Friday, November 30, 2007

Mike Huckabee Gets Stoned

Matt Taibbi on Mike Huckabee, Our Favorite Right-Wing Nut Job appears via Rolling Stone. He serves up a brutally honest look at religious whack jobs, even one that for me comes across as rather kind and charming. I guess the idea that anybody with a brain knew the Bu$hCo bunch was faking it does make this next time a little more scary. As a Jimmy Carter fan I'll have to ponder how to distinguish the two men but can start with the fact Carter wasn't a Republican. Of course back in 1976 that didn't mean the same thing as it means since the early 80s. Peace ... or War!

Robert Reich Goes After Supercapitalism

I'm working through an older Robert Reich book as of late and his Supercapitalism has been on my Amazon Wish List for some time. Consumer-Driven Culture Is Killing Our Democracy, from Terrance McNally appears on AlterNet that is surely worth reading. Even if rather silenced in the Clinton White House this man is a serious thinker who we'd do good to heed. Peace ... or War!

Rudy Giuliani's Troubles with Facts and Figures

Michael Cooper of the NYT (via MSNBC) serves up Citing statistics, Giuliani misses time and again yet questions of his "mistress fund" might finally allow the "values" crowd to get the Mayor pushed aside for the GOP's nomination. CNN's Wednesday piece revealed some early coverage yet today's E&P claims the story "has legs". The NY Post provides a scathing headline with their RUDY'S HIDDEN LOVE-NEST $$. Peace ... or War!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mike Sutton Returns to Randolph Leader Op-Eds

Mike Sutton of Lewisville, Texas (just north of Dallas) is back in my hometown paper with even more Doomsday than the last time I posted on his "thinking". His contribution this week is Hillary must be stopped for country's survival. I'd have loved to supply the title yet I digress. Since the text might disappear eventually I'll copy the whole thing as follows:

Hillary Clinton is Hugo Chavez in a pant suit, the difference being that once in power she would be more ruthless than Chavez in the suppression of liberties and the exaltation of "The State" as mankind's only true savior. This is not what most Americans want for their children's future -- so what are our alternatives?

Is Mike Huckabee the answer? I believe it was Spurgeon who said, "If God calls you to preach, don't stoop to be a king," which begs the question --why is Rev. Huckabee even running for president? Just as the Osteen mouse had done on The Larry King Show; Huckabee denied that Jesus Christ is man's only way to salvation while being interviewed on The O'Reilly Show. Since a major tenet of the Christian faith is that Christ is "the way, the truth and the life," and since Rev. Huckabee claims to be a Christian minister, his evasiveness and his denial during the interview define him as a weakling and a fraud.

America needs a thoroughly Christian president who is tough and smart, who has the vision to see what has made this nation great, and the courage and faith to stand for those principles -- a man like Judge Roy Moore. To our everlasting shame it appears that there is no longer a place in American politics for such a man, but does that mean we should just give up and hand the country over to Hillary? A thousand times no!Common sense Americans should accept the fact that we do not live in a perfect world, and rally behind Hillary's opponent, whether it be Thompson, Giuliani or Romney. We should pray that the Lord will give that man wisdom, courage and strength; and pray that he has the good sense to take a running mate like J.C. Watts or Kay Bailey Hutchinson.

A fatalist might argue that the flow of history makes it inevitable that all great nations will eventually fade, crumble and fall. If this is true, then for the sake of our children and grandchildren, for the sake of those who have died to secure our freedoms, for the sake of the gospel; we Americans should dedicate ourselves, with God's help, to delay the inevitable for as long as possible.
Mike Sutton
P.O. Box 551
Lewisville, TX 75067

Mike's riffing off the work of Dan Gainor of the Business and Media Institute yet I'll send you to the Freepers rather than BMI, as both are part of the Right's Mighty Wurlitzer, for his Hillary Clinton: 'Hugo Chavez in a pantsuit' piece. Mr. Gainor apparently makes the scene at Faux News rather often. Nuff said? Also, in that his outfit is part of Brent Bozell's Media Research Center, Inc. one would hope reasoned folks would understand the game. I pictured and posted on Brent Bozell, the nephew of William Buckley, back when I posted on How a Right Winger Reads the NYT. Once again I'm amazed at how shills for the right have jobs a plenty yet lefty types pretty much labor out of love rather than to draw even adequate wages.

I'll not even bother addressing Sutton's "thinking" beyond reminding folks of prior posts (here and here) and then sending you to World Nut Daily where Sutton's candidate of choice, Alabama's favorite theocrat Roy Moore, opines. If people are inclined to believe either Sutton's or the slightly less radical Gainor's position they'll likely not respond to what I have to offer. Perhaps in a long, long conversation a breakthrough might occur? Peace ... or War!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Economic Consequences of Bu$hCo and ...

At times I wondered if Mike Keefe didn't have it right given that Bu$hCo was all about cutting taxes it seemed. That their tax cut was the first in a time of war and favored the elite has been something covered be plenty. The following appears in the link below:
The first major economic initiative pursued by the president was a massive tax cut for the rich, enacted in June of 2001. Those with incomes over a million got a tax cut of $18,000—more than 30 times larger than the cut received by the average American. The inequities were compounded by a second tax cut, in 2003, this one skewed even more heavily toward the rich. Together these tax cuts, when fully implemented and if made permanent, mean that in 2012 the average reduction for an American in the bottom 20 percent will be a scant $45, while those with incomes of more than $1 million will see their tax bills reduced by an average of $162,000.

Via Vanity Fair, Nobel laureate, Joseph E. Stiglitz, sees a generation-long struggle to recoup our losses in his The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush. A "reckoning" indeed and yet I also appreciated how he also blames Clinton and the American public for the mess we are in. There are solutions offered as well. Near the end he writes:

What is required is in some ways simple to describe: it amounts to ceasing our current behavior and doing exactly the opposite. It means not spending money that we don’t have, increasing taxes on the rich, reducing corporate welfare, strengthening the safety net for the less well off, and making greater investment in education, technology, and infrastructure.

When it comes to taxes, we should be trying to shift the burden away from things we view as good, such as labor and savings, to things we view as bad, such as pollution. With respect to the safety net, we need to remember that the more the government does to help workers improve their skills and get affordable health care the more we free up American businesses to compete in the global economy. Finally, we’ll be a lot better off if we work with other countries to create fair and efficient global trade and financial systems. We’ll have a better chance of getting others to open up their markets if we ourselves act less hypocritically—that is, if we open our own markets to their goods and stop subsidizing American agriculture.

Some portion of the damage done by the Bush administration could be rectified quickly. A large portion will take decades to fix—and that’s assuming the political will to do so exists both in the White House and in Congress.

Peace ... or War!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Alabama's Public Transporation Challenges

Markeshia Ricks of the Anniston Star reports on the increasing need for solid public transportation systems in Alabama. A tremendous need indeed, made all the more complicated perhaps with the "patchwork" of current providers, and yet I'm not so sure Joe and Jill Sixpack are going to be able to see past the usual distractions to elect leaders that will be up to tackling these issues. Andy Singer nails at least one part of the problem. Peace ... or War!

Australia's PM John Howard Exits Stage Right

The AP via MSNBC reports Labor's huge win down under. Bu$hCo's essentially lone remaining ally John Howard's saw his Conservative Party simply trounced by Labor, leading to the likely rise of Kevin Rudd as Australia's PM. Peace ... or War!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving of Dubyah and Dick

I woke up yesterday thinking how only one Thanksgiving will remain to the Bu$hCo Administration. The image is from Keven Siers of the Charlotte Observer yet Scarecrow's Crossing Bush's Line on FireDogLake sums up all I'd want to write. The link to Joseph Galloway's McClatchy Commentary: Good riddance to them all serves up some writing that is likewise perfect. Peace ... or War!

It's Buy Nothing Day

Via the LA Times I located Joseph Barnbrook's take on Buy Nothing Day. As a Scot, linking to a Brit is tough. Still, this designer has simply nailed conspicuous consumption. As for the image above, that also says much on how we tend to live. Peace ... or War!

Clinton Appointed Federal Judge Does Justice

Lousiana Senator David Vitter has admitted "sin" in regards to the DC Madam list yet at least he'll avoid testifying before a a federal court. While the press would have enjoyed, and perhaps others than value schadenfreude when yet another of the GOP's values crowd gets caught, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler did the right thing. Reckon if a loyal Bushie would have?

Senator Vitter's official website still has the following language up:
David Vitter is dedicated to making life better for his young family and all Louisiana families. He’s focused on putting Louisiana first as an independent and outspoken reformer, and on advancing mainstream conservative principles.

There's even reference to an award he "earned" from the Family Research Council still up! I'm sure Dr. Dobson is so proud. It's been a tough year for Dr. D. with Senator Craig's scandal as well. You'd think he'd have tweaked this a touch given the last few months. Then again when his wife Wendy spoke out so boldly in 2000 over the Clenis' indiscretions there's apparently little shame in the Vitter household. As lectors at St. Francis Xavier Church perhaps they are above things of this earth? Peace ... or War!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

John Kerry and T. Boone Pickens Are a Feuding

Sasha Issenberg of the Boston Globe gives us Swift Boat issue becomes crucial to Kerry anew yet it is too little and too late for most of us. T. Boone Pickens is surely an interesting character and those nasty Swift Boaters had the funds san his zillions yet this ought to be fun to watch. Peace ... or War!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

There's Life After Bu$hCo's for Ari and Scotty

Although news today is of Scott McClellan whining about being left in the dark for lies he told on Plamegate I'll mostly focus on what Ari Fleischer has been up to with his role in Freedom's Watch. A nasty group and yet they can be I suppose. At least they aren't pretending to be a neutral group as do a rather large number of the 501(c)(3) outfits that make up the Right's Noise Machine.

Going after my very own candidate this past fall, namely Congressman Jerry McNerney, who admittedly hasn't always done everything I'd have wanted one in DC (the idea of tossing aside perhaps the best of the Progressive taxes, the estate tax, for instance) has certainly brought Ari's latest adventure back in my sights. As for Jerry, I'm going to still try to find a way to help him this next year. Carl Pope is right in how better off we are sans Dirty Dick Pombo. I'll hope Jerry will prove to be the Progressive I'd like, or at least close enough for CA-11. As a Progressive from Alabama, I've surely learned to not expect too much from plenty of candidates I've helped. I can surely hang in there with Jerry. Plus he and his mean plenty to me.

I suppose Ari and Scotty will be cashing the checks for some time, despite their association with Bu$hCo. As an aside, is Ari's brother Michael still working with whatever might remain of the Coalition Provisional Authority? While the GOP is trying to disassociate with Dubyah for 2008 I'd expect anyone that could work in the Bu$hCo White House will live to lie another day. Peace ... or War!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Bu$h and LBJ - Big Spenders

Comparisons of Dubyah to Nixon in a prior post and now we have, courtesy of David Lightman, one to LBJ. And it is not just their Texas roots! His McClatchy piece Bush is the biggest spender since LBJ surely shows that Bu$hCo, like so many Conservatives, is mostly talk and hardly any walk. The image above is from Jeff Parker and I do appreciate the fact he's covering the veteran. Truly Bu$hCo and the modern GOP, as well as some supposedly on my team, have long been looking out for the fat cats rather than regular folk. Peace ... or War!

Superb First Newsweek Column from Kos

Of course Karl Rove is off our federal payroll (yet another Bu$hCo outrage that a craven political operative ever was!) so obviously the above John Cole image is a bit dated. Markos Moulitsas delivers a superb Newsweek piece, titled Make the Bush Record the Issue : Absent amnesia—which only happens on soaps—Democrats will be fine, in his first effort in that venue. He starts off in part with the following:
Earlier this month, according to Gallup, more people strongly disapproved of George W. Bush than any previous president since the advent of polling—and, really, how could things be any different? Bush can boast of an unwinnable quagmire in Iraq, a decimated housing market, economic instability and a collapsing dollar, a dysfunctional health-care system, a still-devastated Gulf Coast, a wealth gap of a scope unseen since the Great Depression and a pervasive and disturbing image of America as a hapless, blundering giant, rather than a beacon of freedom and morality in the world.

His close 'aint bad either where he writes:

Democrats, on the other hand, believe government can be a resource for promoting the common good and thus are invested from the beginning in governing competently, efficiently and fairly. Their ideology demands it. And what better way for Democratic candidates to illustrate this contrast than by running against the Republican trifecta—the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court—that governed throughout most of Bush's eight years in office?

Democrats should and will use Bush and his destructive policies on the campaign trail as the primary example of what happens when people who hate government are elected to run it. The message will be that Bush isn't a historical anomaly: he's the embodiment of modern conservatism.

Dead on true words. Conservatism, at least that practiced by the Republicans in the last thirty or so years, simply fails the test. Peace ... or War!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Some Time Spent with a Libertarian

I recently came across Robert Higgs Resurgence of the Warfare State: The Crisis Since 9/11. While I'm hardly a Libertarian, this work, courtesy of The Independent Institute, was worth the time spent reading. However, one of Higgs' inclusions originally appeared at VDARE, a questionable outfit I stumbled across via Captain Bama. I also noted some references to The Mises Institute way down yonder in the loveliest village on the Plains. Peace ... or War!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Andy Singer and David Sirota on "Free Trade"

Andy Singer provides the image and David Sirota supplies analysis related to the 2008 primary candidates which builds off his Flattening the Great Education Myth piece from last year. Peace ... or War!

Alabama's Republican Supreme Court Saves Exxon 10% of Last Years Profits

To the middle left you'll see Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker, a favorite target of Captain Bama, along with some of his wingnut buddies. Recently "Justice" Parker proved his worth to the very folks that likely ran Judge Naybors against him for the Chief slot this past year by writing the opinion for his seven other GOP colleagues in overturning the 3.5 billion punitives award against Exxon/Mobil for dirty dealing the state on gas revenues.

Complicated case is some respects but it looks like lack of "reasonable reliance" on the State's part was how the GOP Justices justified their decision to toss the fraud and thus the punitives. Here's the actual slip opinion, all 125 pages, if you want to read the thing.

If this Exxon/Mobil outfit made 40 billion last year the 3.5 was about 10% in punitives. Hardly draconian, especially after the thing had been tried twice and Judge McCooey had cut the punitives from 11.8 billion. The compensatory damages were over a hundred million at trial but the Supremes, at least the eight Republicans, dropped that by half. Exxon's last CEO got a 400 million retirement deal yet the BCA and others in Alabama are celebrating I'm sure the wisdom of the decision. Scott Horton of Harper's has a nice take on the decision, especially given his role in representing fat cats of commerce. Note also how he also connects some of the players in the ongoing saga of The Don.

Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb correctly provided the lone dissenting voice for the little man. Perhaps Joe and Jill Sixpack will pay some attention to this case come the next elections yet I'll not hold my breath. I still favor the Alabama State bar's Missouri Plan approach for selecting Judges. Peace ... or War!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Soak The Rich!

Within the last month or so I had a good conversation with a smart conservative where I dropped the old Huey Long line of "Soak the rich!" While I'm not really wanting them soaked, merely dampened will do, I strongly believe in a Progressive Tax Code. A tip of the tam to R.J. Matson for the above image yet one is also due to Warren Buffett for today's testimony before the Senate Finance Committee. As an aside, I'm so frustrated seeing how Congressman Jerry McNerney's estate tax position is "evolving. I appreciate the Progressive Connection for news of CA-11 yet also for how they handled the "save the family farm" angle with this post. I'm all for helping the little guy yet I thought that was what I was doing when I helped Jerry get to DC. Peace ... or War!

Drug Money?

This toon of Bob Englehart might explain the following MSNBC coverage as much as anything. Lobbying stalls generic drug legislation contains the following:
An Associated Press review of lobbying reports, from July 1, 2006, through June 30, 2007, found that $38.8 million was spent by at least a dozen generic and brand-name companies and their trade associations on issues including the Senate legislation.

I reckon 38 large buys a lot of access. I've long favored some type of Universal Health care and so far the plan of John Edwards works for me. That he's honest enough to admit an increase in revenue will be required to fund his plan speaks well for him. Peace ... or War!

T-town News Gets it Right on Rudy and Pat

On the eve of the Iron Bowl I'll look to Tuskerlooser for at least one thing positive. They've seemingly summed up both Rudy and Pat with their November 12, 2007 Editorial. The work of R.J. Matson above says what's left. Peace ... or War!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Did Bu$hCo Ignore Hart-Rudman Commission?

Above we have former Senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman. I was totally ignorant of the Senators' work on The US Commission on National Security/21st and yet it surely seemed, and still seems, relevant. Thanks to my finally finishing Professor Eric Alterman's What Liberal Media? I've learned at least a little that I now want to share. Jake Tapper's Salon piece, namely Commission warned Bush; But White House passed on recommendations by a bipartisan, Defense department-ordered commission on domestic terrorism., from just the day after September 11, 2001, is the best summary I can find yet the Google is having trouble coming up with much subsequent coverage. Reckon why? From the start of the Bu$hCo reign it surely seems that Dubyah and Dick and Condi and ... have plenty of questions remaining as to exactly what they did regarding the threat of terrorism. Peace ... or War!

Dr. Robert Entman on American Media & Voters

Another addition to the Wish List. Professor Robert Entman of GWU likely has plenty to offer on a multiplicity of subjects yet if I understand a central premise of this book it is that a "vicious circle of interdependence" impacts both our media and citizens. "To become sophisticated ... Americans need high-quality, independent political journalism". However, to "stay in business while producing such journalism, news organizations would need an audience of sophisticated citizens". RIght now I'd argue the supply of either is very limited. Peace ... or War!

More Questions on Siegelman Judge Mark Fuller

As to The Don, issues as to the trial judge, Mark Everett Fuller of the Middle District of Alabama, continue to interest me. I've found Scott Horton of Harper's to be a tremendous source of information. Serious questions do seem to be present as to Judge Fuller. His image appears to the left.

Scott Horton weighs in on Saturday with The Curious Case of the Missing Transcript and in part explains that it is rare for defendants convicted on public integrity issues to not be granted release pending appeal. Horton writes
... fair application of the rule would have gotten in the way of the theatrics that Judge Fuller had planned for sentencing day. As that day commenced, the Montgomery court room was packed with U.S. Marshals who had been summoned by Fuller. After sentencing, Fuller directed that Siegelman be placed in manacles and dragged before the camera to provide full propaganda benefit for the Alabama Republican Party, on whose Executive Committee he had previously served (a fact the defense didn’t know until it was disclosed this summer in this space). Indeed, the event appears to have been well coordinated with the Alabama G.O.P., which immediately exploited it in press releases.
More follows as to the idea that the 11th Circuit is seemingly not pleased with how the Judge responded to their last Order requesting information on why release pending appeal isn't appropriate. There's also some rebuking of David Prather of the Hunstville Times ( a Newhouse paper ... need to look at that one) although I've often found his writing solid.

On the Alabama GOP's Executive Committee and truly a fortunate son, Mark Everett Fuller was a Bu$hCo appointee. Close ties to Congressman Terry Everett (note the "Everett" in his name) from their church in Enterprise to defense contracts to ..., it would seem the Judge continues in his good fortune. Questions as to his large interest in Doss Aviation remain, at least for Scott Howard (see his The Pork Barrel World of Judge Mark Fuller and ... ) yet few if any of the press down in Alabama seem troubled. Bob Martin, Glynn Wilson, ... are exceptions.

More to follow on this mess I'm sure. In the meantime, I'd argue The Don (and Richard Scrushy for that matter) ought to be released pending the outcome of his appeal. Let's hope the 11th Circuit sees it that way. Peace ... or War!

Fraud Req'd to Ratify Alabama's 1901 Constitution

Today's B'ham News reminds us that only massive voter fraud in the Black Belt allowed Alabama's 1901 Constitution to become the oppressive and now bloated document which continues to limit this state. The ending to this editorial sums up the belated remedy.

When the Legislature goes into session in February, it should pass a bill that would let the people decide - in an honest election - whether they want a convention of their fellow citizens to write a new fundamental charter for Alabama.

It won't make up for 106 years of constitution-fueled racial injustice, shabby treatment of the poor and ill, wretchedly funded schools and throttled local governments, all for the benefit of an oligarchy of the deep-pocketed. But letting the people vote would be a start toward undoing the massive fraud of Nov. 11, 1901.

Long overdue yet I'll still not hold my breath. Peace ... or War!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Who Needs Knowledge? I Reckon I Do!

Professor Todd Gitlin asked the question via TPMCafe building off Sunday's WaPo piece from Ahmed Rashid (image to the left) questioning Bu$hCo's "talent" on merely understanding Pakistan.

I will first give snaps to Dr. Gitlin for closing with:

I await ... Tim Russert's indignant question to Republican candidates, Will you pledge that the State Department will be staffed by people who have a clue about the countries they're in charge of?
His ending is great but to appreciate fully you perhaps need some background as to Tim Russert's most recent inanity. For more on this inanity check out Paul Waldman's recent American Prospect work. Oh mercy another book to add to my wish list it appears.

I suppose what I want to do with this post is once again lament, and also celebrate in some way, how long it takes to understand almost anything of substance. I am finally finishing Eric Alterman's What Liberal Media? and admittedly I'm frustrated with how the right often gets to keep the simple stuff so simple for the simple. Yet isn't it great that we can track down ideas and resources so easily on the internets. More on that to follow.

The bottom line from all of this is that ...

Retired American officials say that, for the first time in U.S. history, nobody with serious Pakistan experience is working in the South Asia bureau of the State Department, on State's policy planning staff, on the National Security Council staff or even in Vice President Cheney's office.
It gets worse however in that ...
Current and past U.S. officials tell me that Pakistan policy is essentially being run from Cheney's office.

Here we go again? Truly I expect few people with any real grasp on this area would want to work for these Mayberry Machiavellis. Especially with Dead Eye Dick ready to use the dark side of the force on anyone that crosses him.

I want to learn. I want to understand. And I want to share. Once again I understand why I am so attracted to the process of blogging. Peace ... or War!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Developments for The Don

While I was disappointed in the Siegelman administration at times I'll still admit to supporting him with donations of both time and money. I'm becoming more and more convinced he was hosed by Bu$hCo and others of the extreme GOP set. Given the politicization of DOJ under Dubyah nothing now seems beyond reach I suppose. And politics in Alabama has always been a contact sport. Don't forget that Karl Rove had worked in Bama before.

Our own Glynn Wilson (he's been all over this mess as evidenced by these archives) appears in The Nation with "A Whistleblower's Tale" to provide plenty of background and also some new developments. Snaps to Glenn for the coverage! Also Bob Martin of The Montgomery Independent is due some snaps as well. With the trial judge's potential conflict, or at least the appearance of impropriety, being raised, plus the news of Jill Simpson's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee being leaked, I'm thinking The Don is at least due another day in court.

Stay tuned to this one. Let's also hope the mainstream papers in the state don't forget this case. Peace .. or War!

UPDATE - I've not time to digest this Bob Johnson reporting the The Advertiser but worth adding just for the smell factor that continues to add up. The more you scratch this case the more it seems to signal some monkey business was going on as to prosecuting The Don.

Left Coast Reporting on AL-GA-FL "Water Wars"

Jennie Jarvie of the Los Angeles Times provides solid coverage of the issue with her "Atlanta water use is called shortsighted : The rapidly growing metropolis' 'cavalier' attitude toward conservation is the real problem, critics say" . More to come as time allows yet expect little from Bu$hCo and these three GOP governors in the way of solid solutions. Peace ... or War!