Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Right and Senator Toe Tappy

I have been amazed to read and hear the responses of the right-wing blowholes to the embarrassing and way too damned funny story of our favorite creepy senator. They definitely had the talking points down, even though they were complete bull. Every damned one of them said the same ridiculous thing--those honorable Republicans drum the disgraced out of the corps, while Democrats embrace them.

They cite--Gerry Studds? First of all, he's dead now, and his alleged wrongdoing took place before 1983. Going back a quarter century to find a member of Congress who acted improperly as a person in a position of responsibility but committed no crime? I am NOT defending what Rep. Studds did, (as the parent of a 16-year old the "legal" distinction isn't all that comforting) but if that's the best you've got...

And then Barney Frank, for something someone did WHILE HE WASN'T HOME. Frank was reprimanded by the House, but that was it. I seem to remember the GOP-controlled House changing its rules to allow a criminal like Tom Delay to stay in his leadership position. It is so pathetic. And of course, try and get through an hour of right wing talk and not hear "CLINTON!"

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I am not gay....

Sorry, just thought that was the thing to say these days.

Voices from a different era

My father on the Senator Craig thing:

“He’s sick, the man is sick. [Being gay] It’s a disease; it’s no different than diabetes.”

I have, for the record, corrected my father on the fact that there’s nothing wrong with being gay. Propositioning for sex in a men’s bathroom in an airport is probably not the best venue. A Turkish bath would be better, perhaps. Or a Turkish prison.

There is, however, plenty wrong with being a hypocrite and a liar. That really is what should be driving this thing. The party of family values. The saber-rattling, sanctity of marriage, one man, one woman, no abortions or contraception crowd is chock full of these people who, in their blustery harrumph, seem to be living a lie. “Pressured into pleading guilty?” His counterparts in the house like Jerry Lewis (lady!), Duke Cunningham and others knew how to lawyer up for major shit that could bring prison time. What’s the matter with pulling fifty grand from your campaign fund to just make it go away with some appropriate legal maneuvering and PR efforts? Because he was guilty.

Mark Foley, on the other hand, is sick. It’s the same argument over pederastery (and my spellchecker insists it’s not a word). Priests molesting children aren’t gay. They’re sick. People don’t accuse unordained, unelected child molesters of being gay or misunderstood or confused about their sexuality, do they? No, they’re registered sex offenders who are tracked and watched and prohibited from doing lots of things because, all together now, they took advantage of children.

I’m in agreement with much of the Blogosphere today. How the fuck is David Vitter avoiding all of this hellfire and damnation and Craig is catching it? I guess because the Family Values crowd is okay with cheating on your wife with other women as opposed to cheating on your spouse with one of Those People. Those Heathens. Those…“Faggots”.

Maw, where’s m’ gun?

Jesus Christ on a popsicle stick…

Happy Anniversary

Peter posted this a year ago, and it's still as true today as it was then.

I wish I had something profound to say, but the words just get strangled by the hatred, disgust and contempt I feel when I see this.

The Bravery of Being Out of Range

The President, beating the drums for war

The other strain of radicalism in the Middle East is Shia extremism, supported and embodied by the regime that sits in Tehran. Iran has long been a source of trouble in the region. It is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism. Iran backs Hezbollah who are trying to undermine the democratic government of Lebanon. Iran funds terrorist groups like Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which murder the innocent, and target Israel, and destabilize the Palestinian territories. Iran is sending arms to the Taliban in Afghanistan, which could be used to attack American and NATO troops. Iran has arrested visiting American scholars who have committed no crimes and pose no threat to their regime. And Iran's active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust.

You have a natural tendency
To squeeze off a shot
You're good fun at parties
You wear the right masks
You're old but you still
Like a laugh in the locker room
You can't abide change
You're at home on the range

Iran's actions threaten the security of nations everywhere. And that is why the United States is rallying friends and allies around the world to isolate the regime, to impose economic sanctions. We will confront this danger before it is too late.

You opened your suitcase
Behind the old workings
To show off the magnum
You deafened the canyon
A comfort a friend
Only upstaged in the end
By the Uzi machine gun

I want our fellow citizens to consider what would happen if these forces of radicalism and extremism are allowed to drive us out of the Middle East. The region would be dramatically transformed in a way that could imperil the civilized world. Extremists of all strains would be emboldened by the knowledge that they forced America to retreat. Terrorists could have more safe havens to conduct attacks on Americans and our friends and allies. Iran could conclude that we were weak -- and could not stop them from gaining nuclear weapons. And once Iran had nuclear weapons, it would set off a nuclear arms race in the region.

Does the recoil remind you
Remind you of sex
Old man what the hell you gonna kill next
Old timer who you gonna kill next

Extremists would control a key part of the world's energy supply, could blackmail and sabotage the global economy. They could use billions of dollars of oil revenues to buy weapons and pursue their deadly ambitions. Our allies in the region would be under greater siege by the enemies of freedom. Early movements toward democracy in the region would be violently reversed. This scenario would be a disaster for the people of the Middle East, a danger to our friends and allies, and a direct threat to American peace and security. This is what the extremists plan. For the sake of our own security, we'll pursue our enemies, we'll persevere and we will prevail.

I looked over Jordan and what did I see
Saw a U.S. Marine in a pile of debris
I swam in your pools
And lay under your palm trees
I looked in the eyes of the Indian
Who lay on the Federal Building steps

In the short-term, we're using all elements of American power to protect the American people by taking the fight to the enemy. Our troops are carrying out operations day by day to bring the terrorists to justice. We're keeping the pressure on them. We're forcing them to move. Our law enforcement and intelligence professionals are working to cut off terrorist financing and disrupt their networks. Our diplomats are rallying our friends and allies throughout the region to share intelligence and to tighten security and to rout out the extremists hiding in their midst. Every day we work to protect the American people. Our strategy is this: We will fight them over there so we do not have to face them in the United States of America.

And through the range finder over the hill
I saw the frontline boys popping their pills
Sick of the mess they find
On their desert stage
And the bravery of being out of range
Yeah the question is vexed

Shia extremists, backed by Iran, are training Iraqis to carry out attacks on our forces and the Iraqi people. Members of the Qods Force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are supplying extremist groups with funding and weapons, including sophisticated IEDs. And with the assistance of Hezbollah, they've provided training for these violent forces inside of Iraq. Recently, coalition forces seized 240-millimeter rockets that had been manufactured in Iran this year and that had been provided to Iraqi extremist groups by Iranian agents. The attacks on our bases and our troops by Iranian-supplied munitions have increased in the last few months -- despite pledges by Iran to help stabilize the security situation in Iraq.

Old man what the hell you gonna kill next
Old timer who you gonna kill next

Some say Iran's leaders are not aware of what members of their own regime are doing. Others say Iran's leaders are actively seeking to provoke the West. Either way, they cannot escape responsibility for aiding attacks against coalition forces and the murder of innocent Iraqis. The Iranian regime must halt these actions. And until it does, I will take actions necessary to protect our troops. I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran's murderous activities.

Hey bartender over here
Two more shots
And two more beers
Sir turn up the TV sound
The war has started on the ground

For all those who ask whether the fight in Iraq is worth it, imagine an Iraq where militia groups backed by Iran control large parts of the country. Imagine an Iraq where al Qaeda has established sanctuaries to safely plot future attacks on targets all over the world, including America. We've seen what these enemies will do when American forces are actively engaged in Iraq. And we can envision what they would do if we -- if they were emboldened by American forces in retreat.

Just love those laser guided bombs
They're really great
For righting wrongs
You hit the target
And win the game
From bars 3,000 miles away
3,000 miles away

The challenge in Iraq comes down to this: Either the forces of extremism succeed, or the forces of freedom succeed. Either our enemies advance their interests in Iraq, or we advance our interests. The most important and immediate way to counter the ambitions of al Qaeda and Iran and other forces of instability and terror is to win the fight in Iraq.

We play the game
With the bravery of being out of range
We zap and maim
With the bravery of being out of range
We strafe the train
With the bravery of being out of range
We gained terrain
With the bravery of being out of range
With the bravery of being out of range
We play the game
With the bravery of being out of range

"The Bravery of Being Out of Range", Roger Waters, 1992

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tim Johnson to run again

South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson, who has been absent from work since December because of a brain hemorrhage has announced that he will run for re-election in 2008.

Is it wrong to point out that regardless of what brain damage he may have suffered, he'll still be more functional than, well, every Republican in Congress?

Monday, August 27, 2007

He died for what?

From the AP:
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A police officer died Monday after crashing his motorcycle while riding in a motorcade for President Bush's visit to the city for a fundraiser for Sen. Pete Domenici. After the crash, Rio Rancho Officer Germaine Casey was rushed to an Albuquerque hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
He died taking the president on a political trip to support a senator who was one of the key players in the reprehensible U.S. attorney firing SCANDAL.

My prayers are with the family, and to them--see this senator and president for what they are.

Retard America

I heard on the Bill Press radio show this morning that a grand totoal of SEVEN PERCENT of Americans could name our first four presidents in the proper order. OK, the first is a gimmee, the second was his veep and nos. 3 and 4 wrote the Declaration of Independence and the constitution! Not that tough????

The new AG, from the rumor mill

Ladies and gentlemen, Michael Chertoff.

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan (remember Afghanistan?)

h/t TPM:

The production of opium in Afghanistan has "soared to frightening record levels," according to a report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released in Kabul Monday.

Production levels of opium, from which the class A drug heroin is manufactured, are expected to reach 8,200 tons in 2007, up from 6,100 tons in 2006.

The amount of land used for the production of opium has also increased to 193,000 hectares from 165,000 in 2006, the report said.

Afghanistan is now responsible for 93 per cent of global opium production, according to the UNODC.

"The amount of Afghan land used for growing opium is now larger than the combined total under coca cultivation in Latin America - Colombia, Peru and Bolivia.

"No other country has produced narcotics on such a deadly scale since China in the 19th century," the report said.

The UNODC report highlighted differences between the relatively drug-free north and the "lawless" south of the country, where 80 per cent of the opium poppies were now being grown.

Opium production rose by 48 per cent in Helmand alone, the most volatile area of the country where the rebel Taliban are strong, making the province the world's biggest source of illegal drugs, the UNODC report said.

The province of 2.5 million people was producing more drugs than Colombia, the report said.

The Taliban was using funds from drug production to finance its insurgency.

Pay no attention to the terrorist behind the curtain.

We have a winner!

From TPM:

“Alberto Gonzales is the first Attorney General who thought the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth were three different things."

-- Rahm Emanuel, in a just-released statement on Gonzo's resignation.

...Another one bites the dust

Alberto Gonzales...gone.

First Turd Blossom, now Torture Boy. Is there no one else who will stand with the king until his last days? We know Tony Snow won't - after all, he only makes $168,000 per year, and that's barely a living wage.

The reports are that they'll nominate Michael "Hurricanes? Who cares about hurricanes - I only manage national disasters, and if no brown people are carrying bombs, it's not a disaster" Chertoff to replace him. I can only hope that the Dems grow a spine for that confirmation hearing.

Update: As usual, Glenn Greenwald has an excellent take on the situation.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Dandelion Whine

Frequent Thinking or Sitting commenter Bradley Bury has finally up and started his own blog, mysteriously titled Dandelion Whine.

Give him a look!

So--what have we learned? (Hint: Sociopathic and delusional are both correct)

We saw the Dick Cheney 1994 quagmire talk. Largely ignored by the network news, the tape shows Dick Cheney talking about a quagmire and the value of American life balanced against the removal of Saddam Hussein.

Should we be shocked by his hypocrisy? No. We should be frightened by his sociopathy. He was lying then, not giving a damn about "American lives." He was lying because he knew what he wanted to do, but knew he couldn't sell it a dozen years ago. he entertained delusions of the GOP presidential nod in 1996, so he had to hide his malevolent true self. See how effortlessly he lies, an indicator of the sociopath.

And then his stooge drags out Viet Nam. Beyond the laughably obvious fact that no man ever is less qualified than George W. Bush to bring up that tragic conflict, could he have gotten it more wrong?

You have already read how he has been pilloried by historians and military experts. A feeble claim that we can't leave because bad things would happen is pathetic and tragic, as are attempts to glom onto difficult decisions made by previous presidents when faced with real crises. For the love of God, at least Viet Nam was a "war," as misbegotten as it was. There was an objective and an identiafiable enemy, even if that objective ran counter to U.S. interests and the "enemy" was no real threat. At least it was not an ethereal shadow boxing match with no logical objective or endgame.

Note the absurdity of even pundits such as George Will, who defines "victory" as the establishment of "a stable society under a tolerable regime." Hmm, what is that odd smell of eggs? Oh that's right, it is the odious, sulphuric smell of a shattered Humpty Dumpty that no king's men or horses can fix. George, if you will recall, there was a "stable" society living under a "tolerable" if odious regime. You embraced pushing Humpty off that wall.

For the depth and breadth of this delusional absurdity, take a gander at this perverse White House "
fact sheet," that gives us
Today, The Violent Islamic Extremists Who Fight Us In Iraq Are As Certain Of Their Cause As The Nazis, Imperial Japanese, And Soviet Communists Were Of Theirs – And They Are Destined For The Same Fate. So long as we remain true to our ideals, we will defeat the extremists in Iraq and help that country's people stand up a functioning democracy in the heart of the Middle East, which will make America safer and more secure.

The Wehmacht, the Imperial Army, the Red Army--and a few thousand guys in caves. God help us.

The Dumbass Hall of Fame

We have two inductees this time.

The first is Mr. Michael Sanderman of Chicago. Mikey, holding his crayon firmly and mouthing the words as he scribbles, gave us this
Here are just a few thoughts concerning all those cigarette taxes that everybody likes except for smokers. Among the many ideals our forefathers fought and died for was the abolishment of unfair taxation. The Boston Tea Party might be the best example of this. Have all those ideals become just pretty words on a pretty piece of paper? Where has everyone’s sense of fair play gone? Where have all the lawyer do-gooders gone? Where have all those tax dollars gone? How could anyone in his or her wildest imagination think that the cigarette tax is a fair tax?
Wow, where to begin.

Mikey, let's start with your patently obvious ignorance of American history. The American Revolution did not spring from any desire to "abolish unfair taxation." While "no taxation without representation" was a common shibboleth, what concern there was about taxation sprung from the issue about WHO should be the taxing body (Parliament or colonial assemblies), not the particular taxes themselves. Beyond that, the taxation issue was really just that, a shibboleth, a pithy slogan designed to appeal to the masses. General warrants, allowing unlimited searches, were far more offensive than taxes. So Mikey, please spare us the history "lesson."

And "unfair?" How? Taxes have been used to shape policy going back even before the days of the tariff. How are cigarette taxes possibly unfair?

But Mikey is a mere piker compared to the
incredibly dimwitted Susan J. Venecek of Elkhorn, Wisconsin:
I am a Republican and I am not pro-war. The candidates are not "pro-war." Republicans, however, do realize that there are things worth fighting for. They realize right now that we are in the fight of our lives and it's going to last for a long while. Possibly if this had been realized during the administration of the sex-crazed buffoon, Bill Clinton, we wouldn't be in the position we are right now. Mr. Dugan simply exhibits the usual liberal stupidity and ignorance. Not to mention the general slack-jawed "I don't get it" liberal idiocy.
So many talking points, so little time....

Let's dismiss the "Blame Bill Clinton" nonsense as not even worthy of comment. But "things worth fighting for?" Propping up a Shi'a regime with no popular support or perception of legitimacy? Taking different sides in different locales in the midst of a sectarian civil war? And how is this the "fight of our lives?"

So, Mikey, Little Suzie: