Zell Miller: Another Fat, Stupid White Man Who Knows Best For Women

I was sort of hoping former Democratic senator - and perennial asswipe - Zell Miller had been committed to some not-too-cushy nuthouse somewhere. But alas, he's still walking free, based on this from Stranger at Blah3:

There really should be some kind of rule against letting insane people serve in Congress. I know that Zell is no longer working in the Senate, but still - the man's barking mad. Check this logic.
    Zell Miller, the former Democratic Senator from Georgia who backed President George W. Bush in 2004 and spoke at the Republican National Convention, recently told an anti-abortion gathering that the "killing" of unborn babies was the cause of many of America's woes, including its military, social security, and immigration problems.

    "How could this great land of plenty produce too few people in the last 30 years?" Miller asked.

    "Here is the brutal truth that no one dares to mention: We’re too few because too many of our babies have been killed."

    Miller claimed that 45 million babies have been 'killed' since the Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade in 1973.

    "If those 45 million children had lived, today they would be defending our country, they would be filling our jobs, they would be paying into Social Security," he asserted.
Right, Zell, those 45 million babies (and you're making this up, you truly are) would be available to die for Bush's lies, to be reared in poverty because Bush has turned the Middle Class into the bankrupt class, and would be available to work for minimum wage in Wal-Mart because Bush cost us so many decent jobs.

Oh yeah, and you're probably mourning the fact that there are 45 million LESS children for you to vote against funding and other support for their prenatal care, their public education, food and medical care to keep them healthy AND... oh yes, 45 million less "snowflake babies" you can challenge to a duel (you old fool)!

BTW, there is every bit more evidence than not that America is operating near peak capacity. So there aren't "too few" babies.


Protein Psycho: What Happens When (If) America Suffers a Successful WMD Attack

The ever-sharp Cernig of Cernig's Newshog points us to Protein Wisdom's thoughts on what we'll see should a terrorist group (other than the Bushies, America's biggest terror organization?) succeed in launching a weapons of mass destruction (WMD) attack on our homeland (9-11 was NOT that; a major WMD attack would be huge orders of magnitude worse - and you know how scary our own country, in its hate and vengeance mindset, was after 9-11):

Protein Wisdom's "Bravo Romeo Delta" on what happens if (he writes "when") a terrorist group ever succeeds in a WMD attack on the US (graphics - the infamous pic of a naked, crying Vietnamese girl running down a road placed next to a pic of people fleeing the fall of the Twin Towers):
    When we respond to the Big Terrorist Attack with a vengeance it’s not going to be the more familiar kind of rage that occasionally marks human affairs, because it will pop this boil and it’s going to be messy and foul. Our response will, at least viscerally, be a lot more like one of those very strange temper-tantrums that children occasionally have in which they exhibit hysteric, almost superhuman strength; the kind of apocalyptic anger where it takes four adults to wrestle down an uncontrollable, teary-eyed fury, a runny-nosed rage which has taken the form of a very hurt, very angry 8 year old kid. But make no mistake – it won’t be a childish response and won’t be amenable to ice cream or spanking.

    ...The rest of the world will gasp in horror at the terrorist attack, and shed its tears, and then give us the nod to retaliate. And we will. Again. And again. And again. And the rest of the world will start to look on in amazement and slowly, slowly turn away in abject shock and profound horror. We will make Curtis Lemay’s application of airpower against civilian targets look like Wesley Clark coordinating with NATO allies in the Kosovo Air War.

    Our appetite for blood will be nigh well unquenchable. That’s what will kill us. We will drink and drink until we’re full and it won’t slake our thirst. And we’ll drink more until our organs burst and split and we start to hemorrhage internally. Then we’ll start throwing it all up – every last drop we drank. But because we’re bleeding internally now, we’ll continue to vomit up black blood until we die.
I agree with Cernig: you really should read the whole thing here at Protein Wisdom.

Mayan Priests To "Cleanse" Site After Visit By President Bush

I love this as much as the frightful right is screaming and bitching and moaning about this and all but threatening to declare war on the Mayans:

GUATEMALA CITY -- Mayan priests will purify a sacred archaeological site to eliminate "bad spirits" after President Bush visits next week, an official with close ties to the group said Thursday.

"That a person like (Bush), with the persecution of our migrant brothers in the United States, with the wars he has provoked, is going to walk in our sacred lands, is an offense for the Mayan people and their culture," Juan Tiney, the director of a Mayan nongovernmental organization with close ties to Mayan religious and political leaders, said Thursday.

Bush's seven-day tour of Latin America includes a stopover beginning late Sunday in Guatemala. On Monday morning he is scheduled to visit the archaeological site Iximche on the high western plateau in a region of the Central American country populated mostly by Mayans.

Tiney said the "spirit guides of the Mayan community" decided it would be necessary to cleanse the sacred site of "bad spirits" after Bush's visit so that their ancestors could rest in peace. He also said the rites -- which entail chanting and burning incense, herbs and candles -- would prepare the site for the third summit of Latin American Indians March 26-30.

Bush's trip has already has sparked protests elsewhere in Latin America, including protests and clashes with police in Brazil hours before his arrival. In Bogota, Colombia, which Bush will visit on Sunday, 200 masked students battled 300 riot police with rocks and small homemade explosives.
It is their RIGHT to do what they feel they have to do. So saying nasty things about these people when I'm sure it was not THEIR decision to have Numb Nutz visit is ridiculous.

Thoughts On The Right's Huge Concern For Poor Scooter Libby While They Yawn At Abuse of Troops

If there's one thing we've all witnessed over and over and over again this week - besides the clip of the Florida medical examiner hinting we're not done with the titillating details of Tits-for-Brains Anna Nicole Smith - is that the far right Bushie loyalists have sobbed over poor, poor, poor Scooter Libby. They wail about:

  • What a terrible miscarriage of justice has been done to him
  • How a great patriot like Libby should never have to spend a moment in jail
  • That the American people owe Libby a momentous debt of gratitude and that they should demand the jury's guilty verdicts against him be set aside, then carry the man in their arms to the White House where the Medal of Freedom can be bestowed upon him
  • That the jury is treasonous for what they did
  • That this is all the result of an evil plot hatched by Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame themselves and it's Wilson-Plame who deserve to spend the rest of their lives in jail
  • Bush should pardon Libby immediately because it's what God wants
Gag me with a spoon! To say this again and again and again while they yawn and ignore the travesty of troop care by the Bush Administration - insisting only that this is hardly Mr. Bush's fault but taking no interest in the matter beyond that - while they work themselves into a righteous frenzy about poor millionaire Scooter Libby is really too much.

Go back and read the piece from Bob Herbert - "Lift The Curtain" - I just snipped from as well as some of the other posts I've had up in the last few weeks on the subject of troop care and abuse (and I first started posting about this more than two years ago; amazing that I could know about it while the Bush Administration and Pentagon and those heading Walter Reed, right there in Washington and their job TO know, did not...).

Then tell me which is the more important situation: poor Scooter Libby or men and women who have lost brain function, limbs, organs, and their lives for a cooked war and then rate nothing but squalor and poverty once they return home.

Bob Herbert: "Lift The Curtain"

Thanks to JP at Welcome to Pottersville, we get to read this important op/ed by Bob Herbert of The New York Times related to the hardly-new revelation that the Bush Administration treats our troops like crap:

Neglect, incompetence, indifference, lies.

Why in the world is anyone surprised that the Bush administration has not been taking good care of wounded and disabled American troops?

Real-life human needs have never been a priority of this administration. The evidence is everywhere — from the mind-bending encounter with the apocalypse in Baghdad, to the ruined residential neighborhoods in New Orleans, to the anxious families in homes across America who are offering tearful goodbyes to loved ones heading off to yet another pointless tour in Iraq.

The trial and conviction of Scooter Libby opened the window wide on the twisted values and priorities of the hawkish operation in the vice president’s office. No worry about the troops there.

And President Bush has always given the impression that he is more interested in riding his bicycle at the ranch in Texas than in taking care of his life and death responsibilities around the world.

That whistling sound you hear is the wind blowing across the emptiness of the administration’s moral landscape.

U.S. troops have been treated like trash since the beginning of Mr. Bush’s catastrophic adventure in Iraq. Have we already forgotten that soldier from the Tennessee National Guard who dared to ask Donald Rumsfeld why the troops had to go scrounging in landfills for “hillbilly armor” — scrap metal — to protect their vehicles from roadside bombs?

Fellow soldiers cheered when the question was raised, and others asked why they were being sent into combat with antiquated equipment. The defense secretary was not amused. “You go to war with the Army you have,” he callously replied, “not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”

Have we forgotten that while most Americans have sacrificed zilch for this war, the mostly uncomplaining soldiers and marines are being sent into the combat zones for two, three and four tours? Multiple combat tours are an unconscionable form of Russian roulette that heightens the chances of a warrior being killed or maimed.

[...]The administration has tried its best to keep the reality of the war away from the public at large, to keep as much of the carnage as possible behind the scenes. No pictures of the coffins coming home. Limited media access to Walter Reed.

That protective curtain needs to be stripped away, exposing the enormity of this catastrophe for all to see ...

Read the rest here at JP's place.

South Carolina Prisoners: "Give Rich Folks Your Kidney And We'll Take Five Seconds Off Your Sentence... Maybe"

Posted by Jon at Pensito Review and... geez....

So not kidding:
    Lawmakers are considering legislation that would let prisoners donate organs or bone marrow in exchange for time off their sentences.

    A state Senate panel on Thursday endorsed creating an organ-and-tissue donation program for inmates. But legislators postponed debate on a measure to reduce the sentences of participating prisoners, citing concern that federal law may not allow it.

    “I think it’s imperative that we go all out and see what we can do,” said the bills’ chief sponsor, Democratic Sen. Ralph Anderson. “I would like to see us get enough donors that people are no longer dying.”

    The proposal approved by the Senate Corrections and Penology Subcommittee would set up a volunteer donor program in prisons to teach inmates about the need for donors. But lawmakers want legal advice before acting on a bill that would shave up to 180 days off a prison sentence for inmates who donate.

    South Carolina advocates for organ donations said the incentive policy would be the first of its kind in the nation.

    Federal law makes it illegal to give organ donors “valuable consideration.” Lawmakers want to know whether the term could apply to time off of prison sentences.
Up to a half year off a sentence seems like very "cheap" pay for robbing someone of an organ. And that's just the start of the abuse potential here.

More On PlameGate: Why Dick Cheney Cracked Up, Plame To Testify Before Congress

With a nod to Buzzflash for the links, I point you to this piece by former CIA biggie Ray McGovern's explanation for why Vice President Dick Cheney cracked up when former Iraq Ambassador Joe Wilson spoke out against the Bush Administration's lies and cooked evidence in the leadup to war in Iraq as well as the announcement that Wilson's wife, former CIA covert operative Valerie Plame (the one "outed" by Cheney and his second-in-command, Scooter Libby, the latter just convicted of lies and obstruction of justice related to the CIA leak from the White House), will testify before Congress related to this issue.

Paul Krugman: Department of Injustice

Finally, someone else - and someone paid far more handsomely than yours rudely - is called the DoJ by its more appropriate nickname: the Injustice Department. Here's your twice-weekly dose of Paul Krugman, of which you can read the big snip here or go there to read it all.

For those of us living in the Garden State, the growing scandal over the firing of federal prosecutors immediately brought to mind the subpoenas that Chris Christie, the former Bush “Pioneer” who is now the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, issued two months before the 2006 election — and the way news of the subpoenas was quickly leaked to local news media.

The subpoenas were issued in connection with allegations of corruption on the part of Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat who seemed to be facing a close race at the time. Those allegations appeared, on their face, to be convoluted and unconvincing, and Mr. Menendez claimed that both the investigation and the leaks were politically motivated.

Mr. Christie’s actions might have been all aboveboard. But given what we’ve learned about the pressure placed on federal prosecutors to pursue dubious investigations of Democrats, Mr. Menendez’s claims of persecution now seem quite plausible.

In fact, it’s becoming clear that the politicization of the Justice Department was a key component of the Bush administration’s attempt to create a permanent Republican lock on power. Bear in mind that if Mr. Menendez had lost, the G.O.P. would still control the Senate.

For now, the nation’s focus is on the eight federal prosecutors fired by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. In January, Mr. Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee, under oath, that he “would never, ever make a change in a United States attorney for political reasons.” But it’s already clear that he did indeed dismiss all eight prosecutors for political reasons — some because they wouldn’t use their offices to provide electoral help to the G.O.P., and the others probably because they refused to soft-pedal investigations of corrupt Republicans.

In the last few days we’ve also learned that Republican members of Congress called prosecutors to pressure them on politically charged cases, even though doing so seems unethical and possibly illegal.

The bigger scandal, however, almost surely involves prosecutors still in office. The Gonzales Eight were fired because they wouldn’t go along with the Bush administration’s politicization of justice. But statistical evidence suggests that many other prosecutors decided to protect their jobs or further their careers by doing what the administration wanted them to do: harass Democrats while turning a blind eye to Republican malfeasance.

Donald Shields and John Cragan, two professors of communication, have compiled a database of investigations and/or indictments of candidates and elected officials by U.S. attorneys since the Bush administration came to power. Of the 375 cases they identified, 10 involved independents, 67 involved Republicans, and 298 involved Democrats. The main source of this partisan tilt was a huge disparity in investigations of local politicians, in which Democrats were seven times as likely as Republicans to face Justice Department scrutiny.

How can this have been happening without a national uproar? The authors explain: “We believe that this tremendous disparity is politically motivated and it occurs because the local (non-statewide and non-Congressional) investigations occur under the radar of a diligent national press. Each instance is treated by a local beat reporter as an isolated case that is only of local interest.”

And let’s not forget that Karl Rove’s candidates have a history of benefiting from conveniently timed federal investigations. Last year Molly Ivins reminded her readers of a curious pattern during Mr. Rove’s time in Texas: “In election years, there always seemed to be an F.B.I. investigation of some sitting Democrat either announced or leaked to the press. After the election was over, the allegations often vanished.”
Find the rest here.

[Psssst: Krugman shows his courage yet again; he basically admits he lives in New Jersey. Now there's brutal honesty.]

Maureen Dowd: "My Very Own Juror"

MoDo "does" the Scooter Libby/PlameGate trial and most notably, the juror Denis Collins who just couldn't shut up after the multiple guilty verdicts; read it all at Rozius or satisfy yourself with my big snip-snip-snip:

When the Scooter Libby trial ended, the media was found guilty. By the media. Which likes to obsess on itself. In the media.

The press gave short shrift to poor Scooter, whose downfall came from doing Dick Cheney’s bidding with “canine loyalty,” as Chris Matthews told Don Imus yesterday morning. Scooter’s facing hard time, even though others in the administration also spread the word about Valerie Plame.

But let’s get back to the media decrying the media, and the incestuous Beltway relationship between journalists and sources. Listening to all the lamentations, I excitedly realized I had a potentially incestuous relationship with a source inside the Beltway.

I went to Nativity grade school in D.C. with Juror No. 9, Denis Collins. I had an unrequited crush on his brother when I was in seventh grade. His dad was my dad’s lawyer, and both were Irish immigrants. My brother Kevin coached his brother Kevin in touch football. Our moms were in the Sodality together. His mom once chastised me for chatting up a little boy in church. We started in journalism together, Denis at The Washington Post as a sportswriter and Metro reporter, and me at The Washington Star as a sportswriter and Metro reporter.

This was a sure thing. I could get him to come over to my house and spill all the secrets of the jury that had convicted the highest-ranking White House official to be found guilty on a felony since Iran-contra days.

Unfortunately, Denis spilled them on the way over. By the time he got to my house, he was already so overexposed he announced, “I’m sick of hearing myself talk.”

From the moment he stepped out of the courthouse and into the press mob in his green Eddie Bauer jacket, Denis became the unofficial jury spokesman, bouncing from Larry King to Anderson Cooper and “Good Morning America.” I thought there still might be enough jury dish for me until I heard him say “Huffington Post blog.”

“Blogs are the future, right?” he said, explaining that he’d already posted his diary of adventures in federal court — right down to our incestuous Catholic past, which came up in the voir dire, when he also mentioned living across the alley from Tim Russert and working at The Post for Bob Woodward, and his nonfiction book about spying and the C.I.A.

“I was the perfect storm,” he said. Instead of me milking him for information, he tried to milk me for information. He asked about the pitfalls of being in a media maelstrom.

“Somebody called me up today and said: ‘Turn on Rush Limbaugh. He’s saying terrible things about you.’ ”

I empathized. One of my brothers always used to call Mom and tell her: “Turn on Rush Limbaugh. He’s saying terrible things about Maureen.”

Also, Denis’s wife, Pam, told him gleefully that someone on TV was making fun of his jacket. “Somebody said, ‘What’s with the green coat? It looks like something he got in high school.’ ” I asked him if he’d used any lessons from the nuns. “Accountability,” he said. “Do the right thing or get whacked over your head with the bell by Sister Mary Karen.”

Was Scooter’s fall Shakespearean? “He’s too many steps away from the king,” he said.
Read the rest here.


Historian Howard Zinn On Impeachment By The People

On the heels of my post about many Vermont towns voting on Tuesday to begin impeachment proceedings against both President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, I happened upon this excellent article by historian Howard Zinn (one of the great minds and voices of our times) entitled, "Impeachment By The People" which I encourage everyone read, regardless of their mindset on the issue.

From Zinn's piece in the February 2007 issue of The Progressive:

Courage is in short supply in Washington, D.C. The realities of the Iraq War cry out for the overthrow of a government that is criminally responsible for death, mutilation, torture, humiliation, chaos. But all we hear in the nation’s capital, which is the source of those catastrophes, is a whimper from the Democratic Party, muttering and nattering about “unity” and “bipartisanship,” in a situation that calls for bold action to immediately reverse the present course.

These are the Democrats who were brought to power in November by an electorate fed up with the war, furious at the Bush Administration, and counting on the new majority in Congress to represent the voters. But if sanity is to be restored in our national policies, it can only come about by a great popular upheaval, pushing both Republicans and Democrats into compliance with the national will.

The Declaration of Independence, revered as a document but ignored as a guide to action, needs to be read from pulpits and podiums, on street corners and community radio stations throughout the nation. Its words, forgotten for over two centuries, need to become a call to action for the first time since it was read aloud to crowds in the early excited days of the American Revolution: “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and institute new government.”

The “ends” referred to in the Declaration are the equal right of all to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” True, no government in the history of the nation has been faithful to those ends. Favors for the rich, neglect of the poor, massive violence in the interest of continental and world expansion—that is the persistent record of our government.

Still, there seems to be a special viciousness that accompanies the current assault on human rights, in this country and in the world. We have had repressive governments before, but none has legislated the end of habeas corpus, nor openly supported torture, nor declared the possibility of war without end. No government has so casually ignored the will of the people, affirmed the right of the President to ignore the Constitution, even to set aside laws passed by Congress.

The time is right, then, for a national campaign calling for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Representative John Conyers, who held extensive hearings and introduced an impeachment resolution when the Republicans controlled Congress, is now head of the House Judiciary Committee and in a position to fight for such a resolution. He has apparently been silenced by his Democratic colleagues who throw out as nuggets of wisdom the usual political palaver about “realism” (while ignoring the realities staring them in the face) and politics being “the art of the possible” (while setting limits on what is possible).
Read the rest here.

A Note About Vermont's Impeachment Vote

There are two things I want to call your attention to in the Vermont impeachment vote on Tuesday.

First, notice that our resolutions called for impeachment of BOTH Bush and Cheney.

Second, while I hear voters in other areas who don't go vote in even presidential elections because they don't have the time, it's raining or cold or "why bother?"... name any other lame ass excuse, Vermont voters came out on a day where the daytime HIGH was around -10 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill in the negative 28-40 range. And town meeting day isn't a quite in-out voting affair; in many towns, it's an ALL DAY affair, where lunch is served and the kids attend. In most, you vote by show of hands, which makes you accountable to everyone in the room.

Town meeting day represents one of the last vestiges of true participatory democracy. Where residents go through the budgets, weigh options aloud in discussions with neighbors, hear committee members talk about different programs, how the local schools run, and so on.

It's an amazing process; towns throughout America should do it.

My Vermont Town Voted to Impeach Bush - How About Yours?

From the Vermont Guardian (and Woodbury is the town I currently call home, while Calais, Johnson, Montpelier, Morrisville, and Plainfield, to name a few, are places with very good people and where I try to spend my money supporting local non-chain businesses):

If there’s a message from this year’s town meeting, it’s this: Vermonters are upset with Pres. George W. Bush, and less so with school budgets.

Voters in three dozen Vermont towns want Congress to begin an impeachment probe of Pres. George W. Bush and Vice Pres. Dick Cheney. Two towns, Clarendon and Dover, voted the measure down. Nearly a half dozen towns agreed to not take up, or tabled, the resolution.

...Roughly 20 towns passed measures calling for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq, and to care for them when they were back on U.S. soil. Dover also rejected the troop measure.

...Newfane Selectman Dan DeWalt is the major organizer of the impeachment resolutions. His effort has drawn global media attention and scorn. Last year, six towns passed impeachment resolutions.

This year, the impeachment resolutions have passed so far in Bristol, Burke, Calais, Craftsbury, Dummerston, East Montpelier, Greensboro, Guilford, Grafton, Hartland, Jamaica, Jericho, Johnson, Marlboro, Middlebury, Montgomery, Morristown, Newbury, Newfane, Peru, Plainfield, Putney, Richmond, Rochester, Roxbury, St. Johnsbury, Springfield, Stannard, Sunderland, Townshend, Tunbridge, Vershire, Warren, Westminster, Wilmington, and Woodbury according to organizers. Organizers based their information on reports from people in each town.

DeWalt said organizers will use these votes to urge state lawmakers to take up a measure in the House calling for Bush’s impeachment. The bill is currently in the House Judiciary Committee.

“This is clearly not a cry of protest, but the start of action — an impeachment insurrection that will lead to the reclamation of our Constitution,” said DeWalt. “Vermonters are angry and energized. We are taking the power that is sovreign in us and will use it to restore the Constitution. We will show the world that America has not sunk to the depths of violent madness that is the Bush administration.”


The New "Open-Minded" Conservative Caucus Just Loves, Loves, Loves Matt Sanchez, Patriot and Gay Porn Model

Considering how much hateful, vicious rhetoric spews from the mouths of the right-most, nut-wingiest, so-called conservatives of the sociopathic fringe of the Republican Party on the subject of gays, I find it heartening to see how warmly they have embraced Matt Sanchez.

If the name "buzzes" a bit for you yet rings no distinct, loud bell, it's because you've likely seen or heard of Matt Sanchez, at least in passing. He's a darling on the Fox Noise circuit, where Sean Hannity, among others, refers to him as a "great American"; he gets his picture taken with ungodly goddesses of the right fringe like Ann Coulter (as in the picture here) and Michelle Malkin.

Matt came to "prominence" when he - self-described as very pro-military - spoke out about how shabbily he is/was treated at Columbia University for being pro-military which, of course, made the strangest of the wingnuts race to embrace him, have him on their shows, write about him on their blogs, and hell, probably race to introduce Matt to their Hispanic illegal immigrant female domestic help.

The first time I heard about Matt Sanchez, in fact, it was on a righty blog where he was described as "a new and improved Jeff Gannon except that this guy isn't a queer homo whore" (the right is ever so diplomatic). Uh, it turns out that this blog post was actually rather prescient because.. uh... it turns out that, among Mr. Sanchez' other interests, he has regularly appeared (appears?) in gay pornography.

Writes Hoffmania in a post entitled, "The GOP's Big Tent":
Let's open the closet door and see who's there now.

Hey! It's the right wing's poster boy for the military, Matt Sanchez, who made the rounds saying how Columbia University students treated him mean for being pro-military. A legit problem, indeed...so the right embraced him without checking his creds. Seems he apparently didn't go to Iraq.

And, oh yeah...something else Fox Noise never checked. He also has a film acting resume' which ain't on IMDB.

What's truly sad about this, of course, is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with Mr. Sanchez being gay but there is everything wrong with the far right's vicious homophobia and attacks on anyone who (unlike them) hasn't been married and divorced three, four, five, or six times from a slew of increasingly younger wives as great conservative righties like Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich have been.

And it's sad that, because the extreme right is well.. uh.. so extreme about wanting gays to spontaneously combust, they'll back quickly away from Sanchez, their poster boy, for the one attribute about him that perhaps isn't icky: that he's gay. But he's definitely self-hating and conflicted and pathological enough to qualify for the Malkin/ Coulter/ Gingrich/ Hannity/ Limbaugh/ Rick Santorum wing of the GOP (the company he keeps is indicative of this; no self-respecting person, IMHO, could accept their endorsement).

Thank Ronald Reagan's Red America For Death of American Family Values

Finally, someone writes the truth about "family values", conservatives acting like they "own" the concept even though they hardly practice such values, and lays the blame squarely at the feet of the greed, excess, and extremes of the Ronald Reagan era. From Harold Meyerson in WaPo, "Family Values Chutzpah" (a/k/a "The GOP's 'Family Values' Sham"):

l As conservatives tell the tale, the decline of the American family, the rise in divorce rates, the number of children born out of wedlock all can be traced to the pernicious influence of one decade in American history: the '60s.

The conservatives are right that one decade, at least in its metaphoric significance, can encapsulate the causes for the family's decline. But they've misidentified the decade. It's not the permissive '60s. It's the Reagan '80s.

In Saturday's Post, reporter Blaine Harden took a hard look at the erosion of what we have long taken to be the model American family -- married couples with children -- and discovered that while this decline hasn't really afflicted college-educated professionals, it is the curse of the working class. The percentage of households that are married couples with children has hit an all-time low (at least, the lowest since the Census Bureau started measuring such things): 23.7 percent. That's about half the level that marrieds-with-children constituted at the end of the Ozzie-and-Harriet '50s.

Now, I'm not a scholar of the sitcom, but I did watch "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" as a child, marveling that anything labeled "Adventures" could be so dull. And I don't recall a single episode in which the family had to do without because Ozzie had lost his job or missed taking David or Ricky to the doctor for fear he couldn't pay for it.

Which may explain why the Ozzie and Harriet family -- modified by feminism, since Harriet now holds down a job, too -- still rolls along within the upper-middle class but has become much harder to find in working-class America, where cohabitation without marriage has increasingly become the norm. Taking into account all households, married couples with children are twice as likely to be in the top 20 percent of incomes, Harden reported. Their incomes have increased 59 percent over the past 30 years, while households overall have experienced just a 44 percent increase.

Bush Twin Book Deal: She Can't Read, But She Can Write?

And mind you, it's Jenna - the dumb blonde one - who seems to spend much of her time falling off bar stools and dance floors.

Let's see: she's just barely 25, never held a job, has done nothing but party since graduating from a school paid to pass her more than three years ago... oh yeah, I can see why the literary world really needs her autobiography.


Justice Department Admits At Least One U.S. Attorney/Prosecutor Forced Out

In the ongoing investigation into the Bushies' purge of U.S. Attorneys/prosecutors, most of whom have been involved in investigating corruption by mostly Republican politicians, the Justice Department admitted today that at least one, Thomas M. DiBiagio, a Maryland federal prosecutor then looking into possible financial abuses of the Republican governor, was indeed forced out.

And, though he keeps claiming he did nothing wrong, Republican Senator Pete Domenici (N.M.) has hired a big gun lawyer against charges he tried to push a federal prosecutor to bring indictments against Democrats in another probe even though the prosecutor had not yet found justification to charge anyone.

Gee, isn't it the GOPers who always say, "If (insert Democrat's name) hasn't done anything wrong, then s/he has nothing to worry about"? They're also the same people who won't allow any investigation into anything they do.

For more on the investigation into the purging of the U.S. attorneys general, see this roundup.

"Moment of Accountability" For Bush, Cheney, And Their Lies?

In this piece in the Washington Post, the analyst writer Peter Baker proclaims the Bushies are at a moment of accountability. But just calling it accountability means nothing unless some decisive action is taken, not just in light of the multiple Scooter Libby guilty verdicts in the PlameGate trial yesterday but the mountain of other lies and corrupt acts this administration has committed.

So let me turn away from the first Post piece and turn instead to Dan Froomkin's blog at WaPo which speaks more powerfully, yet will also probably be met with nothing but silence OR derision from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue:

It's time for President Bush and Vice President Cheney to come clean about their roles in the White House's outing of a CIA agent and the ensuing cover-up.

It's actually long past time. But with former vice presidential chief of staff Scooter Libby's conviction on charges of perjury and obstruction yesterday, the stench of corruption has taken formal residence at the White House.

The president and vice president can pretend it's not there, and can continue to hide behind their weak and transparent excuse for not commenting on an "ongoing criminal investigation".

But the trial is over. The investigation is over. And the conviction of a liar in their midst has made it more imperative than ever that the leaders of this country fully address the American people's legitimate concerns that the lies in question were intended to hide from public view even deeper skullduggery at the highest levels of the administration.

As special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald noted in his closing arguments (see my Feb. 21 column, The Cloud Over Cheney) Libby's lies have left all sorts of issues unresolved.

Cheney was at the fevered center of the effort to discredit administration critic Joseph Wilson, which resulted in the exposure of his wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA operative. Indeed, Cheney was the first person to tell Libby about Plame. Cheney authored talking points that quite possibly encouraged Libby and others to mention Plame to reporters. Cheney was the only person to whom Libby confided his implausible cover story -- that he had first heard about Plame from NBC's Tim Russert. And at Cheney's request, Bush secretly declassified portions of a National Intelligence Reports so that Libby could leak them to Judith Miller of the New York Times.

The White House yesterday once again trotted out its "ongoing criminal matter" rationale. But that was never much of an excuse and at this point it is utterly pathetic. Any danger of influencing the investigation or the jury pool, to the extent that was ever a legitimate concern, is past. The chances of a retrial are almost nonexistent. In reviewing a conviction, an appellate court cannot look outside the trial record. Fitzgerald says he and his fellow prosecutors are going back to their day jobs.

And there is an enormous public-policy factor here -- something more important than the vague, theoretical possibility of influencing a fair trial. Just for example, no executive of any company would be allowed by his shareholders to remain mum on a top aide's indictment -- not to mention conviction. He'd be fired.

Why are Bush and his aides hiding behind such hollow excuses? Probably because they know that if they did talk, it might just make things worse. Arguably, they still don't think Libby did anything wrong, putting them in the awkward position of disagreeing with a federal jury's verdict. And in explaining what they say really happened, they might risk either exposing more unseemly facts or being caught in a lie.

But the main reason they are hiding behind these excuses is that they can. There's been no public cost to them from not talking.

Unlike Ann Coulter, I Can Admit When I'm Just Plain Wrong

The other day, in discussing Ann Coulter's disgusting diatribe in which she circuitously attacked Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards as a faggot, I let anger get the better of me and, in doing so, responded a bit too much like Coulter herself for my own comfort level.

I was wrong to do so. I offer no excuses. I've been unhappy with my response since about three seconds after I hit the Publish button and I've been less and less happy with every day I've allowed go by without stating I was wrong.

I certainly won't apologize to Coulter, but I do apologize to all of you, whether or not you took exception with my comments.


More Of The Great Iraq Improvement Bush Talked About Today

At least six American soldiers were killed in a blast north of Baghdad.

WTG, Bush. ::sigh::

Since American Companies Can't Do Business in Iran, Why is Cheney's Halliburton Busy at Work in Iran?

This is another humdinger presented by Cernig's Newshog (it's not news to me, but I was not aware NBC News was onto it, since I usually only see this mentioned in more alternative news outlets). It also reminds me of how, just before Cheney picked himself to be Bush's VP for the 2000 presidential race, Cheney as CEO of Halliburton appeared before the U.S. Senate to insist they end sanctions against Iraq since it was clear Iraq was no longer the bad guy (yet, as soon as Bush and Cheney got in office, they looked for reasons to attack Saddam Hussein and Iraq).

NBC's Investigative Unit has video of a Halliburton drilling operation with Halliburton logos everywhere - but it's in Iran, where the company gained a contract in January to drill in the massive Pars gas field.
    "I am baffled that any American company would want to have employees operating in Iran," says Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. "I would think they'd be ashamed."

    Halliburton says the operation — videotaped by NBC News — is entirely legal. It's run by a subsidiary called "Halliburton Products and Services Limited," based outside the U.S. In fact, the law allows foreign subsidiaries of U.S. corporations to do business in Iran under strict conditions.

    [...]Sources close to the Halliburton investigation tell NBC News that after that announcement, Halliburton decided that business with Iran, then conducted through at least five companies, would all be done through a subsidiary incorporated in the Cayman Islands.

    "It's gotten around the sanctions and the very spirit and reasons for the sanctions," says Victor Comras, a former State Department expert on sanctions.

    For Halliburton to have done this legally, the foreign subsidiary operating in Iran must be independent of the main operation in Texas. Yet, when an NBC producer approached managers in Iran, he was sent to company officials in Dubai. But they said only Halliburton headquarters in Houston could talk about operations in Iran. Still, Halliburton maintains its Iran subsidiary does make independent business decisions.
Now Halliburton is under federal investigation - the focus being on whether it was their intention all along to evade sanctions. Congress is looking at closing the loophole in the law.

[...]But I've a question - if their old boss Dick Cheney manages to get his way and the US attacks Iran, would Halliburton get government compensation for it's destroyed equipment and potential profits? If not, then maybe they know for sure something the rest of us can only wonder about concerning the likelihood of such an attack.

Ignoring Reality, Bush Insists Iraq Getting Better "All The Time"

No, I do not jest: Mr. Bush claimed today that Iraq is getting better all the time. Perhaps he can explain this, from AP, along with the U.S. troop death toll taking another leap today:

Two suicide bombers turned a procession of Shiite pilgrims into a blood-drenched stampede Tuesday, killing scores with a first blast and then claiming more lives among fleeing crowds. At least 106 were killed amid a wave of deadly strikes against Shiites heading for a solemn religious ritual.
Hey, Bush must think, it's only "at least" 106 dead, and it's not like they're Bush donors...

More On The Purging of U.S. Attorneys Replaced By Bush-Rove Friends With No Scrutiny

Slate tackles the investigation into the Patriot Act revision that allowed the Bushies to purge seasoned federal prosecutors and replace them with Bush friends and patrons who are not vetted before they are named. Notice Arlen Specter there.

Did American Soldiers Delete Footage of Alleged Bloody Attack on Afghans?

We know something pretty horrific happened in Afghanistan that day and that at least one American GI, along with others, have said U.S. troops just opened up fire on anyone and everyone around in a "blind rage", killing women, children, and old men along with others. If it's true now that soldiers deleted photos of the carnage, it may tell us a LOT of how horrific their acts were. From the BBC:

The Associated Press is to complain to the US military after journalists said US soldiers deleted footage of the aftermath of an attack in Afghanistan.

President Hamid Karzai said 10 people died when coalition forces opened fire on civilians after a suicide attack in eastern Nangarhar province on Sunday.

Journalists working for AP said US troops erased images of a vehicle in which three people had been shot dead.

The US military said it could not confirm its troops had seized any film.

Libby: Guilty On 4 of 5 Counts in CIA Leak/PlameGate Case

Yesterday, as I sat pondering how long the jurors in the CIA Leak/Valerie Plame case against Vice President Dick Cheney's former top assistant, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, I very nearly posted here saying I was concerned that, if the jury did not deadlock, it was likely they would find him Not Guilty on most if not all charges.

So color me somewhat pleasantly surprised when the jury returned with a guilty verdict on four of the five charges from against Scooter by federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. I was neither surprised NOR pleased to hear the cable news networks reporting the verdict as if they felt sorry for the man who - not alone - endangered the life of a covert CIA operative, Valerie Plame as political payback for her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, going public with how the Bush Administration "cooked" a story of aluminum tubes and yellow cake in Niger as part of the case to go to war in Iraq. More than Plame was endangered; she was part of a large team working on WMDs that were endangered.

Libby deserves no sympathy. He simply doesn't. The far rightwing, in fact, have given him so much money for "defense" that he has not had to spend a cent of his personal fortune (and all the Bushies appear very wealthy).

But the one member of the jury who spoke out also seemed to hint at "poor Scooter", saying the jury felt like he was the fall guy for a whole network of wrongdoers. I, too, believe this. But it in no way lessons Libby's culpability.

Now, while he could face years in prison because of these convictions, I doubt the White House will waste any time whatsoever in pardoning Libby. It would be wrong for them to do so, but since when do the Bushies care about justice? And besides, they want to give Libby a reason to "shut up" because, now convicted, he might be more spilling to tell on Cheney and Rove and company for their role in a crime for which only Libby was charged.

You may want to check out the Citizens for Ethics & Responsibility in Washington's (CREW) blog statement on the Libby guilty verdict today ("No man is above the law") while Rolling Stone magazine's National daily blog refers to Libby as "the fall guy" and breaks down the verdicts:

Obstruction of justice: Guilty

False statements to FBI (about conversation with Tim Russert): Guilty

False statements (conversation with Matt Cooper): Not Guilty

Perjury before grand jury (about Russert conversation): Guilty

Purjury before grand jury (about Cooper conversation): Guilty

Libby has been found decisively guilty of a coverup — although he was found not guilty of one count of lying to the FBI, he was found guilty of perjuring himself about that same conversation before the grand jury.

What happens to Scooter, is of course, less interesting. The storm “cloud” over the Vice President, to quote prosecutor, is now darkening. The vital thing going forward is whether the prospect of a few years in club fed is enough to make a loyal footsoldier like Libby rat out his old boss.

Naturally, since the Bushies' abhor justice, Libby is already demanding a new trial.

Newt Gingrich Pulls Traditional GOP Trick: Blame The Poor Victims For What Was Perpetrated Upon Them

Yes, boys and girls, the failure of New Orleans to thrive after the federal government failed so horrifically following Hurricane Katrina is NOT FEMA's wrong, not the Bush Administration's fault and not because, as we have since learned from former FEMA director Michael "You're doing a heluva job, Brownie) Brown, the Bushies decided to "sacrifice" New Orleans to make it look bad for NOLA's Democratic mayor and Louisiana's woman Dem governor. Former Speaker of the House (and always current adulterer and scumbag) Newt Gingrich places ALL the blame squarely on the shoulders of poor black Ninth Ward residents whom, he says, failed as citizens.

From Our Future:

There's more to say about Newt Gingrich (who looks more like a presidential candidate after today) but let me call attention to this from his grand finale address to CPAC:

He blamed the residents of New Orleans' 9th Ward for a "failure of citizenship," by being "so uneducated and so unprepared, they literally couldn't get out of the way of a hurricane."
And he called for a "deep investigation" into this "failure of citizenship."

Here's the full quote:
    How can you have the mess we have in New Orleans, and not have had deep investigations of the federal government, the state government, the city government, and the failure of citizenship in the Ninth Ward, where 22,000 people were so uneducated and so unprepared, they literally couldn't get out of the way of a hurricane.
To listen to the audio, click here.
And Newt wants to be president?

Hey, if the GOP nominates him, they may need more than just "fixed" electronic voting machines to do it.

Missing In Action: Where The Hell is The Iraq Parliament?

Cernig's Newshog takes a hard look at a story that is as AWOL in the mainstream media and the blogosphere as Iraqi lawmakers are in the Iraq Parliament. He also points us to the International Herald Tribune piece on the missing Parliamentarians.

BAGHDAD, Iraq: Iraq's parliament failed to reconvene as scheduled Tuesday because so few members showed up after the month's recess.

Only about a dozen of the 275 members of parliament appeared at the Green Zone parliament building. Officials said the assembly would not try to meet again until sometime next week.

The legislature has several urgent items to consider including the oil law, constitutional review and changes in regulations that effectively bar many Sunnis from government jobs."
What gives?

Now, if I were an Iraqi politician, I'd probably be very afraid to show up, given how every aspect of their government is considered merely puppetry for the Bush Empire. But there has to be more to this than we're hearing from the few who bother to report upon it. Notes Cernig:
That's the whole AP report - no explanation, no relation to other events, nothing.

Yet this news could well have shocking repercussions for some of the most crucial Iraqi issues.

By the time the Iraqi parliament can try to convene again, the conference of "neighbours" will have already been and possibly gone. The backdrop to that conference is now one where the democratically elected represenatives of the Iraqi people either can't be bothered to turn up for work or are too scared to turn
up for work.

And what about the "surge" - it was meant to give Iraq's government breathing space to bring about reconcilliation, but the bulk of that government is now AWOL - and it's the bit that gives legitimacy to the Maliki cabinet, the Iraqi security forces and the occupation.
Stay tuned to Cernig; I think that blog is a better bet at ferreting out the story behind the story than the MSM.


Paul Krugman: "Valor and Squalor"

In his Times column today, Dr. Krugman turns his ink-loaded scalpel toward the Bush-worsened debacle surrounding care for our wounded troops at Walter Reed and other military hospitals. Read it all here or be satisfied with my thick sniplet:

When Salon, the online magazine, reported on mistreatment of veterans at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center two years ago, officials simply denied that there were any problems. And they initially tried to brush off last month’s exposĂ© in The Washington Post.

But this time, with President Bush’s approval at 29 percent, Democrats in control of Congress, and Donald Rumsfeld no longer defense secretary — Robert Gates, his successor, appears genuinely distressed at the situation — the whitewash didn’t stick.

Yet even now it’s not clear whether the public will be told the full story, which is that the horrors of Walter Reed’s outpatient unit are no aberration. For all its cries of “support the troops,” the Bush administration has treated veterans’ medical care the same way it treats everything else: nickel-and-diming the needy, protecting the incompetent and privatizing everything it can.

What makes this a particular shame is that in the Clinton years, veterans’ health care — like the Federal Emergency Management Agency — became a shining example of how good leadership can revitalize a troubled government program. By the early years of this decade the Veterans Health Administration was, by many measures, providing the highest-quality health care in America. (It probably still is: Walter Reed is a military facility, not run by the V.H.A.)

But as with FEMA, the Bush administration has done all it can to undermine that achievement. And the Walter Reed scandal is another Hurricane Katrina: the moment when the administration’s misgovernment became obvious to everyone.

The problem starts with money. The administration uses carefully cooked numbers to pretend that it has been generous to veterans, but the historical data contained in its own budget for fiscal 2008 tell the true story. The quagmire in Iraq has vastly increased the demands on the Veterans Administration, yet since 2001 federal outlays for veterans’ medical care have actually lagged behind overall national health spending.

To save money, the administration has been charging veterans for many formerly free services. For example, in 2005 Salon reported that some Walter Reed patients were forced to pay hundreds of dollars each month for their meals.

More important, the administration has broken longstanding promises of lifetime health care to those who defend our nation. Two months before the invasion of Iraq the V.H.A., which previously offered care to all veterans, introduced severe new restrictions on who is entitled to enroll in its health care system. As the agency’s Web site helpfully explains, veterans whose income exceeds as little as $27,790 a year, and who lack “special eligibilities such as a compensable service connected condition or recent combat service,” will be turned away.
Rozius has the rest.

Cops: "The Gunman Is Dead" CNN: "Yes, But Has He Been Arrested?"

This is the nitwit exchange I just heard on CNN regarding a shooting at a small printing plant in California.

After the police spokesman said repeatedly that the only D.O.A. (dead on arrival) was the man who was believed to have started the incident by shooting former co-workers, the dipshit woman news anchor asked, repeatedly, "Yes, but has he been arrested?"

Uh, if he's dead, are handcuffs and a Miranda reading really necessary?


On Reconsidering The "Myth of the Middle"

Steve at The Carpetbagger Report brings up an excellent discussion today:

It’s one of those political truths that “everybody knows” — the party that wins the elusive middle wins the election. It’s all about the “center,” where most Americans are and where campaigns are decided. This seemed particularly true in 2006, when, the conventional wisdom tells us, the middle expressed its disgust with the status quo and backed a divided government so that both sides would govern from the center.

But is any of this true? Political scientist Alan Abramowitz and journalist Bill Bishop suggested this week that we may want to reconsider the “myth of the middle.”
    The Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES) surveyed more than 24,000 Americans who voted in 2006. The Internet-based survey compiled by researchers at 30 universities produced a sample that almost perfectly matched the national House election results: 54 percent of the respondents reported voting for a Democrat, while 46 percent said they voted for a Republican. The demographic characteristics of the voters surveyed also closely matched those in the 2006 national exit poll. If anything, the CCES respondents claimed they were more “independent” than those in the exit poll.

    The CCES survey asked about 14 national issues: the war in Iraq (the invasion and the troops), abortion (and partial birth abortion), stem cell research, global warming, health insurance, immigration, the minimum wage, liberalism and conservatism, same-sex marriage, privatizing Social Security, affirmative action, and capital gains taxes. Not surprisingly, some of the largest differences between Democrats and Republicans were over the Iraq war. Fully 85 percent of those who voted for Democratic House candidates felt that it had been a mistake to invade Iraq, compared with only 18 percent of voters who cast ballots for Republicans.

    But the divisions between the parties weren’t limited to Iraq. They extended to every issue in the survey. For example, 69 percent of Democratic voters chose the most strongly pro-choice position on the issue of abortion, compared with 20 percent of Republican voters; only 16 percent of Democratic voters supported a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, while 80 percent of Republican voters did; and 91 percent of Democratic voters favored governmental action to reduce global warming, compared with 27 percent of Republican voters.
    When we combined voters’ answers to the 14 issue questions to form a liberal-conservative scale (answers were divided into five equivalent categories based on overall liberalism vs. conservatism), 86 percent of Democratic voters were on the liberal side of the scale while 80 percent of Republican voters were on the conservative side. Only 10 percent of all voters were in the center. The visual representation of the nation’s voters isn’t a nicely shaped bell, with most voters in the moderate middle. It’s a sharp V.
OK, if this is true, and Abramowitz and Bishop certainly make a compelling case, what does this tell us about how the political process should work?
Your thoughts?

I'm not sure I "buy" that there is so little "middle". But I also wonder if those most willing to participate in surveys are those with strong ideological viewpoints compared with others who may not be willing to discuss national issues.

Busy, Busy, Busy

Sorry the postings have been uh... nearly non-existent this weekend.

Another foot-and-a-half snow dump since Friday afternoon, while we still had most of the 40+ inches dumped on St. Viagra's day, have left us with literally no room to shovel, plus we're having some roof collapse. Errgh.

I do have some things to put up later, however.