Saturday, May 31, 2003

At Least It Ain't

Bitburg. Bush is kissing Europe's ass trying to get them for forgive him for destroying Iraq for the PNAC cabal.

Our dictator was strolling somberly through Auschwitz in an attempt to show Europe that evil is evil in any age, at any age, from any age. In other words, evil is of an ageless quality.

I don't think it's going to work.

If Bush really wants to make an impression, he should stroll along what's left of the streets and buildings of Baghdad and see if the Iraqis will forgive him for destroying their country.
It Seems

all of the protests against what the FCC plans to do to further give handouts to Rupert Murdoch was for nothing. Since three of the five people on the commission are Republicans, they are expected to vote in favor of this absolutely rotten proposal.

It's complete crap to think there will be diversity in media. It will become even more concentrated, and because so many of the owners are to the far right politically, opposing opinions are quashed.

Without an independent media, all chance of a democracy is destroyed.
Kurtz Kount

for the month of May (starting mid-month):

Kurtz 214, C & P 254
Blumenthal's

book, The Clinton Wars, has made number seven on the NYT bestseller list for nonfiction. I expect the book to remain up there for a bit.

Dallek's hatchet job on JFK, however, is still number one.
Saw an Article

in today's San Francisco Chronicle (no link) about yet another chapter in the saga of the missing 1913 Liberty Head nickel. As you remember, or maybe not, the hunt is on for the missing nickel, which was one of only five ever made and were illegal. Four of them are accounted for, with two in private collections and the other two in museums.

The fifth, however, remains at large, despite the $1 million reward.

Now the latest rumor, reported by AP's Sandra Chereb, is that the missing nickel is allegedly under I-80 in Sparks, Nevada, just down the way from me! Somebody named John Finney claims the nickel was lost when his mother's childhood home, located in Sparks, was raized to make room for the interstate.

But before I walk out the door with a pick and a shovel and drive out to Sparks, there's a small problem.

Coin experts say the story can't possibly be true. The missing coin has been accounted for during the 1920s and 1930s because it was kept with the rest of the nickels as a set. It was believed a North Carolina dealer possessed the missing nickel, but he died in a car crash in 1962. A nickel was found at the site, Cherub reports, but the date had been altered.

So sad the Jimmy Hoffa theory of the missing coin has come to naught.
I'm Back

but I enjoyed my afternoon. There will be a LOT more days like this coming up, since I am losing my temporary contract positions this coming Friday, which is the end of the school year. I am hoping for a teaching position next year, but nothing is a sure thing.

Governor Kenny Guinn is threatening a special session of the Nevada legislature if they don't get the budget squared away.

What I can't stand is the waiting. I am planning to take the idiot MSAT up on Oregon later in June because my license up in Oregon is about to expire. It would be my damned luck I would get interviewed for districts up there, get a job, and then find out I can't accept any of them because my transitional license has expired.
I Wonder

if the RNC gave Howard Dean a new infusion of cash. Just when he and John Kerry decided to cut out the shit, Dean does it again claiming Kerry is stealing Dean's muddled message.

Well, Dr. Pot, you are definitely calling the kettle black when you lied about being a progressive and stole phrases from a dead man. Maybe you'd better look in the mirror.

I hope Kerry ignores this little shit, but he might not be able to do so.

Remember who Dean's chief strategist/campaign manager is. The same guy who worked on Jerry Brown's unsuccessful 1992 presidential campaign, a campaign in which Brown tried to smear Bill Clinton.
Thanks

to the big scandal that the new tax bill screws many low income people, especially single people with no kids, the Senate is looking for a way to correct the situation.

We will see if this ghastly loophole will be covered. Ideally, the entire tax cut package should be repealed.

Tom Daschle hit it on the head when he indicated leaving out millions of lower income Americans from the tax relief bill was no accident, but it instead was a deliberate plan to redistribute wealth upward, to those people who need it least.
My Printer Will

be getting a workout the next few days. The WP is profiling all of the Democratic candidates for president.

The first one, in today's issue, is likely frontrunner John Kerry. It's kind of fun to see how the WP will spin each of the candidates and see to what extent Karl Rove has written the talking points.

Well, it appears Kerry, who is a "he-man" who eschews earth tones and doesn't need to be told how to be an "alpha male," and likes to assassinate animals for a pasttime (once a Vietnam War dove, he likes to gut and eat doves), also plays ice hockey, snowboards, windsurfs, and kitesurfs. He's also the only combat veteran in the entire field (including infamous deserter George W. Bush).

But even though Kerry's masculine credentials are beyond dispute, we know he has some "problems." He's not personable, he's aloof, he's a golddigging hubby of one of the richest women in America, but there's something more damning to Kerry.

Kerry is simply too complex to be president. The spin against Gore was that he was too much of a policy wonk, and the anti-Kerry spin is very similar. Kerry, according to this Rove-inspired piece, has always been complex, and has been since 1971, when, as a spokesman for the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, testified before Congress and awed the lawmakers with all of his medals of heroism as well as his smarts. But then, Kerry made the fatal mistake of getting older and living in warmongering times and living under the "leadership" of a man who skipped out on his military duty, among other prominent chickenhawks in the administration. Kerry, much to the consternation of the anti-war faction, voted for the Rove-inspired, election-timed Iraq resolution. But when the war and the events leading up to it didn't go the way Bush claimed, Kerry criticized the dictator for his failure at diplomacy.

And that's the biggest of the many, many problems with the complex, aloof, golddigging John Kerry. There are more problems with the junior senator from Massachusetts. Kerry's too ambivalent and isn't suited for a presidency now geared towards simpletons with simplistic messages to a simply simpleton public. He rambles too much, his hair is too big, he looks too French, he's too tall, he's too much a realist, he's too much a dreamer, he's too Massachusetts, just fill in the blanks, which I obviously have with regard to this piece.

Next one up for the WP firing squad, please.
The NYT Magazine Piece

on Howard Dean is now up. Somehow I don't feel Dean's many fans are going to be that happy about a lot of the article.

Bai does, however, point to the mischief a Dean candidacy can bring to the Democratic Party:

"Neither side of this debate would seem to hold much promise for Democrats. Dean, who has only recently experienced a conversion to born-again liberalism [like right after he left the governor's office!], must know that the left is better at turning out martyrs than presidents. For the last 35 years, the left has rallied behind a series of liberal insurgents--and not once have they celebrated on Inauguration Day.

"The bad news for Dean's rivals, however, is that Democratic protest candidates have proved very effective at indelibly soiling whatever image the party is trying to convey at the moment. And you have to wonder if the other candidates, ensconced in Washington, have any real grasp of the grass-roots revolt that is fueling Dean's momentum. It's not surprising that the party's leaders feel like shoving Dean's stethoscope down his throat [sic--more like sticking it UP another orifice] when he says they only care about sounding electable. What's harder to understand is why they seem so determined to prove him right [I don't think that's the case, but if so, they should best ignore the Burr in the Butt]."

Donald Segretti had a word for people who go out of their way to trash other candidates and thus give the opposing party the momentum to seize the White House. That fits Dean and his more fanatical backers like a glove.

"If Dean ever belonged to the 'Democratic wing of the Democratic Party' before this year, he must have kept his membership secret. During his two five-year terms as governor, Dean was proud to be known as a pragmatic New Democrat, in the Clinton mold, boasting that neither the far right nor the far left had much use for him. He signed into law a measure that legalized civil unions for gay couples, a decision that was essentially mandated by the state's Supreme Court. But he also faced opposition from the left-leaning Progressive Party in two re-election campaigns. And he forcefully upheld the rights of Vermonters to carry concealed guns wherever they went, which helped him earn an A rating from the National Rifle Association."

Even though those are facts, that hasn't dampened the enthusiasm of the true believers one bit. They feel they have to believe in somebody, something, for they feel they don't have anybody else they can pine their hopes on.

Here I think is the key passage in the piece:

"Turmoil at his Burlington headquarters reflected the leftward lurch of Dean's campaign. In April, Rick Ridder, his pragmatic campaign manager, left and was replaced by Joe Trippi, the insurgent strategist who had run Jerry Brown's 1992 campaign against Clinton [emphasis mine]."

Which explains a lot, and explains his unfathomable--to this person--popularity. Bai might be stretching it a bit when he claims Dean is a "gifted orator." That's hilarious compared with the likes of fellow candidate John Edwards, but if one compares Dean's oratory with Bush's, well...well...Bai does have a point.

But Bai does say this, and it is damning because it is so true, even as Dean says he tries not to come across as arrogant: "It's just this quality, however, that seems to draw liberals to him. It doesn't matter that Dean, in some cases, supports capital punishment or gun rights. His positions are almost irrelevant; it's the way he takes positions that counts..."

(Bai claims he's the anti-Gore which is bullshit; it's that Dean is McCain with a Nader streak that appeals to the true believers.)

This article will be one of many that will take a hard look at Dean as the campaign goes on. Dean's record is going to be out there, and his most ardent fans are just going to have a more difficult time trying to reconcile his rhetoric with the record. It's going to be pretty difficult to maintain the facade of being an ultraliberal when your opponents are going to look at the record and point out that you aren't fundamentally any different than they are.

The Jerry Brown comparison is apt. But so is comparing Dean with Bill Bradley to Kerry's Al Gore. Dean, if not eliminated early, will severely cripple Kerry's campaign and thus give ammo to the Rove people should Kerry prevail in getting the nomination. And that's not a very good sign.

Friday, May 30, 2003

Ernest Partridge

of Online Journal writes about the Jessica Lynch rescue hoax.

Excellent piece by Kimberly Blaker at the same site about vouchers and that not only are those private schools benefiting from such schemes exist to help children learn, but a hell of a lot them are designed to not help them learn:

"Fundamentalists are particularly threatened by history and science that's in conflict with their beliefs. Equally alarming to them is public education's new emphasis on the development of critical thinking skills.

"Unlike the reasons many of us support school of choice, such as for varied learning environments, few religious schools operate with such needs in mind. Many have fewer offerings for learning disabled or gifted students. And unlike private secular schools established to offer alternative approaches to learning, many conservative religious schools go the opposite extreme, requiring even more rote learning than public schools."

And finally, Bernard Weiner gives us a primer on the PNAC.

Any Real Democrat

should be very, very upset at the possibility that not only Tom Daschle but Nevada's Harry Reid are extremely vulnerable to losing their Senate seats, and thus the Democrats' power, this coming election.

I get so sick and tired of the greenist mantra that Daschle was and is so "spineless," it becomes an absolute cliche. When push comes to fucking shove, Democrats had better be shoving together to get shoved into the ground.
If Unions Are to Have

a future in this country, they must organize workers who face hostile antiunion bias in companies for which they work. Companies like Cinta, or Wal-Mart, or any of thousands of large companies exploiting workers, often women, often immigrants from other countries.

As I have vented before, the notion people should forget unions and get college educations instead is absolutely wrongheaded; the high-paying jobs requiring degrees aren't numerous enough for all of the graduates seeking jobs. And that's when the economy is good. No, unions are absolutely vital to the strength of a country.

We had a great middle class from the mid-twentieth century to almost the end of that century because of union strength. The situation started going bad in the seventies, got worse in the eighties, subsided somewhat in the nineties (thanks to strong unionization of public employees), and unionization is once under vicious assault now that we have openly anti-union people in charge of all branches of the government.

This country can't afford to not have unions. Many people don't understand that the hard-earned gains made by the union movement over the past century can be easily taken away.
Sooner or Later

Bush is gonna get ya
Sooner or later
Bush is gonna win.

We KNOW Bush is gonna go into Iran sooner or later. He and the thugs who pull his strings are probably waiting until after the 2004 elections, when they will go gung-ho in getting the Democrats defeated by selecting the least electable or by rigging the machines.

Unless voters pay more attention than they are now.
The Democrats

could have a potent issue with regard to the economy if they especially focus on the disastrous situation in the states.

The closer economic issues strike people, the more effective it is. And that is one issue where the Democrats CAN blame Bush (although contrary to Frank, Bush's economic policies ARE disastrous and there is a LOT he could do to fix the economy, i.e., gut the stupid tax cuts) because federal inaction is a crucial reason why the state budgets are a mess in virtually every state in the country.
Probably as Good

an argument as any against the proposed changes to FCC rules creating a handout to those who wish to control ALL information, i.e. Rupert Murdoch:

"When smaller businesses are gone, where will the new ideas come from? Nor does this trend bode well for new ideas in our democracy--ideas that come only from diverse news and vigorous reporting. Under the new rules, there will be more consolidation and more news sharing. That means laying off reporters or, in other words, downsizing the workforce that helps us see our problems and makes us think about solutions. Even more troubling are the warning signs that large media corporations--with massive market power--could abuse that power by slanting news coverage in ways that serve their political or financial interests. There is always the danger that news organiations can push positive stories to gain friends in government, or unleash negative stories on artists, activists or politicians who cross them, or tell their audiences only the news that confirms entrenched views. But the danger is greater when there are no competitors to air the side of the story the corporation wants to ignore."

Turner should have been saying similar remarks when the Reagan administration gutted the Fairness Doctrine. That's really when this extreme distortion of the political discourse began in earnest.
Candidate Mini-roundup

from the San Francisco Chronicle:

"Democratic Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina told a ballroom of fellow attorneys in San Francisco on Wednesday that President Bush 'has not spent 30 seconds since he was elected' thinking about the interests of average Americans.

"'I hope we can still believe the son of a mill worker can beat the son of the president of the United States,' said Edwards--the son of a mill worker--during his speech to 500 people at the Bar Association of San Francisco."

Edwards also kicked ass regarding those critics who accuse him of being a greedy little trial lawyer and therefore not to be taken seriously:

"'You're looking at one of the few people who will stand on the floor of the United States Senate and defend what you do,' he told the lawyers. 'It is a good and noble thing...to fight for those who can't fight for themselves.'"

Edwards, always crafty, always aware of what will REALLY play with Middle America, declined to support legalizing marriage for gay couples (while saying the issue of civil unions was a state matter) because it is divisive.

Which it is, like it or not. Democrats can ill-afford to lose any voters over an issue that simply isn't a pressing matter. The disastrous foreign policy, the deteriorating economy, and many other major issues, issues which Democrats really have the better argument, need to be front and center.

link

Richard Gephardt has an interview here where he talks about how his health care proposal would be good for the economy, good for employers, good for people, and certainly better than what the fraud is offering people in terms of tax cuts.

Dennis Kucinich (no link) also endorsed medical marijuana, an issue beloved by some not because they care a rat's ass about people who might need it, but instead it's a foot in the door to wholesale legalization, which won't happen in my lifetime at least.
Jonathan Alter

of Newsweek about how the tax cut law screws lower-income people:

"Why not? Because they'd show that the White House and Capitol Hill Republicans just don't care a whole lot about helping waitresses and janitors. One of the reasons they feel that way is an assumption that low-income workers received EITC anyway, so why give them more? But only about three-quarters of those eligible receive the EITC; you have to apply for it, and many lower-income workers fail to do so. To make matters even more troublesome for the working poor, GOP forces on the Hill are trying to crack down on what they see as fraud in the EITC program, which is a Reagan-era idea (greatly expanded under Clinton) that has done more to fight poverty and encourage work than any government program in a generation. They're pressuring the IRS to require that EITC applicants provide elaborate documentation not requested for wealthier taxpayers who also receive tax credits. The amount the crackdown would save is small, but it's the thought of nailing 'those people' that counts."
In Your Dreams, Bucko,

about a possible Dean/Graham ticket.

Ain't gonna happen. Dean brings nothing to a national ticket, he won't survive NH with Kerry and his money against him, and his "governing" of Vermont, an insignificant state compared with CA, GA, AR, almost any state outside of Wyoming, doesn't cut it and wasn't much.

Sorry, bud, but either you're a paid hack for the Dean campaign or else a hack for Karl Rove. Hence the characterization of Dean being an "upstart progressive," which is a laugh and a lie.
Paul Krugman

on wagging the dog, or as it were, dogging the wags.

The whole "war" on Iraq was a lie done because a handful of neocons want to create some idiotic notion of an empire in the Middle East.

I Will Return

later this afternoon. Went for a run again this morning.
The Dekes Had a Word for It

Bush actually entertained 500 former classmates of the Yale University class of 1968 last night. With guests the total came to about 1,000 people, who paid something like $135 on up to pay for the privilege of reuniting with George.

It's a lot of people, including some people from his administration, but that's still only about a 50 percent turnout. No doubt many couldn't make it but would have gone if they could, but there were some who boycotted the event because they opposed Bush. Whether 1 person showed up or 1,000, Bush kept the media out of the event.

Just like he always does. Apparently he was afraid scandalous secrets from his past would leak to the media.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Moronic Liberals

are joining the wingnuts in trashing Hillary Clinton. That's just what we need. People who pretend they are "liberals" ratfucking Democratic officials, and to what end?

Not that Clinton is perfect, but God, nobody is. Is Rick Santorum really the be-all and end-all of the world's issues? Spare me.

The point of the piece might be that Clinton, because she's pissed off a very few liberals, should not be considered for any v.p. slot. Not that she's interested.
Well, the Democrats

are making the sham law No Child Left Behind a political issue. While many Democrats voted for the bill, under the mistaken belief schools needed accountability, it's pretty clear since Bush had no intention of adequately funding the program that it was a way to make public schools fail and push in fraudulent vouchers for private schools.

Of course, Dean, who's been critical of the bill, can't resist trashing his fellow Democrats for the screw-up by Bush, Inc. Burn all your bridges, you dumb fool.

Every single teacher I've worked with and talked to is against this bill. It is HUGE, and it makes unreasonable demands on teachers and schools. Schools that are considered high-achieving can be considered "in need of improvement," if those schools don't maintain or keep their standardized test scores up.

What a goddamned fucking sham. All because people make laws telling teachers what to do and how to teach, and these same people don't know squat about teaching.
Michael Kinsley

rips apart Bush's doo-doo economics in the form of the horrid tax cut bill he signed. Bush's Albuquerque speech is the focus of Kinsley's analysis.

It's a detailed piece, and Kinsley tears apart the "intellectual" underpinnings of this tax bill as well as the political underpinnings. Bush, as a front man to the corporate interests he's beholden to, has to put across a sophisticated message in support of a radical redistribution of wealth upward, all in the name of "raising capital."

If our entire country is destroyed by this idiocy, people won't be "raising capital." They will be raising something else entirely.
Of Course

another milestone of note: Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of Hillary and Norgay's successful climb atop Mt. Everest.

Life has an interview with the famed adventurer Hillary here.
Hope

is one of the longest-lived individuals in show business, but he isn't the oldest. I believe the longest-lived of all show business celebrities was the famous Broadway producer, George Abbott, who lived to be 107 years old. He was born June 25, 1887 and died January 31, 1995.

I will never forget one time when he gave an interview with radio talk show host Michael Jackson. When Jackson asked Abbott what it was like to be 99, Abbott said, "It's not what it's cracked up to be."

Even funnier was when Time magazine at about the same time announced Abbott, 99 (or somewhere around that age), was marrying a much-younger woman. About three weeks later, certainly no more than a month later, Time announced Abbott had married the woman.

Time definitely wasn't on Abbott's side.
A Little Bit of Hope

on his 100th birthday:

100 Reasons to Toast Bob Hope

Signs a Happy 100th is in the Cards for Bob Hope

Even though he was known as a Republican, actually he went both ways courting presidents of both parties. I'll never forget a few years ago, I think around 1996, when Hope told TV Guide how much he really liked Bill Clinton. I don't know if he actually voted for him, but Hope really, really liked him.
The Booming Economy, Act MMM

The Commerce Department reported today the economy "grew" at a sluggish 1.9 percent annually, with the figures "revised."

I don't want to be a cynic and say the figures were "revised" to make the economy healthier than it already isn't, but I wonder. Still, it's well below the 3 percent needed for the economy to be healthy again.

Which will never happen as long as those liars and thieves are running our government.

I'll Try Posting That Last Item

again. I accidentally hit the wrong key and I can't bring the post back up to edit.

Here is what I was trying to say:

When you're caught in a lie and you don't have enough personal integrity to admit it, smear your critics by using third parties to do it. Apparently Howard Dean's fellow Vermonters such as James Jeffords and Patrick Leahy have criticized the DLC's now infamous memo criticizing Dean's own lying remarks about being from the "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party" and his blind supporters being elitists who are out of touch with the mainstream Democratic base.

I don't doubt Leahy, Jeffords, and the others didn't actually read the lengthy memo (linked below), but rather saw news reports about it or got angry emails from Dean cultists. The truth is, Dean himself started the problem by falsely claiming "as a recipient of the Wellstone Award, I am proud to be a member of the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party," and hence the DLC rightly pointed out in the follow-up memo (linked below) that Dean's own record, contrary to what he was trying to claim to voters, was as a moderate in the DLC mold.

From the second memo: "...In the past, we sometimes praised Gov. Dean's record in Vermont. If he were running for president the way he governed, we would be praising him now. But you don't have to be a centrist to grow weary of a campaign so quick to attack others' views and scream foul whenever others challenge its own."

Which is the truth.

Dean himself ought to apologize to his supporters by saying he started the idiotic fracas by his own careless and false remarks made during the closing statement at the Iowa Forum. There are people in this world who actually taped the forum and can play back exactly what Dean said.

If I had been his advisor, I'd have bitchslapped him all the way back to Vermont. He basically destroyed what little chance he had of winning the nomination, much less the presidency, with those calculated and false remarks.

But Dean totally lacks the integrity to admit he was wrong.

In fact, what really pisses the ultraliberal fringe about that memo is that it was the truth. Not just about Dean, but about the whole idiotic notion Democrats ought to turn "left." They can't; the votes are simply NOT there. Democratic candidates must campaign from the middle and govern from somewhat the left of center.

And yes, those Democratic supporters Dean desperately wants to court, often being largely internet divas, tend to be elitist in their education and income. The memo didn't pull that out of mid-air; the writers mentioned a WP poll of delegates to the 1996 Democratic convention which showed they were completely different from the rank-and-file as a whole. I would bet any survey of the Republican delegates would show the same thing.

Anyway, if I were From and Reed, I would refrain from any further comments regarding the former governor of Vermont. Leave it to the media to tear apart Dean's record and try to reconcile it with the nonsense he is spewing now. All of his nonsense rhetoric WILL catch up with him.
When You're Caught in a Lie

and you don't have enough personal integrity to admit it, smear your critics by using third parties to do it. Apparently Howard Dean's fellow Vermonters such as James Jeffords and Patrick Leahy, have criticized the DLC's now infamous No comments:
Bob Herbert

about the busting Bush economy:

"The economy has lost more than a half-million jobs already this year, and well over 2 million since payrolls peaked two years ago. More than 8.7 million American men and women are officially counted as unemployed. And that figure is artifically low because it does not count those who have become discouraged and stopped looking for work.

"The fallout from the continued hemorrhaging of jobs and the swollen ranks of the unemployed is spreading..."

And of course the crux of WHY there's massive unemployment:

"Wages, when adjusted for inflation, are falling for workers across the board..."

Declining wages, combined with tax cuts for people who don't need them, and you have a killer combo of a country on the way to the third world paradise the right finds so appealing.
More

about the NYT scandal in the newsroom.

The really serious offenders get off scot free.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

More Nixon-Like

secrecy on the part of Bush. He is narrowing his staff for his election campaign to only the most trusted loyalists:

""He keeps promoting people up from the farm club to jobs once reserved for giants,' said Paul C. Light, a specialist in bureaucracy who is a New York University professor of public service. 'That means a relatively green team, but one that will take direction from the coach. It is interpreted as a sign of extraordinary hubris.'"

The paragraph about where now there will be fewer checks on Rove's power is more disturbing still.

That's probably the real point of this reorganization.

Nicholas von Hoffman

on the exportation of jobs once thought untouchable:

"Recent news reports should give a small measure of satisfaction to the hundreds of thousands, or possibly millions, bilked by Wall Street stock analysts. Those are the men and women who corruptly enticed people to put their money into wormy, worthless securities being peddled by the analysts' employers. Stock-analyst jobs, like the bib--overall jobs from the Rust Belt, are being exported overseas.

"College-educated stock researchers making $250,000 a year are losing out to people doing the same work in India for $20,000. Banks, stock brokerages and allied financial-services companies are expected to relocated 8 percent or half a million jobs to foreign lands in the next few years. General Electric's investment-credit arm, G.E. Capital, already has 15,000 at their desks in India..."

More at the link.
DeLay Apparently

isn't happy with just trying to rig congressional elections; he now wants to further tamper with the regulatory apparatus of government agencies.

"Under his radical approach, outlined in a little-noticed speech last week, Congress would be tasked with approving or rejecting all standards issued by government agencies."

And since the Republicans run both houses of Congress, and the vast majority are pitiful excuses for legislators who are cowed by DeLay, that means no more regulations or no regulations, period, except those that benefit crooked businesses.

Are the Sugarland, Texas, voters ever going to be smart enough and turn this turd out?
I Know My Hits

or rather visits are down because so many of my readers were from colleges and they're on summer break, so I have to work overtime to pump my hits up. It's a challenge, since I am far, far, far down the list of The Truth Laid Bear in terms of being linked to, let alone being read.

Anyway, back to the outrages:

The poor, of course, are screwed over because those who have kids and make just above the minimum wage will not be getting an increase in the child tax credit. A huge number of single mothers will not benefit because there is no credit for those making between 10K and over 26K. Since most women aren't high salaried to begin with, millions and millions of parents and children will not qualify.

That was the point of this proposal. Make sure the people who need the help the most don't get it.
Would Somebody

please tell Bill Clinton to get a life? He said today he wants to see the constitutional amendment barring presidents from seeking more than two terms repealed and only barring them from running for more than two terms consecutively.

Although he didn't say he wanted to run for a third term, I think one can draw that conclusion very easily. He's apparently so bored with his life in retirement, so bored with not having Tom DeLay, Jeff Gerth, and Kenneth Starr riding his ass 24/7 that he wants to go through the same garbage again.

The trouble is, Bill, that it would backfire. Don't give the Republicans ANY ideas. The next thing you know, not only will we have George II, we will have Jeb, then George, then Jeb, then George P., and finally we will have to put up with George's daughters, who would no doubt fight over the line of succession.

For the next fifty or sixty years, we will be stuck with nothing but Bushes.
Oh, My Fucking God

Heather really has her claws sunk into Paul now. Heather Mills is reportedly pregnant by Paul McCartney, who is a million years older than her and has kids at least her age (to say nothing of deceased wife Linda's first child, Heather). The baby is supposed to be due later this year.

Yes, it's a free world and all of that, but it is the height of selfishness to have a child by somebody who may not be around when that kid grows up. Shades of Anthony Quinn and Tony Randall (although they were admittedly quite a bit older than McCartney, but still the odds are against him--especially given the ex-Beatle life expectancy). Furthermore, as the article points out, Mills has had a poor reproductive history.

And yet often the same people who wish somebody like this well are appalled when women in their fifties and even sixties go off and have babies. Both are equally bad.

And I'm sure his kids are pleased as punch with the news. They were reportedly against this union from the get-go.
Thank God

I will be in Oregon when this thing happens. From today's hard copy edition of the Reno Gazette-Journal:

"The American Century Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in July is claiming its best field in its 14-year history--including Michael Jordan, Mark McGwire and radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh."

The organizers say they expect 78 celebrities or has-beens or never-wases to show up for the tournament which will cost anywhere from $10 to $20 a ticket. Jordan has been at the tournament before, and each time he shows up, about 5,000 more people show up. Certainly people aren't going there this year to see Rush strut his stuff.

More info here if you are curious about this annual event. Frankly, I'm not. Golf bores me to tears to watch, and it doesn't matter who they bring there. I'm not going.
More from the

same site about the same topic:

"For working people, however, the tax bill provides something less than a bonanza. Half of all American families will gain less than $100 in 'tax relief,' while middle-income families, those between $50,000 and $75,000 a year, will get an average cut of $703.

"Even within the top five percent of the population, in income terms, the tax cuts are heavily skewed to the very wealthiest strata. Those with incomes between $200,000 and $500,000 a year will net an average of $5,515, according to a study by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. The big winners are those with incomes of $1 million a year, who will rake in an average of $93,500 apiece..."
WSWS

takes a very dim view of the tax bill:

"In a fundamental sense, the tax cut bill is not an instrument of economic policy at all, but a purely political gesture aimed at giving the appearance of action rather than the substance. This is demonstrated by Bush's insistence to the congressional Republican leadership that they pass a tax cut bill immediately, regardless of its specific provisions or size.

...

"Several of the provisions in the tax cut measure are transparently linked to the 2004 election campaign, beginning with the checks to middle-income families with children this summer, accompanied by lower withholding from paychecks from now to the end of 2004. The key provisions which benefit middle and low-income families, including the increased child care tax credit, the expansion of the 10 percent bracket and the reduction of the so-called marriage penalty on two-income couples, all expire on December 31, 2004.

"In other words, the Bush tax plan provides a few crumbs for working people which will be swept off the table as soon as they have accomplished their purpose; creating political confusion and diverting attention from the economic crisis in the 2004 presidential and congressional campaigns. The cuts in taxes on capital gains and on dividends will remain in effect in 2008, however, giving plenty of time for a future Congress to vote for their extension.

...

"If the Bush administration could satisfy the social needs of tens of millions of working people, it would not require such crude and blatant lies about the actual content of its policies. On the contrary, this government is systematically dismantling the social infrastructure, setting the stage for the impoverishment of tens of millions of working people as the economic downturn deepens. At the same time it postures as the advocate of 'job creation,' in a desperate effort to avoid the political responsibility for the consequences of the social crisis."

In other words, the tax bill is part of a continuing attempt on the part of the radical right to turn this nation into a third world country.
The Sham

tax bill that will torpedo the economy further down the sinkhole has been signed by the sham president. This is supposed to create "more jobs," in addition to "stimulating" the economy, but all it does is further the class divide in this country.

Bush also signed a bill extending jobless benefits.
Since the Days

are getting hotter, and there's only a few days left of school, I have been running early in the morning and not spending time here posting. I do plan to return later this afternoon about 4 or 5 PDT, and resume posting with my typical fury.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

William Saletan of Slate

notices that the Democratic candidates are "turning left," noting the antiwar talk of candidates like the Vermont governor whose name I won't mention and his appeal to the "counterculture left" on comparitive fringe issues like "civil unions" to the exclusion of bigger issues.

Yeah, that's a winning strategy for the Democrats, all right. Just ask George McGovern.

To be fair, Saletan does pay attention to the return of Bill Clinton--who never left, frankly--and how Democrats are no longer running from this "stigma." Anybody with half a brain wouldn't and didn't. He also pays attention to Gephardt and Edwards who are pushing the populist message--the message along with the national security issues I believe that will win it for the Democrats in a fair contest--and with the right candidate. Edwards was and is far from being a Lieberman Lite; he's the real deal, and if he should make it through the primaries and get nominated as the Democratic presidential candidate, it should make for a very funny election campaign. The reporters will have to work overtime to spin him negatively.
Nothing is Funnier

or more pathetic than journalists whipping other journalists. Jack Shafer of Slate is all upset because he takes issue with soon-to-be resigned NYT reporter Rick Bragg's suggestion that "everybody" does what he allegedly did at the NYT, which is use stringers and interns to do much of the work while he took all of the credit.

Maybe not "everybody" does it, but there's no use pretending journalists actually have real ethics anymore, if they ever did. Believe me, Blair and Bragg and Miller, and all of the rest are just the tips of the iceberg of the wholesale corruption of the mainstream media.
What the Hell

is the matter with some parents? Some rich types, who want to buy everything for their kids, including their educations, worry about placing their four-year-olds and five-year-olds in the right private schools. Pressure the hell out of these poor little kids, spoil them rotten because they will be isolated from those lowlife public school kids, and then the kids will grow up and be screwed-up adults.

Spend $17,000 a year for a NURSERY SCHOOL? And there are waiting lists? Are people truly that nuts? And people are hiring scam artists, called consultants, to help them pick the right school?

All the while there are millions of people who make less than 17K a YEAR, often those who work in preschools. Disgusting.

It's like what I was talking with my landlord yesterday when I showed him one of those freebie real estate magazines, and there were McMansions as large as 10,000 square feet and selling for 1 million, 2 million, 5 million dollars here in Reno (not Incline Village, where zillionaires like Michael Milken have 20-million-dollar "cottages," for God's sake). He wondered how in the world anybody moving to this region could possibly afford those houses, especially now that the dot.com explosion went bust. He also wondered how in the world anybody could even FILL a 10,000-square-foot house. He said to me, "It's enough to make anybody vote for ALL Democrats."

There might be hope for him yet.
Since George W. Bush

has fucked up world affairs almost beyond recognition, he is trying to mend fences, or, as I would put it, kiss ass with Europe.

In all honesty, it kind of sounds like Hitler being all nicey-nice trying to win everybody's trust before invading the next country, and the next country, and the next country.

Europe should tell Bush where to stick it. They probably won't.
SI, June 11, 1973

"Triple Crown Criteria: Secretariat Has the Goods," by Whitney Tower

"When Citation won the last of eight Triple Crowns 25 years ago, he did what was fully expected of him at odds of 1 to 5. Inasmuch as three other colts--Whirlaway, Count Fleet and Assault--had done the same thing during the seven previous years, the feat itself, although spectacular, was considered neither astonishing nor incredible...

"Since 1948 six colts before Secretariat achieved the Derby-Preakness double but failed in the Belmont. Of the six, three turned out not to be 12-furlong horses; two others (Majestic Prince and Canonero II) were unsound and should never have started; the best of the lot, Tim Tam (1958), would have won except for a near-fatal injury to his right foreleg on the stretch run. His courage in finishing second to Cavan on three good legs has become legendary...

"In this week's 105th Belmont, Secretariat has the best chance at a Triple since Tim Tam. If he wins he will be called another super horse. If he loses, as he did with such inexplicable and casual indifference in the Wood Memorial in April, this will hardly be written off as 'just another race,' but it will again emphasize how difficult the Triple Crown is to acquire. There are still some doubters who question Secretariat's mile-and-a-half capabilities, but they are far outnumbered by those who say that here is a magnificent animal who, when he wishes, humbles his fields. Trainer Lucien Laurin and Jockey Ron Turcotte notwithstanding, this son of Bold Ruler dictates his own running style--coming from behind, or taking an early lead and keeping it. However the big horses chooses to dish it out this Saturday, the public expects him to get the job done. I couldn't agree more."
If You Recall,

there was a link yesterday on this site about how people like Sally Quinn have been wringing their manicured hands because George II isn't as sociable as other presidents of the United States.

Perhaps Quinn should consider moving to Crawford, Texas, and dodging the horseflies and cowpies of Bush's ranch. This seems to be the environment in which Bush feels most at home, the environment where he has spent an inordinate amount of time during his sham "presidency." This is the locale where Bush is often talking to foreign dignitaries.

After all, if you are going to bullshit digginaries, what better place to do it than on a Texas ranch?

More likely there's a greater chance of more secrecy on the part of the Bush administration if he can keep his activities as far from the prying eyes of the Beltway mob as possible.
Site Meter

must be screwed up because it isn't counting all of the hits I am putting on this site. I have to keep the figures up, you know.
Robert Reich

on how Democrats can seize the economic issue and make it a winner for next year.

Unfortunately, he peddles the Rovian bullshit that the Democrats were "disorganized" and all that crap when they lost by an enormous 49,000 votes in last year's elections and are only two seats down in the Senate. The message, Mr. Reich, was drowned out first by the Iraq buildup and then by the D.C. sniper shooting. The media, taking its cues from Karl Rove, DELIBERATELY hid the Democratic message from voters.

What is miraculous is that Democrats did so well and almost retained what majority they had. I am of the belief fraud had more than a little to do with it.
If the Reader

is really ambitious and has a desire to make a million dollars, he or she should go out on a treasure hunt and find the missing 1913 Liberty Head nickel. There were only five ever produced, and they were illegal. Two are in museums, two in private collections, and nobody knows where the fifth one is, hence the million dollar reward (which is close to what the nickel is actually worth).

I've got tons of nickels, thanks to occasional trips to the local casino and for change that I haven't bothered using. Unfortunately, I don't even have an Indian head nickel, much less the Liberty Head one.
I Received a Notice

from my employer today that hiring for teachers for next school year is being delayed until the middle or the end of June. The district is waiting for what the state is doing with regard to the budget.
Nevada Case Regarding

family leave was ruled on by the USSC today in favor of the plaintiff, who charged discrimination against him by his employer because he needed to take time off from work to care for his sick wife.

In other words, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 is constitutional, according to the high court. This was the act that was bottled up for years by Bush I and was one of the first laws signed by President Clinton.

No doubt the Republicans want to gut it again, but they probably won't get away with it since it provides UNPAID leave.
And Despite

all of the revisionism, all of the unbelievable mud and outright garbage being hurled, the JFK magic endures.

E.J. Dionne interviews the latest sleazebag who tries to convince the world JFK was nothing but a fraud who was worthless in his private life. But what the article and Dallek's book really tell us is very little about Kennedy and EVERYTHING about an author who clearly has a political bias and is trying too hard to make "revisions" on the Kennedy presidency.

It's all for naught, I'm afraid. Dallek should earn an honest living for a change.
Like Bad Pennies

the PNAC crowd always returns. It matters not if the individuals have been disgraced with scandal. It just goes to show you that if somebody has all of the right political and family connections, he or she can have powerful positions in government. In Abrams' case, he's the son-in-law of fellow PNACers Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter. The neocon crowd isn't a crowd at all but rather a handful of individuals with family connections.

Sort of like the Mafia.

Now Abram's working behind the scenes, like Perle, Wolfowitz, and all of the rest, to "craft" foreign policy in his typically neocon, nutball view of the world. Which is and will continue to be a disaster.
Bragg Bags It

NYT reporter Jeff Bragg, who was suspended because of "overreliance" for stories actually written by others, has decided to quit the NYT in a few weeks. He is fed up with the poisonous atmosphere of the paper.

And it continues at the Times. When will Judith Miller and Jeff Gerth get the boot for far worse offenses?

Enquiring minds want to know.

Monday, May 26, 2003

The Pickering

nomination is probably all but finished.

The more Bush keeps nominating these crackpots, the worse he looks, I swear.
It Looks As If

Joe Lieberman wants to investigate DeLaygate by calling on the White House to see if there were any federal resources used in the Texas "chase" of a couple of weeks ago.

Go for it, Joe. However, it won't stop DeLay and Rove from trying to manipulate statehouses in Texas and in other states. They are just getting warmed up.

Anyway, it's pretty peculiar behavior on the part of a political party that claims it is a "majority" party.
Could It Be

that the Green Party, chastised again and again by Democrats for contributing to the ratfuck of Al Gore, might actually turn to the Democratic Party next year and not run a presidential candidate?

I ain't Billy the Greek Bennett, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it. I've noticed, from the limited observation of the limited world of blogs and discussion boards, most of the Greens don't support Dennis Kucinich (contrary to the article) but instead tend to gravitate to the smooth-taking Howard Dean, a man whose record is totally opposite of everything the Greens allegedly stand for.

I happen to like Kucinich a lot. He, NOT Dean, is in the mold of the late Paul Wellstone. He, unlike Dean, doesn't go around claiming he's carrying the mantle of Wellstone in a cynical and disgusting attempt to gain the support of the gullible activists of the left wing of the Democratic Party. However, he doesn't have a chance of getting the nomination, but I have to admire his guts for going for the presidential gold. He might actually be serving a purpose, by rallying those on the left wing of the party to support the eventual nominee. Hell, I suspect Sharpton and Moseley-Braun are running in order to get African Americans and other minorities involved and support the eventual nominee. Hell, I suspect even Joe Lieberman, who won't get the nomination to save his life, might be in the race in order to make sure the Republicans don't try and court the Jewish vote.

But that's the conspiracy thinking of someone who despises conspiracy theories. As for the Greens, I couldn't care less who they support, as long as they don't try to get some prominent Democrat to run on their ticket to wreck it for the Democrats.
These Idiot

fundamentalists, misnamed "evangelicals," don't know when to quit. They desire to shove their twisted interpretation of the Bible down the throats of Muslims all over the world.

Oh, but I'm wrong. As the person quoted at the end of the piece said, they aren't trying to convert Muslims to Christianity but rather to show them the "love of Christ," which means they are trying to convert people to a religion they don't believe in.

There's a name for this kind of behavior. It's called bigotry.
Paul Krugman

states the obvious about those who state the obvious:

"'The lunatics are now in charge of the asylum.' So wrote the normally staid Financial Times, traditionally the voice of solid British business opinion, when surveying last week's tax bill. Indeed, the legislation is doubly absurd: the gimmicks used to make the $800-billion-plus tax cut carry an official price tag of only $320 billion are a joke, yet the cost without the gimmicks is so large that the national can't possibly afford it while keeping other promises.

"But then maybe that's the point. The Financial Times suggests that 'more extreme Republicans' actually want a fiscal train wreck. 'Proposing to slash federal spending, particularly on social programs, is a tricky electoral proposition, but a fiscal crisis offers the tantalizing prospect of forcing cuts through the back door.'"

No shit, Financial Times. Just ask David Stockman, who said twenty years ago the whole purpose of Reaganomics was to do just that. It doesn't take a rocket scientist or a Princeton economics professor to figure out the obvious. It's only worse now because our entire government is taken over by these people who want to destroy EVERYTHING that made this country great.

The Republican Party is NOT the friend of anybody who isn't at least a millionaire. It never will be. It's long past time for people to figure it out.
Even in the Right-Wing

region of southern Oregon, people of all persuasions are giving the Oregon legislature an F on their actions or rather inactions with regard to the funding crisis in education.

Frankly, the Republican-dominated legislature doesn't care about kids. All of it is this antitax rhetoric, and I also blame a lot of the voters for not doing what is right.

When the New York Times starts writing entire articles on the mess in the state, and when nationally-known columnists like Bob Herbert are writing about it, it's time for the politicians to start taking their jobs seriously.

Voters should throw every stinking Republican out of office who is hemming and hawing about his issue.
That Certainly

wasn't much of a time off, Howard. This column is interesting for a change because instead of this column being about Blair or Bragg, this is about one of the NYT's star reporters, Judith Miller.

Miller, you recall, was the reporter who has a lot of conflicts of interest outside of her reporting gig. It makes me wonder if Kurtz read the WSWS piece, though she has generated controversy among other journalists.

It also makes me wonder if he reads or is aware of this blog. He's cheated with this column and hasn't put his usual copying-and-pasting stamp.

No points for Kurtz.

Sally Quinn

is pissed off royal:

"Since there's no social life at the White House, and no social life in the city, Washington as we know it is over."

That's because dry drunk Bush, burned out from years of boozing, partying, carousing, and everything else, doesn't go to the requisite parties that the Beltway mob deems appropriate for presidents of the United States, whether elected or selected. He still goes to bed at 9:30 every night, unlike Bill Clinton, who slept maybe 4 or 5 hours a night and felt perfectly refreshed the next day.

The article contrasts the Bush social life, or lack of it, with other presidents of the United States.

But Bush will get a free pass on his being unsociable. He is a Republican, after all.
Perhaps

most newspaper owners have no ambitions to further their desire to own more television stations once further relaxation of the FCC rules goes into effect. But the new proposals aren't for just any run-of-the-mill media mogul. They were designed to help Rupert Murdoch take over the entire media apparatus.

But Rupert Dearest denies it, of course. He told a congressional committee last week in the context of his proposed takeover of DirecTV he has no plans to buy up additional television and radio stations.

Well, when you own it all there's nothing else left.
NYT

has an article about another sleaze in an administration full of sleazes and personifies sleaze: Commerce Secretary Don Evans. This is mostly a "personality" profile rather than any kind of serious piece.

Which is a shame because Evans is one of those who has been one of the movers and shakers of the political career of George W. Bush. And not in a good sense, either.
Another Edwards

article, but this one isn't as slanted as the L.A. Times article linked below. It helps the article is from his home state paper.

The article highlights what I think is one of Edwards' biggest strengths, which is his ability to craft policy positions from personal experience. It's probably a unique tactic, and no doubt stems from Edwards having less legislative experience than the others.

With regard to Edwards' comparitive lack of legislative experience, here is what the article says:

"Edwards, like all candidates, is also being assisted by a bevy of aides and informal advisers, many of whom have worked in the Clinton administration [my emphasis]. That has proved particularly helpful in areas in which his life experiences are not as relevant, such as foreign policy. Edwards often has advisers, sometimes with competing views, argue policy issues in front of him before settling on a position.

"Among those who have helped are Sandy Berger, Clinton's national security advisor, and Richard Holbrooke, Clinton's final ambassador to the United Nations.

"Aides say Edwards has also learned about national security issues by attending numerous closed-door briefings available to members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, a panel he joined a little more than two years ago. That has led to a series of proposals that include establishing a new domestic intelligence-gathering agency and stepping up security at the nation's ports.

"Bruce Reed [this is the president of the Democratic Leadership Council, the man who with Al From co-wrote the memo that got Dean's supporters' panties all in a bunch for telling the truth], a former domestic-policy advisor to Clinton, said Edwards has proven a quick study in areas new to him and shown an ability to speak passionately about subjects he knows well.

"'You can always tell when someone feels a policy in their gut and not just in their head,' he said.

"Reed, who has been informally advising Edwards and other presidential candidates, argued that Edwards' relative inexperience has some real advantages.

"'Many Democrats in Washington have worked so long on the legislative back-and-forth of issues that they speak a language that is entirely incomprehensible outside the Beltway,' said Reed. who is now president of the [evil, evil, evil!] Democratic Leadership Council, a centrist organization.

Lots more at the link, and it is at least fair to Edwards, who will take it all--in a fair contest.

Sunday, May 25, 2003

Still More Shit

against the Democratic candidates, this time about health care and about how expensive a national health care plan would be. The various Democratic proposals would plunge the country further into the hole.

If people are "wary," it's that they think because they already have health coverage on their jobs, national health care isn't needed or desirable. But the way the Bush gang is destroying the economy, private, company-paid health insurance is becoming a very iffy luxury.

Of course, what isn't discussed in the article is the likelihood any Democratic president will reverse the disastrous course of tax cuts to people who don't really need them. Then there would be all kinds of money for programs benefiting people.

The whole point of giving the rich more money that they don't need is to STARVE current programs benefiting most people and preventing any new programs to take place.
Is Adam Clymer

trying to get the Democrats to call him a major league asshole? Now it's TWO articles in a row telling us Democrats we are seriously fucked up.

Maybe it's not Clymer who really is a jerk, but that his bosses upstairs are turning up the heat against the Democrats. The Democrats have several messages and several themes, but whatever they do and however they say them, the messages will be obliterated by a media fellating a phony president.

This weekend has had a bumper crop of shitty articles against the Democrats by the major newspapers. A lot of Clymer's piece is typical of what appears to be Rovian talking points to frame the debate and put the Democrats on the defensive.

It isn't so much the Democratic Party is in trouble than it is the Republican Party that has gotten vicious and ruthless and trying to stop ALL opposition in this country.
Interview With

John Edwards about foreign policy and domestic issues from the LAT.
Incredibly Slanted Story

in the L.A. Times about John Edwards.

I swear Karl Rove actually writes these hit pieces. It's the usual--Edwards is a greedy trial lawyer, he's too green to be president, he's just another Ken doll, etc.

"Even admiring Democrats worry that his long legal resume and short political career might be too light on governing and foreign policy expertise [Explain George W. Bush to me, then, who had a ceremonial position in Texas and a woefully ignorant grasp of foreign affairs--remember him not knowing the names of the leaders of four foreign countries, for example?] for him to win in the post-Sept. 11 era."

Yeah right. He only has the smarts, the obvious ability, the communications skills, the electability, the right region, the looks, the charisma, the everything that would absolutely destroy George W. Bush.

There is fear here in this article, however. Fear that Edwards, who's merely biding his time, will take it all.

"'John Edwards has to prove to all of us that he has a strategy for winning,' said Simon B. Rosenberg, president of the New Democratic Network, a centrist political group. 'We know he's articulate. We know he's smart. But how is he going to win?'"

As if being articulate and being smart are liabilities. Come to think of it, they ARE, given what we had installed in President Gore's house. In any case, Edwards will provide a contrast that will be all-too-obvious to voters.
Methinks

Rove is working overtime to make sure John Edwards stays hidden among the campaign contenders.

You know, the campaign has barely started, and Edwards is slowly building up a following. I love it the article keeps pointing to the phony law firm contribution story, in which Edwards and his campaign did nothing wrong, but that doesn't matter.

Then this "expert" called Merle Black, a Republican no doubt, says Edwards has no "executive experience whatsoever" and fails to take into account the numerous presidents who never served as governors. LBJ, Nixon, JFK, Eisenhower, Truman, Ford, Bush I, to name only a few. Besides, being a governor doesn't mean squat when the job of president is on the international, not national, stage. To be fair, I suppose Black considers the military or the vice-presidency (which many of these served) as "executive" experience, which is a huge stretch as compared with gubernatorial experience. The poor idiot quoted says that because a first-term senator has never won the nomination and the White House we can assume it won't ever happen.

Black doesn't know John Edwards or the people running his campaign. He's going to break all of the rules.

The "experience" nonsense also fails to take into account the military leaders who went straight from their military exploits to the White House, Eisenhower being the most recent.

I Really Believe

that after Hillary and Norgay successfully climbed Mt. Everest fifty years ago this week, the mountain should have been left alone.

It had been done, and what's the point of having all of these egotists go up there, risking their own lives in the process? Furthermore, it appears these climbers are literally trashing the mountain.

I believe all climbing of the mountain should stop, but that won't happen because Everest is such a big tourist attraction.
We ALL Know

about this somewhat bizarre marriage between the religious right's (misnamed "evangelicals") beliefs and their "fight" for Israel.

Well, these people couldn't care less about Israel or the Jewish people. What they care about, in their twisted reading of the Bible, is bringing about Armageddon. Since they believe that the Bible is literally true (or they believe select portions of the Bible are literally true), the story of Armageddon isn't an allegory. It will happen, and so it is necessary to bring about a nuclear war in the Middle East to bring about the return of Jesus Christ to the earth to reign over us sinful mortals for 1,000 years or whatever it is.

It never dawns on them that perhaps they are wrong, that not only will they be stood up by Jesus, but that the entire world might come to an end, or if that doesn't happen, millions upon millions of people will die in a nuclear holocaust. Frankly, I want to keep the world as it is (or could be, given our dictatorship's actions haven't been for the better).

And of course, these nuts might be cynically using Israel as a way to get the Jewish vote for Bush in 2004. I don't think the vast majority of Jews in this country will fall for it.
This

is a winning issue for Democrats if they would pursue it. Of course we know, as Bob Graham has been telling us, the administration has been stalling on the congressional 9/11 report. It isn't an issue of "national security," as the administration claims.

Unlike the Clintons, the Bush administration IS acting guilty, perhaps because they ARE guilty. Just what of remains to be seen, and we will know provided the report is ever made public.
Buzzflash

interviews Sidney Blumenthal:

Q: You mention that Starr basically, in our words, had decided with his staff that the President and Mrs. Clinton were guilty. All the Independent Counsel had to do was find a crime. And in the absence of a crime, they were still guilty. What were they guilty of in the mind of Ken Starr?

[Comment: Of being centrist Democrats, of course. And the Republicans were afraid they would become permanently marginalized as a party if the Democrats made further gains in the South and suburbia.]

A: In the course of writing this book, I interviewed Sam Dash, who was hired by Ken Starr as his counselor to advise him on his prosecution. Dash was a Democrat. He was the Majority Counsel in the House Judiciary Committee [I think this is a sic--it was the SENATE committee investigating Watergate. Dash was the Democrat's counterpart to the Republican's Fred Thompson.] in the impeachment hearings of Richard Nixon, and he was one of the early proponents of the Independent Counsel Act. Dash later quit to protest Starr's advocacy of impeachment before Henry Hyde's House Judiary Committee because he thought that the Indepedent Counsel should never act as an advocate, but simply present the facts.

Dash told me that he reviewed every single prosecution memo on Whitewater, on the FBI files case, on the travel office--on every single thing that they were investigating. And as he told me--quote--they had nothing. And he also told me that he told them that. He said: Zero plus zero plus zero equals zero. He urged them to drop it and to wrap up the investigation. That should have been their due diligence as professional prosecutors. They should have concluded the matter. That was their responsibility, their obligation. But they didn't listen to Dash.

Instead, as he explained to me and another prosecutor in Starr's office--who spoke to me at great length on background--they believed the Clintons had to be guilty of something. Why? Because they had to be corrupt. They had to be evil. They had to be morally suspect, both of them--both Bill and Hillary Clinton--because of a matter of faith on the part of Ken Starr and his prosecutors that they were. It was the view not of American jurisprudence but of the Spanish Inquisition. In other words, identify the target and find a crime.

...

Q: What did they think? Given that they didn't have a crime, what did they think the President was guilty of?

A: They didn't know. They couldn't quite put their finger on it, but they kept trolling for it. And they were driven by deeply seated, conservative, cultural and partisan views toward the Clintons, which overrode their professional responsibilities to wrap the whole matter up. And that's what happened when the office with these kinds of hard-charging right-wingers.

*****

It's a very lengthy interview and well worth the read.

I believe the "cultural war" excuse given for the harassment of the Clintons is a whitewash. The truth is the Republicans (not all, but a far too powerful sector of the party) were frustrated with somebody who stood in the way of their dreams of a total dictatorship. Gingrich especially had delusions of grandeur that he was one of the pivotal figures in world history, and Democrats simply stood in the way of making his dreams come true. But even Gingrich wasn't pure enough for the true believers (I am not referring the sexual aspect, either). No, thugs like Tom DeLay were even more important to these true believers, and to this day he is making efforts towards the wholesale abolition of the Democratic Party.

Regardless, the IC, Scaife, the Arkansas Project, the Rutherford Institute, the Arkansas faction of professional Clinton-haters like Sheffield Nelson and Clifford Jackson, were merely subsidiaries of the Republican Party. They carried out all of the dirty work while people like the Bush family, Gingrich, DeLay, etc. could stay above the fray. It was not, as Gene Lyons I believe put it, a "loose confederation" of interests. They were very coordinated and choreographed the phony scandals to coincide with upcoming elections.

It was a coup attempt by the Republican Party to oust Clinton, even as I believe they didn't think it would really work. That wasn't the point. If they could rally their base by using the Clintons as a lightning rod, that was worth all of the filth, the lies, the harassment. The overtaking of the government would be for another time, perhaps. It was Coup I, and the theft of the 2000 election was the successful Coup II. From here on out the Republicans are doing everything in their power to make sure the Democrats NEVER gain power again (read the Clymer article linked below). They are extending their rotten tentacles into state governments, with the Texas and Colorado redistrictings, and with the harassment of Governor Gray Davis with the recall effort, an effort like the Texas mess has been pushed through by the likes of Karl Rove.

Democrats have GOT to be careful they are not being manipulated by these people. Candidates for president need to make sure their staffers are not actually Republican moles. Liberal Democrats have got to quit bashing more moderate Democrats and going off on hissy fits about the "evil DLC" (which is merely a think tank that many of the prominent and more electable politicians belong) which will only divide the party and ensure their defeat next year. This isn't conspiracy thinking here on my part. There is simply too much historical precedent for Democrats to ignore the obvious.
While Republicans Think They

rule the United States for the next 1,000 years, liberals are finding ways to plot strategy for the Democrats in '04. They are coordinating efforts, and they plan to use more of less conventional media.

As one can gather from the article, Democrats suffer from the obvious: having far less money than the crooks running the GOP, and not being as well-organized.

It's absolutely crucial Democrats together get behind the eventual nominee, as long as that nominee is electable in the first place. That factor alone is all-important.

Bush can be beaten. But as Carville said if Democrats focus on fringe rather than core issues, if they refuse to go after Bush on national security, they will be slaughtered.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

E.J. Dionne Again,

this time about the politics of terror. The last paragraph sums the whole matter up:

"But let there be no doubt: Terrorism has transformed American politics and has given Bush advantages he never anticipated. [Comment: On the other hand, maybe he and his backers DID anticipate political dividends; hence, they allowed 9/11 to happen.] And he has shown he'll make good use of every single one of them."

More Good News

coming out of Oregon: the unemployment rate is now at 8 percent. It's a full two percent higher than the national average of 6 percent (which we know is a result of fuzzy math on the part of our truthful administration).

"Oregon continues to lead the nation in joblessness, as April's unemployment figure showed a four-tenths of a percent increase to 8 percent. This is the highest percentage since February 2002 and represents the loss of 11,200 jobs in nonfarm employment since April of last year. The total number of unemployed in Oregon now stands at 147,270. The total number employed stands at 1,557,700, the lowest level since October of 1998."

And there is no end to the mess in sight.


And I Have

to mention this important story: Two-time loser in the marriage department, former NYC mayor, and former hero of 9/11, Rudolph Giuliani, earlier today married his longtime shack-up, the woman he dumped his second wife for, the woman Rudy sucked face on in front of millions of viewers during the New Year's 2002 Times Square celebrations while still married to not-so-poor Donna Hanover, Judith Nathan. It's the second time down the aisle for her.

The current mayor, Michael Bloomberg, presided over the 15-minute ceremony, which took place at Gracie Mansion. All kinds of big shots were there, an A-list of current celebrities, has-beens, and never-wases, something like 400 people were there.
E.J. Dionne

for Memorial Day writes about those people who served in the "forgotten war," the Korean War. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the end of that war, a war in which my deceased oldest brother served.

Someone at one of the schools where I worked gave me a pin commemorating the Korean War. It took me a while to figure out what it was because the print was almost microscopic, too damned tiny for 48-year-old eyes.

Anyhow, the way Bush is going stirring up shit all over the world, we might have yet another Korean war.
Rumor Has It

Bill Clinton will soon be joining Gary Hart and take the plunge into the blogosphere. Or something similiar.

His website, which has been up for quite some time, is here.
Jeff Koopersmith

reviews Blumenthal's book:

"Blumenthal takes no prisoners, and I expect two potential outcomes.

"One: because Mr. Blumenthal does not hesitate to label reputably 'impeccable' reporters and editors as what they are--namely, puppets of the neoconservative movement--his book will not be widely discussed. I watched 'Charlie Rose' interview Blumenthal last evening, but since have heard nothing about this book--which should, in any circumstance, be virtually rocking the world of Washington 'insiders.'

"A second scenario, and one to be expected from the bowels of the most rotten neoconservative websites and lackluster publications, will be a total press onslaught on Mr. Blumenthal, his wife, and family, his grocer, and his newspaper boy."

According to the NYT bestseller list, Blumenthal's book hasn't made it--yet. That stupid Kennedy book, thanks to the hype over his alleged intern/mistress, has made the top of the list. It'll be gone in a week or two.
Robert Byrd's

Senate remarks about Iraq.
"Big Time" Adam Clymer

writes an article which indicates the GOP is prepared for utter dominance of the political landscape in the near and distant future. Of course, as Clymer indicates, the Republicans might be a little too cocky for their own good.

Still, it should alarm any decent Democrat. Gee, when Democrats manage to win presidencies, they are harassed with phony allegations in order to hamper their effectiveness; then when they are in danger of winning presidencies, the Republicans manage to rig the election outcome so the courts rule in their favor so the elections are stolen; the Republicans try to steal congressional seats through ridiculous redistricting plans; the Republicans attempt to rig further elections by allowing touch-screen voting; the Republicans try to ensure their "dominance" (which isn't earned, of course) by buying up major media and denying access to Democrats and twisting their message in the process; the Republicans further tamper with the election process by promoting third party candidates so as to siphon votes from Democrats; the Republicans no doubt this go-round will go after the Democrats by promoting obscure presidential candidates whose administrative records are difficult to obtain so Democratic voters can't get at the real record and make informed decisions and thus use those obscure candidates to bloody more electable candidates so that the weakest goes up against their crooked incumbent.

What a state of affairs. Americans threw away their chance for standing up for their country when they allowed the USSC to get away with appointing Bush. There should have been riots in the streets, not apathy, over that atrocity. If it had occurred in any other country but the United States, there would have been riots.

That's the trouble with Americans. They have taken for granted all of the things that made this country so special. They have no idea how fragile the concept of democracy is. They will find out, tragically, that it will be extremely difficult to get it back.

The Republicans as a whole don't belong in the White House or in Congress. They belong in prison.
Still Sicker

than anything, but I did manage to drag myself to the local Barnes and Noble and pick up a couple of books: Krakatoa and Blumenthal's The Clinton Wars. It'll take me a while to get through or even to the books.

What kills me is Blumenthal's book wasn't at the front of the store, readily accessible. Instead there were books like that stupid Dallek trash piece on JFK and so forth. I had to go up to the second floor, way over to the "current affairs" section, and there were a grand total of two--count 'em two--copies of Blumenthal's book. It's infuriating for the book to be buried like that.
I'm Not So Sure

candidates should be denying media access to public events. We know the media are slanted against Democrats in the first place, but I'm not sure making them even less inclined to give candidates fair coverage is the way to go. Bush, Dean and Kerry, among others, have been guilty of this. With Bush, of course, it doesn't matter because the media are in his corner, but doing it as a Democrat has a distinct disadvantage:


"Is the famously plain-speaing former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean losing his nerve as a presidential canidate?

"Or are the pressures of a national race showing up on a fledling campaign that has rocketed suddenly on the interest list?

"The questions come to mind after watching Dean in San Francisco on Thursday night at an event that all of the ingredients of a winner. Hundreds of supporters showed up to greet him in a colorful setting--Chi Chi's on Broadway, site of the city's first lesbian bar...

"It was the kind of intimate retail campaigning that makes for good coverage indeed, but Dean's campaign stubbornly barred TV and print reporters from attending.

"So it didn't get covered at all.

"'It's absolutely inconsistent with the needs of a Democratic challenger,' says political communications Professor Barbara O'Connor of California State University at Sacramento. 'If you're a serious presidential candidate, you want to enlist the media so they can spread your message. If you're barring them, then the viewing public wonders if you're saying different things to different people.'"

Indeed.

It's not a smart strategy, and none of the Democratic candidates should be doing it. Kerry did it in April in S.F. at a "town hall" style forum, apparently nervous about what questions would be asked. However, those who were there, according to this article, thought Kerry did great.

It just doesn't help candidates who have a hard time in the first place getting their message across when they DO allow media coverage to further obliterate the message by not allowing any media at public events. The internet and internet rumor just doesn't cut it, especially when it comes to Howard Dean.
Karl Rove Does NOT

run George W. Bush, apparently. According to that reliable publication, the National Enquirer (no link), there is someone far more sinister and more out of control than Rove:

"President Bush is the leader of the free world but he has absolutely no control over his own dog!

"The President is committed to fighting terrorism, but his Scottish terrier Barney is winning the war in the White House.

"'Barney pays attention to the President when he wants to be scratched behind the ears,' a friend of Bush twins Jenna and Barbara told the ENQUIRER. 'But otherwise, he ignores the President like he's not even there. [At least somebody knows Bush isn't all there.]

"'The President calls him and he just looks the other way. That dog has a mind of his own and doesn't take orders from anyone."

Barney sounds like a Democrat to me, just like another famous Democrat, Fala.

The article is one for my scrapbook, with funny pictures of Bush and Barney.
The Booming Economy Casualty List 5/18-5/24

Yours truly, unemployed, after 6/6.
This poll

is hilarious. A Gore draft would clobber either Kerry or Dean in New Hampshire.

It's almost on par with Ashcroft losing the election to a dead man.

There are a lot of us who wish President Gore would get back into the fray. I haven't entirely given up on him, but I suspect he, Clinton, and several others agreed Gore should sit this election out and see if any of the others--especially the one I suspect is the movers-and-shakers' pick to run for the presidency, John Edwards--could cut through the 24/7 propaganda against the Democrats. If not, Gore could return in 2008. Or if there aren't enough delegates for any one candidate at next year's convention, they will agree to put Gore up as a compromise candidate.

If, for example, Edwards becomes the nominee, which I am certain he will be, and he picks Bob Graham, the one I'm certain will be the vice-presidential candidate, and the ticket should somehow lose, we would KNOW it was a result of fraud. There is no way the media could spin the ticket negatively. Furthermore, Democrats are well aware by now what they are up against. In the absence of Gore, an Edwards/Graham ticket is the best one to cut through the lies, the spin, and the cheating the Republicans are so good at.

Don't think for a minute the Republicans aren't scared of the possibility of this ticket. No wonder they are praying for Howard Dean to prevail, which he won't (unless manipulated by Rove).
Thanks to DU

let's see if this bill requiring a paper trail of all ballots cast in elections becomes law.

If it isn't approved, it'll make me wonder just what is up.

And we all know even if there is a paper trail required, that won't prevent fraud. Rove, Inc. will find a way around it.

Friday, May 23, 2003

Krugman

on the "d" word, deflation.

It is truly a scary state of affairs and may be a precursor to a Japanese-style economic quagmire. Or else a wholesale depression.
Frankly, If

Robert Byrd, as old as he is, ever ran for president, I'd vote for him in a heartbeat.

He is a genuinely great American who gets better as he gets older. We are so lacking in statesmen now.
Here

is the CJR report of Braggartgate.
You Know

Oregon's lawmakers should realize they have forced the state to become the laughingstock of the United States.

Many school districts have just closed for the summer because there was simply no money to continue operations. This is proving to be a disaster of monumental proportions, and the legislators are not taking their jobs seriously enough.

Thank you very much, Bill Sizemore and Grover Norquist. You've succeeded in destroying one of the best states in the country to live in.
As the Times Turns

In another chapter in the neverending saga of journalistic malpractice, the NYT has suspended the Pulizer prizewinning, well-named Rick Bragg for allegedly using stringers' reports and making them his own.

The Gray Lady is going bald.

And on the bottom of the article, it says that Jayson Blair's book proposals are meeting with derision. I fully expect him to never work in the field again.
What the Republicans Want to Do

with Head Start is what they have pulled with No Child Left Behind. They want to absolutely screw the educational system. With Head Start, a program that has been proven to be successful with low-income children, the jerks want to turn it over to the states, states which can't even handle their own problems.

And it is unbelievable beyond anything imaginable that the Republicans, including our dictator, want to stress LITERACY on four-year-olds!!!! This is completely and totally nuts. Little kids barely know how to get along with other kids, and their attention spans are extremely limited. Many couldn't master the ABCs, let alone any kind of literacy at all.

And don't hand us the lie, Republicans, that kids who are in Head Start are still below-par when they reach kindergarten. It's utter garbage.

It's all a scam to get rid of federal funding for any kind of public education programs, period.
Of course the Key Word

here is "potential." Tom Ridge said there might be a criminal investigation of his department's antics in the ludicrous Texas chase of last week.

Which means absolutely nothing will be done about it. DeLay won't get into trouble, either. These people are utterly without conscience. After all, if they can steal elections in broad daylight and nobody raises a peep, what's to stop them from rigging state governments and trying to destroy political opposition altogether?
Now the Democratic Candidates

for president are trying to woo California.

Honest, this is not Dean-bashing for once:

"Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina is scheduled to speak Wednesday at the Bar Association's program...

Speaking of bars, Dean plans to attend what was once a historic bar in S.F.:

"Dean was scheduled to attend fund-raisers Thursday night in Los Altos and at Chi-Chi's in San Francisco--the site of the city's first lesbian bar, and later a historic strip and topless joint. Today, it's a hip bistro, where hundreds are expected to show at the benefit for Bay Area Dems, a local group that aims to increase political participation and contributions particularly among younger voters..."

I can't find the link at the San Francisco Chronicle website, but the article also said Graham and Kucinich would be in northern California as well in the next few days. Kucinich is taking a "green" state tour on a vegetable-oil powered bus.
Todd Gitlin

analyzes the media's warm and fuzzy war coverage:

"As for the embeds, what a setup for easy cohabitation gags. Reporters in bed with the people they cover surely couldn't be intrepid independents. Who wouldn't favor the people who carry you around in their tanks? Who wouldn't hesitate to offend them? But in truth, many of these accusations were misplaced. Embedded reporters did resonably well under what were surely confining circumstances. If most of the reporting was travelogue--desert expanses, puffs of smoke and occasional bang-bang, culminating in moments that toppled Saddam Hussein's statuary--this was no fault of the embeds. They saw what they saw and couldn't see what they couldn't see. Nor was this the first time American reporters were life-and-death dependent on their subjects: In Vietnam it was customary for reporters to hitch rides in military helicopters; they knew who was watching their backs.

"The prime deficiencies in the immense war reportage lay elsewhere, deep in the network headquarters where imagination was paralyzed..."