace them with Democrats who will build One America - One America that is committed to ending poverty, lifting more families into the middle class, and giving everyone who works hard something to show for it.

I am committed to helping as many House candidates as possible before November and am looking for your input as to which races should be my primary focus. Please take a moment to vote and choose two candidates who will work hard to build One America that works for everyone. The deadline for voting is August 4th.

I'm interested in getting feedback from your family and friends as well. Please forward this message and ask them to participate in One America Votes with you.

Thanks for taking a moment to help. Your input is important to me.

If you click the link above you'll get to John's list. I don't want to condemn the list because there are absolutely some excellent progressive candidates on it and some really decent moderate Democrats on it as well. The BLUE AMERICA Act Blue Page shares several candidates with John's list: Bruce Braley, Mike Arcuri, Joe Sestak, Lois Murphy, and Patrick Murphy, and several others are likely to be endorsed here at Down With Tyranny (after due diligence): Patty Wetterling, Linda Stender, Zack Space, Chris Carney, Phil Kellam, Peter Welch, Kristen Gillibrand, probably the 3 Connecticut Democratic candidates, Joe Courtney, Dianne Farrell and Chris Murphy.

So why did I rush to the phone and call John and then e-mail him to boot? Do I expect him to endorse the exact same candidates as DWT does? Of course not. I do expect something else from him though: due diligence. If he wants to endorse every unpopular right-of-center Democratic incumbent who can't dig up any financial support among his or her local constituents because of a reactionary, pro-Big Business voting record, that's his prerogative.

But I resent that John Edwards would expect us to take him as a serious contender for president when he swallows, hook, line and sinker, Rahm Emanuel's vicious little game-plan to elect an anti-grassroots, pro-Corporate, Democratic caucus. Among the endangered incumbents on John's list are the ones who always vote to support Bush's Iraqi occupation, as well as the ones who vote the corporate line when it comes to abolishing the estate tax, passing the disastrous bankruptcy bill or so-called "free trade" legislation that has devasted American working families, and virtually all the other legislation that has come up that separates Democrats who actually do what Edwards claims he wants them to do from Democrats who can be counted on by Bush and his rubber stamp congressional leaders to provide them with a winning margin where even moderate Republicans can't go along with their hideous agenda. Jim Marshall and John Barrow are probably the best we can expect in their Georgia districts but their voting records don't respresent the ideals Edwards is professing. Nor do the voting records of Melissa Bean, Dennis Moore, Stephanie Herseth, Leonard Boswell, Charlie Melancon, John Spratt, Chet Edwards or Jim Matheson. Julia Carson (D-IN) does represent exactly what Edwards says he wants-- and she's an endangered incumbent just like the DCCC corporate shills Edwards has put on his list. Emanuel didn't include Congresswoman Carson and Edwards did not do his due diligence before sucking down Emanuel's whole list. And it gets worse.

In Nevada's 3rd CD and Arizona's 8th CD there are hotly contested primary races and Edwards, very appropriately, lists "Democratic Nominee" in each district. That's the way it should be done. However, in Florida's 13th CD, where corporate whores Rahm Emanuel and Steny Hoyer are desperate to get their Republican somewhat-converted Democrat Christine Jennings into office so she can serve the anti-consumer/anti-worker Big Money corporate agenda they serve into office, Edwards has allowed the wool to be pulled over his eyes. Let me explain.

Democrats in the 13th have met Republican banker Christine Jennings before-- and rejected her, choosing instead lifelong progressive Democrat Jan Schneider. Now Jan is poised to take this open seat but she's too independent and too grassroots-oriented for Boss Rahm. He wants his puppet. So he tells Democrats like Edwards that there is no primary and gets them to endorse Jennings. This happened with John Kerry a few months ago and it's happened with others who listen to a lying sack like Emanuel instead of doing their own due diligence. (And speaking of due diligence, raise your hand if you think John Edwards would have included Jerry McNerney on his list if he was doing this on this own instead of acting as Emanuel's boy.)

Are Democrats going to be better than Republicans when they take over the House in November? Despite some of them, I sincerely think so. Remember, even the absolute worst Democratic member of the Senate (Ben Nelson of Nebraska) and of the worst member of the House (Gene Taylor of Mississippi) are better than the best and most "moderate" Republicans! Although money-grubbing careerists and coprorate whores led by Emanuel and Hoyer are going to be constantly pushing Democrats to be just a slightly different version of the congress offered by their role model, Tom DeLay, the vision of the Democratic Party as a protector of society's neediest is still alive. That's why it is so crucial to elect people like Jan Schneider and not hacks like Christine Jennings and that is why it is so important to hold people like Al Wynn and Joe Lieberman accountable for their records when we get a chance. And that is why it is so important for our progressive leaders like John Kerry and Barbara Boxer and John Edwards to pull their heads out of their asses and understand what real people are going through under Bush and the corporate rubber stamp congress and help us get rid of that regime, not for partisan reasons but for patriotic reasons. Forget Emanuel; he's a hack with pretensions to be the Democratic Tom DeLay. We all need to think for ourselves.

Oh, I left a message with Edwards' assistant yesterday saying that our community had raised nearly $140,000 for Democratic congressional candidates and that I want to talk with him about how we can work together. I'll let you know if he calls back.

Bulletin: Chimpy signs voting-rights-act extension. (Did anyone ask about signing statements? Or will his Justice Dept. just keep ignoring it?)


Bush Signs Voting Rights Act Extension
President Vows to Build on 'Legal Equality' Won in Civil Rights Era

As Hamil R. Harris and Michael Abramowitz are reporting online in the Washington Post:

"By reauthorizing this act, Congress has reaffirmed its belief that all men are created equal," Bush said as he looked into a crowd of people waving church fans bearing the image of the American flag. He vowed "to continue to build on the legal equality won by the civil rights movement to help ensure that every person enjoys the opportunity that this great land of liberty offers."

One last question: Did everyone there have to bring their own airsickness bags?

The very fact that the righties are so fraidy-scared of the truth should tell us that it's worth digging out and preserving and building on


I think we all recall the propaganda history of the American invasion of Iraq. (Oh yes, that's Daniel Webster looking dour at left—you don't see a lot of portraits of him where he's put on a happy face. Old Dan doesn't have anything to do with Iraq, directly, but he has something to tell us nevertheless. We'll come back to that.)

Long before the actual invasion, there were wise people warning us:

• that the Bush administration's foreign-policy apparatus was in the clutches of people who had been waiting for 10 years for an opportunity to invade Iraq,

• that it was clear within days of 9/11 that those people were going to use that day's events as a launching platform for such an invasion, despite the absence of any connection to Iraq, and—

• that the arguments mustered in favor of military intervention were at best highly selective, more often highly suspicious (almost from the start, every piece of "evidence" that appeared had an informed chorus of doubters and debunkers, to whom tragically little attention was paid under the pressure of the administration's heavy-gunning propaganda machine) and quite likely in some instances just plain phony.

It would be awhile before we knew that Vice President Cheney and his henchmen had pressed a furious campaign of coercion of the CIA to cook the "intelligence" to support the war they were determined to have. But from everything that was already known, it was hardly surprising. Nor would it be exactly a shock when Ambassador Joe Wilson went public with his first-hand knowledge that the administration knew irrefutably, not just from his own fact-finding mission but from two previous ones as well, of the fraudulence of the story about Saddam Hussein trying to buy uranium from Niger.

All of this, as I say, we all know and recall.

What I've been thinking about lately is Phase II of the Iraq-war propaganda campaign, the phase that followed the invasion, and the rapid unraveling of the U.S. occupation, which had never been properly prepared for. (Oh, as we found out eventually, plenty of people even within the Bush administration had actually devoted a lot of carefully researched work to planning for a post-invasion reality, but that was mostly in the soft-on-Saddam State Dept., and on strict orders from Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld it was all hermetically sealed and treated as toxic waste.)

You recall, don't you, that with the failure to find the famous Iraqi WMDs (even though Cheney and Rumsfled had told us they knew exactly what and where they were) and the descent into chaos in Iraq (and the accompanying bonanza for war-profiteering Bush administration cronies), and the beginning of some wider public awareness in the country that the entire Iraq adventure was based on lies, a new argument arose:

There's no point picking over the minutiae of how we wound up in Iraq, the new argument went. All that matters now is that we're there, and what we do from here.

This argument, in fact, came most frequently and most alarmingly (and most shamefully) from so-called liberals. It didn't matter how we got there? It didn't matter that every single aspect of our involvement in Iraq was based on lies? And that the liars were still running the show? Without a hint of acknowledgment of how wrong they had been about every important aspect of the Iraq adventure, or any recognition of the Pandora's box worth of problems they had created?

I know this seems like ancient history now. What's got me thinking about it again is that damned Harris poll showing that the percentage of Americans who believe that we found WMDs in Iraq has grown from 36 percent to 50 percent in the last year. (It's also scary that 64 percent believe the total fiction that Saddam Hussein was in cahoots with Al Qaeda, but that's only up from 62 percent the year before.)

This didn't happen in a vacuum. As Paul Krugman points out in his column today:

At one level, this shouldn't be all that surprising. The people now running America never accept inconvenient truths. Long after facts they don't like have been established, whether it's the absence of any wrongdoing by the Clintons in the Whitewater affair or the absence of WMD in Iraq, the propaganda machine that supports the current administration is still at work, seeking to flush those facts down the memory hole.

Do you see the disconnect?

Even while we malcontents in the reality-based community are being ordered to let go of the past—"just drop it, suckers, and raise your hands real slow, keepin' 'em where we can see 'em"—the right-wing propaganda machine is doing no such thing. Of course they're not trying to find out what actually happened. They're furiously scrubbing, laundering, eradicating and rewriting the historical record to match their lies—or the new lies they've invented to replace the pathetically unsustainable ones that have already been discredited truly beyond hope, beyond even their resuscitative abilities.

So, yes, in figuring out what we do next in Iraq, we have to take account of the realities on the ground. But those realities emphatically include those of how we got there. The very fact that the right-wing propaganda machine is so desperate to make sure they're expunged from the record should tell us that they're still important.

Of course the long-running right-wing campaign against education—dating back, say, to the Reagan years?—comes into play here. I think of the recent DWT Quote of the Day from Georgetown (Kentucky) College President William H. Crouch Jr., talking about his school's decision to dissolve its ties to the Kentucky Baptist Convention: “I sat for 25 years and watched my denomination become much more narrow and, in terms of education, much more interested in indoctrination."

Indoctrination, not education—isn't that what it comes down to? At least if you're interested, not in reality, but in the manufactured version that serves the interest(s) of the particular interest group(s) you're fronting for.

Or as Mags wrote here recently, arguing that "we can handle the truth":

Truth is an honest appraisal. Truth is the laying bare of the real issues and difficulties. Truth is a commercial for working together to honestly solve problems and create real peace and safety. Truth calls on us all to be more than we think we can be. It assures us that our efforts will not be wasted.

Creating a false reality is the ultimate betrayal. It consumes our efforts and our resources for naught. It robs us of our faith in ourselves and our faith in others.

If you want to know just how powerful the truth can be, just look at the scope of the right wingers' efforts to falsify it. It looks to me like they're sure afraid of something.

Hmm, "just how powerful truth can be"? Well, here we are! You haven't forgotten about Dour Old Dan Webster, have you? What was he famous for saying? "There is nothing so powerful as truth"—and of course the addendum, "and often nothing so strange."

As far as I know, Old Dan never even met Dick Cheney or Karl Rove. I have a feeling he knew their type, though. Maybe it's one reason he always looked so dour.

[Note: There are some really interesting comments added to that earlier post of mine including the Krugman "Reign of Error" column. In particular, on this immediate subject jerryb has some highly pertinent observations on the stake that people who are conned have in believing in the con—he points out that con men count on this.]



When it comes to defining the Republican Culture of Corruption, there seem to be several popular genres that congressmen use to milk the system. A few, like Bob Ney (R-OH) and John Doolittle (R-CA) use them all. But most GOP members of Congress specialize in just one or two tactics. Today's Washington Post exposes the Republican heavyweight from the D.C. suburbs of Northern Virginia, Tom Davis III as another user of the strategy perfected by the most corrupt congressman in America: Jerry Lewis. What Lewis has done with his close friend and (ex-Congressman) Bill Lowery, Davis has done with his close friend, Donald Upson. "Two months before Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) became chairman of the powerful House Government Reform Committee in January 2003, one of his close friends formed ICG Government, a consulting company for technology firms seeking government contracts."

The two of them had made their fortunes selling computers to federal government bureaucracies. "Upson worked with Davis and his staff as he built his consulting business, which holds seminars on procurement and advises clients on winning government technology contracts worth billions of dollars. Those contracts often came under the oversight of Davis's committee... ICG has a record of satisfied clients, who say the firm has provided them with access to the congressman and his staff." His company "is part of a cottage industry of former government officials and others who hire themselves out as 'contracting consultants' to firms seeking government work. Although they do some of the same things as lobbyists, they do not register with Congress or publicly report their activities, as lobbyists are required to do." Through a legalistic loophole, they are able to sneak around and do their criminal best undercover of darkness-- as long as they have a motivated legislator to play ball with. And Davis, like Lewis, is very motivated.

A little aside here, since this also seems like a bit of a pattern exposing the reality of Republican family values. The Post says that "one of Upson's first hires was Jeannemarie Devolites." Who's that? Well, she's the trophy wife who Davis married after he dumped his first wife. Kind of like what happened with Blunt when he dumped his wife for one of the trophy brand (a tobacco lobbyist who has worked hand and hand with him to make their little alliance very, very wealthy-- at the government trough). "In an opinion issued this week, the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct told the congressman that his wife can work for the consulting firm as long as the couple does not personally benefit from any official acts by the congressman. The committee told them to take care to 'avoid a claim that you are allowing your official title to be used for private gain.'"

A far bigger deal is that if you're a business who wants access to Davis and his committee, Upson is the bagman. You hire his firm (the one that pays Davis' moll wife) and you get "business" done with Davis and his committee. Neat. And she doesn't even have to come into the office; she works from home-- with a cellphone.

"ICG's relationship with Davis has played out on a number of levels. The firm has arranged for clients to meet with Davis in his congressional office. Upson has set up dinners and receptions with the lawmaker for his clients. And ICG has arranged for clients to testify before Davis's committee. In one case, Upson's team wrote the testimony. Some of those clients, who pay ICG about $8,000 per month, have told The Washington Post that their testimony was a part of marketing strategies developed by ICG to bolster the clients' 'clout' and 'visibility' on Capitol Hill and with government contracting officials. On one occasion, Upson helped a client write a threatening letter to the Pentagon that was then sent out with Davis's signature on his committee's letterhead."

Davis has been careful to paint himself as a system reformer but this has been, at least in part, a cover for his own shady deals and self-enrichment. "Davis's persona as a reformer does not square with his close relationship with technology corporations, many of them based in Northern Virginia, that have greatly increased their federal contracting business since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In the past five years, technology and telecommunications companies have been the largest contributors to Davis's and his wife's separate campaigns and political action committees. Those companies and their employees have donated more than $1.1 million of the $6.4 million given to the couple's campaigns, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics and the Virginia Public Access Project."

Have the Davises-- she's a state pol (as well as a lobbyist and bagwoman)-- been taking bribes from the companies who depend on their political power. Without a doubt. Even a Bush Regime insider wrote "a stinging e-mail" about Davis' avarice. "'The businesses in Mr. Davis district are primarily government contractors and he wants to make sure the $$ are free flowing without much regard to the fiscal consequences,' said the e-mail written by Angela B. Styles, who was chief of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy at the Office of Management and Budget at the time." The House Ethics Committee told Davis-- after he panicked when he found out about the upcoming Post story-- "that compensation to his wife could be considered indirect compensation to him and that he needs 'to bear in mind' that issue when he considers any efforts 'that may benefit your wife's business interests.'"

The Democrat opposing Davis' re-election bid, Andy Hurst, was just handed an incredible tool. The moderate suburban voters in Virginia's 11th CD, basically Faifax and Prince William Counties, have been very open to Democrats lately, having, for example, gone overwhelmingly for Tim Kaine. These voters have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with a bunch of kooks who want to burn crosses or re-fight the Civil War. These are normal Americans who want good schools and fair taxes and integrity from public officials. These voters are not the religious right. These voters are just like moderates anywhere in America. And they don't like corrupt politicians. VA-11 gave Gore 45% of its votes in 2000. It gave John Kerry 49% in 2004. Davis, unmasked, is in big trouble.

Consternation in the Doonesbury White House: America does so much for the world, and just look at the thanks we get


[Just click anywhere on the strip to enlarge it.]

The problem with democracy, sir, is that not every country has a Supreme Court to fix the wrong outcome . . .

So there's nothing to prevent voters in Lebanon and Iraq and Iran and Palestine from putting terrorists into office.

See, I don't get that. After all we've done for these people . . .

. . . Why don't they vote Republican?


They hate freedom.

Quote of the day: The Muslim world unites behind Hezbollah—while the U.S. far-right propaganda machine hums on at home, out-Orwelling Orwell


Tide of Opinion Turns
To Support for Hezbollah

Saudis and Egyptians, Originally Critical,
Now Stress Need for a Prompt Truce
—lead headline in this morning's New York Times

That's right, ladies and germs, you remember the shock of all those Arab expressions of disapproval of Hezbollah for provoking an unnecessary war? That's apparently all gone. (The demonstration pictured above is in Cairo—you know, where nasty things were being said about Hezbollah until just recently.)

"Now, with hundreds of Lebanese dead and Hezbollah holding out against the vaunted Israeli military for 15 days," Neil MacFarquhar writes in the Times story, "the tide of public opinion across the Arab world is surging behind the organization, transforming the Shiite group's leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, into a folk hero and forcing a change in official statements."

Even violently anti-Shiite Muslim groups like Al Qaeda have climbed aboard the Hezbollah bandwagon. Meanwhile, Hezbollah, far from being destroyed (although a good deal of southern Lebanon has been), appears poised to become a larger factor in the region than it has ever been.

It's understandable that Israel would have wished to destroy Hezbollah, but inexcusable that neither Israeli leaders nor whatever friends Israel has left in the world—perhaps you recall what Bob Herbert was saying the other day a true friend of Israel would have counseled—understood that they can't, and that in the process of trying they would unleash a reign of destruction that they will have great difficulty keeping from overwhelming themselves.

My, my, if you're a neocon psychopath making global policy from the reality-impervious world of the inner reaches of your twisted brain, the real world can be so—what's the word?—inconvenient.

ALSO TALKING—Paul Krugman ponders the never-ending right-wing rewrite of history

In his column today, "Reign of Error," jumping off from the shocking Harris poll we noted the other day, in which a full half of the respondents now say they believe that Iraq had WMDs, and 64 percent believe that Saddam Hussein was in cahoots with Al Qaeda, Krugman surveys some of the more notable recent achievements of "the propaganda machine that supports the current administration"—and the minimal efforts of the "major news organizations" to counter that propaganda.

"It's all very Orwellian," he concludes. "But when Orwell wrote of 'a nightmare world in which the Leader, or some ruling clique, controls not only the future but the past,' he was thinking of totalitarian states. Who would have imagined that history would prove so easy to rewrite in a democratic nation with a free press?"

[As usual, in case the link doesn't work, the Krugman column is posted in a comment.]