Thursday, August 31, 2006


There's plenty of reasons why one might favor Democratic challenger Phil Angelides over California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger this November, and in all fairness you can read about them here. His position on lowering state college tuition, rather than raising it as the Governator has, is but one.

However, if I were a betting man I'd put my money on Arnold for reelection. His superstar wattage has always made him a formidable candidate, and his physique is still good enough to make Phil look like, well, a girlyman. And Angelides did not do himself any favors in the mutually-assured-destruction campaign he and Steve Westly waged in the Democratic Primary.

Most of all, Arnold has upped his poll number from a terrible position a year ago, when he was following the GOP line and got trounced on some voter initiatives he had endorsed, by flipping around and coming up with some positively Liberal positions.

Today's big example is Arnold working with the Democratic controlled State Legislature to pass a first-in-USA greenhouse gas bill. While it doesn't boast the most ambitious reduction targets imaginable, it's quite a positive step in the right direction:
The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 puts California at the forefront of the fight against climate change along with the
European Union, and increases pressure on Washington to impose mandatory caps rather than the voluntary measures favored by Bush.

California aims to reduce its emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, a cut of around 25 percent. The biggest sources of heat-trapping gases, such as power plants and cement makers, will be required to report their emissions.

The article notes that Arnold has been frustrated by do-nothing Bush and his anti-environmental cronies, and just took matters into his own hammy hands.

This is known as following the will of the people. Unlike the GOP leadership in D.C., it shows intelligent application of reason. After all:
Although California is a pace-setter on the environment, it is also the world's 12th-largest producer of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and faces potentially serious concerns over its drinking water, coastline, agriculture and air quality because of the rise in temperatures.

While it may be too much to dream of Gov. Schwarzenegger supporting a Presidential bid by fellow environmentalist Al Gore, clearly his action reflect some Inconvenient activism that made a big impression this year.

Now, was that so hard?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


I consider myself a patriot, so when I recall the quote by Samuel Johnson (1709-84), "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel," I can only take the good doctor to have meant those who wrap themselves in patriotism as a shield against just criticism or, even worse, those who impugn the patriotism of other.

By impugning free speech contrary to Bush Administration folly, our disgraceful Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, branded himself a leader among scoundrels.

You can read his speech, given at the 88th Annual American Legion National Convention, right here on our Department of Defense website (yes, our, as in Rumsfeld may not act like it but he still works for We The People).

Better yet, watch Keith Olbermann possibly career-topping rebuttal for yourself. It's a pleasure.

I won't spoil all the fun, but with the GOP now using the term "fascism" in their new talking point offensive (fascism is their new black!), a term so many on the moderate and progressive Americans have applied to this gang's illegal wiretaps and incarcerations, Olbermann turns the most embedded Conservative talking point regarding unprovoked American aggression on its head, namely the charge of "appeasement" against those who tried to keep us out of war in Iraq and now Iran.

Tonight Olbermann earned his usual closing, the one he cribbed from legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow, "Good night and good luck."

Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush, Rove -- the new Joseph McCarthys.

How's that for a legacy.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Politi-flicks: Frontier

Uncannily observant readers will notice a new link added at right, to The Daily Reel, which is the first great online video meta-site. It recommends the best of the tens of thousands of new online videos uploaded every single day to places like YouTube and Google Video and provides the first regularly programmed commentary on the nascent milieu, from reviews to trend analysis.

The postings from the regular crew tend to be brief, which is but one of the reasons I've begun contributing to the site. Another is that I'm permitted to cross-post the work for them here. In any case, it's always nice to be asked, and I'm excited to be a part of what I'm sure will be a tremendously successful endeavor.

I'll be doing what some might mistake as extending the Nettertainment brand by covering the political side of online video. Conflating entertainment and politics has always been this site's mission, as it is our current coin of our land, especially in the last two months leading up to an especially hard-rocking midterm election.

Hence, for The Daily Reel, Politi-flicks.

Political film on the web is an already explosive outgrowth of the blogosphere, in both the propagatory and inflammatory sense. Not only are so many major political weblogs regularly featuring YouTube empowered web video, but mastery of political video on the web is fast becoming a make-or-break discipline for political campaigns.

Brief, digestible video of political candidates in action hits the web within hours, even minutes of being shot. This is not waiting around to see what the newsreporter writes in your morning paper about the campaign appearance yesterday afternoon, this is getting a relatively unfiltered, often unvarnished look at the candidate him or herself.

A study in contrasts: one candidate benefits enormously from spontaneous online video, another suffers.

In his Quixotic quest to replace Bush-supporting Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman, Ned Lamont chose to challenge the incumbent in the Democratic Primary. Lamont was heavily covered by essentially amateur political activists who put many moments on digital videotape and posted selections online. He grew more and more comfortable being recorded, with YouTube listing 237 videos found under his name and counting. Aside from local appearances and TV news shots, he's seen playing boogie-woogie piano at a neighborhood event, and interviewed by Stephen Colbert.

On the flip side, Virginia Senator George Allen, now in a tough re-election fight against challenger Jim Webb, found himself accused of racism after being captured at an event calling the videographer, an American of Indian descent, "macaca," and asking the audience to welcome him to America.

I have no doubt that we'll see more and more shaping of such videos by the campaigns themselves, exerting greater control over when their candidates are videotaped in action and by whom, making the planned seem spontaneous and then seeding video online in all sorts of clever ways. As well they should, especially if their candidate has something to hide.

For now, enjoy the sudden availability of political candidates in their unvarnished Internet video form. It's freewheeling democracy the way our nation's founders intended -- had Benjamin Franklin invented the QuickTime codec and USB.


There's a grand tradition of American hoaxsters, like NYC favorite Alan Abel from his founding of S.I.N.A. (Society for the Indecency to Naked Animals) in 1959 through to his fake lottery win hoaxes in 1990 and just this year again. At its best, a great hoax turns our assumptions about how institutions operate against those institutions, exposing them to some sort of light.

It turns out an already documentaried group, The Yes Men, just took the piss out of the Gulf Coast Reconstruction and Hurricane Preparedness Summit, one member pretending that he was actually a Federal housing official and making all kinds of promises:
Activist Andy Bichlbaum, pretending to be HUD "Assistant Deputy Secretary Rene Oswin," told hundreds of businesspeople at a forum the agency would reverse policy and reopen housing units now targeted for replacement by mixed-income development.

He promised to "fix New Orleans, not just for the benefit of a few but for everyone."

The audience applauded the speech, and the moderator thanked "Oswin" for the "dramatic announcement.

Bravo, bravo said the room full of Louisiana officials and 1,000 contractors. Contractors who may want the housing pulled down so they can get a piece of a bigger construction work pie.

But the capper to the hoax, the true icing and delight:
Toward that end, he said, Wal-Mart would withdraw its stores from near low-income housing and "help nurture local businesses to replace them."

Wal-Mart was unmoved. "As evidenced by the fact that we recently reopened two stores in the New Orleans metropolitan area, there is absolutely no truth to these statements," said spokeswoman Marisa Bluestone...

...Finally, to ensure another hurricane does not inundate the city, Exxon and Shell have promised to spend $8.6 billion "to finance wetlands rebuilding from $60 billion in profits this year," he said.

Wal-Mart has already made their denial (they've moved 2 stores into New Orleans), but maybe the oil companies get shamed into giving something?

Shamed. Right.

So that's my kind of hoax, against the hoaxiest Presidential administration since Richard Nixon, since Harding, arguably since the establishment of the Republic.

As opposed to this kind of hoax.

Monday, August 28, 2006


From time-to-time I find myself enjoying a little taste of the agitation propaganda, affectionately known in structuralist circles as agitprop. It doesn't have to be epic, but it should be at least a little bit graphic, like a classic political poster. And it should have some bite.

General J.C. Patriot -- Jesus' General -- has been at it since before Stephen Colbert got his own show. He's at his best sending letters to his Republican "heroes" but this particular post, "They also serve who only stagger and chug", is a little more earnest than usual, basically three pairs of photos contrasting the lives of U.S. soldiers in Iraq vs. those of the College Republican National Committee Chairman, the son of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and the Bush twins.

I'm starting to wonder if the real reason we don't have a draft today is fear of class warfare, that the chickenhawks in power are too spooked about what would be the media scrutiny of their kids' being in service or cushy-in-service, or just not.

If Real Wages Fail to Match a Rise in Productivity, can a new U.S. class war be all that far behind?

Saturday, August 26, 2006


There's a million stories in the War on Iraq and I'm sure we'll soon begin consuming them in their fictionalized forms whether literature, movies or TV shows. Hey, wait, TV actually started during the war, a first for Hollywood which never really addressed the true stories of Vietnam in their fictions until it was over (and then the race the on).

And we all know Iraq is hell, as those who are living through all the destruction and everyday horror wrought in wake of the disastrous decision for us to invade to remove Saddam Hussein from power keep reminding us.

Look what we've done to this country. Good neighbors become executioners. That seems to be the unintended dominant story to come out of the War, the one the BushCheneyCo never even considered, not Rummy, not Karl. Is there really one that's bigger?

Saddam who? If it was that easy to beat that tinpot bastard, and we're less safe now, then that won't be the biggest paragraph in the history books.

So to inaugurate serious storytelling from our nightmare Iraq, I nominate this true-life tale.

Simmering for, what, 1500 years:

It's all Shi'a vs. Sunni now.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Secrets of Real Time with Bill Maher

If anyone's read or recalls an earlier post I wrote, "Secrets of the Daily Show", then this one is a lot shorter. I think that experience was more exotic to me, also a much more painful waiting and seated period. That was 5 in the afternoon, this was 6:30pm Friday night.

Undeniably a thrill to drive from Santa Monica to the legendary CBS Television City, with its convenient studioside parking and charming young ushers in ratty red page jackets.

Undeniably a thrill to be at a live broadcast. A whole different vibe than the New York taping, a lot because it's not just a taping, it's a real time to HBO East 11pm ET/8pm PT Real Time with Bill Maher. I got home and my TiVo already had me in the second of two audience shots.

I am a big fan of this show and think Maher has done a yeoman's job of fomenting social and political discussion. Sadly, the bad history-making of the Bush Administration is so unrelenting that it's a lot of hitting on Bush for being a moron. He was able to style more interesting kind of anti-partisan positions back when there wasn't neoconservative hegemony, making all other debates basically superfluous.

Besides narrowing the range of ideas being explored, the Bush torpor also means that smart Conservatives avoid the show. Yes, the audience was 85% liberal and (if even) 15% conservatives by shows of hands (and a whole brave family of them next to us in our row), but I think there once was a middle ground or maybe just soft enough partisan ground that if it still existed there'd have been much less booing and I'd bet even consideration of some debate-worthy conservative points. But with this Iraq War killing America, even a Heather Wilson (R-NM) is a rarity.

Consequently, we get Christopher Hitchens, a college Trotskyite turned neoconservative. He's a gifted writer, has many good things going on in his mind, but has messianic notions of what America should have done, should be doing, whatever, on the world stage.

From the first time he got booed for some statement or other he went on the audience, insulting the audience, at one point I thought gave us the finger, but will check the TiVo again, first whip through it seemed to be forefinger, still with the very aggressive facing.

I don't know if he was jonesing for a drink or a butt or what, but just before "New Rules", Maher told guest Vali Nasr he knew he had a plane to catch and thanked him for coming on; but it seems Hitch snuck out as well. I didn't actually see him go, just realized he wasn't sitting a chair over from Max Clelland like he should have been, Max having parked his wheelchair in tableplace next to Bill from the start of the show.

I have to admit that I adore Max. He's got a lot of folksy slogans and did his best to get a word in with Bill and Chris going at it all schoolyard. Max is my kind of old-fashioned Democrat, populist and cheery. The producers lucked out, because even though he was the only one they could cut to for reaction shots during "New Rules," Cleland was laughing all the time. He's in that wheelchair and he has a totally great sense of humor.

Bill did satellite interviews with Spike Lee (When the Levees Broke) and Elvis Costello (duets with Allen Toussaint) on our 1st Katrina anniversary, shameful as it is that so little has been done since then. Spike actually thinks about every question an interviewer asks, kinda cool and thoughtful but not all that suited for Maher's more wired pacing. Bill got into a weird prepared bit on She Hate Me that Spike took a moment to catch onto, silly lesbian pandering boy stuff. When pressed by Bill on Kanye West's accusation against Bush, Spike was careful to say that he didn't know Bush personally, but that it was the policies of his Administration that seem racially repressive, and there was a big class issue as well -- the TV networks liked showing poor looters, not hurricane damage in the high rent parishes.

Costello was a brilliant interview as he's always been, this time really bringing the love of New Orleans and his semi-adopted America as well. When Bill tried to bait him with the poll that 1% of Britains think Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11, hey how stupid is Middle America, Costello went on a grandslam closer about how in every little town anywhere he's ever been across America, there's always someone cool who knows what's going on. Remember liberal humanism?

As Elvis left Hitchens slapped on a racial smear regarding Elvis' accent, that it sounded more Irish to him, as it would since Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus' ancestors were indeed Irish. As in, his views don't count because he's not English. Wow, we hit him pretty fast on that, and coward Hitchens responded quickly to the boos, "Not that there's anything wrong with that! Plenty of fine..." but it was too pathetic really to continue on.

Ah, for the days of Tony Snow as guest from the Right.

But of all the celebrities, the one the audience knew the least (a smattering!) and I loved the best was online political discourse pioneer Markos Molitsas, a.k.a. Kos, founder of DailyKos. Since so many readers of his blog would be viewers of the show, there's a diary up on the site with a number of reader comments that really accurately describe some aspect of the episode. A few of my favorites on Markos:
Kos' best moment came early, and completely diffused the direction Maher wanted to take the interview, Kos said something like: 'I'm not even in charge of my own blog. What I did was create a forum where people can talk and interact and arrive at collective solutions to move our country forward; we hold public officials accountable. And that's why the republicans (and democrats) in power are so scared of us, they hate being held accountable by the people."

I loved hearing that because I believe this country needed that marketplace of ideas and political discourse that Markos had made real. It's part and parcel of Stewart and Colbert and Maher, although Maher seems a bit late to the party, and started going off on some preplanned jokiness coining a kind of ghetto term, "blogga" that seemed an ill-advised detour. Per diarist Mr Met:
I'm sorry that he didn't seem to have a better handle on Kos and what's going on in the blogosphere. That whole "blogga" riff was preconceived, not spontaneous, and a waste of Kos' precious moments, in my opinion.

But what made Markos' interview a success was that he took it back for the closer:
Kos smartly recognized his time was a-wasting so he brought the conversation back to something worthwhile and made a few points in the few seconds Maher gave him to make them.

Bloggers getting to know the TV game. Good for Markos, who seems quite the nerdy Berkeleyite but has gotten better dressed and smoother over from the first TV interviews, maybe not even a year ago.

The show lives or dies by its panel, and while this one had its entertainments, I'm hoping for better ones later this year.

Mostly, I'm just hoping for better news.


I've been waiting for this for a long time. No, I won't speak her name, not a drop of additional name recognition, but I know she's there, and something has to be going right if she's collapsing like a house of cards on the air with showbiz Sean Hannity.

The hard-rocking Democratic strategist who's takes her down so definitively: Kirsten Powers.

Change the Party indeed.

She's worked for Clinton, clearly has a brilliant future, and frequently blogs like this for the Huffington Post:
There are many issues that separate Republicans and Democrats, but a core belief of those on the left side of the aisle is that you have an obligation to speak out when you believe your leaders have gone astray. Those on the right tend to embrace the more totalitarian-style "support the Commander in Chief when you are at war and if you don't you hate America" approach, unless of course, the Commander in Chief is a Democrat.

During the Kosovo conflict, Tom Delay regularly attacked the Commander in Chief Bill Clinton from the floor of the House. For example, he said: "There's no national interest of the United States in Kosovo. It's flawed policy and it was flawed to go in. I think this president is one of the least effective presidents of my life time. He's hollowed out our forces while running round the world with these adventures."

Expose all their hypocrisies. Don't ever buy into their pretzel logic.

Beat them back with reality.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


The GOP know they've lost in Iraq. Even the Bush Administration now knows it, no matter how hard it will be for Bush to ever admit defeat, (he'll punch someone, like the American public, on the way down to ameliorate his pain), no matter that psycho Dick Cheney probably won't ever admit it to himself. The key is the language they're using now:
Of all the words that President Bush used at his news conference this week to defend his policies in Iraq, the one that did not pass his lips was "progress."

For three years, the president tried to reassure Americans that more progress was being made in Iraq than they realized. But with Iraq either in civil war or on the brink of it, Bush dropped the unseen-progress argument in favor of the contention that things could be even worse.

What we're seeing now is like Act III in The Wizard of Oz when Toto tugs the curtain back to reveal the little man behind the big gassy icon. This reveal will continue well into November, despite GOP efforts to create more fog, like conflating the War on Terror (see previous post for the inanity of this lingual construct) with the War in Iraq (on Iraq? vs. Iraq?), or making it seem like the Dems are for immediate withdrawal.

Even overrated Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is running away from the Administration he has failed to oppose strongly enough to make even a scratch in their disastrous policy, despite his "reputation" as a "maverick":
"One of the biggest mistakes we made was underestimating the size of the task and the sacrifices that would be required," McCain said. "'Stuff happens,' 'mission accomplished,' 'last throes,' 'a few dead-enders.' I'm just more familiar with those statements than anyone else because it grieves me so much that we had not told the American people how tough and difficult this task would be."

How about the real truth, John, that invading Iraq was a mistaken foreign and military policy in the first place. We have the very same monumental screw-ups who got us into that war complaining now that the public isn't being force-fed an alarmist fear diet on Iran like they were able to manipulate the intelligence apparatus and the press into doing with Iraq.

We've done everything Iran could have asked to strengthen their hand in the Middle East, ridding them of their two strongest enemies (the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein on their Western flank) and now the corrective is more of the same?

I don't downplay the threat of the fundamentalist regime in Iran, mainly to the survival of Israel. However:
The consensus of the intelligence agencies is that Iran is still years away from building a nuclear weapon. Such an assessment angers some in Washington, who say that it ignores the prospect that Iran could be aided by current nuclear powers like North Korea. "When the intelligence community says Iran is 5 to 10 years away from a nuclear weapon, I ask: '‘If North Korea were to ship them a nuke tomorrow, how close would they be then?'"” said Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker of the House of Representatives.

"The intelligence community is dedicated to predicting the least dangerous world possible,"” he said.

Some veterans of the intelligence battles that preceded the Iraq war see the debate as familiar and are critical of efforts to create hard links based on murky intelligence.

If you want to see a smart, hard-headed approach to U.S. foreign policy, check out Howard Dean here on Hardball. I think Dean's been penalized the way a lot of pioneers are, for being first when public opinion was going the other way, in this case being a pioneer in truth vs. truthiness.

Chris Matthews tries to get Dean to say he's for an immedwithdrawalrawel, or maybe that's something Matthews favors. In any case, Dean continues to say Dems are for a thoughtful withdrawal plan, based on intelligence that El Presidente may have access to that others don't, while keeping a presence somewhere in the Middle East, just not in the middle of the Civil War.

I think that the reveals are good for the country. I think the Dems do have their philosophy together.

At this point it's enough to say, about virtually every direction our entirely GOP controlled government has been going:

"Change the Course."

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Reuters reports that 2500 retired U.S. Marines will be ripped away from their lives and families to fill a shortfall in volunteer recruiting. This is called an "involuntary recall" and affects service men and women who did their four years of active duty and are now in reserve, a status from which they can voluntarily re-activate or, involuntarily only with a Presidente's signature, be reactivated.

There's a pool of 35,000 such inactive Marines but the recall limit at any one time is 2500. Once again, George W. Bush is breaking the bank, or as close to it as he can. They most revealing graf from the article:
But the number of Marines volunteering outside their active-duty service requirement has been steadily declining for two years, according to Stratton, who said could not offer an explanation.

The Marine Corps' authority to involuntarily recall Marines for jobs in the "Global War on Terror" -- a war whose parameters remain largely undefined -- has no expiration date.

"The authority is until GWOT is over with," Stratton said. "Until we're told to do otherwise, we'll use it."

The Marine Corps' move comes almost five years after the September 11 attacks that led the United States to declare a war on global terrorism and more than three years after the Iraq war began.

First off, can anyone give Col. Stratton the reason why the number of volunteers has been declining? Let's not always see the same hands...

Then there's the GWOT. Is this a crazy euphemism for remaking the Islamic world so they like us? Using airpower and guns to do so?

As future U.S. President (you read it here first) Paul Hackett so vigorously affirms in this wild clip from tonight's Hardball, terror is a tactic or even a strategy; it is not a philosophy -- or even an enemy.

Hell, we even practice terrorism, when we bomb a country like Iraq into submission, or as Israel did by bombing so much of Lebanon this past month in an attempt to make the Lebanese people reject Hezbollah.

Hackett is my kind of Democrat -- Alpha. He takes down this pathetic Republican rich kid from Texas who spouts GOP talking points like he's got no ideas of his own.

We'll probably see the sycophant suck-up as a smug Vice Presidential candidate in 15 years. Those GOP bastards just never seem to go away.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Is he?

The questions about Bush's mental acumen are back today, as Joe Scarborough does yet another segment on "Is Bush an 'Idiot'?", this time on the backlash. He's got a great parade of mostly familiar clips where El Presidente stumbles verbally into the microphone, and then has a GOP strategist defending Bush with such intended debate stoppers as saying that the electorate doesn't want to talk about Bush in such terms.

Uh, I've been talking about him in such terms for SIX LONG YEARS.

As with his blog entry, Joe says Conservatives in D.C. are privately questioning Bush's mental deficit, going back to Katrina and Harriet Miers. He also brings up the decline in Bush's performance over his Presidency:
But the George Bush of 2006 seems to be a far cry from the man I spoke with in 2001, or the back-slapping governor who charmed the hell out of me when I visited him in the Texas governor's mansion in 1999.

These days the President seems distracted, disjointed and dumbed-down in press conferences. His jokes fall flat and are often inappropriate.

Like maybe his highly Presidential fart jokes?

Okay, so I've found Bush to be intellectually incurious from day one. Welcome to the party Joe. But this degradation of his speaking capabilities, which was actually an issue around the 2004 election when he fell apart in the first debate and seemed unengaged with reality in the rare (Tim Russert) interview. Asperger's Syndrome, maybe? Drinking again?

The real fire-stoking idiocy event was Bush's press conference today, one of the very few he's had with reporters. Among the quotables:
You know, I'’ve heard this theory about, you know, everything was just fine until we arrived [in Iraq] and -- you know, the stir-up-the-hornet'’s-nest theory. It just doesn'’t hold water, as far as I'’m concerned.

The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East. They were...

QUESTION: What did Iraqi have to do with that?
BUSH: What did Iraq have to do with what?

QUESTION: The attacks upon the World Trade Center.

BUSH: Nothing.

He goes on to try and conflate again, saying 9/11 taught us to react to threats before they materialize, which again seems like an insane man's construct. He does the whole straw man saying that the opposition to his staying in Iraq wants to withdraw immediately -- another lie out of his lips.

There's a different wrinkle with this press conference, though, where Bush laid blame elsewhere besides his own screw-ups, as he seems to have done his entire life:
"War is not a time of joy," he said. "These are challenging times, and they're difficult times, and they're straining the psyche of our country. I understand that. You know, nobody likes to see innocent people die.


Martin Marprelate on DailyKos thinks this is Bush's 'malaise moment' referring to when then President Jimmy Carter pronounced that the U.S. citizenry were in a malaise.

Rule #1 of strong governance: Don't blame the electorate, silly!

Writes Martin:
Make no mistake about it, this is Bush's attempt to fob off blame for his failure as the fault of American citizens' collective loss of nerve, not flawed policies he built upon a house of cards composed of lies and neo-con fantasies.

'Straining the psyche' will go down in history as a moment - like Carter's 'crisis of confidence' malaise speech or Ford's WIN buttons - that crystalized the fact that this man has no clue what he is doing or what he is up against. And that means that the rest of us are up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

Yep, that's just like idiot Presidente Bush to avoid all responsibility at all times. To leave it to others to clean up his train wreck. Because the worst part of the whole press conference:

Bush Tells Press U.S. Won't Leave Iraq While He Is President

Suck on that, American psyche. Suck on that.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


I think when we look back on this many years from now, I'm confident that people are gonna see what happened in New Orleans as a defining moment in American history. Whether that's pro or con is yet to be determined.
- Spike Lee

It's clearly time for a change, and for that reason not only have I expressed the feelings I have regarding how important it is for Ned Lamont to be elected Senator from Connecticut, it's also why I can not for the life of me fathom why any non-GOP partisan would ever ascribe to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) the sobriquet of "moderate".
In a New York Times article, "McCain Mines Elite of G.O.P. for 2008 Team," we learn that:
He is reaching out to Christian conservatives, who helped sink his 2000 presidential bid, by enlisting the aid of figures like Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. of Utah and former Senator Dan Coats of Indiana, both of whom have strong evangelical followings.

That's right, he's reaching out to the same machine that got us in this hole in the first place:
Among the more prominent members of the Bush team who said they expected to play a role in Mr. McCain'’s candidacy, if he chooses to run, are Mark McKinnon, a Texas political media consultant who has worked for Mr. Bush for years; Terry Nelson, political director of the Bush 2004 re-election campaign; Nicolle Wallace, that campaign'’s communications director; Wayne L. Berman, a Washington lobbyist, friend of Mr. Bush'’s and prolific fund-raiser; and F. Philip Handy, chairman of Jeb Bush'’s two races for governor in Florida and a major supporter of the president.

Inspires confidence, doesn't it?

As for the major U.S. issue of our day, McCain has nothing but "Stay and Pay" for Iraq, i.e. in American and Iraqi blood, no new ideas, nothing but support for Bush/Cheney's debacle. He goes so far as to say:
Most Americans, when they're asked if they want to set a date for withdrawal, say no.

As the Eschaton article by Atrios points out, over 50% of all Americans in surveys by CNN, USA Today and even FOX actually, uh, do want a withdrawel date.

The only Republican (and I include Joe Lieberman in this formation) telling the truth, albeit without villifying Bush/Cheney's original tragic decision and perfidity to get us there, is Sen. Chuck Hegel (R-NB). Even being interviewed on Fox News. He talks about the Middle East being more unstable than any time since 1948 (the year of Israeli independence), the permeating corruption in Iraq, and the need to start withdrawing troops within six months.

Meanwhile the civil war gets worst in Baghdad, as 20 Shiite religious pilgrims get killed by snipers on their way to a shrine. As Juan Cole sees it:
If this incident, which will inspire rage and reprisals by Shiites, can occur in the midst of an enormous crackdown in the battle for Baghdad, I fear the evidence is that that battle is already lost. What Shiites will willingly disarm after today? And if they don't neither will the Sunni Arabs. The armed faction fighting will go on. The US appears powerless.

Speaking of a powerless U.S. and harkening back to the Spike Lee quote at the top of this post, his comprehensive documentary on the New Orleans Hurricane Katrina ordeal, When the Levees Broke, airs in two installments, Monday and Tuesday night on HBO. The reviewer from Variety, Joe Leydon, writes in his personal movingpictureblog:
It's entirely too early, of course, to describe any book, film or TV production as the "definitive account" of Hurricane Katrina's assault on (and the federal government's ill-serving of) New Orleans. Even so, Spike Lee makes a fair bid to be credited as providing one of the major reference works for subsequent chroniclers with his exhaustive -- but never, it should be noted, exhausting -- When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.

This is a huge political issue for the next few elections, how a GOP Administration that already appeared callous to the needs of all but the U.S. aristocracy, allowed a poverty-stricken American city to simply drown, and it appears that Spike has made the monument, the equivalent to Al Gore's cinematic clarion call on Global Warming.

Spike is interviewed on the HBO site, and has this to say about why he's made the documentary:
When Hurricane Katrina went through New Orleans or around it, I was in Venice, Italy at a film festival. It was a very painful experience to see my fellow American citizens, the majority of them African- Americans, in the dire situation they were in. And I was outraged with the slow response of the federal government. And every time I'm in Europe, any time something happens in the world involving African-Americans, journalists jump on me, like I'm the spokesperson for 45 million African-Americans, which I'm not. But many of them expressed their outrage too. And one interesting thing is that these European journalists were saying the images they were seeing looked like they were from a third world country, not the almighty United States of America.

He talks about communicating the horror of what residents experienced, a word we don't often hear associated with Katrina, but the one that cuts to the chase. The Third World USofA, another reason the GOP leaders are truly today's Party of Death, as some would smear the Dems. Per Spike:
Anyone who has been to New Orleans will automatically tell you that what you saw on television, the pictures, they can't really describe the scale of the devastation. When you go to the Lower Ninth Ward, it looks- Hiroshima must have look like that. Nagasaki. Beirut. Berlin after it was bombed in World War II. That's the way the Lower Ninth Ward looks like, and a lotta other places in New Orleans.

I've got the TiVo all set.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Ever since he left his role as lead theater critic at the New York Times and moved over to regular op-ed pieces, Frank Rich has been kicking major boot.

He's been clear as a bell from Bush's sixteen word State of the Union lie that invading Iraq was a disastrous decision and that everyone involved with outing, including the President and Vice President, is a criminal.

He's back this Sunday with a piece on how the mainstream political pundits are morons about Lamont/Lieberman and what is really going on for the ruling party in this country.

I don't subscribe to Times Select, so this link is useless to me and probably most of you. However, Maccabee over at DailyKos has done the yeoman's job by getting key passages into his post. This one in particular made me smile, as it combines the two Nettertainment fixations, politics and entertainment:
The administration's constant refrain that Iraq is the "central front" in the war on terror is not only false but has now also backfired politically: only 9 percent in the CBS poll felt that our involvement in Iraq was helping decrease terrorism. As its fifth anniversary arrives, 9/11 itself has been dwarfed by the mayhem in Iraq, where more civilians are now killed per month than died in the attack on America. The box-office returns of "World Trade Center" are a cultural sign of just how much America has moved on. For all the debate about whether it was "too soon" for such a Hollywood movie, it did better in the Northeast, where such concerns were most prevalent, than in the rest of the country, where, like "United 93," it may have arrived too late. Despite wild acclaim from conservatives and an accompanying e-mail campaign, "World Trade Center" couldn't outdraw "Step Up," a teen romance starring a former Abercrombie & Fitch model and playing on 500 fewer screens.

This stuff is tasty like oxygen, and I urge you to read Maccabee's whole post, if not the article itself should you subscribe. Rich lays out how the pundits equating Ned's win with some sort of far-left takeover of the Democratic Party are missing the main point: The coalesced consensus that the Iraq War, supported so strongly by Joe Lieberman every step of the deluded way, is a debacle and we need a plan for getting out:
The hyperbole that has greeted the Lamont victory in some quarters is far more revealing than the victory itself. In 2006, the tired Rove strategy of equating any Democratic politician's opposition to the Iraq war with cut-and-run defeatism in the war on terror looks desperate. The Republicans are protesting too much, methinks. A former Greenwich selectman like Mr. Lamont isn't easily slimed as a reincarnation of Abbie Hoffman or an ally of Osama bin Laden. What Republicans really see in Mr. Lieberman's loss is not a defeat in the war on terror but the specter of their own defeat. Mr. Lamont is but a passing embodiment of a fixed truth: most Americans think the war in Iraq was a mistake and want some plan for a measured withdrawal. That truth would prevail even had Mr. Lamont lost.

Is it too idealistic to believe that the truth will out, ultimately, even after taking some body-blows?

Is it crazy that after the events and chicanery of the past six years I'd still have that hope?

To be honest, I don't. I'm hoping, but I'm not expecting that all wrongs will be righted, all evildoers punished, that the ship of state will be righted once more as it evidently was during Bill Clinton's Administration.

The change has already come in the public mind. How committed we Americans are to its actualization as governmental rule only time, starting Tuesday, November 7th, will tell.

Friday, August 18, 2006


Borat is coming. The character and the movie.

Two very funny trailers. Here's the 1st trailer, back in his native Kazakstan, getting the send off. Here's the 2nd trailer, with clips from various parts of his U.S. tour.

The blurb at Apple trailers:
Sacha Baron Cohen - star of HBO'’s hit comedy "Da Ali G Show,"” takes his outrageous Kazakstani reporter character Borat to the big screen. In this hilariously offensive movie, Borat travels from his primitive home in Kazakhstan to the U.S. to make a documentary. On his cross-country road-trip, Borat meets real people in real situations.

The British-born Cohen is out the farthest edge of actually funny comedy, where it meets and trumps reality TV. He's great in Talladegah Nights as well, inspiring El Presidente Bush to read French existentialist writer Albert Camus.

Here's his permanent Borat site. And here's where you'll find his classic performance, "Throw the Jew Down the Well," in among the unsuspecting in a Texas shitkicker bar.

Between Borat and Snakes on a Plane...I smell Oscar showdown!


The headline says it all:

U.S. Judge Finds Wiretapping Plan Violates the Law
Judge Taylor ruled that the program violated both the Fourth Amendment and a 1978 law that requires warrants from a secret court for intelligence wiretaps involving people in the United States. She rejected the administration'’s repeated assertions that a 2001 Congressional authorization and the president's constitutional authority allowed the program.

"“It was never the intent of the framers to give the president such unfettered control, particularly when his actions blatantly disregard the parameters clearly enumerated in the Bill of Rights,"” she wrote. "The three separate branches of government were developed as a check and balance for one another."”

Insert usual ho-hum GOP smear.

More goodness:
Judge Taylor rejected the government'’s threshold argument that she should not hear the case at all because it concerned state secrets. Dismissal on those grounds was not required, she wrote, because the central facts in the case -- the existence of the program, the lack of warrants and the focus on communications in which one party is in the United States -- have been acknowledged by the government.

Attorney Generalissimo Alberto Gonzales is filing the expected appeal. More GOP attacks. Old Reagan Admin lizards calling it a bad decision for this or that smear reason.

My fave passage in the federal judicial ruling:
"There are no hereditary kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution,"” she wrote, rejecting what she called the administration's assertion that the president "has been granted the inherent power to violate not only the laws of the Congress but the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution itself."”

Ah, memories.

See 2006's Howard Beale, Jack Cafferty, give the pissed-off concurring analysis:
It means President Bush violated his oath of office, among other things, when he swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. It means he's been lying to us about the program since it started, when tells us there's nothing illegal about what he'’s doing. A court has ruled it is illegal. And it means a 75 year old black female judge in Michigan has finally stepped in and done the job that Congress is supposed to do, namely oversight of the executive branch of government. But the Congress is controlled by Republicans. They are controlled by the President, and they have done nothing in the way of oversight.

What's the penalty for violating the Presidential Oath of Office? That should be worth at least impeachment if not removal if not five years in Leavenworth being a neo-Nazi's girlfriend.

It's disgusting, I know. He has soiled the American Presidency like an overindulged three year-old. Like Mel Gibson on South Park. Whenever he (or Gonzales) opens his mouth, a lie comes out.

The best analysis of the decision is by Glenn Greenwald, at Unclaimed Territory. It's a detailed breakdown of all 8 count 'em 8 different rebuttals of 8 arguments made by Gonzales on behalf of King George's total sovereignty.

We'll see if this decision is ever enforced or what the weasels do next. One thing's for certain these past two weeks.

The interesting season has begun.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


The GOP must be in trouble -- it's getting scatological out there.

First there's England's Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, all over the media for having called Bush "crap":
The remark is said to have been made at a private meeting in Mr Prescott's Whitehall office on Tuesday with Muslim MPs and other Labour MPs with constituencies representing large Muslim communities. Muslim MPs wanted to press home their objections to British foreign policy and discuss ways of improving relations with the Muslim communities.

Ah, then, tally ho!

But did it really happen? Is there any, say, brown trail of proof?
The Deputy Prime Minister's office said last night that the meeting was private and would not confirm or deny his use of the word "crap". " These discussions are intended to be private and remain within the four walls," said one official. "They are private so that there may be frank discussions."

The poop is in the pudding, shall we say. English pudding.

Meanwhile, Bush-alike Sen. George Felix Allen (R-VA), has certainly stepped in it. Yesterday he used a demeaning, arguably racial epithet to refer to a dark-skinned videographer working for his opponent, Senatorial candidate Jim Webb. You can see the raw video here or watch Wolf Blitzer's Situation Room lay out why George knew what he was doing.

The phrase "macaca" might be nonsensical to most Americans, but it's actually a French North African racial slur that Felix would have had reason to know. But what takes this into the toilet bowl of GOP political life is what his own aides are using as their latest (there's been three or four) defense of his stinkbomb:
According to two Republicans who heard the word used, "macaca" was a mash-up of "Mohawk," referring to Sidarth's distinctive hair, and "caca," Spanish slang for excrement, or "shit."

Said one Republican close to the campaign: "In other words, he was a shit-head, an annoyance." Allen, according to Republicans, heard members of his traveling entourage and Virginia Republicans use the phrase and picked it up. It was the first word that came to his mind when he spied Sidarth at the weekend's event, according to Republicans who have been briefed on Allen's version of the event.

So in "Allen's version" the only mistake was that the very first word that popped into his head was shit.

Now, I'm wondering if this could be a bumper sticker this election:

"Vote Republican! Vote shit!"

"The crap always floats to the top!" (w/image of Bush)

And how about:

"GOP happens."


Nettertainment is nothing if not fair, and while we are forced to criticize those in the media far more than we'd like, we are equally obliged to confer praise when praise is due.

Last week, CNN anchor Chuck Roberts smeared Ned Lamont as "Al Queda's candidate" (you know, "Some say" straw man shit just like El Presidente himself); this week he opened an interview with Lamont by personally apologizing about the rhetorical phrasing of his question:
...but I posed it badly, stupidly ad-libbing about "some saying Lamont is the Al-Qaeda candidate." No one, in fact, used that construction. Anyway, I wanted to correct the record, and I'm glad we had this chance to do it.

So the initial damage was done, but that's the hit you have to take as a fresh challenger, and we want to see Ned rebut and come through like a star. Chuck apologized like a mensch and maybe this swings good for Lamont in the long run.

Right after I watched Chuck's original gaffe I called CNN and registered my complaint. Thanks to a number of blogsites, the rapid response made a difference. Today I quickly emailed in praise to Chuck for apologizing on the CNN site form. Your actions do matter; maybe things are changing thanks to net neutrality.

Next on the list is MSNBC's Chris Matthews. He's clearly over the War in Iraq now. Here's what he says after showing de facto GOP candidate Joe Lieberman's first commercial as an "independent":
I see dead people -- —that's Joe Lieberman pretending he's still running for the Senate. He already lost.

Despite having been a Democratic staffer for House Speaker Tip O'Neill early in his career, Chris had spent most of the past six years shading to the GOP side. We'll see how he plays out through the fall.

But I'll be goddamned if Joe Scarborough doesn't make the most eye-opening addition to the reality-based community. Called a douchebag more than once by Jon Stewart, Scarborough is an ex-GOP Congressman who founded a paper in Florida and appears to be, after too many years of Bush-leaning or direct support, maybe a more traditional GOP Conservative. He dares to ask the one question that has never been broached on news television:
Joe Scarborough started his program tonight asking the question "is Bush an idiot?" (Is that really debatable?). Not only did he do a great run down of clips involving some of the most famous "Bushisms", but he did have an interesting conversation about this question with Lawrence O'Donnell and John Fund...

...This segment is a definite keeper. That way when we see "how history judges" Bush, we have video evidence for the jury.

Someone tell me how Joe Scarborough because the first cable news anchor to name a segment the one thing almost everyone in the country has been wondering from the get-go:

"Is Bush an Idiot?"

Uh, finally. And...bravo.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Lieberman (R-CT)

Here's the scoop:

The GOP candidates running against Democratic Senatorial Nominee Ned Lamont is not being supported by President Bush. Per Josh Marshall:
Bush fixin' to support Lieberman? More shortly.

In this morning's press briefing, Tony Snow said President Bush would not endorse Alan Schlesinger (R-CT) the Republican nominee in the race.

One of Lieberman's most vocal supporters and close neocon friend, New Republic head Marty Peretz, doesn't even want the Democratic Party to take either House of Congress this November.

Joe's got Republicans set to fund his campaign:
A Republican campaign fund-raiser based in Washington, who spoke on condition that he not be identified by name, said, "“There'’s a definite sense among a significant number of the Republicans who I deal with that Joe Lieberman is a man of principle and a man we should support."”

This fund-raiser said he'’ll contribute money to Lieberman's campaign and raise money for him.

The head of the entire Republican National Committee:
...on NBC'’s Meet the Press, RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman refused to support the Republican candidate in Connecticut'’s Senate race. Mehlman expressed his agreement with Lieberman's policies on the Iraq war and national security. Mehlman said that Lieberman had been "kicked out of the Democratic party" for supporting the President'’s position on the Iraq war.

Well, if he was kicked out of one party that means he's a potential pick-up by the other. Who's to say Benedict Lieberman doesn't re-register as a Republican if he accidentally wins? Lamont could still be killed in a Paul Wellstone-type airplane crash. Would you put it past a plutocracy?

David Sirota
is, as usual, calling reality for what it is:
From now on, I am going to be referring to Joe Lieberman as De Facto GOP Nominee Joe Lieberman and I urge everyone else covering this race to do so in the interest not of partisanship, but out of respect for objective accuracy. Over the last few days, it's very clear that is what Joe is. RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman is refusing to endorse the actual GOP nominee in Connecticut, and is instead heaping praise on Lieberman. Same thing for the White House, which is also refusing to endorse the actual GOP nominee in Connecticut. Lieberman has been telephoned with a supportive call from Karl Rove, GOP caacrosss accross the country are rallying to endorse him, and a Swift Boat Vets-ish front-group run by neocon leader William Kristol and Bush Iraq War spokesman Dan Senor is beginning to air ads on behalf of Lieberman. Meanwhile, Joe is parroting Vice President Cheney's talking points overtly implying that Connecticut voters are Al Qaeda sympathizers, and now attacking leading U.S. Senate candidates necessary to win back the Senate for Democrats.

And now it seem that having lost his friend Rev. Al Sharpton's endorsement to Ned Lamont back in the Primary when Joe called Sharpton over the weekend and "Sharpton told him he disagrees with him on too many issues," Al is being racially caricatured by Lieberman's close friends at the neocon Weekly Standard rag. Writes Oliver Willis:
It wasn't enough for the Weekly Standard to speak about their disagreement with Ned Lamont, his supporters or even the controversial politics practiced by Al Sharpton (who I happen to disagree with). No, the Weekly Standard, said by some to be the favored political journal of the White House and a major player in conservative politics via editor-in-chief William Kristol (former Dan Quayle chief of staff) - chose to depict the African-American Sharpton as just another white gloved chaueffeur, subserviently ferrying around his white "massa" Ned Lamont.

What the hell is wrong with these people? It shows the lack of moral compass they've exhibited for years now, and displays that it is so ingrained in their system and the world they live in that there's nothing apparently negative about depicting a black person - even one like Sharpton - as just a modern day Step N Fetchit.

Ask Sen. George Allen (R-VA) if Republicans have a problem being perceived as racist.

Hate is Fear's older brother, often paving the way for the Terror tactic. Hate tends to come from desperation, as in GOP nutjobs running America are terrified they'll lose their power over us. Not only are Lieberman's most ardent supporters pushing the H&F diet, his wannabe-Rove campaign manager, Daniel Gerstein, is officially red-baiting in Joe McLieberman's name. He's even demonizing Al Sharpton (a cynical move aimed at older Jewish prejudicies and fundraising), Lieberman's old pal from the 2004 campaign trail. Per Steve Gilliard:
Why is the racist Dan Gerstein representing Joe Lieberman. He's clearly racebaiting and redbaiting.

Gerstein is a racist. He has sought to demean black voters and black politicians. Why does Joe Lieberman have him speak for him?

From John Campanelli at DailyKos:
Lieberman isn't even trying any longer to pretend he has any sympathy for the Democratic cause.

He and Dan Gerstein have launched a full-throttle attack on a number of Democrats and liberals.

Let me repeat this because it's important to note who he is and is not choosing to attack: Lieberman feels it most productive right now to attack Democrats and liberals rather than this administration and its party.

Even more than the Ned Lamont campaign ever argued, Lieberman has gone whole hog over to the other side, no matter his official Party affiliation or protests to the contrary. He is the Republican Senatorial candidate in Connecticut. They are going to make sure he does not run out of money and drop out. This is a great distracting tactic for them through the November election, and they are going to ride it through election day.

But maybe what looks bad for the Dems is something that might actually backfire on Joe and the GOP. Maybe by giving Ned Lamont a legitimate target for debating the Administration's handling of the war through the first Tuesday in November, it can galvanize public debate between continued enabling of America's decline through BushCheneyCo, and change.

Here's the first rock star coming out to see Ned, this Thursday the 17th. Check out the coverage that night and the day after and see if John Edwards doesn't galvanize the crowd.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


I've covered the anti-Lamont smears and swiftboatings since his victory on Tuesday and the subsequent GOP hyper-partisan manipulation of Britain's law enforcement (i.e., non-military) success over the vile terrorist airplane plot.

I feel like I need to remind everyone again that the BushCheneyCo War in Iraq is, in a worse way every new day, a monstrous failure of both decision-making and execution.

I feel like I need to make sure folks understand that the Israeli attack on Hezbollah was a dry-run for the insanely radical BushCheneyCo's plans to start a war with Iran before the November election, and that despite any attempts to claim that the U.N. ceasefire agreement is a diplomatic victory for Condoleezza Rice of El Presidente himself, the only real winners are Hezbollah and the French.

Most of all, I want you, dear reader, to have a chance to see the Democratic standardbearer in Connecticut for who is really is, a strong, measured, smart citizen rising to the call to duty. So here's the proof:

Ned Lamont on Meet the Press 08/13/06

This is the time for change, folks. Help advocate it, push for an end to radical GOP partisanship and corruption, talk down anyone who slaps labels like "Anti-War Candidate" or "Al Queda's Candidate" on Ned or any other sane reality-based moderates trying to save America from the GOP/Lieberman nightmare.

Seize the day, or you may not get another chance for a very long time.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Matt Stoler, a progressive Jewish blogger, contributes to MyDD, which was one of the central blog resources who championed the Ned Lamont victory over Joe Lieberman all the way through.

He has a post up which is the perfect summation of where we're at vis-a-vis Joe Lieberman, John Bolton, AIPAC and neoconservatism:
Here's a bit of a recap of who Bolton is, and why this fight matters. John Bolton, an heir to Jesse Helms' pugnaciously nationalistic ideology, was successfully filibustered in 2005 by the Senate when Bush tried to appoint him as UN ambassador. It was the first sign that the Democratic Party was willing to fight to change the disastrously unilateral foreign policy of the Bush administration. Still, while Bolton wasn't confirmed, Bush did select him to the position as a recess appointee. As a result, Bolton must be renominated and confirmed by the Senate. The loss was a crushing blow to Bush's political momentum, and 2005 was a horrible political year for Bush.

Bolton's an incumbent now, by way of backdoor appointment but already in the job, kind of like Joe already being Senator. It seems the Dems may fold:
After 9/11, a special breed of incredibly wealthy coastal elites that I call 'Bloomberg Democrats' after their desire to have Michael Bloomberg run on a third party Presidential unity ticket went sharply to the right in their foreign policy thinking. Lieberman is part of this group, always supportive of Israeli hawkishness, but whose fearful instincts were unleashed by 9/11. Torture, lies, dead soldiers, a collapse of American moral authority - all of these pale in comparison to Islamofascism, but it's cool, because they are pro-choice and made a lot of money...

...While originally distinct from the main branch of neoconservatives whose focus was Iraq, the Bloomberg Democrats have gradually conflated their sympathies towards Israel with a bloody desire to get rid of the American 'honest broker' status in the Middle East, and have become fully integrated into the neoconservative mainstream. While once they were just pro-Israel as I am, like many progressive Jews I moved left, while Bloomberg Democrats have graduated to become full-fledged neoconservative sociopaths. Even as the Israeli public itself is no longer particularly enthusiastic about its Lebanese incursion, AIPAC's hold on Congress prevents any real discussion of American Israeli interests in any context but that of Israel getting 100% blind support for anything it wants to do, even if what it wants to do is spy on America. It's the 'with us or against us' mindset.

This is where I start to get into my fear, as an American Jewish Man, about the eventual backlash against the Likudnik side of the neocons, some sort of scapegoating. People forget that it was the leftist pioneers -- David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan -- who defended Israel most wisely through her most perilous wars.
The sad hijacking of Jewish political activism by right-wing neoconservative crazies is complete. If you're not with Lieberman, if you're not with Bolton, if you're not with the far right of the Israeli political spectrum, you're not pro-Israel. I have to say, it's pretty frustrating. Every time I find a political obstacle to a more progressive American posture abroad, it seems like there's another more hidden and intractable one behind it. It's shocking to me that there are no effective progressive Jewish groups focusing on foreign policy. The only ones I've seen are pathetic, wonkified, and largely unwilling to deal with the reality of a crazy domestic right-wing leadership structure.

The Bolton hearings will be key. Whoever votes for him, can they really run against the war?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Nedlines 2006-08-11

It Begins
A Boost for Lamont as Democratic Leaders Shift Support
Watch the train get rolling...

Should Have Switched Parties

Conservative group sets sights on Chafee
Gone, baby, gone.

Where's My Burka?
Purge by Taliban Democrats
Can you smell the fear?

Might Some Also Believe in the Easter Bunny
Headline News Anchor: "Might Some Argue That Lamont...Is The al Qaeda Candidate?"
Can you taste the smear?

Connect the Dots

Why The Sudden Conservative Venom? The Now-Public Failure of Iraq
Very easy, just two dots.

It's Called Photoshop
DNC Slams RNC Over Alleged Photoshopped Photo Of Dean With Hitler Moustache
They're nothing if not subtle.

A Matter of Time?
Focused on 9/11, U.S. Is Seen to Lag on New Threats

But who would want to focus on that moment in the past and why wouldn't they want to grow?

Could It Be?
GOP Politicizes Terror, Raises Money Off Of Plot
Anything for a lousy buck.

They're Serious About Terror
Pentagon Officials Quit at Agency Linked to Bribes
Anything for a lousy buck.

They're Serious About Terror
Bush staff wanted bomb-detect cash moved
Just spend it in Iraq.

Chaos Theory
Arrogance, ignorance invite disaster
"The answer, I suspect, is yes, we all were out of our minds."

History is a Nightmare...
Neocon Dreams, American Nightmares
...from which we are trying to awake.

They're Total Fuck-Ups
And everybody knows it by now.

The Ultimate Truth
Let's cut the bullshit
"Bush and Cheney are losing the war on terror and have no hope of winning it."

Here It Comes

The Anti-Bush Movement
Can we say instead, The Pro-Reality Movement?

You Know, Bipartisan
Joe Lieberman: Karl Rove's Agent?


Note To Joe:
Just leave.
And go cry to Karl.


While there's still a lot of information to sort out of what is certain to be found as a lot of misinformation about the thwarting of the airplane bombing plot by British officials, I tend to have more faith in how the Brits handle their terrorism problem than our current U.S. government.

I believe there is a fundamental conflict between Western (a.k.a. liberal) Civilization and fascistic Islamic governments and violent organizations. It's an even more immediate problem for moderate Muslim folks. Despite the GOP talking points about Liberal bloggers, I do take the threat seriously. In fact, I'm concerned about my mother, who is scheduled to return with a tour party from Russia this upcoming Sunday.

What I don't believe is that this Administration is as serious about fighting the war on terror as they are about cynically and rapaciously reaping political points off of it:
"It is a mistake to believe there is no threat to the United States of America," (Bush) said. "We've taken a lot of measures to protect the American people. But obviously we still aren't completely safe."

His remarks came a day after the White House orchestrated an exceptionally aggressive campaign to tar opposition Democrats as weak on terrorism, knowing what Democrats didn't: News of the plot could soon break.

Yep, they coordinated to the best of their ability. Cheney knew:
...a senior White House official said that the British government had not launched its raid until well after Cheney held a highly unusual conference call with reporters to attack the Democrats as weak against terrorism.

Lieberman knew (one suspects earlier than his operative suggests):
An aide to Lieberman, who would have been one of the first Democrats to hear of the plot because he is the top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said the lawmaker first heard of it late Wednesday.

Isn't a government that manipulates national security for political gain the very definition of radical, dangerous, out of control?
Bush's Republicans hoped the raid would yield political gains.

"I'd rather be talking about this than all of the other things that Congress hasn't done well," one Republican congressional aide told AFP on condition of anonymity because of possible reprisals.

"Weeks before September 11th, this is going to play big," said another White House official, who also spoke on condition of not being named, adding that some Democratic candidates won't "look as appealing" under the circumstances.

It's scoundrel time again.

Juan Cole points out just how un-serious the GOP Administration is about their supposed "War on Terror":
The failure of the Bush administration to take the threat of Bin Laden and Zawahiri seriously and to capture them continues to leave Americans and others at risk...

...Even if this cell is not directly connected to Zawahiri, that he and Bin Laden can come on television and the internet and continue to encourage copycat al-Qaeda-style attacks is a huge security problem that needs to be solved much more urgently than the problem of which clans rule the small city of Ramadi in Iraq.

He goes on to write about how the Iraq War is radicalizing young Muslims in Britain.

Most frightening is how Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld (and let's add Joe Lieberman, The Enabler for The Decider) have played perfectly into the Islamofascists hands. From Political Animal (and I urge you to read the whole brief post):
"Now, Israel is surrounded by a sea of green," he said, referring to the color of Islam. "I call it the 'Green Bloc.' It is far, far more radical than it was ten years ago, even five years ago. With the exception of Syria, negotiation is no longer possible. We've never faced this kind of enemy before....We're seeing the domino theory of the Fertile Crescent" --— a chain reaction where every event in the sequence becomes more inevitable, and builds in intensity on the one before. It's the "new Middle East" the administration has been promising — but it's almost as perilous for the U.S. as for Israel and Lebanon.

Let's get serious about this potentially world-engulfing conflict.

Flip both Houses of Congress in November.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


There was a lot of negative media energy flooding out there today around Joe "Sore" Loserman, from Hannity's reactionary lies on Fox to White House Press Secretary Tony Snow spewing up-is-down partisan commentary on how the Democrats have hurt themselves by appearing too partisan.

The GOP rightwing forces and their enablers, both corporate and neocon, are going to be trying to poison the air and bully away or steal the election for their buddy, Joe, starting with the phone call from Karl Rove to Joe today. Joe and his wife and close friends with Dick Cheney and his wife.

When do you think the media will hit on that?

We've seen this all before, folks. It's the GOP fear card. With all their failed decision-making, policies, war lies and disaster mismanagement, it's their only remaining card.

It's important to focus on the positive, on the hope. That's what Ned communicates in his speeches and TV appearances. Don't go by the soundbytes -- that's all the GOP are working on, since they can't coherently articulate a philosophy that doesn't sound stupid given the facts of 2006. Ned is the real deal, and while he may be too much of a political novice to have crushed Lieberman in his victory speech, he'll learn, you can feel it.

Aside from Joe's few AIPAC friends in the DLC (someday I promise to explain all this, but only if Lamont is elected Senator in November), the Democratic Party and apparatus has wholeheartedly endorsed Ned Lamont, the elected candidate. So for him to continue his Ralph Nader-esque vanity quest (yes, I get the irony), it's going to be GOP or lobbyist money. If his poll numbers go down far enough even those $ dry up.

Not Many Senators Have Found Themselves in Joe Lieberman's Predicament, and certainly every case has the potential to turn out differently than any that have come before:
It is very rare for incumbent senators to lose in their party's primary: since 1960, only 19 have so fallen.

In Joe's case it is, at the end of 18 years in Washington, D.C., a position on Iraq as internally unchallenged as our Presidente's, and it infects everything. I'm sick of this domestic moderate/military hawk construct that seems to think there's a wall between the violence we engage in the world and our civil rights, governmental corruption and overall quality of life here in America. It's exactly this blind, misguided "hawkishness" on Iraq, and before that Vietnam, that continues to undermine our greatest political, moral and physical infrastructures here at home.

And cut it out with any suggestions that those of us on the left don't believe there's any real world conflict with Al Queda or the radical Islamofascist movement. What we know is that our invasion of Iraq (and now Hezbollah's war with Israel) has only fuel-injected their cause. I take that shit seriously and wonder why the BushCheneyCo cabal is fucking it up so much.

Ignorance + Greed = Death.

And now we have the hope side of the ledger. Be like free American, Senator Russell Feingold (D-WI), author of the attempt to censure el Presidente over his breaking of the FISA law and another public endorser today of Ned Lamont:
Although Feingold touched on issues such as education, health care, renewable energy and affordable housing, many of his comments focused on the Iraq war.

Feingold said Connecticut U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman's primary loss to anti-Iraq war candidate Ned Lamont is a warning that the Iraq war is an issue that won't go away and be replaced by other issues.

The Iraq war has been a "disastrous mistake," he said, and warned politicians that "you are simply not listening if you don't know the American people have had it with this mistake and want it to end."

I certainly don't expect Joe Lieberman to ever be someone who helps make that happen. Not based on his track record. Not based on his speeches.

And don't we all just, in the final analysis, want it to end?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


One of my posts about the Connecticut Democratic Senatorial Primary race was entitled, "Bizarre", as in, Bizarro World where Senator Joe Lieberman might lose his party's nomination to newcomer Ned Lamont. Was it the Colbert appearance (and Joe's much mocked refusal) that turned the tide?

Well, valued reader, the bizarre has happened, and it's time to feel good for a little while. Now, Neocon Joe is not gracious in defeat, he's vowed to run as an independent in November and try to take the election back that way. I've been in email discussion about whether or not Joe will be around in November (evidently some of his signature gathering is as shoddy as his website hosting practices), or if the Dem leaders will convince him to bow out like a statesman and the promise of some future job.

Personally, I think Joe's going to ride it out to the bitter end. And I think the Dem leaders will do more than just voice support for Ned, they will rally hard. It will turn into a fight between the Democrats and Karl Rove, because if Joe supported Bush over Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in the past, just imagine what treachery he'll do if he does manage to win as an independent.

Joe should just retire and take his job as a Fox News analyst, then Rumsfeld's job that last year or two when BushCheneyCo are preparing to hand over the Iraq War to the Democratic President to follow and clean up after them.

Make no mistake about it: this isn't the defeat of a Democratic moderate, this is the victory of a Democratic moderate.

The better part of Lamont's victory is due to a tremendous grassroots effort generated locally, coupled with his fundamental positive qualities as a candidate. He's secure in who he is, has the confidence of his principles, and grew as a speaker and presence along the way.

While the MainStream Media has blown the netroots/blog element out of proportion to just sensible CT Dems making the best choice for their Party, it is undoubtedly setting off major alarm bells, and look for the GOP to try and commodicize or repress electoral blogging going forward, depending how their own writers are doing.

It is certainly a huge win for the fastest rising political blog of 2005, Firedoglake, and its founders Jane Hamsher and Christy Hardin "ReddHedd" Smith, whose work I have generally adored reading for over a year. If they can help Ned Lamont to actually be elected this November, they'll enter a whole other playing field.

In another key Democratic race, this one for the House of Representatives in Georgia, Hank Johnson also won a landslide victory over arguably ego-maniacal Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney for that nomination, another good decision. As Kevin "Calpundit" Drum says on the eternally lucid Washington Monthly blog:
As a result, the Democratic voters in Connecticut, who believe that the war in Iraq is hurting the broader war against radical jihadism, now have a Senate candidate who agrees with them. Likewise, the Democratic voters of DeKalb County, who want a representative who spends more time on district business than on investigating weird conspiracy theories, now have a congressional candidate who promises to do just that.

Seems to me the party acquitted itself pretty well tonight.

Amen to all that.

It's not over until the levers of our government are in saner hands, this fall and through November two years hence, but I think its okay, even healthy for Lamonties to party the better part of the week for this win. Why the hell do you think they call them political "parties"? And doesn't everyone want to join the party that's the most rockin'?

Hey, one closing Trivia Question:

Which potential Presidential aspirant was the first to congratulate Ned on his victory?

Per The New York Times, "Mr. Lamont said that former Senator John Edwards, the Democrats'’ vice presidential nominee in 2004, was the first Democratic leader to call him last night."

This wasn't just the first volley of the 2006 Congressional Midterm Elections.

It's the first shot fired for 2008.


I've been noodling what to blog tonight for your Tuesday work avoidance and while there's a wonderful article in the New York Times on cellphones in Iraq, maybe the last remaining outlet for free social expression, the only thing really on my mind is the fervent prayer, hope, wish that Joe Lieberman goes down in Connecticut tomorrow.

I've blogged about Ned Lamont, breath of fresh air, vs. Joe Lieberman, danger to our nation, on several occasions. The first was way back in early June. Back then it was in reaction to Harry Reid making a comment that was less than supportive of Joe, who has been less than supportive of his own political party. Key to my thinking has been how disastrous to the people of Iraq, to our standing in the world, to our freedoms at home.

Last month I wrote about Riverbend, a young female blogger in Iraq, and mentioned Joe Lieberman's vanity. Her life continues to degrade at a terrifying rate into Medieval fear and violence. Yet Joe Lieberman dares to act as if supporting BushCheneyCo's Iraq War policy is being "strong on national security." For that alone, he is a gigantic tool.

The Rovian move has been to try and neutralize the Bush War support as an issue. Hey, it's only one issue. Okay, so you wouldn't buy my intimidating you into silence line, so I'll backpedal to grudgingly, and for my own political survival, accepting "a diversity of opinion".

If you don't believe me, watch this news report on the last day of the campaign. Ned may have the newcomers tension, but there's something alive there. Tell me if you don't feel, as I do, that everything currently wrong with the Washington, DC of the past 6 years isn't microcosmed in that smug, high-handed way Joe talks about the voter. Like we're the morons.

Here's the scoop, plain and simple: Joseph Lieberman is a neoconservative.

He's may seem a little softer than you imagine the Kristols and Krauthammers of the neocons to be, but that's by design. The neocons are mainly ex-Democratic liberals who claim that five-term Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson (D-WA 1953-1983), a domestic moderate but Anti-Communist hawk who had huge defense industry ties in his home state, and Richard Perle as his assistant -- the neocon leader who predicted of the Iraq War that "it isn't going to be over in 24 hours, but it isn't going to be months either." Jackson famously supported the Vietnam War, and we all know how that went.

In 1970 Jackson was able to beat back a hotly contested Primary challenge by Seattle lawyer and peace candidate, Carl Maxley. This, of course, gave me pause to learn, as so much history gets repeated these days thanks to the neocons in and out of office.

But history repeats itself with variations, and this is not 1970. In fact, the only people stuck there, are the neocons themselves.

DC is completely out of touch. Cokie'd up, even.

I have tremendous faith in the Democratic voters of Connecticut, I don't recall ever hearing of Diebold having infected that state's voting system, and I think New England has to be the first stop on the 2006-2008 freedom restoration train. After all, New England gave us the American Revolution, got rid of the first King George.

If Joe gets his ass kicked he says he'll still run as an Independent in the fall. Independent as in, neocon. So one of his pre-Primary Day threats has been, I'm not going anywhere. Like Jason or Michael or Freddy.

The hell with all that.

Here's to not being disappointed by the end of Tuesday night.

Godspeed, Ned.