Thursday, June 30, 2005

Bush's Big Lie Doesn't Take

I said in a post yesterday that Bush's strategy for his big speech on Tuesday was simple: “If I can convince people that September 11 and Iraq are the same fight, I win.”

Sorry, Mr. President, it looks like you lose.

A Zogby poll released today shows that Bush's approval rating has dropped a point to its lowest level ever, at 43 percent. Meanwhile, 42 percent of Americans say that the president should be impeached if it's shown that he did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq.

We're getting there...

New DNC Web Site

At long last, the Democratic National Committee has revamped its web site. It looks pretty snappy -- check it out.

What "Cut And Run" Really Means

I used to like Dennis Miller. In fact, my wife and I went to see him perform in San Francisco in the mid 1990's and, despite my wife's overt disgust with the mysoginistic bent of his routine, I had to admit I still found him fairly funny and interesting.

But then he went to the Right. Miller has been telling anyone who will listen the last few years that, for him, "everything changed after September 11." He has long cited the attacks of that day as the watershed event that turned him into a card-carrying member of the conservative movement.

"I'm shocked it didn't change everybody as much as it changed me," Miller has said, while frequently suggesting that we need to be as macho as possible in world affairs and that true American values mean we don't "cut and run" in the face of terror.

For once – at least since about Autumn of 2001 – I agree with Miller.

I didn't realize it at the time, but the grotesque losses we suffered on 9/11 would truly test our national character more than any event of my lifetime. Do we stick with the values and hard-learned lessons of our past in the face of these new challenges or do we let Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda truly ruin our country by becoming a shadow of the great nation we have always been?

Sadly, under the regime of George W. Bush, it has most assuredly been the latter.

A great nation uses a horrendous event like September 11 to reinforce the things that have always made us the envy of the world and that, at least until our recent history, made us the standard to which other countries aspired. A people of character suck it up and resolve to remain a beacon of hope, equity and civil rights, while fighting documented enemies as strongly as we can.

Dennis Miller and his ilk say we can't cut and run – and they're right.

But what we've seen happen in the last three years is not something that should invoke pride in Americans. We've watched a president and vice president whose lies have become so commonplace that they seldom even make the news. We've watched as our military men and women are killed or maimed in a war that has nothing to do with terror and everything to do with George W. Bush and his crew selling fear to suit their ideological and financial agenda.

We've seen a world go from loving us on September 12, 2001 – many governments declared "we are all Americans today" – to a global pariah with nary a friend who believes in our word or the promise of our deeds. We saw astounding pictures come back from Abu Ghraib, in which prisoners under our watch were tortured and, in some cases, killed. We have become willing to let the president mortgage our present and our children's future to spend money on a war that didn't need to be fought.

And we've seen our country become one where roughly half of our citizens believe that all of this is OK, if they can go to bed at night with the misguided notion that they are safer.

We are a good people. But we have seen a steady decline in what made us so admirable. We have allowed our government to fool us into believing we are safer by lying to us, killing our young, abandoning our children and the elderly, screwing the environment, murdering tens of thousands of innocents in a foreign land and ruining a reputation that previous generations worked so hard to build.

In the face of challenge and terror, we have continued to let George W. Bush and the Republican party debase our nation's soul and trash the values that have made us great. In other words, the Republicans are allowing a few terrorists to change the very essence of our country.

And that, Mr. Miller, is the real "cut and run."

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Bush Speech Insulting To All Americans

As the New York Times editorial page says about last night's presidential address, “Sadly, Mr. Bush wasted his opportunity last night, giving a speech that only answered questions no one was asking.”

Since the president likes reducing complex issues to oversimplified sound bites, I'll tell you what his goal was last night: “If I can convince people that September 11 and Iraq are the same fight, I win.”

One can only hope that Americans – at least those who don't watch Fox News – will be insulted by this and disgusted that Bush is once again using the blood of 3,000 of our countrymen to justify his massive, ideologically-driven blunder in Iraq.

The only honest thing the president said last night, was offered indirectly in asserting his goal of not allowing Iraq to become a haven for terrorists – as it most assuredly has become under U.S. occupation.

We are less safe now than we were in 2001 and if Americans don't know it intellectually, the feel it in their guts.

Americans in even the most rural and conservative areas of our country know that Saddam Hussein and Iraq had nothing whatsoever to do with the September 11 attacks. The 9/11 Commission proved that and the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee ratified those findings.

It is repulsive that this president continues to falsely associate the horrible deaths on September 11 with this war and to use that fake linkage as a way to explain the deaths of more Americans.

New York Times On Bush's Speech

There is a great editorial in today's New York Times that says it all about President Bush's speech last night. Please read the whole thing but, if you can't, here's the salient excerpts:
We did not expect Mr. Bush would apologize for the misinformation that helped lead us into this war, or for the catastrophic mistakes his team made in running the military operation. But we had hoped he would resist the temptation to raise the bloody flag of 9/11 over and over again to justify a war in a country that had nothing whatsoever to do with the terrorist attacks.

Sadly, Mr. Bush wasted his opportunity last night, giving a speech that only answered questions no one was asking. He told the nation, again and again, that a stable and democratic Iraq would be worth American sacrifices, while the nation was wondering whether American sacrifices could actually produce a stable and democratic Iraq.

The president, who is going to be in office for another three and a half years, cannot continue to obsess about self-justification and the need to color Iraq with the memory of 9/11. The nation does not want it and cannot afford it.

I watched the speech with the low expectations that I always have for Bush. As he said just last month, “ my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."

Anyone who tuned in last night expecting him to show leadership and to do anything but say “September 11” and “freedom” over and over again, must have gone to bed very disappointed.

A Compliment From A Conservative Reader

A conservative reader writes:

Dear Mr. Geiger;

My husband told me about your blog and said that you were the most vicious liberal blogger he had ever seen and that I needed to see just how anti Bush some people in our country are. I'm sorry to say he was right. The things you write are horrible and go totally against our president and what he is trying to do for our country. You do nothing but slam our Republican leaders and fight every single thing they do or say.

I will not visit your web site again and wish you would quit writing it.


Dear [unsigned]

Stop, you're making me blush.

Mr. Geiger

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The First Worthless Poll Is Out

How's this for a poll that seems just a tad flawed statistically?

A CNN/Gallup flash poll of 324 adults was taken right after Bush's speech tonight and the respondent breakdown was as follows:

  • 50 percent Republican
  • 27 percent Independent
  • 23 percent Democrat
Huh? I think even the reddest of the red states have more than 23 percent registered Democrats.

The poll found that 46 percent felt "very positive" about the president's speech.

Aside from the fact that at least four percent of Republicans surveyed didn't feel positive about it, how does this poll tell us anything?

So Why Did You Attack Iraq, Mr. President?

OK, Mr. President, I listened to you tonight...

You said:

"To complete the mission, we will prevent Al Qaeda and other foreign terrorists from turning Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban – a safe haven from which they could launch attacks on America and our friends."
So, in other words, Iraq wasn't a haven for terrorists before we turned it into one.

Given that and the big three findings of the 9/11 Commission – no weapons of mass destruction, no links to Al Qaeda and no connection to the attacks of September 11 – just why did we invade Iraq?

Nice Speech, Bush. Where's Osama?

Remember this guy, President Bush?

Bush just finished his spin-speech on Iraq.

For dramatic effect, the president started a series of sentences with "to complete the mission..." What was telling was that there was no mention of capturing Osama Bin Laden and the rest of the Al Qaeda henchmen.

You remember them don't you, Mr. Bush? They were the people who actually attacked us on September 11. No matter how much you try to link the insurgency in Iraq with 9/11 – as you did again tonight – the facts show that Iraq had nothing to do with that horrible day.

You said this at a news conference in March of 2002 when asked why Osama Bin Laden seemed to have fallen off your radar:

"So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him to be honest with you. . . . I truly am not that concerned about him."
You talked tonight of "confronting evil." Please give us another speech when you're actually ready to start doing that.

Hagel Preps Nebraska For My Visit

In 10 days, I'll be heading back to my Nebraska hometown for my 30-year high school reunion. While it's difficult to believe that it's been three decades since I looked so dapper in my bright blue, polyester sports jacket at my senior prom, my political views make the days when I lived in one of the reddest states seem even more distant.

But at least I know Nebraska's Republican Senator Chuck Hagel is warming them up for me, in case I'm stupid enough to reveal my total contempt for George W. Bush when I go home. I try to stay away from discussing politics in a place where Cornhusker football is considered far more important than our current national dialog and where most cars – and pickup trucks – sport "God Bless America" and Bush/Cheney bumper stickers.

So when Senator Hagel appeared before hundreds of American Legion members in Grand Island, NE – the closest "big city" to my tiny hometown – over the weekend, a big dose of reality was delivered, as he blasted the Bush administration on Iraq and bluntly explained why he believes the United States is losing the war.

For Hagel, who was wounded twice while serving in Vietnam, a deep fear seems to be that the Iraq quagmire has plunged the U.S. into another pointless war that will ultimately cause our country to leave the Middle East as rapidly as we abandoned Southeast Asia.

"What we don't want to happen is for this to end up another Vietnam," Hagel told the legionnaires, "because the consequences would be catastrophic."

As arguably the most outspoken Republican in Washington when it comes to Iraq, Hagel has often pointed out that Bush sent in too few troops to fight the war, directly leading to today's chaos and rising death tolls.

Citing the fact that terrorists are "pouring into" Iraq, Hagel rebuked Bush for staying with a losing strategy. "The point is, we're going to have to make some changes or we will lose, we will lose in Iraq," he told the legionnaires.

Hagel further pointed out that the basic standard of living is worse than a year ago in Iraq and that civil war is perilously close to erupting there. Allies aren't helping much, he said, and the American public is losing its trust in Bush's handling of the conflict.

The legionnaires gave him a standing ovation at the end of his speech. Carl Marks of Omaha, a Korean War veteran, said: "It sounds like he's conflicted . . . like a lot of us."

Bennie Navratil of Hallam, Neb., whose son left last week for military duty in Afghanistan, said, "I feel he said the right thing: that we can't pull out and something's got to change."

Like many combat veterans, Hagel also seems to have a very personal and visceral reaction to the circumstances in Iraq.

"It has tormented me, torn me more than any one thing," he said with a grim look on his face. "To see what these guys in Iraq are having to go through and knowing what I know here: that we didn't prepare for it, we didn't understand what we were getting into. And to put those guys in those positions, it makes me so angry."

Hagel further ridiculed Bush's frequent citing of a "coalition of the willing" as allies who have committed a relatively small number of troops and aid.

"It's a joke to say there's a coalition of the willing," he said, adding that many are pulling out and the United States is fronting the bills for those who remain. Meanwhile. "we are destroying the finest military in the history of mankind, and the (National) Guard, too. We're stretching our Army to the breaking point."

Finally, Hagel stressed that, while all is not lost, quick action is necessary on Team Bush's ill-advised Iraq strategy. "I believe that there can be a good outcome in Iraq," he said. "I also believe there could be a very bad outcome for Iraq. I believe we have a very limited time for that good outcome."

Wow. That's a lot of truth in a 20-minute speech and, in rural Nebraska, a gutsy place to deliver that message. If people in my home state – where Bush won both presidential elections in a landslide – begin to see the light and ask some tough questions, there may be reason for hope after all.

I guess I'll find out in 10 days.

Want To "Support The Troops," Mr. Cheney? Try Taking The Insurgency Seriously

In an effort to shut down growing dissent over how badly things are going for our troops in Iraq, Vice President Dick Cheney said recently that the obviously-growing insurgency was in its "last throes." Since Cheney made this disingenuous comment on May 30, we have lost 74 men and women in our occupation of Iraq.

Their average age is only 26 -- 46 of them are age 25 or younger. While we bloggers typically like to keep things concise -- and, sadly, this list is long -- I thought you should know their names.

  • Sgt. 1st Class Steven M. Langmack, 33, of Seattle, Wash
  • Sgt. Miguel A. Ramos, 39, of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
  • Spc. Phillip C. Edmundson, 22, of Wilson, N.C.
  • Spc. Louis E. Niedermeier, 20, of Largo, Fla.
  • Staff Sgt. Leroy E. Alexander, 27, of Dale City, Va.
  • Cpt. Charles D. Robinson, 29, of Haddon Heights, N. J.
  • Cpl. Antonio Mendoza, 21, of Santa Ana, Calif.
  • Spc. Carrie L. French, 19, of Caldwell, Idaho
  • Staff Sgt. Justin L. Vasquez, 26, of Manzanola, Colo.
  • Spc. Eric J. Poelman, 21, of Racine, Wis.
  • Pfc. Brian S. Ulbrich, 23, of Chapmanville, W. Va.
  • Col. Theodore S. Westhusing, 44, of Dallas, Texas
  • Spc. Brian M. Romines, 20, of Simpson, Ill.
  • Lance Cpl. Jonathan L. Smith, 22, of Eva, Ala.
  • Lance Cpl. Robert T. Mininger, 21, of Sellersville, Pa.
  • Spc. Eric T. Burri, 21, of Wyoming, Mich.
  • 1st Lt. Michael J. Fasnacht, 25, of Columbus, Ga.
  • Lance Cpl. Marc L. Tucker, 24, of Pontotoc, Miss.
  • Sgt. Michael J. Kelley, 26, of Scituate, Mass.
  • Sgt. Roberto Arizola, Jr., 31, of Laredo, Texas
  • Capt. Phillip T. Esposito, 30, of Suffern, N.Y.
  • 1st Lt. Louis E. Allen, 34, of Milford, Pa.
  • Lt. Col. Terrence K. Crowe, 44, of Grand Island, N.Y.
  • Lance Cpl. Dustin V. Birch, 22, of Saint Anthony, Idaho
  • Lance Cpl. Daniel Chavez, 20, of Seattle, Wash.
  • Lance Cpl. Thomas O. Keeling, 23, of Strongsville, Ohio
  • Lance Cpl. Devon P. Seymour, 21, of St. Louisville, Ohio
  • Cpl. Brad D. Squires, 26, of Middleburg Heights, Ohio
  • Staff Sgt. Mark O. Edwards, 40, of Unicoi, Tenn.
  • Pfc. Douglas E. Kashmer, 27, of Sharon, Pa.
  • Sgt. Larry R. Arnold Sr., 46, of Carriere, Miss.
  • Spc. Terrance D. Lee Sr., 25, of Moss Point, Miss.
  • Lance Cpl. Mario A. Castillo, 20, of Brownwood, Texas
  • Lance Cpl. Andrew J. Kilpela, 22, of Fowerville, Mich.
  • Spc. Casey Byers, 22, of Schleswig, Iowa
  • Sgt. 1st Class Neil A. Prince, 35, of Baltimore, Md.
  • Lance Cpl. John J. Mattek Jr., 24, of Stevens Point, Wis.
  • Cpl. Stanley J. Lapinski, 35, of Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Sgt. David J. Murray, 23, of Clinton, La.,
  • Sgt. Larry R. Kuhns Jr., 24, of Austintown, Ohio.
  • Spc. Anthony D. Kinslow, 21, of Westerville, Ohio.
  • Pfc. Joshua P. Klinger, 21, from Easton, Pa.
  • Lance Cpl. Jonathan R. Flores, 18, of San Antonio, Texas
  • Cpl. Jesse Jaime, 22, of Henderson, Nev.
  • Cpl. Tyler S. Trovillion, 23, of Richardson, Texas
  • Lance Cpl. Dion M. Whitley, 21, of Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Pfc. Michael R. Hayes, 29, of Morgantown, Ky.
  • Sgt. Anthony G. Jones, 25, of Greenville, S.C.
  • Petty Officer 2nd Class Cesar O. Baez, 37, of Pomona, Calif.
  • Pfc. Nathan B. Clemons, 20, of Winchester, Tenn.
  • Lance Cpl. Chad B. Maynard, 19, of Montrose, Colo.
  • Spc. Anthony S. Cometa, 21, of Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Lance Cpl. Erik R. Heldt, 26, of Hermann, Mo.
  • Capt. John W. Maloney, 36, of Chicopee, Mass.
  • Lance Cpl. Adam J. Crumpler, 19, from Charleston, W.Va.
  • 1st Lt. Noah Harris, 23, of Ellijay, Ga.
  • Cpl. William A. Long, 26, of Lilburn, Ga.
  • Master Sgt. Robert M. Horrigan, 40, of Austin, Texas.
  • Master Sgt. Michael L. McNulty, 36, of Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Pfc. Christopher R. Kilpatrick, 18, of Columbus, Texas
  • Spc. Nicholas R. Idalski, 23, of Crown Point, Ind.
  • Spc. Christopher L. Hoskins, 21, of Danielson, Conn.
  • Spc. Brian A. Vaughn, 23, of Pell City, Ala.
  • Sgt. James D. Stewart, 29, of Chattanooga, Tenn.
  • Sgt. Arnold Duplantier II, 26, of Sacramento, Calif.
  • Sgt. Joseph M. Tackett, 22, of Whitehouse, Ky.
  • Lance Cpl. Holly A. Charette, 21, from Cranston, R.I.
  • Cpl. Carlos Pineda, 23, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Sgt. 1st Class Christopher W. Phelps, 39, of Louisville, Ky
  • Pfc. Veashna Muy, 20, of Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Cpl. Chad W. Powell, 22, of West Monroe, La.
  • Spc. Charles A. Kaufman, 20, of Fairchild, Wis.
  • Cpl. Ramona M. Valdez, 20, of Bronx, N.Y.
  • Petty Officer 1st Class Regina R. Clark, 43, of Centralia, Wash.
Rather than making off-hand remarks to obscure how badly the Bush administration has botched this war – and the heavy toll we are paying as a result – Cheney would do better do stop the lying and figure out a way to bring this sorry chapter of our history to a close.

Resignation by he, Mr. Bush and Mr. Rumsfeld would be a good start.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Shocker: DeLay Lying Again

This time it's in support of Karl Rove and his remarks last week, in which he declared that liberals were only interested in providing therapy and understanding to our attackers right after September 11.

"That's not slander. That's the truth," said DeLay to a convention of College Republicans last week.

Tom, Tom, Tom. You're confusing the hell out of me. You say now that liberals weren't upset with the 9/11 terrorists, but look what you said a week after the attacks in 2001:

“Well, there's no American that wants us to fail, that's for sure. When we went home, every member that I've talked to had the same experience that I had. Everywhere I went, it didn't matter who you were talking to -- I ran into some of the most liberal constituents that I had. People would come up to me, hug me, kiss me. They would -- they'd just say they're with us, you know, 'We want this done and we want it done right, and we're with you.' I mean, the prayer rallies that we went to, the vigils that we saw.”

So were you lying then or are you lying now, Mr. DeLay?

Putting A Face On Bush's War Dead

In the fall and winter of 2001, newspapers throughout the land began showing page after page of photos of those killed on September 11. Seeing all of those faces truly drove home the gravity of just how devastating it is to lose 3,000 of our own. The same can be said about our military deaths in Iraq, as the daily death toll continues to roll in.

Today, the total stands at 1,738 men and women killed in that war. I'd like to tell you about just one of those.

Lance Corporal Chad B. Maynard, of Montrose, Colorado, died June 15 when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations near Ar Ramadi, Iraq. Four other Marines were also killed in the explosion.

Maynard, who had always wanted to be a United States Marine and serve his country, was 19 years old. His father and brother were also Marines and he wanted to hold up his part of family tradition, while doing something to help America.

He died a little over a year after graduating from Montrose High School. He had recently married his high school sweetheart, Rebecca, who will deliver their baby girl this summer.

Scott Rizzo, who was one of Maynard's Navy ROTC instructors in high school, remembered him as a selfless and honor-bound young man.

"He believed in values beyond himself. He wanted to serve," said Rizzo. "The tendency for a lot of high school students is to be somewhat self-centered, but he was looking beyond all that. He really believed in the Marine Corps."

So much so, that Maynard went into the Marine's Delayed Entry Program, which required him to complete his high school course work early and to begin boot camp while his peers were still preparing for graduation. Maynard returned to Montrose to take part in his high school graduation ceremony on May 30, 2004 and proudly wore his Marine dress uniform for the ceremony.

Maynard's Marine recruiter, Staff Sergeant Charles White, was impressed with the young man's spirit.
"You meet some kids who know what they want to do, Chad was like that, he knew what he wanted to do since the day I met him," White said.

Summer Kohout, who was Maynard's childhood friend, said that Chad knew what he was getting into when he signed up for the Marines. "He was ready to die for his country. He was always so proud of his country," she said.

Maynard's father, Gene, a former Marine who served in Vietnam, said that his son "believed in what he was doing over there."

This is just one story of over 1,700 men and women who, believing in what their government told them, went to Iraq with a belief that they are making our world safer and defending our way of life. While their motivation was pure, they were being misled in the most despicable way and with consequences that have crippled families and destroyed other lives.

Young people like Chad Maynard believe in our country and are willing to give everything in its defense. They are honorable and the best our country has to offer. The least they have the right to expect is the same honor, honesty and integrity from those at the top of our government.

Our soldiers believe in what they're doing in Iraq because they are trained to believe their superiors -- the thought of their Commander-in-Chief lying to them is not something they would think possible.

I feel horrible for the grief that Chad Maynard's wife, parents, family and friends must feel right now -- and for the little girl who will never know her father. I feel even worse that their pain will only deepen when the root cause of this brave young man's death becomes known.

Lance Corporal Chad B. Maynard died with extreme honor. Perhaps he would not have perished if the leaders of our nation lived that same creed.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Others Think Dems Should Not Apologize For Truth

Ron Reagan agrees with me: Democrats need to stop apologizing. Have a look at this entry in his MSNBC blog.

The Saturday Cartoon


George W. Bush may never be willing to admit to a mistake, but I certainly will when a factual error has been cited.

Albert Yee, of the Philly blog, wrote to tell me that my description of the (legitimate) picture shown in my piece on the doctored photo of the woman kissing Bill Clinton should have given credit to the Associated Press and Gerald Herbert. My apologies for the mistake in attribution.

On a lighter note, a reader from Texas points out a flaw in my calling Bush the "worst president of our lifetime."

"You give W. waaay too much credit, Bob, unless you're over 200 years old," says reader Clay M. McReynolds. "[He's] the worst president EVER."

I stand humbled and corrected.

Friday, June 24, 2005

John Kerry On Rove's Remarks

Here's what Senator John Kerry had to say on the Senate floor about Karl "Chickenhawk" Rove's tough-guy comments the other night:
Just days after 9/11, the Senate voted 98 to nothing, and the House voted 420 to 1, to authorize President Bush to use all necessary and appropriate force against terror. And after the bipartisan vote, President Bush said: "I'm gratified that the Congress has united so powerfully by taking this action.. It sends a clear message. Our people are together and we will prevail."

That is not the message that was sent by Karl Rove in New York City last night. Last night, he said: "No more needs to be said about their motives."

So, who's lying? (Always a tough guess when considering two Republicans.) Either George W. Bush lied when he said people of all political stripes were united in their response or Rove lied in his speech the other night.

Two choices. Which is it?

More Senate Armed Services Committee

Other voices from Thursday's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the Iraq war:

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) voiced his constituents' concerns over what is going on in Iraq:

"The public views this every day, Mr. Secretary, more and more like Vietnam. ... In the last year, Sir, the public support in my state has turned, and I worry about that, because that's the only way we'll ever leave before we should, is if the public loses faith in us. Public support in my state is turning and people are beginning to question. And I don't think it's a blip on the radar screen. We have a chronic problem on our hands."
Senator Carl Levin, (D-MI) had the following exchange with General John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Persian Gulf, who contradicted Vice President Cheney's remarkable assertion that the insurgency is in its "last throes."
Levin: "General Abizaid, can you give us your assessment of the strength of the insurgency? Is it less strong, more strong, about the same strength as it was six months ago?"

Abizaid: "In terms of comparison from six months ago, in terms of foreign fighters, I believe there are more foreign fighters coming into Iraq than there were six months ago. In terms of the overall strength of the insurgency, I'd say it's about the same as it was."

Levin: "So you wouldn't agree with the statement that it's in its last throes?"

Abizaid: "I don't know that I would make any comment about that other than to say there's a lot of work to be done against the insurgency."

Levin: "Well, the vice president has said it's in its last throes, that's the statement the vice president — it doesn't sound to me from your testimony or any other testimony here this morning that it is in its last throes."

Abizaid: "I'm sure you'll forgive me from criticizing the vice president."

Levin: "I just want an honest assessment from you as to whether you agree with a particular statement of his — it's not personal. ...

Abizaid: "I gave you my opinion of where we are."

OK, General, Abizaid, we heard you loud and clear...

Finally, Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) finally had his fill of Rumsfeld's tone and silly responses:

"Mr. Secretary, I've watched you with a considerable amount of amusement. ... I've been here a long time, longer than you have. ... I've seen a lot of secretaries of defense. ... I don't think I've ever heard a secretary of defense who likes to lecture the committee as much as you. ... You may not like our questions but we represent the people. ... We ask the questions that the people ask of us whether you like it or not. ... The problem is we didn't ask enough questions at the beginning of this war that we got into, Mr. Bush's war. I don't mean to be discourteous. I've just heard enough of your smart answers to these people here who are elected. ... So get off your high horse when you come up here."
Rumsfeld didn't respond to those remarks.

Kennedy Calls For Rumsfeld's Resignation

There's no doubt with all the incendiary rhetoric going back and forth that the gloves are off in our national politics – and the brass knuckles are on. The only question, as usual, is are we Democrats ready to take on the Neo-Conservative Death Cult and give as good as they consistently give us?

Senator Edward Kennedy did his part yesterday, calling Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld incompetent in his handling of the Iraq war and asking for his resignation. The face-to-face confrontation took place in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing over the situation in Iraq.

"Secretary Rumsfeld, you know we are in serious trouble in Iraq, and this war has been consistently and gross mismanaged. And we are now in a seemingly intractable quagmire," Kennedy said. "And the American people I believe deserve leadership worthy of the sacrifices that our fighting forces have made, and they deserve the real facts, and I regret to say, that I don't believe that you have provided either."

This is exactly why anyone who pisses off Republicans as much as Kennedy does should by definition be one of our side's big heroes.

Kennedy read a litany of Rumsfeld's screw-ups including the Secretary's bogus claim before the war that Iraq was escalating its weapons programs and his refusal to deploy a larger number of troops after the war as suggested by senior military officials.

"I'm talking about the misjudgments and the mistakes that are made ... and there have been a series of gross errors and mistakes. Those were on your watch. Isn't it time for you to resign?" Kennedy asked.

Thank you, Senator Kennedy.

Rumsfeld, who had given a rambling response to Kennedy's previous charges, said simply" I've offered my resignation to the president twice, and he has decided that he would prefer that he not accept it, and that's his call."

If Rumsfeld had the honor he demands from his troops, he would quit regardless of Bush's response to his resignation. Based on the quagmire he has created, he should keep resigning until it is accepted.

He should then ask Bush to do the same.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Cindy Sheehan: Mother And Quiet Warrior

Cindy Sheehan lives with pain. She is the president of Gold Star Families for Peace and a grieving mother who lost her son, Casey Sheehan, on April 4, 2004 in Iraq. Sheehan has made it her mission to go after the Bush administration for her son's death and on behalf of every soldier killed or maimed in the Iraq quagmire.

On Wednesday night, she appeared on MSNBC's Hardball and heard the mother of a wounded soldier (now home from Iraq) make this statement:

I think now is the time to be united with our president, with our country, with our troops, to support them. Whether we believe in what is right and what is wrong, we need to support our men and women that are over there fighting, whether you believe in what they're fighting for is just or unjust. As an American, I'm going to support my president, the country, the troops in whatever means they need.
In a composed and dignified way, Cindy Sheehan gave this incredible response:
This war, nobody should have been there in the first place. Not one person should be killed. And I don't believe that we support our government when they're wrong. It is wrong. There's innocent people dying. There's innocent Iraqis dying. And Americans should never have been over there. We don't support our country when it is wrong.

We try to fight and make it a better place. And we need to keep pressure on the administration. They don't support the troops. You know, my son was killed doing a job he was not trained for. He was not wearing the proper body armor. He was not in an armored vehicle. And he was killed in a political mess, a political mess that our leadership made. That's not supporting the troops, as far as I'm concerned.

They have to pay for their own laundry when they're over there. They're getting killed guarding mercenaries who make $1,000 a day, when they barely bring home $2,000 a month. They're losing their homes here in America. They're not being supported by their government. I think the only way we can support our troops who are only there doing their jobs and doing the best they can to stay alive and doing their duties is to bring them home, because it is a lie.

And we're building permanent bases there. And our government doesn't intend on bringing our troops home. So, we have to put pressure on them. And we have to tell the American people that this war is wrong.
What an amazing person. We need to send some of our Congressional Democrats to Ms. Sheehan for a lesson in heart and courage.

More On Rove

As my friends at the wonderful Crooks and Liars point out, will the lemmings in the mainstream media hold Rove responsible for this outrageous characterization by pointing out that the Congressional Resolution to authorize force against the September 11 perpetrators passed 420-1 in the House and 98-0 in the Senate? (And there's no mention in the Congressional Record about therapy or calls for understanding for our attackers.)

Are you happy you apologized now, Senator Durbin?

Anyone Reaching Across The F___ing Aisle Today?

I used to be such a sweet, sweet thing 'til they got a hold of me

-- Alice Cooper; 'No More Mr. Nice Guy'

I'm really beginning to feel like 'hate' is the appropriate word for how I feel about these people. Here's Karl Rove at a New York State Conservative Party gathering of like-minded troglodytes:

"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers."
How low will they go? Oh, I don't know... Here's Republican Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina:
"is just inconceivable and truly incorrigible that in the midst of the war, that the Democratic leaders would be conducting guerrilla warfare on American troops... The American taxpayer is already providing accommodations for detainees, who are currently more comfortable than most of our men and women in uniform..."
Wrote Greg Beato on Wonkette: "Indeed, after a long day patrolling the chaotic streets of Iraq, is there any better way to unwind than to chain yourself to the floor and shit all over yourself? Unfortunately, liberal turncoats seem determined to deny U.S. soldiers such comforts."

Will the mainstream media pummel scumbags like Rove and Wilson as quickly as they jump on DNC chairman Howard Dean if he so much as says 'boo' to the Republicans?

Burn A Flag, Go To Jail

"America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free."

-- "The American President" (1995)
With the House of Representatives voting yesterday to amend the constitution to make desecrating the American flag a crime, Democrats once again find themselves on the side of the argument that's more righteous, but harder to explain to many citizens.

The presidential character played by Michael Douglas in 'The American President' made the point that we need to make right now in a very compelling way and one that cut to the heart of the issue: That a country where burning the flag can get you prosecuted, is most assuredly not a nation celebrating freedom.

But with every other car sporting an insipid "God Bless America" sticker and with any dissent increasingly easy to label as unpatriotic, it's a tough argument to make to average Americans – many of whom seem to understand so little about the values that our country is actually supposed to embody.

I'm distressed that 77 House Democrats voted in support of this legislation and can only hope that Republicans cannot muster enough wrong-thinking Democrats to get the two-thirds majority this nonsense needs to get through the Senate.

But we need to find a simple way to articulate -- in sound-bite fashion -- that jailing people for dissent moves us close to China and the former Soviet Union and farther away from the society most Americans want.

Do we need to elect Michael Douglas or do we have a Democratic leader who can get the job done?

Dean Talks Straight on PBS Newshour

I said on the day he was elected chair of the Democratic National Committee, that Howard Dean was going to be just the shot in the arm – and a stiffening of the spine – that our party needs. Dean continues to stay the course, consistently delivering the hard truths about our conservative opponents and not backing down.

Here's Dean in an interview with Gwen Ifill on PBS's Newshour when asked about Republican whining over his recent comments about their party:

All I'm going to say about this stuff is the Republicans want to focus on personal attacks. What we want to focus on is making sure Social Security works and isn't wrecked by people who can't balance the budget.

What we want to focus on is a defense policy, which includes watching out for things like Iran and North Korea and not letting them -- putting them on the back burner when they're more of a danger to us than Iraq. These are fundamental national security issues and economic issues, which are not being addressed by the Republicans and it's why they attack people like me and Dick Durbin.

When asked if he's enabling Republicans by constantly saying things that offend them, Dean responded:
They're going to pounce on every word anyway. They're going to make stuff up and the press is going to write it because it's good columns. That's essentially what they do. I don't say they make up quotes and put them in the paper. What they do is they put stuff together, take it out of context and then make personal attacks.

Well, this is a new day at the DNC. Every time they hit us with a personal attack not only are we going to run right over them; we're going to stick to issues.

Finally, when asked about the fake hold Republicans try to assert on the moral high ground:
I don't think that the Republicans have any right to lecture Democrats about morals because our morals really are pretty biblical when you look at them. They really are about being good stewards of the earth that God gave us, they really are about helping children, helping the disenfranchised, making sure that everybody gets included. Those are pretty good values.
No prisoners... No compromise... I said it in February and I'll say it now: Howard Dean understands the caliber of people he's dealing with on the other side of the aisle and he conducts himself accordingly.

As should we.

Democrats Shouldn't Apologize For Speaking The Truth

Senator Dick Durbin is getting a lot of flack from our side of the blogging universe for his apology on the Senate floor Tuesday.

Durbin had made some strong comments last week about the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay and the treatment of detainees, likening treatment of Gitmo prisoners to that meted out by some of the worst regimes in human history and echoing the Amnesty International description of the facility as a "gulag."

Here's an excerpt of Durbin's comments:

Let me read to you what one FBI agent saw. And I quote from his report:

"On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold....On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor."

If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners.

Durbin didn't say that U.S. troops behaved like Nazis or other bad people from the past. He simply said that someone hearing of these conditions would reasonably conclude that some pretty nasty folks had been responsible – and that it is embarrassing to our nation that the FBI agent was describing American treatment of prisoners.

You shouldn't apologize for telling the truth, Senator Durbin. What you said might reflect on our nation in an unflattering way, but tough luck. So does invading another country for no reason and killing 100,000 of their people.

"Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line," said the Illinois Democrat Tuesday, at times holding back tears. "To them I extend my heartfelt apologies."

"I have learned from my statement that historical parallels can be misused and misunderstood," Durbin said in a written statement. "I sincerely regret if what I said caused anyone to misunderstand my true feelings: Our soldiers around the world and their families at home deserve our respect, admiration and total support."

Let's just stipulate once and for all that we all support the troops, OK? But should we also not be critical of the American soldier who was recently arrested and charged with killing two of his colleagues? Are you demeaning all soldiers to criticize one that does something terrible? What about a handful of soldiers and civilian contractors at our base in Cuba?

This is ridiculous and yet another attempt by the Republicans to distract attention from the real issues facing our country – and for which their party is responsible – by creating a fake imbroglio around a Democratic politician making statements that, while unflattering, happen to be true.

And, as I've said many times, Republicans and their supporters will not respect you for your contrition. Go out and take a look at some of the right-wing blogs and you'll find that the apology is being generally demeaned. Senator Durbin would have been better off to stay strong and hold his ground.

Just because what he said was unpleasant, doesn't make it wrong. And having this little backbone is certainly not the key to us winning back the Senate.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Idiotic Quote Of The Week

When speaking on behalf of the silly flag-burning amendment that passed the House of Representatives today – things are getting stranger and stranger, aren't they? -- Republican Congressman Randy (Duke) Cunningham of California had this to say:

"Ask the men and women who stood on top of the (World) Trade Center. Ask them and they will tell you: pass this amendment."

I'm going to use this tactic to my advantage next time I need it too:

“Honey, I know you don't want me to buy that sweet '67 Mustang I've been wanting, but the people who died on September 11 would have wanted me to have it.”

Yeah, that'll work.

Eminem's "Mosh"

While it feels strange to be a 47-year-old suburban father who believes rapper Eminem is as brilliant as he is profane, I've listened to his song "Mosh" multiple times while working out this week. You need to hear it yourself to feel its power, but have a look at excerpts of the lyrics:

They tell us no we say yeah, they tell us stop we say go

Rebel with a rebel yell, raise hell we gonna let em know
Stomp, push, shove, mush, Fuck Bush, until they bring our troops home


Imagine it pouring, just raining down on us
Mosh pits outside the oval office
Someone's tryin' tell us something,
Maybe this is god just sayin' we're responsible
For this monster, this coward,
That we have empowered
This is Bin Laden, look at his head noddin'
How could we allow something like this without pumping our fists now
This is our final hour
Let me be the voice and your strength and your choice
Let me simplify the rhyme just to emplify the noise
Try to amplify it times it, and multiply by six
Teen million people, All equal at this high pitch
Maybe we can reach Al Queda through my speech
Let the president answer a higher anarchy
Strap him with an Ak-47, let him go, fight his own war
Let him impress daddy that way
No more blood for oil, we got our own battles to fight on our own soil
No more psychological warfare, to trick us to thinking that we ain't loyal
If we don't serve our own country, we're patronizing a hero
Look in his eyes its all lies
The stars and stripes, they've been swiped, washed out and wiped
And replaced with his own face, Mosh now or die
If I get sniped tonight you'll know why,
Cause I told you to fight.

And as we proceed,
To Mosh through this desert storm,
In these closing statements, if they should argue
Let us beg to differ
As we set aside our differences
And assemble our own army
To disarm this Weapon of Mass Destruction
That we call our President, for the present
And Mosh for the future of our next generation
To speak and be heard
Mr. President, Mr. Senator
Do you guys hear us?

Congressman John "American Taliban" Hostettler

In response to a Democratic initiative to put the House of Representative on the record against "coercive and abusive religious proselytizing" at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Republican John Hostettler of Indiana pulled out all the stops and accused Democrats of "demonizing Christians."

"Like a moth to a flame, Democrats can't help themselves when it comes to denigrating and demonizing Christians," Hostettler said.

This prompted heated objections from Democrats and Hostettler retracted his comments after House business was held up for over 30 minutes.

Democrats have begun objecting to well-documented allegations of proselytizing and favoritism for Christians at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, including a professor who required cadets to pray before taking his test and a Protestant chaplain who warned anyone "not born again would burn in the fires of hell."

"The long war on Christianity in America continues today on the floor of the United States House of Representatives," said American Taliban-in-Chief Hostettler.

Let's also all remember that this is the same Republican Congressman who was in the news just last year, when he was caught carrying a loaded, Glock 9mm handgun in a carry-on bag in the Louisville airport and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.

So he carries a loaded gun around, tries to foment religious division and is not very bright – yep, he's a Republican.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

My Moment With Eleanor Mondale

Crossing the news wires today is the report that Vice President Walter Mondale's daughter, Eleanor Mondale, has been diagnosed with brain cancer. Doctors have discovered two brain tumors and she will begin extensive chemotherapy and radiation treatment immediately.

Sounding upbeat in news reports, Mondale, 45, said "It's bad but not that bad. I've got a really good chance to beat it."

It's strange how hard news like this hits you when you've actually met the person involved. I met Eleanor Mondale in 1984 at one of the many parties I attended during the Democratic convention, which was hosted in San Francisco, where I was in college.

As a student politician at San Francisco State University, I was in heaven with the convention right in my back yard. I was also a strong supporter of Senator Gary Hart and, despite my high regard for Walter Mondale, thought Hart had a better chance of unseating Ronald Reagan in the presidential election that year.

But aside from wanting to shake hands with Hart and Jesse Jackson, I, like every other red-blooded male in his twenties, had the primary goal of getting a glimpse of Eleanor Mondale. She was 23 or 24 at the time and, for a politically-active young man, had all the goods – she was brainy, liberal and a total babe.

I thought I was pretty cool at the time but my bravado turned to mush when I actually spied her across the room at a delegate cocktail party. When the rare moment arrived when she was actually alone, I overcame my star-struck awkwardness and approached her.

I'm not sure what I said... I think I babbled something about welcoming her to my town and offered to fill her in on the night spots favored by locals. I know I also mentioned that I was from Nebraska, thinking that our common Midwestern roots would prompt her to fall in love with me.

No such luck.

But she also could not possibly have been nicer. She gave me that movie-star smile, offered me her hand, said it was nice to meet me and gushed over how much she loved San Francisco. She then asked what brought a Nebraska kid to the big city and I tried to give a coherent explanation, despite feeling like a nervous schoolboy.

She sweetly excused herself when her friends came back – and that was that.

But I've always remembered that encounter and how genuinely nice she was when, as the focal point of so much attention, many people would not have been.

I know you don't remember the Nebraska kid in San Francisco, Ms. Mondale. But please know that I remember and that my thoughts and hopes are with you.

Condi Keeps Bush Lie Machine Moving

May 1, 2003

From the always-excellent Think Progress, we find Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice responding thusly when asked (about the war) if “the Bush administration fairly [can] be criticized for failing to level with the American people about how long and difficult this commitment will be?”

"The administration, I think, has said to the American people that it is a generational commitment to Iraq," said Rice.

Sadly, that's not true. We were told on many occasions that not only would Iraqi oil revenue pick up the tab for the war, but that the effort would be over in no time.

Vice President Dick Cheney, 3/16/03: "My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. . . . I think it will go relatively quickly. . . (in) weeks rather than months."

Donald Rumsfeld, 2/7/03: "It is unknowable how long that conflict will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."

Former Budget Director Mitch Daniels, 3/28/03: "The United States is committed to helping Iraq recover from the conflict, but Iraq will not require sustained aid…"

As my mother used to say, the problem with lying is that its so damn hard to keep track of everything you have said.

There Be Weasels Among Us

The John Bolton nomination is once again on hold. The White House is refusing to give Democrats the information they have requested on Bolton's past – which, whether Team Bush likes it or not, is totally within the bounds of the Senate's advise and consent function – and our side is thus unwilling to make an uninformed vote for the critical United Nations position.

But, we must once again update the old Yellow Dog Blog Senate Weasel Meter, as three of the Democrats that support Bush way too often, voted to invoke cloture (close the debate) on the Bolton nomination and move it to a vote.

No big surprises here: The three weasels are Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Mark Pryor (D-AR).

Here's their web forms if you would like to write to their offices and tell them how tired you are of them voting with Bush on key issues:

Monday, June 20, 2005

No More Reaching Across The Damn Aisle: Reason Number 402

They can't even leave Bill Clinton alone when he's left office and suffered through some significant health problems.

As pointed out on my favorite site,
Crooks and Liars, Matt Drudge, the Main Man among conservative bloggers, has this charming little item on his site today:

Yep, that's Bill Clinton kissing another woman and it's obviously a secret photo taken in the dark, right?

No! Don't let the conservative lie machine fool you. Let's go right to the source of this photo, a fellow writer at the
Philly blog who took this picture and others in broad daylight, when attending a Kerry-Edwards rally last fall.

And while this is totally a guess on my part, I would bet a month's pay that the woman kissing Clinton is actress Mary Steenburgen. It certainly looks like her. She was actively campaigning for Kerry at the time and, more importantly, she's an Arkansas native who is a longtime friend of the Clinton family. (This would also explain how she's able to get so close to an ex-president with his Secret Service guys around.)

But even if the woman is just a zealous well-wisher in the crowd, you have to wonder – as we so often do – just how low are Republicans willing to go to get Bill Clinton?

Some Republican Senators Face Iraq Realities

Like some of their colleagues in the House of Representatives, Republican Senators are finally coming around and giving a tough, honest assessment of the situation in Iraq.

"Too often we've been told and the American people have been told that we're at a turning point," said Senator John McCain (R-AZ) on yesterday's "Meet the Press." "What the American people should have been told and should be told is that it's long; it's hard; it's tough."

"It's going to be at least a couple more years," said McCain.

Last week, Republican Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina – who was so rabidly in support of the Bush administration years ago that he pushed for "French fries" to be renamed "freedom fries," – another Republican and two Democratic House members, formed a bipartisan group of Congressmen calling on Bush to begin plans for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. (Fellow Republican Ron Paul and Democrats Neil Abercrombie and Dennis Kucinich joined Jones in those efforts.)

In the latest edition of U.S. News and World Report, Senator Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican, was quoted by as saying the administration's Iraq policy was failing.

"Things aren't getting better; they're getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality," said Hagel, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we're losing in Iraq."

So there is at least a glimmer of hope for our troops in Iraq, whom I believe are behaving with extraordinary bravery, under horrible circumstances and despite being used in a criminal way by the Bush administration.

Republicans in the House and Senate are facing reality and turning on Bush, the American people are now overwhelmingly against continued U.S. presence in Iraq and more memos continue to come from within the British government showing the duplicitous strategy that was the genesis of this war.

But, according to McCain, that doesn't mean that America should just trash a country and leave.

"I don't think Americans believe that we should cut and run out of Iraq by any stretch of the imagination," said McCain . "But I think they also would like to be told, in reality, what's going on,"

Porter Goss, Director of the CIA, supported Vice President Dick Cheney's remarkable assertion that the Iraq insurgency is in its "last throes." "I think they're not quite in the last throes, but I think they are very close to it," said Goss.

Democratic Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware suggested that, like his boss in the White House, Goss might be disengaged from reality.

"I wish Porter Goss would speak to his intelligence people on the ground," Biden said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "They didn't suggest at all it was near its last throes. Matter of fact it's getting worse, not better."

By the way, the last-throes insurgency has been killing people at an incredible clip, including a suicide bombing in Baghdad yesterday that killed at least 23 people.

Stay tuned... This should be one heck of a week.

Yellow Dog Does The New York Times

While I am a minuscule part of the overall (and important story), my partisan take on Republicans is included in a big article in the Sunday New York Times. The article deals with the ongoing local saga of Democrat Erin Malloy and her continuing efforts to assume her mayoral duties in Irvington, NY.

Growing up in a democracy and everything, Ms. Malloy is under the impression that she should actually get to be mayor given that, well, she won the election. New York State Supreme Court Judge Joan Lefkowitz has ruled on two occasions that this election was fair and that Mayor Malloy should at long last be sworn in.

Ah, but don't forget, she ran against a Republican and they seem to have a very primitive instinct when it comes to winning close elections – what I call the “Disenfranchisement Instinct.”

Similar to its more famous cousins regulating human anatomy and behavior, such as the “flight or fight response” or, as we have discovered in watching this election fight, the gag reflex, the Disenfranchisement Instinct causes Republican candidates to take away voters' rights if it will help them win an election.

This has been front and center in Republican Dennis Flood's attempt to hold power in that lovely Hudson-River community, no matter the cost to Irvington or the impact it has had on the village's morale.

The case goes to Appellate Court in Brooklyn on Thursday and, in my wildest dreams, the judge will look at this case, cast a disbelieving look at Flood and his lawyer and exclaim “Are you freaking kiddin' me?”

But that's unlikely to happen. This will probably go on longer and Mayor Malloy will undoubtedly have to answer next to charges that she bribed residents to vote for her with her promises of open and responsive government. Believe me, if that will help the Flood camp stay in illegitimate power longer, they'll say it.

Meantime, The Yellow Dog will be attending what I'm sure will be a festive fundraiser for Ms. Malloy tonight. If this election could be decided based on grit alone, Erin Malloy would already be in office. But legal fees are mounting and I'm hopeful we will see a big crowd turning out to support her.

No More Reaching Across The Damn Aisle: Reason Number 272

In addition to the myriad ways that Republicans make life hard on working families every day, one of the things I resent the most as a father, is the difficulty they cause in trying to teach our children to tell the truth.

For example, while discussing the Iraq war in his radio address on Saturday, President Bush said “We went to war because we were attacked, and we are at war today because there are still people out there who want to harm our country and hurt our citizens.”

But Bush said this in September of 2003: “We’ve had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11th [attacks].”

Even my seven-year-old son would understand that what Bush said on Saturday is a lie -- and yet another subtle attempt at blurring the findings of the 9/11 Commission and, in this case, contradicting his own words.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

The Saturday Cartoons

Friday, June 17, 2005

Reader Mail: Asked And Answered

After reading my post called You'll Never Guess Which States Did More Lynching, a right-wing fan writes:

Dear Yellow Dog Asshole;

So now are you actually saying that people in red states are generally more racist than you blue state liberals?


Dear SouthernGOP,


The Yellow Dog

No More Reaching Across The Damn Aisle: Reason Number 28

Democrats now need to take out a secondary campaign web site just to beat back Republican lies.

There's a Democrat named Tim Kaine running for Governor of Virginia and he is apparently drawing fire from the Republican Governor's Association, a Right Wing political action group.
To combat the first wave of misleading ads, Kaine has rolled out a web site called It Stops in Virginia specifically to fight this organization and their campaign of lies.

See, we now need to have one web site to tell the truth about our candidates and another dedicated solely to battling Republican lies. Amazing.

But then, maybe if we had brought online last summer, we would have someone we could be proud of in the White House right now.

ABC Correspondent Hammers Scott McClellan

It's always an encouraging sign when the media starts actually asking the tough questions and quits accepting canned, evasive answers.

Editor and Publisher has an exchange that occurred yesterday between Chief White House Lie Peddler – AKA Press Secretary – Scott McClellan and ABC correspondent Terry Moran, in which Moran questioned Vice President Dick Cheney's ludicrous claim that the Iraq insurgency is in its “last throes.”

Check it out for a rare glimpse (lately) at the media doing what some of us learned about in Journalism school.

Are Walls Closing In On Bush And Company?

Are you feeling it? It's the feeling of the tide starting to turn in Washington, D.C.

After yesterday's gripping Downing Street Memo hearing, the top story on Yahoo News last night proclaimed Democrat Urges Inquiry on Bush, Iraq.

I watched the entire thing via streaming video on C-SPAN 3 and it was riveting to hear members of congress using such blunt language, including the phrases we've been waiting to hear like "high crimes" and "impeachment proceedings."

Afterwards, Representative John Conyers delivered a letter to the White House, signed by 560,000 citizens and over 100 members of Congress, demanding answers to the questions raised by the Downing Street Memo.

The hearing was also mentioned on almost all news shows last night. It was the top segment on the Today Show this morning -- even over Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes getting engaged -- and let's hope this continues to gather steam over the weekend!

Cleaning Out The Old Inbox: Good Harry Reid Stuff

Yikes! I found something that's a couple of weeks old and I won't forgive myself if I don't pass it on...

There was a nice little interview with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid in the most recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine.

Here's my favorite exchange:

RS: You've called Bush a loser.

Reid: And a liar.

RS: You apologized for the loser comment.

Reid: But never for the liar, have I?

I love it.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Congressional Hearing on Downing Street Memo Filling Up!

Check out the congressional hearings being held on the Downing Street Memo and the lead-up to the Iraq war -- thank you, Congressman John Conyers! -- on C-SPAN.

You can watch it streaming on C-SPAN 3 or listen to it on C-SPAN radio.

I've been watching since 2:30 PM (EDT) and, every 15 minutes or so, three to five more members of Congress show up -- and it's standing-room only now!

Let's hope this gets some mainstream media coverage.

Bill Frist Lies On Today Show

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist appeared on the Today Show this morning and had the following exchange with Matt Lauer regarding the Terri Schiavo case and the recent autopsy report:

Lauer: “But when you stood on the floor and you said, She does respond, are you at all worried that you led some senators…”

Frist: “I never said, she responded! I said I reviewed the court videotapes – the same ones the other doctors reviewed – and I questioned, Is her diagnosis correct?”

Ah, but based on the Congressional Record, here's Frist on the Senate floor on March 17, 2005:

“I have looked at the video footage. Based on the footage provided to me, which was part of the facts of the case, she does respond.” And... “She certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli…”

So, you gonna call him on this, Matt, or let it go by?

You'll Never Guess Which States Did More Lynching

I don't believe this will come as a surprise to anyone, but lynchings didn't generally happen in our current Blue States.

Here's the 20 states with the most lynchings between 1882 and 1968 (with state name and the number of recorded lynchings):

  • Mississippi (581)
  • Georgia (531)
  • Texas (493)
  • Louisiana (391)
  • Alabama (347)
  • Arkansas (284)
  • Florida (282)
  • Tennessee (251)
  • Kentucky (205)
  • South Carolina (160)
  • Oklahoma (122)
  • Missouri (122)
  • North Carolina (101)
  • Virginia (100)
  • Montana (84)
  • Colorado (68)
  • Nebraska (57)
  • Kansas (54)
  • West Virginia (48)
  • Indiana (47)
Source: Tuskegee Institute Archives

Here's how it looks graphically:

Saaaaayyyyy... That map looks strangely familiar, doesn't it?

It turns out that George W. Bush carried 15 of the 20 biggest lynching states by 55 percent or more in 2004 – and six of those with over 60 percent of the vote.

What does this mean? Not much, really. But we know from the Yellow Dog Blog's previous smart-ass analysis that the Bush states also don't generally care about worker standard of living when measured by their inaction on minimum wage increases. Now we know they're the cultures where lynching was the most accepted. Pick another social ill at random and I bet the state-by-state results are much the same.

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'. Can we let these states secede now please?

More fun with Senate Resolution 39 numbers:

The lynching-apology resolution was introduced on February 7, 2005 and, within a couple of weeks, it had 44 cosponsors – 29 Democrat and 15 Republican. In other words, 66 percent of Senate Democrats signed on almost immediately, while only 27 percent of Republicans took the plunge.

Why are these guys always so far behind the curve on anything related to true ethics, morals or social justice?

Dead Soldier's Mom Blasts Bush

I don't know whether to find this terribly sad, heartening or both.

Cindy Sheehan, mother of Army Specialist Casey Austin Sheehan, who was killed in Iraq, spoke at an interfaith rally in Lexington KY on Monday and blasted George W. Bush
for his recent comments saying that it's "hard work" comforting widows of soldiers lost in Iraq.

"Hard work is seeing your son's murder on CNN one Sunday evening while you're enjoying the last supper you'll ever truly enjoy again. Hard work is having three military officers come to your house a few hours later to confirm the aforementioned murder of your son, your first-born, your kind and gentle sweet baby. Hard work is burying your child 46 days before his 25th birthday. Hard work is holding your other three children as they lower the body of their big (brother) into the ground. Hard work is not jumping in the grave with him and having the earth cover you both," she said.

Sheehan, the president of Gold Star Families for Peace continued...

"We're watching you very carefully and we're going to do everything in our power to have you impeached for misleading the American people," she said, quoting a letter she sent to the White House. "Beating a political stake in your black heart will be the fulfillment of my life ... ," she said, as the audience of 200 people cheered.


From The Better-Late-Than-Never File...

Update on the Republican senators who did not cosponsor Senate Resolution 39, issuing a formal apology to our country's lynching victims and their families: Late yesterday, the heat must have gotten to Michael Crapo (R-ID) -- that's pronounced 'cray-poe,' wise guys! -- and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) as they finally signed on as cosponsors of the resolution.

While Iowa is a fairly enlightened state, it was nice of Crapo to run the risk of alienating his hooded constituents in Northern Idaho.

Nadler Seeks Condemnation From House On Sensenbrenner Behavior

Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) is introducing a resolution to condemn James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, for cutting off debate and abruptly ending a meeting on the Patriot Act.

Sensenbrenner's spokesman, Jeff Lungren, said that Nadler’s resolution was “completely false and over the top. It’s disappointing that Mr. Nadler would file this, but that’s his decision, not ours.”

Yeah, we're disappointed too – disappointed that Sensenbrenner unilaterally cut off all debate on such an important issue. While this will undoubtedly never see the light of day in a Republican-led House, it's good that we're at least fighting back as much as possible.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Coming Out Against Lynching Is Third-Rail Of Conservative Politics

We writers in the truly-liberal media couldn't invent stuff this stupid.

Under cover of night Monday and with a "unanimous consent" voice vote – where senators are not put on the spot, and required to vote individually and on the record -- the Senate passed a resolution apologizing for their part of congress's inaction on over a century of lynching.

Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and George Allen (R-VA) proposed Senate Resolution 39, which issues a formal apology to lynching victims and their families for the Senate’s failure to enact federal anti-lynching legislation during the first part of the 20th century.

At least 4,742 Americans -- almost all African-American – were lynched in the United States in the last 125 years and the Senate on multiple occasions during that time failed to pass anti-lynching legislation that had already passed the House of Representatives. This left the federal government powerless to intervene and protect Americans from racist acts of mob violence.

Landrieu and Allen's resolution is here and it's about as straightforward a piece of Senate writing as you'll ever see.

So why on something so fundamental to a lesson one would hope our nation has learned would any senator refuse to cosponsor such a formal acknowledgement? As of 5:00 PM (EDT) on June 15, 16 senators had not cosponsored the bill, which under senate rules can be done retroactively. Here's the proud crew now:

  • Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
  • Robert Bennett (R-UT)
  • Thad Cochran (R-MS)
  • John Cornyn (R-TX)
  • Michael Crapo (R-ID)
  • Michael Enzi (R-WY)
  • Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
  • Judd Gregg (R-NH)
  • Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
  • Kay Hutchison (R-TX)
  • Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
  • Trent Lott (R-MS)
  • Richard Shelby (R-AL)
  • Gordon Smith (R-OR)
  • John Sununu (R-NH)
  • Craig Thomas (R-WY)
When it comes to a resolution that acknowledges such a universal truth, it is common for every senator to sign as a cosponsor – but, inexplicably, these Republicans don't seem moved to repudiate such a violent and shameful part of our history.

Senator John Kerry was direct: "It's a statement in itself that there aren't 100 cosponsors,"
said Kerry. "It's a statement in itself that there's not an up-or-down vote."

But here's one thing you know for sure: If a resolution had been proposed condemning gay marriage, each of these 16 senators would have pulled a groin muscle moving so fast to cosponsor. Take that to the bank.