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February 2006 Archives

February 1, 2006

A fellow of infinite jest

Here's domestic donkey Realpolitik in clown shoes: enter one Dana Milbank, whose Washington Sketch, "an observational column about political theater in the White House, Congress and elsewhere in the capital," runs in the Washington Post.

Here are a few highlights from his turn on the new admonitory Post theme: "O stop good donkeys, stop before you run off another cliff again."

Tuesday, January 31, 2006:

The new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds congressional Democrats in the best position they've held in 14 years, besting President Bush and Republican lawmakers on Iraq, the economy, health care, immigration, ethics and more. All of which can mean only one thing: It is time for the Democrats to eat their own.
He tells us of a recent gathering of left forces in town, to stoke the fires under the impeach-the-brutes movement. Millbank, after great fun twitting the headliners there -- Cindy Sheehan, Ramsey Clark, Kevin Zeese -- has this to say:
Elected Democrats and their liberal base are in one of their periodic splits....
(pay attention here)
"between pragmatism and symbolism."
That's nice, eh? Not a split between pragmatism (read: selling out) and substance-- no, pragmatism and "symbolism". In other words, those who oppose the foot shuffles of our Nan Pelosi -- those of us who want to throw medicine-show slicksters like Steny to the wolves, and send Lex Luthors like Rahm back to the comics -- we're the ones who are into symbolism. We are -- not the crafters of wan gestures like this week's Kerry/Alito frigglefluster.

I think this illutrates a great law of life -- you won't go too far wrong if you turn every tenet of conventional wisdom on its head. Oh, and another one too -- there's nobody more banal than a "humorist."

February 3, 2006

Another tablet from Sinai...

... by popular demand, the first draft of Chapter 15 of Stop Me Before I Vote Again (The Book) is now available. I have modestly titled it "What is to be done?" Comments and criticisms are sincerely solicited.


February 4, 2006

Right this way, Mr Grendel

Bernanke... Bernanke.... errrr, that's a muffler shop.... right?

It amazes me how throwing an additional Opus Dei mama's boy onto the supreme bench gets accorded the attentions and hubbub of -- well, not the American Idol finalists, but at least a Wimbledon final, or the execution of a serial killer; but the Senate confirming the next fed chair -- a man who will arguably have the means within reach of his sole will to trigger world wide financial Armaggedon -- what's he get?

The pinky-up tea-cup treatment, that's what.

I guess it's just another grim testament to just how far the donkeys' 40-year shit-slide has taken them.

To my knowledge not a single brave or foolish spirit among the 45-odd Senate Democrats saw fit to even threaten to pull a Kerryesque fribbleous "Mr Smith" type chatter-stall, to protest the steamroller confirmation of Princeton's own Ben Bernanke.

"Diss Ben? Say what? Come on, man -- whats there to get hupped about?"

Well I'll simply start by saying 'twas not always so. There were days of yore when a dedicated bankers-boy rate-lifter and wage-cruncher like gentle Ben would have been bounced from pillar to post -- rhetorically of course -- by the senior Senator from the sovereign State of Stentoria.

Soon i'll post more on this freak of politics: the perpetual "all quiet on the Fed front," this preternatural outrage, this shameless sitzkrieg.

Dear Lord, where oh where, among all these long-eared butt-kissing, wall-street cell bitches are the righteous bellows of a people's tribune?

The party of... the professional class

How's it go -- "When Birnam wood doth come to ...?" Well, whatever.

A ways back, I said the house donkeys (even if they, as one, transmogrify into army mules) wouldn't retake the House next November -- "till St. Hillary is burnt at the stake."

Well, let me clarify. Okay, I exaggerated, not purely for effect, but what I should have written (and what I still believe) is this:

I'd keep the prophecy line: there will be no Democratic retaking of the House till Hillary's head is in Barbara Lee's basket. But I should have added, by way of concise explanation, not all Democrats are democrats -- in fact, the inner party is quite something else.

Yes, the party per se might fall back into control -- the lesser of two drunks, after all, only has to fall asleep a few minutes later.

To put a label on what types run that party now and will if it wins next fall, it's... neo-liberal elitists. That probably gets it fair enough, if a trifle too abstract-sounding.

Glossing Mr Paine

JSP's last post here was characteristically gnomic, but I've known the guy for a long time and I think I know what he means. Mind if I tag a little Talmud onto your Torah, J.S.? Feel free to tell me if I've got it wrong.

The Democratic Party has had several phases of existence, which you can define with reference to its dominant constitutencies. There was a phase when it was almost exclusively the party of the Bourbon "courthouse gangs" and lynchers down South. That picture got complicated a bit by Northern ethnic urban political machines, and really complicated during what you might call the Bryan years. Technocratic, instrumental-rationalist progressives and liberals later made their mark, and labor unions.

But recently -- with the decline of the unions and the Republican takeover of the white-sheet bloc -- the only really controlling constituency left in the Democratic Party is, well, liberals in the current meaning of that term. That is to say, people with graduate degrees, who work in management or the professions or academia or the media, who make better-than-average salaries and have higher-than-average cultural standards; rational, disciplined people, unmoved by unruly passions; cool-minded trader-offers and honest brokers; people motivated neither by greed nor by a Jacobin or Jacksonian chip on their shoulder. Reasonable, pragmatic, secular, Benthamite -- if you had to carve this class's face on Mount Rushmore, it would be the face of Hillary Clinton.

Now Hillary, in her Triangulationist style, is doing her best to look like anything but a liberal. Nevertheless, that's what she is -- and both her friends and foes know it. Her foes know it and hate her to the point of frothing at the mouth. Her friends know it and stick with her in spite of her support for war, and government snooping, and ethnic cleansing in Israel. The friends may deplore these compromises, but they stick with her because they trust her, and they trust her because they know, at bottom, she's one of them.

The larger public doesn't trust her, though -- and with all their fondness for awful TV shows, and dismal cuisine, and NASCAR races, and downmarket churches -- when it comes to Hillary and her ilk, the public is right.

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is...

... to have an ungrateful Senator -- somebody you bought and paid for, fair and square, turn on you.

The Walton family, of Wal-Mart fame, must be feeling rather Lear-like just now. Hillary Clinton, a serpent long nurtured in the Wal-Mart bosom, has for the first time... returned their campaign contributions, according to AP:

Clinton returned $5,000 to the political action committee of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., a company with long ties to the Clintons dating back to their days in Arkansas, where Wal-Mart is headquartered.

Clinton campaign spokeswoman Ann Lewis said the money was returned "because of serious differences with current company practices."

The senator served on the Wal-Mart board from 1986 to 1992, and was close with the Walton family that created the nation's largest retailer.

February 5, 2006

My prediction for 2006...

... low turnout.


As a commenter here ably stated not long ago:
"There's far more dignity in jumping off a cliff than being chloroformed and thrown off...."
Reading this passage again, just now, got my gnomic soul a-twisting. What is the latest brand of choloroform for us lefty types?

Let's start with this conciousness killer: "politics is the art of the possible." Surely you know who that's attributed to?

It's in that spirit I take up Kerry's recent NYT blooper, "we all support surveillance."

My lord, eh?

Well, though we must never ever again vote for the likes of him, I implore you -- forgive 'em. They so wish they had a hard-nosed profile. They are so far from the streets, the merit snobs believe mythical millions of white gum-heads really adore sheriffin' leaders. Liberal ilks like chinny John and Saint Hillary want nothing more then to lead America back to the humanist 90's -- but first they think they have to out-Herod Herod, before they can lure the mutts away from the Republican vigilantes.

Ah the plight... trying to shepherd a nation that they too believe is on the verge of turning lynch mob, back to peaceful pastures.

February 6, 2006

Fund-raising McCain

What's gotten into John McCain? All of a sudden he's as pugnacious on the subject of Iran as Joe "Mad Dog" Lieberman or Hillary "Mrs Grendel" Clinton.

I have a theory. (You knew I was going to say that, didn't you?)

In the context of his own party, McCain is a bit of a maverick. A lot of the True Believers think he's a RINO -- a Republican in Name Only, for those of you who have passed up the joys of the right-wing blogsphere. The fetus fanciers and rapturists don't think he's really one of them, and neither do the machine-gunners. So he is not going to be able to tap all the usual sources of Republican funding. Hmmm. Where to go with the candidate's begging bowl?

*Cartoon lightbulb over head* Hey! How about the Israel lobby? Why not grab some of those chips that usually end up on the Democratic side of the table?

Even more than with the Iraq war, the Iran nuke scare is a golem ginned up by the Israeli propaganda ministry. Nobody else much cares about Iran getting the Bomb; but a nuclear Iran would have the effect of diminishing (if not removing entirely) Israel's capacity to exert nuclear blackmail on its neighbors. So apart from McCain the people making the most noise about ayatollahs-with-nukes have been the usual AIPAC suspects: Hillary, Joe, Chuckie Schumer.

If I'm right about this, it suggests some interesting reflections. If McCain thinks he can tap funding sources that have historically leaned heavily Democratic, presumably he has some reason for believing that. Are pro-Israel donors starting to feel lately that Democrats aren't, perhaps, the best possible investment?

Well, nobody ever said they were dumb. But if it's true that even the Fort Zion lobby is getting restless in the Democratic tent, then that in turn suggests that the decline of the Democratic Party may be entering its terminal phase.

Not a minute too soon.

Go ahead, tap my phone

Bad news, fellow lefties:

The thundering wage-earning multitude that makes up the bulk of white America doesn't fear in the least the "national security" arm of the state. And I say -- why in hell should they?

If our traditions of civil liberty mean anything, this free, white, and twenty-one fearlessness is its daily testament.

Fear the payroll tax arm -- fear the undeclared income arm -- them they fear... maybe. And maybe they fear, or rather resent, the red tape spun around 'em by the pointy-headed tight-assed entitlement bureaucrats if they dare try to get what Uncle owes 'em. But not, definitely not, the national-security arm. Not the guys charged with foreign bomb freak detection detention and extirpation. No indeed. "Hey uncle, if you do anything untie another such arm -- no, make that a dozen -- and let 'em fly everywhere like bats on an August evening." White wagery are not about to tremble and rage over a painless overtap or two.

Law-abidin' patriotic native-born white folks don't figure they got much to fear from Bush and his rampantly lawless security state. So this being a settled fact, obviously the loyal-opposition Demos need to... turn the page here. Right? We may have a unitary presidency headed toward Octavian's villa, but we don't have a unitary state, not by any means. For each of the many mugs of uncle there's a different clutch of popular hate frats and fan clubs.

I expect the lead donkeys have taken trillions of sample polls since that New York Times article came out 14 months too late. I bet they know way better then me the relative sizes of votes on this topic. I think they have put aside the loud cries of the belt way's ingrown hate frats and fan clubs, and polled the vast whiteness of middle America, and that they have digested where stands Mr and Mrs Whitey on this tappy-tap crap, this Aunt Polly issue of warrantless snooping on aliens. The top Demos know damn well that to bleat and bray and snort mist serves no purpose. It's at best just a base warmer where the base is molten already.

Now if this is so then doesn't one obvious question pop out? If its not a majority vote getter why don't they ignore it? Why not face elsewhere for now? Go ahead and let Bush/Cheney put the Bill of Rights under martial restraints. Sure it's illegal. So's smoking pot. At least for now, shut up about it. Put the high treason horse back in the stable. Don't keep pushing it. And even worse, don't split your pants over it. Don't waffle it around like Kerry has. Keep your traps shut, at least till you've regained control of the House. Then, well, then -- you'll try impeaching the bastards anyway, right? So why, instead of coming off like a bunch of wet hens here -- why don't you fire off your best shots?

"Out of Iraq now!" first, of course. Even if Mr and Mrs W don't agree, they will respect clarity and a show of absolute values.

But then go on and hit 'em with the bread-basket issues -- "Elect us and we'll raise minimum wage rates. We'll increase overtime pay We'll protect the industrial base by kiboshing the foreign-exchange fiddling that keeps foreign wage rates underselling yours. We'll make uncle take over your health insurance completely. We'll cut payroll taxes from the bottom up...." And so on.

Why is none of this high up on, say, Rahm Emanuel's or senator Bidenbone's or St Hillary's must-do list? Well, you know why, of course: because it ain't on their donors' can-do list. Hence the pragmatics of symbolism -- futile posturing, beautiful losing, and praying for such a huge pile of elephant plops by November, that the electorate has no choice but to broom all that shit -- and its makers -- right off Capitol Hill.

Savaged by a dead sheep

These Dem senators going after AG Gonzales -- can anyone call this righteous fury?

It's pure gummery practice. They're like a bunch of toothless old hounds, falling all over themselves trying to worry a cheap boot.

February 7, 2006

Hillary: Back to the alleys, girls

For the past twenty years or so, my liberal friends have offered me two reasons to vote for the Democrats: the Supreme Court and abortion. The Democrats haven't been very effective about the Supreme Court, but what the hell -- I think the Supreme Court is kind of a paper tiger anyway. Now, however, the Iron Wall of Democratic support for abortion is showing some cracks, too.

AP reports that Hillary gave $10,000 to an anti-abortion Democratic Senate candidate in Pennsylvania. Her reasoning? Do you have to ask?

"Regardless of what differences there may be among Democrats, the differences between Democrats and Republicans today could not be starker," Clinton said at a news conference. "And if we can move toward a Democratic majority, we can prevent some of the ill-advised legislation and nominations we have to deal with from ever seeing the light of day."
When you've sold the very last of the family jewels with the excuse that you've gotta protect the family jewels, where does that leave you? And when oh when do people figure this out?

Just about a year ago, one of the people I interviewed for my book in progress saw this coming: the guy I pseudonymized as Doug PIlsudski in Chapter Five. Excerpt:

Do you see any difference at all? Between the parties, I mean.

Abortion. Maybe. Though Hillary is busy revising that. Nothing else.

February 9, 2006

Old Russ and Feathers

Poor Senator Feingold. He's probably the best of the Democratic bunch, but his mind, too, appears to have been poisoned by the Party's master strategists.


"The President suggests that anyone who criticizes his illegal wiretapping program doesn't understand the threat we face. But we do. Every single one of us is committed to stopping the terrorists who threaten us and our families...."
Now this is the purest pandering. As realistic threats to the bulk of Americans go, terror threats rank well below, say, the bird flu and the inevitable LA 'big one.' I mean way down there, below flesh-eating bacteria and maybe even mad cow disease.
"Defeating the terrorists should be our top national priority..."
You hear this bullshit so often that you may be in danger of forgetting it's bullshit. "Top national priority?" Says who? And why? What total nonsense. What grotesque demagogy.

And the donkeys wonder why they need the security cred they can't get. Well, maybe it's because they pander the same nonsense. The same premises are going to lead to the same conclusion.

"And we all agree... we need to wiretap... to do it... In fact, it would be irresponsible not to wiretap..."
He goes on to stuff about trampling our rights -- but hey, the game's already lost.

From the desk of: Kosissimo

This is from the uber-Munchkin Da Kos his own self: :
"We need people for the commercial, people who look like the Democratic Party ....."
Pay close attention to this people's ark:
  • workers in hard hats,
  • moms with kids,
  • men and women in business suits,
  • hippies,
  • young and old,
  • all colors,
  • enviro types,
  • college professors,
  • young women,
  • someone in a wheelchair, etc.
Q: What do these people have in common? A: They're all deluded. But I digress.

It gets better. Consider this not exactly Eisensteinian " concept " --

" there will be a donkey laying on the ground. There will be a long line of people tugging at the donkey with a rope, trying to get it to move. The donkey won't budge. Some dude (they're threatening to make me do it) will walk down the line up to the donkey, give the animal a look, and then give it a swift kick in the ass to get it moving"
Here's the dessert:
(... no, the donkey won't really be kicked.)
No. I don't suppose it will.

February 10, 2006

No democracy, please -- we're Democrats

Doublehelix has kindly called our attention to an amazingly brazen attempt to suppress democracy by, you guessed it, seven House Democrats, led by Dave Obey of Wisconsin's Seventh District. Some highlights:
The bill would effectively eliminate virtually all congressional campaigns by independent and third-party candidates.... [it] would provide public financing for both Democrats and Republicans in most districts. But ... candidates not qualifying for funding would not only receive no government funds, but would also be barred from spending any privately raised money. No government money and no private money means that a non-qualifying candidate would be prohibited from spending any money at all, not one red cent. Not even a business card with the candidate’s name and office sought would be legal under the bill!

Requirements for qualifying for funding would be relatively easy for the major parties but almost impossible for independent and third-party candidates. The bill would provide public funding for nominees of parties that had averaged 25% of the vote for U.S. House in that district over the last two elections. Independent candidates who had averaged 25% would also get full public funding, but unlike party candidates, only the specific individual who previously got those votes would qualify. All others would be required to submit petitions signed by 20% of the last vote cast for full funding, and 10% for partial funding. For example, in Missouri’s 2nd congressional district, a candidate with a party that won less than 25% of the vote in the last two elections would need nearly 70,000 signatures to qualify for the public funding that her/his Democratic and Republican opponents would get automatically, and only signatures from the 2nd District would count. Nearly 35,000 signatures would be required in order to allow the candidate to spend anything at all on the campaign.

In certain districts where a single party is dominant, the bill would eliminate campaigns by the district’s second party as well. Not surprisingly, Democrats (who propose this bill) hold Republican opponents to below 25% in more districts than Republicans do the same to Democrats.

In a discussion of this bill on Ballot Access News, a contributor drops the penny:
[I]n 2004, Rep. Obey faced a challenger from the left for the first time in his political career in the person of Mike Miles, who ran as a Green. Obey refused to debate Miles, saying that he (Miles) was not a “legitimate” candidate. Miles got one of the highest vote totals of any third party candidate that year; he’s already announced that he’s running again.
This breathtakingly shameless and desperate Katie-bar-the-door move suggests that some of these do-nothing Democrats are feeling squeezed from both sides -- the Republicans on the right and dissatisfied Progs getting bold enough to bolt on the left. Safe Democratic congressional districts may be on the endangered-species list -- and not a minute too soon -- so the obvious remedy is to outlaw the problem.

The other sponsors of this quiet coup -- it's an interesting list:

  • Rep DeLauro, Rosa L. [CT-3]
  • Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51]
  • Rep Frank, Barney [MA-4]
  • Rep Israel, Steve [NY-2]
  • Rep McGovern, James P. [MA-3]
  • Rep Ryan, Tim [OH-17]
  • Rep Waxman, Henry A. [CA-30]
Over to you for comment, JSP.

Nice clothes, your Emperorship

The "war on terror" -- in particular, its domestic arm -- whether it's a war with existing terror cells, or simply against the entrance of terror cells, whatever the sam hell it is... this homeland war declared by boy emperor Mummy II is a big fat right-wing fraud.

Michael Moore knows it and you know it and I know it, and every single one of the capital hill gangs from K Street to Sesame Street knows it's a fraud too.

So why won't the donkey prog-wing, all 60 or so of 'em, say so, flat out loud in black and white at a press confrence?

"The domestic war on terror is a fraud. Bush and company ain't conducting one and by the way, folks, we don't need one." Period, full stop.

There is no war 'cause there is no domestic terror. The whole sick business -- the bomb scares, the maybe-might-be-could-be reactor attacks, the anthrax in our milk supply, the radiation showered from ill-flown crop dusters -- every one of 'em, utterly bogus. Take that one our young prez pushed a couple days ago. Imagine anyone blowing up a building in LA from... Jakarta!

These whoppers are no bettter than a series of high school pranks, pure Karl Rove, done for one reason only -- to scare Miss Peach and the girls.

Okay, so it's too much to ask that the progs actually do anything about it. But why can't even stand straight up here and for once at least grab a headline for the truth?

You know my methods, Watson

As predicted here two months ago, the Senatorial Democrats have now apparently done their usual springboard dive on the "Patriot Act." Predictably, Feinstein and Durbin, plus Daily Kos pinup Reid, and apparently several other Demo senators whose names haven't appeared on the wires yet, have signed off on a trivial and cosmetic "compromise" which makes permanent the sixteen noxious provisions of the Act that expired at the end of last year. (Recall that these were saved from automatic extinction at that time because the ever-helpful Democrats gave away atemporary extension.)

Feingold, of course, is complaining about it, and threatens to filibuster. But in a carefully choreographed soap opera, his fellow Democrats will stab him in the back if he does, and he will fall gracefully to the Senate floor, wrapped in the toga of civil liberties.

Russ, old buddy, old pal, it's getting to be crunch time. Which is more important -- party solidarity with creeps like Feinstein and Reid and Durbin, or your principles? In other words -- will you tell it like it is, and say bluntly that you and the American people have been sold down the river by your colleagues? Or will you just make your symbolic gesture, and report for work as usual the next morning?

I hate to be an I-told-you-so...

... no, that's a lie. I love to be an I-told-you-so. I'm wrong so often that when I'm right I just have to crow a little.

Now that the Senate Democrats have (as predicted! As predicted!) rolled over on the Patriot Act, I recall that I was generous enough to share this augury with the bien-pensants over on Daily Kos. Now that it has come to pass as it was written, I couldn't resist revisiting some of the mama-knows-best responses the Kosniks gave:

Democrats suck democrats suck (3.60 / 5)
rinse repeat....
when is the glorious third party revolution going to take place?
Gore2008 , My PoliticalTheaterBlog
by TeresaInPa on Tue Dec 13, 2005 at 11:57:52 AM PDT

There is a party for you (none / 1)
its called the Green Party. Oh yeah, and they always lose.
Democratic Nomination Competition: Vote Now!
by FleetAdmiralJ on Tue Dec 13, 2005 at 01:19:15 PM PDT

Dems and republicans (none / 0)
aren't "spouting" the same ideas, unless you're too far from the political center to tell the difference.
Democratic Nomination Competition: Vote Now!
by FleetAdmiralJ on Tue Dec 13, 2005 at 01:23:25 PM PDT

Wow, how insightful! (none / 1)
Just got an email from MoveOn. Here's a quote you might appreciate:
"That's why a bipartisan group of senators, including Republicans Larry Craig, John Sununu, Lisa Murkowski and Democrats Russ Feingold, Dick Durbin and Ken Salazar, have been working to fix the Patriot Act. They have vowed to fight the most egregious provisions and filibuster reauthorization if necessary. We need to show them that we have their backs" (emphasis mine).
by Terps Fan on Tue Dec 13, 2005 at 12:00:57 PM PDT

Hey, here's an idea... (none / 1)
How about we wait for things to actually happen before we start bashing people for them?
by Angry White Democrat on Tue Dec 13, 2005 at 12:22:03 PM PDT

interesting idea (none / 0)
but how would that help the glorious third party revolution? People must be convinced that democrats suck now before they have a chance to prove they don't and it's too late.
Gore2008 , My PoliticalTheaterBlog
by TeresaInPa on Tue Dec 13, 2005 at 03:20:48 PM PDT

There are many more, but this gives a pretty good sample of Kos dialectic.

Oh, well, Kosniks, let's not live in the past. Onward to the next abject surrender!

Democrats vs. democracy, continued

Tim D writes, in a note too good to be just a comment:
I see Alan Smithee beat me to the comment I was going to make, which was that the Democrats don't want to have to waste their precious corporate donors' money on lawsuits and volunteer energy on petition reviews to suppress opposition candidates in future elections.

As many astute and honest commentators pointed out during the 2004 election, the Democrats fully demostrated who they found to be the greater threat to their campaign, when they voted to extend registration for Republicans in at least four states (the Republicans held their convention so late that they actually failed to qualify for the ballot in a number of states), while launching a number of vicious lawsuits against Nader's campaign.

By the way, if you didn't hear, Oregon Democrats already passed a law in that state that will make it virtually impossible for independent candidates to get on the ballot in that state.

Thanks, Tim and Alan!

February 11, 2006

The road ahead (strewn with Democrat entrails)

I'd like to review -- call it a sanity check -- my own personal conception of our joint effort here. Specifically: where are we going and do others agree?

To me our stage-one strategy for destroying the Democratic party as we know it is simple: don't drive the pussheads out of the party -- drive 'em out of office.

Do you all agree?

Over the last month or so, as this site has started gathering a readership, I've noticed the stalwarts commenting here so far seem -- to my mind correctly -- focused on exposing the fiends now runninng the donkey machine, more than belaboring the rights and wrongs of the several issues du jour.

Now the two are linked, obviously. It's through the issues du jour that the fiends expose themselves, as they take the pro-forma, dying-swan flop, come nut-cuttin' time.

But everybody here seems pretty clear that mobilizing folks on the issues is not the problem -- in fact, we have the multitudes already with us, at least potentially, on the issues.

Nope, the problem is what to do about the knaves that vamp about claiming they're ready to lead us to the promised land.

Hence our mission, should we choose to accept it, and oh, we do, we do -- lets put the wrecking ball to this prisoner/victim holding tank of an electoral party.

Am i right? Eh?

I think most of us agree the strength of this whole line of cell blocks is in its core of " pragmatic promise breakers" and aisle-crossers the ones with the cold eye that flat out claim they'll deliver precisely what they and their donors are determined not to deliver.

You can identify the species by its song: "Help us retake power in Washington... help us retake power for... the people." I think we are agreed this illusion, this mirage hot dog always kept a safe three inches from our mouth, this shameless medicine-show conjury, must be wiped from the minds of all decent Americans.

And since we know stages are real steps, first we need to hack away the worst elements. Concentrate the attackon the party's most obvious stinkers. Knock 'em out of office, and by doing so, prove on the field of battle that the donkeys, at least as presently led, not only never can regain power but even more, never deserve to regain power.

Yeah, I'm negative. Got a problem with that?

Here's what the American people need to hear, and understand:

Their future is toast so long as they put their one by one votes into that same old same old Democratic shitbox.

Yes, mah fellow Amurricans -- your future is toast, toast, toast -- until we sweep the whole hee-hawing herd of 'em into the street. All the fat-necked DLC "New Democrat" donor-craving knaves. with their Madison Avenue blown hair and their callous fear pandering.

"No mas!" must be the watchword -- as long as they offer nothing better or deeper-drafted than the likes of a St Hillary or a Bidenbone.

Go ahead, give us 20 more years of elephant moonshine -- we'd rather take our poison straight up, neat, right out of the bottle -- than smile and smack our lips and pretend it's Madeira.

No more of those egomaniacal Macy's balloons, those loathsome power chair and spotlight freaks, these careers that are all about... their careers. Never again, till the spellbound underlings in their own rank and file rise up and chop off their corporate stooge heads.

Pluck the vultures from the party, feather by feather -- each and every Wall Street weak-kneer and humanitarian imperialist.

Negativity? You bet it is. Negativity is underrated. This is negativity at its tree-topplin' best -- each seat-warming, gold-eared jackass needs to be driven out of office, by a challenge that splits their deluded majority into two losing pieces.

This is not preperation for the launch of some neat new reform or class party. It's not so much a third party as a third rail, with enough current in it to kill off the secondary party of the era.

Kill off, did I say? And I was supposed to be the reasonable one here. Of course I meant to say, kill it off or cure it.

Shock some of 'em enough, and if they survive the experience maybe they'll morph in delightful ways, just to survive. It's been known to happen.

These times call for spoilers -- thick-skinned renegades and contrary rebels, eager to help trigger a destructive revolt of the multitude. This November, let's drive a dozen of these bums out -- and their little dogs too, out of the Rahm Emanuel puppy pound.

February 12, 2006

O magnum mysterium

The tireless Ralph Nader recently zeroed in on our dear old Fed. He's a bit out of his element but on target none the less.

He notices that gentle Ben, our new Fed chair warmer, loves the word "transparency." To date that has translated in reality to just: "stating explicitly the numerical inflation rate... consistent with the goal of long-term price stability"

As Ralph points out that's common practice... in Europe. But Ralph takes the transparency ball himself and runs as far as he can with it. (Remember, he's a lawyer, not, like me, an attack trained political economist.) So how far does he get?

Well here: Let's "democratize Federal Reserve transparency." He gives some self-described "baby steps" towards that end -- a seven point program:

  1. Regular open press conferences by the Chairman.
  2. Adhere to the Budget Act which requires the submission of a formal annual budget subject to review by OMB and the Congress.
  3. Require congressional appropriations for all Federal Reserve activities.
  4. Allow the early release of Minutes of Federal Open Market Committee meetings .
  5. Hold open meetings on all issues not involving monetary policy.
  6. Require full audits by the Government Accountability Office (GAO)
  7. Support legislation to prohibit commercial bank officials from serving on the boards of the 12 Federal Reserve District Banks.
Kind of a mixed bag.

Point 7 is splendid for obvious fox-in-henhouse reasons. Points one four and five are at best quixotic. Two and six would be great if the Fed was just spending money, not controlling the credit system and triggering recessions when wanted, neither of which costs anymore than falling asleep would. That leaves number three which I'll repeat:

3. Require congressional appropriations for all Federal Reserve activities.
Sounds like nunber two in substance, right? Well, here's my point: If the House wants to get its way policy-wise it could use this whip, eh? Starve 'em out if they didn't respond to the people's will.

Huis clos?

Tim D wrote in a recent comment (I'm excerpting):
... We are on a bullet train heading toward a gaping chasm full of environmental and social catastrophes... We need radical change now, but no political vehicle for it.

[Some argue] we need to take it one school board and local election at a time.... Well, I don't necessarily disagree, but time is not on our side. However, I'll admit that even if an informed and incorruptible person like Nader was elected to the presidency, she or he wouldn't have the kind of dictatorial powers necessary to arbitrarily make the kind of changes we need (nor should he).

What to do, what to do...?

Quick, slightly flippant answer: we need to stop behaving predictably.

More serious answer: Nobody knows what will work, but the necessary precondition to finding what will work is to stop doing things that not only don't work, but make things worse (like pinning our hopes on the Democratic Party).

Once public discontent breaks out of the vessels designed to contain and tranquilize it, the elites start getting worried. That's when they stop pushing and start making concessions. There have been several such phases of "instability" in American history, and every one of 'em had positive effects.

Considerable intellects like Karl Marx have proven unequal to the task of mapping out in detail what will happen or must happen to bring about social change, and none of us in in that league. But let instability be our watchword. Get the genie of public discontent out of the bottle of the party system. Stuff will happen. I don't know exactly what form it will take and neither does anybody else. But once the water overflows the levee, it will find its own course.

Sorry for the mixed metaphors. Sniffing those Pythonic vapors always does that to me.

February 14, 2006

Anybody but Hillary (even a Republican)

Bulletin: Since this post was written, back in February '06, anti-war stalwart Howie Hawkins has received the Green Party nomination for Senate in New York, and so we now have a real choice. I urge my fellow New Yorkers to show a little backbone in November, reject the Ogress, and vote for what they believe in. -- MJS, May '06

There's a lot of unhappiness out there, among leftish Democrats, about the Republican-lite politics of people like Hillary Clinton. Joe Lieberman, Diane Feinstein, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi... hey, the list goes on and on, doesn't it?

Naturally, this discontent has given rise to some primary challenges to the Hillarys and Feinsteins, by well-meaning people like Steven Greenfield and Jonathan Tasini in New York. The latest may be the admirable Cindy Sheehan, who seems to be considering a primary run against Feinstein in California.

Now I hate to be a Grinch, but this strategy is doomed to failure. The evildoers will get their party's nomination -- Pelosi might be the one truly vulnerable one, if anybody took her on -- because they have all the money, and because the party faithful are petrified by the twin Gorgons of "electability" and "realism."

What's needed, instead of a primary challenge, is an aggressive left-wing third-party campaign in the general election against these Democratic malefactors -- even if the result will be a Republican victory.

Continue reading "Anybody but Hillary (even a Republican)" »

On the outside looking in

JSP draws my attention to this Washington Post item. Excerpt:
Two key Democrats [Jane Harman and Tom Daschle] yesterday called the NSA domestic surveillance program necessary for fighting terrorism but questioned whether President Bush had the legal authority to order it done without getting congressional approval.

[Republican senator Pat] Roberts said he could not remember Democrats raising questions about the program during briefings that, beginning in 2002, were given to the "Gang of Eight." That group was made up of the House speaker and minority leader, the majority and minority leaders of the Senate, and the chairmen and ranking Democrats of the House and Senate intelligence committees.

Harman said the briefings she received concerned "the operational details of the program," which she supported. "However," she added, "the briefings were not about the legal underpinnings of the program."

Daschle said he wants the program to continue but maintained that the warrantless wiretapping of calls.. violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Harman [said] "We're only 36 members total that we're talking about, and those members should decide whether this program fits within the law, and if it does, which I think it does, we should all declare victory. "

In short the Democrats are like sooo down with all this snooping -- they just want to get in on the fun.

February 15, 2006


JSP got so angry writing this one that archy had to transcribe it for him.

part three ...or is it four ???
in my series

"these too must die...."
-- figuratively speaking of course -- 

        all know it alls out there
        the prog-sphere

bring me the  formula
to shrink the head
tom lantos down to raisinette scale

tom tom ... tom

   u must find a way
                  to rid me
        of this cotton topped
              fried clay faced double dip
                aipac buzzbomb           

  he's everything
         the jack ass party needs
to  put the torch  to

he's worse than rickets

worse than joan rivers and bill moyers

freddie needs to come  thru his bedroom window

now prove me right here

surely you coastal sand and ice  devils
can figure a way
to shiver  his re election   base
into beatable pieces

-- how the hell does this guy stay in office -- 

MoveOn eats locoweed!

Just got my latest MoveOn-o-gram:
Dear MoveOn member:

This year our top goal is breaking the right-wing Republican stranglehold on Congress....

Same old same old. But! On the blue dog issue, this:
It is also part of our work together to hold Democrats to their Party's highest values on issues like foreign policy, economic prosperity and good government.

That sometimes means grappling with specific right-wing Democrats who consistently side with big corporations and right-wing Republicans.

One approach is to support progressive primary challengers to right-wing Democrats...

One approach that's guaranteed to do nothing, that is. It gets better:
...conservative Democrats we would challenge represent states or districts that are heavily Democratic -- so we're not imperiling a Democratic majority by doing this...
Call it smart-bombing the party right.

And who is their named name, for instance? None other than poor Hank Cuellar -- and not a Tom Lantos or Jane Harman or anybody of consequence.

We immediately MoveOn to the unavoidable conflation of a Democratic majority with a "progressive" majority. Watch the shells:

A Democratic majority will be a big step towards progressive reform... a progressive majority that will work towards bold reforms.

Given that this is MoveOn, the timid lameness of the whole thing comes as no surprise. The surprise is that MoveOn has obviously been frightened by discontent in the ranks, or they wouldn't have stuck their necks out even this far. Now that is encouraging.

Who put the Rahm in the rama-dama-dingdong?

This just in --
Thought it might cheer you up to know it's not just Hillary and Feinstein facing primary challenges from anti-war candidates: right now I'm working for my friend Johnny Hap on a volunteer, grassroots campaign to unseat the unspeakable Rahm Emmanuel in Illinois' 5th district.

True, Rahm has plenty of money and even more party-machine connections, but still we feel he is vulnerable to a progressive challenge because of the strong discontent among even mainstream Democrats in the district....

Johnny Hap is affiliated with members of the Progressive Democrats of America and is chiefly concerned with pulling the Democratic party back to the left, to a point where it may embrace a radical revision of our electoral system, including the opening-up of our two-party hegemony. Whether or not this is possible from within the Democratic party remains to be seen, but the point is we believe Rahm Emmanuel can be defeated in the primary by a progressive, anti-war, anti-corporate government candidate. Anyway, check out the website www.JohnnyHap.org...

Good luck, guys -- and I'm not being snide; it would be wonderful if somebody could knock Rahm off in the primary. I'm getting increasingly skeptical about the usefulness of primary challenges, though; I'd much rather see you gearing up for a third-party challenge to Rahm in the general election. Then you'd have some help from the Republicans, you see, assuming they can manage to field a candidate with two brains to rub together.

The crucial question is, do you loathe Rahm enough to help a Republican knock him off? If you don't -- and I don't mean you personally, I mean frustrated lefties generally -- then I think you're still entertaining some illusions about the Democratic Party, illusions that are likely to prove seriously crippling.

Evolution of the second banana, part II

In the last installment we saw the big bopper in action -- doesn't matter which party is in power: if the economy collides with a fearsome contraction the outs will be in next cycle.

All the way back in the off-year election of 1874 this pattern got established -- the Democrats won the house by national landslide, barely a decade after the Civil War, in which of course they were the party of treason and the slavemaster's lash. But it was, not for the first time, the economy, stupid.

The Democrats characteristically frittered away their advantage over the next few cycles, till 1880 when the GOP regained total control of Washington.

But now right away comes a sudden massive  switchback: 1882.No economic contraction here -- that would have to wait till next cycle -- but  two factors unrelated to each other converged to produce this second big pro-donkey swing:

Number one -- and it's not applicable to this year's conjuncture, obviously -- the solid South gained 25 new seats. All went where they belonged, to the white-sheet party par excellence, and that alone would have almost allowed a retake of the House, so  narrowly lost in '80.

But in addition -- and here's a parallel -- the nation had just gone through the first leg of the fabled Garfield-Arthur administration, where the elephant boyz dutched up so badly that chunks of the usually solid East and Midwest bolted at their first opportunity.

So once again it was dumb luck -- throw-the-bums-out dumb luck -- just what Rahm and Chuckie and Hillary and Howie are hoping for this time.

Next installment: third party strangulations aren't enough when gold holds the donkey's reins. Yup, here cometh the mighty populist challenge and the curse of Cain's deadly embrace -- a sucker kill that  brought white supremacy right into the very heart of the national party and smashed popular hopes for a generation.

Among the Kosniks (part I)

I spent some time recently reading Daily Kos (www.dailykos.com), probably the leading Democratic Party "community" site on the Web. I didn't enjoy it, much; but it has been interesting. It gave me an opportunity to study at first hand the thought processes of basically well-meaning, left-leaning, far-from-stupid people who still can't quite get away from the Democrats -- like a middle-aged bachelor who's still living with his parents. A few observations:

I. Kosniks think they are smarter than other people.

It was proto-liberal John Stuart Mill, of course, who first said that the Tories were "the stupid party," and it remains an article of faith for Kosniks that stupidity -- other people's stupidity -- explains a great deal. A few examples of Kosnik thinking on this subject:

There should be a test
to prove that you are not an idiot, and until that point you should be assumed to be one.

One aspect of the test needs to include a complete education in science, specifically biology.

Obviously, this idiot would fail the test.

ridiculous to you, perhaps,
and to other typically small minded and ignorant Americans . . .

Sadly, it's the loons at those other
sites you mention, as well as a good chunk of the American public at large, that needs this information the most.

Kosniks think the Republicans are stupid -- which rather begs the question of why the Republicans have been beating the pants off "their" party for a century and a half. And they also think the public is stupid, to fall for the intellectually insulting hokum the Republicans dish out -- and this begs another question: what can you expect of democracy, if the public is stupid?

The next comment responds to a post critical of the Senate Democrats' timidity about the Patriot Act:

maybe if you write enough "democrats suck" diaries the glorious third party revolution really will happen. <obligatory eyes rolling smilie here>
The reference to "third parties" comes out of nowhere; in the post it responds to, nothing was said about third parties. But there are no flies on this Kosnik. She knows what the original poster is really up to. He may try his best to conceal his true agenda, but she is too smart for him.

And "eyes rolling" is good, isn't it? No need to explain why third parties are a bad or impossible idea. Smart people understand that already.

To be continued...

Yosemite Dick (and Goofy)

All the wistful pwo-gwessives at Daily Kos et al. are having huge, if somewhat juvenile, fun with the story of Dick Cheney blowing a hole in his buddy with a shotgun.

Well, yeah, it's a great story -- and the coverup is making it much better. But I have to think that one reason the Kosniks are enjoying it so much is that this is the first Republican crime that no Democrat helped facilitate.

Whale away, Kosniks. Your heroes are in the clear on this one.

February 16, 2006

Dems green-light secret police

So only one Democrat -- Byrd -- and the "Independent" Jeffords joined Feingold to vote against cutting off debate on the Patriot Act renewal. Of course the only chance to stop it was a filibuster, and the decisive rejection of a filibuster by the Senate Democrats amounts to a ringing endorsement of the Act and its bulldozer-like demolition of American liberties.

But of course come the actual, ceremonial vote on the Act, a lot of these Democrats will solemnly cast safely futile votes against it, and return to tell their constituents they tried to stop it.

Amazing that they can conduct this mummery, this mountebankery, this threadbare charade, with such straight, solemn faces.

Green in two senses of the word

Here's a pair of offsetting fiscal moves that would help both Greenies and wage-workers too. Maybe you can run this up your your local Democrat's flag pole to see if it gets a salute: a $2-a-gallon tax on gasoline whose proceeds reduce dollar-for-dollar payroll taxes. Pour the revenue into the SSI trust fund and offset it by cutting the SSI tax rate.

Start with a generous tax cut upfront, of course. Then apply the tax. Do a rolling adjustment. This is one program with a long enough flight path to allow erring on the side of an overcut to begin with.

Nothing personal, just business

All down ... a perfect strike... all nine pins.

I'm referring of course to the Democratic members of the senate banking committee. Not a soul among 'em opposed either of the latest pair of hapless banker gumshoes Bush hopes to see join gentle Ben's Fed board.

Not much of a surprise -- they tossed nothing but cream puffs at Bernanke himself. If I'd been there I'd ask gentle Ben one question -- before storming out:

"Mister chairman, we know you love the idea of transparency. Well then, why this phoney to-do about posting an explicit inflation target -- core or otherwise? Why not put your intentions right out there so we all can see 'em? Go for the golden bell directly -- proclaim a flat-out wage-rate target. That's what it's really all about -- isn't it?"

Here's the donkey deadwood nine:

  • Paul S. Sarbanes (D-MD)
  • Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT)
  • Tim Johnson (D-SD)
  • Jack Reed (D-RI)
  • Charles E. Schumer (D-NY)
  • Evan Bayh (D-IN)
  • Thomas R Carper (D-DE)
  • Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
  • Robert Menendez (D-NJ)

February 17, 2006

Among the Kosniks (part II)

(Second in a series. Part One here.)

II. Kosniks believe in magic

A great many Kosnik posts begin with phrases like "We need to make them..." or "We need to demand..." or "Write your Congressman and tell him you want...."

There's something rather childlike and endearing about this; as if one had but to ask, or demand. Perhaps this is the outlook of the much-cherished children of the Spock generation. What will happen when the demand is ignored? Will they hold their breath? Will they fling themselves on the floor and kick and scream? Will they break a beloved toy? Throw food?

Alas, probably not. Kosnikss are too grown up for any such authentic display of feeling, but not grown up enough to disbelieve in magic, or in the omnipotence of their own desires, or to dispense with the projection of a virtual parent-figure onto some institution -- in their case, the Democratic Party. Caught in this contradiction, the symptom we see is neurotic perseveration -- a pathological, mechanical repetition of behavior that achieves nothing.

To be continued...

Congressional "progressives" -- MIA, or POW?

John Conyers' almost-impeachment bill now has 25 co-sponsors. Here's the list -- and note that they're not all so-called "progressives." The non-progs are in italics:
  • Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI)
  • Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
  • Rep Lois Capps (D-CA)
  • Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO)
  • Rep John Conyers (D-MI)
  • Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA)
  • Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)
  • Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA)
  • Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX)
  • Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
  • Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)
  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
  • Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA)
  • Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA)
  • Rep.Gwen Moore (D-WI)
  • Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
  • Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN)
  • Rep. Major Owens (D-NY)
  • Rep.Donald Payne (D-NJ)
  • Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY)
  • Rep.Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
  • Rep. Fortney Pete Stark (D-CA)
  • Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY)
  • Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)
  • Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).
For homework, I compared this list of stalwarts to the Democrats' "progressive caucus" -- and found the following cardinals of the college of human enlightenment and liberation to be, erm, MIA:
  • Xavier Becerra
  • Madeleine Z. Bordallo
  • Corrine Brown
  • Sherrod Brown
  • Michael Capuano
  • Julia Carson
  • Donna Christensen
  • Emanuel Cleaver
  • Elijah Cummings
  • Danny Davis
  • Peter DeFazio
  • Rosa DeLauro
  • Lane Evans
  • Chaka Fattah
  • Bob Filner
  • Barney Frank
  • Raul Grijalva
  • Luis Gutierrez
  • Jesse Jackson, Jr.
  • Stephanie Tubbs Jones
  • Marcy Kaptur
  • Carolyn Kilpatrick
  • Dennis Kucinich
  • Tom Lantos
  • James McGovern
  • Ed Markey
  • George Miller
  • Eleanor Holmes-Norton
  • John Olver
  • Ed Pastor
  • Bobby Rush
  • Bernie Sanders
  • Jose Serrano
  • Louise Slaughter
  • Hilda Solis
  • Bennie Thompson
  • John Tierney
  • Tom Udall
  • Diane Watson
  • Mel Watt
  • Henry Waxman
Notice, if you will, the Massachusetts Progs are all MIA -- Frank, and the M-n-M twins, Markey and McGovern. I'm glad to see Bernie Sanders on this list, and wouldn't want him off it, that sea-slug carpetbagger -- what use has he ever been to anything progressive except to betray it? (Maybe I've overlooked something -- if so, tell me.)

And Dennis Kucinich! Through the mystic gematria of alphabetic order, his name falls right next to that arch-vampire from the AIPAC crypt, the burning shame of the Bay Area, Tommy Lantos. Lantos is a "progressive"? Boy, if that doesn't blow the tent right off the whole tired, shabby carnival.

I could go on -- Sherrod Brown, for example, anointed by Schumer et al. as the Ohio Senate candidate over the bullet-riddled body of Kosnik heartthrob Paul Hackett. But enough for one day.

Fighting Democrat stops fighting

The Paul Hackett debacle has amused me immensely. Largely because -- and pardon the horn-tooting -- I called it, back in October.

I didn't really expect Hackett to fold quite so easily, though. If only Marines in Iraq were as unwilling to fight as Marines in Ohio.

I did a little scanning of Daily Kos and its various imitators around the Net afterwards. Very entertaining. What are those stages of grief -- denial, anger, something, something, acceptance? The Kosniks and their ilk get to acceptance very quickly. They've had a lot of practice, I guess.

Among the Kosniks (Part III)

(Part III of a series. Previous installments)

III. Kosniks can't imagine change

Here's another Kosnik exculpation on the Democrats' failure to kill the most obnoxious parts of the Patriot Act:

You clearly don't want the Patriot Act
renewed in any way, shape, or form. However, it is already law. There is no going back on it. Repealing it would be very unpopular and would fail.
Another, responding to a post about Hillary Clinton:
I don't feel guilty
I get the point of all this, and yes it's too bad that politicians play these games, but..what..am I gonna vote Republican against Hilary? Can she possibly be worse than any Republican? Can she do more harm to this country than George has done?
I don't want Hillary to run. I hope she gets soundly defeated, mainly b/c there is no hope of her winning the general election. Nevertheless, unless the Republican party somehow changed itself overnight into something I could support (fat chance, I'd vote for her over any Repub.
A few years back, the corporate buzzword-du-jour was "think outside the box." The Kosnik culture prides itself on thinking inside the box, and the smaller the box, the better. Kosniks believe fervently in the immutability of the status quo and the rightness of received wisdom, and this belief they call "realism."

C. Wright Mills anatomized this kind of realism: "Crackpot realists are so rigidly focused on the next step that they become creatures of whatever the main drift -- the opportunist actions of innumerable men -- brings. In crackpot realism, a high-flying moral rhetoric is joined with an opportunist crawling among a great scatter of unfocused fears and demands."

To be continued...

February 18, 2006

Frank Church, and other giants in the earth

Back in '75,a Democrat-controlled Senate set up a committee to investigate the darker side of the whole cold war carnival; and this was done with the Republicans still clinging to the White House, after the convulsive moments of the prior summer and fall, when the deepest, most persistent five o'clock shadow in American political history was finally forced -- well, not quite finally -- from the nation's morning mirror.

A possible parallel strikes one, eh? Maybe you're thinking we need something of that sort again -- some congressional committee, either house or senate, to take stock of the long war on  mad turbans, now by my count past its 30th birthday.

Now I understand the urge to dream here. As a for-instance, the Church investigations -- among other attempts to clip off some of the more hideously malformed branches of the imperial presidency-- led to the creation of the recently much traduced FISA court. Dear ole Frank Church's white hat outfit produced revelations that all bore fruit in legislation limiting executive power when the donks returned to the White House in' 77.

But as nice as this all seems, try not to project it onto today's conjuncture. The mirage of a Dem-controlled house forming a Church-like committee is nonsense -- pure unvarnishable nonsense, so long as the donks have a dominant core of  fearless resolutes still committed to fighting this terror war against the mad turbans until... well, until when? The next Millennium, maybe.

Church and his senate posse make a bad analogy. Those donkey guys had made a separate peace. For them the cold war was over well before they formed their committee.

In fact there is a far better possible parallel, also from '75, than Church and company: the infamous Rockefeller commission, a star chamber set up by Gerry Ford to whitewash a generation of domestic government crime.

Jekyll and Hyde, LLC

"Progressive" Democrat (and AIPAC zombie) Tom Lantos has teamed up with right-wing Doberman Henry Hyde and signed a threatening letter to Ambassador Dumisani S. Kumalo of South Africa, head of the Group of 77 which represents 132 developing nations. Hyde and Lantos represent their respective "parties" on the House Foreign Relations Committee.

Their letter is a purple-faced, spittle-spraying torrent of wild indignation and cries of mile-deep corruption in the UN secretariat. The goal apparently is to distract, discredit,  and disorganize this vote-decisive  group, just at the moment when US Ambassador and neocon ninja John "Headless Horseman" Bolton is trying to end-run the General  Assembly by rigging up a  "veto power" substitute for the assembly's contemplated new human rights commission.


Wonder where Tom the Impaler's impulse for this act of bipartisanship came from?

Among the Kosniks (Part IV)

Part four of a series. Previous installments

IV. Kosniks can't think about Israel

Characteristic Kosnik responses to to a post about the Israel lobby's role in pushing the Iraq war:

this diary is a vile piece of crap
and that's exactly that I'd expect from you.

Here we go again...
For the thousandth time, Israel never wanted or needed the Iraq war....The Iraq War is a major political liability for Israel because it fuels anti-semitism at a time when Israel is working very hard to combat anti-semitism. Israeli papers were hardly supportive of the Iraq War before and after, basically calling it a wash - any positive benefits would likely be weighed down by negatives....
I think the whole "JEWS ARE BEHIND ALL WARS!" nonsense is absurd but there seems to be no end to it.

These two posts between them pretty much define the poles of permitted discourse about Israel among the Kosniks. It's like taking a little spin in the Wayback Machine to, oh, 1975 or so. In those days, if you said anything about Israel that strayed by a hair's breadth from the official narrative – courageous, beleaguered, righteous Israel, and bestial, bigoted, sadistic Arabs – you would find yourself marginalized pretty fast. And if you said anything about the influence of the Israel lobby – why then, you were Julius Streicher reincarnate.

In more recent years, things have opened up a lot. You can now take a whack at Israel or the Israel lobby without getting tagged for life as an anti-Semite or a lunatic or a terrorist – everywhere except in the Democratic Party.

As other constituencies and sources of funding have dried up or switched to the Republicans, largesse from the Israel lobby has become crucial to the Democrats. You might even say it's their lifeline; without the lobby's support, the Democratic party would undergo a sudden shrinkage, like one of those bloated red-giant stars collapsing into a white dwarf.

Yeah, the Republicans get Israel money too, and yeah, they've signed up for whatever the loby wants, too. But the difference is that the Republicans have other resources. The money pipeline from the Israel lobby is welcome and important to the Republicans, but it's not life-or-death as it is for the Democrats. Thus a Pat Buchanan has far more scope to speak his mind than anybody in the Democratic party has.

This censorship – or self-censorship, really – extends right down into the Kosnik basement of the party. Now many of the Kosniks are quite intelligent and well-informed people, and there must be a considerable cognitive dissonance between what they know privately and the party line they have to toe publicly. Perhaps this helps explain my next observation.

To be continued...

February 19, 2006

Among the Kosniks (part V)

Part five of a series. Previous installments

V. Kosniks are bad-tempered

The "vile piece of crap" comment quoted earlier is far from atypical. Here's another:

I'm an engineer,
and find your anti-science attitude profoundly offensive. Furthermore, you are an idiot. Evidently, you don't understand the meaning of the word "theory", as in Newton's Gravitational THEORY....
Has anyone ever mentioned to you that in the world of science and technology, we practice meritocracy? So don't even think of accusing me of being uncivil. Here's the deal -- if you step unto this turf, and cling to your ignorance, you're going to be called out, idiot....
Have a nice day, moron.
Smells like... status anxiety? Sociologically, Kosniks belong to the core liberal stratum -- people who are a little better educated than the average bear, a little more cultured. They probably got better grades in school -- partly, at least, because pleasing the teacher was more important to them. They bought into the theory of meritocracy. By rights, they ought to be in charge; and yet they are not. Ignorant, laughing, confident, unscrupulous Yahoos -- people who were 'C' students at best, and probably jocks into the bargain -- make piles of money and rise to lead large corporations.

Alongside them are the almost equally maddening, easy-mannered, well-spoken, empty-headed scions of hereditary wealth. These parasites could never have gone to Harvard if they weren't "legacies". And yet such undeserving drones end up running the Foreign Service. What ever happened to that meritocracy thing? What is a cultured, hard-working, conscientious, well-read striver like me doing in this beastly... cubicle? Que fais-je dans cette galère?

February 20, 2006

Among the Kosniks (part VI)

Part six of a series. Previous installments

VI. Kosniks are deferential to authority Alongside ferocious contempt for the "ignorant" and the "idiots," Kosniks exhibit a grovelling obseqiousness to important people. Every so often a Democratic politican, like John Kerry or Barack Obama, will favor the Kosniks with a recycled chamber-of-commerce speech. The Kosniks quickly swamp the site with hundreds of fawning "comments" like this:

Senator, thanks for posting here. I am flattered that you chose to come to this forum and explain your position on the Roberts nomination, and I hope your comments are taken very seriously.
This servility partly reflects an excessive respect for institutions, which necessarily rubs off onto the people in control of those institutions. But the other component is a displaced self-regard. Obama is the liberal self writ large; Caliban thinks that the TV is a mirror, and Obama's handsome face is his own.

To be continued...

Harmonic convergence

Watch the mirrors here, 'cause the pending big Democratic official alternative Iraq redeployment plan is about to disappear into a consensus bipasrtisan redeployment plan, once the election smoke clears in late November.

Some updating here: since the Murtha moment the likes of Howie Dean and senator Jack Reed have been madly scurryiing around tacking togerther a party center plan. So far, its very much the twin of Republican sour grape Larry Korb's.

Why does the Korb plan for Iraq trump the Murha plan? Answer: the time frame.

Murtha wants a 6 month out, Korb gives till the end of '07 -- yes, '07. He answers the question of the hour among Orthrian Democrats: "What's the time frame that puts us beyond the cut and run rap?" Their answer seems to be -- one more year.

Now remember these are both "redeploy plans" -- that means boots and bombers stay next door in Kuwait. Now here's how we close the gaps between the two time frames. Watch closely.

The Murtha hundred in the house stand ready to ram this through -- but they can't unless we give 'em their 50 mint condition brand new army mules elected in November. But then, boy, will the fur ever fly -- thy'll goose the Orthrian high command to greenlight the 6 month "redeployment".

Now let's see... well that oughta get the troops out by 6 months from next January. But when you lay out the feasible time lines like that, Korb and Murtha start looking kinda similar, eh?

My bet is that the Rumsfeld timeline ain't too far off that pace either.

Pick the low hanging fruit

One guy's view:

Runs against the likes of St Hill and Feinstein are the bunk. We need to avoid token runs -- symbolic quests -- gestures of goodness and light.

I say pick 15 toss-up House races -- races with a chance to be tipped to the elephants by a good third candidate run from the left, in the general election next November.

My belief -- '06 is a warning shot election. We need to make our points:

  1. We can beat you Orthrians;
  2. The donkeys retaking control of the House don't mean doodle to us.
Anybody agree?

Beware the Ay-rabs

Predictably enough, Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton (joined by Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey) have been raising the alarm about the acquisition, by a firm in Dubai, of an English firm (the storied P&O; how are the mighty fallen). P&O has been for some time under contract to manage commercial operations at several US seaports.

Apparently the thinking is that those wild-eyed radicals who throng the boardrooms of the United Arab Emirates will be staffing US port operations with dedicated "terrorists."

Anybody remember Abscam? No? Too long ago, too parochial, perhaps.

Anyway, the Chicken Little clucking and feather-fluffing of the Hill and the Upchuck et al. isn't surprising. It's important to keep the American corporate world from forming any more ties with, well, pardon the expression, Arabs. Jeez, the State Department is bad enough -- all those brainwashed bowtie twits who made the effort and learned the language and fell in love with the people who speak it. But these people who just want to make a buck are even worse, really -- if you don't watch 'em like a hawk, they'll be reclining in a tent, smoking a hookah, and swearing blood-brothership with some Emir. Can't have that!

What's slightly surprising in this story is that the point man seems to be Pete King, a Republican congressman from NY's third district, in Nassau County, Long Island. Ole Pete is bucking his President in objecting to this Dubai deal.

Indeed, Pete has distinguished himself recently by a vein of Arab-bashing that would be right at home in Commentary magazine. Long Island's Newsday reports:

Rep. Peter King said Wednesday he continues to believe that 85 percent of the mosques in the United States have "extremist leadership," and that while most Muslims are "loyal Americans," they are reluctant to come forward to cooperate with law enforcement when they hear anti-American rhetoric or plots.

King (R-Seaford) said Wednesday he based his belief on extensive conversations he has had with law enforcement officials, both in New York and Washington, D.C.. He said the issue crystallized for him in the weeks following Sept. 11, 2001. At a community "solidarity" meeting at Temple Beth-El in Great Neck, Dr. Faroque Kahn of the Islamic Center criticized America's foreign policy toward Arab and Palestinian communities, prompting some Jewish attendees to walk out.

I suspect King has a pass from the leadership to take this insubordinate line because his district is the last remnant of a once-proud Repuplican hegemony on the Island. Hanging onto it is important -- so important that Pete has carte blanche. He's allowed to do whatever it takes -- even if he has to be as coarse, and bigoted, and hysterical as -- well, as a Democrat.

Among the Kosniks (conclusion)

Concludes a series. Previous installments

VII. Kosniks fear enemies in their midst

Most Internet mailing lists, newsgroups, chat rooms and so on get a certain number of insincere participants -- people who don't share the virtual community's values and are there just to make trouble. Most groups accept these "trolls" with a weary resignation -- the way picnickers think about ants. Experienced participants ignore them.

Not the Kosniks. The Kosniks are hypervigilant about intruders, wreckers, saboteurs, spies, provocateurs -- it's like the old days, back in some really paranoid ultra-Left cell worried about the FBI. Except this is the Democratic Party, for heaven's sake. Not exactly a subversive organization (not even an opposition, in fact; but that's another essay).

The Kosniks are really good at sussing trolls out -- as efficient and obsessive as Inspector Javert. If somebody makes 'em suspicious, they'll check the guy's IP address, his email address, his posting and comment history. They'll scrutinize his choice of words. (I wanted to quote here some of the very astute comments that unmasked one recent troll, within seconds of its appearance, but I find it has been removed without a trace from the site, like Bukharin from a Soviet Encyclopedia photograph.)

It's impressive, in one way, and sad in another. Impressive because it shows some very valuable talents -- a quick and accurate ear for the false note, a considerable technical sophistication, an eagle-eyed attentiveness. Some of these Kosniks would have made good textual critics.

The reason it's sad is that it's so pointless. They're manning the walls of a fort that already fell to the enemy. They're like one of those fabled Japanese soldiers on a South Pacific island, thirty years after 1945. He's lurking in a carefully camouflaged foxhole, eyeing jet airliners through ancient binoculars, wishing one of them would fly low enough for him to take a shot at it. He's set up booby-traps and punji-stick pits on the beach. They won't take him without a fight.

But of course no one wants to take him. He's defending an illusion. He's living in a carefully preserved dream about a war that was over a long time ago -- and his side lost.

This is why the trolls have to be exorcised so relentlessly. The Kosniks fight ferociously among themselves, but on a deeper level, they are collaborators in maintaining a necessary illusion. My Japanese soldier analogy wasn't quite right. The Japanese soldier is alone, but he is still free, and could put up some kind of fight if anybody ever noticed him. The Kosniks, by contrast, have lots of company, but they've already been rounded up and put in Stalag 13 – or rather, they've put themselves there. They tell each other they're still fighting the war, but they're just going through the motions, drilling ragged, weaponless troops in the prison yard, while their captors look on, laughing, from the guard towers.

February 22, 2006

Score one for Harvard

I've been taking great pleasure in the Lawrence Summers story. The porcine Clintonite dumper of toxic waste and immiserator of working people worldwide -- a guy who terrorized Washington and much of the world when he was working for Bill Clinton -- has met his match in the Arts and Sciences faculty at Harvard, who have squeezed him out of the President's chair there. It's enough to make one think more kindly of Harvard.

As if this weren't joy sufficient, who should come creaking, like a WWI tank, out of the wings to defend Summers but --

Yes! Alan Dershowitz! Thus Alan, as quoted at the Huffington Post:

The idea that a president should be fired because he believes in patriotism should shock every American.... Now listen to what Summers actually said about Israel and the Palestinians:
"But where anti-Semitism and views that are profoundly anti-Israeli have traditionally been the primary preserve of poorly educated right-wing populists, profoundly anti-Israel views are increasingly finding support in progressive intellectual communities."

"Serious and thoughtful people are advocating and taking actions that are anti-Semitic in their effect if not their intent."

Poor Summers. I almost feel sorry for him. When you've got Alan Dershowitz in your corner, things have come to a pretty pass indeed.

Ted Kennedy: Scotch and steak catch up at last

I've always had a soft spot for at least one Kennedy: Ted. Among many charms, he's none of his brothers' keeper.

His oldest, Joe Jr. -- well we can X him out quick. He was a spoiled, headstrong bully, and a petrified father-cowed sleaze inside, who blew himself up trying to keep ahead of younger brother Jack.

Jack himself probably got almost everything he ever wanted out of life, and then made an even more timely exit than either Lenin or Elvis.

Not so, alas, brother Bobby -- America's first ever New Democrat. Nope, that's a guy we all needed to see more of. Maybe watching him mangle his way through the rest of the high 60's and early 70's, we might have learned faster and deeper what a swindle this whole tight-assed, open-minded, challenge-cup, neo-liberal meritocracy really is.

Maybe we would have killed it off long before we got ourselves into the likes of the Clinton menage.

But back to Ted. As the baby of the brood, Ted got to be more himself then any of the others -- and putting interrupted false promises aside, I think he's actually achieved at least as much, and certainly lost far far more.

So one shakes the knowing head some, upon reading the following in this morning's Globe:

US Senator Edward M. Kennedy plans to a unveil a sweeping economic proposal to improve US competitiveness and make globalization a force of prosperity for American workers.

'To help America embrace the competitive challenges we face we must invest in promising new technologies and high-growth industries that will lead to the jobs of the future.'


Did you ever see a picture of the right hand Rocky M put into Jersey Joe's jaw to gain the heavyweight title? "He'll never get back up from that one...."

Ted's taken more then his share of knockdowns, but this is really too punchy for words. He calls it the "Right Track Act," and it's a list of

measures that includes investing in high-technology industries, lifelong education for US workers, and....
...get ready...
...gives corporate tax breaks for investing in nanotechnology.

Kennedy: "America is in another period of challenge." Sadly note this upside-down gesture tacked on to keep up with the Schumers: "to ensure US workers compete on a level playing field," Ted wants presidential powers "to impose tariffs on the goods of countries that unfairly underprice their products through currency manipulations."

Oh, and there's also something about Fed money to head better high tech teachers toward bad schools.

Ted, Ted, Ted -- you need a crystal resting place... soon.

February 23, 2006

Don't just do something, stand there

We got a comment recently that asked a very good question:
How would you respond to the rejoinder: "At least we're doing something"? Really, this is one of those central questions that I think inhibits a lot of people from rejecting the Democrats.
It's reasonable that people want to do something, not just refrain from something.

My answer: do both. Abstain and do good. Sorry for the cliche, but the option always exists to go local. If you need to be positive -- if the sheer joy of spoiling ain't your game -- then each state has its set of playing rules but movements for good stuff abound. We've even thrown in a few of our own favorites from time to time -- state minimum wage initiatives are one of my favorites.

At the same time I'll repeat our Johnny one-note main point -- whatever you do, and whether or not you do anything else positive, above all don't vote for your local Democrat. As another commenter pointed out, that only spoils 'em -- to reward betrayal is folly.

By the way, my guess is that many of these "donkey diehards" are pulling a lever and no more -- that's the only "something" they're doing, and I guess it gives 'em a warm glow, like going to church on Easter and playing golf every other Sunday.

Fine, I well understand it's done as a reward for past Demo achievements. The problem: Eleanor Roosevelt is dead -- the person you're rewarding is Joe Lieberman.

I've even heard 'em argue, "Well the Democratic party at least pretends to be pro social improvement... or at least amelioration... if not reformation...." Notice it trails off. These diehards aren't fools -- they're just suffering from nostalgia.

Voting donkey is indeed doing something, but we contend in the scheme of things it's doing something not just useless, but positively bad -- at the very least it blocks the full realization of what we call the Orthrian trap, and at worst it actually contributes to the disastrous downward spiral that the two-party dance has committed us to.

Maybe the problem is that people just don't want to recognize how badly off they really are -- how dire the situation really is. So the Prog-ish, decent people of America want to keep acting like they're getting a real choice by choosing the lesser head of the hound here -- the one with the Brie grin on its muzzle and the rounded-down canines.

Well... welcome to our site.

We want to make your skin crawl.

Nominations solicited

Okay so I gave three of my gang of four Democrats who have got to go: Jane Harman, Tom Lantos, Nick Israel. Now where's everybody else's list? C'mon. pony 'em up in a comment.


  • No more than four names per contributor
  • Must be incumbent House donks (or Rahm-picked challenger mules)
Help us out here. The Stop Me rogue's gallery needs some more faces.

PS -- No senators here, please -- send those big fish to Herr Smiff.

February 24, 2006

Robots on the march

Wanna see what a Demo-majority house would pull, foreign affairs-wise?

Well, just look at the recent vote on bullying Iran pointed out by one of our vigilant commenters. This foolish and presumptuous bill includes, among other gems, the following:

(3) calls on all members of the United Nations Security Council, in particular the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China, to expeditiously consider and take action in response to the report of Iran's noncompliance in fulfillment of the mandate of the Security Council to respond to and deal with situations bearing on the maintenance of international peace and security;

(4) declares that Iran, through its many breaches for almost 20 years of its obligations under the Safeguards Agreement, has forfeited the right to develop any aspect of a nuclear fuel cycle, especially with uranium conversion and enrichment and plutonium reprocessing technology, equipment, and facilities;

(5) calls on all responsible members of the international community to impose economic sanctions designed to deny Iran the ability to develop nuclear weapons; and

Don't know which is better, the warning shot at China and Russia; or the sanctimonious decision that Iran is not among the deserving; or the idiotic call for economic sanctions.

Against this exercise in the higher idiocy there were, in the House, four nays, count 'em, four, and one of those a Republican:

  • Kucinich
  • McDermott
  • Paul
  • Stark
And then there were 4 neuters -- all Dems -- who voted "Present":
  • Abercrombie
  • Capuano
  • Kaptur
  • Lee
And among the 20 mia's 12 donks more -- you pick 'em out:
  • Berman
  • Bishop (UT)
  • Blumenauer
  • Campbell (CA)
  • Carson
  • Cummings
  • Davis (IL)
  • Evans
  • Hinchey
  • Hinojosa
  • Hunter
  • McKinney
  • Miller, Gary
  • Osborne
  • Rangel
  • Simpson
  • Wamp
  • Wasserman Schultz
  • Westmoreland
  • Woolsey

Personally I'm pleased to see Frank and Sanders among the ayes, and no doubt MJS will be pleased to see Nadler there. Rangel at least dodged the bullet.

February 25, 2006

Instability: Bring it on

I've been reading Luciano Canfora's recent book, Democracy in Europe, and at the same time pondering the perennial question, asked in various forms by contributors here, of what we ought to be doing in a constructive way. Yeah, bashing the Democrats is fine and they deserve it, but what actions will get us closer to where we want to be?

Continue reading "Instability: Bring it on" »

February 26, 2006

A new Green party...

...Greenspan that is. Thus the Wall Street Journal:
Freed of the constraints of public office, Alan Greenspan has expanded from commenting on the economy to commenting on politics.

Speaking to a Wall Street gathering Wednesday the former Federal Reserve chairman decried the "polarization" of American politics and said the ground was ripe for a third party presidential candidate....

The two American parties now [are] controlled by their extreme wings, even though the voting public is far more centrist... the leadership of the parties [is] "bimodal" ... clustered at the extreme ideological ends, whereas the voting public [is] "monomodal" ... clustered near the middle, which creates "... an opening for a third-party candidate who appeals to the center."

Greenie's hope:
"prompt the candidates of the other two parties to move back to the center."
What's his game here, do you think?

February 27, 2006

Beyond parody

J Alva Scruggs passed along this gem: a children's book, Why Mommy is A Democrat. Sample image:
So many thoughts crowd to mind looking at something like is. Is Mama Squirrel's resemblance to Hillary Clinton intentional? And what about Daddy? Perhaps he's that sinister tramp lurking in the background, an otherwise inexplicable adult middle-class nightmare visited upon the two or three innocent children who will actually be subjected to this noxious potion of treacle and arsenic.

Greenspan Augustus

Your ruminations on instability, MJS, and this Greenscam tidbit show that you and Alan the magnificent are obviously on the same wave length, albeit looking at the situation from opposite ends of the wind tunnel.

Greeny fears -- or rather, credit where it's due, pretends to fear -- the electoral elites polarizing hoi polloi. Why?

Well, surely not because he thinks the hacks' "deepest values" are driving them to the next round of the eternal grappple, with ever-mounting righteous ferocity. He's been among 'em way too long to hold that view even in a nightmare. It must be because he sees these mindless thoroughly unprincipled vote seekers potentially getting so high on the vapors of discontent among he masses, that like a pair of sorcerer's apprentices, they provoke an unstoppable tempest. Heedless of the reality out there -- still playing pretend combat -- still studio wrestlers all; but when the streets are ready to really rage maybe they'll inadvertently stir the mobitude out there to an escape-velocity frenzy.

It's as if the Orthrian joint mind had lost integral control of itself, and the two heads had sealed themselves off from each other, and begun to gnaw each other's necks in earnest. Not a good idea, when, as I suspect Alan G correctly senses, the helots are restless and don't need any more wedge agitation but a calming goon-like regal smile -- a new Reagan head with a completed domestic and foreign agenda and all "partisanship" well behind him -- a Reagan settling down to an era of pure reignmanship -- a Cheshire Cat Reagan by stages disappearing, first the calming twinkle, then the slow head spin, and finally all that's left is just that benignly demented pursy smile.

Dershowitz smears Kennedy

In his eagerness to defend disgraced ex-Clintonite Lawrence Summers, the inimitable Alan Dershowitz has libeled Ted Kennedy, according to AP:
Law professor Alan Dershowitz has argued Summers was done in by a core group of faculty angered over his support for the military, Israel, and for his comments on women in science - the last of which he apologized for repeatedly.

"I'm clearly in the left 20 percent of the country, nationally. I'm a Ted Kennedy liberal," Dershowitz said. "In the [Harvard] Faculty of Arts and Sciences, I'm in the 10 percent side of the conservatives."

Are you going to take this lying down, Ted?

February 28, 2006

Mr Byrd regrets...

Senator Robert Byrd has a few regrets, according to AP:
Sen. Robert Byrd, the dean of the Senate and its resident constitutional expert, counts only a few regrets in his 48-year Senate career: filibustering the 1964 Civil Rights Act, voting to expand the Vietnam War, deregulating airlines.

Add to the list a new one from this century: supporting the anti-terror USA Patriot Act after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

"The original Patriot Act is a case study in the perils of speed, herd instinct and lack of vigilance when it comes to legislating in times of crisis," the West Virginia Democrat said Monday on the eve of the Senate's final votes on its renewal. "The Congress was stampeded...."

This week ... he embarks on a re-election campaign for a record ninth term....

Mr Byrd's regrets are pretty much a capsule history of the Democratic Party. And you gotta love that "we wuz stampeded" line. Was stampeded? Let's have the active voice there, Mr Byrd -- in fact we need the iterative aspect too.

Labor embraces its betrayers (again)

The AFL-CIO is set to spend $40 million of its members' money -- a record for an offyear election -- on putting Democrats into Congress this year, according to the New York Times.

"Union leaders said they would concentrate their efforts on 15 Senate races, 40 House races and governors races in California, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania," says the Times. I'd sure like to know which House and Senate races those are.

About February 2006

This page contains all entries posted to Stop Me Before I Vote Again in February 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2006 is the previous archive.

March 2006 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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