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.