Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What IS it with Ron Lewis?

by Rich Miles
Wed. Nov 21, 2007

Though I'm originally a Louisville native, I've lived out here in Shelby County, Ron Lewis's congressional district, for more than 7 years now. That means I've had 4 chances to vote against Lewis, and I've taken every single one of those opportunities. Alas, we haven't been able to dislodge him yet, but hope still springs eternal in KY-2.

But there's something new in the air this year: Lewis actually seems to be trying to get re-elected (rather than merely trashing his opponent), for the first time since I've lived here at least. Let me explain why I say this:

In my 7 years as a KY-2 resident, I've written to Rep. Lewis probably 30 or 40 times on various issues. Added to that, I've signed an uncountable number of petitions that were delivered to Lewis among others.

In all those attempts to contact and/or express my opinion to Rep. Lewis, all I've ever received in return, before a few months ago, was a mass-mailed letter per contact, in almost every case a letter telling me that whatever I thought was wrong, and thanks very much for giving Rep. Lewis the opportunity to set me straight.

Well, that was then - when the Republicans arrogantly assumed they'd keep being re-elected for eternity - and this is now - when it's clear, at least in Kentucky, that Republicans not only CAN be, but ARE being soundly trounced at the ballot box.

So - Preacher Ron Lewis is actually making an effort, and has even learned a bit about technology. Here's how:

Since early August, I've received no fewer than 5 emails from Lewis's office, headered variously: Tired of High Gas Prices?, Of God and Country, Values in the Workplace, End Internet Taxes, and Honoring Veterans.

I also received, just yesterday as it happens, a 5X8 full-color postcard-style campaign literature piece. I hasten to point out that I am in NO way likely to be on any Repug mail or email lists, so these emes etc. were sent to the district at large when email addresses were available.

As a usually insatiably curious political junkie, I blush to admit that, after opening the first email and discovering its essentially electoral nature, I did not open the rest, nor did I give more than a cursory glance to the postcard.

But here's my point, regardless of the specific contents of any or all of these emails etc.: my and my fellow 2nd District voters' receipt of these emails and/or cards, coupled with the knowledge of Sen. McMitch's being the first senator up for re-election in 08 to hit the airwaves, in both men's cases even before they've been presented with bona fide opponents (Dr. Cassaro notwithstanding), says to me, not unreasonably I think, that the Republican candidates are reading the handwriting on the wall, and are scared spitless.

At least, I hope so. Certainly, they deserve to be scared.

So our job as Democratic operatives is to give them even more to be scared about, even more to spend their hard-earned campaign cash on, and even more reason to recognize that their arrogant, I-don't-care-what-the-people-think, Karl-Rove-and-Bush-are-GODS attitudes toward public service are kaput.

I for one cannot WAIT to see Lewis, McMitch, Bush et al. get their comeuppance, perhaps to run into them on the way to the SUI office, or behind the counter at a Mickey D's somewhere. From my admittedly subjective POV, it's long overdue, and a-comin' at them like a runaway train.

Crossposted at

Friday, October 05, 2007

Message to Congress: Override the SCHIP Veto, or Disband and Go Home

by Rich Miles

October 5, 2007

In writing this article, I'm going to operate on the assumption that the reader is aware that George W. Bush has finally and unmistakably signaled his utter contempt for America and the American people by vetoing the recent bill, called the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which would call for an increase of approximately $20 to $23 billion dollars over 5 years. If you don't know the details, read here.

Now that we've all arrived on the same page, let me make my point unmistakably clear:

Congresspersons of both Houses and both parties, if you do not vote to override this veto, only the fourth of the Bushevik administration, but the third to assault the basic right to good health for some segment of Americans, you will forfeit any chance you ever had to rein in this Reign of Terror of a presidency.

You know - or you should know, Congressperson or Senator - that Bush's entire modus operandi is centered around power: the gaining of it and the keeping of it for Bush and for anyone he deems worthy, by any means whatever, fair or foul (usually foul), and so far, for more than 6 1/2 years, he has wielded it virtually unchecked on every matter in which he has sought to do so. His only defeats, few as they were, he and Karl Rove managed to spin into "I meant to do that" errorless errors.

The Republican-led Congress had no wish to pull him up short, because they were sharing in the spoils in various ways, not least by keeping their seats in the Congress. And now, the Democratic-led Congress remains SO very frightened that someone is going to call them weak that they ARE weak, and the country drifts rudderless except for a madman of a captain and his equally-or-more insane underlings, who seem collectively determined to lead the ship of state onto the treacherous rocks of a war with Iran, among many other completely ridiculous and ineffectual and sometimes dangerous initiatives.

And still, as has so often been the case, the will of the people is not only thwarted, it's never even addressed - simply ignored. 72% of polled Americans WANT this legislation. It's passed by Congress but vetoed by Bush. And unless the veto is overturned, Bush gets even more reinforcement for his belief that he is infallible. Because so far, as far as can be seen in any consequences for Bush in SIX AND A HALF YEARS, HE'S RIGHT!!!!

So to reach for some sort of overarching meaning here, let me say this:

I BEG you, Congress: override the SCHIP veto. If you don't yank the chain on this madman NOW, you will never have another chance. You can never be taken seriously as a deliberative body again, and no matter how many bills Bush may veto, you will not be able to assert yourselves, because you, members from BOTH parties, will have completely lost the confidence of the people of this country.

You're almost there now.

Override the veto, or pack up and go home. Nothing else for it, lads and lasses. Be useful in the restoration of the Republic, or just give up and accept your obsolescence and your lack of courage, and enjoy a few rounds of golf or something, maybe some shuffleboard.

I've always operated, and history bears it out, on the assumption that America will recover from almost any wound inflicted on it from within or without. This time I'm not so sure.


Monday, August 27, 2007

ATTN: Dems - Stop being such WUSSES!!!

by Rich Miles

Had a little conversation with some folks over at the other day. Here's what they said:

Hey, Dems: Run against Bush -- and toughen up -- or lose in '08

And here's what I said in reply: much to agree with

Let's start with this little gem:

Elections are won and lost on associations, and right now, unless there's another terrorist attack on our soil in the next 18 months, the connection to George Bush is going to be a tremendous liability for any candidate ...

What a sad state America has reached, when it's even conceivable that our government could do such a thing - create such an attack intentionally. But the trust is lost, for me at least, and it will be a long time coming back if ever. Thus I can't say with certainty that there's no way this could happen - and neither can any of you.

I have said for years that the reason, in a nutshell, that Dems keep losing is that they are too polite. It's a broad generalization, but I believe it's apt. We have for so long - I'm talking 40 years or more - tried not to stoop to the level of the Reps' nastiness, and in so doing have allowed the nastiness to go unanswered and thus to become part of the national meme. It's as if we thought that if we just ignored the ill-bred, rude little bastards long enough, that they would go away.

I think we see now, and have been seeing for at least as long as the Karl Rove era, how well that belief structure works.

Westen mentions Al Gore and the 2000 debates - specifically, I remember Bush trotting out that old "Gore claims to have invented the Internet" crapola, and Gore did not respond to it, except possibly with an audible sigh. Surely, said most Americans who saw it or heard about it, if it were untrue Gore wouldn't have allowed Bush to get away with saying it, right?

And thus, due to lack of response, that story became part of the national mythos, and for a fair whack of Americans, remains so to this day.

Westen offers a scenario for Obama in which he might get the Coulter beast off his back, and perhaps shame her into stopping the schoolyard mocking of his middle name - let me take it a step further, and posit that what *I* want, and what I sense quite a number of my leftish colleagues want, is a general sense of the Dem candidates and Members of both Houses of Congress to start standing up to the Rep slime machine, to start, in essence, saying "STFU" to quite a lot of the crap the R's are putting out. But they won't, except at a very low level and very VERY occasionally.

And THAT is what I'm sick of, THAT is why Congress's approval rating is lower even than Bush's - I am overweeningly weary of seeing my party's leaders TAKING THE SHIT LYING DOWN YET AGAIN.

In addition to the current batch of freshman Dems mentioned in this story, see also the actions of Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY). He's not my congressman - I'm one district over and am stuck with Ron Lewis (R-Wingnuttia) - but I wish he were.

OK, to avoid going to book length, here's the story, Dems: good manners ain't gonna feed the bulldog.

I know it's arguable that the very qualities that caused you to choose to be a Dem to begin with might also be the very reasons that being tough in public discourse is so distasteful to you (and conversely, those qualities that make a person a Repug are exactly the ones that allow them to use such disgusting rhetoric etc. with no apparent pangs of conscience.)

But listen: if you get nothing else from this article, and my comment, and that of the others who are before and after me, get this:

You MUST learn to be sonsabitches when dealing with the Reps, or you will cease to exist as a political entity.

And so might America as a nation. Or at least as the nation we've thought we were for 200+ years.

We, the voters who put you there, have already given you permission to be SOB's. We can always fire you, as easily as we hired you, if you won't. November 08 ain't that far away.

And you know I ain't kiddin'.

Permalink to this Salon comment:

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Don't Forget these names

by Rich Miles
August 5, 2007

UPDATE with names of Dem Senators below.

I'm not the only one posting this. That's a good thing. Here are the names of the 41 Democratic members of Congress and the 16 Dem senators who voted for the dismemberment of the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, also known as S.1927, the black-comedically named "Protect America Act of 2007."

All the congresspersons and several of the senators are up for re-election next year.



In Congress:
Jason Altmire (4th Pennsylvania)
John Barrow (12th Georgia) Blue Dog
Melissa Bean (8th Illinois) Blue Dog
Dan Boren (2nd Oklahoma) Blue Dog
Leonard Boswell (3rd Iowa)
Allen Boyd (2nd Florida) Blue Dog
Christopher Carney (10th Pennsylvania) Blue Dog

Ben Chandler (6th Kentucky) Blue Dog - this sonofabitch is from MY STATE. He's not going back to Congress in 2009. Count on it, Ben ol' son!

Rep. Jim Cooper (5th Tennessee) Blue Dog
Jim Costa (20th California) Blue Dog
Bud Cramer (5th Alabama) Blue Dog
Henry Cuellar (28th Texas)
Artur Davis (7th Alabama)
Lincoln Davis (4th Tennessee) Blue Dog
Joe Donnelly (2nd Indiana) Blue Dog
Chet Edwards (17th Texas)
Brad Ellsworth (8th Indiana) Blue Dog
Bob Etheridge (North Carolina)
Bart Gordon (6th Tennessee) Blue Dog
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (South Dakota) Blue Dog
Brian Higgins (27th New York)
Baron Hill (9th Indiana) Blue Dog
Nick Lampson (23rd Texas) Blue Dog
Daniel Lipinski (3rd Illinois)
Jim Marshall (8th Georgia) Blue Dog
Jim Matheson (2nd Utah) Blue Dog
Mike McIntyre (7th North Carolina) Blue Dog
Charlie Melancon (3rd Louisiana) Blue Dog
Harry Mitchell (5th Arizona)
Colin Peterson (7th Minnesota) Blue Dog
Earl Pomeroy (North Dakota) Blue Dog
Ciro Rodriguez (23rd Texas) Blue Dog
Mike Ross (4th Arkansas) Blue Dog
John Salazar (3rd Colorado) Blue Dog
Heath Shuler (11th North Carolina) Blue Dog
Vic Snyder (2nd Arkansas)
Zachary Space (18th Ohio) Blue Dog
John Tanner (8th Tennessee) Blue Dog
Gene Taylor (4th Mississippi) Blue Dog
Timothy Walz (1st Minnesota)
Charles A. Wilson (6th Ohio) Blue Dog

In the Senate:
(The Senate vote was 60-28. Both parties had agreed to require 60 votes for passage. That means that any ONE Democratic Senator who voted Aye could have defeated this bill by voting Nay.)

I will post the names of the Senators who voted for this bill as soon as I can find them. Not sure why I'm having so much trouble finding them, since the Senate vote took place before the House vote and those were easy to find.

If you have them, post them or a link as a comment here, please. Thanks.

Roll Call vote #309, 110th Congress 1st Session, not available on THOMAS as of Sunday Aug. 5 at 5:00pm.

UPDATE: Found the Senate slugspawn: There are some REALLY disappointing names on this list:

US Senate: Evan Bayh (Indiana); Tom Carper (Delaware); Bob Casey (Pennsylvania); Kent Conrad (North Dakota); Dianne Feinstein (California); Daniel Inouye (Hawai‘i); Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota); Mary Landrieu (Louisiana); Blanche Lincoln (Arkansas); Claire McCaskill (Missouri); Barbara Mikulski (Maryland); Bill Nelson (Florida); Ben Nelson (Nebraska); Mark Pryor (Arkansas); Ken Salazar (Colorado); Jim Webb (Virginia).

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Day Hope Dies and Despotism Thrives

by Rich Miles
Aug 4, 2007

Senate Gives in on Wiretapping. 16 Dems Go Along.

TWO UPDATES BELOW - Second update is to several links explaining this "legislation"

Was talking to a friend the other day, someone who, while of a progressive/liberal turn of mind, didn't USED to be very politically active.

Anyway, in the course of a conversation about how the Bushies seem dead set on world domination and fascism, she brought a tear to my eye with just one sentence.

She said, "I just get so tired of the bad guys winning all the time."

Even after the much-ballyhooed "November revolution" last year; even after the supposed "good guys" wrested control of not one but BOTH Houses of Congress from the forces of Darkness that had held sway over all for 6 years; even after it had started to appear that the People had awakened from their long slumber, and their elected representatives would live up to their obligation to serve those who elected them - even after all that, things like the top link keep happening.

Our alleged "good guys" keep knuckling under to the neocons. Even some of our totemic heroes, like Claire McCaskill and Jim Webb, voted FOR this extension of even greater tyranny to the Bush administration.

Got it? They made evil LEGAL. It used to be ILlegal, but they made it LEGAL. They did it just because the Bush center of evil told to them to.

So now, one has to ask:

What hope can there be? Who can we turn to now, when even those we elected to save America haven't the courage to stand up to this batch of unalloyed evil that is the Bush White House?

How can the good guys EVER win again?

Or perhaps the real question is - are there any good guys left?

UPDATE: The House of Representatives passed the bill.

They politicked it absolutely perfectly. Beat the ASSES of the Democrats, practically (and in 41 cases, actually) forced them each and severally to press that Yea button.

How long is this going to go on? How long is the minority going to keep calling the shots? This bill could have been defeated if all the Democrats had voted against it - but 41 so-called "librul Dems" voted FOR giving this corrupt and fascistic administration even MORE power to fuck us.

Could someone please tell me: why is this new law NOT the same thing as the White House saying, "We know Alberto Gonzales is a total toady and fuckup. So we're going to give him vast new powers to spy on the American people"?

I mean, is there any other way to interpret this? And is there any other way to see the whole episode than as another nail in the coffin of the U.S. Constitution?

UPDATE 2: Links to the shit that hit the fan:

More Surveillance: No, Don't Stop to Think

It's Official, We Are a Police State (written by a former citizen of the Soviet Union)

The Stench of Weakness Pervades our Capital this Weekend

There are or will be more...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

If at First you Don't Screw Up Badly Enough, Try Again

by Rich Miles
June 28, 2007

So here's what the WaPo enlightens us with this morning:

Bush Plans Envoy to Islamic Nations

Hmmm...this whole concept seems awfully familiar. Where have I heard of this before?

Oh yeah...Karen Hughes named to State Dept. job

I mean, you really gotta read this. It's the exact same idea, even in some parts the exact same words used in describing it. Almost 2 years ago.

They really do think we're this stupid. They're right a lot of time about a lot of the country, but's galling.

What's really mystifying about this WaPo piece, though, is that the writer, Michael Fletcher, didn't know about Hughes' prior effort, or at the very most charitable, didn't find it worthy of mention.

Just as an idle guess, you s'pose the reason the first time out didn't take was that Bush sent a woman into one of the most sexually-segregated and gynephobic cultures on Earth? Never mind whether she had the smarts and the experience for such a mission (she didn't, but it had nothing to do with her gender) - why would you send someone as a supposed envoy for peace who would, by her mere appearance, inflame half of her audience and enrage the other half? Does that seem like a consideration worth taking? Or am I just being picky?

I'm just sayin', maybe that might have required a bit more thought in the first place?

Damn, I can't wait to be rid of these morons. January 09, c'mon!!!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Cheney to Rule of Law: Go Fuck Yourself!

by Rich Miles
June 22, 2007

(Originally posted in a slightly edited form as a comment on

(Updates below 1 - 2)

Without further introduction, from today's WaPo on this matter:

...Vice President Cheney's office has refused to comply with an executive order governing the handling of classified information for the past four years and recently tried to abolish the office that sought to enforce those rules, according to documents released by a congressional committee yesterday.

Since 2003, the vice president's staff has not cooperated with an office at the National Archives and Records Administration charged with making sure the executive branch protects classified information. Cheney aides have not filed reports on their possession of classified data and at one point blocked an inspection of their office. After the Archives office pressed the matter, the documents say, Cheney's staff this year proposed eliminating it.

(emphasis added)


To all the right-wingnuts who visit and occasionally comment on this site:

Where do we go from here? I mean, is this just OK with you, that this sort of lawlessness in the highest offices of our land go not only unpunished but virtually unremarked for nearly FOUR YEARS?

Will Pres. Bush call Cheney down on this, and fire him if he refuses to comply? (See update #2 below for the answer.)

Will the Gonzales Justice Dept. cite him, and charge him if he refuses yet again to comply with the law?

Will the stacked, 5-4 in-favor-of-Bush-as-God Supreme Court find constitutional fault with his recalcitrance?

Or will the just-barely-Democratic Congress find the votes, or more to the point the political courage to impeach an Executive Branch official who flaunts the law in this way?

Where do we, the people, go for redress when our leaders are not only lawbreakers but flagrant and admitted lawbreakers, who protect each other at the grave expense of our democracy?

This is the box that the Bush administration has built for our country: they have so successfully loaded our government and our courts with their friends and fellow-travelers that there IS no redress. Cheney will almost certainly NOT be called to task for this unconscionable breaking of the law, and no one can do anything about it.

And some folks, mostly right-wing nutcases who seem incapable of seeing what damage is being done to America and Americans on a daily basis, but also a few people who see themselves as "thinkers", think that's just A-OK. They think it will never backfire on them, and that the government that takes their civil rights from them is "protecting" them by doing so. They never seem to imagine what it would be like if some of these "protections" were used against them.

And so our nation sinks ever lower into the pit of despotism, and there are still folks who cheer the descent and those who are taking us there.

Seriously, folks, you on the right who think all this is OK: do you really want this - lawbreakers in positions of power - to be America's message to the world?

Never mind, I fear your answer would only depress me further.

In closing, let me offer this from Salon's Glenn Greenwald. Yes, he's a liberal - but that doesn't make him wrong. At least not automatically. If you still think Bush is a strong and steadfast and righteous leader, read this, with at least a half-open mind. See if there isn't something you can learn from it.

A tragic legacy: How a good vs. evil mentality destroyed the Bush presidency

The America Bush has created is NOT the America I grew up in, and is most assuredly not the America I wish to die in.

UPDATE 1: Cheney DID NOT say he is No Longer a Member of the Executive Branch: The Real Story is Much Worse

UPDATE 2: Bush claims oversight exemption too

Will no one stop these monsters?

Friday, June 01, 2007

WH Finally Cops: The 'Base' are Stupid

by Rich Miles
June 1, 2007

(Update below)

It's growing increasingly easy in recent days to find articles by the leading lights of supposed "conservative" thought outlining the death, indeed the cold-blooded murder, of conservatism at the hands of the Bush administration. Hardly a day goes by that some old GOP warhorse or other doesn't publish an opinion piece somewhere saying how much of a screwup GWB is, and how what the Republicans need now is someone who will return to "traditional conservative standards" in the 2008 campaign. In other words, the current rejection of the Right is because they haven't been Right-wing enough. The entirely laughable proto-candidacy of Fred Thompson is a case in point, as are the rumblings of that Smaug of the Right Newt Gingrich. If there were ever two candidates who would, if elected, ensure the death of America as we have known it for 200 years, these two would land near the top of the list.

But back to the massive "rats deserting a sinking ship" phenomenon: It's a tawdry spectacle, based mainly in these old farts' covering their asses in advance of an anticipated electoral conflagration, and perhaps even criminal charges against their overlords. The thinking seems to be: if we disassociate ourselves from the political and human carnage that is Bush NOW, perhaps he won't take us down with him when he, inevitably, goes.

But it's something else as well: it's a rehab project intended, once again, to pull the wool over the American people's eyes, and play to their stupidity, their intellectual laziness, and their short memory. In short, it's an attempt by a floundering GOP to resurrect the Reagan Era, aka "Morning in America." They hope we won't remember, and in some ways they may be right to hope it, that Reagan was a laughable old fraud whose main contribution to American history was his espousal of the (till then) biggest deficits in the country's history, and his failure to notice that, now communism was "defeated" with no help from him or his people, we needed to look to the Middle East and try to figure out what THOSE people are so pissed off about.

If there isn't already enough proof of this thesis found in the recent Republican candidates' debates, let me offer the following article, written by none other than the Grande Dame of right-wing apologists, former Reagan "special assistant", and Bush the Elder speechwriter Peggy Noonan:

Too Bad: President Bush has Torn the Conservative Coalition Asunder

There's a very interesting observation in the following quote from this article - as recently as two years ago, could you ever even have IMAGINED a leading Republican saying this?

The White House doesn't need its traditional supporters anymore, because its problems are way beyond being solved by the base. And the people in the administration don't even much like the base. Desperate straits have left them liberated, and they are acting out their disdain. Leading Democrats often think their base is slightly mad but at least their heart is in the right place. This White House thinks its base is stupid and that its heart is in the wrong place.(emphasis mine)

Frankly, I hope Bush and his dead-enders remain true to form, and continue to ignore the signs that are rife around them. I hope the Republican Party continues to think that the way to electoral victory is by simply digging in their heels and being even BIGGER warlike, bloodthirsty assholes than they are now. I hope they continue to miss, and ignore, and stomp on the will of the American people and the international zeitgeist.

But too many more articles like this one, and the GOP might just wake up to reality. At least, long enough to get elected again in 08. Then they can go back to the rape and destruction of America they've been bent on for at least the past 40 years.

Update 6/4/07
Dammit, dammit dammit:

Glenn Greenwald: The great rightwing fraud to repudiate George W. Bush

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Bush Corruption Has Now Reached Our Children

by Rich Miles
April 21, 2007

(See updates 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 below)

This post has been moved to the top of the site. Original date shown above.

I haven't done a lot of teaching in my life. I was an instructor in broadcast journalism for a year back in the 80's, and I taught general broadcasting technique at a couple of broadcasting schools for a while. Recently, however, due to some...shall we say, professional reverses, I signed up to become a substitute teacher in the school system in my county.

I've learned a lot in the short time I've been doing that, but mostly what I've learned is that most of the people whose regular, day-to-day, year-to-year living is made by teaching in our public schools are sick to effin' death of the No Child Left Behind Act.

And apparently, with good reason. The entire act is a multi-layered bureaucratic boondoggle that, far from facilitating teaching and learning, seems mostly to consist of mandating rules on teachers that force them to do that most heinous of educational acts: teaching to the tests.

The whys and wherefores of that would fill, in fact have filled several books. Suffice to say that jargon is king, and teaching materials are forced down the teachers' throats, whether the kids are actually learning anything from the techniques and materials or not.

And based on my short experience as a teacher, I'd have to say that in a significant number of cases, they're not.

I wondered why this was so when I first started subbing. I mean, even if the teachers do have to make sure the kids pass the standardized tests, why wasn't it still possible to teach a genuine curriculum even with those restrictions?

Today, an article in the Washington Post called Key Initiative of 'No Child' Under Federal Investigation brought the question, if not the local-level answer, into something like crystal clear focus: the Bush administration is using our national educational system as one more corruption-filled piggy bank for their big contributors, who as always are NOT delivering what they're being paid for, and are being grossly OVERpaid in the process.

Not content with the ill-gotten gains derived from the Halliburton no-bid contracts, and all the rest of the war profiteering, and the Duke Cunningham and Jack Abramoff and Rick Renzi and Tom DeLay and his wife and daughter and Michael Brown and Monica Goodling and Paul Wolfowitz and Reps. Jerry Lewis and Gary G. Miller and John Doolittle and Tim Murphy and former Rep. Curt Weldon and his daughter and who knows how many other cash-grabbing scandals, the Bushies are now seen for the past several years to have had a hand in the cookie jar of our kids' futures. They're stealing from our CHILDREN, for God's sake!

And this scandal, but one more on top of the thousands of others, will maybe get a day or two of traction, if that, and then the thieves will just go right on back to business as usual. There is NEVER any accountability for these people, and the rape of America just goes on and on. Even when they get caught, nothing changes.

Man, this shit makes me tired.

UPDATE 1 : Got an email from a friend asking how Goodling was included in the "cash-grabbing scandals". Here's my point: For at least the past 6 years, since two years after she graduated from a poorly-respected FOURTH-TIER law school, she has been taking a pretty hefty salary from the American people for a job that, now the pressure is on, she is clearly unqualified to do. At even the prospect of Senate questioning she has folded like a house of tissue-paper cards and gone into victim mode. I'd call that theft. I'd call it a good reason for Congress to insist she pay back her salary, though I know that will never happen.

We have yet to see her fingerprints directly on any transactions that steer large amounts of taxpayer money to unqualified "consultants" or the like, but that's only because she has hidden herself from the entire world, and promised to take the Fifth if anyone asks her even so much as her full name under oath.

So it's early days yet for Bush's Monica, but I have "faith" in her finally to show up as corrupt as her handlers.

UPDATE 2: Lest we forget, even the Bush family is or was directly profiting from NCLB: No Bush Left Behind: The President's brother Neil is making hay from school reform

Remember how Mama Babs actually defended her cub dipping into the federal honeypot?

UPDATE 3: Just for another little glimpse into the Bush family's dedication to education, take a brief look at this one: Jeb Bush WILL be Memorialized!!

UPDATE 4: The college loan people have been gaming the system for years - and here's one instance where Clinton personally sought to put a stop to it, and partially succeeded. Apparently he didn't count on just how corrupt and thieving these bastards can be: Whistleblower on Student Aid is Vindicated.

These people will steal the paint off the walls if they can turn a buck on it...

Friday, May 04, 2007

Connect the Dots! It's Fun and Easy!

by Rich Miles
May 4, 2007

Originally posted as a comment on at this link:

Will Justice probe block Gonzales aide's testimony?

Read the above-linked Tim Grieve story on Salon. It's not long.

Then read this story about Scott Bloch's and the Office of Special Counsel's "investigation" of three separate WH scandals:

CREW Says OSC is the Wrong Choice for Bush Investigations

Then finally, for now, read THIS story about the investigation by a WH "panel", whatever that means, into allegations of wrongdoing by Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction

White House Panel Investigates Inspector General for Iraq

They're not very difficult dots to connect, really. Every one of the above, and certainly more besides that are going on under the radar (so far), are attempts by this corrupt administration to appear to be doing something to address serious issues and allegations, while in reality - remember reality? - doing all in their power to shield the guilty parties, especially those in the top levels of government, almost certainly including those in the White House and Bush himself.

How much of this filth must we take? I mean really, how long will we be lied to, and OBVIOUSLY lied to, before people take to the streets and scream, finally, loudly and long enough to be heard?

Our government is LYING TO US DAILY about stuff that really matters, not just the piddling crap that all governments lie about, but real, honest to god life and death stuff. Why are we allowing it still?

Friday, April 27, 2007

What's at stake - what's REALLY at stake

by Rich Miles
April 27, 2007

The following started out as a short comment on, and just grew and grew as I wrote:

A commenter on BGR who calls himself "arejar" ended a brief comment with the observation: for the children's sake, vote Democratic.

I said the following:

arejar, that's a great campaign slogan! I'm not kidding, the Dem candidates in every race need to use that, over and over and over!

For the Children's Sake, Vote Democratic

Now, back to the subject at hand: my picks for Democratic Presidential nominee in 2008, based in part on the results of last night's (Apr. 26) first debate among 8 potential Dem candidates:

1 Gore
2 Edwards
3 Richardson
4 Obama
5 Gravel (I think he could do it, but in any case would be a hoot, and we could use some humor in the WH)
6 Kucinich I guess
7 HR Clinton
8 Mrs Kucinich (WOW)
27 Dodd
153 Biden

We also really MUST elect a Dem for the sake of the SCOTUS justices who are getting on in years and are trying their damnedest to wait it out till Shrub is out of office. They (Ginsberg, Breyer, Stevens and even Souter, fer cryin' out loud) are hanging on by their fingernails, and won't all make it another 4 years. Their avg. age is 75, and Stevens is 87. The 5 conservatives average less than 62 years old.

The next preznit of either party is going to get at least 2 and perhaps as many as 4 SCOTUS nominees, and it's almost certain that they'll all come from left-side retirements. Roberts and Alito are young enough to be there for a long time, and Scalia and Thomas are looking pretty healthy.

Oh and BTW, Kennedy can no longer be thought of in any real sense as a "swing vote" - did anyone read his majority opinion in Carhart? He's officially gone over to the Dark Side, IMO.

So just in case this little point has slipped by, look at the extreme right lean of the SC now, and imagine it with 2 to 4 MORE wingnut judges.

We gotta win this one, folks!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

No, the Polls don't just go "poof."

by Rich Miles
April 22, 2007

OK, people - I TOLD you this before, and some of you just didn't listen, so here it is AGAIN:


OK? It's not just something that a bunch of chrome-domed intellectuals do for fun over Bombay martinis - it's a way of collecting information, a way of learning what large numbers of people are thinking on various topics. Get it?

Polls are not the ONLY information we should pay attention to. They're not the results of an infallible and precise science. They are not the weathervanes by which public policy should always be conducted. But they ARE important!

So when our Preznit says that he doesn't listen to or pay attention to what polls say, that he's the Decider and he knows what's best, and it doesn't matter if the polls say he's wrong, what he's really saying that he is not paying attention to the people who HIRED him. He doesn't give a SHIT what you think. He doesn't think you even deserve to have your opinion acknowledged, much less acted on. Here's what he said at one of those rigged "Town Meetings" he holds once in a while to show himself and presumably us that he really is well-liked after all:

Sometimes the polls just go 'poof!'

Why is it so hard for the wingnuts to recognize that he just doesn't give a damn what they think? Or am I perhaps asking the wrong question? Are they so filled with fear and self-loathing that they actually WANT a preznit who tells them they're stupid and that their opinions are of no consequence?

We really gotta get rid of this "unitary executive" thing...

P.S. Here's the article in which I originally told you that Bush doesn't give a shit about you. As Molly Ivins said, when I tell you not to elect a politician from Texas, LISTEN to me!!!

We Don' Need No Stinkin' Will of the People

Friday, April 20, 2007

I think I finally understand

by Rich Miles
April 20, 2007

Alberto Gonzales finally cleared it all up for me.

For the past 6 years, I've been wondering what in the everlasting blue-eyed hell was going on in the White House - how could they be so consistently, constantly, unwaveringly incompetent, stupid, arrogant and lacking in even the most rudimentary understanding of how to govern.

But on April 19, ol' Fredo's appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee was like a big light bulb going off in my head. I finally figured it out:

They're fucking with us. They're, as we used to say back in the 60's, messin' with our heads. Just because they can.

I mean, really: what may be the most thoroughly incompetent performance by a Cabinet-level officer of the U.S. government in the history of the nation took place yesterday, right there on C-SPAN3, and the President of the United States says he's "pleased with the AG's performance", and Gonzales still has his "full support."

His Girl Shill Dana Perino actually calls Fredo "our No. 1 crime fighter."

And they do all of this with totally straight faces.

So seriously, it's reached a point, if it ever meant anything else, where they're fucking with us. They're just pushin' it to see how far they can go, how much they can get away with, how stupid the American people and the press really are, how much of it people will take.

Can't you picture it, though? Bush, Cheney, Rove, all sitting around in the White House living quarters, imbibing their favorite intoxicants - 20-year-old Scotch and blow for Bush, tanks of compressed Bush farts for Rove, the blood of Iraqi infants for Cheney - and gettin' shitfaced. Just getting giggle-assed loaded, and trying to figure out what they're going to try next.

"Hey...teehee...let's send FREDO up to the Senate! Man, he (snort) don't know shit, let them ol' Democrat senators try to get anything (heehee) out of him. Last time Fredo had an independent thought, he didn't recognize it and it died of loneliness."

I mean, wouldn't this scenario make a lot more sense than any other explanation we can come up with?

Foreign policy as stoner toy. Our soldiers as the butt of a big ol' joke. Our legal system as a bar game.

Now it all makes sense.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Bigger Question: Who Was Imus Talking To?

by Rich Miles

I first heard of Don Imus back in 1971. At the time, I was a drama student, but I'd always had an interest in radio as a possible career for me as well. I read an article in a national magazine describing what he did on the air, and it sounded like a lot of fun, playing records and making jokes about things. At the end of my first term in college, I went on a trip to New York City, and I actually got to hear him on the air, I think on WNBC-AM at the time, and what he was doing did indeed sound like fun. I don't remember him being insulting to people, though he may have been. I remember him being snarky (we didn't have that word back then, but that's what it was), and quick-minded, and silly, and I remember thinking that if I ever did get into radio, I'd like to do stuff like he did.

Years passed, and I'd occasionally hear more about him - his drug problems, his getting fired from this station or that, his morphing from a cool "downtown" NYC sophisticate into some sort of weird cowboy thing - though as I later learned, he was always a cowboy, he just hid it for a long time, until that point in history when even the stockbrokers in NY, men who had never been closer to a cow than a steak sandwich, started wearing cowboy garb. It was about the time that John Travolta's "Urban Cowboy" came out. That's when he came out too.

But before all that, some time after I moved to NYC myself in 1980, someone at NBC read some writing on some wall somewhere, and decided to convert the 65-year-old flagship station WNBC-AM into the country's first major-market sports radio station, WFAN. It was a hit, and despite the multilayered syndication and radio-to-TV deals that fell on it, Imus continued, all the way to the end of his career (just last week) to work for WFAN-AM, Sports Radio 66.

All the above is ancient history now. Don Imus has left the public airwaves for the time being, for being just a bit toooo much of a cowboy, and for grossly insulting a girls' college basketball team and most of the rest of decent humanity. Don't count him out, though - as ol' Don certainly knows, these things blow over eventually, and he may be back on the air in the not-too-distant future. Or failing that, there's always satellite radio. Hell, those people will take almost anyone - witness Howard Stern (the DJ, not the lawyer who apparently did Anna Nicole about the same time as 9 or 10 other guys.)

So anyway, in my typical bury-the-lede style, here's the point of all this: Don Imus was popular for years. He had a potential daily audience of tens of millions. Listeners liked him enough for him to move from NYC radio (AM radio at that) to national cable television. It seems unmistakable that he was producing an air product that people - some people, a LOT of people - liked. The "nappy-headed ho's" remark was not the first time he'd been racially and sexually insulting on the air - this was his shtick, it was to all appearances
what he did every day, and it was only this one time he got caught to a level and a degree that caused all this ruckus and got him fired.

So what made Imus, and his producers and his station owners and advertisers and listeners and co-hosts, believe that he could say something like that and get away with it? For clearly he DID think he could get away with it, or he wouldn't have said it.

The answer is obvious: he said what he said because he thought his listeners would agree with him, or at least not DISagree with him very much. He was talking to people who, he believed, thought like him, who were just as bigoted and sexist and mean-spirited as he is. After all, he'd been talking to those same people for years, so why would this time be any different?

And from a certain perspective, probably HIS perspective, this time it
wasn't any different - if you look around on the Web and in print, there are lots of folks saying that this was an overreaction, he was kidding, lighten up, get a life, let the guy have his job back. At the risk of engaging in the same kind of dismissive sophistry for which I frequently castigate others, those who say such things simply don't get it.

What was different this time, among many other things, was that he attacked people who shouldn't expect to be attacked, a bunch of college kids who had, additionally, just lost their "big game", and who had never set themselves up to receive this kind of attention, much less this kind of nastiness.

But still, from Imus's point of view, this was just like all the other times: my audience, he presumably said to himself, are just as big a bunch of assholes as I am, so I can say anything I want and no one will call me on it.

And if there's a question that needs to be asked in all this that hasn't yet been answered, it's this: what is it in the makeup of people who listen to a guy like Don Imus that would lead him to believe he could say what he said and get away with it?

And why did it take so long to catch him at it?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Zip! Zam! Pow!

Coupla things went by pretty quickly in the past few days: one because of the overwhelming proliferation of shit hitting various fans all over the Bush administration, and one because it was that most ephemeral of Internet phenomena, the blog comment that actually has something new and cogent to say.

Let's deal with the second item first: it was one of those things you read sometimes that doesn't quite register at the time, but that comes back to rattle around the brain pan later, after you leave the site. In other words, I have no idea who said this or where, but here's the thought that dug in like a fishhook:

After all the tortured amateur psychoanalysis of Bush and his motives for asinine behavior, and how he simply refuses to do anything that his father or any of his friends did or suggest he should do, the final truth is this: what he's learned is DON'T EVER END A WAR, ESPECIALLY IF THERE'S AN ELECTION COMING UP. Because if there's no war to use as a wedge against the opposition, and you have nothing else going for you, you'll lose the election.

It's not my thought, but it has the ring of truth, doesn't it? (If it's your thought, post a comment on this thread telling me where I can find this quote, and I'll do an update with that info.)

Second, and this went almost wholly unremarked in the MSM, here's what the Bush administration had to say in reaction to the massive demonstrations by Iraqi women and children in Najaf on Easter Sunday, in which they trashed American flags and chanted that America should get out of Iraq: This is a sign of all the progress we've made in Iraq. Note that: the progress WE have made.

As I may have said before, and will probably say again, every time you think the madness has reached as deeply as it possibly can, the Bushies do something so insane that the minds of millions simply can't wrap themselves around it, and we all just go "What?"

And that's what they count on. That we just won't believe such an obvious lie could be a lie, and so a lot of folks will believe it must be true.

They're called the 30 Per Centers, those folks. And they're the traitors who will bring America to its knees.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

To its illogical conclusion

by Rich Miles
April 5, 2007

NOTE: This piece was first published as a comment on a thread at on April 5, 2007. The thread consists mainly of David Swanson's Articles of Impeachment. It's worth a careful read, but it's also high-blood-pressure-inducing.

I may not be the first person to think of this, but try to imagine what will happen if - when - the above Articles of Impeachment or something like them are presented by the House to the Senate, and a trial begins, and Bush asserts that he has no constitutional requirement to take the matter seriously, respond to the charges, or even to leave office if convicted.

Such a declaration would be in keeping with his stated level of respect for the Constitution all through his presidency.

At that point, the only recourse would be to arrest him and Cheney, and probably a number of other WH operatives including Rove, in order to force them to take the impeachment seriously, and to prevent them circumventing the intent of the arrest.

And when the Senate issues a warrant of arrest, and there's no one who will carry it out because every imaginable law enforcement agency and agent has been compromised and co-opted, what do we do then?

The only thing to do would be to resort to the military for arrest. But in large part - no one knows HOW large - they've been turned to Bush's side as well. As examples, see Petraeus's recent partisan meetings with Republican operatives, Gates's history with secrecy, and on and on. Think Gen. Boykin and his "bigger God."

And even if a military arrest could be effected, there is ample evidence that Bush has created his own armed force in such organizations as Blackwater, who might (this seems to me more likely than not) attempt to defend him from arrest, or if they can't get there fast enough, to "spring" him from jail.

Imagine the international spectacle of a private army getting into a standoff, or perhaps even a shooting skirmish, with the U.S. Army, in defense of a convicted president, perhaps right on the White House lawn. Impossible? Not by half.

You see what Bush et al. have done to America? Not only does he ignore laws and assert the privileges of the "unitary executive", he's actually created a network of people in all branches, perhaps all departments, of government who will support him if Congress even tries to assert their constitutional prerogatives by passing laws to prevent him from anything he wants to do, or by trying to impeach him. He'll simply ignore them, as he has on so many other occasions. And America will then be faced with a set of choices that none of us want to make: either treat our president as an enemy of the people, or allow the destruction of our democracy to continue unabated.

As Glenn Greenwald said, quoted above and paraphrased now, the real problem here is that all of us - citizens, congressional leaders, ALL of us - have been operating on the assumption that "it can't happen here." But it CAN happen, and it IS happening.

I wrote a piece back in June of last year, called He's Not Leaving, in which I offered reasons why I think Bush is going to attempt to stay in office beyond January 2009. NOTHING that has happened since then has caused me to believe I was wrong in that forecast. In fact, if anything, events and actions by the administration since then, and the discovery of things that happened years ago but only recently came to light, have caused me to believe even MORE that this is what the Bush cabal intends - they're simply not going to allow elections to go forward, and are going at least to attempt to seize permanent power.

In that column, I surmised that "some combination of the Armed Forces and American patriots" would try to thwart this attempt - but even that no longer seems inevitable.

I think it was Nick Kristof who said, several years ago, that the trouble with covering this administration is that you have to be rude to get anything out of them.

I'd add to that: in order to tell everything there is to know about this administration, and to parse out what it means for America in both the long- and short-term, you have to sound like a conspiracy nut.

But the essence of this government's hold on power is that their lies, their power grabs, and their crimes are so bold, so audacious, so unbelievable that they are indeed not believed. The Big Lies are SO big that everyone who hears them simply rejects even the possibility that they could be true. And therein lies the danger for the American system of government: that we'll let it go on till it's too late.

There was a fella in Germany years ago who did this same sort
of thing. Perhaps you've heard of him. It was in all the papers.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

What took you so effin' long, Howie?

by Rich Miles
April 4, 2007

Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post is usually not someone I consider serious enough to even read much less comment on, and so it remains today. He is and has been for the past 6+ years one of the most reliable of Bush-suckers, who can take any event or statement or action on the part of the Bush administration and spin it into unalloyed brilliance, no matter how boneheaded the rest of the world thinks it is. His recent mini-epiphanies about how W just MIGHT not deserve canonization after all are dust in the wind to any thinking person who has lived since 2000. Usually, he's best ignored, because it's a waste of time and bandwidth even to address his ongoing attempt to turn the Bushian sow's ear into anything resembling a silk purse.

But ol' Howie has said something in his April 4, 2007 column that I simply can't let go by unremarked. Here it is:

"...Here's the part that bothers me. The president accuses the Democrats of being mainly interested in fighting "political battles" and engaging in a "political dance" (that seemed to be his metaphor du jour). Why is it not politics when he makes the case for a war in which he passionately believes--after years of using the war on terror as a partisan club--but it's politics when Democrats try to end a war they believe has been an abysmal failure? Isn't this precisely the kind of debate we should be having in a democracy?..."

Oh, fer cryin' out loud. So the light FINALLY comes on for little Howie Kurtz.

I mean, is it really possible that the WaPo, largest daily paper for our nation's capital, is actually paying someone to write for them who is as FECKIN' CLUELESS as the above paragraph shows Kurtz to be?

Is it even remotely conceivable that this national columnist, this political "observer" has no idea that this one paragraph pretty much sums up everything Bush's opponents have been saying for that entire six years?

Can he have no inkling that that very Bush administration habit - of making EVERYTHING, no matter what it is or how many people are dying as a result, political, is EXACTLY why people on the Left side of the aisle have gone from merely thinking him incompetent and bumbling to actually, dedicatedly HATING George W. Bush and everything he stands for, everything he does, and everyone who has ever even met him, much less works for him?

As I said in a previous post on this site, I have lost count of the number of times that some spokesperson or other for Bush, and even on occasions he, has said something to the effect that some particular thing is done for effect: the president "wants to appear" etc., or the president "was sending a message" etc., or the president "wants to make sure that people think" etc. - NOT what he will DO, but what he wants to APPEAR to be doing or to have done.

And THAT is the very essence of making everything in the entire effin' world POLITICAL - not what it is, but what it seems to be, so that people who observe this appearance will think something good about the appearance, and thus the one creating it. And thus, vote for him or those he supports, and keep himself and his cronies in POWER. Now, why is that so hard to figure out?

But Howard Kurtz, in that one little graf, has finally seen what at least 50% of the American people, and probably 90% of the entire rest of the world already know: that Bush is an ass, an incompetent and corrupt and unfeeling ass at that, and the worst president this country has ever had. Period. End of discussion - the worst.

Howard, you are complicit. YOU helped make this administration what it is, which is a horrible and gross failure, a literal killing machine of soldiers and civilians, because it's taken you so long to see what is right there in front of the faces of all the rest of us.

You, Howard - and Matthew Dowd, and Former Clinton inquisitor Bob Barr and Bush family friend Victor Gold, and dozens more who stood behind Bush when he had the whip hand but are now bailing on him (as you should have years ago) - you're too late.

You're culpable. And your foxhole conversions and convenient awakening to the patently obvious don't mean S**T to the rest of us - to the reality-based community.

Monday, April 02, 2007

How Low Can He Go?

by Rich Miles
April 2, 2007

I made a mistake.

I know, it doesn't happen often, but I really have to cop to this.

Back several months ago, when Bush's national approval ratings hit the low 30% mark, I said that this was very nearly as low as they could ever go. I said that there was a cadre of Bush-lovers that, if he walked in their back doors, pissed in their cornflakes, and raped their infant sons, would still support him, and somehow be able to twist their thinking around to where the cornflakes and the kid were ordained by God to receive that treatment. I estimated the size of that cadre at roughly 25% of Americans.

I was wrong, and I admit it.

Today, Booman Tribune, a website that bills itself as a Progressive Community, gives us proof in the form of a new poll from American Research Group that, in New Hampshire at least, Bush's polls have fallen even farther than I ever could have predicted.

Overall approval of Bush's job performance in this poll is 17%. Yes, that's right - SEVENTEEN percent. Even the Republicans polled in this instance only gave him a 42% thumbs-up.

Now, NH is not what one would call "typical" of all of America - which brings up the question as to why they have so much say in our presidential elections, but that's a topic for another time - but it is a significant bellwether for a certain segment of the country.

But just so we don't write off all those independent White Mtn. folks as a statistical anomaly, Booman offers us another poll from a wider geographic sample, showing that 22% of Independents approve of him, and overall only 32% like what he's doing on the economy. That means that the Republicans in that poll are about 42% in favor of what Bush does, and they're the only ones keeping ANY of Bush's numbers above 20%!

So apparently, I was wrong. Bush CAN drop below that fabled 25% mark.

Hey! You think maybe this means we can impeach him now?

Friday, March 30, 2007

Predictable, Hell! Predicted!

by Rich Miles

March 30, 2007

It’s been going on for six years now. Six years and a few months, to be more precise. And until very recently, no one noticed. No one in the mainstream press said a word about it, with the exception of Paul Krugman and Frank Rich and Molly Ivins (may she rest in peace), David Sirota and Jason Solomon and Bob Herbert and the like, and everyone knows how easy it is to ignore or roll over all those leftie pundits.

So now that it’s become unmistakably visible, and the whole world is watching while it happens, those same folks in the national media (not the ones mentioned in the previous paragraph, but most of the rest) are shocked! shocked!! to discover that the Bush administration has been loading the judicial system at every level they can get their grubby hands on with “loyal Bushies” – people in the legal profession who are willing to subvert the laws, the very basis of this country, for political ends. Who will choose who to prosecute and who to leave alone based on what effect those choices will have on elections, and on the “unitary executive”, and on their own personal power bases.

People like John Roberts. Samuel Alito. John Ashcroft pushed out of the AG job to make room for Alberto Gonzales – the president’s own personal lawyer, given the job of the nation’s top law enforcement official. Who didn’t see that coming?

People like Kyle Sampson, credited with coining the term “loyal Bushies”, who sees no fundamental difference between “political” and “the priorities of the president”; and Monica Goodling, a graduate of not one but TWO fundamentalist Christian colleges whose aims are to insert “biblical” law back into the law of our land, and who went from fresh out of law school to being the DOJ’s White House liaison in a scant 6 years. People like – and here’s one to think hard about – the OTHER 85 U.S. Attorneys who were NOT fired. Who were presumably “loyal enough Bushies”, partisan enough, willing enough to do as they were told not to get put on that list that Karl Rove says didn’t exist. And let’s not forget Harriet Miers, so unqualified to serve on the Supreme Court that she finally forced even Bush to face reality – and who is also the great thinker who originally wanted to fire ALL 93 of the U.S. Attorneys. John Yoo. Jay Bybee. The list is just too long of people who have subverted our system of justice in the name of a “permanent Republican majority.”

And all of this was not only predictable, it was predicted. In fact, some folks have virtually SCREAMED that our courts and prosecutors were being set up to aid Republicans politically, that if things kept on as they were there would come a day when no one with even remotely leftish political leanings could ever HOPE to get a fair shake in any federal court and not many state ones, in any matter at all. And no one listened. The High Heidyuns of the American press pooh-poohed, and said, well, Bush won and he has the right to appoint whomever he wishes to these jobs, and it was the duty of the Senate to confirm them. Or, the prosecutors serve at the pleasure of the president, and he can fire them any time he wishes for any reason. Or, this is a personnel matter, and not subject to Senate oversight. Or Clinton did it too. Or – my favorite – the slipping into the Patriot Act renewal of a small codicil that allowed all this to happen without Senate confirmation was NO BIG DEAL!!!

And that’s just what the mainstream people have been saying – the rightwing nutcases like Limbaugh and Savage and Chris Matthews and Fox Noise have been saying that the Congress has no right to question anything Bush does about anything, including sending our soldiers to war on false pretenses. So he lied us into a war that’s killed 3240+ Americans and who knows how many Iraqis – so what? Whattayou gonna do about it, you wussy Democrats? This is our country now, and you can lay down and die.

But you can’t say this wasn’t predicted. You can’t say it just sneaked up on us out of nowhere. I mean, why do you think we all, those of us in the "reality-based" world, fought so hard to defeat Bush in 04? It was because we KNEW this was coming – a dictatorship, a fascist state, a hate-filled theocracy – in short, an America we could never have imagined even a decade ago, despite the fact that its roots were well-laid by then.

So listen, wingnuts - you who think this is just fine, and what's all the leftie whining about: when they come for you, don’t cry about it to me. I knew it. 49.3% of those who voted in 2004 knew it. 50.4% of those who voted in 2000 knew it, for Christ’s sake.

Why didn’t you?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Not only the Worst Ever, But the Worst Imaginable

by Rich Miles

For perhaps the fifth time in the past several months , today I read an article about how the head of the GAO - formerly the General Accounting Office, now the "A" stands for Accountability - is traveling all over the country, telling everyone who will listen that the American government, under the alleged leadership of the "fiscal conservative" Republican president, is piling up a wad of debt that, quite literally, will bring this country down if it is not brought under control, and soon.

Let me sum up what GAO Chief David M. Walker said: the national debt - not the federal budget, that's another big-ass number - but the DEBT, which is a much BIGGER big-ass number - the money the American government owes to everyone who ever bought a US Treasury note or savings bond or any other loan instrument of the US government, is approaching $9 TRILLION.

Let me say it again, this time as a number: $9,000,000,000,000!

If you don't know what that means, first of all you're too stupid to live in America, and second, here's what it means. And as has been said many times by those far more educated about fiduciary matters than I, an unbelievable lot of that $9 TRILLION of debt is in the hands of people who are not Americans, and who don't have the best interests of America at heart. Like China, and Russia, and even Japan.

You ever know someone whose mortgage got called? Someone who had their home repossessed and sold at auction to strangers? That's what happens people don't pay their debts.

Can you even imagine what happens when a country doesn't pay ITS debts? Who repossesses? Who goes to the auction to buy it? You think this is impossible?

Imagine 100 million pissed-off Chinese who can't cash in their U.S. Treasury bonds because there is NO MONEY TO PAY THEM WITH.

Seeing this - the $9 TRILLION debt figure - said yet again by Mr. Walker, and knowing that the likelihood is great that no one will pay any more attention to it this time than they did the other several times, it brought to the surface a thought that I've had many times:

Not only is George W. Bush the worst president in the history of America, he is the worst IMAGINABLE president that America COULD have at this particular point in history. Here's part (and only a small part) of what I mean:

- Even before 9/11, our relations with governments and peoples in the Middle East were fraught with danger and misperceptions of our intent for them. So we elect a man who set out almost from day one not to make those problems better, but to make them worse - to assert his manhood, and in the process make the people of that region hate and fear us even more than they did. At this task, he has succeeded beyond the wildest imaginings of his neo-con handlers.

- At just the moment in time at which it becomes clear that human activity is contributing greatly to global warming, in a way that is no longer negligible or able to be put off to another generation, we have a president who not only will do nothing about the problem, and not only depends on the sale of fossil fuels for his and his family's fortune - he even denies that the problem exists for several years, while it gets worse. What could we have done to at least start to correct some of the damage in those years? We will never know.

- At precisely the moment in history when medical science starts making exponential leaps toward eliminating or greatly reducing all manner of human suffering and disease, we have a leader of the most powerful nation on Earth whose religious "faith" prohibits him and his followers from aiding that science with government support.

- At the moment in history when America had become the only superpower, and was beginning to see signs that actually meant something for peace in the world, along comes a government who seems almost hell-bent on destroying our armed forces by overuse and neglect, and weakening us to a point where our enemies - of whom there are now far more than there used to be - might actually get bold enough to attack us unprovoked.

- And right after a brief period of prosperity for our country unlike almost any other in our history, when the federal government has surpluses for the first time in decades, and looks like reducing the national debt to a manageable size after the excesses of the Reagan and Bush 41 years, we elect a president who plunges us into a staggeringly costly and unnecessary war, while cutting taxes to keep himself in power and to enrich his political base, and turning a blind eye to cronyism, war profiteering and incompetence, and after six dedicated years of listening to NO ONE who tells him otherwise, our national economy is on the verge of bankruptcy if action is not taken VERY soon to right the ship of state as it lurches toward insolvency.

I could go on and on. But in short, above are a few arguments as to why everything Bush stands for and does is the exact opposite of what America and Americans need at this exact time in our national life.

Not only the worst president ever, but the worst possible president for the times in which we live. And the damage this man and his administration are doing to America is not over yet.

We'll be lucky to come out of it alive.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Parsing the Obvious, When No One Else Will

by Rich Miles

You know what my biggest weakness is as a political commentator and writer?

OK, other than that...

It's that I don't trust my instincts.

I think things that to me, seem so obvious that I simply can't bring myself even to commit them to paper, or bandwidth, because surely everyone KNOWS that already. So I don't say it, but then, neither does anyone else, and so I assume that it's just SO obvious that everyone already knows it.

But several times in the past, and lately an awful LOT, I've been seeing respected voices say the things I've been thinking for years, as if they were new ideas, or novel observations that no one had ever thought of before.

And when that happens, it really pisses me off that I didn't say it when I first thought of it. Here's an example:

Andrew Kohut, he of the Pew Research Center, agreed with me today. He said something that I've been saying since at least the middle of 2004, and I may have thought it sometime in '03.

Here's what he said: that Bush won in 2004 because the country was still being affected by the attacks on 9/11.

Now, isn't that the most obvious thing to say about that election? That a president who had actually lost the popular vote in 2000, and who may have jiggered the vote to steal the election in Florida, was helped to a 50.7% popular-vote victory because the voters were still reeling from the most horrific attack ever committed on American soil? Is that not so axiomatic as not to merit mention?

And so, I didn't mention it. And apparently, neither did anyone else, or at least no one else whose voice was heard in any real way, until Mr. Kohut said it today.

So here's another "obvious" observation that I've never seen anyone else utter aloud or on paper:

Bush started a war, now clearly on false pretenses, so he could then say, "You can't get rid of me - we're at war, and you endanger our country if you change leaders in the middle of a war."

See how it works? See what Bush and his thugs have done to this country?

Now why aren't we impeaching him?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Decider, or Out of the Loop?

by Rich Miles

OK, so let me see if I've got this right:

George W. Bush is the Decider. He doesn't need to read newspapers because he has the best sources of information in the world right there with him - his White House staffers. He knows what's going on everywhere because he has such wonderful people telling him everything.

And now, for the Congress to insist that (at least) two of those advisers - Karl Rove and Harriet Miers - testify publicly and under oath, would mean that he could no longer get full and honest and open counsel from these advisers, because they would constantly be second-guessing themselves for fear they'd be hauled before a congressional committee and forced to justify themselves and tell what they advised the "Decider" to do. That's the current dodge Bush et al. are using to keep the truth from the American people. (Well...that and the bogus claim of executive privilege.)


Bush knows nothing. Nothing at all, nothing to see here, let's move on.

Despite an incomplete paper trail of emails, which even in its incompleteness shows pretty conclusively that SOMEone inside the White House was deeply involved in the efforts to fire at least 8 US Attorneys and replace them with "good Bushies", or as they're better known "political cronies", the President of the United States was not one of those people. He didn't know about it in advance, he wasn't consulted about this, it was all someone else's fault.

So which is it? Is he the Decider, who has his finger on every pulse on every topic, or is he the guy the WH staff keeps in the dark so they can protect him from his rightful culpability when the shit hits the fan, as it's doing now in ProsecutorGate?

Because he can't be both. He can't know everything and nothing at the same time. So the question boils down to this: what did the President know, and when did he know it?

Why does that sound so familiar?

Remember the Iran-Contra Affair? Google it if you don't, because there are some alarming similarities in the actions of the father and the son. Remember "I was out of the loop"? Remember that Bush the Elder was the first US President EVER to issue a pardon to anyone for any reason on the eve of the start of a trial?

But mostly, remember "I was out of the loop"?

Maybe it's not totally true that Little George won't do ANYTHING his daddy did.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Geez, people! Get a freakin' grip!

by Rich Miles

Author's Note: The following piece was originally posted as a comment on on March 10, 2007 at this permalink: When Losers Talk About Victory and Supporting the Troops

I'm getting just about fed up with this stuff about what "The Democrats must" do!!

Have we already forgotten that it took SIX YEARS to get us into this mess? Not just Iraq, that's only the worst of it - but the whole stinkin' neocon mess in which America now is mired?

Have we forgotten that for FOUR of those years, Bush was still more or less liked by somewhere in the range of 50.001% of America? And was having his bloody way with us, with virtually no resistance, ALL that time?

And left-leaning folks all over the web, including here, want it all cleared up and cleaned up in only two months! Hell, even if you count the Dems as being in control of Congress since Election Day, which we can't, it's only 4 months!

And people piss and moan about how the Dems haven't "done" anything yet - what the hell do you think they're supposed to do, storm the Oval Office and drag the bastard out kicking and screaming? As soul-satisfying as that mental picture might be to many of us, it just ain't gonna happen that way.

We are in the midst of a process - a very difficult and delicate process, and one that our leaders on the Left are a little unfamiliar with, since the Repugs essentially shut us out of government in 1994.

So lighten up a little, OK?

Yes, I want our soldiers out of harm's way ASAP if not sooner. Yes, I want impeachment proceedings to start. Yes, I want Bush and Cheney and the whole lot of them not only removed from office, but humiliated and punished, lest some other tinpot tyrant in the future decide to try this again, since there were no serious consequences this time.

But it's gonna take a while, and for our side - the Reality-Based Side - to whine about how long it's taking to undo 6 years of tyranny and its concomitant effects just PLAYS INTO THE HANDS OF THE NEOCONS, fer cryin' out loud! They say the same things, because they're too effin' stupid to simply shut up and let the Dems destroy themselves - which is exactly what we're headed for if we don't get it together, and support our people as they get their bearings and figure out where the toilets and the dining room are on Capitol Hill.

Frankly, I think they're doing pretty damn good so far - but they're not miracle workers, and we - the PEOPLE - need to remember that!

Keep at it. Work toward 2008. But don't take down our people the way the criminals in power are trying to! Have a little patience. As much as it hurts to do so.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

A Cure for Global Climate Change

by Rich Miles

(Thanks to DemforChange for the inspiration for this piece)

Omigod! The brilliance of the plan! The sheer, world-class genius!

I've been wrong about George W. Bush. He really is a great leader, and the Decider he keeps telling us he is. He's formulated a plan to end global warming!

It's called nuclear winter.

Think of it: Our president is intent, is totally committed to, is obsessed with attacking Iran. He's dying to kick some new raghead ass, and this time he really means it.

This time he's going 'nucular'.

See, here's the kicker: Bush has shown himself willing to use nuclear weapons against Iran, despite the indisputable fact that Iran has no nuclear weapons now, and isn't expected to have them for at least 5 years.

That's bad enough - to unleash the hideous death-dealing power of a nuclear weapon, or perhaps more than one, on a nation that is no threat to anything American except the self-esteem of its president. It's enough that the "most powerful man in the world" is considering using the most powerful weapon ever devised by the mind of man on what will almost certainly be a large proportion of civilians.

But what is worse is that is that virtually every sane voice with any knowledge of the matter believes that ANY attack on Iran will do nothing less than inflame the entire Muslim world against America - and those countries that are now trying desperately to remain on our side, or at least neutral, will suddenly and forcefully become our sworn enemies.

And if there were ever any chance that we will, in America, have to "fight them here" instead of over there, the nuking of Iran will virtually ensure it will come to pass.

But from the psychopathic point of view of George W. Bush, there will be two important upsides as our nation engages in a world war that will make the last two look like school picnics: Once and for all, little Georgie will have proven himself more of a man than Poppy, and when the mushroom clouds start sprouting like...well, like mushrooms, all over the globe, not just in Iran - that pesky global warming stuff will stop bedeviling him.

Oh, my poor nation. Oh the humanity.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Doing it on purpose

by Rich Miles

Today is Feb. 1, 2007.

Within the last week, we've discovered that:

- The US may have botched the training of Iraqi police recruits by outsourcing the job to unqualified private contractors - and then failing to follow up to see if the contractors were even TRYING to do the job.

- Our troops, who are fighting Bush's War, many of whom don't even know why, are underequipped even to the point of not having enough ammunition.

- Our government sold spare parts for fighter aircraft to people who then resold them to Iran, the country that Bush is now fully erect to attack.


- The nominee for the Director of National Intelligence has a $2 Million a Year Conflict of Interest

And that's just within the last WEEK.

So a question, actually two questions, that I've asked over and over for the past 4 years or more comes up once again: Are these people screwing up on purpose? And if so, WHY?

I mean, what other explanation can there be? The law of averages would seem to dictate that they'd get SOMETHING right occasionally.

But no - I cannot think of one single thing - not ONE, not even a hospital being built or a schoolhouse being painted - that this administration and this Defense Dept . and this State Dept. and this Justice Dept.(oh, don't get me started on the Justice Dept.!) has not utterly and totally
screwed up.

The above examples in the links are pretty much prima facie - not open to much interpretation. But one has to admit it's true that "screwing up" is a moving target - or "in the eye of the beholder" as my dear ol' grandpa used to say. (It's true - he really did, he said "screwing up is in the eye of the beholder")

So let us, in the interest of fairness, allow that some will not think presidential signing statements are "screwing up", despite their apparent extraconstitutionality and their clear intent to place the president above the law; or that the Justice Dept. removing career federal prosecutors, many of them right in the middle of major cases against drug smugglers, terror suspects, and corrupt politicians, and replacing them with political appointees of questionable competence but unquestioned, unquestioning Republican loyalty is not, on any sort of objective scale, "screwing up."

Perhaps some will say we're too harsh to call it "screwing up" when our country's chief law enforcement officer says that the Constitution does not guarantee the 800-year-old legal principle of habeas corpus, or when Bush signs an executive order 'that gives the White House much greater control over the rules and policy statements that the government develops to protect public health, safety, the environment, civil rights and privacy.'

And perhaps there will even be some who think it's not screwing up for the government to interfere in the ability of scientists to tell the world about global warming and other scientific matters.

But as some folks are saying about Bush's War, if this isn't screwing up, what is? Can the world, quite literally, survive any worse screwing up than this entire administration and everything they do?

So - way down the page, back to the second of the two questions: since it seems unquestionable that they're doing it on purpose, why?

Sadly, frighteningly, there is an answer to that question: Christianists on the March

"...A period of instability will permit them to push through their radical agenda, one that will be sold to a frightened American public as a return to security and law and order, as well as moral purity and prosperity."

In other words, they need chaos to thrive. Who better to give it to them than George W. Bush and his humanity-challenged thugs?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Let's talk about the death penalty

Bluegrass Report: Death Penalty

Well! Here's a perfect can o' worms to jump into...

Note the dichotomy of the two views expressed in this story: that it COSTS the state a lot to sentence someone to the death penalty (true, and known for a long time), and that the death penalty is "inconsistent with evolving standards of decency", which has always been true, nothing "evolving" about the indecency of it, but overlooked when convenient.

So which is more important to us here in the early 21st century, at a point in history where this issue has been debated'll pardon the expression...death?

Is the cost-effectiveness of life imprisonment without parole more advantageous to the state than the decency issue?

I submit that the cost issue is also a time issue - that the costs to the state of multiple appeals is not only higher in real dollars, but is incurred in a shorter time span than the cost of maintaining a prisoner for life, and thus the average life-without-parole costs can be amortized over a longer time period.

That's really what this argument will come down to eventually, in fact to a certain degree already has: a cost-benefit analysis, and public decency, while spoken of often, will ultimately have little or nothing to do with it.

I remember a sci-fi story some years ago - don't remember the title and would appreciate help from anyone who does remember it - in which the main premise was that the death penalty could be imposed for nearly any infraction, even jaywalking, because the executed person's organs could then be harvested to improve or save the lives of the "law-abiding" citizens - thus, there was a societal benefit attached to every execution. And thus there were an awful LOT of executions.

We're not quite that far gone yet, it was fiction after all - but this story says a little more than I'm comfortable with about how much we may be headed there.

These things are never quite as simple as they appear, are they?