Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Beauty Pageant


You may or may not be aware that today marks the Iowa Straw Poll.

Unarguably the second most idiotic political tradition in America (the first being the casting of the first ballot in the New Hampshire primary, which is now fading fast in relevance), the Iowa Straw Poll is a popularity contest that candidates voluntarily enter every four years. It is not binding on the caucuses held early in 2008 (which actually choose the winner of Iowa's delegates), and since not every candidate is entered in the cotillion, begins to take on the look of choosing the Runner Up to the Iowa Corn Queen.

Appropriate, since the poll is basically conducted like a state fair, with people paying $35 to listen to rock bands, enjoy rides and, yes, vote for the person who paid their admission! Why is this considered at all a relevant political turning point?:
AMES, Iowa (Reuters) - Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney and a handful of lesser-known rivals hunted for votes in Iowa on Saturday at an informal straw poll that offered the first big test of the 2008 White House race.

Iowa Republicans began lining up at mid-morning to vote in the nonbinding mock election, with Romney an overwhelming favorite to win and several candidates slugging it out for a second-place finish they hope will vault them into contention.[...]

The straw poll, an Iowa tradition since 1979, is an early test of a campaign's organizational strength in the state that holds the first nominating contest. It often thins the field of weaker candidates and gives the winner a temporary shot of momentum.
Only Republicans could imagine a way of using money to winnow candidates out: if you can't afford to buy enough votes to maintain your place in the field with respectability, you get out now.
"I can't buy you, I don't have the money," [Former Arkansas Gov. Mike] Huckabee told the Ames crowd. "I can't even rent you."
And yet...
Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson has said anything less than a top two finish will finish him, and several other candidates could face similar decisions.

"We've got a tremendous opportunity to show the country that Iowa, not the political pundits in Washington, make the selection," Thompson told supporters jammed into his tent.
Right, Tommy. I think it's so cute that you believe that! Iowa makes the selection...the selection the pundits and moneychangers pay them to make!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Music Blogging

The Zombies - She's Not There

If you could give an award for the greatest song ever written and sung, this song would have to rank right at the top of the list. I think it may be the most underrated song in pop history.

Friday Kitten Blogging

Wha? Huh?

Nobody Asked Me, But...


Special Republican Cock Sucking Edition


1) A note to my male readers: For a good time, call Glenn Murphy, preferably while you sleep.

2) A note to my African American male readers: If you need a couple bucks quick, look up Florida Rep. Bob Allen.

3) To my DC gay male readers, find South Dakota Senator Larry Craig, usually in the third stall along in Union Station's men's' room.

4) And for my female readers in Michigan, I hope you didn't think I would forget you folks!

5) The question must be asked: "Why Do All These Homosexuals Keep Sucking My Cock?"

6) Speaking of cocksuckers, Rudy! How could you???

I'm going to break with tradition of "NAM,B," and talk a bit about this in detail.

I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to. So in that sense, I'm one of them.
Rudy, who the fuck do you think you're kidding? Yes, no one denies you were down at Ground Zero fairly often, spending large gobs of time down there, and making sure you were seen by cameras, ready to give an ad hoc press conference at the drop of a hat. No one denies that.

But to disrespect the people on The Pile, the men and women who actually dug into the debris, who didn't wear respirators because, gee, your people told them it wasn't mandatory (meanwhile, you had your little pocket breathing protector IN HAND!), to compare your exposure from yards, and even miles, away to the heroes who risked and are losing their lives sucking in dust, chemical vapors, and like carcinogens, all to score some cheap political point THAT WE ALL KNOW ALREADY is disgusting, and you ought to be severely punished at the polls for it.

You slimy son of a bitch, WE GET IT! We get it that you were lucky enough-- and I say "lucky" because look at how much filthy lucre you've gobbled up off the deaths of 3,000 Americans and how much political capital you've lucked into-- to be mayor of New York when the Towers fell! We get it that, because Bush was such a goddamn scared little pussy, flying from Florida to Louisiana to Oklahoma to OMAHA, NE because he was terrified that the most heavily guarded plane in the world at that moment might be taken down by a kid with a slingshot, it made YOU look like a statesman, even tho all you did was your fucking job!

We get it, alright?????? Now shut up and start defending your life, you prostateless living room gibbon...

7) I think I need anger management this week...(go ahead...free pass on snarky comments today)

8) We need more Australian birds in the States. I volunteer to adopt Kylie Minogue.

11) This is twice in three weeks I've noted a stock market collapse. That's not good news.

12) Three words for you: get air conditioning.

13) This may be the saddest story of the week.

14) Flooding seems to be the story of the week. And it's only going to get worse.

15) Imagine walking past this building.

16) Good. They hurt me.

17) I've faced down sharks, barracuda, and the occasional turtle with an attitude. This would probably scare me if I saw it while diving.

18) In fairness, you can't get there from here in England anyway.

19) Boy if THIS isn't true!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

A Hopeful Sign


But how long will it last, and how effective with they be?:
"There has been a proliferation of activist groups ... especially after the 2004 elections. I would speculate that these groups will get more active as the 2008 elections come up," said Anthony Michel, a communications professor at Avila University in Kansas City, Missouri.

The movement is fueled both by suspicion of mainstream media and burgeoning access to information via the Internet, Michel said.

Email, blogs, virtual meeting spaces and rapid-fire links for like-minded people make it easier and faster for individuals to come together in letter-writing campaigns, petition drives, fund-raisers, meetings and marches.

An example of its power, the recent Capitol Hill debate over a federally funded health insurance program for children triggered an outpouring from the political hinterlands, and Congress voted August 1 to expand the program despite a veto threat from the White House.
Vox populi. It's a good thing.

But then there's the downside and we've already seen cracks in the foundation: when the movement becomes big enough to earn a seat at the table, as dKos demonstrates, it also becomes part of the machinery, subject to the same co-optations that any other political faction suffers.

Too, the "outsiders looking in" end up attacking those who can been labeled as "selling out"

Prima facie evidence of the past twenty years has shown this to be true. Think about the Christian Coalition and other religious-right-wing groups and you see my point. They've allowed politicians to skew their principles in the cause of expediency, with nary a word from the Falwells and Dobsons of the nation.

Why? Because the Falwells and Dobsons of the nation were bought off, as was anyone else who accrued enough influence to make it worth the Republican party's while. Hell, Sun Myung-Moon had Republican Congressmen at his coronation ceremony as the Second Coming of the Messiah! You think that hasn't influenced how he deals with those Congressmen when they have ethical issues, much less how they shape and vote on "morals" legislation?

But even now, those who have been co-opted face challenges from their rear and right:
The Grassroots Conservative Majority, a political group started in Tennessee last November, focuses on "returning the Republican party to its core principles of social and fiscal conservatism" by supporting specific candidates in key races. The Web site gets about 700 visitors a day, according to organizer Ed Sistrunk.
So it's not just limited to progressives and liberals who are thoroughly frustrated with the inability of the Democratic party to do something, anything, about Bush and Cheney and the moral bankruptcy this nation faces, on top of the fiscal bankruptcy we've already entered.

But make no mistake: people who are liberal, who for years hid that fact, are starting to crawl out from under the wreckage of decades of being vilified and hated, because after Katrina, after Iraq, after Attorneygate, after Chinese imports tainted with melamine and Ground Zero toxic fumes and bridges collapsing, a Presidential cock being sucked sounds like precisely what it was: a big fat nothing.

The article I linked to points out that the 2004 elections were a watershed for this movement, the real impetus, and to a degree, I concur. The elections proved that either the system is dangerously screwed, if you believe that the election was stolen yet again, or at the very least, America is heading down the wrong path with its eyes wide open and that this time in our history will be crucial to righting the ship of state. Or both, to be honest.

I'll point to an even more narrow event that I think ignited the progressive grassroots movement to come out of the shadows and organize at the local level. It was Jimmy Carter's speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention.

To hear one President talk about courage and honor, and how the current President lacked them, well, it was a jarring note at a convention where the word was "No Bush Bashing". Read an excerpt:
In repudiating extremism, we need to recommit ourselves to a few common-sense principles that should transcend partisan differences.

First, we cannot enhance our own security if we place in jeopardy what is most precious to us, namely the centrality of human rights in our daily lives and in global affairs.

CARTER: Second, we cannot maintain our historic self-confidence as a people if we generate public panic.

Third, we cannot do our duty as citizens and patriots if we pursue an agenda that polarizes and divides our country.

Next, we cannot be true to ourselves if we mistreat others.

And finally, in the world at large, we cannot lead if our leaders mislead.

You can't be a war president one day and claim to be a peace president the next, depending on the latest political polls. [...]

And in many ways, the last few months have been some of the most disturbing of all. But I am not discouraged. I really am not. I do not despair for our country. I never do. I believe tonight, as I always have, that the essential decency and compassion and common sense of the American people will prevail.

CARTER: And so I say to you...and so I say to you and to others around the world, whether they wish us well or ill: Do not underestimate us Americans.

We lack neither strength nor wisdom. There is a road that leads to a bright and hopeful future. What America needs is leadership.
Without mentioning Bush by name and opening a door to repeated bashing back by right wing pundits and radio jocks, Carter laid out the case for what America needs to do to right itself.

You'll notice that much of it is addressed right to the American people, not the party. Echoing FDR, he said we must not allow ourselves to be bullied into fear, either by terrorists external or worse, the ones ruling us.

In other words, see something, say something. And I think a lot of people let those words wash over them like a soothing bath and got the courage to make a call, to talk to a friend, to challenge the bar bully know-it-all who tries to talk over people (like, say, Sean Hannity) by confronting him.

And if it meant a punch in the face, literally or figuratively, the point was made: we weren't going to be afraid of the fight any longer. Eventually, we'd prove our point and win.

You see it in the news and on the talking head programs more and more, as well: people willing to stand up and be counted, rather than avoid confrontation. It must be driving Bill O'Reilly crazy that liberals are talking over him now.

I don't think we should ever have been bullied in the first place, but that's just me. I know I wasn't, and I've had some nasty run-ins with neo-con right wingers, many of whom I've managed to make friends with despite our differences.

The political pendulum in America swings to and fro, and right now, it's swinging from the fro to the "to": To America. To the left. To the future. To what's right. We're at the beginning of a new era in American politics, American policy, and American prestige. Our beacon of freedom and liberty, hidden under a bushel of corruption, anger, hatred and greed for these past six years, is being uncovered by a new generation of caretakers, who will point that beacon at our enemies and more important, our friends, and remind them of what makes America great.

All the money in the world can't buy greatness. All the debt we've rolled up won't buy us prestige. None of the bounty that God in His (or Her) infinite wisdom has blessed this land with will help us now. We have to get back to the basics of this country. Opportunity for all, justice for all, freedom for all.

We must stop being afraid of terrorists, but more, we must stop being afraid of those who would exploit terrorism for their own political benefit. We've allowed Osama bin Laden, a pathetic, sick, weak, evil man, to become a bogieman of immense proportion because he startled us.

But I say to you, there is more courage in the New York City secretary who gets dressed in the morning and hops on a subway train to her job in lower Manhattan than in all the conservative bloggers in the country. She is not afraid of Osama bin Laden because of Osama bin Laden. Instinctively, she knows she's afraid of what's been represented to her by these evil twisted and sick men (mostly) who would want nothing more than to watch her sweat and shake while their cronies stick their hands in her pocket the next time she fills up her Honda Accord with gas.

There's the real enemy. There's what we really should be angry at. And we should be angry at a government that's allowed this situation to get so far out of control that the very mention of an ancient steam pipe exploding in Manhattan or an undermaintained bridge over the Mississippi collapsing raises the immediate spectre of Al Qaeda.

Fuck them, I say. Al Qaeda wants to come over here and get rowdy? Let 'em! They'll buy a whole lot more trouble here than they bargained for. I know neighborhoods in Brooklyn that would just be itching for some moron to show up with C4 strapped to his chest.

And in the meantime, we can bring our troops home from Iraq and let them get on with their lives, making America a great place, once again.

The people will speak, and they will be heard, and we will take our country and government back.

And to the Hugh Hewitts, the Sean Hannitys, the Michael Fumentos, the Dean Barnetts of the country, and every other ignert right-wing scaremonger?

Fuck you, too. We're through with you. Go ahead and pick on the big boys, the candidates, the Democrats who are front page news. We're coming up behind you, so keep your scared little eyes behind you, too. We won't be so polite and kind.

And to any grassroots movement that builds enough momentum and enough stroke to be co-opted? We'll take you out after them.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Wrath Of God

About once a year, the New York City area, usually Northern Jersey, sometimes Westchester County, suffers a tornado.

For nearly anyone else who has a tornado infestation, our tornadoes are things you guys probably drive through: F0.

Not today.:
National Weather Service officials confirmed Wednesday night that a tornado had touched down in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn this morning about 6:30 a.m.

The tornado, which was confirmed by twisting patterns in the debris left behind, was probably moving at speeds of 111 to 135 miles per hour, meteorologists said.

Hours after the tornado and violent thunderstorm pounded the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bay Ridge and Sunset Park, Mayor Michael Bloomberg visited one of the blocks hardest hit, shook hands with residents and said that, thankfully, no one was seriously hurt there.
That's an F2, for those of you keeping score.

Worse, it's the second tornado to touch down around NYC in the past month. The last one was three weeks ago, during the storm that eventually was blamed for the massive steam pipe explosion on 41st & Lexington.

But, as they way, wait! There's more! The torrential rain of this storm, almost and in some areas over three inches in one hour, caused massive infrastructure flooding and shut down nearly every subway line in Manhattan, and most in Brooklyn and Queens (the Bronx lines are mostly elevated, and so service wasn't completely wiped out, altho getting to Manhattan was a challenge).

Major roadways were flooded out and by 6AM, the start of rush hour, police were reporting 35 separate automobile accidents on the area roadways.

The good news, because, you know, it's all about me, I was able to get a table at lunch easily. I did have a struggle on my commute, naturally, and what is normally a twenty minute train ride stretched out to an hour and twenty minutes.

New Yorkers, despite their fairly gruff reputation, shouldered it well. Although there were a few cross words, mostly from suburban commuters who felt the need to remind everyone of their self-importance when plowing into an already overcrowded subway car, most people understood that it was what it was: rain can take down the biggest subway system in America. Period.

By the way, the light show was awesome!

Hump Day Comedy Blogging

The inimitable, the immortal, Bugs Bunny

"Aw, now you're mad at me again!" Classic!

Uh Oh, We're Fucked....

(hat tip to Mr Doggity, who is a welcome addition to Blogtopia (© Skippy The Bush Kangaroo)

You might want to pass this story around amongst friends, then start making survivalist plans. This could get rough:
Two officials at leading Communist Party bodies have given interviews in recent days warning - for the first time - that Beijing may use its $1.33 trillion (£658bn) of foreign reserves as a political weapon to counter pressure from the US Congress.

Shifts in Chinese policy are often announced through key think tanks and academies.

Described as China's "nuclear option" in the state media, such action could trigger a dollar crash at a time when the US currency is already breaking down through historic support levels.

It would also cause a spike in US bond yields, hammering the US housing market and perhaps tipping the economy into recession. It is estimated that China holds over $900bn in a mix of US bonds.
To get an idea of the magnitude of this, the US debt outstanding is just under $10 trillion, so about ten percent of our debt is in China's hands, the second or third largest creditor we have, after the UK and possibly Saudi Arabia.

It's curious that China would make these comments on the heels of their recent export tragedies, but China's never really been beholden to Western sensitivities.

Congress has announced they would be looking into imposing more tariffs on Chinese made merchandise, partly in response to trade protectionist forces within the Democratic party, partly as a sop to those who have accused China of currency manipulations (thus covering both labor and management, and making a political stand on China ahead of the 2008 elections).

China's yuan is pegged to the dollar at a fixed rate so the first real warning shot would come when China loosens those ties. It has allowed the yuan to float to a higher level in recent months, and yes, has made what appear to be manipulative moves with their currency trades, but has not completely freed the yuan from the dollar.

Such a move would force the yuan to rise against the dollar and force Chinese officials to sell dollars to cover losses. The dollar would then drop precipitously and, well, forget about getting loans for a while as the credit markets tighten to absorb the new US demands for credit to repay China.

What? You thought we'd grow our way out of this mess?

A Primer In How To Exploit Your Own Life

Rudy Giuliani sounds an awful lot like Bill Clinton on the campaign trail when confronted about his personal life, weaving in details when it suits him, ducking questions that clearly make him uncomfortable:
In speeches in small towns and large here, Giuliani has emphasized his resume as a hard-boiled prosecutor, a tough mayor who tamed New York City, and a terrorism expert.

Yet he also tries to show his personal side, picking and choosing when to reveal personal details.

At Flapjacks Fine Restaurant in Maquoketa, for example, he made a point about his health care policies by talking about how he had survived prostate cancer but his father had not.

Giuliani insists that questions about his personal life are relevant only if the subject involves his performance as a public official.
Now, hang on a minute! This is a man with a full blown libido, not unlike the Big Dog, and Republicans nationwide in their bloodlust all said "If it matters in our house, it matters in the White House!"

You'd think Rudy would have come up with a better way of handling these questions than to duck them, but...
Despite the stresses of his colorful and troubled past - the highly public divorce from his second wife and his wooing of the woman who became his third wife when he was mayor in 2000, for example - Giuliani insists his performance never has been affected.

But Giuliani finds his message of the day sometimes is lost in questions about personal issues he would rather not discuss.

On campaign stops yesterday, his message about stopping drugs, particularly the rampant problem of methamphetamines here, got lost in questions about his daughter and religious life.
Unlike Clinton, however, Giuliani bares his teeth:
He refused to comment, asking reporters instead, "Don't you think we should be talking about methamphetamines?"
Likewise, you may recall during the 2004 Presidential campaign that several Catholic bishops warned that Kerry would be refused communion and excommunication unless he repudiated his pro-choice stance, and that any other Catholic (at the time, no distinction in party was made) who refused to renounce this position would be subject to excommunication as well.

No one's ever accused Rudy of being particularly religious...as a New York City resident, I can't recall one story in the papers about him being at a church, unless it was a funeral or the cameras were there (Christmas mass at St. Patrick's, for example), and yet:
The question about his Catholicism raised other questions about whether he goes to church regularly or could partake in Communion because of his support of abortion rights.

He brushed off the question, saying there shouldn't be a religious litmus test for public office, winning applause.
Not a bad answer, but one that Kerry would never have been allowed to get away with in a Republican crowd, and one Republicans shouldn't allow the Mayor of America to get away with, either.

George Bush managed to get elected despite a history of serious and severe personal and psychological problems, such as untreated alcoholism, drunk driving, drug abuse, and extreme cowardice. He had several advantages over Rudy in covering these up, however: first and foremost, Bush comes from a culture that is used to covering up for the extremes of youthful behavior (i.e. Upper class Connecticut) and buying off the evidence. Second, Bush had Karl Rove and while Rove might be consulting with one or two campaigns already, he likely won't become fully involved until 2008, if at all.

Lastly, Bush's temperment allows him to laugh off personal insults (or at least, appear to). Rudy is far more confrontational about such things, notoriously of thin-skin. Eventually, the pressures of the campaign trail will catch up to him. He was barely able to contain himself as mayor.

The Republican race is an interesting dynamic, in that it seems every candidate is playing to lose.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Thank You, Once Again, Captain Obvious!


Well, duh!
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. summit in September on climate change, one of at least four international meetings set for this year, is already raising doubts about any action being taken before President George W. Bush leaves office.

The big question is what will replace the Kyoto Protocol when that agreement to cap greenhouse gases expires in 2012.

The United States has never been part of the Kyoto pact, with Bush having said its economic costs make it "fundamentally flawed." But the president has been vocal recently about the need for a new strategy to curb climate-warming emissions.
Action? On global warming? By a President who has paid lip service at best (on June 21, 2001, he admitted that the science proving the earth was warming and was created mostly by man was there), and at worst, has gone four-square in opposition to any initiative, including the Kyoto Protocols, that would limit greenhouse gases?

Gee, Cap'n Obvious, how nice of you to make this observation!

Several arguments were raised about the Kyoto Protocols, and one could make the case that by allowing China and India to be exempt from them made them fundamentally flawed. However, let's take a look at that.

The United States currently pumps some 20 tons of carbon per capita into the atmosphere right now. China, for example, pumps perhaps 3 billion per capita (with a larger population to be sure, but even factoring that out, it's still only about 9 tons on an equivalent sized population). India's rate is lower still.

Yes, these are growing economies, and could surpass us in the next decade. But in forcing us to comply with Kyoto, Bush could have had six or seven years to this point to develop cleaner technologies, cleaner energy sources, and better use of renewable energy, to lower our carbon footprint, and...here's the big one, folks...to sell to India and China!

Meaning, economic growth for us, something this country has sorely lacked within its borders in the 21st Century (don't be mislead by reports of American economic growth: most of that is predicated on the rise of the global economy and our multinational corporations' overseas subsidiaries upstreaming money to the US). It also means homeland security, national mobilization, and a sense of pride of accomplishment, that America is destined for greatness and doesn't have to rest on its laurels.

Oh, but tax cuts and wars for oil...far more important than the survival of the planet. I keep forgetting who I'm dealing with.

The problem with the Republican love of "volunteerism" is the whole "you go first" philosophy. Yes, many businesses are starting to understand that greenhouse gases, global warming and climatology are important factors that are going to cost us a lot, economically. The problem becaomes the hemming and hawing about what to do about it, and what is the competition doing about it.

The great strength of capitalism, that competition promotes lower costs and greater efficiencies, simply is not applicable to a situation that demands a sacrfice for the greater good be made. The first company who makes inroads into more environmentally conscious productivity will necessarily pay a price that his competitors will not pay, deflating his earnings and making his stockholders very angry, until his competitors decide to take the plunge as well and incur those same costs.

This will not happen fast enough.

If there's any one observation to be taken from last week's bridge disaster in Minnesota, or the infrastructure nightmare that is New York City or any older urban area, it's this: the ounce of prevention that could have, should have, been spent years ago becomes not a pound of cure when applied to critical conditions. It becomes a ton.

Although private enterprises are waking up to the fact that global warming is real and will hurt them badly, the overwhelming costs associated with even mitigating it will scare businesses away from taking the steps needed now.

And yet, those costs are nothing compared to the costs that will be incurred through catastrophic loss associated with global warming and the deterioration of the human environment.

The problem, of course, comes down to human psychology as well. We'll pay through the nose to fix something that gets broken, but we won't pay an "unnecessary" dime to prevent it from happening in the first place. This is what municipalities and states have counted on for centuries, that to ignore a problem is to make it go away.

Bush claims his meeting will be the beginning of a process that will run past the 2008 elections, so even this lip service conference is both politically-oriented (and you wonder how China feels about promoting a Republican election agenda) and designed to run out the clock on the Bush administration, who will pray nothing untoward will happen on their watch (e.g. pray the problem goes away).

Too, the lack of credibility that Bush has with world leaders will hobble, not hamper, any agreement in the first place. One wonders why he is bothering.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Right. Rupert Murdoch Won't Screw Up The WSJ....


Exhibit 1, from the formerly respected London Daily Times:
Walking does more than driving to cause global warming, a leading environmentalist has calculated.

Food production is now so energy-intensive that more carbon is emitted providing a person with enough calories to walk to the shops than a car would emit over the same distance. The climate could benefit if people avoided exercise, ate less and became couch potatoes. Provided, of course, they remembered to switch off the TV rather than leaving it on standby.

The sums were done by Chris Goodall, campaigning author of How to Live a Low-Carbon Life, based on the greenhouse gases created by intensive beef production. “Driving a typical UK car for 3 miles [4.8km] adds about 0.9 kg [2lb] of CO2 to the atmosphere,” he said, a calculation based on the Government’s official fuel emission figures. “If you walked instead, it would use about 180 calories. You’d need about 100g of beef to replace those calories, resulting in 3.6kg of emissions, or four times as much as driving.

“The troubling fact is that taking a lot of exercise and then eating a bit more food is not good for the global atmosphere. Eating less and driving to save energy would be better.”

Mr Goodall, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford West & Abingdon, is the latest serious thinker to turn popular myths about the environment on their head.
Note the doubleplusgood trick Murdoch's editors pulled here: not only do they reinforce myths regarding global warming...that it's non-existent, that it's not human-related, that more carbon is emitted by cows and trees (later in the article)...and couples it to the opinions of a Green Party candidate, thus ensuring that both sides of the issue have to be circumspect in how they handle this story, the Greens being the leftist, environmentally correct peace party.

So make it a double slam against lefties, with a small hit to the "no global warming" crowd of right-wingers.

Now, it's bad enough that the Wall Street Journal editorial page is practically a recruiting poster for the John Birch Society, if this is the kind of irresponsible, slanted reporting that we can expect from a Murdoch regime, swallowing some knucklehead's claims whole without pointing out even some of the more obvious flaws in his conclusions (for example, what guarantee does Goodall have that people who walk more eat more meat? In fact, observation indicates just the opposite: people who walk more tend to eat healthier meals), and just transcribing whatever diatribe du jour is fashionable.

UPDATE: Yea. Whoops!
[Q]uestions were immediately raised about the Special Committee when Reuters reported that one appointed member was not only a personal friend of Murdoch's, but he also ran a computer education foundation that had received $2.5 million from Murdoch's News Corp. That represented a rather obvious conflict of interest for someone who was supposed to be independent from News Corp.

Worse, the Special Committee is going to be chaired by a far-right GOP yes man who not only faithfully regurgitates Republican talking points in print for a living, but who in early 2003 predicted the fighting in Iraq would be "relatively inconsequential," and who months later declared that America had won the Iraq war in "a cakewalk."

That's who Murdoch has tapped to protect the Journal's editorial integrity? Good luck. I mean, was Sean Hannity not available?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Impeach Pit


The drumbeat of Blogtopia's (© Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo) march towards impeachment is getting louder with each passing Democratic somersault at Bush's command.

I haven't said much about this, either here or on various blogs that I comment on. I'm of mixed feelings regarding it, and I hadn't really sorted them out, and still haven't. I do think it's important as a gut check for any politician who peruses Blogtopia (© Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo) to hear all sides of the issue, even the wishywashy middle.

Look, Bush is a crook, I think we can all agree on that. John Dean, who both helped mastermind and then expose Watergate, has likened the criminality and unconstitutionality of the Bush crimes against America to being far worse than Nixon's. Liz Holtzmann, who was on the House Judiciary Committee investigating and drawing up articles of impeachment against Nixon, has even written a book laying out the case for Bush's impeachment.

That there's factual reasons for impeachment cannot be denied, except by the thirty percenters who still support the jackass-in-chief. And still...

Liberals complain about Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, so much so that you can't even hear the right wing blogosphere complain about them much anymore (which might say something in its own right). They complain about capitulation, they complain about cowardice, they complain about caving in.

But if I'm House Speaker or Senate Leader, I'm not sure I start impeachment proceedings now, either. History will judge the Bush administration as one of the most corrupt, stubborn, self-aggrandizing, and ignorant group of people to run a nation since the Soviet Poliburo. The hubris of their misjudgements and abuses of power practically drips like honey off a comb.

But history will also turn a harsh eye towards Congress in the years to come, and in the cold light of a sober morning after inhaling the vodka of retribution, history is going to write one fact that will stand out amongst all others: Congress started impeachment hearings of the Commander In Chief while troops were on the ground, fighting a war.

Whether the war was just or not, whether you agreed with the war in 2002 and don't now or disagreed with the war from the start (which I did), we have troops there, and history shows that a nation at war which suffers what amounts to a revolution within its borders ends up destroyed. It happened in Rome. It happened in the Holy Roman Empire, as France peeled off bits of that agglomeration while civil war ensued. It happened to the Csarist empire during World War I, as any Finn can tell you, and indeed, you can make the case that the downfall of the British empire occurred simultaneously.

So there's historical precedent to consider. Another factor against impeachment is time. The break-in that kicked off Watergate happened in June 1972. The House committee didn't even sit until June 1974, and then only after several high-level members of the White House staff had been indicted. A fairly sizable part of this delay revolves around "executive privilege" and ultimately, the Supreme Court had to step in.

As I said in March, Bush's best defense in these last two years of his term is to merely run out the clock. Time is the enemy of Congress, time and SCOTUS. I had these two factors in mind when I said Bush would run out the clock.

Even with the entire weight of Congress pressing against Bush, with the hedged bet of a loaded Supreme Court on his side he'd gladly take his chances with a court fight. And the judiciary is notorious for not wanting to get involved in a fight between Congress and the President, so the delaying tactic would take on an even greater urgency, since SCOTUS would simply tell them to come to some sort of compromise.

Finally, in the argument against impeachment made by someone who favors it, at least partly, is the emotional factor. How much of this demand for impeachment about the criminality of the Bush administration and how much of it is anger at a man who was born on third base thinking he'd hit a triple and stumbled into nearly every break he's ever gotten in life? The image of that smirk on Jan. 20, 2009 over the shoulder of President Hillary or Barack might invite a riot in some of the rougher quarters of America, even if, as John Dean has pointed out, Bush could be impeached after the fact, altho it would amount to a slap on the wrist, since the only concrete effect it would have is to prevent him from ever seeking office again, and to disbar him, if he were a lawyer. Oh, and to enter his name in the record books.

I understand now how some of the more rabid conservatives felt about Clinton, even if the Big Dog did nothing, and I mean nothing, to warrant the level of anger that Bush has engaged with his criminality.

I, for one, would hate to see Bush leave office without an official tarnish to his record, for the right wing to point out and make the case that, in two terms, Bush was never indicted or impeached, unlike "that liberal hero, Clenis". It ain't fair.

But life ain't fair. Sometimes the bullies get away with it while the nerd sits detention for fighting back.

Carl's Insomniac Theatre

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