Would Everyone Who Is NOT Corrupt, Please Disqualify Yourselves?"

OK, I don't believe for a minute that every Republican or even every Republican politician is corrupt or in favor of corruption. So why is it that in Bush and Karl Rove's GOP America, only corrupt Republican politicians stand a chance of succeeding?

From Talking Points Memo:

lWhen it comes to the GOP's culture of corruption, even the loyal GOP base has a breaking point.

When Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.) was forced to give up his seat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee due to an acute case of Abramoff-itis, the GOP leadership had a chance to set things right by replacing him with a respected lawmaker of unimpeachable integrity. Instead the leadership tapped Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), who was himself recently named one of Congress' most corrupt lawmakers.

Calvert, of course, is the subject on an ongoing FBI probe of his own. As CREW's Melanie Sloan asked, "Why would the minority choose to replace one member under federal investigation with another member also under federal investigation?"
Some conservatives are starting to ask the same question. RedState, one of the leading far-right blogs, ran an item yesterday under the headline, "An Open Declaration of War Against The House Republican Leadership." RedState recounts Calvert's many alleged misdeeds, concluding that the "House Republican Leadership just does not get it." A variety of conservative blogs endorsed the challenge.

Maureen Dowd: "Get Off The Chaise Lounge"

And we're talking Paris, France, not Paris Hilton (thank God!). Read the rest here.

Paris - Beauty has been chased off by the Beast.

Now France waits to see just how feral and domineering Nicolas Sarkozy will be.

The lovely Ségolène Royal — more phenomenon than politician — ran a maternal, Manichaean campaign painting her intense, Napoleon-sized opponent as an immoral political animal and a brute whose election would spark riots and “a sort of civil war.”
The luminous Sego did not even deign to address the “dark” Sarko by name, either in the debate or in her concession speech Sunday night.

Cartoonists have depicted the tough guy — who bullies rivals, betrays mentors and calls young troublemakers in low-income housing in the Paris suburbs “scum” — as a gargoyle, Dracula, an evil sorcerer and a devil.

The imagery of the presidential duel tapped into mythic Gothic tales of France, like “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

With Hungarian, Greek and Jewish roots, with a father who deserted and belittled him, with his jittery ambition and pugnacious talk, Sarko is jolting the inbred, insular and introspective world of elite French politics. The far right has called him “a foreigner with an unhappy marriage,” and a Sego adviser scorned him as “an American neocon with a French passport.”

“He’s an arriviste,” said Bruno Ract-Madoux, the owner of a vintage shop in Paris. “From the beginning, he was someone who would sell his mother as fast as possible to get ahead.”

Or as an elegant Parisian woman who voted for Sego warned guests at a postelection dinner party, “He’s like a little Donald Trump.”

Sego was serene and protective — but vague; Sarko was kinetic and pushy — and concrete. As it turned out, the French wanted to be prodded even more than they wanted to be pampered. Perhaps they have decided they have to stop being sluggish so they can continue to be supercilious.

Liberals mocked Sarko’s campaign theme: “A France that wakes up early.” Gérard Biard wrote a piece in the far-left weekly paper Charlie Hebdo: “At dawn, I ripped myself out of bed. I took a cold shower, put on some mismatched socks and downed eight espressos, as I headed out to meet France in the morning. The France that wakes up early would rather stay in the sack.”

But even some who voted for the woman who would have been the first La France Présidente admitted that they did not want their country to calcify. “Who has a 35-hour workweek?” said Phillippe Rosenthal, who sells leather chairs.

Sarko wrote in his political book “Testimony” that France “is not a museum” and “must find the energy” to succeed. In his acceptance speech, he said he would “rehabilitate” work, and an adviser promised he would be “a presidential entrepreneur.” (Just as soon as he comes back from his yachting vacation.)

One expatriate friend of mine observed that the French are not lazy, they just want a leisurely lunch.

Blair Gets Booted, But We're Still Bushwhacked!

Let me paraphrase one of the few decent things I heard on Friday's "Real Time with Bill Maher" on HBO:

"Tony Blair cited his reason for stepping down from leading Great Britain
as a desire to spend more time (not with his family BUT)
humping Bush's leg, just like a good little lapdog should."

Vermont's Lone House Rep, Pete Welch, Takes Heat Over His Non-Impeachment Pursuits

Today (the 12th), the newly-elected (he replaced Bernie Sanders who went to the U.S. Senate to replace Jim Jeffords) Peter Welch (Dem), Vermont's only House Rep, took serious heat in a public hearing in Hartford, VT because he will not support impeachment efforts against Bush and/or the entire Bush Administration.

People here are NOT happy about Welch (or Sanders, who has also refused to take up the impeachment gauntlet) and statements like, "Impeachment would get in the way of more important things" (I guess a functioning democracy is a bit too much to ask for anymore) and "Impeachment will just drag out the Iraq War longer" (as if Bush is just racing us out of there as it stands now).

As regular readers know, I am NOT a fan of impeachment. However, there are genuine and very legitimate reasons why the Bush Administration should be removed compared with the whole "blue dress" debacle the GOP perpetrated against Bill Clinton in the latter 1990s.

I continue to feel that the charges to be leveled against the Bushies do not spell impeachment, but treason.


Majority of Americans Dislike Bush's Veto Of Iraq Funding Bill With Timeline Attached

OK, I fully and completely understand why 54% of Americans dislike Bush's presidential veto. What I don't get is that more than 40% of Americans APPROVE of Bush's veto.

A majority of the U.S. public disapproves of President Bush's decision to veto a war spending bill that called for U.S. troops to leave Iraq in 2008, according to a CNN poll released Tuesday.

The poll found that 54 percent of Americans opposed Bush's May 1 veto, while 44 percent backed the president's decision to kill the $124 billion bill.Now that the veto has been cast, 57 percent of Americans said they want Congress to send another spending bill with a timetable for withdrawal back to the White House, the poll found -- but 61 percent would support a new bill that dropped the timetables in favor of benchmarks for the Iraqi government to meet to maintain American support. (Full results [PDF])

While it found that more Americans believe Congress, rather than the president, should be responsible for setting policy in Iraq, the survey may give the Democratic leadership some pause. The percentage of people saying Democratic control of Congress is good for the country dropped from 59 percent in a March poll to 51 percent now.

"Lights! Camera! Killing! Action!"

From Reuters yesterday, a story that just stuns me re: a soldier filming after a very controversial killing of an Italian intelligence agent during the freeing of an Italian journalist held hostage:

A U.S. soldier on trial in absentia in Italy for killing an Italian intelligence agent in Iraq two years ago filmed the scene moments after he opened fire, an Italian television channel said on Tuesday.

Mario Lozano's lawyer said the U.S. soldier, who denies any wrongdoing in firing at agent Nicola Calipari's car, gave the video to TG5 channel, apparently after recording an interview with him in the United States. Italian prosecutors investigating the case immediately seized the tape, judicial sources said.

Hazy footage of the video showed a white car with bright headlights stopped at the side of a road with an open door, while voices of U.S. soldiers could be heard in the background.

Lozano went on trial in absentia in Italy last month for firing at the car carrying Calipari and newly freed Italian hostage Giuliana Sgrena to Baghdad airport in March 2005.

The U.S. and Italian governments have said the shooting was an accident, but an Italian judge has charged Lozano with murder and two counts of attempted murder of those in the car.


Bush and Benchmarks: More Lies and Games At Expense of U.S. Troops' and Civilians' Lives

Why is everyone applauding President Bush for his statement yesterday that he thought "benchmarks" might be a good idea re: Iraq?
First, Bush should NEVER have been given a blank check to do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted, no matter what cost (financial, logistical, and human lives) in Iraq (and for this, I hold every single member of Congress as responsible as I do Cowboy Clown Dubya). I was one of a large but often none too vocal group who saw quite clearly that Bush and Cheney and the Neocon Express were taking us into Iraq on a case made of lies and greed. To this day, more than four years after the first American forces landed in Iraq, Bush and Cheney continue to promote the idea that Iraq somehow had some large part in planning and executing the September 11th, 2001 (9-11) attacks on the U.S. when it seemed clearly untrue back in 2003 and disproven countless times since then.

Second, Bush won't allow ANY compromise on his part whatsoever. He may say that benchmarks may be a good idea, but he certainly won't allow any checks and balances applied to what he wants to do in Iraq. He says this only to fool Americans into thinking he'll play ball; he doesn't even care that now a majority of Republican voters want troops out of Iraq in the next six months.

Third, don't fool yourself. Bush will be out of office before the U.S. is out of Iraq.


Goodbye, Cool Brittania

No more lapdog for Bush? No more bridge between the U.S. and Europe?

Read what The Newshoggers (Cernig, especially) have to say on the matter of Blair's anticipated resignation tomorrow.


Bush To Congress And American People: "Just In Case You Forgot I'm Dictator, Fuck You"

Sadly, this sentiment on Bush's part applies to almost every issue that has come up in Washington, D.C. since even before his dad's pals on the U.S. Supreme Court selected him president in December 2000. Just as sad (and downright mad, in the sense of complete separation from reality), far too many Americans have been willing to accept his dangerous and completely undemocratic (not to mention insane) self-portrait.

However, here, this refers to Bush's swaggering, cocky promise to veto yet another Congressional bill on Iraq funding in answer to Bush's veto of last week's bill that provided all the funding Bush wanted WHILE it also set a timeline to begin to withdraw troops starting in the fall of this year.

From AP:

The White House threatened on Wednesday to veto a proposed House bill that would pay for the war only through July — a limit Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned would be disastrous.

The warnings came as Democratic leaders wrestled with how to support the troops but still challenge President Bush on the war. Bush has requested more than $90 billion to sustain the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through September.

Democrats were unbowed.

"With this latest veto threat, the president has once again chosen confrontation over cooperation," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In a flash of defiance, House Democratic leaders this week promoted legislation that would provide the military $42.8 billion to keep operations going through July, buy new equipment and train Iraqi and Afghan security forces. Congress would decide shortly before its August recess whether to release an additional $52.8 billion to fund the war through September.

"In essence, the bill asks me to run the Department of Defense like a skiff, and I'm trying to drive the biggest supertanker in the world," Gates told senators Wednesday. "And we just don't have the agility to be able to manage a two-month appropriation very well."

The veto threat came from White House spokesman Tony Snow, traveling aboard Air Force One with Bush to tour tornado damage in Kansas.

"There are restrictions on funding and there are also some of the spending items that were mentioned in the first veto message that are still in the bill," Snow said.

House members planned a vote Thursday, just two days after David Obey (news, bio, voting record), D-Wis., chairman of the Appropriations Committee, briefed White House chief of staff Josh Bolten on the plan.

The stern White House response also reflected the high stakes involved for Bush, who is struggling to beat back congressional skepticism about his Iraq strategy. In recent days, Bush has tried to shore up support by personally reaching out to moderate Republican and Democratic rank-and-file.

The Bushies Breed Greed

Now the 20,000 or so extra soldiers they called up for Bush's felonious, futile, and foolhardy are not enough for Bush's surge/excalation. They want at least 35,000 MORE troops in beautiful, beaucolic, bright downtown Baghdad.

Hat tip to Buzzflash for the link.


LA Times To The Bushies: Withdraw From Iraq

I'm sure Bush and Rove will insist this is just a tiny focus group since the LA Times, in calling for withdrawal of our troops from Bush's "slam dunk" war on Iraq, only boasts the fourth largest circulation of any newspaper in this country.

Bush's Wars: Strangely, They Can Only One In Three Direction: Worse, Worser (eh?), And Worst

While Afghanistan's Taliban (the same people Bush and Cheney claim to have annihilated six years ago) adopts President Bush's rule to only allow journalists and the rest of what calls itself media to report lies, the violence in Afghanistan and its neighbor, Iraq, only continues to defy all laws of basic statistics by worsening each and every day (even a lame coin toss should give you the occasional "win" but Bush makes us lose each and every damned time).

Here's what I noted at All Things Democrat:

April was the nation’s bloodiest overall month (we set terrible new records there all the time) since we arrived and May is off to a tragically busy start; many U.S. soldiers along with more than 100 Iraqi civilians were killed in operations just this past weekend.

It’s not a case that this escalating violence is completely about Bush’s so-called surge or escalation of military actions in Iraq. First, we already sent many of the “surge” troops in already and second, many forces are already working on new “surge” orders on the ground. So it’s a fabrication to claim that the heightened violence is only because “insurgents are scared and doing what they can now because they know that Bush means business THIS time.”

Hugely nasty attacks occurred yesterday (Sunday) in Iraq, with bodies found all over Baghdad, including those of at least eight American GIs. [Afghanistan worses every day as well.] At the same time, a major general, in a piece in the Boston Globe, says Iraq will get FAR deadlier still (quite the effortless slam dunk promised):
    BAGHDAD — A US Army general yesterday forecast a rise in deaths among American forces in the coming months, a prediction underscored by the announcement that a roadside bomb had killed six US soldiers and a foreign journalist north of Baghdad. Five other American troops died elsewhere over the weekend.

    Major General Rick Lynch, commander of the Third Infantry Division, said casualties will climb as American troops dig into enemy territory as part of a stepped-up military operation ordered by President Bush in January. Lynch, who oversees a swath of territory to the south and east of Baghdad, gave his bleak prediction on the heels of the deadliest month this year for American forces in Iraq.

    In April, 104 troops were killed, the fourth time since the beginning of 2005 that US deaths exceeded 100 in a single month. At least 25 troops have been killed in May, a grim start to a month in which Democrats are expected to keep up pressure on the White House to plan a withdrawal from Iraq.