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?