Tuesday, October 31, 2006



I didn't want to write about this today. But the Washington Post should be ashamed of whoring itself out to the GOP smear machine again. And this time their victim is a friend of mine who I was on the phone with last night, Mike Stark, a blogger, a UOV law student a father and a former marine who is a patriot who loves his country and has served it honorably. When he was set upon by paid George Allen thugs and savagely beaten, the Post head-lined it as Allen Supporters Wrestle Heckler To Ground. The paid Allen thugs are "supporters." The blogger in the media area is a "heckler" and the savage beating is a little wrestling?

The headline writer is certainly a scum-sucking tool but the 2 reporters aren't so fabulous either. "A Democratic activist who verbally confronted [when they ask a question of a politician in a media area it's also called a verbal confrontation? Or is that just for bloggers?] U.S. Sen. George Allen (R) at a campaign rally in Charlottesville today was shoved, put into a chokehold and thrown against a window by three men wearing Allen stickers, according to a widely disseminated video of the incident."

The Post also gave space to the absurd charge that this was orchestrated by Webb and the Democratic Party to embarrass Macacawitz, who has certainly proven over the course of this campaign that he needs no help from anyone in embarrassing himself. I wonder why Macacawitz and the Post didn't just blame Bill Clinton.

You can read a more reasonable and factual account at Crooks and Liars, where Mike is an occasional contributor, and you can watch the video of what actually happened for yourself.

Mike's letter to the media:
Oct 31, 2006

The following is a letter to NBC29 from Mike Stark, the man who was tackled for a comment he made at Senator Allen's campaign stop in Charlottesville on Tuesday.

My name is Mike Stark. I am a law student at the University of Virginia, a marine, and a citizen journalist. Earlier today at a public event, I was attempting to ask Senator Allen a question about his sealed divorce record and his arrest in the 1970s, both of which are in the public domain. His people assaulted me, put me in a headlock, and wrestled me to the ground. Video footage is available here, from an NBC affiliate.

I demand that Senator Allen fire the staffers who beat up a constituent attempting to use his constitutional right to petition his government. I also want to know why Senator Allen would want his staffers to assault someone asking questions about matters of public record in the heat of a political campaign. Why are his divorce records sealed? Why was he arrested in the 1970s? And why did his campaign batter me when I asked him about these questions.

George Allen defends his support of the Iraq war by saying that our troops are defending the ideals America stands for. Indeed, he says our troops are defending our very freedom. What kind of country is it when a Senator's constituent is assaulted for asking difficult and uncomfortable questions? What freedoms do we have left? Maybe we need to bring the troops home so that they can fight for freedom at George Allen's campaign events. Demanding accountability should not be an offense worthy of assault.

I will be pressing charges against George Allen and his surrogates later today. George Allen, at any time, could have stopped the fray. All he had to do was say, "This is not how my campaign is run. Take your hands off that man." He could have ignored my questions. Instead he and his thugs chose violence. I spent four years in the Marine Corps. I'll be damned if I'll let my country be taken from me by thugs that are afraid of taking responsibility for themselves.

It just isn't the America I know and love. Somebody needs to take a stand against those that would bully and intimidate their fellow citizens. That stand begins right here, right now.

W. Michael Stark

Why would Felix Macacawitz hire thugs to behave that way? Allen's own siblings have long recounted how he has always been a violent psychopath and natural born terrorist. The fish rots from the head:



The Bush Regime has used Cheney as the scary asshole figure for at least 4 years-- after kindly, brilliant elder statesman image failed dismally; it's supposed to make Bush look better by comparison and also stave off would be impeachment enthusiasts. It doesn't work and everyone I know wants a simultaneous impeachment. Now, as they are threatened with devastating electoral losses in both houses of Congress, they're eager to demonize other people. And Cheney, of course, has been leading the charge.

He picked a lively one to attack today, someone who isn't laying down and allowing himself to be run over: Harlem congressman Charlie Rangel. The idea is that when Democrats take over the committee chairmanships-- which is, after all exactly what the majority of Americans want to happen-- Democrats will do... what? Things that reactionaries and fascists abhor? That's the idea. These guys don't seem to understand that the overwhelming majority of Americans see them as abject failures in everything they've done and that it's time to start the long and arduous process of cleaning up after them.

Charlie Rangel is part of the cleaning up crew, along with a score of other mature, capable, experienced members of Congress, many of whom are not motivated by the naked personal greed of Republicrook leaders like Tom DeLay, Randy "Duke" Cunningham, Jerry Lewis, Denny Hastert, Roy Blunt, Bob Ney, Dirty Dick Pombo, Charles Taylor, Curt Weldon, John Doolittle, Don Young, Tom Feeney, Duncan Hunter or fueled by bizarre and authoritarian ideologies like Tom Tancredo, Mean Jean Schmidt, Jim Sensenbrenner, Marilyn Musgrave, J.D. Hayworth, Barbara Cubin, John Kline, Michael Sodrel, Steve King, Patrick McHenry, Lynn Westmoreland... You want to think scary... just go over the voting records and public pronouncements of this gaggle of psychos and so-far unindicted criminals (other than the handful who have already been indicted).

Of course, move to the Executive Branch, home of Cheney and Bush and their gang and you move up a few notches-- from "Duke" Cunningham stealing commodes or even Jerry Lewis stealing millions to actual crimes against humanity. But Dick Cheney, a man who ought to be turned over to the International Court of Justice along with the main gangsters running this Regime, is trying to frighten people by claiming Charlie Rangel doesn't understand the economy and would wreck when the Dems win in 7 days!

Rangel blasted back and reminded people that Cheney-- with the lowest approval rating of any known person in America other than Paris Hilton-- is a "son of a bitch." (He's also the husband of one but that's been covered elsewhere this week.) According to today's New York Post "The bitter war of words escalated to the point where the bombastic Rangel even questioned whether the tightly wound Cheney needed professional treatment-- and mocked him for accidentally shooting his hunting buddy earlier this year."

The bombastic Cheney lied his ass off over at CNBC, claiming that "the stock market" wouldn't like it. Well, fact of the matter is, the stock market will love it. Markets always do better-- much better-- under Democrats than under Republicans. No doubt bottom of the garbage can reactionaries like that Kudlow asshole won't like it but he's been so far off base about everything that it's difficult to fathom how even the GOP propaganda outlets still take him, or make believe they take him, seriously. (Here's the actual data, that neither Cheney nor a trained propaganda monkey like Kudlow can alter: under Democratic presidents the Dow Jones Industrial Average has historically gone up by 7.19% while under Repug presidents it has risen 3.85% and when Democrats lead Congress the market has gone up by 6.46% while when we are burdened with GOP leadership in Congress markets go up by 3.51%. Historically the worst-case scenario has always been a Repug President with a Repug-controlled Congress-- like now-- and the Dow averages an anemic gain of 1.54%. Two more FYI's-- Dem pres/Dem Congress: up by 6.53%; Repug pres/Dem Congress: up by 6.37%. So the question remains-- is Cheney a lying sack of shit or ignorant or both?)

Anyway, back to the always entertaining NY Post, By the time Cheney had scurried over to Fox, his home away from home, he was declaring "Charlie doesn't understand how the economy works." Interpretation-- Rangel won't continue the fiscally irresponsible and catastrophic BushCheney policies of taxing the middle class and letting the ultra wealthy off the hook.

Rangel, who has already famously pointed out that Bush shattered the ole meme of white racial superiority, suggested that Cheney seek some kind of "rehab" for "whatever personality deficit he may have suffered. When you have those sorts of problems, you're supposed to seek help."



People who believe in progressive values and principles have no electoral choice but to work with the Democratic Party, even with all the flaws of the Inside the Beltway careerists like Rahm Emanuel. The alternative... well, we've just had 6 years of the alternative and there is no reason to believe that it won't get worse. Much worse. My friend John Beug just sent me two video clips that show why we need to vote Democratic a week from today. One defines "liberal" and one defines "conservative." Take a look. Which are you?

While that sinks in, chew on this: ABC News just reported that the Republicans have given up on three more hopeless seats they've been contesting. No money Republican corporate bucks for OH-18 (Bob Ney's handpicked successor Joy Padgett), or CO-07 (end of the line for Bush-bud/wingnut Rick O'Donnell; can you say "Congressman Perlmutter?"); and, alas, they have stopped flushing resources down the Curt Weldon toilet in PA-07.



I bet you didn't know I do a travel blog too, did you? I haven't been working on it lately because of all this election stuff. But I can't wait to start writing about Tierra del Fuego, which is where I'm going right after we take back Congress from rubber stampers and crooks like Curt Weldon.

One of the trips I took in the last few years was to southern Italy and Sicily. I spent a month driving south from Rome; really loved it. I used to live in Austria-- boring-- and I would drive into northern Italy at every opportunity. Later, in the music biz, I had to visit Milano all the time for... hehe... work. And vacations... well not much beats Tuscany. So southern Italy was a really new and different experience. I haven't written about it at the travel blog yet. So why bring it up at DWT? Glad you asked. On the way down to Sicily we stopped in Portofino. In the summer it's crawling with Europe's elite and they all stay at the astronomically over-priced Hotel Splendido. Even in the dead of winter, with service much-curtailed, it's hideously over-priced. I can't believe I wasted my money staying there.

Pennsylvania's most crooked congressman, Curt Weldon, didn't waste his money staying there. American taxpayers and Italian businessmen, eager for his patronage, picked up his expenses. According to today's New York Times "In November at the five-star Hotel Splendido overlooking the harbor in Portofino, a playground of the Italian rich, Representative Curt Weldon was the center of attention. The second-ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, Mr. Weldon was a main speaker at a conference sponsored in part by the Italian military giant Finmeccanica. At the gathering of Italian, British and American political leaders, Mr. Weldon, of Pennsylvania, spoke on behalf of Italian arms makers who were seeking a bigger share of Pentagon contracts. Taxpayers paid for Mr. Weldon's stay. He received a $1,153 daily expense allowance from the federal government and flew over on a military jet."

Although the Justice Department won't confirm they are now looking into Weldon's sleazy dealings with the Italian arms maker, they do acknowledge they are "looking into whether he used his position to steer almost $1 million in consulting contracts from a Russian energy company and other Eastern European interests to a lobbying firm headed by his daughter Karen, 31. Her home and her office were searched two weeks ago by federal officials. Law enforcement officials said they were examining a wide variety of Mr. Weldon's connections with foreign companies..."

It was Weldon, who is one of Congress' most skilled crooks at extracting bribes from foreign businesses, who helped Finmeccanica to land the $1.7 contract to build the next presidential helicopter (Marine One). And his bag-woman daughter was, of course, the conduit of Weldon's pay-offs, just like with all his other recent criminal bribery dealings. "Mr. Weldon's relationship with the Italians has been mutually beneficial. His daughter Kim, 29, a former social worker, was hired by AgustaWestland, the Finmeccanica subsidiary that won the Marine One contract, shortly after her father's speech in Portofino. Kim Weldon's work is to set up booths at trade shows and perform public relations. AgustaWestland said the timing was coincidental. Ms. Weldon, through a company spokesman, declined to comment." Nice.

And it didn't stop there. Employees of the Italian conglomerate were asked to help funnel at least $20,400 into Weldon's campaign coffers. (Those are the "legalish" bribes; make sure you distinguish between the ones congressmen allow themselves and the ones that land people like Randy "Duke" Cunningham and, soon, Weldon, in federal prisons.)

Aside from hiring his no-talent daughter, the Italians also hired other friends and contributors of Weldon's in gratitude for his work on their behalf. (Note: Weldon is supposed to be working on behalf of his congressional district, not on behalf of Italian arms manufacturers. He has never registered as a lobbyist for foreign governments, although that is what his main preoccupation has been for over a decade.) "Finmeccanica says that it has not been contacted by the Justice Department but that it is worried. In a letter last week to Il Sole 24 Ore, the company said about Mr. Weldon. 'The connection between the investigations related to the person and Finmeccanica is harmful to the image of the Finmeccanica Group.'"

Just an FYI, Admiral Joe Sestak, has been embraced by PA-07 and will be elected to Congress by a wide margin a week from today. Curt Weldon will spend the next several years in prison with his pals Duke Cunningham, Jack Abramoff, Bob Ney, Tom DeLay and at least a dozen other Republicrooks who have been caught with their fat fingers in the cookie jar.

Quote of the day: Chimpy the Prez proves there's no God, at least not one with a lick of sense. How else could he keep on spewing such lying drivel?


"However they put it, the Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this: The terrorists win and America loses."
--you-know-who, to (according to the Washington Post) "a raucous crowd of about 5,000 GOP partisans packed in an arena at Georgia Southern University"

Six years into the nightmare that is the Bush administration, I find it useful to continue pointing out periodically something that Howie pointed out about our Chimpy before he took the oath of office: that he is the unluckiest person on earth. If this seems counter-intuitive to you, it did to me at first as well, since plainly everything he has can be attributed only to luck. (He certainly hasn't achieved anything through either talent or hard work.) But when you look closer, you see that everything he has ever done has failed, usually colossally. True, he has never (that I know of) paid the price for his screw-ups. In fact, he has more often than not been richly rewarded for them.

But the fact remains that his whole life, virtually everything the man has touched has turned to doody. And as Howie pointed out way back when, this is a helluva track record for a person who is about to become president of the United States--opening up the possibility (likelihood?) that his continuing streak of disasters becomes our streak of disasters.

Which I think pretty well sums up the history of this sorry-ass administration. Looked at this way, the unbroken record of catastrophe is just more of the same. Looked at this way, for example, it should have been easy to answer the question of whether we wanted a man whose very existence is a monument to failure to lead us into war.

So when our Chimpy talks about losing, he knows whereof he speaks, from a lifetime of it. The final irony is that he doesn't know that he is the world's foremost expert on failure. It is his--and the country's--misfortune that he has been surrounded by people with a financial interest in making believe that his failures, each grander and more humiliating than the one before, have been successes, even triumphs. If the results for the country hadn't been so devastating, it might almost be amusing.



People keep telling me I'm doing a good job. This morning the good job I did was to wake up and find a comment on my blog from Lee Nelson of Wyndmoor, PA. Lee took our Blue America theme song, "Have You Had Enough?" and adapted it to the situation on the ground in Pennsylvania with a cool video everyone in the keystone state should be watching. Please take a look and if you know anyone in Pennsylvania, let them know about it. It's for them.

Monday, October 30, 2006



I wish people would stop asking me to write about Krazy Katherine Harris. Dead; finished; fork was stuck in... months ago. Yes, she finally jumped out of the 20's in polling and is now at an all-time high of 30% against conservative Democrat Bill Nelson. She's peaked. And she still hasn't been arrested for the bribery charges pending against her. But her antics aren't that funny anymore. More sad than funny, actually.

Anyway, the Polk County Democrat, as well as a number of shoppers, have bucked the Florida trend and endorsed Harris. The 22 daily newspapers in the state, on the other hand, have all ganged up on Krazy Kathy and not endorsed her.

This has been another in a long string of really bad weeks for the drugged up Harris. It started when her gay valet made the papers, having admitted to a sexual relationship with Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist. And then a couple of one-two punches from the two last remaining dailies to have not endorsed Nelson-- both Republican stalwarts. Both the Orlando Sentinel and the Florida Times-Union joined the other 20 dailies in the state in letting their readers know that voting for Krazy Kathy would be... well, paraphrasing a little, just plain crazy.

I really hope nothing else happens between now and November 7 that makes me report on this race and that the next time I mention her on DWT is to report that she lost with the worst margin of anyone ever running for the U.S. Senate on a major party ticket.


Last night when I was posting this, I said to myself, "Self, do you think this crazy tranquilizer-addled bitch will ever write a book and tell how she stole the 2000 election for Bush? You know, sweet revenge?" I figured... nah; they'd kill her and she'll be in prison or a mental institution soon anyway-- with even less credibility than she has now. But, according to today's Washington Post that ain't stoppin' her: "Katherine Harris, who is trying to become a U.S. senator, says she is writing a tell-all about the many people who have wronged her. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to: the Republican leaders who didn't want her to run, the press that has covered her troubled campaign, and the many staffers who have quit her employ, whom she accuses of colluding with her opponent. She is vague about what, precisely, makes her a victim, but she says she has it all documented."

Maybe I'll be writing more about the nutcase afterall.



Musgrave must be panicking. Blue America heroine/goddess Angie Paccione-- with no help whatsoever from the anti-grassroots DCCC-- has pulled out ahead of Musgrave in the latest polls. Angie is now beating the wicked witch by 3 points and Angie has all the momentum. Jacquie reminded me that the new polling data is concurrent with the Blue America radio spots being up all over Musgrave's district. We'll keep running them until late Tuesday afternoon, November 7. Thank you everyone who helped by donating money for the "Time To Throw Musgrave Out" radio ads at our Blue America PAC. If you would like to contribute to Angie directly, here's the place.

Meanwhile, I'd like to invite you to sit back and watching a thrilling little docudrama starring America's most vicious member of Congress, Marilyn Musgrave herself. Watch how this self-satisfied, entitled turd treats people and how much she cares about her constituents. And don't miss the fascist thug at the end. These Repugs know they're all washed up and, boy, are they pissed off.



You'll recall a few days ago when psycho-bitch Babsy Cubin (KKK/R-WY), a typical Republican bully, threatened to slap one of her opponents after he told the truth about her unabashed bribe taking. People in Wyoming don't cotton to their public officials threatening a disabled man in a wheel chair, especially not a disabled man in a wheel chair who is also a military veteran. But it should surprise no one since rubber stamp Cubin has been part of the Republican jihad against veterans for the last 2 years, voting to cut benefits and limit access to health care and educational opportunities for our vets and to penalize the underage children of families whose military parents have been called to duty. There are few members of Congress as anti-military (other than sloganeering) as Crazy Cubin.

Even before she threatened Libertarian candidate Tom Rankin a Wyoming Tribune-Eagle poll was showing the race as a virtual dead heat with Democrat Gary Trauner building on intense momentum and coming within 4 points of the 6-term congresswoman. It is widely believed that her support has eroded further, although no post-outburst incident polls have been released yet.

Cubin, who at first defiantly admitted she threatened Rankin and defended her abysmally boorish behavior, has now changed her story and is trying to re-write history, as political hacks often try to do. After seeing the cascades of negative reaction to her widely reported behavior, she suddenly has claimed that all she said to him was "If you had said that to anyone else, they probably would have smacked you." So she's a bully and a liar (as well as a bribe taker).

When the lying didn't staunch her evaporating support, she changed her tactics and decided to blame the whole thing on far right windbag Rush Limbaugh. It seems, ditto head that she is, and completely incapable of independent thought, she now claims that because Limbaugh smeared and made fun of Michael J. Fox (a Parkinson's Disease sufferer who angered Limbaugh by making an ad about stem cell research), she thought it was a signal for Republican nut cases to attack disabled people. You think I'm making this up, right? That I'm trying to be funny?

Well, I guess you missed yesterday's Billings Gazette... right? "Down in Wyoming, U.S. Rep. Barbara Cubin got into some hot water when, after a debate, she threatened Libertarian candidate Thomas Rankin, who has multiple sclerosis and uses an electric wheelchair. She reportedly said to him, 'If you weren't sitting in that chair, I'd slap you across the face.' She later apologized, saying she may have been influenced by listening to too much Rush Limbaugh. Last week, Limbaugh said he would slap actor and Parkinson's disease sufferer Michael J. Fox, 'if you'd just quit bobbing your head.'"

Take a look at this TV ad from the Public Campaign Action Fund.


Looks like Gary Trauner is going to rescue Wyoming from it's embarrassing Cubin problem.



Is anyone surprised that Musharrif was pressured into letting the Bush Regime fire a predator missile into a religionist school on the hopes they'd kill Zawahiri? If you answered yes, you haven't read Ron Suskind's essential One Percent Doctrine. Anyway, the early reports from ABC News don't seem to indicate that this potential October surprise has quite done the trick; we'll have to wait and see. Bush once thought he had Zawahiri's severed head in an icebox for a couple of months. We'll probably have to wait less time for Man-on-Dog Santorum to get his mug on TV to say that Bob Casey had invested in the madrassa. Of course, that's no surprise... just desperation.

I think it's too late for these kinds of desperate measure, especially in suburban districts like the one the New York Times profiled today. Jodi Kantor was pointing to the race in WA-08 between reactionary rubber stamper Dave Reichert and progressive Darcy Burner, but it could have been any of the well-educated suburban districts that gave governorships to Tim Kaine in Virginia or John Corzine in New Jersey last year-- or the Philly suburban districts getting ready to turn out rubber stamp incumbents Curt Weldon, Michael Fitzpatrick and Foley's pal Gerlach.

"Bellevue has been growing more Democratic for several years, thanks to an influx of liberal voters and a professional class that is changing teams. This year, Bellevue may send its first Democrat to Congress. Darcy Burner, who even supporters admit is inexperienced, may unseat Representative Dave Reichert, a well-liked, longtime public servant, simply because constituents want Democratic control of the House of Representatives." And that will be the story of the 2006 midterms no matter how many Predator missiles Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld shoot into Pakistani schools.



I've probably been writing about the hypocrisy of Joe Lieberman as long as anyone. But I've never done it as well as Cliff Schecter did today at AlterNet. If you know anyone in Connecticut still undecided about the senate election there-- or anyone intending to vote for Lieberman, please get them to read Cliff's piece. This is the one I referred to on Friday when I said words could be the nails in Lieberman's political coffin.

He lays it all out in black and white, a brilliant, well-researched compendium of all of what makes Joe Lieberman unfit to hold public office. You've probably been reading bits and pieces over the last 3, 4 months but Cliff goes beyond that and into details no one has printed before. Lieberman "would seemingly invade Cuba tomorrow, but charges forth into slave-labor trade deals with Communist China at the behest of his corporate paymasters (and at the expense of his constituents' jobs). He once marched with Martin Luther King Jr., yet now forebodingly and dishonestly refers to Al Sharpton as "one of Ned Lamont's closest advisors," hoping the mere mention of the controversial African-American preacher will summon white-suburban fears of unruly invading black hordes who crave white women and seek Rotary Club membership... Last year Lieberman thought John Bolton wasn't worthy of being U.N. ambassador and voted accordingly. Yet, now that he needs Republican votes to win his do-over bid to hang on to his job, Bolton-- a 'person' who has chased subordinates around a hotel trying to shoe-beat them-- has suddenly become the second coming of Adlai Stevenson or Daniel Patrick Moynihan on the international stage... In 1997, Republican Sen. Strom Thurmond offered a motion to kill an amendment authored by Minnesota legend Paul Wellstone that would have required the secretary of defense to put $400 million into veteran's benefits the following year. Lieberman joined the Thurmond assault on veterans. He also opposed efforts to increase health care spending for veterans by $13 billion over five years in 1996 and an amendment offered by Sen. Tom Harkin to transfer $329 million from defense accounts to the Veterans Affairs Department for health care programs. He has, however, continued to find billions of dollars to support missile defense programs that have shown as much promise as Tucker Carlson on 'Dancing with the Stars.'"


At first I thought Lieberman had just cracked up entirely. Then when I got to the bottom of the page I realized it was just that ridiculous Gerstein thing again. I thought he wasn't allowed to contact the press again when he was on drugs?? I rarely link to Republican and right wing sites but I'll make an exception today since anyone who reads it will probably understand what's wrong with these people and why they have to be stopped as soon as possible (Nov 7). This is the hysterical, McCarthyite Holy Joe/Gerstein Thing response to the New York Times' very reasonable endorsement of Democrat Ned Lamont.

If Nancy Pelosi is serious about cracking down on lobbying in the House, does she have a thumbs-up from the soon-to-be master of Democrookedness?


Godspeed to House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi, who is talking the talk on House ethics reform. "Lobbyists Won't Like What Pelosi Has in Mind," according to the head of Jeffrey Birnbaum's "K Street Confidential" column in today's Washington Post.

Pelosi, writes Birnbaum, "has promised to change the chamber's rules to reflect the provisions of her not-so-modestly-named Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2006. The months-old measure would, among other things, prohibit House members from accepting gifts and travel from lobbyists or from organizations that employ lobbyists."

Some of the changes Pelosi has advocated would require changes in federal law, and those of course will require Senate approval as well (and Senate rules changes require a two-thirds majority). But changes to House rules require a simple majority vote of the House.

There is, it appears, hardly any limit to Pelosi's cruelty. "In an attempt to slow the revolving door between the public and private sectors," writes Birnbaum, "Pelosi would deprive lawmakers-turned-lobbyists of a few of their congressional perks. She would eliminate the House rule that gives access to the House gym, the House floor and its cloak rooms to former members of Congress who are registered to lobby--access that was temporarily taken away earlier this year." The she-devil!

It will be interesting to see how persuasive the new speaker is in securing the votes of the Yellow-Dog Democrats beholden to Master Rahm Emanuel, who gives every evidence of believing that the primary reason for Democrats to take power is to "get theirs"--converting the Republicrookery franchise to Democrookedness.



My pal Bertis called a couple days ago to talk about how it's looking good for a Democratic victory-- and he lives in Georgia! He was a little worried about Webb's race against Macacawitz going south, so the speak, but when I re-assured him that Webb is up again by 3 points, he grabbed for his checkbook so he could send Webb's campaign more money. People like when Webb smacks down the little racist twerp when he steps out of line. And when the bumbling Webb went after Webb's books it seems to have swung public opinion further against Allen. I hope you had a chance to watch the video of Webb making mincemeat pies out of Macacawitz.

But then we got to the real reason for the call: music. Bertis has an idea: Lloyd Cole and the Commotions did a great song called "Perfect Blue" and Bertis thought this would be the perfect time to play it. Good idea. Unfortunately, YouTube doesn't have it. However, around the same time and in approximately the same genre, a band I used to work with at Sire called A House, did a wonderful song, "Call Me Blue Again" and You Tube does have this one:

Can you imagine Nancy Pelosi on lead vocals?

Quote of the day: Finally the government takes advantage of Al Gore's extensive work on global climate change—only it's the British government

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"The evidence shows that ignoring climate change will eventually damage economic growth. Our actions over the coming decades could create risks of major disruption to economic and social activity, later in this century and in the next, on a scale similar to those associated with the great wars and the economic depression of the first half of the 20th century."
--from a newly released report by a commission on the Economics of Global Change headed by Sir Nicholas Stern (above), a senior British government economist, for Chancellor of the Exchequer (i.e., Treasury Secretary) Gordon Brown (the presumed future prime minister)

The report has triggered a flurry of activity:

• Chancellor Brown (right) announced that former U.S. Vice President Al Gore will be consulting with the British government on climate change.

• Still-Prime Minister Tony Blair issued a call for "bold and decisive action" to reduce emissions.

• Meanwhile, on this side of the Atlantic, Chimpy the Prez . . . uh . . . well, the last we heard, our Chimpy was still waiting for more research--although, according to reliable sources, with the shift in government funding toward anti-environmental research, the closest thing to a relevant study being funded by the U.S. government is one aimed at pinning down the date of the Rapture. The president is said, however, to have asked aides to look into where he can get "one o' them cool purple ties" like the one Chancellor Brown is seen wearing above. (We are unable to confirm persistent reports that Karl Rove has commissioned multiple surveys to find out whether voters think a purple tie would go well with the president's eyes.)



Rozius, our correspondant from TX-22 is back with an update on what's going on in Tom DeLay's former district. His report:

The rollercoaster ride in the 22nd Congressional District appears to have the GOP faithful in the area ready to chuck up their cotton candy.

First, during the Spring GOP primary local Republicans renominated Tom Delay (R-Federal Correctional Facility) secure in the knowledge that he would somehow dodge his money laundering indictment and connections to GOP super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Whoops! Delay cut and ran deciding to start saving up for his legal fees as a D.C. lobbyist.

Then, the local Republicans determined in a very Bush like fit of deciderness that they could just choose another candidate to place on the November ballot as if the primary had never occurred. Whoops! Even Texas judges pointed out that Delay was the only Republican who could appear on the ballot according to the very same Texas laws that Delay and his GOP mob was so fond of ignoring.

This left the Grand Old Perverts in a strange situation. They were forced to mount a write in campaign for a seat that they had considered secure as recently as five months ago. This put Democratic nominee and former Congressman Nick Lampson in the driver's seat.

Fortunately for Lampson and the Texas Democrats, the GOP powers that be decided that the best way to assure a successful write in campaign to was select a candidate with a name that would be easy for local Republican to remember and spell. Whoops! Enter Houston City Councilwoman "Shelly Sekula-Gibbs"

To further complicate matters, Texas Governor Rick "Good Hair" Perry decided to call a Special Election during the General Election to replace Delay for the two month period between the election and the beginning of the new Congress. Considering that Congress will most likely not be is session during this time period the move on the part of Perry and Karl Rove to get Sekula-Gibbs' name on the November ballot was aimed at allowing Republican voters the opportunity cut and paste her into the write-in slot. And, since Sekula-Gibbs is running in both the Special and General Election on the same ballot she is allowed by Texas law to accept twice as much in individual contributions from wealthy Republican donors.

Local television viewers have been treated to an unending stream of campaign commercials featuring Sekula-Gibbs singing a little ditty to the tune of "Roll Out the Barrel"-- "Vote twice for Shelley. Special and then write her in."

Apparently, national Republican operatives had originally promised Sekula-Gibbs $3 million in campaign aid.That figure has turned out to be closer to $100,000 and some mail-outs. Sekula-Gibbs was forced to loan her own campaign an additional $250,000. She has spent $270,000 during the past three months. The local party had raised $500,000 from Texas Republicans including a $150,000 fund raiser featuring Dick Cheney in early October. Delay has kicked in his mailing list and other Texas Republicans like Kay Bailey Hutchinson have stumped for the GOP underdog with the unspellable last name.

The crown jewel of the Sekula-Gibbs campaign will occur on October 30th when George "Don't Take My Photo With Him" Bush comes to town to rally the rabid-but-faithful. Local Democrats are planning a special welcome for Bush when he visits on Monday. I plan on attending to see what transpires.

For his part, Lampson has run a local campaign stressing his earlier work in Congress with health care, transportation, education, The Johnson Space Center and child protection issues.

Lampson has $1.7 million in the bank. He raised $390,000 and spent $834,000 in the last reporting period, between July 1 and Sept. 30. About $195,000 of his contributions came from individuals, $115,000 from political action committees and the rest from other sources. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved $850,000 worth of television advertising time for the last two weeks of the campaign on Lampson's behalf.

Lampson has not bothered to run in the meaningless Special Election and instead is concentrating on the General Election. He faces token opposition from Texas Libertarian candidate Bob Smithers on the ballot.

State Republican officials privately admit that Sekula-Gibbs is facing an up hill battle and is a 1 in 20 shot to win. The real focus here is for 2008 when the ballot situation will be a bit more in their favor.

It looks like the local bumper stickers are correct. Texans in the 22nd Congressional District are about to "Clean Up Congress-Without Delay."


I doubt the Houston Chronicle is trying to sway the race away from Nick Lampson and towards that DeLay crony the GOP has in the race. I think the reason for the silly story on the Zogby poll is just to get people to buy newspapers-- Write-in tightens race in District 22. Oh Lord, the race is tightenin', the race is tightenin'... I better run out and buy a Chron or log in to their website.

And then if you read below the headlines you notice the race isn't tightening at all, not even a little. Chris Bowers over at MyDD explains how these silly polls, especially Zogby's, can be easily manipulated to show anything the person who commissioned the poll wants it to show. "Lampson is actually doubling up Gibbs 36-19. But hey, Zogby wasn't commissioned to make a boring poll... the poll does show long-term problems for Democrats in this district. In a straight trial heat, with Gibbs's name on the ballot, she leads Lampson 53-40. Even if Lampson wins this race due to the odd ballot situation involving DeLay, clearly it will be a difficult seat to hold."


Not much gets by our pal Rozius. And this morning he's got the details of Bush's campaign trip to the heart of DeLayland:

Here is a quick update on the Bush visit to Sugarland Texas

Bush jets into Ellington Field in Houston at taxpayer expense.

He then jumps on a Marine Helicopter at taxpayer expense to fly to a small regional airport that is much too tiny for Air Force One to land at.

Around 1,500 rabid Republicans greet the President in a hanger. No one else had a chance to attend the event because it was the standard GOP "You must have a ticket passed out by the Texas GOP to enter." Around 100 protestors braved the heat, humidity and mosquitoes to protest along the state highway that runs in front of the airport. Bush never saw them.

Here are the lowlites from the speech:

"The best way to make sure an enemy is unable to do us harm is to stay on offense. It is hard to plot, plan and attack when you’re on the run."

"I saw a threat in Saddam Hussein... I made the right decision against Saddam Hussein."

"The only way we won't succeed in Iraq is by leaving before the job is done," he said. And as for the Democrats, "It's a serious political party in the midst of a war, and they don't have a plan for success. They don't have a plan for victory."

"Their approach comes down to this-- the terrorists win and America loses," President Bush said as the partisan crowd booed loudly. "I'm not saying the Democrats are unpatriotic. I'm just saying they’re wrong."

Strangely enough, Bush spent half his speech talking about Iraq while Sekula-Gibbs has pretty much avoided the topic during her campaign appearances.

But then again, this taxpayer funded junket really wasn't about the write-in candidate with the unspellable name. It was about tossing some raw meat to some of Bush's most reactionary supporters in Texas.

Sunday, October 29, 2006



I don't agree with the electoral analysis in today's Washington Post at all. They have far fewer "contested seats" on their chart than I do on mine. As always, they are following the Inside the Beltway rear view mirror prognosticators and they are 3 weeks behind reality. Where's McNerney v Pombo? Where's Brown v Doolittle? Where's Wulsin v Schmidt? Where's Kissell v Hayes? They're missing 20 contests. Maybe they only had room on the page for 35. But that isn't why I'm writing tonight. I mean I think anyone who reads DWT already knows the mainstream media is behind, way behind.

November 7 the Democrats are likely to have a huge victory in the House. Rahm Emanuel and his nefarious allies will come streaming out from under their rocks and crawling out from the dark places they share with the worst Republicrooks to claim "their" victory. But will it be their victory? Doesn't look like it to me. Most of Rahm's handpicked pro-corporate, a-little-better-than-a-Republican candidates aren't fairing too well. Grassroots candidates are the ones who will bring Democrats the victory the nation calls out for. Emanuel's more-of-the-same crap candidates... we'll see. But let's take a look at what the Post says.

The 3 Florida seats in contention all have Emanuel shills. The Post says only Jennings is out front at this point. Tammy Duckworth in Illinois? Up for grabs. Baron Hill in Indiana? Too close to call. Ken Lucas in Kentucky: too close to call. Heath Shuler, too close to call. Grassroots Dems, mostly unbeholden to Emanuel-- who is busy trying to catch up with the front of the parade so lame TV political correspondents can see him leading it-- are winning their races without his help. Many of them hate his guts and wish him all the worst.

Meanwhile, other writers in today's Post lay bare some of the DCCC's tactics. Anyone interested in the lameness and backward nature of how the dinosauric party functions and why they always do so badly ought to read it. And read the Dewan/Kornblut/Emanuel story in tomorrow's New York Times about Democrats running to the right.

I'm not certain why Emanuel allowed the Dewan and Kornblut hacks to take any credit since he totally wrote the whole piece-- an opening salvo in his p.r. war to take credit for something that has very little to do with him-- and what it does have to do with him is all bad. "In their [he means "our" or, better yet, "my"] push to win back control of the House, Democrats have turned to conservative and moderate candidates who fit the profiles of their districts more closely than the profile of the national party." And then he brags about Republican-lite Heath Shuler in NC-11, Rahm's star shill, who couldn't quote decide if he wanted to run as a Democrat in North Carolina or a Republican in Tennessee until a week before he announced. And then Rahm goes on, 8 days before the election, to declare war on the Democratic base.

"But if candidates like Mr. Shuler do help the Democrats gain majority control of Congress, it could come at a political price, which may include tensions in the party between its new centrists and its more liberal political base. While Democratic leaders have gone to great lengths to promote the moderate views of these candidates, some, like Mr. Shuler, have views on issues like gun control and abortion that are far out of step with the prevailing views of the Democrats who control the party. On some issues, they may even be expected to side with Republicans and the Bush White House." How unexpected is that when Rahm was out hunting for Republicans to run against Democrats in Democratic primaries-- like Tim Mahoney in FL-16 (the Foley district Rahm seemed to be sure would become very winnable for some strange reason... what a coincidence. Lucky we have Tom DeLay Rahm Emanuel fighting for us. What would politics be like without amoral scumbags?

When he asks himself if his crop of pro-corporate, Republican-lite, homophobic, misogynistic, holy rollers will have any power in the new Congress, Rahm licks his chops. "Absolutely. They're going to have an impact on the Congress and the caucus." And he's counting on them to tilt the balance of power within the party.

"There are two main groups of moderate Democrats in the House: the Blue Dog Coalition, a caucus of socially conservative and moderate members formed in 1994; and the New Democrat Coalition, a caucus of centrists formed in 1997. While there are differences between the two-- the Blue Dogs tend to be more rural and Southern, with occasional alliances with Republicans, while the New Democrats are more suburban and wealthy and place a premium on party loyalty-- there are members who belong to both. Both, of course, have a stake in helping the centrist candidates succeed. Representative Ellen O. Tauscher of California [a bribe-taking corporate whore and shit eater who has guaranteed herself a nasty primary in 2008], a co-chairwoman of the 47-member New Democrat Coalition, said that 27 of the top 40 contested House seats were being pursued by Democrats who have pledged to become members of the group, which says its chief issues are national security and fiscal responsibility."

Ironically, progressive and grassroots Democrats have rallied behind the right-of-center Emanuel shills for the sake of party unity, while Emanuel, Schumer and their cabal have done all they could to undermine progressives. If McNerney loses in CA-11, it will be because of Emanuel and if Lamont is beaten by the despicable Lieberman it won't just be the renegade Democrats like Mary Landreiu and Tom Carper and Ben Nelson who at least had the guts to openly announce they were supporting Lieberman, regardless of the wishes of grassroots Democrats in his state, but the sneaky backstabbers like Schumer, the Clintons, Obama, and Biden.

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Since I've started blogging I've met a lot of incredible men and women who I probably would never have gotten to meet otherwise. One of the most impressive is Maria Leavey, a media consultant in Washington whose e-mails I always look forward to anxiously. In between the incredible work she has done for Tom Harkin, Howard Dean, the Campaign for America's Future, Democracy Radio, and the American Prospect, I managed to convince her to write up the story of the campaign in Arizona's first congressional district between right wing nincompoop/slimy crook Mike Renzi and a shining beacon of progressive American hope, Ellen Simon. Here's Maria's report:


While Democrats are taking back the country, progressive Dems are taking back the party and Ellen Simon, running in Arizona's First CD, is one of the ones doing it. Her opponent, the ethically-challenged incumbent Rick Renzi, is under federal investigation, behind in the polls, and getting desperate. He can't engage Simon on the issues, as he's wrong on all of them, so he's attacking her for standing up for our constitutional rights. "ACLU Ellen," as he has clumsily dubbed her, has fought for the rights of individuals and families her entire life. The daughter of Holocaust survivors, she knows better than most how carefully we must guard the liberties our constitution guarantees. Renzi calls this dedication "Cleveland values," in another futile attempt to coin a catchphrase. Apparently he means that dedication to civil rights is a decadent and dangerous trait peculiar to Easterners (as people from Cleveland are considered in Arizona), but the voters of the district aren't buying it. Simon's campaign has been largely self-funded with Renzi bringing in more than twenty times the donations, largely from right-wing special interests and corporations. The DCCC has moved AZ-1 into their "Red to Blue" program but Rahm Emanuel hasn't kicked in any funds. Ellen Simon isn't his kind of Democrat, but she's ours. Check out her web page.

Maria Leavey



Please watch this video. Governor Tim Kaine gives Jim Webb a rousing introduction. And then Webb gets up and talks about the novels he's written, the ones recommended by the Marine Corps, taught in college literature courses, compared to the work of Steven Crane by the Houston Post, a "remarkable moral statement" by the Boston Globe which was positively dwarfed by the accolades heaped on it by the Wall Street Journal which have been slammed and slandered by Macacawitz and the Rove Slime and Hate Machine.

George Allen has nothing to run on. He's one of the 2 or 3 most pathetic people in U.S. government. His record is a disgrace. Webb explains the difference between himself and the cowardly and illiterate Allen. All Allen can do is lash out with attacks to try to impugn the character of a decent American hero. George Allen is a disgrace to the Commonwealth of Virginia. All he can do is smear, smear, smear. If you want to understand why this race is important and why it's important to replace a man like Macacawitz with a man like Jim Webb, click that video or hit the link above.


I have to admit I was a little stunned by Randi Rhodes today. She was reading all this steamy porn on Air America. I guess she was inspired by Macacawitz' idiotic comments about Jim Webb's highly acclaimed books. Less accalimed were the trashy novels Rhodes read from by GOP propagandist Bill O'Reilly and the slutty pornographer married to Darth Cheney. What an imagination that dirty-minded bigot has! I was wishing I had known about her filthy mind when she-- and her equally hypocritical allies Joe Lieberman and Bill Bennett-- were demanding that rock music be censored.

Anyway, since Macacawitz decided to make literature-- not one of his strong suits-- a campaign issue in the Virginia election his polling numbers have taken a tumble. With a 51%- 46% spread maybe we can start saying Senator James Webb.



There was stir this morning over the New York Times enthusiastic endorsement of Ned Lamont. But did anyone seriously doubt it would be forthcoming? Afterall, as the Times points out, regarding the disastrous Iraq occupation "When it comes to the next step, Mr. Lieberman seems to mimic the Bush administration’s proposal to stay the course (while no longer mentioning that toxic phrase) with new tactics. Mr. Lamont is close to the Senate Democrats (minus Mr. Lieberman) who demanded a timetable for withdrawal without being too firm on what that ought to entail." And then they really exlained why re-electing Lieberman would be a terrible mistake:
Two months ago, Connecticut's Democratic voters sent Mr. Lieberman what should have been a jarring wake-up call when they rejected him for Mr. Lamont, a relative newcomer. We have been waiting to see what lessons the state's best-known politician took from his defeat, and from the daily evidence of the deterioration of the situation in Iraq.

We wanted to see a capacity for growth and change in Mr. Lieberman. The country is full of Republicans who now realize the Iraq invasion was a disaster, either in its basic concept or in its execution. The most honorable of them are in agony over what has happened. Mr. Lieberman, who had not only continually defended the administration’s Iraq policy but also attacked Democrats who criticized the president, had more cause for soul-searching than most.

But instead of re-evaluating his own positions, Mr. Lieberman blamed his constituents for failing to notice that he had offered some negative comments about the conduct of the war, too, mainly when he was running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2004. He did not protest when Dick Cheney said that people who voted for Mr. Lamont were giving comfort to "Al Qaeda types." His only reflection seemed devoted to a re-examination of the rules for getting back on the ballot.

Since his primary defeat, Mr. Lieberman has run a well-packaged campaign built around his self-assigned bipartisan image-- "It's not about politics," say his ads. But it is very much about politics-- from the flood of special interest campaign donations that has been running Mr. Lieberman's way to the old Karl Rove lesson that political winners never admit to error.

Powerful, but not surprising. After all, the Times often endorses Democrats and was enthusiastic about Lamont at primary time. Far more surprising is when staunchly Republican papers endorse Democrats over long-term Republican incumbents who they have been routinely endorsing for years. Those should serve as ear-splitting alarm bells for the GOP.

The most important local paper in Curt Weldon's district has always been the Delaware County Daily Times and they've always loved their pork-barrel congressman. Every two years, like clockwork, they endorse Weldon. Then they met Joe Sestak and today the Daily Times told their readers to forget Weldon and vote for Sestak. Now that is big news!

A few days ago the ECM Publishers editorial board, which publishes over a dozen small town newspapers in Minnesota joined the Minneapolis StarTribune in endorsing Coleen Rowley over far right extremist incumbent John Kline. The StarTribune explained how "Republicans have tried to paint Rowley as some sort of loose-cannon liberal. We don't see it: She was a career FBI agent, including a stint in New York investigating drug dealers and mobsters, and voted for George W. Bush in 2000 on the belief that he would govern as his father had. She would balance the federal budget by letting the Bush tax cuts expire exactly the way a GOP Congress wrote them and would reform immigration law by following the Senate Republican blueprint. She would move toward universal health insurance though a cautious strategy of state experimentation, and she would wind down the war in Iraq by following the sensible outline of Rep. John Murtha, the Pennsylvania veteran who has endorsed her." But the ECM endorsement must have come as a far bigger shock to rightist Kline.
Kline offers voters stubborn support for a status quo that produced the deadly quagmire in Iraq and tax cuts that ballooned the federal deficit as war costs mounted.

Like many Americans, Rowley is indignant at the country’s direction under President Bush and a Republican Congress. The retired FBI agent and 9/11 whistleblower is bright, tenacious, a flexible thinker and an able voice of dissent.

In other words, she’s right for these perilous times. The Republican-leaning 2nd District may not be ready to elect a Democrat, but we think Rowley is the most capable and deserving of Kline’s opponents since he was first elected in 2002.

The editorial is long thorough and well-thought-out. It is a stinging indictment of John Kline and it ends with a very clear message: "A nation demanding change will be better served with Coleen Rowley in Congress than with John Kline."

This kind of stuff is happening all over the country. I'm certain that Bryan Kennedy's campaign and the Sensenbrenner campaign shared equally in the astonishment today when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel did the unthinkable.

But come back with me for a moment to Pennsylvania. Next door to what will soon be Weldon's former district is another moderate suburban Philly district, PA-08, currently held by Bush rubber stamper Michael Fitzpatrick. Last year the key local paper in the district, the Bucks County Courier Times endorsed Fitzpatrick over Ginny Shrader. Previously it was always on board for moderate Republican Jim Greenwood. This morning a tradition was shattered when the editorial board endorsed Patrick Murphy.

It isn't online but my friend Adam sent it to me in an e-mail. It could be written in scores of papers across our country. It's worth reading because it isn't only about Patrick Murphy. It's about November 7 in general.
Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy holds out the promise of needed change in Washington, where the one-party rule has led us widely astray.

President Bush came into office calling himself a uniter, not a divider. But our nation is more divided today than it has been since Vietnam. And, once again, an ill-conceived and misdirected war bereft of allied support and without a clear mission is at the core of our fractured nation.

But it is not the only issue driving a wedge between our citizens - and our nation and the world.

A Republican Congress that has acted more like a rubber stamp for the president than a constitutional check on presidential power is both enabler and accomplice. Howling partisanship trumps thoughtful deliberation, corruption arises, ethics pale.

We are worried.

Against this troubling backdrop, congressional races are playing out across the nation. Here in Bucks County freshman Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick, hard-working and earnest and with an accomplished 10-year record of public service, faces Democrat challenger Patrick Murphy.

Needed change

An Iraq war veteran who has never held public office, Murphy is an experienced military and civilian prosecutor and a former West Point professor. As a former Army captain, Murphy is used to commanding others and making tough decisions.

As a congressional candidate, he embodies the promise of needed change.

First and foremost, Murphy backs a timed withdrawal of our troops from Iraq, now gripped by sectarian violence - if not civil war. Yet he is not proposing to "cut and run," as he's been accused. He would get our military men and women out of harm's way but redeploy a strategic strike force of 20,000 to 30,000 troops outside Iraq.

A timeline for withdrawal, he believes, would encourage the Iraqis to take control of their nation's security and their citizens' future. We think he's right. And we think his desire to keep a lowprofile toehold on Iraq makes sense.

Too little, too late

Fitzpatrick no longer backs Bush on Iraq. He has called for a new strategy and is awaiting the recommendation of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, appointed by Congress with the president's approval. We're encouraged by the congressman's changing view, but President Bush has already made it clear he will not be bound by any of the study group's recommendations.

Our concern is that we could be in store for more of the same.

This is our central fear in returning Fitzpatrick to Congress-- that he will not be as strong a force for change as Murphy.

We are likewise concerned that the congressman will continue to cast votes advancing this administration's shortsighted and unfair tax cuts. We also believe that his conservative beliefs put him out of step with his mostly moderate district on the promising science of embryonic stem cell research and on the pro-choice vs. pro-life debate.

That said, the congressman's values are among his strongest points. A former Eagle Scout, Fitzpatrick is honest and thoughtful. He shows a command of detail. That's why his willingness to engage in sleazy negative campaign tactics is disappointing. Unfortunately, this isn't new.

Negative campaign

In his race against Democrat Ginny Schrader two years ago, the congressman failed to keep a check on the tactics of national party operatives. When Schrader was slimed, Fitzpatrick said he wasn't responsible.

He sang the same refrain when Iraq War vets questioned Murphy's war record while appearing at a press conference he convened a few weeks ago. Fitzpatrick should have prevented this from happening at his own event-- or at least denounced their comments immediately.

We are likewise offended by Fitzpatrick's television ads and mailings.

They diminish the quality of character we've come to expect from him. They also raise legitimate questions about how independent he can really be within his own party if he can't control the tone of his own campaign.

We do want to note that Fitzpatrick has had a distinguished record as a county commissioner and that his solid work as a freshman congressman deserves praise. In his first term, he authored 24 bills and proctored several measures into law - an uncommon achievement. And he demonstrated a willingness to break stride on a number of issues with his party and president. Indeed, he's been cited for being one of the most independent members on Capitol Hill. Right on the big issue

This is the sort of bipartisanship we need in Congress. Unfortunately, on the overarching issue of our time, Fitzpatrick for too long was unable to break rank. The Courier Times Editorial Board has had its own lengthy, spirited and even contentious debate - perhaps paralleling the national debate - and has decided to issue its congressional endorsement to Patrick Murphy.

Murphy's young, we know. But we regard him as bright, accomplished for his age, and committed to public service. He has insights from his firsthand experience in Iraq that are not to be discounted. His values and character also are strong.

Murphy is committed to a new direction, and at a point when so many Americans believe major change is necessary, his timing provides him with a significant boost to secure an edge over the long popular and respected Fitzpatrick.

Do these kinds of small town paper editorials move votes? A few. Maybe TV ads move a few more, which is why we're trying to get our Tony Trupiano TV spot up on the air. And it's why I want you to take a look at this totally effective spot playing on Montana television courtesy of The Public Campaign Action Fund.

The confluence of all this stuff is going to make for a very Blue-- in the best sense of the word-- Tuesday on November 7.


Glossy magazines like Field and Stream don't usually endorse political candidates. But the race in CA-11 is anything but "usual" and one of the candidates, incumbent Congressman Dirty Dick Pombo is widely recognized as the worst legislator anywhere in the country when it comes to the environment, not just by attitude, but by deed. And he threatens to do a lot worse than he's already done. I can't imagine that anyone who remotely cares about a clean and healthy natural environment isn't already gung-ho on voting for Jerry McNerney.

But the Green Sportsman editorial (that's the Field and Stream blog) is an indictment of Pombo that every American, regardless of where they live, should read.

It sounded like hyperbole when green groups started calling Rep. Richard “Dick” Pombo (R- CA) the “Darth Vader of the Environment.” But as they say in Texas “it ain’t braggin if you can do it”, and Pombo has shown he can – and will – do it to sportsmen and the environment at every turn.

As chair of the House Resources Committee Pombo pushed to allow road building in the Tongass National Forest, sell national parks to private industry, eliminate the moratorium on selling federal lands to mining companies, remove regulations that force energy companies to respect wetlands and wildlife values on public lands, weaken the Endangered Species Act, and rewrite the National Environmental Policy Act so industry would have a more profitable time on public lands at the expense of fish, wildlife, and sportsmen. No wonder real estate developers have paid almost $250,000 into his campaign chest over the years.

The looming election hasn’t made Pombo back off. Now he’s pushing a bill that would remove the popular 25-year ban on drilling for oil and gas off fragile coastlines. This stinks on its own, but it could also torpedo a Senate-passed drilling bill by Mary Landrieu (D-LA), that would actually help fish and wildlife. The Senate version opens new areas to drilling only in the northern Gulf, which already has lived with the industry for more than 50 years. In exchange, four coastal states would receive 37.5 percent of the royalties for habitat restoration. Louisiana urgently needs the money to help rebuild the nation’s most valuable coastal estuary, half of which has been destroyed by erosion over the last 50 years – a process largely a result of the many miles of canals dredged for oil and gas related work.

Pombo is hoping to push his agenda in a conference committee, a strategy the record shows could sorely cost fish, wildlife and sportsmen.



The country's accountant-in-chief, Government Accountability head David Walker, is warning that the U.S. is headed for economic disaster. He says that "the American public needs to tell Washington it's time to steer the nation off the path to financial ruin... the last six years of Republican rule have produced tax cuts, record spending increases and a Medicare prescription drug plan that has been widely criticized as fiscally unsound." Still, seeing the Iraq catastrophe as a sure-fie perscription for massive GOP losses next Tuesday, the Bush Regime has been urging Republicans to run on their economic record. And, if your district has a super abundance of voters in the top .5 or maybe 1 percent of income earners (multimillionaires and above), it would be grand advice. Otherwise, the Republican economic initiatives are probably not a great idea to bring up in public.

Now today's L.A. Times claims Rove has some kind of 11th hour strategy to save the day for the far right. In short, his "plan is three-pronged: to reenergize any conservatives who may be flagging; to make sure the GOP's carefully constructed campaign apparatus is functioning at peak efficiency; and to put the resources of the federal government to use for political gain." OK, point one seems to be an unmitigated disaster-- with even die-hard far right extremist bastions like Idaho in danger of electing Democrats and with traditional Republican constituencies like rural voters and evangelicals (please read Ken's brilliant piece from earlier this morning) moving away from them. His second point is somewhat worrying if he's talking about the kind of outright election theft that was widespread in 2000 and worse in 2004.

But point three is what the L.A. Times article is all about: good old fashioned pork barrel politics. Too late. people are beyond Republican blandishments. They even understand that attempt to lower gasoline prices a month before the election was an insult to their intelligence and it seems to be backfiring against the Republicans.

Far right operative Dick Armey, once the filthy House GOP leader, now a filthy lobbyist who realizes he'll soon have to contend with pissed off progressives-- with nowhere to turn for solace except Rahm Emanuel (and that's gonna cost a lot)-- is already poking through the entrails and bones of the Republican carcass to find out where they went so drastically wrong. "The answer is simple: Republican lawmakers forgot the party's principles, became enamored with power and position, and began putting politics over policy. Now, the Democrats are reaping the rewards of our neglect-- and we have no one to blame but ourselves." It doesn't quite go far enough in explanation but it's a step in the right direction, a direction Bush, the Cheneys and Rove seem completely unaware of. January should be interesting.

And that leave Rove just that one option: stealing the election electronically. The polls are so overwhelmingly against them, that it makes it somewhat hard to do with a straight face. Do they care? I doubt it. The always upbeat Air America hosts seem to think if the American public turns out in its vast millions to vote to reject the Bush Regime's authoritarianism (for those who wince at "fascism"), then the rightists will be overwhelmed and unable to do their worst. We'll see. Right now they are desperate to create the possibility in the public's collective consciousness that all the polls-- including the Republicans' own polls-- have it wrong. Today's Wall Street Journal is carrying that torch and expect a lot of that from teh Limbaughs, Hannitys and Fox propagandists this week.

Quote of the day: Garry Wills provides a timely reminder that this administration has given us government of, by and for the "faith-based"


"There is a particular danger with a war that God commands. What if God should lose?"
--Garry Wills, in "A Country Ruled by Faith," in the new (Nov. 16) New York Review of Books

"That is unthinkable to the evangelicals," Wills continues. "They cannot accept the idea of second-guessing God, and he was the one who led them into war. Thus, in 2006, when two thirds of the American people told pollsters that the war in Iraq was a mistake, the third of those still standing behind it were mainly evangelicals (who make up about one third of the population). It was a faith-based certitude."

Let me say at the outset that I am in awe of Garry Wills, who may be the smartest person I've heard tell of. (Well, there was Einstein, of course. And probably other scientific geniuses I have no shot at understanding. So let's say, "maybe the smartest person whose thinking is accessible to the nonspecialist.") While I'm not saying that no one else could have offered this simple, elegant explanation of why the Stay-the-Coursers (or however one might characterize the "victory in Iraq" delusionalists now that they claim that "stay the course" isn't now and never was their policy) can always so easily rally that chunk of the population to this particular cause, it nevertheless seems to me vintage Garry Wills.

That said, for the most part this new NYRB piece isn't the normal Wills kind of piece, which you expect to leave you with the feeling, "Gee, I never thought of that," and a striking chunk of new understanding. It is more a compendium of the state of our knowledge of the extent to which the Bush administration has been "faith-based" in just about every dimension.

Not in any useful way, of course. After all, there are plenty of people of faith whose faith leads them to devote their lives to fighting things like war, poverty and hunger. But of course "faith-based" in the U.S. has come to mean something almost totally different: quasi-militaristic support for a band of savage, ignorant, delusionally extremist fake-Christian evangelical theologues, whose screeching fatwas at just about every opportunity mock both the spirit and the letter of the teachings of Jesus, whose preachings, offered today, you can be sure would be savaged by the true-Christian-hating likes of Rush and Sean and Annie C and Bill O, not to mention the racketeers of evangelical faith (you know the names, from Robertson, Falwell and Dobson on down). There is, goodness knows, plenty of work to be done here on earth by people of faith, but that's not the kind of faith enforced by the demonic "faith-based" loons of America.

Although Wills doesn't make the specific connection, this piece seems aimed at the whining of people like David Kuo, whose new book has advanced the proposition that the Bush White House scorned its evangelical base, stringing it along, patronizing it (referring to its players as "nuts") and failing to come through for it. Now, I always enjoy the spectacle of the far-right-wing loons biting off chunks of each other's flesh. And I don't doubt that the Republican pols who have made it a primary objective to recruit and exploit the "faith-based" community--pols who take their marching orders from Karl Rove, of course--have truly unlimited contempt and loathing for the evangelicals. I am delighted to see their core dishonesty and cynicism in pursuit of their far-far-right-wing ideological goals exposed.

But the notion that the Bush administration hasn't delivered for the evangelicals is in itself delusional. There is by now a substantial literature documenting the lengths to which these people have gone to put the power of government at the service of what we might call the Golden Calf of anti-Christian religious extremism, and Wills's NYRB piece serves not just as a reminder of the breadth and penetration of the "faith-based" movement but as a bibliography of studies of its reach.

"Bush," Wills writes, "promised his evangelical followers faith-based social services, which he called 'compassionate conservatism.' He went beyond that to give them a faith-based war, faith-based law enforcement, faith-based education, faith-based medicine, and faith-based science. He could deliver on his promises because he stocked the agencies handling all these problems, in large degree, with born-again Christians of his own variety."

The staffing problem wasn't left to chance:

"The head of the White House Office of Personnel was Kay Coles James, a former dean of Pat Robertson's Regent University and a former vice-president of Gary Bauer's Family Research Council, the conservative Christian lobbying group that had been set up as the Washington branch of James Dobson's Focus on the Family. She knew whom to put where, or knew the religious right people who knew. An evangelical was in charge of placing evangelicals throughout the bureaucracy. The head lobbyist for the Family Research Council boasted that 'a lot of FRC people are in place' in the administration. The evangelicals knew which positions could affect their agenda, whom to replace, and whom they wanted appointed. This was true for the Centers for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration, and Health and Human Services--agencies that would rule on or administer matters dear to the evangelical causes."

Wills proceeds, area by area, to show how the Bush administration organized itself to make good on the delivery of:

1. Faith-Based Justice

2. Faith-Based Social Services

3. Faith-Based Science

4. Faith-Based Health

and finally, yes, 5. Faith-Based War

If you have any doubt about the extent to which the Bush regime has serviced the phony-faith-based evangelical jihad, you owe it to yourself to read the Wills piece in its entirety.



"Madame Speaker" is a foregone conclusion everywhere except around the fringes of the GOP, people who think Santorum/Macacawitz will be the Republican Party's 2008 presidential ticket, the Limbaugh/Hannity/Dobson true believers. But what about the Senate? Will the country see another of the legion of hypocritical closeted gay Republicans, this one from Kentucky, as Majority Leader or will it be Harry Reid?

The latest polls offer hope. Or, like I've been saying all along, God hates these fascists so much that He wants the Democrats, with all their flaws, to kick their butts. Corker was ahead, slightly, in reliably Republican Tennessee. A real progressive would have to be in a very partisan mood to vote for a reactionary asshole like Ford. But the latest poll shows Ford up by an astounding 5 points. Why? Independents in Tennessee were so repulsed by the Republicans' blatantly racist ads-- the one that insinuates that African-American male politicians are only interested in white women and the one that uses a background of threatening jungle drums whenever it mentions Ford (and a soothing, soaring string section whenever it mentions Corker). An ad these two may be great to turn out the KKK base of the GOP but it doesn't take into account that Tennessee, 2006 has come a long, long way and that people live in the state who don't dance to those tunes. It's unlikely that either ad helped get Corker any votes. It's more likely they helped people make up their minds that it's time to send the Republican Party a strong message.

And then in Missouri the tables were turned in a similar fashion when drug-addled Rush Limbaugh decided to do his grotesque imitation of a person suffering from Parkinson's Disease in response to a very well-received ad Michael J Fox did in support of Claire McCaskill and stem cell research. Polling on the ad shows that undecided voters who saw it became more likely to vote for McCaskill. A friend of mine in Kansas City tells me that that was nothing compared to the numbers of people who made up their minds to vote for McCaskill after hearing about Limbaugh's shameful imitation.

"Non-ditto heads here are already embarrassed that Missouri is somehow associated with this drug addled pervert. It infuriated people when he did that crude imitation of Fox. I think it helped more undecideds make up their minds to vote for McCaskill than the actual ad did. Go Rush!"

The latest polling shows McCaskill leading by 3 points. After devastating him in the last debate of the campaign, Sherrod Brown has a double-digit lead over DeWine. On Thursday the Republican Party admitted they had given up on DeWine and wouldn't spend another dime on that race. In Montana, Conrad Burns has resumed his fall towards the 30s (where he will meet Rick Santorum and Lincoln Chafee). That leaves a Democratic Senate with two races still too close to call: a see-saw battle in Virginia between Felix Macacawitz and Jim Webb-- will Macacawitz open his mouth before November 7 and end his chances?-- and a fluid race in Arizona where underdog Jim Pederson is gaining on far right nutcase Jon Kyle.

Not everyone agrees with my analysis. One of the kooky right wing sites has the betting odds from Tradesports. Although the gamblers see virtually no chances whatsoever for Republican hopefuls like Santorum, DeWine, Mark Kennedy (the loon in Minnesota), Steele or the soon-to-be-indicted Burns, they sense GOP victories in Virginia, Tennessee and, just barely, Missouri. We can trust Governor Matt Blunt to keep the vote counting fair and unbiased there, right?

A place where things could go terribly wrong is in Connecticut where the Democrat, Ned Lamont, is in danger of Lieberman's alliance with Republicans and his seemingly unlimited use of "petty cash." Although many prominent Democrats have been unforthcoming with support they had promised the Democratic ticket in Connecticut, some-- like John Kerry, Russ Feingold, Ted Kennedy, Wes Clark-- have been troopers. Triangulators like the Clintons, Biden and Obama have not come through. In fact one of Lieberman's main allies, reactionary Democrat Joe Biden has made a point of trying to sabotage Lamont. Progressives need to remember. It's very possible that because of the Clintons, Obama and Biden, the Republicans-- with Cheney as tie-breaker-- will still have a functioning majority in the Senate after the elections.

Saturday, October 28, 2006



I have quite a few friends and allies who were cheered by the New York Times headline today that reads Democrats Get Late Donations From Business. Ugghhh. Maybe Rahm Emanuel will use it to sweep some pro-corporate shills into office, like his two favorite Florida "ex"-Republicans, Christine Jennings (FL-13) and Tim Mahoney (FL-16) both of whom he and the equally slimy Steny Hoyer inserted at the expense of actual Democrats who believe in Democratic ideals and principles.

And it's not just in Florida where Big Business-oriented/Republican-lite Democrats are being helped into office by Emanuel's crew. Charlie Taylor (R-NC) is as bad as one can be without being behind bars and I'm sure-- well that may be too strong a word; make it "suspect"-- Rahm's boy Heath will be an improvement, although he's not yet committing to vote for any "San Francisco liberal" for Speaker. And I was reading about how Mike Weaver, one of the goons calling himself a Democrat in Kentucky, is running to the right of the Republican on "the gay issue," as well as on Iraq and on abortion.

Lucky we have Rahm, isn't it? Well, I didn't really mean "we," I meant Big Business; they have him-- we're stuck with him. And, as the Times says, Corporate America is "already thinking beyond Election Day, increasing its share of last-minute donations to Democratic candidates and quietly devising strategies for how to work with Democrats... Lobbyists, some of whom had fallen out of the habit of attending Democratic events, are even talking about making their way to the Sonnenalp Resort in Vail, Colo., where Representative Nancy Pelosi of California is holding a Speaker’s Club ski getaway on Jan. 3. It is an annual affair, but the gathering’s title could be especially apt for Ms. Pelosi, the House minority leader, who will be on hand to accept $15,000 checks, and could, if everything breaks her way, become the first woman to be House speaker. 'Attendance will be high,' said Steve Elmendorf, a former Democratic Congressional aide who has a long list of business lobbying clients. 'All Democratic events will see a big increase next year, no question.'"

Almost all grassroots Democrats are using Big Pharma's massive bribes to Republicans as a campaign theme this year. Yet... "For the first nine months of the year, for example, Pfizer’s political action committee had given 67 percent of contributions to Republican candidates. But October ushered in a sudden change of fortune, according to disclosure reports, and Democrats received 59 percent of the Pfizer contributions."

Same thing with the Military-Industrial complex, the part of RepubliWorld that bribed Cunningham and Lewis and all those Republicans who are either in jail or will soon be in jail. Well, now they're getting ready for Rahm and his pals. "Until October, Lockheed Martin, the giant military contractor, had been following its pattern from recent elections of giving about 70 percent of contributions from its political action committee to Republicans. But Lockheed Martin’s generosity shifted in the first half of October, with Democrats receiving 60 percent of donations, or $127,000."

My friends tell me to STFU and worry about Rahm after "we" win November 7. Cheer for garbage piles like Mike Weaver, Tim Mahoney, Harold Ford and Ben Nelson. So what if anti-choice Bob Casey gratuitously announced he would have voted to confirm Alito if he had the chance? We need a Democratic-controlled Senate to... to... something worthy, I'm sure. And even if Casey is a "C" or even a "D," that's a lot better than Santorum, who would be far below an "F" if there was such a thing. Although... like I said to a friend of mine today, if I or someone I love gets dragged away from a defender of the Homeland and disappears into a Kafkaesque world without habeus corpus but with waterboarding... will it matter that Corker is an "F" and Ford is a "D?"

And if some vicious bigot gets inspired by Ford's overly enthusiastic homophobia and shoots me is that not as bad as if that vicious bigot had been inspired by Corker's homophobia? Meanwhile, fake-Democrats like Ford and Weaver and Lieberman and Nelson destroy the value and meaning of the Democratic brand and make millions of voters disgusted with the political process. To them both parties are the same. We know better... right?

When I ask you to donate to our campaign to put ad spots on TV for Tony Trupiano, I'm asking you to help elect a real progressive who will not be a pawn to Rahm Emanuel and who will never vote to barter away our civil rights like Harold Ford and who will never accept corporate bribes like... well, too many to list. Help elect Tony by making even a small donation to our Blue America PAC.