Friday, August 31, 2007



Most people would agree that the Bush Regime has botched the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina-- and botched it horribly. Even extreme right-wing loon, Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), the KKK candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, remarked that "this whole fiasco has been a perfect storm of corruption and incompetence at all levels.” Unfortunately, Tancredo departs from the rest of the human race just after that.

According to today's Hill Tancredo is demanding that all spending on reviving New Orleans and the Gulf Coast be stopped once and for all. He said it's “'time the taxpayer gravy train left the New Orleans station' and urged an end to the federal aid to the region that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina two years ago. 'The amount of money that has been wasted on these so-called "recovery" efforts has been mind-boggling... Enough is enough.'"

One wonders if the good and decent citizens in the Denver suburbs will ever get that notion in their collective heads.

And don't think Tancredo is completely alone in his thinking about adandoning New Orleans. Many on the extreme fringes of the right, the kooks and loons who don't believe in the power of government to play a positive role in civilized society, all just over it (though, to be honest, I don't remeber this particular segment of the population ever beeing into it). Where most Americans see our neighbors and countrymen in need of help, they see moochers rejoicing in their own wrecked lives at the opportunity to live, albeit miserably and hopelessly, at the expense of others. This is, after all, the face of contemporary Republicanism: Larry Craig meets Grove Norquest:
Nobody is owed a living for the rest of his life because he had a bad break two years ago. Yet, we still have people affected by Katrina who have FEMA paying their rent. How sad and pathetic is it that these shiftless people are still leaching off their fellow citizens? Since when is being in the path of a hurricane supposed to give you a permanent "Get Out of Work Free" card?

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This morning started with a discussion of how the Bush Regime has been able to perpetrate its crimes in the full light of day, partially with the skillful use of propaganda, something even foolish members of Congress have been seen falling for. Count the reasons presented every single day for exiting from Iraq and you would get dizzy. Apparently one flurry of Powerpoint presentations by a man in a uniform and one too many congressmen seem to swoon.

If reading about the Bush Regime's out of control criminality in the NY Times and Washington Post doesn't do the trick for you, how about a nice new movie by Brian De Palma? Redacted is De Palma's "new film about the real-life rape and killing of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl by U.S. soldiers who also murdered her family. [It] stunned the Venice festival, with shocking images that left some viewers in tears."

De Palma mentioned that "The movie is an attempt to bring the reality of what is happening in Iraq to the American people." I hope he has more success than the Times or Post seem to be having.




by Noah

We live in a soundbyte age. It is an age where what we know, presume to know, or, are misled to know about someone is neatly encapsulated in a phrase or a brief moment in time preserved on film. A tiny fragment of a person's life is recorded, inserted into the news cycle and looped hypnotically over and over again before our eyeballs, or, passed from inbox to inbox thanks to YouTube and its like. It is drilled into our brains.

A few words that a person utters can be the entire image of that person, IF we are not careful and we don't dig deeper. A few words can become the slogan of a campaign, whether the campaigner wishes it so or not. John Kerry's "I actually did vote for the $87 Billion before I voted against it" was used against him. So-called President Bush's "I'm a uniter not a divider" was used for him. Millions of naive Americans believed an obvious lie and the rest is a nightmare of history. Hell, the BIG LIE worked for a failed Asutrian painter in Germany; why shouldn't it have worked for an AWOL brain damaged thug who has failed at everything he's touched in his entire life, including trading Sammy Sosa and not even being able to find oil in Texas.

And now we have Rep. Ron Paul (14th District, TX), running for President. The thought of Ron Paul as President brings various thoughts to my mind. The frivolous ones are: Do we really need more leaders from Texas and should Texas even be considered part of The United States? Weren't Tom Delay and Dubya afflictions enough? Is this some twisted gods' way of telling us to pay more attention before we go into the voting booth and touch the screen on the big rigged machine? OK, with that out of the way, let's get into some of what sets off alarm bells when I hear the name of Ron Paul, and it isn't just the idea of having someone with three first names sitting in the Oval Office.

Here's the Ron Paul soundbyte: The scene is the first Repug debate of the current campaign season. Of all the pathetic pygmies™ on stage, Ron Paul pointed out that 50 years of interventionist U.S. foreign policy has led to an extremely negative opinion of America throughout the Middle East and that that contributed to the 9/11 attacks. He stated his view that neither The Constitution nor the founding fathers had such policies in mind for our country. He also discussed at some length how his party had lost its way by attempting nation building and interventionist foreign policies in spite of  Chimpy's campaign promises to the contrary. I'm certain that most Repugs expected a flaming pit to open up under him and swallow him up, never to be seen again. Didn't happen. What did happen is exactly what any ad exec or campaign manager would wish for from any soundbyte moment. Ron Paul stood out. He alone wasn't the "mayor of 9/11"/married his cousin guy, or the guy who strapped the family dog to the roof of the car and drove down the highway at 70mph (Michael Vick ain't got much on Romney, although, judging by the lack of media attention to the incident, you'd never know it). He certainly wasn't the senile "straight talk out of both sides of his mouth" guy, and, he wasn't one of the propeller beanie clowns that said they don't believe in evolution. 

So, consider the context. Ron Paul said something he actually believes. On a stage of  steaming green puss for brains, demon possessed oozing slimebags, Ron Paul said something relatively honest and correct. He not only dared to go against the grain of current Repug doctrine, he even got attacked for it by the volatile and highly unstable Rudy Julieandrews. Rudy puffed himself up and claimed he'd never heard of such concepts and demanded that Paul take back his sacrilege. In so doing, he inadvertently made Ron Paul famous, even if the corporate media ignored Paul's soaring post debate poll numbers. But, is it enough to point out something that led to 9/ll, something so obvious for so long? Is it enough to say we shouldn't be in Iraq? Is that enough to get someone to vote for him? More importantly, is that all there is to Rep. Ron Paul? 

Are we so focused on the war that we are willing to hear what we want to hear, ignore all else, and gloss over the bad parts of a candidate? As you dig into who Ron Paul is, you see that he actually has a very mixed voting record on the war. What Paul said, in the context of his voting record, sounds great but it is not the same as actually being against the war, and it's not nitpicking to say so. His words contradict his voting record. That contradiction gets to the core of who this candidate is. Haven't we had enough deception and doublespeak?

Ron Paul seems like a pretty affable, charming guy. It hardly bothers me that he looks like and has a voice that sounds like the "Purple Shroud Guy" (Marshall Applewhite, late Heaven's Gate Cult leader) who was able to convince his naive all too willing followers that they could all go see Jesus or whomever it was on the Hale Bopp Comet as it approached Earth, if only they would join him in wrapping themselves in some spiffy purple shroud duds and join him in committing suicide in one big happy display of togetherness. But, politics has now also become cultism. If you only pay attention to the superficial soundbyte or sloganeering when you decide who to vote for, you may be acting like a lemming heading for a cliff.

Let's take a look at Rep. Paul's Iraq vote record first. Yes. It's a fact that his voting record on Iraq is better than any of the Repugs he shared the stage with at their debate, but is that so hard? That, together with his words on the subject are a big part of what has excited many people of all political persuasions about him. If only they took the time to find out another few facts: 1) Each of the 11 Democrats who are running for President has a far better record on the issue than Ron Paul does, even Shillary Clinton, who I also don't plan on voting for. 2) He has voted WITH BUSH/CHENEY on the matter close to 20 TIMES! 3) In addition, he has voted neither yes or no but "present" (or absented himself numerous other times). It's real easy to say you voted against the war when you don't have to get specific about what the specific bills were actually about. It's also real easy to say you voted against a war bill when you don't mention that you also voted for so many others, or even fail to mention that you cowardly decided not to even show up, just so you can say you didn't vote for something. Talk about your cynical, disingenuous politicians! Not only that, but Paul believers claim to love him for being a man who stands on principle. Too bad he's so damn selective and part time about it.

A comparative examination of the Iraq-related votes of every House member shows that Paul voted against Bush's toxic agenda more than any other Repug. However, every Democrat with the exception of 4 arch reactionaries (and the now converted John Murtha) have better Iraq voting records than Paul. The other 4 Democratic congressmen with worse, though very similar, voting records than Paul are Chris Carney (PA), Bud Cramer (AL), Gene Taylor (MS) and Jim Marshall (GA), each widely considered a traitor to the Democratic caucus and each most Democrats at least silently wish would lose the next election.

It's also too bad that Paul gets away with it because people accept him and his words at face value, and it's also too bad that none of the traditional media morons have the desire to ask any follow up questions; so much for an informed public. Against the war? Doesn't look so! Ron Paul's fans claim he would bring transparency to government by rolling it back, but how is a deceptive man who refuses to be transparent himself going to achieve that?

But wait! There's more! Paul gets a 100% rating from the John Birch Society (Higher than they give such wonderful humans as KKK fave Sen.Trent Lott (66%, highest in the Senate), Sen. Norm "Fratboy" Coleman, Sen. Susan "How do I love thee GWB? I can't count the ways" Collins, and uber-crackpot Sen. Tom Coburn). Robert Welch, the JBS founder once referred to the last acceptable Republican president, Dwight Eisenhower, as "a dedicated conscious agent of the communist conspiracy." Uh, huh. What a nice way to say thank you for winning WWII, creating the Interstate Highway system and shepherding a system of government that, among other things, provided for a growing, strong, successful middle class that built so much until one of our worst presidents, Ronald Reagan, declared war on it upon his election in 1980.                                                                             
Paul's JBS admirers aren't big on Civil Rights. They'll tell you it says nothing about rights for Blacks, gays, and women in The Constitution. I guess the JBS was mighty pissed when Eisenhower sent troops to Little Rock so that some African-American kids could go to school. How un-American of him! What a commie pinko! How un-constitional! You see, the John Birch Society advocates the repeal of civil rights legislation. Paul ain't for it either but probably doesn't say too much because that might not go over with the majority of Americans in this century, outside of a few of our most backward states. He doesn't mention his massive support from the JBS on his website either. Why not Ron? Aren't you proud of the endorsement? Such a much bigger endorsement than even a well known quantity like Trent Lott gets? Hey, it's very easy to say you oppose civil rights or the war on Constitutional grounds. It's also very easy to hide behind the Constitution, even when your party's current "president" is taking every copy he can find to the shredder as fast as he can have one of his slobbering lapdog minions carry it. You can say or not say whatever you want, but, once again, do your words match up with your voting record? I seriously doubt that the John Birch Society followers dwell on the fine points anyway. The JBS had its big day in the 60s, during the civil rights movement. The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the JBS as a group that "advocates or adheres to extreme antigovernment doctrines." Oh, and just who was John Birch? Answer: An early funda-MENTAL-ist Christian goon. I don't know if he was ever found with a stack of porno mags in his car or a young boy in the trunk. Probably not. They didnít have cars back in his time.

Paul defines himself as a constitutionalist. Sounds great. After all, we Progressives find that very appealing, especially when we see the Constitution viciously assaulted every day. For Libertarians, and that's what Paul really is, the Constitution is something else. They believe Bush is a criminal. Fine, so do I. No argument there. What Libertarians mean when they say they want a strict interpretation of The Constitution is what the most extreme conservative Repugs think; the Constitution as it was originally written. For instance, the Constitution, as originally written, grants voting rights to all men of property. That leaves out a lot of people, half the human race in this country, without even getting into color, for starters. Renters need not go to the polls, and, any of you female Ron Paul supporters who want to vote for him better do so quickly. If he gets his way, and his followers come along to Washington with him, you might not be able to vote for him a second time. Oh, I'm sure he wouldn't say that... yet.

But, if you've read this far, why would you believe him anyway? Strict Constitutionalistas want all power to go back to the states; let each individual state decide. That's what George Wallace was fighting for when he stood in the door way at U. Alabama and said "Segregation then. Segregation now, and segregation forever." Think it couldnít happen again? Some states are still fighting the Civil War. Why encourage them? Paul will tell you, as he has, that he has a lot of friends in the JBS. He will go on to imply that that doesnít mean he agrees with them. Some bothersome little factoids, though: Ron Paul was the only member of Congress to vote against a medal for Rosa Parks. He was one of two congresscreeps who voted against the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act. In 2004 he was the only congresscreep to vote no to a commemoration of the anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Time for a quote from Ron, "Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5 percent of Blacks have sensible political opinions!" I just have a feeling about where he stands. Just a feeling. Oh, and one more thing related to the subject; David Duke is a big fan. That's right-- the Grand Wizard of the KKK who the Repugs ran for Senator in Louisiana. Great pal to have! Paul's disagreements with "his friends" must be about something else. Not to worry though, if you think the troops should come home and you're a racist, you can still be consistent in voting for Ron Paul!

Church and State? Should there be a wall between the two? Not according to constitutionalista Ron Paul-- "the notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of the founding fathers." That's Ron Paul writing in a little paranoid diatribe, in December 2003, on the alleged war on Christmas and religion in general. Now, let us hear from a man who may have also had his faults but still did some great things in his life, Thomas Jefferson. "In every country in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own." Sounds like a man who believed in that wall. I also believe he qualifies as a Founding Father! He wrote your Constitution, Ronnie! Well, maybe not your Constitution, but he did write mine.

Ron Paul also doesn't believe in the IRS. All of us joke about the IRS and paying taxes but Paul and his friends at the JBS want to actually abolish the IRS. Me, I don't like paying taxes, but, I do like things like the Center For Disease Control, educational grants, an air defense system, the FDA and FEMA (the way they used to be structured, before Dubya), riding on the interstates, park rangers who help combat forest fires, etc. Taxes pay for those things. Have you noticed how bad the highways have gotten since Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy? That's right-- lots of potholes, lots of damaged cars which the owners now have to pay for, couple of collapsed bridges.. Yep. Taxes for the wealthy are down but car damage and traffic fines are up and you have to pay for it. The cost of highway travel has been passed on to you, the sucker. Rather than repair the roads, you have to repair your car. Is that Repugly, or what? Our infrastructure is collapsing...    literally. Are you about to get on a bridge that's ready to fall into the drink due to a lack of funds to keep up repairs? Expect even more of such things under a Ron Paul "government." "Hey, if youíre not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear." Drive on! Isn't this brand of repug extremism grand?

What else? On the Daily Show, Rep. Paul indicated that he was not only against the IRS, but also the Patriot Act. There ya go; something I can agree with him on. Same with NAFTA and the WTO. Don't like gun control? You can easily find a Democratic candidate you can agree with on that one; at the very least, most of 'em wonít touch it, and, as I said before, you'll like their stance on the war better. Paul would also abolish the Department of Energy. Is it possible for Big Oil to have even more control over our lives? You bet. Bush is merely paving the way for someone, maybe a fellow Texan like Ron Paul who might push the envelope even further. Medicare? Gone. Let the market decide who lives and who dies! Clean Air Act? Voted no. Minimum wage hike? Voted no three times. Campaign Finance Reform? Voted no three times. This guy's terrific! Department of Education? Gone. Dumb 'em down some more. We don't need no stinking literacy. You thinks it's bad now when all some people can read or even want to read is US magazine or STAR?  Wait 'til they can't even make sense of the pictures!

I can certainly see why any sentient human on Earth would completely despise George or any other Bush. Dubya has an exceedingly bad character and no redeeming qualities. He is an utter, complete failure as a human being and as a president, but replace him with Ron Paul just because you think he's against Bush's war for oil and Halliburton money? Would you vote for Ron Paul even though he'd attempt to take the deregulation started under Reagan that has led to jobs going overseas, lack of enforcement of mine safety laws, food that makes us sick, bridges that collapse while bridges to nowhere are built in Alaska, etc. further? Ron Paul says things that, on the surface, don't sound too looney and may even sound great. He has mastered vagueness. There's something in most people that makes them want to trust and believe. His website ignores the things he'd rather we didn't know or think about. It's "don't look behind the curtain." His campaign is pretty net savvy. He's just another packaged candidate. The bad signs and indicators are there but the naive ignore them to the peril of all. That's how we ended up with the lowlife that we currently see wrecking our nation.
I recently heard Ron Paul being interviewed by Stacy Taylor on AirAmerica. Paul went on the show apparently just expecting to be asked about his stance on Iraq. He was caught off guard when Taylor started asking him about his positions on various social and economic issues. Taylor asked the very same questions that he would ask and has asked any other candidate. Paul, however, felt ambushed. He has said very loudly that he will never go on AirAmerica again. I guess he felt uncomfortable. So where on the radio does Ron Paul feel comfortable? Try the self-described "8 lanes to the right" Larry Pratt. Paul has been on his show many times. Pratt is known for his connections to the White Supremacist, Anti-Semitic, Christian Identity movement. So were the folks who brought down the federal building in Oklahoma. Pratt has endorsed Paul's campaigns and Paul has accepted his endorsements. Out of the other side of his moth, Paul claims he opposes racism, but, at some point the company you keep begins to reveal something about your character. Again, Paul will claim that he merely opposes Civil Rights on Constitutional grounds. Again, whose Constitution? It's not a constitution for the select few. Jefferson didn't write it as something to hide behind. At some point, the potential Paul supporter has to look at Larry Pratt, Trent Lott, and the likes of David Duke and ask where does it end? At some point, you have to say to yourself, if it walks like a duck... (even if it decides to not really talk like a duck).

Yes, he likes Larry Pratt; feels damn comfy with him. With Stacy Taylor, he had an aide call up a give Taylor a new one as soon as he left the air. Stacy Taylor, very professionally, looked behind the curtain into the forbidden closet. The aide ranted big time and then hung up. Is this a man who is honest about his positions and isn't trying to hide anything? If you're so damn principled and forthright, just answer the questions and move on. Some of Taylor's listeners called up to defend Rep. Paul. How dare Taylor ask Ron Paul questions that might inform the listeners! Such actions point to a budding fanaticism. This is the cult of Ron. It's: we love the guy. Try on the Purple Shroud! The hell with the truth. The hell with reality. Well, Bush has said it best when he has accused those who disagree with him as being "part of the reality-based community." President Paul? Meet the new boss. Same lame as the old boss. Crazier? Hard to beat but time will tell. Paul is what you get when you don't impeach. If you let Bush get away with his evil, someone else will come along and try to keep pushing the envelope. If it isn't Ron Paul, it will be some other clown in the future, if there is a future.

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Genuine warmth between the future and the past in Virginia politics

Unlike Larry Craig, John Warner is not a backbencher. He's a major Senate player. He just announced, as expected, that he won't be running for re-election in 2008. He's given up on being able to impact the problems in Iraq and Afghanistan. He realizes he's too old (80) to do the kind of job he'd like to be able to continue to do.

The announcement is a surprise to no one.
"I will conclude my service to Virginia as a senator when I complete this, my fifth term, on January 6, 2009," Warner said. The former Navy Secretary and past chairman of the Armed Services Committee said he wrestled with the decision, which he came to "in the last day or two."

His decision to not run will probably precipitate a major party change, if not a name change, for that seat. Wildly popular ex-Governor Mark Warner (D), who had long said he had too much affection and respect for John Warner to run against him, will now declare and probably win the senate seat. He is likely to be challenged by conservative Congressman Tom Davis (VA-11), although it is likely that a far right extremist like Eric Cantor or that Gilmore kook will also consider running. If Davis gets the GOP nod, there is every chance in the world that his moderate blue-trending district will elect a Democrat, perhaps Andrew Hurst who held Davis to a 55% win last year. (Bush barely took 50% of the district's vote in 2004 and was won by Democrats Jim Webb and Tim Kaine since then.)

Tony Snow, Bush's latest mouthpiece, is also retiring. And Larry Craig needs to either do it or get off the pot. Sources say it could be within minutes this weekend.

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A certain lil' congressman allegedly likes his trade rough

Lil' Patrick McHenry isn't a character in Comedy Central's brilliant Lil' Bush, which features Lil' Cheney, Lil' Rummy, Lil' Condi, Lil' Tony Blair, Lil' Jeb, Lil' Hillary, Lil' Mikey Moore, Lil' Obama... but not Lil' Lil' Patrick McHenry. He's too... lil'! But he may be about to get a lot bigger, at least in terms of the traditional media that has made Larry Craig a household name-- and soon. DWT readers already know that the North Carolina arch-conservative (other than 3 nut-case freshmen, McHenry's got the most reactionary voting record in Congress) is allegedly another hypocritical closet queen waiting nervously for his moment on the national stage.

And yesterday BlueNC gave Rep. McHenry's closet door a nice, loud jolt. In a scandal that will prove to be far bigger than South Park's outing of Tom Cruise (covered in great depth and detail by Wikipedia), it looks like there is a connection between McHenry and a murderous Republican homosexual love triangle/escort service.

The murdered gay Republicans include Ralph Reed's purported ex-lover, Ralph Gonzalez (former head of the rabidly homophobic Georgia Republican Party), David Abrami and McHenry guy-pal Robert Drake, the shooter. All three were found last week in a murder-suicide in an Orlando apartment. According to right-wing website, the North Carolina Conservative "All three men were active in Republican politics." They mention that Drake is "an associate" of McHenry's but don't define that. He is alleged to be an associate of quite a few younger men, some of whom are gay and some of whom are just gay-for-pay. (Note: The websites in this GOP report are graphic, pornographic gay prostitute sites and if you don't want to see that kind of stuff DO NOT copy and paste the links. They are purposely not in the form of links.)
Gonzalez was an influential political consultant, who owned Strategum Group, and managed Congressman Tom Feeny’s 2002 campaign. The house was owned by Gonzalez; Abrami lived with Gonzalez. Newspapers and political websites have been abuzz with posts from friends and associates of Gonzalez, who speculate the motive for the murder-suicide as being a gay love triangle gone wrong.

...Another, more sinister motive has been put forth by several sources, including Reporters there say that Drake was associated with the owner of a gay escort service in the Virginia Beach area. The owners of that escort service are facing charges that they murdered the owner of a rival company catering to the gay community. A source for the Crime Blog reporter states:

“My solid, but unconfirmed, sources say that Drake was trying to hit Gonzalez up for cash to raise money to defend a kid (Harlow Cuadra) who is on trial for murder up in Pennsylvania. The 26 year old “kid” ran a gay escort and porn business in Virginia Beach and may have had several Republican clients–Drake being one. (See and . . My sources say Drake may have approached Gonzalez for funds for Cuadra’s defense, threatening to blow the lid off everything by MAKING THE REPUBLICAN CLIENT LIST OF THE GAY ESCORT BUSINESS PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE.”

More sordid GOP details are available. Meanwhile there are jailed Republicans, dead Republicans, outed Republicans... And McHenry's office... well, the press secretary is on vacation so they have no comment. I couldn't get them to put me on the phone with Lil' Congressman McHenry. Maybe he was making preparations for the Republican National Convention.

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Four of the more odious right wing Republican closet cases: Roy Cohn, Mark Foley, Jim West and Ed Schrock

I wanted Larry Craig to turn his nightmare of closetry, homophobic hypocrisy and betrayal into a story of human redemption. But he never called me back. Instead, all sources say he's resigning today tomorrow. We'll update you as soon as he announces he isn't gay, hasn't done anything wrong and is stepping down to spend more time with his family. Meanwhile, you might spend some time considering Joe Conason's excellent piece about crippling Republican homophobia in today's Salon.

The RNC has let Craig know that either he resigns or they will publicly demand that he do so. John Ensign, Craig's right-wing colleague from Nevada, and the head of the RSCC, joined the other Republican senators howling for Craig to get his gay ass out of their caucus. Craig senses a witch hunt but he's blaming the media and, even now, refusing to see that the witch hunt is an outgrowth of extreme right-wing politics and vicious, demented homophobia that encourages entrapment and targeting of gay men and women.

Larry Craig should have spent the last few days reading ex-Congressman Robert Bauman's book, The Gentleman From Maryland-- the Conscience of a Gay Conservative. His salvation, as a human being, would be to stand up and face his homosexuality and embrace it, apologize for his insane right-wing behavior and move on-- being a decent senator for the next year and a half. That, alas, is not what is about to unfold.

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In the last couple of days, in between Larry Craig's adventures in Republican Toiletland stories, we've had a few posts about the $50 billion supplemental to the supplemental. Basically Bush wants another $50 bil (on top of the outrageous $147 billion) for his war profiteering schemes in Iraq. Seventy of our kind of Democrats sent him a letter saying the only money they would vote to approve is money for a safe and speedy redeployment of our troops. Yesterday Ken did a piece on the GAO report that exposes the Bush Regime's blatant lies about how swimmingly everything is going in Iraq-- and how they are now trying to force the GAO to "edit" the report conform to Regime propaganda.

In lieu of impeachment, treason, and war crimes trials for Bush and his cronies, don't you think Congress should put their foot down now just and say no? Just "no." I know we're ready to say just no to anyone, regardless of political party, who votes yes on the Bush supplemental or on any compromise to funnel any more money into the Iraq war rathole. Of the incumbents Blue America has endorsed so far, 4 have already pledged to vote no on Bush's request for more money-- Steve Cohen (TN), who is under vicious attack from Harold Ford's rightist political machine, John Hall (NY), Jerrold Nadler (NY), and Hilda Solis (CA). I feel confident that our other incumbents, Carol Shea-Porter (NH), Patrick Murphy (PA), Tom Allen (ME), and Jerry McNerney (CA), will do likewise next week. If they don't, you still will be able to donate to their campaigns if you want to-- but not through Blue America. And the only incumbent currently scheduled for a Blue America endorsement and live session is our old friend Paul Hodes (NH) and he has already pledged to vote against any funding that isn't to bring the troops home. If I'm being too subtle here, Scarecrow has an explanation over at FDL.

Yesterday I was on the phone for a while with a campaign manager for a Democrat running for a House seat. He was speaking for himself and not his candidate. He told me that the problem in Iraq is very real and the dangers inherent to it are very grave and that the solution is not a soundbyte. All true, but not really relevant to what Congress can accomplish. The war was wrong when it was started and it is wrong now. The American presence there has always done one thing and one thing only: made a bad situation worse. There is no good answer to Iraq-- other than war crimes trials for Bush and Cheney, et al-- but there is one thing that must change and must change as fast as possible (tomorrow, next week, a month?) and that is the presence of American troops in Iraq.

Even a hack and tool like Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) recognizes the Bush Regime Greed Zone congressional dog and pony show for what it is. Not a word that comes out of Bush's mouth or the mouths of any of his cronies can be believed under any circumstances whatsoever-- which is why he should have been impeached and why an increasing number of people are seeing Nancy Pelosi as complicit in the Regime's crimes. Now Inside the Beltway war criminals are calling for the ouster of Bush's favored, hand-picked (not legitimately elected) Iraqi puppet, Nouri al-Maliki. Will he be the next Ngo Dinh Diem?

This morning's NY Times has three unrelated stories which should make every American furious enough to demand we get the hell out of Iraq-- a story about us re-doing the disaster known as the Iraqi police force; another in the endless tales of Bush crony corporate corruption in Iraq; and a thought piece on how the gulf between Sunnis and Shi'a has widened since Bush-- who had never heard of either before deciding to take over the joint-- came on the scene and destroyed civil society. These all point to what the cowardly Colin Powell told Bush before the invasion he supported (even if only reluctantly). Powell mixed up his duty to the citizens of the United States of America with his loyalty to the madman who had stolen the 2000 election and was determined to make a name for himself. By telling Bush that if he "broke" Iraq he would "own" it-- a concept that was certainly too abstract for a functional imbecile like Bush to understand-- Powell may have thought he had done his duty. He thought wrong.

There was one Iraq story in the Times that I absolutely loved. An airplane carrying right wing warmongers Mel Martinez (R-FL), Richard Shelby (R-AL), James Inhofe (R-OK) and Bud Cramer (D-AL) was shot at taking off from Baghdad and forced to take evasive maneuvers. These are 3 rubber stamp Republican senators and a Bush Dog, all 4 of whom very much deserving to be charged as enablers in Bush's war crimes. Of course, in something like this "almost" doesn't count.


Congressman Kendrick Meek (D-FL) just came back from Iraq with a very different impression than Brian Baird. Baird, Jason Altmire and other Bush Dogs may happily go along with the regime's odious agenda, but Meek makes it clear that he has a more thoughtful-- and more sensible-- position.


The Blue America-endorsed candidate in next Tuesday's MA-05 primary, Jamie Eldridge opposes any more funding to escalate Bush's war agenda and only supports spending money to safely and redeploy our troops out of Iraq. Eileen Donoghue has essentially the same approach. James Miceli has the extreme Bush Dog point of view: let's see what General BetrayUs has to say. Front-runner Niki Tsongas, the one with the name recognition because of her former husband, the senator, also seems to be running with the Bush Dog crowd, as does Barry Finegold. If you'd like to express an interest in ending Bush's Iraq agenda, you can consider donating to Jamie's campaign.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007



Listen to the lyrics; they're... provocative.

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As you may have heard, Senator Larry Craig was recently very abruptly tossed out of the closet. And it only took a full 2 decades after it first came to public attention that he was thrusting unwanted attention on other men. It may seem as long, but it's only been a few months, for Frederick of Hollywood to finally come out too. Yes, finally Republican lobbyist and actor Fred Thompson, after being charged with skirting campaign finance laws by raising money for a presidential campaign he was denying existed, and after being threatened by the ultra conservative Manchester Union Leader that he'd better participate in the September 5th New Hampshire debate. Instead Thompson has announced he will be announcing-- but not 'til a day after the debate.
He was primed to be the summer's big blockbuster and the script was written in advance: A dispirited party finds its great hope in a swashbuckling Southern senator, riding to the rescue to save Republicans from themselves.

It hasnt quite worked out that way. Instead, he's been posting miserable fundraising numbers and has been questioned closely about an unscrupulous lobbying career that could be more disturbing to Republican voters than even Abramoff's criminal behavior. Larry Craig may have seen Frederick of Hollywood's momentum circling a toilet in one of the many public restrooms he's always visiting.

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I just listened to Senator Larry Craig's entrapment tape. It seems obvious to me that if the police wanted to have safe bathrooms in public places they would have uniformed officers on patrol. Instead they sent out the prettiest boy in the department who many gay men would find attractive. What a revolting set-up! The irony, of course, is that society allows this kind of disgusting waste of time and resources-- time and resources that ruin peoples' lives-- because of hypocrites like Larry Craig (R-ID), David Dreier (R-CA), Jim McCrery (R-LA), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bob Allen (R-FL), Mark Foley (R-FL) and dozens of other Republican lawmakers trying to capitalize on human frailties to seek votes from ignorant and bigoted constituents. Today New York points out why the whole attitude of homophobia just isn't funny.

A different part of that tape that seemed very gross to me was the discussion about Craig's hand. He was reaching down he said. not to signal that he wanted sex with the undercover cop but to pick up a piece of toilet paper. Do you pick up stray pieces of toilet paper from the floors of public restrooms? I don't touch anything in a public bathroom... except with my shoe.

On a lighter side one of my friends wondered what Senator Craig would have said if the cop actually allowed him to go through with his intentions-- like in the good old days-- before arresting him. Picture Senator Craig with his disinterested, uncomprehending Mrs. by his side at a press conference:

"A c*ck in my mouth, you say? No, no, I don't think so."

"My goodness, I had no idea. I can't think how that could have gotten there."

"Oh, is THAT what it was? It tasted like chicken."

"Um, I remember reaching for a pretzel, but you know, I can't see a thing without my glasses."

"Damn kids are always leaving stuff lying around. You have kids? What're you gonna do?"

"It's all the liberal media. They hound me because they know I have such high moral standards."

"It's not as if it was a really BIG one."  [Not recommended highly--this kind of just makes you a size queen.]

"It's shocking, the things scientists say an average person has in his mouth on an average day."

"If I do you, maybe we could forget all about this? You ARE awfully cute, you know."


Or, maybe the Idahoan could have just handled it with a stiff upper lip-- like a British legislator would:


Judging by today's news you'd think Larry Craig's biggest political opponents were his erstwhile GOP allies, who are all now viciously attacking him, particularly two of the most heinous individual politicians in America, Mitt Romney and Mitch McConnell. And judging by the Republican Party-inspired diktat to get this guy off the scene asap, you'd swear that it was all being cheerled by all the regular suspects, especially Fox News and the Republican network of Hate Talk Radio hosts and hostesses.

But there is actually a credible Democrat, Larry LaRocco, whose been running for the seat even when Craig's bathroom trysts were just grist for the DC rumor mill. Flip Flop Mitt and all the supposedly outraged Republicans screaming about it the loudest now were well aware of what was up with Senator Craig for many years. Today former Congressman LaRocco posted an introduction at Huffington Post.


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It's official: People in gov't who write honest reports not only expect their drafts to be falsified by regime loyalists but are trying to fight it


You've probably heard about the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the results of the Iraq surge, which was requested by Congress and will be delivered in final form Tuesday. Today's Washington Post carried a report ("Report Finds Little Progress on Iraq Goals") on a "strikingly negative GAO draft" that was leaked to the paper.

This is not to be confused, of course, with the pack o' lies 'n' spin--er, report--that the White House will be serving up the second week in September. That will be the official response to the "just wait till September" line of bull the Bush regime has been feeding us all summer. Congress has taken the precaution of commissioning more reliably objective reports: this one from the GAO and an evaluation of Iraqi security forces from an independent commission headed by retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones.

Lane Hudson was struck, in a News from the Left post, by a curious detail in the Post report caught, detailing how the paper got hold of the draft: "The person who provided the draft report to The Post said it was being conveyed from a government official who feared that its pessimistic conclusions would be watered down in the final version -- as some officials have said happened with security judgments in this month's National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq."

I think by now all DWT readers are familiar with this drill as practiced by Bush regime loyalists. The very definition of a "draft report" in this regime is a report that hasn't been "fixed" yet. I think it's safe to say that there's no such thing as a report that a really loyal Bush loyalist can't "fix," especially if he/she is blessed with total ignorance of the facts. (This comes in really handy when it's time to rewrite reports that were once science-based--before the regime hoodlum took his/her ax and crayon to it.)

Now, Lane notes, we have an indication that government insiders are coming to grips with, and looking for ways around, this reality:
Interesting, huh? Government officials are now leaking reports because they fear the White House or the Pentagon will change them so much that they will no longer accurately reflect the truth. It's pathetic that I'm not surprised one tiny little bit. That's how far gone my trust in the Administration is. It's also all the more reason why Congress needs to stand up and put an end to this charade and stop the War.

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So you've come to DWT expecting another round of childish, tasteless Larry Craig-being-gay jokes? Yeah, okay, can do

another round of childish, tasteless Larry Craig-being-gay jokes? Yeah, okay, can do'>another round of childish, tasteless Larry Craig-being-gay jokes? Yeah, okay, can do'>another round of childish, tasteless Larry Craig-being-gay jokes? Yeah, okay, can do'>another round of childish, tasteless Larry Craig-being-gay jokes? Yeah, okay, can do'>>another round of childish, tasteless Larry Craig-being-gay jokes? Yeah, okay, can do'>

Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho)
Celebrating a Quarter-Century
of People Gossiping About Me Being Gay

In his younger years, our Larry plays dress-up with
"one of the nation's most requested cowboy entertainers" (by
his own description), Cowboy Rudy.

Attention, people, this is serious. It's our Larry's silver anniversary. Which naturally raises the question:

What do you get for the man who's had folks officially gossiping about his homosexuality for a full quarter of a century?

Is he listed anywhere?

Oh, you don't think it's a problem? Okay, let's say you think long and hard and come up with something really thoughtful and appropriate. A solid-silver cock ring, say.

It may be a tad familiar for someone you've never so much as personally shared an adjacent men's-room stall with, but what the heck, you decide to run with it. You're going for "the personal touch." (If there's a pun in there, it's mostly intentional.) And then it turns out he's already got one! If not an entire collection. Or else he's a tad shy about keeping it with the rest of his jewelry, where his wife might see it and get that same wrong idea people have been gossiping openly about for a full quarter-century now.

So now he has to go try to exchange it for something he needs, like maybe a set of butt plugs. (I'm just making it up as we go here.) But he doesn't have the receipt! Have you ever tried to do that? Have you?

But seriously, what are you planning to give our boy? Isn't it tacky just to send a card, presumably from the "Congratulations on Not Being Gay (Wink-Wink)" section. Say, did the Singing Senators make any records? (I can't find any on

My own inclination would be a copy of Michelangelo Signorile's Outing Yourself: How to Come Out as Lesbian or Gay to Your Family, Friends, and Coworkers. Amazon's got the paperback edition for $11.05 plus shipping, with used copies from $1.37. Our Larry might also appreciate Signorile's still-stirring Queer in America: Sex, the Media, and the Closets of Power, for its consideration of the "closet of power" dearest to the senator's heart, the one in Washington, D.C.


By the way, did you catch the Countdown Players' Dragnet-style dramatic reenactment last night--straight from the official officer's police report--of the great men's-room encounter? Favorite moment here: when "the senator" hands the officer a business card, and says, "What do you think of that?"--and we see a business-size card that has nothing on it except the hand-scribbled word:


Just when I had finally decided that I had had it with Larry Craig stories, Ken ambushed me with the one above. How could I resist jumping back in? (Were I a Republican I'd say, "He started it!") I've thought a lot about this since it first came out that Senator Craig was arrested for soliciting sex in a public restroom, something he has been prone to do-- and deny-- over the years. I went from mean-spirited schadenfreude on Monday afternoon to pity on Tuesday and anger towards his Republican homophobic tormentors on Wednesday.

Today I called Senator Craig's office to offer a redemptive strategy that will help him capture his dignity and his soul. I don't think he'll bite. But I very much agree with Barney Frank, who kind of outed him back in October of '06 on the Bill Maher show. He didn't actually out him. He just left the question hanging and said something about hypocrisy: "The right to privacy should not be a right to hypocrisy and people who want to demonize other people shouldn't then be able to go home and close the door and do it themselves."

This morning Barney took issue with Craig's homophobic colleagues, playing to the GOP's Know Nothing base, like John McCain and Norm Coleman, who have called for Senator Craig to resign at once. Barney's message to Craig: resist!

The GOP is after Craig's scalp so they can go to their base and say, "See, we'll not all toe-tappin' homos and when we find one, we root him out." They actually applauded David Diapers Vitter (R-LA) when he admitted he had broken the law by hiring hookers. No one asked him to resign from his committees. And no one asked Ted Stevens (R-AK) to step down from his committees, let alone from the Senate, after the FBI announced an investigation into a massive and systematic bribery operation Stevens has been running, an operation based on abusing his committee assignments. But Stevens and Vitter are straight, so Republicans don't even care what laws they break. "What he did, it’s hypocritical," said Barney of Craig this morning, "but it’s not an abuse of his office in the sense that he was taking money for corrupt votes," a subtle slap at Stevens and Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, a closet queen himself, who is leading the charge to purge Craig.

Barney went on: "It’s one thing to say that someone can’t be trusted to vote without being corrupt, it’s another to say that he can’t be trusted to go to the bathroom by himself."

And as far as resigning, Jeff Merkley the ballsy Democrat looking to replace Oregon's rubber stamp Republican Gordon Smith, has a far better target than the pathetic Larry Craig. Merkley sent the pathetic George W. Bush an evite suggesting he resign.

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If you read Tom Schaller's brilliant book Whistling Past Dixie, you know that giving up all but the most flimsy pretense of seriously contesting the African-American vote was part of the Republican plan-- what is often called "Nixon's Southern Strategy"-- to lock up the South. The Republicans have winked and nodded their way into the politically polar opposite of what one would expect from the party of Abraham Lincoln-- in the South, for starters, they are unquestionably the party of racism, bigotry, hatred and the respectable face of the KKK.

The strategy-- and the Democrats inability to effectively counter it-- came to its climax in 2004 when they were able to claim control over all three branches of the federal government plus an unprecedented number of Southern legislative seats and gubernatorial chairs. They are likely to continue gaining southern legislative seats and to fatten their hold on much of the former Confederacy, but they have set the stage for turning themselves into a backward, theocratic regional party that will be incapable of competing nationally.

And instead of foreseeing the systemic electoral disasters ahead, the most reactionary elements of the party-- firmly in control-- have set out to worsen the problem by targeting the fastest growing voter bloc in the country, Hispanics. Today's Miami Herald points out the difference between the Republicans and the Democrats in Univision's Spanish-language presidential debates. The Democrats will engage with Spanish-speaking Americans on September 9. The Republican debate, scheduled for September 16, was cancelled yesterday.

Only John McCain had agreed to participate in the Republican debate. "All eight Democratic candidates are slated to show up Sept. 9, and party leaders plan to highlight the contrast. The New Democratic Network, a nationwide political group, is planning news conferences and inviting Hispanic leaders, including Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, former Cabinet member Henry Cisneros and U.S. Rep. Luís Gutiérrez of Illinois."

Last year a market research firm, LatinInsights, reported that about 9% of American voters are Hispanic and that about half of that 9% prefer to speak Spanish. Until recently the Republicans have made tremendous progress in winning a substantial share of this fast-growing segment of the population-- from just 21% in 1996 to 35% in 2000 and to what will probably prove to have been an apex of 40% in 2004. But even before the xenophobic explosion of Know Nothing bigotry and hatred inside the Republican Party-- which has crippled Republican efforts among Hispanic voters-- the trend had reversed. Here are the key findings from the LatinInsights report:
Key Finding 1: Hispanics are disappointed with Bush and unhappy with Republican government. Recent electoral gains made by Bush in this community have been wiped out.   
No matter how the numbers are cut, President Bush and the Republicans have seen a dramatic eroding of their standing with Spanish-speaking Hispanic voters.
In 2004 Kerry beat Bush 59%-40% with all Hispanics, and 52%-48% with those Spanish-dominant. In this survey Hispanics confirmed the closeness of the 2004 result. When asked who “did you vote for in 2004?” the result came back 38%-36% Kerry-Bush.
When asked how they would vote if the Presidential election were held today, this group gives Democrats a remarkable 36-point advantage (59%-23%). For Republicans this is a dramatic drop from the 52%-48% Kerry-Bush result with the Spanish-speaking sub-group in 2004. 
Bush’s standing with this group has plummeted. In the 2004 cycle, Bush regularly received a 60% favorable rating from Hispanics. In our survey this was reversed, as 38% see him favorably, 58% unfavorably, with 40% very unfavorable towards the President.

Democrats have a very significant advantage in favorability, with a 65%-25% favorable/ unfavorable result. Republicans come in at 41%-51% favorable/unfavorable. For the first time in any Hispanic poll we’ve seen, The Republican Party is seen more favorably than Bush. It is would not be a stretch to now say that President Bush has become a drag on the Republican Party with Hispanics.

On almost every major issue, not just immigration, overwhelming majorities of Hispanic voters think the Republican approach is wrong and harmful. That includes Iraq, the economy (rated #1 and 2 by Hispanic voters in terms of importance). "Of 20 major issues tested, Democrats outperform Republicans on 17, including 'family values,' 'better use of my tax money' and 'respects more my religious beliefs.' The loss of faith of Republican government to achieve things of value for the Hispanic community should be a major concern to the governing Party." 

Seven years ago there were over 28 million US households in which Spanish was the most-spoken language. Over 40 million Hispanics live in the U.S. Only 4 countries in the entire world have more Spanish speakers than the U.S. (Mexico, Colombia, Spain and Argentina). In 2000 there were 5 states where over 20% of the population spoke Spanish as a primary language, New Mexico (43.27%), California (34.72%), Texas (34.63%), Arizona (28.03%), Nevada (22.80%). Since then Colorado and Florida have probably crossed the 20% line as well.

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Yesterday at Daily Kos McJoan asked a crucial question every American should be asking herself or himself, Can we get 218?. What we need are 218 members of the House of Representatives to go along with the sentiments expressed in a letter to Bush and signed by 70 House members with spines. It starts with a simple and clear declaration:
We are writing to inform you that we will only support appropriating additional funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of all our troops out of Iraq before you leave office.

In other words: take your illegal war and occupation and shove them up your ass. McJoan suggests that everyone phone or write to his or her congresscritter and urge or demand that they sign on. I'm down with that. I would also recommend that the grassroots stop donating to the re-election campaigns of any Democrats who don't sign on. Right now Blue America has endorsed 8 incumbents for 2008. Of the 8 John Hall (NY), Hilda Solis (CA), Jerrold Nadler (NY) and Steve Cohen (TN) signed on. You do what you want but when I have some spare change for incumbents these are the 4 I'll be thinking of first.

The whole list of signatories:
Rep. Lynn Woolsey (CA);
Rep. Barbara Lee (CA);
Rep. Maxine Waters (CA);
Rep. Ellen Tauscher (CA);
Rep. Rush Holt (NJ);
Rep. Maurice Hinchey (NY);
Rep. Diane Watson (CA);
Rep. Ed Pastor (AZ);
Rep. Barney Frank (MA);
Rep. Danny Davis (IL);
Rep. John Conyers (MI);
Rep. John Hall (NY);
Rep. Bob Filner (CA);
Rep. Nydia Velazquez (NY);
Rep. Bobby Rush (IL);
Rep. Charles Rangel (NY);
Rep. Ed Towns (NY);
Rep. Paul Hodes (NH);
Rep. William Lacy Clay (MO);
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR);
Rep. Albert Wynn (MD);
Rep. Bill Delahunt (MA);
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC);
Rep. G. K. Butterfield (NC);
Rep. Hilda Solis (CA);
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY);
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY);
Rep. Michael Honda (CA);
Rep. Steve Cohen (TN);
Rep. Phil Hare (IL);
Rep. Grace Flores Napolitano (CA);
Rep. Alcee Hastings (FL);
Rep. James McGovern (MA);
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH);
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL);
Rep. Julia Carson (IN);
Rep. Linda Sanchez (CA);
Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ);
Rep. John Olver (MA);
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX);
Rep. Jim McDermott (WA);
Rep. Ed Markey (MA);
Rep. Chaka Fattah (PA);
Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ);
Rep. Rubin Hinojosa (TX);
Rep. Pete Stark (CA);
Rep. Bobby Scott (VA);
Rep. Jim Moran (VA);
Rep. Betty McCollum (MN);
Rep. Jim Oberstar (MN);
Rep. Diana DeGette (CO);
Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA);
Rep. Artur Davis (AL);
Rep. Hank Johnson (GA);
Rep. Donald Payne (NJ);
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (MO);
Rep. John Lewis (GA);
Rep. Yvette Clarke (NY);
Rep. Neil Abercrombie (HI);
Rep. Gwen Moore (WI);
Rep. Keith Ellison (MN);
Rep. Tammy Baldwin (WI);
Rep. Donna Christensen (USVI);
Rep. David Scott (GA);
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (IL);
Rep. Lois Capps (CA);
Rep. Steve Rothman (NJ);
Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD);
and one libertarian Republican, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).

So it isn't just the Jim Marshalls, Gene Taylors, Collin Peterson, Bud Cramers, Dan Borens, and Brian Bairds who haven't expressed support for this, the only way Congress can actually bring this brutal and catastrophic occupation to an end. It seems to me that it won't matter a great deal if you ask Allen Boyd or Jim Matheson or Heath Shuler to support this approach; they are lost causes and no better, at least on this, than your garden variety rubber stamp Republican. But I can name at least as many easy targets we could affect as the ones who have already signed on. For starters, I suspect it wouldn't take much at all to get Mazie Hirono (HI), Peter Welch (VT), John Sarbanes (MD), Carol Shea-Porter,(NH), Zoe Lofgren (CA), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL), John Tierney (MA), George Miller (CA), Henry Waxman (CA), and Xavier Becerra (CA) to agree to this right away. Do any of these folks work for you? My congresswoman has already signed.


Nine more Democrats have signed the letter to Bush:
Chris Murphy, CT
Jesse Jackson, Jr., IL
Melvin Watt, NC
Corrine Brown, FL
Gregory Meeks, NY
Mike Thompson, CA
Anthony Weiner, NY
Dave Loebsack, IA
Dennis Kucinich, OH


Wednesday, August 29, 2007



The Bush Regime says there is progress in Iraq and soon, despite all the epirical evidence to the contrary, they have the media repeating it as if it were obviously true. Even Democrats of a certain bent and persuasion-- a Brian Baird (D-WA), for example, comes back from a few dizzying, jetlagged hours in the Greed Zone declaring that the war is-- lo! and behold!-- being won.

I just drove home from dinner and I heard Bush on the radio, broadcasting from New Orleans where he was celebrating the tremendous progress he-- and he alone-- claims his regime has made in rebuilding the city. The only president to have ever lost an American city, Bush stood up and, with a straight face, said this to the long-suffering citziens, and ex-citizens of the once thriving and beloved city of New Orleans:
When Hurricane Katrina broke through the levees, it broke a lot of hearts, it destroyed buildings, but it didn't affect the spirit of a lot of citizens in this community.

...It's sometimes hard for people to see progress when you live in a community all the time.

Laura and I get to come-- we don't live here. We come on occasion. And it's easy to think about what it was like when we first came here after the hurricane and what it's like today. And this town's coming back. This town is better today than it was yesterday. And it's going to be better tomorrow than it was today.

Is he really as clueless as his speech- writers make him sound? Does he believe this heartless drivel? Is he blind? Maybe he needs to go to Australia and get the perspective he claims the citizens of New Orleans don't have. Or perhaps he could just watch Katie Couric's video report on New Orleans.
Two years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, people in New Orleans are still frustrated with the slow place of recovery.

At the time the wild storm left thousands of residents stranded on rooftops, while others made do in sub-standard shelters.

America was criticised for initially mounting a Third World response to a massive domestic crisis.

...In New Orleans two-thirds of the residents are back - the French Quarter survived Katrina and the music and restaurant scenes are recovering.

But few neighbourhoods are thriving, much of the city looks like a wasteland and businesses and homes are still abandoned.

With bells ringing to mark the moment the levees began to break, many residents have a lingering sense of abandonment and frustration at the rebuilding efforts.

Everyone I know who has visited beyond the Quarter and every TV report I've seen, shows the same thing: utter neglect and devastation, a complete lack of vision, competence and will from the top to actually accomplish the daunting task of reviving and rebuilding the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. Many years ago I used to smoke dope to this when it was first released. Maybe Bush did too:

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In the past we've covered many disloyal, reactionary Democrats, the Jim Marshalls, John Barrows, Chris Carneys and Gene Taylors of the world. The ones who piss me off most are the Democrats in solidly blue district who betray their constituents to vote with the Republicans and with insidious corporate interests. Illinois' 3rd congressional district is afflicted with one of those fake Democrats, Lipinski, a Tennessean who inherited the seat from his father.

The latest outrage regarding Lipinski was when he joined a handful of other renegade Democrats to vote with the Republicans and pass Bush's outrageous and unconstitutional FISA legislation. A week from Saturday, Blue America will be hosting a session at Firedoglake with Mark Pera, a real resident of IL-03 and a real Democrat. The chat is at 1pm (Chicago time), 11am on the West Coast. You'll have plenty of time to meet him then and ask him whatever questions you'd like. I'm bringing him up today, however, because he just issued a statement on why he would have opposed the FISA legislation. Here is a very clear distinction between a rabidly anti-choice conservative-- who even opposes stem cell research-- and a progressive Democrat who will fight it out in a primary that will determine the next congressman to represent IL-03.

Last year Blue America helped a dozen Democrats replace a dozen rubber stamp Republicans. We plan to do the same thing this year-- and at the same time, we also hope to replace some rubber stamp Democrats with real progressives. Mark is one of those progressives. This is what he had to say about Lipinski's rubber stamping of Bush's FISA bill:

On Aug. 5, before he left Washington D.C. for vacation, U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski gave President Bush and former-Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez permission to run the domestic wiretapping program without judicial oversight.

A Congressman who is aware of the troubles befalling our nation should know by now that this Administration won't just let the wiretapping program gather dust. We can be sure that sometime during the next six months, President Bush will exercise the power given to him by Congress.

It is shocking to see such blind trust from "Democrats" like Lipinski who willy-nilly throw away Congress' own power in deference to a President who has routinely demonstrated to the American people and to Congress that he cannot be trusted.

In my experience as Assistant Cook County State's Attorney, I requested wiretaps and I respected the protocol involved in the process, of going to a judge and having a third party sign off on the request. It never impeded my ability to do my job.

It is particularly troubling that Lipinski again capitulated to Bush's and other Republicans' blatant use of concerns about terrorism in presenting the proposal. By bucking the Democratic Party and voting with the Republicans, Lipinski has again withered in the face of fear mongering.

This whole issue brings to mind what Benjamin Franklin once said, "The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either."

What makes Lipinski's vote that much more egregious is it granted expanded powers to the former Attorney General, someone who has lost credibility with even the staunchest Republicans. The Gonzalez resignation is another reminder that we, the critics of this Administration's rampant disregard for our Constitutional system, must remain vigilant against a "unitary executive."

While the Bush Administration and Lipinski claim a high regard for democracy and the rule of law, their actions demonstrate a deep-seated contempt for both. Congressman Lipinski took an oath to uphold the Constitution but by repeatedly voting in lockstep with the Bush Administration and shirking his responsibility to check presidential power, he has violated that oath and our trust.

A Congressman that understands his responsibility to the American public would do well to remember that two years ago, Americans voted for meaningful, purposeful change. As this FISA vote demonstrates, that demand has fallen upon deaf ears in the 3rd District of Illinois.

It's time to stand up to the President and say 'No more!' Dan Lipinski won't do anything about this Administration; it is time to send someone to Congress who will.

You can see all the contrasts between Mark and Lipinski at Mark's website. If you'd like to lend a hand to Mark's grassroots campaign against a bogus Democratic incumbent, we just added him to our Blue America page today.

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"I know a hot tea room down the road apiece."

According to Bob Novak, Mitt Romney thinks he's best positioned to capitalize on his former Idaho campaign chair's bathroom escapades! He fired Senator Craig as soon as word of his toilet foibles leaked out earlier this week-- and followed it up by prohibiting his son, Josh, from even setting foot in Boise, apparently nervous he might end up being another of the Boys of Boise. Anyway, here's Novak:
The admitted improper behavior of Craig in an airport men's room stunned his Senate colleagues, but it provided an opening for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in his Republican presidential campaign to underline his theme of Washington being a pit of corruption. He is the only candidate, Romney says, totally free of the capital city's taint.

Flip Flop Mitt is certainly correct about the endemic corruption represented by Giuliani, McCain and Republican lobbyist Fred Thompson. Giuliani may be the most corrupt man to have ever been seriously considered for the White House by a major political party. But what about the rest of the pathetic pygmies™? Does Flip Flop know something about Huckabee, for example, that the rest of us don't? Or is this just more typical Romney take-no-prisoners lust for power, regardless of who or what (like Truth) he steps on?

Novak speculates that whether Senator Craig being caught with his pants down helps Romney or hurts him, it could be a great boon for Democrat Larry LaRocco. LaRocco's best chance of taking the senate seat next year in what is one of the reddest of states would be to run against the scandal-plagued incumbent. Insiders say that after Craig was caught in a toilet in Union Station in 1994 fellating a stranger he had decided to retire form politics next year. But the commotion over his latest sexcapades and his disappointment about how the Republicans have tossed him overboard so quickly and brutally is making him reconsider. Today Coleman and McCain, two complete sleazebuckets themselves, demanded Craig resign without further ado. He may run just to get even!
The revelation of Sen. Larry Craig's (R) arrest in an airport men's room under suspicion he was soliciting sex from a male plainclothes officer, and his subsequent guilty plea for disorderly conduct, have complicated the situation in this Senate race.

Craig had openly been mulling retirement, and the question now is whether he will resign early. Considering his defiant comments Monday night and Tuesday to the media and his reputation as stubborn, Idaho and Senate sources speculate Craig has no intention to fold easily. Party pressure could combine with unpleasant media attention to make Craig change his mind. In any event, he won't be the GOP Senate candidate in 2008 unless somehow he is able to show all the charges to be entirely false.

When a simple Craig retirement was on the table last week, Lt. Gov. Jim Risch (R) seemed the most likely Republican to step up for the 2008 campaign. He served well as acting governor last year, and is a skilled, well organized politician. His rising star might have been enough to crowd out other GOP contenders. However, even before Craig's arrest became news, well-connected Idaho Republicans sensed that Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne (R) (a former Senator and former Governor) might want to return to his old job in the upper chamber.

If Craig resigns, Gov. Butch Otter (R) would get to appoint a replacement who would serve out the remainder of the 110th Congress. This could actually play to the advantage of Republicans, who would have the opportunity to put up a sitting Senator in 2008 rather than filling an open seat. This possibility boosts the speculation that Rep. Mike Simpson (R) might be the next Senator-- and also the GOP candidate in 2008. Simpson, always mentioned for the seat when Craig started talking retirement, had decided not to run as long as Risch was considering running. An appointment could eliminate a primary, thus thrusting Simpson back into consideration.

Meanwhile a new SUSA survey shows that most Idahoans know about the toilet incident and feel Craig should resign. His approval rating is now down at 34%, almost as low as George Bush's and heading in the direction of Dick Cheney's. (A majority of self-described "conservatives," still approve.) Floridians don't want to see all the fame their state was getting for gay bathroom sex by Republican lawmakers slip away to Idaho. So today's Palm Beach Post has an advice column about public bathroom etiquette. In denying that Craig is a homosexual and that he solicited the cop, his office described it as a "He said, he said." Be on guard, watch out:


Crew's got the whole story but wonderers are wondering why McConnell is rushing around like a chicken without a head to make Larry Craig disappear when he never asked Ted Stevens (R-AK) to step down from any committees-- and Stevens actually used his committee positions to solicit millions of dollars in bribes. I never heard anything about Craig trying to play any potty games with any veterans or oil executives. And David Diapers Vitter (R-LA) already admitted he broke the law by hiring a prostitute. But he's still on his committees. What's with McConnell's double standard. What will happen early next year when the evidence on him is splashed all over the newspapers and TV screens-- I mean after he denies everything? Will he be forced to step down as Minority Leader?

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Last night TRex helped expose Kentucky's closeted gay senator, Mitch McConnell for what he is-- a brittle, uptight authoritarian who resorts to vigilantism when confronted by constituents angered by his rubber stamp support of Bush's occupation of Iraq. And Miss McConnell isn't the only panic-stricken Republican incumbent calling the Hells Angels to strong arm disgruntled, peaceful voters. DWT Mean Jean Watch correspondent, Karen Allen, is worried about a "Reich-wing trend" taking over the GOP. Here's Karen's report on the latest from Mean Jean World:

In the southwest Ohio congressional district represented by Mean Jean Schmidt, leaders of the Iraq Summer group sponsored a 24-hour "Support Our Troops, End the War" vigil outside of her suburban local office from Monday afternoon through Tuesday afternoon.  The many protesters ranged from committed high school students all the way to senior citizens.  They had signs, candles... a guitar.  Someone even ordered pizza to be delivered to the friendly and decidedly peaceful group.  As cars drove by,  drivers honked their horns, smiled and gave the "thumbs-up" symbol to the protesters. A poll of district residents showed that 70% favor a responsible and speedy withdrawal from Iraq (unlike their congresswoman, who is the quintessential Bush-Cheney rubber stamp and is a knee-jerk supporter of "Stay the Course.")
A panicked Schmidt sent out emergency phone calls to her goon squad buddies in her hometown in Clermont County.  Before long, a few motorcycles flying large flags probably "borrowed" from schools began arriving at the protest site. The drivers sported baseball caps, large overhanging beer bellies, dirty hair and several missing teeth.  They milled about across the driveway from the peaceful protesters, shouting insults and doubting that the protesters were "true Americans".
A resourceful attendee drove across the street to a party supply store and bought numerous American flags and distributed them to the protesters to carry.  Goon squad Hell's Angels types have no monopoly on American flags, and it took away some on their panache.  Eventually, Jean Schmidt's chauffeured SUV pulled into the driveway.  Without getting out, Schmidt thanked her outnumbered goons for their support.  She said nothing to the anti-war constituents on the other side of the driveway.
What a democracy lesson for the high school students to observe!  Trust Mean Jean to foul up anything and everything.

Last year of all the outstanding progressive Democrats endorsed by Blue America who ran for the House, Victoria Wulsin, was our top pick. We raised more money for her than for anyone else running for a House seat. And she came within a handful of votes of dislodging Schmidt. This year we've endorsed Victoria early and donations have already been flowing in. There is no clearer choice-- not just on Iraq, but across the board-- on how to govern America than between Victoria Wulsin and Mean Jean Schmidt. And I can guarantee you that it would never cross Dr. Wulsin's mind to call out a goon squad on her constituents. Please think about contributing to Victoria's campaign here at our Blue America page.

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