Thursday, August 31, 2006



by Mags

The Vatican's Chief Exorcist now claims that Hitler and Stalin were possessed by the devil. The Pope is considering embracing Intelligent Design. Evolutionary Biology is left off a list of fields of study that can be funded by federal funds.

Americans are second only to Turkey in the belief in a mythological creation above a scientific explanation. Doctors. refuse to prescribe the pill, and pharmacists are allowed to refuse filling prescriptions which contradict their beliefs.

How close are we to a closed society where you and I will be forced to profess Christianity? How long before out and out fantasy is taught in our public schools to our children? Who will enforce this national "faith?" And, what will we do when freedom from religion, the Christian religion, is no longer an option here in the good ole U.S. of A.?

How close are this regime and this government to waging openly religious wars, and engaging in religious oppression?

When a community in Kansas tried to vote in only board members who supported the teaching of creation, the citizens of that city voted in favor of real education. They voted against the closing of the minds of Kansas kids. But, I wonder what happens if the Pope (does he deserve capitalization?) embraces the mythological Intelligent Design. Will creationism alone be forcibly taught in all Catholic schools? Will the pope (screw his excellency; he gets no capital letters from me) experience an uprising from his loyal flock? And, who in a million years would think we would be asking these questions in America? Certainly not me.

Christian religionists around the country have been home schooling now for two decades out of fear that their precious youngster might learn something other than their proscribed doctrine. But, can a national movement like the anti-Science movement we see now reverse this trend and send the liberal children home for their education?

At a time when we are told that Americans must be more educated to compete in the global markets, one has to wonder. What is happening here? Advances in biological technology will require us to have solid scientific foundations to compete, but even legislative trends are pushing us backward.

But, I digress. My point here is that we are being pressed daily to move backwards to a time of ignorance. We are chided for not accepting the most archaic of ideas as fact. In short, bit by bit we are being dragged by our heels into a time not unlike the Middle Ages when the church ruled all peoples of a nation, controlled all aspects of their lives, from birth (baptism) to death (last rites), and everything in between (marriage, reproduction, absolution from our sins). We find ourselves leaning over the precipice about to fall into a time when The Inquisition and Crusades were part of rationality, where actions like that were sanctioned as noble.

I can imagine that that is a powerful drug for one such as his popeness. It is a temptation that the devils running our country are not equipped to resist. George, “the decider” sure likes the idea of theocracy. This is not the first time that power has enforced an ideology. No, those with unchecked urges toward power and greed always manage to get here, delusions of grandeur and all that jazz.

A TV special on Hitler and Evolution and a simple statement by a hack pundit like Ann Coulter and now the population wakes up to the nightmare of evolution=evil. Evolution equals the enemy. Evolution = holocausts. How long have they used the term holocaust in the anti-abortion movement? Science is not to be trusted. Not even you are to be trusted. We are all children who must be led by those whose minds can contain only the most simplistic of thoughts.

It comes to us now. We must grapple with the reality that a band of outlaws are in charge. So long have we taken our freedoms for granted that we have fallen asleep. Just now, we notice that the basic freedoms which we fought for over 200 years ago are being eroded by smooth double talking, for lack of a better term, traitors to the American way of life. It is preposterous. It is unthinkable, but this is the current theme.

Bush has set the world on fire. He has managed to set ablaze religious and nationalistic passions across the globe. Some would say, intentionally. If there is a formula for fomenting civil wars, let us admit that the USA has found it out. We only need look at Columbia, Chile, Afghanistan and now Iraq. This is such a partial list. Those in power have manipulated US policies to dabble in the lives of others that we have fairly lost count. This administration has done nothing to bring peace to the Middle East, but rather it offers a sword, and with no apologies, but plenty of PR double talk that seems to soothe the politically illiterate, the religiously indoctrinated. How easy it is.

What stage is being set here, within our country? What happens when a government abandons freedom of religion and officially adopts the language of religious fundamentalists? What happens when myth becomes policy? What happens when the educated cannot seek or teach fact, but must teach fantasy, when they must accept and proclaim a lie? At what point will we face the irresistible pull to hate those who force us to accept their doctrines, who would govern us according to their law? At what point will our own culture boil over? Soon?

At what point will I lose my right to a valid education? At what point will I lose my right to plan my family? At what point will I lose my right to govern my own affairs, my marriage, my children, MY family, my own conscience? And, if we do not hold onto our freedoms by peaceful means, will we have to fight for them again?

We have allowed fools access to seats of power. We have been lax in our vigilance regarding our freedom. As I type this, I do not know what to do. I am hoping that you will. As oppression and repression become socially acceptable, I ask myself at what point will Americans say enough is enough?

Are these men full of greed and lust for power sowing seeds of dissension purposefully? Are they setting us up? Is it their intent to rip apart their own culture, their own nation? Do they cross the line, knowing full well that this is what they are doing? This would not be the first time that those in power promote conflict to serve their own goals. With these pronouncements they force reality into uncertainty. By these means, they make fact debatable. By these means the rational become outcasts and what is irrational becomes the prevailing point of view. The dominant culture has never been much of a treat to begin with, but this forces it over a ledge that not even the dominant culture can survive.

We are not alarmists anymore, my fellow Americans. We are those night watchmen; we are the guards at the gates. It is time to sound the alarm.

Quote of the day: As Labor Day approaches, we wonder how the Superrich Right roused a country of working people to such contempt for work


"The most important contributor to higher profit margins over the past five years has been a decline in labor's share of national income."
--from a Goldman Sachs report cited by Harold Meyerson in his Washington Post column yesterday, "Devaluing Labor"

Am I the only one who noticed the head "Devaluing Labor" and at first mistook it for a policy initiative from one of the right-wing think tanks?

But no, it was a Harold Meyerson column, so it becomes reasonable to expect instead a rare actual expression of regret for the pass we've reached, where the country has been cowed into a state of contempt, even loathing, not just toward organized labor—an old right-wing bugbear--but toward the very idea of people making their living by doing work in exchange for wages.

After all, this is still a country of working people, isn't it? How did the ideologues of greed and selfishness turn us into a country of self-loathers?

Let's let Meyerson lay out his case:

Labor Day is almost upon us, and like some of my fellow graybeards, I can, if I concentrate, actually remember what it was that this holiday once celebrated. Something about America being the land of broadly shared prosperity. Something about America being the first nation in human history that had a middle-class majority, where parents had every reason to think their children would fare even better than they had.

The young may be understandably incredulous, but the Great Compression, as economists call it, was the single most important social fact in our country in the decades after World War II. From 1947 through 1973, American productivity rose by a whopping 104 percent, and median family income rose by the very same 104 percent. More Americans bought homes and new cars and sent their kids to college than ever before. In ways more difficult to quantify, the mass prosperity fostered a generosity of spirit: The civil rights revolution and the Marshall Plan both emanated from an America in which most people were imbued with a sense of economic security.

That America is as dead as the dodo. Ours is the age of the Great Upward Redistribution. The median hourly wage for Americans has declined by 2 percent since 2003, though productivity has been rising handsomely. Last year, according to figures released just yesterday by the Census Bureau, wages for men declined by 1.8 percent and for women by 1.3 percent.

Clearly, our columnist knows what fate awaits anyone who sticks up for the idea of labor:

But finger a corporation for exploiting its workers and you're trafficking in class warfare. Of late a number of my fellow pundits have charged that Democratic politicians concerned about the further expansion of Wal-Mart are simply pandering to unions. Wal-Mart offers low prices and jobs to economically depressed communities, they argue. What's wrong with that?

Were that all that Wal-Mart did, of course, the answer would be "nothing." But as business writer Barry Lynn demonstrated in a brilliant essay in the July issue of Harper's, Wal-Mart also exploits its position as the biggest retailer in human history -- 20 percent of all retail transactions in the United States take place at Wal-Marts, Lynn wrote -- to drive down wages and benefits all across the economy. The living standards of supermarket workers have been diminished in the process, but Wal-Mart's reach extends into manufacturing and shipping as well. Thousands of workers have been let go at Kraft, Lynn shows, due to the economies that Wal-Mart forced on the company. Of Wal-Mart's 10 top suppliers in 1994, four have filed bankruptcies.

And he concludes:

For the bottom 90 percent of the American workforce, work just doesn't pay, or provide security, as it used to.

Devaluing labor is the very essence of our economy. I know that airlines are a particularly embattled industry, but my eye was recently caught by a story on Mesaba Airlines, an affiliate of Northwest, where the starting annual salary for pilots is $21,000 a year, and where the company is seeking a pay cut of 19 percent. Maybe Mesaba's plan is to have its pilots hit up passengers for tips.

Labor Day is almost upon us. What a joke.

Happy Labor Day, everyone.



With prediction of a building tsunami of sheer hatred and mistrust towards Bush, his criminal regime, and the Republican rubber stamp Congress, the Democrats, being the only other political party seriously or semi-seriously, contesting the election, are likely to reap far more seats than their pathetic lack of leadership merits. According to a story in last night's Political Wire the Republicans are putting their last desperate hopes of clinging to power in the House on knocking off a few Democrats. So which Democrats? Are they going after the fiery liberals like Barney Frank (D-MA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) they love to revile? Uh... no. They're attacking the most reactionary Democrats who have consistently voted with Bush and the Republicans on substantive issues.

So thanks for voting to screw workers and consumers in favor of GOP corporate patrons, John Barrow (GA-12), Melissa Bean (IL-8), Alan Mollohan (WV-1), Leonard Boswell (IA-3), Chet Edwards (TX-17), Jim Marshall (GA-8), Charlie Melancon (LA-3), and John Spratt (SC-5). You're the ones against whom the Republicans are turning the gigantic bribes contributions they get from those corporations whose agendas you were so loyal to. And there's not a single one I would shed a tear over-- so long as real Democrats like the Blue America challengers win seats to replace their one annual dependable Democratic vote-- the one for House organization.

My friend Jim just sent me a similar analysis from the Prince of Darkness. Novak claims the only real Republican chance for a pick up is in IL-08 (against Big Business shill Melissa Bean)-- and he rates that as a "leans GOP." He has nothing on the board for the category "Likely Republican Takeover." On Novak's Red to Blue chart, there's a lot more action predicted, including likely Democratic takeovers in AZ-08 (Kolbe's old seat), TX-22 (DeLay's old seat) and against Mike Sodrel (IN-09) and Geoff Davis (KY-04). The "Leans Democratic" column has 11 endangered Republican seats, some held by such well-known and reviled figures as bankrobber Charles Taylor (NC-11), flippity-floppy Chirs Shays (CT-04), 2 drooling far right savages from Indiana, Chris Chocola and John Hostettler, and so on. And he's missing so many under-the-radar races that haven't shown up in the mainstream media yet. Like this one in Minnesota.



Just a week or so ago Joe Scarborough asked the question, "Is Bush an idiot?" What the Democrats and the grassroots have been asking for years was finally in print at the bottom of our TV screens.

The president countered with his reading list, and went on acting like an idiot.

I watched on C-span today the round table discussion of US Foreign policy. There again, real live human beings on national television, no less, stating the obvious, that our foreign policy was going    awry. No matter how politically correct they intended to be, the bottom line was obvious, America is suffering serious challenges brought on by our cowboy "diplomacy" and Bush’s tendency to shoot first and ask questions later foreign policy. What has been obvious to many of us in the last 6 years was being stated in plain language.

The Bush administration is working overtime to polish their already permanently marred image with a barrage of photo ops for Bush the lesser along the pristine beaches of New Orleans. Karl Rove even poked his bespectacled head out of his hidey hole recently to speak against the Democrats, Cheney likewise. Polls tell us that Bush is barely above 30% in popularity. The last poll I read on Cheney was around 19%, and new polls tell us that Americans do not like KKKarl either. The right’s feasting on its own has put Condi on hold. So desperate are they that yesterday, they bring out Donald Rumsfeld, dementia poster boy, to announce that those of us, far and wide who do not agree with Bush’s failed policies are Nazi’s and terrorists. [Personal note: I hope this works as well for Rummy as it has for the left. Here a Nazi, there a Nazi, everywhere a Nazi Nazi]

If FOX "News" is any indication of the way the wind is blowing in this administration, and there is no reason to believe it is otherwise, then I would say Georgie Porgie is ginning up for an attack on Iran. Oh, boy! Nothing like 3 failed fronts to lift American morale. Many would argue this is demonstrably insane.

Perhaps it is time to stop calling Bush and his cronies Nazis and for someone to step forward and ask a more serious question. And, that is this: Is George Bush mentally incompetent? I stopped asking long ago if George is an idiot; clearly he is. Would Joe have taken on that story if it were not easily demonstrated? But, here is a new one. It is a simple relevant question. Get Joe Scarborough on the phone! Isn't it time to ask, seriously, "Is George nuts?"

Imagine that scrolling across the bottom of the screen.


Well, it's not just Mags (and everyone we know) who's asking questions about Bush's mental capacity. This morning David Corn muses about what makes Bush incapable of understanding the difference between a goal and a strategy to achieve that goal.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006



Where are the photos? Don't Hutchinson and Corky want photos of themselves with El Presidente for their websites and their glossy mailers and their TV spots? But so far the only Republican willing to pose with Bush on this trip down South was his old friend and confidante on the right. According to tomorrow's Washington Post Bush rushed around the border states helping walking-dead right wingers raise money for their campaigns. First he did a very private-- no cameras allowed-- fundraiser for far right fanatic Asa Hutchinson, who is waging a pointless battle against popular Arkansas Attorney General and soon-to-be-governor Mike Beebee. And then he zipped over to Nashville to scrape together some cash for the Rove-inspired smear ads Corky is planning to unleash on Harold Ford, Jr.

And although Corky was careful to make sure he wasn't photographed with the highly toxic Bush, he has already run a terrible campaign that has allowed Ford to turn the race into a referendum on Bush's war in Iraq.

"The Tennessee Senate race is shaping up as one of the most interesting this year, with Ford mounting a fierce effort to become the first African American since Reconstruction to be elected to the Senate from the South. Tennessee is a conservative state, and political analysts here say Bush's popularity has not fallen as steeply as it has in other states." [Well, it hasn't fallen as steeply as it has in states in the Northeast but Bush's 58% August disapproval rating is pretty high-- and apparently so are the "political analysts" The Post invented for this paragraph.]

"But Ford has been making inroads by stressing moderate positions on social and fiscal issues. He has supported the war in Iraq but told the Nashville Tennessean this week that he does not share a 'stay the course' philosophy with the president. On Corker's campaign Web site, he says: 'We must complete our mission in Iraq, supporting the new emerging democratic government until Iraqi forces are prepared to defend their country'... John G. Geer, a political scientist at Vanderbilt University who specializes in campaign advertising, said Ford is trying to 'turn the race into a referendum on the president, and some of Corker's moves have played into this,' including Wednesday night's fundraiser.



You probably either heard about or read about Pat Buchanan's new blatantly racist book, State of Emergency. Buchanan is usually wrong about almost everything but he isn't stupid. (Look he did call for Bush's impeachment yesterday.) What the guy is, is insane-- but we've known that for a long time. Now what we haven't known for a long time is about the other insane Buchanan. No, not Bay. I mean, yes, she's out of her skull too, but I'm not talking about her.

I'm talking about Vern Buchanan. Now this is a nut job. But in Katherine Harris' district, what would you expect? Ole Vern is a rich bully, much disliked and just pouring money into his bid to take the Republikook nomination. In fact, the GOP primary in FL-13 is now the most expensive race for a House seat anywhere in the country. Dropping over $2 million of his own money into the campaign, Buchanan, a sleazy huckster used car salesman, is spending over $4 million in total on the race. He clearly thinks he can buy the seat-- probably not a bad business proposition if he can steal at the rate of Republicrooks like Jerry Lewis, Bob Ney, John Doolittle, Tom DeLay and that pack.

Meanwhile, The St Petersburg Times was pushing a poll a couple weeks ago that showed Tramm Hudson trouncing Buchanan by double digits. Of course then Hudson broke onto the national stage by making a nutty racist speech at a Christian Coalition meeting. Remember? About Blacks not being able to swim.

While these two loons slug it out for first place, there are a whole gaggle of Republicans, like 7 I think, running for the seat. On the Democratic side, there's another Republican, who claims to be a Democrat, Christine Jennings, who Rahm Emanuel is pushing. There's also an actual Democrat, an independent-minded, progressive one, Jan Schneider (the type Emanuel hates and fears), who will probably win. Progressive and grassroots Democrats are horrified with Emanuel's interference and by the abysmal campaign Jennings is running for the DCCC. Schneider is the Blue America-endorsed candidate and you can contribute to her race here.



Do you remember the whole unseemly Danny Bubp incident on the floor of the United States House of Representatives? Victoria Wulsin is a real alternative to that. Watch this:

And now, think about this.



Today at 5:30 PM (EST), Brad Miller will be the featured live guest on the Blue America series. He'll be talking about his race and about his work in Congress and he's open to answering any questions you might want to ask. So, just show up at 5:30 and go to the comments section of Blue America.

When I mentioned to my friends that I was interviewing a Democratic congressman from North Carolina I got a collective look of skepticism. A Dixiecrat? Of course not. But someone who doesn't understand North Carolina politics might think so. The state gave Bush 56% of its vote in 2000-- and 56% of its vote in 2004 despite the fact that the state's senior senator, John Edwards, was running for vice president and despite having seen Bush in action for 4 years! And the state's two current senators, the famously, even embarrassingly, incompetent Liddy Dole and the Stepford rubber stamp kook Richard Burr, are both far right extremists. And speaking of extremists, North Carolina has the distinction of being able to claim both the congressman and the congresswoman with the most reactionary voting records in the entire House of Representatives: Patrick McHenry and Virginia Foxx. And the 5 other Republican House members from North Carolina can all be described as being on the far right fringes of the Republican Party.

On top of that, even the Democrats aren't exactly shining examples of progressivism... except for two: Mel Watt and, the reason why we're here today, Brad Miller. When it came to the vital issues effecting middle class Americans, DMI examined the voting records of the North Carolina delegation and rated each incumbent. All 7 Republicans' voting records merited F's. The 6 Democrats rated B's and C's, an F... except Watt and Miller, both of whose records got A's.

Brad's the first incumbent we've invited to come over and blog with us here at Blue America. You may wonder why? The fact that he was also the only incumbent congressman to take part in Yearly Kos might give you a clue. But even more to the point, read his diaries at Kos (here too) and you will immediately recognize a kindred spirit. I found him extremely down to earth, brilliant in a policy-wonk kind of way and a man grounded in a solid set of progressive values. And then there's Vernon Robinson.

What can one say about a man who brags that he's "the Black Jesse Helms?" Remember I mentioned above that North Carolina has the most reactionary congresswoman in America, Virginia Foxx? Her voting record makes the most far right extremist loons like Mean Jean Schimdt, Tom DeLay, Adam Putnam, Ernest Istook, Lynn Westmoreland, Steve King, and J.D. Hayworth look almost mainstream! Well, in 2004 Robinson ran against her and attacked her as a liberal and ran TV ads with her face morphing into Hillary Clinton! In short, Vernon Robinson is probably the single most extreme right wing, bigoted maniac running for Congress anywhere. He's actually far worse than his hero-- and supporter-- Tom Tancredo.

I don't think I've ever asked you to look at a Republican candidate's website before. If enough people examine Robinson's, he won't have a chance to win. Take a look and watch his psycho videos: The Twilight Zone, his I hate Mexicans and gays clip and his crazy and offensive Beverly Hill Miller ad.

So why would anyone even think twice about an opponent like this, someone who is so obviously deranged and outside even the Republican mainstream? One word: money. "Two years ago he raised $3 million," Brad told me. "That amount of money is kind of scary... He taps into the most extreme sliver of the far right. It's like Ann Coulter. Most people, regardless of political party, find what they say repugnant but the sheer outrageousness appeals to that sliver. Over 80% of the money he raises comes from outside North Carolina; almost none comes from the district."

Aside from being a crank candidate and an extremist gadfly, Robinson doesn't have any real career. He runs a fake advocacy "group" that favors vouchers over public schools but when the "group" raised an annual total of $107,000, Robinson's salary was $104,000. Jack Kemp, a Republican corporate whore who will endorse anyone who favors vouchers, endorsed Robinson and then, on seeing his bizarre, xenophobic and fanatical positions, publicly withdrew the endorsement.

Obsessed with homosexuality and Hispanics, Robinson hasn't found a way to claim Brad is Hispanic (yet) but he pulled the same dirty Republican trick on Brad and his wife that Ken Blackwell tried pulling on Ted Strickland and his wife. Both homophobic Republicans had sleazy surrogates claim their opponents didn't have children because they are gay and have marriages of convenience. The blowback in Ohio seems to have ended Blackwell's chance to be taken seriously. There hasn't been polling in the 13th CD, so no one knows what effect Robinson's idiotic charges have had.

When I asked Brad what issues his constituents are most concerned about, first up were jobs and health care. Not only are people losing jobs, the wages aren't keeping up with inflation. He started a bipartisan caucus for community colleges because he sees it as a way for people to learn new skills to compete in a changing marketplace. But when it comes to healthcare, he told me affordability was just one part of the issue. "People are amazed at how hateful the whole system is to deal with." (Envision Bill Frist.) And, of course the other issue he hears about over and over is Bush's foreign policy blundering, namely the war in Iraq and the instability of the world and of energy supplies.

His committee work has had him dealing extensively with consumer protection, predatory lending and the issues around scientific integrity and the manipulation of science by policy makers. I'm going to leave the specifics of these issues for the live discussion with Brad in the comments section below. You can volunteer for Brad's campaign here and you can donate here.

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Quote of the day: We hope Bill Moyers is chuckling as the man who tried to smear filth on his reputation gets caught red-handed again


"I believe it will become clear that this investigation was inspired by partisan divisions."
--far-right-wing pond scum Kenneth Tomlinson, responding to the eye-popping charges leveled at him in his latest investigative smackdown

Once again, I can't help thinking that there should be a "bonus" penalty for the ideological hooligans who get caught red-handed and bluff and bluster their protestations of innocence, and brazenly try to tarnish their accusers with the filth they themselves wallow in. (My bottom line here remains the same: At a very minimum, when these thugs' respective jigs are finally up and they've cut their deals with prosecutors, I want to see each of them drowning publicly in what I think of as "Duke Cunningham tears.") What's more, as more and more of the ultra-right-wing ideologues turn out to be shameless self-enriching crooks, it becomes harder to pretend that the association of ultra-right-wing ideology and criminality is casual or accidental.

Tomlinson is a brain-dead intellectual thug whose apparently lofty value to the loony right seems to reside entirely in his far-right-wing "ideological purity"--well, that and his utter shamelessness about the lengths to which he will go to impose his diseased values on the public. He was, of course, the hit man brought in to "right" the alleged ideological bias of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. (Yes, he was the man who set about purging Bill Moyers.) As he quickly demonstrated, from a professional standpoint he makes the patron saint of propagandists, the late, great Joseph Goebbels, look fair and balanced--and I mean "fair and balanced" in the actual sense of the words, not the phonified right-wing-propaganda version.

In case you missed either part of the Tomlinson story, here's how Paul Farhi started his report in today's Washington Post:

A year-long State Department investigation has found that the chairman of the agency that oversees Voice of America and other government broadcasting operations improperly used his office, putting a friend on the payroll and running a "horse-racing operation" with government resources.

The report, released yesterday, marks the second time in less than a year that an internal investigation has found evidence of rules violations by Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

In November, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting inspector general found that Tomlinson had made improper hires, had tried to tamper with PBS's TV programming and appeared to show political favoritism in selecting CPB's president while he was chairman, Tomlinson resigned his CPB post that same month.

The new allegations against Tomlinson, 62, stem from his chairmanship of the BBG, which oversees the federal government's array of international broadcasting services, including VOA, Radio and TV Marti in Cuba and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.



There are primaries in every almost state and they are certainly important to the participants and sometimes to the other citizens of the states or at least the districts. Rarely do they rise to the level of being important to the whole country. Unfortunately.

Primaries are often the only time grassroots activists get a chance to hold legislators accountable. If I hate Henry Waxman-- I don't-- because he voted for Bush's unwarranted attack on Iraq-- he did-- the only shot I'd get would be in the primary because his district is solidly Democratic in makeup and the winner of the Democratic primary is, in effect, the winner of the whole ball of wax. With the technological advances in the science of gerrymandering, this is the rule across the country now, not the exception.

The Senate race in Connecticut, you probably noticed, was a race of great national importance. Ned Lamont is certainly an excellent and worthy candidate but without the collective decision of grassroots activists in Connecticut to hold their faithless senator accountable for his execrable record, Lieberman would have hardly even noticed he had a challenge. Eventually the race got traction with the media-- Lieberman, after all, was something of a national figure and has never been shy about running towards any microphone he had ever seen-- and the race soon took on referendum status on Lieberman's patron, George Bush and the whole Bush Regime agenda, especially in Iraq. Lucky Lamont! And skillful Lamont!

There's one other race like that before the real national referendum in November. In about 2 weeks voters in Maryland's 4th congressional district go to the polls to decide whether or not Al Wynn, who was first elected in 1992, should be returned to office or if he should be replaced with a local activist Donna Edwards. Today The Washington Post explained in an editorial why Donna's the one.

The similarities between Lieberman and Wynn are undeniable, although Lieberman, driven by an oversized ego, has been more of a showboat, while Wynn, somewhat powermad, has been more surreptitious. Each man's voting record, in terms of help for the middle class, was rated a C by DMI. Lieberman's record has been slightly more reactionary than Wynn's but Wynn's district is a far deeper shade of blue than Lieberman's.

The Post points out that Wynn's "votes have been at odds with good government and the interests of his constituents. He has backed the estate tax repeal, a measure that benefits the richest Americans at the expense of the poor and middle class. He supported the Bush administration's energy bill in 2003, offering subsidies to oil and gas companies even as they were headed toward record profits. He has flip-flopped on fuel efficiency standards and opposed campaign finance reform."

Like disinterested party looking closely at the race, they strongly back Donna. "The 4th District, comprising parts of Prince George's and Montgomery counties, is heavily Democratic, a profile that meshes with Ms. Edward's long involvement in liberal causes. She has championed a higher minimum wage, campaign finance reform and an array of environmental issues, and she fought for legislation to curtail domestic violence. Locally, she was an ardent opponent of National Harbor, the multibillion-dollar development underway in Prince George's, but she came around to supporting it when she was satisfied that it would include a balance of commercial, entertainment and residential components. Her assent removed one of the project's last major hurdles-- a fact that testifies both to her skill as an advocate and her openness to reasonable compromise."

Yesterday Matt Stoller had an even more persuasive endorsement of Donna Edwards at MyDD and a great explanation of why this race has great national importance. "Wynn is not only a viciously reactionary Democrat who voted for the war and has aided Bush at nearly every turn, but he's also brutish in his local political work in a way that Lieberman is not... Once could argue that Wynn is actually worse than Lieberman, because while Lieberman panders to the right and has to answer to the press in some form or fashion, Wynn is owned by the right and flourishes in silence. While Lieberman spreads unseemly rumors about his opponent, Wynn's staffers have actually beaten up supporters of his opponent. With a much less transparent political culture than Connecticut, Maryland is harder to penetrate. And that makes Wynn even more entrenched than Lieberman was, and harder to understand. Unlike Lieberman, his power is predicated on being ignored as he channels corporate money to his political allies, as opposed to being high profile on Sunday shows. While Lieberman was the leader of the Bourbons, Wynn is the silent corruptor."

DWT readers already know how strongly we feel about what a great member of Congress Donna would be. As she enters the home stretch in this crucial campaign, the race hasn't caught the attention of the national media the way Lamont's challenge to the more high profile Lieberman did. Consequently, Donna hasn't gotten the kind of financial support Lamont got. And she needs it. And we need her. There's a symmetry there and today would be a nice day to express it here. If Donna wins September 12, the message to every faithless incumbent will be loud and clear-- and will help make the Democratic Party far more worthy of the power they are probably going to win in November.

Take a look at this video of Donna explaining why she's running against Al Wynn:


Even the right wing loons whose agenda Wynn has served so faithfully are happy to see him in electoral peril.

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by Marlene Rose

(I've been trying to get Marlene Rose, who lives way up in northern California near the Oregon border, to write a piece about her detestible congressman, John Doolittle for months. Something finally seems to have struck a nerve.- HK)
It is amazing the many ways Congressman John Doolittle has managed to fleece the American taxpayer. His latest came disguised as campaign literature, fancy, expensive, and certainly immoral.  The use of a magnifying glass ripped off the disguise and unmasked Doolittle’s unfair use of our money.
The series of elaborate, expensive, heavy stock, 4 color, 4 page campaign literature which Doolittle attempted to disguise as a message to his constituents revealed in the tiniest print possible an acknowledgment that this elegant collection of lies was "prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense." True constituent mail is an honest appraisal of what has been accomplished by the Congress, not a collection of self aggrandizing statements.
How can any challenger mount a campaign against this corrupt incumbent who not only has millions of dollars of campaign contributions (much of it from Abramoff and his cronies and from the corporations and lobbyists he services) but also freely dips his hands into the United States treasury? This is the same man who strongly opposes the use of union money to fund campaigns of which members may not approve but thinks nothing of using MY money (and everyone else's) to fund a campaign which many (including me) find totally repugnant.  
My real outrage, however, is focused on the distortions and beautification of his actual record.   Doolittle has an anti labor and  a pro-corporation voting record; he voted against raising fuel standards and against funding alternative fuels; he is rated 0% by the League of Conservation Voters; he voted yes on trade with China but no on even traveling to Cuba; he voted no on banning soft money but yes on restricting independent grassroots political committees; he voted the gun lobby position on every bill they promoted; his record for public health is 0%; he voted to permit offshore tax havens; he has a clear anti civil rights record; he has an anti-senior voting record; and he voted against measures that help those in poverty. On a broad swath of legislative votes put together to rate congressmen's impact on the middle class, DMI rates Doolittle a flat F. The list of Doolittle’s antiprogressive positions goes on and on.

To add insult to injury, Doolittle refused to respond to Project Vote Smart, even though John McCain urged him to fill out the National Political Awareness Test. It is so much easier to make lying generalizations as he did in his mailings than to answer specific questions that would actually reveal his positions.
Doolittle is a disgrace and has been shown to be both corrupt and ineffective. The 4th Congressional District is entitled to a decent, proactive candidate who will represent the interests of his constituents, not his contributors. That candidate is Charlie Brown, a veteran who wants a planned withdrawal from Iraq and a planned agenda to help the citizens of this country. The recent newspaper articles which revealed the declining wages of the poor and middle class while the corporations rake in record profits is only one indication of why we need Charlie Brown in California's 4th Congressional District. Charlie will be a Congressman we will be proud to claim as our own.

While of utmost importance to people in the Mother Lode Country and the Sacramento suburbs, Doolittle's gross unfitness to hold office has risen to the level where Charlie Brown's race to defeat him has national significance. Most of Doolittle's contributions come from outside the 4th CD, from the corporations whose agendas he supports (to the detriment of his constituents). Although Charlie Brown has been more successful than any other Democrat in raising grassroots money inside the 4th with which to challenge Doolittle, he could certainly use some help in the funding area. The Blue America ActBlue Page is ready for you if you're ready to make a commitment for a better America.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006



BushCheneyRove have largely governed by waging successful propaganda wars (against the American people; no one else-- anywhere-- believes anything that comes out of this Regime). Other than encouraging their class to pillage the American economy and letting our infrastructure deteriorate (not to mention the very social fabric that holds our society together), they have no operative philosophy of governance-- unless you look at the most famous statement of their chief ideologue, the heinous Grover Norquist: "My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years," he says, "to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub." (Small enough, no doubt, so that it wouldn't have the resources to pursue crooks like himself and his odious business partner Jack Abramoff as they ran a wide-ranging criminal racket that netted them and their allies millions and millions of dollars.)

As Paul Krugman pointed out in yesterday's New York Times, the Bush Regime has basically ushered in and presided over a field of broken dreams with Bush broken promises that essentially represent the Republican Party's utter inability to govern our country.

Today Republican political hacks are running for their lives-- or at least their careers-- to distance themselves from Bush and his regime's failed and disastrous policies-- especially in Iraq. Republicans electorally endangered by their 5 years of rubber stamp posture and their complete abandonment of congressional oversight responsibilities are using the ole Rove propaganda techniques to convince less discerning members of the electorate that they have not been Bush sock puppets. Even some of the most pathetic of Bush's cheerleading squad, Stepford-like rubber stamps like Chris Shays (R-CT), Gil Gutknecht (R-MN), the 2 GOP sissy-boys in suburban Philadelphia, Mike Fitzpatrick and Jim Gerlach, and even a far right maniac and extremist fanatic like Indiana's Mike Sodrel are all desperately trying to hide and cover-up their clear record of total support for Bush's Iraq policies.

The MyDD/Courage Campaign polling project, empirically proves that voters-- including independents and even Republicans-- are looking for candidates to clearly distinguish themselves from Bush. What an opportunity for Democratic challengers! Except, more frightened Republican incumbents are taking it seriously than are DCCC-backed Democrats. Non-DCCC challengers, especially independent-minded populists and Fighting Dems like John Laesch (D-IL), Eric Massa (D-NY), Rick Penberthy (D-FL), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Charlie Brown (D-CA), Coleen Rowley (D-MN), Larry Kissell (D-NC), Victoria Wulsin (D-OH), to name a few, are ignoring Rahm Emanuel's awful advice to downplay Iraq. The candidates who are looking for DCCC cash-- cash that comes with strings chains that bind and choke-- are following the same path that led Francine Busby to defeat in the CA-50 Special Election.

Even Busby herself may have woken up... a little. Yesterday one of Busby's strongest, earliest and most vocal supporters on the Internet, local blogger RJB at Words Have Power applauded Busby's attack on her opponent's aggressive support for the GOP "stay the course" talking point/slogan.

But he expresses the frustration virtually all California progressives have felt about Busby's inability to effectively take on Bush and the rubber stamp Congress where it matters most: Iraq. "Note to Busby: If you are going to attack your Republican opponent for not having a plan, it would be a good idea to have one of your own. Busby failed in June by being too cautious, she can't afford to make that mistake again. Take the battle to Bilbray!"

I hope she's listening. I hope all Democrats are listening. It's ironic that Republicans are. Some of the campaigns being waged by the DCCC's "Red to Blue" favorites are so pathetic and anemic that these once "sure things" are looking like they could be this year's losers.

Is Rahm Emanuel a plant from the GOP to sabotage Democratic efforts to retake the House? Nah; he just acts that way.



This Saturday the Blue America series at Firedoglake is featuring two of the most promising and inspiring Fighting Dems we've met yet-- Bill Winter, who is taking on the egregiously racist (and KKK-endorsed) Tom Tancredo, and Jay Fawcett, who is taking on James Dobson's shill candidate in James Dobson's town... and this guy is every bit as horrible as Tancredo, just not as famous.

Both of these candidates are from Colorado and both are considered longshots and have been basically written off by the DCCC. They are both far too independent-minded for Inside-the-Belway careerist political hacks like Emanuel and both have refused to follow the losing DCCC game plan of soft-pedaling the Iraq occupation. Neither Bill Winter nor Jay Fawcett is likely to ever soft pedal anything.

Today Fawcett's campaign had some extraordinary news. The Colorado Springs Gazette is reporting that retiring, longtime Republican congressman, Joel Hefley is so dismayed by the over the top extremist who won the GOP nomination that he is considering jumping back into the race and-- in effect-- throwing it to Fawcett!

Many conservative Republicans in the district have actually endorsed Fawcett saying that Doug Lamborn is simply not fit to represent the district in Congress. "In meetings with national political consultants, Hefley and his supporters have come up with yard-sign designs and the key messages of a possible campaign... Hefley, who has represented the 5th Congressional District for 20 years, has been the subject of a three-week push by high-level Republicans to take this nearly unheard-of step..." To be a write-in candidate, Hefley must file by 5PM today.

Most of us are aware that frothing at the mouth Rovians like Lamborn can always be expected to call their Democratic opponents gay and commies and all that crap but it is important to remember that that is exactly what they do to mainstream conservatives in their own primaries as well. Lamborn upset many in the GOP when he and his shills tried to make his Republican primary opponent, a conservative endorsed by Hefley, sound like a tool of the homosexual conspiracy.

"Hefley, who criticized negative campaigning at the May GOP congressional assembly, gained a reputation in his later years as a champion of ethics in politics. He led the House ethics committee when it chastised Majority Leader Tom DeLay-- a member of his own party-- and later lost that seat and was ostracized by DeLay and his allies." He is eager to make sure someone as clearly recognized as unethical as is Lamborn, not take over the congressional district.

Be sure to join us Saturday at 2PM (EST) at Firedoglake to meet Jay Fawcett himself and hear how this whole thing is making his race very, very viable. Even the DCCC has had to take notice!


Reached in Oklahoma, Joel Hefley told the Gazette that Lamborn "ran the most sleazy, dishonest campaign I've seen in a long, long time and I cannot support it." (I guess ole Hef hasn't been paying much attention to Lamborn's teacher, Karl Rove.) In any case, as much as he detests Lamborn and hopes he loses, the 71 years old Republican says he's decided not to jump into the race. He said he was unsure at this point if he would endorse Democrat Jay Fawcett or not. But I think his supports kind of got the point.

Quote of the day: To celebrate the Katrina anniversary, what do you say we line the entire Bush administration up in front of a firing squad?


"Funny thing about the murderously failed plan for the evacuation of New Orleans: No one can find it. That's right. It's missing. Maybe it got wet and sank in the flood. Whatever: No one can find it.

"That's real bad. Here's the key thing about a successful emergency evacuation plan: You have to have copies of it. Lots of copies--in fire houses and in hospitals and in the hands of every first responder. Secret evacuation plans don't work."

--from Greg Palast's account of the TV report he's done for Democracy Now on the devastation in New Orleans--from Katrina and afterward (the show transcript is here)

I don't know about you, but I'm getting pretty darned tired of constantly thinking the absolute worst it seems possible to think of the behavior and motivations of the mutant life forms who make up the Bush administration and then finding out that the reality is worse, much worse--viler, more inhuman, more savagely ignorant, more ruthlessly incompetent, more psychotic, without any possible question criminally culpable.

Greg Palast [right] has done an investigative report for Democracy Now on the destruction of New Orleans and the aftermath, and it turns out that almost the least of it is that the Bush administration paid half a million dollars for an evacuation plan that never existed, perhaps because the money was paid to a bunch of droolers with no credentials except their history of Republican campaign contributions.

You'll also meet the top hurricane expert whose explicit (and accurate) disaster warnings were expressly ignored, and whose job has been threated for talking about it. And you'll learn that the administration had early knowledge of the breach of the levees, with pictures, information that no one "in the know" could be bothered to share with the people on the ground who were actually trying to cope with the catastrophe that was unfolding while the president farted.

I think maybe it's time to just line the whole crowd up in front of a firing squad and celebrate the huckuva job they've done with, er, fireworks.

Meanwhile the mainstream media debate whether Chimpy the Prez can regain his former "image" as a "leader." This would be hilarious if it weren't so tragic.



A cursory stroll down Blogosphere Lane reveals varying levels of breathless anticipation and nervous trepidation, as per 11/7's upcoming midterms. Although the various projections in Democratic (and other opposition groups) gains span an enormo spectrum, from Chris Bowers' mild 15-25, to Kos' 7-10 seat gains, to DWT's own Howie, who speculates on a 30-40 seat gain, the general sentiment is more or less upbeat, but with a caveat.

Namely, it ain't exactly a Paul headed to Damascus revelation that Herr Rove und Die Media Korporate will be working overtime to divert and obfuscate. That the gears of the Ugly Hate Machine, from lowly mouth-breathers like Little Green Snotballs and Hindlicker all the way to the perilous radio summits of Slant-Head and Viagra-Contin man will be grinding out horror missives around the clock, like the smug Vichy/Tory wannabees they've always been

This barrage of ceaseless Chimp/Cheney fellation has been less effective by the news cycle and has fewer teeth than a trailer-bound Toby Keith fan and no one knows this better than the master baiter Cheney himself. Mired in miserable poll numbers with a cratering housing market and wage depression swirling about his ankles like effluence in the streets of Fallujah, a Hail Mary move right before the midterms would not only be in the works as we speak, but very bloody (pun intended) likely.

Some might say (a tip of the mug to Fox, so sue me) that a bogus Orange to Red alert on the Isle of Manhattan that culminates in massive arrests of dark-hued Asians is a possibility. Foiling the destruction of the Holland tunnel, the GWB (the bridge, not the monkey man, be still your perverted imaginations), mebbe the Empire State (to satisfy the atavism of various King Kong fans), perhaps a westward ho, from the DC ho's, as in saving LA or San Diego (not San Francisco, as much of America would be happy to see Sodom By The Sea disappear). But those are small potatoes (or is it "potatoees," Mr Quayle?)--a terraist plot foiled lacks the all-encompassing pizzazz of 9/11 and any homegrown or CIA remake risks one lowly whistle-blowers approbrium.

What they can control is the American military and the news cycle. Therefore, the military will carry out their whims, as they must do. And despite the fact that the Pentagon blunted their desires back in 2004, as per air-raids and bombings of Iran, it's a good bet they'll roll the dice and go for it, a week before the midterms, appropriately upon All Hallows Eve, for maximum symbolism.

Claiming a clear and present danger posed by the "madman" Ahmanidijad and a "refusal to allow inspections" of the newly proposed heavy water facilities (which Iran is entitled to as signatory to the NPT, their rivals in Tel Aviv aren't, natch), Cheney n' Co let forth with a blast from the sea, from aircraft carriers and subs, despite the dispersal of supposed nuke facilities all over Persia.

This carnage drives Iraq and Lebanon off the front pages. It re-asserts the doctrine of pre-emption. It defangs reason and brings it all back home to Die Partei Republikkkanische's favorite mode of entertainment-- air war as videogame for chubby couch pomme du terres.

With only one week to go before the midterms, the skyrocketing rise in gasoline prices will not kick in. Nor will the severing of American supply lines between Doha and Baghdad or the quite likely "Little Big Horn" like attacks on the Green Zone from Iraq's own Crazy Horse, Muktada Al Sadr.

They'll cross those bridges when they come to them. The wind will be out of the sails of the opposition, red, white and blue banners will fly from Fox to shining CNN, once again decals will proudly be attached to SUV's and neo-cons will be sucking down snifters of victory brandy by the gallon. All that counts is keeping the House and Senate and so what if the country is boarding the hand-basket to Hades on the 8th?

People say that I have a hyperactive and paranoiac imagination and they're right as rain. But I put nothing past these animales with their track record intact of treasury piracy via military outlay plus public hysteria and acquiescence. They have gone to any lengths and will continue to do so, to dominate and demolish our beloved land--moderation in the pursuit of think-tank based madness is not in their quiver.

We'll talk on 11/1, ok?

(Johnny Wendell is on KTLK-AM1150, in LA, Saturdays and Sundays, 10A-12, PCT. He has been a punk rock musician, columnist, actor, TV talking head on CNN and Court TV and playwright, too--one day, he'll have to get a real job).



by Helen Klein
Well, I had read somewhere a while ago that Bush and Company were considering outsourcing the IRS, with my usual reaction of "What more can this President do to screw things up?" Every week, I am amazed by some new angle this regime has concocted to hurt the average person and undermine democracy. Their creativity in this direction seems limitless.

Well, I just read in Sunday's New York Times (which still has some real news buried in there somewhere...) that yes, the IRS will begin outsourcing some of our tax collection!! According to an editorial in the Week in Review section, this will begin in a few weeks. So it is likely that down the road someone in another country, perhaps India, will be calling us on the carpet for our 1040's. Why should the government do anything when a private company can make a profit on it? Furthermore, the IRS will be reducing the size of the staff which audits returns of the wealthiest segment of our society-- their numbers will be cut in half. To me, this is a green light for the super rich to cheat-- even more than they already do-- on their taxes, or more politely, twist the rules, as hardly anyone will be checking up on what they are doing. This travesty will certainly reduce the amount of income our government receives, so there will be less money for needed programs.  Of course, this regime has been fighting tooth and nail to reduce or destroy these programs anyway, so why should I be surprised? Supporting the energy and arms industries are the primary concerns of this regime, and oh, maybe prescription drug, construction and credit card companies.
It also seems to me that there must be a security risk somewhere in this plan, for another country to have access to our tax records. Think about the social security numbers and personal financial records being looked over by who knows who. I don't know about you, but this makes me very uncomfortable. What about our privacy rights? Won't this information be sold by unscrupulous people working for these new companies? Who is going to monitor our new overseers? This appears to be another example of "Trust me." I guess "security risk" is like a faucet this administration knows how to turn on and off at will, depending on their needs/desires at the time. Remember their attempt to turn port security over and what a political disaster that was for them? This tax collection issue, however, seems to be gliding below the radar.

We are creeping inexorably toward earned income being the only means of supporting our government, which of course is a long term goal of Bush and Company. Yes, anyone who works for a living is getting squeezed. Changes in pensions, health care and bankruptcy laws are leaving average people high and dry. The discretionary spending money of the middle class is being eroded while the wealthy have more, as if they need it. As it is, the super rich are paying much less in taxes than they used to on their unearned income. Remember when a true English gentlemen did not work as it was considered beneath him? Well, here we go again... 

This regime continues to march toward it selfish goals of dismantling needed government institutions, enhancing corporations at every turn and making the super rich ever richer, while wages for working Americans actually decrease! The impact of these changes on our country appears irrelevant. Bush shows little concern for our future. He is milking his eight years in office for all he can. Like with the war in Iraq, he is taking no responsibility for the aftermath of his decisions. The mess will simply be handed over to the next administration.

What can we do? Let's boot some of the guys and gals who have shown themselves to be consitent rubber stamps ofr all Bush's schemes out of office in the November election. I can name one in particular who needs to go-- Sue Kelly in New York's 19th congressional district. She is a robotic, undiscerning supporter of all Bush's and DeLay's worst policies. I am supporting John Hall and my fingers are crossed that on September 12, he wins the Democratic primary for this Congressional race.

Monday, August 28, 2006



I haven't written much about the Michigan governor's race. There's a good Democratic incumbent, Jennifer Granholm and a far right monstrosity running against her, a real radical right multimillionaire, Dick DeVos. It's pretty cut and dry, good vs evil. And Granholm is out ahead in the polls-- with momentum. The races features a cool local blog called DeVos is a Dick and some very innovative ads. My favorite ad is this campaign video that Michigan Dems did about DeVos. I hope you get as much of a kick out of it as I did. And if you want to get into all the sordid facts on DeVos and his wretched wife Betsy, Hector Solon has a very thorough diary at Daily Kos from earlier this month.



A DWT reader, Leroy, wrote an interesting comment on an old blog (from almost a year ago to the week. I'm doing something today I've never done before-- rescuing a comment few will ever get a chance to read and putting it up front and top here. This is the story of a man's eyes opening to reality.

I am so ashamed that I wasted my vote on George Bush. What was I thinking? Why did I let my right wing extremist, neo-conservative, neo-evangelical thinking get in the way of exercising sound personal judgment when I entered that voting booth?

Growing up, I was led to believe that the Republican Party was a grass roots party of the people & for the people. In retrospect, it is clear that the last 3 presidents produced by the Republican Party were nothing more then the rich man’s rich man hiding under the disguise of jingoistic patriotism and the lie of conservative values. The economic dark ages of reagonomics fleeced the middle and lower classes of this county simply to benefit the rich and wealthy and waste money on unnecessary unconstitutional military actions. George Sr. carried that same self-serving torch. George Jr. has quietly shifted this country back to those dark ages. Bush inherited a strong economy and squandered that real quick. And even though 9 -11 did happen, none of Bush’s reckless decisions are in any way justified by that day in history. It is clear that he never had any real salient foreign & domestic policies when he became president in 2000. Bush and Cheney have pimped the Presidency and turned the senate into an auction house for legislation to the highest bidder.

Now we have 3 more years of neoconservative republican lies and a growing body count overseas. When are people going to wake up to the truth that neoconservative political philosophy does not work for anyone but the rich and wealthy at the top? When are people in the USA going to wake up to the fact that neoconservative republican political philosophy does not even cross paths with reality? The main goal of the neoconservatives who have destroyed the soul of the Republican Party is to consolidate national wealth to the nation’s top 2% wealthiest at the expense of the middle and lower classes while imperialistically occupying other nations. This is promoted under the façade of promoting democracy elsewhere in order to hide ugly truth regarding the real agenda. It is imperialism but we are now trying to do it to other countries instead of the British doing it to us.

Anyone who believes George War Bush’s lies about promoting democracy in these Middle Eastern Islamic states is living in serious denial of reality. Those who believe Bush’s lies are simply easy pickins and victims of logical fallacies. Historians and political scholars realize that to impose such changes on another country takes decades and that is only if it seriously adopted. Something that you are not going to make happen in an Islamic state. Also, the very definition of democracy is not something that the United States has any claim of ownership to. But then, if one looks at Bush’s view of democracy, it more closely resembles Mexico where you have a small rich elite ruling class and no middle class. In short…..a plutocracy.

If we ever actually do get out of Iraq, nothing will have changed and nothing will have been gained. The American people have never been given a specific objective in Iraq or a clear definition of exactly what "victory in Iraq" is from the president. Invading Iraq never had anything to do with, WMD, freeing the Iraqi people or making Americans safer and secure. Statements about WMD, Freeing Iraq or Making America Safer are nothing more then a neo-conservative marketing spin used to hide the ugly truth and make the lies palatable to the American public and justifiable to the red necks who voted for him. Bush likes to make statements such as "It's worth the price" but he never says just what exactly "it" is. If he really believes that all of his waste of human lives and our tax dollars are worth it, then he should put his money where his mouth is and send his little party animals to go fight in Iraq. Isn’t it strange how all these young Republican youths that get interviewed claim to be for Bush’s private pseudo war, but very few if any at all are willing to enlist in the military???

The Republican Party is currently composed of a lot of chicken hawks. Those who believe that advocating a war from afar is a sign of personal courage and strength, and that opposing a war from afar is a sign of personal cowardice and weakness. These chicken hawks are cowardly idiots who not only advocate wars, but they also believe that their advocacy is proof of the courage which those who will actually fight the war in combat require. You know the type… quick to judge, quick to anger and very very slow to understand. These Republican chicken hawks will, conversely, attempt to depict those who oppose such wars as being weak, spineless and cowardly even though the war opponents are not seeking to avoid any personal risk to themselves, but instead, are arguing against subjecting their fellow citizens to what they perceive are unnecessary dangers.

Under the current President of the USA, we have now seen what the Republican party really stands for now that they have had about 6 or so good years of unobstructed ruling power. Yup… they've had their chance to demonstrate what they are made of and we can all now see that they are not what they claim to be. They are basically, a bunch of uncompassionate, un-conservative hypocrites. Fake, Christian, hate mongering Taliban trash like Ann Coulter.

I for one am tired of our political party making all these huge messes that have historically fallen to Democrats to clean up. Clinton took the 2 trillion dollar deficit economy that he inherited from our boys Reagan & Bush Sr. and prospered the country into one with a surplus without overtaxing the rich, middle and lower classes. Wake up America! Bush created the mess in the Middle East starting with his personal desire to invade Iraq. "War on Terror???" Wake up America… you cannot wage war on a concept. Reagan sold this lie to us with his so called war on a concept we all know as the "war on drugs." This has done absolutely nothing for our country. You cannot wage war on a concept but Bush, Cheney and most of the Republican Party hope that most Americans are stupid and impressionable enough to believe their lies.

The Republican Party claims to be for smaller less wasteful government but the current administration is responsible for the waste of more money, resources and human lives then any past Democrat presidency. I have a hard time sleeping at night knowing that the blood of Americans and innocent Iraqi civilians is on my hands and the hands of those who voted for Cheney… I mean Bush. The real legacy of the Bush administration is going to be one characterized by lots of wrongful deaths, lots of money and resources wasted, unnecessary tax increases for our children and grandchildren and the unnecessary destruction of various social programs that were never in need of fixing or eliminating to begin with.

Thanks to Bush and his power hungry cabinet who all want to control Congress, the Senate & the Supreme Court, the USA is now a third world country hiding behind a lie of prosperity and so called society of personal ownership. In retrospect, I seem to own less now under this administration of "personal ownership" then I did during Bill Clinton’s presidency.

Thanks to Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their puppets, the USA is now a huge debtor country. The only ones with real ownership as a result of the current presidential administration are the rich and elite. Now that the USA owes all these hundreds of millions of dollars to countries like China, Germany, Russia & Japan, I wonder which language I need to learn for the day when these countries come to collect…



PS: Farwell GOP. Thanks for all the corrupt memories…I’m now a Democrat.

Welcome home, Leroy. Or, as George Allen might say, "Welcome to America!" Leroy did what all ex-Republicans should do; he sat down and analyzed reality, did some thinking and shared his insights with others. I hope I'm not being presumptuous to ask any ex-Republicans to do the same-- and to do this too (especially if you voted for BushCheney).



If you look over at my blogroll, one of the blogs you'll see I link to is called When I want the best perspective on national security-related matters, anything military and anything to do with foreign affairs, that's where I go first. So what an honor it was for me last week when Taylor called and asked me if I would do a series of candidate-related pieces at her site. The series, about why America will be safer if we elect a Democratic Congress, started today.

Last week we read in the Washington Post that the Republicans have already lost the "security moms." Yesterday the Diageo Hotline Poll came out claiming "voters believe nation is safer now than before September 11 attacks, thanks to Bush and GOP." The right-leaning polling company's analysis goes on to claim that "Democrats would have made the nation less safe than it is today." This seems to fly in the face of reality, of common sense and of our most cherished hopes and dreams for our country. But, even if this poll isn't completely accurate, there seems to be a significant number of people buying in to the whole Orwellian/V for Vendetta society, where people blindly, willingly, even eagerly, trade their freedom for even the most tenuous sense of security. Terror, in the hands of people like Cheney, Rove, Big Brother or Chancellor Adam Sutler, can have a very powerful appeal for frightened, confused, struggling people.

And what do the Democrats have to offer in its place? It had better be more than our hopes and our dreams or common sense or apparently over-rated reality. I've assembled an impressive team of men and women who are experts in their fields to try to come up with an overall picture of how our National Security will look once there are some checks on the Bush Regime. The people I asked to help are more pragmatic than political. They are all about solving problems and all about making America safer. Some, like John Laesch, Jay Fawcett and Eric Massa are Fightin' Dems. Others, like Victoria Wulsin, a public health policy expert, and Coleen Rowley, a former FBI agent, have had their eyes focused firmly on safety within our borders.

Last week The New York Times published an impressive editorial called "Wanted: Scarier Intelligence." It isn't what The Times wants or what the American people want; it's what the Bush Regime is demanding of our intelligence services... again. The editorial concludes with a stark warning: "The nation cannot afford to pay the price again for politicians' bending intelligence or bullying the intelligence agencies to suit their ideology."

The premise is that as we head into the election season, Bush and his rubber stamp Congress-- in this case the contemptible tool Peter Hoekstra (R-MI)-- are desperate enough to try cooking the books again to hold on to power.

That's what happened in 2002, when the administration engineered a deeply flawed document on Iraq that reshaped intelligence to fit President Bush's policy. And history appeared to be repeating itself this week, when the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, released a garishly illustrated and luridly written document that is ostensibly dedicated to "helping the American people understand" that Iran's fundamentalist regime and its nuclear ambitions pose a strategic threat to the United States.

It's hard to imagine that Mr. Hoekstra believes there is someone left in this country who does not already know that. But the report obviously has different aims. It is partly a campaign document, a product of the Republican strategy of scaring Americans into allowing the G.O.P. to retain control of Congress this fall. It fits with the fearmongering we've heard lately-- like President Bush's attempt the other day to link the Iraq war to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

But even more worrisome, the report seems intended to signal the intelligence community that the Republican leadership wants scarier assessments that would justify a more confrontational approach to Tehran. It was not the work of any intelligence agency, or the full intelligence panel, or even the subcommittee that ostensibly drafted it. The Washington Post reported that it was written primarily by a former C.I.A. official [Fred Fleitz] known for his view that the assessments on Iran are not sufficiently dire.

The Hoeskstra crony and fellow rubber stamp Republican hack who heads the subcommittee, Mike Rogers, also of Michigan, is being challenged by just the kind of expert who won't let this genre of empty propaganda slip by. Jim Marcinkowski, a former CIA officer-- and a classmate of Valerie Plame's-- jumped right on Hoeskstra's and Rogers' foolish campaign brochure.

"Mike Rogers has demonstrated time and again that he is out of touch with the security situation on the ground in the Middle East. His comments and his voting record make that clear. In May of 2004, Rogers described the security situation in Baghdad as being no different than 'walking in a rough neighborhood anywhere in America'... Yesterday, Rogers criticized the United States' ability to acquire intelligence, particularly nuclear intelligence. Yet three years ago, he-- a former FBI agent-- stayed silent and did nothing when a veteran CIA agent who specialized in nuclear security issues and WMD was 'outed' for political reasons. In June of 2004, Rogers voted against increased funding for counter-terrorism efforts."

Anyway, like I said, my first in the series is up now on Taylor's site. It features our old friend, John Laesch. Here's a taste of what John has to say:

"Democratic military members of Congress will insist on secure borders. The increased number of undocumented workers crossing our southern border is proof that we have left our back door open. During the Clinton presidency, the number of apprehensions at our southern border steadily increased to almost 2 million apprehensions per year by the year 2000. After Bush took over, we saw a drastic decrease in the number of apprehensions per year; by 2001 when terrorists struck the twin towers the Republicans had managed to let an additional 800,000 people slip through our borders. The effort to sell ports off to private, foreign corporations is further proof that Republicans just don't give a damn about America's economy or security."

Quote of the day: If Republicans really cared about squeezing more and more Americans out of a share in the U.S. economy, they might stop doing it


"Wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation’s gross domestic product since the government began recording the data in 1947, while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share since the 1960s."
--from Steven Greenhouse and David Leonhardt's lead story in this morning's New York Times, "Real Wages Fail to Match a Rise in Productivity"

Greenhouse and Leonhardt begin their story:

With the economy beginning to slow, the current expansion has a chance to become the first sustained period of economic growth since World War II that fails to offer a prolonged increase in real wages for most workers.

That situation is adding to fears among Republicans that the economy will hurt vulnerable incumbents in this year’s midterm elections even though overall growth has been healthy for much of the last five years.

The median hourly wage for American workers has declined 2 percent since 2003, after factoring in inflation. The drop has been especially notable, economists say, because productivity — the amount that an average worker produces in an hour and the basic wellspring of a nation’s living standards — has risen steadily over the same period.

It's nice of Republicans to give the matter as much as a second thought. It's a shame it's only because of their sudden queasiness about having to face an electorate that increasingly has been systematically squeezed out of it share in the American economy--by Republicans' philosophy and policies.

When any of the victims complain, of course, the Republicans--with too many plutocratic Democrats cheering on the sidelines--complain about "class warfare." What happens when ordinary Americans figure out who declared this war?

Sunday, August 27, 2006



If you've checked the Blue America ActBlue page in the last couple of days, you may have noticed a new addition. That ain't no candidate's face the second from the top. No, it's the graphic symbol that our sometime art director, Adam, did to represent our "campaign" theme sung by Rickie Lee Jones, Tom Maxwell and Ken Mosher, "Have You Had Enough?"

If you look at the totals, you'll notice that so far our netroots efforts at Firedoglake, Crooks and Liars and DWT have aggregated nearly $170,000 for our candidates. The median donation is around $30. That's what the power of a lot of dedicated, idealistic people can do. Much of that total is due to the concerted efforts we make every weekend at our candidate forums, where our communities come together with a different progressive Democrat each Saturday at 2 PM (est) to hear about the races and ask questions of the candidates. (All are archived here and I would encourage you to read through the exciting, fascinating sessions.)

But something else came out of one of the sessions. We were talking with Larry Kissell (NC-08) when fellow Tar Heel, Tom Maxwell made a contribution and later offered to lend his considerable musical talents to our efforts. Discussion later revealed that he was one of the key songwriters from the late, great Squirrel Nut Zippers. He and his partner in MaxwellMosher, Ken Mosher (another SNZ alum) offered to write and record a song for our campaign to clean up Congress. Another dedicated progressive musician, Rickie Lee Jones, joined them to record the song. All three have written about why they became involved.

Now it's getting played on some radio stations and online and it's working its way around the blogosphere. Mike McIntee, a supporter of one of our favorite candidates, Coleen Rowley (MN-02), has gone ahead and used the song for a little video. It's a hoot:

A John Laesch supporter is doing another one as we speak. A Jerry McNerney supporter who works as a dj is doing a re-mix with soundbytes from Dirty Dick Pombo. We love all that stuff. And Blue America has a plan for a next step too. And that's why we started the PAC. The PAC allows us to raise and spend as much money as we can, not for candidates per se but to get our 30-second spots on the radio. Unlike the full song, the 30-second spots don't say "It's time to throw the rascals out." They are geared towards each specific district and each mentions the local rascal that it's time to throw out, be it Kline in Minnesota, Brown-Waite in Florida, Doolittle in California, Kuhl in New York or Mean Jean Schmidt in Ohio.

The PAC wasn't easy to set up. My bank manager resisted for weeks, actually telling me that the bank didn't want anything to do with-- he said couldn't have anything to do with-- embarrassing President Bush! And there's so much paperwork! But now it's set up and ready to collect and disburse contributions. Do you want to help? Well, the obvious way is to send some dough, either at that link or by check to Blue America, P.O. Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027. But there's something else we need from you.

Because we're an official PAC now, the FEC doesn't allow us to coordinate anything with any of the campaigns. If you live in one of the districts for one of our candidates, we need volunteers who will help us figure out which local radio stations will be most effective. Suggestions and ideas for a grassroots endeavor like this are not just welcome; they are crucial. Meanwhile, send your friends and family and colleagues to our MySpace page to listen to the song and download it and read more about it.



Or are Dick Cheney and Congressperson Johnson just twins separated at birth? A Connecticut blogger, Star A. Decise, has taken a moment away from sabotaging Joe Lieberman's computers to look into the eerie connection between the extreme right wing vice president and the formerly moderate, lately more extremist Connecticut congresswoman.



Today's Sunday Times, the London one, has a noteworthy article by Tony Allen-Mills reporting about the exposed foibles of politicians' children. The billionaire robber-baron Frist family, deservedly, gets the brunt of it. Allen-Mills accepts Frists' fake demeanor as a man of "sober rectitude," instead of explaining that he's a grubby pol who has aggressively used his political position to enrich himself and his family by destroying the American health care system. But the "sober rectitude" persona helps paint a contrast with the pack of wild, savage, drunken spoiled racist brats he and his wife have raised.

"The same cannot be said of his son Jonathan, a Vanderbilt University student who recently appeared on the Internet wearing six cans of beer strapped to his belt. Nor has Jonathan's brother Bryan done much to help his father's attempts to strike a reasonable note about U.S. involvement in Iraq. 'I was born an American by God's amazing grace,' wrote Bryan Frist in an online profile. 'Let's bomb some people.'" Yes, the acorn hasn't fallen far at all, even though these turds haven't been polished up yet.

"Frist is one of at least half a dozen US politicians-- and at least one US Supreme Court judge-- whose public images have been dented in recent months by the Internet antics of their offspring. Pictures of scantily clad daughters whooping it up have become a staple of Internet gossip." Allen-Mills doesn't mention the more serious daughter scandals involving crooked Republican solons using their daughters as part of their crime operations, the way Curt Weldon (R-PA) and Conrad Burns (R-MT) have (not to mention GOP crime wave syndicate chieftain Tom DeLay).

But, as mildly funny as the story about GOP discomfiture might be, it isn't really a serious look into the blatant hypocrisy and criminality of what today's Republican Party has devolved into. "The popularity of teenage networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook is proving a goldmine for political bloggers keen to compare the pious proclamations of candidates running for office with the blogs and picture-sharing websites maintained by their children. No sooner had Congressman Louie Gohmert, a conservative Republican from Texas, unleashed a tirade against the moral inadequacies of Democrats opposed to the war in Iraq, than someone found Internet pictures of his daughter Caroline dancing on a bartop and posing with a man in his underpants." Cute.

At least the Frist crew's embarrassment is something a little weightier and more thought-provoking. I mean there is every reason to believe that these boys are destined to turn into future George Allens, if not the monstrosity their own father is. Jonathan Frist has been in and out of the papers for drunk driving, underage driving, racism and anti-Semitism.

Roll Call, the Washington insiders' newspaper published on Capitol Hill, recently reported that Jonathan Frist's Facebook entry declared him a member of the "Jonathan Frist appreciation for 'Waking Up White People' Group." It also mentioned a group where there were "No Jews allowed. Just kidding. No seriously."

Hometown newspapers, appropriately, took it more seriously than they take the stories about political offspring using drugs and booze and screwing their brains out-- the way the Bush family spawn do all the time. "Errant children have long been a fact of Washington political life, but have rarely caused any lasting scandal. Bush was untroubled by the underage drinking exploits of his twin daughters Jenna and Barbara. The president's brother, Governor Jeb Bush of Florida, was not seriously damaged when his daughter Noelle was arrested on drug charges. His son John was arrested for having sex in a car in a shopping centre car park. The U.S. media has in the past treated adolescent follies as largely a private matter, but the mushrooming trend towards public self-exposure on the Internet is beginning to make life a misery for celebrities with children who blog."