Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Kerry inserts foot in mouth again

If we didn't learn anything else in 2004, we should have figured out that whenever there is an election pending someone should lock up John Kerry and his unwavering instinct for putting his foot in his mouth. Here's what he said Monday at a graduation ceremony:

"You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

Despite the fact that everyone in his audience knew long before he said it that it was true - we all know that every U.S. war is class-based - that it's always the poor that are sent to die for the Bushes and the Cheneys. It was a stupid thing to say. Why at this point in the election process give the right-wing phonies unnecessary ammunition.

Then to compound the stupidity Kerry said:

the comment was "a botched joke about the president and the president's people, not about the troops ... and they know that's what I was talking about."

If it was a joke, it was even dumber than it originally seemed. But, of course, it wasn't.

Right away one of the most predictable right-wing knee-jerks, the White House hungry senator from Arizona had this to say:

"the suggestion that only the least educated Americans would agree to serve in the military and fight in Iraq is an insult to every soldier serving in combat today."

Of course, that's not what Kerry said, but then truth is not a right-wing strong point these days.

Finally Kerry said what he should have said right away:

"The people who owe our troops an apology are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who misled America into war and have given us a Katrina foreign policy that has betrayed our ideals, killed and maimed our soldiers, and widened the terrorist threat instead of defeating it. These Republicans are afraid to debate veterans who live and breathe the concerns of our troops, not the empty slogans of an Administration that sent our brave troops to war without body armor."

And that finally is the truth. Although it won't shut up those who want to use the original gaffe for their own political purposes. In other words, Bush, Cheney and McCain want to exploit the troops again.

But please, someone lock John Kerry up.

Monday, October 30, 2006

In Iraq wishing can't make it so

Cultural war-entre- preneur
Bill O'Reilly is running around the country asking people if they want the U.S. to win in Iraq. He never elucidates what "winning" could possibly mean.
After swift-boating Rosie O'Donnell on his radio show, at some point during his appearance on Oprah last week, he asked one of the audience members who he sensed as an enemy, "do you want us to win in Iraq?" I wish the other person had asked him what "winning in Iraq" would look like, but he didn't.
But nevertheless let's answer the question without that O'Reilly insight.
Let's assume it essentially means leaving Iraq a relatively peaceful democratic society.
Of course, I'd like us to "win."
I'd also like to win the New York Marathon in a few weeks and I would have loved for my team to win the World Series, but unfortunately they lost in the first round of the playoffs.
In other words, wanting something in the real world - as opposed to the fantasies spun in the West Wing and the N.Y. Post columns - doesn't make it likely or even possible. I would have to be a different person to win the Marathon, the Yankees would have had to beat the Tigers to even get into the World Series, and we don't have a magic wand to wave to undo generations of Sunni and Shia conflict, just for starters.

Getting out may not be as easy as one might think, especially without proper planning. Here's what the Guardian has to say about the retreat from Iraq - Oops! I mean "victory."

"Close to its end, just as at its beginning and all through its execution, the occupation of Iraq has been shaped by miscalculation, haste and deceit. An ill-judged invasion fought on a misleading premise gave way to a chaotic aftermath that placed theory ahead of reality, with consequences that the world will have to endure for decades. For a time, however, even for those who opposed the war, including this paper, real hope lay in the promise of recovery, a slow imposition of order underpinned by a form of democracy that could have allowed western forces to leave Iraq gradually, and without disgrace. The case for running away was never strong while that hope remained.
"Now, although they dare not say it, even the war's architects in Washington and London know that there will be no honourable departure. They are preparing to scuttle. Military reality and political expediency are blowing away all talk of patience, reconstruction, 'staying the course' and 'getting the job done' - the desperate expectation that somehow, despite all the violence and disorder, a better destination would be found for Iraq. The language is still heard, more now from Tony Blair than President Bush. But it has become nothing more than passing cover for a retreat from western engagement that is already under way, a thin disguise draped over defeat."


"The crucial point is that the American and British departure must be planned with the care and understanding that was so lamentably - some would say criminally - absent when the invasion took place. Yet this is not happening. Honest planning requires that the people who created the war admit the original vision of a liberal democracy is dead. Yet they still peddle the comfortable fantasy that British and US troops will hand over to able Iraqi forces, when these are failing from Basra to Baghdad."

Friday, October 27, 2006

Bill O'Reilly: The Vince MacMahon of the Culture Wars

I usually don't pay much attention to right-wing blowhards like Bill O'Reilly, but right now he seems to be all over the airwaves hawking his new book. So I caught him this afternoon on Oprah. I guess it was a fairly typical O'Reilly performance.

One thing I realized is that I wish I could think in the twisted way he does and say that anyone I disagree with should be silenced. O'Reilly would be one of the first on my list. But, unfortunately, that kind of unAmerican thinking just doesn't make sense to me.

He has a very simple strategy for cultural control: negatively label oppositional ideas and then you don't have to think about them. For example, someone raised a question about the constantly used slogan "fair and balanced" usually meaning neither. O'Reilly simply labeled him a "Fox hater" and thereby dismissed him. That's an old trick. The Dick and the Bush have used it to avoid having to deal with ideas that don't conform with their fantastical view of the world. It's just as unAmerican when they do it, but has much greater clout.

Well time to watch O'Reilly on Letterman that should be a hoot. More later.

Later: OK I watched the O'Reilly v. Letterman cage match. Then I watched O'Reilly on Oprah again. I also read his "Keeping Dad in the Dark" column (in Oct. 27, NYP).

I came to a very interesting conclusion after all that (truly a surfeit of O'Reilly): Whether he believes what he says or not he profits from this "Cultural War" that he promotes. His shows depend on it, his book sales depend on it. He would be out of work if it weren't for the war between the "Traditionalists" and the "Secular-Progressives" that he promotes. He is the Vince MacMahon of the cultural war. And his warriors are about as legit.

Just like the president he so admires, he needs enemies. Whether it's the ACLU or the opponents of parental notification laws, he needs enemies and he finds them under every cultural bed.

In his column, he begins with "secular-progressive" opposition to "legal restriction involving a young girl's access to an abortion" and then all of a sudden he jumps to an "S.P. movement that sees the state, not the parent, as the final authority over a child's welfare."

In all the years that I have been involved in the "secular-progressive" movement, no one has ever suggested anything as absurd as this nonsense. But wait. Why are the "S.P.s" promoting "state control over children?" Here's the punchline.

"...it's all part of the S.P. movement that sees the state, not the parent, as the final authority over a child's welfare. S.P.s want a breakdown of traditional family roles, replacing them with a uniform code of governmental child rearing. In that way, the youth of America will become 'emancipated' from their parents and be more susceptible to S.P. thinking."

I know that Lemony Snickett's "Series of Unfortunate Events" is coming to an end with the 13th episode; but I think I have a candidate if the publisher wants to continue it. But he would have to give up his columns, shows and other books.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

New Jersey court almost backs gay rights

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
New Jersey's Supreme Court has ruled that gay couples are entitled to [almost] the same rights as heterosexual couples.
But the court says it is for the legislature to decide whether the state will honor gay marriage or some other form of civil union.

Lawmakers have been given six months to decide whether to change marriage laws.


And don't think that the Roveing hit man has missed the opportunity to exploit this decision:

"The divisive debate over gay marriage, which played a prominent role in 2004 campaigns but this year largely faded from view, erupted anew on Thursday as President Bush and Republicans across the country tried to use a court ruling in New Jersey to rally dispirited conservatives to the polls.

"Wednesday’s ruling,...had immediate ripple effects, especially in Senate races in some of the eight states where voters are considering constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage.

"President Bush put a spotlight on the issue while campaigning in Iowa,...."


Another Republican view on Iraq

Lindsey Graham
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

"We're on the verge of chaos, and the current plan is not working," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said in an Associated Press interview. He added that U.S. and Iraqi officials should be held accountable for the lack of progress.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Andrew in front of the City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco

(Photo by Liberty MacDougall)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

A rational voice stifled by an "arrogant and stupid" administration

Alberto Fernandez

First a U.S. State Department bureaucrat states the obvious and then, of course, his bosses in the Bush administration - probably Condesleeza - force him to retract it.

According to Amy Goodman on DemocracyNow:

"A senior U.S. diplomat publicly accused the U. S. of displaying arrogance and stupidity in Iraq. The State Department official Alberto Fernandez made the [following] comment during an interview conducted in Arabic on Al Jazeera.

"'We tried to do our best (in Iraq) but I think there is much room for criticism because, undoubtedly, there was arrogance and there was stupidity from the United States in Iraq.'

"The State Department initially claimed Fernandez’s comments were mistranslated. Later Fernandez issued a written apology through the State Department press office. He wrote “I seriously misspoke by using the phrase 'there has been arrogance and stupidity' by the U.S. in Iraq. This represents neither my views nor those of the State Department. I apologize."

Clearly in the Dick and the Bush administration there is no "room for [self-]criticism"

Friday, October 20, 2006

"Liberal" NBC & Madonna cave to Christian right

To prove that Kabala-adherent Madonna is the "good christian lady" she claimed to be to the father of her newly-adopted baby, she caved into right-wing Christian blackmail.

According to the Guardian,

"The evangelical Christian right notched up a victory yesterday when the NBC television network decided to cut a crucifixion scene from footage of a Madonna concert to be broadcast next month.
"The five-minute scene, filmed during the singer's recent Confessions world tour, shows her strapped to a glittering crucifix made of mirrors like those of a disco ball. She wears a crown of thorns as she sings her 1986 anthem Live to Tell.
"NBC declined to explain its decision to remove the shots from its Madonna broadcast on November 22. November viewer ratings are particularly sensitive as they determine how much US television companies can charge for adverts.
"Leading the outcry was the American Family Association based in Tupelo, Mississippi, an evangelical group which campaigns for 'traditional moral values'. It alerted its 3 million subscribers, who in turn bombarded NBC with 850,000 angry emails. The group also targeted NBC affiliated broadcasters, and advertisers. 'We told them if they had any sense at all they wouldn't sponsor Madonna mocking Jesus Christ on national TV,' said the group's president, Tim Wildmon."

Thursday, October 19, 2006

If you fondly remember the "hanging chads," just wait for 2006/08

"(c)2004-06 Rand Careaga/salamander.eps"
"Diebold Variations,"

At the heart of any real democrachy is the will of "we the people." In our democracy the only chance "we the people" have to actually influence events is through elections. But that requires the sanctity of the election process, which seems to have gone the way of most other aspects of our Constitution.
According to the N.Y. Times,

"As dozens of states are enforcing new voter registration laws and switching to paperless electronic voting systems, officials across the country are bracing for an Election Day with long lines and heightened confusion, followed by an increase in the number of contested results."

And we all know that where "confusion" produces "contested results" especially with paperless voting machines that's where Bush family consigliere James Baker (remember the 20000 Supreme Court coup) and his ROVEing hit man do their best work.

The NYT also says:

"Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania are among the states considered most likely to experience difficulties, according to voting experts who have been tracking the technology and other election changes.

"'We’ve got new laws, new technology, heightened partisanship and a growing involvement of lawyers in the voting process,' said Tova Wang, who studies elections for the Century Foundation, a nonpartisan research group. 'We also have the greatest potential for problems in more places next month than in any voting season before.'"

What all this and many more problems add up to is the dessication of the whole electoral process. If we don't demand our right to participate they will take it away.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tom Delay's favorite "star" dancer

[Carl Shelske], who ran unsuccessfully for political office in Oregon [as a Republican] four years ago and whose résumé includes chairman of Craig PAC, a national political action committee dedicated to electing Republicans at the federal and state level, and executive director of the conservative organization American Destiny Inc., is the husband of Tom Delay's favorite Dancing with the Stars contestant: Sara Evans. Evans quit the show because she is divorcing Shelske.

"In divorce papers filed Thursday, Evans stated hubby Craig Schelske cheated on her, verbally abused her, drank excessively and often watched porn in their house. In a news release yesterday, Schelske 'adamantly' denied the allegations.

"Additionally, Evans said in her filing, her husband has photographs of himself having sex with other women and has at least 100 nude photos of himself in a state similar to that of my 4-year-old Yorkshire terrier after playing with his favorite plush toy, Mr. Humpy-Fox.

"Evans also says that Schelske watched porn on their computer and made requests online for sex with multiple partners." Hopefully not the favorite GOP sex partners: Congressional pages.
In his endprsement of Ms. Evans, Delay said:
"Sara Evans has been a strong supporter of the Republican Party and represents good American values in the media. From singing at the 2004 Republican Convention to appearing with candidates in the last several election cycles, we have always been able to count on Sara for her support of the things we all believe in.
"One of her opponents on the show is ultra liberal talk show host Jerry Springer. We need to send a message to Hollywood and the media that smut has no place on television by supporting good people like Sara Evans."

Somebody needs to tell Tom Delay to keep his Republican foot out of his mouth.

Buying human beings in Africa, sounds familiar

All over the world people hate us. Some people wonder why.
It seems that the recent behavior of a very rich, aging, middlingly-talented pop tart captures the image that the world has of us. If you are a white American or Brit and you have a great deal of money you can go to Africa and buy a human being.
The nonsense about wanting to help an orphan doesn't hold up when the "orphan" has a father.
If you have $3,000,000 dollars to spend in an African country (or any poverty stricken country) and want to "help bring attention to how much more the world needs to do to help the children of Africa," use it for publicity. Take a page from the Bono book, but don't spend it to buy a child (they are not pets). Don't spend it to circumvent the laws of that country.
I understand that Malawi's laws state that before one can adopt a child one must remain in the country and establish residence for 18 months, not return to England followed by the child and submit to "an 18-month evaluation period.."
Oh, and by the way, "good Christian lady" - kabala may be questionably connected to Judaism, but it certainly isn't Christian.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Korea has nothing to worry about - Bush never invades countries that have weapons of mass destruction

"President Bush demanded stiff sanctions on North Korea Wednesday for its reported nuclear test and asserted the U.S. has 'no intention of attacking' the reclusive regime despite its claims that it needs atomic weapons to guard against such a strike."

But many people wonder, since the Bush lies all the time, can he be believed.

Well, I think this time he may be telling the truth, since the Bush never attacks countries that actually have weapons of mass destruction.

(Thanks to Jimmy Kimmel for this)

New British army chief calls for troops to "cut-and-run"

I wonder if the Dick and the Bush can hear anything. I doubt it. But here's the latest professional advice for them to reject.
(From SignonSanDiego)

"Britain's new army chief called for a withdrawal of British troops from Iraq, warning that the military's presence there only exacerbates security problems, according to an interview published Thursday.
Gen. Richard Dannatt described British Prime Minister Tony Blair's Iraq policies as 'naive,' declaring that while Iraqis might have welcomed coalition forces following the ouster of Saddam Hussein, the good will has since evaporated after years of violence.

"The British military should 'get ourselves out sometime soon because our presence exacerbates the security problems,' said in an interview with the Daily Mail released on the tabloid's Web site. 'Whatever consent we may have had in the first place' from the Iraqi people 'has largely turned to intolerance,' he was quoted as saying.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The United States Social Forum: June 27-July 1, 2007, Atlanta

After the November elections there will be a need for progressive forces to evaluate the hopefully new situation, By Spring there will have been time to think about strategies and tactics.

The U.S. Social Forum, but it seems like a possible venue in which to start these discussions.

Here's what they have to say:

"Why a U.S. Social Forum?"

"Progressive forces in the United States have not been able to mount an effective national response to issues such as the Gulf Coast tragedies, corporate scandals, government corruption, war, attacks against migrants, deregulation, corporate welfare, a widening gap between the rich and poor, a deteriorating education system, monopolization of the media, privatization of public resources, a ballooning federal deficit and attacks on our civil liberties. In the face of these enormous challenges the progressive movement remains fractured along geography, race, class and issues. The nation’s largest labor federation split, and union membership is at its lowest point in decades. Churches, once a backbone of the civil rights, peace and environmental justice movements, have lost strength due to scandal within the Catholic church, declining membership and the rise of the religious right. Grassroots community-based organizations represent a growing sector, but are severely under-resourced. This lack of political strength demonstrates the clear need for greater convergence among progressives and for spaces in which progressives can begin to come together and articulate our vision for “another world.”

"The US Social Forum will provide this space. It will be the largest gathering of progressives in over a decade, drawing participants from different regions, ethnicities, sectors and ages. Community-based organizations, Indigenous nations, unions, academics, policy and advocacy organizations will be able to come together for dialogues, reflection and to define future strategies.

"The purpose of the USSF is to effectively and affirmatively articulate the values and strategies of progressive civil society in the United States. Those who build towards and participate in the USSF are no longer interested in simply stating what social justice movements 'stand-against,' rather we see ourselves as part of new movements that reach beyond national borders, that practice democracy at all levels, and that can articulate the world we want. The USSF provides a first major step towards such articulation by bringing together the new movements."

Mel Gibson cops out to sell a movie

"During an interview that will air in two parts Thursday and Friday on Good Morning America, [Mel] Gibson worked on explaining to ABC-newswoman Diane Sawyer what made him spew anti-Semitic remarks when he was pulled over and arrested for drunk driving in July. Later in a public statement the actor called his comments 'despicable' and apologized for his 'belligerent behavior.'

"'It was just the stupid rambling of a drunkard, you know,' the Oscar winner told Sawyer, 'and what I need to do [is] to heal myself and to be assuring and allay the fears of others and to heal them if they had any heart wounds from something I may have said.'"

Dear Mel,
alcohol doesn't put ideas in people's heads, all it does is loosen their tongues, so they say what they already think. Stop blaming alcohol for your sins. Be a mench, take responsibility.

How low will John McCain stoop to conquer?

Is Arizona Republican Senator John McCain so hungry for his party's 2008 presidential nomination that he is willing to hurl any accusations-true or false-at potential Democratic competitors to besmirch their reputations? Or is he simply taking directions from Bush hit man Karl Rove? Either way, yesterday (Tues.) he further undermined his credibility.

Here's what he said about the Clinton-negotiated 1994 Framework Agreement with North Korea:
"'I would remind Senator [Hillary] Clinton and other Democrats critical of the Bush administration's policies that the framework agreement her husband's administration negotiated was a failure,'" McCain said yesterday at a news conference after a campaign appearance for Republican Senate candidate Mike Bouchard."

Here's what Korea expert Bruce Cummings had to say about this on DemocracyNow! this morning (Wed.):

"Well, it [the Framework Agreement]... came after a very dire threat of war in 1994 that froze their entire plutonium facility at Yongbyon in North Korea. They had seals on the doors, closed-circuit television, and at least two UN inspectors on the ground, 24/7, all the time. So there isn't any possibility of that agreement having failed. It held for eight years and denied North Korea the plutonium that would have allowed them to make more bombs. Senator McCain is engaged in some sort of demagoguery here, because I don't know a single expert who would say that that Framework Agreement was not successful, at least for eight years, in keeping North Korea's plutonium facility shutdown.

(Bruce Cumings, Professor at the University of Chicago, is the author of several books on North Korea. His latest are North Korea: Another Country and Inventing the Axis of Evil.)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Project Censored 2007:How corporate media misses the boat

Each year Project Censored selects the 25 most significant stories that have been overlooked by the corporate media. Here are this year's most neglected news stories:

Top 25 Censored news stories of 2007

#1 Future of Internet Debate Ignored by Media
#2 Halliburton Charged with Selling Nuclear Technologies to Iran
#3 Oceans of the World in Extreme Danger
#4 Hunger and Homelessness Increasing in the US
#5 High-Tech Genocide in Congo
#6 Federal Whistleblower Protection in Jeopardy
# 7 US Operatives Torture Detainees to Death in Afghanistan and Iraq
#8 Pentagon Exempt from Freedom of Information Act
#9 The World Bank Funds Israel-Palestine Wall
#10 Expanded Air War in Iraq Kills More Civilians
#11 Dangers of Genetically Modified Food Confirmed
#12 Pentagon Plans to Build New Landmines
#13 New Evidence Establishes Dangers of Roundup
#14 Homeland Security Contracts KBR to Build Detention Centers in the US
#15 Chemical Industry is EPA’s Primary Research Partner
#16 Ecuador and Mexico Defy US on International Criminal Court
#17 Iraq Invasion Promotes OPEC Agenda
#18 Physicist Challenges Official 9-11 Story
#19 Destruction of Rainforests Worst Ever
#20 Bottled Water: A Global Environmental Problem
#21 Gold Mining Threatens Ancient Andean Glaciers
#22 $Billions in Homeland Security Spending Undisclosed
#23 US Oil Targets Kyoto in Europe
#24 Cheney’s Halliburton Stock Rose Over 3000 Percent Last Year
#25 US Military in Paraguay Threatens Region

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Liebereman's morality depends on whether it's a Republican or Democratic ox being gored.

Here's what Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn) had to say in 1998 about the Clinton-Lewinsky Follies:
"Such behavior is not just inappropriate -- it is immoral," said the 56-year-old Mr. Lieberman, who was elected to the Senate in 1988. "And it is harmful, for it sends a message of what is acceptable behavior to the larger American family -- particularly to our children -- which is as influential as the negative messages communicated by the entertainment culture."
Here's what he has to say today about the Foley Follies:
"Right now I’d say this thing is spinning out of control, it’s become another partisan frenzy in Washington, that’s the wrong way to go at it."

Clearly Lieberman's morality is quite dependent on whether it's a Republican or Democratic ox being gored.

What have we learned from the Foley Follies?

Dennis Hastert at Oct.5 press conference

There is one thing we've learned clearly from the Foley Follies: The ability and inclination of the House Republican leadership to protect the young people who come to Washington D.C. each year to work as congressional pages is about on a par with the ability and inclination of the Republican party as a whole and the Bush administration in particular to protect all the rest of us.
According to right-wing pundit George F. Will (in Thursday's N.Y. Post), Dennis Hastert had the following to say about Foley and his alleged sexual harassment of under-age pages:
"We [Republicans] have a story to tell, and the Democrats have - in my view have - put this thing [the Foley Follies] forward to try to block us from telling the story. They're trying to put us on defense."
Right Denny, it's the Democrats, as usual.

And what is the story the statesman in the White House has to tell (presumably to build bi-partisan support to protect us all from terrorism):
In Scottsdale, Ariz. Oct. 4th, he said:
"Vote Republican for the safety of the United States."
This despite last week's "disclosure of a classified National Intelligence Estimate, first reported by the New York Times,.... The NIE, finished in April, noted that Bush's invasion of Iraq and the subsequent--inept and brutal--occupation has led to a rise in Islamic radicalism that has increased the threat posed by global jihadists. 'The Iraq conflict has become the cause celebre for jihadists,' the NIE says, 'breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement.'"

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The O'Reilly Factor does it again

What's wrong with this picture?

Ans: Mark Foley was not a Democrat.

Perhaps the real question is - what's wrong with the O'Reilly Factor?

Is the lesser of two evils still evil? Is it time to abandon the Democrats?

Jerry Politax on Bush watch has posed a question with which I have been struggling since the Democrats have essentially abandoned their role as an opposition party. My response to his question follows:

"Here at Bush Watch we believe that if the Democratic Party can't defend our basic Constitutional freedoms, it has no reason to exist. Not only have Senate Democrats refused to filibuster against this law that tears out the very heart of our democracy, 12 Democrats voted for it: Carper, Johnson, Landrieu, Lautenberg, Lieberman, Menendez, Nelson (FL), Nelson (NE), Pryor, Rockefeller, Salazar, and Stabenow. According to the editors of the Washington Post, 'Congress has allowed itself to be stampeded into a vote on hastily written but far-reaching legal provisions, in a preelection climate in which dissenters risk being labeled as soft on terrorism....Democrats...have been largely and cravenly absent from this month's debate...'"

"Everyone has a breaking point, a point where one says, enough is enough. Have we reached that point? Clearly, it's not enough to attempt to defeat those 12 Democrats that voted to destroy our democracy, for others with the same un-American beliefs will rise in their places, be they Republicans or Democrats. Is it time to send a clear and unambiguous signal to the Democratic Party that, even though it's presently a minority party, we will not continue to allow it to sell off our country, one dictatorial bill after the other, to allow Democrats to remain in office and serve as a false opposition to the ongoing Republican destruction of our democracy? Is it time to stop voting Democratic, hoping for the best, and being disappointed? Is it time to eradicate the Democratic Party and abandon the illusion of choice? is it time to send the only message that politicians understand? Is it time to say no to every single Democratic Party politician in the nation? Is it time for a painful regeneration?

This is what I said:

"I really appreciate your question. I have been struggling with it as well.
I'm not a Democrat, although with very few exceptions I have usually held my nose and voted for the lesser of two evils (ie. the Democrat).
At this point I think the conclusion I have arrived at is that the lesser of two evils is still evil and I will no longer vote for evil in any form."

One would think that having allowed themselves to be stampeded into voting in favor of the invasion of Iraq, the Democrats would have learned a lesson. Clearly they haven't.

What do you think we should do?

Is the Republican sex scandal pushing our constitutional crisis off the front page?

Is Karl Rove cheering former Rep. Mark Foley?

Jerry Politex (on Bush Watch) asks the question: Is the Republican sex scandal pushing the BushCo. attack on our Constitution off the front page? And how will this effect the upcoming election?

Rep. Mark Foley

One thing we know the U.S. corporate media are much more comfortable with sex and gossip than they are with serious political struggles. (If Paris Hilton was involved they'd be much happier.) This is just the latest episode in the Bill and Monica follies.

And to top off the GOP fantasy here's what Limbaugh and Denny Hastert had to say about the exposure of the scandal: (from MediaMatters for America)

"On the October 3 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh joined his guest, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL), in suggesting that Democrats had orchestrated the ongoing scandal surrounding former Rep. Mark Foley's (R-FL) alleged communications with former congressional pages. Limbaugh asserted that 'these emails were planted by a liberal,' and Hastert claimed that Democrats 'put this thing forward to try to block' the Republican agenda. In fact, ABC News investigative reporter Brian Ross has refuted these claims, asserting that his sources for the Foley story -- to the extent they had partisan affiliations -- were Republicans."

One thing you can always rely on is that the current Republican puppet brigade will find a way to make a political disaster even worse (See War in Iraq).

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Is the Foley scandal an just another opportunity for right-wing gay bashing?

One aspect of the Foley scandal that is very disturbing is the notion that this is a gay scandal. Here's the lead sentence from Carolyn Lochhhead's San Francisco Chronicle article:
"Five weeks before a midterm election, when Republicans are already on the ropes, the last thing the GOP needed was a homosexual pedophilia scandal."
Unless Ms. Lochhead is suggesting that a "heterosexual" pedophilia scandal would not have been a problem for the GOP, I don't understand why the modifier "homosexual" is necessary in that sentence.

It seems to be in keeping with the right-wing Family Research Council's Tony Perkins' thoughts on the matter (which Lochhead quotes):
"Perkins said neither party 'seems likely to address the real issue, which is the link between homosexuality and child sexual abuse ... ignoring this reality got the Catholic Church into trouble over abusive priests, and now it is doing the same to the House GOP leadership.'"
What link?
Is the Foley scandal just another opportunity for right-wing gay bashing?
My question is quite different from what Newt Gingrich is suggesting:
"I think had they [the House leadership] overly aggressively reacted to the initial round [of sexual harassment of pages], they would also have been accused of gay bashing."
I'm not talking about the House leadership's opportunistic lack of any reaction, but what is actually being said on the Right about the scandal.
It's not a "gay" scandal, it's a sexual harassment scandal. It's of no consequence whether Mr. Foley is gay or straight. But simply, is he a sexual predator? And who knew about it? And when did they know it?

Monday, October 02, 2006

God's gift to the Democrats

Rep Mark Foley
OK! I finally believe in God.
I have been watching the Democrats constantly snatch defeat from the jaws of victory - Iraq, Katrina, Abramoff,etc. So has God, who has finally given them a pre-election gift - GOP Rep. Mark Foley - perhaps even they can't screw up.
Not only is a Republican member of the House accused of sexual harassment of under-age pages, but it seems that the House GOP leadership has known about the situation for quite some time. And they're caught between a rock and a hard place. If they investigate and indict themselves they'll be out on their asses. If they don't they're guilty of a pre-election cover-up.
Now the question is will the Democrats sit back and let the Republicans stew in their own juices or will they actually say something to which the American people can actually relate?
If they choose the former, the GOP will once again weasel out of a difficult situation. That's what happened a couple of weeks ago when the three musketeers were fighting with the Bush over how much torture is ok and the Democrats sat ringside watching this steel-cage match.
They have to speak up and condemn a political leadership that places winning elections over the welfare of the young people entrusted to their care.
"Republicans joined Democrats in a 409-0 vote to send the matter to the House's ethics panel but wouldn't commit to a 10-day deadline that Democrats sought, saying the matter was too important to rush." [Right, late November would be a good time.]

The more-and-more visible Newt Gingrich had this to say:
"I think had they [the House leadership] overly aggressively reacted to the initial round [of sexual harassment of pages], they would also have been accused of gay bashing."

Another right-wing voice, Matt Drudge, also weighed in:
"You're not going to tell me these are innocent babies [the pages]. Have you read the transcripts that ABC posted going into the weekend of these instant messages, back and forth? The kids are egging the Congressman on! The kids are trying to get this out of him. We haven't got the whole story on this."