Wednesday, January 31, 2007

PETA Draws Nashville Crowd with Naked Protester

PETA was in downtown Nashville today. The pictures here are from their anti-meat demonstration held at 4th and Church. The naked woman on the barbeque grill is a PETA intern.

On hand was organizer Mike Brazell from PETA headquarters, as well as someone from PETA's Canadian headquarters, I only have her first name, Tanya. There were also some local PETA folks. According to the demonstrators, everyone was remarkably polite, including those who would not take their pamphlets. There was an absence of the jeers and rude behavior they are accustomed to. It looked like all the local media outlets were on hand.

As always PETA aims to shock (disclosure: vegetarian here), and all too often they employ what many deem to be sexism as their primary tactic. Consequently, PETA has alienated many feminists.

On the other hand, my feminist friends who are involved with PETA argue that if you want to get people's attention in this culture, nothing works like nude women.


"The animals you eat are not those who devour others; you do not eat the carnivorous beasts, you take them as your pattern. You only hunger after sweet and gentle creatures who harm no one, which follow you, serve you, and are devoured by you as the reward of their service." -- John Jacques Rousseau

Senator Joe Biden's Mouth

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man." -- Senator Joe Biden, speaking of Barack Obama, in the New York Observer

Aren't you so very glad that Barack Obama is not like all those other inarticulate and dull and dirty and ugly African Americans?

We're embarrassed to admit it, but Senator Biden from Delaware is indeed a Democrat.

Update -- Obama Responds, With Class -- Historically Inaccurate:

"I didn’t take Senator Biden’s comments personally, but obviously they were historically inaccurate. African-American presidential candidates like Jesse Jackson, Shirley Chisholm, Carol Moseley Braun and Al Sharpton gave a voice to many important issues through their campaigns, and no one would call them inarticulate."

Update #2 - Biden should give it up:

Washington Post: "Biden Stumbles at the Starting Gate"
New York Times: "Biden Unwraps His Bid for '08 With an Oops!"
Chicago Tribune: "Hat in Ring, Foot in Mouth"
New York Post: "Biden Blows It"
New York Daily News: "Senator Stupid!"
via Political Wire

Obama Shuns Fox News Reporters

Apparently, Obama is shunning Fox News reporters. Now why would anyone in the reality-based community want to do that? Short answer: Fox News spread bald-faced lies about the Democratic Senator.

The Sleuth tells us:

Sources tell The Sleuth that the Obama camp has "frozen out" Fox News reporters and producers in the wake of the network's major screw-up in running with the erroneous Obama-the-jihadist story reported by Insight magazine.

Recall that Obama's staff responded immediately and directly to the swiftboating tactics of Fox:

If Doocy or the staff at Fox and Friends had taken to check their facts, or simply made a call to his office, they would have learned that Senator Obama was not educated in a Madrassa, was not raised as a Muslim, and was not raised by his father – an atheist Obama met once in his life before he died.

But now, Obama is taking the response to a new level, and we like it.

Why don't all Democrats shun Faux News and thus avoid being filtered through the Bush/Cheney mouthpiece?

Back in the day, Eleanor Roosevelt took on a little media behavior modification project when she talked only to female reporters. Obviously, in those good old conservative days, to be a woman and a reporter meant you covered the children and food beat. Decades later second-wave feminists followed the progressive First Lady's example.

Just imagine what might happen if Dems took a lesson from Eleanor Roosevelt and talked only to media outlets that behave in a reasonably honest and professional manner.

Obama is definitely showing some serious progressive leadership potential.

via Raw Story

Latest Fox News Lies

On a related note, you will not be surprised to learn that a Fox News Feminist (heh) also lies, or cannot fathom the difference between a blogger and a commenter: Fox News lies about Feministing.

Hillary Clinton Or Mama Hugs Iowa

Hillary Clinton In Iowa

by Maureen Dowd

When she was little, Hillary Rodham would sit on a basement bench and pretend she was flying a spaceship to Mars. Her younger brother Hugh, perched behind, would sometimes beg for a chance to be captain.

No dice. “She would always drive, and I would always have to sit in the back,” he once told me.

Through all the years of sitting behind Bill Clinton on his trip to the stars, Hillary fidgeted and elbowed, trying to be co-captain rather than just wingman, or worse, winglady.

Finally, in Iowa, she was once more behind the wheel of her spaceship to Mars. She didn’t have to prop up Bill after one of his roguish pratfalls. She didn’t have to feign interest in East Wing piffle — table settings and pastry chefs and designer gowns. She didn’t have to defer to her male colleagues in the Senate, stepping back to give them the limelight.

She positively glistened as she talked about how “I” — rather than the “we” of ’92 — would run the world. Humbly, graciously, deftly, she offered Iowa the answer to that eternal question, What Is Hillary Owed?


John Wood, a self-described “plainsman,” Republican and machinery-and-tool salesman from Davenport, asked Hillary how she would handle the world’s evil and bad men, provoking the slyly ambiguous retort: “What in my background equips me to deal with evil and bad men?”

He said afterward that he was more worried about her ability to face down villains, “being a lady,” but conceded, “The woman did good today.” (His question was reminiscent of Ali G’s interview of Newt Gingrich, when the faux rapper asked whether a woman president would be turned on and manipulated by evil dictators, given that, with women, “the worse you treat ’em, the more they want you.”)

As YouTube attests, Hillary didn’t care about style as first lady; she was too busy trying to get in on Bill’s substance. She showed off a long parade of unflattering outfits and unnervingly changing hairdos. In Iowa, her national anthem may have been off-key, but her look wasn’t. It was an attractive mirror of her political message: man-tailored with a dash of pink femininity.

“I think you look very nice,” a veteran of the first gulf war told her in Des Moines.

“Thank you!” she answered, beaming and laughing.

When Geraldine Ferraro made her historic run in ’84, she tried to blend a mother’s concerns into her foreign policy answers, but it did not work so well once she started getting her nuclear terminology mixed up.

Hillary dealt with the issue head on — “I’m a woman; I’m a mom” — hoping to stir that sisterly vote that Ms. Ferraro failed to draw after it turned out that many women were skeptical about one of their own facing down the Soviets. Unlike Barack Obama, who once said he was bored by the suburbs, she introduced herself in the land of bingo and bacon as a product of the suburbs, wallowing in the minutiae of kitchen-table issues.

W. and Cheney have lavished attention and money on Iraq, leaving Americans feeling neglected. Hillary offered Iowans a warm bath of “you,” homey rumination rather than harsh domination.

(Though Jon Stewart warned on “The Daily Show” that her slogan — “Let the conversation begin!” — will not help her with men. “I think the typical response would be, ‘Now?’ ” he said, adding that her new Iraq policy is, “America, let’s pull over and just ask for directions.”)

Thomasine Johnson, a 66-year-old African-American from outside Des Moines, complained that Hillary talked too much about “traditional women’s issues,” but many in the audiences seemed enthralled.

The Achilles’ heel of “The Warrior,” as she is known, is the war. She expressed outrage about Iraq, but ended up sounding like a mother whose teenage son has not cleaned up his room: “The president has said this is going to be left to his successor ... and I think it’s the height of irresponsibility, and I really resent it.”

She uttered the most irritating and disingenuous nine words in politics: “If we had known then what we know now. ...”

Jim Webb knew. Barack Obama knew. Even I knew, for Pete’s sake. The administration’s trickery was clear in real time.

Hillary didn’t have the nerve to oppose a popular president on a national security issue after 9/11, and she feared being cast as an antiwar hippie when she ran. Now she feels she can’t simply say she made a bad decision. And that makes her seem conniving — not a good mix with nurturing.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Homophobe Jeff Miller Solicits Work from Gays

Would you hire this man?

Our old foe and crusader against gay rights, former State Senator Jeff Miller is back in the news. This time the former laughingstock of the Tennessee Legislature stands accused of soliciting lobbyist work from the gay rights organization, the Tennessee Equality Project.

Oh, how the homophobe has fallen.

The Tennessean: "Project president Chris Sanders said Miller's solicitation was 'certainly not one that we're going to follow up on.'"

"'I suppose he thinks helping pass discriminatory bills would make him an effective advocate for the gay, lesbian and transgender community,' Sanders said Monday."

"Miller did not return telephone messages today from The Associated Press seeking comment."

The last time Miller made the national news was when his wife accused him of committing adultery while he was simultaneously preaching about the holy sanctity of matrimony. The story was picked up by the Associated Press (Advocate, Washington Post, etc.!), DU awarded Miller a place on the famed Top Ten Conservative Idiots list, and bloggers such as Jesus General spread Miller's fame to France and beyond.

Shortly thereafter, the fool decided to do the state a favor and retire from the legislature.

But Miller has not confined himself to fighting against gay rights, by striving to legislate against gay marriage, against civil unions and against all things gay, he's also fought against the First Amendment. And he's been investigated for taking funny money.

Oh, and the sanctimonious ex-senator is also famous for growing a defensive manly beard after it was discovered that his brother is gay.

With all this fame, Miller should have no trouble landing a job in some other country!

"I'm not scared of folks who have an alternative lifestyle; I'm not being scared or phobic in one way or another. . . Homosexuals are not losing anything today. . . They could come to Tennessee and claim rights. That's what I'm afraid of." -- Then State Senator, Jeff Miller

Photo: via the Bradley News Weekly, then Senator Miller was caught off guard in his Cleveland office.

Update: Pam's House Blend has more.

First Control Freak Gives Self More Power

Because you can never get enough power, George Bush has given himself some more. By executive order, the control freak in the oval office has decreed that a political appointee crony will be installed in federal agencies like the EPA in order to ensure that the will of George the Decider reigns supreme over His Land.

Never mind the constitutional stipulation that George Bush is Commander-in-chief of the military, NOT Commander-in-chief of 'we the people'.

Seriously folks, it's time to put that constitution into a museum along with all the other quaint relics of the democracy.

Cause the egomaniac in the oval office is commanding us to "lie back and enjoy it."

President Bush has signed a directive that gives the White House much greater control over the rules and policy statements that the government develops to protect public health, safety, the environment, civil rights and privacy. . .

Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California and chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said: “The executive order allows the political staff at the White House to dictate decisions on health and safety issues, even if the government’s own impartial experts disagree. This is a terrible way to govern, but great news for special interests.” (emphasis added)

What they're saying:

Fascist - Mia Culpa

Bush Crowns Himself Emperor -- The Mahablog

Bush Claims Even More Tyrannical Powers -- Crooks and Liars

One More For The Corporate State -- Ezra Klein

The Soviet Communist state had political officers all over the place. So did Hitler’s Germany. And the Republicans call Hugo Chavez’s new, near-total control of Venezuela’s government a power hungry ploy. -- Bring It On!

The 58% of the country who just want the Bush presidency to be over with are in for a rude awakening. Bush and Cheney are racing to rape and pillage the country as much as they can until they are term limited out. -- Digby

Our lunatic in chief has taken his most egregious step toward dictatorship yet - last week Chimpy signed an executive order requiring every federal agency to have a political appointee as gatekeeper to make sure that the agency is doing what he wants instead of well, their job of protecting the American people. -- All Spin Zone

When are they going to tell us just to "lie back and enjoy it?" -- Rising Hegemon

via memeorandum

Mad About Mary Cheney

Pulitzer Prize winning author Stacy Schiff responds to Hetero Darth Cheney's hostile reaction to questions by Wolf Blitzer about Cheney's lesbian daughter. A link to the full column by the New York Times guest columnist follows the excerpt below.

(See the Cheney/Wolf Raging Hetero Hormones Video.)

Mad About Mary
by Stacy Schiff

Once upon a time, asking about someone’s children was like talking about the weather. Then again, once upon a time talking about the weather was also like talking about the weather — not a portal into the political or the apocalyptic. . .

Last week Wolf Blitzer asked Dick Cheney about his pregnant lesbian daughter. The vice president looked as if his arm had made contact with that meat grinder. Mr. Blitzer was, he growled, seriously out of line. . .

Mr. Cheney has openly promoted an anti-gay agenda. His own base has called his daughter’s pregnancy unconscionable. Family values have been his calling card. And our Prohibitionist vice president can’t summon the courage to address the gin mill in the basement?

What the vice president’s nonresponse did deliver was a very cogent message: the rules apply to you, but not to us. It’s our privacy, your patriotism; our delusion, your sacrifice; our tax cuts, your kids. After all, as Mr. Cheney so tellingly said of his Republican critics, “I’m the vice president, and they’re not.” The part for which some of us have no stomach is the sense of entitlement.

An annoying thing about children is that they nudge you toward the high road and the long view. They demand pesky things like open-mindedness, self-denial, accountability, leadership and occasionally even integrity — qualities that appear to have packed up and gone home with Hans Blix. Once upon a time, you might have termed them family values.

So as to spare Mr. Cheney any further misadventures in this minefield, I did a little research for him. Several years ago, Ms. Baldrige foresaw his predicament. “A lesbian’s parents may be the victims of probing, mean questions from their friends,” she wrote. “Hopefully, they will answer unequivocally that they stand by their child and accept her decision.”

As for gay and lesbian couples, they are families, too, in Ms. Baldrige’s book. They are also increasingly common, “so people who feel shy and uptight with them are just going to have to get over it.” Alternatively, they are welcome to talk about the weather.

Read the whole thing...

Monday, January 29, 2007

Bush Hires Chef for Dummies

The White House has a new chef -- Bill Yosses is Bush's new executive pastry chef.

The new White House Chef is the author of Desserts for Dummies!

You can't make this stuff up.

via Political Wire

Welcome Crooks and Liars Readers

So happy to have you - Crooks and Liars readers - here.

Video: Hillary's Evil Men Joke

Hillary's Ken Starr and Company Joke via Faux News:

Everybody's weighing in on the meaning of Hillary's Evil Men joke. Duh.

According to Ben Smith at The Politico, the joke "tell[s] you how deeply inimical she still feels to elements of the American right, how little she has forgiven." [via]

I don't think so.

The joke tells us more about Hillary's audience than it tells us about Hillary.

Hillary merely asked the question: "[W]hat in my background equips me to deal with evil and bad men?"

The audience took it from there. They got it. They laughed first.

What the joke tells us is that Hillary's audience has not forgotten the hatemongering witch hunt from the Right, the witch hunt which pursued the Clintons from day one.

Whether we support Hillary in the primary or whether we will merely vote for her if she receives the nomination, a very large number of 'we the people' have not forgiven. And given Bill Clinton's tremendous popularity, both during and after the impeachment hearings, "very large" is obviously not an exaggeration.

Clearly, it doesn't matter which Democratic candidate wins in 2008, we can be certain that the hatemongers on the Right will be in their usual swiftboating mode.

via The Moderate Voice

Can Hillary Deal With Evil Men?

Update: The wingnutty New York Post thinks 'Evil Men' means one man -- Bill Clinton, of course. [via]

Can Hillary deal with Evil Men?

This was an actual question at the town-hall forum in Iowa. Of course, the real question is:

Can a little ole' woman really deal with the brutes?

HRC's response was priceless.

One questioner asked Clinton if her track record showed she could stand up to "evil men" around the world.

"The question is, we face a lot of dangers in the world and, in the gentleman's words, we face a lot of evil men and what in my background equips me to deal with evil and bad men," Clinton said. She paused to gaze while the audience interrupted with about 30 seconds of laughter and applause.

Meeting later with reporters, she was pressed repeatedly to explain what she meant. She insisted it was a simple joke.

"I thought I was funny," Clinton said. "You guys keep telling me to lighten up, be funny. I get a little funny and now I'm being psychoanalyzed."

And speaking of evil men, HRC said that Bush needs to withdraw all troops before he leaves office. Anything else is "the height of irresponsibility."

More on Hillary in Iowa:

The Independent, UK: "[O]n a freezing, crystal-clear afternoon, Mrs Clinton received a rapturous, semi-hysterical reception more befitting a teen pop idol than a woman whom the polls currently put in fourth place in the state. So much for that famous Mid-Western reserve."

WaPo: "Competent and capable, but she's my fourth choice," said Dale Hedgecoth, a carpenter at a local high school. . . "Strong, but not it," added Dona Howe, a first-grade teacher.

More Than Antiwar

Antiwar March

Washington: It was a few minutes after 11 a.m. when the scattered crowd began moving slowly toward the stage at the end of the Mall. The sky was a beautiful sunlit blue and the Capitol building, huge and white and majestic, offered the protesters an emotional backdrop that seemed almost close enough to touch.

“It’s so big,” said a woman from Milwaukee, who was there with her husband and two children. “It’s lovely. Makes you want to cry.”

You can say what you want about the people opposed to this wretched war in Iraq, try to stereotype them any way you can. But you couldn’t walk among them for more than a few minutes on Saturday without realizing that they love their country as much as anyone ever has. They love it enough to try to save it.

By 11:15 I thought there was a chance that the march against the war would be a bust. There just weren’t that many people moving toward the stage to join the rally that preceded the march. But the crowd kept building, slowly, steadily. It was a good-natured crowd. Everyone was bad-mouthing the Bush administration and the war, but everybody seemed to be smiling.

There were gray-haired women with digital cameras and young girls with braces. There were guys trying to look cool in knit caps and shades and balding baby boomers trading stories about Vietnam. And many ordinary families.

“Where’s Hillary?” someone asked.

That evoked laughter in the crowd. “She’s in Iowa running for president,” someone said.

When a woman asked, “What’s her position on the war?” a man standing next to her cracked, “She was for it before she was against it.”

More laughter.

The crowd kept building. There were people being pushed in wheelchairs and babies in strollers. There were elderly men and women, walking very slowly in some cases and holding hands.

The goal of the crowd was to get the attention of Congress and persuade it to move vigorously to reverse the Bush war policies. But the thought that kept returning as I watched the earnestly smiling faces, so many of them no longer young, was the way these protesters had somehow managed to keep the faith. They still believed, after all the years and all the lies, that they could make a difference. They still believed their government would listen to them and respond.

“I have to believe in this,” said Donna Norton of Petaluma, Calif. “I have a daughter in the reserves and a son-in-law on active duty. I feel very, very strongly about this.” Betty and Peter Vinten-Johansen of East Lansing, Mich., said they felt obliged to march, believing that they could bolster the resolve of opponents of the war in Congress. Glancing toward the Capitol, Mr. Vinten-Johansen said, “Maybe we can strengthen their backbone a little bit.”

Even the celebrities who have been at this sort of thing for decades have managed to escape the debilitating embrace of cynicism. “How can you be cynical?” asked Tim Robbins, just before he mounted the stage to address the crowd, which by that time had grown to more than 100,000.

“This is inspiring,” he said. “It’s the real voice of the American people, and when you hear that collective voice protesting freely it reminds you of the greatness of our country. It gives you hope.”

When Jane Fonda said, “Silence is no longer an option,” she was doing more than expressing the outrage of the crowd over the carnage in Iraq and the president’s decision to escalate American involvement. She was implicitly re-asserting her belief in the effectiveness of citizen action.

Ms. Fonda is approaching 70 now and was at the march with her two grandchildren. It was very touching to watch her explain how she had declined to participate in antiwar marches for 34 years because she was afraid her notoriety would harm rather than help the effort.

The public is way out in front of the politicians on this issue. But the importance of Saturday’s march does not lie primarily in whether it hastens a turnaround of U.S. policy on the war. The fact that so many Americans were willing to travel from every region of the country to march against the war was a reaffirmation of the public’s commitment to our peaceful democratic processes.

It is in that unique and unflagging commitment, not in our terrifying military power, that the continued promise and greatness of America are to be found.

via Welcome to Pottersville

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Don't Call them Republican; Call them Anti-Democratic

"There are no Republicans left. Only Anti-Democratic crooks and charlatans!”

Here's an interesting idea presented as "payback" for the Republican Party practice of insulting Democrats by referring to their party as the Democrat Party. (Reminds me of the longstanding patriarchal practice of insulting women by tagging us as just girls.)

As Josh Marshall notes, Bush actually used the SOTU to deliver the slur:

"What a strange man. After disarmingly gracious opening remarks about Nancy Pelosi's speakership, the president congratulates the 'Democrat majority' -- words most every Democrat takes as a calculated insult. The prepared remarks say 'Democratic majority'. But apparently he couldn't help himself."

Lambert at CorrenteWire terms the strategy "a massive negative rebranding of the Republicans" and offers this example:

BEFORE: Republican operatives from the Heritage Foundation hosted a wienie roast for Joe Lieberman.

AFTER: Anti-Democratic operatives from the Heritage Foundation hosted a wienie roast for Joe Lieberman. [via The Sideshow]

It is also true that by the time Bush is done, the cruelest insult you will be able to hurl at Republicans may well be that they ARE Republicans.

Graphic via Public Theology

Hillary Clinton's Mission Unaccomplished

Frank Rich (full column link below) argues that after six years of plastic turkeys with Bush, the country is desperate for a leader who has some authenticity. And it ain't Hillary. An excerpt follows.

Clinton and Iraq
By Frank Rich

After six years of “Ask President Bush,” “Mission Accomplished” and stage sets plastered with “Plan for Victory,” Americans hunger for a presidency with some authenticity. Patently synthetic play-acting and carefully manicured sound bites like Mrs. Clinton’s look out of touch. (Mr. Obama’s bare-bones Webcast and Web site shrewdly play Google to Mrs. Clinton’s AOL.) Besides, the belief that an image can be tightly controlled in the viral media era is pure fantasy. Just ask the former Virginia senator, Mr. Allen, whose past prowess as a disciplined, image-conscious politician proved worthless once the Webb campaign posted on YouTube a grainy but authentic video capturing him in an embarrassing off-script public moment.

The image that Mrs. Clinton wants to sell is summed up by her frequent invocation of the word middle, as in “I grew up in a middle-class family in the middle of America.” She’s not left or right, you see, but exactly in the center where everyone feels safe. But as the fierce war critic Chuck Hagel, the Republican senator from Nebraska, argues in a must-read interview at, the war is “starting to redefine the political landscape” and scramble the old party labels. Like Mrs. Clinton, the middle-American Mr. Hagel voted to authorize the Iraq war, but that has not impeded his leadership in questioning it ever since.

The issue raised by the tragedy of Iraq is not who’s on the left or the right, but who is in front and who is behind. Mrs. Clinton has always been a follower of public opinion on the war, not a leader. Now events are outrunning her. Support for the war both in the polls and among Republicans in Congress is plummeting faster than she can recalibrate her rhetoric; unreliable Iraqi troops are already proving no-shows in the new Iraqi-American “joint patrols” of Baghdad; the Congressional showdown over fresh appropriations for Iraq is just weeks away.

This, in other words, is a moment of crisis in our history and there will be no do-overs. Should Mrs. Clinton actually seek unfiltered exposure to voters, she will learn that they are anxiously waiting to see just who in Washington is brave enough to act.

Read the full column

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Fear in the White House: Karl Rove Subpoenaed

"White House anxiety is mounting" over the fear that Karl Rove and Dick Cheney may be forced to testify in the CIA leak case.

Little wonder that Cheney's been such a grouch of late. Dick is expected to take the stand and testify under oath. Will the VP snarl at the prosecutors like he did at Wolf?

Will Rove or Cheney be forced to tell the world that Bush, is NOT the decider?

Firedoglake: By the end of the week, government witnesses were detailing Mr. Cheney's and/or his trusted deputy's guilty knowledge of Ms. Plame's identy and status, while Ms. Martin, a trusted member of Mr. Cheney's own communications staff, described under oath how fixated Mr. Cheney had become about anyone who might reveal how badly he and the Administration had spun the facts to gin up a pretext for going to war.

Lying a country into a tragic war in which 25,000 of your troops become casualties is not a good thing, but it seems that in Mr. Cheney's view, the greater offense is to be publically called out for lying your country into that tragic war. But the underlying deed is not just tragically immoral; it's an impeachable offense.

Will Rove Testify?

Newsweek: White House anxiety is mounting over the prospect that top officials—including deputy chief of staff Karl Rove and counselor Dan Bartlett-may be forced to provide potentially awkward testimony in the perjury and obstruction trial of Lewis (Scooter) Libby.

Both Rove and Bartlett have already received trial subpoenas from Libby’s defense lawyers, according to lawyers close to the case who asked not to be identified talking about sensitive matters. While that is no guarantee they will be called, the odds increased this week after Libby’s lawyer, Ted Wells, laid out a defense resting on the idea that his client, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, had been made a “scapegoat” to protect Rove.

Cheney is expected to provide the most crucial testimony to back up Wells’s assertion, one of the lawyers close to the case said.

The vice president personally penned an October 2003 note in which he wrote, “Not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the other.” The note, read aloud in court by Wells, implied that Libby was the one being sacrificed in an effort to clear Rove of any role in leaking the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame, wife of Iraq war critic Joe Wilson.

“Wow, for all the talk about this being a White House that prides itself on loyalty and discipline, you’re not seeing much of it,” the lawyer said.

Anti-War Demonstration in D.C. Today

Tens of thousands of Americans are descending on D.C. today to tell the crazed decider in the White House that in this country the people are the deciders.

Or is that just a meaningless passage in an obsolete document we call the Constitution?

The United for Peace and Justice sponsored affair will be broadcast live on CSPAN.

Speakers include: Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Danny Glover, Jane Fonda, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Reps. Kucinich, Waters, and Woolsey, Bob Watada, and more ...

Watch for 1,000 or so folks laying their bodies down to spell IMPEACH on the National Mall at noon.

And don't be fooled. Some of these people may look like hippies, but if that's so, hippies are smarter these days. There's a whole lot more going on than what you'll see on CSPAN.

New York Times:

So the groups that are organizing the demonstrations against the president’s strategy are also carrying out a sophisticated, well-financed lobbying campaign on Capitol Hill. Their behind-the-scenes efforts are intensifying, relying on tactics deployed in a cutthroat political race.

Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, a coalition of labor unions, and other groups that have traditionally rallied against wars, has raised $1.5 million since it was formed two weeks ago. . .

Next week, the group intends to fly Iraq veterans to the home states of Republican senators who serve on the Foreign Relations Committee and voted Wednesday against the resolution condemning the administration plan, including Senators Norm Coleman of Minnesota and John E. Sununu of New Hampshire. Television advertisements are scheduled to be shown in some of the same states in an effort to apply pressure before the Senate vote on the resolution in early February.

Daffy Does Doom


Dick Durbin went to the floor of the Senate on Thursday night to denounce the vice president as “delusional.”

It was shocking, and Senator Durbin should be ashamed of himself.

Delusional is far too mild a word to describe Dick Cheney. Delusional doesn’t begin to capture the profound, transcendental one-flew-over daftness of the man.

Has anyone in the history of the United States ever been so singularly wrong and misguided about such phenomenally important events and continued to insist he’s right in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary?

It requires an exquisite kind of lunacy to spend hundreds of billions destroying America’s reputation in the world, exhausting the U.S. military, failing to catch Osama, enhancing Iran’s power in the Middle East and sending American kids to train and arm Iraqi forces so they can work against American interests.

Only someone with an inspired alienation from reality could, under the guise of exorcising the trauma of Vietnam, replicate the trauma of Vietnam.

You must have a real talent for derangement to stay wrong every step of the way, to remain in complete denial about Iraq’s civil war, to have a total misunderstanding of Arab culture, to be completely oblivious to the American mood and to be absolutely blind to how democracy works.

In a democracy, when you run a campaign that panders to homophobia by attacking gay marriage and then your lesbian daughter writes a book about politics and decides to have a baby with her partner, you cannot tell Wolf Blitzer he’s “out of line” when he gingerly raises the hypocrisy of your position.

Mr. Cheney acts more like a member of the James gang than the Jefferson gang. Asked by Wolf what would happen if the Senate passed a resolution critical of The Surge, Scary Cheney rumbled, “It won’t stop us.”

Such an exercise in democracy, he noted, would be “detrimental from the standpoint of the troops.”

Americans learned an important lesson from Vietnam about supporting the troops even when they did not support the war. From media organizations to Hollywood celebrities and lawmakers on both sides, everyone backs our troops.

It is W. and Vice who learned no lessons from Vietnam, probably because they worked so hard to avoid going. They rush into a war halfway around the world for no reason and with no foresight about the culture or the inevitable insurgency, and then assert that any criticism of their fumbling management of Iraq and Afghanistan is tantamount to criticizing the troops. Quel demagoguery.

“Bottom line,” Vice told Wolf, “is that we’ve had enormous successes, and we will continue to have enormous successes.” The biggest threat, he said, is that Americans may not “have the stomach for the fight.”

He should stop casting aspersions on the American stomach. We’ve had the stomach for more than 3,000 American deaths in a war sold as a cakewalk. If W. were not so obsessed with being seen as tough, Mr. Cheney could not influence him with such tripe.

They are perpetually guided by the wrong part of the body. They are consumed by the fear of looking as if they don’t have guts, when they should be compelled by the desire to look as if they have brains.

After offering Congress an olive branch in the State of the Union, the president resumed mindless swaggering. Asked yesterday why he was ratcheting up despite the resolutions, W. replied, “In that I’m the decision maker, I had to come up with a way forward that precluded disaster.” (Or preordained it.)

The reality of Iraq, as The Times’s brilliant John Burns described it to Charlie Rose this week, is that a messy endgame could be far worse than Vietnam, leading to “a civil war on a scale with bloodshed that will absolutely dwarf what we’re seeing now,” and a “wider conflagration, with all kinds of implications for the world’s flow of oil, for the state of Israel. What happens to King Abdullah in Jordan if there’s complete chaos in the region?”

Mr. Cheney has turned his perversity into foreign policy.

He assumes that the more people think he’s crazy, the saner he must be. In Dr. No’s nutty world-view, anti-Americanism is a compliment. The proof that America is right is that everyone thinks it isn’t.

He sees himself as a prophet in the wilderness because he thinks anyone in the wilderness must be a prophet.

To borrow one of his many dismissive words, it’s hogwash.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Video: Jon Stewart on Darth Cheney

Friday Night Laughs at Dick Cheney's Expense:

Hilarious! Hilarious! Hilarious!

Miserable Failure: 'I'm the Decision-Maker'

This morning, pRresident Bush told reporters that he intends to ignore Congress when it comes to escalating the War on Iraq.

The miserable failure said, “I’m the decision-maker.”

Yeah, so was Saddam.

The assertion by the miserable failure -- or Your Decider -- can be viewed at Think Progress, where you will also find a video of the original 'I'm the Decider' claim by the miserable failure. [via memeorandum ]

No word yet on the response from Congress, but you can be damn sure it is coming.

Al Gore... Keeping the Dream Alive

"He's going to run, and he's going to be formidable. If he didn't run, I'd be shocked." -- James Carville on Al Gore, in the current issue of Rolling Stone

Once again, Rolling Stone has a very nice piece on Al Gore. It can be summed up in three words:

Run, Al, Run!

Maybe I just have a craving for a leader who is the Anti-Bush, or maybe I'd like to see what this country would look like if it was led by someone who cares about something bigger than himself. Or maybe I simply need closure, but dammit I wish Al would come back and take what he already won.

With An Inconvenient Truth pulling in two Oscar nominations, we'll soon be seeing lots more of him.

Here's an excerpt from Rolling Stone:

"Eli Pariser calls Gore "a close friend of MoveOn," and Markos Moulitsas, the founder of DailyKos, is equally unabashed in his support. "More than any other Democrat over the last four years, Gore has actually delivered," says Moulitsas, one of the Internet's most influential organizers. "If Gore enters the race, it's his nomination for the taking." In an online poll of 14,000 activists held in December by DailyKos, sixty percent voted for Gore. By comparison, Clinton received just 292 votes."

"We've seen the real Al Gore," says Moulitsas of DailyKos. "Not the prepackaged, consultant-muzzled Al Gore, but the actual, this-is-what-Al-Gore-who-doesn't-give-a-shit-about-winning-elections looks like." In national polls, Gore's favorability numbers now rank above Hillary's."

Beverly Marrero Wins! Thank you Memphis!

Beverly Marrero (D) wins by a landslide!

Our liberal dream of a candidate pulled in 73 percent of the vote, while her opponent, Robert Spence got 24 percent.

Marrero is now the Democratic candidate in the March 13 general election for Steve Cohen's famously liberal state senate seat. Woohoo!

Corker & Alexander Block Minimum Wage Increase

Republicans have once again blocked a minimum wage increase. They've been doing this for ten years now. Tennessee Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander both voted to block the increase. (via KnoxViews) They don't know anyone who makes 5.15 an hour, so obviously no one does.

Bob Geiger has a great video of Kennedy blasting Republican Senators for blocking the minimum wage increase, and I mean blasting:

"What is it about it that drives you Republicans crazy? What is it? Something. Something! What is the price that the workers have to pay to get an increase? What is it about working men and women that you find so offensive?"

"240 billion dollars in tax breaks for corporations. 36 billion dollars in tax breaks for small businesses. Increase in productivity -- 42 percent over the last 10 years," yelled Kennedy emotionally. "But do you think there's any increase in the minimum wage? No."

Think Progress addresses the pitiful excuses for the Republican greed.

How many more days do we have to wait for that election?

Corker does not appear to have an email address, (202) 224-3344.
Alexander has one via a web form.

Alexander (R-TN) Votes to End the Federal Minimum Wage

Yeah, you read that right. Senator Lamar Alexander (R) is not content with blocking the minimum wage increase.

The Tennessee Republican Senator, famed for donning a plaid shirt and posing as a common man, voted to completely abolish the federal minimum wage! (See that link for the list of guilty senators.)

Twenty-eight Republican Senators were involved in the dirty scheme before it was killed.

Lamar Alexander will be running for re-election in 2008.

Wish the common man good luck via email at his website.

(Alexander and Corker both voted to block the increase. via Knox Views)

On Being Partisan

By Paul Krugman

American politics is ugly these days, and many people wish things were different. For example, Barack Obama recently lamented the fact that “politics has become so bitter and partisan” — which it certainly has.

But he then went on to say that partisanship is why “we can’t tackle the big problems that demand solutions. And that’s what we have to change first.” Um, no. If history is any guide, what we need are political leaders willing to tackle the big problems despite bitter partisan opposition. If all goes well, we’ll eventually have a new era of bipartisanship — but that will be the end of the story, not the beginning.

Or to put it another way: what we need now is another F.D.R., not another Dwight Eisenhower.

You see, the nastiness of modern American politics isn’t the result of a random outbreak of bad manners. It’s a symptom of deeper factors — mainly the growing polarization of our economy. And history says that we’ll see a return to bipartisanship only if and when that economic polarization is reversed.

After all, American politics has been nasty in the past. Before the New Deal, America was a nation with a vast gap between the rich and everyone else, and this gap was reflected in a sharp political divide. The Republican Party, in effect, represented the interests of the economic elite, and the Democratic Party, in an often confused way, represented the populist alternative.

In that divided political system, the Democrats probably came much closer to representing the interests of the typical American. But the G.O.P.’s advantage in money, and the superior organization that money bought, usually allowed it to dominate national politics. “I am not a member of any organized party,” Will Rogers said. “I am a Democrat.”

Then came the New Deal. I urge Mr. Obama — and everyone else who thinks that good will alone is enough to change the tone of our politics — to read the speeches of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the quintessential example of a president who tackled big problems that demanded solutions.

For the fact is that F.D.R. faced fierce opposition as he created the institutions — Social Security, unemployment insurance, more progressive taxation and beyond — that helped alleviate inequality. And he didn’t shy away from confrontation.

“We had to struggle,” he declared in 1936, “with the old enemies of peace — business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. ... Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred.”

It was only after F.D.R. had created a more equal society, and the old class warriors of the G.O.P. were replaced by “modern Republicans” who accepted the New Deal, that bipartisanship began to prevail.

The history of the last few decades has basically been the story of the New Deal in reverse. Income inequality has returned to levels not seen since the pre-New Deal era, and so have political divisions in Congress as the Republicans have moved right, once again becoming the party of the economic elite. The signature domestic policy initiatives of the Bush administration have been attempts to undo F.D.R.’s legacy, from slashing taxes on the rich to privatizing Social Security. And a bitter partisan gap has opened up between the G.O.P. and Democrats, who have tried to defend that legacy.

What about the smear campaigns, like Karl Rove’s 2005 declaration that after 9/11 liberals wanted to “offer therapy and understanding for our attackers”? Well, they’re reminiscent of the vicious anti-Catholic propaganda used to defeat Al Smith in 1928: smear tactics are what a well-organized, well-financed party with a fundamentally unpopular domestic agenda uses to change the subject.

So am I calling for partisanship for its own sake? Certainly not. By all means pass legislation, if you can, with plenty of votes from the other party: the Social Security Act of 1935 received 77 Republican votes in the House, about the same as the number of Republicans who recently voted for a minimum wage increase.

But politicians who try to push forward the elements of a new New Deal, especially universal health care, are sure to face the hatred of a large bloc on the right — and they should welcome that hatred, not fear it.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Kissing, Pawing, and Fawning Over George W. Bush

Video: Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) Plays Groupie to Bush at SOTU

So there he is, the most unpopular president since Richard M. Nixon. There he is, the all powerful George W. Bush delivering the SOTU in the Congressional Chamber, receiving round after round of standing ovations, being interrupted 61 times by frenetic applause from the new Democratic Congress.

There he is grinning from ear to ear like democracy means he's the sole decider, like there ain't no war and like nobody's dying in it.

And there he is after the SOTU, shaking hands and signing autographs for his adoring subjects in Congress. Members of Congress arrived hours in advance of the SOTU so that they might claim a prized seat by the aisle in order to have the privilege of touching, stroking, kissing and fawning over George W. Bush, the most detested president since Richard M. Nixon.

Here’s the video that’s making the rounds, the one where Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann takes the adoration to the extreme. Yeah, she’s weird, but she ain’t the only one.

The Caucus: "As President Bush walked down the center aisle to exit the chamber, cameras were able to pick up little bits of his exchanges with the lawmakers who crowded around, asking him to sign their programs. Representative Michelle Bachmann, a new Republican member from Minnesota, maintained a death grip on the president’s shoulder, even while he turned away to talk to others, until he posed for a picture with her."

More: Raw Story; Pam's House Blend; Blog of the Moderate Left ; Norwegianity

Video: Cheney Scares Bejezus out of Blitzer

About Mary Cheney: Your Highness Dick Cheney in CNN's Gay Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. . .

Question Your Haughty Hetero Highness Dick Cheney about his pregnant lesbian daughter at your own peril. The deadly Darth Cheney stare aims to maim.

It's not in this quickie video, but Cheney also weighed in on the "enormous successes" in Iraq. As to the Congressional disapproval of the troop surge, Cheney said, they "won't stop us."

And when asked how it felt to sit next to Speaker Pelosi at the SOTU, the sulky one who was raised in a barn said, "I prefer Dennis Hastert."

More at Taylor Marsh; TPM; Crooks and Liars; Moderate Voice ; Americablog ; The Carpetbagger

Long on Rhetoric, Short on Sorrow


President Bush showed what he does well at the beginning of the State of the Union ceremony when he graciously acknowledged and introduced Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House of Representatives. He seemed both generous and sincere, and it was the right touch for a genuinely historic moment. . .

The rest of the evening was a study in governmental dysfunction. The audience kept mindlessly applauding — up and down, like marionettes — when in fact there was nothing to applaud. The state of the union is wretched, which is why the president’s approval ratings are the worst since Nixon and Carter.

If Mr. Bush is bothered by his fall from political grace, it wasn’t showing on Tuesday night. He seemed as relaxed as ever, smiling, signing autographs, glad-handing.

I wanted to hear him talk about the suffering of the soldiers he has put in harm’s way, and the plight of the residents of New Orleans. I wanted to hear him express a little in the way of sorrow for the many thousands who have died unnecessarily on his watch. I wanted to see him slip the surly bonds of narcissism and at least acknowledge the human wreckage that is the sum and substance of his sustained folly.

But this is a president who runs when empathy calls. While others are monitoring the casualty lists, he’s off to the gym. At least Lyndon Johnson had the decency to agonize over the losses he unleashed in Vietnam.

The State of the Union speech was boilerplate at a time when much of the country, with good reason, is boiling mad. The United States, the most powerful nation in the history of the world, seems paralyzed. It can’t extricate itself from the war in Iraq, can’t rebuild the lost city of New Orleans, can’t provide health care for all of its citizens, can’t come up with a sane energy policy in the era of global warming, can’t even develop a thriving public school system.

Read the whole thing at the Unknown Candidate

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Caption This!

"And there, over his right shoulder and holding a large wooden gavel, loomed Pelosi, who has described Bush as 'incompetent' and 'dangerous.'"

"'He'll be standing in front of a woman who's holding a hammer,' Fox News host Steve Doocy warned White House press secretary Tony Snow yesterday morning."

SOTU transcript

All the Stars Are Dems: Rave Reviews for Webb!

The Democratic Response to the State of the Union Speech was the hit of the night!

Senator Webb's reply to Bush's dismal SOTU speech is getting rave reviews. The Democrat wrote his own speech! A politico speaking his own words, from his own heart, how effin' bizarre is that?

Another day, another Democratic Star!

Face it folks, all the stars are Dems, and this is simply one more sign that the new progressive era waiting just around the bend is almost upon us. And it's going to be a good one, mark my words, because there's no way we've gone through this reign of holy hell with the flat-earthers for naught.

Excerpts from a few of Sen. James Webb's rave reviews (most have the video):

Jonathan Alter, at Newsweek, gushes:

Jan. 21, 2007 - "Something unprecedented happened tonight, beyond the doorkeeper announcing, "Madame Speaker." For the first time ever, the response to the State of the Union Message overshadowed the president's big speech. Virginia Sen. James Webb, in office only three weeks, managed to convey a muscular liberalism—with personal touches—that left President Bush's ordinary address in the dust."

"Webb was given a speech to read by the Democratic leadership. He threw it out and wrote his own. As a well-regarded novelist, Webb has a sense of narrative and human drama. He apparently felt that the boots his son wore in Iraq, which he used to great effect during his successful Senate campaign against Sen. George Allen, might be a bit hokey. So instead, he showed a picture of his father during the Berlin airlift. He then went on to describe taking the picture to bed every night and his family's long record of military service."

Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars:

"Jim Webb of Virginia was selected to give the Democratic response to Bush's SoTU, and boy, did they make the right choice. . Webb just pointed out that the Democrats are representing the will of the people in their desire to see an end to the quagmire and that if Bush didn't want to listen to the people that put him in office, the Democrats would lead him to the will of the people."

Anonymous Liberal:

"Webb must scare the hell out of the GOP. He's the kind of guy who could convince a whole lot of people to reconsider the Democratic party. He's already proven he can beat a popular Republican Senator in a red state, and he seems to be getting progressively more comfortable as a politician."

Jesus General:

"Lead or get out of our way. . . These are dark days. Tonight, Sen. Jim Webb, the man who destroyed our beloved Sen. Macacawitz, demanded, without regard to Our Leader's Article II superpowers, that The Chosen One end the wars against the Iraqis and the middle class. He then went on to threaten Our Leader that if He fails to act, the Democrats will act in his stead."

Jonathan Singer at MyDD:

"I would concur with the sentiment of Chris Matthews, who opined that, perhaps for the first time since Ed Muskie delivered the Democratic address in 1970, the opposition response was stronger than the President's own state of the union address."

Photo via the Newsweek link above.
via memeorandum

A Case of Hearing Without Listening

Grilling Petraeus

Madame Speaker didn’t lean over and boink the president on the head with her gavel, or garrote him with her red pashmina.

No one was gelded or cuckolded or left to bleed on the floor of the Senate, as in HBO’s “Rome,” that other gory saga of a declining empire with people who can’t stop talking.

Still, the nation’s capital had the aroma of treachery, as former allies brutally turned on one another. Despite W.’s attempt to salvage his presidency last night by changing the subject and going all domestic-sensitive, Washington was more consumed with betrayal than substance.

The city was riveted by opening statements in the Scooter Libby trial, where the aspens were turning but not in clusters. Scooter’s lawyer claimed that the White House had made his client a scapegoat in the Valerie Plame case to protect Karl Rove because “Boy Genius,” as W. calls him, was critical to keeping the Republican Party in power.

In light of the 2006 debacle, the White House might have been better off saving Scooter and making Karl the fall guy.

Vice got an extra dose of unflattering limelight in the debut issue of The Politico, a Capitol Hill publication. In an interview with Roger Simon, John McCain stopped pandering to the White House long enough to lambaste Dick Cheney for stirring a “witch’s brew” of a “terribly mishandled” war. What took the brave senator so long?

“The president listened too much to the vice president,” he said, adding, “Of course, the president bears the ultimate responsibility, but he was very badly served by both the vice president and, most of all, the secretary of defense.”

At a critical hearing yesterday, senators happily blew a chance to grill Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, W.’s choice to try to rescue Iraq, on whether those 21,500 additional troops will be cavalry to the rescue or lambs to the slaughter. Why dwell on the most consequential elements of American strategy when they can linger over something even more repercussive: their own political reputations?

Hillary Clinton, who dodged a recent important Iraq hearing by flying to Iraq, did not have any questions at all for the general. She simply lectured him crisply on her belated discovery that the administration has a “dead-end” and “blank check” policy, as she tried to seem like the kind of gal who could command the most powerful military on earth. This is odd from someone who is running infomercials on her Web site promising “a conversation.”

In their questioning, Senator Joe Lieberman and Mr. McCain seemed most interested in enlisting the general’s prestige for their own campaign to discredit colleagues in both parties who are tired of passively watching W.’s disaster unfold. If the Senate sends the additional troops but conveys the belief they cannot succeed, Mr. McCain asked, “what effect does that have on the morale of your troops?”

“It would not be a beneficial effect,” the general replied.

Senator Lieberman also asked whether a Senate resolution expressing disapproval of The Surge would give the enemy in Iraq “encouragement” that the American people “were divided.”

The general agreed: “That’s correct, sir.”

Much of the rest of the hearing was squandered in attempts by Democrats and Republicans who had criticized the war to get the general to back away from his opinion that the troops would be hurt and the enemy emboldened by any impediment that the legislative branch might throw in W.’s way.

“Honorable people have different views, and they will voice their criticisms,” chided John Warner, who presented a bipartisan resolution on Monday declaring that the Senate “disagrees with the ‘plan’ to augment our forces.”

He told General Petraeus that as President Nixon’s secretary of the Navy, he had sat where the general was, justifying another impossible war. “I hope,” he warned the witness, “that this colloquy has not entrapped you into some responses that you might later regret.”

The fact that Senator Warner attacked The Surge in a formal way means that a substantial majority of the Senate are willing to stick their necks out. It’s the beginning of a slow procession to limit spending on the war and rein in Mr. Bush. As one does in a job interview, the general tried to oblige everyone. After getting caught in a political mine field, he demurred that he had learned “that mine fields are best avoided and gone around rather than walked through.”

The poor man. He probably thought that he came all this way to talk about how to fight the war, not to talk about how to talk about the war.