Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Duh Quote of the Day.

The Vice-Preznit on "the last throes"...
"I think the insurgency turned out to be more robust.”

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The House is in session...

...and doing the people's business. Passed today...
Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act,

Darfur Accountability and Divestment Act,

The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act
And yesterday…

The House took steps yesterday to improve counseling and care for the tens of thousands of military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The measure, one of four veterans bills the House passed on voice votes, requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide outreach and mental health services to those who served in either campaign. The VA secretary is also directed to contract with community mental health centers in areas his agency does not adequately serve.
Everyone has a favorite ending for the phrase "We hired this Congress to ….", but in truth, we elected them to do many things, these included.

They've earned our hurrahs this week and it's only Tuesday.

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My Man John

is right.
"Whether it's Iraq or terrorism, the Saudis have fallen way short of what they need to be doing," the 2004 vice presidential nominee told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "And the Bush administration's response is to sell them $20 billion worth of arms, which is short-term and convenient and not what the United States should be doing."

Edwards is the first Democratic presidential candidate to speak out against the deal.
And he's doing the right thing.
Edwards called the AP from a refueling stop in Garden City, Kan., between campaign stops in California and Virginia, where he helped raise about $42,000 for legislative candidates.

On the issues. In the Party.

That's my man John.

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So today I'm not thinking I'll talk much about Bill O'Reilly. I won't talk about his bizarre, habitual lying. I won't point out, yet again, that he does things on a regular basis far worse than Imus ever did, but that he gets away with it because Fox News has no ethical standards to maintain in the first place, and so is incapable either shame or dishonor. I won't mention his constant accusations that those that oppose him are Nazis, or Communists, or anti-American, or dissect Fox's particularly virulent brand of yellow journalism, as personified by clowns like O'Reilly, Hannity, Gibson and others.

And I won't bother mentioning that, according to
AMERICAblog, Home Depot has backed out of advertising on Bill's show. (Well, maybe -- it seems they can't quite figure out if they're advertising on it in the first place.)
Me neither.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Borrow and borrow…

spend and spend. Must be a Republican administration...
The U.S. will hit its debt limit of nearly $9 trillion in early October, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson told Congress on Monday, and asked lawmakers to raise the limit "as soon as possible." The debt limit is currently $8.965 billion. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Paulson said a congressional decision to raise the limit would spare Treasury the need to take special actions that could create "unnecessary uncertainty" for financial markets.
As Kos points out, we're in an era of "record deficits, record debts (and) record mismanagement of our nation's fiscal health." Maybe, just maybe, a little uncertainty for financial markets is absolutely necessary. After all, Republican policies have created plenty of uncertainty for the rest of us. I'm sure we'd be happy to share.

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Hooray for Jay!

My former own personal Congressman steps up...
A group of House Democrats will introduce a resolution calling on the Judiciary Committee to begin impeachment proceedings against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) will sponsor the measure. It will be dropped in the hopper tomorrow.
I'm happy as a clam with my current own personal Congressman, having been a Jim McDermott fan before the days of the Apple Agenda (a bit of upper left political trivia for y'all), but if redistricting ever put me back in Jay's territory again I'd feel equally well represented.

We do have some of the best up here.

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Of course, it's not just Bush…

…it's the operative principle of his entire damned Party, but Krugman sums up the problem nicely.
And there you have the core of Mr. Bush’s philosophy. He wants the public to believe that government is always the problem, never the solution. But it’s hard to convince people that government is always bad when they see it doing good things. So his philosophy says that the government must be prevented from solving problems, even if it can. In fact, the more good a proposed government program would do, the more fiercely it must be opposed.
That's why I keep saying…

Hat tip to The Carpetbagger Report.

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From the "Credit Where It's Due" file…

Joe Biden:
"It is outrageous that three years after the 9/11 Commission made its recommendations virtually nothing has been funded by this White House and yet Giuliani continues to make the pathetic case that his party has provided leadership fighting terrorism," the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman said.

"As everyone knows, until we end the war in Iraq, we are distracted from the main agenda of combating terrorism in Afghanistan and strengthening our homeland security. Giuliani and the rest of the Republican candidates continue to cling to this Administration's failed policy that a strong central government can be propped up in Iraq," Biden said.

"If these are the positions he wants to defend, I invite him to debate me on these important topics," the senator said.
'Minor' (marginal?) primary candidacies are valuable to the degree they emulate Senator Biden and take the fight directly to our real opponents. That's why intramural grumblers like Gravel have to go. For my money, though, Joe's welcome to indulge his Presidential fantasies as long as he keeps this up.

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

And now...


It's a little further from my house…

…but they've got a new customer.
Dear Lowe's Customer,

Thank you for your comments regarding the program, The O'Reilly Factor.

Lowe's has strict guidelines that govern the placement of our advertising. Our company advertises primarily in national, network prime-time television programs and on a variety of cable outlets.

Lowe's constantly reviews advertising buys to make certain they are consistent with its policy guidelines. The O'Reilly Factor does not meet Lowe's advertising guidelines, and the company's advertising will no longer appear during the program.

We are dedicated to providing the best service, products, and shopping environment in the home improvement industry. All three of these are very important to our business, and our customers will always be our number one priority.
We appreciate your contacting us, and hope this information addresses your concerns.

Thank you,

Lowe's Customer Care
Bye bye Home Don'tGo.

Hat tip to Kos.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Why it won't work.

Hillary may try to duck behind 'progressive' in order to avoid whatever unpleasant associations have been attached to 'liberal,' but it won't work. Steve Benen highlights some of the attacks quickly launched to sully the image of the revised language.

The rules are simple, folks.

There's us and there's them.

We're right and they're wrong, but...
No matter what we call ourselves, they'll lie about us.

No matter what we say, they'll lie about us.

No matter what we do, they'll lie about us.
They're just liars.
We can't adapt our policies, actions or language to please them. We have to do the hard work of honest public political education all by ourselves, because the crooks and liars on the other side aren't going to help.

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Got random if you want it...

Ten for today:
Colleen Coadic - The Reason
Tom Paxton - Who Will Feed The People
Robert Cray - Poor Johnny
The Crew Cuts - Sh-Boom
Lightnin' Hopkins - When The Saints Go Marching In
Rickie Lee Jones - Young Blood
Muriel Anderson - Rumores de la Caleta
The Band - Ophelia
The Long Winters - Fire Island, AK
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy - Jumpin' Jack

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…from my man John...
This stuff’s not an accident. Nobody in this room should think this is an accident. You know, I’m out there speaking up for universal healthcare, ending this war in Iraq, speaking up for the poor. They want to shut me up. That’s what this is about. “Let’s distract from people who don’t have health care coverage. Let’s distract from people who can’t feed their children…. Let’s talk about this silly frivolous nothing stuff so that America won’t pay attention.”

They will never silence me. Never.

If we don’t stand up to these people, if we don’t fight em, if we don’t beat them, they’re going to continue to control this country. Thye’re going to control the media. They’re going to control what’s being said. They do not want to hear us talking about health care for everybody.
He's right, you know.

You know he's right.

Hat tip to The Democratic Daily.


My Man John

…fights back. From an Edwards press release, via Ezra Klein...
"Mitt Romney thinks he and his insider friends helped make America great, I think it’s the hundreds of millions of Americans in the working class and middle class who make America great. It’s these hard-working families who deserve a break and a chance to live the same American Dream as I have. That’s what I’m fighting for, and that’s what people like Mitt Romney have spent a lifetime fighting against.”
Refreshing to see a Democrat taking on a Republican instead of Democrats fighting each other, isn't it?

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Friday, July 27, 2007

It ain't braggin'…

…if you did it. The Senate Democrats want you to know they've been busy...
Democrats Passed First Minimum Wage Increase in a Decade.

Democrats Passed War Spending Bill that Included $6 Billion for Hurricane Relief.

Democrats Passed Wounded Warriors Bill to Upgrade Military Health Care and Provide a 3.5% Pay Raise for Our Troops.

Democrats Passed Legislation Out of Committee Providing the Largest Increase for Veterans Affairs Funding in History.

Iraq Supplemental Appropriations Bill Included Additional $1.8 Billion for Veterans’ Health Care.

Democrats Passed Bill to Implement 9/11 Commission Recommendations.

Democrats Passed Ethics and Lobbying Reform Bill.

Democrats Passed Bill to Cut Subsidies to Student Lenders and Provide $17 Billion in Grants and Other Student Aid.

Democrats Passed a Bill to Better Regulate the Student Loan Industry.

Democrats Passed a Fiscally Responsible Budget.

Democrats Passed Energy Bill That Increased Fuel-Efficiency Standards for First Time Since 1975.
That’s a (ahem) heckuva record considering the relentless obstructionism the Republicans have engaged in.

Hat tip to The Carpetbagger Report.

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My Man John

…via Political Wire.
"We cannot get bold change by compromising with the people who have the power now. Compromise is not going to get us there, triangulation is not going to get us there, being careful is not going to get us there. We need somebody who's used to fighting these people and beating them and I've been doing it my whole life."


Sic 'em, Tom!

Since our fine Senators from the upper left are secure in their respective seats in '08, I've adopted Rep. Tom Allen, who's facing off against Brand W Republican Susan Collins in Maine as Upper Left's favorite son for the Senate.

Jonathan Singer's interview with Allen at MyDD confirms my good judgment. A teaser
Jonathan Singer: With Susan Collins being such a moderate and being right down the middle and being so popular, how do you have the audacity to go up against her?

Tom Allen: Well, because it isn't true. The story just isn't true. I explain to people up in Maine that Susan and Olympia have had very soft press coverage for the last decade. I just run through my differences with her, with Susan. Basically she's been for the President's policy in Iraq from the beginning. She voted for the war. I voted against it. I've been a steady critic trying to change the policy for four and a half years. She voted for every single one of the President's tax cuts for the rich, including the '03 tax cut, which Olympia did not vote for. She voted for the energy bill, which moved $14 billion to oil companies. [She voted] for the Medicare Part D, which moved tens of billions in excess profits to pharma. She voted for the military commissions bill, the torture bill and Sam Alito. Doesn't sound like someone who's independent or moderate or down the middle to me.
Me, neither.

The whole interview reads like a primer for other candidates facing "moderate" Republicans whose records don't line up with their rhetoric.

Go. Read.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

More truth…

…from my man John
We have One America that lives by the paycheck calendar; another that never has to look at the calendar before writing a check.

One America that's afraid it won't be able to leave its children a better life; another whose children are already set for life.

One America - middle-class America - long forgotten by Washington; and another America - narrow-interest America - whose every wish is Washington's command.
Of course, John Edwards has a plan.

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Dear Barack…

…When you send me, an elected Democratic Party official who endorses and contributes to Democratic candidates exclusively, a three page letter, accompanied by a glossy brochure and legal size reply envelope and there isn't a single place which identifies you as a Democrat or mentions that you're running for the Democratic nomination, not (yet, at least) the Presidency, you not only fail to win a supporter, you motivate my opposition.

Thought you should know.

Proudly partisan,




Maggie the cat
Clinton can say the opposite of what she feels with total conviction and be admired for coming up with it. Pulling off inauthenticity is just another way of seeming presidential.



From Christy Hardin Smith
Standing up for the rule of law and the Constitution is not a partisan issue. It is an American issue.

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They get letters.

Senator Reid writes the WaPo...
On reading the July 21 editorial "The Phony Debate," it became clear why The Post's editorial writers have been such eager cheerleaders for the Bush administration's flawed Iraq policies -- the two share the same disregard for the facts en route to drawing dubious conclusions.

The editorial was an inaccurate commentary on the nature of the Senate debate, the reality in Iraq and the president's stubborn adherence to failed policies...

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Quote of the day.

Well, of yesterday, anyway...
“The Democratic Congress will go on record – every day if necessary – to register a judgment in opposition to the course of action that the President is taking in Iraq. The Democratic Congress will go on record – every day if necessary – to fight for a redeployment of our forces as the central element of a New Direction strategy for Iraq.”

Speaker Pelosi

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Um, yay?

WASHINGTON -- A presidential commission on Wednesday urged broad changes to veterans' care that would boost benefits for family members helping the wounded, establish an easy-to-use Web site for medical records and overhaul the way disability pay is awarded.
Well, yeah, yay.

White House press secretary Tony Snow said that Bush would not be acting immediately on any of the recommendations. Rather, he said that the panel's ideas would likely be integrated with other ongoing efforts to improve health care and overall treatment of returning soldiers.
Happily, vets have more than Presidential promises to cheer about. Patty Murray, the daughter of a disable vet, is on the job and she's not willing to wait...
"Today, the Senate took action to provide real solutions," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. "From inexcusably long waits for basic care and claims, to squalid living conditions, to daunting mazes of paperwork, our heroes deserve better than what they have received from this administration. As the president considers the results of a study he commissioned nearly five months ago to examine the extent of problems, we are acting to fix them."

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Via Kicking Ass
The Mitt Romney campaign has been keeping track and noticed today that the DNC has produced more press releases attacking him than other candidates. If there are more Romney releases, that's just because there always seems to be more than one Mitt Romney running.


I'm proud to be a partisan…

sez Jane.

Digby, too.

And me.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Historical Comparison…

…via Eric Alterman.
John F. Kennedy, 1960:

What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label "Liberal?" If by "Liberal" they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer's dollar, then ... we are not that kind of "Liberal." But if by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people -- their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties -- someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."
Hillary Clinton, 2007:
You know, it is a word that originally meant that you were for freedom, that you were for the freedom to achieve, that you were willing to stand against big power and on behalf of the individual.

Unfortunately, in the last 30, 40 years, it has been turned up on its head and it's been made to seem as though it is a word that describes big government, totally contrary to what its meaning was in the 19th and early 20th century.

I prefer the word "progressive," which has a real American meaning, going back to the progressive era at the beginning of the 20th century. I consider myself a modern progressive, someone who believes strongly in individual rights and freedoms, who believes that we are better as a society when we're working together and when we find ways to help those who may not have all the advantages in life get the tools they need to lead a more productive life for themselves and their family.

So I consider myself a proud modern American progressive, and I think that's the kind of philosophy and practice that we need to bring back to American politics.
Granted, I'd probably quibble if Hillary did call herself a liberal, but she's certainly more in the mold of Kennedy-style Cold War liberalism than historical progressives, whether the populist progressives of the turn of the last century or the Progressive Party of Henry Wallace.

Surrendering the language to the slurs of the VRWC isn't her proudest moment, in any event. It's time to make 'conservative' the word to avoid, with it's overtones of greed and criminality.

Liberalism is Americanism, after all.

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There's a question?

AP headline...
Senators question Gonzales' credibility
About what?

There can't really be a question where there isn't any credibility, can there?

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...on Gonzo.
This man is an insult to the constitution. Impeach him. Get him out of there. Whatever it takes.

Go. Read.

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Good news...

…via Ezra Klein.
This week, low-wage workers will get their first mandated pay increasesince 1997, when the first phase of the Democrats' minimum wage bill comes into effect and boosts the federal minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $5.85. The minimum wage will then increase by 70 cents every till 2009, when the national minimum wage will come to rest at $7.25.
Of course, it's good news about what's just a good start. My man John says $9.50 by 2012.

I say at least.

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Y'all know…

…how I feel about what they're doing to my Army. Here's another thing to hate, culled from a class action suit filed against the VA, the AG and others on behalf of Iraq and Afghanistan vets...
The complaint further alleges that federal government officials have improperly induced many soldiers suffering from PTSD to accept "personality disorder" discharges, precluding veterans from obtaining disability benefits or receiving ongoing medical treatment because the disorder is then classified as a pre-existing condition.

"More than 22,500 soldiers across the armed forces have been suspiciously diagnosed and discharged with 'personality disorder' in the last six years, condemning them to a lifetime of disability without any compensation or access to VA medical care," the complaint states.
Shameful. Criminally shameful.

Lawsuit? There should be trials and courts martial for everyone complicit in any wrongful discharge or denial of services.

Hat tip to Gordon.

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When Dennis Kucinich says…

“The Democrats have failed the American people.”
…Dennis Kucinich has failed the Democratic Party and demonstrated his lack of fitness to lead our Party's ticket.

He's become less than worthless in the Presidential race. Doesn't he have something to do in '08 that actually matters?

Maybe he can get Mike Gravel, who's only apparent utility is to make Dennis seem more 'Presidential,' to help him out.

Hat tip to The Carpetbagger Report.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Two-bit Preznit.

Overall, 25% of Americans say that they approve of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president, 71% disapprove, and 4% are undecided.
Hat tip to Darryl.

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On this, at least, we agree.

Mitt Romney:
“I don’t want the guys who ran the (Hurricane) Katrina cleanup running my health care system.”
Me neither. In fact, I don't want the guys who ran the Katrina cleanup running anything.

That's why…

…and we certainly don't need any new ones.

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From the Speaker's blog…

(Washington, DC)- Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) announced that the Committee will meet Wednesday, July 25, at 10:15 am in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building to vote on contempt citations for former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolton, following their refusal to comply with subpoenas issued in the U.S. Attorney investigation.
And straight from the Speaker's mouth...
“They have disregarded the call of Congress for information about their politicizing the Department of Justice. We can document that. Those are actual facts and we will bring the contempt of Congress forth.”
Sic 'em, Nancy!

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More for the "They hate us" file.

The Wall Street Journal...

Democrats Lead By $100 Million In Money Race
WASHINGTON — With more than a year to go before the 2008 elections, Democratic candidates have raised $100 million more in campaign contributions than Republicans, putting them on track to win the money race for the White House and Congress …
Yep, Democrats are sure in the public doghouse.


Hat tip to memeorandum.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007


Enthusiast? Surely something other than "crusader."

Oh well. I guess I'll settle for the AKA...

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Social Justice Crusader, also known as a rights activist. You believe in equality, fairness, and preventing neo-Confederate conservative troglodytes from rolling back fifty years of civil rights gains.

Hat tip to Misty.

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And now...


Saturday, July 21, 2007

In general…

…yeah. Hunter...
...in general, any word that ends in -ism tends to have a long and boisterous tail --the kind of tail that, on the rear end of a dog, scatters papers and knocks over lamps, and on the rear end of a government, sometimes scatters rights and knocks over nations.
And this too.
If a liberal sees a starving child, they want to give them some food. If a conservative sees a starving child, they want to give them a Bible. And if a libertarian sees a starving child, they want to build a privacy fence so they don't have to look at that shit anymore.
Heck, it's all good.

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I'm supporting that Kerry fella…

….for poet laureate.
"There once was a man named Vitter
Who vowed that he wasn't a quitter
But with stories of women
And all of his sinnin'
He knows his career's in the -- oh, never mind."

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Des Moines Register staffer Jason Clayworth
Clinton and Edwards suggested that lesser-known candidates should not be part of future debates so that voters could focus on front-runners.
Really? When did either Clinton or Edwards suggest any such a thing? I know they were caught grumbling about problems with the current format, and 8 people lined up to spout 60 second sound bites in succession is neither a debate nor a very useful way to form judgments about the views and abilities of candidates, but who said anything about cutting anyone. But cutting "lesser-known candidates"? They never said it. Nope, Clayworth just made that up, though he admits...
Edwards later said he meant that all candidates should get to debate but in smaller groups.
"All candidates." As in everyone.

That's one alternative to a flawed process, one worth consideration, and perfectly consistent with the conversation between John and Hillary. Of course, the fact that neither John nor Hillary never suggested cutting anyone out doesn't prevent some candidates from chiming in...
“I don’t know how you would draw the line to say that some can participate and some can’t,” Obama said...“My attitude is the more the merrier.”
Maybe if you don't have all that much to say (no matter how well you say it) not having much time isn't a problem.

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Ten. Random. Yada yada yada...
Muddy Waters - The Stuff You Gotta Watch
Bobby Bare Jr. - Sticky Chemical
Reckless Kelly - Break My Heart Tonight
Oasis - Don't Go Away
Warren Zevon - Ain't That Pretty At All
Sam Roberts - The Gate
Dr. John - I Ain't No Johnny Mercer
Rickie Lee Jones - We Belong Together
Gerry & The Pacemakers - Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying
Pink - I Got Money Now

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Peter Smith...

Washington -- Facing increased questioning after recent claims of executive privilege, the Bush Administration announced Friday that a team of politically appointed Liberty University and Federalist Society lawyers working at the Justice Department have unearthed ten new presidential powers hidden deep in the Constitution by the obviously-prescient framers.
1. The president can have ice cream whenever he wants.
2. X-Ray vision.
3. The president can use his X-Ray vision to look through anyone's underwear any time anywhere.
4. Like the Pope, the president is right all the time.
5. The power to authorize water boarding or the even-more-controversial Executive Wedgie.
6. The power to heal lepers.
7. The power to speak in tongues.
8. The power to "appropriate" anyone's lunch money anywhere anytime.
9. The power to break wind and blame the nearest American citizen without being subjected to claims that, "Whoever smelt it dealt it."
10. The power to blame everything, absolutely everything, on someone other than himself.


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Friday, July 20, 2007

I'm not a doctor...

WASHINGTON — President Bush will have a routine colonoscopy Saturday and temporarily hand presidential powers to Vice President Dick Cheney, the White House said.
…but I know one on the internet. Dr. Ron Chusid...
I assume that the purpose of the procedure is to accurately stage his advanced case of cranial rectal insertion.

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Fun facts.

Recipients of contributions from military personnel and veterans:
Ron Paul 26.23%

Barack Obama 24.02%

John McCain 18.31%

Hillary Clinton 11.08%

Bill Richardson 5.59%

Mitt Romney 4.05%

John Edwards 2.63%

Rudy Giuliani 2.44%

Mike Huckabee 1.84%

Tom Tancredo 1.63%

Duncan Hunter 1.05%
Sounds like the troops aren't so crazy about the war after all.

Hat tip to DemFromCT.

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Sounds like a call to arms to me.

Via Atrios...
Senator Susan Collins’ internet director and blogger Lance Dutson of the Maine Web Report has joined Bill O’Reilly’s smear campaign against the progressive online movement calling it “hateful.” Wrote Dutson of the positive relationship Congressman Tom Allen shares with the community, “Tom Allen has shown a breathtaking lack of judgment.”

Tom Allen believes otherwise. "I appreciate the millions of Americans, especially those from Maine, who participate in the online community. The internet has opened up new ways for us all to communicate, and put the power of information back where it belongs, with the people. I welcome the support that I have received from the online community. And look forward to continuing to have a dialog with the people of Maine and America online,” he said.
To the barricades!

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That's not nice.

echidne makes my head hurt.


And another thing…

Governor Richardson
But if it said 1,000 [troops] to protect the American embassy, that’s fine with me. It’s a Marine detachment. It’s part of our diplomatic corps. I wouldn’t even consider that a residual force. Of course I would permit that. But residual forces — 5,000 to guard an embassy — that means that the embassy is not safe. I would pull the embassy if it is not safe.
An embassy Detachment of Marine Security Guards isn't 1000 Marines. It isn't 100 Marines. In fact, there are just over 1000 MSGs split between 121 Detachments.

1000 Marines is a serious deployment, and an embassy that needs them is likely no more safe than one that needs 5000.

1000 Marines is a residual force.

Governor Richardson should know that.

But he doesn't, and that's not fine with me.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to inform you that we will only support appropriating additional funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of all our troops out of Iraq before you leave office…

...We agree with a clear and growing majority of the American people who are opposed to continued, open-ended U.S. military operations in Iraq, and believe it is unwise and unacceptable for you to continue to unilaterally impose these staggering costs and the soaring debt on Americans currently and for generations to come.


My own personal Congressman and sixty nine others.
mcjoan has 'em all.

No more from the upper left for now, I'm afraid.

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A couple reasons…

…that I just can't see Bill Richardson catching on. First, he apparently thinks this is a big deal…
The New Mexico governor and former Clinton Cabinet member launched his Women for Richardson effort with pledges to support pay equity, back limited Social Security credit for family leave, and appoint judges who would uphold abortion rights.
So who wouldn't, I wonder? Those are pretty boilerplate positions for Democrats these days, not the kind of thing that's likely to rally women to a candidate's banner. Since trying to be more against the war than anyone else who's, you know, also against the war doesn't seem to be working all that well, I doubt that being about as much in favor of women's rights as anyone else probably is will make the difference.

Second? He apparently thinks this kind of pandering is funny or something...
“I’ve always appointed women to critical positions. You know why? Women are better workers than men. It’s very simple,” Richardson said to laughter. “I hope that doesn’t lose the men’s vote.”
It'll lose some of them, Governor. And it should.

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Exactly so.

AJ in DC:
I favor redeployment because I strongly believe the following:
1) Our current presence in Iraq is making the U.S. less safe.
2) Our current presence in Iraq is impeding the long-term development of Iraq


In case you missed it…

Bellevue, WA (July 17) – 21st Century Democrats, one of the largest and best-respected national Democratic campaign organizations, today offered its enthusiastic backing to Democrat Darcy Burner and her campaign for Washington State’s 8th Congressional District, a seat currently held by Iraq surge supporter Rep. Dave Reichert.

The organization involved itself in the campaign early despite being fully aware of published news reports that state Senator Rodney Tom, a real estate agent from Medina, was planning to announce his entry into the race later today as a Democrat.

"We don’t make endorsements lightly, particularly in contested Democratic primaries, but this race was a no-brainer," said Mark Lotwis, 21st Century Democrats’ executive vice-president.
Welcome aboard to the 21st Century Ds. You can help, too.

Hat tip to Darryl.

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On the other hand…

…more of this, please. my man John...
My party and the Democratic party that I believe in stands up for ordinary people, stands up for the little guy, stands up for people who don't have health insurance, who live in poverty and who don't go to fundraisers. That's what the heart and soul of the Democratic Party is and we can never lose that because if we lose it we lose our soul. And it's gonna require us to have a little backbone and stand up for what we believe is right regardless of who's affected by it.
Mine too.

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Really? Ya think?

Or is this too good to be true...
"I’m not going to talk about my campaign anymore," McCain said in a sharp tone. "I’m finished with talking about it. I’ve talked about it for two weeks. I will not discuss it or any aspect of it. Thank you."
And two weeks? You've been talking about it for, what, ten years now, Senator.

Good time to stop, though.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Inna rock star style...

In about 16 cities, Obama sold "tickets for $5 to $35 for events that attracted a total of 42,500 people -- about 15 percent of his roster of contributors." In addition, Obama has done "about half a dozen" large unpaid events, like the one in Oakland where 10,000 attended for free, "but spent $40,000 on Obama T-shirts, baseball caps, buttons and other knickknacks."
As a veteran of a merch table shift or two myself, I'm kind of abashed that I never thought of it for one of my political clients. Every button sale becomes a donor? Why not. It's brilliant, in its way.

Another one for the 'credit where it's due' file.

Of course, as the Obama camp admits, it's about impressing the high dollar donors, maybe as much as, maybe more than, building a grassroots movement.

Think all those bankers got a button too?

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More Truth.

Steve M. this time…
Bush's #1 priority isn't keeping America safe or bringing the war in Iraq to a successful conclusion. Bush's #1 priority is his war against Democrats, and against anyone else who wants to make him do what he doesn't want to do. And as long as they can't force him out of Iraq, he's winning. He cares more about that than he cares about dead and wounded soldiers or the safety and security of America.

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Ya got yer' SNAFU…

…and ya got yer' FUBAR, but at FEMA they've perfected SNAFUBAR.

Feeling safer?

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Don't take my word for it.

Ruth Conniff is the Political Editor of The Progressive Magazine, where they know a few things about progressive populism...
With Edwards the deeds match the words. He has earned the right to claim he speaks for the have-nots.

In his life, work, politics and charity (his giving is focused on making college more attainable for the working poor), Edwards is the only candidate whose central issue is the great divide between rich and poor…

...it would be a shame if Edwards were done in by his haircut. Because despite all the focus on style, he may well be the most substantial candidate in the race.

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On the road…

…with my man John.

Yesterday the Road To One America tour left Cleveland and traveled to Pittsburgh, PA, via Youngstown, Ohio. In Pittsburgh, John Edwards highlighted the shame of disparities in educational opportunity in the two Americas of today...
In fact, a school's socioeconomic makeup is the second most important predictor of academic achievement, after only a children's own socioeconomic status. By fourth grade, low-income students attending affluent schools are two years ahead in math of their peers in high-poverty schools, with no adverse impact on other students.
Once again, John Edwards has a plan. And he's still on the road...
Today, the Road to One America runs through Appalachia where Senator Edwards will emphasize the importance of strengthening families. Poverty in America is not a problem the government can solve alone - it is one we must address together with families and communities taking responsibility. Promoting healthy families and communities is an integral part of that equation.
More stops, more plans to come.

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From the Credit Where It's Due file.

This kind of thing wouldn't have gotten before our eyes if it hadn't passed before the Senator's first. Kudos, then, to Hillary and her camp…

From Clinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson to Bill O’Reilly:
“Blogs are the 21st Century version of the public square. Sen. Clinton does not agree with everything said on Daily Kos, but isolating a few comments as a way to smear a blog frequented by hundreds of thousands of people a day is wrong. Certainly you would understand this when you look at some of the extreme views guests on your show have advocated over the years. Here are just a few examples:

“You’ve hosted Michael Savage, who has called MLK Jr. Day a ‘racket’ designed to steal ‘white males’ birthright.’

“You’ve hosted David Horowitz, who has called Democrats ‘apologists for terrorists.’

“You’ve hosted, Ann Coulter who said of the 9/11 widows: ‘I have never seen people enjoying their husbands’ death so much.’

“It wouldn’t be reasonable to attribute these views to you and it’s not reasonable for you to attribute every comment on Daily Kos to everyone who attends the YearlyKos convention. Sen. Clinton is looking forward to attending YearlyKos.”
There's no question that Hillary Clinton knows a thing or two about the VRWC and about fighting back.

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Something Must Be Done™…

…for the sake of The Children®!

What I learned from BUSH
1. Lying is O.K.
2. Cheating is O.K.
3. Torture is O.K.
4. Taking people's rights is O.K.
5. Neglecting the poor is O.K.
6. Being a religious hypocrite is O.K.
7. Killing is O.K.
8. Incompetence is O.K.
9. Cronyism is O.K.

Or maybe, just maybe, the kids are all right.

Something us fogies should remember more often.

Hat tip to Gordon.

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TRex at firedoglake
Somebody needs to tell the Republicans that you have to get your talking points changed once every three months or 3000 miles, whichever comes first.

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From the NYT...
After years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq and targeted killings in Yemen, Pakistan and elsewhere, the major threat to the United States has the same name and the same basic look as in 2001: Al Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri, plotting attacks from mountain hide-outs near the Afghan-Pakistani border.
Heckuva job, Bushie.

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I'm just wild about Harry.

The Majority Leader:

“It is dark in Washington. It is dawn in Baghdad. Six thousand miles from here, 160,000 American troops are awakening to a new day – the 1,582nd day of this war. One hundred sixty- thousand of our sons, daughters, parents, friends and neighbors, are rising on foreign sand to face another day of violence, chaos and constant danger.

“The high temperature in Baghdad today is 113 degrees. But our troops will wear their 100 pounds of gear and bravely go about the jobs that they are given. By nightfall, it is likely that some of them will die. It is certain that more will be wounded. The rest will end another day on foreign sand, not knowing when they will come home to American soil.

“Those 160,000 troops are heroes. Every single one of them. They are serving with courage despite enormous hardships and without even proper equipment. They are serving with courage despite a President who took us into war falsely, prematurely and recklessly. They are serving with courage despite a President who refused to form a coalition of nations to share their awful burden of sacrifice. They are serving with courage despite a President who has never had a plan for peace. And they are serving with courage despite Republicans in Congress who are blocking us from passing laws that will bring a responsible end to the war.

“I want everyone here tonight – every American from coast to coast – to know that we won’t stop fighting until we end this war. That is what this night is all about.

“But we all know this debate won’t end tonight. It won’t end because for all the encouraging words we’ve heard from some Republicans these past few weeks, too few of them are willing to vote the right way too. It won’t end because the majority of Republicans continue to ignore the will of the majority of Americans – and continue to protect the President instead of our troops."
Sic 'em, Harry!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

On the road...

…with my man John.

The Road To One America tour moved on to Cleveland, Ohio today. Why Cleveland?
Cleveland has suffered a wave of home foreclosures in recent months as a result of a combination of job losses, predatory lenders and falling home prices. Predatory lenders and mortgage brokers have targeted the Mount Pleasant neighborhood, like many other working-class and predominantly African-American neighborhoods across the country.

While subprime loans can be valuable to families without other credit opportunities, African-American and Latino borrowers are three times more likely to receive subprime loans than white borrowers with similar credit scores...
As always, John Edwards has a plan.

As usual, it's the only one I've heard any of the candidates offer.

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Good question.

From Kevin Drum
Does anyone really think that the problem with presidential campaign coverage is that it isn’t vapid and half-witted enough already?
Of course, you could apply vapidity and half-wittedness to the current debate format as well as coverage of my man John's haircut or Mitt Romney's skin tone.

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Just wondering.

Whatever happened to the Preznit who depended on his Generals to set the troop strength for the occupation?
“The U.S. military’s top general said Monday that the Joint Chiefs of Staff is weighing a range of possible new directions in Iraq, including, if President Bush deems it necessary, an even bigger troop buildup…."
Guess somebody should have told the Generals.

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Nostalgic for the nineties?

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has issued a 90 day stay of execution for Troy Davis, whose prosecution for the murder of a police officer has become riddled by doubts just as the period allowed for the appeals process has run its course. That's a good thing, but what about that "period allowed" business?

Well, that's
...because of a 1996 federal law intended to streamline the legal process in death penalty cases…
That became law because Bill Clinton, a death penalty proponent, wanted it to, or at the very least was willing to let it to, and it's a law that, in this case or some other, is likely to result in the eventual execution of an innocent person.

Hillary Clinton frequently expresses pride in her husband's achievements in the White House. Is she proud of this achievement, too?

Seems like a question worth asking.

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Aw, c'mon Ambassador.

"I have known Hillary Clinton for a decade. She is the one candidate who, in my judgment, understands the need to get Americans out of harm's way and to move this (mess in Iraq) to a political process."
There are a lot of reasons that Joe Wilson might endorse Hillary Clinton. They're friends, and that might be reason enough all by itself. She's certainly the quintessential "inside the Beltway" candidate in the Democratic top tier, and Joe Wilson is, as John Nichols says "very much a man of Washington."

The quotation above, though, sounds like the kind of thing the Clinton consultants would find the most helpful for the Senator. On the surface, it's a ringing endorsement from someone with indisputable anti-Iraq war cred, exactly the kind of thing you want to put out to a conference call of a select crew of liberal bloggers. On reflection, though, it just doesn't hold up.

Which Democratic candidate of whatever consequence doesn't understand "the need to get Americans out of harm's way and to move this (mess in Iraq) to a political process." ? Which candidate has been slower to adopt that stance than Clinton? Joe Lieberman isn't running, after all, and he's not a Democrat anymore anyway.

"I like her, and she's as likely as anyone to end the war" would have been enough, and would have sounded a bit more authentic.

In fact, it's time to take the war off the table as a consideration for the Democratic nomination. The new Democratic President, whoever he or she may ultimately be, will end the war.

While we're at it, let's scrap electability as a criterion for the nomination, too. The only candidates in the field whose electability might raise questions are Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel, and neither will be our nominee. Any of the rest can beat any of the Republican contenders. "Can" doesn't mean "will," of course, and some would be better than others (one would be best of all), but among Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Edwards, Obama and Richardson, none are unelectable.

There are other issues in play - a return to Constitutional governance, defense of our civil liberties and restoring the American middle class - and on those issues there are clear differences. Those differences should be the frame of the debate going forward.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Tale of the tape.

The adding machine tape, that is. Darryl has the details...
The FEC reports for the second quarter (1 Apr–30 Jun) are in. The result: Darcy Burner has raised more money than Dave Reichert (R-WA-08). She has also spent less money, and has more cash on hand.
Good news, but Q3 is already underway. Help Darcy win another one.

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On the road...

…with my man John.

Today the Road To One America tour started with John Edwards' appearance at a Good Morning America town hall event in New Orleans. ABC news has good coverage here. A sample...

During the meeting, Edwards was asked to share one solution to eliminating poverty.

"If I had to pick just one, it would be to make work pay," Edwards said..

Three ways to do that, Edwards said, is to raise the national minimum wage, increase the earned income tax credit and allow workers to organize unions and collectively bargain for better wages.

From there, the tour took John and Elizabeth Edwards from New Orleans to Canton, Mississippi, where they met with poultry workers and where Senator Edwards continued to pursue the theme of making work pay.

"No one who works full-time should live in poverty. By honoring and rewarding work, we will lift up millions of Americans and build a stronger, more productive America."
In a country that preaches the importance of a strong work ethic, hard working folks in places like Canton live a very different reality...

A Labor Department study of the poultry industry nationally found that out of 51 plants surveyed, 100 percent had not paid employees for all hours worked and one-third took illegal deductions from pay.
My man John, of course, has a plan.

Other stops on the tour today...
Marks, Mississippi is in Quitman County, where one out of every three residents is in poverty. In 1968, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. started his Poor People's March at the Road Side Park in Marks, which would eventually bring over 7,000 Americans to Washington, DC. Today, the Quitman County Development Organization is a local community center creating economic opportunity with many of the solutions John Edwards has proposed nationally, including affordable housing and a credit union offering low-fee banking, small business loans, and alternatives to payday loans to help working families save and get ahead.

West Helena, Arkansas has seen women in the area—like millions of women nationally—increasingly working in underpaid home care jobs. Home health aide is America's fastest-growing profession. Ninety percent of home care workers are women, and one out of every four is a single mother caring for young children. The undervaluing of this career contributes to the reality that of the 37 million Americans living in poverty, 21 million are women. In Arkansas, the typical hourly wage for home health aides is $8.13, and nationally 25 percent lack health benefits. Half of all home care workers are living in a low-income family, and they are disproportionately rural.

Memphis, Tennessee is where Dr. King went on a detour from the Poor People's March to stand with Memphis sanitation workers' striking for fair wages. His campaign for justice came to a tragic end during that detour in April 1968. The Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association was founded that same year, and has worked to bring together residents from all walks of life to lift Memphis families out of poverty. The Association is in the racially and economically segregated Peabody-Vance neighborhood of Memphis, which has a 60 percent poverty rate and a 15 percent unemployment rate. MIFA's programs include teen job services, college prep, services to the elderly, legal counseling and debt management.

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God damn.
...military officials repeatedly balked at appeals — from commanders on the battlefield and from the Pentagon’s own staff — to provide the lifesaving Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, or MRAP, for patrols and combat missions, USA TODAY found.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates late last month, two U.S. senators said the delays cost the lives of an estimated “621 to 742 Americans” who would have survived explosions had they been in MRAPs rather than Humvees.

The letter, from Sens. Joseph Biden, D-Del., and Kit Bond, R-Mo., assumed the initial calls for MRAPs came in February 2005, when Marines in Iraq asked the Pentagon for almost 1,200 of the vehicles. USA TODAY found that the first appeals for the MRAP came much earlier.
I hate what they're doing to my Army.

My dad and brother's Marines, too.

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Header of the day.

John Deeth at Iowa Independent...

McCain: Not Dead, but Neither Was Terri Schiavo

Runner up...

McCain Will Not Tap Wife's Assets

Hat tip to Ezra's inner 12 year old.

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On the road…

…with my man John.

John Edwards kicks off the "Road To One America" tour today in New Orleans with the announcement of his three point plan to rebuild a great American City…

Rebuild: The rebuilding of infrastructure in New Orleans is stalled. The city needs new hospitals, clinics, schools and roads. John Edwards will call for building a new Veterans' hospital downtown, call on the VA to stop delaying site selection and choose downtown New Orleans, and then fast-track the design process so construction can begin. He will also propose building a 21st century infrastructure, integrating new housing, and preserving livable housing.

Create: Edwards believes we need to create good jobs in New Orleans. He will propose hiring 50,000 Gulf Coast residents to fill stepping stone jobs dedicated to rebuilding infrastructure that will help local and returning residents gain skills and experience. He will also protect workers from contractor exploitation.

Protect: Finally, Edwards believes we need to protect the city and the region from weather and crime. As president, Edwards will do whatever is necessary to ensure that Katrina never happens again, including building stronger levees and restoring coastal wetlands. Following Katrina, New Orleans has experienced an epidemic in violence. Edwards will strengthen public safety to end the epidemic of crime and violence.
Rebuild, create, protect. Sounds like a good plan for the whole country, doesn't it?

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From pal o' Upper Left, Terry Parkhurst.
"It gets more weird."
Indeed it does.


Actually literally.

Matt Stoller (you've bookmarked Open Left by now, right?)…
Next week, Bush is literally planning to kill American children.
Really. Literally.

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I just wonder…

…what he's telling them that he's not telling the rest of us. I mean, if anything
Despite his vaunted base of small donors, Obama is a favorite among employees of some of the nation's largest investment banks and hedge funds. One of them, Kenneth C. Griffin, president of Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel Investment Group, gave Obama $4,600 this quarter, the maximum allowed. Other Citadel employees gave him $147,550.

Lehman Brothers employees gave Obama $160,760 this quarter; Goldman Sachs, $103,550; and JP Morgan Chase, $101,950. About half of Obama's fundraising total for the year comes from about 10,000 donors who have given him the maximum donation.

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Something to think about…

…the next time you hear about how much folks hate us Democrats and our Congress these days. Via Political Wire...
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee "raised $17.6 million from April through June, according to figures to be filed with the Federal Election Commission. The National Republican Senatorial Committee reported raising $8.6 million in the same period," reports the New York Times.

"A snapshot of the disparity between the fund-raising of the two parties, which has also played out in the presidential race, was underscored by the figures for the month of June. The Democratic senatorial committee raised $8.6 million, compared with $3.3 million by the Republican committee."

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Now we've got numbers.

Via Chris Bowers...
Here are the cash on hand totals I have found so far. These numbers do not reflect campaign debt, and include money raised for the general election.

Obama: $34M
Clinton: $33M
Edwards: $12M
Richardson: $7.1M
Dodd: $6.4M
Biden: $2.8M
Kucinich: $221K
At first glance it seems that Edwards and Dodd have been running relatively low burn rates, with each hanging onto a few million in Q1 cash while the rest of the field seems to be eating their seed corn. Of course, if you can raise $30 million + in a quarter, you can spend pretty freely without suffering, but unless he taps a new financial vein, you wonder how many quarters Bill Richardson can afford to spend everything he takes in before he just doesn't take in enough.

Joe Biden can probably afford cab fare to those Sunday morning TV studios for awhile, but he can't compete in this crowd with that cash. Ya'll know how I feel about Dennis.

More hashing of numbers to come. As Chris, posting at his new blog home, Open Left, writes...
It should not be long before the total debt picture, plus money raised for the general election, becomes clear. Total number of donors so far in the campaign will also be useful information. It is only when we have all of that info that a solid picture of where candidates stand in the fundraising race can be presented.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Is it what they're teaching these guys…

…or what they're selling us?

Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of American and Iraqi troops in the region south of Baghdad echoes General Petraeus...
General Lynch said that he and other American commanders were worried that extremist groups under attack by the additional American forces might retaliate with a spectacular, focused attack on American troops aimed at tipping the argument in Washington in favor of withdrawal. He cited what happened in South Vietnam in January 1968, when coordinated attacks by enemy troops, including one on the American embassy in Saigon, helped push President Lyndon B. Johnson into abandoning attempts to win the war. "We’re concerned about some kind of Tet offensive that’s going to affect the debate in Washington," the general said.
Is it really possible that our military leadership in Iraq is so ignorant of military and political history in the United States? As I've explained, there's a striking difference in the nature of our enemies in Iraq compared to our enemies in Vietnam. If we were fortunate enough to confront a unified insurgency in Iraq and defeat them as thoroughly as we defeated the Vietcong in 1968 it would be far more meaningful victory. Without a the invasion forces of a regular army waiting across the border for the moment of need, the a Tet-like defeat of the Iraqi insurgency would have a measure of finality that was unavailable in the wake of the victory of '68.

And for the record, Lyndon Johnson didn't abandon attempts to "win the war." He abandoned his re-election campaign in order to devote his attention to securing some kind of resolution that would be seen (could be sold) as success. The Commander in Chief for the last six years of the Vietnam war was Dick "Dick" Nixon (and lurking nearby was Dick "Dick" Cheney). If anyone lost the war, you'd have to credit the guy who spent over a half a decade engineering its resolution.

What I suspect is going on has little to do with history, though, and a lot to do with a public relations campaign that will condition Americans to suppress their horror over the continuing bloodbath in Iraq for fear of repeating the mistakes of Vietnam.

Those fears would disappear if the Generals would admit the truth about Vietnam, Iraq and the differences. Should be easy enough considering how long the official line was that there was no valid comparison in the first place.

Don't want to feel the horror? End the war.

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Dear friends.

LA Times, via Leo. My emphasis...
...Nearly half of the 135 foreigners in U.S. detention facilities in Iraq are Saudis, he said. Fighters from Saudi Arabia are thought to have carried out more suicide bombings than those of any other nationality, said the senior U.S. officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the subject's sensitivity. It is apparently the first time a U.S. official has given such a breakdown on the role played by Saudi nationals in Iraq's Sunni Arab insurgency. He said 50% of all Saudi fighters in Iraq come here as suicide bombers. In the last six months, such bombings have killed or injured 4,000 Iraqis.

The situation has left the U.S. military in the awkward position of battling an enemy whose top source of foreign fighters is a key ally that at best has not been able to prevent its citizens from undertaking bloody attacks in Iraq, and at worst shares complicity in sending extremists to commit attacks against U.S. forces, Iraqi civilians and the Shiite-led government in Baghdad...
Where, of course "key ally" = "Bush family business partner."

Some of the best reactions that Kerry fella got on the stump came when he aggressively called out the Saudis for the adversaries they truly are. There are points to be made by a candidate who takes up the call.

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Nice endorsement for Darcy…

…from Ambassador Joe Wilson, who dropped in on her Firedoglake chat, ready for round two...
Darcy Burner was one of the most exciting candidates I had the honor to personally campaign for last cycle. She came so close in a tough district. I am delighted that she is staying in the game. This country needs dedicated citizens like her. Go, Darcy, go, and let me know what I can do to support.
Here's something you can do to support.

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As I recall...

...they were called the Robber Barons. The NYT talks about the "new tycoons"...
Those earlier barons disappeared by the 1920s and, constrained by the Depression and by the greater government oversight and high income tax rates that followed, no one really took their place. Then, starting in the late 1970s, as the constraints receded, new tycoons gradually emerged, and now their concentrated wealth has made the early years of the 21st century truly another Gilded Age.
They make note, too, of Bill Clinton's role in polishing the gilded goose. It's worth taking in the whole thing.

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An appeal…

...from Angela Boskowitz of Democrats Abroad in Frankfurt, Germany, via John McCreery at Best Of The Blogs...
...Per my direct conversations with the Chaplain, the Chaplain’s Closet
is in dire need of phone cards. The need is URGENT. The first thing
everyone wants to do when they get to the Hospital is to call their
wives, mothers and children and let them know they’re ok. There is no
open, cost free telephone line at the hospital and our wounded need
phone cards to be able to make these important calls.

The phone cards should be American. They can be purchased in 120-
minute formats from drug stores and supermarkets anywhere in the US.
They may be purchased at PX’s worldwide.

The phone cards can be collected and sent in large envelopes to
Landstuhl Hospital which has a US Address, reducing the postage
costs. I ask that people send them directly to the Hospital instead
of coordinating with me because the need is more urgent than my
monthly trips can meet. Feel free to include personalized letters/cards.

Landstuhl Regional Medical Center,
ATTN: MCEUL-CH/Chaplains Office
CMR 402, APO AE 09180
Something for my Army, instead of to it.

Good idea.

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Good question.

Bob Geiger notes that Arlen Specter's bill to restore habeas corpus, S. 185, has attracted 28 Democratic co-sponsors. Make that only 28. He wonders, appropriately…
Where are the other Democrats?
More to the point for upper lefties, where's Patty?

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And now...

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Some cash on hand numbers are coming through.

Gov. Richardson has a campaign. Not the richest campaign, but a campaign.
WASHINGTON -- New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson raised $7 million from April through June for his presidential campaign and had an equal amount in the bank at the second quarter's end.

The Democrat spent $5 million in the three-month period, half of it on direct mail and television advertising designed to build his name identification and reach out to donors, according to detailed financial reports filed Saturday with the Federal Election Commission.
Rep. Kucinich? Some faithful fans, yeah, but not a campaign, I'm afraid.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, also filed his presidential financial report Saturday, listing $757,000 in contributions for the quarter and $213,000 cash on hand. Kucinich, a liberal firebrand who also ran in 2004, has raised $1.1 million for the year.
While it's not the only measure of a campaign's position or potential, money does matter. There's an amount of money that a campaign needs to build a multi-state organization. I think $7 million meets that need. I'm positive $200 grand doesn't. I have a great deal of respect for Dennis Kucinich on many scores, and value his role as part of the Democratic Congress's progressive conscience. It's that respect that leaves me hoping he'll shift his attentions to his re-election and his important work in the House.

Filing deadline is midnight Sunday, so we'll be able to check everybody's burn rate pretty soon.

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So much bloggity goodness…

…so little time. More good news for Darcy from Howie Klein, who announces her endorsement by the netroots PAC Blue America and offers encouraging words that directly rebut the 'her first shot was her best shot' rationale offered by her primary challenger...
There were three big differences between last year and the current election cycle and all three work in Darcy's favor.
…including Sheriff Dave's continuing terrible Congressional performance...
Since being elected to Congress Reichert participated in 17 roll calls about Iraq, the latest being Thursday's vote to stay the course. He could have just as well given Cheney his proxy and gone to play golf.
Bottom line?
She's for what we're for and against what we're against.
Of course, you don't have to go all the way to Blue America to support Darcy. You can chip in right here.

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Leo @ Lionboi...
How many George W. Bush Administration officials does it take to screw in a light bulb?


There is nothing wrong with the light bulb; it's condition is improving every day.

Any reports of it's lack of incandescence are totally unfounded, and the result of delusional "spin" assaults from the fanatic, elitist, liberal media.

That light bulb has served honorably, and anything you say undermines the lighting effect and dims it's ego.

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They don't care...

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saturday that the Iraqi army and police are capable of keeping security in the country when American troops leave “any time they want”…
Hell, they don't even like us…
...one of his top aides, Hassan al-Suneid, rankled at the assessment, saying the U.S. was treating Iraq like “an experiment in an American laboratory.” He sharply criticized the U.S. military, saying it was committing human rights violations, embarrassing the Iraqi government with its tactics and cooperating with “gangs of killers” in its campaign against al-Qaida in Iraq.
Let's just leave.

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Ten tunes...

Odetta - Gallows Tree
Steve Earl - State Trooper
Crosby, Stills & Nash - Cathedral
Gina Scipione - My Request
Del Rey & The Devils - Branded Man
Nickel Creek - Anthony
Robert Cray - I'm Walkin'
Jim Croce - Rapid Roy (The Stock Car Boy)
Warren Zevon - Lawyers, Guns And Money
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy - Big Time Operator

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Daniel sez…

tune in.
Howie Klein will be hosting a two-hour online chat with Darcy Burner at Firedoglake tomorrow today, July 14 at 11am PT.
Howie has little appetite for opportunism, and promises a look at a certain Democrat of recent vintage who's decided to jump into the race for WA-8 against Darcy. I'll be watching how she approaches the issue of Sen. Tom's Republican history, and the voting record that goes with it, and I may adjust my gloves accordingly (and if it's take the gloves off, well, I'm already up for that).

I won't be near a computer at the time, but I'll be looking for a transcript later. Ya'll tune in if you can.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

I'm so tired…

…and it's not from long shifts at the perfect tavern. Kayinmaine has a better diagnosis...
Lying Fatigue
Reich Wing Hypocrisy Fatigue
Spying Illegally on Americans Fatigue
Robbing America’s Treasury Fatigue
GOP/Neocon Fatigue
Corruption Fatigue
Deceitful Fatigue
Propaganda Fatigue
High Gas Prices/Heating Oil Fatigue
Fear Fatigue
Non-transparency of the White House Fatigue
Secrets Fatigue
Criminal Acts by the White House Fatigue
Warmongering/War Posturing Fatigue
“The Constitution is Just a Goddamn Piece of Paper” Fatigue
Anti-peace/Pro-war Fatigue
“You’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists” Fatigue
Non-diplomacy Fatigue
Killing/Raping/Disabling Innocent People Fatigue
Soft Coup Fatigue
Voter Caging/Election Fraud Fatigue
Not Securing Our Nation Fatigue
Most tiresome Preznit ever. No doubt.

Good question…

…from Charles Pierce.
How do you e-mail in crayon, anyway?

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The lovely and talented...

...Miss Audrey Hepcat is most decidedly not a morning creature.

Photo credit to the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left.


It might be true…

…sort of…
I really believe that most Americans see that, yes, this is not what we wanted it to be, but we are the strongest country on Earth.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)
…but I remember when our boast was being the greatest country on Earth, not just because we had more power, but more freedom, more prosperity, more opportunity. The shining city on the hill, not the biggest fortress. "Strongest country" seems a little to close to 'biggest bully' without the others.

Ah, nostalgia. I must be getting old.


Hey, maybe they don't hate us.

Via The Stakeholder...
Chairman Chris Van Hollen today announced the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised $17 million, has $19.5 million in cash on hand, and has paid down the debt to $4 million in the second quarter of 2007.
Quite an accomplishment for an 'unpopular' Congress, don'cha think?

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

We're Number…

…umm, ten.


Playing catch-up?

For the first six years of his presidency, it seemed as though George Bush hardly remembered that he could veto a bill. In fact, it seemed that a pretty clear quid pro quo had been worked out with the Republican Congress - as long as they didn't get involved in oversight of his administration they could do pretty much as they pleased, and their pleasure was found in endangering, bankrupting, dividing and distracting Americans.

Then along came the Democrats, and a flood of legislation designed to improve the lives of the American people. Vetoes and rumors of vetoes became the order of the day on Pennsylvania Avenue.

The Speaker has been keeping track

Promoting Life-Saving Stem Cell Research - H.R. 3/S.5

U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Health and Iraq Accountability Act


The College Cost Reduction Act - H.R. 2669

Homeland Security Appropriations - H.R. 2638

State-Foreign Operations Appropriations - H.R. 2764

Interior-Environment Appropriations - H.R. 2643

The Energy Price Gouging Act – H.R. 1252

The No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) Act - H.R. 2264

FY 2008 Defense Authorization Bill - H.R. 1585

FY 2008 Homeland Security Authorization - H.R. 1684

Hate Crimes Prevention Act – H.R. 1592

D.C. Voting Rights Act – H.R. 1905

Rail and Mass Transit Security Act - H.R. 1401

Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007 - H.R. 1255

Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2007 - H.R. 985

Reauthorizing Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund - H.R. 720

Employee Free Choice Act - H.R. 800

Requiring Medicare to Negotiate Lower Prescription Drug Prices - H.R. 4
Capsule descriptions, links and more can be found at the Speaker's site and at the NPI Blog, to which I tip my hat.

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"'I just brought terror to someone...

...under the American flag'."

Sgt. Timothy Westphal, 18th Infantry Brigade, 1st Infantry Division
The sons of bitches have turned the Big Red One into a terror organization, and the troops know it.

The troops know a lot.

I know I hate what they're doing to my Army.

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Completely predictable…

…which is why I predicted it. Steve Holland hacks out your basic "D's in disarray" piece for Reuters and throws in the obligatory comparison to the President's popularity...
WASHINGTON - These are tough times for the Democratic-led U.S. Congress, where partisan battles have led to little progress on big issues and have made lawmakers collectively less popular than President George W. Bush.
Of course, "lawmakers collectively" is an artificial construct. They don't run collectively. They don't have a common constituency. For the most part, they tailor their campaigns to local interests and priorities, not collective ones. It's a comparison that's about as meaningful as declaring that unicorns can fly higher than horses. Then there's the fact that Democrats poll differently - and higher - than Republicans, and that Bush has had over six years to make his impression on the public consciousness while the current Congress has had about six months, and, well, you get the point.

None of those notions seemed to fit in Holland's story. He managed to squeeze this in, though...
The Iraq situation has so infuriated the Democratic left that Cindy Sheehan, the California liberal who began a long protest against Bush after her soldier son Casey was killed in Iraq, is talking about running against Pelosi in 2008.
I'm not really sure what or who the "Democratic left" might be, but since Cindy Sheehan is a self-proclaimed independent, she's clearly not it. I'm not sure I'd even call her a liberal these days.

Maybe she can get that meeting with Bush now, though. He might like to say thanks for the help...

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Think his war is crazy?

He thinks you're nuts.
Today in his press conference, a reporter asked President Bush why he is “so resistant” to a “change of course in Iraq,” even though that’s what the American public is “clamoring for.” Bush dismissed the reporter’s question, stating that he isn’t surprised “that there is deep concern amongst our people,” but ascribed it to “war fatigue.” “It’s affecting our psychology. I’ve said this before. I understand that.”
I gotta admit, there is some strange psychology in play.

Not ours, though.

Think Progress has the video link.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

One of the three 'first tier' Democrats…

…is not like the others. That, of course, would be my man John.

James Ridgeway, for Mother Jones...
When it comes to domestic issues that pit the interests of large corporations against those of ordinary Americans, few equal the exploding crisis in consumer debt. Yet with the exception of John Edwards, none of the leading presidential contenders in either party has made this a serious campaign issue. Perhaps this shouldn't come as a surprise, since the same financial institutions that engage in predatory lending practices constitute their largest contributors, as well as what is perhaps the most powerful lobby in all of Washington.
And how are the other two alike? Follow the money...
Financial firms, according to Ken Silverstein's much-discussed Harper's article "Barack Obama Inc.," "constitute Obama's second biggest single bloc of donors." You'll find nary a word about the debt crisis on his campaign web site.
All told, in 2006, financial and credit card companies gave $7 million in campaign contributions, and banks $25 million, to candidates of both parties, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Leading the pack, with $378,000, was Hillary Clinton.

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It's good for all of us.

William Greider on intra-caucus trade debates…
The conflict is not entirely settled yet, but Pelosi wisely decided to defuse the intense anger in the Democratic caucus rather than try to bull through it. In pursuit of unity, she has shown respect for the new folks elected last fall and other rank-and-file Democrats determined to challenge the free-trade status quo and to change it. That is good for them. And good for her.
We've seen Democrats back away from fast-track and view multi-lateral trade deals with well-deserved apprehension. Straightening out the mess our trade arrangements are in won't happen suddenly, it can't be accomplished (and shouldn't be) by decree, but bringing new voices to the table is essential. Kudos to The Speaker democratic leadership from the Democratic leadership.

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Sorry Senator…

…but the Honorable Lady from the Upper Left beat you to it.
During a campaign stop in Des Moines on Tuesday, Army veteran John Strong suggested to Sen. Barack Obama that the U.S. government should withdraw time limits on educational benefits given to soldiers under the GI Bill. Currently, many GI benefits that help veterans pay for college expire in 10 to 14 years after the person has left the service.

Obama responded that Strong, an unemployed senior citizen, had an outstanding idea. "We might introduce legislation next week," the presidential candidate from Illinois told Strong. "Maybe we'll name it after you."


The only glitch is that this legislation has already been named and introduced in the U.S. Senate on May 1st. The "Cantwell/Larsen Montgomery GI Bill for Life Act of 2007" was introduced in May by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. S. 1261, which is co-sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, would repeal the 10-year and 14-year deadlines.
All y'all upper lefties can be real proud of sending two of the best friends American veterans have to the US Senate. (And some fine friends to the House, too.)

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Support the troops.

Fire the Generals. Lt. Colonel Bob Bateman...
Gen. George Casey was the commander in Iraq until Gen. Petraeus took over.

The administration made him the chief of staff of the United States Army.

This is some of what he said yesterday.

In reference to the Army tours of 15 months: "I can't guarantee that it won't go beyond 15 months, but I'll do everything in my power to ensure that we don't put them additionally at risk." (The USAF "tour" is four months; Marines do seven months per tour. So one Army tour is almost the same as four Air Force tours, and more than two USMC tours. Just so you know.)
I hate what they're doing to my Army - in this case only to my Army.

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