Thursday, May 31, 2007

Now is the time for all good Democrats…

…to come to the aid of my own personal Congressman.

For nine years, Rep. Jim McDermott has been fighting off a legal assault launched by Republican leaders when he caught them in a lie and exposed it. Although he's won a number of rounds in court, the Republicans, fronted by John "Boner" Boehner, have kept up their efforts through one appeal after another. Now they've secured a 5-4 decision that, as Jim properly points out, threatens "...the free speech rights of every whistleblower, reporter, publisher, blogger, and concerned citizen in America."

There are links to everything you might want to know about the case here, but all you really need to know is that a progressive leader has been hamstrung for nearly a decade protecting rights that every American should hold sacred, and he needs your help. An email from the Congressman explains the current dilemma...
Accepting the current court decision will result in an immediate need for additional Expense Trust funds. Taking this First Amendment case to the Supreme Court will incur a final round of legal expense.

Your donations have allowed me to defend the First Amendment in the past and hold senior GOP Congressional leaders accountable for their actions. Your additional support will allow me to finally deal with this matter.
Contributions to The Jim McDermott Legal Expense Trust can be made here.

And should be.

Second class treatment…

…for first class letter carriers. Jeff Richardson, aka The Tahoma Activist, reports:
The US Postal Service, under the careful control of the Bush White House, aims to contract out hundreds if not thousands of new routes to independent contractors, replacing solid union letter carriers with unaccountable, unqualified contractors with no benefits and no background checks.
You can call it "contracting out" or you can call it "union busting," but the best thing to call it is off.

Good question…

…from Greg at The Talent Show.
On a side note, have you guys noticed that everything with the “As Seen on TV” logo tends to look cool in ads, but ends up being an overpriced piece of junk that doesn’t work as well as advertised?

You pick 'em.

Troubling? Flawed? Dangerous? Looks like Bushco's™ got all the bases covered. Dan Froomkin examines the prospects for a Korean solution in Iraq...
It's troubling because American troops have been in South Korea for more than 50 years -- while polls show the American public wants them out of Iraq within a year.

It's flawed because in South Korea, unlike Iraq, there's something concrete to defend (the border with North Korea); and because Iraq, unlike South Korea, happens to be in a state of violent civil war.

It's dangerous because the specter of a permanent military presence in Iraq is widely considered to be one of the most inflammatory incitements to Iraq's ever-growing anti-American insurgency, and may even be destabilizing to the entire region.
We're being governed by fools or madmen.

Or both.

Hat tip to AmericaBlog.

Heh™ .

Bill Maher:
In America you can’t get elected president unless you can pronounce all four e’s in the word sh*t. Clinton, Carter and Bush could. Edwards can.
Hat tip to Liberal Values. (Bowdlerized by yours truly.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I'll have some of what she's having.

Better make it a double.
LAS VEGAS - White House hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday defended her vote against an Iraq war funding bill, saying she believes President Bush will begin withdrawing troops from Iraq soon.
Really. If she truly believes that the Preznit's going to start pulling troops out before he's done pushing them in, she's been into the good stuff.

Might'a inhaled, even.

Still, I hope she's right.

Another reason…

…Salon is always worth the price of admission. Garrison Keillor:
"Their sacrifice has enabled us to enjoy the things that many of us take for granted" would have been better, but still it's nothing people will take home with them and ponder. How about, "Their noble sacrifice has enabled us to see the ignobility of the leadership that sent them to their deaths"? How about "We have sacrificed enough of our young men and women and it is time to bring them home to enjoy the things that the rest of us take for granted"?

From the WTF file…

White House spokesman Tony Snow said Bush would like to see a U.S. role in Iraq ultimately similar to that in South Korea.

"The Korean model is one in which the United States provides a security presence, but you've had the development of a successful democracy in South Korea over a period of years, and, therefore, the United States is there as a force of stability," Snow told reporters.

The Big Con.

Stillwell sees through it so you don't have to…
It's one of the great mysteries of American politics; corporations are always putting the squeeze on taxpayers, be they developers, agricultural interests, sports franchises or retailers, yet the Republican Party always gets to campaign against taxes. You'd think more people would catch on to the scam.
Just another reason...

Fund this.

Carl has some ideas for the next round...
...Attach tax increases to pay for the war at a greater rate than they were at when he took office at least for the highest income bracket. Price controls on gas and other things that are needed by the troops in the field. A maximum amount on what contractors can make and an end to no-bid contracts. Harsh punishments for war profiteering. Strengthen USERRA. This is the cost for 3 more months of war, that’s what you get until the end of January. This war is a necessity? Fine, let’s do it right.
Works for me.

It's Scooter…

…but it could be anyone in the whole damn crew.
“He has expressed no remorse, no acceptance of responsibility, and no recognition that there is anything he should have done differently…"
They're shameless, you know.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cave in, capitulation, blank check…

…blah, blah, blah.

In response to my latest Upper Left Honor Roll post, commending the Democratic Senators and the members of the Washington State House delegation that voted against the war funding appropriation, bluesky asks us to note that neither of my own Senators appears on the list. Not taking note of that, though, was a considered choice on my part.

As a Democrat, I'm not willing to accept responsibility for Bush's war, and I'm not going to assign responsibility to any Democrat for it. It's a Republican war, in it's conception, it's design, it's execution and it's continuation. In creating this war, though, Republicans have put American lives in harm's way and the Commander in Chief has no intention whatsoever save to leave them there. Digby's right (and yes, that's redundant)...
The only thing I know for sure is that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are not going to withdraw from Iraq. They are playing a rough game and would rather see the troops die without bullets and body armor than admit in any way that their occupation is a failure.
I don't agree that the Democrats are "paralyzed" by their circumstances, as Digby suggests, but they are undoubtedly compromised. Democrats are already on the record in favor of a change in policy which would tie continued funding to timelines and enforceable benchmarks. They passed just such a bill, and it was returned. It's by their votes on that bill that I choose to judge Democrats.

Critics charge that some Democrats voted for the Republican version of the because they feared being attacked for not "supporting the troops," but I doubt that that was a major calculation. All the ammunition the Republican smear machine needs for such efforts was provided by the original passage of the Democratic bill. I think Republican lies and smears are part of every campaign equation these days. It's just what they do.

It's very likely, though, that a good number of Democrats measured the potential impact - the very real threat that troops on the ground in Iraq, as well as those preparing for or recovering from tours, would suffer material and logistic losses - of a continuing standoff on funding against the simple truth that voting no would not stop the war, would not bring a single soldier home, but might, probably would, increase the risks every soldier faces. They then cast their votes understanding what Gary Hart writes today...
The U.S. military does not commit us to war. Most soldiers and sailors, especially those who have experienced combat, do not desire war. They are sent to war, often tragically as in Iraq, and they do their duty and too often they die. We all need to understand and respect that and we must let them know we are on their side.
In the end, the best analysis I' E.J. Dionne...
The decision to drop withdrawal timelines from the Iraq supplemental appropriations bill is not a decisive defeat. It is a temporary setback in a much longer struggle for minds and votes that the administration’s critics are actually winning.


Democrats, in short, have enough power to complicate the president’s life, but not enough to impose their will. Moreover, there is genuine disagreement even among Bush’s Democratic critics over what the pace of withdrawal should be and how to minimize the damage of this war to the country’s long-term interests. That is neither shocking nor appalling, but, yes, it complicates things. So does the fact that the minority wields enormous power in the Senate.


What was true in January thus remains true today: The president will be forced to change his policy only when enough Republicans tell him he has to. Facing this is no fun; it’s just necessary.
You might even call it 'reality-based.'

Monday, May 28, 2007


Every day.

The sun's shining down on these green fields of France;
The warm wind blows gently, and the red poppies dance.
The trenches have vanished long under the plow;
No gas and no barbed wire, no guns firing now.
But here in this graveyard that's still No Man's Land
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man.
And a whole generation who were butchered and damned.

And I can't help but wonder, now Willie McBride,
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you "The Cause?"
Did you really believe that this war would end wars?
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain,
For Willie McBride, it all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.

This is awful…

…but not unpredictable, and, in this kind of war, probably unavoidable.
...on his third deployment in Iraq, he is no longer a believer in the mission. The pivotal moment came, he says, this February when soldiers killed a man setting a roadside bomb. When they searched the bomber’s body, they found identification showing him to be a sergeant in the Iraqi Army.

“I thought: ‘What are we doing here? Why are we still here?’ ” said Sergeant Safstrom, a member of Delta Company of the First Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division. “We’re helping guys that are trying to kill us. We help them in the day. They turn around at night and try to kill us.”
In Vietnam, it was axiomatic that a percentage of the weapons issued to local defense forces would be in the hands of the VC by nightfall and aimed at us before morning. There's also a certain logic to the notion that someone willing to take up arms in defense of his country might harbor greater than average resentments regarding the occupation of his country. What seems like betrayal to us may be an expression of the highest patriotism.

It's awful, but, again, likely inevitable. It's something our soldiers will face as long as their mission is occupation, and yet another reason the occupation must end.

This is worse…
The officials described a tense standoff that ensued between the Blackwater guards and Interior Ministry forces — both sides armed with assault rifles — until a passing U.S. military convoy intervened.
American soldiers in the line of fire between our purported allies and the private mercenary armies of the war profiteers and frightened bureaucrats? We can hardly ask the Iraqis to give up their own private militias while we let Haliburton, et al, employ their own, and the risk to American forces is far too high and totally unecessary. Sadly, it's also by design, part of the Rumsfeld vision of a new military, with as many functions, including combat arms, contracted out as possible. War as even better business.

I hate what they're doing to my Army.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

This, too.

Gary Kamiya at Salon...
Those of us who do not believe in Bush's war -- and that is a majority of the people in the country -- owe those who have died in Iraq more than respect and memory. We owe them righteous anger. We owe them outrage over a president so desperate and delusional that he is willing to pay with their blood to delay his day of political reckoning. We owe them our continued commitment to end this futile war.


John Nichols at The Nation...
Edwards has hit on the essential theme for this Memorial Day. It is often said that U.S. troops are fighting for democracy. But fights for democracy can only be considered successful when American democracy is open and vibrant enough to allow for a realistic discussion of the nation's circumstance. Those "my-country-right-or-wrong" politicians and pundits who would shut down dissent on Memorial Day, or any other day, make a mockery of the president's rhetoric about fighting for democracy.

And now...





From my own personal Congressman.
Oil is the only benchmark this president and vice president want, and they will keep American soldiers fighting and dying until an oil law is passed in Iraq that gives Western oil companies control of the spigot.

It is time to unmask the latest doomed plot to overthrow Iran and past time to get out soldiers out of Iraq.

Nothing less than protecting our troops is acceptable.
Hat tip to Mr. Natural at Left Edge North, where there's more.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Got enough memory?


And more to come...
A Marine Corps document obtained by the Associated Press says that of 100 requests for critical gear sent in last year, less than 10 have been filled. It blames red tape and the failure of bureaucrats to take risks.

Unnecessary delays cause … deaths and injuries,” the document says...

And again...

...a randon ten.
Jefferson Airplane - Wooden Ships
Prince - Little Red Corvette
Mary Karlzen - St. James Hotel
Linda Ronstadt - Just One Look
Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell - I'm Your Puppet
Marty Stuart - Hillbilly Rock
Motley Crue - Smokin' In The Boys' Room
Elvis Costello - Radio, Radio
Bonnie Raitt - Thing Called Love
Bill Miller - Geronimo's Cadillac

I just don't get it.

There seems to be so much fuss about John McCain missing a month of votes. Why? I mean, he's busy and it wouldn't bother me if he stopped voting for another month, or a year.

In fact, the whole damn Republican caucus could take the rest of the year off and let us get some work done in D.C., as far as I'm concerned.

Or the whole damn Republican Party could disband and disappear. The sooner the better.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The lovely and talented...

...Miss Audrey Hepcat has no comment.

Worth repeating.

Fred Kaplan:

First, the vast majority of the insurgents have nothing to do with al-Qaida or its ideology. They’re combatants in a sectarian conflict for power in Iraq, and they have neither the means nor the desire to threaten North America.

Second, to the extent that the true global terrorists could attack us at home, they could do so whether or not U.S. troops stay or win in Iraq. The one issue has nothing to do with the other.

Third, what kind of thing is this to say in front of the allies? If our main goal in bombing, strafing, and stomping through Iraq is to make sure we don’t have to do so on our own territory, will any needy nation ever again seek our aid and cover? Or will they seek out a less blatantly selfish protector?

Hat tip to The Carpetbagger Report.

Stinkin' thinkin'…

One of the few bright spots in the passage of the Iraq supplemental was the inclusion of minimum wage legislation. The lowest paid workers in our country will get seventy cents this summer, and eventually a $2.10 raise altogether. That's genuine cause for Democratic celebration.

You'd think.

Not for some, though…
The Democrats should have kept pounding away on the minimum wage issue as a stand alone issue. Keep forcing the Republicans to filibuster it. Making them pay at the polls for their unpopular position. Wrapping it into the funding bill was like handing them a get-out-of-jail-free card.
That kind of thinking is, sadly, too common on our side. But that's exactly the kind of thinking that the Republicans pursued throughout their majority. They continually put forward legislation with the expectation that its failure would inflame their base, and over and over again their policy of provacative failure produced political success. They couldn't even pass budgets, let alone their whacked out social agenda, but they maintained their strategic advantage in attack ad fodder.

Democratic issues like the minimum wage, though, are just too important to too many people to be used as chips in a similar game.

We're better than they are, at least at basic governance on behalf of the people. That's the whole point. That's why, after all these years and the frustrations and disappointments those years have brought, I'm still a Democrat.

Nope, whatever you think of the supplemental, winning, in any way necessary, on the minimum wage was a Democratic promise, a Democratic obligation and, finally, a Democratic victory worth celebrating.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Upper Left Honor Roll.

Senators Boxer (D-CA), Clinton (D-NY), Dodd (D-CT), Feingold (D-WI), Kennedy (D-MA). Kerry (D-MA), Leahy (D-VT), Obama (D-IL), Sanders (I-VT), Whitehouse (D-RI), Wyden (D-OR), my own personal Congressman and his fellow upper left Reps, Inslee and Smith.

(Yeah, there were a couple Republican nays. This ain't a bipartisan blog. Deal.)


Sure I am. But some of the rhetoric being tossed around the left end of blogtopia these days leaves me wondering what the 'reality-based community' has been smoking.

If the Iraq supplemental is a capitulation, it's a capitulation to hard reality. Sure, if I had a vote to cast on the bill, I'd vote against it. I wouldn't weep much over its passage, though.

Here's some reality to chew on. Failure to pass this appropriation would not bring a single soldier home in the short term. George Bush just won't do that. Remember, there are already plenty of billions of dollars floating around the DoD, dollars which Bush could divert to sustain the escalation of his war. Of course, someone would lose funding for something, and there's likely to be some pain involved.

Given the nature of defense expenditures, there are really only two ways to inflict that pain on the scale required to sustain the occupation. Either defense contractors - particularly those with the biggest and often most immediately useless systems to sell - or men and women in uniform will take the hit.

George W. Bush is the President and Commander in Chief. Who do you think will pay the price?

Will it be a suspension of a new nuclear warhead or a delay in the promotions and pay raises of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines? Will it delay the development of the next generation bomber or fighter or submarine or will it delay the maintenance of military housing or the delivery of military medical care?

Whatcha think?

I'm betting that the G.I.s take it in the teeth for the madman. Again.

There are troops in the field, and it's going to take more than a supplemental appropriation to get them out. It's going to take more than one battle to stop the war. It was less than a year ago that there were only 11 Senators willing to vote for a redeployment timetable. Now, a majority of both houses of Congress are on record favoring exactly that. But, as Juan Cole wisely oberves...
It turns out that if the American public really wanted out of Iraq in short order, it needed to elect about 11 more Democrats [or Hagel- Paul Republicans] to the Senate than it did.
Of course, there probably aren't eleven more "Hagel-Paul Republicans" in the whole damn country. But it's true - the problem isn't that we have too many of the wrong Democrats so much as that we just don't have enough Democrats, period.

That's why rants about "surrender," "capitulation" and "Vichy Democrats" are worse than useless. The Congressional Democrats took their best shot, and they landed some telling blows. Taking that Kerry fella's boxing analogy to heart, I'd call this round three rather than round one. Round one was the original supplemental, with targets and timelines, passed by both houses. We won, but the veto was an effective counterpunch. Score round two for Bush.

Round three? Working the corner, I'd like to call it a draw, but if I was a judge, I'd give an edge to Bush's defense, though he didn't score a knockdown.

This is a championship battle, though, barely begun, and it could go the distance.

We can whine and bitch and put our energies into blaming the promoter, the manager, the cut man and the referee.

Or, as that Kerry fella says, we can keep punching.

I think I hear the bell for round four.

Some come home…

…and are soon enough forgotten.

WASHINGTON - A special federal court that hears veterans' disability appeals is facing its highest caseload ever as the government increasingly turns down benefits for war veterans, its chief judge said Tuesday.


Those numbers continued a sharp increase in appeals filed beginning in fiscal year 2005 as denial of benefits by the VA's Board of Veterans Appeals jumped from 9,299 in 2004 to 13,033 in 2005. Last year, total denials reached 18,107, according to the court.


Some two-thirds of the VA's initial decisions are typically found to be in error by the court...
That means about 12,000 veterans spent the last year in the limbo of the appeals process, denied benefits they were entitled to by a flawed, and increasingly restrictive, process.

For some of them, certainly, the time lost to those appeals represents costs - physical, mental and/or economic - from which they'll never recover as treatment is not received, bills are not paid and families suffer beside them.

George Bush doesn't care.

Do you?

I expect I'll have more to say…

…about the Defense Supplemental later on, but for now, I'll just second Atrios.
If this is the bill, let it be a Republican bill.
He's right about this, too.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hillary keeps clam.

"When I have something to say, I will say it, gentlemen."
Fair enough.

That doesn't mean we'll be listening anymore when the time comes, though.

The kind of thing…

...that keeps me on the fence.
“This war has gone on longer than World War II and there is no end in sight. Yet we are less secure and more isolated than before. We have lost 3,400 patriotic Americans and shattered our standing in the world. We are spending $2 billion a week - $8 billion a month - and are now caught in the middle of a civil war. Still, this President wants more of the same and this bill would give him his wish.

I cannot and will not simply give this President another blank check."
Chris Dodd. Unequivocal and all-American.

But can he build a campaign?

The kind of thing…

…that's going to push me off the fence one of these days.
"As President, I will close Guantanamo Bay, restore habeas corpus, and ban torture."
John Edwards.

Unequivocal and all-American.

With friends like this…

…you end up polling 20something%. John "Boner" Boehner on the Preznit-approved immigration plan...
"I promised the President today that I wouldn't say anything bad about... this piece of shit bill."
John Boehner - classy guy, trusted ally, good friend.

For a Republican, I suppose.

Well, yeah...

Steve Soto:

" least we now know that they don't teach integrity, ethics, or responsibility at Pat Robertson's Wingnut University."

…now we know but most of us had already guessed right, I imagine. I'm wondering how many of them will figure it out.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Just a data point…

…from Robert J. Ellisberg.
...when Newt Gingrich resigned from Congress, take a guess what his approval rating was as Speaker of the House. It was 28%.

One more thing that Newt Gingrich and George Bush have in common.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Charles Pierce:
"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wagn'nagl fhtagn."
Or something like that.


Steve Benen:
Reason #1,684,350 why I do not watch television news.

Me too.

Will at Horse's Ass...
I got a call this weekend from a volunteer from the Barack Obama for President campaign. It’s was a fund raising call, and I politely said that I was backing another horse. But, in the guy’s prepared text, he mentioned how Obama wants to “bring people together,” and “he’s been bringing people together his whole life.” He talked about how partisanship is ruining Washington DC, that to get things done we have to get past party labels to find solutions.

I appreciate the sentiment, but I’m not on board with it.
A proudly partisan me too.

Democrats, please. Without apology.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

War is good business...

...and for some, business is good. Via AmericaBlog...
Little more than a year ago, al-Qaida's core command was thought to be in a financial crunch. But U.S. officials said cash shipped from Iraq has eased those troubles.

"Iraq is a big moneymaker for them," a senior U.S. counterterrorism official said.

Lest we forget…

...Jeralyn looks at the Ashcroft era.
From his push on the Patriot Act, to his initiating warrantless monitoring of attorney-client conversations, to his many failed terrorism cases, his connection to Abu Ghraib, his insistence on prosecuting medical marijuana cases even in states that had legalized it, his attempt to keep tabs on federal judges, his belief that the undocumented could be held indefinitely and most spectacularly, his crusade to increase the use of the death penalty in federal cases, over the objections of his own prosectors and a federal judge, he should not be re-evaluated for his one moment of lucidity.

He was the worst Attorney General ever.
Yes, he was.

He may not be anymore. After all, Gonzales has yet to display even that one moment of lucidity (it would, no doubt, require his resignation).

But yes, he was, and may yet be.

And now...

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Cynthia Tucker:
The Grand Old Party is now hostage to a group of flat-earthers who deny evolution, mock gays, denounce stem cell research, suspect contraceptives and believe all Muslims are going to hell. Indeed, some of them actually want a conflagration in the Middle East because they believe it will hasten the Second Coming of Christ.

Hat tip to stillwell at NPI.

Don't fret about the vets.

Joe Conason is worried about John Edwards' efforts to make peace patriotic this Memorial Day. After all, we've been warned...
...the national commander of the American Legion immediately denounced Edwards for "politicizing" the holiday, and charged that the candidate had "blatantly violated the sanctity of this most special day." Right-wing bloggers quickly seized upon and amplified that theme...
Uh huh. This National Commander

The national commander of the American Legion never served in Vietnam although he describes himself as a "Vietnam veteran," a newspaper reported Sunday.

Paul A. Morin, who was elected Aug. 31 to a one-year term as commander of the nation's largest veterans organization, spent his time in the Army from 1972 to 1974 at Fort Dix, N.J., The Boston Sunday Globe reported.


But former Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia said Morin's claim may undercut the credibility of veterans groups that fight for Congressional funding of veterans' programs.

"For the national commander of the American Legion, who never even served in the Vietnam theater, to call himself a Vietnam veteran is a lie," said Cleland, who lost both legs and an arm during combat in Vietnam, and who has been a Legion member since 1969.
It's noteworthy that Cleland himself is a longtime Legionnaire. Like many of us, Max knows that historically only three vet's organizations have been effective lobbies for the rights and needs of military veterans, the Legion, the VFW and the DAV. I was a member of the Legion myself until an incident that Conason cites proved to be my last straw...
...the Legion's habitually authoritarian attitude toward dissent is itself an offense to basic American values -- as its leaders proved again last August when they passed a bizarre, vaguely threatening resolution demanding the cessation of all "public protests and media events" against the war.
Membership in the Legion is, in fact, no indication of agreement with the political slant of the national leadership on issues extending beyond GI benefits. Even the leadership has issues with the leadership. Lt. Colonel Hal Donahue, a life member and District Deputy Commander of the Legion, is blunt.
...I know many members of the American Legion were simply embarrassed by positions taken by the Leadership of the organization, which blindly supports this administration's war in Iraq while just as blindly ignoring wounded military living conditions at Walter Reed.
That's doubtless part of the reason that of the 24.5 million living US veterans, fewer than three million belong to the Legion. Still, Joe's worried...
Despite the shortcomings of the Legion, however, its anger over what Edwards is doing will resonate more broadly. His call to protest risks offending the sensibilities of everyone who believes the holiday should be solemnly commemorative rather than politically noisy. Even many vets who have come to despise the Bush administration believe that antiwar displays on that day are at best insensitive, reviving bad memories of the Vietnam era.
First, be clear. It's not the Legion's anger. It's the anger of a liar, a man who has disgraced the uniform he once wore, the soldiers he served with and the organization he leads by lying, openly, repeatedly and unrepentantly, about his service record.

Still, Conason has a point. It's certainly possible to wave protest signs on Memorial Day in ways that would be "neither kind nor smart." There are also respectful and intelligent ways to do the same thing. Vets and their families are smart enough to know the difference. Conason fears they might not, though, and that we could lose gains he apparently thinks were unique to the last election cycle, which...
…featured victorious House and Senate campaigns by Democratic veterans and the stunning debut of, proved that the political direction of veterans and their families should no longer be taken for granted. A promising trend that began with the presidential candidacy of retired Gen. Wesley Clark in 2004 is gathering momentum.
Of course, you could argue that the trend, in fairly modern terms, at least, began in 1948, with former Infantry commander Harry Truman, or 1960, when John Kennedy's personal heroics as a Naval officer may well have been the deciding factor in his election. Maybe it wasn't until we elected Annapolis grad Jimmy Carter in 1976. Time and again, highly decorated and courageous veterans like Medal of Honor winners Bob Kerrey and Daniel Inouye , or John Glenn, with his six Distinguished Flying Crosses, or Silver Star recipients like Max Cleland, George McGovern and, of course, that Kerry fella, have set their political courses as members of the Democratic Party.

It's hard to tell when it started, exactly, but the trend seems to have had momentum for awhile now.

Conason concludes...
In short, Republicans have proved that they no longer deserve a monopoly on military loyalty (and in fact they never did). Whether Democrats and progressives can win back the respect -- and the votes -- of soldiers, veterans and their families is a critical question for the future of American politics. It will never happen if they believe that the left devalues or ignores their sacrifice.
Clearly, the Republicans have never deserved, and have never had, "a monopoly on military loyalty." In fact, soldiers, veterans and their families have long respected and voted for Democrats. That might be because so many of us are Democrats.

And they know - to support the troops, it's time to end the war.

So don't fret about the votes of vets and our families, Joe. We seem to be smarter than you think.

Quote of the day.

Via Think Progress
“I’d rather trade places with Jose Padilla.”

Former Justice Dept. official Viet Dinh, on replacing Deputy AG Paul McNulty.

Once again...

...a random ten.
Booker T & The MGs - Time Is Tight
Ricky Nelson - Poor Little Fool
Rodney Crowell - The Rock Of My Soul
Dr. John - Iko Iko
The Black Crowes - Hard To Handle
The Clarks - Shimmy Low
Crosby, Stills & Nash - Wooden Ships
Peter, Paul & Mary - For Lovin' Me
Tim Hardin - If I Were A Carpenter
Great Big Sea - Someday Soon

Friday, May 18, 2007

Fair question.

An anonymous staffer, via Greg Sargent, via mcjoan...
According to our Hill staffer, some liberals are beginning to fear that it will ultimately be the latter. And this has produced a kind of gloom among some libs in the House right now who are persuaded that the Dem leadership will ultimately back down in hopes that other future legislative routes will prove more fertile.

"If this is what they go with, it begs the question, Why did we go through this whole exercise with the first supplemental and everything else?" our staffer asks. "What did we really accomplish?"
What? Well, quite a bit, really. As that Kerry fella put it after the Reid-Feingold vote...
Last year, Senator Feingold and I stood with 11 Senators for a firm one year deadline to force the Iraqis to find a political solution and redeploy our troops. The number of Democratic and Republican Senators who agree that we must have benchmarks and timelines, continues to grow.
The Senate's moved from 11 to 29. Not enough, to be sure, but more, in this case, is better if insufficient. Every time we can put their votes under the spotlight of public scrutiny, we win. As John Arivosis puts it...
Every Iraq vote, even though we keep losing, chips away at Republican congressional support for the war. And what's more, it also has been chipping away at Democratic support for the war. Every time we vote, the numbers for our side increase.
The numbers for our side increased. We accomplished that. It's not everything, but it's something.

Remember, too, what we saw unfold during that Reid-Feingold vote. Every Democratic Senator seeking the Presidential nomination felt, for whatever reason, compelled to support the cloture motion, even those (Hillary, admittedly, Biden and Obama, probably) who weren't particularly committed to the underlying legislation. The contrast, then, between our team and their Republican rivals has been brought into sharper focus. Since the overwhelming majority of the public is on our side, it's important that our candidates demonstrate that they are on the public's side.

We accomplished that, too.

If you really thought that slim Democratic majorities would be able to end the war and stuff before Memorial Day, well, sorry. It's going to be harder than that, and take longer. More Democrats would help, but you end a war, as it were, with the majority you have. With a slight one, it's a long, hard row to hoe.

A row made up of one accomplishment after another before the harvest.

Inch by inch, row by row.

Without apology.

From the "Me too" file…

...Steve Benen:
Sorry for the lack of analysis on the new immigration measure; it’s just not really my issue. I’ve decided to outsource my commentary to Kevin Drum, whose post on the subject I strongly endorse.
Me too.

Oh yeah...'s Friday. Time for the cat lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat...

She's still not amused.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

And this?

This is what supporting the troops looks like...
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA) praised the U.S. House of Representatives for voting today to approve legislation to help workers meet their work and family responsibilities when a loved one is deployed to a combat zone.


The legislation, offered by U.S. Reps. Jason Altmire (D-PA) and Tom Udall (D-NM) as an amendment to a larger defense bill, would allow workers to use Family and Medical Leave to deal with issues that arise as a result of the deployment of a spouse, parent, or child to a combat zone like Iraq or Afghanistan.
…which probably makes it the next candidate for a veto threat.

Of course, it gets worse.

Of course.
Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance: The Administration opposes section 644, which would pay a monthly special survivor indemnity allowance of $40 from the DoD Military Retirement Fund. The current benefit programs for survivors, DoD’s Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) and Department of Veterans Affairs’ Dependency Indemnity Compensation (DIC), provide sufficient benefits...
Pay raises for GI's are "unnecessary." Provisions for widows and orphans are "sufficient."

They just don't care. Not about them. Not about you.

I hate what they're doing to my country.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

And the problem is?

Stu Rothenberg frets over a perceived Edwardian shift to the left...
Increasingly, political observers are whispering that Edwards seems to be running much as former Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) Did in 2004, wooing organized labor and recycling a class warfare message.
Of course, there's no need to recycle class warfare. It's been ongoing for some time (eternally, in some views), and it's the middle class that's most recently under seige. As a subscriber to the belief that organized labor is the strongest line of defense for the American middle class, and the best hope for it's future, I'm grateful whenever a Democratic leader takes up the labor banner. The fortunes of the two institutions - democratic labor unions and the Democratic Party - have long been linked. Each grows by feeding the other, and both sustain the middle class.

Observers are whispering? Heck, go tell it on the mountain!

The problem, I guess, is that folks like Rothenberg think that's a problem.

Supporting the troops…

…can't end on the battlefield. Maintaining the level of morale required for mission success is complex. The mess hall is part of it. So's mail call. And, certainly, the pay line.

I'm skeptical of the value of money as a primary motivator for the military. It's hardly the best, and should never be the only, reason to enlist in the service. It matters, though, and especially in the time of a war which has required so little for most of us and so much for most of them, you'd think the Commander in Chief would want to get every good thing possible for his troops.

You'd think wrong...

The House Armed Services Committee recommends a 3.5 percent pay increase for 2008, and increases in 2009 through 2012 that also are 0.5 percentage point greater than private-sector pay raises.

The slightly bigger military raises are intended to reduce the gap between military and civilian pay that stands at about 3.9 percent today. Under the bill, HR 1585, the pay gap would be reduced to 1.4 percent after the Jan. 1, 2012, pay increase.

Bush budget officials said the administration “strongly opposes” both the 3.5 percent raise for 2008 and the follow-on increases, calling extra pay increases “unnecessary.”

Probably so. Like I say, money's really not a primary motivator for most soldiers. They're going to do the same job just as well regardless of what kind of pay raise is appropriated. They're going to do it more for each other than the money, no matter what the money is.

Maybe some Spec 4's kid will get a warmer school coat because of mom's raise, or some First Shirt's kid will go to college on money saved from dad's raise.


Or maybe it's just a way for a grateful nation to say, however clumsily or inadequately, thanks.

But it's "unnecessary" for Bushco™.

I hate what they're doing to my Army.


Meteor Blades:
Those who tell us to "be realistic," may be right. Starting to bring the troops home before January 2009 may be impossible. However, the Democrats should never behave as if it's impossible.
No, we shouldn't.

Save the date...

...and stock up on popcorn. Via The Gavel

TIME: 10:15 a.m.
DATE: Wednesday, May 23, 2007
PLACE: 2141 Rayburn House Office Building
Hearing on: The Continuing Investigation into the U.S. Attorneys Controversy and Related Matters.
Witness: Monica Goodling, former Justice Department White House Liaison
By Direction of the Chairman
She's bringing her immunity with her to add to the fun.

Today's Upper Left Honor Roll…

...features the 29 Senators, including all four of the Senator/candidates and, I note with plenty of hometown pride, both of the Senators from the upper left, who voted for cloture on the Reid-Feingold amendment today.

Three cheers for Senators:
Akaka (D-HI), Biden (D-DE), Boxer (D-CA), Byrd (D-WV), Cantwell (D-WA), Cardin (D-MD), Clinton (D-NY), Dodd (D-CT), Durbin (D-IL), Feingold (D-WI), Feinstein (D-CA), Harkin (D-IA), Inouye (D-HI), Kennedy (D-MA), Kerry (D-MA), Klobuchar (D-MN), Kohl (D-WI), Lautenberg (D-NJ), Leahy (D-VT), Menendez (D-NJ), Mikulski (D-MD), Murray (D-WA), Obama (D-IL), Reid (D-NV), Sanders (I-VT), Schumer (D-NY), Stabenow (D-MI), Whitehouse (D-RI), Wyden (D-OR).
Inch by inch, row by row...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

And then there were three…

Hillary's in.
Senator Clinton will vote for cloture on both the Feingold-Reid and Reed-Levin Amendments, to send the President a clear message that it is time to change course, redeploy our troops out of Iraq, and end this war as soon as possible.
Big Tent Democrat seems unimpressed with her motives, but I say a vote's a vote.

Just one Senator/candidate to hear from.


If he only had a vote.

Every Senator who believes this war is wrong and wants to end it should support Reid-Feingold.
Still, credit for being right...

Two down.

Obama's in.
"Tomorrow, I expect cloture votes on two other proposals. One is the Reid-Feingold plan, which would begin a withdrawal of troops in 120 days and end all combat operations on April 1. The other is Senator Levin's proposal, which would create standards and benchmarks for additional funding.

"I will support both…"
Still waiting, without particular hope, to hear from Senators Biden and Clinton.

Great punchline…

I want to assure you, Wolf, if they vote to ask us to leave, we'll be glad to comply with their request.
…but is it just a distraction from a disturbing notion in Mitch McConnell's setup?
Well, the Iraqi government is a huge disappointment. Republicans overwhelmingly feel disappointed about the Iraqi government.
Don't let 'em get away with it. The Iraqi government, elections, constitutions, purple fingers, the whole shebang, has been a Republican project and, often, the subject of Republican gloating from it's inception. Incubated by the Coalition Provisional Authority, a virtual subsidiary of the Republican National Committee, it's theirs, lock, stock and barrel,

Don't let them walk away from it now.

They started their war, they formed a government, they had their chance.

There are certain persons…

…whose death enhances our world, somber protestations about speaking ill of the recently passed notwithstanding.

One example.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Why I wait.

Harry draws the line...
Harry Reid just spoke on the Senate floor, revealing that he’ll allow a vote this week on the Feingold-Reid amendment, which would cut off funding for the war by March 31, 2008.
Dodd steps up to the mark…

We should have a straight up or down vote on Feingold-Reid - not as an amendment to a water bill or any other bill. This is the most important Senate debate since the original vote to authorize the war. This simply cannot be the occasion for hiding behind procedural tactics. That is why I am calling on all my other colleagues running for President to state clearly where they stand on this important legislation by joining me as a co-sponsor of Feingold-Reid and stating how they would vote on the bill.

It's things like that, and like this, that keep me on the fence.

And another thing...

No surprise.

Via The Fix
Not only has Lieberman endorsed Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine.) -- one of Democrats' biggest targets in the 2008 cycle -- but he's planning to co-host a fundraiser for her on June 21 in Washington, D.C.
Collins did, after all, smudge, if not actually cross, party lines to support Joe against Ned Lamont.

And there's the self-preservation instinct. Turn one more seat and Joe Lieberman becomes the least relevant human being in Washington, D.C.

Without a US Senate race here in the upper left in '08, I've been casting around a bit for one to adopt. Right now it looks like this one.

Good question.

Are the people who run Air America on crack?
The local Air America outlet is hardly an Air America outlet at all anymore, pulling programming, including most of what passes for its best, from at least three networks. As a result, we're not typically exposed to Duncan's inspiration.


Sunday, May 13, 2007


…or truthiness? The Carpetbagger Report...
When a once-proud man becomes a joke, it’s a sad thing to watch.
It sounds true. Or, at least, sounds like it should be true.

But about McCain?

Maybe not so sad. I mean, just desserts and all.

And, really, long since accomplished.

And now...

Happy day to moms everywhere.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

You don't have to support Edwards…

…to support the troops, but you do have to end the war.

Random ten time...

...and I mean random (you think "Happy Trails" came up deliberately?). Couple of 'guilty pleasure' tunes here...
Maria Muldaur - Black Coffee
HARP - Pallet On The Floor
Ronnie Bowman - Jailhouse Blues
Roy Rogers - Happy Trails
Young Rascals - Groovin'
Tom Jones & The Cardigans - Burning Down The House
Andrew D. Huber - Favorite Local Bar
Red Meat - Midwest Blues
Neil Young - Comes A Time
Cyndi Lauper - What's Going On

From the SNAFU file.

From the SNAFU file.

Gen. George Casey, Army Chief of Staff…
"...acknowledged that soldiers' families are upset about the Pentagon's recent decision to extend Iraq deployments to 15 months, from what had usually been 12 months.

But he said the move was the only way to avoid sending as many as five Army brigades back to Iraq after just seven or eight months at home, resting and getting the equipment and training needed to return to war. Under the new system, units are guaranteed 12 months at home."
This offer apparently void where inconvenient...
"Members of the 1st Armored Division’s 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry, Company A, learned Tuesday that they are scheduled to head back to Iraq in November, just nine months after the 150-soldier company left the combat zone in February after a 13-month deployment."
I hate what they're doing to my Army.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Here comes the sun...

The lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat can barely contain her enthusiasm over the return of her sunny spots.

Worth repeating.

Ezra Klein:
The VA system, like many other critical government departments, isn't being givennearthe resources to deal with the coming influx, and the consequences will be disastrous. This isn't a structural problem in the VA, but in our government: It's our duty to give veterans the care they need, and that requires money. We have the institutions and delivery mechanisms in place, they just need to be properly funded.
The problems with the VA have more to do with slots than services. The people I know who are in the system are, by and large, more satisfied than they expected. The people I know trying to get into the system tend to be a pretty frustrated bunch.

The problem, of course, is the by-product of years and years of Republican budgets, and the Republicans just don't care about veterans.

Or you.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Good question.

Pete McGowan at CoolAqua...
Why Wasn't Dave Reichert (Wa-08) at Yesterday's Moderates Meeting with the President?
Guess he's still Brand W Dave.

Just a data point…

…via Evergreen Politics.

...Justice Department investigations into national, state and local political candidates and office holders from both parties, plus independents. From 2001 - 2006 these are the results:

Democrats investigated:

Republicans investigated:

Independents investigated:

If nothing else…

…the saga of the Fort Dix Six should put an end to the absurd "fly-paper" justification for the occupation of Iraq (though the whole affair has an abundance of substitute absurdities to offer). Try as he might, Bush hasn't been able to send everybody over there, so our enemies are still going to make trouble over here.

Thankfully, the cops were around to preemptively rescue our soldiers.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Good question.

Former US Attorneys John McKay and David Iglesias are making the rounds together, including an appearance on KUOW's Weekday show tomorrow. Michael Hood has a question for the local fella...
We'd like to ask Mckay: what would it take for you to become a Democrat?
I keep hearing people tell me that McKay is a bright, honest and decent sort. Why, then, is he in a party which represents irrationality, deceit and indecency in the public sphere?

Good question for lotsa folks, in fact.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Um, Heh™?

FDA: the “Faith-based Dining Administration”

Clever headline, no doubt, but the fact - not the prospect, the fact - that the human food supply in the United States has been tainted by poisons used deliberately by Chinese exporters in order to mask inferior product isn't funny. Nobody's been on top of it like Goldy. In no small part because of his vigilance and diligence, here's what we know…

· Tainted pet food has killed or sickened tens of thousands of cats and dogs, some dropping dead within a meal or two of first ingesting melamine and related compounds such as cyanuric acid.
· Autopsies have discovered “plasticized” cat kidneys, clogged with crystals comprised of equal parts melamine and cyanuric acid.
· Laboratory tests have have reproduced the formation of these crystals in a test tube by mixing melamine and cyanuric acid in the presence of urine.
· Tainted pet food containing melamine and cyanuric acid was “salvaged,” and sold as livestock feed, contaminating untold millions of hogs and chickens.
· About three million chickens and several hundred hogs are known to have been slaughtered, butchered and presumably eaten. At least another 20 million chickens are known to have consumed contaminated feed.

If you're not worried, you're uninformed. Stay informed at .

Meet Katrina Greensburg.

Sounds like déjà vu all over again.
The rebuilding effort in tornado-ravaged Greensburg, Kansas, likely will be hampered because some much-needed equipment is in Iraq, said that state’s governor.

Governor Kathleen Sebelius said much of the National Guard equipment usually positioned around the state to respond to emergencies is gone. She said not having immediate access to things like tents, trucks and semitrailers will really handicap the rebuilding effort.

The Greensburg administrator estimated that 95 percent of the town of 1500 was destroyed by Friday’s tornado.

The Kansas National Guard has about 40 percent of the equipment it is allotted because much of it has been sent to Iraq.
For the record, Gov. Sebelius has been at the forefront of Governors expressing concern about the crisis in emergency preparedness caused by Bush's war...
– Dec. 30, 2005: Sebelius writes to Rumsfeld requesting new equipment. "The Guard was critical to responding to recent blizzards and floods in Kansas, yet its ability to respond to similar situations is being diminished by a lack of equipment," wrote Sebelius. Included with her letter was a list of equipment Kansas had lost to the Iraq war. [Kansas City Star, 1/21/06; Topeka Capital-Journal, 6/29/06]

–Jan. 2006: Sebelius personally urges Bush to increase National Guard funding. In a one-hour motorcade ride in Kansas with Bush, Sebelius expressed concern about "a reduction of National Guard troop strength in its next budget." Bush assured her he was "dealing" with the shortages. [Topeka Capital-Journal, 1/24/06; Kansas City Star, 3/11/06]

-Feb. 2006: Sebelius signs letter from National Governors' Association asking Bush administration to replace missing National Guard equipment. "Governors of both parties said Sunday that Bush administration policies were stripping the National Guard of equipment and personnel needed to respond to hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, forest fires and other emergencies." [New York Times, 2/27/06]

–June 28, 2006: Sebelius sends Army Secretary list of equipment lost in war. In a meeting with Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey, Sebelius told Harvey that the state had lost about $140 million in National Guard equipment to the Iraq war. Her office then sent him a list of the lost equipment. [Topeka Capital-Journal, 6/29/06]

–Sept. 2006: Sebelius lobbies for replacement of National Guard equipment sent to Iraq. "Kansas' congressional delegation, Sebelius and governors from around the country have been lobbying the Pentagon for increased funding to replace National Guard equipment that has been left in Iraq or damaged beyond repair after repeated use in war." [AP, 9/5/06]
Now I'm waiting for the wags to wonder why anybody ever built a town in Kansas in the first place.

Some survive…

…but that, apparently, wasn't in the plan. Via Think Progress
VA records show that “pending disability claims with the VA take an average of 177 days to process,” but “for some, the wait time is almost a year.”
Six times or more as long as the typical civilian claim.

Disgraceful? Sure.

Sadly, though, as soldiers say, SNAFU.

Monday, May 07, 2007

In other words…

"We are getting to the point now with the Baghdad security plan where there is going to be real engagement in tougher neighborhoods and you're likely to see escalating levels of casualties," White House spokesman Tony Snow said. "We've known that, been saying it all along."
…don't worry. We knew they were going to die when we sent them.

Why remains an open question.

Hey, it works for the fundies.

Publishers Weekly says it...
"...our most important modern president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt."
I believe it.

That settles it.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

And now...

Sunday funny.

Hat tip to Natch, who'd want you look here too.

Duh fact of the day.

Soldiers and Marines who have served multiple deployments in Iraq are suffering more mental health problems, suicides and divorces, according to a Pentagon study released Friday that studied troops who served overseas last year.

So getting sent into combat zones over and over again is deletorious to your mental health.


I hate what they're doing to my Army.

And my Dad, uncle and brother's Marines, too.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Ten for today...

Jefferson Airplane - We Can Be Together
Eddi Reader - Joke (I'm Laughing)
George Jones - Here In The Real World
Nickel Creek - I Should Have Known Better
Del McCoury - Learning The Blues
Tex Williams - Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette
Nanci Griffith - Boots Of Spanish Leather
Dar Williams - All Men Are Liars
Professor Longhair - Tipitina
The Memphis Horns with Etta James - Take Me To The River

Friday, May 04, 2007

Like I always say sometimes…

…we can't wait 'em out. They live there. Some truth from General Sir Michael Rose, former CG of British Forces in Iraq...
"As Lord Chatham said, when he was speaking on the British presence in North America, he said 'if I was an American, as I am an Englishman, as long as one Englishman remained on American native soil, I would never, never, never lay down my arms'.

"The Iraqi insurgents feel exactly the same way. I don't excuse them for some of the terrible things they do, but I do understand why they are resisting the Americans."
Me too.

Hat tip to CoolAqua.


I've never quoted Jonah Goldberg around here before, and it likely won't happen for another 5000 posts, if ever, but this is just too good to pass up...
"To hammer his points home McCain should hold his hand over an open flame - like G. Gordon Liddy - for the duration of each of his answers just to prove his steely resolve and his willingness to go to eleven in defense of America."
Heck, I'd probably tune in a GOP debate for that.

It's spring…

…and the lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat's thoughts turn to prey as she shifts into mighty huntress mode…

Me too.

paradox at The Left Coaster...
I’m not foolish enough to speak for anyone but myself or fatuously generalize my brothers and sisters, but I can say to the Democratic leadership that no matter what happens in this current war horror I am not going anywhere, and you’ve got my time, treasure and vote this cycle, same as always.

I’m not exactly thrilled about it, many things have gone horribly wrong that were easily preventable, but I’m not going anywhere. I’ve been very hard on y’all for failure but I’m not very easy on myself with it, either.
Yep. Me too.

Without apology.

Quote of the day.

Ron Reagan, via Blatherwatch
"All families are weird, my family gets to be weird in public."

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Dateline Simi Valley…

A bunch of Republicans gathered earlier to express views on current issues and events that were variously radical, hypocritical and embarrassing.

I'm sure someone who actually saw it can fill in the details...

It's not so much that they've run out…

…of good ideas. It's that their ideas were bad all along. Robert Borsage wisely observes...
Bush's signature failures - the war in Iraq, Katrina, Enron and the corporate scandals, failed tax and trade policies, the attempt to privatize Social Security, the posturing around Schiavo and stem cells - can be traced back not simply to the conservative ideology and ideologues that sired them -- but to the core conservative doctrine that Reagan championed. The Gipper can't lead Republican candidates out of the wilderness because, to paraphrase him, his conservatism is not the solution to their problem; his conservatism is the problem.
American movement conservatism, as exemplified by the Republican Party for nearly half a century, is a hollow and fundamentally un-American political philosophy. The central problem isn't really George W. Bush's particular brand of personal ineptitude, but one of Republican governance itself.

Happily, our liberal system of constitutional government has thus far been hardy enough to withstand their assault, but it's past time for them to go.

Way New Politics®...

...Obama style?
...Obama chose not to exercise his ability to control a negative user generated media message directed at another candidate. Now that negative user generated messages might be coming his way, Team Obama is suddenly very eager to exercise control.
Just one of those things that makes me go hmm.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

An Upper Left landmark.

I notice that this is the 5,000th entry since I cranked this thing up in October of 2003. Except for a couple weeks of vacation posts by our merry crew of guest bloggers and DJ's periodic appearances, it's been mostly a one man show. I must be good for at least 4900 of the posts.

And I figure I'm good for another five grand or so.

Hope you're around to enjoy 'em.

Double digit damn.

I make no apology for paying special attention to the American lives that have been sacrificed to Bushco's™ madness, but it's important to remember that the human cost of the current escalation is being paid by the Iraqi people in numbers largely unrecorded and, increasingly, by our allies.

While 104 American lives were added to the fatality list in April, making it one of the bloodiest months of the war for our forces, it was also the first month since January of 2005 that fatalities for coalition troops, 12 Brits and a Pole, were registered in double digits.

At least Tony Blair seems, finally, to be doing the decent thing in response.


Via the NPI blog
The United States D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 5-4 decision that Representative Jim McDermott should not have shared the audio from an illegally taped telephone call (which McDermott did not tape) with two newspapers:
The ruling upholds a previous decision ordering McDermott to pay House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, more than $700,000 for leaking the taped conversation. The figure includes $60,000 in damages and more than $600,000 in legal costs.

Boehner was among several GOP leaders heard on the December 1996 call, which involved ethics allegations against then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga. Gingrich, who was heard on the call telling Boehner and others how to react to allegations, was later fined $300,000 and reprimanded by the House…
That's a pretty nice recap of the situation facing my own personal Congressman. Jim McDermott could have settled this thing for a relative pittance long ago, but he's kept fighting for the First Amendment in a battle whose considerable costs have gone far beyond financial.

It's always worth bearing in mind that there's no crime as such here. This is a civil matter, based on Boehner's claim that he was damaged by the revelation of the truth - that he was, along with Gingrich, a charter member of the culture of corruption. They were caught red-handed conspiring in violation of a sanction imposed on Gingrich for an earlier ethical lapse. Of course, this has damaged Boehner so much that he has been elevated to leader of his party. I suppose overseeing the devolution of the GOP into permanent minority status is a task deserving a bonus of 60K or so, but I don't think Jim McDermott should have to pay it. Maybe the Republican caucus could pool a small percentage of their Abramoff money or something.

On a serious note, the chilling effect that this ruling could have on political speech presents a clear and present danger. Count me with Andrew in Jim's corner for the next round…
We urge Representative McDermott to respond to this ruling by appealing the decision. We'll gladly stand with him as he stands up for the First Amendment.
Yep. Me too.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Ain't it the truth.

The (liberal) Girl Next Door:
Sustaining outrage is difficult when they continue to top themselves at every turn.

Survey says…

…it's over over there.


The poll, conducted in conjunction with Le Moyne College’s Center for Peace and Global Studies, showed that 29% of the respondents, serving in various branches of the armed forces, said the U.S. should leave Iraq “immediately,” while another 22% said they should leave in the next six months. Another 21% said troops should be out between six and 12 months, while 23% said they should stay “as long as they are needed.”
That's 72% of the troops who apparently don't 'support the troops.' Or not.

After all, the CinC told them long ago that their mission was accomplished. Maybe they believe him.

Or maybe they just don't know what to believe...
While 85% said the U.S. mission is mainly “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9-11 attacks,” 77% said they also believe the main or a major reason for the war was “to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq.”
Saddam, of course, was neither involved in the 9-11 attacks nor was he protecting al Qaeda in Iraq, so the mission over 80% of our soldiers think they've been deployed to pursue was accomplished before a shot was fired.

It's simply unimaginable to me, thought, that over 80% of the troops would accept a completely imaginary rational for their mission simply by accident. For a military drawn from and acting on behalf of a democratic society, it's an essential function of command to insure that the rank and file is given an clear, honest and worthwhile mission and the means to accomplish it. Anything less is abuse, at best.

Who's doing the briefings? The training? Who's adjusting the media filters that inform our fighting men and women?

Simply put, every soldier, sailor, airman or Marine who has died fighting “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9-11 attacks” or “to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq” has truly, in the saddest and cruelest way imaginable, died in vain.

And everyone, from a company commander to the Commander in Chief, who has allowed our warriors to die for a lie is a murderer.

I hate what they're doing to my Army.

We're mainstream.

Neil the Ethical Werewolf examines a new Pew poll and finds an encouraging word...
Despite being the most progressive of the three major candidates, with his perfect pro-choice voting record as a Senator from North Carolina, his opposition to funding the war, and his hard-core economic liberalism on health care and poverty, Edwards is still seen as more moderate than any other Democrat.
Maybe it's because support for personal privacy,opposition to the war and economic liberalism are moderate views in America. That's why, as Neil points out, Edwards just may be...
...the kind of candidate who not only wins a general election, but moves the country left without people realizing what's happening.
Or just brings folks to realize that despite Republican lies and media fog, the country has already moved and has been waiting for politicians to catch up.