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Archive for the ‘republicans’ Category

Boy oh boy do I hope that Giuliani becomes the Republican nominee in 2008. Why? Because he’s now made it abundantly clear with his rhetoric that he’d be nothing but a younger, crueler and more incompetent version of Dick Cheney. And anyone who’s paid the slightest bit of attention to the polls should know that he’s scraping even further down in the bottom of the barrel than Bush.

I think Democrats would be wise to start pointing out the similarities to Cheney and Giuliani sooner rather than later, as the entrenched myth of Giuliani’s competence as an executive officer is much more formidable than that of Cheney as an assessor of intelligence. The myth of Cheney has been adequately demolished by the Iraq war, but Rudy’s remains somewhat in tact for a large portion of the politically disengaged. In the most recent issue of The Washington Monthly’s Scoop Rachel Morris does a superb job of illuminating these two men’s similarities by way of Ron Suskind’s book The One Percent Doctrine, and by reminding us of Cheney’s rhetoric leading up to the 2004 election:

Giuliani’s speech was about as pure an expression of the Dick Cheney worldview as you’re likely to find outside the inner recesses of the vice president’s psychological bunker.

For instance: “If any Republican is elected president … we will remain on offense and will anticipate what [the terrorists] will do and try to stop them before they do it,” Giuliani said. Later, he added: “Never, ever again will this country ever be on defense waiting for [terrorists] to attack us if I have anything to say about it.”

This is precisely the logic that Cheney has deployed ever since 9/11, with catastrophic results for the country. In his book, The One-Percent Doctrine, Ron Suskind describes a meeting in which Cheney succinctly set out his new doctrine: “If there’s a one-percent chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response … It’s not about our analysis, or finding a preponderance of evidence. It’s about our response.” In a 2002 speech, Cheney pronounced that, “the risks of inaction are far greater than the risk of action.

More than anything, this is what Giuliani must be associated with than–much more so than his cross-dressing or his so-called liberal views. It will do more to remind the American people that a Giuliani administration would in essence be more four more years of Dick Cheney running the show. This recent American Prospect article does an excellent job of looking past these superficial and semi-sensational aspects of Giuliani’s campaign and reminding us what a sadistic prick the man has been and will continue to be.

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If there’s one thing I hate about the US Attorney purge scandal, it’s that the facts are so transparently chilling that there’s no need for commentary. I’ve been living in a world of blockquotes since the fucking thing broke. Here’s the latest bombshell via NPR

NPR now has new information about that plan. According to someone who’s had conversations with White House officials, the plan to fire all 93 U.S. attorneys originated with political adviser Karl Rove. It was seen as a way to get political cover for firing the small number of U.S. attorneys the White House actually wanted to get rid of. Documents show the plan was eventually dismissed as impractical.

The Justice Department documents released today include a spreadsheet ranking all 93 prosecutors. The chart ranks them on whether they have Hill experience, campaign experience, and — in the last column — whether they’re members of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group.

I guess there’s a bit of poetic justice in the possibility that Rove was probably right about the fact that it would’ve been a bit less suspicious to fire all 93. Of course coming up with all those replacements would’ve been hard work and we all know how much George “The Greatest Fuckup in US History” Bush hates that.

And let me just add for the record that the Republican party, especially the neoconservatives, own GW. He has been their sole propagandist icon of authoritarian political fealty. He is the one they were sure would sweep in all the sheepish of our flock and eventually purge the nation of the scourge of liberals and progressives. They were the boosters that got him elected, kept him from media and Congressional oversight thru intellectual dishonesty, schmoozing, bullying, and I would bet a couple of blackmail incidents. I know no one of consequence is reading this goddamned blog, but even if you stumbled across this site looking to vent your hatred of Tim and Eric, please–for the love of God–do something to make sure that everyone you know, including yourself, is fully aware of what a terrifying precipice this country is teetering on.

I’ll conclude with some of Bill Maher’s latest rant via Salon:

It turns out that the Justice Department is entirely staffed with Jesus freaks from a televangelist diploma mill in Virginia Beach. Most of them young women with very little knowledge of the law, but a very strong sense of doing what they’re told. Like the Manson family, but with cleaner hair. In 200 years we’ve gone from “We the people” to “Up with people.” From the best and brightest to dumb and dumber. And, come on, America is a big, well-known, first-rate country, and when we’re looking for people to help run it, we should aim higher than the girl who answers the phone at the fake abortion clinic. It’s not just that this president has surrounded himself with a Texas echo chamber of war criminals and religious fanatics. It’s that they’re sooooo mediocre. This is America. We should be getting robbed and fucked over by the best.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., asked at a hearing, “Should we be concerned with the experience level of the people who are making these highly significant decisions?” But in the Bush administration experience doesn’t matter. All that matters is loyalty to Bush and Jesus, in that order. And where better to find people dumb enough to believe in George W. Bush than Pat Robertson’s law school. The problem here in America isn’t that the country is being run by elites. It’s that it’s being run by a bunch of hayseeds. And by the way, the lawyer Monica Goodling just hired to keep her ass out of jail went to a real law school.

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Here’s a handy summary of just how badly the cancerous Bush cult has metastisized within our government:

Consider the reports surfacing only within the past month: that scientists at the Fish and Wildlife Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency have again been forbidden to discuss climate change; that nine newly appointed U.S. attorneys are political cadres; that the new U.S. attorney for Minnesota, Rachel Paulose, cites Bible verses in the office, harshly orders underlings around and, according to one of four assistant U.S. attorneys in her office who voluntarily demoted themselves, treats disagreement as “disloyalty”; that the Election Assistance Commission last year, giving credence to Republican talking points of widespread voter fraud, ignored experts’ testimony to the contrary; that between 2001 and 2006, the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department has purged 60 percent of its professional staff and not filed a single voting discrimination case on behalf of African-American or Native American voters; and that after the state Republican Party complained to Rove that the U.S. attorney in Wisconsin, Steven Biskupic, was not attacking voter fraud, Biskupic kept his job by filing corruption charges against an aide to the incumbent Democratic governor on the eve of the 2006 elections. (The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled the aide was “wrongly convicted” on evidence that was “beyond thin.”)

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Gonzo’s gotta lot of cramming to do:

After struggling for weeks to explain the extent of his involvement in the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, Gonzales and his aides are viewing the Senate testimony on April 12 and April 17 as seriously as if it were a confirmation proceeding for a Supreme Court or a Cabinet appointment, officials said.

Ed Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chairman, and Timothy E. Flanigan, who worked for Gonzales at the White House, have met with the attorney general to plot strategy. The department has scheduled three days of rigorous mock testimony sessions next week and Gonzales has placed phone calls to more than a dozen GOP lawmakers seeking support, officials said.

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I’m running out of things to link this scandal to. All we need now is someone to blow the whistle on how the Bushies have been using the NSA to spy on political opponents and the puzzle will be completely assembled. Via the LA Times:

Over the last six years, this Justice Department has ignored the advice of its staff and skewed aspects of law enforcement in ways that clearly were intended to influence the outcome of elections.

It has notably shirked its legal responsibility to protect voting rights. From 2001 to 2006, no voting discrimination cases were brought on behalf of African American or Native American voters. U.S. attorneys were told instead to give priority to voter fraud cases, which, when coupled with the strong support for voter ID laws, indicated an intent to depress voter turnout in minority and poor communities.

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Salon drops another bombshell today:

The soldiers who were at Fort Irwin described a pitiful scene. “You had people out there with crutches and canes,” said an Army captain who was being considered for medical retirement himself because of serious back injuries sustained in a Humvee accident during a previous combat tour in Iraq. “Soldiers that apparently had no business being there were there,” another soldier wrote to Salon in an e-mail. “Pregnant females were sent to the National Training Center rotation” with the knowledge of Army leaders, she said.

One infantry sergeant with nearly 20 years in the Army who had already fought in Iraq broke his foot badly in a noncombat incident just before being sent to Fort Irwin. “I didn’t even get to put the cast on,” before going, he said with exasperation. He said doctors put something like an “open-toed soft shoe” on his foot and put him on a plane to California. “I’ve got the cast on now. I never even got a chance to see the [medical] specialist,” he claimed. The infantry sergeant said life in the desert was tough in his condition. “I was on Percocet. I couldn’t even concentrate. I hopped on a plane and hobbled around NTC on crutches,” he said. He added, “I saw people who were worse off than I am. I saw people with hurt backs and so on. I started to think, ‘Hey, I’m not so bad.'”

And it looks like we can thank the surge for this gross abuse of our injured soldiers:

Military experts point to the brigade’s readiness statistics, including “unit status reports” that carefully track personnel numbers and are sent up through the Army’s chain of command. “There are a number of factors used to establish whether a unit is mission-capable,” explained John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, an independent organization that studies military and security issues. “One of them is the extent to which it is fully manned,” he said. Pike says he suspects the injured soldiers were camped out at Fort Irwin so that on paper, at least, “the unit would have a sufficient head count to be mission-capable.”

What more does it take? Why isn’t this country taking to the streets yet over this horseshit?

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Glenn Greenwald has some analysis of a recent book luncheon Bush attended with a handful of neoconservative thinkers to discuss revisionist historian Andrew Roberts. Within the piece is the following quote:

The causes of rampant anti-Americanism do indeed include dislike of Bush. But there are others: the war in Iraq; anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian sentiment, laced with some covert anti-Semitism; and resentment of American power. Roberts urged the president not to concern himself with these anti-American feelings, since in a unipolar world the lone superpower cannot be loved. His advice: “Get your policies right and history will prove a kind muse.”

which was preceded by this gem:

On one subject the president needed no lessons from Roberts or anyone else in the room: how to handle pressure. “I just don’t feel any,” he says with the calm conviction of a man who believes the constituency to which he must ultimately answer is the Divine Presence. Don’t misunderstand: God didn’t tell him to put troops in harm’s way in Iraq; belief in Him only goes so far as to inform the president that there is good and evil. It is then his job to figure out how to promote the former and destroy the latter. And he is confident that his policies are doing just that.

Okay, first of all what fucking moron believes he can destroy all evil? That clearly points to the man’s megalomania. But what really bothers me about these two passages is that Bush doesn’t acknowledge that a president serves the American people. Not his historical legacy and not some divine presence, but ordinary people. And nowhere is this ever mentioned to him by his neocon enablers. No they talk about how we haven’t dropped enough bombs on non-english speaking people (who aren’t real people anyway in their view).

Isn’t it enough to just point out to everyone that Bush and the neocons worship at the altar of Leo Strauss, a man who said “those in power must invent noble lies and pious frauds to keep the people in the stupor for which they are supremely fit”. This quote is from an article Greenwald links to which discusses Strauss in more detail and seems to perfectly summarize the disdain that the current ruling class have for us wretched, disgusting, ordinary people. Here’s what I consider the uber-relevant bit from the rest of the Strauss piece:

There have always been those who deluded themselves into thinking that they were akin to gods who are entitled to rule over ordinary mortals. But no one has described this mentality more brilliantly than Dostoevsky, when he created the figure of the Grand Inquisitor. In his short story of the same title, Dostoevsky imagined that Jesus has returned to face a decadent and corrupt Church. As head of the Church, the Grand Inquisitor condemns Jesus to death, but not before having a long and interesting conversation with the condemned man. Jesus naively clings to the belief that what man needs above all else is freedom from the oppressive yoke of the Mosaic law, so that he can choose between good and evil freely according to the dictates of his conscience. But the Inquisitor explains to him that truth and freedom are the sources of humanity’s greatest anguish and that people will never be free because “they are weak, vicious, worthless, and rebellious.” He declares that people can be happy only if they surrender their freedom and bow before miracle, mystery, and authority. Only then can people live and die peacefully, “and beyond the grave, they will find nothing but death. But we shall keep the secret, and for their happiness we shall allure them with the reward of heaven and eternity.” The Inquisitor explains that the “deception will be our suffering, for we shall be forced to lie.” But in the end, “they will marvel at us and look on us as gods.”

To say that Strauss’s elitism surpasses that of the Grand Inquisitor is an understatement. Undeniably, there are strong similarities. Like the Grand Inquisitor, Strauss thought that society must be governed by a pious elite (George Bush the second and the Christian fundamentalists who support him fit this role perfectly). Like the Grand Inquisitor, Strauss thought of religion as a pious fraud (something that would alarm the Christian fundamentalists who are allied with the neoconservatives). And even though Strauss was sympathetic to Judaism, he nevertheless described it as a “heroic delusion” and a “noble dream.” Like the Grand Inquisitor, he thought that it was better for human beings to be victims of this noble delusion than to “wallow” in the “sordid” truth. And like the Grand Inquisitor, Strauss thought that the superior few should shoulder the burden of truth and in so doing, protect humanity from the “terror and hopelessness of life.”

All the similarities between Strauss and the Grand Inquisitor notwithstanding, the Straussian position surpasses the Grand Inquisitor in its delusional elitism as well as in its misanthropy. This shows that while one need not be a religious thinker to be misanthropic, religion is an excellent vehicle for implementing misanthropic policies in public life.

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In case there is any remaining doubt that Fox news is just ultra right-wing neoconservative propaganda, here is Roger Ailes (aka Fat Bastard). And you know what, if Al Gore and Michael Moore’s weight is fair game, then this tub of shit certainly should be as well. I think Jabba AND Pizza the Huts had better complexions and jowel configurations than Ailes.

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Crossposted @ dailykos

As if there weren’t enough intriguing aspects to the US Attorneys case already, Greg Palast dropped this bombshell in my mail today:

Timothy Griffin, Karl Rove’s assistant, the President’s pick as US Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Griffin, according to BBC Television, was the hidden hand behind a scheme to wipe out the voting rights of 70,000 citizens prior to the 2004 election.

Key voters on Griffin’s hit list: Black soldiers and homeless men and women. Nice guy, eh? Naughty or nice, however, is not the issue. Targeting voters where race is a factor is a felony crime under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

So now we can attach election tampering to this scandal.

The most fascinating aspect of this piece is how it was uncovered:

In October 2004, our investigations team at BBC Newsnight received a series of astonishing emails from Mr. Griffin, then Research Director for the Republican National Committee. He didn’t mean to send them to us. They were highly confidential memos meant only for RNC honchos.

However, Griffin made a wee mistake. Instead of sending the emails — potential evidence of a crime — to email addresses ending with the domain name “@GeorgeWBush.com” he sent them to “@GeorgeWBush.ORG.” A website run by prankster John Wooden who owns “GeorgeWBush.org.” When Wooden got the treasure trove of Rove-ian ravings, he sent them to us.

And we dug in, decoding, and mapping the voters on what Griffin called, “Caging” lists, spreadsheets with 70,000 names of voters marked for challenge. Overwhelmingly, these were Black and Hispanic voters from Democratic precincts.

I was disgusted enough with the prospect of giving one of Rove’s former assistants subpoena power, but it looks like he’s been involved in another Katherine Harris style voter purge ala Florida 2000:

The Griffin scheme was sickly brilliant. We learned that the RNC sent first-class letters to new voters in minority precincts marked, “Do not forward.” Several sheets contained nothing but soldiers, other sheets, homeless shelters. Targets included the Jacksonville Naval Air Station in Florida and that city’s State Street Rescue Mission. Another target, Edward Waters College, a school for African-Americans.

If these voters were not currently at their home voting address, they were tagged as “suspect” and their registration wiped out or their ballot challenged and not counted. Of course, these ‘cages’ captured thousands of students, the homeless and those in the military though they are legitimate voters.

This needs to get out there and become part of the narrative of this story. Especially given that we all learned yesterday that the US attorneys who were fired had IMPECCABLE credentials and reputations, the fact that THIS is the caliber of one of their replacements should demonstrate that this was a purely political move to place administration stooges in major positions of power.

If you haven’t heard of Greg Palast, go buy a copy of his book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. I haven’t read his latest, Armed Madhouse, but I’m sure it’s stellar.

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