Dover Bitch

Thursday, August 31, 2006

America deserves a real discussion

Following up on the post about fascism, the reason DB will go to sleep feeling pretty good is that today we saw two examples of influential people (Rocky Anderson and Keith Olbermann) speaking not just truth to power, but reclaiming our right as Americans to speak, period.

Sure, there have been moments in the last few years when it felt so good to hear somebody tell it like it is. But all the while there has been a constant effort to keep America from having an honest debate about the direction of the country.

Forgive the late-night rant, but it cannot be a secret to anybody that the GOP and its supporters have made it a mission to stifle dissent and prevent debates from taking place.

It happened when Kerry was swiftboated. In their wildest dreams, those liars couldn't have imagined that the charges would stick, that the Kerry campaign would be so slow to respond, that the media would be so complicit in the attacks. John O'Neill was on practically every cable news show.

John F. Kennedy, in his inaugural speech said "Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans." But in the 2004 campaign, we were robbed of our right to a real national debate. While the problems facing our and future generations were looming, we were forced to rehash a debate that aired on the Dick Cavett Show a generation earlier. That was the swiftboaters' goal: To distract the nation and steal our chance to have a real candid discussion about our future. The damage to Kerry's candidacy was just gravy.

Bring up the question of warrants for wiretaps and watch them turn the debate to the effectiveness or necessity of tracking terrorists. Nobody in America -- nobody -- thinks we shouldn't track terrorists and everybody in America knows it. But the media doesn't play host to the debate we deserve.

Bring up the question of oversight and watch them change the subject to the seriousness of fighting terror. The media puts up the poll numbers and, again, refuses to play host to the debate we deserve.

Bring up any alternate plan for Iraq -- phased withdrawal, benchmark withdrawal, partitioning, etc. -- and listen to the howls of "cut-and-run" and "cowardice" instead of any oversight or constructive discourse.

You're either for drilling for oil in Alaska and off the coasts or you're for continuing our dependence on foreign oil. Raising our fuel-efficiency standards doesn't make it into the debate at all because the GOP way isn't the best way, it's the only way.

They don't want us to have a real debate about anything. They've already hatched their schemes and there is no point to any discussion about it. They are never persuaded to follow any other course because when they are sworn into office, they carry with them a mandate, regardless of the margin of their electoral victories.

And the bought-and-paid-for media just doesn't care. When events in the world spark inquiries into the administration's capabilities or the soundness of their decisions, a terror alert or reminder that we should be afraid and quiet is enough to prevent any real engagement with the issues. It doesn't even need to be a remotely good reason; warnings of wandering black holes in the galaxy or super-volcanoes on Earth had to suffice this week.

Or some tabloid garbage supersedes all reason. The media was supposed to have learned its lesson when 9/11 came on the heels of non-stop Gary Condit coverage. Then Katrina hit during Aruba-vision. This month, in the midst of two costly wars and tremendous developments in the wiretapping case, we were asphyxiated with John Mark Karr. Even if he had been the real murderer of Jon Benet Ramsey, enough is enough. The fact that he lied is just salt in the wound.

And then, there are the Democrats who enable the scoundrels who steal our right to a real dialog.

"I, too, disagree with the president on every major domestic issue from taxes to Social Security. Yet I believe those issues are trumped by the overriding need to defeat international terrorism, the biggest threat to our freedom."

Thank you, Ed Koch. And thanks, Joe Lieberman, for the concern about "undermining the president's credibility."

And on the floor of the Senate or in the halls of Congress, the debate is just as easily avoided. John Murtha makes a proposal and the GOP puts a bogus, superficial rip-off up for debate, just so it will be voted down with prejudice.

Minimum wage comes up for a vote and instead we get to hear a debate about whether it should be paired with the proposed repealing of the estate tax.

Important legislation about our nation's health care or energy policy is written in secret and passed without a chance for the public to evaluate it. Instead of debating Kerry's health care plan on its merits... instead of criticizing any flaws in the plan and offering America a chance to consider and possibly improve it or legitimately decide against it, the GOP said we should all fear a complicated government takeover of our medical decisions. That was the extent of the debate on the future of our health care system: Should we have a giant bureaucracy or not?

Practically nobody read the Patriot Act. How can we call this a true democracy when we don't even get to hear about our possible choices? They don't want us to have any choices.

During the campaign, they said Kerry had no plan. When he published his plan, it was automatically a horrible plan that would cost trillions. There is nothing in between "no ideas" and "horrible, dangerous ideas." There's no reason to expect more from the political operatives, but the media is supposed to fill that void. Tragically, the media is just not interested in presenting us with the information we need to make informed decisions and force accountability on our leadership.

Even when our most statesmanlike Senators have an actual debate, there are always reasons why something shouldn't even be considered. While Sens. Feingold, Boxer and Kerry were trying to get their amendment to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq considered, we heard this:

Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I say to my colleague that I agree fundamentally with the premise that the Iraqi people, in the final analysis, are the ones who are going to be able to bring about their own measure of democracy and enable this Government to exercise sovereignty.

Other Senators want to participate, so I will soon yield. I know both of us have had the opportunity to serve in the military. There is nothing more painful than the loss of a brother member of the service. I don't know about you, but it has been difficult for me today to contain my absolute outrage about what happened, Mr. President, to these two young soldiers who raised their right arms and volunteered for this service in Iraq, to have been captured and brutally mauled and executed.


What did you feel when we lost these two individuals? I know you felt it probably as badly as I did. I cannot understand why they could be saying over there that, see what we did, we beheaded two, and what did the Congress do? It passed this law that said our troops would be redeployed by July 1, 12 months from today.

Senator, timing in life is everything. The timing for this concept you have has not arrived, I say to my good friend.

Ripeness is all, as Shakespeare wrote. But as respectful as Sen. Warner was to Kerry, his message is infuriating. Our nation lost 63 brave soldiers in Iraq in the month of June. Sixty-three. Those deaths occurred on 20 of the 30 days in the month. That means the chances were twice as great that the amendment would be brought to the floor as a soldier was giving his or her life for this country. Not only is it shameful to use their deaths to evade the responsibility of the Senate to practice oversight, those morbid details and numbers are even more of reason to actually consider alternatives to the failing strategy of staying the course.

America deserves a real debate. Had we been allowed a real debate before going to Iraq, we might not have been stuck in this horrible war. We were entitled to that debate, but were denied.

We were denied because we were only given facts that supported the decision Bush had already made. We were denied because the media and pundits didn't respect their role in our society and didn't give an adequate platform to those who rejected the party line.

We were denied because too many career politicians in both parties made calculated political decisions instead of representing a diverse electorate.

We, as Americans, are entitled to a real debate about our future. We've been denied in the past, and Donald Rumsfeld upped the ante on Monday by, as Olbermann said, "question[ing] the morality and the intellect of those of us who dare ask just for the receipt for the Emporer's New Clothes."

It's about time the people in this country say they've had enough of this. Yesterday was a tremendous day for America because two men with a well-crafted message, a microphone and a huge crowd or prime-time audience finally did. Let's make sure that tomorrow there are even more people demanding respect for ideas and free expression. Someday we just might be able to go back to taking our rights for granted.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Give us the truth

Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson did not disappoint today, following his past performances with a stirring speech (PDF & HTML at Kos & Video at onegoodmove) at the big Bush protest, successful despite the best efforts of the GOP, who are hell-bent on shutting down debate.

Blind faith in bad leaders is not patriotism.

A patriot does not tell people who are intensely concerned about their country to just sit down and be quiet; to refrain from speaking out in the name of politeness or for the sake of being a good host; to show slavish, blind obedience and deference to a dishonest, war-mongering, human-rights-violating president.

That is not a patriot. Rather, that person is a sycophant. That person is a member of a frightening culture of obedience -- a culture where falling in line with authority is more important than choosing what is right, even if it is not easy, safe, or popular. And, I suspect, that person is afraid -- afraid we are right, afraid of the truth (even to the point of denying it), afraid he or she has put in with an oppressive, inhumane, regime that does not respect the laws and traditions of our country, and that history will rank as the worst presidency our nation has ever had to endure.

Separately, Keith Olbermann delivered a much-deserved rebuke of Donald Rumsfeld and his ironically fascist rhetoric. This clip will go down in television history as one of the most compelling moments of frankness and true patriotism from a broadcast journalist.

Mr. Rumsfeld is also personally confused, morally or intellectually, about his own standing in this matter. From Iraq to Katrina, to the entire "Fog of Fear" which continues to envelop this nation -- he, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and their cronies, have -- inadvertently or intentionally -- profited and benefited, both personally, and politically.

And yet he can stand up, in public, and question the morality and the intellect of those of us who dare ask just for the receipt for the Emperor's New Clothes.

In what country was Mr. Rumsfeld raised?

As a child, of whose heroism did he read?

On what side of the battle for freedom did he dream one day to fight?

With what country has he confused the United States of America?

Well done, Rocky.

Well done, Keith.

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No Compassion

DB has always been a fan of the Talking Heads and, in particular, the song "No Compassion." But the song has so much more meaning today with our "Compassionate Conservative Decider" at the helm:

In a world
Where people have problems
In this world
Where decisions are a way of life
Other people's problems they overwhelm my mind
They say compassion is a virtue, but I dont have the time

So many people have their problems
I'm not interested in their problems
I guess I've experienced some problems
But now I've made some decisions
Takes a lot of time to push away the nonsense
Take my compassion, push it as far as it goes
My interest level's dropping, my interest level is dropping
I've heard all I want to, I dont want to hear any more

While Bush is strolling around New Orleans trying to convince America that he really cares, the news out of the Census Bureau yesterday paints a different picture:

"However, the number of people without health insurance increased to 46.6 million in 2005. About 45.3 million people were without insurance the year before. The last decline in the poverty rate was in 2000, during the Clinton administration, when it dropped to 11.3 percent. With the poverty rate steady but median household income rising, 'that could represent an increase in inequality' between the wealthy and the poor, said David Johnson, chief of the Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division of the Census Bureau."

If anything has trickled down from the top, it's Bush's compassionate conservatism. Today, over 400 Radio Shack employees got this in their e-mail inboxes:

"The work force reduction notification is currently in progress. Unfortunately your position is one that has been eliminated."

A freakin' e-mail.

Last week, Northwest Airlines apologized for sending their employees a handbook titled "Ground Operations Restructuring Q&A and Employee Support."

Northwest rattled some employees because of one section in the handbook. In that section -- "Coping with Job Loss" -- was a list of "101 Ways to Save Money," which was not reviewed by Northwest management, according to Blahoski.

Now, remember this was given to employees, some of whom might be losing their jobs by no fault of their own. Here's some of what they were told:

• Buy spare parts for your car at the junkyard.

• Get hand-me-down clothes and toys for your kids from family and friends.

• Take a shorter shower.

• Buy old furniture at yard sales and refinish it yourself.

• Volunteer two hours a month through a food-sharing program to get reduced-cost food.

• Hang clothes out to dry.

• Borrow a dress for a big night out, or go to a consignment shop.

• Ask your doctor for samples of prescriptions.

• Don't be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash.

Really... what can you say after that?


Playing hide the pork

Who could have predicted it would turn out to be Ted Stevens who put the secret hold on the Obama/Coburn Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act? He's not the Chairman to Nowhere for nothing.

IRONY OVERLOAD UPDATE: Stevens says his motive was "to make sure that this wasn’t going to be a huge cost to the taxpayer."


Rummy was right

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday accused critics of the Bush administration's Iraq and counterterrorism policies of trying to appease "a new type of fascism."

In unusually explicit terms, Rumsfeld portrayed the administration's critics as suffering from "moral or intellectual confusion" about what threatens the nation's security and accused them of lacking the courage to fight back.

In remarks to several thousand veterans at the American Legion's national convention, Rumsfeld recited what he called the lessons of history, including the failed efforts to appease the Adolf Hitler regime in the 1930s.

"I recount this history because once again we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism," he said.

Fascism, eh?

Main Entry: fas·cism
Pronunciation: 'fa-"shi-z&m also 'fa-"si-
Function: noun
Etymology: Italian fascismo, from fascio bundle, fasces, group, from Latin fascis bundle & fasces fasces
1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control <early instances of army fascism and brutality -- J. W. Aldridge>

Let's see... exalts nation and often race above the individual...

  • "America should seek to preserve and extend its position of global leadership by maintaining the preeminence of U.S. military forces."

  • "So, welcome to macaca here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia."

  • "The civilization that we as whites created in Europe and America could not have developed apart from the genetic endowments of the creating people, nor is there any reason to believe that the civilization can be successfully transmitted by a different people."

  • "Declaring that airport screeners shouldn't be hampered by 'political correctness,' House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King has endorsed requiring people of 'Middle Eastern and South Asian' descent to undergo additional security checks because of their ethnicity and religion."

  • "District officials feared Hamlin's display violated a state law prohibiting the display of any flag but the American, Colorado or local flags on public buildings, including schools. Temporary displays for instructional or historical purposes are exempt, but the school principal did not consider Hamlin's display temporary enough."

...stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader...

  • "I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to [crush the testicles of a person's child]."

  • "Such provisions, if construed as mandatory rather than advisory, would impermissibly interfere with the President's constitutional authorities to conduct the Nation's foreign affairs, participate in international negotiations, and supervise the unitary executive branch."

  • "The Executive Branch shall construe [the torture ban] in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to supervise the unitary Executive Branch and as Commander in Chief and consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judicial power."

  • "President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution."

  • "Several justices seemed deeply concerned that the government had gone too far in its plans to hold a special trial for Hamdan. Some were downright indignant over the Bush administration's claim that a new federal law bars the high court from ruling in the Hamdan case."

  • "In an unusually forceful and forthright speech, [Sandra Day] O'Connor said that attacks on the judiciary by some Republican leaders pose a direct threat to our constitutional freedoms. ... I, said O'Connor, am against judicial reforms driven by nakedly partisan reasoning. Pointing to the experiences of developing countries and former communist countries where interference with an independent judiciary has allowed dictatorship to flourish, O'Connor said we must be ever-vigilant against those who would strongarm the judiciary into adopting their preferred policies."

...severe economic and social regimentation...

  • "Frist also reiterated that the GOP will not split the minimum wage apart from the estate tax, and that future votes on the pay increase will be linked to cutting taxes on multimillion-dollar estates."

  • "If one were to work a normal 40-hour week for 52 weeks a year for minimum wage, it would take between 988 and 3,665 years to amass Frist's fortune."

  • "President Bush on Wednesday signed into law a bankruptcy reform bill that will make it harder for individuals to clear their debts through bankruptcy."

  • "However, the number of people without health insurance increased to 46.6 million in 2005. About 45.3 million people were without insurance the year before. The last decline in the poverty rate was in 2000, during the Clinton administration, when it dropped to 11.3 percent. With the poverty rate steady but median household income rising, 'that could represent an increase in inequality' between the wealthy and the poor, said David Johnson, chief of the Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division of the Census Bureau."

...and forcible suppression of opposition...

  • "Earlier administrations have fired and prosecuted government officials who provided classified information to the press. They have also tried to force reporters to identify their sources. But the Bush administration is exploring a more radical measure to protect information it says is vital to national security: the criminal prosecution of reporters under the espionage laws."

  • GOP callers overwhelm City Hall lines: "Offended by Rocky Anderson's plans to protest President Bush this week, the Utah Republican Party is waging a public-relations campaign urging Utahns to call the mayor and tell him to 'stop embarrassing' the state."

  • "The phones were starting to ring, and as I would pick up one phone, it automatically bumped over to another line," testified Manchester firefighter Jeffery S. Duval, who was working the phones at union headquarters. "There was nobody on any of the phones. The phone lines were dead once we went to pick them up. .. We gave the police department a call."

  • "Minutes before the U.S. president would tell Congress how much he appreciates 'responsible criticism and counsel,' the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq was dragged from a gallery overlooking the House chamber, handcuffed and arrested for the 'crime' of wearing a T-shirt that read: '2,245 dead. How many more?'"

  • "At Neel's trial, police detective John Ianachione testified that the Secret Service told local police to confine 'people that were there making a statement pretty much against the president and his views' in a so-called free speech area."

I guess Rummy was right.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Take it away, Kitty

With today's revelations about Senator George Allen's association with the racist Council of Conservative Citizens, DB wonders how grateful Lou Dobbs is to be on vacation this week.

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Mission Accomplished

"The key for me is to keep expectations low." -- George W. Bush to NBC's Brian Williams, Aug. 29, 2006


Monday, August 28, 2006

In the drink

Anybody's who's ever spent any amount of time in Silverlake (Los Angeles) knows just how completely out-of-control this security guard must have been.


Back in Blue

DB survived what was actually a fun weekend in Salt Lake City, where they are getting ready for Bush and Condi to arrive this week. Some of the preparations are being made by protesters, who will give Bush an earful, despite the fact that Utah is not a place where authority is broadly questioned.

On the other hand, since Utah is just about the reddest state on the 2004 electoral map and the place where Bush mysteriously remains popular, it may come as a surprise to learn that Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson is a Democrat. And not just a Democrat, a real progressive Democrat.

Anderson is a former president of the Utah ACLU and a board member for Planned Parenthood. He's been outstanding for Salt Lake City in the areas of education, the environment and ethics in government.

And he announced last month that he's not running for a third term (PDF), which is too bad for Salt Lake City and Utah. Anderson's departure is also something that deserves some real attention from progressives around the country.

Hopefully the protests this week will get some coverage. Here's a sample of what Mayor Anderson had to say last April (PDF). Consider the kind of courage it takes to deliver a speech like this in Utah and during a visit from the president:

We are gathered here today to say, "No more!"

No more killing.

No more expenditures of almost $6 billion per month on this tragic war.

No more denial of health care coverage for over 42 million Americans, when we are paying more for this outrageous war than what it would cost for universal health care throughout the US.

No more dependence on foreign oil, while we could become independent if we focused resources wasted in the Iraq war on clean, renewable sources of energy.

No more attacks on immigrants who work so hard to build better lives.

No more inaction by Congress on fixing our hypocritical and inconsistent immigration laws and policies.

No more complacency by our news media, much of which has served as little more than a bulletin board for false government propaganda.

No more raping and pillaging of our people by the outrageous profiteers in the oil industry, by the health care insurance industry, and by the billionaire buddies of Bush and Cheney like the crooks at Enron and Halliburton.

No more war in Iraq.

No more reliance on fiction rather than the science of global warming.

No more historic deficits forever demonstrating that our President and our Congress are total hypocrites and liars when they call themselves fiscal conservatives.

No more torture of human beings.

No more holding people in detention camps without charges – without lawyers – without any semblance of due process.

No more sending people off to be held and interrogated in countries where torture and brutality is expected to occur.

No more arrogant, blundering, incompetent leadership of our military.

Which means no more Donald Rumsfeld.

No more manipulation of our media.

No more arrogance and incompetence posing as leadership in the White House.

Which means no more Bush and Cheney!

And no more arrogance, incompetence, and timidity posing as leadership in the United States Congress.

No more illegal wiretapping without warrants.

No more complacency by the American people.

No more members of Congress who voted to turn into felons 12 million people our nation has encouraged to come here to work.

No more disastrous cuts in funding for those most in need in our cities.

No more destruction of American Indian urban health care centers.

No more cuts in Community Development Block Grant funding.

No more cuts in Community Oriented Policing federal funding for our cities.

No more lies about a tie between Iraq and 9-11.

Which means no more Dick Cheney.

No more butchering of the English language.

Which means, of course, no more George Bush.

No more killing thousands of innocent people.

Which means no more of the Bush Administration.

And no more of those in Congress who have sat passively by while the slaughter continues.

No more killing.

No more maiming of men, women, and children, Iraqi and American.

No more apathy by the American people.

And no more refraining from saying "No more"!

Can't wait to hear what he has to say this week. If only every city had this kind of leadership.


Friday, August 25, 2006

War powers

Glenn Greenwald writes today about the attention that needs to be given to the explicit constitutional statement that it is Congress who has the authority to determine where and when our armed forces are to be directed by the President.

It's a great reminder. I'd only add that this administration doesn't seem to care at all whether they've been authorized to invade other countries. After all, they specificially asked Congress for the authority to wage war anywhere in the Middle East, and when they were denied that authority, they told Congress they had it anyway.

Just like when they asked Tom Daschle for the authority to wiretap without a warrant and that request was also denied.

In their minds, there is nothing to prevent them from carrying out whatever schemes they've dreamt up.

DB is off for a weekend in a very red state. Hope yours is just as great.

Thanks for the nod, Digby.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

He went back to Ohio...

Time for a reminder that the Governator was instrumental in screwing America over with another four years of Bush.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Faith the music, Connecticut

During the 2004 presidential campaign there were plenty of atrocities. One of the most infuriating to this blogger was the insulting way George Bush talked about Massachusetts. He said the name like it was a venereal disease.

As unseemly as it was for a sitting president to disparage an entire state of his constituents to score some political points, it wasn't completely surprising. After all, he was speaking to his base and we all know what they think of latte-drinking, body-piercing liberal freaks in New England.

You know, his base being people like this:

On the broadcast of the Christian television program "The 700 Club," Falwell made the following statement:

"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'"

Falwell, pastor of the 22,000-member Thomas Road Baptist Church, viewed the [9/11] attacks as God's judgment on America for "throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked."


Pat Robertson, host of the 700 Club program, seemed to agree with Falwell's earlier statements in a prayer during the program.

A couple of swell guys. But nobody can argue that these two didn't have a whole lot of success when it came to getting out Republican voters and getting Bush reelected. And they certainly spent a lot of money, which is why it's no surprise that these guys were also proponents of Bush's faith-based initiatives. Falwell with a few reservations:

I think that when persons are clearly bigoted towards other persons in the human family, they should be disqualified from funds. For that reason, Islam should be out the door before they knock.

(And that was before 9/11.)

It's also no surprise that they are big fans of Joe Lieberman.

The obvious problem with Lieberman is the way he has allowed the GOP to use him to shut down debate. Whenever the Democrats seem on the verge of amounting a real challenge to the GOP agenda, there's Joe to warn against partisanship or undermining presidential authority. Meanwhile, the voters of Connecticut, like voters in all the Blue states, have their voices silenced. The GOP has run the country like they have a mandate since Bush was handed his authority by a divided court (and divided nation). People in Connecticut deserve a representative that will fight for their rights, values and well-being. Instead, they have Lieberman.

During the primary debate with Ned Lamont, we heard this exchange:

LIEBERMAN: Well, that's the point of it. And let me stress again, I intend to win the primary, but I want to say, why did I do what I announced the other day, create the option? It's because I believe this man can't be elected in November.

And I know -- and I have to say this directly -- that I can do a better job for the people of Connecticut, a lot of whom are going to need some special help in the next six years than either he or Alan Schlesinger can, and I want to give all the voters, including a lot of Democrats, the opportunity to make that final decision in November.

NESTI: Thank you, Senator.

Mr. Lamont, you need 30 seconds or ...

LAMONT: Yes, look at the last 18 years. We have lost 40 percent of our manufacturing-related jobs. We have lost over half of our defense-related jobs. People are earning less. A lot of our good paying jobs are leaving the state and leaving the country. Senator Lieberman has never seen a trade agreement that he didn't applaud.

I don't think this is the type of leadership we want. When it comes to bringing home things for the state of Connecticut, we are 49th out of 50 states -- 49th out of 50. New Jersey is last. I think we can do an awful lot better.

Lamont was absolutely correct. Connecticut gets squat when it comes to federal funding. Lieberman has done practically nothing to get Connecticut its fair share of federal funding, and while the president mocks liberal states like Massachusetts for taxing and spending, Red states like Mississippi, Alabama and Virginia get nearly triple the return on their tax dollars.

But don't suggest that Lieberman hasn't taken the lead when it comes to directing those federal funds.

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: Thank you, Mr. President. Thanks for your leadership on this, and thanks to Senator Santorum and all our colleagues and our staffs that worked very hard on this.

I have always believed that faith, right from the beginning of this country, was one of the great unifiers of the American people, and that faith has been strong enough to unify all of us as we went forward to find a constitutionally appropriate way to have a faith- based initiative, to help people who want to do good works and whose desire to do good works is motivated by their faith.

Outstanding. He joined with Rick Santorum (with whom he now shares campaign workers and now, apparently, tactics) to help George Bush erode the wall between Church and State.

But what does that mean in terms of dollars? Here's a clue: In the election year 2004, the federal government gave over $2 billion of taxpayer money to faith-based groups. That would be, all things being equal (which they are not), an average of $40 million per state (actually a little less with three territories included). Based strictly on population, Connecticut would have received $24 million.

So how much did Connecticut get? $7.4 million. By contrast, Pat Robertson's Operation Blessing received $9.6 million (and $14.4 million in 2005). Another example of Lieberman selling out his state for what he considers "unity."

While Lieberman was supposed to be fighting for his constituents, he was paving the way for the Bush Administration to take taxpayer money out of Connecticut's pockets and hand it over to the nuttiest right-wing theocrats. The same people who blame liberals for 9/11 and used their churches to ensure that the federal government would not be representative of people like Connecticut Democrats.

Sure he's got the NARAL and Planned Parenthood endorsements. But what has Lieberman wrought on the nation?

In the Bush administration, conservatives are discovering that turnabout is fair play: Millions of dollars in taxpayer funds have flowed to groups that support President Bush's agenda on abortion and other social issues.

Under the auspices of its religion-based initiatives and other federal programs, the administration has funneled at least $157 million in grants to organizations run by political and ideological allies, according to federal grant documents and interviews.

An example is Heritage Community Services in Charleston, S.C. A decade ago, Heritage was a tiny organization with deeply conservative social philosophy but not much muscle to promote it. An offshoot of an antiabortion pregnancy crisis center, Heritage promoted abstinence education at the county fair, local schools and the local Navy base. The budget was $51,288.

By 2004, Heritage Community Services had become a major player in the booming business of abstinence education. Its budget passed $3 million -- much of it in federal grants distributed by Bush's Department of Health and Human Services -- supporting programs for students in middle school and high school in South Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky.

Again, the "pro-choice" Lieberman is in Washington, spending his time working to help Bush, Falwell, Robertson, James Dobson and all the rest take money from Connecticut voters and hand it over to pro-life "abstinence educators."

And when that money does come back to Connecticut, look what it's used for: The largest faith-based grant in Connecticut in 2003 went to "sexual abstinence-only programs."

But Lieberman's been running around claiming that he's the only one who can fix health care and energy prices.

49th out of 50, Connecticut. Dump him already.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

He'll take us there

Lieberman on CNN today:

LIEBERMAN: Look, that's a semantical -- a question of words. I'd say there's not technically a civil war because there still is a unity government and there still is what I call a nonsectarian military. There is terrible violence there. But you want to see a real civil war and a collapse of a great country in the center of the Middle East? Pull out by a date certain and that's what you'll see.


LIEBERMAN: An independent-minded Democrat. Incidentally, all the polls that have come out so far have shown me ahead, which is a surprise to me. But as I said when the Quinnipiac poll came out last week, early polls don't determine campaigns. I'm the challenger here. I'm challenging the conventional partisan politics that has dominated too much of our life these days. I'm going to run hard as if I was behind all the way to November 7th. I'm very encouraged by all these polls, because they show that I'm getting support across party lines. And that says to me the people are really hungry for a new politics of unity and purpose. And the purpose is to solve some of our problems and their problems.

Wouldn't it be great if we had the kind of "unity" they've got in Iraq?

I think the people in Connecticut are as fed up with the partisanship that has stopped Washington from solving their problems as I am.

As if the people of Connecticut are oblivious to the fact that the GOP has propped him up over and over to stifle debate about the direction they've taken this country. The reason the partisanship hasn't solved Connecticut's problems is that it's been effective for the GOP and they have Lieberman to thank for that.


Friday, August 11, 2006

The wrong way to fight

Now that the news has been dominated by the plot to blow up all those airplanes, some of the talking heads have revived the idea of treating Muslims like criminals.

TUCKER CARLSON: This question we were talking about just a minute ago, it's obviously great news that 24 suspects were caught, but it seems to me bad news that 24 westernized Muslims would be willing to die in order to hurt Americans. Are we in the United States government thinking deeply about why these people are willing to kill themselves to hurt us? And what are we doing about that?

FRANCES TOWNSEND, HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER: Absolutely. We have been reaching out, and we have allies around the Muslim world, around the world, but we work with our allies, like Saudi Arabia, like Pakistan, to understand how we can do a better job at denying them the pool of people they seem to be recruiting from.

I was listening to your earlier dialogue, and I'll say to you, I don't think that you can target a particular population. We know from what we've learned in intelligence channels that, as soon as we focus on a particular population of people that we believe are going to be used as suicide bombers, they'll shift. They may go from young Arab men to people of Southeast Asian descent. And so you have to—you can't—the minute you...

CARLSON: Well, wait a sec. I mean, with all due respect, Ms. Townsend, and I definitely have respect for you, we know that they're all observant Muslims. I mean, there is one population that remains constant. Sure, they may be different colors, different ethnicities, but they share a religion. And so once we know that, why not focus on people we know are observant Muslims?

TOWNSEND: But how do you know that, Tucker? I mean...


CARLSON: Well, you don't know, but once you know that, you know, observant Methodists, or Presbyterians, or orthodox Jews probably aren't going to be members of Al Qaeda, so, I mean, you can ignore them and save a lot of time.

TOWNSEND: Well, that's right, but, I mean, I guess my question to you is, how would people feel if, when people came up to screening, we were asking them, "What is your religious belief? Are you Catholic? Are you Jewish? Are you Muslim?" We find that offensive.

CARLSON: Oh, it is offensive. On the other hand, so is waiting in line for three hours or destroying the American economy. I mean, at some point, you know, there are tradeoffs. We keep talking about, "We're all going to be inconvenienced." Well, why exactly is that? Why aren't we smarter about it, since we know that only a very small percentage of the population is likely to do anything like this?

What a shock to learn that Tucker Carlson is willing to alienate an entire segment of the population as part of a "tradeoff" in a grand compromise in the generational struggle against long lines.

Let's just get started with the obvious. The 9/11 hijackers lied their way into America, lied their way into flight school, lied their way into normal lives here, and lied their way onto the airplanes. We're supposed to believe that these people would cave once they got to the airport? That they wouldn't say "I'm a Methodist" at the TSA checkpoint?

Ah, but Tucker asks "why not focus on people we know are observant Muslims?" And I suppose we know this because we're making lists with everybody's religion now? We're sending spies into places of worship? Is there a column to indicate just how observant we all are? Will we have agents at the entrance to all churches to know who's OK? Or to make sure that Muslims aren't trying to get into them on Sundays just to throw us off?

But aside from the practical reasons this idea is insane, there is a much larger picture which apparently eludes people like Tucker.

The foiled terrorists in Britain were home grown. Now, Tucker called them "24 westernized Muslims," but they were British. British. Again, this isn't a practical complication. It's part of the big picture.

There's a reason why there were riots in France's Muslim community. There's a reason why British-born citizens would be plotting against their own country, while America does not face the same threat.

It's because we don't treat the millions of Muslims in America the way they do in Europe. And if we start acting like Europeans, not only is that, by definition, un-American, it will tear millions of people out of our national fabric. We have a "with us or against us" position in the war on terror. Treating any Muslim like a potential terrorist tells them that we believe they are no longer with us. So where does that leave them?

And unless Tucker thinks someone like him is going to go Donnie Brascoe on al-Qaeda, then we need all the help we can get. Treating an entire religious segment of American like crap in order to get from the limo to the plane faster is the kind of small thinking that makes us more despised and less secure. It's exactly what the terrorists want.

UPDATE: Juliette Kayyem at TPM Cafe gets it.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Cuba without Castro

DB has been waiting and waiting for the day when the world would finally be rid of Fidel Castro.

But now that it seems to be happening while this crew is at the helm in the U.S., DB shudders to think of the ways in which the opportunity will be squandered.

Just listening to Bush talk about what the Cubans must think about learning what a rich bastard Castro is, while he has apparently no understanding of what a Katrina victim must think when Congress gets a pay raise while working in overdrive to give Paris Hilton a huge break, is infuriating.

If there's something worse than a Communist dictator 90 miles away who once campaigned for a nuclear first strike against America, it seems clear at this point that Condi, Bush and Cheney can create it.

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