Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Independants apparently don't count

Is it odd to anyone else that in all the projections about the Senate balance of power Independant candidates seem to simply be lumped in the Dems? Can the national media not cope with a non-dichotomous power balance?

Joe Lieberman, who most likely will retain his seat in CT, is running as an Independant. Bernie Sanders, likely to win a seat in VT, is also an Independant.

Yes, both of those candidates are likely to vote more on the Dem side than the GOP side. But that doesn't excuse the intellectually lazy media from omitting that aspect of the race. And the fact that everyone seems to think that the only power than matters is power that's branded Red or Blue is galling to me. And yet everyone will complain about partisan bickering until they're blue (or red) in the face. They're just not willing to accept a reality that is slightly more complex, and, gasp, potentially pluralist.

It's the same line of thinking that says "a vote for Independant candidate X is really a vote against Dem candidate Y." Which is total crap and ignores the basic dynamic of democracy.

Friday, October 27, 2006

When all else fails:

go after the gays:

I understand the idea of trying to galvanize values voters, what I don't understand are the values they're presenting.

Re: Foley - "It's a private matter. Focusing on someone's sex life is lascivious. There are more important things on the national agenda, like winning the War on TerrorIraq."

Re: The War on TerrorIraq: "Shh! Don't talk about the War." (unless you're the President, then talk about the War and pretend you're going to be more flexible just to get your party past the next round of elections)

And, just so the masses don't recognize the inconsistency, punt:

Re: Gay Marriage - "Marriage is an institution between a man and a woman, and we must preserve it to maintain our healthy society"

The sad thing is, it just might work.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Sounds About Right

I know I am the only person posting (and maybe the only person reading). But I thought I would share this quote, courtesy of Greg Saunders at This Modern World:
“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy: that is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”
-John Kenneth Galbraith

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Listened to the President's news conference again. Yelled at my radio again. A couple of observations:

First of all, he said, "the only way we lose is if we leave before the job is finished." I think from the President's perspective, this means, "as long as I don't leave, I don't have to admit I made a mistake."

He also said that, as far as accountability goes, "I am accountable. That's what the 2004 election was about."

Ah, right. I remember now. That election was an "accountability moment," and because the President actually *won* the popular vote that time, he decided he had a mandate. The administration seems to have thought that 2004 was the final "accountability moment" for their administration, and that they could act with impunity thereafter; they have certainly acted that way.

I think 2004 was an accountability moment for this administration, and the American electorate whiffed. Horribly. But 2006 gives us another chance. Missing again this year would be a disaster, I think.

(For instance, I can't believe that the people of Connecticut are really going to send Joe Lieberman back to Washington. Please, Nutmeg State people? Vote for Ned Lamont. < /rant >)

If the Democrats aren't able to re-take at least one branch of the legislature, I really fear the consequences: attacking Iran, staying a disastrous course in Iraq, making tax cuts (and deficits) permanent.


Going back to something General George Casey said yesterday: "the men and women of the armed forces here have never lost a battle in over three years of war. That is a fact unprecedented in military history."

General Casey, I agree. We've never lost a battle, and still it is indisputable at this point that the situation in Iraq has never been worse, and is detriorating before our eyes.

What is unprecedented is the way the Bush Administration has willfully squandered hundreds of billions of dollars, the talent and resources of the US Armed Forces, and hundreds of thousands of American and Iraqi lives, in the dogged pursuit of a strategy which, at this point, essentially boils down to "refusing to admit we made a mistake."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Secret Strategy

The Iraq Study Group, appointed by President Bush, is co-chaired by James A. "Jimmy" Baker III and Lee Hamilton.

That's the same James A. Baker who was Reagan's Chief of Staff and Treasury Secretary, and George H.W. Bush's Secretary of State and campaign manager. Former congressman Lee Hamilton (D-IN) is reprising his 9/11 Commission role by providing the illusion of bipartisanship.

The Iraq Study Group, we are told, will recommend changes to the US Strategy in Iraq. But the group won't release its recommendations until after the election.

Reason: the group doesn't want to "play politics."

Hmm. "We have a plan to change the strategy. We'll tell you about it after the election."

(And Henry Kissinger is a frequent visitor to the Oval Office. Coincidence? Will there be secret bombings this Christmas, too? Will David Bowie join Big Crosby for an extraordinary rendition of "Little Drummer Boy?")

Excuse me. Jimmy. Lee.

In what way is not releasing the recommendations before the election in any way a less political decision than releasing them?

In a very much related story, ten more American soldiers were killed yesterday. That brings to 69 the total number of US casualties this month. That puts it on a pace to become the 3rd deadliest month in the war so far, with 2 weeks to go.

These recommendations have a chance of affecting US policy, and possibly even resulting in the US forces leaving sooner than later.

But rather than tell us now what they are, they're going to sit on them for another month or so, so as not to "play politics."

What's another month?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Torture bill becomes law

Monday, October 16, 2006

Vote Early and Often

I got my absentee ballot in the mail over the weekend.

I only regret that I'm not in the right district to vote against Richard Pombo (R - Tracy).

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Another Beaut

from the press conference, which was picked up by Atrios and Think Progress (video):

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN: Thank you, Mr. President. Back on Iraq, a group of American and Iraqi health officials today released a report saying that 655,000 Iraqis have died since the Iraq war. That figure is 20 times the figure that you cited in December at 30,000. Do you care to amend or update your figure and do you consider this a credible report?

PRESIDENT BUSH: No, I don’t consider it a credible report, neither does General Casey and neither do Iraqi officials. I do know that a lot of innocent people have died and it troubles me and grieves me. And I applaud the Iraqis for their courage in the face of violence. I am, you know, amazed that this is a society which so wants to be free that they’re willing to — you know, that there’s a level of violence that they tolerate.

Wow. Just wow.

Read James Wolcott

Yelling at my radio...

...this morning as I drove to work, listening to the President's press conference. I could criticize his glib manner as he seemed to smirk at me through the radio. I could criticize the delusionally self-satisfied sound-bites he offered about how the deficit has been cut in half and the tax cuts are working. I could criticize the many non-answers he gave to reasonable, straightforward questions.

What I find myself most frustrated by is the fundamentally deceptive way in which the President frames the policy positions of the Democratic party versus the Republican party.

One questioner this morning, whom the President called "NPR," attempted to ask the President if he thought the way he portrayed Democratic positions was fair. The President said yes, I don't think there's anything wrong with using their votes and what they say to characterize their positions. "The votes are clear," he said, or something to that effect.

Yet time after time, the President consciously, blatantly mischaracterizes the issues. For instance, he says that Democrats didn't want the CIA to be able to interrogate high-value prisoners. Not so! The opponents of the legislation in question opposed it on many grounds - that it would allow for interrogation techniques that are widely regarded as torture banned by the Geneva Convention's Article 3; that it would allow for the indefinite detainment of suspects with no recourse to a courtroom to determine the validity of their detainment; that it created an extremely broad definition under which persons (foreign or American) could be detained.

The President has said that Democrats "don't want us to be able to listen to al Qaeda's telephone calls." Again, this argument is simply specious. Democrats (and others) oppose the use of wiretaps without warrants, as specifically called for under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. In effect, opponents were saying, "obey the law." (And if you find the law unworkable, don't unilaterally and secretly violate the law, try to change it.) The bill in question was designed to retroactively legalize the wiretapping already underway, which was a clear violation of US law already on the books.

The President and the GOP constantly engage in this kind of deception. The Press Corps is frequently complicit, either because it simply repeats the GOP talking points uncritically, or it engages in "on one hand"-ism, giving equal weight to each argument without regard for the objective facts in question.

When will Dems finally realize they must take issue with this state of affairs if they want to win elections?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Buck Stops... Right Over There

Denny Hastert - Paragon of Virtue, Portrait of Courage - said that he'll fire anyone on his staff involved in a cover-up related to Foleygate.

Oh thank goodness! Accountability, GOP style.

Oh, and by the way?

Prop 85

Why don't they ever make it mandatory to notify the father's parents?

The Few. The Proud. Oh, wait - those are the Marines.

What do you do when you're the army of the most powerful nation in the world, last year you missed your recruitment projections by the widest margin in nearly 30 years, you're still fighting (losing?) two wars, flirting with one or two more, and you need to increase your ranks but it is an election year for those who vote on your budget and you dare not mention 'draft'?

You lower your standards.

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Army recruited more than 2,600 soldiers under new lower aptitude standards this year, helping the service beat its goal of 80,000 recruits *


About 17 percent of the first-time recruits, or about 13,600, were accepted under waivers for various medical, moral or criminal problems, including misdemeanor arrests or drunk driving. That is a slight increase from last year, the Army said.


"The absolute key for the Army is a high-school diploma," Goure said.

The Army said all the recruits with low scores had received high school diplomas. In a written statement, the Army said good test scores do not necessarily equate to quality soldiers. Test-taking ability, the Army said, does not measure loyalty, duty, honor, integrity or courage.

Let me see if I have this right. We're talking about the honor, integrity and sense of duty of idiots, the feeble, criminals, and those (apparently) lacking morals?

Just whatever you do, don't let in The Gays.

Are they even trying to win anymore, or are they just saying the are? Do they think they're Obie Wan Kenobe and we're the Storm Troopers and if they tell us these aren't the droids we're looking for, their magic mind mojo will overcome our reason?

I'm honestly starting to wonder if GW has decidinated that if he can't be president anymore, there isn't going to be an America.

I think this is my favorite part:

Army Brig. Gen. Anthony A. Cucolo said that adding more recruiters enabled the Army to identify more recruits. "We got the right people in the field in the right places in the right numbers," said Cucolo, the chief spokesman for the Army.

Outside Juvie?

*all italicized text from AP Writer Lolita C. Baldor, Oct 10, 2:44 AM EDT
Lower Standards Help Army Recruit More

Monday, October 09, 2006

Satire Recycled

As has become painfully clear, the Bush administration is pathologically incapable of changing its course of action, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that it must.

So despite the obvious threats posed by the nuclear ambitions of North Korea, the Bushies invaded Iraq.

Fortunately, the mushroom cloud has a silver lining: the satire that worked almost four years ago still works!

From the Onion, January 15, 2003: Bush on North Korea: 'We Must Invade Iraq'

Now just replace "Iraq" with "Iran" and voila, good as new.

And my own re-run, from April, which also still works.

What Does a Nukes-Crazed Madman Have To Do To Get Some Attention? by Kim Jong Il

Sunday, October 08, 2006


There is nothing more satisfying than watching those people who make a living by spewing holier-than-thou self-riteousness...

...spewing all over their shoes.

And even some of the most "balanced" journalists aren't there to hold their hair back for 'em while they do it.

What Everyone Is Thinking

1. I don't understand how any gay man or woman can be a Republican. I just don't get it. Oh, I realize there's some compartmentalizing and shame and probably self-loathing going on. But for what?

No, seriously. "I support my party's intolerance for me because ______."

How do you fill in that blank? Ever?

2. Gay does not mean pedophile. Gay men and women are no more likely to be sexually attracted to children than straight men and women. Conflating the two is factually inaccurate and morally wrong. (Oooh. A liberal used the term "moral" - imagine!)

3. This has nothing to do with Clinton. At all. Not even a little bit. And stop labeling me as a hypocrite for so saying.
  • I believe that what people do in their private lives, and in their sex lives especially, is their own business. It is not for the government to interfere unless someone's behavior is illegal or causing harm to others.

  • I don't care what politicians do in their private lives, either, so long as it isn't illegal and doesn't adversely affect their ability to govern.

  • What Clinton did with Monica was not illegal. Sex with a consenting adult is not the same thing as sex with a minor, regardless of circumstance. "Excusing" Clinton's behavior and "not excusing" Foley's behavior is not inconsistent.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The GOP Bag 'o' Tricks

1. Deny. Alway, always, always.

2. Minimize/trivialize. Graphic sexual messages between a 52 year old congressman and a minor are described as "overly friendly," and "naughty."

3. Turn the accusation on its head. The GOP under Karl Rove always accuses its opponents of precisely the behavior it is guilty of. As in: "Dems had knowledge of this information and chose this time, weeks before an election to release it. We deplore their shameful decision to politicize of this important issue."

4. Change your story. Oh, deny didn't work? "Well, that's not really what I said."

5. Blame someone else, especially the liberal media.
- "The parents didn't want us to look into it."
- "My staff never told me."
- "I told ____, and I assumed he handled it."
- "The liberal media mis-quoted and mischaracterized what I said, and it doesn't pursue the other side of this story, because of its well-known liberal bias."

6. Straw man. Indignantly deny something you haven't been accused of. "The suggestion that I personally bought cases of wine coolers for pages while on my way to attend a rave with Osama Bin Laden is just offensive."

7. Accept responsibility without any accountability. "The buck stops here, it's my responsibility. But I won't resign, because then the Democrats' dirty trick will have worked, and the terrorists will have won."

8. Conflate ideas that have nothing to do with each other. For instance, inappropriate communications between a congressman and a (male) minor is part of the "gay lifestyle." Read: Foley was gay, so obviously, he's not a *real* Republican, and so... not our fault.

Or the classic:
Dem: "Please adhere to the Fisa law and get warrants for your wiretaps."
GOP: "Don't you want us to be able to hear of terrorists are planning an attack? Why do you hate America?"

9. Appeal to fear. "If I cave in to these calls for my resignation, then I can't protect you against terror attacks." (I resign = you are less safe. You want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.)

I'm sure there are more.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ahem, is this thing on?

Welcome to the Cranky Citizen Open Mike!

Just a few things I would to re-write (since Blogger ate the original post. Blogger sucks ass.)

1. Glenn Greenwald , as usual, brings the smackdown on Denny. And I have no problem with that. It is really breathtaking to watch the GOP'ers turn on each other. Denny will have a shiv in him by Monday.

2. I listened to Steve Inskeep interview John Yoo on NPR this morning . (Just writing his name made me throw up a little. Yoo, I mean.) Credit to Inskeep for doing a better job than most reporters would have in calling Yoo on his bullshit.

Yoo threw out this little gem: he said that one reason we couldn't grant enemy combatants habeas corpus was because of the cost.

It was at that point that I nearly sailed off the road into a vineyard. (Carneros pinot noir I think.)

To his credit, Inskeep said (I paraphrase): "Wait a minute. Do you mean to tell me that we can't grant detainees the right to challenge their detention because it would be too expensive?"

Yoo said well, yes, the number of petitions ties up the courts and they do have a cost. So yes.

Un. Fucking. Believable.

We're spending eight billion dollars a months in Iraq, John. I think we can afford it. Go sell crazy somewhere else.

3. Wanted to pay respects on the passing of R.W. "Johnny" Apple , a character and one of the great reporters/analysts at the once-great-now-much-less-so New York Times.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

It's okay, I know him.

The President is standing behind Denny Hastert. I'm fine with that - those guys should stick together.

What was interesting was how he justified it. The first sentence out of his mouth?

"I know Denny Hastert."

He knows Denny, and in Bush's world, that is all you need to know.

Hastert has the President's seal of approval. The President has made up his mind, and now, "Denny Hastert is a good guy" becomes an immutable fact. The Decider has decided.

Unfortunately, the President also knows Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, Vladimir Putin, Michael Brown, Ahmed Chalabi...

Carrying The Weight of the World On One's Shoulders Makes One Irritable. And Thirsty.

"It is not advisable...to venture unsolicited opinions."

- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

Yeah, well, they didn't have blogs then, did they?

Silly woman.

Anyway, pass me a martini. Let's get this party started.