Wednesday, September 20, 2006


This is a crack-up, Al Sharpton on Ned Lamont, Lieberman and the future of the Democratic Party:
“Ned Lamont is an unlikely vehicle. It’s always unlikely people who turn history. It must be God has a funny sense of humor. In my imagination, I see the meeting in heaven when they say it’s time to really deal with this war: ‘We need a messenger to send to the Democratic Party.’ And an angel says, ‘I got this guy in Connecticut, a real goofy, rich Greenwich, Connecticut, white guy who in Harlem would be like Gomer Pyle. Let’s make him the candidate.’ I can see everyone falling down laughing. And look where we are this morning. I tell you one thing: I don’t think Joe Lieberman is laughing. No matter how this night ends, he ain’t laughing. They’re gonna have to rethink the whole centrist strategy. Democrats everywhere are going to have to rethink their strategy. It’s just amazing.”

Al’s growing more expansive about the coalition that formed around Ned, of antiwar liberals, scared soccer moms, disaffected union members, and mobilized blacks—how they’re not only going to put Ned over the top here but they’re also going to change the direction of Democratic politics. “This is the beginning of the end of the right-wing takeover of the Democratic party,” he says. “This is a whole different kind of people comin’ together out of mutual interest and mutual respect. And the people that have the courage to stand up are gonna be the ones that usher in a new movement. Sometimes in life, you gotta make the decision to do what you think is right, and out of it something grows. I think Ned Lamont made the right decision.”
PS: the title of this post is the title of the excepted article, which refers to the kiss that Bush gave Lieberman after his 2005 State of the Union address. I guess it could also stand for Lieberman's 'embrace' of neoconservatism. It is in no way a comment on Sharpton's analysis, which I think is spot on.

Wouldn't it be ironic, after the divisiveness of the Vietnam war - which split the Democratic party - if a second divisive 'war of choice' were to lead the Democrats back to their roots and help them find their voice again, pushing them to articulate liberalism as an attractive governing philosophy in a way that it has not been for 35 years? I think this war of Bush's might just push the Democrats - despite themselves - to actually fight back! And it is long past time.

Bush owes us an apology

...In four simple words last Friday, the President brought into sharp focus what has been only vaguely clear these past five-and-a-half years - the way the terrain at night is perceptible only during an angry flash of lightning, and then, a second later, all again is dark.

It's unacceptable to think," he said.

It is never unacceptable to think.

And when a President says thinking is unacceptable, even on one topic, even in the heat of the moment, even in the turning of a phrase extracted from its context, he takes us toward a new and fearful path -- one heretofore the realm of science fiction authors and apocalyptic visionaries.

That flash of lightning freezes at the distant horizon, and we can just make out a world in which authority can actually suggest it has become unacceptable to think.

Thus the lightning flash reveals not merely a President we have already seen, the one who believes he has a monopoly on current truth.

It now shows us a President who has decided that of all our commanders-in-chief, ever, he alone has had the knowledge necessary to alter and re-shape our inalienable rights.

This is a frightening, and a dangerous, delusion, Mr. President....

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Major Problems At Polls Feared

More news about a situation brought to you by the gang that can't shoot straight
An overhaul in how states and localities record votes and administer elections since the Florida recount battle six years ago has created conditions that could trigger a repeat -- this time on a national scale -- of last week's Election Day debacle in the Maryland suburbs, election experts said.... But in Maryland last Tuesday, a combination of human blunders and technological glitches caused long lines and delays in vote-counting. The problems, which followed ones earlier this year in Ohio, Illinois and several other states, have contributed to doubts among some experts about whether the new systems are reliable and whether election officials are adequately prepared to use them.

In a polarized political climate, in which elections are routinely marked by litigation and allegations of incompetent administration or outright tampering, some worry that voting problems could cast a Florida-style shadow over this fall's midterm elections.

"We could see that control of Congress is going to be decided by races in recount situations that might not be determined for several weeks," said Paul S. DeGregorio, chairman of the federal Election Assistance Commission, although he added that he does not expect problems of this magnitude....
The world's only superpower and we can't even reliably count ballots?!?

UPDATE: And why is it our government can't count ballots? Is it just sheer stupidity? Or does one party - say the party that controls all three branches of government - benefit from some level of election indeterminancy?

Clearly, the Rethuglicans have many more resources for fighting court ballots over disputed elections - they have the money, the lawyers, and - as we saw in 2000 - they have stacked the judiciary with judges willing to play a partisan role. Why can't our government count ballots? Because in part - as the past six years have shown - the party that controls every branch of our federal government is NOT THAT INTERESTED in being able to count those ballots. They think of 'democracy' as a ritual not a process - something to be endured, not encouraged. Like the Bolsheviks before them, the Busheviks are only interested in putting on a show of democracy, not in abiding by democratic principles. Power is what they reverence, not the will of the people.

Ties to GOP Trumped Know-How Among Staff Sent to Rebuild Iraq

...The CPA had the power to enact laws, print currency, collect taxes, deploy police and spend Iraq's oil revenue. It had more than 1,500 employees in Baghdad at its height, working under America's viceroy in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, but never released a public roster of its entire staff.

Interviews with scores of former CPA personnel over the past two years depict an organization that was dominated -- and ultimately hobbled -- by administration ideologues.

"We didn't tap -- and it should have started from the White House on down -- just didn't tap the right people to do this job," said Frederick Smith, who served as the deputy director of the CPA's Washington office. "It was a tough, tough job. Instead we got people who went out there because of their political leanings."...
Sound familiar? It should, it is the same reason OUR government can't do the simple things any government does, with Katrina being the most obvious example.

Bushevism = Ideological Cronyism ueber Alles!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bloggermann: This hole in the ground

...However, of all the things those of us who were here five years ago could have forecast -- of all the nightmares that unfolded before our eyes, and the others that unfolded only in our minds -- none of us could have predicted this.

Five years later this space is still empty.

Five years later there is no memorial to the dead.

Five years later there is no building rising to show with proud defiance that we would not have our America wrung from us, by cowards and criminals.

Five years later this country's wound is still open.

Five years later this country's mass grave is still unmarked.

Five years later this is still just a background for a photo-op.

It is beyond shameful....

...The only positive on 9/11 and the days and weeks that so slowly and painfully followed it was the unanimous humanity, here, and throughout the country. The government, the President in particular, was given every possible measure of support.

Those who did not belong to his party -- tabled that.

Those who doubted the mechanics of his election -- ignored that.

Those who wondered of his qualifications -- forgot that.

History teaches us that nearly unanimous support of a government cannot be taken away from that government by its critics. It can only be squandered by those who use it not to heal a nation's wounds, but to take political advantage.

Terrorists did not come and steal our newly-regained sense of being American first, and political, fiftieth. Nor did the Democrats. Nor did the media. Nor did the people.

The President -- and those around him -- did that.

They promised bi-partisanship, and then showed that to them, "bi-partisanship" meant that their party would rule and the rest would have to follow, or be branded, with ever-escalating hysteria, as morally or intellectually confused, as appeasers, as those who, in the Vice President's words yesterday, "validate the strategy of the terrorists."

They promised protection, and then showed that to them "protection" meant going to war against a despot whose hand they had once shaken, a despot who we now learn from our own Senate Intelligence Committee, hated al-Qaida as much as we did.

The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped into supporting a war, on the false premise that it had 'something to do' with 9/11 is "lying by implication."

The impolite phrase is "impeachable offense."...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Update: Disney/ABC's 'Stab in the Back'

This propaganda is being shown not only in this country but in Britain, Australia and New Zealand. Removing any doubt about what Disney/ABC hope to accomplish - in short rewriting the history of 9/11 to try and shoft the blame for one of the worst failures in U.S. government history from W. 'My Pet Goat' Bush to Clinton - is the following tidbit regarding the marketing of 'Triumph of the Swill' in our fellow Anglophone countries:

Daily Kos diarist STOP George has uploaded one of the foreign trailers for the Disney/ABC conservative fan fiction to YouTube, and the advertisement makes it very clear just what sort of Limbaugh-style political porn this thing was intended to be. Featured prominently? The words: "OFFICIAL TRUE STORY".

Friday, September 08, 2006

Combat the Big Lie!

Sign the petition with a personalized message!

Disney/ABC's 'Stab in the Back'

Rewriting history is what "The path to 9/11" is all about. But Disney/ABC are rewriting it in a certain way conforming to a particular script. That script is a tried and true one, the one Hitler and his fascist minions called the 'stab in the back.'

The term comes from German mythology about how the almost invulnerable hero Siegfried was killed by a perfidious public-friend-but-secret-enemy Hagen. Siegfried (like Achilles in Greek myth - the 'Achilles heel') was invulnerable except in one spot on is back. Hagen discovered this and treacherously stabbed him in the back, killing him.

Hitler used the myth to scapegoat the Jewish people for the German loss in WWI. He claimed that the German army was never defeated but instead 'stabbed in the back' by German citizens of Jewish ancestry and/or religion. It was patently false, but in true 'Big Lie' fashion, it appealed not to reason but to emotion. What would people rather believe: that the most revered and honored institution of the German Empire - the Army - had been defeated or instead that the army had been betrayed by an unpopular minority? The Big Lie worked just as it was intended: it was 'red meat' for the true believers, it clouded any undertanding about the true causes of defeat among the apolitical majority, and was absorbed into the impressionable youth who were too young to know any better.

A more emotionally palatable fictional narrative became more real than fact for large segments of the population. Defeat of the German war machine became a symbol of its near infallibility and the need to resurrect it while 'dealing harshly' with those who dissent.

The same scenario is now unfolding with Bush, Disney/ABC and 9/11. The truth of 9/11 is that Bush and his administration simply did not take non-state terrorism seriously. It was merely 'swatting at flies' as Bush himself put it. He had bigger things on his agenda: Iraq. But Bush's failure of omniscience - and his total disregard for his constitutionally sworn duties - is hard to square with the belief of his all-knowing persona as projected by the WH press office or with the typically American belief that government officials always do what they think is best for the nation rather than say, merely a segment of the nation (oil & military industries foremost among them). Wouldn't it be far easier to swallow that Bush was hoodwinked (just like the rest of us) by the enemy within? And the ground for substituting Liberals for Jews has already been well prepared by the likes of Rush and Coulter

(I'm curious, why - when all we hear from the WH is how 'no one took Mein Kampf seriously no one seems to take the hate from Coulter et. al. seriously?).

Hence the creation of a fictional history to embed a false - but emotionally more satisfying - narrative. America was betrayed not by a lackadaisical president whose imperial ambitions did not admit of engaging in anything as menial as 'swatting flies,' but rather by a pusilanimous, dithering liberal administration who couldn't stand tall in defense of America. Our Armed Forces and spy networks were not defeated as much as they were prevented from winning. We're still #1 - as long as we don't make the mistake of electing liberals.

The take home message from Disney/ABC: Clinton and liberals stabbed Bush, the CIA, and the US in the back. Yes it is 'factually inaccurate' - pure fiction in the key points - but that will not rob it of its influence and power once it gets out there. We need to stop the lies before they seep into our children's subconsciousness - it is no accident that Disney/ABC sought to enlist Scholastic books and school districts to promote their lies. Don't let this become another Rambo (the liberal politicians didn't let us win!) or Clint's 'make my day' (the liberal politicians didn't let us win!).

Contact your ABC affiliate and politely inform them that you have read about the gross lies and distortions displayed in the 'docudrama' and that you will you contact your channels local sponsors informing them that you will no longer patronize their products/services if this fascist (in the true sense of the word: and ideology of anti-liberal, militaristic corporatism) propaganda goes on the air. Do your bit to save our Republic! See how it is done here and here, with more general info here and here. Finally here are a bunch of great resources here.

Good luck and Godspeed!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The myth of fair elections in America

One person, one vote. Count the totals. The one with the most wins. The beauty of democracy is its simplicity and its inherent fairness. It equalises everyone, even as it empowers everyone. What could go wrong? In America, it turns out, quite a lot.

Everyone remembers the debacle in Florida, 2000. The recounts, the law suits and the eventual deciding of a presidential election - not by the voters - but by the Supreme Court. The memory still causes a collective shudder to America's body politic.

Which makes the fact that America's system of voting is now even more suspect, more complicated, and more open to abuse than ever before so utterly shocking. Across the country a bewildering series of scandals or dubious practises are proliferating beyond control. The prospect of a 'second Florida' is now more likely not less. There are many - and not all of them are conspiracy theorists - who believed it may have happened in Ohio in 2004.

This week the venerable New York Times was the latest of many organisations and institutions to declare that America's democratic system is simply starting to fail. Not in terms of its democratic ideals, or some takeover by a Neocon cabal, but by a simple collapse in its ability to count everyone's votes accurately and fairly. The Times is editorialising on a shocking government report into electoral rules in Ohio's biggest county, Cuyahoga, which contains the city of Cleveland. It details a litany of errors and a large discrepancy between the paper record of a ballot and the result recorded by the new Diebold electronic voting machines the county has just installed....

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Donald Rumsfeld's Dance With the Nazis (Set Frank Rich Free!)

That's Frank Rich, who penned a must read that now you can read thanks to Mother Jones:
...In his speech last week, Mr. Rumsfeld paraphrased Winston Churchill: Appeasing tyrants is “a bit like feeding a crocodile, hoping it would eat you last.” He can quote Churchill all he wants, but if he wants to self-righteously use that argument to smear others, the record shows that Mr. Rumsfeld cozied up to the crocodile of Baghdad as smarmily as anyone. To borrow the defense secretary’s own formulation, he suffers from moral confusion about Saddam.

Mr. Rumsfeld also suffers from intellectual confusion about terrorism. He might not have appeased Al Qaeda but he certainly enabled it. Like Chamberlain, he didn’t recognize the severity of the looming threat until it was too late. Had he done so, maybe his boss would not have blown off intelligence about imminent Qaeda attacks while on siesta in Crawford....

Body politic a dead giveaway

Interesting brief article on politicians' attempts to manipulate body language - and how their body language also betrays them:
President Bush's exaggerated "power walk" is put on in an attempt to impress. The knuckle-dragging swing of the arms, the languid simian gait and the palms facing backwards are all part of showing who's boss.

"This is not how normal people walk," Dr Collett told the annual British Association Festival of Science in Norwich. "[It is] to convey an impression of his masculinity and therefore his power."