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November 2006 Archives

November 1, 2006

Diagnostic breakthrough

Nanny donk syndrome, aka fiscal deficit hyperactivity disorder (FDHD), aka Rubin's Disease. Chronic, incurable, and untreatable.

John Kerry, November Surprise

J Alva writes:



Kerry says sorry for 'botched joke' on Iraq
By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent

WASHINGTON, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Democratic Sen. John Kerry said on Wednesday he was sorry for a "botched joke" about Iraq, but Republicans and some Democrats demanded he apologize directly to U.S. troops as a bitter fight for control of Congress entered the final stretch.

Kerry canceled campaign appearances for Democratic candidates in three states to avoid becoming a distraction. He said his remarks to a college crowd in California were aimed at President George W. Bush and his Iraq policies, not the military.

See also


I don't what you make of my theory that Democrats deliberately demoralize their constituents, and I'd be willing to concede that they're just such awful people that they can't help themselves. But I do think they cultivate an inability to learn.

MJS observes:

Kerry's fluffed line was clearly a Freudian slip. He -- and everybody who will pull the donk lever next week -- does in fact believe that if you don't work, study, get ahead, and do OK on your SATs, you'll get the end of the stick that smells -- and deserve it, too, though they don't like to come right out and say so.

November 2, 2006


Listening to NPR on my commute this morning, I hear about these chaps that greet our returning troops on motorcycles -- surprise 'em just after they touch down, back from Iraqistan and other such wild and lethal outposts of empire.

Then, as you might well imagine, they slobber over 'em, where appropriate, draping flags and throwing salutes. Presumably the idea is to make up for the spitting they'd supposedly get if those mythic high 60's Jane College flower types were handy.

The organization calls itself the riders of the purple heart or something -- I think honor is in there, and patriotism -- the honor guard of the patriotic koolade rangers, something like that.

They also go on visits to grave sites in the making, and drop by at the local VA, with a respectful "howdy" for all the folks who contributed their legs to the Empire. God's work, no doubt, in addition to Wall Street's.

It's sort of a sob-sucker beer-keg GI Joe comic-book sendup of Dick Wagner's cult of the fallen warrior. And it's growing like a weed -- 60K members nationwide.

I got to mixing this factile in with the recent Kerry tree self-felling, and I came up with this: It's a highly predictable morbid eventuality -- the incubus of empire as it squats on the collective mind sets of our white jobbery class makes for brown shirt thought: "They're not hapless tin-pan ex-Uncle Sam goons -- They're Siegfried of Akron, Ohio."

Needless to say, most of those drawn in are more Jimmy Olsen than Clark Kent. These cults work well as metonymous meme weevils, spreading like a lachyromose blight to a far wider population of no-shows, dodgers, and scapegraces.

I mean, if they love the military so much, they could always enlist, right? Standards are dropping -- not that they were very high to start with. Next year, Tammy Duckworth herself will be eligible to re-up, probably.

But the Budweiser sentimentalists on their Harleys won't be doing that. They may be a little crazy -- aren't we all, in this great asylum we call America? -- but they aren't necessarily stupid. Sniveling over the soldiers without becoming one is having your patriotic cake and eating it too.

Fear, or loathing?

The New York Times reports:
G.O.P. Ads Star Democratic Leader
By JENNIFER STEINHAUER LOS ANGELES, Nov. 1 - Representative Melissa Bean of Illinois, a Democrat, has a Republican opponent in next week's election, but he does not appear in the advertisement that skewers her. Instead, that role is being played by a fellow Democrat, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the minority leader.

Jim Marshall is paired with Ms. Pelosi in a commercial in Georgia.

A spot in Indiana again cast Ms. Pelosi in a pair, with John Conyers.

Judging by some of the political name-calling in the final days before the elections, Ms. Pelosi seems to be in the thick of campaigns for Congress from Illinois to Georgia and several places in between. She is the unwitting star of at least a half-dozen television spots - and countless radio spots, direct-mail campaigns and candidate debates -warning voters that if they choose their local Democrat for Congress, they are also casting a vote for Ms. Pelosi.

The problem with the tactic, Democrats and some Republican strategists say, is that many voters have no idea who Ms. Pelosi is. That can make the advertisements sound more desperate than menacing, or at the least, confounding.

"It's awful hard to make a boogeyman out of someone no one knows," said Ed Rollins, a Republican political consultant. "The reality is, no one is going to vote for a Republican congressman because they are afraid of Nancy Pelosi."

I think our Republican friends are onto something here. The only people who have any reason to fear Nancy Pelosi are the people who vote for her -- and for her party.

November 3, 2006

Kos and the Martial Law Democrats

J Alva Scruggs writes:

The Kossacks are all het up about Section 1076 of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the Senate by unanimous consent, and the House with Democrats voting for it, 173-22.

Senator Leahy had this to say, a few days before the Senate acted:


We certainly do not need to make it easier for Presidents to declare martial law. Invoking the Insurrection Act and using the military for law enforcement activities goes against some of the central tenets of our democracy. It creates needless tension among the various levels of government – one can easily envision governors and mayors in charge of an emergency having to constantly look over their shoulders while someone who has never visited their communities gives the orders.

A bill that began with such promise in empowering the National Guard now increasingly appears to be shaping up as a double setback for the Guard. That is inexplicable, that is indefensible, and that is wrong. The last thing Congress should be doing is making the National Guard's job more difficult. We urge the Defense Bill conferees to adopt the Empowerment Bill and drop the ill-advised changes to the Insurrection Act.

... and then joined all his fellow Senators in approving it.

One Major Danby, of the Kossacks, has organized this site:


Here's his Kosland diary:


It is, in fact, a very bad provision of a very bad spending authorization. I am quite concerned. The Executive branch already has way too much power and the potential for abuse is immense. What bothers me nearly as much is the blindness of the Kossacks who apparently didn't bother to look at the roll call votes. All the Senate Democrats who were present to vote, voted in favor. There were 22 Democratic (and 1 Republican) votes against it in the House. The continuing acquiescence, not the perfidy itself, is the real problem. That a Kossack is leading the effort to get this overturned is a terrible joke. He and his colleagues will fold just the way the anti-war leaders did.

Hysteria vs. hysteria

We wuz robbed, and will be again -- it's a great theme for the Democrats, and the introduction of Diebold voting machines has poured much kerosene on the flames. They've been hacked, or they will be hacked, and the Dems will be robbed again -- because theft, of course, is the only conceivable reason why they keep losing.

The contradictions of this mentality are inexhaustibly fascinating. The game is rigged -- but, but! it's nevertheless vital to keep playing. Here's a characteristic specimen of this Sisyphean logic:

Don't Let "Hackable" Diebold Machines Give You A "What's The Use In Voting" Mindset

There are many who think that an Administration who has lied to us about WMD is perfectly capable of launching massive "stolen election" initiatives. I mean, this Administration hasn't exactly been trustworthy with us, and for some who feel the most passionate about this lack of trust to envision all sorts of Rovian-Dieboldian conspiracies doesn't take a huge leap of faith....

[But] I seek to counterbalance the notion from some of my friends - and maybe some of yours too - that "the vote will be rigged anyway, so why bother?"

...Enough of this "what's the use" toxin, and the Republicans could remain in control of one or both chambers.... [W]hat "could" happen-voting machines hacked without a trace - [doesn't] necessarily mean it "has" or "will" happen.

What I implore you to think about instead is what definitely will happen if you sit this one out, and we get two more years of an Bush Administration unchecked with a counterveiling balance.

May I have a drum roll please ... Now everybody try to guess what the big threat is going to be... right the first time!
The Senate confirms Supreme Court justices, the oldest sitting justice is the most liberal, and we're only one to-be-nominated Supreme Court Justice away.... Do you really want your "what's the use" meme to result in a Supreme Court that makes a decision that leads to coat hangers and back-alley abortions?

Say it ain't so

Mike Flugennock passes along this wail of dismay from the "Institute for Public Accuracy" (an organization which sounds like something out of Der Mann Ohne Eigenschaften):
Will Saddam Verdict Timing Manipulate U.S. Election?

November 3, 2006

The verdict and sentencing of Saddam Hussein are scheduled to be announced on Sunday, November 5, just two days before the U.S. midterm elections.

Mike comments:
Jayzus Kee-rist, if you have to actually ask that goddamn question, there's no hope for your sorry ass.

November 5, 2006

Major Major Major Major

Major Danby comes a-courtin'. My my my, sistah Smiff, your ladyship, you should be honored... why the Major here is a very important man.... And yet one must concede, your gentleman caller does seem a tad unchivalrous: "Hi folks. Someone pointed me to this site."

It's probably because he's cleary not a Major in the cavalry: "a higher degree of aggressiveness would hardly have made the difference.... We want to get this issue on the radar screens so we can roll it back at our first chance... holding some feet to the fire."

Dissolve to DC, in about five months. Part of page 8 story in the Washpost:

...then, witnesses say, when there was no response to his warnings, the anonymous gentleman calling himself "the Major" pressed his red button and shouted, "thus shall the whole of congress... VAPORIZE!"
Needless to say the dauntless little lump of a man will have a happy, at-peace smile on his face, as the Hill cops drag him bumping down the capitol steps.

Back to now -- and look, already we have the response to this doomed crusade prefigured: . "What will matter is that we can say they were warned." Which of course can mean supine resolve to try again, as much as next stop: mad-bombering. And yet isn't it refreshing to hear "we will have to work across ideological lines.... We probably can't turn this back without you and you probably can't turn this back without us." Ah, a popular front formed from the "vital center," radiating down the chain of being to... "us". What an exciting prospect, as John Dean once observed to Richard Nixon.

Oh, here's a nice aside: "Let me know that you came from this site so I'll remember the context." Never miss grabbing whatever marketing feedback info you can gather, for smart targeting.

The Major has quite a command of the whys and wherefores of "real" legislating: "This is a bill that pretty much had to pass... as a practical matter there was no way to stop this juggernaut. The bill had to pass.... The damage was done in the conference committee." Now I'm not so sophomoric as to ask how that railroad top-down process squares with his lobby of the masses morphing method -- do we just lie across the rails and clog the locomotive's driving wheels with our mangled limbs?

I like the cheery, comradely note of his signoff -- "Good luck with whatever else you're doing here..." though it has a little damp squib of a sting in its tail: "No offense, but I doubt if I'll be visiting this site... I have plenty else to do."

I guess he doesn't know how close you were to getting that top bishop's gig down in Washington.

November 6, 2006

Rahm baffled

Mike Flugennock passes along this tidbit from the Washington Post:
GOP strategists said they think their prospects continue to improve as voters digest the guilty verdict against former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, positive economic statistics and the prospect of Democrats taking control of one or both chambers of the legislative branch. "I have always believed that Republican voters in many cases come home later, particularly this year," said Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman....

"I don't know what to make of it," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Mike's observation:
Jayzus, how did this guy get to be such a Party big-shot, when he can't explain the late GOP "surge" in three words:


Return to Baracks. That's an order.

I need to read The Nation online more often. It always cheers me up when I do. Unaccountably, I missed this gem last month from Sam "I Am" Graham Felsen:
Mark Warner tried hard to build a youth constituency for a possible '08 bid. He was one of the first politicians to create a full-fledged Facebook profile.... Despite all the effort, Warner--who declared he's no longer running last week--never really caught on with Generation Y.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama, who had done virtually nothing (until now) to directly court young people, has developed vast youth following. I counted nearly thirty Facebook groups, many ranging from hundreds to several thousand members, which explicitly called for Obama to run for President in 2008. There were almost twenty other pro-Obama groups with titles such as "Barack Obama is Amazing," "Barack Obama is My Only Hope," and "Barack Obama Can Ba-Rock Me Anytime."

I did a search for pro-Hillary in '08 groups and found a dozen or so, but I found many more groups urging Hillary not to run or openly opposing her....

Coincidence or not, days after Warner dropped out, Obama began using his Facebook profile to reach out to young people--creating two "notes," or Facebook announcements in the past two days, urging his followers to vote in the '06 elections and watch him on Oprah and YouTube.

My hat's off to Facebook for its signal un-enthusiasm about that arch-Boomer, Hillary Clinton. But at the same time, the pathos of this piece -- Sam the Sham Graham getting morning wood over Barack Obama's Facebook position. This is sad, sad stuff. I know, it's brutal to subject you to any more of it -- it's cringe comedy, like The Office or Curb Your Enthusiasm -- but I can't resist:
One thing is clear: if Obama decides to run, he will have a tremendous base in young people. Obama would likely draw an unprecedented number of new young voters to the polls, and he would amass a huge volunteer core (one that would make the Deaniacs look like the Teeniacs).

As far as I can tell, he is by far the political superstar of the moment---and perhaps ever---for Generation Y.

*returns from vomitorium, wiping lips* Glass of water, somebody -- ahh, thanks.

Generation Y? Aren't we into the the Greek letters by now, or even the Hebrew alphabet -- the aleph-null generation?

I fear the source of Sammie's enthusiasm is all too clear. He doesn't give a hoot what Barack has to say, or what he will or won't do. What gets Sammie's pulse pounding is the idea that Barack might actually bring some of these fresh-faced Generation-Upsilon delinquents trotting back up the ramp into the Democratic Party's abattoir.

Oh, fresh blood! It's been so long!

November 7, 2006

Quomodo ceciderunt

Poor Katha Pollitt continues her downward slide -- now she's going to the mats for Hillary Clinton, forsooth.

Katha's thinking seems to be that feminist solidarity requires that she leap to any woman's defense who is being criticized for doing things that a man could do with impunity:

...[A] man with the same positions would be less bad, because he couldn't use feminism (or female stereotypes of caring and nurturing) to disguise them. But since anyone with a realistic hope of becoming President will necessarily have made all sorts of unsavory bargains with the status quo, this amounts to saying we'll never have a woman in the White House. We'll continue on as now: "expecting more" of women and tacitly expecting less of men.
What do I know, being a guy and all, but may I observe that this seems a rather narrow kind of feminism -- a feminism which begins and ends with the idea that a woman should be just as much of an asshole as a man. I suppose it's a little like Zionism that way. Was it Ben-Gurion who said that the goal of a Jewish state is that everybody there should be a Jew, even the pickpockets and whores? Katha's feminism seems to insist that women, too, should have a fair chance to be mass murderers. And if anybody says they shouldn't -- well, that's just blatant male chauvinism.

The last time we took up the sad case of Katha Pollitt here, she was arguing, it seems to me, out of the other side of her mouth --

Katha ties herself in knots trying to argue that single-issue reproductive-rights advocates should not be supporting candidates based on their reproductive-rights record. Rather, they should support Democrats no matter what.
In other words, single-issue reproductive-rights people should swallow their objections to some Opus Dei loon if he happens to be, in some vague or even hypothetical way, more "progressive" than the other loon. But apparently single-issue female-nationalist feminists like Katha must do the reverse, and swallow the bloodthirsty, reactionary, heartless corporate flunkyism of a Hillary Clinton because she's a woman.

I think the contradiction is more apparent than real, though. Because the practical bottom line in both cases is that you have to line up behind, you guessed it, the Democrat.

Drawing the same conclusion from contradictory premises is, of course, something that hardened Democrats get very good at.

The hinge of fate

All the shepherds and wise men are assembling around the manger over at Daily Kos, awaiting the outcome of the most important election in the history of the Universe. Senator Harry Reid, who seems to have a soft spot for the Kosniks, perhaps because they're the only people in the world (besides Nevada real-estate speculators) who admire him, had some staffer post a letter on the site in which he thanked them for all their contributions to the great holy cause of getting a few more donkey snouts back at the trough.

Reid probably didn't read the comments, but he might have found a few of them rather disagreeable:

I hope the staffer (65+ / 0-)

that wrote this knows how pissed people are at your treatment of lamont. Lieberman is a cancer on democracy.

Why Are Kossacks Such Enablers? (3+ / 1-)

The cult of personality around Harry "Keeping the Powder Dry in Perpetuity" Reid is truly mystifying. No one has betrayed Democratic principles more, yet Kossacks act like he's Paul Fucking Wellstone.

Get a fucking clue.

I was going to post a snarky comment (9+ / 0-)

thanking Mr. Reid and all the other Senate Democrats that helped out Mr. Lamont in his Senate campaign!!!

Seriously, "we're" going to have to decide how to treat the dems that hung Mr. Lamont out to dry. Particularly the two so-called "superstars" that are going to be the front runners for the dem Presidential nomination in '08. (OK I mean Hilary and Barack).

My personal opinion is that they can both go f#ck themselves.

Jerome! Hey, Jerome! More Kool-Ade over here!

Unfortunately these voices of well-founded disgruntlement were greatly outnumbered by the anesthetics corps:

Ed (7+ / 0-)

I am as big a Lamont guy as you, but Reid did what he had to do on this.

It is not on Reid.

by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 09:15:56 AM PST

Jeez (39+ / 0-)

Could we please hold off on the circular firing squad?

by SadTexan on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 09:17:23 AM PST

Tomorrow, but not today.... (3+ / 0-)

today we take back our country. Tomorrow we can eat our own.

by Got a Grip on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 09:34:25 AM PST

How about after we kick out the bad guys? (4+ / 0-)

I'm sure it can wait a single day, during which we need to be as positive and fired up as we can be.

Then of course there were innumerable slavish, fawning, lickspittle responses thanking Reid, and flattering him, and generally fellating him to the extent that TCP/IP permits. I won't even quote those, they're too revolting.

"We need to be positive and fired up," says one of the Kool-Ade dispensers above. I like that. Why is this needed? Will it exert some magical force that will influence the outcome? Or do we need to be "positive and fired up" because that's the only way to keep reality at bay?

Just had a brainstorm...

... which probably came to everybody else here six months ago. Sorry, I'm a little slow sometimes.

About six in ten voters are said by pollsters to "disapprove" of the Iraq war -- whatever that means. Presumably the Democrats have noticed this fact.

Problem is, most of the Democrats are fine with the Iraq war -- just as most Democrats have been fine with every war we've embarked upon in the last hundred years.

So, the marketing problem is this: how can we donks take advantage of this voter discontent, without actually being against the war?

Answer: Find the minimal slogan that will put the necessary daylight between us and Bush, without actually coming out against the war. This isn't a matter of "triangulation" -- it's not that they want antiwar votes and pro-war votes. It's that they're pro-war themselves and mean to keep it going, and in the fullness of time, expand it to Iran.

Hence all the yammering about Rumsfeld, the stupid parsing and re-parsing of "stay the course," the emphasis on management and tactics rather than the idiotic folly of the whole undertaking. The Democrats want to pick up the antiwar vote without actually being antiwar.

I know, I know, obvious to the meanest intellect for quite some time, but it just really came into focus for me tonight, as I was reading some of those silly exit polls.

Gollum redivivus

J Alva Scruggs writes:


Lieberman beat Lamont.

"In a remarkable comeback, Sen. Joe Lieberman won a new term in Connecticut -- dispatching Ned Lamont and winning when it counted most against the man who prevailed in a summertime primary. Lieberman ran as an independent, but will side with the Democrats when he returns to Washington."
He certainly will side with them, with that unctuous style of his, that insufferable sanctimony and those loathsome warmongering ways. The worst of a bad lot and he pulled a victory, thanks in no small part to the cretinous senior Democrats. I expect the Kossacks will complete the descent into brain dead wingnuts now. Learning from this wouldn't be Lakoffian.

November 8, 2006

Hope springs eternal

Some of my Lefty acquaintances can't resist looking for good news in the Democrats' midterm gains. Here's a sample from one of my mailing lists:
The Democrats will be pushed by their supporters to launch investigations of the Bush regime and that will totally block the ability of the Bushites to continue their crazy imperial policies.... I think this political change will carve out some important space for the radical left.... The challenge now is to organize our side and figure out ways to push against the Democrats.
I fear my comrade is whistling past the graveyard here. Any "pushing against the Democrats" that might have been possible (and it wouldn't have been much) should have been done before they got into office. Now that their cunctatorian strategy has "worked" to the extent of getting some of their muzzles into the feedbag, they will be utterly impervious to pressure from the likes of us.

Their goal was to get inside the fortress, not reduce it. Now that they're inside, we will simply find the fortress more numerously manned. At least when they were outside, they couldn't have a complete insider mentality. Now that they're inside... well, you see my point.

P.S. -- I had hoped that at least I could find in consolation in the fact that Kinky Friedman had spoiled the Dems' chances at the Texas governorship, but it's a hard case to make based on the numbers I've seen. Ralph's laurels apparently remain unshared.

Sic transeunt sockpuppets

Alan Smithee writes:

No doubt you're desperate for post-election news of Rahm Emanuel's Sockpuppet Army. Well wait no more! Were I to write the headline for this story in today's newspaper it would be something like: "Rahm's Recruits Bite The Big One!"

After a brusing primary in which a large percentage of beltway favored "Fighting Dems" were shot down by local partisan democrats, all but five of the surviving 34 "Band of Brothers" brothers were massacred in yesterdays general election.

Yes, a one handed pipefitter could now count the number "Fighting Dem" victories on his fingers. Two of the five survivors, congressional wannabe & Kosniki fave-rave Patrick Murphy in PA-08 and Virginia senatorial candidate James "Jim" "Jim-Bob" "Bomb's Away" Webb, are still in races too close to call. That leaves three with clear wins, Joe Sestak & Chris Carney in Rahmbo's home state of Pennsylvania and, this Minnesota resident is ashamed to say, Tim Walz in MN01.

(In our own defense, I feel compelled to point out that we Minnesotans did just send a real antiwar democrat to the House (and Congress' first Muslim) Keith Ellison from MN05. So it kinda balances out.)

Thus it's safe to say that DCCC poobah Rahm Emanuel's Sockpuppet Army has well and truly had the crap beaten out of it. In California, where a four of the original eleven Rahmbots survived a brutal primary battle with local partisan democrats, not a single Fighting Dem was left standing on the field of electoral battle. While in Texas, with seven of ten Rahm Recruits still in there shootin', all were gunned down at high noon yesterday.

And so it went for the Sockpuppet Army across the country. Five were filleted in Florida. A trio were keistered in Kentucky. A couple were cooked in Colorado. A pair were mauled in Maryland. Another three were nuked in New York. You get the idea.

Indeed, of the 97 original "Fighting Dems", (including 59 of Rahm's heavily DCCC funded Band of Bros.) a paltry five have survived to see the day after election day and two of those are in doubt. Outside of Rahm's home state, only two (2) Rahmbots are still kicking. (And if Webb loses to Allen in VA, that'll leave exactly one.)

To say that Rahm's "Fighting Dem" strategy is the biggest flop since Battlefield Earth would be to insult John Travolta, Scientology and extraterrestrials with cornrows and extraordinarily enhanced codpieces. Though not exactly a ringing repudiation of the Donkey Party's overall "We can manage the war better" message, only the wingy-est of wingnut Kosniki democrats could claim their hero Rahm's warmules have had any positive contribution to the dem majority in the House.

Discipline and punish

Some very big talk today from Chris Bowers at mydd.com:
A big thank you goes out to every Democrat who didn't run against the Democratic Party in this election cycle. Those who stuck with us can share in the spoils. Those who didn't can stick it, and expect continuing retribution. The Democratic Party won tonight. If you ran from it, then you lost. Even if you didn't lose today, you loss is coming soon. Count on it.

And now, we govern.

So Chris is going to be kicking ass and taking names -- when he's not "governing."

Hey, skipper, hand happy-clappy meatball here the kid's seat with the dummy steering wheel.

Heads I win, tails I win too

Must admit, I was hoping for a Democratic debacle yesterday -- hoping the great expectations would fizzle and the Kosniks would all go on a two-week Prozac bender. In this, of course, I was disappointed.

But as I sauntered up the street to the subway this morning, with the Times' forty-point headline rattling around in my cranium like an overlarge iron clapper in a fragile old bell, I found myself tranquil in spirit, and even mildly disposed to hope that the Democrats get the Senate too.

I'll now have two years, at least, to vituperate the donks for the misfeasance, malfeasance, and -- especially -- nonfeasance that I confidently predict they will deliver. And by the time '08 rolls around, they'll have as much egg on their long-eared, bucktoothed faces as the Republicans. They'll be as bogged in some war or wars, they'll be as servile, or more servile, to the Israel lobby, they'll be up to their elbows in the lifeblood of the working man and woman. They'll keep Star Wars going, and the police state -- in fact, dollar to a doughnut they expand the latter. They'll have the FBI combing through your hair for evidence of intellectual-property violations. It goes without saying that they won't have delivered a blessed thing that all those people who voted for them were hoping for, and they will have made themselves active collaborators -- active because now they have legislative majorities -- in further, yet-undreamed-of horrors. Oh, I can't wait.

In fact -- call me a conspiracy theorist, if you like -- I bet this thought must have occurred to at least some Republican strategists. Better to take a little hit now, and give the Dems two years to discredit themselves before '08. I don't think they threw the fight, but I bet they're not entirely disconsolate with the outcome.

November 9, 2006

Dept. of Wishful Thinking

Here's a good one, from the happy pen of Nathan Newman, at Alternet:
A Victory for Progressive Values

Dems' victories are progressives' victories, and though there's still much to be done, the election was a great first step.

Let's be clear -- it wasn't just a good night for Democrats. It was a good night for progressives, and no media spin that these new elected officials are "conservatives" changes who they are. The media is always marvelling that "new" Democrats are so much more conservative than "traditional" liberal Democrats of the past -- which would surprise all the folks firehosed in the streets of the South by many Democrats of a generation ago.

There are no doubt some conservatives among the new Democrats elected but as Rick Perlstein, Ezra Klein and Chris Bowers note, many were progressive and Netroots supported and almost all were tough on core economic justice issues.

Let's remember -- those massive Democratic majorities of a generation ago were fake. In 1981, Ronald Reagan was able to control the agenda in Congress because 67 Boll Weevil Democrats essentially caucused with the GOP.... I actually am more confident in the present 228-230 Dem majority we are getting this round to support progressive initiatives than those fake-larger majorities of the past.

Might as well knock down straw men, I guess, if they're all you can land a punch on. Nathan's argument seems to be that yeah, there are a lot of reactionary Dems who got into office this week, but what the hell, the party has never been any damn good, so this is not a step back. It's a sound argument, as far as it goes, but it doesn't explain why Nathan is so happy. And it certainly doesn't explain his "confidence" that the current mule team will "support progressive initiatives." That's quite an assertion -- based, as far as I can tell, on nothing more or less than a Kierkegaardian leap of faith.

Now when it comes to leaps of faith, I can respect ones that have a worthy object to leap at: the Lord God Jehovah, or the communist millennium, or pick your own. But the Democratic Party?

Well, chacun a son gout.

Low profile

The indispensable opensecrets.org has some info on Israel lobby activity during the 2006 cycle. What struck me was that Lobby contributions were way down: $2.3 mil, according to opensecrets' tally, as compared with $6 mil in '04 and $8.4 in '02. Maybe there's some technical issue here that I don't understand?

The fun part was seeing who got the largesse, such as it was. Here's the top 20:






Lieberman, Joe (I-CT)




Nelson, Bill (D-FL)




Stabenow, Debbie (D-MI)




Kyl, Jon (R-AZ)




Clinton, Hillary Rodham (D-NY)




Kirk, Mark (R-IL)




Nelson, Ben (D-NE)




Conrad, Kent (D-ND)




Talent, James M (R-MO)




Santorum, Rick (R-PA)




Menendez, Robert (D-NJ)




DeWine, Mike (R-OH)




Berkley, Shelley (D-NV)




Ellsworth, Brad (D-IN)




Engel, Eliot L (D-NY)




Lugar, Richard G (R-IN)




Hoyer, Steny H (D-MD)




Burns, Conrad (R-MT)




Feinstein, Dianne (D-CA)




Cantor, Eric (R-VA)




Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana (R-FL)



Incumbent protection seems to have been a high priority. As far as I could tell, prowling around on the site, democratically designated Democrat Ned Lamont got exactly zero dollars from the Lobby -- that's right, zero; while renegade Joe was top of the pops.

As the Good Book says, Well done, thou good and faithful servant!

November 10, 2006

Too late

Gird your loins, lamb chop -- here comes the trumpet call for the new Jerusalem: "pressure from below." Or as our dear father and lead gruff billy goat, M J Smiff sez, "Pressure?! How the stinky hell can we pressure 'em now?"

Its a free dance for two years, on the fingers of the repugs as they cling to the cliff edge.

My battle cry: "Purge the progs!" If you caucus with Lantos and Lieberman, you are in the crosshairs of history, budzoh.

But "pressure from below?" Please, spare us the lame-duck hoochy-cooch.

November 11, 2006

Murtha will out

Thus Arianna Huffington:
Don't let the DLC and DCCC spin-meisters fool you. This election was not a mandate for the Democratic Party to run to the middle. It was a mandate for the Democratic Party to do everything in its power to get us out of Iraq -- rapidly and responsibly.

And that's why the next thing Democrats need to do is make sure that Jack Murtha becomes the new Majority Leader of the House. He led the charge to make Iraq the central issue of this campaign, and led the charge to keep pressing the issue when other Democratic leaders wanted to tone down the rhetoric or move economic issues to the forefront.

Jack Murtha's leadership sparked last night's victory and has given Democrats control of Congress for the first time in a dozen years. Now they have to complete the end-the-Iraq-debacle mission the voters have given them. And Murtha's the leader who can take them the rest of the way.

That Arianna can be a charmingly naughty girl sometimes. I don't think Murtha has a chance in hell of becoming majority leader, and given his joined-at-the-hip relationship with the brass hats at the Pentagon, I don't think I'd want him to, but I love the idea of this column showing up in Nancy Pelosi's morning news digest like a cockroach in her scrambled eggs.

Bernie Sanders: on the sealed train to Washington

Much has been made, in some quarters, of Bernie Sanders' elevation to the Senate. A self-procalimed "socialist" in the US Senate! You'd think Lenin had just arrived at the Finland Station.

My friends at the Vermont Guardian recently carried an interview with Bernard and his replacement in the House. If it walks like a Democrat, and talks like a Democrat...

Sanders, Welch focus on new direction for Congress
By Shay Totten | Vermont Guardian
Posted November 10, 2006

BURLINGTON — Senator-elect Bernie Sanders and Congressman-elect Peter Welch said this week that Democratic leadership skills will be put to the test now that they control both chambers of Congress.

Sanders, who hopes to introduce legislation to allow people to purchase drugs imported from Canada once the new Congress convenes in January, said people around the country will be watching Democrats closely....

“...The hard part is to stand up against the powerful corporate monied interests in Washington and begin, in fact, to face the problems facing the middle class in this country,” said Sanders, in a post-election interview with reporters.

...[D]espite the call by some for an immediate withdrawal[from Iraq], neither Sanders nor Welch believes that is the best policy to pursue.

... Welch and Sanders noted that the first order of business should be attempts to roll back some [emphasis mine -- MJS] of GOP’s economic policies, such as tax breaks to large oil companies and the wealthy, and reign [sic] in some of the free trade arrangements....

November 12, 2006

You could knock me over with a feather


Roll Call: Pelosi comes out for Murtha in Majority Leader's race.
Pelosi's letter to Murtha


Dear Jack,

Thank you for your letter requesting my support for your candidacy for Majority Leader in the 110th Congress.

...Your strong voice for national security, the war on terror and Iraq provides genuine leadership for our party, and I count on you to continue to lead on these vital issues. For this and for all you have done for Democrats in the past and especially this last year, I am pleased to support your candidacy for Majority Leader for the 110th Congress. As we move forward and work together on the urgent questions of Iraq, the war on terrorism, strengthening our military to meet 21st century challenges, improving our national security.... your presence in the leadership of our party would add a knowledgeable and respected voice to our Democratic team.

A tip of the hat to JSP, who predicted this, and to Jonathan Lundell, who noted this development in a comment here.

For the moment at least, the generals seems to have stolen a march on the Lobby. Oh to have been a fly on the wall.

November 14, 2006

Big Green: Lower your expectations

Environmentalists, Though Winners in the Election, Warn Against Expecting Vast Changes

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 — Last week’s election whipsawed the Congressional committees that are crucial battlegrounds for environmental and energy legislation. But even many environmentalists believe that an ambitious new agenda is unlikely....

“I think you’d have to go back to the Enlightenment to find such a big change in worldviews,” Ken Cook, the president of the Environmental Working Group, a research organization, told reporters on Monday.

But despite the committee changes, some lobbyists are trying to dampen expectations that a major environmental agenda can speed through Congress.

...[T]hey say that trying to get the new Congress to embrace initiatives like tougher automobile fuel-economy standards and requirements that industry pay more for Superfund cleanups could mean that little, if anything, will be accomplished.

Melinda Pierce, a senior lobbyist with the Sierra Club, said in an interview, “The environmental community has to recognize how difficult it’s going to be to advance an environmental agenda with such narrowly held majorities.”

Senator Jeff Bingaman, Democrat of New Mexico and the presumptive new chairman of the Energy Committee, said in an interview: “I think there’s a danger of trying to overreach. The close divide between Democrats and Republicans ensures we can’t pass anything unless we get some Republican support.”

...The views held by Representative John D. Dingell, Democrat of Michigan, show the difficulty in finding support for a broad agenda. Mr. Dingell supports the control and cleanup of toxic substances but has never embraced automobile fuel-efficiency standards.

Not even sworn in yet, and already making excuses! And of course the Sierra Club is right in there with 'em, covering their unlovely, bought-and-paid-for asses with a preemptive exculpation.

Nevertheless, this is the biggest event since "the Enlightenment." A perfect illustration of dissociated Democratic thinking: voting for Democrats is supremely important, but don't expect anything of them once they're elected.

Battle of the -ons

So is it too crass and oversimplified to say that Murtha vs. Hoyer pits the Pentagon against Zion?

Since I personally have little use for either -on, I don't think I have a dog in this fight. Other thoughts, anyone?

November 15, 2006

Lieberman of the hour

Here's a truly nauseating item in the New York Times:
Enter, Pariah: Now It's Hugs for Lieberman

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 - Senator Joseph I. Lieberman strode into a Democratic caucus gathering like he owned the place or, at the very least, like someone who is a flight risk and could leave at any minute, taking the Democrats' new majority with him.

In other words, everyone was extra-special nice to the wayward Democrat on Tuesday.

"It was all very warm, lots of hugs, high-fives, that kind of stuff," said Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado.... And Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas noted, "I gave him a hug and a kiss."

Mr. Lieberman received a standing ovation at a caucus luncheon after Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, who is poised to become the majority leader, declared, "We're all family." ... "It's clear that the Democrats need him at this point more than he needs them," said Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, whom Mr. Lieberman genuinely does consider a close friend. "How sweet is this?"

Indeed, it is hard to imagine how Mr. Lieberman could have emerged better from last week's election. He was re-elected comfortably, and the Democratic Party he still belongs to is now in the majority, assuring him the chairmanship of the powerful Homeland Security Committee.

Yet that majority is slim enough, 51 to 49, to turn Mr. Lieberman into arguably the Senate's most influential member. If he defects, the Senate would effectively be under Republican control because Vice President Dick Cheney would cast tie-breaking votes.

....In recent months, Mr. Lieberman has frequently invoked the Harry Truman maxim that if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.

As a contributor to one of my mailing lists noted, "it's occasions like this that the gag reflex was designed for."

If you can bear to contemplate the spectacle, though, it's an instructive one. The ascendancy of the aisle-crosser is not a new thing. Indeed, it's perennial and systematic, and it's the reason why the progs in the Democratic party are mere ornamental appendages, guaranteed to remain powerless in saecula saeculorum. For example, as happy pwog Nathan Newman observed, undermining his own case in a post quoted here a few days ago, "In 1981, Ronald Reagan was able to control the agenda in Congress because 67 Boll Weevil Democrats essentially caucused with the GOP." Examples could be multiplied, but you see the way the scam works; the pwogs watch helplessly as the aisle-crossers keep the ship of state listing to starboard.

Lieberman may be crazy, but he's not stupid, and True Believer pwog dems would do well to heed his wise advice about the dog.

Bait and switch

The long-suffering American public elected a Democratic Congress largely because they're sick of the Iraq war. Now, however, it appears that the generals -- and, by implication, their friends in the Democratic Party, like Jack Murtha -- may have something slightly different in mind than what the public thought it was getting:
Get Out of Iraq Now? Not So Fast, Experts Say

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 - One of the most resonant arguments in the debate over Iraq holds that the United States can move forward by pulling its troops back, as part of a phased withdrawal. If American troops begin to leave and the remaining forces assume a more limited role, the argument holds, it will galvanize the Iraqi government to assume more responsibility for securing and rebuilding Iraq.

...But this argument is being challenged by a number of military officers, experts and former generals, including some who have been among the most vehement critics of the Bush administration's Iraq policies.

Anthony C. Zinni, the former head of the United States Central Command and one of the retired generals who called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, argued that any substantial reduction of American forces over the next several months would be more likely to accelerate the slide to civil war than stop it.

...Instead of taking troops out, General Zinni said, it would make more sense to consider deploying additional American forces over the next six months to "regain momentum" ....

...[S]ome current and retired military officers say the situation in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq is too precarious to start thinning out the number of American troops....

John Batiste, a retired Army major general who also joined in the call for Mr. Rumsfeld's resignation, described the Congressional proposals for troop withdrawals as "terribly naïve."

...Indeed, General Batiste has recently written that pending the training of an effective Iraqi force, it may be necessary to deploy tens of thousands of additional "coalition troops."...

Kenneth M. Pollack, an expert at the Brookings Institution who served on the staff of the National Security Council during the Clinton administration, also argued that a push for troop reductions would backfire by contributing to the disorder in Iraq.

November 16, 2006

High on Rocky Mountain hee-haw

Will you all join me in a Bronx salute to the snoot full of thin-air Democracy the tower press has been blowing at us since last Tuesday?

Talk about a blind date with a dwarf. I see nothing more useful than doorstops coming out of this top-of-the-nation party turnaround.

High plains mountebanks? That gives 'em more credit than they deserve. There's nothing "local" about 'em, and to quote my idol, Fred Allen: "Their idea of roughing it is probably three days without a manicure."

They're coming to the Capitol with nothing but the stink of too many big corporate "yesums" on their breath, and saddlebags bulging with bottom line IOUs.

Let the handwringing begin...

... and who better to kick it off than David Corn?
Murtha Loses--And So Does Pelosi

The vote count is in: Steny Hoyer defeated Jack Murtha 149 to 86 for the majority leader post in the House.

There's no way to spin this: this was a big loss for incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The vote wasn't close. Her ally was rejected....

Moreover, Murtha, the candidate with the most ardent antiwar credentials, lost--and did so decisively. How will this be interpreted (or exploited) by pundits and politicos who oppose the Pelosi/Murtha call for the withdrawal of troops? Murtha champions did try to turn the majority leader race into a debate on the Iraq war. Can the vote be read as an indicator that many House Democrats don't support Pelosi all the way on her opposition to the war?

Can it, David? Do you have to ask?

For that matter, Pelosi's own "opposition to the war" has always had a flimsy, pro-forma look to me, and I'm not convinced that she really went balls-to-the-wall for Murtha, either. Call me hypersuspicious and paranoid, but this whole shadow-play looks a lot like Nancy setting up a proactive "hey, I tried" defense.

A small wager

So: who's willing to bet something valuable that there will be no US troops in Iraq come November '08?

I've got a bottle of Haut-Brion that says we'll still have American boots on that particular ground. Any takers?

November 17, 2006

Dollar scholar

Read this by Dean Baker -- it takes a swipe at my favorite topic, the overvalued imperial US dollar:
The High Dollar: President Clinton's Unaffordable Tax Cut
By Dean Baker

Everyone knows about George W. Bush's unaffordable tax cuts, the big tax breaks that gave millions to millionaires and billions to billionaires, but few people are aware of the even more unaffordable tax cut from the Clinton administration. That is because President Clinton's tax cut took a somewhat different form: an over-valued dollar....

Clinton did not start his administration with a high dollar policy. Lloyd Bentsen, his first Treasury Secretary, deliberately allowed the dollar to weaken in the first years of the Clinton administration, with the hope of keeping the trade deficit at a manageable level. ...The high dollar policy came into being under Bentsen's replacement, Robert Rubin.

Yes, he squarely (and deservedly) fingers Rubinomics for this key leading element in the protracted jobster immiseration process we call post-industrialization.

Unfortunately, Baker doesn't really do much serious damage. In fact, his attack reminds me of the Moran gang's drive-by spraying of the Capone luncheon eatery. But read it anyway; stuff on this is so rare in the media, and hey, it's short. Then come back and I'll try to hit what Dean missed.

What, back already? That was quick. Okay. Number one: the high dollar means the strangulation of industrial America. The high finance boys have nothing against factories in the heartland paying living wages, except that this conflicts with the logic of profit maximization.

Number two: forget the 3 trill foreign debt gag. That's overrated. And forget the nonsense about inflation control (translation: wage control). And yes, imports will cost more if the dollar goes to where trade is in balance. But Dean misses the correct focus: this is a systemic problem -- all "north" currencies, all currencies of advanced industrial, soon to be post-industrial nations, are wildly overvalued against the currencies of the "emerging industrial nations." In fact, looked at dynamically, it's the euro zone that right now seems headed for the greatest squeezeout of decent jobs.

At any rate take this to the bank from both Dean and me: the war on good jobs is producing zillions more totally unnecessary "job casualties" 'round the globe than any one "respectable" seems willing to acknowledge. It makes the on going Iraqistani great caliphate suppression look like the Circus Maximus it is.

An ounce of prevention

As you know, I expect a vast bipartisan "coming together " over the Yank Iraqupation, much like the muted subsidence of the party wrangles over 'Nam. Seems everyone inside the beltway with a sense of responsibility wants to "play a few more hands" over there, even as our president is apparently drinking in "inspiration" from the "no quit" policy of... Hanoi! The whispers floating out from the new house majority donk caucus suggest what amounts to decent interval II, under the headline HUMANITY DEMANDS WE STAY.

Well, this just makes it clearer -- we anti-empire types need to leap over the whole grotesque butcher's choice of sooner or later, and cry, whatever the time line of Iraq, "never again!"

Recall after 'Nam that was not the dominant message on the "left", and it won't be now unless we make it so. We need a pledge: "no more armed foreign interventions anywhere any way any time." It's the 21st century update of Washington's "no foreign entanglements."

This pledge needs to be extracted (like the repugs' no-tax pledge) out of any candidate for federal office seriously interested in the "progressive" vote.

Reading the entrails

I know it's silly, and it probably reflects a thoroughly inappropriate juvenile intellectual arrogance, but I keep returning to the Murtha-vs-Hoyer battle -- or non-battle -- as a kind of Arnoldian touchstone. If only I could figure this one out, I think, I would have the secret!

Here's the Times' latest. First look at the picture, then read the text, below.

Pelosi Rebuffed Over Her Choice for Majority Leader

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16 — House Democrats chose Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland as their new majority leader on Thursday, rejecting the choice of the incoming speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and straining the unity of the new majority party....

“Let the healing begin,” said Ms. Pelosi....

In the view of many Democrats, Ms. Pelosi’s liberal reputation is offset by Mr. Hoyer’s moderate image....

"Image" -- "reputation" -- that says it all, really, doesn't it? This is an exercise in product positioning.

So why does Murtha look so grim? Did he really think he had a shot, the poor old fool? More to the point, why does Rahm look so grim? You would think -- wouldn't you -- that this was a victory for him?

And then there's that funny look on Pelosi's own face -- like a person who has been paid quite a lot to be sodomized, and who's just now figuring out precisely what that entails.

On a side note, I'm deeply amused by the pair of unidentified brown hands protruding into the frame from the right. Never one to underestimate the Times' photo editors -- much as I may despise its writers -- I have to believe that somebody noted the echo of Durer's famous drawing.

These praying hands -- will their owner's prayers be answered? Depends on what the prayers are. If the supplicant is asking for a job, he or she may well get one. But if something is being sought for the race -- well, good luck.

November 20, 2006

Balls of Empire, part II

I'm back on this "no armed interventions" pledge kick.

Yeah, yeah, I know it's hardly enough, what with the military-industrial complex and all, and the transnational corporations going everywhere they want and doing anything they have to when they get there. The "internal" push for armed actions gets, well, intense.

It reminds me of the guy who castrated himself in prison, 'cause he was a wild perverted violent sex fiend and he was desperate to free himself from his mad and domineering "urges". We'll need to castrate ourselves, just like that chap -- demolish the Pentagon, close all our foreign bases, revert to a citizens' militia.

But we're hardly there yet, eh? First we must ballyhoo "the pledge" -- we must make the broad mass of our citizenry realize the empire is not patriotic, the empire is not the job stiffs' friend; the empire is a killer, a killer that lives among us, is us, and when the day comes, as it must to all monsters, it will be through our heart the stake is driven.

* * *

Yesterday evening I read a now-stale post by Max Sawicky. Max poses question one here, if a bit convolutedly:

What then is the argument for "the indispensable nation" not commissioning new carnage in Iran or North Korea?
Indeed, where is the root blowing charge we need to place at the stump of each one of these brutal gun play interventions? We need right here and now to stop the insanity from happening again. But we haven't even begun to set the charges -- in fact I suspect most of us dare not set any charges -- because, as Max writes, "Criticism of imperialism can still be painted as 'anti-American.'" He's dead right. He continues, "The only safe way to do it [i.e. attack the American empire project] is as a conservative or libertarian."

But doesn't the horrendous debacle that the Iraq escapade has become give us progs the means to beat the empire's battle apes senseless in the public square, right now, even as they still grapple like ruthless futile imbeciles with their sand hydra? To free ourselves and our future from these horrors repeating twice every generation, we must wave the bloody shirt of this present monstrous carnage like raft-bound castaways trying to flag down a passing ship.

Flashback to the low 70's: the "anti-imperialists" lost the Nambo post-mortem, didn't they? The GI's were near rebellion in 1970, but by 1980, these same vets had joined the white-trash roar for Reagan. The Nixon white house did it up brown. Man, were they good, what with the brilliant MIA cult, and the fabricated Jane College anti-vet spitskrieg. In spite of Dick's personal and temporary disgrace and fall, his pattern of goverence and his notion of national entitlement passed through the gauntlet without a scratch.

As Hunter T wrote in '72, "we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen, with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable." Yes, this rabid vicious national moment was "lived with" and we were lullabyed to sleep each night with hands still soaked in foreign blood.

And compadres, it will happen here again. It's already begun. Once more, we will get the horse collar hung on us, not the Cheney Express ponies -- that is, unless we strike first. First and with the gut level of the job class as our target. This time let's not play it like parson peacefingers from the pulpit. Let's not approach our task with superior airs and a heavy measure of condescending self-righteousness, as if we're tutoring the morally challenged.

Nan vs. Nancy

Call 'em Nan and Nancy. Nan is the next speaker of the US House, whereas Nancy is the rep from Frisco. Question of the hour: has speaker-elect Nan's real politick nicely provided double duty cover for Nancy?

Believe the tower press and you'd figure that Nancy, this "embattled" crusader for mideast peace, has already suffered crippling loses to the Rahm and Steny show, But really, folks do you buy this gig? Is this fierce little party chieftain really lashed by her colleagues, a lady Prometheus, to the rock of Iraq? Will her liver be pecked at mercilessly by dembo hawks for all of the next two years, as the Baghdad blood and sand patrol just continues its slow drift to nowhere?

Or has the ever level-headed, ravenously ambitious, tough as a cactus snake speaker of the house Nan Francisco just made it seem as though this is the "real story" -- to make her gay and dovey home district still warm and friendfull for little Nancy of the thousand smiles, while Nan of a hundred deals peddles her soul over and over to the empire?

The A-word

"It is wrong to suggest that the Jewish people would support a government in Israel or anywhere else that institutionalizes ethnically based oppression, and Democrats reject that allegation vigorously."
Also spracht la Nan, about James Earl 'Jimmy' Carter's latest book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. See also http://counterpunch.com/tuffaha11162006.html

Dear Jimbo: beware the claw of Lantos.

Bottom rail on top this time

"With a working family majority in Congress this January, we have a chance to start addressing bread and butter issues."
That's the crow bait chittering away over at the AFL-XXX blog site.

Just thought you all would like to know the Clintonian-Rubinonian Wall-street-to-my-street hokey-pokey donkery is doing business as the friend of "the working family" once again -- well, maybe not everywhere, and certainly not for everyone, but at least around the union flacks.

After all it is the party that fed, housed, and promoted Hubert Humphrey, the biggest blob of protean bullshit God ever created.

Hey, they're the majority now -- so it follows that the whole flock of congo donk birds will turn as one to cadge dimes for the jobbery, even the blue dogs -- right?

When it comes to the all things to all people department, there's nothing like a jackass.

November 21, 2006

Any color you want, as long as it's black

From the New York Times:
U.S. Considers Raising Troop Levels in Iraq

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 — Pentagon officials conducting a review of Iraq strategy are considering a substantial but temporary increase in American troop levels and the addition of several thousand more trainers to work with Iraqi forces, a senior Defense Department official said Monday.

The idea, dubbed the "surge option" by some officials, would involve increasing American forces by 20,000 troops or more for several months in the hope of improving security, especially in Baghdad. That would mark a sharp rise over the current baseline of 144,000 troops. But some officials and senior military officers are arguing against the idea... There is far more consensus within the Pentagon on the need to increase the number of American trainers, more than 3,000 of whom are working with Iraqi Army, police and border units.... A Pentagon strategy review... is backing the idea, as is a separate panel studying Iraq options, led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III....

The number of American advisers, who generally work in 11- to 13-member teams attached to Iraqi units, is likely to end up being doubled, the officials said. To do that, officials are considering whether they could convert American soldiers in combat units already in Iraq into advisers... The group appears to have rejected other more radical options, including a rapid withdrawal of American troops from Iraq....

Though a temporary increase of about 20,000 American troops is under consideration, the plan envisions the additional troops staying only until security conditions improve.

So the midterms' Great Blue Wave has changed... what, exactly? Gotta love the bit about "advisers", too. Us old-timers have heard that one before.

Anybody but Jane

It's ABJ time, sports fans: anyone but Jane, Jane Harman that is, serious Zionic bag carrier and quondam political rival of the Nan. Jane looks set to be -- in the next congress -- the queen of House intelligence oversight.

Can she be stopped? Can this vamp of Tel Aviv be barred from top hand position on the secrets cookie jar?

It's litmus time, folks -- lets see what the Nancompoop is holding. This is not Steny Hoyer here. There's no balance of power prudence involved. Jane is remote-controlled head to toe by Israel, period.

So we must see -- can or will the Dem caucus kick her downstairs?

Oh by the way -- the press charge for months has sweet Jane under investigation for aiding and abetting the AIPAC spy ring.

Small pleasures -- very small

After all the world-historical purple prose about the midterm elections, here's former prophet of the apocalypse Matt Stoller on what we can expect, now that the saints have come marchin' in:
On Net Neutrality and This Next Congress
by Matt Stoller, Tue Nov 21, 2006 at 12:20:51 PM EST

When we won a Congressional majority, I immediately said that I don't expect a lot from this Congress. ... My signpost is net neutrality, a clear issue that we worked on, that we care about, and that is the bedrock for a progressive strategic advantage. Despite our work, I expect that net neutrality protections are going to have rough sledding in this Congress....

There are a lot of choices this group of leaders will make; they will either pay attention to the populist progressive wave that elected their majority, or they will move to appease the DLC constituency that worked against them in the 1990s and over the past six years. For a variety of cultural reasons, I suspect that the latter path is a bit more likely...

The netroots and the progressive movement isn't going away, and we have to make sure that our legislators write laws that are for the benefit of all of us, not simply any one sector full of campaign contributors.

Oh, the pathos.

Headlines of the future

From the Washington Post, sometime next spring:

Dogs and progs make it a hot time for the Dem headliners

Like the Light Brigade in Tennyson's wooden poem, will next spring find the house leadership of the Democratic majority charging ahead to nowhere, with 'cannons to the right of them and cannons to the left of them'? Will the progs and dogs be a-rippin' at 'em like hungry wolves trying madly to pull the caucus in opposite directions? Will some harried and frazzled party boss be saying "it's like nothin' seen around here in years -- hell it's like nothin' ever seen around here!"

Okay, okay -- I hear you all now: "No way, Paine, no way. At best, you're half right -- the blue dogs will come on like a pack of Cujos, okay -- but the prog fish? No way. Most caucus progs can't make water come out of a tap. They're just a bunch of violets waiting to bloom, a bunch of well-rewarded, righteous false hope mongers nestled up there on the hill in hot house comfort."

I agree -- no way have "they" got anywhere near belly fire enough to bite back at the "leadership" the way the blue dogs will. Recall the blue dogs got the votes to structure "an aisle crossin majority" (this is an obsession of Father Smiff's, of course). They can stage-manage the ancient forward motion stymie, that has roots running all the way back to the New Deal's second term. And also recall, their invisible chieftains are nicely embedded inside the right hump of the party's brokeback middle mountain -- yes of course I mean the Steny Hoyer and Rahmbo hump. Nancy's hump, the back hump, is a sure to freeze outfit, once the cross firing starts.

And the prog caboose? They'll squeeeeal like virgins at a Mayan sacrifice. Like my late pop used to say, trying to evoke the spirit of W C Fields -- "When you lope into your 50's you can expect to find a lot of deja vu waitin' for ya there."

Balls of empire, part III

The fact is that we have come a long way. The American people are increasingly dissatisfied with war and Empire--in fact we are sick to death of it.
That's J V Walsh, a 24/7 imperial war stopper.

I wish I saw this the way he does, but I don't. I see plenty of room to finesse this as... a bridge too far; an ambitous mistake; a fool's sand trap, etc. etc.

Hell, we can still be crusaders -- we just need to be smart about it. And as to the fed up little guys -- If you view our overseas emerging market in failed states -- armed intrusions as pure spectacle -- like the NFL, it's hard to not see the "kick".

I vividly recall that armored cav charge across the desert to Baghdad, and the statue topple. Even the pouch-packer line "mission accomplished," framed like that and paid for on Uncle's credit card -- what's not to like about an intervention for freedom?

Even say we pay go it next time, if we just do the old liberation in-and-out, the topple and scram, at $100 billion total package cost, do the math: divided by 140 million households thats less than a grand per viewing family. Say we spread the cost over 18 months, from pre-strike talk to post-topple talk, thats a cable bill upgrade: $40 per month.

See, it's the stickin' around and the breakage fees, the occupation, that's what can get old quick. We need to get our trade partners to pay for this part. Or maybe they are paying for it, by swapping trade goods for our sure to sharply devalue UOUs -- Uncle Owes You, and good luck collecting.

As Herr Scruggs sez at his site:

The consensus of the state elite is that they have the right to meddle, coerce and violently impose their will inside and outside the borders of the country. Doing that outside the borders makes a reflecting effect back in, which allows them to handle domestic repression and exploitation with small violence, narrow legalistic attrition, the perjured media and the self-appointed bootlickers.
Indeed, not only is there twin-tower blow-back, there's feedback too.

But conjure with this, dear children of the white dove: plain Caucasian folks 'round here still don't think the state has a bone for 'em. To them, all this ramping up of the 1984 state is like aquiring a pack of trained attack dogs for the neighborhood. The furry monsters "just all know... by smell" who to roll for, and who needs a savage limb-by-limb ripping apart.

100 million shit-ass jobs, and 2 million straw bosses -- with that out there waiting for 'em 40 hours each week, the "system" can crank out these bloody-minded pro-empire types like blocks of Velveeta.

November 23, 2006

The Cumulative Effect of Lesser Evils

A kind reader passed this along:


The Cumulative Effect of Lesser Evils
By Charles Sullivan

...during the 2006 mid term elections... a wave of euphoria swept across the nation and lively celebrations ensued. Millions of naïve voters actually believe that something resembling revolution was accomplished in a bloodless coup by replacing Republicans with Democrats in the House and Senate. Conservatives foolishly thought the same with the so called Gingrich revolution of the 90s....

Meanwhile, the system rolls on, and the people are left feeling that something significant was accomplished, and that they made it happen by voting. There will be no need for further action until the next election cycle....

Max Sawicki, King of Pop

Greet my neologism: "prog-pop" (we've had enough of neos). "Populist revival" was rejected because it captures one dimension, but loses the other: populism with out prog think is like the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz.

Here's an unknowing exemplar from Max "Factor" Sawicky:


and here's his prog-pop platform :

  • A foreign policy that rejected bloated military spending and routine interference in the affairs of others;
  • Fighting the Federal Reserve and the banking industry for the sake of tight, inflation-risky labor markets that would spur wage growth;
  • A strong system of social insurance to protect workers in retirement, disability, unemployment, injury, and ill health;
  • Rejection of the dogma of free trade.
  • Counteracting the domination of corporate interests by the construction of cooperative institutions in civil society, especially trade unions, and a revitalized, professional, high-quality civil service;
  • The broadest possible tax base, to include capital gains, dividends, stock options, the site value of land, rents from resource extraction, financial transactions, and great wealth; a serious attack on tax evasion.

The case of the toothless Doberman

Here's a featurette: the AFL-CIA blog watch.

Item one:


The effect of "free trade baiting" on Dem runs in socially conservative districts with job-loss hot spots. Example first among equals:

NC Demmer Heath Fooler, running hard as a "fair trader", whips job-exportin' CAFTA scumsuckin' repug stooge.

Item two:


More on fair trade and this November's ballot box. Notice, in this piece the farmer is thrown in with the factory worker, in typical pie-head cross-back lobby-scratchin' mishmash, quoting a Michigan pie chief in a think column for the Detroit News: "For the manufacturing worker it's "will my job be outsourced next?" For the farmer it's "will another trade agreement put yet another crop into worldwide price-cutting competition?" And for the rural small business person the worry is "when my customers suffer, how long before I am next?" My takeaway: support the agri lobby's phoney Farmer Brown front for expediency max, and widening out to the whole job nation.

What is to be done? According to the AFL, that is:

  • Slow President Bush's rush to negotiate new bilateral free trade agreements.
  • Review all current agreements.
  • Reform the current trade regime so that we can renew our commitment to participating in a just global economy, one that works for working families and not just to boost the profits and power of multinational corporations
Quite a toothy attack plan by Generalissimo Pie-Critter, eh? How 'bout that "review all current agreements..."? I'd say, how about we attack the job killer number one -- the imperial dollar and its entourage of North currencies?

Item three :


My favorite -- a spotlight on heros aqnd martyrs records the bold participation of a big face pie-card at an actual demostration somewhere not too far from the school for Latin American torture.

Why yer fave, Paine?

The post -- for balance, one suspects -- goes on to cite a "blistering" report on the academiy of manslaughter by nothing less then the brass hat school's old friend, and big labor's own winsome cold war mastodon, the AFL-CIO "Solidarity Center." Yes, that little shop of dirty foreign tricks, the nexus of nasty itself for all AFL-CIA class-backward interventions since Stalin wore argyles.

Ah, life's little ironies.

November 24, 2006

Mouth where the money isn't?

Here's a Letter To the Editor of the Rutland (Vermont) Herald:
Time for Dems to move on health
November 24, 2006

Back in the '90s we first heard about single payer health care.... In the last legislative sessions here in Vermont the health care issue was brought up again and single payer was the leading favorite with the legislature. It was disappointing, to me, to read in the papers that the speaker of the house, Gaye Symington would not push the issue because she said that Gov. Douglas would veto it and the House Democrats did not have the votes necessary to override the veto. By not pushing the issue the democrats were the losers, not the governor.

With the news that the Democrats in the Vermont Legislature have a majority, that can override any veto by the governor. I hope that single payer health care will finally be adopted, benefiting every person in Vermont.

Good luck with that. Actually, of course, it will be fun to watch, as a kind of small-scale laboratory demonstration -- like a tiny tornado, created with a hair dryer and a carpet steamer, inside an oil drum. But never fear, on the small scale as on the large, the majority will find a way to ensure that it doesn't happen, all the while strenuously protesting their deep commitment. I daresay aisle-crossers will, as usual, play a determining role.

Dracula to head blood bank


Pelosi announces Iraq 'Democratic forum'

Incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has announced a "Democratic forum" on the Iraq war that will take place early next month....

"Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, and Major General John Batiste will join current and new members of the Democratic Caucus in discussing options for a way forward in Iraq."

Brzezinski and Holbrooke are, of course, familiar names, names that stand high on the all-time list of gory-fanged dogs of war. Batiste is a relative newcomer, but as noted here before, he's worthy of the pantheon:
Ille deum vitam accipiet divisque videbit
Permixtos heroas et ipse videbitur illis.
Fresh blood, as the Count would say -- a phrase which, in this context, has unfortunately more than one application.

November 25, 2006

Realism: a transient disorder

For a lazy genius like yours truly, it's wonderful to find the entire multitude of venal "goo goo with a gun" idiocy huddled together in the works of one mind. So I thank J Alva for Mr Packer here:


Read and delight:

We are all realists now. Iraq has turned conservatives and liberals alike into cold-eyed believers in a foreign policy that narrowly calculates national interest without much concern for what goes on inside other countries.... At some point, events will remind Americans that currently discredited concepts such as humanitarian intervention and nation-building have a lot to do with national security-that they originated as necessary evils to prevent greater evils. But, for now, Kissingerism is king.
Yes, this is a boo-hoo -- we're cuttin' and runnin'. Oh, the humanity!

If there be an exact antithesis to my views -- thar she blows.

Day of reckoning -- or, well, maybe next week

From Daily Kos:
Investigating Domestic Spying
by georgia10

Eric Lichtblau, who has covered the NSA domestic spying story for the New York Times, reminds us today that while a U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor declared the program to be unconstitutional earlier this year, a rubber-stamp Congress has failed to take any action to halt or properly investigate the program. Come January, things are going to change:

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who will take over as House speaker in January, favors an investigation to determine how the program actually operated and what its legal framework is under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, a senior aide to Pelosi said.
... Lichtblau writes that Democrats are of "mixed minds" about how to proceed. It's important to note that the dispute isn't necessarily on the legality of the program--indeed, most Democrats, or at least the most prominent ones, have expressed their belief that the program violates the law. The question is one of strategy, of how to proceed from a PR point of view. Should Democrats wait until the ruling on the program is upheld, thus bolstering their argument that the program is indeed unconstitutional? Or should they rely on their own investigation and legal analysis? I think the question of strategy is one that doesn't need to be resolved right away.... However diverse the paths of accountability may be, they all will eventually lead to one action: forcing our government to finally follow the law.
Or vice-versa. Anybody want to guess which way these bold Democrats will end up taking us?

November 26, 2006

Un-cola, or anti-cola?

When you're as brilliant as a supernova's first light, it's often hard to acknowledge to yourself that you just finally fully figured something out.

Well here's a figure-out from the man from Paine mansion: choice isn't enough anymore -- even real choice. It isn't enough for the Dems to drop "we're Pepsi, and that's better," or we're cola lite, or the un-cola, or whatever. (Cola, in this context, means the corporate global empire, of course.)

Any opposition party worth voting for has to be the anti-cola party -- the party out to de-colafy Washington, before it can be any part of a solution to the globe's present hell ride, and, for that matter, the average American jobbler's hell ride.

And of course the Democrats can't so morph -- not in a thousand reloopings. Maybe a fragment of the party, bursting left from a vicious internal explosion, can join other forces in a new party, an anti-cola party -- but for the Dems to become a solution themselves... nope. Never happen.

November 27, 2006

Mark of the beast

A droll friend of mine has given me a delightful gift -- a souvenir T-shirt from the 2004 Democratic convention in Boston (you remember, the barbed wire, the guard dogs, the "free speech zone"?).

On the front, roughly near where the human heart normally lies, there's the usual tiresome red-white-and-blue flaggoid logo, and the legend

Boston 2004
Nothing conventional about it.

On the back:

Biotechnology Industry Organization

Gold Sponsors


Silver Sponsors

Atlas Venture

Bronze Sponsors


My friend, the donor of this prized artifact, assures me that she received it from a chap who works in a Senator's office, and he -- the Senatorial staffer -- seemed quite sure that my friend would value it very highly. She didn't, obviously, but I do.

To the amazement of every three-year-old...

A draft report on strategies for Iraq, which will be debated here by a bipartisan commission beginning Monday, urges an aggressive regional diplomatic initiative that includes direct talks with Iran and Syria but sets no timetables for a military withdrawal, according to officials who have seen all or parts of the document....

Several commission members, including some Democrats, are discussing proposals that call for a declaration that within a specified period of time, perhaps as short as a year, a significant number of American troops should be withdrawn....

Among the ideas are embedding far more American training teams into Iraqi military units in a last-ditch improvement effort. While numbers are still approximate, phased withdrawal of combat troops over the next year would leave 70,000 to 80,000 American troops in the country, compared with about 150,000 now...

The recommendations of the commission, an independent advisory group created at the suggestion of several members of Congress, are expected to carry unusual weight because its members, drawn from both political parties, have deep experience in foreign policy. They include its co-chairmen, former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, a Republican, and Lee H. Hamilton, a former Democratic congressman.

Dream no small dreams

Here's The Nation's latest brainstorm, from no less an authority than Katrina van den Heuvel:
After progressive victories across the nation on Election Day... two things are clear: the American public is much more receptive to progressive ideas than suggested by the media, and the conservative movement is in disarray.... [H]ere's a modest proposal: perhaps it's time for the paper of record to create a beat on the progressive movement.
In other words, Katrina is calling the New York Times to order.

Where to start? Well, what about those "progressive victories"? Whom does Katrina have in mind? There were certainly some Democratic victories -- but Katrina is not dumb; she knows that's not the same thing.

But more to the point -- why in the name of all that's holy would a smart person like Katrina waste any time advising the New York Times?

Where to start? -- I know I keep saying this. But really. Does Katrina think that 43d Street is a strategic objective? If Aunt Sadie decides the "progressive" movement is a "beat"-- then we've arrived?

These pwogs. How they crave respectability.

November 28, 2006

Rubin, Rubin, I've been thinking

This item in the New York Times made me cackle like a Rhode Island rooster:
Here Come the Economic Populists

FOR years, the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party, exercising a lock on the party's economic policies, argued that the economy could achieve sustained growth only if markets were allowed to operate unfettered and globally.... the Clinton administration vigorously supported free trade agreements like Nafta .... Over time, this combination - called Rubinomics after the Clinton administration's Treasury secretary, Robert E. Rubin - became the Democratic establishment's accepted model for the future.

Not anymore. With the Democrats having won a majority in Congress, and disquiet over globalization growing, a party faction that has been powerless - the economic populists - is emerging and strongly promoting an alternative to Rubinomics.

Not only do we get treated to this slow boat ride past the allegedly foundering good ship Bobby Rubin, but also this piece of buffoonish braggadocio by one Ron Blackwell (AFL-CIA chief economist) on the supposedly restored clout of something called the "labor movement," after the wildly successful November hill top charge by the donkery:
We feel we have a stronger voice now in the deliberations of the Democratic Party.
Why? Well, the pie's staffery helped turn out voters in key districts, and and, well, besides that, the economy has been so bad for industrial jobs and general wages, and and and besides that ... blah blah blah. In short, the usual wishful thinking.

Attention, job nation: don't wait around for the huge gravy wave. Even if the "populists", or at least these old manatees of unionhood, think they're back in the great game. They can't hit their weight. Let the evil bastards up there throw 'em a few big league curve balls and they'll be as hapless as a blind Dutchman. In fact the Times piece gets around to saying pretty much the same thing, by the end:

...[D]espite their relentless criticisms of President Bush's tax cuts, neither the populists nor the Rubinite regulars would try to roll them back now, risking a veto that the Democrats lack the votes to override.

... The threat of a Bush veto affects another piece of the Democratic agenda - an increase in the minimum wage. Both Democratic factions support a bill, to be introduced in January, that would raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour from the current $5.15. The increase would come in three steps, spread over more than two years, with the final $7.25 not reached until spring 2009 at the earliest.

That is the same $7.25 that would be effective today if Congress had given its approval when Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts first proposed the increase in 2004. Yet Mr. Kennedy is the chief sponsor of the new attempt to raise the minimum, his strategy being that the $7.25, stretched out to 2009, is mild enough to be acceptable to Mr. Bush and many Republicans.

... Representative Maurice D. Hinchey, a Democrat whose New York district includes Kingston and other economically struggling cities, asserts that the federal minimum should be $10 an hour now. Going that high right away is unrealistic, he acknowledged, but in the Congressional debate over the Kennedy proposal, Mr. Hinchey will push to have the $7.25 effective no later than the spring 2008, not 2009.

"If I went out on the street in Kingston," Mr. Hinchey said, "and said to people that the minimum wage is not going up to $7.25 until 2009, they would say to me, 'That is all the Democrats are going to do? Why did I vote for you?' "

Hell of a good question, too, Hinchey.

Even so, one must say, my my, how big media preceptions can revolve. Wasn't long ago Bobby Rubin was the dreadnought nonpareil of donk economic policy, and now, suddenly, scaley helot serpents spring from the depths!

Ya, ya, I know, we're just being taken on a cruise around the big circle back to nowhere -- but don't it pick up the story some, though?


A delightful miscellany from The Note:

Democratic agenda:
On Tuesday, December 5, at 9:00 am ET House Democrats hear a presentation on Iraq from Dr. Brzezinski, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, and Major General John Batiste, among others.

On Wednesday, December 6, at 9:30 am ET, House Democrats hear a presentation on the economy by former Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin.

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) concedes he is not likely to become Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, reports Newsweek, as Speaker-designate Pelosi seeks a "compromise" candidate for the post. LINK

The Washington Post's Charles Babington reports that Democratic lawmakers "vow to come roaring out of the blocks when they assume control of the next Congress" but Notes that absent from the list of Democratic priorities "are the knottiest problems that bedeviled the outgoing Congress, including immigration, domestic surveillance and the war in Iraq." LINK

The Washington Times' Eric Pfeiffer reports on Democratic assurances the House will focus on "issues that have bipartisan support." LINK

The Rangel wrangle

Katrina is agin' the great Charlie "Horse" Rangel draft revival. Whooopee. Amazing how these proggle rocks can cast themselves into the stupidest diversionary sand traps.

We need to never-again this gig -- not ramp up a citizen army to "defer" the next shootin' visit to a neighboring nation. The House needs to investigate hidden motives for the Iraq-scapade, and its spreading pool of overt profiteering. Maybe impeach Cheney as a swag-laden buccanneer for big oil. Showcase what Uncle hath wrought. Drag out the "record" like the Church committee did in the post-Nambo 70's. Review the sorry history of gunpoint "nation building" and freedom served up "our way" -- of value transplants, kabuki elections, sub-missionary positions, and all the rest.

Besides, mates, it's a bogus argument that a lottery sample of young America needs to share the bloodshed next time, so the post-draft majority will stop our dear uncle going about the world intervening willy-nilly and with extreme prejudice. That argument implies the bulk of the sore-headed, desperate, jobbled caucasian people of America fear a scrap -- fear their kids' death and dismemberment. That's not my take, not one bit. Nascar nation is ready to rumble, ready to sacrafice, ready to let blood be drawn.

And if the gig turns sick and indefensible, full of slaughter and no glory, a volunteer army's recruitment numbers would disintegrate, and the brass hats would feel the pinch much faster then with a draft.

My guess, part of this deluded hooha is based on a false sense of what stopped the Nambo thang. It wasn't anti-draft demos: it was the boots on the ground turning against Uncle Sam's officer corps. Shooting 'em in the back, too, if necessary -- and it often was.

Expert tease

My eagle eye is skim shooting the Huff bloggery massif and notices R J Eskow, "writer, business person, and musician." Seems he's applied his multipart talents to the "Iraq: what next?" quandary, and here's his view: the whole damn mess needs not "bipartisanship" but... "non-partisanship"! Neutral rethinkers! "If the Iraq Study Group is going to be dominated by the "bipartisanship" of so-called "centrists," it will be too paralyzed by political posturing to lead us out of the quagmire" "political posturing"? That's our national welfare's present danger number one? Not the beastly Occ and its "police war" itself, oh no -- just the featured pols fluttering around with it for petty party and personal gain.

Piffle! The fix is even worse: "experts", yes experts, deadeye stone geniuses ready to craft a solution. But here's his twist: to qualify as an expert on Iraq, you have to have been right on the topple's consequences from before day one, and therefore, against the invasion and occ all along.

But that's a problem, since as he sez, "people who were actually right about the Iraq War -- before it happened" ain't "presentable", because the imperial stooge press has spent "the last three years tarring anyone who made the right call about this war as 'left-leaning' and therefore not 'centrist'". And God knows if this is to be an all-party plan it needs to be "centrist". So if we need a centrist-lookin' team we're stuck with pro-invasion retreads, wizards manque, political hack-spurts, venal roller clods who've proven their chief skill is calling a knot hole an ass hole if that's what the guys who sign the checks want it called. Thus, RJ warns us we're in for a "bipartisan" train ride to "nowhere".

w What else can we expect out of these tinkering time servers? No matter how clever or plain-thinking they may be, they're servants of the interests, like Baker and Hamilton -- moral smudge jobs.

Nope this means impasse, drift, more blood, boots and bombs -- and why, RJ asks? Because we can't call in the "experts", and "when it comes to war and national security" there's "no substitute" for "the willingness to let experts look at a problem without ideological blinders." Cue the brass section florish and... post over... the end... finis.

Now are you saying what I said -- "That's it? All we get is this pompous portico?"

Hey, RJ, what about these experts? Name names, you bugger! Names and audition tape suggestions they've made!

I guess just conjuring the blessed spectre of these "neutral" experts, these ghost riders, is a comfort and a spur all at once to the soul of this windy dope.

Even if the guy hasn't a foggy fart of a notion of what is to be done, how's he sure somebody without ideology or special interests, with courage and brains and integrity, someone steeped in regional scholarship and with Solomon's knack for fine judgements, could devise a miraculous chestnuts out of the fire solution here, one agreeable to all parties and one that would do our nation proud. He can't know that short of blind faith, and if he don't really believe it, if he's just blowin' feel good smoke and figures there is no such fantasy plan, no matter who in hell works it up, even George Marshall himself, then he oughta blast these proceedings and any future proceedings for what they are, will be and must be -- a big fat goosey stall job.

November 29, 2006

Feinstein vs. the American intifada

J Alva passed along this gem:
Sen. Dianne Feinstein just finished ensuring the success of a bill that expands the federal government definition of "terrorism" to mean an act of protest that reduces the profits of a corporation, its suppliers, or partners.

Feinstein co-sponsored the just-passed Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, which claims to provide law enforcement tools needed to go after animal rights extremists who vandalize research facilities. But .... "The language of this legislation was too broad and vague, and could be interpreted to infringe upon lawful practices, such as protest, whistleblowing, or boycotts," said Michael Markarian, executive vice president of the Humane Society of the United States....

"Here is an assault on civil liberties that's upfront and blatant - labeling activists as terrorists. Yet this passed without hardly any scrutiny. It was stunning how easily this went through. And in my mind it's one of the most egregious civil liberties abuses America has seen," adds Will Potter, author of Greenisthenewred.com, a blog dedicated to examining how anti-terrorism has been used as a pretext for cracking down on activism.

Read it and weep -- or laugh, depending on how these things take you. There's a note of pathos in the piece, as the author, after dishing the dirt on Feinstein, nevertheless feels obliged to recite the Creed, perhaps by way of penance:
I'm not asking readers to return to the year-2000-era of magical thinking, when it was fashionable to say Democrats and Republicans were indistinguishable, then to support Ralph Nader's spoiler campaign.

Worth a thousand words

New cartoons by Mike Flugennock. Sample (much reduced in scale):

Mike writes:

Once again the Democratic Party has pandered crassly to "progressive" voters and once again the "Pwogwessives" have fallen for the scam. Like Charlie Brown attempting to kick Lucy's daintily-held football, Amerika's Pwogwessive voters came charging up, expecting to slam it clear into next week, but instead found themselves kicking air and landing on their asses. On "Meet The Press" one Sunday last May, Congressional Stepford Wife Nancy Pelosi declared that there'd be a "New Day" when the Democrats take control of Congress. Let's see what wonderful surprises they have in store for us on five important issues...
Available at http://www.sinkers.org/posters/newday

Waving the brown shirt at the Yellow Peril...

... and calling 'em all Reds into the bargain: that's the gist of a recent post at the AFL-CIA blog site. It's rabid, it's foolish, it's, well, forgive my old sectarian slip showing here, it's class traitorship. The AFL-CIA -- not for the first time -- are carrying water for the profiteers they got contracts with.

Here's a specimen -- it's the steel and rubber union prez foaming at the mouth:

...there is no better evidence than at Goodyear, where 15,000 of our members have been forced out on strike by a company that has announced it plans to increase its tire imports ten-fold from Communist China, where workers are routinely oppressed.
Communist China! With Communist plots to do Communist harm to our free nation! God, these union guys are trogs. But back to the steel-and-rubber prez:
Our manufacturers here at home are finding it harder and harder to compete against an economic system in China that is built on oppressed workers, subsidized inputs and capital, stolen intellectual property and other unfair advantages.
Stolen intellectual property! Oh man, I'm steamin' mad now, and I bet Father Smiff has got the bell, book, and candle out. By comparison, the bit about "subsidized inputs" hardly seems impudent at all.

But here's the best:

China also keeps its currency value artificially low, making its exports cheaper and imports more expensive.
So the "labor movement" -- and what a sick joke that phrase is, as applied to the likes of this know-nothing -- lay that one on Peking too, and not on Wall Street and the Fed!

This boughten fool has turned reality on its head, and let his members' real enemies right off the hook. Sure, we need to stop the job export boom -- but we need to put the blame where it belongs, and keep it there.

November 30, 2006

Full steam astern

From the Washpost:
Democrats Reject Key 9/11 Panel Suggestion
By Jonathan Weisman

It was a solemn pledge, repeated by Democratic leaders and candidates over and over: If elected to the majority in Congress, Democrats would implement all of the recommendations of the bipartisan commission that examined the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

But with control of Congress now secured, Democratic leaders have decided for now against implementing the one measure that would affect them most directly: a wholesale reorganization of Congress to improve oversight and funding of the nation's intelligence agencies. ...

In 2004, the commission urged Congress to grant the House and Senate intelligence committees the power not only to oversee the nation's intelligence agencies but also to fund them and shape intelligence policy. The intelligence committees' gains would come at the expense of the armed services committees and the appropriations panels' defense subcommittees. Powerful lawmakers on those panels would have to give up prized legislative turf....

"We think this is extremely crucial," [9/11 commission chair] Kean said of a reorganization shifting budget authority to the intelligence committees. But, he added, there are "a lot of old bulls in both parties who just don't want to do it."... [T]otal spending on intelligence would have to be declassified, another commission recommendation that Congress has rejected.

Haven't yet checked out the reponse to this latest betrayal on Daily Kos and myDD -- anybody else feel like slumming a little?

About November 2006

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

October 2006 is the previous archive.

December 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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