Sunday, July 31, 2005

Skin and the color of money

by Pam

"Can black people tan?"
-- a white college student at Fordham, back in 1983, asking me whether I could turn browner in the sun, as we sat outside in the late spring.
My answer to that question, by the way (after I picked my jaw up off of the floor) was to calmly say "yes," and I took off my watch so she could see the contrast between my tan and what was underneath my timepiece. I then held my arm up next to her olive-skinned Italian forearm to show her that my non-tan color was lighter than her skin tone.

Gina was quite friendly and earnest when she asked the question. The fact that she felt comfortable enough with me to ask it, made me feel that she deserved a response that would not humiliate or embarrass her by pointing out her ignorance. I was, however, quite perplexed by the blunt question for several reasons. It made me curious about what she exactly thought "black" meant in physical terms (educating her on the fact that race is a social construct probably would have been too much for her to handle). In her world, though, were we that different? Did she have no concept that all humans just have varying amounts of the same chemical, melanin, that affects the complexion they have? Was she just racist? That last word is loaded. Gina was not outwardly hostile toward someone of another race. To narrowly define that word here -- she is a victim of growing up in a world of cultural, institutionalized racism and lack of exposure to people of another color.

That lack of exposure perpetuates the problem on both sides. It must be hard if you're white, asking a question about skin tone, hair texture or any physical characteristics commonly associated with being "black." You've got to take the leap of faith that the person you're asking isn't going to react badly. If you're black, the insult of the question can cut psychologically deep. Are they judging my whole value by my color? Are they saying I'm subhuman? Am I, yet again, the inferior "other"? The fear of negative reaction on both sides in this politically correct world often ensures much-needed conversations on race will never occur. It doesn't stop the ignorance, the stereotypes, or promote healing on either side when you remove the ability to ask and answer simple questions about difference.

Shakespeare's Sister and I often have open conversations (on and offline) about race and difference. I cherish these conversations because they are free of defensiveness. [An early exchange between us is in the comments of my post, Notorious unsolved civil rights murder case resurfaces.] We have confidence that asking and answering questions about difference leads to more understanding, and ultimately a more coherent view of the politics of division on all sides (and the country's political parties) when it comes to race. When we post items on these topics on either of our blogs they usually garner few comments. We both find this amusing and frustrating -- the PC wall is hard to break down even in the progressive blogosphere.

The Melanin Thing, and the Brown Paper Bag Test
"They said, if you was white, you'd be alright, If you was brown, stick around, But as you is black, oh brother, Get back, get back, get back."
-- A 1947 blues song, "Black, Brown, and White," written by Big Bill Broonzy.
By the way, Broonzy couldn't get the song recorded in America (labels turned him down); he had to do it in Europe.

This whole melanin thing is quite complicated, and cultures around the world are obsessed with it, as human beings follow natural inclinations to categorize and organize things, including people. The assignment of other humans into easy visual cubbyholes by those in dominant cultures makes it infinitely easier to give political and economic power to (or withhold from) whole classes of people. It all spirals down into a pitiful morass of bigotry and insane systems of repression that are also accepted and perpetuated within those populations deemed racially "inferior."

Here at home it's still a taboo in much of the black community to talk about the internecine wars that can be started up over skin tone. It's called Colorism. As Bill Maxwell in a 2003 article in the St. Petersburg Times noted quite nicely...
Colorism has a long and ugly history among American blacks, dating back to slavery, when light-skinned blacks were automatically given preferential treatment by plantation owners and their henchmen.

Colorism's history is fascinating: Fair-skinned slaves automatically enjoyed plum jobs in the master's house, if they had to work at all. Many traveled throughout the nation and abroad with their masters and their families. They were exposed to the finer things, and many became educated as a result. Their darker-tone peers toiled in the fields. They were the ones who were beaten, burned and hanged, the ones permanently condemned to be the lowest of the low in U.S. society. For them, even learning - reading, 'riting, 'rithmetic - was illegal.

When slavery ended, light-skinned blacks established social organizations that barred darker ex-slaves. Elite blacks of the early 20th century were fair-skinned almost to the person. Even today, most blacks in high positions have fair skin tones, and most blacks who do menial jobs or are in prison are dark.
Maxwell describes a phenomenon that I am well-aware of because my mom, who was fair, experienced it and shared the tale with me -- the brown paper bag test. [She was of American black, West Indian and Native American descent, among many other "spices."] Her exposure to the "test" occurred in the 1950s, while living in Brooklyn, NY, she was dating a young gentleman, who was brown-skinned. She was invited to a party in the neighborhood and brought her friend to the dance. At the door, the host leaned in to my mother and said that he could not be admitted with her. She was upset and asked to step inside to discuss the matter. The host was uncomfortable that my mom didn't get the "secret signal", but brought her in (while he waited outside), and was told point blank "He doesn't pass the brown paper bag test." He was too dark, and there was to be none of that going on at this party.

Needless to say, my mom -- and her date -- left that party, embarrassed and hurt.

Maxwell shares Henry Louis Gates's experience with the "test."
In his 1996 book The Future of the Race, Henry Louis Gates Jr., chairman of the Afro-American studies department at Harvard, described his encounter with the brown paper bag when he came to Yale in the late 1960s, when skin-tone bias was brazenly practiced: "Some of the brothers who came from New Orleans held a "bag party.' As a classmate explained it to me, a bag party was a New Orleans custom wherein a brown paper bag was stuck on the door.

"Anyone darker than the bag was denied entrance
. That was one cultural legacy that would be put to rest in a hurry - we all made sure of that. But in a manner of speaking, it was replaced by an opposite test whereby those who were deemed "not black enough' ideologically were to be shunned. I was not sure this was an improvement."...We separate ourselves by skin tone almost as much as we ever did. If, say, you check out the "desired" female beauties in rap videos, you will find redbones galore.
To further confuse the issue, you have the fairly recent phenomenon (within the last century) of white people desiring darker, tanned skin. It was once perceived that a white person with a tan was a outdoor, lower-class laborer, and that pale beauty was prized. Later the luxurious, coveted, golden tan came into favor as a symbol of health and indicated affluence and the ability to take leisure at the beach (and later the tanning bed).

Acheiving a tan, however, was definitely not desired because whites wanted to be mistaken as "black", of course, given the negative social status that came with that racial identification. Besides, with European features and non-kinky hair, there was still a level of "protection" from that misidentification. In the present day, the pendulum in enlightened circles has swung back to the other side regarding tanning, again for health reasons, because too much sun is linked to skin cancer. Brown is now bad again.

Given this mixed-up cultural mess, is it any wonder why there is a multi-million-dollar industry that profits from the sale of skin-lightening products?

Not comfortable in your own skin? Lighten up.

If you can't beat the system, try to join it. It's a worldwide phenomenon, affecting Asians, Africans, Indians, and other non-European peoples. Women, of course bear the brunt of the pain in this racist syndrome, as the cultures attach light skin tone to the highest standards of feminine beauty. Amina Mire, in a special report for Counterpunch, Pigmentation and Empire: The Emerging Skin-Whitening Industry, does an excellent exposé of the health risks posed by products created and distributed by multinational corporations that profit handsomely from this sickness.
At least in the United States, racially white eastern and southern European women have used skin-whitening in order to appear as 'white' as their 'Anglo-Saxon' "native" white sisters. In the United States, women of colour also have practiced skin-whitening. Many of the early skin-bleaching commodities such as Nodinalina skin bleaching cream, a product which has been in the US market since 1889, contained 10 per cent ammoniated mercury. Mercury is a highly toxic agent with serious health implications. According to Kathy Peiss, in 1930, a single survey found advertising for 232 different brand names of skin-bleaching creams promoted in mainstream magazines to mainly white women consumers in the United States.

...For example, almost all the medical literature published by western medical and dermatology journals offer us women of colour as victims of the dubious desire for unattainable corporeal whiteness. This same unattainable desire is often reinforced with horrifying images of the damaged faces and bodies of women of color after using cheap skin-whitening creams containing toxic chemical agents such as ammoniated mercury, corticosteroids, and hydroquinone.


The faces of Black South Africans permanently damaged by long-term use of Over-the-Counter (OTC) 2 per cent hydroquinone based skin-whitening cream.

The emphasis on such 'health risks'has facilitated the production, and marketing around the world, of new and, conceivably, 'safer' but highly expensive skin-whitening commodities and combatant technologies. The emerging 'high-end' skin-whitening commodities are marketed mainly to affluent Asian women to modify skin tone, also to white women as anti-aging therapy.
The multinational "beauty machine"

Mire reports that these large companies operate in a covert manner when marketing their product, always trying to steer clear of the political (and thus financial) impact of marketing campaigns in third world countries of color, where the message is "white is right." With the ability to market and sell in the decentralized, amorphous world of the Internet, these companies remain stealthy, while profiting from fostering Colorism.
Currently, transnational biotechnology, pharmaceutical and cosmetics corporations are engaged in the research and development and the mass marketing of a plethora of new forms of skin-whitening products which can "bleach-out" the "dark skin tones" of women of colour and can remove corporeal evidence of the aging processes, 'unhealthy life-style' and overall pollution from the skin of white women. In North America and Europe, the emerging high-end skin-whitening products have been promoted as new 'therapeutic' regimes which can 'cleanse,' 'purify' and 'regenerate' aging skin. Consequently, in North America and Europe, skin-whitening commodities aimed at white women are often sold under the banner of 'anti-aging skincare.' In other parts of the world skin-whitening commodities are promoted to 'whiten' and 'brighten' the 'dark skin tones' of women of colour.

This growing industry is a lucrative one whose reach is greatly facilitated by systematic use of the internet as the main medium for the dissemination of advertising messages for skin-whitening products and related technologies. Some of the leading transnational corporations engaged in the 'trafficking' of skin-whitening products have extensive e-business domains. Often these companies set up internet domains and e-shops in specific countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, just to name a few. In addition to such e-business sales drives, extensive use of the internet allows these corporations to avoid both the negative political implications and legal regulatory restrictions they could face if they were to openly promote skin-whitening commodities in North America and European markets.

"BI-White: The skin Pigmentation ID." (Source: http://www.vichy.com/gb/biwhite).

You've heard of L'Oreal, right? It is the world's largest cosmetics company, with sales in 2003 topping $14 billion. But did you know that it is a leading promoter of skin-whitening cosmetics? This is shameless, and brilliant as a business plan, since the market for such products, while distasteful, is booming.
The influence of the pharmaceutical industry is evidenced by much of L'Oreal's promotional rhetoric for skin-whitening cosmetics and related technologies. L'Oreal's ads for skin-whitening cosmetics increasingly blur the line between cosmetic and pharmaceutical claims. Such close integration between the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries has serious social, medical, and political implications. In fact, L'Oreal has already designated some of its subsidiaries, such as Vichy Laboratories and LA Roche-Posay Laboratoire Pharmaceutique, as quasi-pharmaceutical outlets through which the company can successfully promote skin-whitening and other cosmetics under the rubric of skincare biomedicine.
The Asian markets are targeted just as hard as African ones; in fact L'Oreal tailors its message so expertly and craft its ads so well, you'd think the product should a must-have in your beauty arsenal.
L'Oreal calls this marketing strategy 'Geocosmetics:
More than half of Korean women experience brown spots and 30 per cent of them have a dull complexion. Over-production of melanin deep in the skin that triggers brown spots and accumulation of melanin loaded dead cells at the skin's surface create a dull and uneven complexion. Vichy Laboratories has been able to associate the complementary effectiveness of Kojic Acid and pure Vitamin C in an everyday face care: BI-White.
Another L'Oreal advertisement for skin-whitening brand is called "White Perfect." This particular skin-whitening brand is sold in L'Oreal's Asian markets and online e-shops. In that way, those who live outside Asia can purchase this and other L'Oreal skin-whitening brands over the internet.

...L'Oreal's advertising for skin-whitening commodities reinforces and consolidates the globalized ideology of white supremacy and the sexist practice of the biomedicialization of women's bodies. It is in this specific context of the continuum of the western practice of global racism and the economic practice of commodity racism that the social, political and cultural implications of skin-whitening must be located and resisted. Consequently, feminist/antiracist and anti-colonial responses must confront this social phenomenon as part and parcel of our old enemy, the "civilising mission" ; the violent moral prerogative to cleanse and purify the mind and bodies of the "dark/dirt/savage".
Journalist Amina Mire also notes that L'Oreal has 12 major subsidiaries: Lancôme Paris, Vichy Laboratories, La Roche-Posay Laboratoire Pharmacaceutique, Biotherm, L'Oreal Paris, Garnier, L'Oreal professional Paris, Giorgio Armani Perfumes, Maybelline New York, Ralph Lauren, Helena Rubinstein skincare, Shu Uemura, Maxtrix, Redken, SoftSheen-Carlson™. Not all of the above listed L'Oreal subsidiaries deal with the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of skin-whitening products, but it illustrates the reach of the company.

Mire's lengthy, thought-provoking article at Counterpunch is certainly worth the click and your time. It might also be useful to ask a few questions of L'Oreal; after all, these executives, scientists and marketing people do quite well (and I'm sure sleep like babies at night) fostering institutionalized racism, colorism and sexism for a buck.


Lindsay Owen-Jones,
Chairman & CEO of L'Oréal
Web contact form

***



For a look at the issue of effects of racism through the prism of hair texture, read these earlier Blend posts:

* The effects of slavery permeate our society to this day
* The politics of hair (again): school bans white girl with braids
* Good hair day

Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.


The Gipper's Heir

by Shakespeare's Sister

Many of Bush’s most fervent supporters love to see Bush as Ronald Regan’s heir apparent—a straight-talkin’, no-nonsense cowboy who draws a hard line when dealing with perceived external threats to Americans and who isn’t afraid to claim both God and the flag for his own. Never did the comparisons flow so freely as when Reagan died last year, and while the Right waxed rhapsodic about the man who carried on their torch, the Left drew unflattering comparisons between the two administrations’ soaring deficits, cynical pandering to conservative evangelicals, and ignoring of a deepening AIDS crisis—Reagan’s blind eye turned to America; Bush’s to Africa.

Reading Newsweek’s cover story of their August 8 issue this morning, “America’s Most Dangerous Drug,” I realized that there was yet another comparison that begged to be made. As Reagan spent much of his administration ignoring (and, indeed, exploiting) the chronic problem of cocaine and crack use in America, his best stab at combating the problem an ineffectual campaign summed up in three words: Just Say No, Bush steadfastly insists on making marijuana the centerpiece of his war on drugs, while methamphetamine ravages America from sea to shining sea.

The dubious hook upon which the administration hangs its dogged focus on marijuana is the oft-cited assertion that pot is a gateway drug, even though studies have shown convincing evidence to the contrary.
The Bush administration has made marijuana the major focus of its anti-drug efforts, both because there are so many users (an estimated 15 million Americans) and because it considers pot a "gateway" to the use of harder substances. "If we can get a child to 20 without using marijuana, there is a 98 percent chance that the child will never become addicted to any drug," says White House Deputy Drug Czar Scott Burns, of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. "While it may come across as an overemphasis on marijuana, you don't wake up when you're 25 and say, 'I want to slam meth!' " But those fighting on the front lines say the White House is out of touch. "It hurts the federal government's credibility when they say marijuana is the No. 1 priority," says Deputy District Attorney Mark McDonnell, head of narcotics in Portland, Ore., which has been especially hard hit. Meth, he says, "is an epidemic and a crisis unprecedented."
Meth users are flooding into American rehab programs and jails; so pervasive in the problem in some areas that local newspapers are beginning to run meth round-ups. The Mail Tribune in Jackson County, Oregon compiles weekly local meth stats to demonstrate the effects of meth on the community. The July 6 edition includes:
Arrests — Nine people were arrested last week and lodged in the Jackson County Jail on meth-related charges. Seven were arrested for possessing meth; one was arrested for possessing, manufacturing and delivering meth; and one was arrested for possessing meth and manufacturing and delivering the controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school. Four arrests were in conjunction with other criminal charges.

[…]

Child welfare — The local child welfare office of the state’s department of human services removed 12 children from six homes last week and placed them into protective custody, in part, due to meth use in the family.
Meth babies are the new crack babies, as 40% of child-welfare officials surveyed by the National Association of Counties reported an increase in out-of-home placements last year due to meth. Social services, law enforcement agencies, and drug rehabilitation programs struggle mightily against a lack of resources to combat the exploding problem of methamphetamine use, related crime, and meth manufacture, the latter of which is also of grave concern for the environment, with five pounds of toxic waste resulting for every pound of meth produced.

While these problems exponentially multiply in every region of the country, from rural areas to urban centers, the Bush administration drags its feet:
The drug czar's office hasn't made any legislative proposals, or weighed in on any of those coming from Capitol Hill; officials there say they want to get a better sense of what works before throwing their weight around. Members of Congress whose districts have been ravaged by the drug are forcing the issue: the ranks of the House's bipartisan "meth caucus" have swelled from just four founding members in 2000 to 118 today, and the group has been fighting the administration's efforts to cut federal spending on local law enforcement.

[…]

On the Hill last week, the deputy drug czar walked into a buzz saw, as members vented their frustration over his office's level of attention to the problem. "This isn't the way you tackle narcotics," said GOP Rep. Mark Souder of Indiana. "How many years do we have to see the same pattern at an increasing rate in the United States until there's something where we have concrete recommendations, not another cotton-pickin' meeting? ... This committee is trying desperately to say, 'Lead!' "
When the completely batshit insane Mark Souder sounds like the voice of reason, you know this is a serious, serious problem.

Meth is taking its toll on Americans—those who fight the Sisyphean task of fighting the exploding number of addicts and the addicts themselves, who require more time in intensive outpatient or residential drug treatment than currently occurs.
Meth effects can last up to six months for just one use, and the drug can do greater damage to a person's physical, behavioral and thinking functions than many other illicit drugs or alcohol. For this reason, it takes much longer to treat a person with a meth addiction than it does to treat someone with a cocaine or heroin problem. This time factor is also one reason why so many meth treatments currently fail.

Most adult residential drug treatment programs -- the essential first stop for breaking an addiction -- have been shortened from 45 or 30 days to only 10 to 14. The problem is even worse for adolescents. Residential treatment programs for that age group have "dried up" due to budget cuts, Hall said.

A former meth user whose before and after mug shots are used by law enforcement officials to illustrate the devastating effects of methamphetamine addiction. These pictures were taken only three years apart. In the second picture, she is only 42 years old, is 40 pounds lighter than the earlier, pre-addiction picture, and has only two teeth left.

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Jim Talent (R-MO) have introduced a bill to begin to address the problem, calling for strict restrictions on the sale of pseudoephedrine-based products, which are used to cook up meth. It’s a start—and it’s surely a nonpartisan issue if ever I saw one, one which we can all get behind. But the next step is having our president make this a priority—and ensure that adequate funding is given to those on the front lines in the battle against meth. Reagan’s inadequate Just Say No campaign failed to reduce the use and trafficking of illegal drugs; the problem actually worsened. Bush’s determination to deal with the meth problem by sticking his head in the sand will elicit the same result. If he doesn’t pull his head out and pay attention, it will be another less than flattering legacy he shares with the Gipper.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)


Great Sunday read - funny AND true.

by Ms. Julien in Miami

I'm just finishing a very nice weekend in Baltimore; the doggie and I are visiting my girl, who is doing a yearlong fellowship up here at Johns Hopkins. Well, this is my second trip, and it is actually quite a cool city. And the people are for the most part - liberal, tolerant, and just plain nice to talk to.

There is a great gay area, but guess what? It seems pretty gay-friendly most places, in a healthy way -- everyone just "gets along." In fact, except for having pompous, bigoted ass Erlich as its governor, it is overall very liberal... More on this later.

For now, I have become a fan of a really cool Baltimore-based blog - just read the most recent post below:

http://homeofdismay.blogspot.com/2005/07/there-ought-to-be-separate-highways.html

I am using Alix's computer and Blogger won't do a link on her browser, so you'll have to cut and paste...it is worth it!

Ms. Julien


Saturday, July 30, 2005

DC Rev 'apologizes' for outrageous sermon attacking gays

by Pam

"But … women falling down on another woman, strapping yourself up with something, it ain’t real. That thing ain’t got no feeling in it. It ain’t natural. Anytime somebody got to slap some grease on your behind and stick something in you, it’s something wrong with that. Your butt ain’t made for that."

“No wonder your behind is bleeding. You can’t make no connection with a screw and another screw. The Bible says God made them male and female.”
--The Rev. Willie Wilson, pastor of Union Temple Baptist Church in Southeast D.C. (and a former mayoral candidate)
I posted on this dude's unbelievable statements a week or so ago. He got so much heat for these comments that he finally had to apologize, though as with most of the idiots that get caught and have to publicly extract their feet from their mouths, the statement doesn't reek of sincerity when right behind it you reinforce perception of your initial opinion. We report, you decide. (WaPo):
"Some people in the community were offended by the language I used in my message, which I will admit was intemperate," Wilson said in a telephone interview. "I apologize to anyone who was hurt by the language that I used."

He added: "I do not apologize for raising a very serious issue concerning our young girls, some as young as 10 and 11 years of age, who are engaging in same-sex relations."
This is a ridiculous "mistakes were made" kind of cop-out, but then further down in the article, it all unravels in Reverend Wilson's loon-tastic comments.
Wilson said the sermon, which was recorded, was not intended for a wider audience. "As a preacher and teacher, I have a responsibility to address social issues in our community and to make some type of biblical and moral response," he said. [Oh, ok. So it was alright to spew that inappropriate sh*t about strap-ons and hateful language in front of parishioners, including children?]

...He also apologized last night for comments he made about black women. Those remarks prompted meetings this week between Wilson and women on the steering committee of the planned march. In his sermon, Wilson asserted that one reason women become lesbians is because a "lot of sisters [are] making more money than brothers." He also said his son told him that he couldn't get a date to the prom because "all the girls in my class are gay. Ain't but two of 'em straight, and both them ugly."

Wilson said irate calls about the sermon flooded his telephone line and prompted him to change his number. [Hmmmm. I wonder why?]

"I have learned that people can take your message out of context," he said. "I have a right and responsibility to preach to my congregation. They took my message and spread it all over the world."
Please, god how on earth could you take what this idiot said out of context?

Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend


Like father, like son: George Wallace, Jr. courts the CCC

by Pam


"There is nothing hateful about those people I've seen."
-- George C. Wallace Jr., welcoming the delegates of the "uptown Klan", the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) to its convention.
Sadly, that bad apple doesn't fall far from the tree. The former Alabama governor George Wallace stood in a school's doorway to try to prevent integration. Once it was clear that Jim Crow didn't fly anymore, he eventually courted the black vote to win re-election to his final fourth term in 1982. You'd think the son, Alabama Public Service Commissioner George C. Wallace Jr., might have learned from the social change that he witnessed while growing up and taken something postive away from those experiences. Apparently he didn't. (SPLC):
The younger Wallace, whose official resumé boasts of an NAACP Freedom Award, opened up the first day of the annual national convention of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a group whose Web site has referred to blacks as "a retrograde species of humanity." More than 100 delegates heard his speech, which went without any immediate coverage in the Alabama print or broadcast media.

There is little debate that the CCC is a racist group. In fact, the head of the Republican National Committee in 1999 warned party members to avoid the group after the Southern Poverty Law Center published an exposé detailing its racism. The CCC was created from the mailing lists of the old White Citizens Councils, which were set up in the 1950s and 1960s to resist efforts to desegregate Southern schools, and which Thurgood Marshall once described as "the uptown Klan." Recently, it has embraced Holocaust deniers and published anti-Semitic articles on its Web site.

In the audience listening to Wallace were a number of leading white supremacists. They included Don Black, proprietor of Stormfront.org, the most influential hate site on the Internet, and former Alabama grand dragon of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan; Jamie Kelso, right-hand man and Louisiana roommate of former Klan leader David Duke; Jared Taylor, editor of the neo-eugenicist American Renaissance magazine; Ed Fields, an aging white supremacist leader from Georgia; Alabama CCC leader Leonard "Flagpole" Wilson, who got his nickname shouting "Keep Bama white!" from atop a flagpole during University of Alabama race riots in 1956; and the CCC's national leader, St. Louis personal injury lawyer Gordon Lee Baum...He said he welcomed the delegates and spoke about his family and conservative values.


Proud faces of the CCC's racist Right: Don Black, David Duke and "assistant" Jamie Kelso, Jared Taylor, Gordon Lee Baum.

This was not Wallace's first flirtation with the CCC, a group that has grown more openly radical and racist in recent years. Wallace, who was Alabama state treasurer between 1986 and 1994 and was elected to the Public Service Commission in 1998, gave speeches to the CCC once in 1998 and twice during 1999.


Friday, July 29, 2005

Absolute Lunacy

by TheGreenKnight

The American right loves nothing better than to portray itself as a gang of poor, beleaguered yet heroic victims. They just can't deal with the fact that they are in charge of absolutely everything -- that they are, in fact, the elite. What to do, what to do?

Well, obviously, create a really preposterous comic book!
Liberality For All - 8 issue mini series - Color

Synopsis:

America’s future has become an Orwellian nightmare of ultra-liberalism....On one dark day, in 2006, many conservative voices went forever silent at the hands of terrorist assassins. Those which survived joined forces and formed a powerful covert conservative organization called “The Freedom of Information League”, aka F.O.I.L.

The F.O.I.L. Organization is forced underground by the “Coulter Laws” of 2007; these hate speech legislations [sic] have made right-wing talk shows, and conservative-slanted media, illegal. Our weakened government has willingly handed the reigns [sic] of our once great country to the corrupt United Nations....

Rupert Murdoch’s decision to defy the “Coulter Laws” hate speech legislations, [sic] has bankrupted News Corporation. George Soros has bought all of News Corps assets and changed its name to Liberty International Broadcasting....

The New York City faction of F.O.I.L. is lead [sic] by Sean Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver North, each uniquely endowed with special abilities devised by a bio mechanical engineer....

It is a race against the clock to save NYC from a nuclear holocaust and the world from liberal domination. Only with F.O.I.L.’s help, can “Liberality For All” once again become “Liberty For All!”
It's right-wing media taken to its logical endpoint: a juvenile ultra-macho fantasy that has less than nothing to do with real life.

My favorite panel from the on-line preview is the one in which Bin Laden is addressing the UN, and is being applauded by the ambassadors from France, Canada, Spain, and Germany -- nations that, in real life, have been allies and contributors to the war in Afghanistan. You know, where Bin Laden is or was? (Please note, the links explaining the contributions of these four nations are all to the official pages of the U.S. Central Command.)

Oh, and my second favorite panel is the one with cyborg hottie Sean Hannity, looking like Cable from the X-Men. Puh-leez.

Hat tip to Tom Tomorrow.

Cross-posted to The Green Knight.


Pelvic thrusts are the devil's work

by Pam


"...This kind of body motion is a private thing. On stage, performed by a crowd of people we don't know, it degrades the very essence of what makes human beings special."
-- Jane Jimenez, columnist at AgapePress, on how her soul is hot and bothered by pelvic thrusts she sees while in the gym.
People, I cannot possibly make this sh*t up. I am, once again, nearly speechless...

Have you been thinking about pelvic thrusts lately? I haven't, but the more godly among us may be better equipped ponder over what what your hips and mine might be doing in the gym, on the TV, you know -- right in the AmTaliban's sensitive line of vision.

Jane Jimenez, a former elementary school teacher and self-described "freelance writer dedicated to issues of importance to women and the family" will show us the way from head to crotch.
I sit in the MegaGym lobby, waiting for my husband. A big screen television entertains us. Or should I say ... Sean and The Babes entertain us. Sean struts and bobs across the television screen, pointing and rapping. Behind him the Babes gyrate. Rap and gyrate, bodies in motion, bobbing and pointing and thrusting.

Honestly, I sit in a MegaWorld of body parts thrusting, and not one of them is a pelvis. Except for Sean and his Babes.

A mother walks over with her young son, and they each settle into a brown leather chair. Clearly, like me, they are just passing time. For lack of something to do, their eyes turn to Sean. He gyrates with a Babe. He gyrates with another Babe. Two babes at once. And then they do a round of pelvic thrusts. I want to cover her son's eyes. Sean bumps and grinds while his ten Babes get in a tight chorus line. In time with the music, in unison they do pelvic thrusts. A mother and her two toddlers walk behind me heading for the family locker room. I am embarrassed for them.

I want to go to the Customer Service desk and ask why we are not watching a basketball game. Or what about ballet, Nureyev or Baryshnikov doing power leaps across the stage? Or swing dance? Or ice skating? Of all the wonderful things we humans can do with our bodies, in a MegaWorld that exercises every muscle known to man without needing one pelvic thrust ... why are we subjected to big screen Sean and his Babes?

They lick their lips and shoot us sultry glances. [Do you get the sense that she's getting turned on and having "dirty thoughts" by this description yet?] She against him, him against her ... and her ... and her. A chorus line of pelvic thrusts, and I suddenly want this song to end.

Was it only half a life ago that Elvis provoked national outrage with one twitch of a nervous leg? Yet, with a career built on body motions, I never remember Elvis doing one pelvic thrust with a babe onstage.

Pelvic thrusts are common fare in America these days. Most people would consider them no big deal. MTV and Internet porn have given us bigger things to worry about. But, if little things don't matter, I wouldn't be here in the MegaGym trying to undo the damage of an extra ten calories. Big things are grown from little things.
Perhaps the only thing that tops this piece was my post on the Stepford Wives organization of the AmTaliban, Homemakers for America, whose head Kim Fletcher's desire to return to the 1950s ("We are the homemakers. Men build the house. We make the home.") was completely bizarre.

Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.


Frist stem cell flip gets a Freepi flamethrowing

by Pam

"I give huge moral significance to the human embryo, it is nascent human life, what that means is as we advance science, we treat that embryo with dignity, with respect."
-- Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (I'm sure, with a straight face)
Pro-life, cat-killing Bill Frist flips and supports embryonic stem cell research funding, and the Freepi have quickly turned on the telepathic Schiavo video diagnostician -- his behind is toast for a prez run, if you believe these folks...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Just another one with no backbone who will not stand by the president."

"Who needs Democrats when the GOP does just fine promoting the culture of death all by itself?"

"Further, I suspect he knows he's not going to be president so he might as well betray his every professed belief for financial gain."

"Rotten traitorous b*stard! And this is the GOP leadership???? Forget it! I am DONE with them. First they ginore the borders. Then they coddle the religion of murder. Now, what the heck? Let's cannibalize the unborn! The GOP is no better than the Democrats."

"I will never vote for him. How dare he use the force of government to make all of us fund this atrocity. It can now be done privately by willing participants. Now I must violate my conscience every time I pay my taxes. SHAME ON FRIST FOR BEING ANTI FREEDOM AND ANTI LIFE!"

"I suspect that Frist's hospitals will reap huge financial gain from this type of research."

"What irks me the most is that he tries to redefine what it is. I no longer respect this man. We are all going to die. We may kill enough babies to find a cure for one disease only to die of something else. Ahhh...but in the meantime there is a lot of money to be made. All the state governments are drooling over the potential windfall, so no surprise a Presidential candidate is doing the same. BUT HE WILL NEVER GET MY VOTE!!!!!!!!"

"Frist is doing such a good job of trying to parse words and split hairs during his performance on C-Span this morning! I cringe every time I hear him say that federal funds are only to be used for "embryonic stem cells, or blastocytes that will, with certainty, be thrown away anyway". I don't need to be presented with medical terms and percentages to know all I need to know about this...killing innocent human life is wrong. Period. I don't think that we were ever supposed to go down the road of invitro-fertilization. I don't think that God ever meant for us to have extra human beings lying around, only to be destroyed and thrown away later on! We've passed the point of no return. We live in a society where the ends justifies the means. Sad."

"Thanks a lot spineless, consciousless Frist for moving to advance human life and babies as a mere comodity for useable body parts like a junkyard."

"Tradeing for Specter-points."

"I don't think that we were ever supposed to go down the road of invitro-fertilization"

"Exactly. We are just creating a market for them, so that they can say "look, it WILL cure this or that, so now we need to CREATE life so we can DESTROY life so that we can "save" life (they will just die of something else). I will never trust Frist again."

"I'm sorry that you do not understand. That's the way it is anyway. It's called conscience. I will not vote for a baby killer if the position will give him power in these moral areas. The result, then, is up to God. I must do what is right with whatever power I have. That means I must vote for a moral person and not just a "lesser of two evils" person. Any time I have compromised on that I have lived to regret it. So I am learning from past mistakes."

"IF Frist is running against a liberal with a similar perspective conscience overrides the opportunity to employ all attributes offered by said party?"

"said only stem cells from embryos that "would otherwise be discarded," not implanted in a woman or frozen indefinitely, should be considered for research."

"This whole statement bothers me. Why are we creating embryos that "would otherwise be discarded" anyway? Also, why are Republicans simply taking this situation as a given? Why are we not challenging it?"

"That's where it all starts. I used to fall for that, but no more. As it is now, the "better than the Democrat" Republicans are destroying everything we want. We have the WH and both houses of Congress and we can't even stop funding NPR and PBS. It's a big fat JOKE -- and the joke is on us. So no, I will vote only for candidates who are moral on the issues they will have power over. I could vote for Frist for dog catcher, but not President. I only have control over one decision: my vote. If someone wants my vote, let him offer moral leadership. PERIOD! Earn my vote or you won't get it."

"This "big tent" Republican Party isn't worth crap! They want to be "all inclusive", and now we are seeing the results of that mentality. They have tried to represent so many different lines of thinking that they have no core values anymore. I've seen it coming for a long time, and I do believe that the Republican Party has seen its last vote from me until they find their conscience and principles again."

"All my RNC mail, and mail from Frist's senatorial office, etc gets tossed with all my other junk mail these days. If I have no voice with those clowns, then they may as well do without my $."

"Frist has girlie-man mannerisms. On that basis alone, he couldn't be elected President."


Bite me Wingnuts!

by JJ

Cry me a F***ING river.

Oh and by the way... HA HA


Latest poetry from STP

by STP

"George Bush is an ____." Want to know what Georgie is? Go here.


Alabama Civil Air Patrol is crawling with homos

by Pam

So says AgapePress. You get the feeling that the guy in this piece believes there was a sudden homo invasion, or perhaps he has social connections that would supply him with gaydar to ferret out the infestation.
In 2003, the Civil Air Patrol's Redstone Composite Squadron in Huntsville was named the Alabama Air Force Association Unit of the Year. Arnold Staton served as a senior member with that squadron from 1995 until 2003. He says in 2002 he learned that the unit had appointed a "trans-gendered" individual to work as an orientation pilot directly with the young people, unsupervised. Upon further investigation, Staton says he discovered that homosexuals have been appointed to CAP leadership positions without letting anyone know about their sexual orientation.

"I started looking and found out there's other instances in other states where openly homosexual individuals not only serve, they're given one-on-one access in leadership situations with young people," he says. "None of the parents [of the CAP youth cadets] were made aware of [the Huntsville situation]," he says, "so they'll let them serve -- and they don't really want anybody else to know what's going on."

Staton believes CAP leaders have an ulterior motive for ignoring the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the military. "You almost would think that Civil Air Patrol's allowance of homosexuals and other deviants in these programs is almost a back-door way to root away at Don't Ask, Don't Tell," he suggests -- adding that such undermining of the policy "could possibly lead to openly homosexual individuals serving in the armed forces."


Thursday, July 28, 2005

Tucker Carlson gets it in the 'nads

by Pam



Jane over at Firedoglake just gave a swift kick to the bow-tied boy brute of the MSNBC airwaves, and you can feel it all the way over here.
Why Nobody Watches Tucker Carlson: Reason #9,675 - Because he's a world-class beatoff.

Tonight Tucker advanced the argument that Islamic clerics should be protesting against terrorists by booting them from the faith.

Before going any further with his career as a shill for the religious right, he might want to familiarize himself with exactly what it is that Christian fundamentalism believes in. Specifically he should take a look at John 3:16, which in addition to being the sandwich board of choice for street corner nutjobs everywhere is also the heart of the Christian gospels:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Dig it, Tucker: it doesn't matter what kind of heinous ass-raping, fratricidal racist thug you are, if you profess faith in Jesus Christ your name is already on the guest list at the pearly gates, and there it will stay, no matter what you do in this life. That is why Preznit Never Responsible can do enough blow to deviate the septum of a rhinoceros and still be beloved by Christo Fascists everywhere.
Whew.


These women do not deserve to be mothers, part 4

by Pam


Channoah Alece Green was charged with hit and run and felony child neglect. (Photo: Virginia State Police - Virginia State Police). The greeting on her answering machine with her son: "Praise the Lord," and ending with mother and son urging callers to "have a blessed day." Right: Lori Heine, 46, kicked her son out of the car and drove away over a Happy Meal.

Really, it's time to study what is going on in these cases where mothers are deliberately placing their children in harm's way (hot cars, riding them in trunks of cars, or serving them up to be raped). These women do not need to have custody of their children, or for that matter, need to be giving birth to any.

Now, THIS, in Falls Church, VA, we have a lunatic that just dumped her child off on the side of the interstate, driving away, and hitting the child with the vehicle as he tried to get back into the car!
A Newport News woman, who police said abandoned her 4-year-old son on the shoulder of the Capital Beltway and then bumped him with her car as she drove off Tuesday night, was charged with felony child neglect and hit and run, Virginia State Police said.

Channoah Alece Green, 22, was arrested later that night about 90 miles away after she was involved in a two-car crash on Interstate 95 in Hanover County just north of Richmond, said Corinne Geller, a state police spokeswoman. Green, who was charged with reckless driving in that incident, is scheduled to appear in Fairfax County court today on the charges involving her son, Geller said.

"He was trying to get back in the vehicle when she struck him, and then she drove off," Geller said. Police are still investigating, but Sgt. C.F. Kincaid said the child explained that his mother was "upset with him." "He wasn't sitting down [in the car] like he was supposed to," he said.

Kincaid said the boy, who was abandoned near Lee Highway in Fairfax County, appeared in "very good spirits" when he arrived at Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he was treated for bruises and cuts to his face that appeared to be scrapes from the gravel shoulder.

The preschooler was placed with Fairfax County Child Protective Services, police said. Geller said police were withholding his name, citing an ongoing investigation...The child was very polite, Kincaid said.
It makes you wonder what other abuse this poor boy suffered in the home. Sorry, folks, tie those tubes now, and get this woman some counseling.

***

NEXT CASE...

Angry mom abandons son, 7, on roadside.
Fed up with arguing, mom pulled over to the side of the road. "Get lost," authorities said she told her son Tuesday. He got out. She drove off. One problem: Her son is 7. Now Lori Heine, 46, is in the Pasco County jail, charged with child neglect. The reason for the dispute: McDonald's Happy Meals.

The boy wanted a Cheeseburger Happy Meal and a Chicken McNuggets Happy Meal, the mother told police. He told officers his mother said he couldn't have any of the burgers she bought. According to police, the mother doesn't deny abandoning the boy.

"She told him to get out of the car and go away for a while," Zephyrhills Police Capt. David Shears said. Police say the mother kicked the boy out of the vehicle outside the closed Hercules Aquatics Center at 38110 State Road 54 and drove off, leaving him alone.

He wandered next door to Zephyrhills High School's baseball diamond, John F. Clements Field. The Zephyrhills Snappers were playing the Orlando Shockers in a Florida Collegiate Summer League game. The boy walked up to a spectator and asked for help, saying he couldn't find his mother.

"He advised the (spectator) that his mother was angry at him and told him she was never going to come back and pick him up," Shears said, "and she drove away." The spectator called police at 8:23 p.m. But officers don't know what time the boy, whose name they did not release, was left alone, or for how long. The aquatics center closes at 7 p.m. Officers took the boy to police headquarters and contacted the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Soon after, they got a call from the boy's sister, 23-year-old Kymberly Simms, reporting her brother missing. Police told her they had the boy at the station and to bring the mother for DCF to question.

... When Heine arrived at the police station, officers reported that she appeared intoxicated. "Ms. Heine advised that she sat in the car drinking beer and that when it was getting dark she could not locate her son," Shears said.

The mother told police she tried to look for him.


***

Lest you think I'm being overly harsh on these women, it's just that I'm sick of these stories. So many children, many who end up in foster care, are f*cked up by drug-addled mothers and fathers, then they get a double-dose of anguish because they are shuttled around from foster home to foster home, prisoners of the system.

Two women that I know here in NC are foster parents (a lesbian couple that independently had fostered children before getting together). They are appalled by the inattention the state pays to foster situations. And they have nothing good to say about the birth parents either, who cycle in and out of rehab, counseling and numerous attempts to get them on the straight and narrow. They are now attempting to adopt some of the kids in their care, because it's clear the mother isn't going to be in a place to take them back.

In that case, the mother goes through cycles of rehab and counseling, then gets knocked up (safe sex, what's that?), and starts the whole abuse problem over again. She's working on shooting out the fifth baby -- and each has a different father that then skips out. The next baby will end up in the foster care system in short order.

The state will not pay for Norplant to stop this irresponsible woman from getting pregnant again. She's clearly not disciplined enough to take the pill, which the state does offer, and of course permanent sterilization is against the law. But what is the answer? Who will care for these kids?

This couple has asked, in frustration with the situation (both of them are black), why can't these the tubes be tied in cases like this? Everyone knows this situation is going from bad to worse, and the state is powerless to stop this societal train wreck from occurring. So many children, particularly those of color, are the victims of a system that choosed not be healed (you think a proposal to raise taxes to tackle the scope of this problem will ever pass?).

To get anywhere near solving this problem means frank talk across the political spectrum about the socioeconomic situations and problems that are the cause of abusive behavior AND the personal responsibility of adult citizens who have children that end up in the social services system.

***

Other posts on this:

These women do not deserve to be mothers
These women do not deserve to be mothers, part 2
These women do not deserve to be mothers, part 3.

Earlier version cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.


Porn Police

by Shakespeare's Sister

Really, can’t we leave this kind of culture vulture bullshit to the GOP?
More than a week after news of its existence leaked, a bill seeking a 25 percent excise tax on adult entertainment purchased online and the imposition of mandatory, “certified” age verification of adult website visitors was introduced Wednesday by nine Democratic Senators. Concurrently, two members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced companion legislation there.
Blah blah blah. When is America going to grow up and get out of the sandbox? I’m sick to death of bickering about boobies and condoms.

Just whatever.

First it was Clinton and her idiotic video game nonsense, and now this. I’m so glad to see all the Dems tripping over each other to sound holier than thou, each other, Rick Santorum, Gary Bauer, and Jesus himself. With the Democratic Party having been relegated to near-complete impotency after losing both Houses of Congress, the White House, and—coming soon—the Supreme Court, they need to do better than becoming the porn police. The Bush administration is undoubtedly the most corrupt, disingenuous, opportunistic, hypocritical, morally bankrupt, and probably criminal administration in the nation’s history, and the Dems can barely eke out a remotely favorable rating in national polls. They are lambasted as a party with no new ideas, and if this is the best they can come up with, consider me convinced.

The thing that really annoys me about both Clinton’s Grand Theft Auto campaign and this new porn bill is that they’re ostensibly of concern to “protect children.” (As an aside, I’d be more impressed if the Dems went after this stuff citing concerns about the exploitation of women; I still wouldn’t support either one, but at least I’d respect their argument a little more.) Somehow, I’m just not moved to support grand gestures and sweeping legislation to protect children from video games and internet porn, considering that’s supposed to be the job of the people who birthed them. I don’t particularly enjoy seeing my elected representatives spending their time on protecting children from things that any parent with two brain cells still knocking together could easily keep their kids away from sans a debate on Capitol Hill about it.

And if Dems are really so fired up to protect kids (oh, and I’m sure they are; I’m sure this isn’t just cynical vote-whoring), perhaps the best thing to do is turn their attention to saving the fucking country. I’m sure those kids they’re so desperate to protect from seeing exactly what those kids want to see anyway (and every kid probably should see at some point if they don’t want to turn out a self-loathing mulefucker Republican), if sentient about such things, would tell the Dems to just make sure America is still America when they grow up, okay?

Allegedly, the Dems have brilliant and viable strategies to counter the GOP’s fiscal irresponsibility, multiple national security disasters, emphasis on the reduction of civil liberties, and insistence on pandering to corporate interests. If they do, then they need to hire some halfway decent bloody writers to make those strategies easy to communicate, and then they need to start communicating them. And while they’re at it, they could cease feasting on taxpayer pork, throwing their support behind follies like the Iraq War and the Patriot Act, and snuggling up in the cozy pockets of corporations and lobbyists themselves, all while moving rightward on social issues, and running away from the word liberal like it’s a rabid howler monkey with an ax to grind.

You want to protect kids? Protect their country as they know it. They don’t need porn police; they need someone who will do whatever it takes to make sure America isn’t destroyed by those who seek to protect no one but themselves.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Brit watchdogs: sexy guys make women drink too much

by Pam


If you're in Great Britain, you'll see more bodies like the one on the left shilling booze, and no more hardbodies like Pitt.

This is a preposterous story. It smells like BriTaliban wingnuttery, intended to help stem binge drinking. What science is behind this? Hmmm. I don't think most of the students around campuses here are paying attention to commercials when the kegs arrive, but maybe the Brits are just different.
Lambrini, the popular sparkling drink, is the first to suffer. Its manufacturers have complained after watchdogs rejected its latest campaign because it depicted women flirting with a man who was deemed too attractive. The offending poster featured three women “hooking” a slim, young man in a parody of a fairground game scene. Harmless fun to lead its summer campaign, Lambrini argued.

But the Committee of Advertising Practice declared: “We would advise that the man in the picture should be unattractive — overweight, middle-aged, balding etc.” The ruling continued: “We consider that the advert is in danger of implying that the drink may bring sexual/social success, because the man in question looks quite attractive and desirable to the girls. If the man was clearly unattractive, we think that this implication would be removed.”

The ruling comes after ministers’ warnings to the drinks industry to take measures to tackle binge-drinking or face legislation. The new CAP code instructs that “links must not be made between alcohol and seduction, sexual activity or sexual success”. Romance and flirtation are not forbidden but adverts must not be aimed at the under-18s or use celebrities in a “sexy” or “cool” manner.


It Takes A Hypocrite!

by thatcoloredfella

RICK SANTORUM’S COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
CONFIRMS HE IS GAY,
STANDS BEHIND THE SENATOR

As one comment poster put it, ‘black, gay and working for Santorum – now that’s a trifecta!’ For once, TCF is speechless. I’m thinking back to the James Wood HBO biopic on Roy Cohn, and recent images of Tom Cruise detailing the principles of Scientology. I’d love to hear La Shawn’s take on this Christian Conservative conundrum, before they cut short her burgeoning entrepreneurial career to whisk her off to the Heritage Foundation Sanitarium for Wayward Evangelical Republicans.

Did TCF happen to mention, that as a proud Black Republican, former NBA star Karl Malone has never won a championship ring?

I’m thinking, who the f**k does Merv Griffin and Little Richard think they’re fooling?

Let’s play, RNC Chair Ken Mehlman Six Degrees Of Separation! Let’s see, newly outed Robert Traynham works for the social Conservative’s point man in the Senate Santorum, who recently blamed the loose (read Liberal) morals of Boston for the Catholic Church’s pedophile scandal. One of Santorum’s most ardent supporters, the American Family Council launched a first ever offensive by Evangelicals into the Black community last year, seeking to exploit the intolerance and homophobia of older, likely Black voters in support of a Constitutional Ban on Gay Marriage. They were then followed by RNC’s Mehlman bearing bribe money ‘faith-based initiative’ grants, then deposited into the church’s ‘building fund’ by the newly outraged, storefront preachers. Who then were all too eager to rage with moral indignation against the scourge of homosexual acts, and its serious threat to the very fabric of the Black community, in their debut before local TV affiliates.

Did I happen to mention that Santorum’s re-election is Mehlman’s publicly stated number one priority in the 2006 Midterms? Would you agree with TCF that second only to Karl Rove, Ken Mehlman embodies, and deceitfully emanates the treacherous nature that brought the Conservatives to power? And, would you savvy TCFW readers kindly help me figure out why I am so darn certain the hypocrisy of the closeted (but outed) Mehlman must play some pivotal role in this scenario?

I keep meaning to get my head around the fact that civil rights leader Medgar Evers’ brother is a shoeshine box carrying member of the Republican Party, yet I’ll take advantage of every opportunity to snicker while I mention that convicted murderer, felon and boxing promoter Don King is an enthusiastic supporter. And recently, while endorsing RNC Mehlman’s successful pitch to Black voters finding common ground on the Gay Marriage issue, one comment poster considered it a ‘fundamental issue’ for the community.

By simply visiting ‘The Cell’ recently to take in a Chicago White Sox home game (thanks Bunny!), TCF has rededicated himself to being a die-hard Cubs fan as a result of the experience. An event he will expand on in the very near future. Yet, the incredibly stupid and phobic comments by designated hitter Carl Everett are appropriate here, if not indicative of the masses I encountered on that balmy July night. Sun-Times’ Jay Mariotti continues to impress by not flinching, tagging Everett almost as ‘loony’ as Terrell Owens (TCF’s observation).

Furthermore, the point should be made how the issue of gay players in Major League Baseball has again surfaced without acrimony (for the most part), which segues nicely into TCF’s short list of Hottie MLB Players:

Freddy Garcia Ivan Rodriguez Tadahito Iguchi Miguel Cabrera Jerry Hairston Jr. Michael Wuertz

¨¨¨¨

TCF would like to profusely apologies for the above scatological stream of frustrated incoherence and brief pheromone-spiked hot flash. It’s an allergic reaction I get every time I’m exposed to high levels of hypocritical antigens emitted by Black and/or Gay Republicans.

For more articulate analysis on the subject matter, TCF refers you to my more professional, like-minded colleagues at Big Brass Blog.


Pharmiscists to deny perscriptions based on "moral" objections

by JJ

Has this just slipped under the radar with all the other bullshit this administration is trying to pull?


“We commend Rep. Manzullo for holding this timely hearing to provide a thoughtful examination of Gov. Blagojevich’s insensitive order demanding that all pharmacies in Illinois provide the controversial drug known as the morning-after pill,” said Wendy Wright, CWA’s senior policy director. “At risk is each person’s ability to follow one’s conscience not to perform an activity that one believes could end another human’s life, and the survival of small businesses serving rural economies. Innocent victims have been overlooked while the abortion lobby's pet project, to politically promote the morning-after pill, has been lavished with inordinate attention.”

At yesterday’s hearing, one witness claimed she was “humiliated and discriminated against” by a pharmacist who explained to the witness that she couldn’t fill her prescription. The witness drove to another store, which she admitted under questioning was a mere 20 minutes away. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colorado) chastised the witness for expecting her convenience to trump another human being’s moral convictions, and called her complaint “unseemly.”

On the other side, Luke Vander Bleek, R.Ph., owner of several pharmacies serving rural areas, testified that Gov. Blagojevich’s order “creates an environment in Illinois whereby a person holding deep moral convictions concerning the unborn cannot own and operate a licensed pharmacy.”

CWA of Illinois State Director Kathy Valente said, “Shutting down businesses for political reasons is a classic example of tyranny. This kind of government arrogance threatens our constitutional liberties and must be stopped.” and what about the constitutional liberty of a right to privacy?


Since when is it ok for our public officials chastise and humiliate a witness? It is unbelievable that congress is wasting time on this issue which has a simple answer…

If you are a pharmacist and you find it morally wrong to distribute contraceptives then find another fucking career and stop trying to ram your fucking religion down the throats of everyone else.

Christ I'm pissed about this!


What is Rummy doing?

by Pam


Official caption: U.S. Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld says goodbye to Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari after a meeting Wednesday July 27, 2005 in Baghdad, Iraq. Rumsfeld was visiting Iraq to meet with U.S. troops and the senior U.S. and Iraqi military personnel and local governmental officials. Iraq's transitional prime minister called Wednesday for a speedy withdrawal of U.S. troops and the top U.S. commander said he believed a 'fairly substantial' pullout could begin next spring and summer. (AP Photo/ Joe Raedle, pool).

This inspires confidence:
The effort to build a reliable Iraq security force has been slowed by a number of problems. One that can be traced to the earliest days of the U.S. military occupation was the virtual disintegration of the Iraqi army that existed when American troops invaded in March 2003. Some say this was made worse by the decision of L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. civilian administrator of Iraq starting in May 2003, to formally disband the Iraqi security forces.

Another problem has been infiltration of the security forces by insurgents. In its report to Congress last week, the Pentagon acknowledged that this remains a problem and it still is unable to say just how much infiltration there is, despite efforts to improve vetting of recruits.
It's all under control...





Then we have the U.S. take on it, via Reuters.
The United States hopes to sharply reduce its forces in Iraq by the middle of next year, its top commander on the ground said on Wednesday. The remarks by General George Casey appear to have been the first time since the insurgency worsened sharply in April that top Pentagon officials have suggested a timeline for withdrawal.

Casey's comments came as al Qaeda in Iraq said it had killed two Algerian envoys kidnapped last week, according to an Internet statement, and coincided with a new poll showing most Americans now think the United States will lose the war in Iraq. At a briefing with visiting Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Casey said he expected troop cuts after elections due in coming months -- a referendum on a new constitution in October and an election for a new leader in December.

"I do believe that if the political process continues to go positively, if the developments with the (Iraqi) security forces continue to go as it is going, I do believe we will still be able to make fairly substantial reductions after these elections -- in the spring and summer of next year," he said. Early this year Casey made a similar prediction, but U.S. officials have avoided suggesting a timetable since violence worsened sharply after the new government took power in April.
The Chimperor has no clothes, and the polls show it -- thus the timing for these announcements of a drawdown, as if the insurgents are going to comply and stop bombing the hell out of the country. A USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll cited in the article shows:

* 32 percent of respondents believed the United States could not win the war in Iraq.
* Another 21 percent said it was possible the United States could win but they did not believe it would.
* Just 43 percent said they were confident of victory.
* 51 percent of Americans believe the government deliberately misled the public about the presence of banned weapons in Iraq.

Also, Michael at AmericaBlog rightfully points out that along with this bluster from Rummy and the Iraqi minister, there still aren't enough appropriately trained Iraqis to secure the country, and the Pentagon knows this -- yet the MSM keeps shoveling out the bullsh*t:
But what about this paragraph in the New York Times:
Mr. Rumsfeld also called on the Iraqi government to assume greater responsibility over time for the 15,000 detainees now in American custody in Iraq; to allocate enough money in future Iraqi budgets to field security forces that are capable of replacing many of the 22,000 foreign allied forces that plan to leave Iraq by year's end; and to improve cooperation between the Iraqi defense and interior ministries to enhance the combat readiness of Iraq's 170,000 military and paramilitary police forces.
Iraq does NOT have 170,000 forces. How can the NYT blithely repeat the figures of the Bush administration when we KNOW they are a lie? Iraq does not have 170,000 military and paramilitary police forces by any reasonable standard of measurement. As of a few weeks ago, this figure included about 2000 Iraqi troops capable of fighting on their own and some 9000 troops who can fight with US assistance.

That leaves about 160,000 troops THAT CAN'T FIGHT AT ALL. Scattered reports by the MSM also indicate that properly equipping them is proving nigh on impossible -- can you really pretend to have 170,000 troops when even if they could fight they don't have the weapons to do it with? How can the NYT justify repeating this lie without breaking it down? Even Bush felt compelled to make clear in his national address that not all were combat ready. "Not all" combat ready as in "virtually none." Uh, not even close. Iraq is barely halfway to replacing the measly 22,000 troops fro other countries that will be leaving in five months. And at this rate it is years away from being able to replace our troops --unless we pull out and don't worry about Iraq sinking into chaos.


Falwell: kids identifying as gay = horseplay on the interstate

by Pam



Not surprisingly, Rev. Tinkywinky publicly endorses the forced induction of teens into "ex-gay" camps. He did so at the "ex-gay" Exodus International conference in Asheville, NC over the weekend (I posted about it here), and he opened his portly piehole to share this wisdom.
Speaking at the annual conference of Exodus International, the nation’s largest religious group promoting the idea that gays can change their sexual orientation, the Rev. Jerry Falwell endorsed forcing gay kids into counseling designed to change their sexual orientation.

Jerry Falwell compared allowing a child to identify as gay with allowing children to play on the interstate. Falwell went on to dismiss psychologists’ claims that consent is fundamental to a healthy counseling relationship and that parents should not force their gay kids into therapy.
Check out the editorial on Morons.org, Falwell Endorses Child Abuse for Gay Kids.


Hoosier gals arrested for drunk driving an inoperable car

by Pam

Another for the books. I guess these women cancel out the Hoosier letters-to-the-editor folks below this post. They aren't eligible for a Darwin Award, but we may see them take a crack at it down the road.
Two women who took turns steering a broken-down vehicle face drunken driving charges after their slow-moving car crashed into a parked car.

Kaylyn Kezy, 34, of Gary, was pushing the disabled car, while Melissa Fredenburg, 32, of Chesterton, steered from the passenger seat, police said. The two were moving the car into a parking lot at a nearby motel early Friday in the city about 10 miles east of Gary. Police said both women had a blood-alcohol levels of 0.17 percent, more than twice the state's legal limit to drive.

Authorities said the women were operating the vehicle while intoxicated -- even though the car's engine wasn't working. A prosecutor acknowledged the charges could be difficult to prosecute in court.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Wow, yet ANOTHER enlightened Hoosier...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

From today's Indianapolis Star, yet another person who "gets" that Rove is a criminal:
July 26, 2005

Rove case isn't driven by Democrats, media

Brian Tomcik, in his July 23 letter to the editor, charges that Democrats and the media are responsible for the accusations against Karl Rove.

He seems to have forgotten that the accusations result from a two-year investigation by a U.S. attorney, at the request of the CIA, for the disclosure "of the identity of an employee operating under cover."

No, it's not clear yet if a law has been broken. But it is clear that President Bush, who said that leaking classified information was "unacceptable behavior," made no attempt to find out who on his staff was responsible. It's also clear that the administration lied about Rove's involvement and that he did discuss Valerie Plame's identity with reporters in an attempt to discredit her husband's report refuting the claim that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Africa.

Norma Abbey

Anderson


Previous letters showing a glimmer of insight in a very red state (sorry, Shakes' Sis!) ;)

http://educatedeclectic.blogspot.com/2005/07/words-from-one-reasonable-hoosier.html

http://educatedeclectic.blogspot.com/2005/07/add-another-hoosier-to-enlightened.html


What title could you possibly give this post, she asks wearily....?

by Ms. Julien in Miami

GO READ ABOUT WHAT YOUR SENATORS MADE SURE THEY TOOK CARE OF BEFORE THEIR CUSHY VACATIONS

Yep, I really feel safer now. Glad they are prioritizing so well there on Capitol Hill. I mean it's not like we really need to protect our troops with enough body and vehicle armor...it's not like we need to rush to help the starving children in Africa...it's not like we have got a quagmire of bombs nearly directly a result of our foreign policy.

Nope, instead we have to provide a "shield" to the gun makers. Where's my violin...

Here, Charleton Heston, and you senators who helped to ram the legislation through - may you forever have this image burned into your brain for all eternity once you meet your maker:



No Santorum Flame-Out in 2008

by Shakespeare's Sister

I have to admit, I’m kind of disappointed that Mr. Man-on-Dog won’t be running for president. I had a whole graphics package ready to go to assert my vociferous dissent.

Maru explains Santorum’s decision thusly:
After irresponsible and constant impregnation of his broodmare wife, thoughtless, sanctimonious Senator/asswipe Rick Santorum rules out a 2008 presidential bid in order to shoulder some of the burden of actually raising his own hellspawn.

That and his poll numbers are totally in the crapper.
Plus, there are so many irresponsible things to say about abortion, birth control, homosexuality, the sexual abuse of children, the perfect family, and lots of other things on which he is approximately as well-informed as a salt-encrusted garden slug, and the hard work of presidenting might cut into his precious blurt-time.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)


The War on Terror Gets a Makeover

by Shakespeare's Sister

NY Times:
The Bush administration is retooling its slogan for the fight against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, pushing the idea that the long-term struggle is as much an ideological battle as a military mission, senior administration and military officials said Monday.

In recent speeches and news conferences, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and the nation's senior military officer have spoken of "a global struggle against violent extremism" rather than "the global war on terror," which had been the catchphrase of choice. Administration officials say that phrase may have outlived its
usefulness, because it focused attention solely, and incorrectly, on the military campaign.
Was it technically the phrase that focused attention solely, and incorrectly, on the military campaign, or was it the mofos who have busily been doing exactly what they’re now accusing the phrase of doing? In fact, frankly, I give the phrase more credit; at least it focuses on terror, whereas said mofos are fighting a war in Iraq that was, at its inception anyway, totally unrelated to terror—unless you count creating terrorists.

Anyway, now that the administration is going to be engaging in a “global struggle against violent extremism,” I figure they’ll finally start paying attention to the signs that violent extremism seems poised to explode any moment now right here in the good old US of A. I know it’s a global struggle and all, but there’s no better place to start saving the world than your own backyard.


(BTW, wingnuts—words ending in Y are pluralized by changing the Y to an IE and then adding an S. Ergo, “rally” becomes “rallies.” Just a helpful hint from your friendly neighborhood prey.)

(Hat tip CommonSenseDesk.)

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)


What Florida Repugs think about 2008

by Pam


For every voter in Florida that thinks of the image at left, the holy rollers will obsess over the images on the right.

Some outfit called Angus Reid Global Scan, polled a bunch of GOP folks in Florida to see who they favored for prez in 2008. It came back with Rudy Giuliani on top. This is a little surprising, but Rudy's got no shot with the AmTaliban vote. What do you think of this list? Santorum's out, but heaven help us if we have to deal with Mitt "F*cking" Romney. Bill Owens looks like he needs work on a little name rec, eh?
In the 2004 election, Republican George W. Bush won Florida’s 27 electoral votes with 52 per cent of all cast ballots. In 2000, weeks of recounts and court injunctions concluded in a 537-vote victory for Bush over Democrat Al Gore. Since 1972, the only Democrats to carry Florida in a presidential election are Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Bill Clinton in 1996.


Source: Strategic Vision
Methodology: Telephone interviews to 1,200 registered Florida voters, conducted from Jul. 16 to Jul. 20, 2005. Margin of error is 3 per cent.


Church of England: ministers can marry, but no sex

by Pam

I had to read this twice to be sure I wasn't missing something. The gyrations these churches are going through to figure out how to handle the homos in their midst are just crazy-making.
The Church of England will today give its blessing to gay clergy who want to enter into civil partnerships. But the Church is refusing to accord civil partnerships the status of marital relationships and gay clergy will be told that they must remain chaste.



The “sexless marriage” code for gays, to be published today, has been prepared by a working group headed by the Bishop of Norwich, the Right Reverend Graham James. The established Church’s complex manoeuvrings are the result of having to remain on the right side of the law while abiding by Church doctrine.


So, Why Do You Think This Is...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

READ - What do you think??

Ms. Julien


Monday, July 25, 2005

Wild West Florida -- Part Two

by Ms. Julien in Miami

THIS will make us all feel a LOT safer in Miami...NOT.

Yes, folks, a company is poised to sell Taser guns to Joe C. Public.

A chilling quote from the above-referenced article (Julien's List added the bold):

"For civilians, I think Tasers are a very bad idea," said Jeff Dillard, a former cop who now owns National Firearms and Accessories.

Dillard said promoting use by civilians could cause more harm than good.

"I think it would probably be more dangerous to women getting raped or somebody getting mugged at night than it would be used for defensive reasons," he said.




One More Victim

by TheGreenKnight

The Green Knight hesitated to write about this story at first, for a reason that will shortly become clear.
The man mistaken for a suicide bomber by police was shot eight times, an inquest into his death has heard. Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder, at Stockwell Tube station, south London, on Friday.
This man was followed by police because, well, he was wearing unusual clothing for the time of year, was coming from a building that had been under surveillance, and looked foreign. But the question the Green Knight had, and probably many others, was why this happened:
He had been followed by police, who had his block of flats under surveillance in the hunt for the group behind Thursday's attempted bombings. When he was challenged by police in the Tube station, he fled, reportedly leaping the ticket barrier.
Why did he run? That was the odd question. But an under-reported detail in the Guardian suggests an answer:
Eyewitnesses to the shooting had reported he had been shot five times after failing to stop when challenged by the plain-clothes officers.
Now, a lot will depend on the details as they come out. But the fact that the cops who challenged him were not uniformed suggests one possible explanation: maybe he wasn't clear that they were cops. Maybe, in the fearful weeks after a major terrorist attack on the London transit system, he simply saw a bunch of guys, in a tube station, pulling guns. Maybe he panicked and ran from what he thought was another attack. In other words, maybe he mistook them for terrorists just as they mistook him.

We'll see. But if this is what the explanation is, then it shows that suspicion is also deadly, and that the fear that terrorists put into us can be as destructive as a physical attack itself.

Cross-posted at The Green Knight.


What Really Happened to Jean Charles de Menezes?

by Dark Wraith

This post is derived from a topic on The Dark Wraith Forums Message Board.

BBC Online is now reporting that 27-year-old Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes "...was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder..."

This is an account being passed around Left-wing sites, mostly Spanish and Portugeuse:

Witnesses said the Brazilian—described as looking "like a cornered rabbit"—fell to the floor in a train carriage before a policeman standing directly above shot him five times in the head.
Now come the conspiracy theorists, who will inevitably show up when the extraordinary is followed by miserable explanations swallowed whole by the mainstream media. It begins with the issue of why London police would do a "double top," a decidedly military/spook means of killing. The execution method, and the clear indication that it was carried out "with prejudice" (in the terminology of that world), is leading the conspiracy theorists to the question being asked at Conspiracy Planet: Was Jean Charles de Menezes killed by Mossad agents who had been shadowing London police and saw a situation in which the police lost control of what appeared to be a suspect?

Against this theory, and aside from the fact that the police are accepting full responsibility for what happened, even the witnesses claim the execution was done by a uniformed officer. On the other hand, spies will wear the clothing of police to appear in authority just for the moment it takes to neutralize targets.

Also against the theory is the claim by London police that they had tracked de Menezes all the way from his London flat to the Tube, meaning they had some reason to consider him a suspect. On the other hand, a katsa is very likely to be shadowing official police expressly to the end of seeing what they're seeing; and the police apparently followed de Menezes simply because he had dark skin, not because they had any incriminating information whatsoever against him, personally.

Enough. Seven headshots might be the American police version of extrajudicial execution, but London police?

Whatever way and for whatever reason it happened, it's a bad tale for a century that is opening in a river of blood issuing forth from far more innocents than evil-doers. If officials do not want conspiracy theorists going off the deep end, they should avoid causing death and mayhem beyond the realm of normal human understanding. In the absence of their willingness to do that, they should at least do a swift and thorough job of providing a believable explanation for the unconscionable.

Given a choice of lies to believe, government officials should know that, even though people like to hear the conspiracy theorists' brand, folks will try their darnedest to accept the government's version whenever possible.

(Oh, and one more thing: head shots are the mark of a professional; eight shots into one package are the mark of a rank amateur.)


The Dark Wraith can't say that he particularly likes the taste of either lie now being offered.


Anti-winger talking points

by Pam

I'm passing along some great reverse-the-participant talking points to toss at GOP Kool-Aid-drinking A-holes that you encounter, courtesy of IndyScott. Most of them probably will strain their brains trying to visualize these, then go into overload and ultimately denial (or start quoting scripture), but hey, it's fun to try. I added some photos for a dash of flavor.
* If Bill Clinton had been in charge of the national security of this country on September 11, 2001 and terrorists murdered 3,000 Americans, what would you be saying about him?

* If Bill Clinton had invaded Iraq based on WMD that didn't exist, what would you be saying about him?



* If Bill Clinton had dressed up in a flight suit and landed on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln five weeks after the war began and told us it was over, what would you be saying about him?

* If Bill Clinton had said "Bring 'em on" and encouraged Iraqi insurgents to kill American troops, what would you be saying about him?



* If Bill Clinton had made us the face of torture in the world, what would you be saying about him?



* If James Carville and other members of a Clinton White House outed an undercover CIA officer during a time of war, what would you be saying about them?



* If Bill Clinton had sent troops to Iraq without adequate body armor and other equipment, what would you be saying about him?

* If Bill Clinton's hatchet-men claimed that John McCain and Chuck Hagel never served honorably in Vietnam and didn't deserve their medals, what would you be saying about him?



* If participants at the Democratic National Convention handed out Purple Heart band-aids to mock McCain and Hagel, what would you be saying about them?



* If a male prostitute posing as a White House "reporter" for a left-wing media organization was throwing softball questions to Bill Clinton, what would you be saying about him?



* If the Clinton White House had paid off Molly Ivins and Paul Krugman to endorse administration policy in friendly opinion pieces, what would you be saying about him?

* If Bill Clinton's administration had inherited a budget surplus and turned it into a $400 billion deficit, what would you be saying about him?

* If Bill Clinton had been elected without winning the popular vote, what would you be saying about him?



* If Bill Clinton's electoral victory was decided by roughly 500 votes in a state where Bill Clinton's brother was the Governor and his state campaign co-chair was the vote-counting Secretary of State, what would you be saying about the integrity of that election?



* If Al Franken (not Rush Limbaugh) had three failed marriages and a drug habit, what would you be saying about him?

* If Michael Moore (not Bill Bennett) had a gambling addiction, what would you be saying about him?



* If Keith Olbermann (not Bill O'Reilly) had a phone sex addiction, what would you be saying about him?



* If Bill Clinton (not George W. Bush) was born into political and financial royalty with a grandfather in the Senate and a father who would later be President of the United States, would you still consider him to be "one of us" or "authentic" or "a guy you'd want to have a beer with"?
Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.


Sunday, July 24, 2005

Can Anyone Answer This Question...?

by Ms. Julien in Miami

I received an email from my dear friend and fellow activist, Judy. I tried to answer her, but I cannot. Can anyone?
Would someone please explain to me how one administration can have so many controversial issues surrounding them and nothing happens....I really need to know...what is it going to take to wake up the American people and bring down this admin?
Ms. Julien


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Bush Admin hides Abu Ghraib images of child rape

by Pam


“Basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys/children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. The worst about all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror it's going to come out.”
-- Journalist Sy Hersh, in a 2004 speech, on rapes of minors by U.S. soldiers caught on camera at Abu Ghraib
The lack of U.S. response to the request by the Human Rights Campaign to condemn Iran for the hanging of two gay teenagers is understandable now, because our government has no moral authority to do so. It really doesn't look good when we have soldiers on tape raping boys held at Abu Ghraib -- and Bush's Pentagon is hiding the evidence.

An article in Editor and Publisher, Pentagon Blocks Release of Abu Ghraib Images: Here's Why, Greg Mitchell reports that the Pentagon refused to cooperate yesterday with federal order to release tapes of the rapes and other abuses to the public for political reasons. Guess who filed the FOIA lawsuit to get this released -- the ACLU, one of the organizations with a nice thick file (1200 pages) being monitored by Bush's FBI as a possible terrorist threat (covered here on the Blend last week).

The puzzle pieces are all fitting together nicely aren't they?
A Republican Senator suggested the same day they contained scenes of “rape and murder.” No wonder Rumsfeld commented then, "If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse."

...Just a few that were released to the press sparked the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal last year, and the video images are said to be even more shocking.

The Pentagon lawyers said in a letter sent to the federal court in Manhattan that they would file a sealed brief explaining their reasons for not turning over the material. They had been ordered to do so by a federal judge in response to a FOIA lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU accused the government Friday of putting another legal roadblock in the way of its bid to allow the public to see the images of the prisoner abuse scandal.

One Pentagon lawyer has argued that they should not be released because they would only add to the humiliation of the prisoners. But the ACLU has said the faces of the victims can easily be "redacted."
The first stories about these images and video surfaced back in May 2004 in Sy Hersh's The New Yorker, article "Chain of Command".
In his news conference last Tuesday, Rumsfeld, when asked whether he thought the photographs and stories from Abu Ghraib were a setback for American policy in Iraq, still seemed to be in denial. “Oh, I’m not one for instant history,” he responded. By Friday, however, with some members of Congress and with editorials calling for his resignation, Rumsfeld testified at length before House and Senate committees and apologized for what he said was “fundamentally un-American” wrongdoing at Abu Ghraib. He also warned that more, and even uglier, disclosures were to come. Rumsfeld said that he had not actually looked at any of the Abu Ghraib photographs until some of them appeared in press accounts, and hadn’t reviewed the Army’s copies until the day before. When he did, they were “hard to believe,” he said. “There are other photos that depict . . . acts that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel, and inhuman.” Later, he said, “It’s going to get still more terrible, I’m afraid.” Rumsfeld added, “I failed to recognize how important it was.”

NBC News later quoted U.S. military officials as saying that the unreleased photographs showed American soldiers “severely beating an Iraqi prisoner nearly to death, having sex with a female Iraqi prisoner, and ‘acting inappropriately with a dead body.’ The officials said there also was a videotape, apparently shot by U.S. personnel, showing Iraqi guards raping young boys.”
In all those months that have transpired since Hersh's report it's clear that the Pentagon was keenly aware of the PR disaster on its hands -- this fragile illusion of competence and compassion (and putting the few soldier patsies away [Graner, England], of course) has kept this illegitimate war afloat. It's no surprise why the push to renew the Patriot Act and all of its capabilities to attack our civil liberties was needed. The War on Terror has conveniently justified its need to monitor "enemies" that would threaten to expose its lies, like the ACLU. Our country is under attack from within. Bush and his cronies are a cancer on the presidency and a threat to our freedom and it's happening without a shot being fired.

Thousands dead, thousands maimed. No democracy as we know it in sight as Iraq continues to descend into chaos. Troops honorably serving whose families are on food stamps, and are being pressured to re-up for an additional tour. These same troops are also returning to find that they don't have adequate access to health care. Their reputations cannot and should not be swept in with the criminal behavior of some of their colleagues. A cover-up hurts everyone -- the Pentagon has let everyone in this situation down, and become part of this Administration's seemingly unendless list of amoral criminal activities.

The President and his chickenhawk, amoral, criminal servants have counted on the sheeple to be pacified, manipulated and completely out of touch with the harsh reality that they are being lied to and played. This has to end.


***

The Freepi are conflicted about this...we've got calls to burn/destroy the videos by some, actual concern that it will hurt the Chimperor by others, and less creatively, finding yet another way to "blame the homos"for the atrocities.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Dems are at it again."

"This won't hurt a bit."

"Burn 'em."

"I believe there are some lines we should not cross. What the whole story behind some of these incidents is, we'll probably never know. The ACLU and the democrats have throughly destroyed their ability to be viewed as objective critiques. When we're talking about terrorism and bombings that may kill anywhere from tens to millions, the gloves are considered off by me and most civilized humans. The terrorists have written the rules for these times. They want to kill indiscriminately, yet be treated by Geneva convention rules. LOL, fat chance. Live like a rabid dog, get treated like a rabid dog. ACLU, democrats... neither of you are fit to judge anyone."

"If they have video footage of our soldiers committing (or setting up) child rape...I'm gonna be one pissed off American."
s, gentlemen. We should not turn our eyes from that."

"So what is shown on the 87 photographs and four videos from Abu Ghraib prison that the Pentagon, in an eleventh hour move, blocked from release this weekend?"

"Karl Rove talking to a report from the Ladies Home Journal and revealing a recipe from the CIA cafeteria."

"I agree that the ACLU and Dems have no credibility....but if Rumsfeld is disgusted by the photos/video and they are legitimate (not faked in anyway), then can we not admit this is a problem...deal with it and fix it?"

"Lets not forget that our own media desperately avoided showing an American getting his head slowly sawed off at the hands of islamderthal scum."

"Actually, what this article points to is the absolute and total failure of "don't ask, don't tell" to properly serve military purposes in a war."

"If these stories are true, these men and women have done far more than just disgrace their country and their uniform. They should be prosecuted no less vigorously than the likes of John Couey or that POS Duncan."

"This was Seymour Hersch speaking before the ACLU so he can't be held responsible for his words (he thinks). Let's hope it's not true. Otherwise the Army is allowing homosexual predators into its ranks. Let's hope the recruiters aren't that desperate."

"I can laugh about the panties on the head...but this sounds way more than that....if it's true. With that said, I don't know that they are going to do about the photos/videos. I believe in an open society, but releasing these photos would put our soldiers and US citizens in grave danger. I have no answer. Where's Solomon?"

"Even alleged rape? If these prisoners had anything important or informative to add, they wouldn't be sitting in Abu Ghraib. I personally think this emphasizes a breakdown in command, not orders on high. War does not give carte blanche to depraved behavior."

"As far as I'm concerned, this may be one where the President should go to the mat and order them not to be released. This could be harmful to national security right at a critical time in Iraq."

"It is being dealt with and fixed. This is old news. The quotes are from over a year ago. The only thing this piece is about is whether more pictures go out to the public. Nothing has been shielded from the prosecution of the Abu Ghraib goons. Take a breath, people."

"This may very well make some of us rethink our stance on what exactly is acceptable in such an environment. If the truth is the truth, we should discuss it as Americans. This is how you avoid being blindsided. Transperancy is the best policy, gentlemen (and ladies)."

"It would only attract more attention. Kind of a Catch-22 if you ask me."

"Where indeed. Though if it were in my power, these videos and photos would have been used in a closed military tribunal and then destroyed. If the Rumsfield and Graham quotes are accurate, this can't be shrugged off. But I'm suspicious about Hersh. How could he have seen the videos?"

"The only reason I'm giving this story any consideration is because of Rumsfeld's comments about the nature of the photos/videos. I may be a fish taking the bait, but is it any worse than an ostrich hiding his head in the sand over bad news?"

"If the images truly are that bad, I think they'd attract a lot more attention than if we simply refused to turn them over. They'd be used as propaganda by the islamo-fascists for years. Abu Ghraib wouldn't have had nearly the shelf life as a story without those pictures."

"We can't put everything under the umbrella of "we are at war." I may not be the most Gung-Ho of cons out there, but I belive that blind devotion is akin to ignorance and homeland (in)security."
Hat tip, AmericaBlog

Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend


Quote of the Day

by Shakespeare's Sister

"There is a very serious message here. Before you shine up your American flag lapel pin and affix your patriotism to your sleeve, think about what the impact your actions will have on the security of the American people. Think about whether your partisan obfuscation is creating confidence in the United States in general and the CIA in particular. If not, a true patriot would shut up."

from the testimony of James Marcinkowski, former CIA case office and a former prosecutor, at the unofficial hearing on the Plame/CIA leak held by the Senate Democratic Policy Council and the Democratic side of the House Government Reform Committee

(As David Corn notes, “The Democrats had no choice but to hold such a session because the Republicans in the House and Senate refuse to examine or investigate the leak.”)

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)


DSM Day

by Shakespeare's Sister

Go read Maurinsky on the Mean Girls Administration.

UPDATE: And while you're at it, check out SFMike's Civic Center, too.


Bob Knight: ACLU's part of the homo agenda

by Pam



"The ACLU is probably best described as the 'Anti-Christian Legal Unit,' because Christians kids in these public schools are being told that their beliefs amount to a form of bigotry."
-- Robert Knight, Culture and Family Institute
I almost can't believe it -- it is two posts in one week for the penis-possessing head of Concerned Women for America, Robert Knight. Gentle B3 readers, you had your last chuckle this week over Knight's repeated obsessing about homos.

He's flapping his lips again today, aiming at both homos and the ACLU in one shot over at Agape Press, "ACLU's Pro-Homosexual 'Bullying' Tactics Reminiscent of Chairman Mao."
In California and Kentucky, the American Civil Liberties Union has gone to court to force reluctant school systems to take part in pro-homosexual promotions. Settlement of an ACLU court case in California includes a mandatory daylong faculty training on what the legal groups calls "diversity, discrimination and harassment, focused primarily on issues pertaining to actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity." And earlier this month in the Bluegrass State, the ACLU accused the Boyd County Board of Education of failing to hold up its end of an agreement to provide mandatory training focused on "sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination."

Bob Knight is director of the Culture and Family Institute (CFI), affiliated with Concerned Women for America in Washington, DC. Knight contends the ACLU is trying to undermine parents' values. "The ACLU is probably best described as the 'Anti-Christian Legal Unit,' because Christians kids in these public schools are being told that their beliefs amount to a form of bigotry," he says.

The CFI leader believes the ACLU is employing Chairman Mao's technique of re-indoctrination. "The ACLU is telling these school officials and parents 'We're going to educate your children about homosexuality, whether you like it or not -- and we're going to do it armed with court orders. That's why we're taking this to court,'" Knight shares. "This is bullying of a major sort."

In the Kentucky situation, parents have resisted pro-homosexual promotions, holding their children out of school on a designated "sensitivity training" day. According to the ACLU, only 502 of the 965 high school students and 462 of the 730 middle school students attended the training. That infuriated the ACLU, Knight says.

"The ACLU has come back to court saying parents can't do that. [Essentially they are saying] 'You must force your children to sit through our sessions that we have dictated to be the truth,'" he explains. "I mean, these people are totalitarian-minded bullies."


Will Condi listen? Asked to condemn Iran for executing gay teens

by Pam



HRC calls for Condi to actually do her job in a letter. Let's see if the result is crickets chirping as the administration ignores this heinous act in Iran; maybe she'll consult her husband her boss about this. The official reaction from the State Department so far: "The State Department said that it had not seen the letter and would not comment on it until it had been studied."
The nation's largest LGBT civil rights organization Friday urged Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to condemn the execution of two gay teens in Iran.



Thursday news emerged that the Iranian government had executed the two teens after a religious court found them them guilty of homosexuality. One of the teens was 18, the other, according to the Iranian Students News Agency, is believed to have been 16 or 17. The English language Iran In Focus also reported the executions saying the teens were hanged in public in the city square in the northeastern city of Mashhad on July 19.

"This crime warrants an immediate and strong condemnation from the Department of State," said the Human Rights Campaign in a letter Friday to Rice. "Atrocities committed by foreign governments against all people must be condemned swiftly and forcefully by the world’s greatest democracy. We urge you to do so.

"The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was signed by the UN General Assembly in 1948, declares that every human should be guaranteed the fundamental right to life, liberty, and security of person and every human should be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Tragically, this guarantee of basic human rights does not exist for GLBT individuals in certain regions of the globe."


Friday, July 22, 2005

Unhappy Birthday

by Shakespeare's Sister

I’ve come to wish you an unhappy birthday
‘Cause you’re evil
And you lie
And if you should die
I may feel slightly sad
(but I won’t cry)


-- The Smiths, “Unhappy Birthday”

Tomorrow is the third birthday of the Downing Street Memo. (If you can, celebrate DSM Day at an event in your area.)

It’s been three years since President Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair began to construct a case for a war in Iraq.

It’s been three years since they fooled (many of) the people they ostensibly represent into believing that the war was a necessary evil, in spite of its being an unnecessary but inevitable consequence of a collective foregone conclusion, at best.

It’s been three years since the governments of two of the most powerful nations in the world conspired to provoke Saddam Hussein into a war, used the UN to deliver an ultimatum that had no out clause, and fixed the facts and intelligence around an unprecedented policy of preemption.

It’s been three years since crucial resources were diverted from pursuing the real culprits behind 9/11 (and now, 7/7) to embark on an unrelated folly.

It's been three years since Bush and Blair realized that their war was illegal, and decided they didn't really mind. (The Green Knight)

It's been three years since Bush and Blair decided that the most basic features of democracy -- an open and transparent government answerable to an accurately informed public -- didn't matter so much anymore. (The Green Knight)

It’s been three years since nearly 2,000 American soldiers and countless Iraqis were sentenced to die.

It’s been three years of fearmongering, divisive politicking, mistreatment of prisoners, encroachments on civil liberties, hiding the realities of the war, manipulating and controlling the media, marginalizing dissenters, seeking revenge on critics, and lies.

Lies and more lies.

Three years.

Unhappy birthday.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)


Faith and fraud on DVD - and in the White House

by Pam

Was out with the missus at the local Target yesterday evening, just milling about, as we usually do each week, hoping that products don't leap into our cart, lol. [For the BuyBlue folks out there, we spend an equal amount of time in Costco.]

We cruised over to the DVD section, which seemed to have been ransacked during the week (a lot of them were $7.50 or $9.99, so that's not surprising). I picked up a copy of Deliverance (1972, yes, youngsters, the flick with the Ned Beatty-raped-by-the-hillbilly-crackers scene). I know, I'm a freak, but it's otherwise a really beautifully shot and moody film. It's also notable because of a good performance by the pre-rug, pre-crazy Burt Reynolds.

Anyway, over in the documentary section, I see this DVD, George W. Bush - Faith in the White House, pick it up and burst out laughing and handed it to Kate. This was obviously released before the election, but I had forgotten about it. All I can say is that it is the most ridiculous and pathetic piece of propaganda I've seen in a long while, especially in light the escalation of the ethics-free administration's activities...



I turn it over and read the description, I nearly come unglued right there in the store. This is a full-blown Rove production.
No sitting president since Abraham Lincoln has talked as much about God as George W. Bush, and none has so boldly, publicly, and genuinely lived out his faith on the job. As the leader of the free world, Bush bears an enormous responsibility, and its weight drives him to his knees…in prayer and supplication.

[OK. There are so many ripe jokes in next paragraph; please feel free to have at it. ]

Says BBC correspondent Justin Webb, "Nobody spends more time on his knees than George W. Bush. The Bush administration hums to the sound of prayer. Prayer meetings take place day and night. It's not uncommon to see White House functionaries hurrying down corridors carrying Bibles."

This powerful program is a unique insider's look at how one man's dedication to prayer and the daily application of God's word transformed his life and leadership. His dependence upon God gave him the clarity of vision and quiet confidence needed to lead us through the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the ensuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
My question -- was Karl one of those "functionaries" running down the hallway with The Good Book while leaking on his cell to The Prince of Darkness?

Anyway, I wasn't going to spend a dime on that sh*t, but Kate got all excited to see what kind of reviews this DVD received on Amazon. So, here's a few excerpts for your entertainment.

5 out of 5 stars George W. Bush, the greatest president of all time, June 8, 2005

I heard about this DVD from my church group. I love that he's so religious. Who says you have to separate church and state; that's a horrible rule. That's how Bush won the election, because good [smart] christians like myself voted him in. Satan would have risen from the underground if Kerry took over. If it weren't for us hard working Christians, America would be in a nucular holocaust by now.

Fake in the White House, April 11, 2005

...Bush's conception of faith is so flawed it's remarkable more thoughtful Christians haven't called him on it publicly. No matter how ardent your beliefs, if they're factually incorrect then that's that. I can believe in my heart of heart that two plus two does not equal four. Doesn't make it so. But because Bush looked into his heart and "prayed on" whether invading Iraq was the right thing to do, we're now supposed to forget that the invasion was not only morally reprehensible but based on at least incomplete and very likely purposely skewed intelligence analysis? Think I'll pass on that Kool-Aid.

Bush is the worst president ever. That's pretty clear by now to anyone (a) older than 8, (b) not a member of the Bush family, or (c) who can and does read. How much more evidence do we need? Like when he said he looked into Vladimir Putin's eyes and "saw his soul." This, despite Putin's increasingly autocratic and racist policies, including the continued oppression and murder of his own countrymen? Or like when he said the jury is still out on evolution?

...This DVD just adds ammo to the inescapable conclusion that Bush is a pious fraud. From his fake Texanisms (your blue-blood Connecticut family spent tens of thousands of dollars to put you through Harvard AND Yale and you STILL can't pronounce "nuclear"?) to his cynical and exploitative (see e.g. Terri Schiavo) religiosity, George W. Bush stops being sincere the second he wakes up. He's a bigoted, myopic little child of privilege who should be given a gun and sent to fight alongside the soldiers he's thrown into the meat grinder. I know he chickened out the last time such an opportunity dropped into his lap, but it's never too late. Proceeds from this DVD could be used to buy him a one-way ticket to Fallujah so he can put that spiffy flight suit to use. But since Bush has clearly played the Jedi Mind Trick on the filmmakers, that's not likely to happen.

So...why the two stars? Because the "Left Behind" crowd will spend two more hours in front of their DVD players and two less hours picketing Planned Parenthood clinics. Anything that sedates the farthest right fringes of American religion is good by me. Plus, there's something kind of appealing about watching a puff piece on someone you just know is ultimately going to be shown for the charlatan they are.

Bush Haters Beware!, March 11, 2005

This is an amazing documentary told through the eyes of people who have known President George W. Bush. The documentary makes it clear that when the President brought up Jesus Christ it wasn't to get votes by some hungry politician it was because his Christian faith really means a lot to him.

We hear about the things that the public would never know about if it weren't for people like some of the ones interviewed. God seems to truly have turned a reckless youth into a humble and devotional man. Like President Reagan and his fight against communism, President Bush also seems to feel that God is using him to better the world.

President Bush comes off as humble, prayerful, and touched by God in this documentary, in fact, someone who kisses the bandages of a wounded soldiers arm and breaks into tears and prays he sounds more like a future saint than a president of the United States.

The true character and image of George W. Bush comes out in this well made documentary on the faith of this President. Highly recommend!


Bush's world

by STP

Having woken up to reports from London involving a shooting of a possible bomber on the tube and also of police having surrounded a mosque, I am disheartened by the increasing terrorism in that city of late. My thoughts turn in two different directions: 1) Londoners are tough buggers who are not going to be frightened into submission and 2) Yep, George Bush's plans sure has made the world a safer place.

First, the thoughts on the British character. I do not consider myself an expert on the mindset of the English, but it appears obvious to me that Brits will not be driven into incapacitating fear by terrorism much in the same vein that Israelis are not. Oh, sure, Brits are concerned about the incidents of late and must worry as they head off to work or wherever. They talk with pride, though, of having survived the German Blitz of World War II, and their repeated mention of those horrors are their way of stating, "You cannot beat us through terror."

Like I have said, I am not an expert on the British pysche, but their toughness in the face of adversity is quite obvious and one must respect it. It is a shame, though, that the Brits must endure bombings in their country, and they do so, in large part because of the foolish policies of George Bush and Tony Blair.

Terrorism existed before George Bush was handed the presidency of the United States. It is quite possible that 9/11 would have occurred in the same fashion had Al Gore been president (Although, it is improbable that Gore would have sat stone-faced and frightened in a Florida classroom and then flown mindlessly around the country for hours). Finally, the decision to invade Afghanistan to root out al Qaeda and the Taliban extremists was a swift and proper course of action to undertake.

That said, the presidency of George Bush has been an abject failure when grading performance on the war on terror and securing the American people. Only when looking at Bush as the greatest possible recruiting tool for terrorists can his administration be given high marks, as he would receive an A on this subject with Osama bin Laden as his evaluator.

A quick refresher of some of the key events of Bush's war on terrorism reveals a plethora of mistakes, lies, false steps, stubborn decision-making, lack of foresight, and indifference.

1. The August 6, 2001 memo that the President and Condoleeza Rice ignored.
2. Evidence that the likes of Richard Clarke revealed showing the Bush Administration locked into plans to invade Iraq rather than focusing on the threat of terrorism.
3. A half-hearted approach to the Afghanistan invasion that relied heavily on Afghani clans rather than U.S. personnel. Apparently, U.S. troops were needed elsewhere. The opportunity to strike al Qaeda firmly in Tora Bora was missed due to inadequate manpower and impractical deployment.
4. The loss of any focus on Afghanistan at all once theIraq War began, which enabled that Afghanistan to begin to slip back into chaos.
5. The Downing Street Memos, which clearly reveal the White House's attempts to have intelligence reports fixed to fit the goals of invading Iraq. These documents strongly support evidence of a massive deception by the Bush Administration to lie to the American public and lead the nation into war despite having no proof of an Iraqi link to terrorism or WMD.
6. The Plame leak highlights the lengths to which the Bush Administration will go in order to support a fake war and destroy anyone who disagrees with them. Plame was outted by the highest echelons of the Bush Administration because her husband, Joe Wilson, found the connection between Iraq and Niger to be false. The fact that exposing Plame was a breach of national security was irrelevant to the Bush Administration.

And what has all this gotten the American people in the way of security? I would argue a big, fat nothing. As mentioned above, Afghanistan is again slipping into chaos and uncertainty as the Taliban regains footing and al Qaeda remains a serious threat in the region. Bush's asinine "Axis of Evil" remark increased tensions with Iran and North Korea, making them more likely to tilt toward becoming nuclear states, not less so. And Iraq ....

Saddam Hussein was a despotic ruler. His oppressive regime was horrible and the acts he committed against the people of Iraq were unquestionably evil on every level. Eliminating him would clearly make the world a better place; at least in a vacuum.

However, just because Hussein was a murderous tyrant, it does not follow that actually taking action to remove him made any sense or was justified. In simplest terms, as bad as Hussein was, one could argue that there are worse men leading their countries that remain in power. Why don't we invade those countries? Some, such as Saudi Arabia, we consider an ally and friend.

But what of the non-existent WMDs? Well, first, there was ample proof that Saddam Hussein no longer had WMDs or the means to pursue them. North Korea, Pakistan and Iran clearly either do possess or are attempting to obtain nuclear weapons. Clearly, they present a greater WMD threat then Iraq.

Saddam had links to al Qaeda? Well, no, he did not. There is no evidence to support this hollow claim, yet Bush used it to scare the American public. Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, North Korea, Somalia, and others have far greater connections to terrorism, yet Iraq was invaded with the lie of fighting al Qaeda attached to the action.

There is little doubt as to the motivations for war in Iraq; none of them involved fighting terrorism, stopping the flow of WMDs or promoting democracy. Rather it was about oil interests, power and a warped and twisted world vision held by the neo-cons who control our government. But back to my original second point; the Bush professed increased safety of the American people as a result of his policies.

As I have stated, George Bush has been most effective in his presidency in working FOR al Qaeda as a recruiting tool for that group. He invaded a Muslim/Arab nation without cause and no post-war plan, thereby inflaming that population. Iraq had a minimal terrorist presence prior to invasion. However, now, thanks to the policies of George Bush, Iraq has become what it previously had not been - a haven and flashpoint of terrorist activity.

The Bush effect extends far beyond Iraq, though. It reaches into the entire middle east in growing measure. The hatred for America grows. The radicalization of an increasing segment of the Muslim/Arab world expands exponentially as the Bush Administration commits atrocities and supports governments that oppress their own people.

With the bombings and continued threat in London, it has become apparent that the threat is creeping ever closer to our shores once again. While Bush and his lackeys claim there has been no major terrorist strike in the U.S. since 9/11 (forgetting that 9/11 happened on their watch), he ignores the fact that we are highly vulnerable, and his actions in alienating more and more people only serve to increase the risk we face.

Bush has underfunded homeland security, ignored the war on terrorism to fight a pointless battle in Iraq that created more terrorism, cut taxes for the wealthy during a time of war, and not prepared the American public to sacrifice (excluding the men and women of the armed services and their families). In no way has the George Bush "war on terrorism" made the U.S. safer. The risk grows, and while it might do so no matter who sits in the Oval Office, it is more menacing, far reaching and effective due to the incompetence, indifference and failed policies of George Bush.

That is where my thoughts turned as I watched the news today.

(Cross posted on Poetic Leanings)


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Jesus. Fucking. Christ.

by Lanoire

Excuse the profanity, and the blasphemy, and whatever else you want to call it. Also excuse me from taking your mind away from the highly important matter that is L'Affaire Plame, and allow me to suggest that you go back to thinking about it when you're done reading this post.

But all the lovely "news" "coverage" of one John Roberts so perfectly illustrates everything that's fucked up about our country today that I just can't resist commenting on it.

I'll focus on the oh-so-liberal New York Times, just to get a conservative estimate of the idiocy in our media (rather than going to, say, the Wall Street Journal and getting a view that's even worse).

Exhibit A: This article, written by Todd Purdum, Jodi Wilgoren (surprise!) and Pam Belluck

Headline: "Court Nominee's Life is Rooted in Faith and Respect for the Law."

Got that? His life is rooted in faith and respect for the law. He doesn't say or claim that his life is rooted in these things--oh, no. It's an objective fact that his life is rooted in faith and respect for the law--according to Purdum, Wilgoren and Belluck, anyway. And does that imply that those of us who think Roberts is full of shit have no faith or respect for the law? Why, I do believe it does.

Choice Passages:

He is the son of a company man, and he has lived a loyalist's life. His teachers remember him as the brightest of boys, but his classmates say he never lorded it over them. He was always conservative, but not doctrinaire. He was raised and remains a practicing Roman Catholic who declines, friends say, to wear his faith on his sleeve.


He also likes long walks on the beach, loves his mother and helps little old ladies cross the street. He's a NICE GUY. A nice guy, do you get it? Huh?

Besides being an academic star, he was a scrappy athlete, a captain of the football team despite his mediocre play, and competed in wrestling and track. In a small school of about 125 students, John Roberts was also on the student council executive committee (he lost the race for senior class president to his best friend), the student activities committee, the editorial board of The Torch student newspaper and the drama club.

The school yearbook from 1972, his junior year, shows he played Peppermint Patty in the production of "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown."

He impressed almost everyone. Lawrence Sullivan, his high school math teacher, recalled on Wednesday, "It became very, very clear and evident when he first came here that he was a person who was destined to do big things."


Which has what, exactly, to do with his judicial views? Is there any difference between this article and a prolonged blowjob?

This is nothing, however, compared to Exhibit B, this article written by our old friend Elisabeth Bumiller.

Headline: "An Interview by, Not With, the President"

Choice Passages:

When President Bush sat down in the White House residence last Thursday to interview a potential Supreme Court nominee, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, he asked him about the hardest decision he had ever made - and also how much he exercised.


"Well, I told him I ran three and a half miles a day," Judge Wilkinson recalled in a telephone interview on Wednesday. "And I said my doctor recommends a lot of cross-training, but I said I didn't want to do the elliptical and the bike and the treadmill." The president, Judge Wilkinson said, "took umbrage at that," and told his potential nominee that he should do the cross-training his doctor suggested.

"He thought I was well on my way to busting my knees," said Judge Wilkinson, 60. "He warned me of impending doom."

Judge Wilkinson's conversation with the president about exercise and other personal matters in an interview for a job on the highest court in the land was typical of how Mr. Bush went about picking his eventual nominee, Judge John G. Roberts, White House officials and Republicans said. Mr. Bush, they said, looked extensively into the backgrounds of the five finalists he interviewed, but in the end relied as much on chemistry and intuition as on policy and legal intellect.

"He likes to have the info, he likes to have the background, but he also is a field player," said Dan Bartlett, the counselor to the president, in a briefing to reporters on Tuesday night. "He likes to size people up himself, make his own judgment."


Gag me with a fucking spoon. Yes, this is exactly what I want to know about a man who's going to help determine the future of basic American liberties: whether or not he gets along well with Bush and is a good ol' boy. Some sociologist should do a study on whether or not reading the NY Times makes you stupider.

crossposted to Looking at the Stars


A sick world - two gay Iranian teenagers executed

by Pam



Journalist Doug Ireland has the details on a story that will make your blood boil. I don't even know what to say.
Two gay Iranian teenagers -- one 18, the other believed to be 16 or 17, were executed this week for the "crime" of homosexuality, the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) reported on July 19. (The ISNA report is in Farsi, and was translated into English by the British gay rights group OutRage!, which released its report today--ISNA also provided the terrifying photos of the teens' last moments you see on this page.) The two youths -- identified only by their initials as M.A. and A.M., were hanged in Edalat (Justice) Square in the city of Mashhad in north-eastern Iran, on the orders of Court No. 19. The hanging of the teens was also reported by the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

Consensual gay sex in any form is punishable by death in the Islamic Republic of Iran. According to the website Age of Consent, which monitors such laws around the world, in Iran "Homosexuality is illegal, those charged with love-making are given a choice of four deathstyles: being hanged, stoned, halved by a sword, or dropped from the highest perch. According to Article 152, if two men not related by blood are discovered naked under one cover without good reason, both will be punished at a judge's discretion. Gay teens (Article 144) are also punished at a judge's discretion.

Rubbing one's penis between the thighs without penetration (tafheed) shall be punished by 100 lashes for each offender. This act, known to the English-speaking world as frottage,' is punishable by death if the 'offender' is a non-Muslim.   If frottage is thrice repeated and penalty-lashes have failed to stop such repetitions, upon the fourth 'offense' both men will be put to death.

...And Outrage, in its release about the gay teens' execution, noted that, "according to Iranian human rights campaigners, over 4000 lesbians and gay men have been executed since the Ayatollahs seized power in 1979. Last August, a 16-year-old girl was hanged for 'acts incompatible with chastity.'"

In the case of the two teens hanged in Mashhad, "They admitted having gay sex (probably under torture) but claimed in their defense that most young boys had sex with each other and that they were not aware that homosexuality was punishable by death," according to the ISNA report as translated by Outrage. "Prior to their execution, the gay teenagers were held in prison for 14 months and severely beaten with 228 lashes."
Who is monitoring sexual behavior? Are there community spies that can report a second or third instance of an infraction? I feel sick that human beings can do this sort of thing to one another.


Anti-gay 'scientist': Homos more likely to drive DUI

by Pam


Paul Cameron (L), the bogus scientist behind the homophobic insert that ran in the Washington Post last year is at it again. Right: It should be noted that Cameron was booted from the American Psychological Association "for a violation of the Preamble to the Ethical Principles of Psychologists."

Good god. Discredited wingnut homophobe scientist Paul Cameron just cannot contain himself, this is completely unhinged. Gays Twice as Apt to Drive Under the Influence. Here's this howler from the Family "Research" Institute:
Have you ever wondered why so many gays and lesbians are involved in auto accidents? Perhaps its because they are twice as apt to drive under the influence. 25% of homosexuals as compared to 14% of straights said that they drove under the influence of drugs or alcohol last year. Gays were more apt to drive impaired than straight men - 32% to 19%, and lesbians than straight women - 17% to 8%.

"Driving is a serious responsibility," said Dr. Paul Cameron, Chairman of the Colorado-based Family Research Institute, who just published the report in the peer-reviewed journal Psychological Reports. "Everybody on the road, not just the driver, is endangered by this self-centered and caviler behavior. This is further evidence that gays' devil-may-care attitude toward sex spills into other areas as well. As Shakespeare's Pericles warned, one sin 'another doth provoke.' In light of the many social harms of homosexuality, many documented in our analysis of this Centers for Disease Control study, the coming U.S. Supreme Court should overturn Lawrence v Texas, which gave constitutional protection to homosexual conduct. "

Men were twice as apt to drive under the influence as women. But blacks were less apt than whites to do so - only 7% did so in the past year. Black men were less apt than white men (11% v. 19%) and black women less apt than white women (3% v. 8%).

"This blows a hole in the 'we endanger others because society doesn't fully accept us' argument," said Dr. Cameron who headed the three man team that published the study. "Disturbed people endanger others. This indifference to the wellbeing of others isn't due to discrimination. Blacks have been discriminated against for hundreds of years, and they behaved more responsibly than whites in this area."

"This is one of the many findings that clue the public as to why the U. S. Centers for Disease Control has not broadcast the sex information from its 1996 study," said Dr. Cameron. If blacks, shunned by some segments of society, are less apt to drive under the influence, you can't sensibly excuse homosexuals on the grounds that they drink because they feel alienated. Homosexuality, drunken driving - both are dangerous choices for the actor and the society in which he performs."
How soon will we see this appearing in the "mainstream" wingnut press? People, this is what they are after. Recriminalization, re-closeting, and "re-heterosexualizing" fags and dykes out of society, using bogus science and "facts" generated by self-loathing quacks.

Also, I hate to disappoint the "scientist," but alcoholism is sadly abundant in the urban black communities, thanks to the practice of locating a liquor store on nearly every block in predominantly minority neighborhoods in NYC, for instance. The fact that most don't need a car to get liquored up probably skewed his "findings."

UPDATE: this winner's activities have also been covered by the Southern Poverty Law Center:
After losing his job teaching psychology at the University of Nebraska, Cameron set himself up as an independent sex researcher in the late 1970s, churning out scores of anti-gay pamphlets that were largely distributed in fundamentalist churches.

Cameron's "studies" falsely concluded that gay people were disproportionately responsible for child molestation, for the majority of serial killings, and for the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Gay people, according to Cameron's research, were obsessed with consuming human excrement, allowing them to spread deadly diseases simply by shaking hands with unsuspecting strangers or using public restrooms.

"Of all the vices," Cameron concluded in a pamphlet called Medical Aspects of Homosexuality, "only homosexuality constitutes a conspiracy against society."


You must see 'Double Super-Secret Background'

by Pam



A great Flash cartoon by Mark Fiore at SFGate.com.


Condi’s Hypocrisy in Sudan

by Shakespeare's Sister

I heard about this on the NPR this morning, and I honestly couldn’t believe my ears, but apparently it’s true:
US officials and press accompanying US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on a trip to Sudan said they were "manhandled" by security staff at President Omar al-Beshir's residence.

US officials said the security men tried to prevent them and the press from entering the meeting, and tried to confiscate tapes from a National Public Radio reporter, before Rice's spokesman Sean McKormack and others intervened.

Jim Wilkinson, senior adviser to Rice, said he was grabbed and thrown against the wall at the entrance to the residence before he bulled his way through with Rice's personal assistant in tow behind him.

[…]

When the second press group finally entered for a photo op with Rice and Beshir, NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell tried to ask a question about why Khartoum should be believed in its promises to crack down on militias in its western Darfur region, but she was cut off and pushed away by the Sudanese.

Wilkinson again angrily intervened, and said "don't ever touch our journalists again".

An enraged Rice came to talk to the press on the plane before taking off for the restive region of Darfur and apologised to Mitchell, saying she was demanding an immediate apology from the Sudanese.

"They had no right to manhandle my staff and the press," Rice said. "It makes me very angry to be sitting there with their president and have this happen."
The way that the press was treated is an unbelievable outrage—and I’m glad that Rice got pissed about it in no uncertain terms.

But the thing that bothers me is why she is outraged about the way the Sudanese government tries to block the press from doing its job in Sudan and not outraged about the stonewalling and manipulation of the press going on in America. Is it really so much worse to have reporters physically intimidated and stopped from doing their jobs than to covertly threaten them with lack of access, refuse to answer questions based on a ludicrous premise (see: “ongoing investigation”) that wasn’t applicable when the administration wanted to defend its members but is now of prime concern since its members have been implicated in a criminal act, and misdirect the press with diversionary leaks of bad information? What about paying the press to write favorable stories about the administration’s policies? What about letting gay male prostitutes with dubious journalistic credentials into the press corps to lob softball questions when things get hot? Don’t any of these things bother Rice?

Or would those things only be a problem if it weren’t her husband a member of her party in office?

Pam’s on it, too.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)


Are we done with Rove yet?

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Very interesting take from Julien's List contributor Mario...well worth reading:


Rove is dispensable ...The Bush Gang no longer needs him.

Rove will resign.....and get a six figure job at Baker and Ass. defending Saudi terrorists.

Meanwhile...the Downing Street Memo has fallen off the radar.

What is more important....a document that proves the Murder Monkey lied to start a war ....or putting Pig Rove in jail?

The Dems have fallen for it again....they keep letting Bushco dictate the debate.

The DSM is the only thing we should be talking about.

I was back in Ft benning last week....the amount of hatred they have for Bush is amazing. I was traveling with a local newspaper photographer who had warned me to not bring up the war in front of the soldiers. Of course I couldn’t help myself and talked to a few of them......they all agreed with me..the war is wrong and the President is a lying sack of crap.

One interesting thing...... The soldier’s paychecks are signed by The Murder Monkey......is this SOP in the military? Or is this something The Chimp started?... There are a couple of ex military people on this list ( all Democrats by the way...we know Republicans only want to start wars they don’t really want to go fight in them ) Were your checks signed by the Prez?





--
The mainstream media in this country are dominated by liberals.

I was informed of this fact by Rush Limbaugh. And Thomas Sowell.
And Ann Coulter. And Rich Lowry. And Bill O'Reilly. And William Safire.
And Robert Novak. And William F. Buckley, Jr. And George Will.
And John Gibson. And Michelle Malkin. And David Brooks. And Tony Snow.
And Tony Blankely. And Fred Barnes. And Britt Hume. And Larry Kudlow.
And Sean Hannity. And David Horowitz. And William Kristol. And Hugh Hewitt.
And Oliver North. And Joe Scarborough. And Pat Buchanan. And John McLaughlin.
And Cal Thomas. And Joe Klein. And James Kilpatrick. And Tucker Carlson.
And Deroy Murdock. And Michael Savage. And Charles Krauthammer.
And Stephen Moore. And Alan Keyes. And Gary Bauer. And Mort Kondracke.
And Andrew Sullivan. And Nicholas von Hoffman. And Neil Cavuto.
And Matt Drudge. And Mike Rosen. And Dave Kopel. And John Caldara......................

I want to see the traitor do the frog march as much as anyone ..but. It is all a smoke screen.



Add ANOTHER hoosier to the enlightened list...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

The second such letter to the editor in as many days in the Indianapolis Star...I am impressed and pleased!!! (Also shocked they are appearing in print) :)

July 21, 2005

Don't protect Karl Rove with a shield law

The claim that several senators and representatives want to protect the press with a federal shield law is another example of business as usual in Washington. Proponents claim such a law will encourage whistle-blowers who guard the public from corporate and government excess. Strangely, they downplay that the bill proposed would protect someone like Karl Rove, who is under investigation for retaliating against a whistle-blower (Ambassador Joseph Wilson). Whom are we really trying to help?

A free press is essential to protecting the citizenry of any nation. The Supreme Court ruled a reporter is not required to reveal a source so long as that source is not committing a crime. However, the Rove case is not an example of a whistle-blower protecting the public from an abuse. It is an example of absolute power being abused.

Andrew Dills

Greenwood



London Underground Emergency

by Shakespeare's Sister

Two weeks to the day after 56 people were killed by suicide bombers in London, three tube stations have been evacuated. Emergency crews have been dispatched to the Warren Street, Shepherds Bush, and Oval stations. I also heard on the radio that there may have been an incident on a bus in another part of town, as well. No casualties have been reported so far.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Wild West Florida Claims a Victim

by Ms. Julien in Miami

I would like to thank once again our esteemed governor, good old Jebbie, for signing with flourish the law that allows any
dumba*s to shoot someone he thinks looked at him the wrong way.

(Signed in the company of the NRA lobbyists who have provided kickbacks to the corrupt Florida banana republic for a
looonnnnnnngggg time).


Police: Man Shoots, Kills Driver Who Blocked Car

WTVJ-TV

MIAMI - Police say the resident of a Miami apartment complex killed a man who blocked his car into a parking space. At about 10 p.m. Monday, police say Tulio Jesus Arias realized a car had blocked his black Nissan into a parking space at his apartment building, in the 2400 block of Northwest 16th Street.

The sick story:

After spending the next two hours searching for the person who had parked behind him, Arias gave up and called a tow truck.

However, the driver of the other car then showed up.

Witnesses said the driver began to shout obscenities and threats at Arias, and they got into a big argument. Then, Arias, a security guard, pulled out a gun and started shooting.

"The man came downstairs saying that that was his car, ripping his shirt open, cursing, really violent. He opened his shirt and said, 'Go ahead. Go ahead. Shoot me right here.' And he was reaching, so we don't know if he was reaching for a gun or what," Maria Hurcades, a witness, said.

Witnesses at the apartment building said that as his 12-year-old daughter watched from his car, Arias, whom people call a nice guy, just snapped and started shooting.

"Two families are suffering right now for something that just got out of control, for just being verbally abusive. It makes no sense that it happened. One person's dead and the other one's in jail over blocking a car," Hurcades said.

Police said the slain man's wife saw her husband shot down.

And the best part:

Police say Arias fired his gun eight times, and that the other man [the one shot dead] was not armed.

And gee, this is a surprise:

Police said they aren't sure if a new Florida law that allows someone to shoot an intruder if threatened sufficiently applies in this case...

Well, thanks to the guvnah Bush and his cronies, we'll never find out if the guy was shot "within the law" or not, will we?

Nope...the guy is already dead - it's TOO LATE!!!



Best buds - the caption says it all

by Pam


In this photograph taken in June 2003, Karl Rove, senior advisor to President Bush and Robert Novak are pictured together at a party marking the 40th anniversary of Novak's newspaper column at the Army Navy Club in Washington DC. At the event a number of people wore buttons reading, 'I'm a source, not a target.' Rove is at the center of a controversy about the leaking of a CIA operative's identity which originally appeared in Novak's newspaper column. (AP Photo/Lauren Shay)


Robert Knight is obsessing about homos again

by Pam



It seems that about once a month, Bob Knight must have a hot dream about getting boned by a guy. Then he wakes up in a cold sweat, takes a cold shower, prays, then runs to the keyboard, and writes up some unhinged quote that I can make fun of here on the Blend. Here are some earlier gems, which always seem to revolve observations on how powerful gays are, suggesting he's clearly a bottom looking for a daddy, right Bob?
1. "Because there are so many homosexuals in Washington, it's a very aggressive community...You have national homosexual organizations headquartered here -- like the Human Rights Campaign -- that ... wield tremendous influence on Congress."

2. "The homosexual lifestyle is about pleasing oneself, not planning for the future, not setting aside money for kids, not trying to create a situation where the generations come together. It's about having fun. It's about indulging in whatever desire you want at any given time."

3. "Millions of families shop at Wal-Mart, and I think they're counting on them not knowing that Wal-Mart is openly promoting homosexuality. When it gets out that they're [doing that] by actually subsidizing homosexual relationships ... this will tarnish their image."

4. "If the homosexual agenda is enacted, we will see the criminalization of Christianity in a few short years. It is already happening in Canada and Sweden."

5. "Homosexuals dominant the hospitality industry in Washington and are in position to keep tabs on the sexual liaisons of many members of Congress."
The latest entry, posted at wingnut web rag Agape Press, is another screed warning tender hearts about the powerful homosexual agenda.
Pro-family forces across the U.S. are warning about the dangers of a bill introduced in Congress that would grant special rights to homosexuals. Bob Knight of the Culture and Family Institute says the effort is being spearheaded by members of Congress who want the support of the homosexual community and its big money. "Liberal congressmen have now introduced a bill adding 'sexual orientation' specifically to federal workplace protection," the pro-family spokesman says. "This would be the first time, if it passes, that Congress has created a special civil-rights category for sexual orientation." This is a dangerous bill, Knight contends, and he feels its prospects for passage are difficult to evaluate. "Right now, with the ongoing war on terror and the publicity surrounding the president's judicial nominations," he notes, "I don't see a lot of legislation like this advancing -- although sometimes it's under cover of big events that homosexuals and their media and legislative allies tend to push their agenda through." Knight says pro-family advocates are going to keep "a very close eye on this bill." If the legislation passes, he adds, it could set America on a downward spiral into depravity and, meanwhile, open the floodgates to all sorts of special rights groups.


Karl Rove: The #1 Dirtbag Jagdork in the Nation

by Shakespeare's Sister

The news is not good.

Not for Turdblossom, anyway.

The U.S. Senate Democratic Policy Committee and the U.S. House Government Reform Committee Minority have announced they will conduct a joint hearing this Friday to explore how a covert CIA agent's name was leaked and examine the national security consequences of disclosing the identity of a covert intelligence officer. Apparently, since the GOP majority doesn’t seem to give a rat’s ass that national security was compromised in the administration’s quest for unlimited power, the Dems have decided to take matters into their own hands.

Meanwhile, Mark Morford’s recent column in the San Francisco Chronicle describes Rove as “America’s Big Malignant Tumor,” “perhaps the slipperiest and sweatiest and most powerful adviser of a major world leader since an invisible purple demon hissed sweet nothings into Mussolini's ear,” “Grand Overlord Puppetmaster,” “the most powerful and brilliant and deeply unlikable political thug most people have barely heard of because he's just that kind of secretive nefarious genius the likes of which makes women recoil and flowers wilt and moderate politicians break out in hives,” and as having a “meager education and porcine sheen and this-one's-for-all-the-girls-who-shunned-me-in-high-school revenge demeanor.” Seriously—you must read this column. It’s priceless. Not only is it dripping with the appropriate level of caustic contempt for a man who’s turned American politics into a sick joke, but it’s also dead-on in its assessment of what this whole mess is really all about.

Meanwhile still, Barbara Boxer invoked Nixon and Watergate in a statement released demanding a White House explanation of the CIA outing, even being so bold as to relate Nixon’s “not a crook” bullocks to Bush’s recent “if someone committed a crime they will no longer work in my Administration” double-bullocks. Boxer suggests the buck stops at Bush’s desk. I agree.

And meanwhile still, CNN reports that in a statement to Congressional leaders, eleven former intelligence officers have said that the Plame leak may have damaged national security and the government’s ability to gather intelligence. Ouch.

If the plan was to distract attention away from Rove’s shenanigans, I think it’s back to the drawing board. Hey—maybe President Bush can fall off his bike again.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)



BWAAAAAHHHH HAAAAAHHHAAAAA!

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Just GO HERE.


:)


Falwell's Followers Go Ballistic

by TheGreenKnight

Earlier this month Jerry Falwell attacked the Christian Alliance for Progress as "hardly Christian" because it does not follow his right-wing agenda, but prefers to focus on economic justice, equality for the poor and marginalized, care for God's creation, and peacemaking. In other words, he called it "hardly Christian" because it tries to follow in the footsteps of, oh, you know, this guy.

Predictably enough, his followers sent a load of hate mail the Alliance's way, accusing them of "aposticy" [sic], saying they are "all all destined for Hell" [sic], that they are "Judizers and false profets" [sic], that they "belong in the left wing column right along with the Wall Street Paper" [really sic!], that they are really just a front group for the "Democtatic Party" [sic], and stating that "GOD HAS USED WAR MANY TIMES TO TEACH A LESSON TO OR GIVE A GROUP OF PEOPLE AN 'ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT'" [totally sic].

Not that the Alliance is taking it lying down. Members and friends of the Alliance are writing responses; you can read them here. And, if the Spirit moves you, you can write one too, right here.

Falwell and his followers know that organizations like the Alliance are dangerous to them, because the truth has a way of squeezing out lies in time. They'll try to stamp on it and get rid of it quickly. Don't let it happen.

Cross-posted at The Green Knight.


Yup, It Was a Distraction

by TheGreenKnight

Bloomberg.com reports:
Bush accelerated his search for a Supreme Court nominee in part because of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's name, according to Republicans familiar with administration strategy.

Bush originally had planned to announce a replacement for retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on July 26 or 27, just before his planned July 28 departure for a month-long vacation at his Crawford, Texas, ranch, said two administration officials, who spoke on the condition they not be named.

The officials said those plans changed because Rove has become a focus of Fitzgerald's interest and of news accounts about the matter.
Well, why not? If you're in the Bush White House, then you clearly think that outing an undercover operative is fine as long as it advances your agenda. So why shouldn't you also think that it's also OK to rush a Supreme Court appointment for the same reason? And if it covers up your previous misstep, well, two birds with one stone, right?

Cross-posted at The Green Knight.


OH YEAH!

by JJ

Whatever happened with Jeff Gannon/Guckert? Who lobbed softball questions and gained unprecedented access to the White House via his press pass even when there were no press conferences scheduled. The stories he reported apparently had links to Rove and the Valerie Plame exposure as well as assiting in the defeat of Democratic Senator Tom Daschle. Everyone thought that was the story that was the "smoking gun" to start bringing this administration down. What happened with that story?

Oh Yeah! It died because the next scandal hit about our soldiers not having enough resources to do their job and were literally going into battle unprotected with little to no armor. So this became the “smoking gun” to bring this administration down. What happened with that story?

Oh yeah! It died because the next scandal hit about the "Terror Alert" level being yanked up and down based on political reasons as opposed to any credible threat. Thusly terrorizing our own citizens for political gains. So this became the "smoking gun" to bring this administration down. What happened with that story?

Oh yeah! It died because the next scandal hit because the President of the United States went into an emergency session in Washington DC to pass an unprecedented law to interfere in the life and death decision of Terri Schiavo. So this became the "smoking gun" (of sorts) to bring this administration down. What happened with that story?

Oh yeah! It died because the next scandal hit about the Downing Street memos and the proof that this administration manufactured intelligence to force the country into an illegal war. So this became the “smoking gun” to bring this administration down. What happened with that story?

Oh yeah! It died because it was discovered that Karl Rove, primary advisor to the President of the United States, outed a covert CIA agent because her husband wrote an editorial that said the reasons for war were lies. So this administration retaliated by the outing. (Oh and by the way the DSM confirmed that her husband was correct.) So this became the “smoking gun” to bring this administration down. What happened with that story?

Oh yeah! It died becuase Justice Sandra Day O’Conner retired and this administration has put forth an apparent anti-choice “constructionist” judge who by all rights should not be confirmed because he will aid in the de-evolution of womens rights. Bush put forth this candidate 2 weeks earlier than he said he was going to in order to distract our attention from the previous smoking gun(s) and divert media attention from all of the horrific scandals that are shaking the foundation of the American People's faith in the institution of the presidency of the United States.

The scary thing is that it appears to be working.

The scary thing is that all of the above have occured in the last 6 months.

It would appear the MSM is little more than a 2 year old child, unable to multitask and distracted by any shiny object passed tantilizingly in front of its narrow view.

“Where is the outrage” has been said so many times on this blog and all other blogs that the statement is completely meaningless at this point.

Question of the day…

When the media settles down over this confirmation and starts to once again focus attention onto the failures of this administration or one of the previous smoking guns what will this administration do to once again divert attention?

I predict a minor terrorist attack on American Soil that will be mysteriously linked to Iranian terrorists while, over time, the facts will prove the terrorist actually came from Saudi Arabia.

Or

The "Terror Alert" level will be raised from yellow to orange or red on "credible evidence" once again manufactured by this administration.


Canada legalizes gay civil marriage

by Pam


Alberta's Ralph Klein and Stephen Harper have to suck it up.

Oh what a glorious day. Barring any last issues, Canada will be the fourth country to make it legal, following the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain.

The last four hold-outs, according to CTV.ca -- Alberta, Prince Edward Island, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories -- will then strike down their traditional marriage laws to accommodate same-sex civil marriage. One of the adament holdouts, Canuck wingnut Alberta Premier Ralph Klein backed down on this last week, accepting the inevitable. Conservative Stephen Harper is still railing about bringing it to a public vote if he ever comes to power.
Canada's same-sex marriage bill could be signed into law as early as today after it receives royal assent.

The bill was passed by the Senate, 47-21, in a late-night vote Tuesday, a couple of days ahead of schedule. Three of the 95 sitting senators abstained. Parliament passed Bill C-38 in late June ending years of heated debate.

As the debate on the legislation dragged on, Liberal senators threatened to invoke closure and call a snap vote. But the debate ran its course with the last word coming from Liberal senator Ione Christensen who read an e-mail from a Yukon constituent.

"You have no idea what a difference it makes to the human spirit to know that you are treated equally under the law," Christensen said.

There was fierce opposition to the bill from the Conservative Party, religious groups, and even members of the government's own ranks.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has promised he won't let the issue rest. He says he'll bring back the same-sex marriage law for another vote if he becomes prime minister. "There will be a chance to revisit this in a future Parliament," Harper said last month. "Our intention is to have a free vote."


Killer Eric Rudolph - unrepentant

by Pam


This low-life pleaded guilty in April to the Birmingham bombing and three bombings in Atlanta, was sentenced to two life sentences without parole for the Birmingham bombing.
"Those who attempt to save the lives of unborn children and who wish to promote a culture that respects life are now treated as fanatics, threats to American freedom."

"As I go to a prison cell for a lifetime, I know that 'I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith,' "
-- wisdom from the lips of Eric Robert Rudolph during his sentencing.
Victims Have Say as Birmingham Bomber Is Sentenced. The bigot entertained himself by bombing an abortion clinic, a gay bar and the Olympic Park at the Atlanta Games, and considered violence against abortion providers "a moral duty." That pretty much covers the bases as an agent of the right-wing fringe movement. I think that would qualify him as a fanatic.

Thank goodness the some of the victims got to their chance to unload on him.
It was Emily Lyons's first chance to address Eric R. Rudolph, the bomber whose attack on an abortion clinic here in 1998 left her half-blind and maimed. And she had plenty to say.

Ms. Lyons, who had been the director of nursing at the New Woman All Women Health Care clinic, called Mr. Rudolph a coward for making a plea deal to avoid the death penalty, and said, pointedly, that the clinics he bombed were still in operation today and that his attack had transformed her into a public figure who had raised thousands of dollars for abortion services.

And she told Mr. Rudolph at his sentencing Monday morning in Federal District Court, "I have more guts in my broken little finger than you have in your whole body."

Mr. Rudolph, who pleaded guilty in April to the Birmingham bombing and three bombings in Atlanta, was sentenced to two life sentences without parole for the Birmingham bombing. Judge C. Lynwood Smith ordered him to pay $1.2 million restitution to the victims, though he acknowledged that Mr. Rudolph had no financial resources. In August, Mr. Rudolph will be sentenced to two more life terms in Atlanta for attacks on another abortion clinic and a gay club and at the 1996 Olympics...The four bombings injured 150 people and killed 2, Alice Hawthorne at Olympic Centennial Park in Atlanta and Robert Sanderson, an off-duty police officer, in Birmingham. Monday was the first time victims or their family members could confront Mr. Rudolph directly.

Ms. Lyons, who has been vocal in her disappointment that Mr. Rudolph would not face capital punishment, read a seven-page statement recounting the many ways in which he had worked against himself: he saved the receipt for bombing components bought at Wal-Mart; he left explosive residue all over his trailer; he failed to notice that his intended target in Birmingham, the doctor providing abortions, did not use the clinic's front door; he left the bomb in plain sight instead of hiding it in the bushes; he wrote the word "bomb" in the margin of his Bible; and, ultimately, he failed to stop women from obtaining abortions.

She said she believed that Mr. Rudolph had used abortion as an excuse to kill. "What makes you think you have been appointed to rule every woman in the United States?" she asked.

She also said that he owed his life to his victims' families, most of whom agreed to the plea deal. "You murdered their loved ones, yet they kept the needle out of your arm," she said. "Your efforts did not save you; your victims' families did."

"You have been and will be a parasite on society, costing us millions," she added.
There are more Eric Rudolphs out there, willing to commit atrocious acts in the name of their beliefs. The vocal, strident, unbending rhetoric of the American Taliban inspires violence in their unhinged followers. While they have the right to advocate for their ant-choice stance, they need to accept responsibility, take ownership of the kind of people they associate with and cultivate in their movement. The blood is also on their hands.


Words from one reasonable hoosier...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

From today's Indianapolis Star (which in its main editorial claims that Roberts should be "easily confirmed")...at least one hoosier (besides Ms. Julien and Shakespeare's Sister :) ) has the balls to keep on topic:

Reasonable to call for Rove's resignation

Could you imagine what would be happening on the right if a high-ranking aid to a Democratic president had leaked the identity of a CIA operative to a reporter? They would have already formed a group called CIA Agents for Truth and have them on every Fox News program explaining how this act of treason has irreparably harmed the United States.

There would be a book already on the shelves from a right-wing publishing house called "Traitor in Our Midst," detailing how the mysterious death of some CIA informant is linked to the identity leak of a CIA agent, and they would be calling for his arrest on charges of treason. The Democrats are only asking for Karl Rove's resignation, or at least yanking his security clearance. This is not only reasonable but necessary.

David Dahlberg

Paragon

Ms. Julien in Miami (originally from Indiana)


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Rove and Roberts: Two Peas in the Same Political Pod

by Shakespeare's Sister

It might not seem on its face like Karl Rove and SCOTUS nominee John Roberts have much in common, but there’s one very important attribute they both share—they’re both political hacks. They’ve served their GOP master in different ways, but in the end, neither of them is any more than a political operative who fulfills a certain ideological role within the party. I could tell you all about Roberts’ history with the Republicans, but what difference do specifics make? He’s been a judge for two years, and the rest of his career has been spent in the pockets of GOP power players. This is, in the end, just more of the same from Bush & Co.

And could we really have expected any different? Of course not.

There will no doubt be plenty of debate across the blogosphere over the next few days about whether Rove or Rogers should command our collective attention, but it’s not really an either-or proposition. Whether it’s the Downing Street Memos revealing that the administration was fixing facts and intelligence around the policy, or senior administration officials using their media operatives to discredit a critic (and compromising national security in the process), or an announcement of a GOP hack SCOTUS nominee politically timed to distract from an official investigation of the administration’s misdeeds, it’s all part of the same ugly picture. Our country’s leadership is corrupt. They place ideology before truth, before international law, before national security, before justice. It’s just more of the same.

The GOP with Bush at the helm is interested in one thing and one thing only: holding onto power. And the best way they’ve found to maintain their chokehold on the entirety of our government is to stack every position, stuff every crevice of it, with political hacks. The best thing we can do is keep our eyes on bringing them down—instead of taking the bait to bicker about their decision to do something that should, at this point, be entirely expected.

It’s just more of the same.

And guess what? Behind Roberts, there are 10 more waiting just like him, or worse. More and more and more of the same—until we stop them in their tracks.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)


Keep It Simple, Stupid

by Shakespeare's Sister

Regarding Rove and his naughty indiscretions, the Rude Pundit notes something that’s worth being aware of, not only because it (sadly) probably explains better than just about anything else why the media is willing to pursue it tenaciously, but also because it can and should be used to our advantage: For the first time in Bush’s reign, narrative simplicity is on our side.

Karl Rove outed a covert CIA operative as political payback.

See how easy that was?

Narrative simplicity, combined with a media who’s willing to run with the narrative (since it doesn’t require any of the pesky context and elaborate research that, say, the Downing Street Memos do—ahem), and an American people who are quite angry about the outing of a spy* and following the trail of crumbs back to the White House front door, is a dream issue for any of us who know that this is only one part of a larger pattern of misbehavior and malfeasance. If this is the issue that finally catches everyone’s attention, well, fine—we’ll be patient. In the meantime, let’s keep it simple.

I’m talking to you, Dems.

The last thing the Dems need to do is, well, Dem it all up with a bunch of unnecessary shit that doesn’t need to be there. It’s a one-sentence story, and there’s no need to turn it into a novel.

Jack at CommonSenseDesk points to a great post by Michael at The Mighty Middle, who takes the Dems to task for mis- or over-telling everything:
Dear Democrats: of course it matters how you tell a story you imbeciles. It's always mattered. It always will matter. It matters how you tell the story, and it matters who tells the story, and it matters how often you tell the story and when and under what circumstances. Here's an idea: fire some of your pollsters and your lawyers and your political-hacks-turned-media-gurus and hire some writers. Everything you have just discovered over the course of decades and at a cost of millions and the loss of every branch of government was already known to anyone who has ever told a story. You need writers and you need soldiers because you don't get storytelling and you don't get strategy.

It matters how you tell the story and it matters what the fucking story is. If the story is Romeo eats a wheel of Parmesan, you know what? It's not going to matter how you "frame" it, it's still not going to be as good as Romeo bangs Juliette [sic]. It matters what you believe. It matters what you want to do. It's not just style, you overeducated post-modern twits, it's still story, story, story. It's still: what does the hero propose to DO?

You can take my word for it, or you can dick around for another decade or so until some new academic comes and explains it to you with a hot new book and a hot new lexicon.

There. Have I framed that clearly enough?
YES!

And I hope with every molecule of my being that this story continues to be repeated as simply as possible, as often as possible, while the GOP and their hacks and their goons and their whores spin and stutter and stammer and spew legalese, sounding for all the world like their arch enemy Clinton and those who love him.

---------------------

* Just why are Americans so mad about this, in particular?

The Rude Pundit has a theory—and I’m convinced it’s a good one, because I said the same thing (ha ha) to Mr. Shakes when I first heard about the outing of Valerie Plame, although I was predicting Americans’ reactions when it was inevitably traced back to the White House, and the Rude Pundit uses it to explain that very reaction now...

If the powers that be didn’t want all but the most fixated, delusional, GOP party-line ideologue Americans seething with outrage over the outing of a CIA agent, they probably shouldn’t have embarked on a plan 30 or so years ago to flood the pop culture landscape with examples of government spies who are utterly, unflappably cool—and always the good guys with America’s best interests at heart—to distract and inoculate the drooling, teevee-addicted populace against the reality that sometimes our covert operatives do really shitty things, and not always in our best interest. Now the masses love spies, maybe even more than the president, because spies aren’t corruptible, not the likes of James Bond, Jack Ryan, or Jason Bourne, anyway, and Rove might as well have pissed on one of them.

Bad idea. We lurrrrves us some spies, Turd Blossom. And what kind of code name is that, anyhow?

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)


I Bet The Masses Didn't Consider This When They Voted Against Them Queers...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

...and for the so-called "sanctity" of marriage. Well, times are changing and soon our dear Bubba isn't going to be allowed to "shack up."

Seems to me the money quote is from Virginia resident Donnie Biggs: "You should be allowed to live like you want to live," he said.

I wonder how many people crying "foul" in this article voted against gay marriage in their respective states, or plan to? I wonder how Mr. Donnie Biggs voted in his state's marriage amendment vote?

Cohabitating Americans in 7 states run afoul of the law

The almost 1 million unmarried heterosexual Americans who live together in Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia are violating state laws against "lewd and lascivious" cohabitation.

Such laws are remnants of an earlier era; North Carolina's is vintage 1805. And although they remain on the books, anti-cohabitation laws are rarely enforced.

But a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of North Carolina's statute is making its way through the courts and is drawing new attention to these old laws.

"The idea that government criminalizes people's choice to live together out of wedlock in this day and age defies logic and common sense," says Jennifer Rudinger, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, which filed suit on behalf of Debora Hobbs.

Hobbs is an unmarried woman who lost her job with the Pender County Sheriff's Department because she and her boyfriend live together. Representatives for both Hobbs and Sheriff Carson Smith say neither is discussing the case.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit in March to overturn the North Carolina law; the case probably will be scheduled for a hearing this fall, Rudinger says.

Hobbs "is continuing to live with her boyfriend because she believes it's her constitutional right," Rudinger says.

Such laws haven't been scrapped largely because lawmakers have more pressing matters to consider, says Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida.

An attempt to repeal a similar law in North Dakota failed earlier this year.

"The public perception is that people who live together who are not married who have intimate relations are violating the cohabitation law," says Kent Willis, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia. He says the laws usually are not prosecuted, but challenges come up when they are cited by landlords as a reason for not renting to cohabiting couples or by government agencies refusing licenses.

He also cites the case of a day care operator whose license was initially rejected because she was cohabiting; she got her license after an ACLU challenge.

Donnie Biggs, 24, a photographer, and Meghan Montgomery, 25, an accountant, moved in together in Arlington, Va., after having a long-distance relationship of almost five years. Biggs was unaware of Virginia's law and says it's "old-fashioned."

"You should be allowed to live like you want to live," he says.

Montgomery says she knew about her state's law because she read about it in relation to the case in North Carolina.

"It's one of the many ridiculous rules that no one has taken the time to change," she says. "It made me wonder if they do enforce it and how they think they actually could."

Ms. Julien in Miami


Novakula gets to keep his coffin

by Pam


from Russ.

CNN is sticking by Novak. For now. Billmon rocks on this one.
CNN executives announced today that they will not bury the badly decomposed corpse of columnist and on-air personality Robert Novak, despite complaints from producers that the stench of his putrifying flesh is making it difficult to book guests for the network's talk shows.

"We realize some viewers may be unsettled by the sight of a rotting pile of maggot-infested tissue on their living room television," explained CNN/US president Jonathan Klein. "But Novak has a contract, and we feel that as long as we can squeeze a little more free publicity out of his legal and ethical problems, we have no choice but to keep him on the air."

Klein refused to comment on a recent outbreak of typhus at CNN studios in Washington that left five of Novak's makeup artists dead and 23 hospitalized, citing pending litigation. He also declined comment on the alleged involvement of Novak's personal chef in an interstate graverobbing conspiracy.

"Those charges are under investigation by the police, and it would be inappropriate for me to comment at this tiime," Klein said. "But I can assure you that anyone convicted of a crime and sentenced to a lengthy term in a federal prison will be fired from this network --just as soon as the appeals process has been completed."

Industry insiders say that CNN, which badly lags rival Fox News in the ratings wars, is desperately seeking a long-term replacement for Novak, but so far hasn't found a reanimated corpse willing to accept the job.

"Most zombie journalists have higher standards than that," explained one network source, speaking on quadruple super duper secret sauce background. "And the others are either in jail or have already been signed by Fox."
Finish the rest of this howler at his pad.


Must read: Salon's series on the horrible "reparative therapy" movement

by Pam



Salon (subscription req'd, or watch a commercial to receive a day pass) is running a four-part investigation into the Christian "reparative therapy" fraud, which is designed to "de-gay" homos, some even professing to fully convert gays into heterosexuals. The first installment of the series, Turning off gays, ran yesterday.
Last month, the Montgomery County Board of Education in suburban Maryland settled a lawsuit over sex education in the county's public schools, brought in part by PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays). The group is a branch of a national network of "ministries" that claim homosexuality is a chosen and dangerous lifestyle, and that through "reparative therapy" a gay person can be turned straight -- into an "ex-gay."

PFOX won a restraining order in May and successfully halted the county's new sex ed curriculum, intended, among other things, to promote tolerance toward gays by treating homosexuality as natural and benign. A judge concluded the school curriculum did exclude other views on homosexuality -- namely, those of PFOX. Under the settlement last month, the county agreed to pay $36,000 of PFOX's legal expenses. The group also gets a seat at the table in drafting a new sex ed curriculum for county schools.
These groups are making inroads, and the danger, of course, is the result that misinformation will getting out to vulnerable gay teens, struggling with their sexual identity and self-esteem.

The second part, My gay therapy session, is up now, and author Mark Benjamin goes undercover and actually submits himself for "therapy." Just reading the first paragraph tells you what kind of deranged thinking we're up against.
Barry Levy, a Christian counselor and licensed clinical social worker, is explaining to me what causes homosexuality. "Take the young boy who is more sensitive, more delicate, who doesn't like rough-and-tumble, who is artistic," he says. "He can't hit the ball, fire the gun or shoot an arrow. There is a high correlation between poor eye-hand coordination and same-sex attraction."


Monday, July 18, 2005

The Empty Wig on Karl Rove

by Pam

A reader of my blog emailed me about this Liz Dole letter, so I went to one of my junk email accounts to see if this was in my inbox. I somehow ended up on the National Republican Senatorial Committee mailing list, so I get all kinds of bizarre emails from Liddy, Frist and the like.

You know the GOP is in a desperate situation when the trot wax figurehead Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) to try to explain how Karl Rove is innocent and it's all a smear. Even Sugar Lips, in her breathless letter, can't sweet-talk any common sense into this drivel.


Monday July 18, 2005

What the Karl Rove Issue Is Really About

Dear Friend,

The attacks from certain members of the Democratic Party against Karl Rove this week have been an absolute disgrace. This is an attempt at personal destruction and political opportunism at its very worst-it is downright shameless.

It has been reported that the liberal extremist group MoveOn.org has been giving the Democratic leadership direction over the last several months. It comes as no surprise that MoveOn.org was the first to call for Karl Rove's resignation this week.

But for members of Congress to take part in this smear campaign, that's an entirely different and truly unfortunate matter altogether. The Democratic leadership even brought the political attack against Mr. Rove to the floor of the United States Senate on Thursday by offering an amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations bill that would strip his security clearance. Strip his security clearance based on what, hearsay? What an absolute sham!

This excerpt from a statement from Mr. Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, should help demonstrate why the Democrats are so completely and utterly off base in their political antics:

"Rove has cooperated completely with the special prosecutor, and he has been repeatedly assured he is not a target of the investigation. Rove has done nothing wrong. We're confident that he will not become a target after the special prosecutor has reviewed all evidence."

Majority Leader Bill Frist summed it up quite well in saying, "this is a sad and disappointing afternoon here in the United States Senate."

Based on the information at their disposal, the Democrats have taken reckless partisan attacks to a new level. The Democratic Party leadership is in disarray and they are desperate-attacking has become their modus operandi. They have personally attacked the President's well qualified judicial nominees. They have attacked every single plan that is put forth to address saving Social Security. Howard Dean personally attacked the Republican Party, saying its members have not worked an honest day in their lives. And the Minority Leader Harry Reid personally attacked the President of the United States by calling him a loser and a liar. The Democratic leadership has guided the Party into an abyss-no new ideas, no agenda, just negativity.

Below are some quotes from Senate Democrats that fully acknowledge the points that I am making and should serve as a reminder why it is so important to support the Republican Majority in the United States Senate.

With warmest best wishes,

Elizabeth Dole

There's also a Dkos diary on this.


Cooter says: New 'Dukes' is too sleazy

by Pam

"[O]n our show, nobody got hurt, nobody cussed, nobody bled, the good guys won, and the Duke boys were heroes because they always made the right moral choice."
-- Former GA congressman and "actor", Ben "Cooter" Jones, on the new Dukes of Hazzard movie
Yee-haw. Guess good old AmTaliban web rag Agape Press is hard up -- they cannot find anything newsworthy to cover today. I guess Karl Rove imploding just doesn't make the cut.

Anyway, I'd hardly call the original show "Classic TV", but hey, to each their own. Something about seeing a bunch of rednecks chasing each other around in a souped up trashy American car just isn't appealing to me. I don't know if it's family entertainment or not, but it's crap.

Cooter is calling for a boycott. Honey, there's no need. I can't imagine who wants to pay to see this detritus on the big screen.
A former star of The Dukes of Hazzard TV show is urging families to skip the upcoming movie version unless Warner Brothers cleans it up. Ben Jones, who played the mechanic "Cooter" on the popular television series, says profanity and sexual content in the PG-13 film are a "sleazy insult," akin to taking I Love Lucy and "making her a crackhead."



"Other than Daisy's shorts, our show did not have any of that [suggestive content]," Jones says...He says the reason The Dukes of Hazzard is still a hit today on Country Music Television is that "American families are crying out for old-fashioned, clean entertainment." But according to Jones, Warner Brothers has taken a family show and turned it into something "rough, foul, and raunchy."

"It's filled with profanity and sexual situations and sexual innuendo -- and to us, it's like they didn't honor our show as a great family show," he says. "They kind of sleazed it. They trashed it."

Jones, a former Georgia congressman, says Dukes fans should boycott the film unless producer Warner Brothers removes the foul content before the movie is released on August 5. "Unless they clean it up, I'm just saying to Dukes fans that I know: don't go to see this one. Especially, don't take your kids to see it thinking you're going to see a reflection of our show."


The Press Continues to Feast on the Raw Tushy of Scott McClellan

by Shakespeare's Sister

Yikes. They’re really going to town:
Q What is [the President’s] problem? Two years, and he can't call Rove in and find out what the hell is going on? I mean, why is it so difficult to find out the facts? It costs thousands, millions of dollars, two years, it tied up how many lawyers? All he's got to do is call him in.

MR. McCLELLAN: You just heard from the President. He said he doesn't know all the facts. I don't know all the facts.

Q Why?

MR. McCLELLAN: We want to know what the facts are. Because –

Q Why doesn't he ask him?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'll tell you why, because there's an investigation that is continuing at this point, and the appropriate people to handle these issues are the ones who are overseeing that investigation. There is a special prosecutor that has been appointed. And it's important that we let all the facts come out. And then at that point, we'll be glad to talk about it, but we shouldn't be getting into –

Q You talked about it to reporters.

MR. McCLELLAN: We shouldn't be getting into prejudging the outcome.
Unspoken completion to his answer: Because the last time I prejudged the outcome, I told you Rove and Libby weren’t involved, and that turned out to be total bullshit, which you found out, so from now on, I’m keeping my trap shut tighter than Guckert’s ass clamped on a chain of anal beads.

Meanwhile, their strategy is working just swell. Fully 25% of Americans think the Bush administration is cooperating fully with the oft-cited ongoing investigation. Wow, pretty stellar numbers there, Georgie. Considering that’s probably approximately the same number of Americans who also believe the earth is flat and that Craig Kilborn is funny, I’d say you’ve got the unwavering support of the unbearably stupid all wrapped up in your corner.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)


Anti-choice and Anti-children

by STP

I drove by a Planned Parenthood facility on Saturday morning. On my first pass, I was too early so there was no one there. Unfortunately, the loons were out on my way home, but I was on the other side of the highway.

Loons? Well, you know who I mean; the anti-choice whackjobs, of course. I will say it right now - if you are opposed to a woman's right to choose, then by all means, don't have an abortion. That goes for the guys, too. However, you have no right to dictate your philosophies to others.

Anti-choicers love to say abortion is murder and they are protecting a life. That is nonsense, but you have to wonder about the sanity of a person who believes in protecting life so much that they will harass women entering a facility and threaten, and even kill, doctors.

But this is a re-statement of old facts that everyone knows already. The next time I go by that building and the nutcases are out proving that they are seriously in need of a hobby, I am going to pull over and politely ask how many of them have adopted children or volunteer as mentors to at-risk children. I am betting that one of two things will happen: 1) They go completely whacko on me, screaming and yelling and calling me a sinner while refusing to answer the question or 2) I will discover that none of them have adopted or mentored a child. Of course, option #2 requires their honesty and I won't hold my breath on that one.

I will go so far as to assume that 99.9% of all anti-choicers have never adopted or mentored a child. That is just an observation based on no factual data. It just seems like anti-choicers only care about "life" until life ACTUALLY EXISTS; a living, out of the womb child. Anti-choice. Anti-children.

Footnote: This blogger is currently mentoring his third child, serves on the board of a mentoring agency and also volunteers with the American Cancer Society's programs holding events for kids.

(Cross-posted on Poetic Leanings)


Don't Insult Me

by Shakespeare's Sister

Something that drives me absolutely insane is when I am treated as a fool. You see, I have a brain, quite a good one as it happens, and I like to use it. When someone tells me something that is so obviously a lie, so clearly absurd and counter to everything that reason and logic would otherwise suggest, it absolutely infuriates me—more so that they demonstrably think I am an idiot, than because of the underlying lie.

This is how the Bush administration treats us all, relying on the fact that most Americans, unfortunately, are either trusting, ignorant, or crooked enough to take them at their empty word. Well, I’m neither gullible, nor uninformed, nor a fan of their Machiavellian ends-justify-the-means strategies, and I’m tired of being treated as a fool. It’s time to get real. And this is the reality…

George Bush and his neocon cabal wanted to go to war in Iraq, and they saw in the September 11th attacks a justification for that preexisting goal. So determined were they to embark on this misadventure, that they ignored the real culprit behind the attacks, al-Qaida, and went into Afghanistan to rout the al-Qaida supportive Taliban regime only as part of a bargain with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, who gave his support to the Iraq War in exchange for the Americans’ support of the Afghanistan invasion. The Afghan War was quick and dirty, and before our job was even complete, the Bush administration had its sites set on Iraq.

The problem is that Iraq was not responsible or even remotely connected to the 9/11 attack on American soil, so a case for war had to be conjured out of thin air. The recently leaked Downing Street Memos document that the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy, that increased bombings, referred to as spikes of activity, were used to try to provoke Saddam Hussein into war, that the decision to go to war was made long before either government admitted it to their own people, and that the UN ultimatum was a sham, designed to generate political capital for the war and help “sell” it.

Meanwhile, the White House Iraq Group was formed, featuring many of the same players who names now come up over and over as having engaged in undoubtedly unethical and possibly criminal incidences of disseminating information to silence war critics, such as Karl Rove and “Scooter” Libby. Another member of the group, Condi Rice, then-National Security Advisor, made ominous references to the possibility of a “mushroom cloud” if America did not move to oust Saddam Hussein.

Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell went before the UN and the world to deliver a speech detailing the alleged stockpiles of WMDs in Iraq—except he didn’t suggest they were alleged; according to Powell (and the rest of the Bush administration), there was no maybe about it at all. Then-CIA Director George Tenet declared the case for war a “slam-dunk,” and the President delivered in his State of the Union address the menacing (and now-infamous) claim that “The British government has learned Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

This outrageous assertion, based on intelligence which was already known to the administration to be false, was contradicted in a NY Times column by Joe Wilson, who had been sent to Niger to investigate the possibility. The well-oiled Bush smear machine kicked into action, and the identity of Wilson’s wife, a covert CIA operative specializing in weapons proliferation, was leaked to the press, potentially endangering her life, the lives of those with whom she worked, and the lives of Americans who were that much less safe that one of the analysts dedicated to WMDs was no longer able to do her job.

Now we find that at least two senior Bush administration officials, Rove and Libby, were involved in the leak, the former of whom was fired by the campaign of the current president’s father for leaking information to—surprise!—Bob Novak. The GOP has issued their talking points on the matter, and Scott McClellan continues to dance around questions, and all the while, they continue to treat the American people like fools.

Fixing facts and intelligence doesn’t mean what you think it means, they condescend, adding that fixing has a different meaning in Britain (as if none of us have been there), and besides, they say, it was just one man’s opinion. They spin and spin away, and the fact that no WMDs were found in Iraq, that their entire case for war was predicated on a nonexistent threat, is left unacknowledged (unless the president is making jokes about it), while the same people who continually invoke Clinton’s semantic contortions as illustrative of the moral relativism of the Left, bicker over the definition of fixed.

The reference to Saddam seeking uranium was left in the SOTU address by accident; an honest mistake, they condescend further, even though it had been taken out of a speech three months earlier at the behest of Tenet. It just magically made its way back in—oops! And yet it was not an immediate withdrawal of the claim by the Bush administration that alerted Americans to its falsity, but Wilson’s willingness to publicly contest the administration’s claims that made us all aware of this “honest mistake.”

Joe Wilson isn’t credible, they condescend yet further, giving us a variety of reasons why we ought to buy their story—that any leaks about his wife’s identity were just to ensure that reporters wouldn’t erroneously print errors about what the “real story” was. They were just being helpful, you see. Especially Rove—the man who orchestrated one of the nastiest smears against a political opponent in my lifetime, in which John McCain’s entire family was dragged through a mud made of lies and undue personal attacks, making way for Bush to secure the nomination of his party in the 2000 election. That same Rove was now taking time out of his busy schedule as one of the most influential men in the country to call up a reporter and make sure he didn’t report something incorrect, that’s it and that’s all, no other reason, even though there was every reason for the administration to seek retribution against Wilson, whose public refutation not only embarrassed them and undermined their case for war, but also raised the specter of a possibly criminal act on the part of the president, under the false statements statute. Do you feel insulted yet?

I certainly do.

Frank Rich recently wrote an excellent column called Follow the Uranium, in which he notes that Joe Wilson is just a MacGuffin, a red herring, a distraction from the real issue, which is Iraq. I think that’s only part of the picture. There are lots of diversionary tactics and topics out there, and lots of things from which to divert Americans’ attention—the nonexistent WMDs, the Downing Street Memos, the administration leaks and lies. They all have two things in common: war with Iraq at any cost, and a trail that leads right back to the White House.

Don’t insult me any more, President Bush. Every circus has a ringmaster, and I’m looking squarely at you, sir.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)


Sunday, July 17, 2005

A return to the good old days of J. Edgar Hoover: FBI monitoring Lefty groups

by Pam

"I know for an absolute fact that we have not been involved in anything related to promoting terrorism and yet the government has collected almost 1,200 pages on our activities. Why is the ACLU now the subject of scrutiny from the FBI?"
-- Anthony Romero, ACLU's executive director

[UPDATE: Welcome AmericaBloggers; you'll also find more information below about the ACLU's Reform the Patriot Act efforts at the end of this post; no doubt it's going to get heat on this as well.]

Holy crap. Has Tricky Dick risen from the dead? Progressive groups watch out, because the Bush administration may put you on a 21st century version of Nixon's "enemies" list.

The Patriot Act is up for renewal, and the ACLU has been active in trying to mobilize attention on this and other issues (including the launch of a citizen activism site over the weekend). It's no surprise that the organization is not well-liked by the Bushies, but this activity of the FBI, going back who knows how long (probably since 9/11), smacks of more retaliation by the administration on a scale that should scare everyone. Environmental and anti-war organizations are also being monitored. These papers MUST be released. (AP):
The FBI has thousands of pages of records in its files relating to the monitoring of civil rights, environmental and similar advocacy groups, the Justice Department acknowledges.

The organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Greenpeace, are suing for the release of the documents. The organizations contend that the material will show that they have been subjected to scrutiny by FBI task forces set up to combat terrorism. The FBI has identified 1,173 pages related to the ACLU and 2,383 pages about Greenpeace, but it needs at least until February to process the ACLU files and until June to review the Greenpeace documents, the government said in a filing in U.S. District Court in Washington.

The FBI has not said specifically what those pages contain. The ACLU's executive director, Anthony Romero, said the disclosure indicates that the FBI is monitoring organizations that are engaging in lawful conduct.

...Justice Department and FBI spokesmen declined to comment, citing the ongoing case. The FBI has denied singling out individuals or groups for surveillance or investigation based solely on activities protected by the Constitution's guarantees of free speech. Officials have said agents adhere strictly to Justice Department guidelines requiring evidence of criminal activity or indications that a person may know something about a crime.

The ACLU has sought FBI files on a range of individuals and groups interviewed, investigated or subjected to searches by the task forces. The requests also are for information on how the task forces are funded to determine if they are rewarded with government money by labeling high numbers of cases as related to terrorism.

The government did release one document it gathered on United for Peace and Justice that Romero said reinforces his concerns. The organization describes itself as a coalition of more than 1,300 anti-war groups.

A memo from Sept. 4, 2003, about Internet sites that were promoting protests at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York was addressed to counterterrorism units in Boston, Los Angeles and New York.

"Why is this being labeled as counterterrorism when it's nothing more protests at a political convention, a lawful First Amendment activity?" Romero asked.
Here we have it, the cover of 9/11 is being used, as tool to intimidate and infiltrate groups participating in Constitutionally-protected activities. The power-grab by this corrupt, immoral administration knows no boundaries.

It makes you wonder who else is being watched -- journalists...bloggers? Anyone this administration perceives to be a threat has to take a deep breath and demand the release of this information. What is happening to this country?

If you add this crap to the fact that Bush should be prosecuted for lying to Congress in his SOTU address about the Niger uranium story (that nailed the coffin that got us into the freaking war in the first place), this administration should be toast. It's a felony to to misrepresent to Congress in a State of the Union address.

I also have a diary up at DKos, "Back to the days of Hoover: FBI monitoring Lefty groups."

***



The ACLU has launched a blog to alert folks on the progress, if you want to call it that, on the reauthorization of the Patriot Act. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and Chimpy have urged Congress to renew the law in its entirety. They are praying that the people are not paying attention the serious jeopardy our civil liberties face if changes are not made to this Act, which is set to expire at the end of the year.

Surf over to Reform the Patriot Act. NC blogger Ruby Sinreich is right, it's a real blog, featuring news, first-person posts on the ACLU's work in Congress on this Act -- and you can contribute to the conversation with comments and trackbacks. This site is chock-full of information and tools to help folks mobilize and take action as the political battle heats up, such as RSS feeds, and graphics for your blog to help spread the word. A form to contact your Senators and Representatives is here.



Sens. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

Besides the bill just introduced in the Senate Intelligence Committee (sponsored by Specter and Feinstein), there are three other bills on tap to reauthorize with few changes, still giving the government far-reaching authority to breach our individual privacy in the name of "security."

As Lisa Graves, ACLU senior legislative counsel at the ACLU notes:
The Senate Intelligence Committee's bill from June would make the expiring provisions of Patriot permanent and expand its powers. It would allow the FBI to write its own search orders that businesses would be compelled to comply with for literally "any tangible thing."

The FBI would not have to show any specific facts connecting a foreign power or foreign terrorist with the records they sought: medical records, employment records, gun purchase records, tax records, credit reports, insurance records, bank statements, and records from car dealerships, etc.

They would not even have to get court approval to issue one of these subpoenas. And the recipient of one of these subpoenas is gagged forever from telling anyone about it. This bill also enables law enforcement to track your postal mail if the FBI requests it.

The bill is already awaiting action on the Senate floor, but this bill is really a foil, a chit to force through other "more palatable" bills that would make Patriot largely permanent with no real change.
Myths about the Patriot Act and links to the Reality

Cross posted at Pam's House Blend


Bush should be prosecuted for lying to Congress

by Pam

We went to war because of a lie. Several actually, but our clown-in-chief stood up before Congress and the American people and told a whopper and it could send him to prison. Which lie?

In an essay by John Dean written in July 2003, only a few days after Novakula's column (that outed Valerie Plame), he noted that it's a felony to misrepresent to Congress in a State of the Union address. That's exactly what the Chimperor did. Dean fisked Bush's SOTU "facts," in the two-year-old essay, and in light of today's headlines about Toad Rove leaking, dissembling and his role as the architect of the vindictive action by the White House against Joe Wilson, it's sickening.

Looking at the larger picture -- about who in the end is truly responsible for getting us into the Iraq war on the basis of lies, the buck makes stops in several places, and ultimately lands on Bush's desk. Dean:
Purported Bush Fact 7: "The British government has learned Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

Source: Media accounts have shown that the uranium story was untrue - and that at least some in the Bush Administration knew it. I will not reiterate all of the relevant news reports here, but I will highlight a few.

The vice president's office had questions about the Niger uranium story. Ambassador Wilson was dispatched to learn the truth and found it was counterfeit information. Wilson advised the CIA and State Department that the Niger documents were forgeries, and presumably the vice president learned these facts.

The Niger uranium story was reportedly removed from Bush's prior, October 7, 2002 speech because it was believed unreliable - and it certainly became no more reliable thereafter. Indeed, only days after Bush's State of the Union, Colin Powell refused to use the information in his United Nation's speech because he did not believe it reliable.

Either Bush's senior advisers were aware of this hoax, or there was a frightening breakdown at the National Security Council - which is designed to avoid such breakdowns. Neither should be the case.

In fact, it is unconscionable, under the circumstances, that the uranium fabrication was included in the State of the Union. And equally weak, if not also fake, was Bush's final point about Saddam's unconventional weapons.
Dean goes on to speculate about what is really scaring the White House. It explains why, given the hot water Karl Rove is in about his leaks and alleged crimes, the White House prefers this diversion to the alternative. Rove is small potatoes compared to what could happen if enough noise is made by the mainstream press about Bush and his lie.
It Is A Crime To Make False Statements To Congress

Could Bush, and his aides, be stonewalling because it is a crime to give false information to Congress? It wasn't a crime in President Polk's day. Today, it is a felony under the false statements statute.

This 1934 provision makes it a serious offense to give a false information to Congress. It is little used, but has been actively available since 1955. That year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in U.S. v. Bramblet that the statute could be used to prosecute a Congressman who made a false statement to the Clerk of the Disbursing Office of the House of Representatives, for Congress comes under the term "department" as used in the statutes.

Two members of the Bush administration, Admiral John Poindexter and Elliot Abrams, learned about this false statements law the hard way, during the Iran Contra investigation. Abrams pled guilty to two misdemeanors for false statements to Congress, as did Robert McFarlane. (Both were subsequently pardoned by President George H.W. Bush.) Poindexter and Oliver North fought the charges, and won on an unrelated legal technicality.

Later, one of McFarlane's lawyers, Peter W. Morgan, wrote a law journal article about using the false statements statute to prosecute executive officials appearing before Congress. Morgan was troubled by the breadth of the law. It does not require a specific intent to deceive the Congress. It does not require that statements be written, or that they be sworn. Congress is aware of the law's breadth and has chosen not to change it.

Maybe presciently, Morgan noted that the false statements statute even reaches "misrepresentations in a president's state of the union address." To which I would add, a criminal conspiracy to mislead Congress, which involved others at the Bush White House, could also be prosecuted under a separate statute, which makes it a felony to conspire to defraud the government.
How can this story be blasted onto the media radar? This is all connected people -- the Downing Street Documents, Rove's criminal activities -- it must be broken down so that the media and the sheeple can digest this.

As long as these charges remain clouded in dense political discussion on the Left and not turned into simple, good sound bites, the Repugs know that they can hide their criminal activities from the sheeple. They will tune out and turn the channel to American Idol. We need a 30-second commercial outlining this Administration's web of criminal behavior, lies and retaliation against its perceived "enemies."

Hat tip to LilNubber, in Kid Oakland's excellent diary, be unreasonable.


Is the Catholic church ready to purge the homos?

by Pam

Pope Benedict is out of his mind. John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter says that the homophobic Pope has a document in his possession that outlines what could result in a purge of epic proportions, and a demonization of homosexuality that is beyond the pale.
Sources indicate that the long-awaited Vatican document on the admission of homosexuals to seminaries is now in the hands of Pope Benedict XVI. The document, which has been condensed from earlier versions, reasserts the response given by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in 2002, in response to a dubium submitted by a bishop on whether a homosexual could be ordained: "A homosexual person, or one with a homosexual tendency, is not fit to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders."

That reply was published in the November-December 2002 issue of Notitiae, the official publication of the congregation.

It is up to Benedict XVI to decide whether to issue the new document as it stands, to send it back for revision, or to shelve it on the basis that for now such a document is "inopportune." Several American bishops were in Rome last week for the June 29 pallium ceremony, and I spoke to some of them about the document.

Privately, some hope Benedict will decide to put the document in a desk drawer for the time being, on the grounds that it will generate controversy and negative press without changing anything in terms of existing discipline. As one bishop put it to me, the policy against ordaining homosexuals is already clear -- the only interesting question is, what do you mean by a "homosexual"? At one end of the continuum, it could refer to anyone who once had a fleeting same-sex attraction; at another, it could be restricted to someone who is sexually active and openly part of a "gay pride" movement. Most people would exclude those extremes, but where is the line drawn in between? Vatican sources have made clear the document will not enter into these details, and hence this bishop believes it's an unneeded headache. Further, the bishop said, the document may make candidates less likely to be honest with formation directors about their psycho-sexual development, even though some degree of experimentation and ambivalence about orientation is not unusual, and by itself should not disqualify potential priests.

"The risk is that we drive the conversation underground," he said.

Yes, as if the church needs more conversations about sexuality to be even further shoved underground than they already are. Sully rightfully points out that Father Mychal Judge, a hero, and openly gay man who died on 9/11 in the collapse of the WTC, would be a casualty again, his dedication called into question by his church's bigoted policy.


Father Mychal Judge, for example, the fire-fighters' priest who died in the ruins of the World Trade Center ministering sacraments to fire-men, would retroactively be deemed unfit for the priesthood. So would literally thousands and thousands of gay priests, bishops, cardinals and popes over the centuries. The old doctrine, however cruel and inhumane, at least concentrated on moral acts and made no distinctions between who committed them. It laid out clear rules and insisted that gays and straights abide by them equally. The proposed policy would instead focus on a human being's very core - and exclude him or her as a result. That kind of discrimination is the definition of bigotry. This is the Church? This is God's voice for human dignity and equality in the world? This is an institution that says all are welcome at the Lord's table? I can only hope and pray that pope Benedict doesn't go there. And if he does, I hope that heterosexual Catholics will rise up and defend their gay priests and friends and family members against this unconscionable attack.
That document is one that needs to go into a desk, the drawer shut, and locked with a key. Will this Pope actually issue this change? The firestorm over this will create a crisis of epic proportions. The church, already strapped for priests, cannot afford to purge a significant chunk of its ranks, and it certainly cannot stand the predicted withholding of funds from Catholics already reeling from the pedophile scandals.

The alternative is that the church will adopt the policy and create some sort of laughable continuum of sexual behavior that is deemed OK versus disqualifying. Can you have homosexual fantasies? Is that OK? How many, how often? Or will we get to the point that men entering the seminary will need to undergo some sort of sexual response testing -- attach electrodes to their genitals, show them pornographic images of men having sexual encounters and boot out any that become aroused?


More Mike Tidmus brilliance

by Pam

Photoshop political satirist extraordinaire Mike Tidmus sent along some new goodies, a couple of new book releases that you might be interested in.

How about some Zellout? Here's a before and after, no after and before...oh, there's not much difference is there?.



And here's our Man-on-Dog pious family-lovin' author of the moment. Click on it to see the original...



Equally entertaining, is Mike's post:
So, Senator Man-Dog Santorum can type. Who knew? In fact Little Rickie Santorum has a brand new book out in which he tells the rest of us exactly what a family is (and isn’t) and why liberals don’t have real families like his good buddies among the radical, religious-right-wingers.
Mike reminded me that "santorum" was voted the “most outrageous” word of 2004 by the American Dialect Society.

Sunday, July 17, 2005
| drop Ken a line and ask him if LGF represents the worldview of our dear leader and his party. The RNC's email: info@gop.com.

Hat tip to Robster at Wonkabout.


Blogging the Patriot Act reauthorization

by Pam



The ACLU has launched a blog to alert folks on the progress, if you want to call it that, on the reauthorazation of the Patriot Act. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and Chimpy have urged Congress to renew the law in its entirety. They are praying that the people are not paying attention the serious jeopardy our civil liberties face if changes are not made to this Act, which is set to expire at the end of the year.

Surf over to Reform the Patriot Act. NC blogger Ruby Sinreich is right, it's a real blog, featuring news, first-person posts on the ACLU's work in Congress on this Act -- and you can contribute to the conversation with comments and trackbacks. This site is chock-full of information and tools to help folks mobilize and take action as the political battle heats up, such as RSS feeds, and graphics for your blog to help spread the word. A form to contact your Senators and Representatives is here.



Sens. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

Besides the bill just introduced in the Senate Intelligence Committee (sponsored by Specter and Feinstein), there are three other bills on tap to reauthorize with few changes, still giving the government far-reaching authority to breach our individual privacy in the name of "security."

As Lisa Graves, ACLU senior legislative counsel at the ACLU notes:
The Senate Intelligence Committee's bill from June would make the expiring provisions of Patriot permanent and expand its powers. It would allow the FBI to write its own search orders that businesses would be compelled to comply with for literally "any tangible thing."

The FBI would not have to show any specific facts connecting a foreign power or foreign terrorist with the records they sought: medical records, employment records, gun purchase records, tax records, credit reports, insurance records, bank statements, and records from car dealerships, etc.

They would not even have to get court approval to issue one of these subpoenas. And the recipient of one of these subpoenas is gagged forever from telling anyone about it. This bill also enables law enforcement to track your postal mail if the FBI requests it.

The bill is already awaiting action on the Senate floor, but this bill is really a foil, a chit to force through other "more palatable" bills that would make Patriot largely permanent with no real change.
Myths about the Patriot Act and links to the Reality, from the site:
• There Have Been No Patriot Act "Abuses"
• It Updated Law Enforcement Tools
• It Uses Existing Tools to Track Terrorists
• It Brought Uniformity to Government Agencies
• It Improves Communication Between Agencies
• The New Powers Have Lead to Arrests
• They're Not Using My Library Informatio
• The Patriot Act Has Judicial Oversight
• Critics Misunderstand "Material Witness"
• Critics Want to Appeal the Patriot Act
• The Patriot Act Is Constitutional


Zach's story makes the NYT

by Pam

There's a long piece in the NYT on Tennessee gay teen Zach and the fraud that is the Refuge 'ex-gay reparative therapy' camp. We've discussed this case quite a bit over the last several weeks, including the recent post, "Zach's parents 'come out' about the attempt to 'de-gay' their son."

The Times article by Alex Williams uncovers a bit more information, but it mostly covers the ground that's been pieced together in other reports. It's a good read. It is mind-blowing to think of what passes as "therapy" places like Refuge. [It should be noted that Refuge's "warden," John Smid, is now removing references to therapy from its Web site and insists that the program is a spiritual, not counseling, center.]

The level of control over the inmates (and that's really how they are treated) is disturbing, and revolves around isolating them from the outside world, and ridiculously monitoring "pansy mannerisms" in men and making sure the only thing "butch" in the joint are the therapized guys tossing the pigskin.
Excessive jewelry or stylish clothing from labels like Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger are forbidden, and so is watching television, listening to secular music (even Bach) and reading unapproved books or magazines. "It's like checking into prison," said Brandon Tidwell, 29, who completed the adult program in 2002 but eventually rejected its teachings, reconciling his Christian beliefs with being gay.


"Refuge-ee" Brandon Tidwell. (Photo: Rollin Riggs/NYT).

Physical contact among clients other than a handshake is forbidden, and so is "campy" talk or behavior, according to program rules that Zach posted on his blog before he began at Refuge. Occasionally, recalled Jeff Harwood, 41, a Love in Action graduate who still considers himself gay, some participants would mock the mandatory football games.

"You could get away with maybe one limp-wristed pass before another client would catch you," he said, seated on a tattered sofa in a funky cafe called Java Cabana in the trendy midtown district of Memphis.
As we all know, ex-gay ministries Like Love in Action/Refuge and Exodus refuse to produce statistics of "heterosexual conversion" success rates of their programs. Jeff Harwood came out of the adult program in 1999, and he says in the article that of 11 fellow former clients he has kept track of, eight once again consider themselves gay. In fact, the tepid, sad endorsement of Refuge from one young interviewee in this article is completely unconvincing. It leaves you wondering just how long it will be before he steps into a gay bar to "test" himself, and "fail" by acting on his natural attraction to men -- then experience endless guilt and suffering because of his past indoctrination.
Although critics say such programs threaten the adolescent psyche, at least one teenager who considers himself a successful graduate does not agree. "In my experience people who struggle with their sexuality are more mature in general," Ben Marshall, 18, said. He recounted being in turmoil, growing up gay in a conservative Christian household in Mobile, Ala.

In 2004 his parents sent him to Refuge. "I went to Memphis kicking and screaming," he said. "I had grown to hate the church for the militant message it gave off toward homosexuality."

While enrolled he spent days listening to stories of the pain that homosexuality had caused clients and their families. Slowly, he said, his attitude changed. He ended up choosing to continue in Love in Action's adult program for nine months. While the program has a "high rate of failure," he said "there are enough successes to know I'm not alone."

But even success comes only through continuing struggle.Although he plans to date women in the future, Mr. Marshall said, he is avoiding any romantic relationships for the time being. " In all honesty, I'm just trying to figure out how to deal normally with men before I start to deal with women," he said.
The goal of becoming a "happy, healthy, heterosexual" is not even seriously promoted by most of these "ex-gay" ministries at this point, since they are well aware of the fact that so many graduates 'go back." Even John Smid's own words cannot muster up a lot of confidence about the "ex-gay" movement. Can you believe this --
The goal of the program, said Mr. Smid, who said he was once gay but now renounces homosexual behavior, is not necessarily to turn gays into practicing heterosexuals, but to "put guardrails" on their sexual impulses.

"In my life I've been out of homosexuality for over 20 years, and for me it's really a nonissue," Mr. Smid said. "I may see a man and say, he's handsome, he's attractive, and it might touch a part of me that is different from someone else," he said. "But it's really not an issue. Gosh, I've been married for 16 years and faithful in my marriage in every respect. I mean I don't think I could white-knuckle this ride for that long."
I wonder what else is touching a part of him.

Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend


Friday, July 15, 2005

Like a bad penny: 'Justice Sunday' part 2

by Pam


Fun from the first time around.

Back in April I asked the question "Are the political Endtimes near?" referring to the freakshow of Tony Perkins, Dobson and Co.'s American Talibannery telecast portraying Democrats as "against people of faith" for blocking President Bush's nominees. Now it's time for the sequel, and there will be a cavalcade of stars on the Right rivaling the number of Hollywood has-beens you'll see in a rerun of The Love Boat.

The official title of this gathering is Justice Sunday II: God Save the United States and This Honorable Court! (is that anything like Airplane! with that meaningful exclamation point?), and they are primed and ready to go, to tell the faithful sheeple to lobby for a fundamentalist on the bench.
Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee will host Family Research Council's simulcast television program, "Justice Sunday II -- God Save the United States and this Honorable Court" Sunday, August 14. Justice Sunday II, the follow-up to "Justice Sunday -- Stopping the Filibuster Against People of Faith," will broadcast live in churches across the nation in addition to being carried on hundreds of radio stations, via satellite and web-cast on http://www.justicesunday.com.

Here are the stars...



Phyllis Schlafly -- Eagle Forum
Dr. Jerry Sutton -- Two Rivers Baptist Church
Senator Zell Miller -- (D-GA)
Tony Perkins -- Family Research Council
Dr. James Dobson -- Focus on the Family
Chuck Colson -- Prison Fellowship Ministries
Bishop Harry Jackson -- Hope Christian Church
Bill Donohue -- Catholic League
Cathy Cleaver Ruse -- Family Research Council

Plus! -- Musical Performances by: Lee Greenwood, Rebecca St.James and Jett Williams



What: National television and radio simulcast; Broadcast in churches across America

When: Sunday, August 14, 2005 -- 7 pm EDT

Where: Two Rivers Baptist Church
2800 McGavock Pike
Nashville, TN 37214


'Real Men are Republicans: Democrats are Metro-sexuals'

by Pam

What does it look like when someone tries too hard to cram as much sexism and homophobia into a blog post for attention? Take a look at this below. It's by Will Malven of the Tin Ear/Men's News Daily. You may recall that MND is a conservative site often aligned with the late Talon News Service, home to man-whore Jeff Gannon's old reports. I guess I'm guilty for giving Malven attention, but it's too good to pass up. I guess this is his way of offering advice to the Dems from the wingnut perspective. There's a dick-wagging contest at play along with a complete sense of inadequacy in his bluster.

Please, Blenders, read with caution; you may fall out of your chair while laughing and hurt yourself.
It seems that the Democrat Party has become the party of whine and cheesy. America used to be a nation that prided itself with the can-do attitude. Self-reliance was embraced over government reliance. The plaintive calls of “I can’t.” and “It’s not fair.” were rarely heard from adults. Much as the legendary British “Stiff Upper Lip,” Americans had the “Stolid, Stony, Silence” of the self-reliant man. We have “progressed” from the rugged “Mountain Man” to the whiney, effete “Metro-Sexual” in a few short generations. Much of this has been the result of the policies of Quasi-Socialism set in place by the dominance of our government by the Democrats during the last century. This culture of don’t worry Uncle Sam will do it for you has stripped many Americans of their self-worth and independence. Reliance on governmental assistance has made a large number of Americans dependant people. America cannot afford to leave its security and future in the hands of an emasculated, directionless, Democrat Party filled with old, outdated ideals. John Kerry was the perfect representative of his party just as Al Gore was during the 2000 election. Their core beliefs depended on the latest opinion poll. Whither the wind didst blow, thither did they venture with their policies. Kerry’s vanity drove him to botox and the tanning booth, Gore’s to a woman advisor (Naomi Wolf) for instructions on how to be a man.

...These days, Real Men are Republicans. George W. Bush didn’t need anyone to tell him how to be a man he came by it naturally. I never cared one bit for those Democrats of old. They were ever a thorn in the Republican’s sides, and often didn’t give Republicans a fair shake, but you had to respect them. Those men stood their ground and loved their country. If the Democrat Party wants to survive the decade they better find their MOJO, because right now it looks like their candidates for president would be more appropriate vying for a Tony Award than for the position of Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States of America. Margaret Thatcher was a Real Woman, meaning that she was more of a Real Man then either Gore or Kerry, or even Clinton.

Hint to Democrats: Real men are forged by life not counselors. They don’t need to drive a giant 4-wheeler for appearances; they drive them out of need. They don’t drive a pick-up truck to look tough. “Image” is not important to real men, being genuine is. Being a real man is not an affectation, you don’t go to the local therapist to learn to be a man. You learn it by taking the hard knocks that life gives you, standing up, dusting yourself off, and getting back into the fight one more time. Gore and Kerry failed the Real Man test by trying to be something they were not. George Bush passed it by being himself. Real Men respect themselves and they respect others. Real Men talk straight and they do what they say they’ll do. If a Real Man gives you his word, you can take it to the bank. Example: Karl Rove did nothing wrong. I know this, because if he had, Bush would know and if he knew, Rove would be out instantly, because Bush said so. They don’t talk down to people, and they don’t make fun of them unless they’re in on the joke. If they laugh, they laugh with you not at you. If they like you they will rib you and tease you, if the don’t, they’ll ignore you. George Bush doesn’t respond to polls, because he already knows where he’s headed. In that, he’s just like Ronald Reagan. Oh yeah, and as to Bill Clinton, don’t confuse Narcissism, lechery, and amorality for manliness. It’s not machismo, just pathological.


AFA goes after Diversity Top 10 companies

by Pam



Donald and Tim Wildmon have nothing better to do than jerk the chains of their American Family Association sheeple over anything related to homosexuality. The latest wingnuttery is a call to punish Diversity Inc.'s "Top 10 Companies for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Employees."
The editors chose these companies by first counting organizations that filled out its Top 50 Companies for Diversity survey and indicated that they actively recruit homosexual, bisexual and transgender employees; have non-discrimination policies including sexual orientation; and offer domestic-partner benefits for same-sex couples. The publication also studied the corporate websites of the companies to see if they made "GLBT" employees and customers welcome.

Wildmon believes Christian consumers need to think twice before they patronize companies that support the homosexual agenda. While the pro-family spokesman admits it is impossible to boycott all companies that have homosexuality-affirming policies and practices, he says consumers can make a difference. "One company losing five to ten percent of its sales will send a clear message to every company in America," he asserts.

"Now, obviously there are some companies that are protected," the AFA chairman points out, "because they are not oriented toward the retail public. But they will get the message." However, he adds, "Most of the money that's going from the corporations into the homosexual groups to support gay marriage are coming from companies that have retail products consumers buy every day."
So who's on the hit list? The usual suspects, but a few that I have a bone to pick with for different reasons.
* Eastman Kodak
* Ford Motor Company - the AFA had to can its earlier unsuccessful boycott
* Citigroup - this company is on my hit list too -- for its predatory lending practices.
* Pepsico
* Merck and Company - on my hit list for the Vioxx fiasco and its corrupt, golden parachute-receiving execs.
* Allstate Insurance - it was already under a boycott for allegedly anti-Christian actions and "indoctrination" of its employees to accept the homo agenda.
* Coca-Cola Company
* D&T USA (Deloitte & Touche)
* Kaiser Permanente
* Visteon Corporation - this is an automotive systems and glass supplier, so I don't know how the AFA is going to affect it in any significant way.


Q: Dems are to Sharks as Rove is to...?

by Shakespeare's Sister

A: Chum.

Jeff at Bearcastle Blog reports:
For those who are emotionally concerned with whether Karl Rove has actually violated the letter (perhaps even the punctuation) of the law, this note just came in from Rep. Henry Waxman's (D-CA) office, via the Government Reform Minority Office mailing list:

Friday, July 15, 2005 — A fact sheet released today by Rep. Waxman explains that the nondisclosure agreement signed by Karl Rove prohibited Mr. Rove from confirming the identity of covert CIA agent Valerie Wilson to reporters. Under the nondisclosure agreement and the applicable executive order, even negligent disclosures to reporters are grounds for revocation of a security clearance or dismissal.
Interesting, eh? Meanwhile, Reps. Barney Frank and John Conyers have inquired into whether impeachment proceedings would be appropriate for Senior White House Officials. BradBlog reports:
[T]he two seek clarification from "a neutral authority" of whether the U.S. Constitution's Article II, regarding impeachment of a sitting President and Vice-President and "all civil officers", would apply to Deputy Chief of Staff, Karl Rove who is currently embroiled in the on-going criminal investigation into who leaked classified information concerning the outting of covert CIA agent, Valerie Plame.

Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution speaks to impeachment, but is not completely clear about which "civil officers" would fall under its jurisdiction.
Brad’s got more.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)


Fred 'The Rotting CryptkeeperTM' Phelps is mad at Chimpy

by Pam

I think the Chimperor is on Fred Phelps's hit list. And I must have been completely wrong about our president. According to "God Hates Fags" Fred, Bush is way into the homo agenda, given all of the faggotry in his inner circle. Click to enlarge...



And continuing its series of "Love Crusades," the Westboro Baptist Caravan is heading over to picket another fallen soldier's funeral.



Man-on-dog Santorum has an out communications director

by Pam


Rick loves his on-staff self-loather.

Heinous. The world is coming unglued. How on earth is do you make sense of the Senator from Pennsylvania's employment of an out gay person on his staff, given Rick's unhinged homophobia? Oh that's right, this is Washington. It also explains why Robert Traynham II, an out, black, gay man, defends the dog-loving Santorum. I need to barf. From Mike Rogers of PageOneQ:
In a phone call recorded by PageOneQ and blogACTIVE.com, Robert Traynham, Director of Communications for United States Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) has said he is an out gay man who completely supports the Senator.

When asked how a gay man could speak for one of the nation's most notorious homophobes, Traynham, left, protested that has "been with the Senator for eight years." Traynham went on to say "Senator Santorum is a man of principle, he is a man who sticks up for what he believes in, I strongly do support Senator Santorum."

When pressed on whether he supported the Senator's stands on lesbian and gay issues, Mr. Traynham abruptly ended the phone call by saying "Senator Santorum is a family man. I have been with Senator Santorum for eight years and I am very proud to be with him."

An attempt to follow-up with a question was met with Mr. Traynham hanging up the phone.
Will the Log Cabin psychos please take out this homophobe enabler? Don't hold your breath. This is crazy.

From a 2003 Harvard symposium at which Traynham appeared, he unleashed these enlightening quotes:
“The only time I think about being an African-American is when I get up in the morning to shave, when I look in the mirror,” said Robert Traynham, deputy staff director for the Senate Republican Conference. “Being black has nothing to do with my job—zero.”

“Those who are romantic about the Confederate flag, that’s our base. We need their support; this upcoming election is going to be close,” Traynham said.

As for gays in the Republican party, Traynham said, “I have a lot of friends who happen to be gay.”
People, do you get this? He's not some lone nut, as much as I'd like to think he is. I've been posting about these black defectees from the Democratic party all week and how the Right has found fertile ground.

What Traynham is, my friends, is the most dangerous kind of turncoat. He has no conscience -- how can he work for a man and a party that is openly hostile toward gays and minorities? Not just a dismissive party, but one whose base has such contempt for who he is that they work each day to legislate his rights away. Good god.


Media Losing the Plot…Again

by Shakespeare's Sister

The AP is reporting that Rove learned of Valerie Plame’s identity from Robert Novak:
Chief presidential adviser Karl Rove testified to a grand jury that he talked with two journalists before they divulged the identity of an undercover CIA officer but that he originally learned about the operative from the news media and not government sources, according to a person briefed on the testimony.

The person, who works in the legal profession and spoke only on condition of anonymity because of grand jury secrecy, told The Associated Press that Rove testified last year that he remembers specifically being told by columnist Robert Novak that Valerie Plame, the wife of a harsh Iraq war critic, worked for the CIA.

[…]

Rove told the grand jury that by the time Novak had called him, he believes he had similar information about Wilson's wife from another member of the news media but he could not recall which reporter had told him about it first, the person said.

When Novak inquired about Wilson's wife working for the CIA, Rove indicated he had heard something like that, according to the source's recounting of the grand jury testimony.

Rove told the grand jury that three days later, he had a phone conversation with Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper and — in an effort to discredit some of Wilson's allegations — informally told Cooper that he believed Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, though he never used her name, the source said.
Okay, first of all—I’m getting really fucking tired of anonymous sources who just happen to be parroting whatever Bush administration line of defense they’re shoveling that day. What a stroke of luck for them that, even though their hands are suddenly tied by this gad-blasted ongoing investigation, there is a never-ending supply of anonymous sources to provide information to the media. Well, seemingly never-ending—although when the credentials are “working in the legal profession,” that’s getting pretty dodgy in terms of credibility. It’s probably Rove’s lawyer, although they’ve made him sound like a paralegal temp.

Anyway, to the bones of the matter, here’s the deal: It doesn’t matter where Rove found out about Valerie Plame; he still leaked her identity to Matt Cooper. And John Aravosis points out the obvious about an investigative tactic so basic that anyone who’s ever been a kid trying to pump their parents for info knows:
Rove now claims he confirmed for Novak that he heard Plame was CIA, but that Novak asked him about her CIA connections first. Again, irrelevant. He confirmed an undercover CIA agent to a journalist, is he mad? I mean, if a journalist said "so, I hear we're invading Syria on August 15" would Rove respond, "yeah I heard that too"? No, he wouldn't. This kind of journalist prying happens all the time. But Rove decided to answer this time, putting our national security at risk.
A Washington Post article, which is slightly better than the AP report, but not by much, notes:
In accounts of both conversations that have been made public, Rove does not give Plame's name and discusses the matter only at the end of an interview on an unrelated topic.
What the fuck is that—the “By the Way” Defense?! Good grief. It doesn’t matter what the impetus for the call was, how long they spoke, whether Rove used her name or said “Wilson’s wife,” whether he overtly provided information or off-handedly confirmed it to someone fishing for information. It’s a semantic smokescreen. And once again, the media swallows it—hook, line, and sinker.

Good analysis by Liberal Oasis, who note:
The news today should be about how a Bush Administration leak of the name of an Al Qaeda member turned double agent in Aug. 2004, hurt a British counterterror operation, allowing suspected terrorists to escape -- including possibly the eventual London Bombers.

As the leak was part of justifying a politically timed terror alert, right after the Dem Convention, this would be a second example of the Bush Administration misusing classified information for political purposes, harming our national security.

But more likely, the punditocracy will ignore the pattern that’s emerging, and flock to today’s NY Times report, claiming that Karl Rove didn’t leak Plame’s name to Bob Novak, but Novak told it to Rove.
Read the rest, in which they rightly take the NY Times to task for picking up where Judy Miller left off.

And I would add to their critique, the Downing Street Memos are part of that pattern of misuse of classified information for political purposes, too. It’s all part of the same game that Bush & Co. like to play.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)


Unhealthy

by Shakespeare's Sister

This has the be the strangest, saddest, most tragic argument for nationalized healthcare you’ll ever read.

I hope Mr. Lazenby sends a special thank-you to the Congressional Republicans for voting down a proposed amendment to the bankruptcy bill that would have exempted those in debt from medical bills.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)


Thursday, July 14, 2005

Connecting the Dots

by TheGreenKnight

John Aravosis did it, because the mainstream media will never do it. In brief:

Last year, the Bush administration accidentally outed a British agent working within al Qaeda cells in the UK.

These al Qaeda cells were planning to bomb the London Underground.

The screwup meant that UK authorities had to rush unexpectedly into action to arrest the al Qaeda cell members before their intel was complete.

Several terrorists escaped in the confusion.

Those same escaped terrorists may have managed to pull off the plan eventually
.

Read the whole thing here.

Cross-posted at The Green Knight.


Praise Jeebus: biblical creation exhibit banned from OK zoo

by Pam

Is there any place the AmTaliban doesn't want to infest? This time it's a freaking ZOO. Even though this was shot down, you Okies are screwed if 60 percent of Tulsa residents identify themselves as creationists. Is the earth flat too?
The Tulsa Zoo in Oklahoma is being accused of censoring an exhibit that explains the Genesis account of creation. A month after approving the display, the Tulsa Park and Recreation Board reversed course and voted 3-1 to disallow the proposed biblical creation exhibit.

...Dan Hicks, the local Christian architect who the proposed the biblical creation exhibit, has condemned the oversight board's change of heart as a violation of Tulsa taxpayers constitutional liberties. He maintains there must be something very special about the Genesis account of creation for the Park and Recreation board to insist on suppressing it, especially when the zoo already features religious symbols in other displays, including a statue of an elephant-like, Hindu deity.

Hicks feels it is only fair to include a display that expresses Christian beliefs about origins since polls have shown that well over 60 percent of Tulsa residents identify themselves as creationists, while only three percent identify themselves as naturalists -- people who do not believe any supernatural agency was involved in the origins of life and the universe. Nevertheless, he says, "Based on the content of this material, it's been censored."

...Hicks believes the Tulsa Park and Recreation Board that originally approved the creation display for the zoo ultimately caved in to the demands of a vocal minority. He contends that the Interfaith Alliance, Tulsa Metropolitan Ministries and others of "these groups that claim to be all about tolerance and inclusion" are actually "more like political action committees affiliated with Americans United for Separation of Church and State."
And so he has a problem with the separation of church and state -- my Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas (oops, Oklahoma) anymore.

What I don't understand (and better informed religious people and theologians please dive in) is why is the origin of life all or nothing for these people? Is it not possible to believe in a theory of evolution (not necessarily strict Darwinism) that meshes with biblical creation -- some force created life which then evolved? Of course that won't work for the numnuts that take each word of the (much mistranslated) Bible literally -- they believe the earth is only something like 6,000 years old, but those folks aside, what's the problem with a hybrid theory?

Maybe I just need a cup of tea and I'll have the answer. Or not.

Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.


Murder by the Numbers...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Take this:

http://educatedeclectic.blogspot.com/2005/03/juliens-list-call-to-action.html

and this:

http://educatedeclectic.blogspot.com/2005/03/ah-florida-truly-backward-thinking.html


Then add a little of this:

http://news.tbo.com/news/MGBJ1LCULAE.html


And you get....THIS.


(Not much else to say, is there?)

Ms. Julien in Miami


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Celebrating 30 years of 'ex-gay' fraud in Asheville

by Pam


Rev. Tinkywinky's bringing his bigoted butt into my state. Right: "ex-gay" (!) head of Exodus, Alan Chambers: "We continue to hear from many who are hungry to hear about the freedom we have experienced."

Asheville, NC (ironically a.k.a. a-SHE-ville because of the high lesbian population) is going to be the site of fraudulent "ex-gay" ministry Exodus International's 30th anniversary conference. So the homos will have plenty of opportunity to mix and mingle with the "ex" homos. How much you want to bet that the local queer hangouts will be overflowing with out-of-town guests?
The ministry is commemorating the milestone at its annual Freedom Conference, scheduled for the week of July 18 at Lifeway Ridgecrest Conference Center in Asheville, North Carolina. This largest annual gathering of former homosexuals will feature more than 60 speakers, including many experts in the fields of gender identity, counseling, and theology.

Exodus International president and former homosexual Alan Chambers says both the organization and the "ex-gay movement" have seen tremendous growth over the past 30 years, and "We continue to hear from many who are hungry to hear about the freedom we have experienced." He adds that the world is often unaware of the hundreds of thousands of people, like himself, who accepted the false "born-gay" message and silently struggled with unwanted same-sex attractions. The 2005 Freedom Conference speaker roster includes Joe Dallas, former staff member at the pro-homosexual Metropolitan Community Church; pastor and educator Dr. Jerry Falwell; Christian musician and former homosexual Dennis Jernigan; and Dr. Nancy Heche, a counselor and psychotherapist whose daughter, Anne Heche, was involved in a highly publicized homosexual relationship with actress-comedian Ellen DeGeneres. This year the Freedom Conference offers a new feature specifically targeting young people -- its first Youth Day event, designed to facilitate discussion with teens on issues surrounding biblical sexuality.
Anne Heche's mom llikes making the "ex-gay" rounds. She turned up at a Dobson Love Won Out conference in Seattle in June.

Here's the conference's web site. Check it out and see the committed "ex-gays." They've got a "Conference Worship Leader and Drama Team" for crying out loud. I really have to wonder about this chick and her "credentials.":


Janelle Hallman: Janelle is a dynamic speaker nationally and internationally. She creatively addresses issues related to human brokenness, gender, sexuality and redemption and healing. Janelle is a licensed professional counselor specializing with women in conflict with same sex attractions and emotional dependencies. She has spoken for Focus on the Family and Exodus, and as well has served as an adjunct professor at Denver Seminary. She is the Executive Director of Desert Hope Ministries. Janelle also is a board member of NARTH.

She is fresh and relevant as she creatively addresses issues related to human brokenness, God's plan for male and female, sexuality, and redemption and healing in general. Her passion is to share God's word in a way that speaks to some of our deepest needs as broken and hurting people.
As I said, the hangouts will be packed.


Dems, what are you going to do about blacks leaving the party?

by Pam

"Most black people are against Homosexual marriage, or anything of the sort. Many blacks switched and voted for President Bush over this big issue last year during the Presidential election. That and the issue of abortion. Those seem to be the two biggest topics that have dominated news headlines in the past few years. Black people want to keep our traditional values. So we turn to the Republican party."
-- Felicia (Fee) Benamon, wingnut political blogger
Just so you know, Fee Benamon actually quotes the Free Republic, if that tells you anything. She may be on the fringe of the conservative movement, but her opinion piece on NC Rumors is exactly what the Dem establishment needs to hear. It's the sound of the socially conservative, religious black voter taking their toys and going over to the open arms of Ken Mehlman to play. The GOP has been spinning its web of lies for quite some time now, pushing all the emotional political buttons in the black community that are sure to siphon off just enough votes toss races to the Repugs.
President Bush has been the only President in history to ever elect so many people of different racial backgrounds to his cabinet. The more notable ones are Colin Powell & Dr. Condoleezza Rice. She is the first black lady elected as Secretary of State. She is an inspiration to me. She's a hard worker, very intelligent, and is TOUGH! President Bush saw something in her, she had the qualifications (stellar qualifications might I add) and is doing quite wonderfully now. President Bush sees no color, only your accomplishments. I am glad to see more conservative journalists, and people in the media emerging. Funny how we conservative black people who support the Republican party get labeled as "Uncle Toms, Aunt Jemima, sell outs, etc." [See the post "Black wingnut Armstrong Williams - whore of the Bush admin] Anything racist like that. What is wrong with thinking for yourself and making a decision what party to support? Everyone assumes that blacks will automatically vote Democrat. Well, not anymore.
You almost don't know where to begin here, but suspend your knowledge at how completely vapid and ridiculous Condi has been in this admin -- just for a minute. If we're counting colored heads, I will give her that -- Bush has made his appointments of color where it counts -- in highly visible and powerful positions. The Dems are going to have to explain themselves to a black audience that is now paying attention to a party that has taken this consituency for granted. The message is stale, the politicians only show up at a church to mingle with black folks when the vote is on the line. That's hard to defend in a sound bite. Actions speak louder than words.

It's also incredibly hard for Dems to fight back when the pastor in the pulpit is on the faith-based initiative take, Bush's minions are seducing supposed pious leaders of the community and the joke is going to be on the black community. Otherwise, why you have someone like Fee Benamon saying (I presume with a straight face):
The next time you go to a gathering of Republicans, look around. These are people who are bonded together by their love of family, conservative values & traditions, love of God, etc. It shows mightily. I have seen many people of different backgrounds at Republican gatherings. There is such an atmosphere of love when I attend. It's not at all like what you hear. I have experienced no racism whatsoever. Only good friendships and a welcoming spirit. The Republican party has come a long way, but it still has a ways of getting out its message to blacks and other ethnic groups. It is definitely a party of inclusion of all people.
Remember, with the country basically divided in half politically, it will only take a sliver of votes from blacks and Hispanics to make the difference in many races. Are the Dems ready to step up and make a real case -- an politically attractive case -- why minorities should stay in the party?



I have to quote the fabulous Congressman from my state, Democrat Mel Watt, who seems to be one of the few elected officials not afraid of the land mines.
First of all, we allowed Republicans to say we were advocates of gay marriage rather than framing it as a personal liberty issue or standing up and saying we don't believe in it. We ran away from that; nobody wanted to talk about it, we knew it made people uncomfortable. Instead of having our community engaged in open discussion about it and moving on to other issues or seeing how it related to pocketbook issues, we let the Republicans control the message...You can't avoid these issues. For us to bury our heads in the sand and say these issues aren't to be discussed, that's just unrealistic. We need to be talking about them in our own terms and not allowing [Republicans] to define themselves as the moral arbiters of what's right and wrong.

...I think they chipped off more black voters than we would have liked for them to chip off. You don't have to chip off a lot of black voters, Republicans have found over the years. Just as the Democrats have found if they chip off some of that center, you don't have to move a lot of voters but you have to move some. We haven't been able to move those voters at the center toward the Democrats. Republicans have been successful in moving some African Americans and progressives on issues of security, religion, abortion, gay marriage. Those issues move enough people or get them wavering enough that they say, 'Well, the election is too difficult. I think I'll just stay home.'


Uh-Oh

by Shakespeare's Sister

Bush’s honesty rating has plummeted to its lowest point in his presidency; only 41 percent give Bush good marks for being “honest and straightforward,” down 9% since January. (The Green Knight suggests the Dems get all post-modern on his ass and run against Bush legacy on an integrity ticket—ha!) The saddest news for Bush is that this survey was taken before Rove’s role in the Plame affair exploded onto the news scene. Yowza!

Things aren’t looking good for President Lies-a-Lot. That means it’s time for another edition of…

WHAT’S GEORGIE THINKIN’???


(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)


Finally, the Loser Has a Long Enough Rope...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

WSJ: Bush shows erosion of support

RAW STORY

President Bush has suffered an erosion in public regard for his policies and his credibility, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed Wednesday, the registration-restricted Journal reports. Excerpts follow.

#

Mr. Bush's overall job approval now stands at 46%, while 49% disapprove of his performance. More problematic for the White House, the public turns thumbs down on the president's handling of the economy by 54%-39%, and on his handling of Iraq by 55%-39%.

At a time when the administration's credibility is under attack amid an investigation of the leak of a CIA operative's name, Mr. Bush receives his lowest ratings as president for "being honest and straightforward." Just 41% rate him positively on that score, while 45% rate him negatively. The telephone survey of 1,009 adults, conducted July 8-11, has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.




Remember the Downing Street Memos?

by TheGreenKnight

In These Times does. David Michael Green writes:
The Downing Street Memos have provided an unexpected fright for the minority of Americans who are aware of them.

It's not that presidents lie about the wars they send other people's kids off to fight. And it's not even that the media in this country has grown lazy, intimidated and sycophantic. It's the degree to which this is true, and the deterioration of American democracy to which it testifies.
This really is the issue. In order to have a democracy, you have to be able and willing to question the government based on reason and truth. If you can't or won't, then you don't have a functioning democracy.
Why blow off such a huge story? Cindy Sheehan says, "The press and the public are afraid to admit they were duped, because that would mean they have to take partial responsibility for the mess in Iraq. It would take a great deal of personal integrity and honesty to admit that." Sheehan is the mother of Casey Sheehan, who was killed in action on April 4, 2004 in Sadr City. She has since co-founded Gold Star Families for Peace and is a highly visible activist in the anti-war movement.
This is a truly terrifying insight. If Sheehan is right (and I bet she is), then some Americans are afraid to have a democracy. They are afraid to take the responsibility of adults and citizens; instead, they want reassurance, protection, and comfort -- the qualities that children and subjects seek.
What is especially disconcerting about this noncoverage is what it says about the state of American media, and to a lesser extent, its junk-news consumers. According to one count of TV segments covering this story versus those concerning Natalee Holloway (the Alabama teenager who went missing in Aruba) and Michael Jackson, from May 1 through June 20 on network news there were only 6 mentions of the Downing Street Memo (all on NBC), but 174 for Holloway and 465 for Jackson. It is as if coverage of WWII had been preempted by the Humphrey Bogart-Lauren Bacall romance.
The problem is, it's all celebrity journalism these days. Even when allegedly covering politics, the media in the USA really prefers to cover politicians, their family dramas, their faith journeys, their extra-marital affairs. Because the DSM revealed the actual workings of Washington, the press wasn't interested, and still isn't.

Cross-posted at The Green Knight.


Canadian Taliban pleading for QE2 to stop gay marriage

by Pam


Can the Queen save Televangelist David Mainse from witnessing a homo marital invasion?

This is about as pathetic as it gets. Call me a sadist, but I love hearing about them writhing in pain over the inevitable.
An evangelical Christian group is begging Queen Elizabeth to intercede and stop Canada's same-sex marriage bill from becoming law.

David Mainse, a televangelist who has opposed LGBT civil rights for nearly forty years through his 100 Huntley Street ministry, is leading the effort. Mainse in 2003 turned the TV business over to his son to devote all of his efforts to defeating same-sex marriage legislation, but is still a regular on the program where he denounces gays.

He's urging his supporters to write to Queen Elizabeth to ask that she put her royal foot down and refuse royal assent to the bill after it passes the Senate next week.

..."Our beloved Queen Elizabeth II, I know that the refusal of the Governor General to give royal consent would precipitate a crisis. Millions have nowhere else to turn but you," Mainse wrote in the letter to Buckingham Palace. "Should you act in this, millions of us would surely become more fervent supporters of the monarchy than ever," he wrote.

"Please help humanity everywhere to begin a reversal of this morally and socially destructive trend."


WHIG-Gate

by Shakespeare's Sister

As I’ve noted previously, I believe that the Plame affair and the Downing Street Memos are both key components in a larger pattern of behavior by the Bush administration, its allies, and its operatives, to control and manipulate information to bolster their case for war in Iraq, and it appears as though Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald may now be looking into possible conspiracy charges.

True Blue Liberal suggests that the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) may well be the origin of any possible conspiracy, and suggests that reporters being stonewalled by Scotty ought to start asking questions about the WHIG. Perhaps a good place to start would be asking whether it was an overt objective of the WHIG to put politics ahead of national security, and if not, why that very theme seems to keep popping up in places like the Downing Street Memos and the decision to compromise a CIA operative specializing in weapons proliferation to discredit a critic of the administration’s misuse of intelligence.

If you’re unfamiliar with the WHIG, here are some fast facts:

Formed August 2002 by Chief of Staff Andrew Card

Objectives were “to set strategy for each stage of the confrontation with Baghdad” and “to make sure each part of the White House was fulfilling its responsibilities.”

Members met weekly in the Situation Room and included: Karl Rove, Karen Hughes, Condi Rice and her deputy, Stephen J. Hadley, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Mary Matalin, James R. Wilkinson, and Nicholas E. Calio.

As TBL notes:
The full list of WHIG members is very heavy with people with ZERO intelligence background but lots of experience in political spinning and dirty tricks.
Indeed.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

From the Wayback Machine

by Shakespeare's Sister

Wow, I’d totally forgotten about this (via MyDD):
Karl Rove and Novak: They've Talked Before

Rove fired from Bush Sr's '92 campaign over leak to Novak. Karl Rove was fired from the 1992 re-election campaign of Bush Sr. for allegedly leaking a negative story about Bush loyalist/fundraiser Robert Mosbacher to Novak. Novak's piece described a meeting organized by then-Senator Phil Gramm at which Mosbacher was relieved of his duties as state campaign manager because "the president's re-election effort in Texas has been a bust." Rove was fired after Mosbacher fingered him as Novak's source.

Rove was the "only one with a motive to leak": Mosbacher says: "I said Rove is the only one with a motive to leak this. We let him go." The motive in question? Mosbacher had given Rove only a quarter of the $1 million spent on direct mail contracts for the 92 campaign; Rove, who in 1988 had the entire direct mail contract, therefore had an axe to grind with Mosbacher. Novak's column stated: "Also attending the session was political consultant Karl Rove, who had been shoved aside by Mosbacher."

Mosbacher still says Rove did it: Although Novak and Rove continue to deny Rove was the source of the leak, Mosbacher recently stated "I still believe he did it."

(Sources: "Karl and Bob: a leaky history," Houston Chronicle, Nov. 7, 2003, ; "Genius," Texas Monthly, March 2003, p. 82; "Why Are These Men Laughing," Esquire, January 2003)
Leaky McLeakerson just keeps dripping all over the place. Funny how SpongeBob Novak is always there to soak up the puddle.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)


Cat got your tongue, Chimpy?

by Pam


Uncomfortable at that photo op, huh? Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong watches as the wheels grind in Bush's tiny brain.

[1 PM: Scotty is on the slow-roast grill as we speak in the press briefing (CSPAN2). ]

Uh, oh, Karl.
President Bush, at an Oval Office photo opportunity Tuesday, was asked directly whether he would fire Rove — in keeping with a pledge in June, 2004, to dismiss any leakers in the case. The president did not respond.

For the second day, White House press secretary Scott McClellan refused to answer questions about Rove.
Meanwhile, Richard at All-Spin Zone wants whatever Ken Mehlman is smoking, as he notes that the RNC propaganda desk is working at full steam, but the flopsweat is showing, Kenny:


"It's disappointing that once again, so many Democrat leaders are taking their political cues from the far-left, Moveon wing of the party. The bottom line is Karl Rove was discouraging a reporter from writing a false story based on a false premise and the Democrats are engaging in blatant partisan political attacks."


Latest activism from the vermin at AFA

by Pam




The busy beavers at the American Family Association (the folks behind AgapePress) are trying to work up the AmTaliban sheeple again. This time Nike and Carl's Jr/Hardees are in the cross-hairs. First the footwear maker gets a drubbing.
According to USA Today, Nike has become the first major corporation in America to publicly endorse homosexual "civil unions," a back door move to legalize homosexual marriage.

Nike endorsed a bill in their home state of Oregon which would legalize "civil unions." Homosexual activists are using the "civil union" approach as a back door approach to the legalization of homosexual marriage. Once they get their "civil union" approved, they will then go to court to secure the right to marry. Homosexual activists are working to get other corporations to follow the lead of Nike. Many corporations are already donating large sums to homosexual organizations to support their agenda. Sending a message to Nike will send a message to those corporations poised to support homosexual unions. Your email letter will be sent to Nike President Bill Perez and three other corporate executives.

Bill Perez, President
Nike, Inc.
1 Bowerman Dr.
Beaverton, OR 97005-6453

Primary Phone: 503-671-6453
Fax: 503-671-6300
E-Mail: bill.perez@nike.com
I love the stock letter they have in the "Take Action" online form that the AFA uses. A real hoot:
I am disappointed to hear that Nike has thrown its support behind homosexual civil unions. I will pass this information on to others, and I will find another brand of shoe to purchase.

I hope you will reconsider your support for civil unions (and, indirectly, homosexual marriage), although I doubt very seriously if you will.
Kinda defeatist, eh? Hahahahahaha.

***

The AFA's latest effort, launched today, is a hilarious action against a hamburger joint. All over Paris Hilton's bony *ss.


Carls Jr. and Hardee's (CKE Restaurants, Inc.) are airing a pornographic television ad featuring Paris Hilton to promote its Spicy BBQ burger. Tell CKE to pull this extremely pornographic ad now!

1. Contact your local Carls Jr. or Hardee's store operator. You can find their contact information by clicking here.

2. Call CKE Restaurants Chairman William P. Foley II toll-free. The number is 877-799-7827.
Hey...maybe I'll join this one, not because I think it's pornographic, but because Ms. Skanky-rich-ho-beast is truly over-exposed in a much different sense.


Gross

by Shakespeare's Sister

Remember the Weekly Reader? Sure you do. And if you were a total nerdling like I was, it was something you looked forward to each week as you eagerly anticipated cutting-edge exposés on camping and leaf collecting, not to mention some kickass puzzles. I can only imagine how excited I might have been for the chance to meet one of the editors.
An editor for the publishing company that puts out the venerable Weekly Reader newspaper for schoolchildren was arrested for allegedly soliciting sex from a minor on the Internet.

Noel Neff, an editor at Stamford, Conn.-based Weekly Reader Corp., was arrested Saturday in a mall parking lot, where he had arranged a meeting with a minor for sex, authorities told the MetroWest Daily News of Framingham.
Eugh. Wonder if he’s a Republican?

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)


Monday, July 11, 2005

Who Took the Cookies From the Cookie Jar?

by TheGreenKnight

Zell took the cookies from the cookie jar:
When this nationally famous figure [Zell Miller] left the [Georgia] governor's office in 1999, he pocketed more than $60,000 in taxpayer funds earmarked for entertainment and other expenses at the Governor's Mansion, WSB-TV investigative reporter Dale Cardwell revealed last week. Miller also picked up a check for more than $20,000 for "unused leave"-- a sum to which he was not entitled as a constitutional officer....

Miller says that he was technically eligible to take the mansion money as his own because no one said he could not. "When I retired from state government, I received only what I was advised was legal, ethical and traditional," his statement read, citing an attorney general's official opinion from 1969.
Maybe they skipped the part about "ignorance of the law is no excuse" when Miller got his tour of the Governor's Mansion.
Never mind that every other living governor from Jimmy Carter to Sonny Perdue told reporter Caldwell that they did not consider the mansion money theirs -- and that they would not have taken it....

This is about the Paul Bunyan of Peach State politics - a Georgia giant who in at least three recent books (Corps Values, A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat and A Deficit of Decency) set out to establish himself as an arbiter of moral behavior in public office. In his latest volume, Deficit of Decency, Miller advises his readers: "Is it decent? is the right question. It's one all of us know and can answer, law degree or not. Is it decent? demands not wordy responses or over-educated legal beagles to interpret it, but simple truth, which doesn't need many words and doesn't lean into the technical."

A year ago, an angry, almost apoplectic Miller didn't hesitate to appear on national TV to rage against what he considered a loss of moral compass by his fellow Democrats. In the summer of 2005, he declined to stand before the cameras to comment on his own conduct, instead assigning a legal beagle to offer technical interpretations.
Ironic, isn't it? The Green Knight hates to be cynical, but...You just have to wonder, when some public figure begins ranting about decency and virtue, just exactly what major sin they're trying to hide.

Cross-posted at The Green Knight.


What are the First Three Questions Asked by Police When Investigating a Crime Involving Bodily Injury or Death of a Homosexual?

by Ms. Julien in Miami

1. Was he/she looking for a fight?

2. Was he/she on drugs?

3. Did he/she make a pass at someone who might not appreciate it?


(Translation: What can we dig up to pin it on the homosexual, rather than the perp?)



Brazil Court OKs Gay Adoption

by Ms. Julien in Miami

This is so cool! Of course, in the state of oranges and good old bankrupt Anita Bryant, even a single gay person cannot adopt - much less as a couple. So, the original Catholic country of the New World is more enlightened than the country where people flew to avoid persecution???

Hmmmmm.

From 365gay.com:

Sao Paulo, Brazil) A judge in Sao Paulo has ruled that there is no valid reason for denying a same-sex couple the right to adopt children. It is believed the case is the first in Brazil where a gay couple has been allowed to jointly adopt a child.

Vasco Pereira da Gama, 33, and Dorival Pereira de Carvalho, 41, have been fighting for the right adopt for five months. The couple has been together for 13 years and owns a model agency and beauty salon according to Radio Brazil.

The men met with a psychologist, social assistants and a public prosecutor before going to court.

In his ruling, Judge Julio Cesar Spoladore Domingos cited a policy statement by the Psychology Council which declared that "homosexuality was not a disease, a disturbance or a perversion."

The couple's lawyer, Everaldo Galvao, said that although gays have been allowed to adopt in the past it is the first time a court has permitted a couple to adopt and become joint parents.

Gama and Carvalho told Brazil Radio they want to adopt a little girl between the ages of two and four.

In Brazil, civil unions between same-sex couples are allowed in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul. In January, a federal prosecutor asked a judge to order courts across Brazil to perform gay marriages. The judge has not yet ruled on the petition.

©365Gay.com 2005

Ms. Julien


Semantics Be Damned...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

"Marriage" to me means that next year, when my partner's H1B Visa runs out, and she will have to return to Canada for two years if she cannot for some odd reason get a job here...that it wouldn't matter because we could get married.

Today, in our current political and evangelical climate, if I went down to Little Havana on 8th st here in Miami and snagged an unemployed, illiterate, illegal, unbathed, immigrant male, I could marry him and get him full rights and privileges of US citizenship simply because he has a penis and I have a vagina, and that, in the mind of too many, transcends any other factors.

It transcends the fact that I am a law-abiding, Masters-level educated, entrepreneurial, female American citizen, who is in a committed relationship with a person who is Canadian, and an American-educated vascular surgeon, but alas, also a female...she must wait in line with everyone else, with no guarantees...

Forget the word marriage - if unions between two people were NOT tied in with the church this wouldn't matter.

Civil union means nothing - no tax exemptions federally, no spousal immigration rights, no spousal protections in court...

And while some "civil unions" or even state-allowed marriages (Massachusetts) allow for companies to provide domestic partnership benefits, here is a fact:

Many (in fact most) large corporations are self-funded in terms of their insurance benefits. This is different from companies who have an "insurance" plan for their employees like, Blue Cross, Aetna, United, or HMOs...say for example, Fedex - huge, national company, is self funded for employee insurance benefits. So, insurance is regulated by the state - EXCEPT for when the group is self-funded...then it is regulated on a federal level. Guess what? Even in Massachusetts, where marriage is LEGAL, self-funded groups (i.e. Fedex) are not required to provide domestic partner (or spouse, in Massachusetts), benefits, because of DOMA (thanks, WJ Clinton)...

The word marriage means nothing to me. The term civil union means nothing to me. They are both just words, terms, etc. The fact is that I, even if I were straight, would not want to get "married" in any church, in any religion. I would however, like to commit to my life partner - in my case another female - with all the rights and RESPONSIBILITES that everyone else in my family took on and received when they committed to their spouses.

There's my 2 cents.

Ms. Julien in Miami


GOP influence to grow as population shifts south?

by Pam

This Wash Times article spins that the Repugs benefit most from the shift in population. The South's population is projected to grow by 42.9 percent and the West by 45.8 percent, at the expense of the Midwest (9.5 percent) and the Northeast (7.6 percent). The theory, forwarded by Emory's Merle Black, is that it will be harder for the Dems to win the presidency because of this.
Migration from liberal bastions in the Northeast and Midwest to the Sun Belt states will boost Republican electoral strength in the coming decade, making it tougher than ever for Democrats to win the presidency without carrying states in the South or Southwest.

...Heavily Democratic states such as New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Michigan will go on losing congressional seats and thus electoral strength in presidential elections, political analysts say. At the same time, they say, Republican states such as Florida, Texas, Arizona, Georgia and Nevada likely will gain congressional and electoral clout.

"The net beneficiary of this will continue to be the Republican Party because the population shift is moving into an environment that is heavily dominated by the Republicans," says Merle Black, a professor of politics and government at Emory University and author of books on political shifts in the South. "In the 2002 and 2004 exit polls, we saw for the first time a majority of Southern white voters identifying themselves as Republicans and Democratic identification falling to a low 20 [percent] to 25 percent," Mr. Black says. This doesn't mean that Democrats cannot win, but population shifts give the GOP "a long-term structural advantage," he says, "and assuming they nominate credible candidates, they start with a strong base." He adds: "The Republicans will continue to be the dominant party in the South for the foreseeable future."
Other factoids in the article:

* The share of Americans living in the Northeast and Midwest will fall from 42 percent to 35 percent of the population, while the South and West will rise from 58 percent to 65 percent.

* Ohio, a pivotal swing state in presidential races, will drop from seventh to ninth place in population, while Republican-rich Georgia will move up from 10th to eighth.

* Florida is expected to pass New York and move into third place by 2011

* California and Texas remaining in first and second, respectively.

* California, Florida and Texas are expected to grow by more than 12 million in population and will account for 46 percent of the growth between 2000 and 2030.

The article also notes that among the 10 most populated states, Democrat-leaning Michigan and New Jersey will be supplanted in population by heavily Republican and fast-growing Arizona and North Carolina. I dispute that most of the votes moving to NC are Red ones; our state legislature is consistently Democratic, the cities that are the economic engines of the state are more progressive than the rural parts of the state. I agree that in the national races, NC will continue to go GOP unless the party here can field candidates, like John Edwards, that are able to marshal support from the progressives and the large moderate base of voters.

Let's put it this way -- Hillary will go nowhere in NC.

Also not considered is the fact is that in many of the Northern states, the cost of living is too darn high, the winters are too long, and you can't buy a house if you're a first-time buyer (see Housing Markets Pricing Out Middle Class). That's crosses all political boundaries.

Look what the Freepi have to say; many agree and fear a liberal menace is going to pollute their holy land (too late -- I'm already here polluting the Tar Heel State, lolololol)...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"It sounds good to me. This is the Lords work!"

"I hope, however, that that doesn't mean that libs from the North are invading the South."

"same thought crossed my mind..."

"People are getting tired of living in liberal rat holes. I don't blame them for leaving."

"But my worry, especially as a Southerner, is that a greater liberal population may be migrating into the red states, slowly turning them into blue states. And that's just wrong."

"As the conditions in the country get worse [due to political correctness (forced socialism)] people will continue to leave the oppressive liberal areas for freer, safer ground. If hell ever breaks loose (terrorism, crime, etc.), they don't want to be stuck living around a bunch of rabid liberals. I think it's a good thing. The good people are being called out."

"AZ is a perfect example of that. Although still conservative I'm not sure Goldwater could get elected here now."

"I'm not sure Goldwater could get elected here now. McCain can.....and does."

"It is up to you to indoctrinate them into Southern Living and that means being a conservative. We are not only to holding our own in California but are starting to shift away from the Democratic party stronghold here. The Hispanic population is starting to wise up and they are switching to the Republican Party."

"What is happening is the republicans and conservatives in strongly blue states are getting fed up and moving. All that does for blue states is leaves them weaker and smaller and bluer. While the people of MA are moving in heavy numbers into states like NH, the Live Free or Die folks are moving out to redder pastures."

"I don't know if you believe in prophecy or not, but as we get closer to the California quake and last world war, the good folks will be lead to safer areas. They'll just "know" where to go."

"Yes, those libs from the north have a way of ruining things down here."

"The more people move to conservative areas, the more crowded they will become. And the more crowded they become, the more liberal they will become. And the more the Republican party will lean to the left to hold on to the votes."

"Well I am from Michigan, a blue midwest state. Even though this state is not the bluest of the blue (like the northeast states are), I have given up on Michigan. I will soon be one of those people who leave for the south (Tennessee). I am not leaving to bring northern values down, just the oposite im sick of people and the liberal values up here. I dont belong here, and im moving somewhere were my values are more respected and my son can grow up with better values. I love the south and im sure ill fit in fine there, and i certainly hope liberals do not succeed in changing it. When this midwesterner gets there it will only get redder."

"Most of the New Yorkers who move to Florida bring their liberal voting habits with them, which is why Palm Beach, St. Lucie, and Broward Counties are such liberal hellholes."

"I'm with you both. I sure as heck hope the emigrants from the North and East don't bring their socialism and hedonist values with them. In a microcosmic sense, that is exactly what's happened here in Columbus. This burgh used to be a bedrock of patriotic, common-sense conservatism. Then wave after wave of lefty transferees showed up from Cleveland, Pittsburgh and the Eastern seaboard and...voilà! Now we've got a big homo population here, an increasingly liberal attitude on social issues, an all-Democrat city hall, and the county has gone Blue every election since '96. I sincerely hope this doesn't happen to the South!!!


Now THIS is Good TV!!

by Ms. Julien in Miami

From AmericaBlog - WATCH IT!!

Watch the MS beat the bejeesus out of the White House over Karl Rove
by John in DC - 7/11/2005 03:03:00 PM

Watch the video here.


And make sure you aren't drinking milk 'cause you will laugh so hard it will come out your nose...


Liberal talk radio trends ahead of Limbaugh among 25-54 in Miami

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Wow, who would have believed it in the land of Viva Bush! ??? This is actually really big...

Maybe the Cuban kids really do have a clue...

Advance trend numbers for spring radio ratings in the Miami market, leaked to RAW STORY, reveal that liberal talk posted hefty gains against the once-indomitable Rush Limbaugh.

In particular, The Ed Schultz show actually passed Limbaugh among the 25-54 age range in the nation's twelfth largest radio market. Schultz scored a 3.4 rating to Limbaugh's 3.2, climbing 1.1 ratings points from the winter figures.

“In his own backyard, how can Limbaugh lose to a liberal talker? What am I doing with a 3.4 and he’s sitting with a 3.2?” Schultz asked RAW STORY in a telephone interview this morning. “We’ve coming a long way from being the poor little guy from North Dakota.”

Al Franken, whose Air America program runs head-on with Rush in the noon to 3 p.m. slot, also made strides, posting 2.1 ratings among 25-64, up from 1.5 in the winter.

Franken could not be immediately reached for comment.

Limbaugh's program is carried by Miami-based WIOD NewsRadio 610; Schultz and Franken are hosted by WINZ, South Florida's Progressive Talk, formerly Fox Sports radio. The two programs posted gains in every single age category.

The numbers do not provide insight into the growth of Air America's drive time host Randi Rhodes, who runs 6-9 p.m. in Miami.

The advance numbers are trends and are not finalized figures. Insiders say trend numbers do not fall, but can increase in the publicly-released finalized numbers.

Some tell RAW STORY that some in the industry have encouraged Schultz to take on Limbaugh in the noon to 3 p.m. time slot. Schultz's program was recently purchased by the former president of Clear Channel Radio and one of the initial promoters of Limbaugh's show.

Ms. Julien in Miami


Julian Bond's got brass ones

by Pam



If only some of our elected Dems had them. Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP, blasted the Chimperor administration last night at the civil rights organization's national convention, held in Milwaukee. You'll recall that the IRS is investigating the NAACP, reviewing its tax-exempt status after Bond's scathing keynote address at last year's convention in Philadelphia. He didn't hold back this time, either. Read and weep with joy that someone is telling it like it is.
Calling the Bush administration's approach to civil rights "deceptive," Bond suggested that the White House has "tried an aggressive campaign to seduce black clergy" to support the administration through its faith-based grant campaign.

"The president likes to talk the talk, but he doesn't walk the walk," Bond told a crowd of about 3,000 gathered at Milwaukee's Midwest Airlines Center to hear his introduction to the annual convention. Bond said the administration "at best has neglected civil rights issues, and at worst has been aggressively hostile to them" - buttressing that remark with mention of a recent U.S. Commission on Civil Rights report that was critical of the administration.

Bond landed the Baltimore-based National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in hot water with the Internal Revenue Service after a speech last summer, in which he attacked President Bush on the Iraq war and for being the first sitting president since Herbert Hoover not to address the group. [Since Chimpy's feelings were hurt, I guess he needed to sic the IRS on their asses for payback. Nice. ]

...The IRS has said its investigation is limited to whether Bond stepped over the line into partisan politics in his critique of Bush, which could cost the NAACP its tax-exempt status. But the NAACP is continuing to fight the federal investigation, and Bond - unapologetic for his remarks - has denounced the audit as partisan bullying.

Bond named and condemned eight U.S. senators who he said dodged an apology for the federal government's failure to pass anti-lynching laws as the Senate - on a voice vote rather than a roll call - passed a nonbinding resolution of apology last month.

Bond also criticized Democrats for not blocking Bush's judicial nominees. He called confirmed U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Janice Rogers Brown the "female Clarence Thomas."

Bond accused black conservatives and blamed foundations that finance conservative groups for rolling back gains for which civil rights leaders have fought. "Having stolen our vocabulary, they also want to steal the just spoils of our righteous war," he said. "They've had a collection of black hustlers and hucksters on their payrolls for more than 20 years, promoting them as a new generation of black leaders." Reiterating comments from his keynote convention address two years ago about Bush and his black supporters, Bond said, "Like ventriloquists' dummies, they speak in the puppet master's voice, but we can see his lips moving, and we can hear his money talk." [OMFG - say, it brother. Please, please, can others call this sh*t out?!]
Lest you've forgotten, here are some of those hustlers he's talking about:


Televangelist Frederick K.C. Price of L.A.'s Crenshaw Christian Center backs Bush and took part in a 100-minister summit opposing same-sex civil marriage; Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr. (Mr. Contract w/Black America) has gotten into political bed with Ken Mehlman.


Bishop Sedgwick Daniels of Milwaukee's Holy Redeemer Church of God in Christ buys into Bush's faith-based initiatives and "values;" homophobe Rev. Dwight McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, TX is on board with the homo-hating agenda.


* Philadelphia's Rev. Herb Lusk, pastor of the Greater Exodus Baptist Church has had his coffers filled with a cool million to run faith-based initiatives by the Administration (He gave the invocation at the 2000 Republican convention and called Bush's 2004 win "a great victory."); and last (and most disappointing), Walter Fauntroy, key lieutenant to Martin Luther King and pastor of the New Bethel Baptist Church, who held a much-covered press conference with Bill Frist and Rick Santorum in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment.

It should be noted that Julian Bond is publicly in favor of same-sex marriage, though the national NAACP has not taken a position on the issue. You best believe he's getting heat from many in the religious black community because of his view.

***

Here's an oddity of an appearance at the convention... Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (Repug-WI) was applauded when he promised to lead federal lawmakers in extending provisions of the voting rights act that are to expire in 2007. You may recall in an earlier post that our president was asked about extending and strengthening the 1965 Voting Rights Act and he told members of the Congressional Black Caucus that he did not know enough about that particular law to respond to it, he said, and that he would deal with the legislation when it comes up.


He's not off the hook: Sensenbrenner shut down Patriot Act hearings and cut off the mics in the middle of testimony, deep-sixing testimony without comment or issuing any kind of statement.

Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.


Sunday, July 10, 2005

Katherine Harris is pissed at the Bushies and GOP

by Pam



The Hill has a hysterical story of the in-fighting over Katherine Harris's bid to unseat Florida Senator Bill Nelson next year. She laid down for Bush by tossing the election to him in 2000, and she wants payback -- and her camp has been flipped the bird by Rove and the Empty Wig.
Frustrated with the White House and a key Republican, supporters of Rep. Katherine Harris' (R-Fla.) 2006 Senate campaign lashed out at the administration yesterday for seeking to convince another prominent GOP official to enter the race.

"It's unimaginable that the White House folks and the National Republican Senatorial Committee would be so disloyal to Katherine Harris, especially after all she has done for the Bush family and the Republican Party," a Florida political operative who supports Harris said. "It's unconscionable and a stab in the back."

Harris backers are irritated that State House Speaker Allan Bense met with White House chief of staff Karl Rove and NRSC Chairwoman Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) this week to discuss challenging Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) next year. The operative added, "If it is true, they should be ashamed and embarrassed, considering she stepped aside at their request for the president and Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) in 2004. It's her turn."

..Some GOP officials fear that Harris, who became a household name during the prolonged 2000 presidential election, is too polarizing a figure to defeat Nelson.

Others Republicans disagree, with one saying that Democrats and pundits "said the exact same thing about Bush's re-election in 2004…The polarization is a made-up word by people who fear her." Another GOP official said, "Polarizing can be a plus," explaining that she has strong support from many Republicans and hope to enhance her negative numbers over the next 16 months.


Drip...drip...drip...

by Shakespeare's Sister

Leaks are just springing up all over the place these days.

BBC News reports that a document called “Options for Future UK Force Posture in Iraq” and marked “Secret: UK Eyes Only,” has been leaked to The Mail, discussing not only the reduction of British troops, but also of American troops in Iraq, including the US’ wishes to hand over control of 14 of Iraq’s 18 provinces to Iraqi forces by early 2006, with a note that the Pentagon and US commanders in Iraq are divided over the plans.

SimianBrain’s got an excellent comprehensive post on this here.

And the hits just keep on coming…

(Crossposted at Shakespeare’s Sister.)


Rove is the Plame Leaker

by Shakespeare's Sister

Newsweek confirms that Rove was Matt Cooper’s Source:

It was 11:07 on a Friday morning, July 11, 2003, and Time magazine correspondent Matt Cooper was tapping out an e-mail to his bureau chief, Michael Duffy. "Subject: Rove/P&C," (for personal and confidential), Cooper began. "Spoke to Rove on double super secret background for about two mins before he went on vacation ..." Cooper proceeded to spell out some guidance on a story that was beginning to roil Washington. He finished, "please don't source this to rove or even WH [White House]" and suggested another reporter check with the CIA.

[…]

Rove has never publicly acknowledged talking to any reporter about former ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife. But last week, his lawyer, Robert Luskin, confirmed to NEWSWEEK that Rove did—and that Rove was the secret source who, at the request of both Cooper's lawyer and the prosecutor, gave Cooper permission to testify.

[…]

Rove told Cooper that Wilson's trip had not been authorized by "DCIA"—CIA Director George Tenet—or Vice President Dick Cheney. Rather, "it was, KR said, wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip." Wilson's wife is Plame, then an undercover agent working as an analyst in the CIA's Directorate of Operations counterproliferation division. (Cooper later included the essence of what Rove told him in an online story.) The e-mail characterizing the conversation continues: "not only the genesis of the trip is flawed an[d] suspect but so is the report. he [Rove] implied strongly there's still plenty to implicate iraqi interest in acquiring uranium fro[m] Niger ... “

[…]

Nothing in the Cooper e-mail suggests that Rove used Plame's name or knew she was a covert operative. Nonetheless, it is significant that Rove was speaking to Cooper before Novak's column appeared; in other words, before Plame's identity had been published. Fitzgerald has been looking for evidence that Rove spoke to other reporters as well. "Karl Rove has shared with Fitzgerald all the information he has about any potentially relevant contacts he has had with any reporters, including Matt Cooper," Luskin told NEWSWEEK.
His defense so far seems to be that he didn’t say her name, just “Wilson’s wife,” and didn’t know that she was undercover, just that she was CIA.

So, once again, we’re being asked to rid ourselves of all common sense and logic to accept the administration’s excuses. We are instead meant to believe that Karl Rove, an unapologetic political ideologue and opportunist, widely regarded as perhaps the dirtiest trickster in the business with a history of vengeful tactics against political opponents, and Bush’s right hand man, a political advisor who ascended to a permanent position in the White House, affording him some senior level of security clearance, knew that “Wilson’s wife” was a CIA operative, but didn’t know that she was undercover and was talking to Cooper “to discourage Time from publishing things that turned out to be false,” not to punish Wilson for reporting that the intelligence the administration was using to bolster their case for war was bullshit—even though the Downing Street Memos have noted that they were fixing the intelligence around the policy. Forget Occam’s Razor, which suggests that the most logical explanation is usually the right one, and instead grab with both hands the most convoluted explanation, which coincidentally exonerates Rove of all wrongdoing.

How much more of this shit are the American people going to swallow before they demand that the entire lot of criminals running the joint are roughly escorted out the fucking door?

(Crossposted at Shakespeare’s Sister.)


Saturday, July 09, 2005

Just like my country's sheeple

by Pam


When I read this, I immediately thought about the 2004 election, and the state of our country.
First one sheep jumped to its death. Then stunned Turkish shepherds, who had left the herd to graze while they had breakfast, watched as nearly 1,500 others followed, each leaping off the same cliff, Turkish media reported.

In the end, 450 dead animals lay on top of one another in a billowy white pile, the Aksam newspaper said. Those who jumped later were saved as the pile got higher and the fall more cushioned, Aksam reported.

"There's nothing we can do. They're all wasted," Nevzat Bayhan, a member of one of 26 families whose sheep were grazing together in the herd, was quoted as saying by Aksam.
Cross-posted over at Pam's House Blend


The sheeple impact, part 2

by Pam


New President of Toyota Motor Corp. Katsuaki Watanabe said that the automaker plans to build a new plant in Canada. (AP/Shizuo Kambayashi)

This administration was elected by the non-critical thinking, easily shaped sheeple. As our cowboy Chimperor burns our tax dollars on war, waste and destruction, billions that could improve our education and health care systems aren't in the coffers. And now there's more proof the long term damage on this front to our economic base is biting us in the ass.

Canada, our progressive, trashed-by-the-Freepi neighbor to the north is going to laugh all the way to the bank, while our sheeple worry about gay marriage, the Ten Commandments and other bullsh*t when Johnny and Jane can't f*cking read.
Toyota to build 100,000 vehicles per year in Woodstock, Ont., starting 2008

Ontario workers are well-trained. That simple explanation was cited as a main reason why Toyota turned its back on hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies offered from several American states in favour of building a second Ontario plant.

Industry experts say Ontarians are easier and cheaper to train - helping make it more cost-efficient to train workers when the new Woodstock plant opens in 2008, 40 kilometres away from its skilled workforce in Cambridge.

"The level of the workforce in general is so high that the training program you need for people, even for people who have not worked in a Toyota plant before, is minimal compared to what you have to go through in the southeastern United States," said Gerry Fedchun, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association, whose members will see increased business with the new plant.

Several U.S. states were reportedly prepared to offer more than double that amount of subsidy. But Fedchun said much of that extra money would have been eaten away by higher training costs than are necessary for the Woodstock project.

He said Nissan and Honda have encountered difficulties getting new plants up to full production in recent years in Mississippi and Alabama due to an untrained - and often illiterate - workforce. In Alabama, trainers had to use "pictorials" to teach some illiterate workers how to use high-tech plant equipment.

"The educational level and the skill level of the people down there is so much lower than it is in Ontario," Fedchun said.

In addition to lower training costs, Canadian workers are also $4 to $5 cheaper to employ partly thanks to the taxpayer-funded health-care system in Canada, said federal Industry Minister David Emmerson.
Let's see Chimpy, Rove and Mehlman defend that in the next election cycle.

Cross-posted over at Pam's House Blend


Jeb's Culture of Life

by Ms. Julien in Miami

From Julien's List contributor Mario:

I wish I had written this!

http://empireburlesquenow.blogspot.com/2005/06/code-red-jeb-bush-strikes-back.html

-------------------------------------


Last month, we reported here about Jeb Bush's courtroom efforts to crush the life of an abused, poverty-stricken six-year-old girl in his gubernatorial satrapy of Florida. Later, against all odds, a jury of ordinary citizens thwarted the dynast's brutal will. But as befits a scion of the ruling family, Bush is now brushing aside this interference from the rabble and pressing ahead with his plans to strip the little girl of all public assistance.

Bush's minions went to court earlier this year in a bid to cut off medical aid to Marissa Amora, who, at the age of 2, had been abandoned by Jeb's "Department of Children and Families" despite overwhelming evidence of horrific past abuse – and the imminent danger of more to come. More came: within weeks she was beaten almost to death – and then Jeb's agents tried to stop her medical treatment and let her die. She survived their malign intervention and is now thriving with a new family – but still suffers from permanent, catastrophic damage caused by the entirely predictable beating she received after the DCF cast her aside.

But late last month, the jury in the case issued a stern rebuke to these perverted Bush Family values: they awarded Marissa $35 million in damages for institutional neglect and for her future medical care, with the DCF ordered to pay the bulk of the costs. So, a happy ending, right?

Don't be silly: we're dealing with the Bush-Walker gang here. And for almost 100 years, from their ammo-dealing days in World War I to their heavy investments in Nazi Germany to their profitable hook-ups with Arab oil tyrants to their back-door buttressing of Saddam Hussein to their present-day bonanza of blood money gushing from the slaughter in Iraq, this clan of wing-tipped thugs has always built its fortune on the backs – and the bones – of the poor. And no self-respecting Bush clansman would ever let some uppity little black girl and her foster mother make him look bad, no matter how egregious his failures.

Jeb had three choices after the verdict. He could have simply accepted responsibility for his agency's horrible neglect and paid the full amount. Or he could have accepted responsibility but asked that the large award be reduced, as often happens in such cases, which would still leave Marissa with enough money to afford the extensive and costly health care she will need for the rest of her life. The first course would have been just and honorable; the second, pragmatic yet not inherently cruel. But honor, justice and responsibility have no place in the Bush clan's ruthless operations. So Jeb picked the third choice, the "nuclear option": he has asked an appeals court to throw out the entire award – even the damages levied against other, non-state parties in the case – leaving Marissa with absolutely nothing, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Filing for dismissal, Bush's lawyers blasted the jury for being too stupid to process the complex documentation of the case and acting instead on "prejudice and sympathy." While any "prejudice" in the case would seem to lie with the lily-white governor's attempt to grind a black child under his heel, it's true that the jury probably did have some measure of sympathy for a six-year-old girl who will have to be kept alive through a feeding tube for the rest of her days because Bush's bureaucrats failed to protect her from well-documented abuse. But sympathy is for "girlie-men" in the demented moral universe of the Bushist faction. Or as one of the Bush Family's old business partners once said, just before he launched an unprovoked war of aggression against Poland based on lies, propaganda and manipulated intelligence about a bogus threat to the nation: "Close your hearts to pity. The stronger man is right. Be steeled against all signs of compassion." Power is everything; people are nothing; the weakest go to the wall: that's the Kennebunkport Code.

But of course you have to dress up your blood-and-iron philosophy with the prevailing pieties of the day if you want to snow the hoi polloi and weasel your way into power. And Jeb is one of the great whited sepulchres of our time, a master of the hypocritical arts, ever eager to hog the nearest camera and blubber teary platitudes about the "culture of life" – even as he feverishly signs death warrants in an apparent bid to surpass his older brother's record as the most bloodthirsty executioner in modern American history. If Marissa were, say, a nice white woman in a vegetative state whose case had been taken up by powerful financial and political interests then ballyhooed into a national media carnival, then doubtless Jeb would even now be dabbing his eyes as he knelt for a photo-op at her bedside.

But because Marissa is "nobody" – one of the poor, the powerless, the "insulted and injured," in Dostoevsky's phrase – she can be flushed down the toilet and no one will notice. For the aim of Bush's legal maneuvering is clear: he wants to "run out the clock" on Marissa, litigating the case quite literally to death, until her family sinks beneath the overwhelming financial and physical burden of keeping her alive and at some point her makeshift, overstrained support system suffers the inevitable breakdown.

It's a despicable strategy, a wicked strategy, but entirely in keeping with the Ruling Family's ethos, which has given the world a terror-spawning quagmire of murder and atrocity in Iraq – 10,000 Marissa Amoras, dead, mangled, orphaned, abandoned, abused, forgotten. And for what? For power. For money. For the Code.


--

"The Government of the United States is in no sense founded on the Christian religion."
-- Washington in the Treaty of Tripoli

"This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it."
-- Adams in The Jefferson-Adams letters

"I do not find in Christianity one redeeming feature. It has made
one half the world fools, the other half hypocrites."
-- Thomas Jefferson


Friday, July 08, 2005

Phelps: the London sodomites deserved it.

by Pam

"Radical" Russ notes over at his pad that The Rotting CryptkeeperTM didn't wait for the dust to settle in London to comment.
And no, I'm not going to link to his website... just trust me that this is what is posted there in big bold letters:

Thank God for the bombing of London's subway today - July 7, 2005 - wherein dozens were killed and hundreds seriously injured. Wish it was many more.

Because, you see, God hates gay people and since the UK government won't endorse the stoning of gay people, God lets extremists kill people in the UK with bombs. If only there were no gay people, all the terrorist activity would be stopped by God.

Just in case you're a new reader or you suffer from sarcasm impairment, Fred Phelps is the former civil rights lawyer (!) who runs the Westboro Baptist Church and the website GodHatesFags, who regularly shows up to protest at gay pride events, memorials for AIDS victims, and even the funerals of US soldiers. I'd say that he gives Christianity a bad name, but that's plainly obvious. He gives humanity a bad name and is #1 on my list of Obituaries I Can't Wait To See.
***

As I'm a veteran poster on the Phelps clan, Russ's post prompted me to see for myself what else Fred and the Westboro Baptist Church were up to. Here's more on our friends across the pond.

England: Island of the Sodomite Damned

Tony Blair and his Bitch Barrister Wife
These two have let England to irreversible doom, pushing the fag agenda. It is now a crime to preach God's truth about fags in England. Blair wants to be president (Antichrist) of EU (European Union), whose laws also criminalize Gospel preaching.
Also, the traveling Phelps band of hate takes its roadshow on July 11 to Bentonville, Arkansas, home of "Wal-Mart fag headquarters and sodomite whorehouses." He's been celebrating the "second week in hell" of John Walton, who was killed in a plane crash. Apparently in Fred's eyes, Walton was a big fan of the homo agenda too. Who knew that Wal-Mart was "one the spearheads of gay rights worldwide"?



Cross-posted over at Pam's House Blend


Huh

by Shakespeare's Sister

So Hurricane Dennis has reached Gitmo. I wonder if Pat Robertson or Fred Phelps, who claim that gays cause hurricanes and natural disasters are punishments for acts against nature, like homosexuality, are going to have anything to say about what could be going on at Gitmo that God doesn’t like?


Lautenburg versus Halliburton

by Shakespeare's Sister

It’s no contest, of course. Everyone loses against Halliburton.

But Senator Frank Lautenberg gave a valiant effort nonetheless, responding to the news that Halliburton has been given five billion dollars of additional work in Iraq, on top of the nine billion dollars they’ve already made, with the following bit of snark:
At this point, why don't we just hand Halliburton the keys to the U.S. Treasury and tell them to turn off the lights when they are done?
I guess since no one seems to be able to stop Bush & Co. from transferring every last American dollar into one account or another that will serve Cheney well in his retirement, the only thing left to do is make disdainful jokes.

I don’t mean to sound like I’m picking on Senator Lautenburg (even though I guess I am, a little); I really like Senator Lautenburg. It’s just kind of disappointing that this is what it’s come to—snide comments from a helpless opposition—especially when I remember back before the Iraq War, a time when suggesting that Cheney and Halliburton would be getting filthy rich off this deal would elicit charges of being a crackpot conspiracy theorist. And it wasn’t just the Republicans who lobbed those charges. As I recall, the Dems were fairly determined to separate themselves from the traitorous anti-war set who dared suggest there might be ulterior motives for this war in the first place.

People who said the exact same thing Senator Lautenburg is quoted as saying above, but said it three years ago, were called lunatic fringe. Funny how things change, isn’t it?

(Crossposted at Shakespeare’s Sister.)


Squishy?

by Lanoire

Ezra Klein has this to say about the possibility of Rehnquist retiring and a future Supreme Court Justice Gonzales:


A double-retirement is different, though. Gonzales goes up, but so does Luttig or McConnell. Indeed, I'll go one step farther and say Bush'll move Scalia to Chief Justice in addition to nominating a hardliner in order to quiet opposition to Gonzales. Democrats, feeling safe that the Court won't change, don't filibuster. Conservatives, getting Scalia and a favored son, don't shriek. Balance returns to the force.

Assuming Gonzales is the squishy con the right seems to believe, that's not a bad outcome. In effect, the Court remains unchanged. Under a president with the ideology and indebtedness of Bush, that's the best Democrats can hope for.


Except, of course, Gonzales is not the squishy con the right is pretending to believe he is.

Is he a mouth-taping theatrical pro-lifer? No--although it should be noted that we don't know exactly how pro-choice he is or what his precise position is on Roe vs. Wade, so we shouldn't count him as a social liberal just yet.

But he's pro-torture. He is as staunch an authoritarian as any conservative. He doesn't believe in the Constitution. He is a war criminal.

Considering Gonzales to be not-so-bad because of his seeming support for abortion rights is a lot like calling a Stalin supporter to be not-so-bad for the same reason. And yes, I just compared Gonzales to a supporter of Stalin. Based on his comfort with torture and unlimited government power, I don't think that's an unreasonable comparison to make.

Ezra rightly points out that the Dems have little to no say in who ends up on the court, and that we're going to get an ultraconservative no matter what. He's right.

Where he errs, I think, is in implying that Gonzales is the best we're going to get. Gonzales is no better than any of our other options, and designating him apart from the others as "squishier" would be irresponsibly inaccurate. It allows the right to pretend that Bush is "compromising" by placing Gonzales on the Supreme Court. It gives the American people the false impression that it's not a catastrophe to have a Justice Gonzales.

Are we going to end up with an extremist regardless of what we say or do? Certainly. But, if we've got a choice between a whole lot of extreme conservatives, that's no reason to pretend that one of the extreme conservatives is somehow less extreme than the others. We're going to end up with someone horrible, because all our options are horrible, but that's no reason to pretend that Gonzales is less horrible.

Not only is such pretense dishonest, but it obscures the terrible reality of what's happening from other Americans, who need to know what's going on.

We may not be able to stop Bush from placing a torture proponent with no respect for the law on the Supreme Court. But we can, and should, yell and scream about it so everyone knows that Bush is doing this. Under no circumstances should we convey the impression that we're relieved about it.

(cross-posted to Looking at the Stars)


Thursday, July 07, 2005

I’m Angry

by Shakespeare's Sister

And here’s why…

I’m angry because on September 11, 2001, terrorists struck on US soil. These terrorists were part of a group called al-Qaida, which is led by a man named Osama bin Laden. Nearly four years later, and after a war in Afghanistan to remove the regime which supported him, bin Laden remains on the loose.

I’m angry because that corrupt Afghani regime, the Taliban, is regaining power, opium production in Afghanistan is skyrocketing, women are still being killed for trying to assert a modicum of independence, and we have all but abandoned the country to further ruin.

I’m angry because we shifted our focus away from Afghanistan and al-Qaida to a vague “war on terror,” which diluted our emphasis on the perpetrators of a great American tragedy and made it eminently easy to position ourselves as the consummate victims, thereby indefinitely delaying any examination of our own role in the global community, other than the self-proclaimed purveyors of freedom and liberty at the end of a gun.

I’m angry because our leaders used Americans’ fear to secure carte blanche to commence a strategy for stabilizing the Middle East that was developed long before 9/11 ever happened, because they denounced dissenters as traitors, because they used national security as a justification for trampling recklessly on our civil liberties, and because it now appears as though the administration deliberately manipulated intelligence to rationalize their case for war.

I’m angry because it looks very likely that the President’s deputy chief of staff and ubiquitous Svengali, Karl Rove, sought vengeance on someone who tried to tell the truth about their machinations by revealing the name of his wife, who was a covert CIA operative, and I’m especially angry that the biggest part of that story, that she was working on weapons proliferation—the very thing that allegedly was of primary concern in selling the war to the American people—has been ignored. That he may have acted unethically or even broken the law is small potatoes compared to how thoroughly he may well have jeopardized good intelligence-gathering on a very real threat to Americans.

I’m angry because four years after 9/11, our borders are still insecure, the upgrading of our Coast Guard has been postponed until the year 2030, thereby leaving our shores insecure, our military and national guard are stretched thin, leaving us vulnerable at home, we still don’t have a comprehensive list of terrorists that can be used to monitor people entering the country by airplane, car, or boat, we still don’t have a satisfactory container check system for containers coming through our ports, we still lack strengthened security around chemical and nuclear energy plants and our water facilities, and our soldiers sent to fight the war on terror aren’t even properly protected in many cases.

I’m angry because when a senator suggests that a description of the mistreatment of prisoners sounds like something that one would expect from a violent, totalitarian regime, he is accused of inflaming hatred against us, or when a magazine prints accounts of mishandling of prisoners’ holy books, they are accused of inflaming hatred against us, but never, ever are the underlying acts condemned with quite the same fervor.

I’m angry because we launched a preemptive strike on Iraq, ostensibly because its dictator, Saddam Hussein, was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. When no such weapons were found, the rationale for war was slowly changed into a humanitarian effort. When it was revealed that we had replaced Saddam’s torture chambers with our own, and pictures of the atrocities at Abu Ghraib were made public for all to see, the rationale was slowly changed into Iraq’s being a front on the war on terror; we were fighting the terrorists there so we wouldn’t have to fight them at home. Today, our closest ally was the victim of a coordinated terrorist attack for which al-Qaida has taken responsibility. What will be the new rationale for this war, now that all others have failed?

And I’m angry because I just don’t know how we’re going to get out of this mess.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare’s Sister.)


Vigilance, Freeper-style

by Pam


A still taken from a mobile phone video camera, aired by SKY TV as passengers are evacuated from an underground train in London. (AP Photo/SKY TV)

The insane minds over in the slime of Freeperland took the call for vigilance seriously. Maybe a bit too seriously. In response to the London terrorist attacks, a thread popped up in a round-up of related postings entitled, "Secure USA borders NOW, President Bush. Political Correctness be damned." Apparently the most urgent threat is Mexican workers, not Al Qaeda.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Code Orange in Boston, NYC, DC, Atlanta. Unfortunately, it's still Code Green at our borders."

"secure them with WHAT?"

"While I don't want to be too hasty, I think this is becoming more and more of a necessity nowadays. If the Brits's commitment to fighting terrorism isn't reborn in the wake of these attacks then the U.S. is alone, aside from Israel and Japan, and likely Australia (Israel and Australia having moderate-severe problems of their own). We need to look at the borders again, if nothing else, and check for weaknesses."

"Anyone have the comments from President Bush that were released a short time ago?"

"You'll see he has no plans to secure the border, he plans to erase them. We're no longer citizens of the United States. We're citizens of North America. Soon we'll be citizens of the World."

"I only caught the part where he wants us to be "extra vigilant." I think this is too lax an attitude. I think we should be "double dog vigilant.""

"I was just screaming those same words at my PC. So loud that the cats took cover."

"It's probably too late for London. Many parts of London now resemble Baghdad. No kidding. The Mid Easterners are everywhere."

"They are already here. W squandered 5 years of open borders. He even condemne the Minutemen Project. He's a Fox ass kisser."

"I dont know, but I think we need to calm down and take a deep breath and THINK. all this garbage about screaming or nuking people or whatever needs to stop....." [OMG...Sanity!]

"When I woke up this morning and turned the tv on, I heard that there were suicide bombings. I honestly thought it was here in the US because I'm quite certain this will happen here."

"I've heard that. Mass migration is destroying Western Civilization."

"Yes. Let's speed up the withdrawal of those armored and mechanized brigades in Germany. Put them, along with brigades already in CONUS, on our southern border. And when these brigades get to the border I don't want them just sitting in garrison. I want them patrolling the border with a basic load of ammunition and orders to waste anything crossing the fence." [Has he seen too many Chuck Norris flicks?]

"For starters land mines, at least until we can fully man the border. [OK. This is just f*cking frightening.] It would take less time to train and man a border patrol force than it would take to train and man the Iraqi military. Anything is better than the status quo."

"land mines? so you are willing to KILL men women and children to satisfy your fear? I know if I were in charge I wouldnt ask my military to do that, they have other things to do and besides that, I seriously doubt we could put enough land mines down across our borders to significantly make that much of a difference in the first place. The Russians tried that in Afghanistan when they withdrew. Hell the Russians loaded all of their planes with land mines and rolled them out as they flew out of the country. It didnt do ANYTHING to stop the Afghans. It would only be a matter of time until the illegals know their ways through the mine fields. there are better ways and land mines ARE NOT it. Besides why would AQ want to go across the border? It is quicker, easier and probably safer for them to just fly their terrorists in VIA airplanes....."[OMG...Sanity part 2!]


Terrorism strikes London

by STP

As I write this, the reports online say 40 people have died as a result of the terrorism that has hit the London subway and bus systems this morning. First and foremost, my sorrow for the people of England is heartfelt and I pray that the death toll does not grow further.

Sadly, though, even if the number of those dead today stop rising, it will increase over time in other places and on other days. In my criticism of President Bush and Prime Minister Blair for their incompetence in dealing with terrorism, no one should lose sight of the fact that those committing these travesties are barbaric and evil in every sense of the word. They preach a belief in God, yet members of al Qaeda, and anyone who turns to terrorism in "God's name," do so with nothing godly in their actions at all. Osama bin Laden holds no belief in God. He, and all terrorists, are cowards and nothing beyond absolute wickedness.

Having said that, it is also necessary to keep an eye on why terrorists thrive. In large part, they are a product of failed western policies. It is U.S. support of despotic and heavy-handed rulers in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan that helps to breed legions of willing members of al Qaeda and other groups. It is cruel, unnecessary war in Iraq, with indiscriminate killing and violence of countless Iraqi citizens, that encourages additional volunteers to the terrorist cause. It is years of foreign policy based on oil profits for the Halliburtons of the world that drives hatred of the U.S.

What happened on September 11th in the U.S., today in London, and attacks that await us are all examples of the worst of humanity. The scum that represents the terrorists of the world, killing innocents in the name of a god that has nothing to do with God, is only a piece of the story. The fools and self-motivated leaders that promise to protect us have blood on their hands in equal measure.

(Cross posted on Poetic Leanings)


Our sorry values will be the death of us

by STP

All of us.

Driving into work this morning, I noticed something on the road up ahead was moving. As I got closer, I saw that it was the head of a woodchuck that had lifted up and then sunk back to the road's surface again. Its body was still. Apparently, the woodchuck had been struck by an automobile and the poor critter was likely in the last moments of life.

As I approached the woodchuck, I tried to decide whether I should drive over the animal and put it out of its misery or swerve to avoid it. Without much time to reflect, I chose to alter my path and swing around it.

I always become melancholy when I drive past a dead animal on the road, and seeing one that is obviously suffering depresses me all the more. I could not bring myself to end the woodchuck's life, even if it meant a possible end to its pain. I was uncertain I would succeed for one thing. I feared making the situation worse. And I simply could not inflict anymore harm upon an innocent life form.

Either way, I remain sad, even as I now sit at my desk at work. An animal, any animal, dies of natural causes or in the normal circle of life that represents predator and prey and I am not disturbed. I eat meat, and maybe I am a slight hypocrite for doing so, but I rationalize this as part of life, too.

What I cannot come to terms with is senseless death, pointless intrusion on other life forms and wanton disregard for anything beyond ourselves. Over-development is the main culprit for the number of creatures that end up as road kill. In a case of societal eminent domain, the human race has decided that the planet belongs to it, and any other living thing must succumb to the wishes of man. We build strip malls far in excess of need (notice the number of empty buildings and you will agree with this statement). We plow over open fields and cut down trees to put wall to wall homes wherever we can. We pollute.

And for each lost bit of the natural world, replaced by man's gluttony, we look upon the populations of deer and bear and say, "there are too many animals." There are too many men. Yet we ignore our abusive patterns and instead hold hunts to cull populations. We clog roads with increasing amounts of traffic and leave countless forms of wildlife crippled or dead along the highways. We sacrifice our souls and our godliness in the process.

Surely the nature of life is such that animals will kill each other as part of their own survival. We, as humans are part of this interconnective give and take. However, the waste, cruelty and shortsightedness of how unnecessarily will kill is a crime. I am sad this morning over the death of that woodchuck and too many other animals. If we do not stop, at some point it will be us; maybe not along some roadside, but our last breath will hurt with equal measure.

(Cross posted on Poetic Leanings)


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Ed Koch: No Filibustering Bush's Supreme Court Nominee

by Pam


Ed Koch, former mayor of New York City, basking in the glow of self-loathing at the Republican National Convention.

Enough from this old fag. He went over to the dark side long ago, and the fact that this nonsense is running on wingnut Newsmax is just icing on the cake. Koch has several screws loose.
No one opposing the president's pick on key issues should be expected to support the candidate, but preventing an ultimate vote on the nomination should not be tolerated. Most, if not all, senators acknowledge that they may not ask a nominee for the office how they would decide a particular case, either one heretofore decided by the Supreme Court or one created hypothetically, to determine the philosophical position of the nominee on a future court decision.

... I believe that most, but regrettably not all, public servants ultimately seek to do what is best for their constituencies. My prediction is that the president will nominate Alberto Gonzales, currently serving as the U.S. attorney general, who previously served as chief judge of the Texas Supreme Court by appointment of then Texas Governor Bush. I believe that Alberto Gonzales will be confirmed.

There is no question but that he is in the mainstream of the Republican majority. Indeed, that status is strengthened by the fact that the extreme conservative wing of the Republican Party is now marshalling its forces to stop Gonzales' nomination and confirmation.

President Bush cannot run again. His prime consideration in anything he does is how it will affect his legacy. He is not concerned with his immediate popularity, except as it bears upon next year's congressional and Senate races. His selection of Gonzales, who, if confirmed, will be the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice, will help Bush's legacy and the Republican Party during the next elections.



The attorney general has done well in his appearances before congressional committees and occasional interviews, particularly a recent interview with Charlie Rose. He conveys reasonableness, integrity, intelligence and courage.


Ed Klein gets his *ss kicked on Al Franken's show

by Pam



I was up at some ungodly hour last night and flipped on Sundance Channel and caught the re-airing of the complete destruction of Ed Klein on The Al Franken Show. Klein is the author of The Truth About Hillary, a new "bio," that has been slammed by folks on the left and the right as a smear job of epic proportions. For instance, a quote from winger John Podhoretz (columnist, National Review and Weekly Standard): "This is one of the most sordid volumes I've ever waded through. Thirty pages into it, I wanted to take a shower. Sixty pages into it, I wanted to be decontaminated. And 200 pages into it, I wanted someone to drive stakes through my eyes so I wouldn't have to suffer through another word."

The *ss-kicking by Al, Katherine Lanpher and Joe Conason was relentless and completely hysterical. I'm glad I got to see it on TV, because radio (or the transcript) can't capture the priceless expressions of all involved.

Klein completely unraveled and was caught in so many lies, distortions, exposed as the fraudulent "journalist" that he is, who is simplly sucking up to to the lowest common denominator of Freepi for a buck. A snippet from the transcript, from Media Matters:
CONASON: Who is Melanie Verveer?
KLEIN: She was {Hillary Clinton's] chief of staff for a while.
FRANKEN: Yeah. You know what?
CONASON: There is no person named Melanie Verveer. There's Melanne Verveer, who you refer to as "mannish looking," which she's not. But her name is Melanne, M-E-L-A-N-N-E.
FRANKEN: Now, I know Melanne.
CONASON: Now, since you don't know the first name of her chief of staff, why should anybody think that you know anything at all about Hillary Clinton?
FRANKEN: Well, I want to go to --
LANPHER: It's not -Please --
FRANKEN: Oh, let him, let him, let him.
LANPHER: Please, let him respond!
KLEIN: I don't think the question is worth my responding.
CONASON: Because you don't know, right?
KLEIN: Not -- no.
CONASON: You don't know, you didn't know her real name.
KLEIN: She was referred to as "Melanie" to me many, many times, and --
CONASON: By who? [laughing]
LANPHER: Really?
KLEIN: I think that's how --
CONASON: No one calls her "Melanie."
KLEIN: Well, I think that's how a lot of people referred to her.
CONASON: Nobody refers -- nobody calls her that.
FRANKEN: Now I know Melanne. I know her husband, and I have to take offense on calling her mannish, 'cause I know Melanne, and she's -- ah, I think she's a good-lookin' woman. And like, let's say, Ed, someone referred to your wife in a book as "simian," say. You know. Would you -- which, by the way, I doubt your wife is simian looking. I'm sure that she's very beautiful, because you're a very manly looking man. You're very heterosexual looking, I must say, in the back of the book. You look like you're in really good shape. So... [I nearly lost it here, laughing so loud that Kate almost woke up...]
CONASON: I have this feeling that he's never seen Melanne Verveer, whose name he doesn't know. Have you ever seen her?
KLEIN: Ah, no, I have not.
CONASON: But she's mannish-looking to you? Even though you've never seen her?
KLEIN: She has been described to me that way, yes.
CONASON: She's been ... Who described her to you that way?
KLEIN: Several people who worked -- knew her,
FRANKEN: Who knew her as "Melanie"?
KLEIN: Yes, and who called her "Melanie" to me.
CONASON: Well, maybe they knew someone else. This could all just be a -- another case of terrible reporting or mistaken identity.
FRANKEN: There is a Melanie. There is a Melanie who is -- used to be a male, and is a tennis player, you know, a professional tennis player.
CONASON: You know, Ed, you've been a reporter for a long time, or I know at least purporting to be a journalist. Isn't it true that the first thing you learn when you're starting to be a journalist is to spell the names right?
FRANKEN: Oh, come on --
KLEIN: It's such a silly comment, Joe, that it's beneath --
CONASON: You got a lot of them wrong.
KLEIN: I got some of them wrong, but I, I'm sure you've misspelled names in your career.
CONASON: I try to correct them. And I didn't pretend --
KLEIN: Well, I will try to correct these in my second edition.
There's a long section at the beginning of this transcript that you must read, catching Klein in a WHOPPER about the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and complete sentences that Klein leaves out of his book to insinuate that Moynihan hated Hillary so much that he couldn't even say her name. It's un-freaking-believable.


What Is a Judicial Activist?

by TheGreenKnight

Paul Gewirtz and Chad Golder of Yale Law School have a simple and sensible measurement:
How often has each justice voted to strike down a law passed by Congress?

Declaring an act of Congress unconstitutional is the boldest thing a judge can do. That's because Congress, as an elected legislative body representing the entire nation, makes decisions that can be presumed to possess a high degree of democratic legitimacy....

We found that justices vary widely in their inclination to strike down Congressional laws. Justice Clarence Thomas, appointed by President George H. W. Bush, was the most inclined, voting to invalidate 65.63 percent of those laws; Justice Stephen Breyer, appointed by President Bill Clinton, was the least, voting to invalidate 28.13 percent. The tally for all the justices appears below.

Thomas 65.63 %
Kennedy 64.06 %
Scalia 56.25 %
Rehnquist 46.88 %
O’Connor 46.77 %
Souter 42.19 %
Stevens 39.34 %
Ginsburg 39.06 %
Breyer 28.13 %

One conclusion our data suggests is that those justices often considered more "liberal" - Justices Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter and John Paul Stevens - vote least frequently to overturn Congressional statutes, while those often labeled "conservative" vote more frequently to do so. At least by this measure (others are possible, of course), the latter group is the most activist.
Cross-posted at The Green Knight.


What an Ignorant and Short-Sighted, Mean Person in our Highest Office...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Bush, the Obstacle to a Deal on Global Warming
by Michael McCarthy

Can America prevent the rich countries agreeing what to do about climate change? That's the other vital question at Gleneagles alongside Africa and its poverty and, last night, the omens did not look good.

President George Bush made anything but reassuring noises in a pre-summit television interview with Trevor McDonald, rejecting outright any suggestion that the US might join the Kyoto protocol on global warming, or consider any binding agreements to cut US emissions of greenhouse gases.

But Mr Bush's blunt stance - "I go to the G8 with an agenda that I think is best for our country" - was clearly aimed at opinion back home, and may not prevent Tony Blair putting climate change on top of the G8 agenda.

Rest of the story HERE...I simply cannot comment on such ignorance and arrogance.

Oh, that's right, GWB and his sheeple are just a-waitin' for the rapture - ain't no need to care about what we are doing to the earth.


W is for Man Woman

by Shakespeare's Sister

You may recall that the pres recently came under fire after a press conference in which he directed only a single question to a female reporter.

Perhaps the problem is that he simply can’t tell the difference:
PRESIDENT BUSH: Reuters man, Toby. Woman -- excuse me. I can see that. (Laughter.) So how long have you been on the presidential beat?

Q Since February.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes. Well, make yourself less scarce.
Or maybe it’s just that he can’t get it through his head that the “Reuters man” could actually be a woman. The boys’ club just ain’t what it used to be, eh, George?

“Toby,” by the way, is Tabassum Zakaria (see “additional reporting by” at the end of the story; the exchange above comes from the press conference in Denmark.)

The thing that bothers me about this is Bush’s immediate instinct to blame the reporter herself for his mistake. It’s a subtle thing, but it’s there. The response isn’t that he needs to pay more careful attention, or even a lame joke about aging eyes needing glasses, or an even lamer attempt to blame it on jetlag, or any one of a million possible retorts. Instead, it’s to suggest to Ms. Zakaria that she ought to make herself less scarce.

This man is patently unable to accept responsibility for anything, unwilling even to admit fault for a mistake as ultimately meaningless as this. He is pathetic, and by refusing to take the blame for his own error, passive aggressively turning it around on Ms. Zakaria’s having made herself “scarce,” he is rude and bullying, too. I know it’s a small thing, but it’s representative of something much bigger—a resistance of accountability that permeates his entire presidency.

He isn’t a good man who happens to be a bad president; he’s a bad president because he’s not a good man.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare’s Sister.)


An excellent "down low" column on PageOneQ

by Pam

There's a great essay up over at PageOneQ by Jasmyne Cannick (a board member of the National Black Justice Coalition).

Apparently, Terry McMillan, author of the 1996 novel "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," has filed for divorce from her 30-year-old Jamaican husband Jonathan Plummer after discovering that he was gay. Oh boy. Will she follow-up that novel with this tale or rewrite "Groove"?
McMillan’s troubles are sure to spark the next “down low” alert for Black women and Black men both gay and straight will take the heat and begin a new wave of anti-gay stereotypes among heterosexual black women. Seldom admitted is the fact that most women have no problems with the “Jack’s” (Will & Grace) of the world. In fact, it’s been an increasing trend now with women to have gay male friends. No, the problem lies with the “Omar’s” (HBO’s The Wire). The men, that women find themselves attracted to but the feeling isn’t mutual. The men who cannot be “clocked” at first glance.

But what about McMillan’s soon to be ex-husband? Born and raised in Jamaica (which is known for it’s homophobic culture) he can never return home for fear of being murdered, now that it’s public knowledge that he’s gay. Gays and lesbians of Caribbean descent have been fleeing their native countries for years for fear of being viciously beaten or murdered. Deeply religious and conservative, Jamaicans simply do not tolerate “batty boys” and “sodomites.”

Some of our most beloved reggae recording artists spew lyrics of killing gays over their hypnotic beats.
A great book on the topic of the DL is Keith Boykin's Beyond the Down Low: Sex, Lies, and Denial in Black America. It's a great counterbalance to On the Down Low: A Journey Into the Lives of "Straight" Black Men Who Sleep with Men, by J.L. King, the author Oprah had on her 2004 show. Boykin is rightfully tough on King, who is seen as exploiting the media's need to place the spread of HIV in the minority community on the Down Low, when there are a lot of factors at work, including the DL. Like Boykin, Jasmyne Cannick points out that the real cause of the DL is our sick homophobic culture.
While everyone’s so quick to jump on the “down low” bandwagon, there are very few voices speaking on why the “down low” exists. It’s assumed that you are straight and anything different means that you are not normal. We encourage safe sex and HIV testing, but not the disclosure of sexual preferences if it’s anything other than heterosexual.

The “down low” exists because of every deprecating and hateful comment ever made about gays in the workplace, at the dinner table, in line at the grocery store, at the nail shop, on the courts and everywhere else.

For every sissy, faggot, bull dagger, batty boy and sodomite that fell off of someone’s lips within earshot of others, another person pushed themselves deeper and deeper into the closet.

We created the “down low.”


Dems Call for Rove's Head

by Shakespeare's Sister

Conyers is at it again:
Dear Mr. President:

We write in order to urge that you require your Deputy White House Chief of Staff, Karl Rove, to either come forward immediately to explain his role in the Valerie Plame matter or to resign from your Administration.

[…]

Regardless of whether these actions violate the law – including specific laws against the disclosure of classified information as well as broader laws against obstruction of justice, the negligent distribution of defense information, and obligating reporting of press leaks to proper authorities – they seem to reveal a course of conduct designed to threaten and intimidate those who provide information critical of your Administration, such as Ambassador Wilson.
Damn. Read the whole thing—it’s good.

Are there no other Democrats who are as fired up about all this shit as Conyers? I mean, I know some of them are signing their names to letters he’s drafting, but why is he leading the charge seemingly every single time? Come on, Dems. Conyers is doing the right thing here. Get with the fucking program.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)


Repug just wanted to "whip the black off of" his son

by Pam


Cincinnati City Councilman Sam Malone pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence. He was upset that his son was late to a checkpoint while on a school field trip at Paramount's Kings Island.

Somehow, I don't think this kind of discipline's in the Dr. Spock child-rearing handbook. I also don't think he'll succeed at beating the melanin out of his 14-year-old son's hide unless he's got some kind of belt with magical, Neverland properties.
Malone, a Republican seeking re-election, has maintained that parents have the right to discipline their kids. He has described the incident as "parental intervention" brought about by a disciplinary problem at his son's school.

"Our children cannot be expected to act in a disrespectful way to teachers and other individuals in positions of authority," he wrote in a prepared statement the day after he was arrested. "Proper discipline is an important and necessary component of good parenting."

Malone's son told police he came home from the Kings Island outing and his father said: "I know what you did. ... I'm going to wear your butt out." According to the teen's statement, Malone ordered him to his room, telling him: "You'd better go ahead and meditate. If I were you, I wouldn't eat anything either."

Malone took his shirt off and got a belt from his room, according to the report and police records. When the boy tried to explain why he was late to the checkpoint, Malone said he didn't want to hear it and told his son to turn around, take off his shirt and pull his pants down, the statement said.

Malone is accused of hitting the boy several times with the belt. The hospital records detail bruising to his chest, arms, back and buttocks. The boy told police he fell at one point and Malone continued to hit him.

"I pay for your school, and you bring home poor grades," Malone told his son during the beating, according to the boy's statement. "You're not paying attention."

When his father stopped hitting him, the boy told police Malone told him he wasn't finished with him, adding: "I'm going to whip the black off you."

Shortly after, Malone left his Walnut Hills home, and a boy who also lives with Malone and his son called 911. In that call, the boy said he and Malone's son didn't feel safe there.
I don't think that anyone would disagree with Malone on a parent's right to discipline their child; my dearly departed Mom did spank us as little kids, not adolescents (this was before the days of the "time out", of course). The use of corporal punishment is possibly one of the thorniest issues that can be discussed in polite company. Where does one draw the line? The Malone case is clear-cut -- the man's got anger and control issues and has no business abusing his son like this. But what about the mom in the store that gets called out for smacking her acting-out child's bottom? Is that abuse? Who makes the call?


John and Linda Dollar.

Parenting is the hardest job in the world - and way too many people are parents that probably shouldn't be, but they do have the right to procreate, of course. Then you have gay people that desperately seek to be caring parents that live in states that make it hard or impossible to foster or adopt. But you also have the John and Linda Dollars of the world. They are the Florida couple charged with torturing and starving their children. The kids were beaten with belts, paddles, switches and whips, kicked, and at least once struck with a cattle prod. [The Dollars surrendered their parental rights in June.]

It's all screwed up.

Thanks to B3 reader and Julien's List contributor Holly for the pointer.


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

God Forbid That Them Queers in Florida Could Adopt a Child...but this Woman is A-OK!!! ;)

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Police: Woman Left Child In Car While Drinking In Bar

WTVJ-TV

DAVIE, Fla. - A woman has been charged with child neglect after being accused of leaving her son in a car while she drank in a Davie pub. Early Tuesday morning, a bouncer at Ye Olde Falcon Pub in Davie said he noticed Kathryn Stough behaving oddly. He said Stough would go inside to have a drink and then go outside to the parking lot about every 15 minutes.

The Story In Pictures: Doorman Finds Child In Car

The bouncer followed Stough to her truck and, when she returned inside, found her 7-year-old son inside with all the windows up, except for a rear window that was cracked about three inches, police said. The bouncer said the truck's hood was up and the engine was off.

The bouncer said he then called police and told the bartender to stop serving Stough.

"She said that she had just stopped at the bar to use the restroom and that the child was asleep. She didn't want to wake him. That story was quickly disputed by the doorman, who said she had been inside for well over an hour. When they went inside to talk to the bartender, she had rang up a bar tab of about $14," Lt. Bill Bramford, of the Davie police, said.

The child did not require medical treatment. Police said he is in the care of his half-brother's father until his own biological father arrives from Chicago to take care of him.

Stough, who lives in Plantation, cannot post bond and remains in jail on charges of child neglect.



Boy, This Guy Must Feel Like a Fish Swimming Upstream

by Ms. Julien in Miami

From the Indianapolis Star - Letters to the Editor:

July 5, 2005

Doesn't Rove remember unity after 9/11?

To answer Jerry Sullivan's question (July 30 letter to the editor) why Karl Rove's statements were offensive: It's because the Senate voted 99-0 in response to 9/11 to go to war. Liberals and conservatives alike, the country was unified.

The Iraq war was not a response to 9/11; they are two different topics. And the liberal soldiers I know probably wouldn't agree that they persecute the military every time they "open their mouths."

Brian Clampitt

Indianapolis



Here's What Rummy Doesn't Want You To Know...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

http://leonardclark.com/blog/

Why does this Kindergarten teacher, turned National Guard, backdoor drafted to Iraq, hate America?


Monday, July 04, 2005

Analysis:
A Bad Idea Made Better for Tax Reform

by Dark Wraith

This is the second installment in a series on tax reform. As noted last week in the first installment, "A Bad Idea for Tax Reform," President Bush in January created a commission to study and make recommendations for overhauling the U.S. tax system. Many progressive economists see recommendations by a commission comprising primarily those sympathetic to broader neo-conservative economic goals as a means by which the Bush Administration can gain cover for radical overhaul of taxes that will favor the wealthy and military/industrial interests at the expense of those not favored in their agenda as that plan has been laid out in documents produced by groups such as the Project for the New American Century.

Although most people are aware of the "tax cuts" enacted by the Republican Congress at the behest of the Bush Administration, perhaps not as many understand that these obvious changes in the tax code were only part of a systematic and subtle re-alignment of that tax code to shift the burden of taxes toward income generated by labor and away from income generated by capital. The degradation of estate taxes enacted in the last Congress is an example: while publicly using anecdotal evidence of people of modest means suffering heavy taxation on the modest estates of their deceased benefactors, little was said about the overwhelming benefit of eliminating estate taxes accruing to the massive estates of the very wealthy in intergenerational transfer.

Another example of the shift of the tax burden to labor can be found in the elimination of the so-called "double tax" on dividends. Those in favor of this "reform" pointed to the obvious unfairness of taxing income at the corporate level and then taxing as ordinary income upon stockholders any part of those corporate earnings that were received as by individuals as dividends. Virtually no mention was ever given in the run-up to that vote the fact that dividends accruing to corporations that hold stock in other corporations were already partially exempt from taxation. Moreover, despite the claim that some substantial amount of all dividend distributions accrue to "ordinary" people investing in the stock market, a number of financial instruments already exist that cause dividends to roll back into investments and thereby avoid taxation. Effectively, the vast majority of the benefit from elimination of the double taxation of dividends was realized by those who are large-scale shareholders and/or insiders in corporations, along with those corporations that hold subsidiaries from which they want to drain cash flow through dividends issued by the subsidiaries.

From Here to There
The current tax system in the United States is based upon progressivity of the marginal tax rate for both individuals and corporations: as taxable income rises, the last dollar of that income is subject to a higher and higher tax rate. As pointed out last week, this does not mean that all income gets taxed at a higher and higher rate as income rises: it means only that higher and higher tiers ("brackets") of income get so taxed.

That progressivity has as one of its consequences the taxation of capital in a focused way: individuals who make more money are more likely to have a larger percentage of that income generated by investments rather than by the sweat of their brow. Anecdotally, the wealthy entrepreneur George Soros, whose financial portfolio is estimated in the billions, declared that the elimination of the double taxation on dividends alone was a boon in the tens of millions dollars to him, indicating that an extraordinary amount of his annual income is generated by capital investments he has made, primarily, it must be presumed, by acquiring ownership positions in corporations.

It must, therefore, be an important feature of tax reform for the neo-conservatives that progressivity be drained from the tax structure. That has already been in the works for years.Marginal Tax Rates, 1960-2004 The number of tiers of income subject to higher and higher marginal tax rates in the United States was in overall decline at the point where the Reagan Administration and a compliant Congress reduced to three the number of tax brackets. Furthermore, the highest marginal tax rate has been falling, as well.

Even though the number of tax brackets is now higher than it was during the Reagan Administration—thanks in no small part to none other than President George Herbert Walker Bush—the desire to level out the tiers is just as strong as ever, but there is just not enough political will to do away entirely with tiers of progressively higher marginal tax rates, and that indicates something quite important about how the neo-conservatives must proceed if they are to switch the U.S. tax system from one that is progressive to one that is not. This article will conclude with a means by which that neo-conservative fear of openly attacking progressive taxation can be used against them as they attempt to furtively do away with it via a national sales tax.

As the dynamics are now moving, though, the tax structure is slipping decidedly toward something closer and closer to a straight, proportional income tax, while at the same time easing down the tax rates on the upper tiers of income, where it is more likely to be the result of investments rather than labor. It could be argued, then, that a proportional income tax structure, rather than a progressive one, is just a matter of time. It would, therefore, seem to be in the interest of those who want this kind of a tax system to merely bide their time: simply get sympathetic politicians to continually press for more "tax cuts" and "tax relief" as a pretext for eventually, quietly, and without undue notice, achieving the final goal of a perfectly proportional tax structure that assesses the same percentage tax rate on all income, no matter how large it might be.

The problem is that this would be like trying to move a large pig sty into the living room of the American House of Tax Code. It might work to put some of the walls in, convincing everybody that it's merely redecoration for functionality. It might even work to put the slop troughs in, convincing everybody that it's a dining room for unwanted relatives; but sooner or later, the pigs have to be brought in, and everybody's going to notice them, even when folks are assured that the pigs are nothing but house maids hired to make life easier. Pigs are not people, and just about everybody can tell that: a proportional tax is not a progressive tax, and just about everybody can tell that, too. Sooner or later, the American Electorate—fully and for almost a century living in a country that taxes the rich more than the poor—is going to see that the system has fundamentally changed to the favor of the rich. Eventually, those good voters might also figure out, were the tax rate the same for everybody, that people who make a lot of money without lifting a finger to do a day's real work get to pay the same tax rate as those who bust their hump and have barely enough to cover their bills. And perhaps just as importantly, this favor is accruing to a tiny, powerful class of folks, while the vast majority of tax revenues the government is pulling in come from a staggering majority of people in the United States, taxpayers who make less than a tenth of what the small, American aristocracy makes, as evidenced by the income distribution graphic at left.

Plastic Surgery for Pigs
Enter the national sales tax. In last week's installment in this series, the story of two brothers, Byron and Barton Binkwater, was told. These brothers made significantly different incomes; but under a national sales tax, the wealthier of the two actually paid a lower tax rate on income, simply because poorer people use far more of their total income on consumption, which would be what is taxed under a national sales tax. This example went to the heart of the old saying in macroeconomics that a proportional tax on sales is a regressive tax on income.

In this way, a national sales tax is more than a dream-come-true for wealthy people: it's not even a proportional income tax; it's a regressive income tax. That means, the richer a person is, the smaller the percentage of his total income that gets paid in federal taxes: this would be a tax structure that actually rewards the rich for their propensity to save at higher rates, which by no small coincidence means rewarding future income generated from capital rather than from actual work. This, then, is a prescription for the rich to get richer, year over year and generation over generation. Better still, in its relatively purer forms, a national sales tax could be sold as an enormous tax simplification since a check-out register tax wouldn't require people to go through the yearly nightmare of filing federal income tax forms that sometimes vex even tax professionals. And for one more thing, a national sales tax would promote that old-fashioned notion that saving is better than consuming. A national sales tax has so many promotable features that lower income folks might not notice that it's a regressive tax on income.

The Smell Comes Through
Under a national sales tax, purchases would be socked with some added percentage of the retail price, but income put into long-term savings would not be taxed. This would give people at least some incentive to put more money into savings. People who don't make much would have more of a problem with this than people who make a lot, since every dollar saved would be a larger percentage of disposable income, and few would be so bold as to argue that saving money is a good substitute for consumption. More importantly, even though that money in the savings accounts could be used later for consumption, "later" is not a good substitute for "now." It just isn't. Whereas a well-to-do person is going to have plenty of money both now and in the future, the poorer person isn't going to have both at the same time. Creating a tax incentive for future consumption constitutes a coëercion to accept more of a less desirable good and less of a more desirable one.

But businesses and individuals who are capital investors by virtue of their greater disposable income are going to have a field day. As the amount of savings rises, banks and other lending institutions will have a greater supply of lendable funds; and with greater supply will comes lower interest rates. That means businesses will have a lower cost of capital, and individuals with the means to invest will be able to use more leverage in their long-term investments, which will enhance the so-called "gains to leverage" they realize by using more debt in their total investment money. It will also serve to give businesses more of the same incentive: rather than issuing equity to grow, they will be able to use more debt because it is becoming cheaper.

Ah, but this same lower interest rate environment should help the less well-off, too, since lower interest rates mean mortgage-backed loans should be cheaper. Well, that would depend upon whether or not houses are subjected to the national sales tax. If they are, they become just another consumption item whose purchase gets deterred by that tax. If they aren't, a whole world of complications arise. New homes would start to be sold as packages including all manner of big-ticket consumption items that would otherwise be exposed to the national sales tax; money borrowed to "improve" a home could be the subject of redirection as exempt expenditures having nothing to do with the house and land, themselves; and the wealthy would howl that they need exemption from tax on two, three, or maybe more properties they want to own. Yes, purchases of homes would probably end up being exempted, but that will turn into a way by which the wealthy can turn the national sales tax to their advantage, making it even more regressive than by its nature it already is.

In Defense of Pigs: The Classical Economists and Economic Growth
Before the world of Keynesian economists, who held that government had a duty to help the poor and to stabilize the economy, Classical economists ruled the world of economics. They believed first and foremost that long-run growth was all that mattered. Regardless of whether or not there were short-term business cycles, as long as the economy was on a long-run growth path, the situation was just fine. This meant that they were unconcerned about the misery and poverty of the working class; and structural shifts in the economy that left millions of people starving were irrelevant because, in the long run, the labor supply would adapt to the new technologies and become complementary to them. Technological change that displaced workers, families, households, even entire classes of people were merely the necessary way of an economy as it grew. The government had no business interfering with business by burdening it with regulations and laws, in general, and consumer protection and labor considerations in particular.

The labor supply would adjust, even if it required time measured in generations and wrecked lives measured in the tens or hundreds of millions.

To this end, then, any structure of taxation that attends to differentially taking capital from the rich is certainly bad because it is the wealthy who finance the engine of entrepreneurial innovation, business formation, and enterprise growth. Without those who can afford to invest, there will be no jobs for those who choose a lesser life.

And yes, the Classical economists firmly believed that unemployment—and that means all unemployment—is voluntary. This point is pressed home in most principles of macroeconomics textbooks; for example, in Chapter 6 ("Economic Growth, Business Cycles, Unemployment, and Inflation") of the popular undergraduate textbook, Economics, 5th Ed. (2003), McGraw Hill/Irwin, author David Colander—by no means a "liberal" economist—the point is pounded in with eerily parsimonious objectivity.

More to the point of the Classical economists' philosophy was a "law" of economics that years ago, under the onslaught of the progressive, demand-side Keynesians, fell into much-deserved disrepute but has now managed to become unassailably doctrinal to their neo-conservative progeny. It's called "Say's Law": Supply creates its own demand; and on the face of it, the logic is deceptively reasonable.

When investment is made by those capable of such endeavors, factory capacity expands; and in so growing, the need for labor is increased. As more workers are employed, their households have more income with which to demand the very goods and services that are being produced by the factories that gave them jobs in the first place. As they want and can afford more goods and services, those in a position to invest can add capacity, which will create even more jobs, which will increase demand even more.

Supply creates its own demand.

Nice proposition, but it doesn't work. First, providing the wealthy with the means to invest in enterprises that will create jobs doesn't mean they will actually do that; and even if they do invest, there is no assurance at all that they will invest in technologies that are labor intensive. In fact, they would be crazy to invest in technologies that require large numbers of workers when they can invest in machinery that will actually replace workers. Moreover, even if those wealthy, entrepreneurial sorts actually do invest in technologies that need lots of workers, they're going to put those factories where they can draw from a labor supply curve that provides the lowest prevailing wage rates possible consistent with the skills needed. That means factories and other hotbeds of employment will be built where labor is cheap.

And guess where labor is not cheap. That's right: here in the United States.

So if wealthy people invest, they're going to invest in the substitutes for labor like machinery, computers, and robotics. If they must invest in industries that are labor intensive, they're going to do so in other countries where they can exploit workers who have not a clue that they could have better lives if they organized and resisted the temptation of subsistence wages.

This is, of course, fine to the current breed of Republicans. Although they'll pander for votes to the working class, they draw their inspiration from those who saw individuals and households of workers as distractions worthy of the academic considerations only of the socially conscious who didn't understand that the process is what matters, not the state of the economy and the difficulties of its laborers at any given moment or in any given generation.

Moving the Pigs into the Living Room
Given the utter resolution with which historical taxation trends seem to be moving toward some kind of regressive tax on income masquerading as a proportional tax on sales, it would be a favor to the neo-conservatives and their Republican political enablers to perhaps allow the national sales tax to become the system for the United States. This might seem at first wrong to simply surrender one of the most basic parts of the whole economic world of the 20th Century; but a relatively modest twist might make it not only fair in some national sense, but also preserve the core value the neo-cons were claiming to promote.

To show how this would be done, the continuing saga of the brothers Byron and Barton Binkwater must be revived. Recall that Byron makes $20,000 a year, and Barton makes $80,000 a year. Both of them need to spend $8,000 just to keep going, and any expenditures over and above this fulfill consumptive wants, not actual needs. As demonstrated in the last installment in this series, in a world where a 15% national sales tax was applied to their consumption, and both Byron and Barton saved every penny they didn't simply have to spend to keep body and soul together, the numbers worked out as follows:

Byron spends his $8,000, on which is assessed a 15% tax; so his national sales tax bill is
    15%×$8,000 = $1,200,
so this means Byron pays an income tax rate of
    $1,200÷$20,000 = 6%.

Barton spends his $8,000, on which the same 15% tax is assessed; so his national sales tax bill is the same
    15%×$8,000 = $1,200,
so this means Barton pays an income tax rate of
    $1,200÷$80,000 = 1.5%.

This demonstrates that, by any measure one would choose for a definition of "fairness," this national sales tax is beating up poor Byron quite a bit more than it's bothering his brother Barton.

It will serve the purposes of what is about to be proposed if we now introduce the Binkwater brothers' old friend, Mary Ann Mirthmutton, a wealthy entrepreneur who earns $240,000 per year. Now, Mary Ann has a darned good argument that she deserves every penny of what she makes, considering that she grew her business from the ground up, working long days and nights to the end of ensuring that her business flourished and she was able to employ a number of people, one of whom is Byron, whom readers might recall works at the EZ-Lube on the south-east side of town, a franchise that Mary Ann just happens to own. As coincidence would have it, even Barton owes his job to Mary Ann, considering that she's a significant shareholder in Purcell's Parts, where Barton is a junior executive primarily because Mary Ann saw to it that he was given a shot at the executive ranks.

If Mary Ann is an extraordinarily frugal woman who spends only that which is absolutely necessary, she—just like Byron and Barton—will spend $8,000 and thereby be exposed to the 15% national sales tax only on that part of her earnings. Doing the numbers for Mary Ann returns the following:

She spends her $8,000, on which is assessed a 15% tax; so her national sales tax bill is
    15%×$8,000 = $1,200.
This means she pays an income tax rate of
    $1,200÷$240,000 = 0.5%.

That's right: under a consumption tax designed as a 15% national sales tax, Mary Ann's income tax rate is just half-a-percent.

Of course, this means Mary Ann is going to have incentive to save quite a bit of the $232,000 she doesn't absolutely need to spend, thereby contributing to the pool of lendable funds that can be borrowed by other businesses to grow. But even the most stalwart of the New Right Republicans are not going to want their low-income constituents to hear about this kind of nonsense.

Recall that Barton Binkwater would have to have used $32,000 in consumption spending before he would have hit Byron's 6% income tax rate; and the problem is magnified in Mary Ann's situation: she could spend a whopping $96,000 before she'd be paying the same 6% tax rate on income that Byron pays just by purchasing his necessities of life. (Mary Ann spending $96,000 and paying 15% sales tax would pay a total of $14,400 in sales tax, which is 6% of her $240,000 income.)

Any politician worth his or her most earnest and righteous bluster could hammer the point of this unfairness like a wood stake through the heart of a Republican standing up for such an obviously, egregiously anti-working class tax outrage. But a compromise is available, one that would accept a national sales tax, encourage savings, discourage consumption, and yet still retain at least some hint of the old gospel of progressive income taxes that the neo-conservatives fear killing off in broad daylight.

Let the Pork Barbeque Begin
First, regardless of how a consumption tax would actually work, there would have to be a sound definition of what constituted "savings": throwing money into a checking account for 29 days isn't savings. Neither is putting money into the stock market for six months.

Buying something like a house is controversial because the primary purpose of a home is to consume the flow of amenities arising from living there. The capital gain realized through sale is not the primary reason for purchasing shelter, or at least it shouldn't be. That having been noted, the gain is, in retrospect, the product of a long-term capital investment decision, even though in most cases a considerable amount of the money used for the capital investment came from a lender, with actual income of the homeowner only slowly replacing that huge punch of someone else's money that was used up front to make the buy.

One way or the other—and there would be a whole lot of wrangling on what asset purchases were true savings rather than consumption—solutions would be found that were palatable to disagreeing tax writers and politicians, and a list of what were actually uses of income for "savings" would be brought forth.

Now, here's the radical part. The Internal Revenue Service would no longer have as its best-known role the bullying tax collector of the federal government. Instead, it would be the tax rebater. To see how this would work, first note that the IRS would have no idea how much a given taxpayer had spent on consumption, and therefore, it would have no idea how many dollars any given taxpayer had paid in national sales tax over the course of a given year. However, because every last taxpayer could demonstrate net additions to or depletions of savings through statements from their financial institutions, the IRS could be shown how much each taxpayer spent on consumption: it would be total income minus net additions to or depletions of qualifying savings. That means the IRS would be able to determine—pretty closely, anyway—how much a taxpayer had paid in consumption taxes in a given year.

Now comes the new role of the IRS as rebater.

Establish income brackets that reflect greater and greater ability to cover basic necessities of life without beating up total income. For a fellow like Byron, since he blew $8,000 of his lousy $20,000 total income, he ended up paying $1,200 in national sales tax. The New Tax Code would rebate this entire amount to him. In fact, just to bend over backwards, give Byron the benefit of the doubt about how much he simply must spend to keep going and say it's $16,000 instead of $8,000. The IRS would send Byron a check for $16,000×15%, or $2,400.

Notice that Byron has a huge incentive not to spend nearly $16,000 in consumption of goods and services, since for every dollar less than $16,000 that he saves instead of using for purchases, he's getting money back from the government that he didn't even pay in national sales tax.

Let's go on to Barton. No slack for this boy, but nothing adverse, either. Out of absolute necessity, he spent $8,000, so the IRS rebates to him $8,000×15%, or $1,200.

Now, what to do about Mary Ann. The answer is simple: nothing. The woman's making $240,000 a year, for cryin' out loud. Even if she got the same $1,200 that Barton received, she'd probably put it in her Chump Change Purse. But that's not the real reason she doesn't qualify for a rebate: the real reason she doesn't get money back in recognition of some of the national sales tax she paid during the year is because she is wealthy, and it's the neo-conservatives and the ghosts of the Classical economists who possess them who keep howling about how we should recognize that it's the well-off people who are the big investors in future productivity. Why on Earth would the New Tax Code give them any reason at all not to fulfill their destiny as the great providers of capital investment? Rebating national sales tax to Mary Ann is nonsense: she's a saver by virtue of her economic standing. It would be illogical for the government that wants each and every citizen to save at the maximum of his or her ability and nature to give a certain class of people any incentive at all not to do what it wants them to do and what they would do by the socio-economic nature.

The lobbyists and the political apologists for people of wealth would bawl at the top of their lungs about the "unfairness" of this. Shutting their pie holes would be a matter of demonstrating that, if the system doesn't work this way, the entire tax structure becomes exactly the regressive income tax that neo-conservatives for decades have hoped for but cowered at the prospect of forcing into open, public debate.

Cleaning Up the Mess the Pigs Left
A massive, fundamental tax overhaul that strips the Internal Revenue Service of its most well-known role as muscleman tax collector, scaring the wits out of taxpayers, would be hugely popular in and of itself. Effectively, the IRS's role in collecting taxes would be reduced to a mechanized organ of overseeing retail operations that would be charged with collecting a national sales tax of 15% on every non-exempt purchase. This is precisely what state and local government tax agencies do all the time. And retailers understand quite well how to manage sales taxes. And the IRS would learn quickly enough how to act like a state sales tax collection operation to do the same thing that states and municipalities have been doing for decades. In its role as a rebater, the IRS would find that its entire reason for interacting with the public would change fundamentally.

As far as the details of such a New Tax Code would be concerned, there would have to be ramp-ups in rebatable income in recognition of dependents. Life-saving and life-preserving medical care and prescriptions would have to be exempt, although a well thought-out national sales tax could be an effective disincentive to people spending on wholly elective surgeries and certain types of medications that neither save nor preserve life. Lobbies for other industries would line up for their exemptions, too; it would require a will of iron to resist every petition for exemption from the national sales tax, and that means a whole lot of unnecessary exemptions would be granted.

Beyond the national sales tax on private consumption would be the need for something equivalent in the corporate world. This would be partially addressed just because businesses would be paying the tax on their purchases in the same way that individuals would. The difficulty would lie in dealing with corporations that purchase through "wholesale" and foreign channels that could slip through the net of a poorly designed sales tax.

A national sales tax would be difficult to construct, of that there is no doubt. But everyone should recognize that it's something the neo-conservatives want, and it's something the President's commission on tax reform might very well recommend; as such, refusing to consider its merits, as modified in outline in this article, not only defeats the hopes of the luminaries of neo-conservatism, but also defies the earnest desires of the President of the United States, himself.

It is, then, worth considering a national sales tax to replace the current income tax system in this country, if for no other reason than that such a national sales tax could end up being a much worse deal for the rich than they ever imagined as they were sending in their campaign contributions to the Republican radicals in Congress and to their inspirational leader, President George W. Bush.



The Dark Wraith has spoken.


Sunday, July 03, 2005

Random thought...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

Gravatar When we end up with absolutely no checks and balances in our government system all of the sudden Bubba in the midwest/red south is gonna wake up and find that he has no rights.

"Wullll godDAM...ah thought they wuz just goin' after the queers....how come an cain't drank burr no more, and whar's ma PORN??? Why in the HELL cain't ah geet a DEEvorce from that b*tch ah mahrrd when ah wuz 19 so ah could have sex, but now ah'm sick uv the sight of her...them SOO-preme court judges done took mah right to DEEvorce away...and godDAM them wimmen on the TEEvee has got all thar body parts cover'd up from thar necks to thar ankles. What the HELL?? Ah mean, when ah voted for them REEpublikans, ah thought they wuz just goin' after them queers..."


Friday, July 01, 2005

Blame Liberals

by Shakespeare's Sister

Good lord—these people have no shame:
Several Senate Republicans denounced other lawmakers and the news media on Thursday for unfavorable depictions of the Iraq war and the Pentagon urged members of Congress to talk up military service to help ease a recruiting shortfall.

Families are discouraging young men and women from enlisting "because of all the negative media that's out there," Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, said at a U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Inhofe also said that other senators' criticism of the war contributed to the propaganda of U.S. enemies. He did not name the senators.
That’s right—it’s the negative media that’s discouraging enlistments, not the terrible tragedy that is the Iraq War itself.

Meanwhile, the Army met its recruitment goal for June, for the first time since January, even though it’s still 14% behind year-to-date. And how did it manage to meet that goal despite all the negativity? By relaxing standards.
Army officials insist that they can still reach their annual goal, especially with hundreds of new recruiters on the street, armed with big enlistment bonuses and greater leeway to recruit more high-school dropouts and lower-achieving applicants.
Ezra notes:
I'm a bit nervous about our new strategy of attracting the most hopeless, directionless, and uneducated recruits we can find. When "a few bad apples"* can do as much harm to the cause as the bushel running Abu Ghraib did, it kind of underscores the need for a military representing the best of our society, not one formed by trawling the bottom of Lake America and enlisting whatever floats up.

* Abu Ghraib, of course, was not the work of a few bad apples, but a host of bad directives, poor leaders, inadequate oversight, and so forth. Nevertheless, since conservatives seem to think we really do have an Army of Ones, they should be fairly nervous about recruiting individuals who the Army, mere months ago, would've rejected out of hand.
Right. And perhaps the Republican wankers who are yowling about Dems and the media being at fault for decreased enlistments could stop for a moment and consider that perhaps it’s exactly that host of bad directives, poor leadership, inadequate oversight, and so forth that’s preventing people from signing up, rather than people who seek to point out those issues in the hope they might save the lives of the soldiers who are already there.

Of course, that would undercut their steady drumbeat of “Blame liberals!” which is becoming increasingly necessary as they desperately scramble for a scapegoat to take the fall for this failure of a military mission.

(Crossposted at Shakespeare's Sister.)


Its ON!

by JJ

The homo fascist bigots of the Concerned Women of America throw their considerable weight to the nomination of a Scalia - Thomas judge to replace O'Conner... If they succeed I am moving to Canada and I'm gonna get married!


CWA Wishes O’Connor Well: President Urged to Name ‘Scalia/Thomas-like’ Nominee as Promised 7/1/2005

Washington, D.C. -- Concerned Women for America (CWA) wishes Justice Sandra Day O’Connor well as she announced her retirement today after 23 years on the Supreme Court.


The President has the historic opportunity to keep faith with the promise he has repeated numerous times, which is to name justices who are like Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas,” said Jan LaRue, CWA’s Chief Counsel. “The Democrats have shown that their filibusters and condemnations of the President’s circuit court nominees were baseless. They will threaten more of the same unless he names a clone of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for example.”


The President should not yield to the left’s demands to consult with the Senate before making a nomination. The Constitution is clear that it’s his right alone to make nominations and the Supreme Court agrees.


“O’Connor was known as a ‘swing-vote’ but that’s no reason for the President to swing away from his promise and yield to the left’s demands not to ‘upset the balance of the Court.’ That’s not a constitutional requirement. The American people understood and relied on his promise to name judges who will interpret the law and not write it. They expect him to keep that promise,” LaRue concluded.



This is some scary s**t! Lets hope that the moderate republicans will stand up for the will of the majority of the American people and not try to ramrod a Scalia-Thomas clone through. This could mean the end of gay rights, reproductive rights and keeping our country competitive in the emerging industries of bio-technology.

Be afraid.


Whole Team Of Soldiers Missing in Afghanistan...

by Ms. Julien in Miami

From the Washington Post:

Team of U.S. GIs Missing in Afghanistan

By DANIEL COONEY

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A small team of U.S. soldiers was missing Friday in the same mountains in eastern Afghanistan where a special forces helicopter was shot down earlier this week, and U.S. forces are using "every available asset" to find them, a U.S. military spokesman said.

The rest of the story is HERE.

Hmm..."every available asset" to find the soldiers...well, gee since the Pentagon has to write to the newly-enlisted victims' mommies and daddies to help pay for body armor and other life-saving equipment when they send little Johnnie and Janie over to make Haliburton more money, I guess that the "assets" will be a couple of 12-year-old Afghani kids and a slingshot.


Information is Power

by Shakespeare's Sister

In a post on Justice O’Connor’s retirement, The Heretik points to a CNN article which notes in part:
Possible replacements include Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and federal courts of appeals judges J. Michael Luttig, John Roberts, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Michael McConnell, Emilio Garza and James Harvie Wilkinson III. Others mentioned are former Solicitor General Theodore Olson, lawyer Miguel Estrada and former deputy attorney general Larry Thompson, but Bush's pick could be a surprise choice not well known in legal circles.
As it happens, back in February, when talk about Chief Justice Rehnquist’s illness prompted speculation he would soon be retiring, I did a bunch of research on the people who were being named as possible additions to the Supreme Court, which includes five names on that CNN list. We need to get familiar with these guys immediately; hopefully, this will provide you with a good start.

Read about McConnell and Roberts here.

Read about Wilkinson, Luttig, and Alito here.


SCOTUS Resignation: Fasten Your Seatbelts

by Shakespeare's Sister

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has resigned from the Supreme Court.

All I can say at the moment is get ready for some kind of ugly. Brace yourselves for a serious, serious battle.

And wave good-bye to all other news for the foreseeable future.


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