Saturday, June 30, 2007

New Bush Strategy: "I'm goin' for the pity f**k"

Bush May Be Out of Chances For a Lasting Domestic Victory
By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 29, 2007; Page A01

NEWPORT, R.I., June 28 -- He looked uncharacteristically dejected as he approached the lectern, fiddling with papers as he talked and avoiding the sort of winking eye contact he often makes with reporters. And then President Bush did something he almost never does: He admitted defeat.

"A lot of us worked hard to see if we couldn't find a common ground," he said an hour after his immigration plan died on Capitol Hill. "It didn't work."

(“Didn’t work,” he muttered again, after taking a pull from a bottle in a paper bag. He rubbed his unshaven face and stared into the middle distance. This drew sympathetic sighs from some of the GOP women in the audience.)

It was, in the end, simply a statement of reality after the Senate buried his proposal to overhaul immigration laws. But for a president who makes a point of never giving in, even when he loses, it was a striking moment, underscoring the depth of his political travails.

(Breaks down; sobs. Regains control of himself, swallows hard, wipes away tears.)

It took almost two years before Bush acknowledged, just months ago, that his effort to reshape Social Security had failed.

(“Tried to privatize it. Couldn’t.” Bush rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand.)

Now he has surrendered in what was probably his last chance of securing a legacy-making second-term domestic victory.
The desultory appearance in a college hallway here after a speech on Iraq may have marked the death of ambition in Bush's legislative agenda.

(“Yep. I’m desultory. I’m the Desultor-ator.”)

The paradigm shift that senior adviser Karl Rove saw after the 2004 election has now proved illusory. The Ownership Society that Bush promised to build in 2005 is rarely mentioned these days...

"Sand is flowing out of the hourglass," said Fred I. Greenstein, a Princeton University scholar on the presidency, who was struck by the gloomy tone of Bush's televised statement. "He looked much less like the kid on the cover of Mad magazine without a care. . . . “

(You know, for most people not looking so much like Alfred E. Neuman anymore would be considered a step *up.* But for this guy…)

(Greenstein continues his analysis of Bush:) “He looked very angry and almost having difficulty getting the sentences out…

(“I—You—They—aw, damn it all t’hell, anyhow!”)

“…That seems to me to contrast with some of the early stages" of his presidency.

(Yeah. Remember the old twinkle in his eye when he said merrily of US casualties in Iraq: “Bring ‘em on!” That inspired confidence in the troops. But these days…)

Bush emerged from reelection with four main domestic priorities for his second term, as identified by Rove and other aides: He planned to reinvent Social Security to allow investment of some funds in the stock market, overhaul the tax code from top to bottom, bring millions of illegal immigrants out of the shadows and impose tough new curbs on what he called excessive litigation. He is now almost zero-for-four.

(It ain’t over yet! He’s still got that “we’re goin’ to Mars” thing of his to pitch, ain’t he?)

Tax overhaul died when Bush took the report he commissioned and put it on a shelf because it would be too provocative.

(Shoot! I woulda love to have seen that. A report on tax cuts that HE thought was too disgusting to release publicly.)

Bush has lately sketched out a new agenda in areas such as energy and health care, and he may yet make progress on those in the 18 months he has left. But going forward, aides acknowledged, the once swaggering president will be in a defensive crouch.

(Huddled in a fetal ball behind the podium, Bush cried out: “Energy! Health care! That car I was talkin’ about for six years that runs on hydrogen! Mars!”)

His immediate domestic plans include imploring lawmakers to reauthorize his No Child Left Behind education program, while trying to stop Congress from expanding a children's health insurance program and, with it, the federal deficit.

(“Aw, come on! Continue to fund my meaningless unworkable big government program to defund public education, that’s muh only legacy, that and the meaningless unworkable war! And please don’t make me veto childrens’ health insurance before I go! Please! I implore thee!”)

…Bush said he was "encouraged" by what he called "hopeful signs" since the extra troops he sent arrived in Iraq. Yet even in this military setting, the audience responded politely and without much enthusiasm, withholding applause except for introductions until deep into the speech and posing a couple of tough questions after it was over.

(“Mr. President, how many more of our kids are you going to get killed before you admit this was a stupid, irresponsible, unnecessary war?” “I—I’m a very lonely president, you know. Muh wife doesn’t understand me any more…” Crowd: “AWWWW…”)

Aides tried to portray the defeat of the immigration legislation as a failure of Congress rather than of the president.

(Aides: (thowing a blanket over the shivering Bush) “Can’t you see the man is in PAIN? “Don’t those bastards in Congress have any FEELINGS?” “How much more has he got to suffer? He needs LOVE!”)

…White House aides bemoaned how little has been accomplished during the first six months of the Democratic Congress, noting that public approval of Congress has plummeted even lower than Bush's ratings. Unspoken in that critique was the fact that the immigration defeat was dealt largely by members of the president's party.

(“Goddamn Democrats—I mean--Republicans—I mean…Oh, I dunno what I mean…” (Breaks down, sobs. Sneaks a peek to see if anyone’s going to come up and throw their arms around him to comfort him. No one is. Sobs again.)


Fox News: Bush Immigration Reform Status Report

This is a rush transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume" from June 28, 2007.

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Next on SPECIAL REPORT, that immigration bill goes down in a stampede of no votes, in which even some of the bill's previous backers voted no. It is now dead. ,,,
... All that right here, right now. Welcome to Washington. I'm Brit Hume. Not only did the Senate immigration bill go down today, it was swamped. It sank so deep, it's not likely to come back in this Congress or in this presidency. Congressional correspondent Major Garrett reports it's all over, including the shouting.

Hume: (continued) I mean, we’re talkin’ dead here, folks. Centerpiece bipartisan achievement of Bush’s second term? How is it, you ask? It’s dead, that’s how it is. (draws finger across his throat) Vvvip! (sticks tongue out, rolling his eyes up into his head) “Dead! Ack!” (looks back into camera) DEAD! This bill has flatlined! Eeeeeeeee... It was killed in a stampede of no votes! It’s (mouths word “dead” silently at camera). President Bush pulled out all the stops to save it, he used every ounce of his remaining political capital to lean on Republicans to put it through and—AS A RESULT!—it’s DAAAAID!

Look—what part of this “dead” thing don’t you people understand? We been watchin’ it for weeks, it hasn’t moved, it’s startin’ to stink, they’s flies around it, it’s—DEAD! Here’s British comic John Cleese to explain it to you exactly how dead it is. John?

(Cut to: John Cleese, holding microphone in front of Westminster. Graphic say: “John Cleese, reporting live from London.”)

Cleese: Thanks, Brit. President Bush’s immigration reform bill, which he claimed would be passed by Memorial Day, is now officially dead. The president has spent weeks trying to get bill passed in order to prove that he was still very much in command in Washington. Instead he was deserted by the Republican party and has proved that he is no longer relevant to his own political party or its agenda. As a result, the president’s immigration reform bill is dead. Quite dead. This immigration reform bill is no more! It has ceased to be! It's expired and gone to meet its maker! It's a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If Bush hadn't nailed it to the perch it'd be pushing up the daisies! It’s metabolic processes are now 'istory! It's off the twig! It's kicked the bucket, it's shuffled off this mortal coil, rung down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-IMMIGRATION REFORM BILL!!

Cut back to Fox studio, Brit Hume, laying in an open coffin with lit candles all around him, "Nearer My God To Thee" plays softly on organ in background.

Hume: Look! I’m doing an imitation of Bush’s immigration reform bill! Get it?

(cut to Neil Cavuto)
Cavuto: Okay, thanks Brit, I think the folks at home get it. In other news today, the United States Supreme Court—

(Hume rushes into shot with Cavuto, yells into camera)
Cavuto: Okay, Brit, okay—
(Hume keeps screaming dead until the men come and get him, again.)


Friday, June 29, 2007

Bush Last Gasp On Immigration: "Out With People!"

Time Running Out for Bush on Immigration

Jun 27, 1:17 PM EDT


WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush, short on political capital and time, is devoting much of what's left of his term in office to getting an immigration deal.

Starting with an April 9 speech in Arizona, in which he talked tough about border security and prodded Congress to get moving, Bush has staged a dozen immigration events. That's not counting his four radio addresses on the topic in that time, or his phone calls to lawmakers, or his bold prediction that he'd see reporters at the bill-signing for a bill that seemed dead.

And just what are these “immigration events” that Bush has been staging to keep xenophobic white conservatives and “cheap labor,” union-busting GOP businessmen from killing off his immigration policy?

Well, perhaps the most ambitious event is his proposal for “Out With People!”, an upbeat, positive traveling musical show featuring an international cast of nearly twelve million illegal immigrants now living in the USA.

The “Out With People!” plan calls for the creation of a federally-funded international troupe composed mostly of former residents of Central America, mainly from Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. These millions will sing and perform all around the United States in an effort to convince local racists and Republicans that they are “non-threatening” and only mildly annoying.

More than two million illegal immigrants are already undergoing training at former Army bases in Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Trainees are taken by bus or truck to the bases, where they are issued conservative casual wear, including dress slacks and “Out With People!” sweaters. They then begin an intensive four week basic training course in singing and choreographed dancing. Since most of the cast are not native speakers of English, songs are taught phonetically. Principal numbers include “We Do Work That You White Folks Won’t!”, “We Pay Taxes, Too!”, “I Want To Make Some Money And Then Return To My Homeland,” and the inspiring “Out With People!” theme song:

Out/Out With People/
Ya meet ‘em wherever ya go/
Out/Out With People/
We’re here though our wages are low/ etc.

Initial reaction from local government officials indicates that they would welcome the idea of the huge troop visiting and performing in their communities. “Twelve million immigrants coming to our little town of four thousand, that’s a hell of customer base,” said Mayor Darryl Jennings of Skeeterville, Alabama. “I guess they’ll buy out everything we have to sell when they’re here--food, water, appliances, Slim Jims, everything we got. It’s an economic boom! Just so long as they’re outta here after the weekend’s over…”

Along with performing the show, cast members will participate in civic events and assist volunteer organizations and businesses as a way to give back to the communities that host them. “We will harvest for agribusinesses, rebuild roads and infrastructure, do all the gringos’ work for them at less than minimum wage,” claims cast member Jose Rodriguez. “And we will sing and dance as we do it!”

The official “Out With People!” tour in 2008 will feature more than twelve million troupe members, who will begin their trip around the continental United States in Texas and visit a huge circle of towns and communities, first in the South, then swinging up north through the Atlantic Seaboard and New England, and then west through the Heartland to the Pacific Northwest and finally southward through California, where they will all be dumped across the Mexican border.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Politics: "Cheney's Angels"

It’s hard to understand the present administration. But after seven years and shifting personnel changes, you can finally get a sense of what this was “all about.”

It’s kind of like a “70’s jiggle TV show” that they’re trying to keep alive in the White House--except that instead of marketing the “jiggle”, they’re marketing “war on terror.”
So the best way to understand the Bush crew is probably via the ultimate 70’s “jiggle” TV show—“Charlie’s Angels.”

On that show, “Charlie” was a mysterious unseen figure who gave his team of lovely, crime-fighting “Angels” orders over an intercom, which they carried out without question. The equivalent in the White House is of course Dick Cheney, the mysterious unseen figure who gives the President and his team orders over an intercom.

The most famous incarnation of the Angels was from the first season, and this is also true of the Bush White House. All were beautiful, so here’s how you tell them all apart:

Sabrina—the tall sensible one with the sensible hairstyle who wore trousers—Kate Jackson. In the Bush admistration, this would be Colin Powell.

Jill—the one with the biggest hair and the most protuberant nipples—Farah Fawcett Majors. Bush Administration equivalent: Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense, the one with the biggest budget and the most protuberant nipples.

Kelly—the brunette who drew gasps when she appeared in a bathing suit—Jaclyn Smith. In the Bush administration, this would be Karl Rove, the balding one who regularly drew gasps with his non-existent respect for law or ethics (or when he appeared in a bathing suit.)

As with the TV show, some Bush cast members left after the first few seasons and went on to well-deserved obscurity. But new “Angels” replaced them:

Kris—Cheryl Ladd. Came in to replace Farrah Fawcett. In the Bush world, this would be Condoleeza Rice, who came in to replace Colin Powell. The reason she is equated with Cheryl Ladd is that Ladd would have done just as good a job as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State.

Julie—the redheaded one—Tanya Roberts. Harriet Meiers is the Tanya Roberts of the Bush administration, because she’s been promoted far beyond her own abilities, but she can read her lines and do what the boss says. And nobody can seem to remember her, despite all the media attention she gets.

Finally (thank God): Tiffany—Shelley Hack. The one from the last couple of seasons you can never quite place. The “Tiffany” of the Bush administration is Alberto Gonzales, the replacement AG from the last couple of seasons you can never quite get to resign. Very annoying, but people keep watching the show anyway.

And wbo is Bush? Obviously he’s Bosley, the dim-witted male secretary to the Angels, who doesn’t quite understand what’s going on but might be mistaken for their boss by a sexist who didn’t know what the show was about. Like Bosley, Bush is largely irrelevant to the decision making and the action, but he’s a good device for exposition and he regularly requires rescue by one of the others, which can lead to some mildly exciting sequences.

Did I really have to explain that to you? By the way, what does “meme” mean? I’ve never heard the word “meme” so much in my life as after I started sending in pieces to the Daily Kos. Anyway, here’s the link to Bosley on the immigration bill.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"Wile E. John McCain...Super Genius...I like the way that rolls out...Wile E. John McCain...Sooooooper Genius"

June 24, 2007

Presidential hopeful drops campaign staff as Republican consultants predict he'll be gone by September

Sarah Baxter
June 24, 2007

Presidential hopeful drops campaign staff as Republican consultants predict he'll be gone by September...

What went wrong? It is now time to step back and take the long view of what this candidate, John McCain (McCainius Ambitius) could have done differently in order to successfully capture his prey, the Presidency (Whiteus Houseious Delicious.)

McCain began his campaign strategy out in the vast, empty reaches of his beloved Arizona desert. And he began it inauspiciously, by mail-ordering the Acme “Staking Out The “Continue The War In Iraq” Issue As His Single Most Identifiable Issue” Rocket. McCain tinkered away, giggling in a sinister fashion to himself as he assembled the rocket in accordance with its complicated blueprint. After completing it and the accompanying launching track, he climbed on top of rocket and strapped on his World War One ace flying helmet and goggles. As the poll numbers zipped by him, McCain struck a match and lit the fuse of the rocket, which instantly exploded beneath him, reducing his body to a “burnt match”-like crisp (except for his bloodshot eyeballs and World War One ace flying helmet and goggles.) Then the burnt match crumbled away in his hand. Then his “burnt match”-like crisped body fell away, except for the bloodshot eyeballs and World War One ace flying helmet and goggles, which hung in the air momentarily. Then these, too, fell to the ground.

McCain’s next attempt involved the Acme “Media Photo Op In The Baghdad Market Wearing a Bullet Proof Jacket Guarded by An Escort of Attack Helicopters, Sniper Teams, Combat Humvees And One Hundred Troops To Show How Safe It Is In Baghdad Now Thanks To The Surge You Proposed” Atomic Jet Skates
These proved to be powerful and effective tools for “picking up speed” in the media. Indeed, they were too powerful; they ultimately proved too difficult for McCain to control. McCain found himself hurtling past his target at an incredible speed and striking a canyon wall. Ironically, the rocketing McCain had thought it would be safe to “go through” this canyon wall because he had previously painted a scene on it with a can of Acme “Miss Five Key War Votes In the Senate” False Tunnel With Phony Perspective Camouflage Paint. But McCain struck the wall at maximum speed: the jet skates exploded and the impact of the collision was such that a dazed and seriously injured McCain walked away from the scene with his body opening and compressing like an accordion.

But McCain was not to be deterred. Recovering as quickly as possible, he ordered up a new tactic, one that relied on use of the Acme “Singing “Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb-Bomb Iran” To The Tune of Beach Boys’ ‘Barbara Ann’ At A Press Conference” Bat-Wings-and-Giant-Elastic-Rubber-Band-Launcher. A detailed description of how this plan worked out is simply too painful to recount here. Suffice it to say that several rock precipices and outcroppings were struck, some in very close proximity to the candidate, and that several were struck repeatedly (on the rebound.)

There were many more such incidents, and it is hard to pinpoint exactly where things went wrong with these particular tactics. But given the success of his strategy in the election, we may be grateful that McCain is unlikely to become responsible for strategy in Iraq after 2008. And our last image of the McCain campaign is a memorable one: the candidate himself, photographed from above, waving goodbye to us with a dour, resigned sort of expression his face as he falls from yet another precipice, descending, ever descending to that eerie, whistling sound (as if a bomb was being dropped,) growing smaller as he grows more distant (for the fall is very, very long indeed)—until all we see of him is a tiny, dusty “poof!” as he hits the canyon floor.


Monday, June 25, 2007

ANOTHER Gonzales "Top Man" Resigns!

Boomp boomp boomp/
Another one bites the dust...

Third-in-Command at Justice Dept. Resigns
Mercer to Leave Washington Job but Keep U.S. Attorney's Position in Montana
By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, June 23, 2007; Page A04

The Justice Department's third-in-command announced his resignation yesterday, becoming the sixth aide to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales to leave amid the political uproar over the firings of nine U.S. attorneys last year.

What uproar?

William W. Mercer -- who had been acting associate attorney general since September -- withdrew his nomination for the job just days before he was scheduled to appear at a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing Tuesday...

Talk to Congress about why I’m the man for the job? Oh no, not that!

Mercer is among half a dozen officials who have fled the senior ranks at Justice in the wake of the prosecutor firings, which have prompted congressional and internal investigations and have led lawmakers of both parties to call on Gonzales to resign. Mercer's departure means that nearly all of Gonzales's top aides, including Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty, have tendered their resignations within the past four months.

Jeez, it’s rainin’ senior attorneys over at the Justice Department these days. Who’s gonna be left to fight crime? Turn on the Bat-Signal!

Justice officials said Mercer made the decision to withdraw, based on his assessment of expected opposition from many Democrats and uncertain support from Republicans...

Boy, you can’t even count on Republicans anymore. Who knew?

Mercer told fired prosecutors in Arizona and Nevada that they were being removed in order to make room for other candidates, according to congressional testimony from the former prosecutors. Mercer also participated in a sarcastic e-mail exchange with a department colleague last July about then-U.S. Attorney Carol C. Lam of San Diego, in which he wrote she had a "hideous" record and had "ignored national priorities and obvious local needs."

Oh, they’ll miss Mercer. He was the office “cut-up.”

But Democrats were most critical of Mercer for spending much of his time in Washington over the past two years rather than in his permanent job as U.S. attorney in Montana. Mercer spent an average of three days a month in Billings, according to testimony. Montana's chief federal judge often criticized Mercer's absences and asked Gonzales to replace him. The attorney general refused and assured the judge in a November 2005 letter that Mercer's appointment was lawful.

“You mean I gotta LIVE in Montana if I’m the US attorney for Montana? No way, man. No way, your honor, I got connections in D.C., I’m changin’ the law--”

(On the same day Gonzales wrote the judge that Mercer’s appointment was lawful) Mercer instructed a GOP staff member to insert language into a USA Patriot Act reauthorization bill allowing federal prosecutors to live outside their districts to serve in other jobs, according to documents and interviews. The provision -- which retroactively applied to Mercer's tenure in Washington -- was passed by Congress last year. Lawmakers are considering legislation to repeal the measure.

“No way am I goin’ out to live in Montana, just because I’m US Attorney there. I’m not into sheep, man. I’m a political PLAYER, dude, I’m stayin’ close to Al... Oh, now you’re gonna make a federal case out of it, just because I changed the Patriot Act to keep me out of Montana? Okay, then, be that way. I’ll go back to goddam Montana. But I’m damned if I’m going to talk to Congress--I’d rather face a Saturday night in Billings than do that. I’ll learn to line dance or something, I’ll do the Boot Scoot Boogie in Billings, rather than talk to Congress on the record about how we run the Justice Department.”

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Are YOU Christian Enough For Sam Brownback?

Brownback camp reprimands aide for e mail questioning Mormonism

By Hope Yen, Associated Press

WASHINGTON – An aide to GOP presidential candidate Sam Brownback has been reprimanded for sending e-mail to Iowa Republican leaders in an apparent attempt to draw unfavorable scrutiny to rival Mitt Romney's Mormonism.

Emma Nemecek, the southeastern Iowa field director for Brownback's presidential campaign and a former state representative candidate, violated campaign policy when she forwarded the June 6 e-mail from an interest group raising the questions, the Brownback campaign said Sunday.

The e-mail requested help in fact-checking a series of statements about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Among the statements: "Theologically, the only thing Christianity and the LDS church has in common is the name of Jesus Christ, and the LDS Jesus is not the same Jesus of the Christian faith" and "The LDS church has never been accepted by the Christian Council of Churches."

Well, at least Brownback answers his email. But you see where this whole “sectarian religious belief is now a political issue” thing is going?

--Hello, Brownback “Who is more Christian” Hotline, how can I help you?

--Yes, I’m just calling to check up on this whole “Romney’s a Mormon” thing.

--Good for you. What did you want to know?

--Well, how many wives does Romney have? His religion permits him to have more than one wife, doesn’t it?

--That’s absolutely correct, even though it is illegal. But Governor Romney only has one wife—so far.

--So far?

--Yes. If Governor Romney gets the GOP nomination and goes on to the White House—well, all I’m gonna say is, we could be talkin’ “First Ladies” here.

--Wow! But aren’t Mormons Christians?

--They’re not “real” Christians. They say they worship Christ, but it’s not the same Christ that we worship. It’s some kind of Christ from Utah or something they worship. It’s weird.

--Okay. Thanks for straightening me out.

--You’re welcome, and remember to vote! (punches button) Hello, Brownback “Who is more Christian” Hotline, how can I help you?

--How about McCain, is he a Christian?

--Not in the commonly accepted sense of the word. He goes through the motions at election time, but he’s said some very critical things about Christian political leaders, so the answer would have to be no.

--Hasn’t he made up with the Religious Right?

--We'll be the judge of that. Have a nice day, and remember to vote! (punches button) Hello, Brownback “Who is more Christian” Hotline, how can I help you?

--Yes, I have a question about Joe Lieberman—

--Not Jewish enough. (punches button) Hello, Brownback “Who is more Christian” Hotline, how can I help you?

--Yes, about Senator Brownback—he’s a Roman Catholic, isn’t he?

--Is this you again, Governor Romney?

--N-no, I was just calling in to find out if—

--Oh, okay then. Yes, Senator Brownback is a Roman Catholic, have you got a problem with that?

--N-no, but I—

--Okay, Senator Brownback is a Catholic, but he’s from Kansas. Big difference. He became a Catholic in 2002 as a career move. He has regular meetings with evangelical broadcasters to make sure his particular Catholicism is entirely acceptable to true Christianity. And as you know, Catholicism has been grandfathered in as Christianity by Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family. And Pat Robertson says this new Pope might play ball.

--Wasn’t the guy who converted Brownback to Catholicism with the Opus Dei? Because I saw “The DaVinci Code” and there was this scary albino guy who—

--What are you, some kind of religious bigot or something? Because we here at the Brownback campaign won’t tolerate that sort of thing, you know. (hangs up) Jesus. Some people.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Giuliani: Duh, I Shoulda Went To Dose Iraq Study Group Meetin's

Giuliani: Joining Iraq Study Group a mistake
By MIKE GLOVER, Associated Press Writer
15 minutes ago

DES MOINES, Iowa - Republican presidential contender Rudy Giuliani said Wednesday it was a mistake for him to join the Iraq Study Group, on which he lasted just two months and failed to show for any official meetings. The former New York mayor has tried to tamp down criticism in recent days after Newsday reported that Giuliani was a no-show for two of the group's meetings and instead attended paid public appearances.

And now: into the time machine! Set the TARDIS for the year…2010!


WASHINGTON--President Rudy Giuliani said today that it was “a mistake” for him to accept a paid appearance as guest host of “The New ‘Price Is Right’” rather than attend last month’s Middle East Peace Summit in Cairo.

“I thought it would work,” President Giuliani said during a press conference, “But I guess it was unrealistic to think I could attend the summit and do the show on the same day.”

YouTube footage of Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair watching Giuliani host “The Price is Right” generated more than 3 million hits last week. The video clip caught a dismayed Blair commenting: “I can’t believe that bloody ass would rather host a f-----g game show than negotiate a ceasefire. And there’s no way that bloody Cuisinart could retail for more than seventy five American dollars!”


LOS ANGELES—President Rudy Giuliani acknowledged today that it was “a mistake” for him to accept a paid guest shot on “Law And Order” to play the part of “Second Serial Killer” instead of meeting with the Kurdish Refugee Commission at the United Nations yesterday.

“Mistakes were made. But the money was just too good to turn down,” Giuliani told representatives of Entertainment Tonight. “And they gave me my own trailer. And that Kurdish refugee thing is a no-win, career-wise, let’s face it...”


HELSINKI—At the Five Power Conference in Helsinki yesterday, President Rudy Giuliani offered apologies to Supreme Dictator of All The Russias Vladimir Putin. Giuliani admitted that he had made “a mistake” in choosing to appear as a clown at a local children’s party rather than traveling to Moscow to negotiate Russian participation in policing the recent Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan.

“The Supreme Dictator was very understanding,” Giuliani told reporters as he removed his makeup and large shoes. “He has personal appearances to do, too—and with the world economy in the shape it’s in, none of us can afford to turn down that extra dough to attend some policy thing that may or may not end up going anywhere.”

The President also announced that Putin had made him a lucrative offer to co-host an upcoming segment of “Chechnya’s Next Top Model.” Giuliani stated that he could not formally accept unless he could get out of “some Sunni-Shi’ia nuclear proliferation thing he had penciled in next week.”


Bush: Blair To Bring Peace To The Middle East!

The latest, from the “George W. Bush ‘House of Ideas’”:
“Tony Blair: He’s the PERFECT choice--to make the peace in the Middle East!”

Well, I mean, Tony “tests so well” with Arabs, right? Look at this:

Bush eyes Blair for Mideast peace role

By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent
52 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - President Bush has talked with British Prime Minister Tony Blair about taking a role as a Middle East peace envoy after he leaves office next week. Assistant Secretary of State David Welch, the State Department's top diplomat for the Middle East, talked with Blair in London on Wednesday, while the White House and State Department spoke glowingly about the prime minister's credentials but said there was nothing to announce yet.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also expressed support for Blair playing a role in the Middle East.

"Officials in the prime minister's office are aware of this idea and Prime Minister Olmert is very supportive of Prime Minister Blair and of his continuing involvement in the Middle East and the peace process," Israeli government spokeswoman Miri Eisin said.

"Obviously Prime Minister Blair has been very active and deeply involved in Middle East peace issues throughout his prime ministership," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

"That’s RIGHT, Dana!" And in most realities that “deep involvement”—unconditional support for the Iraq war and an American military occupation in Iraq-- would be considered a “minus” in selecting a “peacemaker.” But in the topsy-turvy, kooky-crazy, downright wacky world of Bush foreign policy, it’s that very “American lapdog” quality that gives Blair *credibility* with the enemies of Israel!

Tony Blair, for “honest broker” of the peace!
Monica Goodling, for “legal ethics czar!”
Alberto Gonzales, for election judge!
Karl Rove, for point man on “changing the tone in Washington!”
Donald Rumsfeld, for “spokesman on what we should do next in Iraq!”

It goes on and on; Bush never runs out of qualified personnel.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Another Gonzales Hatchet Man Gets The Axe

Another one bites the dust:”

Justice Dept Official To Quit

Elston Had Role in Prosecutor Firings

By Dan Eggen and Amy Goldstein
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, June 16, 2007; Page A06

A fifth senior Justice Department official announced his resignation yesterday in the wake of the controversy over the firings of nine U.S. attorneys last year.

... (Michael J. Elston, chief of staff to Deputy Attorney General) assembled one of the lists of prosecutors to be considered for removal. Four of the dismissed prosecutors said they later received inappropriate telephone calls from Elston, who allegedly warned some of them that they would suffer retaliation if they spoke publicly about their firings…

…Former U.S. attorney John McKay of Seattle told Congress that on Jan. 17 -- before McKay stepped down -- he received a call from Elston that he "greatly resented." He said Elston attempted to "buy my silence by promising that the attorney general would not demean me in his Senate testimony."

"My handwritten and dated notes of this call," McKay told Congress, "reflect that I believed Mr. Elston's tone was sinister and that he was prepared to threaten me further if he concluded I did not intend to continue to remain silent about my dismissal."

We all know that people in law enforcement run the risk of receiving sinister and threatening commuications from targets of their investigations. But the words “sinister” and “threatening” aren't usually the adjectives used to describe communications BETWEEN law enforcement professionals. It seems that Gonzales and his hatchet men intended to create a climate of fear within the federal law enforcement community. The paradox is that Gonzales' attorneys begin to talk to each other in language very much like that of the gangsters they are supposed to be policing.

Imagine an FBI wiretap of a Justice Department inter-office telephone call:


--Who’s this?

--Never you mind who dis is, see? Dis is somebody who cares about your continued health, dat’s who dis is.

--Wait a minute—you’re calling from here, inside the office—


--Yes, you are, I can see that your line is lit up on my phone--it’s you, Biff, isn’t it, it’s Biff from Attorney General Gonzales’--

--You namin’ names now, you little rat?

--Biff, what is this, some kind of joke?

--You think it’s a joke, you just keep on callin’ me Biff an’ you’ll find out just how much of a joke it is, punk.

--But, Bi--What are you doing, we just had lunch together twenty minutes ago, why are you using that voice—

--You better listen to dis “voice,” jocko, and listen good. You’re goin’ down—the question is, are you gonna try to take Big Al with you, when you go down?

--Now wait a minute, I—

--You’re gonna talk, aintcha? Yer gonna sing like a canary, sing like a little bird—

--Why, I, I,—

--Yer gonna sing a sweet song to the media about how you was fired for not playin’ along with the Big Plan, the plan to send the Dems to jail—that’s whatcha think yer gonna do, ain’t it, Eddie ol’ pal? Because y’er Jocko the Singin’ Canary now, aintcha?

--I—I don’t think this is very ap-p-p-propriate or very professional—

--No? Well let me tell you what IS appropriate and professional, for little canary birds like you. If you so much as make a peep about this, we’re gonna have you fitted for a pair of concrete loafers. That’s very appropriate. And we’re gonna send a “professional” out to do it, too.

--Are y-you threatening m-me?

--Figure it out, bright boy. You made law review, figure it out.

--B-but this is crazy, we work together, we’re both attorneys for the Justice Department, w-w-we’re in law enforcement, y-you work just down the hall from me—

--Remember that, ya stinkin’ rat! Don’t let that slip yer mind, when yer talkin’ to Congress or the press! I’m just down the hall… right down the hall from you, is all…

--I-I’ll remember—

--Good. I’ll see ya tomorrow. We tee off at ten. (Click.)


Friday, June 15, 2007

Latest Bush Diplomatic Coup: Pissing Off The Chinese

China slams Bush's "Cold War thinking" in anti-communism speech

Jun 14, 2007, 4:55 GMT

Beijing - China on Thursday accused US President George W Bush of reviving 'Cold War thinking' by inaugurating a monument to 100 million people whose deaths were blamed on communist regimes.

'Some political forces in the United States still use Cold War thinking and aim to provoke conflicts between different ideologies and social systems,' foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement after Bush's speech in Washington.

'We express our strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to the statements and actions of the US side,' Qin said.

Criticize communism? I thought that Reagan claimed that he had seen “the death of Communism.” That’s one of my favorite Reagan BS lines—“I have seen the birth of Communism, and I have seen the death of Communism.” Like so much of what he said (“it was not an arms-for-hostages deal”) it was an f’in lie—but it got *big* applause when he said it to the Republicans. That’s the kind of mind Reagan had, a mind that can ignore the existence of a billion Chinese communists. (The Vietnamese, North Korean, and Cuban communist states that survived Reagan hardly count at all, by comparison.) But it sounded good to conservatives, so Reagan pretended it was fact, and he said it--and that’s the secret of being popular with conservatives: pretend.

Actually, I would applaud Bush for honoring the memory of the hundred million slaughtered by the Communists—if I thought he understood the ramifications of making such a statement in our present circumstances. We’re gonna need the Chinese in what he calls the “war against terror,” we’re going to need them if Bush and the neo-cons are successful in expanding the war into Iran, if the Turks invade Kurdish Iraq, if the Taliban returns to power in Afghanistan, etc. So it really does no good, in the present situation, to announce to the world that the Chinese form of government is still innately evil. Stalin’s Soviet Union was certainly evil, but we really needed them to beat Hitler--remember?

No, he doesn’t. Bush never got the “history” thing, the “strategic alliance” thing, or the “diplomacy” thing. And forget the “vision” thing; no one in his family ever got that. Bush might be capable of understanding—after the fact—that designating the Chinese as “the enemy” isn’t such a smart move. Especially if your country is later going to be depending on Chinese aid or mediation in the general collapse of the Middle East and Central Asia that he is now bringing about.

Let’s see—who is there left in the world, for him to alienate? The Swiss? I guess there’s still time for him to call them a bunch of “venal, cowardly, cheese-making bankers.” Papua New Guinea? He could smear them as “a savage bunch of headhunters…” How about Canada? They still like us; why not build a wall and call them “a bunch of socialist snowback hockey-pucks?”


Thursday, June 14, 2007

The "Surge" Isn't Working, So We're Going To Surge Again

Pentagon: Iraqi violence still rising

By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer
34 minutes ago
June 14, 2007

WASHINGTON - Violence in Iraq, as measured by casualties among troops and civilians, has edged higher despite the U.S.-led security push in Baghdad, the Pentagon told Congress on Wednesday.

In its required quarterly report on security, political and economic developments in Iraq, covering the February-May period, the Pentagon also raised questions about Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's ability to fulfill a pledge made in January to prohibit political interference in security operations and to allow no safe havens for sectarian militias.

Overall, however, the report said it was too soon to judge whether the security crackdown was working.

But on the other hand…

Big Boost In Iraqi Forces Is Urged
A Top General Sees Years Before U.S. Ends Security Role

By Walter Pincus and Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, June 13, 2007; Page A01

A senior U.S. military commander said yesterday that Iraq's army must expand its rolls by at least 20,000 more soldiers than Washington had anticipated, to help free U.S. troops from conducting daily patrols, checkpoints and other critical yet dangerous missions.

Even then, Iraq will remain incapable of taking full responsibility for its security for many years -- five years in the case of protecting its airspace -- and will require a long-term military relationship with the United States, said Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey, who until recently led the U.S. military's training effort in Iraq…

…His projection of the size of the police force required to help bring stability -- 195,000 -- is more than 40 percent higher than Washington estimated in 2003. The remarks follow other blunt comments by U.S. military commanders that civilian deaths and attacks on U.S. troops have recently risen and that particularly tough fighting is expected in the coming months…

This, of course, is not counting the troops we’re going to need to raise to invade Iran—if the Republicans get back in next year. If you've got teenage kids, make sure their paperwork in order.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Oh, Look, How Nice, A Video Game Set In A Beautiful Old Cathedral--AGHHH!

Cathedral shootout game under fire
POSTED: 10:14 a.m. EDT, June 10, 2007

LONDON, England (AP) -- The Church of England accused Sony on Saturday of using a cathedral in Britain as the backdrop to a violent computer game, and said it should be withdrawn from shop shelves.

The church said Sony did not ask for permission to use Manchester Cathedral and demanded an apology.

The popular new PlayStation 3 game, "Resistance: Fall of Man," shows a virtual shootout between rival gunmen with hundreds of people killed inside the cathedral. Church officials described Sony's alleged use of the building as "sick" and sacrilegious.

Not only that, it turns out that Manchester has also been the site of several shooting incidents in recent years, some involving the deaths of children.

A mere oversight by Sony’s game designers, or deliberate exploitation of anti-social tendencies? To make that call, I think you have to look at the titles of other soon-to-be released video games:

“Vatican Bloodbath” (“The College of Cardinals has become “possessed” by demons! Your mission: wipe ‘em out, with a fantastic array of state-of-the-art ordinance! Gain points by taking out the Church hierarchy, lose points every time you accidentally blow up an art treasure instead. And look out for the Pope! One bite from his deadly fangs and you’re toast, pilgrim!”)

“Jerusalemaniacs!” (“Here’s your chance to put a few more “holes” in the “Holy Land,” kid! Arabs, Jews, Christians—to you, they’re all just Uzi-bait! They’ve all got to go, let God sort ‘em out! Their petty, bloody religious squabbles will seem like a week in charm school—after you show up on the scene to deal out death regardless of race, creed or color! Superb 3-D renderings of Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock, Wailing Wall—you’ll give ‘em something to wail about! But look out for the Israeli Tourism Minister—one bite from his deadly fangs and you’re hummus, pal!”)

“Oval Office Doom” (You’re a heavily armed psychotic paranoid, and a black helicopter drops you off on the White House lawn—where you have to shoot your way past dozens of kamikaze Secret Service agents to penetrate the West Wing! If you make it that far (and we doubt you can): your target is—the President of the United States! He’s been infected with a dreaded “Zombie Virus” and vowed to our nation into the “Undead States of America!” But be careful—one bite from his deadly fangs and you’re U.S. history, dude!”)

“Walter Reed Hospital: The Final Conflict” It’s a MADHOUSE! A MADHOUSE! A 3-D virtual disgrace to the United States, when mindless budget cuts and just-plain-not-giving-a-shit cause the nation’s premier medical center for veterans to become overrun by giant cockroaches and hordes of rats! Administration flaks scramble frantically among the vermin, doing media spin control and looking for the next fall guy. Help our hospitalized veterans take their revenge! But watch out for that hospital food—one bite of that bullshit jello cancels out all your anti-depressants, amigo!”

Hmm. I don’t know about you, but I think at least some of this represents a serious lapse in good taste.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Forget About Bush Drinking; It's Condi Who's Plastered

She must be! She must be high as a kite on something. She says that history is going to vindicate the Bush Administration. Look at this:

Jun 8, 8:42 PM EDT

Rice: History Will Rate Bush Well

NEW YORK (AP) -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says history will remember President Bush's foreign policy favorably despite current troubles in Iraq, Iran, North Korea and the Middle East

(I put this link into TinyUrl, and it threw up.)

"History's judgment is rarely the same as today's headlines," she said Friday in an interview with The Associated Press.
(Oh, yeah. Remember how tough the media was on the Nazis, back in WWII? They’re laughing out of the other side of their face, now, aren't they?)

Rice said she believed the world was more dangerous before Bush took office in January 2001 than it is now.
(Yeah, who wants the world of the 1990s back? America’s biggest problems were Monica Lewinsky and the OJ trial--who’d want to go back to that, compared to the sweet deal we’ve got now?)

"Six years ago ... it wasn't a very nice world." (She thinks it's nicer now?) "Al-Qaida was preparing to attack the twin towers," (yeah, but you didn’t want to hear about that, Condi, don't even go there)Pakistan was allied with the Taliban, (yeah, now Pakistan is just another Taliban base, that's all) "Afghanistan was the base from where al-Qaida was going to operate," (thank God that’s no longer the case) "the Israelis and Palestinians had given up.” (Well, the Bush Road Map To Peace sure settled that, didn’t it?)

“The North Koreans were cheating on a deal that they had just signed,” (Yeah, no more cheating by Kim Jong Il, thank God that’s over. That last atomic missile they launched was held together with duct-tape! Congratulations, Mr. Bush!)

“Iran was cheating on the IAEA out of sight and Saddam Hussein was shooting at our pilots in the no-fly zone (now Iraqis can shoot at American soldiers in downtown Baghdad; saves us a fortune in airplanes and jet fuel) “and making a mockery of the oil-for-food program and corruption was running rampant in that program." (But in no time at all, the GOP had moved the corruption right back here to the US, where it belongs. “USA! USA!”)

"That was the world. A worse world? I think so." (And you’re not alone! Twenty-eight per cent of the electorate still agrees with you, they think a pointless war that increases the numbers and reach of terrorists is preferable to another Clinton administration. They keep on agreeing with you, even though you’re now doing something the administration and its defenders said no one in his right mind should ever do—negotiating with the terrorist-sponsoring states of Syria and Iran.)

"I think that what this president has done is ... to set up the long struggle that we are going to have to resolve particularly the problem of the growth of extremism in the Middle East, which was clearly there underneath the surface and exploded on Sept. 11."
(“’Set up’ the long struggle?” You’re understating the Chief’s achievement, Condi. That dumb shit in the White House has *fostered* the growth of extremism in the Middle East! Now Turkey is coming into the war! There are more terrorists in the world now than when he started. And yeah, the problem “was clearly there underneath the surface” before September 11, and it did explode. So why the f did you ignore the problem for nine months, when you were National Security Adviser? And how’d you get promoted, when you should have been fired? That indicates another “problem that is clearly there underneath the surface.”)

Asked how long it would take for the Bush administration's initiatives to succeed, Rice counseled patience. (“Four more years! Or maybe fifty, who knows…”)

"I think there is a lot of progress," she said. "Now, will we see the end of all this? Maybe not.” (Statistically, Condi will live another twenty five years or so.)

“But when you are confronted with a fundamentally changed strategic set of circumstances (translation: I majored in “The Cold War,” I just never got the hang of this Sunni/Shi'ite stuff), you can try to put Band-Aids on it, or you can say we are going to have to deal with the root problems here and it may take a long time." (They should have tried Band-Aids. I mean real Band-Aids, like from Johnson and Johnson: much less expensive, couldn’t have turned out much worse.)

"It may take successive administrations to succeed. But we know what you have to put in place so that successive administrations can succeed." (“And what we have put in place is “complete and utter failure”, so that successive administrations are bound to succeed, by comparison.”) “And you don't get there by covering up the problems or trying to find a temporary solution to them that isn't worth the paper it's written on." (I thought that was the Bush strategy for the past seven years.)

I saw video on YouTube of a talking cat that was making more sense than Condi is right now. (It’s the last cat in the video clip.) Bush is probably going to make that cat his next National Security Advisor. And if the cat loses three thousand lives and the New York skyline and part of the Pentagon to terrorists—he will promote it to Secretary of State. A talking cat as Secretary of State—that is probably the only way to improve this administration’s historical reputation.

“Oh, Long Johnson… Oh, Don Piano…All the live long day…”


Friday, June 08, 2007

New Iraq War Czar: "I am SOOOO depressed"

General Lute at confirmation hearings: "Oh, maaaan... this Iraq shit is bringing me dooown...(sobs)" (continued)

I got this “war czar” quote from a British journal, but the NYT is running it, too:

Fresh calls for Iraq withdrawal as British death toll reaches 150WILLIAM TINNING
The Herald
June 08 2007

…The calls for a swift (British withdrawal from Iraq) came as the Army general picked by US President George W Bush to become his war adviser said he has serious misgivings about the Iraqi government's ability to take control of the country, no matter how much pressure is applied.

"The question in my mind is not to what extent can we force them or lever them to a particular outcome but rather to what degree do they actually have the capacity themselves to produce that outcome," Lt Gen Douglas Lute said during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"And if produced or if pressed too hard will we, in turn, end up with an outcome that isn't really worth the paper it's written on?"

This is not inspiring, General Lute. In fact, it’s more depressing than a goddamn Leonard Cohen song. “An outcome not worth the paper it’s printed on?” And this is the guy they put IN CHARGE? I feel kind of sorry for him. “We’ve struck an iceberg! The ship is filling with water. Here, take this hat, sailor, put it on--you’re the captain from now on, congratulations! We’re off to write our self-exculpatory memoirs, we’ll wave to you from the lifeboat. Good night and good luck!”

Here’s more from General Droopy, via the Washington Post:

Nominee to Coordinate War Offers Grim Forecast on Iraq
General's Appraisal Echoes Secret Intelligence Findings

By Peter Baker and Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, June 8, 2007; Page A01

President Bush's nominee to be war czar said yesterday that conditions in Iraq have not improved significantly despite the influx of U.S. troops in recent months and predicted that, absent major political reform, violence will continue to rage over the next year.

Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, tapped by Bush to serve as a new high-powered White House coordinator of the war, told senators at a confirmation hearing that Iraqi factions "have shown so far very little progress" toward the reconciliation necessary to stem the bloodshed. If that does not change, he said, "we're not likely to see much difference in the security situation" a year from now.

You should read the whole article. It turns out practically everybody in Washington with a steady job is now saying that Bush’s Iraq project is almost certainly doomed to failure. (Which anyone with any knowledge of the region could have told them--*did* tell them—four years ago.) More from Lute, who sounds like he’s really down about the whole thing, these days:

… he expressed doubt about whether the Iraqis have the ability to change and whether the United States has the ability to force them to do so. "I have reservations about just how much leverage we can apply on a system that is not very capable right now," he said.

“Put pressure on the Iraq government we installed? That’s like asking me to put pressure on a pile of shit, all it’s gonna do is mess up the shine on my boots, man.”

And after that, he sounds kind of disoriented:

"Where are we today?" he asked. "Not where any of us would like."

Let’s see—Zoloft, Citalopram, Xanax… what the hell, give him a handful of each…

...But (Lute) sounded open to other ideas if the troop buildup does not succeed, telling Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, that withdrawing some U.S. forces should be considered. Lute agreed that a large presence in Iraq could reinforce a "dependency syndrome."

“Oh, yeah. "Dependency syndrome", right, thanks for reminding me, thanks a million. We shoulda got the fuck out of there a long time ago, but it’s not up to me. (shouts) I just work here, man! Okay? (puts head in hands, sobs)”

...Even a leading Republican pressed Lute for more progress, citing the deaths of U.S. soldiers and rejecting the argument that the Iraqi government has been in place for only a year. "Wake up," said Sen. John W. Warner (Va.). "We're paying a heavy price for them to establish this government."

“WAKE UP, goddammit, Lute! Get your head up off the table! This shit is serious, we’re getting MAIL about this!”

Lute: “Huh? Where am I? Oh yeah, confirmation hearings, right... did I get the job?...uh…What is it you want me to do again? Oh God… fuckin’ Army…”

Lute would serve as an assistant to the president who would brief Bush every day and manage the U.S. government's civilian and military efforts in Iraq. Democrats said that is proof that national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley is not doing his job.

"He should be fired, because, frankly, if he's not capable of being the individual responsible for those duties and they pass it on to someone else, then why is he there?" Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said.

“He makes good fuckin’ coffee, alright? the morning...Steve brings in a cup of the coffee...he puts it in my feels feels warm. It stops my hands from hands are cold, so very cold... I love Steve! He stays! Deal with it! Or fire him, I don’t fuckin’ care, do what you want, I got my own problems. Look, do I get the job or not?”

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) also questioned Lute about Vice President Cheney's role. Lute responded that Cheney is "an important participant in policy development.”

“He says we’ve turned a corner, it’s just a few dead enders. I don’t know what they got him on, heart medication, horse tranquilizers or something. Maybe they’ll give me some of that. I hope so. Listen, guys—I really gotta lie down. Right now…Wake me up when you guys decide if I’m hired or not, okay?”


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Can The Religious Left Sway the 2008 Election?

Can The Religious Left Sway The 2008 Election?
By Linda Feldmann, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
Wed Jun 6

How about “NOOOO” for an answer? How about, “this is a fringe movement, entirely impotent, a null force in the next election”, for an answer? How about “liberal Democrats are wasting their time trying vet their religious faith credentials by appearing before an audience of progressive Christians”, for a concept?

Now, you expect the Democrats to kiss the asses of the different constituencies, because that’s what politicians do. When they speak on St. Patrick’s Day in New York or Boston, they wear something green; when they talk to gay activists (*if* they talk to them at all) they wear little AIDS remembrance ribbons, etc. etc. ‘Let the people in the room know you are for them,” that’s politics.

So it’s not surprising that the Dem candidates will limo their way down to a forum sponsored by a progressive Christian group. They don’t want “concede the evangelicals” to the GOP next year—ideally, they’d like to split the evangelical vote.

Fat chance. The mere fact that these particular Christians are allowing themselves to be called “progressive” in the media means: 1) they’re a tiny minority, almost insignificant as a voting bloc, 2) they’re thinking for themselves, which means they aren’t likely to “vote as a bloc” and 3) they’re outside the evangelical political movement (EPM), which almost overtly Republican and conservative.

And being on the outside of the EPM, looking in, means 4) that these particular Christians don’t have access to the huge cash flow and national media presence of the EPM which 5) keeps the EPM voters voting as a bloc and does the voter turnout drives that make the difference on election days.

The author of the piece acknowledges, half way through the story, that the progressive Christians are insignificant, compared to the EPM:

A look at the numbers also shows a religious left that is still on the beginning end of a trajectory movement leaders hope will make it a major force in shaping political and policy debate. At this week's four-day Pentecost conference sponsored by Sojourners, there are 600 people in its attendance.

Six hundred? To hear the leading Democratic contenders for President? That’s pathetic. When I went to hear James Dobson speak in St. Paul, Minnesota last year, there were about three thousand present. And they *paid* to get in. Nationally, the EPM commands the regular allegiance of millions; a virtual major political party in and of itself, directed by a hierarchy, voting as a bloc.

I know; that’s not news. But there’s much more to it than just numbers. The author of the piece doesn’t understand. It’s easy for the EPM dismiss the phenomenon of a splinter group of “progressive Christians.” They will simply tell their right wing base that what the tiny, impotent progressive Christians believe about politics is not “biblical,” and cite chapter and verse to prove it. The implication is that these “progressive Christians” are misguided, misled, and therefore somehow “less than truly Christian.” And once that happens, the influence of this tiny, nascent movement can never be anything more than marginal.

If you listen to evangelical radio, you already know: conservatism, to the EPM, *is* Christianity, true Christianity. And so even Mitt Romney (a devout Mormon for Chrissakes) is more palatable to most of the EPM than a fellow evangelical who would support any of the leading liberal Democrats.

How can that be if Romney is a Mormon? What Mormons believe is not ‘biblical’, in the eyes of the EPM. Mormons (LDS) are heretics, according to EPM Christians: Mormons misconceive the essential nature of God, reject the doctrine of Trinity, rely on a false Scripture--and worst of all, they are actively spreading this “heresy” around the world.

So how can Romney be more acceptable to the EPM as a leader than a Democrat who accepts essential and orthodox Christian beliefs? Why does he get an invite to address Pat Robertson’s Regent University, over the objections of some devout students? The reason that Romney is because Romney’s politics (these days) are those of the EPM leaders—and in the EPM, conservative politics trumps the issue of orthodox Christianity. That’s how perverse and corrupting the introduction of sectarian religion into secular politics is. What matters to the leaders of the EPM is not Jesus, but maintaining the political power of conservatives.

And the most disturbing thing of all is—the issue of sectarian belief really is on the table now. Politicized, partisan sectarian belief as a core issue, in the most important political election in the world. It’s just too big for Democrats to ignore; Obama spoke of his faith “in an awesome God” at the last national convention.

The EPM has proven itself wildly successful. All parties must play the game of catering to sectarian belief. For hundreds of years the divisive issue of sectarian religious beliefs played a relatively minor part in the national debate. Now, because of the alliance and inseparability of conservatism and the EPM—the issue is central, even for those of us who don’t want it to be.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Why Libby Should Be Pardoned

Before you say "no way," consider the following:

1) Obstruction of justice, perjury--so what?

2) He was only following orders.

3) Hey, c’mon—it’s Christmas.

4) Pardon would be an example of “compassionate” conservatism.

5) Giuliani, Romney, McCain, Brownback, Tancredo, and Thompson all said they would pardon him. (And Thompson is on “Law and Order”)

6) If we don’t pardon him, he’ll come out of jail seeking a “Rambo-like” vengeance.

7) He’s already said he would never do it again.

8) Pardon would save much-needed federal prison dollars—he’s a big eater.

9) If we pardon him now, HBO won’t make a movie about him starring Gary Sinise.

10) Looks real bad for government if one of the President’s top men ends up “on the inside.”

11) Would look silly in that ill-fitting uniform.

12) Pardon would encourage more Libby types to go into politics.

13) Cellmate needs and deserves better-looking “girlfriend.”

14) Promised not to ask for anything else if he’s pardoned.

15) Prosecutor was clearly over-zealous—wants to put ALL criminals in prison.

16) Could celebrate pardon with “National Open Bar Of Remembrance Day.”

17) Libby serving his sentence would dishonor the sacrifice of our troops in Iraq.

18) If he goes to jail, Dixie Chicks would be somehow vindicated.

19) How about two years of community service as a traffic cop in downtown Baghdad, instead?

20) He never semen-stained a cocktail dress, that’s for sure.

21) Pardon would piss off Nancy Pelosi, and she looks so cute when she’s mad.

22) Pardon=the process of national healing could begin.

23) Alberto Gonzales would sleep better.

24) Scooter “feels these things” more than the rest of us.

25) Sentence is no guarantee he won’t be back in government (look at Elliot Abrams.)

26) We could send Doug Feith instead. He’s perfect to take the fall, he’ll sign anything and General Franks says he’s “the dumbest motherfucker he ever met.”

27) It will break his mother’s heart.

28) Libby sitting on top bunk playing “Nobody Know Da Trouble I Seen” on his harmonica all day would drive rest of cell block into a murderous rage.

29) Keeping Bush officials out of prison is the front line on the war against terrorism.

30) Nobody wants to hire an ex-con.

31) If we send him to jail, he will put the dreaded “Curse of Scooter” on us all.

32) We shouldn't "criminalize policy differences" regarding perjury.

33) Rate of recidivism among Bush White House officials is very high.

34) Let’s not be too hasty, now.

35) Sending him to prison would embolden our enemies.

36) Jail hasn’t been built that can hold ol’ Scooter.

37) Could have shot his way out of courtroom, chose not to, saving lives.

38) Bad memory, won’t remember what he’s being punished “for.”

39) Look up there, quick--what kind of bird is that? Oh, too late, he’s slipped away…

40) Pardon=no reality TV series co-starring Paris Hilton.


Monday, June 04, 2007

So Now It's Okay To Say F**k On TV Every Couple of Years.

This one’s about a federal court ruling. During the 2002 Billboard Music Awards show on Fox, Cher dissed and dismissed her critics, saying, "f**k 'em." Then during the 2003 Billboard Music Awards show (on Fox again), Nicole Richie said: "Have you ever tried to get cow s**t out of a Prada purse? It's not so f****n’ simple." Well, the FCC went f****n’ bats**t when they heard that.

(I always wondered who watched the f****n’ Billboard Music Awards year after year; apparently it’s the f****n’ FCC.) So the FCC hears this s**t about Nicole Richie and her f****n’ Prada purse and they launched a crackdown on indecency in 2004. They reversed years of policy and announced that even "fleeting” use of words like f**k or s**t was off-limits on broadcast television and radio. “We don’t care if it is the conservative Fox Network,” says the FCC, “We don’t care if an Australian like Rupert Murdoch uses the word f**k every five seconds in ordinary conversation, we’re not going to stand for any more of that s**t on U.S. television.”

But four years later Fox fights it all the way up to a f****n’ Federal Appeals Court in New York, and now it turns out that the FCC is the one who’s f****d. The court yesterday sided with Fox, which is owned by Murdoch's News Corp., writing that the FCC's "new policy sanctioning 'fleeting expletives' is f****n’ arbitrary and capricious, and anyway, Fox is the network that f****n’ supports the party of family values."

Needless to say, the FCC thinks the court’s decision is a f****n’ disgrace.

"I'm disappointed in the court's ruling," FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin said in an interview. "I think the commission had done the right thing in trying to protect families from that kind of language, and I think it's unfortunate that the court in New York has said that this kind of language is appropriate on TV."

“Unfortunate;” that’s the official FCC euphemism for “a f****n’ disgrace.” The FCC Commissioner added that any broadcaster who sees this decision as a green light to send more gratuitous sex and violence into our homes has his head up his f****n’ a**.

The FCC forbids radio and television broadcast material that is sexual or excretory in nature from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., when children are most likely to be in the audience. After 10 p.m., apparently, we can f**k and s**t all we want, but we’ve got to hold it in until the kids are in bed.

This isn’t the first time this kind of s**t has happened, either. In February 2004, during the Super Bowl halftime show on CBS, after singer Janet Jackson's right t*t was briefly exposed, causing a national s**tstorm. The FCC launched an indecency investigation the next day. The agency quickly found that the broadcast violated the FCC's statutes and fined 20 CBS stations $550,000, which is about what they make from three seconds of f****n' airtime during one f****n’ Super Bowl commercial. CBS has appealed the decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit in Philadelphia. The court has scheduled oral arguments in the case for September, which should be interesting.


Sunday, June 03, 2007

Search For Iraq's WMDs Goes On

More idiocy:

U.N. Team Still Looking for Iraq's Arsenal
Though Work Is Seen as Irrelevant, Security Council Can't Agree to End It

By Colum Lynch
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, June 2, 2007; A01

UNITED NATIONS -- More than four years after the fall of Baghdad, the United Nations is spending millions of dollars in Iraqi oil money to continue the hunt for Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction.

Every weekday, at a secure commercial office building on Manhattan's East Side, a team of 20 U.N. experts on chemical and biological weapons pores over satellite images of former Iraqi weapons sites… And they maintain a cadre of about 300 weapons experts from 50 countries and prepare them for inspections in Iraq -- inspections they will almost certainly never conduct, in search of weapons that few believe exist.

…But, they say, their masters at the U.N. Security Council have been unable to agree to either shut down their effort or revise their mandate to make their work more relevant. Russia insists that Iraq's disarmament must be formally confirmed by the inspectors, while the United States vehemently opposes a U.N. role in Iraq, saying coalition inspectors have already done the job.

To get the story behind the story, I went to Naafi Achwad, current head of the U.N. inspection team. I found Mr. Achwad behind his desk at his office in Manhattan’s pricey East Side. When I came in he was sailing a paper airplane he’d made out of the latest satellite photos of east Jordan; the Nigerian member of the inspection team was trying to shoot Mr. Achwad’s paper airplane out of the air with a paperclip launched from a rubber band.

It happened to be payday, an office messenger delivered paychecks to members of the twenty-man inspection team, who responded with appropriate whistles and shouts of “We eats chicken-necks TO-NIGHT!” I introduced myself to Mr. Achwad and fired my first question:

Me: Mr. Achwad, how can your department justify taking millions for Iraqi weapons inspection when you’re not even allowed in Iraq?

Achwad: What are you, some kind of left-wing douchebag or something? Is that our fault, that we’re not allowed in Iraq anymore? That’s Bush and Cheney, the U.S. government. They don’t want the file closed on the weapons of mass destruction, they don’t want a U.N. report that says “No WMDs in Iraq.” So they pay us to keep the joint open. You think I’m gonna argue with them? If they’re throwin’ the dough, I’m catchin’. You think we oughtta be closed up? Try telling that to THIS. (He held up his paycheck.)

Me: But day after day you fail to turn up any evidence of a viable WMD program—

Achwad: --and day after day, you can *kiss my ass,* and the ass of every member of this WMD inspection team—black, brown, yellow, white, you can kiss all our asses, asses of every different creed and color, spanning the globe, if you want us to go home. If they’re payin’, we’re stayin’. And dat’s da name of dat tune. Next question.

Me: In the more than four years that this incarnation of the WMD inspection team has been active, have you discovered anything at all of value?

Achwad: Yes. This: (here he held up his paycheck, and flexed it in front of me.) Wanna see it again? (he flexed the paycheck again) This, and a multi-million dollar yearly budget. You think that grows on trees? Here—(he reached into his desk and pulled out a photo) Take that for your article.

Me: (studying photo) What is this?

Achwad: That’s a satellite image, taken from space, magnified 60,000 times, of me, walking out of a Mercedes-Benz dealership with the keys to a new S600 in my hand. Isn’t that amazing? You can even see my thumb pressing the little button that goes “woop-woop” and makes the doors open. And my father was a goddam goat farmer! God bless the Bush administration for keeping this place open, and you can quote me, bimbo.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Security Alert: Baghdad Embassy Plans Turn Up Online


Baghdad embassy plans turn up online

By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 26 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Detailed plans for the new U.S. Embassy under construction in Baghdad appeared online Thursday in a breach of the tight security surrounding the sensitive project.

Computer-generated projections of the soon-to-be completed, heavily fortified compound were posted on the Web site of the Kansas City, Mo.-based architectural firm that was contracted to design the massive facility in the Iraqi capital.

(Scene: Karl Rove’s brainstorming conference room, in the basement of the White House.)

Rove: Okay, Iraq. What can we play up this week that’s positive?
Flunky: Well, only five of our guys were killed on Memorial Day, that’s not that bad—
Rove: Oh yeah, great idea, we’ll send Tony Snow out there to tell the press that “only five of our guys got killed on Memorial Day and that’s not that bad”—come on, you knuckleheads, think! We’re surging like bejesus here and they’re still dying like flies, we got the Memorial Day casualty figures to deal with, we’re even losing American Legionnaires this week... And then the Chimp announces that it’s like South Korea, we’re gonna be there for the next fifty years… (stops, clutches at his ulcer for a moment, recovers) For Christ sake, we don’t want “it’s not so bad”, we want “there’s been significant progress.” Look alive, you punks! Look alive! C’mon, spitball me something positive here! Positive!
(silence, then)
Rove: Okay, then, I guess we’ll have to move on to the next topic: how many of you are below the cut-off limit for volunteering in our combat forces?
Flunky: (waving his hand frantically) I have a positive Iraq spin idea, Mr. Rove!
Rove: (to stenographer) I thought that would work… (to Flunky) Okay, sonny, hit me with it. Knock me out, or start boning up on your Arabic.
Flunky: It’s our new Baghdad embassy, sir. It’s in the pipeline.
Rove: Hmmm… Keep talking… (drops two alka seltzer in a glass of water)
Flunky: We could play that up this week, sir, the new embassy… It’s a sign of post-surge progress that we’re committing to build an embassy…
Another Flunky: That’s right, Mr. Rove, we’re building an embassy, that’s a sign of long term commitment—
Rove: Shut up. I’m thinking. Hmm. It’s not going to be underground, is it? We can’t pitch an underground embassy on TV, it looks bad…
Flunky: No sir! It’s going to be ENTIRELY ABOVE GROUND. It’ll have an American flag and everything—
Rove: American flag over Baghdad… That could be something. C’mon give me some more images (snaps fingers) more images come on, “New American embassy in Baghdad” is a phrase, what we need is a “story”, with images, pictures, for TV, for Fox.
C’mon, images, quick, hit me with ‘em—
Flunky: Well, it isn’t actually built yet—
Rove: That’s not an image, my little could-end-up-as-a-combat volunteer, I asked for images—
Flunky: Okay, um—picture a compound, a large compound, green, with parks, a sort of a city within the city—
Rove: That’s good, keep going—(to stenographer) Are you getting this? (to Flunky) Keep going—
Flunky: Okay, uh--palm-lined paths, green grass gardens and volleyball and basketball courts outside the Marine post--a swimming pool--
Rove: Good! Good!
Flunky:--restaurants, shopping mall--
Rove: You hear that, the rest of you? Restaurants, a new shopping mall. in Baghdad! THOSE are images! Shows confidence, we’re practically building a Hilton resort out there, the message is: we have faith in the future of Baghdad—this boy’s thinking; why can’t the rest of you think? Go on, son—
Flunky: Of course the security’s going to be heavy around the embassy compound, sir, we’ll be doing very heavy security there. Recessed setbacks and perimeter no-go areas all the structures reinforced to 2.5 times the standard and five high-security entrances, plus an emergency entrance-exit—
Rove: Never mind that shit, we’ll symbolize it with men in uniform and the American flag, waving in slow motion in the breeze. Now—sources for this?
Flunky: Oh, sources are no problem, Mr. Rove, it’s rock solid information. (holds up folder) I printed all this out from the website—
Rove: Website?
Flunky: Yeah! I got it off the website, we posted the plans on the Internet—
Flunky: Well, yeah…
Rove: The security stuff, too? We posted all our security stuff on the INTERNET?
Flunky: Well you said you wanted images, Mr. Rove, they have images up on the Web—
Rove: Well that’s great! That will save us the trouble of having to fax the fucking plans straight to Al-Qaeda! JESUS—
Flunky: But—
Rove: You get on the phone right now and get those plans taken off the web, and I don’t mean NOW, I mean YESTERDAY! (clutches his ulcer again) Jesus Christ, *I* might end up voting for Hillary next year! (swats the flunky on the back of the head with a clipboard as Flunky dials his cell.) Listen, you moron--if the press gets a hold of that, I’ve got an image for you—it’s you, and every other idiot in this room, carrying M-16s and going on house-to-house patrol in Sadr City! “Karl Rove’s public relations ‘brain trust’ sent to patrol Baghdad’, how do you like THAT headline! (staggers) Oh, my heart! The ticker! This is the big one--