Saturday, October 22, 2005

Sutton Impact.

Click for larger image.


Too tired for any real in-depth commentary, so here are some snippets of the top stories today that have people talking. By the way, very few people seem to be talking big about the Brownie/dinner story. Seems to me to be too sad to just move on from. OMG, Katrina was sooooo last month.

First news is a new website set up by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. Yes, it's real...

1. Fitzgerald Launches Web Site

Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has just launched his own brand-new Web site.

Could it be that he's getting ready to release some new legal documents? Like, maybe, some indictments? It's certainly not the action of an office about to fold up its tents and go home...

[See: The website]

2. Judy Miller's boss vents about her problems...
Breaking: A Message from Bill Keller

3. Here we go again?...

Bush Calls for U.N. Action Against Syria

President Bush on Friday said the U.N. should deal quickly and seriously with a report implicating Syria in the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister, a killing that led to protests and withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon after nearly 30 years as overlord.

"The report strongly suggests that the politically motivated assassination could not have taken place without Syrian involvement," Bush said.

In Damascus, Syrian leaders dismissed the findings, and the government of President Bashar Assad prepared to fight growing Western sentiment to punish it with economic sanctions.

Imad Moustapha, Syrian ambassador to the United States, said the report was baseless and the Bush administration was motivated by Syria's opposition to the war in Iraq...

Brownie, You're Eating A Heck Of A Dinner (Pt. II)

The New York Times has more details on the FEMA emails:
FEMA E-Mails

The obvious highlights (full versions of the snippets posted yesterday)...

Email 1
From: Worthy, Sharon []
Sent: Wednesday. August 31, 2005 2:00 PM
To: 'Valerie.Smith@DHS.GOV'
Cc: ''; Andrews, Nicol D - Public Affairs; ''
Subject: Scarborough

Please schedule Joe Scarborough this eveninq for 9pmCST period. Spoke with his producer and told him to call you. Mr. Brown wants to do this one.

Also, it is very important that time is allowed for Mr. Brown to eat dinner. Gievn that Baton Rouge is back to normal, restaurants are getting busy. He needs much more that 20 or 30 minutes. We now have traffic to encounter to get to and from a location of his choise, followed by wait service from the restaurant staff, eating, etc. Thank you.

Sharon Worthy
Press Secrtary

Email 2
From: Bahamonde, Marty
Sent: Wednesday, August 31,2005 244 PM
To: Taylor, Cindy: Widomski, Michael
Subject: Re: Scarborough

OH MY GOD!!!!!!!! No won't go any further, too easy of a target. Just tell her that I just ate an MRE and crapped in the hallway of the Superdome along wirh 30,000 other close friends so I understand her concern about busy retaurants. Maybe tonight I will have time to move the pebbles on the parking garage floor so they don't stab me in the back while I try to sleep, but instaed I will hope her wait at Ruth Christ is short. But I know she is stressed so I won't make a big deal about it and you shouldn't either.

And lest we forget...
"I want to thank you all for -- and, Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job. The FEMA Director is working 24 -- (applause) -- they're working 24 hours a day."
-President George W. Bush (September 2, 2005)

Yes, Mr. President, sounds like your boy Brownie was working non-stop.

By the way- Mr. Brown is still on the FEMA payroll. Our tax dollars at work.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Cancer In The White House

There are storm clouds hanging over the White House. No, not the kind of storm that would result in massive failures and lethal incompetence from FEMA... a political storm! Yes, the Fitzgerald investigation has got the White House worried, not that they're letting on publicly. The topic has been avoided at official meetings (as it's part of that pesky 'reality' Bush's handlers protect him from daily), limited to private conversations in hallways. "Andy, I need to discuss contigency plans for Karl, meet me in the broom closet in 5 minutes". Said one Republican with close ties to the White House- 'Anyone who talks about that kind of stuff should be shot'. Has anyone suggested firebombing the Brookings Institute yet?

Two articles on the subject:

A Palpable Silence at the White House-
Few Ready to Face Effects of Leak Case

At 7:30 each morning, President Bush's senior staff gathers to discuss the important issues of the day -- Middle East peace, the Harriet Miers nomination, the latest hurricane bearing down on the coast. Everything, that is, except the issue on everyone's mind.

With special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald driving his CIA leak investigation toward an apparent conclusion, the White House now confronts the looming prospect that no one in the building is eager to address: a Bush presidency without Karl Rove. In a capital consumed by scandal speculation, most White House senior officials are no more privy than outsiders to the prosecutor's intentions. But the surreal silence in the Roosevelt Room each morning belies the nervous discussions racing elsewhere around the West Wing...

Cover-Up Issue Is Seen as Focus in Leak Inquiry

As he weighs whether to bring criminal charges in the C.I.A. leak case, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special counsel, is focusing on whether Karl Rove, the senior White House adviser, and I. Lewis Libby Jr., chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, sought to conceal their actions and mislead prosecutors, lawyers involved in the case said Thursday...

And thus the saga continues...

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Brownie, You're Eating A Heck Of A Dinner

More news has come out that really paints a great picture of the fantastic work FEMA did responding to the Katrina disaster. Marty Bahamonde, the first FEMA official to arrive in New Orleans in advance of the storm, has come out publicly to criticize the agency (particulary his old boss, Mr. Brown) for the refusal to recognize the urgency of the situation in New Orleans. He has revealed email conversations that contradict Brown's previous comments that he was unaware of how dire the circumstances in the city were. Bahamonde sent repeated emails to Mr. Brown in the first few days (in the immediate aftermath), updating him on the intensity of the mess and telling him, basically, that New Orleans was a powder keg ready to explode. He received no responses... He did get forwarded an email from Brown's press secretary, Sharon Worthy, who told FEMA employees to leave Brown alone, because he needed "much more [than] 20 or 30 minutes" to eat dinner due to the wait at the Baton Rouge restaurant he was dining in.

What were the people in New Orleans doing for dinner that night? Who cares? Let them eat cake!

From an MSNBC report, the emails...

Bahamonde's email: "The situation is past critical... Hotels are kicking people out, thousands gathering in the street with no food or water... Estimates are many will die within hours."

The Worthy email: " is very important that time is allowed for Mr. Brown to eat dinner. Given that Baton Rouge is back to normal, restaurants are getting busy. He needs much more [than] 20 or 30 minutes."

Bahamonde was understandably blunt in his email back: "OH MY GOD!!!!!!! Just tell her I just ate an MRE and [went to the bathroom] in the hallway of the Superdome along with 30,000 other close friends, so I understand her concern about busy restaurants."

This would be funny if it weren't so sad.

Yet still, it was considered a heck of a job in George W. Bush's America.

See also non-accountability from Brownie's old boss...
Chertoff: "I'm not a hurricane expert"

Messiah Complex

Earlier today, I posted a screengrab from O'Reilly's Today Show interview.

I actually watched some video of the interview, courtesy of Crooks and Liars. The clip contains more proof of his Messiah complex. BILL O'REILLY WILL SAVE THE WORLD FROM THE EVILDOERS!!. And by evildoers, he means liberals, Ludacris, and the French. Not only does he stick it to the bad people, but his books are creating a better tomorrow. Did you know that his book "The O'Reilly Factor For Kids" has helped, literally, millions of children everywhere?- children who were in desperate need of a condescending, morally hypocritical, scary old man to preach values to them straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. And think of how many more kids we could save if we forced people to watch footage of poor people dying in New Orleans.

From the interview...

Couric: "...And you said you might wanna retire when your contract is up..."

O'Reilly: "Yea, because I'm exhausted!"

Couric: "Really? ... Were you just having a bad day or were serious?"

O'Reilly: "Listen, the battles that I fight every day, I mean you know how debilitating it is with people coming after you. Every famous person on the air, in the news capacity knows. And it's exhausting. So you have to weigh it, weigh it. I think we're doing a lot of good here. The Factor For Kids book has helped millions of children, alright? And I could never get that book done, unless I was on TV. But to fight every single day of my life, which is literally what I do in this culture war, this intense battle, it just sucks the energy out of you...."

Wow. If Clinton could've fellated himself like that, he wouldn't have needed Monica.

[See also my previous post:
"I would take the other hand with the falafel thing"]

Book 'Em, Dano

From the Smoking Gun, Tom Delay's mug shot:

Luckily, Delay managed to launder enough money to post bail.

See the relevant AP article:
DeLay Booked in Houston on Charges

From The "Duh" Department...

Another great article that confirms what many of us figured out on our own in 2003, but probably won't convince any Bush/Iraq war supporters to change their minds: Dick Cheney and his inner circle of neocons hijacked U.S. foreign policy to achieve their own military agenda.

‘Cheney cabal hijacked US foreign policy’

Vice-President Dick Cheney and a handful of others had hijacked the government's foreign policy apparatus, deciding in secret to carry out policies that had left the US weaker and more isolated in the world, the top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell claimed on Wednesday.

In a scathing attack on the record of President George W. Bush, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Mr Powell until last January, said: “What I saw was a cabal between the vice-president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made.

“Now it is paying the consequences of making those decisions in secret, but far more telling to me is America is paying the consequences.”...

Hey Wilkerson, if you don't love this country, you can just gggiiitttt out!

The No-Spine Zone

Finally, some good reporting from The Today Show...

A screenshot from their interview with Bill O'Really?:

Yes, the photo is real.

[Thanks to Think Progress for the image.]

Harriet Miers: Yep, Still A Dunce

There are many things Harriet Miers likes and many things she doesn't. Things she likes: GEORGE W. BUSH- HE'S SOOOO COOL!!! Things she doesn't like: Legislating from the bench (well, I assume so, as the President has said this 374 times)... and filling out her required Supreme Court nominee judicial questionnaire. Gosh, George didn't say she'd have to answer all these questions! She is being asked to resubmit part of the questionnaire, after Judiciary Committee members found her responses "inadequate," "insufficient" and "insulting". Arlen Specter should expect a birthday card this year with the phrase "You are the WORST Senate guy ever! :-( " inside.

Supreme Court Nominee Is Asked to Redo Response to Questions

The Supreme Court nomination of Harriet E. Miers suffered another setback on Wednesday when the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee asked her to resubmit parts of her judicial questionnaire, saying various members had found her responses "inadequate," "insufficient" and "insulting."

Senators Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the committee chairman, and Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the senior Democrat, sent Ms. Miers a letter faulting what they called incomplete responses about her legal career, her work in the White House, her potential conflicts on cases involving the administration and the suspension of her license by the District of Columbia Bar...

Those who want to support Harriet, should "friend" her on MySpace:
MySpace - Harriet Miers

She really, really appreciates the support! :-D

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

What Did Bush Know And When Did He Know It?

A controversial New York Daily News article that's got the "blogosphere" all abuzz today asserts that President Bush knew about Karl Rove's role in the Plame leak back in 2003. (This would mean he lied, by the way, something he certainly would never do) It also says that Bush was angry and "made his displeasure known to Karl". I'm not gonna ask how. I'm not sure I buy that, though... well, the angry part, not the knowing part. Still, the article has people talking.

Scott McClellan even refused to discuss the article's accuracy (after sort of discussing it for a second) in today's White House press briefing. Let's play a drinking game with that transcript. Every time Scott refuses to answer even the most basic question, citing the "ongoing investigation" excuse, take two shots. If he uses the phrase twice in the same response, three shots.

This is all, to say the least, getting very interesting.

Also- With the right-wing spin machine on full speed, Think Progress has put together a fact sheet debunking the right-wing myths/talking points about the Plame investigation. Really great stuff:
Right-Wing Myths About The Leak Investigation

You have the right to remain silent...

A warrant has been issued for Tom Delay's arrest.

Texas Court Issues Warrant for DeLay

The lobbyist who posts his $10,000 bail will be greatly rewarded.

Harriet Miers: Dunce

Harriet Miers is taking lessons. Lessons in how not to look so overtly unqualified when her confirmation hearings begin next month. After a chat with Judiciary committee member Chuck Schumer revealed that ol' Harriet might actually know less than her already low expectations implied, the White House has decided to give Harriet time to do some studying. Time to find out what all this 'Supreme Court' business is about. She needs to study hard if she wants to succeed. The last thing she wants is to end up like that troublemaker Clarence always copying off his buddy Antonin.

Michael Goodwin has a great column on this in the Daily News...
She's already failed

...The final straw is a plan to delay the start of her Senate confirmation hearings, tentatively set for Nov. 7. It seems Miers has some cramming to do before she can face the Judiciary Committee. She needs, Sen. Chuck Schumer says, "some time to learn" about key constitutional cases. The panel chairman, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), was quoted as saying, "It is unfair to start the hearings before she's ready."

Before she's ready? In plain English, they're talking about remedial education. Not since the City University of New York ended the insidious practice ofdumbing down its standards has a government institution stooped so low to accommodate an unqualified applicant...

Also- Daily News editorial for today:
Harriet Miers' uphill climb

Why So Angry?

Bill O'Reilly + Jon Stewart = classic TV

It did not disappoint, with Stewart calling out O'Reilly on going after all the small people, but leaving out the actual people with power- ie. going after Cindy Sheehan and not the neoconservatives. O'Reilly said his show was serious and Stewart just makes inappropriate jokes about important events. Stewart semi-disagreed ("We do add insult to injury, but, BUT you add injury"). Mr. O'Reilly also declared that France is one of America's greatest enemies, causing Jon's head to explode. O'Reilly later called him a pinhead. At least he didn't call us all potheads again. Good times.

Best exchange:
O'Reilly: "There's a lot of wrongs we have to right in this world, ya know? And you have to take on a lot of bad people..."

Stewart: "And when are you gonna start doing that?"

Link to Video (courtesy One Good Move)

History Lesson

With indictments expected this week, here's a reminder of how serious the Bush administration takes this Plame investigation...

"If there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of."
-President George W. Bush (September 30th, 2003)

"The President has set high standards, the highest of standards for people in his administration. He's made it very clear to people in his administration that he expects them to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration."
-Scott McClellan (September 29th, 2003)

Way to criminalize politics, George and Scott.

If It Does Not Fit

Saddam pleads not guilty.

It's probably best we reserve judgement until all the facts are in...

Saddam Pleads Innocent to Murder, Torture

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

This Modern World.

Click the image for a larger view.

Would Cheney Resign?

That seems to be the hot topic.

Obviously, it's a highly unlikely scenario, but not as farfetched as it may have been a few weeks ago. I think if the Fitzgerald investigation does shine too bright a light on the Vice President's office, Cheney would resign for the sake of the President. Now, of course, he wouldn't admit he was doing because of his role in the Plame conspiracy. His reasons would fall under the standard BS reasons these people give when they resign: Either doing it because of health concerns, spend more time with family, or doesn't want to cause the President any unneeded stress. What would his resignation solve? Well it would do two things- 1) Get the White House off the hook for the Plame case in the eyes of the public (because no one thinks Bush is smart enough to organize a conspiracy), and 2) allow Bush to appoint a less polarizing Vice President (Cheney's always held Bush back poll-wise... there were rumors of replacing him during the campaign last year). And, of course, he'd still hold his sphere of influence over the White House from home; he's been doing it from an 'undisclosed location' for years anyway.

Condoleeza Rice would likely be the VP replacement. She's loyal to Bush, so that fits his litmus test for any position he fills. Plus, a black female Vice President? Yea, good luck trying to argue that nomination, spineless Democrats. This would perfectly set up Condi v. Hillary in 2008.

Of course, this is all speculation, ignoring how upsettingly teflon this administration is. Granted, if a blowjob could bring down a President, you would be sure this would. But after everything this crew has gotten away with, I won't be holding my breath.

U.S. News and World Report has news on the rumors:
White House Watch: Cheney resignation rumors fly

The Criminalization of Politics

Hello my fellow conservatives. Thanks for coming on such short notice.

As you aware, Patrick Fitzgerald's case is winding down and indictments are expected this week for key Bush administration officials regarding the leaking of an undercover CIA operative and the subsequent coverup. This case may also go up as high as Bush and Cheney themselves, so we have to be prepared. We need to have our talking points in order. Firstly, try to avoid the topic. If that fails, here is our talking point: This isn't a serious case... it's merely the criminalization of politics. Okay, great, everyone wrote that down? Bill? Sean? Rush? Ann? Fantastic.

Be prepared to push hard on this new talking point. Likely people will remind us that we are hypocrites, given the treatment that President Clinton received from both partisans and the media throughout his presidency (and the way in which we still scapegoat Mr. Clinton for everything from Osama to WMDs to Katrina). They will also remind us how overly aggressive Ken Starr came off, particularly compared to the dignified approach Fitzgerald has taken to the Plame investigation. Use the standard response to these fact-based assaults: Liberal media bias. Liberal elite. Just get the word "liberal" in there and you should be covered.

Remember: Criminalization of politics. Liberal media bias. You can see some great examples of how to spread this talking point from our patriotic friends here at the Fox network here:
Fox News Pushing “Criminalization of Politics” Talking Point

Remember conservatives- A crime is only a crime when a Democrats does it.

Now go out there and make the Republican party, err your country, proud. Dismissed.

"I would take the other hand with the falafel thing"

Bill O'Reilly is mad as hell and he's not gonna take it anymore! It seems a lot of people don't like him, for some reason or another. Bill has spent countless years of his life teaching us how to be patriotic Americans, to treat others with dignity, and to live moral lives through his fine example. And yet, people choose to repay his gifts to society and all us with anger. Normally a very reserved man, Mr. O'Reilly says he's fighting back.

What's hate got to do with it?-
Plenty, because media firebrand Bill O'Reilly spawns enmity in all that he does - and he's sick of it

Gauging the animus against O'Reilly has always been a rough art, but by his own estimation "it's gotten worse. Now it's so bad that I spend an enormous amount of money protecting myself against evil."

One usual suspect behind this rising tide of hatred, he says, is the Liberal Media Establishment, infuriated because it "can't marginalize me."

In O'Reilly fashion, here is my Talking Points Memo for this:

Bill O'Reilly is a hardworker. He loves Americans and works hards to bring the truth to patriotic, conservative Americans every day (see his books- "Who's Looking Out For You" and "The O'Reilly Factor For Kids" - for many condescending and patriotic examples).

Liberals hate hard work. They despise those who don't rely on handouts.

They want to destroy those who love America, because they themselves do not.

Bill O'Reilly is tougher than these liberals think he is. He will defeat them.

Or, if all else fails, simply shut off their mics.

And that's today's lesson... in The Factor.

[Sidenote: O'Reilly will be a guest on The Daily Show tonight.
Now that's must-see TV.]

Grannies Against The War

Unique story about grandmothers against the Iraq war.


Eighteen gray-haired grandmothers protesting the war in Iraq were arrested for disorderly conduct yesterday after they shuffled to the entrance of the Times Square military recruiting center — and tried to enlist.

"We wanted to sign up. Instead of our kids dying, we wanted to take their place. We've already lived our lives," said granny of five Joan Wile, 74...

Some of the women traveled from as far away as St. Olaf to attend the protest.

Cheney and Plamegate

A friend of mine emailed me about my blog. He expressed some curiousity about Cheney's role in this Plame business, so here is my off-the-cuff response on Cheney and Plamegate...

My understanding of the Cheney situation is this: He is a cold-hearted war profiteer with a robotic heart. Oh, Plamegate? In regards to his 'Plamegate' role, he appears to be the true target of the probe. Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is smart enough to know that that 'Scooter' Libby and others (even Rove) didn't wake up one morning and go "OMG, I could totally discredit Wilson by outing his wife!11!!". Nor did they have the intelligence clearance to possess the knowledge of her identity and work. So the marching orders obviously came from higher up and lord knows Bush is too stupid to think of it. So that points to Cheney, who masterminds everything from his lair thousands of feet below the White House. Likely Libby and Rove will be indicted- for conspiracy and whatnot, obstruction, perjury- fun stuff like that. But the true target is Cheney; specifically, what role did he play in this conspiracy. If it heats up, would Cheney resign? I'd like to think that he would, if just to take the heat off of President Bush (like Agnew did, except that didn't exactly save Nixon). This would leave Bush free to appoint a less-polarizing VP and Cheney would, of course, still control Bush via telephone from home. Of course, if Cheney is cooperating now (this is all iffy), he is likely scared of this scenario and is trying to save himself. It's also my theory that the reason President Bush put John Roberts as Chief Justice (instead of regular Justice) and why he wants his favorite fangirl Harriet Miers on the Court, is (in case it goes as high up as him and we have another US v. Nixon situation), he too is trying to protect himself. Basically, it comes down to this- these people can't govern to save their lives, but they sure know how to cover their own asses.

'Honor and integrity' in the George W. Bush era.

See also:
Cheney may be target of probe

Voter Fraud In Iraq?

Irregularities? Tsk. Never should've let Diebold go to Iraq.

Also, Sunnis were sent fliers telling them if they hadn't paid their parking parkets, they wouldn't be allowed to vote. And you don't even wanna know how many people Katherine Harris turned away.

Possible Irregularities Trigger Audit of Iraq Vote-
American Warplanes Bomb Villages in West, Possibly Killing Civilians

Iraq's election commission announced Monday that officials were investigating "unusually high" numbers of "yes" votes in about a dozen provinces during Iraq's landmark referendum on a new constitution, raising questions about irregularities in the balloting...

What would the spreading of American democracy be without a little voter fraud?

Protecting The Lies

Think Progress has a great rundown of the 23 Bush administration officials involved in the Plame leak investigation. This rundown includes detailed information on their roles in the saga, with numerous quotes and relevant links. A great primer for the Plame newbies out there.

The 23 are: Karl Rove, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley, Andrew Card, Alberto Gonzales, Mary Matalin, Ari Fleischer, Susan Ralston, Israel Hernandez, John Hannah, Scott McClellan, Dan Bartlett, Claire Buchan, Catherine Martin, Jennifer Millerwise, Jim Wilkinson, Colin Powell, Karen Hughes, Adam Levine, Bob Joseph, Vice President Dick Cheney, and President George W. Bush

Highly recommended read.

And could one of these 23 be now cooperating with Fitzgerald's case? The plot thickens.

Also- Great editorial by Frank Rich (this, Judy, is good journalism):
It's Bush-Cheney, Not Rove-Libby

...The attack on Mr. Wilson, by contrast, has left them and the Cheney-Libby tag team vulnerable because it's about something far bigger: protecting the lies that took the country into what the Reagan administration National Security Agency director, Lt. Gen. William Odom, recently called "the greatest strategic disaster in United States history."

Whether or not Mr. Fitzgerald uncovers an indictable crime, there is once again a victim, but that victim is not Mr. or Mrs. Wilson; it's the nation. It is surely a joke of history that even as the White House sells this weekend's constitutional referendum as yet another "victory" for democracy in Iraq, we still don't know the whole story of how our own democracy was hijacked on the way to war.

Certainly poignant given what Condi revealed on Sunday.

Plamegate: Worse Than Watergate

Is the Plame leak a worse offense than Watergate?

Then-RNC-chair Ed Gillespie agreed that it was on Hardball in September 2003:

Matthews: "Don't you think it's worse than Watergate, if you think about it?"

Gillespie: "I think if the allegation is true, to reveal the identity of an undercover CIA operative is abhorrent. And it should be a crime, and it is a crime."

Matthews: "It'd be worse than Watergate, wouldn't it?"

Gillespie: "Uhh, yea I just, yea I suppose in terms of the real world implications of it, it's not just politics."

Ohh, Edd Gillespie, you liberal.

I suppose that if this case is worse than Watergate, then that would make Patrick Fitzgerald the oncologist who's coming to remove the growing cancer on George W. Bush's presidency.

Monday, October 17, 2005


The World Health Organisation warns against bird flu fearmongering:

WHO warns against bird flu 'scaremongering'

The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned against "scaremongering" as avian influenza gained a toehold in Europe...

Fox News not likely to care. Fearmongering = Ratings, ba-by!!

Link to Video (courtesy One Good Move)

The Mystery Of Miers

Is Harriet Miers insane with religion or just religiously insane?

Conservatives everywhere want to know.

Andrew Sullivan posts some interesting analyis on his blog. Some of those closest with her are saying widely varying things about the topic that evangelical Republicans feel is the might important issue in America today (war? hurricanes? economy? never heard of 'em)- Roe v Wade. Justice Nathan Hecht, of the Texas Supreme Court, discussed where Miers stands on the controversial case, but his statements differed depending on who talked to...

In one instance:
"What followed, according to the notes, was a free-wheeling discussion about many topics, including same-sex marriage. Justice Hecht said he had never discussed that issue with Ms. Miers. Then an unidentified voice asked the two men, "Based on your personal knowledge of her, if she had the opportunity, do you believe she would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade?"

"Absolutely," said Judge Kinkeade.

"I agree with that," said Justice Hecht. "I concur."

And in another:

Justice Hecht also said he couldn't predict how Ms. Miers might vote on a challenge to Roe v. Wade.

"If you're asking, 'Is she going vote to overrule Roe v. Wade, or Lawrence v. Texas [a 2003 decision striking down Texas' law against same-sex sodomy], I don't know that you can ask anyone that because you don't know until you are there."

Better get your talking points straight, fellas. It's very important that we know just where she stands on these moral/religious issues, as the President has assured it's a key reason she belongs on the Supreme Court. Religion, as we know, is an integral part of our secular governing and judicial systems.

Said President Bush, "Article 6? More like Article Sucks!".

It's French, Bitch.

Just a reminder...

"The Colbert Report" debuts tonight at 11:30om EST.

The Colbert Report

Ohh Judy, You Are Incorrugable

A new report reveals that Judy Miller may have been slow enough to file her story with the Times so that it missed the first printings. Ohh, Judy, what are we going to do with you? You are as respectable as the Vice President (and his cronies) you are covering for. When asked why she didn't get her story in on time, Miller replied that she "didn't think" the report was late and that the tardiness was due to reasons "I could not recall".

NYT: Miller's Delays Made Story Miss Deadline

It didn't take 85 days, but Judith Miller was slow enough to cooperate with the New York Times team reporting on her case that some readers ended up missing the paper's long-awaited Miller coverage on Oct. 16.

The paper's two-story Sunday package--a 5,800-word account of Miller's role in the Valerie Plame affair and Miller's own first-person tale of her conversations with vice-presidential chief of staff I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby--missed the deadline to be included in the bulldog edition, 100,000 copies distributed nationally...

Bulldog edition? My god, they've got Jeff Gannon working for the Times now? Well, they probably should hire him, I suppose. He's about as real a reporter as Judy Miller. And they've both been in bed (maybe literally in Gannon's case) with the White House. Sweet dreams, Judy.

Also- Two stories about the investigation narrowing in the Vice President's office:
-Bloomberg: Fitzgerald Focusing On Cheney...
-Reporter's Account Suggests Probe's Tack-
Prosecutor in Leak Case May Be Looking Into Possible Misconduct by Cheney's Office

Working Out The Kinks

Sorry for the layout problems in IE before.

Fixed, I hope.

Scotty's In A Bad Spot

My friend and I hold a mock White House Press Corp briefing (based on this spam comment I got). If only the real Scott McClellan were this honest.

Q: Where does Bush stand on metro-gel?

McClellan: Oh, sternly against it. President Bush feels that while women should have full freedom to control their body, it contradicts with his faith. And so he cannot support the measure. Next question? Helen?

Q: Helen Thomas is a terrorist.

Thomas: Yes, you piece of shit. So, what's with Bushie's war in Iraq? I fucking don't support it for anything, you worthless piece of trash.

McClellan: I'll see to it that the Secret Service take you out behind the woodshed and do to you what Reagan never had the balls to do, beat you down like the old horse you are. Now go die. Next question. Judith Miller, New York Times. Yes, Ms. Miller...we all know you.

Q: When is Karl going to return my calls? I need him for my book.

McClellan: Ummm.

Q: Scott- Today Condoleeza Rice on Meet The Press said that the war in Iraq was about ignoring Al Queada and taking a 'bolder approach' to rebuilding the Mideast, thereby blowing apart the original reasons given for the war. How does the White House justify this statement by the Secretary of State?

McClellan: Well, the war really is about freedom, isn't it? It never was about finding weapons, it was about freedom for the people of Iraq from Saddam Hussein. Did you really want him in power making it possible for all sorts of terrorist activity to occur in Iraq? If you disagree, I think you should rethink your stance on terrorism. Maybe you're like Helen over there and need to learn patriotism by the rod.

Q: Scott, Saddam actually hated terrorists out of fear of losing his power. Didn't we actually create the current terrorist threat in Iraq through our poorly planned invasion?

McClellan: George Washington once said to avoid foreign entanglements, but if he knew where we were today he would say to protect liberty at all costs. Next question.

Q: Scott, quick question about Harriet Miers. Has she ever been with a man? Because she seems really dry and crusty.

McClellan: If you want to be like Helen on the wheel of patriotism in the corner, go ahead and ask something about Plamegate. I think she can answer that for herself at the hearings, which I'm sure will be fair and impartial in accordance with President Bush's request.Now if you will all excuse me, I have a seminar in spinning news with Baghdad Bob at 8. I can't miss a minute of it. Today he's going to instruct us on what to do when the enemy is at the gates and we're inevitably going to lose, which is quite possible in the near future.

Q: Thank you, Scott. Question about Plamegate- In what specifically did the Vice President's office threaten the NY Times, resulting in their depressingly shitty article today in which they insist that a ghost wrote Valerie Plames name in Judy Millers notes?

McClellan: We were instructed by the special prosectutor not to answer any question related to Plamegate, Iraq, Iran, Hurricane Katrina, Iraq, North Korea, the impending oil crisis, chicken sicknesses, and a resurrgence of polio. Now I can't violate his request. I believe you should look to a higher power for your questions.

And by that higher power, I mean Dick Cheney.

Q: Hmmm, well that affects my question list here. Okay, ummm, question about Intelligent Design. Who was subbing for the Designer the week that the President was created?

McClellan: I'll answer that question with a question. Do you believe in God?

Q: Its not my job to answer the questions, Scott. Its your's.

McClellan: I believe the answer has everything to do with your question.

Q: I withdraw my question. New question- Has the stress of the Plame investigation affected Karl Rove's relationship with his boyfriend?

McClellan: Mr. Rove is a vital part of this administration and we're happy to have him with us. His personal life is his own business, but I'll tell you this...his neck is covered in hickeys today and my dick is a little sore too. Helen Thomas, get yo bitch ass down here. Let's boogey.

Q: Thank you Scott, thats frightening informative.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

An Introduction


Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jeremy and this is my weblog (or "blog" as they are sometimes called). As you may have surmised, it is a political blog. Why start a political blog? Well, I was surfing around the internet and found the political blog world to be dangerously underpopulated. So here I am to the rescue. I hope this blog will inform, entertain, and occassionally lull you to sleep. I hope it grows and encourage your feedback in that endeavor. I know the blog world is huge and filled with a big boys (the Kos-es, the Americablogs, and Crooks and Liars) and a million other small fishes. I am aware I am but another fish. But I wouldn't have created this blog if I didn't feel that I too could contribute... in my own small way.

It should be noted that I am no 'newbie' to the world of political blogging. I started writing about politics last summer when I started my LiveJournal community- Religion, Politics, and the Great Pumpkin. You can read a year's worth of archives of my writing there. I have re-posted some of my recent entries below just to get this new ball rolling. Originally this community was created for my friends to discuss the 2004 presidential election. However, I soon commandeered the community as my own and began to use it as a... well, blog of my political thoughts and stories of interest. So I decided it would be best to start a real blog and make it official.

A little bit about myself before I begin. I am a liberal. Up through college, I was actually a moderate conservative (for the most part), but have never aligned myself with any major party (I am registered independent). My move towards being liberal began in late 2000. In 2000, I rooted for Sen. McCain to win the Republican primaries; alas, he did not. So I voted for Al Gore, having been a fan of President Clinton and also respecting Gore for his strong environmental stance. I was sure he would win- I was positive the majority of Americans would not vote for an intellectually challenged, born-again Christian with a string of failed businesses, trading on his family name. It turned out I was right. But he ended up President anyway. This electoral injustice was where I first began to realize how far this country had moved politically and that I shared different values. Could I be... liberal? It seemed possible. My change cemented in lower Manhattan on the morning of September 11, 2001. As I made my way uptown from a neighborhood that had just been attacked by terrorists, a lot of political issues and policies I had never even given much thought to before were swimming in my mind and I began to fear the thought of a country at war under the leadership of men with dubious priorities. As the years of George Bush's leadership continued, I became more and more dillusioned with the state of the union and the dumbed-down level of our national political dialogue. I had/have many thoughts about these matters and, last year, decided to write about them.

And that's how I got here. I hope my little fish of a blog will be able to find a place in this large sea of political discussion. I invite feedback and criticism about this (whether it's the content or aesthetics of this blog). Thanks for reading; if even one new person finds this blog of interest/help, than I am greatful.

[My old LiveJournal archives:
Religion, Politics, and the Great Pumpkin - Calendar View]

Bush Co: Taking A Less Bold Approach To Honesty

[Originally published 10/16 on my old LiveJournal blog]

[Warning: The following post could be called what is known as a 'rant'. Those with heart conditions, pregnancy, muscular disorders, or aversions to the speaking of truth in the face of overwhelming propaganda should not ride. Cost: Four tickets.]

Since 2003, whenever anyone tried to insinuate that the war in Iraq was based on the Project For A New American Century (PNAC) neoconservative agenda, and not the imminent Iraqi threat it was sold as, Bush loyalists have always gotten angry and called these people conspiracy theorists and tried to set them straight. This wasn't a war of choice, they insisted! This was about weapons of mass destruction and Saddam's Al Qeada links, they cried! This wasn't about rebuilding the Middle East, they stated! It became a tougher argument to push, as the facts continued to pour in.

Well, bad news... No less than our own Secretary of State, Ms. Condoleeza "I believe the title was 'Bin Laden Determined To Attack Inside the United States'" Rice has come out and admitted what many knew all along- that the Iraq project was simply about building "a different kind of Middle East". Nope that doesn't sound like the PNAC agenda at all.

Crooks and Liars has video from NBC's Meet the Press:
Condi Rice: Verifies what we all Thought

Read it and (hopefully) weep. From the transcript:
"But the fact of the matter is that when we were attacked on September 11, we had a choice to make. We could decide that the proximate cause was al-Qaeda and the people who flew those planes into buildings and, therefore, we would go after al-Qaeda and perhaps after the Taliban and then our work would be done and we would try to defend ourselves.

Or we could take a bolder approach, which was to say that we had to go after the root causes of the kind of terrorism that was produced there, and that meant a different kind of Middle East

This just blows every part of my mind capable of rational thought. More than any other statement yet by an administration official, this one completely blows the original reasons for the war to pieces. Change the war rationalization a million times over (and they just about have), but that doesn't erase the history of how the war was sold: WMDs, Saddam the terrorist supporter, and the imminent nuclear destruction of America. This was sold as war of last resort- a war that up until the last minute, the President was trying to avoid. Well if now you're stating it was, from the beginning, about looking beyond Al Qeada and taking a "bolder approach", then every single thing administration officials said in the buildup to war in 2002 and 2003 is, unequivocally, a LIE. With a capital, bolded "L". It was either about a planned rebuilding of the Middle East or it was a preemptive response to an imminent attack. It can't be both. Many people knew all along which one it really was and now we can thank Ms. Rice for her candor in ending the debate.

I wonder if they get NBC in Iraq. I'm sure some of our troops would love to be better informed of why they are there. They want the truth? They can't handle the truth.

Some relevant quotes for historical reference:
"And, again, I don't know where he is. I, I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him."
-President Bush about Osama in press conference, March 13, 2002

"I hope this Iraq situation will be resolved peacefully... I want to remind people that, Saddam Hussein, the choice is his to make as to whether or not the Iraqi situation is resolved peacefully. You said we're headed to war in Iraq -I don't know why you say that. I hope we're not headed to war in Iraq. I'm the person who gets to decide, not you."
-President Bush to reporters, December 31, 2002

"Fuck Saddam, we're taking him out."
–President Bush to three U.S. Senators in March 2002, a full year before the Iraq invasion

"We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."
–National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, on Iraq's nuclear capabilities and the Bush administration's case for war, Sept. 8, 2002

"The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction, as the core reason."
-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, "Vanity Fair" interview, May 28, 2003

And that's the facts, Jack.

All The Lies That Are Fit To Print

[Originally published 10/16 on my old LiveJournal blog]

Judy Miller finally 'comes clean' about her role in the Plamegate saga:
My Four Hours Testifying in the Federal Grand Jury Room

Thank you, Judy, for almost making Jayson Blair look good in comparison.

And enjoy as other NY Times reporters go all "WTF??!!" on Judy....

The Miller Case: A Notebook, a Cause, a Jail Cell and a Deal

In a notebook belonging to Judith Miller, a reporter for The New York Times, amid notations about Iraq and nuclear weapons, appear two small words: "Valerie Flame."

Ms. Miller should have written Valerie Plame. That name is at the core of a federal grand jury investigation that has reached deep into the White House. At issue is whether Bush administration officials leaked the identity of Ms. Plame, an undercover C.I.A. operative, to reporters as part of an effort to blunt criticism of the president's justification for the war in Iraq.

Ms. Miller spent 85 days in jail for refusing to testify and reveal her confidential source, then relented. On Sept. 30, she told the grand jury that her source was I. Lewis Libby, the vice president's chief of staff. But she said he did not reveal Ms. Plame's name.

And when the prosecutor in the case asked her to explain how "Valerie Flame" appeared in the same notebook she used in interviewing Mr. Libby, Ms. Miller said she "didn't think" she heard it from him. "I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall," she wrote on Friday, recounting her testimony for an article that appears today.

Whether Ms. Miller's testimony will prove valuable to the prosecution remains unclear, as do its ramifications for press freedom. Yet an examination of Ms. Miller's decision not to testify, and then to do so, offers fresh information about her role in the investigation and how The New York Times turned her case into a cause...

Awwww, poor Judy Martyr says all Scooter told her was how mean Joseph Wilson was, and now she can't "recall" who her Plame (or is it "Flame") source was. Not only is she a bad liar, but every accusation thrown at her about being a tool of the Bush administration has now been validated. Feigning ignorance to protect her pal Scooter? Voluntarily going to jail and disgracing the Times to take one for the team and for a book deal? No surprise that, in the newsroom at the Times, "she was a divisive figure". Hopefully the Times will send her packing and give her all the time in the world to 'recall' just who told her about Valerie Flame. Whoever that is.

Designing New Stars

[Originally published 10/13 on my old LiveJournal blog]

Not politics per se, but I like science, so this story stood out:

Big stars are born near Milky Way's black hole

Dozens of massive stars, destined for a short but brilliant life, were born less than a light-year away from the Milky Way's central black hole, one of the most hostile environments in our galaxy, astronomers reported on Thursday...

Which lead to this conversation online...

Me: I wonder why the Intelligent Designer decided to create new stars?
Bill:'s time for new ones
Me: He's so Intelligent!

The Dangers of Theocracy

[Originally published 10/12 on my old LiveJournal blog]

Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney warned in a recent speech of the danger of the U.S. becoming a theocracy....

Because of... terrorists? Oh. Not what I was expecting.

Romney warns of theocracy danger:
In remarks in N.C., says US under attack

Venturing into foreign policy, Governor Mitt Romney yesterday told a largely Republican audience that Islamic terrorists ''want to bring down our government" and ''want to put in place a huge theocracy."

''We're under attack, as you know, militarily," Romney told about 150 people gathered at an exclusive Raleigh country club. ''They're not just intent on blowing up a little bomb here and there at a shopping mall, awful as that would be. They want to bring down our government, bring down our entire economy. They want to put in place a huge theocracy."...

Sorry bro, but I'm more worried about our own citizens beating them to the punch-

Case in point:

Bush: Miers' Religion Key Part of Her Life

President Bush said Wednesday his advisers were telling conservatives about Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers' religious beliefs because they are interested in her background and "part of Harriet Miers' life is her religion."

"People are interested to know why I picked Harriet Miers," Bush told reporters at the White House. "They want to know Harriet Miers' background. They want to know as much as they possibly can before they form opinions. And part of Harriet Miers' life is her religion."

Good God! (Pardon the pun) How ridiculous is this nomination getting? How is it even remotely relevant to whether or not she belongs on the Supreme Court? But seeing as how the conservatives Bush is reaching out to here for support are the ones who were unsure if Miers would devote her judicial life solely to destroying abortion... well, I can see why. If anything, this makes Miers less qualified to be placed on the Court. The United States was founded as a secular society. The Court requires someone will approach cases without personal bias. But that is not what will happen with Miers. What the President is basically saying here is- 'Yes, she may have no experience at all as a judge, but she is very religious and therefore is qualified to be on the Supreme Court'. Think about the implications of this arrogant statement.

Supreme Court Justices are interpreters of constitutional law. Our Constitution is a secular one, and is designed to protect a separation of church and state. So what does it matter, in regards to Miers' "background", that she is as super Christ-y as they come? I know Bush's base are the ones who want to destroy that separation and place their religion in all aspects of our society (courthouses, science classes in schools, etc), but for Bush to use her religion to defend her nomination is not only an insulting and desperate tactic, it is also irrelevant and unconstitutional (see Article 6 of the Constitution). Please let there be enough sane Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to see through this farce. Now is not the time to worry about being labeled 'obstructionists'- now is the time to do your jobs!

Gov. Romney, hater of theocracy, please save us from this insanity!!!

Hello? Governor? Hello?

I leave readers with this quote, back from when our Constitution still mattered...

"Guard against those men who make a great noise about religion, in choosing representatives...If they knew the nature and worth of religion, they would not debauch it to such shameful purposes. If pure religion is the criterion to denominate candidates, those who make a noise about it must be rejected; for their wrangle about it, proves that they are void of it. Let honesty, talents and quick despatch, characterise the men of your choice."
-Reverend John Leland (in a speech on July 4th, 1802)

White House Counsel Harriet Miers Nominated For Supreme Court

[Originally published 10/03 on my old LiveJournal blog]

President Bush has nominated White House counsel Harriet Miers for Supreme Court justice.

To say this decision is disappointing and frustrating is an understatement. Certainly many (such as Senate Democrats who feared the worst) will be quite pleased that Bush did not appoint a crazy, all-out Scalia type zealot, but that should be little consolation at this point. Once again George W. Bush, instead of working with others to search for the most qualified candidate possible, has decided to promote a loyal soldier from his own inner circle. His Cabinet and other key White House positions are littered with old friends of Bush's from Texas (if not his father's old cronies)... now too will the same cronyism/political nepotism that put Brownie in charge of FEMA place a new justice on the Supreme Court. Putting an old Texas friend like Gonzales as Attorney General (as just one example) is one level of bad, but doing this for the United States Supreme Court is even more insulting. At least with Bush putting his incompetent friends in the Cabinet, they'll be gone after 2008. But, for good or bad, Ms. Miers is with us for many, many years. The President promised he would not use a 'litmus test' to pick a Justice and he has shown he only uses one litmus test for any position he is filling- loyalty. I cannot believe that at a time where the President is finally being scrutinized for the rampant cronyism that has put numerous unqualified people in key positions of government, that he would just go for broke and nominate his own Counsel for the Court. Of course, I'm sure someone who's worked as official White House counsel for this administration only adheres to the highest legal, ethical, and moral standards.

And as I watched the press conference announcing this, the President had the nerve to not-so-subtlely scold Senate Democrats for thinking that this woman should be throughly questioned for such an important job. He made a number of extremely passive-aggressive comments about how the Senate should quickly and fairly confirm her and basically certain Senators shouldn't turn this into a big deal of some kind. He made some remark about looking forward to working with 80 of our good Senators on this nomination, an odd comment that I interpreted as a giant 'fuck you' to the 22 Democrats who stood their ground and voted "Nay" for Chief Justice Roberts. Not surprising, as Bush has never had anything but contempt for the Constitutional processes of governing.

Other remarks during the press conference stuck with me as well. President Bush tried to assure us that "She will not legislate from the bench", a phrase he used at least twice according to my count. Can you say that again, sir, I missed it the first two times. Having worked to put herself through some Baptist college shows she is a strong person, Bush said. Gotta love the old hard-luck story. Of course, I heard "Baptist college" (as well as other references to her strong Christianity) and I thought "religious right" and then I thought "well, this is going very well". And then the President assured us that it didn't matter that Miers had never served on the bench before, because she is way qualified as is. To illustrate this point, he praised her job performance as former Texas Lottery Commissioner. Well, that's enough for me... I'm sold!

Bush Chooses Miers for Supreme Court

President Bush on Monday nominated White House counsel Harriet Miers to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court, reaching into his loyal inner circle for a pick that could reshape the nation's judiciary for years to come....

A Flawed Column

[Originally published 9/30 in my old LiveJournal blog]

With increasing dissatisfaction here in America about the Iraq war (and the President's handling of it), a lot has been said about the anti-war movement- from both sides. Karl Rove said earlier this month that there is no anti-war movement. Of course, Mr. Rove is an immoral scumbag who has made a living destroying the lives of others. So I'm not too concerned with what George Bush's own Joseph Goebbels thinks about the movement. Certainly, the thousands of people in DC last weekend can attest to the existence of a strong anti-war movement. The main problem of the movement is (and has been) the absence of a clear leader. The civil rights movements of the '50s and '60s was so successful because of strong leaders such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.

The anti-war movement apparently found its leader last month, in the form of grieving Gold Star mother Cindy Sheehan. Her grief over her loss is what gave her the moral authority to take on the administration. Her refusal to back down while camped out for a month outside the ranch of a President who was too busy clearing brush to meet with her, inspired many. The movement rallied around her and, together, they continue to take the fight of the peace movement to the President's door. However, recent incidents have hurt her credibility with the public, such as Cindy's big grin during her arrest (as if the whole thing was a lovely tea party) and her increasingly radical statements (such that troops should get out of "occupied New Orleans"... oops, Cindy, the whole point is the troops belong here, not in Iraq!). As another example, Cindy's earlier (and correct) statements that the war in Iraq is a distraction from the real war on terror is contradicted by her more recent statements against the Afghanistan war. The clarity she had at the beginning is long gone. These incidents have made anti-war Americans wonder whether Cindy might be doing more harm than good. It's a fair point, no matter how much I will continue to defend her right to go out there and speak her mind to the leaders whose actions resulted in her son's death. Certainly whatever Cindy may say or do is absolutely nothing compared to the unconstitutional actions, law-skirting, and general corruption coming out of the White House. On the question of which side has the moral high ground, it's still Cindy by a mile.

Well, with this in mind, I came across an interesting column in today's Daily News discussing the lack of an "absolute moral authority" in today's anti-war movement. It is a point I cannot disagree with. So I skimmed it quickly and it looked like a well-written piece, but before reading further, I was curious to see who wrote it. I was not entirely surprised to see that it was Charles Krauthammer. You may have seen him on Fox News from time to time, fellating the Bush administration. As good as he is at playing the good little journalist, I think it is important to know where he is coming from before reading his column. Charles Krauthammer is a hardcore neo-conservative. As a founding member of the Project For A New American Century, Krauthammer is a big believer in a unilateral foreign policy and the group's goal "to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests". Needless to say, he is a big supporter of the Iraq war. When the war began, I am sure he and William Kristol and William "You could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down" Bennett and Richard Perle were all at PNAC headquarters eating popcorn and watching Fox News as Baghdad got shocked and awed with explosive fury. In short, Mr. Krauthammer's statements about Cindy Sheehan may not be wrong, but they are beside the point. Sheehan is just a tool for Charlie to try and marginalize the anti-war sentiment in this country, which is now the majority. Krauthammer is insulted not just by Ms. Sheehan's more radical statements, but even just her assertion that *gasp* George W. Bush might be a dishonest person. Jesus Christ himself could come down from Heaven to denounce the war and no doubt Krauthammer and his associates would find fault with the radical socialist rantings of that hippie. "Blessed are the peacemakers"? That goes too far! Be careful Mr. Christ, they killed Martin Luther King for saying radical stuff like that. Oh what's that, you already were killed? Ohh okay... nevermind then. Anyway, if anyone is interested, Mr. Krauthammer's column is below.

A flawed leader-
Anti-war movement lacks absolute moral authority

A large number of Americans feel deep and understandable unease about the war in Iraq, and want nothing more than to pull out. But the antiwar movement is singularly disserved by its leadership, such as it is. Its de facto leader is Cindy Sheehan, who catapulted herself into that role by quite brilliantly exploiting the media's hunger for political news during the August recess, and by wrapping herself in the courage of her son Casey, who died in Iraq.

Her loss and grief deserve sympathy and respect. However, Sheehan believes that it entitles her to special standing in opposing a war...

Sutton's Impact

[Originally published 9/28 on my old LiveJournal blog]

After my earlier entry, I sent Ward Sutton an email.

He replied. Below is his response to my response to his cartoon:

Hi Jeremy -
Thank you for your email and how could I not respond to what is, by far, the most thought feedback I've ever received from a cartoon?

Your very well-written letter makes sense on all counts and I fully respect your position.
And I don't disagree with most of the things you've said.

Basically, New York, an exceptionally liberal city, is (presumably) going to reelect a Republican mayor. That is an odd thing and deserves commentary, in my opinion, and so I did a cartoon about it.

What it comes down to for me, is Bush. Bush is damaging this country in a historic, horrible way, and the only way he is able to do this is with all the support he has. He has been divisive and pushed the idea that only Republicans are "true americans." And I believe this has bred corruption in the Republican party with all the unchecked power they have.

And then there's Bloomberg, who opportunistically became a Republican for his own political benefit. He courts the national party, brings them to town, sells out the city. He made deals with the devil, in my mind. And back during RNC 2004, I promised myself I wouldn't forget it.

Now that he's in office, why doesn't Bloomberg become a Democrat? If that is where his heart lies, why not make a statement by switching parties and renouncing Bush et al? Instead he raises millions for the Republicans and that's something else I cannot forgive. It also makes me not really trust the guy. I'm also uncomfortable with the fact that he has so much money that he can buy everything to get where he wants.

On Sept 10, 2001, the NYC public television channel broadcast a documentary about all the candidates running that year for Mayor. Bloomberg came off like an unbelievable jerk, with even worse jerks as aides who even threatened the filmmakers. I thought that night, "This guy cannot be allowed to win." Of course, the next day, everything changed. Would he have still won if Sept 11 never happened? Who knows? His Giulliani endorsement surely wouldn't have mattered as much in that scenario.

I also question the rationale of "well, bloomberg's a republican, but he's not a BAD republican" that many NYers seem to buy. "Well, he's a Nazi, but he's a liberal Nazi." Hey, if the guy is supporting the party, and the party is doing horrible things, doesn't that make him guilty as well? Plus, he KNOWS he can't win in NY as a right winger, so couldn't some of his liberal positions be made with this in mind? I'm not saying I fully distrust his sincerity, but hey, I've got some reason to doubt.

Clearly, I am thrilled that if we have to have a republican mayor we have one who is liberal on a lot of these issues you mention. And I don't believe in always voting along partisan lines no matter what. I will admit that I voted for Giulliani in his reelection because I thought the Dem opponent was hopelessly weak, however well intentioned she may have been. But I do feel the Dems have to come back, and how can they do that if they can't even win in their own city?

Anyway, my cartoons are designed to provoke, and I guess this one may have done that. But I certainly understand why you would support Bloomberg. Hope my explanation here makes sense.

Thanks again for your thoughtful letter and for your support of my work (despite a disagreement this time).
Take care and hope you are well -

Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed!

[Originally published 9/28 in my old LiveJournal blog]

Last month, I wrote about this book:

Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed

You can read about this book at the official site. Rush Limbaugh loves it!

Well I purchased the book tonight at Barnes and Noble. Now that's an interesting story in itself. Now I know most people's reaction when hearing of this book was "This is a fucking joke, right? No parent would actually give this piece of propaganda to their children, would they?". Heck, even ol' conservative Andrew Sullivan was disturbed. But the fact is that the author was very serious with this book. She feels that it "is a fun way for parents to teach young children the valuable lessons of conservatism". No doubt the author is very proud of the book she has written. That's the one thing you must understand. The author is 100% serious about this book.... So anyway, I get to the store and ask if they have the book. The guy checks the computer and sees that they do and proceeds to escort me to the book. We head toward the childrens' section and I think "Okay, that makes sense as to where it would be". But then we make a right and walk right past that section. "Huh? I wonder what section it's in then?", I asked myself. The guy points at the nearby Humor section. I walk over and sure enough, there are 5 copies of the book, next to Garfield compilations. No doubt Barnes and Noble looked at the cover and thought "Wow, this shit is pretty funny. What a great parody book". So it's been classified as a 'Humor' book. That made my day. Suck on that lemon, Katharine DeBrecht!

And now my overview of the book: We meet Tommy and Lou who live in "a small city, in the great USA". The town is a friggin' conservative wet dream- flags everywhere and not a negro in sight. Tommy and Lou are good kids who do all their chores, say their prayers, and eat their vitamins. Hulk Hogan would be proud. They even have a large framed photo of Ronald Reagan in their living room, a picture of the Statue of Liberty above their beds, and a cross on the wall. Tommy and Lou really want a new swing set like all the other kids have... but mommy and daddy won't just give them one, because such handouts would make them lazy (oh snap, take that welfare moms!). Tommy and Lou must EARN that swing set if they want to appreciate it. So they decide to open a lemonade stand to make the money. That night, they fell asleep and had a crazy dream.

In their dream, they lived in a crazy place called Liberaland. Liberland features such storefronts as Duey, Taxim, and Howe; Spendbucks Coffee; K-Marx; and a street called Obstruction Alley. In Liberaland, Tommy and Lou are successfully running their lemonade stand. All is well until (GASP!!)- a liberal pops out from behind a tree! He announces himself as Mayor Leach (and looks a lot like Ted Kennedy!) and demands that they pay their taxes (Taxes? How Marxist of him! Paying taxes is as unamerican as voting Democrat!). Leach explains, quite simply, that taxes are "where you give the government half of your money so we can spend it better". Mayor Leach then takes half their money, but the boys keep on working hard. Because they're good boys. They were so grateful to God for the success of their lemonade stand, they hang up a picture of Jesus there. Just then, another liberal appears from behind the tree! He says that he is Mr. Fussman of the LCLU and his limousine liberal friend was offended by the picture, so it must come down (apparently the author is stupid enough to accept this generalization, ignoring that separation of church and state laws don't apply to lemonade stands and therefore no one would give a shit, but far be it for me to burst Ms. DeBrecht's persecution complex bubble). And so Fussman took away their Jesus picture. The kids are sad, but carry on anyway. Then next, a third liberal appeared from behind the tree- Congresswoman Clunkton (who looks just like a certain female Senator from NY!). Ms. Clunkton insists that they have passed a law forcing children to eat broccoli (WTF?) and therefore they must sell it at their stand. She also informs them, before leaving, that Senator Kruckle from Taxachusetts has passed a law restricting the consumption of sugar. Tommy and Lou keep working hard. But they began to notice that all this liberal interference was ruining their business. They didn't mind, goshdarnit, because they were good little conservatives! But disaster soon struck as all the liberals returned to announce the passing of the new Boxster Teddy Algore Juffords Paloosi Byrdie Waxball Deanie Schooner Law (subtle, right readers?), turning over ownership of all lemonade stands to liberals. And the liberals slowly destroyed the lemonade stand over time, because it is in their nature to destroy things.

Luckily, Tommy and Lou woke up from this nightmare (/Ann Coulter's view of reality). Tommy reassured Lou that they weren't actually in Liberaland, and that here in the real world if they work hard they will succeed without interference. FREE ENTERPRISE, BA-BY! "And off they went to start squeezing lemons, like the good little conservatives they were". THE END. GOD BLESS AMERICA!

After the story, the author tells us to be on the lookout for more "Help! Mom!" book in the future! Sweet!!! Can I recommend "Help! Mom! Why Are You Insulting Our Intelligence?" for the next one? Pretty please? In her 'Thanks' section, she secondly thanks all the silly liberals out there for making her conservative and says she is "sure they'll be pleased that around fifty percent of the proceeds of this book will go taxes". 50%? Yea, that doesn't sound exaggerated, Katharine. I can't believe you're paying that much in taxes! Stupid liberal President... Bush? Him and his no-good.... tax cuts? [*shakes fist*]

In conclusion, this book is hilarious. And Katharine DeBrecht is a really awful mother.

The end.

What's The Matter With Ward Sutton?

[Originally published 9/26 on my old LiveJournal blog]

As the avid readers of this community know, I am a huge fan of Ward Sutton's wonderful Sutton Impact cartoons. I even skipped the "Serenity" film panel at this year's Comic Con so I could hear him speak. I also bought a copy of his book off of him there and chatted him up a bit. It was a very fun experience. I think his political cartoons are among the best around and I post them here for everyone to enjoy (?).

So I was shocked to see this week's cartoon and find that his target was his (and my own) hometown of New York (and the supposedly hypocritical liberals who live in it). The cartoon begins with Sutton mentioning Frank Thomas's excellent 2004 book "What's The Matter With Kansas?: How Conservatives Won The Heart of America", which examines why a rural heartland state like Kansas (one of the reddest of the red) would support politicians and leaders whose policies are destroying their way of life. I have written about this book earlier this year myself. Sutton posits that New York City residents have made the same political betrayal, by supporting Republican billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg for reelection. As partisan and mucho-liberal as I proudly am, I am sad to see Sutton approach the situation in such black-and-white way. And as a proud New Yorker, I also feel I must defend us NYC liberals. But first... here's the cartoon in question.

Let me firstly state that I have read Frank's book and agree with his argument. A state with such rampant poverty as Kansas should not be supporting today's Republican party. It's like getting shot by someone and then joining the NRA. But the situation in New York, in my opinion, is quite different. New Yorkers have never betrayed their liberal standing. Just ask Al Gore and the celebrity-like reception he gets when he speaks at NYU. Or go down to Union Square park where people are protesting 24-7 against the Iraq war. Or just for kicks, scream out "President Bush sucks!" next time you're on the subway and watch everyone applaud. The UN is here. Michael Moore lives uptown. Liberal-hater Rush Limbaugh lives here and gets his Oxycontin here. Even those Fox News people have to see us out their office windows every day! Democratic hero Bill Clinton lives just a few miles north of the city, in Westchester County. His wife, and our junior Senator, is supposedly the '08 Presidential nominee. And senior Senator Schumer did us proud in the confirmation hearings for John Roberts. The Democratic Party knows that, every four years, New York can be counted on proudly to give its 31 electoral votes to the Democratic candidate.

So why then, might you ask, is our Mayor not only a Republican, but also heading toward an easy reelection win? Because he is a good mayor who has done more to fulfill his campaign pledges than the average politician. Probably because he wasn't a politician before; he was a businessman. And he wasn't a Republican either. He was a lifelong Democrat but switched parties to run for Mayor. After Guiliani resurrected New York anew from the hellish crime-infested stereotype it was before (as any movie set in NY in the 70s and 80s depicted), it seemed obvious to Bloomberg that if he wanted to get elected Mayor, the Republican party would be better suited for him. New York City residents may be overwhelmingly liberal, but they are not overwhelmingly stupid. The last Democratic mayor the city elected was David Dinkins, a man so inept, he actually made people want Ed Koch back. That's bad. What's that, Dinkins asked, there is an all-out race riot going on in Brooklyn?? Ohh, I'm sure they'll all tire themselves out eventually. David Dinkins was so bad, and Rudy Guiliani so better, this ensured people would associate Republican mayoral leadership with a job well done. For all the liberals reading this, don't worry, we make up for this by keeping Democrats in charge of the City Council.

Michael Bloomberg is, in short, a good mayor. He was looking pretty lame-ducky a couple of years ago with his "we need to close down firehouses to save money!" and "Ticket people for loud sneezing, we have a budget crisis!" crap, but his handlers quickly pulled him aside and said "Mikey, NO. We already did that Nazi shit in the Guiliani administration, it won't fly again". Anyway, I think Bloomberg has a pretty good handle on the pulse of the city. To counteract his status as a billionaire, he made campaign pledges to bring him more down to Earth. He would not accept the large annual salary of the Mayor, save for $1 every year. He would not have his own office at City Hall and neither would anyone else; instead everyone shared one huge room with a bunch of cubicles and shared work space. He would either ride his bike or public transportation to work every day. To even my surprise, he has kept these promises. He also promised to revamp the city's education system and while he has certainly not fulfilled all his goals there, he has shown enough progress that I am willing to give him another four years to try. And after 9/11, his business-sense saved the city from a potential economic collapse. He is not a politics-as-usual kind of guy and his unique style of governing is a perfect fit for the eclectic nature of New York City.

And in what ways, I wonder, do liberals have it bad under Bloomberg? For instance, I believe Mr. Sutton himself lives in Manhattan. Manhattan is doing well. VERY well. Maybe if he lived in one of the areas in the outer boroughs that all mayors tend to ignore, I could see his anger, but I'm sure life is well for Ward in his Manhattan studio apartment. And Mayor Bloomberg is actually more openly liberal than his Democratic opponent Fernando Ferrer. Ferrer has established that he will fight strongly for blacks and hispanics and that's great, but he hasn't said much else. He can't just be the race guy; we already have an Al Sharpton. Mayor Bloomberg is very much pro-choice and even took time to let reporters know he disagrees with John Robert's nomination for Chief Justice. Is Ferrer pro-choice? I don't know; he won't say. Mayor Bloomberg is a very outspoken supporter of gay rights and is for gay marriage. He even marches at gay pride events! Does Ferrer support gay rights? I don't know; he won't say. Mayor Bloomberg, while stating he remains loyal to the Republican party, has expressed criticism toward the handling of the Iraq war. How does Ferrer feel about the war? You guessed it... I don't know; he won't say. It's safe to say that, as a liberal, I have seen more evidence that Michael Bloomberg shares my belief than Fernando Ferrer does.

Sutton's biggest beef with Bloomberg, however, seems to be the fact that he agreed to let the Republicans hold their Convention here last summer. This seems like a really minor and random thing to critique a Mayor on. I certainly was not excited that Bush and his fellow neocon hypocrite Republicans were coming to New York to whore out 9/11 like a cheap Hell's Kitchen hooker and use our city's landscape to further their agenda of fear and bigotry. However, a part of me was glad that if they were gonna have their Convention anywhere, they had it here, in liberal New York City, where hundreds of thousands of protestors made it clear to likely confused delegates just what people thought of their beloved President. If they had the Convention in Houston or Topeka, the delegates and politicians would've been surrounded by people happy to see them, who would verbally fellate them all week long. Here, in New York, they were jeered at the whole time and their Convention surrounded by streets full of angry liberals who would make sure that, no matter what went on inside the Convention, they knew they were not welcome here. Seeing this made me proud. I work a block away and believe me, all of those delegates knew once and for all, whether Bush was a uniter or a divider.... Speaking of those protestors, Mayor Bloomberg and the tourism board started a program for that week called Peaceful Political Activists, welcoming said activists to the city. This program encouraged political activism and even allowed protestors to get savings all over the city at restaurants, hotels, and select stores. How many other cities, even in the blue states, would have had such a program? Think about that. Finally, yes, many many protestors were wrongfully arrested and basically had their Constitutional rights shit on for around 72 hours. But I doubt Bloomberg was aware of how rampant this was until after the fact. From what I hear, those decisions were made by people like Secret Service and NYPD cops had to follow orders. Many of them did so regretfully and did not enjoy their jobs that week. If it helps, those who were arrested successfully sued the city for reparations for these incidents.

So, in conclusion, I love Ward Sutton's work, but strongly disagree with his black-and-white take on the New York City mayoral race. The idea that liberals should not be allowed to vote for Republicans is stupid. Blind partisan support and people who vote along party lines are what is wrong with today's political system. I have complained here after the '04 election about people who voted for George Bush, even though he was clearly an incompetent buffoon, simply because they were Republicans and 'had to'. Well likewise, I can't support a Democrat voting for only Democrat candidates out of partisan obligation. Because they almost always share my beliefs and positions, I would say I end up voting Democrat 90% of the time anyway, but I won't do so if a Republican comes along who is a better candidate. Bloomberg is a better candidate. One of the complaints about the Republican party is that it's filled with these immoral, hypocritical, closeminded zealots... so why wouldn't liberals want to encourage the success of Republicans like Bloomberg who rally against this mold? I think we should. Any Mayor who waves a gay pride flag so comfortably as he does has my vote.

Note to Sutton: If you want to rip into NYC again, try the bureaucratic clusterfuck that is the rebuilding of the World Trade Center. Now that's a real political nightmare.