Sunday, December 16, 2007

Congressman Robert Wexler, American Hero

As it becomes ever clearer that many of our Democratic leaders in congress have been at least tangentially complicit in some of the abuses of the Bush administration, whether by failure to act, actual knowledge, or direct participation, one Florida Congressman and two colleagues seems to have found the courage to get behind the Hon. Dennis Kucinich's legislation to begin impeachment proceeding against VP Darth Vad ... er, I mean Dick Cheney.

From the Daily Kos post by Dave Lindorff:

"Faced with an obstructionist leadership in the House, and a mainstream media that have forsaken their role as a Fourth Estate monitor of government abuse, three Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee are calling on the public to demand that the Congress initiate impeachment hearings immediately against Vice President Dick Cheney.

"Speaking at a telephone press conference Friday organized by Democrats.com, Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) said that following a bi-partisan vote Nov. 7 by the full House to send Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s Cheney impeachment bill (H Res 799, formerly H Res 333) to the Judiciary Committee, it was time for those hearings to 'immediately' get underway.

"Scoffing at the argument that has been made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others in the Democratic leadership that impeachment might hurt Democratic chances in the November ’08 elections, or that it could deter Democrats from their Congressional agenda, Wexler says, 'I believe that there is a constitutional obligation for the Congress to hold this administration accountable, and it should not depend on what people think the impact might be on an election. The only question should be: Did Vice President Cheney abuse his powers?'"

"He adds, 'If the American people believe that the democrats are holding a legitimate inquiry into serious issues of constitutional importance, they will not hold it against them. And besides, initial polling would indicate that this is not some off-the-reservation idea.'

"The Florida legislator, who had not been among the 22 co-sponsors of the impeachment bill submitted last April 24 by Rep. Kucinich, says that by beginning impeachment hearings in the House, 'We would create our own fate, and we shouldn’t be afraid of that fate.'

"Noting that the Democratic congressional leadership has been opposing impeachment by saying that they were sent to Washington 'to act on issues like insuring children and ending the war,' Wexler says, 'We have followed that strategy for a year now, and what we have been met with is a president who will not sign any of these measures and a Senate mired in filibusters. We have nothing to lose by starting impeachment.'

"A major problem in challenging the Democratic leadership, however, has arisen in the form of a national media that simply ignores the growing national impeachment movement and the growing calls for impeachment within the Congress. Wexler reports that an opinion article penned by himself and two Judiciary Committee colleagues, Reps. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), which was sent to a number of leading newspapers, including the Miami Herald, the Washington Post and the New York Times, was rejected for publication—an astonishing act of censorship for a document authored by three members of congress on an issue of such significance as impeachment of the vice president.

"In that article, Wexler, Gutierrez and Baldwin write: 'The issues at hand are too serious to ignore, including credible allegations of abuse of power that if proven may well constitute high crimes and misdemeanors under our constitution. The charges against Vice President Cheney relate to his deceptive actions leading up to the Iraq war, the revelation of the identity of a covert agent for political retaliation, and the illegal wiretapping of American citizens.

'Now that former White House press secretary Scott McClellan has indicated that the Vice President and his staff purposefully gave him false information about the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson as a covert agent to report to the American people, it is even more important for Congress to investigate what may have been an intentional obstruction of justice. Congress should call Mr. McClellan to testify about what he described as being asked to "unknowingly [pass] along false information." In addition, recent revelations have shown that the Administration including Vice President Cheney may have again manipulated and exaggerated evidence about weapons of mass destruction -- this time about Iran’s nuclear capabilities.'

"Asked why he thought leading publications had refused to publish the op-ed piece calling for an immediate start to impeachment hearings, Wexler says, 'I think the mainstream media, at least thus far, have bought the notion that impeachment hearings are outside the bounds of what Congress ought to be doing.'

"He adds that there may be a fear, on the part of corporate media executives and editors, and on the part of Democratic Party congressional leaders, of having been 'complicit' in many of the administration’s constitutional crimes. 'There may be some significant conflicts of interest,' he says, that could make them feel uncomfortable about the idea of impeachment hearings.

"To push back against this unseemly resistance Rep. Wexler and his two House colleagues have decided to go public with their message. Wexler has set up a website, called WexlerWantsHearings. He is urging Americans from across the country to go to the sign and sign on to his call for an immediate start to hearings. 'I want to be able to go to my colleagues in the house and say I have 55,000 people calling for hearings,' he says."
[Avram notes: he already has almost 60,000 as of today].



I wish my congresswoman, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, showed a little of this moxie herself.

Henry Kravis makes $51,369 PER HOUR. You pay more taxes.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Put it back on the table, people

Honestly, I am starting to wonder if there is an opposition party any more that represents the horror so many of us feel about the current administration. As far as I can see, the reluctance on the part of the Democratic party leadership to put impeachment "on the table" is nothing but pure, political contrivance, rather than what is good for this country. The question than comes down to this - who is the worst Nero, George W. Bush or the Democratic Party?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."


"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive."

Dear Mr. Jefferson:
What would you have to say were you to suddenly find yourself in the 21st century United States of America? Would you believe your ears? Your eyes? Mr. Jefferson, our current president is an individual of the servile privileged class (those who get rich by patronage rather than ingenuity), who managed to turn a life of indulgence, failure and superficiality into a disputed claim to the highest elective office in the land, twice no less.

"Experience hath shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny."

What would you make of a president who espouses a doctrine of preemptive war, who places our nation squarely on the path of fiscal insolvency, who doles out billions of dollars from the peoples' treasury into the hands of cronies and criminals, whose noblest expression is a sneer, whose tongue darts quickly out from between pursed lips when he lies, which is often?


"An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens."


Could you imagine your nation in the hands of one so petulant, so brazenly incapable of admitting wrong, a man so shallow that he seems to grieve for not a single one of the thousands dead at his own hand, a man with the audacity to claim guidance - if not governance - by the hand of God? A man who must surround himself with no one but sycophants, lest he waver in the faith of his own assuredness?

"Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness] it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government..."

"It is more dangerous that even a guilty person should be punished without the forms of law than that he should escape."


What would you say, Mr. Jefferson, about an allegedly elected government that governs with imperial disdain for the constitution, that revolutionary document that you loved so dearly, who casts such a veil of secrecy over its conduct and pursuit of the "peoples' business" that some would say our nation has never been so cast into darkness? A government that spies on its own citizens, that takes prisoners against the rule of law and tortures them in prisons outside its own borders?


"A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference."

"If there is one principle more deeply rooted in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest."

"I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be."


Can you imagine, Mr. Jefferson, your nation spending more on its defense than all of the other nations on earth combined? Can you conceive of the politicization of our military so that it becomes the instrument of a unitary chief executive held in sway by a hegemonic philosophy of global supremacy? Can you even remotely imagine your nation debased around the globe for its policies of injustice and empire? We have become a conquerer nation on borrowed funds.


"We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt."


"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country. "


And your nation? Corpulent consumers of crap from China we have become, for our nation manufactures next to nothing. We are the maw of the world, with an insatiable appetite for distraction and adulation of celebrity (especially when the fall from grace). I know how much you valued books, Mr. Jefferson, and we have largely become a nation of non-readers. Our newspapers, along with the airwaves, are controlled by fewer and fewer interests. More and more, the sources of our information are the same corporations that want to sell us so many things we neither need nor really want, but they have perfected the art and act of selling such that appetites are created with sublime finesse.


"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent."


Could you ever have dreamed, Mr. Jefferson, that propaganda would be proffered as truth in your country, and moreover, that so much of the populace would willingly accept it as so? That the nation would idly watch the national treasury looted for the gain of a few?


"Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Take that, Rupert!

Tired of EVERY media outlet in the world becoming part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation? Well, take action against further media consolidation, and meanwhile have some vicarious fun with this:

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Secretary of Hypocrisy?

In case you were wondering whether we had a Secretary of State any more under the Bush Administration, Condoleezza Rice made another one of her occasional orchestrated photo ops, this one in Russia on Saturday Oct. 13, as she met with Russian human rights activists.

In what has to be one of the most incredible examples of this administration's complete lack of self-consciousness, she was quoted as making the following statement:

"In any country, if you don't have countervailing institutions, the power of any one president is problematic for democratic development," Rice said. "I think there is too much concentration of power in the Kremlin. I have told the Russians that. Everybody has doubts about the full independence of the judiciary. There are clearly questions about the independence of the electronic media and there are, I think, questions about the strength of the Duma," said Rice, referring to the Russian parliament.

Now, just substitute "White House" for "Kremlin" in the first line of the previous paragraph, and "Congress" for "Duma." Now, try and imagine if those words were uttered with the slightest bit of irony.

Yeh, buddy. War is peace. Truth is lies. Occupation is liberation.


Friday, October 12, 2007

This is your moment, Al Gore


First of all, congratulations Mr. Gore, for the global recognition of your leadership in the form of the Nobel Peace Prize. Now, more than ever, an America (and world) in the shackles of the worst executive administration in history needs a President with vision, morals, and a belief in positive change. Now, more than ever, we need an Al Gore presidency. Declare your candidacy, and I (and millions of others) will work tirelessly to make it happen in our communities.

To the naysayers in the progressive community who cite the mistakes made in 2000 (e.g., VP Lieberman, for one), the sad fact is that at that time, a candidate had no choice but to play politics with the Dem leadership of that time who were empowered by Bill's 2 terms (and most of whom have lined up with Hillary). Howard Dean has transformed the structure of the Democratic Party - the grass roots can and will make the difference. I believe that a candidate Gore would not make those blunders again.

And lastly, to the character assassins of the far right, the Rush and Coulter zombies, the brain-shrunken sycophants of the Darth Vader presidency, the chicken hawk warmongers, I merely say, in the only language that you seem to understand (based on your Internet ravings): FUCK YOU!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

And today's Ann Coulter Fascist Fashion Award Winner is ...

Michelle Malkin. Proof positive that right wing harlots don't just come in the anorexic blonde variety. In case you don't watch Fox News, Michelle the Mullet harassed a 12 year old recipient (and his family) of one of the SCHIP grants for uninsured children - y'know, the program whose extension W recently vetoed.

Now let's watch Michelle the Malevolent weasel out of Ezra Klein's debate challenge.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Rudy Giuliani, 9-11 whore

A supporter of Rudy Giuliani's threw a party at his Palo Alto, CA home on Wednesday that aims to raise $9.11 per person for the Republican's presidential campaign.

According to the invitation, "$9.11 for Rudy" is an "independent, non-denominational grass-roots campaign to raise $10,000 in small increments to show how many individual, everyday Americans support `America's Mayor.'"

What a concept. I mean isn't that the only issue of his campaign?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Ghost of Anbar (and the lies just keep on coming)

Shortly after the W's visit to the killing fields of Mesopotamia, our alleged ally in Anbar Province, "Shiek" Abu Risha, to whom the sharp decrease if not end of Sunni hostilities towards our troops is largely credited, was assassinated. Abu Risha's death "is a tragic loss," said Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq. "It's a terrible loss for Anbar province and all of Iraq. It shows how significant his importance was, and it shows al-Qaeda in Iraq remains a very dangerous and barbaric enemy." Bush, in an address to the nation on September 13, noted the death of "one of the brave tribal sheiks who helped lead the revolt" against al-Qaeda in Iraq and said his fellow Sunni leaders fighting the extremists "can count on the continued support of the United States."

According to Greg Palast, the Shiek was not all he was cracked up to be:

"1. Sheik Abu Risha wasn't a sheik.

"2. He wasn't killed by Al Qaeda.

"3. The new alliance with former insurgents in Anbar is as fake as the sheik - and a murderous deceit."


Palast's daredevil cameraman, Rick Rowley made an amazing film expose of just who this guy was, which was shown on Al-Jazeeri English channel. Check it out:
Part One




Part Two



Here is some more of Palast's commentary:
"Why was 'sheik' Abu Risha so important? As the New York Times put it ... , 'Abu Risha had become a charismatic symbol of the security gains in Sunni areas that have become a cornerstone of American plans to keep large numbers of troops in Iraq though much of next year.'

"In other words, Abu Risha was the PR hook used to sell the 'success' of the surge.


"The sheik wasn't a sheik. He was a fake. While proclaiming to Rick that he was 'the leader of all the Iraqi tribes,' Abu lead no one. But for a reported sum in the millions in cash for so-called, 'reconstruction contracts,' Abu Risha was willing to say he was Napoleon and Julius Caesar and do the hand-shakie thing with Bush on camera.


"Notably, Rowley and his camera caught up with Abu Risha on his way to a 'business trip' to Dubai, money laundering capital of the Middle East.


"There are some real sheiks in Anbar, like Ali Hathem of the dominant Dulaimi tribe, who told Rick Abu Risha was a con man. Where was his tribe, this tribal leader? 'The Americans like to create characters like Disney cartoon heros.' Then Ali Hathem added, 'Abu Risha is no longer welcome' in Anbar.


"'Not welcome' from a sheik in Anbar is roughly the same as a kiss on both cheeks from the capo di capi. Within days, when Abu Risha returned from Dubai to Dulaimi turf in Ramadi, Bush's hand-sheik was whacked.
"On Thursday, Bush said Abu Risha was killed, 'fighting Al Qaeda' - and the White House issued a statement that the sheik was 'killed by al Qaeda.'

"Bullshit.


"There ain't no Easter Bunny and 'Al Qaeda' ain't in Iraq, Mr. Bush. It was very cute, on the week of the September 11 memorials, to tie the death of your Anbar toy-boy to bin Laden's Saudi hijackers. But it's a lie. Yes, there is a group of berserkers who call themselves 'Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.' But they have as much to do with the real Qaeda of bin Laden as a Rolling Stones "tribute" band has to do with Mick Jagger.


"Who got Abu Risha? Nothing - NOTHING - moves in Ramadi without the approval of the REAL tribal sheiks. They were none-too-happy, as Hathem noted, about the millions the US handed to Risha. The sheiks either ordered the hit - or simply gave the bomber free passage to do the deed.

"So who are these guys, the sheiks who lead the Sunni tribes of Anbar - the potentates of the Tamimi, Fallaji, Obeidi, Zobal and Jumaili tribes? Think of them as the Sopranos of Arabia. They are also members of the so-called 'Awakening Council' - getting their slice of the millions handed out - which they had no interest in sharing with Risha.

"But creepy and deadly or not, these capi of the desert were effective in eliminating 'Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.' Indeed, as US military so proudly pointed out to Rick, the moment the sheiks declared their opposition to Al Qaeda - i.e. got the payments from the US taxpayers - Al Qaeda instantly disappeared.


"This miraculous military change, where the enemy just evaporates, has one explanation: the sheiks ARE al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. Just like the Sopranos extract 'protection' payments from New Jersey businesses, the mobsters of Anbar joined our side when we laid down the loot.

"What's wrong with that? After all, I'd rather send a check than send our kids from Columbus to fight them.

"But there's something deeply, horribly wrong with dealing with these killers. They still kill. With new US protection, weapons and cash, they have turned on the Shia of Anbar. Fifteen thousand Shia families from a single district were forced at gunpoint to leave Anbar. Those moving too slowly were shot. Kids and moms too.

"Do the Americans know about the ethnic cleansing of Anbar by our erstwhile 'allies'? Rick's film shows US commanders placing their headquarters in the homes abandoned by terrorized Shia.

"Rick's craziest move was to go and find these Shia refugees from Anbar. They were dumped, over a hundred thousand of them, in a cinder block slum with no running water in Baghdad. They are under the 'protection' of the Mahdi Army, another group of cutthroats. But at least these are Shia cutthroats.


"So the great 'success' of the surge is our arming and providing cover for ethnic cleansing in Anbar. Nice, Mr. Bush. And with the US press 'embedded,' we won't get the real story. Even Democrats are buying into the Anbar 'awakening' fairy tale.


"An Iraqi government official frets that giving guns and cover to the Anbar gang is like adopting a baby crocodile. 'A crocodile is not a pet,' he told Rick. It will soon grow to devour you. But what could the puppet do but complain about his strings?


"This Iraqi got it right: the surge is a crock."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bush-owned Justice Department to Telecoms: "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours"

What a surprise! After re-monopoly AT&T (and perhaps Verizon and Comcast) happily cooperated with the NSA's illegal incursions into the private life of American citizens by willingly handing over Internet traffic records, that wholly-owned subsidiary of Bush Inc. formerly known as the Justice Department (checks and balances - what a quaint concept) has weighed in on Big Telecom's side concerning net neutrality. The Justice Department last Thursday said Internet service providers should be allowed to charge a fee for priority Web traffic. The agency told the Federal Communications Commission, which is reviewing high-speed Internet practices, that it is opposed to "Net neutrality," the principle that all Internet sites should be equally accessible to any Web user.

More articles on this issue:
AT&T forwards all Internet traffic into NSA
NSA to spy on 38% of world telecom traffic
AT&T Seeks to Hide Spy Docs
Whistleblower outs NSA's secret spy room at AT&T

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Nobody says it better than George Carlin

Comedians may be the only spokespeople capable of penetrating the miasmal fog of delusion that so many of our fellow citizens wrap themselves up in when it comes to the true nature of 21st century America. Here, in less than 5 minutes, is the truth.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The blindness of loyalty

"It is sad that we live in a time when a talented and honorable person like Alberto Gonzales is impeded from doing important work because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons."
--George W. Bush, August 27, 2007


Heckuva job, Al.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The future of the Internet without Net Neutrality

LOLLAPALOOZA WEBCAST: SPONSORED/CENSORED BY AT&T?

From Pearl Jam's website:

"After concluding our Sunday night show at Lollapalooza, fans informed us that portions of that performance were missing and may have been censored by AT&T during the "Blue Room" Live Lollapalooza Webcast.

"When asked about the missing performance, AT&T informed Lollapalooza that portions of the show were in fact missing from the webcast, and that their content monitor had made a mistake in cutting them.

"During the performance of 'Daughter' the following lyrics were sung to the tune of Pink Floyd's 'Another Brick in the Wall' but were cut from the webcast:

"- 'George Bush, leave this world alone.' (the second time it was sung); and

"- 'George Bush find yourself another home.'

"This, of course, troubles us as artists but also as citizens concerned with the issue of censorship and the increasingly consolidated control of the media.

"AT&T's actions strike at the heart of the public's concerns over the power that corporations have when it comes to determining what the public sees and hears through communications media.

"Aspects of censorship, consolidation, and preferential treatment of the internet are now being debated under the umbrella of "NetNeutrality." Check out
The Future of Music or Save the Internet for more information on this issue."

Here is the unedited footage:


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Rudy Giuliani's Five Big Lies About 9/11


Here is a must read article by Wayne Barrett from the Village Voice about Rudy Giuliani's fictitious hero persona.

Protect America from itself

Forty-one Democratic Congresspeople voted "yea" on Bush's ironically named "Protect America Act;" 16 Democratic senators did likewise [Evan Bayh (Indiana); Tom Carper (Delaware); Bob Casey (Pennsylvania); Kent Conrad (North Dakota); Dianne Feinstein (California); Daniel Inouye (Hawai‘i); Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota); Mary Landrieu (Louisiana); Blanche Lincoln (Arkansas); Claire McCaskill (Missouri); Barbara Mikulski (Maryland); Bill Nelson (Florida); Ben Nelson (Nebraska); Mark Pryor (Arkansas); Ken Salazar (Colorado); Jim Webb (Virginia)]. What were these people thinking? Why exactly do they believe this incompetent sitting president deserves approbation for continued attack on our basic liberties?

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, angrily chastised his colleagues for bending to the administration's will. "The day we start deferring to someone who's not a member of this body ... is a sad day for the U.S. Senate," Feingold said. "We make the policy -- not the executive branch."

What's at stake?

The law:
  • Defines the act of reading and listening into American's phone calls and internet communications when they are "reasonably believed" to be outside the country as not surveillance.
  • Gives the government 6 months of extended powers to issue orders to "communication service providers," to help with spying that "concerns persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States." The language doesn't require the surveillance to only target people outside the United States, only that some of it does.
  • Forces Communication Service providers to comply secretly, though they can challenge the orders to the secret Foreign Intelligence Court. Individuals or companies given such orders will be paid for their cooperation and can not be sued for complying.
  • Makes any program or orders launched in the next six months last for a year after being authorized.
  • Grandfathers in the the current secret surveillance program -- sometimes referred to as the Terrorist Surveillance Program -- and any others that have been blessed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
  • Requires the Attorney General to submit to the secret surveillance court its reasons why these programs aren't considered domestic spying programs, but the court can only throw out those reasons if it finds that they are "clearly erroneous."
  • Requires the Attorney General to tell Congress twice a year about any incidents of surveillance abuse and give statistics about how many surveillance programs were started and how many directives were issued.
  • Makes no mention of the Inspector General, who uncovered abuses of the Patriot Act by the FBI after being ordered by Congress to audit the use of powerful self-issued subpoenas, is not mentioned in the bill.

In short, the law gives the Administration the power to order the nation's communication service providers -- which range from Gmail, AOL IM, Twitter, Skype, traditional phone companies, ISPs, internet backbone providers, Federal Express, and social networks -- to create possibly permanent spying outposts for the federal government.

These outposts need only to have a "significant" purpose of spying on foreigners, would be nearly immune to challenge by lawsuit, and have no court supervision over their extent or implementation.

Abuses of the outposts will be monitored only by the Justice Department, which has already been found to have underreported abuses of other surveillance powers to Congress.

[The above summary is from Ryan Singel's Wired Blog. Worth reading.]

How these Dems could willingly give these powers to a White House that has already shown the most egregious indifference to the rule of law is beyond me.

At least none of the candidates voted for it. And it lasts just 6 months. So Karl Rove has 6 months to wiretap all of the Democratic presidential candidates. In between leather parties, that is.

Why I hate Bill O'Reilly (or is Rupert Murdoch the anti-christ?)

I've never really known just what rock Bill O'Reilly crawled out from under. All of a sudden here was this celebrity Fox News wingnut propagandist, seemingly materialized out of some old coke-euphoria dream of G. W. Bush. I had never even known the guy existed before. Which leads me to suspect that, much like Jonah Goldberg, this odd form of human life is manufactured, promoted and elevated by the corporate media empires that find their personalities so useful.

There are actually many reasons why O'Reilly fills me with gleeful homicidal fantasies, but it can all be encapsulated by watching
this snippet of his show where he treats a chapter president of Iraq Veterans Against The War with such callow and shallow disregard that I wanted to grab his scrawny rooster neck through the screen and pop his swollen head like a pimple. Of course, all of this is framed within the useful litany of lies that this boor espouses daily on behalf of the junta of thugs and criminals currently ruining the country.

My favorite little moment of pearl-like disingenuousness is when Willy Boy actually uses the word "propaganda" to describe the truth about the war in Iraq, a wonderful example of the Orwellian techniques by which the FoxNews machine bamboozles its base of brain-addled couch potatoes. All-in-all
Geoffrey Millard conducted himself with aplomb against the lily-livered chickenhawk.

Watch it here.

Which brings me to my parenthetical subtitle regarding O'Reilly's f├╝hrer. I love the irony that Britain and Australia's most successful purveyor of tabloid soft core porn is the standard bearer for the right wing noise machine. Y'know, family values and all that. But their hypocrisy is already legion - we know. How many rabid born-again flag waving GOP homophobe buttwads have now been revealed as philanderers, pederasts and closeted homosexuals (and how many are still to be outed, eh, Karl?).

So now Murdoch has his hands on the bulwark of the oligarchy, the Wall Street Journal. Editorially, the WSJ has always been extremely rightwing, but everyone at least gave them plaudits for keeping their news reportage objective and meticulous (I don't know - I never read it). Most analysts figure that will soon be a thing of the past, as Rupert
positions his new acquisition to counter the perceived "liberal bias" of the NY Times.

I figure that there can only be 2 reasons why Rupert has showered Hillary Clinton's campaign with money. He either figures she is absolutely the Dem that any mediocre Republican can defeat, or else he views her as the one Dem he can work with if she gets elected. I think it the latter, personally. Hillary is a corporate soldier through and through. Never forget it was her hubby's administration who got the media consolidation ball running by which Mr. Murdoch has profited so royally.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The radicalization of libertarian Republicans

Paul Craig Roberts has been one of the most virulent critics of the Bush administration. For that matter so has reactionary Pat Buchanan, but Roberts is the more interesting because of his pedigree. Robert was a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under the Reagan administration. Recently, Roberts went so far as to suggest that the Bush administration is preparing to orchestrate a staged terrorist attack in the United States, transform the country into a dictatorship and launch a war with Iran within a year. He first issued this warning in his syndicated column, and then amplified it in an interview on the Thom Hartmann radio show.

Now, if a reasoned individual like Roberts is ready to basically throw in with the 9-11 conspiracists (sort of - I am taking some poetic license here), you have to wonder, when will the clearly progressive majority of the American people rise up and demand an end to the illegal, immoral dictatorship of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney?

Here is a link to Thom Hartmann's radio program archives. It appears that access is now free, but you still have to use a username and password (listed onthe page). The Roberts interview was on July 19. The link above is to several downloadable versions of the Roberts segment alone.

The progressive majority in America

I've always found the Libertarian line a bit daft - I mean, I have little faith in the "free" market to regulate itself. Human greed and avarice are just too overpowering motivations to allow room for altruism. And according to a recent study, most Americans really do believe that government should be the watchdog over the common good, making sure that those left behind by get a helping hand. A great deal of the information comes from a massive Pew Research Center study of American values from 1987-2007.

Some highlights of this report are:

On Health Care: 69 percent of Americans think it is the responsibility of the federal government to make sure all Americans have access to health coverage; 76 percent find access to health care more important than maintaining the Bush tax cuts; three in five would be willing to have their own taxes increased to achieve universal coverage.

On Energy Policy: 52 percent of Americans believe "the best way for the U.S. to reduce its reliance on foreign oil" is to "have the government invest in alternative energy sources"; 64 percent are willing to pay a higher energy tax to pay for renewable energy research; 68 percent of the public thinks U.S. energy policy is better solved by conservation than production.

On the Economy: 77 percent of Americans believe Congress should increase the minimum wage; 66 percent believe "upper-income people" pay too little in taxes; 53 percent feel the Bush administration's tax cuts have failed because they have increased the deficit and caused cuts in government programs.

On Government's Role: 69 percent of Americans believe the government "should care for those who can't care for themselves." Twice as many people (43 percent to 20 percent) want "government to provide many more services even if it means an increase in spending" as want government to provide fewer services "in order to reduce spending."

On Immigration: 62 percent of Americans believe undocumented immigrants should be given a chance to "keep their jobs and eventually apply for legal status." 49 percent believe the best way to reduce illegal immigration from Mexico is to penalize employers, not more border control.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Go to Iraq and fight, Mr. President

Keith Olbermann, on fire.



"You have condemned yourself to a place among that remarkably small group of Americans whom Americans cannot forgive: those who have sold this country out and who have willingly declared their enmity to the people at whose pleasure they supposedly serve."

The real Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani, the leading Republican candidate for the Presidency in 2008, is the perfect heir to the Bushite assault on American ideals. Painting himself in the colors of false heroism, this man, this monster, will only lead us further into penultimate decline. So, here, in the public interest, is a primer of readings on the real Giuliani:

Paul Craig Roberts on The Criminal Career of Rudy Giuliani.

Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone, "Giuliani: Worse Than Bush."

Giuliani Gets Exposed As Fraud by Firefighters:

In the interests of fairness, a critique at the above video.


Cashing In on Catastrophe by Wayne Barrett & Dan Collins.


Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11, book by Wayne Barrett and Dan Collins.

The Full Rudy: The Man, the Mayor, the Myth by Jack Newfield.

The infamous "Thank God that George Bush is our president, and thank God that Dick Cheney, a man with his experience and his knowledge and his strength and his background, is our vice president."

16 Reasons Why Rudy Giuliani Sucks


What America Needs to Know About Rudy Giuliani by Barbara O'Brien

Heckuva job, Rudy!

Giuliani's 9/11 Conspiracy Theory

Friday, July 20, 2007

Dude, where's my constitution?

We Americans are famous for taking everything for granted, whether it be cheap gasoline, clean water, Social Security when we retire. Oh, and a representative democracy based on an extraordinary document called the Constitution (accompanied by a Bill of Rights), replete with a system of checks and balances that prevents any one component of our government - executive, legislative and judicial - from amassing unmitigated power.

Right?

George Bush's legacy, which we are told has become of increasing concern to to this damaged shell of a man, will of course be the gravest attack on the principles of our democracy in the 200 years of its history. We no longer have a President, we have a king, and the king has a magic want called "executive privilege," with which the "people's business" suddenly has been placed on a "needs to know" basis. And we, the American people, apparently have no need to know.

From today's Washington Post: "Bush administration officials unveiled a bold new assertion of executive authority Thursday in the dispute over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, saying that the Justice Department will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges initiated by Congress against White House officials once the president has invoked executive privilege."


The American people should be outraged, but don't hold your breath waiting for the somnambulant masses to rise up in indignation. As for me, I am calling not only my own congresswoman, but a hell of a lot of others. I want impeachment proceedings started against these bastards NOW!

As for democracy? You don't miss your water until the well runs dry.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

'Nuff said, you friggin' hypocrite

"I'm not going to answer endless questions about it all over again and again and again and again. That might sell newspapers, but it wouldn't serve my family or my constituents well."-- Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), 7/16/07, speaking out publicly for the first time about appearing on the D.C. Madam's list.


VERSUS


"Some current polls may suggest that people are turned off by the whole Clinton mess and don't care. ... But that doesn't answer the question of whether President Clinton should be impeached and removed from office because he is morally unfit to govern."-- Vitter, 10/29/98


Who knows where those thumbs have been... Just another hypocrite for Christ.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Bill Moyers Journal: Tough Talk on Impeachment

If you missed the excellent Bill Moyers' broadcast on the case for impeachment, head over here. All I have to say is: "ITMFA!"














But...


Olbermann on Chertoff's Colonic Creationism

When I begin to despair of any mainstream American media outlet providing any offset to the roiling gasbags of Fox News, Keith Olbermann rises forth and provides counterpoint to this unelected administration and their policy of deception and cruelty. By now, you've all heard of Department of Homeland Stupidity honcho Chertoff's prophetic gut. Here, Olbermann puts the clown's gastric prescience into perspective.



"You have by now heard the remark — instantly added to our through-the-looking-glass lexicon of the 21st century, a time when we suddenly started referring to this country as 'the homeland,' as if anybody here has used that term since Charles Lindbergh or the German-American Bund in 1940. Michael Chertoff’s 'gut feeling.'"

New Dope in Town

I've begun a new blog, sort of a MTV (Mirsky TV) featuring videos of my favorite singer-songwriters. Little did I know that YouTube could be such a treasure chest of vintage and/or obscure music video. Right now, there's just one artist featured, but I anticipate many by the time I've exhausted myself. Hopefully, something I post will constitute a new discovery for at least one visitor - then my job is done. Escuche.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Hot for Hil?

Well, not me, but this parody video is better than any of the candidate's, that's for sure. even that Sopranos take-off.



And here's Ms. Southern's blog.

Now, in the interest of equal time for the two poll leaders:




Now, don't you just love the political theater of our nation's electoral process?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

LIBBY'S LIBERTY: Rehearsal for Pardon


One of my absolute favorite bloggers is video producer and writer Tom Degan, up in Goshen, NY. Rather than attempt to encapsulate my own thoughts on the totally unsurprising commutation of Scooter Libby's 30 month jail term while awaiting sentencing on his litany of lies to protect his boss Blackheart Dick and our soulless president, I point you to Tom's well-scribed take on the issue:

"The Rant" by Tom Degan: LIBBY'S OFF THE HOOK

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Does anybody REALLY read this guy?

I had never heard of Jonah Goldberg until his column suddenly appeared in my local scratchsheet, yet another right wing commentator on an editorial page already over-burdened with them (which the wingnut residents of my town pillory regularly in the letter pages for being too liberal). I read his column once and was immediately outraged. It reeked of narcissism, and a toxic dose of neocon arrogance. It is now shunned, along with Cal Thomas, and Bill "Never-met-a-lie-I-didn't-like" O'Reilly.

I just don't get it. How can someone with better than half-a-brain continue to be an apologist for the worst presidency in American history, an administration with a pathological aversion to the truth that has done more to trash the ideals of this nation than any of its predecessors, an administration whose arrogance and incompetence would be laughable were it not for the fact that hundreds of thousands of innocents have died because of them?


Justin Raimundo said it pretty well on his blog: "Jonah Goldberg's facile punditry masks a truly nasty nature seems beyond dispute: after all, here is someone who made his reputation, such as it is, retailing sex tapes surreptitiously recorded, "leaking" a trail of slime that eventually slipped up a President. A more fitting symbol of the Clinton era conservative movement – a gaggle of remarkably unattractive character assassins, bereft of ideas and fixated on filth – would be hard to imagine."

And
Juan Cole hoisted the fool by his petard a few years ago when Jolly Jonah was still one of the Iraq invasion's biggest cheerleaders. But what really gets my goat is the sense that Goldberg pontificates without any direct, firsthand experience of most of the things he writes about. Or, to quote a reader of Mr. Cole's: "He looks to be of military age. Ask him why his sorry ass isn't in the kill zone."

How does he sleep?

The Country of Dick*

Just as George W. Bush has redefined the American presidency as a monarchy, so has Dick Cheney re-defined the Vice Presidency as the power behind the throne of the idiot king. Prime Minister Cheney, he of the perpetual sneer and black heart has declared himself a government unto himself. As reported in the Washington Post yesterday, Blackheart Dick's office has refused for 4 years to comply with an executive order demanding that classified information is handled according to the rule of law. The Dick went so far as to propose that the Information Security Oversight Office of the National Archives and Records Administration served with confirming compliance with the executive order be abolished this year when his office was once again pressed for the reports.

The penchant for secrecy of the Cheney/Bush administration has been unmatched in American history. The American public has been denied the right to know who was involved in Dickie's energy task force (which set energy policy for this craven administration), where Cheney travelled on private funds, and, most recently, the Secret Service logs of visitors to his fortress-like residential compound in Arlington.

Who does this nasty little brute think he is? His is the true face of the Bush Presidency, and it is extraordinary to me that this creep's favorable ratings hover near single digits while Dubya's maintain at 25%. Is that quarter of the American public so god damned stupid that they can't connect The Prime Minister to the King?

That's a rhetorical question.

*I thank Randi Rhodes for the concept of the "the Country of Dick."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Judicial Watch Releases New FBI Documents: Osama bin Laden May Have Chartered Saudi Flight Out of U.S. after 9/11

Washington, DC) -- Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today released new documents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) related to the “expeditious departure” of Saudi nationals, including members of the bin Laden family, from the United States following the 9/11 attacks. According to one of the formerly confidential documents, dated 9/21/2001, terrorist Osama bin Laden may have chartered one of the Saudi flights.


Saturday, June 02, 2007

President Schmuck

I realized that some accidental visitors to this blog may take offense at my referring to the President of the United States as as a "sad, sick, silver-spoon loser." I meant to say "sad, sick, silverspoon, emotionally stunted, shallow, INSENSITIVE asshole." Why? Read this:

Several mothers who have lost children at war in Iraq took part in a new talk show on National Public Radio.

One of them, Elaine Johnson, recounted a meeting that she had with President Bush in which he gave her a presidential coin and told her and five other families: "Don’t go sell it on eBay.”

An excerpt from the interview on NPR's Tell Me More can be heard here.

Read more here.

President Wackjob

Need any more convincing?

Georgie Anne Geyer wrote recently in the Dallas Morning News about President Bush’s strange behavior during a recent meeting with “[f]riends of his from Texas” who were shocked to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated “I am the president!” He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of “our country’s destiny.”

Read more about this sad, sick, silver-spoon loser's meltdown
here.

Friday, June 01, 2007

US Attorney Resigns After Greg Palast Delivers Emails to John Conyers

Tim Griffin, formerly right hand man to Karl Rove, resigned Thursday as US Attorney for Arkansas hours after BBC Television ‘Newsnight’ reported that Congressman John Conyers requested the network’s evidence on Griffin’s involvement palastconyerswsubtitle.jpgin ‘caging voters.’ Greg Palast, reporting for BBC Newsnight, obtained a series of confidential emails from the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign. In these emails, Griffin, then the GOP Deputy Communications Director, transmitted so-called ‘caging lists’ of voters to state party leaders.

Experts have concluded the caging lists were designed for a mass challenge of voters’ right to cast ballots. The caging lists were heavily weighted with minority voters including homeless individuals, students and soldiers sent overseas.

Read more at Greg Palast's web site.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The plan to steal '08

While, the Dems cave on Iraq war benchmarks, seemingly forgetting why the American people gave them Congress back, the real scandal of the Republican leadership (yeah, I know: "which scandal?") lies undetected right under their noses. And even as the Judiciary committee calls yet another braindead graduate of Pat Robertson's law school to chant "I don't remember" under oath, the evidence of Karl Rove's felonious assault on our democracy, replete with the fingerprints of his soft, pale white hands, is stinking right in front of their noses.

Leave it to Greg Palast, intrepid American investigative reporter (who has to work for the BBC 'cause no one except Air America and Democracy Now will touch his stuff) to get the goods on the imperial pasty one and his goon Tim Griffin (currently the "interim" DA for Arkansas - a swing state, I remind you). In a nutshell, Palast and a buddy registered a website "rnc.com" in the hopes that the Rovebots would screw up and send emails to that address rather than "rnc.org" - the correct web site of the Republican National Committee. They were using the RNC instead of official government email addresses so that the emails wouldn't be potential public record.

And why would they be concerned about that? Only because they were breaking the law.
Anyway, Bush's boy "genius" did screw up. And some 500 emails went to the bogus site. Well, Greg's got them, and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers, is interested (finally).

In this case, the law being broken involves a process known as "caging." ‘Caging’ was a 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign scheme to challenge, on false evidence, the right to vote of tens of thousand of African-American voters.

Here’s how caging works: letters were sent “Do Not Forward” to voters at home addresses. When the letters were returned to sender (”caged”), the voter’s right to vote was challenged. The letters, however, were targeted at African-American homeless men, students — and soldiers send overseas (many to Bush & Cheney's nasty little oil war in Iraq) — all legal voters who, because they were shipped to Iraq or for other reasons, were not at their home address. BBC obtained 50 ‘caging’ lists with 70,000 voters including large groups of servicemen.

Now, it just so happens that Rove's protege Tim Griffin, thrust into the position in Arkansas by the Rotund Rove himself, was neck deep in this little operation. Palast showed, on camera, the email he intercepted from the Bush campaign, “Subject: caging,” written by Griffin himself, making clear that Griffin was not just involved, the but the director of this vote fixing scheme. So, what does this have to do with the 2008 election? Do yourself a favor and buy the paperback edition of Palast's "Armed Madhouse" and educate yourself.

(Some text in this post was borrowed from Greg Palast's web site).

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

It all began with Reagan

Watching the Republican candidates "debate" (an old white guy chorus line), it struck me how they all strained not to utter the "B" word (BUSH), but invoked the ghost of Ronald Reagan at every turn. Ah, Reagan. Was it with this president that the American predilection for delusion kicked into full gear? I mean, how did this B movie actor of limited intellect and a surfeit of polyester charm ever get turned into a statesman, much yet a hero? It was Thom Hartmann the other day who really nailed it on the head: it all started with Reagan. The casting of government as the world's greatest evil by its chief executive officer. And Americans, so simple-minded as to not see the awful irony in that syllogism, fell for it hook, line and sinker.

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" - Ronald Reagan

It was during those eight years of the great communicator that the apparatus that held some sort of line to keep the excesses of unrestrained market capitalism from leaving tread marks on our backs was slowly dismantled, beginning an inexorable slide towards the era of corporate oligarchy that now is in full flower with George W. Bush. Did it begin with the breaking of the air traffic controllers union? Was that the Lexington of this reverse revolution? Reagan, with his winsome folksiness (he was much better at it than Dubya) convinced us that it would be morning in America again as long as we cut taxes (especially for the wealthy), deregulated industry, and terminated as many social programs as possible. With that avuncular style (probably as much a function of Alzheimer's early onset as artifice), Ronnie convinced us that it would be good to concentrate the wealth of the nation in a few hands. We began to trade one welfare state for another - that of social welfare for corporate welfare. And Uncle Ron assured us that it would "trickle down." And it has. Oh, how it has. But it is more like a shit stream than a trickle.

So here we are. It's a May morning in America. President Headuphisass wants 35,000 more soldiers for fodder in Iraq (a country whose parliament just voted in the majority that it would better if we left). Both California and Florida are burning. Kansas can't help its tornado devastated towns because their National Guard and most of their equipment are occupying Iraq. A wild arctic seal turns up in a canal in Fort Lauderdale, and dies while convalescing at Sea World. Gasoline reaches record heights in price, even though the wholesale price per barrel is lower now than a year ago. Rupert Murdoch tries to buy Dow Jones. AT&T is on its way to become a monopoly. Again. The dollar falls while the Stock Market rises, and another 1000? 10,000? homes go into foreclosure . A few mega corporations control most of what we see and hear in the media. Oh, and American industry? We don't have a whole lot of that anymore. Japanese cars made in the States are more red-blooded American than your average Chevy, Ford or Dodge. Try and tell that to your typical F-250 driver. Ford doesn't even promote their macho trucks anymore as "built in America." It's the truck that "built America." I doubt that the American Idol audience caught the subtlety. And, a REPUBLICAN president ushered in the largest growth in both the Federal administration and the deficit in decades, while enriching the coffers of countless war-profiteering corporate government contractors

So thanks, Ron. I hope we've done you proud. It's a brave new world. And a warmer one.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bush is over

You know it's tough when the Attack Dog calls out the Pit Bull

We learned today that Dick Cheney's blood clot in his leg is now smaller. Certainly it is smaller than the blood clot in his head, where, it is rumored, his brain was once ensconced. How else to explain rolling out disgraced former bug killing Congressman Tom DeLay to out-Rush Rush in impugning the Democratic leadership of both Houses of Congress? It's not so much that the indicted Dickhead has come galloping to the Bushites defense, but more the timbre of his words. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "are getting very, very close to treason," DeLay said in a meeting with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. This, from a self-absorbed corruption king who treated his power base in Washington as a fiefdom, replete with tribute laid at his feet, a man who gerrymandered the most transparently undemocratic redistricting in Texas history; in short, from a criminal. Oh, and while we're talking about treasonous words, here are some quotes about the current Iraq war bill sure to meet with a Dubya veto, from some other prominent "traitors:"
“This important legislation sets a new direction for Iraq. It acknowledges that America went to war without mobilizing the nation, that our strategy in Iraq has been tragically flawed since the invasion in March 2003, that our Army and Marine Corps are at the breaking point with little to show for it, and that our military alone will never establish representative government in Iraq. The administration got it terribly wrong and I applaud our Congress for stepping up to their constitutional responsibilities.”

-Maj. Gen. John Batiste, USA, Ret.

“This bill gives General Petraeus great leverage for moving the Iraqi government down the more disciplined path laid out by the Iraq Study Group. The real audience for the timeline language is Prime Minister al-Maliki and the elected government of Iraq. The argument that this bill aides the enemy is simply not mature - nobody on the earth underestimates the United States’ capacity for unpredictability. It may further create some sense of urgency in the rest of our government, beginning with the State Department.”
-Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, USA, Ret.

“The bill gives the president a chance to pull back from a disastrous course, re-orient US strategy to achieve regional stability, and win help from many other countries - the only way peace will eventually be achieved.”
-Lt. Gen. Wm. E. Odom, USA, Retired

"Supporting the Iraq Supplemental Bill not only reflects the thinking of the Iraq Study Group but puts teeth to the phrase “Supporting the Troops”. By establishing timelines it returns the responsibility of self preservation and regional sovereignty to the people of Iraq and their government.”
-Maj. Gen. Mel Montano, USANG, Ret

“We must commence a coordinated phased withdrawal of U.S. combat troops and condition our continuing support of the Iraqi government on its fulfilling the political commitments it has made to facilitate reconciliation of the contending secular factions. Otherwise, we will continue to be entwined in a hopeless quagmire, with continuing American casualties, which will render our ground forces ineffective.”
- Lt. Gen. Robert Gard, USA Ret.

Get the picture?