January 04, 2006

Culture of Corruption

Happy New Year, everyone! Well, the Republicans are already trying to outdo themselves in 2006.

In a deal that clears the way for the next phase of a widespread Capitol Hill corruption probe, lobbyist Jack Abramoff is telling prosecutors and the FBI about alleged bribes to lawmakers and their aides on issues ranging from Internet gambling to wireless phone service in the House.

The full extent of the investigation is not yet known, but Justice Department officials said Tuesday they intended to make use of the trove of e-mails and other material in Abramoff's possession as part of a probe that is believed to be focusing on as many as 20 members of Congress and aides. (source)

This has potential to be serious trouble for the Republicans, and especially Tom DeLay. Both DeLay and Abramoff's grubby little hands are all over the Republican party, so, chances are, this scandal scandal runs very deep within the GOP. Five years in power, and the Republicans are already imploding. As usual, Chris Matthews does his best to protect the Republicans...

MATTHEWS: I'm not sure it's partisan. I'm not sure that people are going to see him as part of any Republican culture of corruption. I think [Rep. Randy] "Duke" Cunningham [R-CA] also was sort of a lone wolf in that department. I think we're gonna see this case, basically -- What's the right word? -- it's gonna be kept to itself. It's not gong to be part of a larger story of Washington this year, I think. (source)

Is there a bigger hack in cable news than Matthews? Thanks for doing your job so well. How long before the mainstream media drop the ball on this story? And why are the democrats silent? Sometimes I wish we had an actual opposition party. By the way, the list of Abramoff's campaign contributions can be found here. And, what a shock, all the money went to Republicans.

December 21, 2005

Impeachable Offense?

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today asked four presidential scholars for their opinion on former White House Counsel John Dean’s statement that President Bush admitted to an "impeachable offense" when he said he authorized the National Security Agency to spy on Americans without getting a warrant from a judge.

Boxer said, "I take very seriously Mr. Dean's comments, as I view him to be an expert on Presidential abuse of power. I am expecting a full airing of this matter by the Senate in the very near future." (source)

If anyone would know about impeachable offenses, it would be Nixon's former lawyer. At this time, there is about ZERO chance Bush will be impeached, and I don't really see that changing, even if the dems take back Congress. For one thing, that would require a fight, which most of the democrats flat out refuse to do. They like to play nice, you know. Besides, guess what happens if the democrats go through with impeachment and Bush is removed from power...two words that should scare this shit out of you...President Cheney. So let's just focus on taking Congress back and limit the damage the Bush administration can do to this country until 2008, when this country will hopefully come to its senses.

But Clinton Did It...

Bush is neck deep in shit with the wire-tapping, and it only took the right wing nuts less than a day to come to their master's defense and play the Clinton card. Usually it's within hours, so maybe the noise machine is slipping a bit.

Think Progress is all over this....just read it!! And let's hope some of those moron "liberal" pundits that show up on MSNBC and Fox do their homework because you know the other side will bring up Clinton as much as possible.

The brilliant David Sirota breaks this down further...

In just the last 5 days, we've seen 3 separate explanations rolled out from the White House. First they claimed it was legal all along, then when that didn't fly, they said they had to do it because of a need for speed.

Now that that has been debunked, they are actually claiming they were just too lazy to do "the paperwork." On top of this, they also first told us that the surveillance was only targeted at international calls – but now today, we learn that isn't true either, and that Americans are under surveillance on purely domestic calls.

Let's just walk through the shenanigans, shall we?

Read the rest here. This is a huge story, but you still have this feeling it is going to slip away because of our lazy "liberal" media. They tend to do that.

December 20, 2005

Victory for Sane People

The religious kooks take a beating in Dover, PA...

In one of the biggest courtroom clashes between faith and evolution since the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, a federal judge barred a Pennsylvania public school district Tuesday from teaching "intelligent design" in biology class, saying the concept is creationism in disguise.
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Jones decried the "breathtaking inanity" of the Dover policy and accused several board members of lying to conceal their true motive, which he said was to promote religion.

A six-week trial over the issue yielded "overwhelming evidence" establishing that intelligent design "is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory," said Jones, a Republican and a churchgoer appointed to the federal bench three years ago. (source)

Amen! Unfortunately, we have to take the good news with the bad.

Eighty-nine percent in this ABC News poll believe in heaven, which is consistent with data going back 30 years. Among believers, 85 percent think they'll personally go there — mainly in spirit, since 78 percent say it's a place where people exist only spiritually. (source)

Great...eighty-nine percent of this country has been consistently retarded for the last 30 years. Even with all the progress made since man's beginning, for some reason most of us still believe there is an invisible being sitting on a cloud in the sky watching and judging us. Eh, whatever...to each his own, I guess.

NYT Sat on Wiretap Story

More proof the mainstream media is in the Bush administration's back pocket...

The New York Times first debated publishing a story about secret eavesdropping on Americans as early as last fall, before the 2004 presidential election.But the newspaper held the story for more than a year and only revealed the secret wiretaps last Friday, when it became apparent a book by one of its reporters was about to break the news, according to journalists familiar with the paper's internal discussions. (source)

Why does the so-called "paper of record" sit on a story that might incriminate this administration for over a year? Gee, do you think this may have made a difference in the 2004 election? Well, we shouldn't assume anything since, if I have learned anything in the last few years, you can never underestimate the stupidity of a Bush voter. Does the NYT have any credibility left...besides Krugman?

Jonathan Alter breaks it down...

President Bush came out swinging on Snoopgate—he made it seem as if those who didn’t agree with him wanted to leave us vulnerable to Al Qaeda—but it will not work. We’re seeing clearly now that Bush thought 9/11 gave him license to act like a dictator, or in his own mind, no doubt, like Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.

No wonder Bush was so desperate that The New York Times not publish its story on the National Security Agency eavesdropping on American citizens without a warrant, in what lawyers outside the administration say is a clear violation of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. I learned this week that on December 6, Bush summoned Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger and executive editor Bill Keller to the Oval Office in a futile attempt to talk them out of running the story. The Times will not comment on the meeting, but one can only imagine the president’s desperation.

Read the rest here...truly a stunning piece. Bush could be in serious trouble if the media decide to jump on this.

December 16, 2005

Bush Eased Spying Limits

Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years in an effort to track possible "dirty numbers" linked to Al Qaeda, the officials said. The agency, they said, still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications.

The previously undisclosed decision to permit some eavesdropping inside the country without court approval represents a major shift in American intelligence-gathering practices, particularly for the National Security Agency, whose mission is to spy on communications abroad. As a result, some officials familiar with the continuing operation have questioned whether the surveillance has stretched, if not crossed, constitutional limits on legal searches.
(
source)

And thank god the world is safer for it...right? Who needs civil liberties anyway? And shouldn't Republicans be outraged because they believe in less government?

Morning Sedition - R.I.P.

Today is the last broadcast of Morning Sedition on Air America. I started listening to the show when it first started, and it grew from what sounded like an amateur radio show into the funniest and most engaging show on the network. Now the CEO, Danny Goldberg, in his effort to make the station more like a commercial NPR, is taking the show off the air. Co-host Mark Riley will remain and host a news show from 4-6 AM (CST), and Rachel Maddow will host yet another news show from 6-8 AM. Because Goldberg knows the last thing you want people to do on the morning commute is laugh and be informed.

Co--host Marc Maron is out but looks to be in negotiations to develop a program syndicated by Air America. Maron is absolutely hilarious and is a natural radio talent, and I have no doubt he will end up doing something great in the near future. Here's hoping he makes the move to Sirius to join Howard Stern. Maron would definitely bring some great energy to Sirius's rather stale TalkLeft line-up.

Thanks for the laughs, Marc and Mark. The morning commute will suck without you. Oh, and screw you, Danny Goldberg...how do you intend to screw up the network now? Hiring Jerry Springer? Oh, wait...

Note: Springer really isn't that awful.

Is Bush Capable of Telling the Truth?

President Bush and top administration officials have access to a much broader ranger of intelligence reports than members of Congress do, a nonpartisan congressional research agency said in a report Thursday, raising questions about recent assertions by the president.

Bush has said that Democratic lawmakers who authorized the use of force against Iraq and now criticize the war saw the same pre-invasion intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction that he did.
...
"Some of the most irresponsible comments - about manipulating intelligence - have come from politicians who saw the same intelligence I saw and then voted to authorize the use of force against Saddam Hussein," Bush said on Wednesday in his most recent speech. "These charges are pure politics." (source)

Another day, another Bush administration lie. I am still not willing to let democrats off the hook with this one. I've said it before...the democrats knew who they were dealing with in this administration (Cheney, Wolfowitz, Bremer, Rove, etc.), and I just cannot believe they did not know the intelligence was being manipulated. Still, this makes Bush look really bad. Well, makes him look even worse, if that is possible.

December 15, 2005

Season's Greetings from the Republicans

How do these assholes live with themselves?

Congressional Republicans made progress on twin tracks Wednesday toward their end-of-year budget goals, passing a bill freezing or cutting back spending on medical research and education and nearing agreement on cuts to the Medicaid health care program for the poor.

The first measure, a $602 billion bill funding a wide variety of health, education and labor programs, passed the House on a 215-213 vote. It would cut federal aid to education for the first time in a decade, and spread about $1.4 billion in cuts across the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.
...
Democrats harshly attacked the bill as an assault on children and the poor.

"The holidays are supposed to be a time of generosity — a time when Santa Claus fills children's stockings," said Rep. David Obey, D-Wis. "Instead, this Congress is emptying them in order to provide a tax cut that gives 50 percent of the benefit to people making more than $1 million." (source)

Why do Republicans hate the poor? And why do so many of the poor vote for Republicans? Oh, right...gays still walk among us, and there are still fetuses not being born. These right wingers may want to think twice about wanting all of these babies to be born, especially with all the homos molesting children and brainwashing them with their "good taste and sodomy" agenda. All making abortion illegal would do is create more gays, and that would just defeat the point, now wouldn't it? Something to think about.

Patriot Act in Trouble?

In Congress, where numbers are everything, the math on the Patriot Act suddenly seems to be moving in favor of Sen. Russell Feingold. He was a minority of one four years ago, when the Wisconsin Democrat cast the lone Senate vote against the USA Patriot Act in the traumatic weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks. The law, he said then, gave government too much power to investigate its citizens. Ninety-nine senators disagreed.
...
The new Senate arithmetic that emerged this week is enough to place the renewal of major portions of the law in doubt. It was enough to inspire Senate Republican leaders to consider a backup plan in case Feingold's filibuster threat succeeded. Enough to prompt President Bush to dispatch Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to Capitol Hill twice in two days to lobby on the accord's behalf. (source)

This is, potentially, a huge victory for the good guys (us) in Bush's war on civil liberties. With Republicans jumping on board, Bush could be dealt another serious blow. As usual, my question is, why in the hell are the rest of the democrats not speaking out against this legislation? Why on earth would you choose to be on the side of someone with a 38% approval rating?

Sen. Feingold is on a serious roll in the last few months, and his ability to reach across the aisle on important issues like this make him a serious threat for the democratic nomination in 2008. Just the fact he has been against the war from the beginning and was the only senator to vote against the Patriot Act in the first place gives him, in my eyes, a better chance to truly unite the party than Hillary. I would hate to lose him as my senator, but, if he decides to run for president, I will be behind him all the way.

The Real Christians

When hundreds of religious activists try to get arrested today to protest cutting programs for the poor, prominent conservatives such as James Dobson, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell will not be among them.

That is a great relief to Republican leaders, who have dismissed the burgeoning protests as the work of liberals. But it raises the question: Why in recent years have conservative Christians asserted their influence on efforts to relieve Third World debt, AIDS in Africa, strife in Sudan and international sex trafficking -- but remained on the sidelines while liberal Christians protest domestic spending cuts?

Conservative Christian groups such as Focus on the Family say it is a matter of priorities, and their priorities are abortion, same-sex marriage and seating judges who will back their position against those practices. (source)

For these right-wing "Christians" like Falwell and Dobson, it's never about actually helping others. It's about power and money, plain and simple. As high-level Republican operatives, their job is to hammer away at wedge issues like abortion, guns rights and gay marriage and keep the real issues out of the public forum. Doing this brings out the single-issue voters and raises money for the Republican party. Very Christian. Remember that these are the same people who accuse the liberals of taking Christ out of Christmas. I guess that's much worse than actually taking Christ out of Christianity. God must be so proud.

O'Reilly Smears Madison

O'REILLY: All right, well, listen, Jackson, we respect your opinion, but you're dead wrong on this one. Now --

BAIN: Well, maybe.

O'REILLY: -- in the South, Richmond Times[-Dispatch], for example.

BAIN: Right.

O'REILLY: Now, this is a conservative city, Richmond. I mean, this is not Madison, Wisconsin, where you expect those people to be communing with Satan up there in the Madison, Wisconsin, media.

BAIN: Sure. (source)

O'Reilly is so far off on this one. While many of us Madisonians worship Satan, only a select few of us actually commune with him. I have not had a chance to commune with him, myself, but some of my friends were at the 14th Annual Madison Goat and Baby Sacrifice & BBQ last year, and I guess he makes some absolutely killer ribs. Genuinely friendly, too. O'Reilly has completely lost his mind.

December 12, 2005

Speech Time

In a rare, unscripted moment, President Bush on Monday estimated 30,000 Iraqis have died in the war, the first time he has publicly acknowledged the high price Iraqis have paid in the push for democracy.
...
"I would say 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis," Bush said. "We've lost about 2,140 of our own troops in Iraq."
...
Another questioner challenged the administration's linkage of the Iraq war to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Bush said Saddam Hussein was a threat and was widely believed to have weapons of mass destruction — a belief that later proved false.

"I made a tough decision. And knowing what I know today, I'd make the decision again," Bush said. "Removing Saddam Hussein makes this world a better place and America a safer country. (source)

So, Mr. President, are you saying you would still have gone into Iraq, even if you knew for sure he didn't have WMD's? What justification could you have possibly given for sending over 2,000 soldiers (not to mention the several thousand injured and maimed) and 30,000 Iraqis to their death if not for WMD's? And please explain to me how this country is safer without Sadaam Hussein in power. Worldwide terrorism is way up, and the rest of the world hates us. Yeah, I feel much safer. What an absolute load of crap...

All Hail Sam Seder!

I am not a huge fan of The Majority Report on Air America, but the democrats need to take a lesson from host Sam Seder on how to counter the right-wing spin machine. From CNN earlier today...

SEDER: Listen, as far as the war on Christmas goes, I feel like we should be waging a war on Christmas. I mean, I believe that Christmas, it's almost proven that Christmas has nuclear weapons, can be an imminent threat to this country, that they have operative ties with terrorists and I believe that we should sacrifice thousands of American lives in pursuit of this war on Christmas. And hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money.

PHILLIPS: Is it a war on Christmas, a war Christians, a war on over-political correctness or just a lot of people with way too much time on their hands?

SEDER: I would say probably, if I was to be serious about it, too much time on their hands, but I'd like to get back to the operational ties between Santa Claus and al Qaeda.

PHILLIPS: I don't think that exists. Bob? Help me out here.

SEDER: We have intelligence, we have intelligence.

PHILLIPS: You have intel. Where exactly does your intel come from?

SEDER: Well, we have tortured an elf and it's actually how we got the same information from Al Libbi. It's exactly the same way the Bush administration got this info about the operational ties between al Qaeda and Saddam. (source)

Watch the whole thing here. Can someone please clone Sam Seder and send him to all the talking head shows to take on the Republican blowhards?

December 08, 2005

Stewart Takes on O'Reilly

Jon Stewart blasts O'Reilly's so-called "war on Christmas." Check out the video here. Hilarious!

Wisconsin Moves Closer to the Dark Ages

This is just ridiculous...

A constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman and prevent the state from recognizing "substantially similar" relationships is one step away from a statewide referendum, after the Senate advanced the measure Wednesday.

The vote broke down along party lines, with the Senate's 19 Republicans voting for the amendment and 14 Democrats opposing it. The measure now heads to the Assembly, where it is expected to easily pass.
...
The amendment, SJR 53, reads: "Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state." (source)

If this passes, it not only outlaws gay marriage, but also civil unions. The Republicans in Wisconsin are really a disgusting bunch, and, unfortunately, they are in control of both the State Assembly and Senate. This bill is nothing more than the Republicans attempting to rally its base to defeat Gov. Jim Doyle, a democrat. Republicans know they can't win when talking about real issues, so they bring up wedge issues like abortion or gay marriage. It is the GOP's national strategy. Let's hope this issue backfires on these pricks and causes the state democrats to organize and take some seats back.

Coulter Heckled

Conservative columnist Ann Coulter cut short a speech at the University of Connecticut amid boos and jeers, and decided to hold a question-and-answer session instead.

"I love to engage in repartee with people who are stupider than I am," Coulter told the crowd of 2,600 Wednesday. (source)

Oh, but Ann, there are so few that are actually stupider than you. Admittedly, there are a lot of right wing mouth-breathers on the same level of stupidity as you, but not many stupider. Let's take a look at a few of your gems from the past, shall we?

"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."

"Taxes are like abortion, and not just because both are grotesque procedures supported by Democrats. You're for them or against them. Taxes go up or down; government raises taxes or lowers them. But Democrats will not let the words 'abortion' or "tax hikes" pass their lips."

"When contemplating college liberals, you really regret once again that John Walker is not getting the death penalty. We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors."

" While the form of treachery varies slightly from case to case, liberals always manage to take the position that most undermines American security. "

"The ethic of conservation is the explicit abnegation of man's dominion over the Earth. The lower species are here for our use. God said so: Go forth, be fruitful, multiply, and rape the planet--it's yours. That's our job: drilling, mining and stripping. Sweaters are the anti-Biblical view. Big gas-guzzling cars with phones and CD players and wet bars -- that's the Biblical view."

She is precious, isn't she? I must ask, why are university funds being used to pay for someone who makes a living spewing hateful, harmful rhetoric on a daily basis? I guess the wingnuts would say the same thing if Michael Moore showed up. But please find me anything Michael Moore has said that even compares with the vitriol of the quotes listed above. Anyway, fuck Ann Coulter.