Friday, April 28, 2006


These things make being a liberal/progressive/Democrat/leftist all worthwhile...and just Rove's indictment can't be far behind!

Here's the Haley story in a nutshell:

WASHINGTON - A GOP telemarketing firm implicated in two criminal prosecutions involving election dirty tricks got its startup money from Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, financial records show...Barbour's investment company arranged a quarter-million-dollar loan to GOP Marketplace in 2000...The loan made Barbour and his Washington business partners part owners of the company, the incorporation papers show.

By 2002, federal court records contend, GOP Marketplace president Allen Raymond and the Alexandria, Va.-based company were carrying out political dirty tricks in New Hampshire and New Jersey.

Raymond, who once worked for Barbour at the Republican National Committee, is serving a three-month prison term after pleading guilty to arranging for hundreds of hang-up calls in New Hampshire in 2002. The calls jammed Democratic phone lines that were offering people assistance in getting to polling stations in a close U.S. Senate race.

And here's the Rush story--not much info yet, but Tom DeLay taught him how to take a mugshot photo:

UNITED 93 Whitewash

And here's where you can join the fun in pointing out the obvious about the propaganda flick "United 93" (Hat tip: Techno Slavery).

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Doesn't this just take you a better time, a cheaper time, i.e. May 2001?
Traveling by car these days will cost you more this summer-- at least $1.70 a gallon for gas. That's the average price at the pump this month, up 13 percent from just a year ago.
And this reminds us of better back in June 2000 when we weren't at war and we had a popular, articulate, popular, and much less conservative president:

It isn't just the Midwest suffering from a sudden spike in gas prices. Nationwide the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas has jumped from $1.42 on May 1st, to $1.65 reported this week.
I Would Take Blow Jobs Over Bombs

And remember when all we had to be horrified about was the president engaging in oral sex, back in '98? Ah, weren't those the days?

And those days could be ours again if we just "impeach the motherfucker already" right after we turn control of the House and/or Senate to the Democrats.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Operation Incessant Lies

Is this America?

By that I mean, how can this combined with this be America? People pawning possessions to buy gas while oil executives make $150,000 dollars a day?

If that is anyone's defintion of all men being created equal, then the word "equal" has no meaning. If that is "promoting the general welfare," then that phrase is useless.

And by all sane accounts, Bush's insane, unnecessary saber-rattling against Iran is helping jowly executives while stretching the budgets of jowly (and non-jowly) non-executives literally to the breaking point.

War is a racket. Wars like the one we are waging against Iraq and like the one Bush and Co. want to wage against Iran violate not only international law, they violate American law.

This is not what America should be.

And Aravosis is right, watching all those kids sing along to Pink's "Dear Mr. President" is heartening, moving, and hopeful. Especially when they all cheer during the part about being gay (especially if you know that the studio version was recorded with the incomparable Indigo Girls).

Is Ahmadenijad A Nice Guy Or A Demon? I Report, You Decide...

Based on this quote from this story:

AFP adds from Tehran: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeated his view Friday that only rich countries should pay the "real price" of crude oil and that poorer nations should get it more cheaply.
"We should adopt a formula and schedule to prevent the increase in oil prices from harming the weaker countries who do not have oil," he told reporters on the sidelines of an oil industry exhibition in Tehran.
"They should not be harmed, although industrial countries who have hundreds of billion of dollars should pay the real price of oil," he explained, adding that the Iranian oil and foreign ministries were studying the issue.
To me, that sounds like fair trade. Fair business practices. It's like the StickerGuy's policy for doing stickers for bands: if you're on a major label and are backed by millions of dollars, he charges you a lot more for stickers (that's what his policy used to be, anyway). If you're a self-financed, DIY, independent band, he charges you less. It's progressive pricing. And that's an attitude the corporatists and the right-wing meanies don't dig.

Monday, April 17, 2006


So why does Bush keep saber-rattling against Iran, who won't be able to produce a nuclear weapon for at least 10 years? See who's getting hurt by his unnecessary drumbeat? You and me? See who's getting helped by his unnecessary drumbeat? The oil companies, of course

According to a guy quoted in this article, Bush has the power to bring down the price of oil and spare us all:

ABN Amro broker Lee Fader said the trigger for Monday's rally was "heightened
fear about military action" against Iran, which has said it would go ahead with
plans to enrich uranium, defying the United States, Europe and United Nations nuclear experts. Iran says its nuclear ambitions are peaceful, but the West fears the country is intent on arming itself with nuclear weapons.

"If somehow this got resolved diplomatically," Fader said, "that
would definitely take a few dollars off" the price of crude oil.
But you know that ain't gonna happen...because Bush is a corporation indebted to corporations...

Thursday, April 13, 2006


There's a lot of great stuff flying through the liberal blogosphere offering talking points to those who are in a position to be sources for journalists or to appear on pundit shows.

John Aravosis at AmericaBlog is doing an outstanding job with this, and Bill Scher had good points over at the Huffington Post.

But I think the title of this blog entry might help us get our point across to the public (and to the MSM, as they need schooling on this as much if not more than "the public") as good as anything. Why? It's eminently familiar, you get the meaning right away, it's derisive without being obnoxious--it's the answer to "flip-flop." It rolls right off the tongue--"Bush is the boy who cried nukes," obviously referring to the fact that we were warned of "mushroom clouds" coming out of aluminum tubes before invading Iraq even though the CIA knew there were no nukes (see "State Of War") and sure enough, there weren't any.

I don't want to make too much of it, but I think it works, i.e.:

PUNDIT SHOW HOST: Some experts say that Iran could have a nuclear weapon in 16 days.

LIBERAL GUEST: We have to realize that Bush is "the boy who cried nukes." Look at his track record on this stuff--we now know for certain that Iraq didn't have nuclear weapons but the Bush administration sure worked hard to create the impression that they did. That's what they're doing now with because Bush's popularity is dropping like a rock (no pun intended), and they need something to help them keep control of Congress in November. So people should remember that Bush can't be trusted--he's "the boy who cried nukes."
And so forth.

Who Will Talk About These Points?

As I said, I really appreciate the talking points from Aravosis and Scher, but who is going to use them? Will Harry Reid or Ted Kennedy? Howard Dean is very likely to, I'm guessing. But our problem is that the Democrats don't get their act together on this kind of thing very often. We need our guys and gals on every pundit show every day of the week all saying one simple, catch-all explanatory phrase
like "Bush is the boy who cried nukes--we took his word on Iraq and you see what a mess that's become--why would we do it all over again with Iran? We've got ten years to deal with this according to Bush's own NIE."

An Aside

Truthfully, this entire assumption that we can tell other countries whether or not they can or cannot have nuclear weapons is irksome, us being the only country that's ever used them in war, whether blatantly like in Japan or more stealthily, with depleted uranium.

It's morally repugnant, is all. And hypocritical.

Comment on HuffPo and AmBlog

I wanted to spread this idea, so I posted the following in the comments at HuffPo and AmBlog:

"Bush is the boy who cried nukes"

If every liberal or Democratic pundit would repeat that pithy phrase, or any other pithy, sort of juvenile phrase that gets our point across about why Bush can't be trusted with "intelligence" at this point, I think that'd be useful. And unfortunately probably more effective than earnest recitations of the facts.

Because it takes a pithy, juvenile phrase to reach the public, and also, apparently, the mainstream media--the MSM loves that kind of snarky, junior-high taunting shit, i.e., "flip-flop."

Just a suggestion...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Holy shit--have you seen this story? Yet another tale of Bush touting Iraq rationales that he was told were false before they left his mouth! Check it:

On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile "biological laboratories." He declared, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction."

The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true.

A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq -- not made public until now -- had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president's statement.

Sprinkle in a buttload of that with a smattering of this:

Rove expressed his concerns shortly after an informal review of classified government records by then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley determined that Bush had been specifically advised that claims he later made in his 2003 State of the Union address -- that Iraq was procuring high-strength aluminum tubes to build a nuclear weapon -- might not be true, according to government records and interviews...Three months after receiving that assessment, the president stated without qualification in his January 28, 2003, State of the Union address: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production."

And then throw in John Conyers' report, along with a heaping, bitter helping of this:

American Military Casualties in Iraq

Since war began (3/19/03): 2359
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03) 2222
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 1892
Since Handover (6/29/04): 1493
Since Election (1/31/05): 923

Total Wounded: 17269 (with estimates from 18000 - 48100, if you count DU, etc.)

And if you like you can spice it up with this:

Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.

And it won't hurt to add a dollop of this:

The lawyer representing the Republican National Committee told a New Hampshire TV station that the White House was investigated in a 2002 plot by Republican operatives to disrupt get out the vote efforts in a Senate race where John Sununu was ultimately elected New Hampshire's Republican senator.

Today, at the New Hampshire civil suit motions hearing on the phone-jamming case, Robert Kelner, the Washington lawyer representing the RNC, noted that the White House has already been investigated for its involvement in the case.

Oh, I can't wait to feed this to the Republicans!!!

Cheney booed at baseball game...Bush's poll numbers continue to drop...Majority of people think Bush's leaks were unethical...Gingrich provides cover for Democrats, says U.S. should "pull back" from Iraq...

Iran joins the nuclear club, insuring that we can't invade them.

Oh, and the oilman/CEO president continues to make sure that we get gouged at the gas pump...not that being gouged is good news, but it's good that it makes people wake up to how this adminstration is harming everyone.

Been reading "Cruel and Unusual" by Mark Crispin Miller...great book--I checked it out from the library once before but couldn't get into it. But this time, I can hardly put it down. Here's a good sample passage:

"This Age of Information has turned to be an Age of Ignorance, in some ways comparable to the so-called Dark Ages, when the priests alone knew how to read and there was nothing to plug in. We live with an unprecedented wealth of information: countless facts and solid arguments and scrupulous researches, all of it (for many of us) just a click away. And yet..there is, out there, an entire propaganda universe available to anyone who wants to obsess about one thing and from one point of view...Thus the right has made for its constituents a new designer consciousness. Having co-opted the media, the right can fill your head all day, all night, wherever you may go, as long as you're plugged in. You can watch only Fox News Channel and MSNBC, listen only to Sean Hannity et al., read only those newspapers that re-echo what you've seen and heard, hit only those Web sites that others like you also hit...all such products having been approved directly or inspired by the White House and the Republican National Committee, if not sources even farther to the right. (p. 123)"
And wait, here's another really, really good one that kind of echoes the previous one and also reiterates Chomsky's point about how if you want to know the actual truth about a political subject, you practically have to do a research project:

"And so America's minority of rightists walk around completely misinformed and yet cocksure, belligerently echoing the sophistries and fabrications that have made it through the bubble so that they themselves are also nonstop propagandists. Meanwhile, other than those plucky few who try to learn what's really happening out there, everybody else, too busy for such extra daily work, feels timid, uninformed, and therefore half-inclined to heed the ones with strong opinions, booming voices, and a lot of 'facts.' Through such a network has the right deluded millions of Americans just as effectively as any modern oligarchy or medieval faith--just as effectively, in fact, as Bush/Cheney have deceived themselves. (p. 124)"

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Plus, collected thoughts from the past few days

Of course Bush approved leaks of classified info to start his dirty war. My only question is why is this just now coming out. If this was in the court papers even before the indictment came down, why is it just now Murray Waas is the new Sy Hersh, he’s more Woodward than Woodward at this point (and by that I mean the Watergate Woodward, not the Plan of Attack Woodward).

Another thing–why do stories since Libby’s indictment refer to him as “Lewis Libby” or “I. Lewis Libby” and leave out all references to “Scooter?” It seems to me that it’s a subtle ploy to confuse casual news consumers–most stories before the indictment made some mention of “Scooter Libby” and now none of them do, so casual news consumers might think that “Lewis Libby” and “Scooter Libby” are two different people. Not that it’s that big a deal, it just occurred to me...

Also, it occurred to me today that I am one of those dreaded “single-issue voters”...and my single issue is: whatever is best for the American people (as opposed to American corporations) within the confines and allowances of the Constitution.


And there’s been a lot of talk about fascism thrown around about Bush and the corporatocracy. Most discussions of whether or not the Bush administration is fascist tend to downplay the possibility, as though being fascist necessitates being totalitarian. This is obviously not necessarily the case–Bush is a fascist, at least according to Mussolini, who wrote that

Fascism is definitely and absolutely opposed to the doctrines of liberalism, both in the political and economic sphere.”

Instead of that quote, I was originally going to use this one:

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power,”

but according to Wikipedia and this article, there is no written evidence that Mussolini ever said that.

But Wikipedia had another good Mussolini quote that explains why Bush and the Republicans are fascists:

"The State not only is authority which governs and molds individual wills with laws and values of spiritual life, but it is also power which makes its will prevail abroad... For the Fascist, everything is within the State and... neither individuals nor groups are outside the State... For Fascism, the State is an absolute, before which individuals or groups are only relative... Liberalism denied the State in the name of the individual; Fascism reasserts the rights of the State as expressing the real essence of the individual."

So my argument is merely that Bush and the Republican party are indeed fascists, but are not totalitarian. Yet.

Rhetoric Check

Compare the first quote below, from Mussolini, with the last two, first from Vin Weber last night on Hardball, and then from Tom DeLay, on Hardball the night before last.

"Granted that the 19th century was the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy, this does not mean that the 20th century must also be the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy. Political doctrines pass; nations remain. We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the 'right', a Fascist century. If the 19th century was the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism) we are free to believe that this is the 'collective' century, and therefore the century of the State."

WEBER: Because I think that the consensus in American politics since about the 1930s on was for bigger government. There was a growing minority of Americans that didn‘t buy that consensus, but they had nobody to vote for it.

And so starting in 1964, you saw the transformation of the Republican Party, first with the Barry Goldwater candidacy and then ultimately with the election of Ronald Reagan in the 1980, from kind of a moderate or if you will business party to an ideologically conservative party that offered people an alternative to the growth of the liberal welfare state and everything that went along with it.

And that‘s how the Republicans became that parity or majority status depending on how you look at things.

“We’ve spent the last 10 years turning around 40 years of the left’s dominance of Washington, D.C., and the federal government. And they knew as majority leader I was starting to lead us to do the things that conservatives have wanted to do all along. Get rid of the tax code. End abortion as we know it. Hold the judiciary accountable. Fight the war on terror...My constituents deserve better and they deserve a Republican, not a liberal Democrat representing them.”

Notice what is shared by the dictator and the two disgraced Republicans–a revulsion for “the left” or “liberals” or “liberalism.” If these guys are the poster children of the right, why in the world would any sane person reject the left?

And as I read through this post again just after uploading it, it struck me how Mussolini saw the 1800s as a period of oppressive liberalism, while Weber seems to indicate that everything was cool with him until the 1930s. And then DeLay kinda disses Reagan and Nixon in his history lesson, saying that it's only been since 1996 that the right has been trying to undo the last 40 years of "the left's dominance"--which takes us back to 1966. Let's see how "dominant" the left has been, just based on Presidential elections:

1. 1968: Nixon wins
2. 1972: Nixon wins
3. 1976: Carter wins
4. 1980: Reagan wins
5. 1984: Reagan wins
6. 1988: Bush I wins
7. 1992: Clinton wins
8. 1996: Clinton wins
9. 2000: Bush II wins
10. 2004: Bush II wins

So the left "dominated" by losing 7 out of the last 10 presidential elections? Thomas Frank really nailed that one--this is a perfect example of the right's "Plen-T-Plaint", i.e., their persecution/victim/martyr complex. Even though they've had more Presidents in the last 38 years and have had Congress for 12 of those years and one-party rule for going on 6 of those years, they still want to act like the left is "dominant" and that the media are "liberal"? And they get away with this ruse?