Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Paul Krugman has a brilliant op-ed piece, This Isn't America on the New York Times site today. He discusses BushCo's abuse of power and smear tactics, and how much of the media still seems content to allow the Administration to use them as puppets. He also points out just how slimey BushCo really is: "This administration's reliance on smear tactics is unprecedented in modern U.S. politics — even compared with Nixon's. Even more disturbing is its readiness to abuse power — to use its control of the government to intimidate potential critics." (bold mine) Worse than Nixon? I'd say that's accurate!

Via Blah3.com, the White House is now going to allow Condi to testify under oath--with stipulations. Seems like everything comes with stipulations in this Administration! In a related story, this Alternet article discusses "Condi's Credibility Gap," contrasting actual claims made by Ms. Rice (including dates claims were made) with *documented* facts that refute her statements. Spin THAT Condi!

This Alternet article discusses the media's mishandling of the whole Clarke/Condi situation--how the media as a whole has been soft on the Administration, not pointing out discrepancies in their statements or asking tough questions, while they haven't extended Clarke the same courtesy. Not only have they not hesitated to ask Clarke the tough questions, they've provided a platform for the Administration to question Clarke's credibility relentlessly. Dan Rather's statement from his BBC Newsnight appearance in May 2002 is quoted in the article, and seems to shed some light on much of the media's hesitancy to go after the Administration: "Invoking the memory of black South Africans "necklacing" informers with burning tires, he explained: 'In some ways, the fear is that you will be necklaced here, you will have a flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck. It's that fear that keeps journalists from asking the toughest of the tough questions and to continue to bore-in on the tough questions so often. Again, I'm humbled to say I do not except myself from this criticism.'" Enlightening, but not surprising--the media has been cowed by the same tactics the Administration has used to intimidate critics of all kinds.
Once again, for your enjoyment, this week's Democratic Underground Top Ten Conservative Idiots list. The Bush Administration, Condi, and Dubya himself have managed to snag the top FIVE spots, now THAT's talent! (Not talent anyone would actually want, but talent none the less.) And speaking of idiots...

John Kerry has won the first Presidential Spelling Bee, right here in Ann Arbor, MI, in what was also the shortest spelling bee in history. Kerry won when he was able to correctly spell the word "jobs," after Bush spelled it wrong. No wonder Dubya hasn't been able to create any new jobs, he can't even spell the word!

Don't forget, Air America goes on the air tomorrow at noon, with the O'Franken Factor! For those of us not lucky enough to live in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, or San Francisco, the station will be broadcasting online via streaming audio.

Quote for the Day: "It's time the country went on a CARB-free diet. CARB = Cheney Ashcroft Rumsfeld Bush"--April, in the comments section of this story on Digital Catharsis.

Idiotic Quote for the Day: "Feminism was established to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream."--Rush Limbaugh

Friday, March 26, 2004

This has to be one of the funniest protest signs I've ever seen--absolutely brilliant!

The Guardian has a great piece about the Bush Administration's reaction to Dick Clarke's allegations of BushCo's (mis) handling of Al Qaeda before and after 9/11, as well as specific instances of how the war in Iraq has taken resources away from the fight against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Particularly disturbing is the redeployment of a Special Forces unit with unique language skills, that had built important relationships in Afghanistan that looked quite promising in helping to pinpointe Bin Laden's whereabouts, only to be reassigned to the task of hunting Saddam Hussein. Talk about having your priorities out of wack!

For those of you who, like me, had to work while the 9/11 hearings were going on, and therefore missed all but the soundbytes that have been getting media play, the New York Times has the full transcript of the testimony. You'll need a NY Times registration to read it, but it's free to register, so it's definitely worth it. Many thanks to Shawn for emailing me the link!

Thursday, March 25, 2004

It seems BushCo is flip-flopping on yet another issue, this time its promise to protect medical privacy. In this article on Alternet, Michael Ventura details how "The Bush-Ashcroft Justice Department is attempting to force hospitals and clinics to turn over medical records on thousands of abortions. " Regardless of your stance on abortion, this could set a horrible precedent; if the government can invade your privacy looking for information on abortion (a LEGAL procedure), they could invade it to look for any information they want, for any purpose they want. BushCo has demonstrated a definite lack of tolerance of dissent of any kind, to the point where they outed an undercover CIA operative to get back at her husband, so it's not a stretch to assume that they're capable of invading medical privacy for the purposes of trashing anyone who disagrees with them. One of the scariest things about this issue is the lack of attention by the media; Ventura points out that the New York Times ran a story about it on March 6th, buried on page eight beneath a rather bland headline. Nice to know they're spotlighting the important issues!

Josh Marshall has some great analysis and commentary this week on the Richard Clarke accusations, the 9/11 Commission, and BushCo's spin-doctoring. I highly recommend checking out his site, as well as Blah3.com and Atrios who are doing a great job as well.

Quote for the Day: "It was as if Osama bin Laden, hidden in some high mountain redoubt, were engaging in long-range mind control of George Bush, chanting 'invade Iraq, you must invade Iraq."--Richard Clarke

Idiotic Quote for the Day: "at some point we may be the only ones left. That's OK with me. We are America."--George W. Bush

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Atrios has an excerpt from Tom Daschle's statement about BushCo's response to Richard Clarke's allegations that they ignored the Al Qaeda threat before 9/11. Finally the Dems are starting to show some cajones! Atrios also has this little tidbit which if true (and it likely is), discredits the Administration's claims that the timing of the release of Clarke's book is politically motivated.

This week's Top Ten Conservative Idiots list is up at Democratic Underground. Bush tops the list again, followed by Rummy. Rhea County, Tennessee also makes an appearance for trying to outlaw homosexuals.

In this letter, posted on Alternet, Walter Cronkite challenges John Kerry to stop denying he is a liberal. I have to agree with him. For too long the Right Wing has been allowed to act as if the word "liberal" is a four-letter word, so much so that many people now call themselves "progressive" to avoid the liberal label (same difference IMHO). Calling someone a liberal has become the political equivalent of saying someone has cooties! Democratic politicians allowed this to happen, they allowed the Right to twist the meaning of the word liberal, and in the process managed to alienate most of their constituency. No wonder they lost control of Congress and the White House! Who wants to vote for a politician who's ashamed of what they are, who will tremble in their wingtips every time a mean Republican dares to call them "liberal"? I don't, because someone that spineless isn't likely to fight for the issues I care about. Of course, I WILL vote for Kerry, but it won't be *because* he rejects the liberal label, it will be *in spite* of it!

Quote for the Day: "We all need some therapy, because someone came along and said that liberal means "soft on crime." Soft on drugs. Soft on communism. Soft on defense. And we're gonna tax you back to the stone age because people shouldn't have to go to work if they don't want to. And instead of saying, 'Well, excuse me, you right-wing, reactionary xenophobic, homophobic, anti-education, anti-choice, pro-gun, Leave-it-to-Beaver-trip-back-to-the-fifties!' we cowered in the corner and said, 'Please. Don't. Hurt. Me.' No more."--The West Wing, season three (This is a repeat, but it's so fitting I can't resist!)

Idiotic Quote for the Day: "There ought to be limits to freedom."--George W. Bush

Friday, March 19, 2004

Citizen W Goes Home has a fantastic poem composed completely of George W Bush quotes. It's hilarious! They also have some amusing Ann Coulter pictures.

Quote for the Day: "Once a newspaper touches a story, the facts are lost forever, even to the protagonists."--Norman Mailer

Idiotic Quote for the Day: "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier...just as long as I'm the dictator..."--George W. Bush, Washington, DC, Dec 18, 2000
First Jayson Blair fabricated and plagiarized stories for the New York Times, then BushCo. released a "video news release" which used paid actors posing as journalists praising the new Medicare law; now it appears that USA Today reporter Jack Kelley may have fabricated stories as well. "...a team of journalists has found strong evidence that Kelley fabricated substantial portions of at least eight major stories, lifted nearly two dozen quotes or other material from competing publications, lied in speeches he gave for the newspaper and conspired to mislead those investigating his work." (Atrios has an interesting entry on the Kelley story as well.) Listen people, if you want to do fake news, apply for a job at the Daily Show or Saturday Night Live, and leave the REAL news jobs to people who are willing to do the work required of a REAL journalist!
From BBC News, there was an assassination attempt on Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian and Vice President Annette Lu just hours before the country's elections were set to begin. President Chen was hit in the stomach and the Vice-President in the knee. Both have been treated and released from the hospital. "It is not known who carried out the attack, or what the possible motive might be, but the island has raised its national security alert after the attack on the head of state. Security around the opposition candidate Lien Chan has also been tightened." "Correspondents say it is the first attack on a president in Taiwan and the incident has caused widespread shock and grief. " The elections are going ahead as planned.

It's interesting, first the bombing in Spain right before their election, now an assassination attempt hours before Taiwan's election. I'm not saying they're directly related, especially since in Spain's case it resulted in the government getting thrown out, while in Taiwan's case it *could* lead to the President getting re-elected due to sympathy (according to the article it was already going to be a close election). However, it does make me wonder if someone saw what happened in Spain, and subsequently decided to try to influence their own election through an act of violence.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Looks like John Ashcroft is at it again. It seems the Patriot Act wasn't enough for him, now he wants to require Internet communications services to build "backdoors" into their systems to make wiretapping easier. Not only would this open the door for the government to intrude on people's privacy, it could also allow hackers easier access to confidential information, making identity theft, already a growing problem, even easier. Great. If this goes through, I hope HIS identity is the first one stolen. Can you imagine the look on his face were he to get a credit card bill with thousands of dollars in charges at adult bookstores, porn websites, strip clubs, etc? THAT would be priceless!

BTW, if you click on the link above, you can send a letter to your Representatives and the FCC Chairman through the ACLU website asking them to oppose Ashcrofts request.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Air America, the new liberal radio network, is set to be up and running March 31st. The network will be broadcast from stations in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles. People living outside the radio broadcast areas will be able to listen online via streaming audio.

The county in Tennessee that once convicted John Scopes for teaching evolution, now wants to amend state law so that they can charge homosexuals with crimes against nature; they also want to ban them from the county. Amazing, these guys are so bigoted they make Dubya look tolerant by comparison. Even if they can get state law amended to allow them to prosecute homosexuals, I doubt it would stand up to a Supreme Court review, especially after the court struck down Texas's sodomy laws last year. And speaking of the Supreme Court...

A bill has been proposed in the House of Representatives to allow Congress to reverse a Supreme Court Decision by a 2/3 majority vote in each House. The bill, HR 3920, is titled “Congressional Accountability for Judicial Activism Act of 2004”. It's disgusting that the GOP is so fixated on "judicial activism" and gay marriage, that they're doing everything they can think of to circumvent our country's system of checks and balances--"Separation of powers? What separation of powers?" That sound you're hearing is our Constitution going through the shredder.

Quote for the Day "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."--Bertrand Russell

Idiotic Quote for the Day "I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays who are actively trying make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way - all of them who have tried to secularize America - I point the finger in their face and say 'You helped this happen.'"--Reverend Jerry Falwell (Speaking about 9/11)
Pre-Blogspot Entry from March 11, 2004

Hypocrisy Central
It appears that John Kerry may have read my blog entry yesterday. After getting "caught" making an unflattering comment about Republican attack dogs yesterday when he thought he was off-mic (at least that's the *official* version, I think he knew he would be heard), today Kerry stood by his comment. "'I have no intention whatsoever of apologizing for my remarks,' Kerry said during his appearance with Democratic senators. 'I think the Republicans need to start talking about the real issues before the country.'" Of course, Republicans are shocked and outraged by the remarks, and have demanded an apology. Funny, I don't remember them demanding an apology 3 1/2 years ago when Bush called a New York Times Reporter a "major-league asshole." Pot, meet Kettle.

In another outrageous example of Presidential hypocrisy, it turns out that Dubya has been allowing campaign contributers to stay overnight at the White House, and even sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom. Ironic, considering what Bush had to say nearly four years ago about Clinton allowing contributers to stay in the Lincoln bedroom: "I believe they've moved that sign, 'The buck stops here,' from the Oval Office desk to 'The buck stops here' on the Lincoln Bedroom. And that's not good for the country." One more example of so-called GOP standards turning out to be double standards. Speaking of double standards...

Apparently the hate amendment isn't the first amendment to the Constitution Bush has proposed. According to this op-ed piece, Dubya has proposed a total of seven, including amendments to ban abortion and flag-burning, and one requiring a balanced federal budget (yet more irony). Interestingly, but not surprisingly, he's against the Equal Rights Amendment, his excuse being...that it's unwise to mess with the Constitution. Apparently it's only unwise when it risks offending his Ultra Right-Wing constituents--how conveeeeeenient!

In case you're not yet sufficiently disgusted with the Right Wing, check out this Truthout editorial featuring some choice Right-Wing quotes, guaranteed to get your blood boiling! (Warning: If you suffer from heart disease, stroke, or high-blood pressure, you should probably skip this one. It could be hazardous to your health.)

Quote for the Day: "I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."--Abraham Lincoln (Amazingly prophetic!)

Idiotic Quote for the Day: "This is Preservation Month. I appreciate preservation. It's what you do when you run for president. You gotta preserve."--George W Bush speaking during PERSEVERANCE Month at Fairgrounds Elementary School in Nashua, N.H. (Courtesy of the Mad Prophet.)

Pre-Blogspot Entry from March 10, 2004

Salon.com has an enlightening article about Dubya's Thanksgiving Day in Baghdad PR stunt. Apparently, soldiers who didn't support Bush were left out. (If you're not a Salon.com subscriber, you can get a day pass to read the article by sitting through a short ad, or you can check out an excerpt on Blah3.com).

John Kerry has been widely criticized by the GOP for flip-flopping on the issues, but Bush hasn't faced nearly the same level of scrutiny by the Democrats, as a whole. In her latest Alternet article, Fighting Firefighters With Fire, Molly Ivins accuses the Democrats of dropping the ball when it comes to pointing out Bush's own waffling on the issues, particularly his post-9/11 promise to grant $35 billion in aide to local police and fire departments, which he later reneged on. Since Bush is using the events of 9/11 in his campaign strategy, pointing out such an egregious act of hypocrisy could be huge, and is not an opportunity that should be passed up!

I wholeheartedly agree with Ivins that the Dems are repeating the same old mistakes--as a whole they've become a bunch of spineless, simpering wimps! They're passing up prime opportunities to strike at the GOP, even as the Republicans are practically handing them ammunition on a silver platter! On the rare occasion they do take aim at conservatives, instead of firing missiles, they shoot spit-wads. Bush's flip-flops on the issues are nearly endless; some are mentioned in Ivins' article, and even more are spelled out in this list on the Daily Kos website. The Dems should be using that to hammer away at Bush's record with every opportunity. Wake up, people, the man has a nearly bottomless campaign war-chest, he'll be hitting you with everything he's got--fight back!

Democrats seem to have missed the fact that liberalism (or progressivism, or whatever buzzword you prefer) is not only alive, but thriving in this country, and conditions are ripe for them to make a huge impact politically. Liberal authors such as Ivins, Michael Moore, and Al Franken are competing well with conservatives like Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and Michael Savage on the bookshelves. While mainstream media is becoming more conservative as a whole (liberal media, my ass), alternative liberal outlets like Alternet and Take Back the Media are increasing in popularity. Liberal radio personalities Randi Rhodes, Peter Werbe, and Jim Hightower are increasingly popular, and as stated in a previous post, a new liberal talk-radio network will be up and running later this month or early April. Even formerly Bush-friendly Howard Stern started attacking the President recently, and subsequently was pulled from Clear Channel's airwaves. (It had nothing to do with indecency folks, Clear Channel's conservative ownership can't stand hearing the President criticized on its own airwaves--remember the Dixie Chicks? The obscenity excuse was just a smokescreen, though Clear Channel's owners are no doubt quietly applauding Janet Jackson's impeccable timing in unleashing the indecency watchdogs.) Now Stern is even more critical of Bush, which can only be good for the Democrats. Even Bill O'Reilly was forced to eat his own words recently when WMD's couldn't be found in Iraq. (Okay, so Stern and O'Reilly aren't exactly evidence of the rise of liberalism in America, but they are proof that even conservatives are unhappy with Bush, which also shouldn't be overlooked.) And then, of course, there are the liberal bloggers, whose numbers seem to be multiplying exponentially. They're doing what the Dems *should* be doing, hammering away at Bush relentlessly with every piece of ammunition they can dig up.

The GOP is ripe for the picking. Bush is ripe for the picking. Unfortunately, the Democrats are suffering from a collective rectal-cranial inversion, and if they don't correct it soon, they're going to blow one of the biggest opportunities they've had in a long time to really make a difference.

Quote for the Day: "He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world's believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions."--Thomas Jefferson

Idiotic Quote for the Day "I do not need to explain why I say things. - That's the interesting thing about being the President. - Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."--George W. Bush (Quoted by Bob Woodward in his book "Bush At War")