Mexico's election: now being recounted, but some are saying it was stolen with our help. Many countries in Latin and South America have been moving to the left lately, following in the footsteps of Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia and Chile. Argentina actually caught us messing with things during their election, too. Exit polls in Mexico (as in Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004) showed a lead for the more leftist (relatively) candidate, and for those who scoff at using exit polls as evidence--in 2004, US Republican Senator Richard Lugar, in Kiev, cited the divergence of exit polls and official polls as solid evidence of “blatant fraud” in the vote count in Ukraine. As a result, the Bush Administration refused to recognize the Ukraine government’s official vote tally. So, honest election, or what?
the most maritally challenged crop of presidential hopefuls in American political history --meet 3 leading GOP candidates for 08. We've already read about Hillary's sexlife (or lack thereof), but will the double standard hold? ...if the top three Democratic presidential hopefuls each had extra-marital affairs in their backgrounds, it stands to reason that Republicans would have something to say about it--and if the past is any guide, those concerns would find their way into the papers. Will the same happen when it's about the "party of family values and morality"?
Majority Leader Boehner’s Confidential Strategy Memo For Thursday’s Iraq Debate On Thursday, the House of Representatives will hold a debate on the Iraq war. Media reports say Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) “hopes to match the serious, dignified tone of deliberation that preceded the Gulf war, in 1991.” ThinkProgress has obtained a “Confidential Messaging Memo” from Boehner instructing his caucus to conduct a very different kind of deliberation. Here’s a quick summary:
There's a move afoot to censure Jimmy Carter instead of, say, anyone actually responsible for making the world a more dangerous place. I call "attacking the messenger by proxy," or at least, some serious Rove-ian misdirection.
NewsFilter: Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the chapel, teh gay menace strikes again. The GOP-dominated Senate Judiciary Committee backs the Constitutional amendment to prohibit states from recognizing same-sex marriages. In a fractious hearing, Republican chairman Arlen Specter shouted "Good riddance!" when Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) walked out. Laura Bush recently advised her party's candidates not to campaign on this issue and to handle it with "great sensitivity." Maybe next time.
Hilarious website showing one mans passion for drawing conservative themed art. The real gems are in the archive. My personal favorites include "Team W" and these creepy Reagan ghost ones  . Don't forget his epic comic The Patriot.
How the GOP Lost Its Way. And they should be worried (pdf) about November, according to Charlie Cook. But don't underestimate the Democrats' propensity to blow it, says the Economist.
Rollback. Media critic Jay Rosen rises above the McClellan/"shake-up" foofaraw to put several pieces of the puzzle together and show how the Bush administration has significantly altered the long-standing relationship of the press to the White House. (More from Rosen here.) Another piece that fits: Donald Rumsfeld's bold, frequent, and rarely-challenged assertions that the American press is being expertly "manipulated" by Al Qaeda "media committees" in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Whooops! While making a required filing to the state ethics commission, Ohio Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Kenneth Blackwell finds Diebold shares in his stock portfolio that he now claims to have bought "accidentally." Yes, that Diebold -- the e-voting company whose chairman promised to "deliver the vote" to George Bush. And yes, that Blackwell, whose state helped deliver the White House to the GOP. Blackwell insists that the humble amount of Diebold stock was in one of those "blind trust" type of arrangements that worked out so rewardingly for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. [newsfilter via RawStory.]
Former GOP senior strategist Kevin Phillips wrote the political Bible of the New Right, The Emerging Republican Majority. He coined the term "Sun Belt." He voted for Reagan twice and still considers himself a staunch Republican. But now Phillips, the author of a new book called American Theocracy, is warning that the party of George Bush and Karl Rove ("W brand Republicans," in the phrase of GOP pollster Jan van Lohuizen) has become "God's own party" -- the champion of a convergence of "petroleum-defined national security; a crusading, simplistic Christianity; and a reckless credit-feeding financial complex." Phillips also cautions that the W-brand party's "sense of how to win elections comes out of a CIA manual, not out of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution." [Phillips was also discussed here.]
Are you a Republican candidate for Senate facing a tough election and having trouble getting endorsements from your own party? It's time to take in an all-American baseball game with the Commander-in-Chief, target teh gay menace, and amend the US Constitution so American voters don't have to see any more of this over their morning corn flakes. "I think this will save him," Burress said of DeWine. "I think this move right here, regardless of the reason, will send him back to Washington." Of course, it's not just a GOP thing.
Some facts about Latinos and immigration, and chances are good they haven't been mentioned at all during coverage of the "immigration crisis" . (and take a stroll down memory lane to past GOP platform statements on the issue)
Intrigues at the White House: Andrew Card, Bush's longtime chief of staff -- the guy who briefly interrupted the President's reading of The Pet Goat one rough morning in 2001 and took heat for the Katrina and Dubai debacles -- is out, replaced by budget director "Yosh" Bolten, the one-time founder of a club called "Bikers for Bush." Meanwhile, is Rove rolling over for Patrick Fitzgerald, and if so, what's the angle?
"Don't worry Mr. President, we have Kansas surrounded." Warrantless searches: they're not just for wiretaps anymore. U.S. News and World Report probes the Bush administration's covert drive to conduct physical searches of American homes without court approval.
"Resolved that the United States Senate does hereby censure George W. Bush, president of the United States, and does condemn his unlawful authorization of wiretaps of Americans." Invoking "high crimes and misdemeanors," Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold introduces a motion to censure [PDF link] President Bush for his controversial, legally dubious NSA wiretapping program. Feingold declares: "The President must be held accountable for authorizing a program that clearly violates the law." Republican leader Frist retorts: "It's a crazy political move" that sends a "terrible" signal to Iran. Democratic bloggers say: Call your senator. [More legal fallout from the NSA program recently discussed here.]
Newsfilter: Secret arrests, secret renditions, secret interrogations in secret jails, and now, secret rulings from US federal judges. More fallout from the Bush administration's NSA domestic-spying program [recently discussed here].
Great local investigative piece on the GOP's "point man on lobbying reform". (check out the video) Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)'s "charity" has spent almost half as much on "unexplained" T&E as it has given out to the needy. What's more, the treasurer of this organization is not only treasurer of his re-election campaign, but is also the the treasurer of Americans for a Republican Majority, the PAC run by Tom DeLay, who is no stranger to lobbyist scandals.
'The committee is, to put it bluntly, basically under the control of the White House," said Jay Rockefeller, vice-president of the Senate Intelligence Committee, after the committee quashed a broad inquiry into the legality of the NSA spying on Americans -- despite an increasing number of legal scholars coming forward and declaring that the program is "blatantly illegal," in the words of Yale Law School dean Harold Koh. Meanwhile, the GOP proposes giving spying on Americans the "force of law" while subjecting it to "rigorous oversight."
Ohio Senator: Bar adoptions by the GOP ---In response to Ohio Senator Hood's bill to bar adoption by gays and lesbians, one Senator uses humor to counter hate: ...To further lampoon Hood's bill, Hagan wrote in his mock proposal that ``credible research' shows that adopted children raised in Republican households are more at risk for developing ``emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, and alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different than themselves and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities.' However, Hagan admitted that he has no scientific evidence to support the above claims. Just as ``Hood had no scientific evidence' to back his assertion that having gay parents was detrimental to children, Hagan said. ...
Notice: henceforth, the Minister of War shall address the people only through the Ministry of Truth. The story-behind-the-story of the Vice President's hunting mishap is the denigration of the MSMTM as the traditional proxy of the public interest, says NYU journalism professor and media critic Jay Rosen. "It strikes me that the Corpus Christi Caller-Times is just as valid a news outlet as The New York Times is," Cheney told cherry-picked Fox "News" correspondent Brit Hume yesterday. GOP spokesperson Mary Matalin underlined the point by saying that Cheney considered holding a news conference, but that "would have meant a lot of grandstanding" by reporters; Donald Rumsfeld often goes even farther, claiming that terrorist organizations manipulate the American press directly through "media committees." Judging by the administration's contempt for the Fourth Estate, says Rosen, "The public visibility of the presidency itself is under revision. More of it lies in shadow all the time. Non-communication has become the standard procedure, not a breakdown in practice but the essence of it." Even arch-conservative pundits like George Will are starting to get nervous about the lack of check and balances under the current regime. There's no doubt that the White House press corps seems angrier these days -- but are they missing the bigger stories by focusing their wrath on Scott McClellan's birdshot spin?
What unites hardliners like Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, and Rush Limbaugh -- their uncompromisingly conservative take on politics? In a provocative blog post titled Do Bush followers have a political ideology?, Glenn Greenwald persuasively argues otherwise. He believes that the conservative movement -- traditionally against big government, excessive spending, and federal intrusion into the private lives of Americans -- has been hijacked by something much more dangerous: an authoritarian cult of personality, or as Greenwald puts it, "a form of highly emotional mass theater masquerading as political debate."
"It has become clear that official intelligence was not relied on in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made, that damaging ill will developed between [Bush] policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community's own work was politicized," writes former CIA official Paul Pillar, coordinator of U.S. intelligence on the Middle East until 2005, in an article soon to appear in Foreign Affairs, hardly a radical rag. More confirmation that Seymour Hersh was right about the administration "cherry-picking" intelligence to justify a foregone conclusion to go to war in Iraq.
Evidence of a slippery slope continued: Newsweek reports that White House counsel Steve Bradbury believes President Bush can order killings on US soil as part of the Terrorist-Surveillance ProgramTM. Meanwhile, while Attorney General Gonzales "lashes out" at the media and insists that the TSPTM is "not a dragnet that sucks in all conversation and uses computer searches to pick out calls of interest," the Washington Post reports it's precisely that -- "computer-controlled systems collect and sift basic information about hundreds of thousands of faxes, e-mails and telephone calls into and out of the United States before selecting the ones for scrutiny by human eyes and ears" -- and has led to very few leads. (See also discussion of Arlen Specter and the legality of the TSPTM here.)
Then: Q - Mr. Secretary, on Iraq, how much money do you think the Department of Defense would need to pay for a war with Iraq? Rumsfeld - Well, the Office of Management and Budget, has come up come up with a number that's something under $50 billion for the cost. How much of that would be the U.S. burden, and how much would be other countries, is an open question. And now: The estimated cost to US taxpayers of the Iraq war to date is $250 billion and rising, or $100,000 per minute. Total cost of the Bush doctrine of spreading "democracy" since September 11th -- half a trillion dollars, or nearly the cost of the 13 years of the Vietnam War, adjusted for inflation. What else could we have done with that kind of money? Also see here.
Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald says emails relevant to the Valerie Plame leak investigation have gone missing from the White House. "In an adundance of caution," Fitzgerald wrote [PDF] to "Scooter" Libby's lawyers on January 23, "we advise you that we have learned that not all email of the Office of the Vice President and the Executive Office of President for certain time periods in 2003 was preserved through the normal archiving process on the White House computer system." Might this help explain why Alberto Gonzales -- now the Attorney General, and lately so busy mustering arguments to assert that Bush's NSA domestic-spying program is "legal" -- waited 12 hours before instructing White House staff to preserve documents relevant to the leak investigation after telling Andrew Card about it? Shades of the late, great yoga instructor, Rose Mary Woods. [More on Plame here.]
Bush administration tries to silence NASA's chief climate expert James Hansen from granting interviews about global warming. Meanwhile, a new study by Australian researchers confirms that global sea levels are rising, and may make island nations like Tuvalu and the Maldives uninhabitable by the end of the century. [via RawStory]
Shades of Stalin's pre-Photoshop erasing of Trotsky from history: Joanne Amos admits to Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall that her GOP-friendly company, Reflections Photography, scrubbed images of President Bush with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff from both their online archive and CD record of official events. [Photos previously discussed here.]
The (Broken) Triangle: Progressive Bloggers in the Wilderness. The Huffington Post's Peter Daou, whose dour forecast of how Bush and lazy media would spin away the NSA scandal proved prescient, on why "netroots activists" can't get traction: "It's slow-motion-car-wreck painful, and most certainly NOT where the left's triangle should be a half decade into the new millennium, as the Bush-propping machine hums and whirrs, poll numbers rise and fall, Iraq bleeds, scandal dissolves into scandal, terror speech blends into terror speech. The landscape is there for everyone to see, to analyze. Enough time has elapsed to make the system transparent. It is dismaying for netroots activists to see the same mistakes repeated..."
Is your name James Moore? If so, you may be a terrorist. Or at least the NSA thinks so, having added that name -- which also happens to be the name of the author of Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential -- to its mysteriously targeted and infamously mismanaged "No-Fly" list [previously discussed here.]
"I learned this week that on December 6, Bush summoned Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger and executive editor Bill Keller to the Oval Office in a futile attempt to talk them out of running the story..." President Bush really did not want journalists to reveal his NSA spying program against Americans [discussed here.] And in yesterday's rare press conference, the President said: "An open debate about law would say to the enemy, 'Here's what we're going to do.' And this is an enemy which adjusts... Any public hearings on programs will say to the enemy, 'Here's what they do. Adjust.' This is a war." Neocon guru William Kristol argues that talk of Bush being an "imperial" president" is "demagogic" and "irresponsible" since "Congress has the right and the ability to judge whether President Bush has in fact used his executive discretion soundly." What is the role of "open debate" in a war against terror that may last for decades?
[TotalitarianismFilter] Don't be asking your college librarian for a copy of that Little Red Book to do a class assignment, or your parents might get a visit from the good folks at the Department of Homeland Security. More evidence that the Bush administration cannot restrain itself when granted enhanced surveillance powers.
Bush in the Bubble. Newsweek's analysis of the man who is possibly "the most isolated president in modern history."
A memo from the Department of Justice in Texas' voting division reveals that, back in 2003 during the Texas GOP's redistricting push, the division unanimously agreed that the redistricting plan sponsored by the state GOP and Rep. Tom DeLay was illegal under the Voting Rights Act. The plan was pushed through anyway, being the most effective in securing additional House seats for the GOP.
[Mugshot filter] The Hammer is tanned, rested, and ready... to kick some partisan-hack a**! But seriously folks, has Tom DeLay ever looked better in his life? Book 'im, Danno -- and don't muss that fabulous hair!
Is the modern GOP a repackaging of the old Whig party? (archive link) The blend of businessmen's aversion to government regulation, down-home cultural populism and Christian moralism that sustains today's Republican Party is a venerable if loosely knit philosophy of government dating back to long before the right-wing upsurge that prepared the way for Reagan's presidency. A few pundits and political insiders have likened the current Republicans to the formidable, corporate-financed political machine behind President William McKinley at the end of the 19th century. The admiration Karl Rove has expressed for the machine strengthens the historical connection. Of course, the Whigs couldn't hold their disparate coalition together in the face of the slavery issue. What might undo the current disparate coalition in the GOP?
You know that ranger job in the National Park Service that you're gonna apply for as soon as you get through school or quit waiting tables? Fuhgeddaboutit, unless you've pledged your loyalty to the
Ba'ath party President's Management Agenda and its roster of "faith-based and community initiatives," "competitive sourcing," etcetera, and Interior Secretary Gale Norton's "4C's," which seem to have to do with communication, consultation, cooperation, conservation, and Clinton-bashing. (Oh, sorry, that's 5 C's. It's just that Norton can't seem to stop denigrating "the previous administration" -- while advocating drilling in ANWR -- for such absurd ideas as banning snowmobiles from Yellowstone.)
Ethicsgate continues: Today, the bipartisan Government Accountability Office declared that the Bush administration broke the law by paying Armstrong Williams to write favorable columns about the No Child Left Behind Act, funneling public funds to a PR firm to sift through news stories and gauge media perception of Bush policies, and financing phony TV news reports giving the President's education policies "an A-plus," creating what the GAO called "covert propaganda." [Williams et. al. previously discussed here.]
House and Senate GOP leaders announce the (Republican dominated) "Hurricane Katrina Joint Review Committee" which should ensure that no-one near the top of the (Republican Dominated) chain of command is in any danger of repercussions over the death of a great American city. In fact, it seems likely that incompetence will be richly rewarded: representative Waxman thinks that a Provision in Katrina Emergency Bill Leaves Government Open to Waste, Fraud, and Abuse. But that's nothing! Despite near-universal opprobrium as a dysfunctional bureaucracy led by an unqualified political appointee, FEMA will receive nearly all of the funds approved on Thursday -- $50 billion... (all links via TPM)
Neo-Nazis and Minutemen --What's going on, of course, is that the Minutemen provide an ideal opportunity for white racists to "mainstream" their agenda, using the relatively benign "average citizens" that Lou Dobbs exclusively observes in their ranks as just so much cover. "Illegal immigration" has become a hot-button wedge campaign issue for the GOP in 06, and the latest incarnation of their "Southern Strategy" (now called "wrong", but still very much in evidence)
Gary Skoien terminated for putting a bounty on Da Mayor's head Skoien was fired from his high powered day job at Prime Group by his boss - a Daley democrat apparently - for putting a $10K bounty on Mayor Daley for information leading to his arrest. Doug Ibendahl, founder and coordinator of the Republican Young Professionals, said the bounty is unprofessional and Skoien should be removed as heaqd of the GOP in Cook County. Yeah, but fired? Prime Group CEO Michael Reschke said Friday that Skoien fatally blunted his effectiveness in the company and that the Daley administration did not influence his firing. "Gary positioned himself where he can no longer be an effective executive officer of our company," said Reschke, who has made political contributions mostly to Democrats, including at least $2,000 to Daley, but also to a few Republicans, including at least $250 to Skoien. Truly, Chicago is not the most corrupt American city. It's the most theatrically corrupt.
Invest $50 million of a workers comp trust fund in rare coins and collectibles. Lose some of the coins in the mail. Havoc ensues. Prominent Ohio Republican fundraiser and Bush-Cheney 'pioneer' Thomas Noe is under state scrutiny for $10-12 million in missing funds and subject of a federal probe for potential illegal Bush campaign contributions. Oh, and did I mention his wife Bernadette was chair of the Lucas County Board of Elections during the 2004 election? Suddenly the once-popular donor finds himself a political pariah as heads begin to roll - could this be the tip of an iceberg that will unravel the red state infrastructure? Follow the Toledo Blade's stellar investigative journalism as this story unfolds. Maybe the national media can watch and learn.
Conservatism of faith v. conservatism of doubt- Andrew Sullivan's take on how "fundamentalism is splitting the GOP." An interesting article that is, I think, worth reading for how it characterizes recent changes in the Republican party. He doesn't exaclty see a schism, but he isn't exactly sanguine about the future of the GOP either.
The Nexus of Evil So it seems as though the Chairman of the Colorado College Republicans (Jay Bob Klinkerman, no really, no kidding, that's his name) seems to be the one responsible for the removal of three Democrats from a Bush Social Security Sideshow. For some reason, and possibly it was always the case, all roads in this administration frequently lead to back to the same places, with the same names. What do all of the high profile actors in the current GOP have in common? Some sort of activity or affiliation with either the College Republicans or Young Republicans. If you are wondering about the names - how about Karl Rove, Jack Abramoff, Grover Norquist, Ralph E. Reed, Jr., Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist, Lee Atwater, and the central organizer, Morton Blackwell. College Republicans have been the footsoldiers for the right since the Draft Goldwater campaign, and have been rewarded for their service throughout the Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush#41 and#43 . You can also find their fingerprints all over the various thinktanks, the direct-mail industry, and fundraising. I strongly recommend taking some time to read up on the history of the College Republicans (PDF).
Republicans; defending the rights of rapists to sue since 2005. Did you just impregnate your 13 year old daughter? Never fear, the GOP is here! They'll defend your right to keep your "little secret" from crossing state lines.
Holy Day Monsignor Moose informs all G-d fearing Americans that Wednesday, April 13th is the most sacred day in the Republican moral calendar. Brothers and Sisters and all ye of faith, fall to your knees and genuflect at the altar of the almighty dollar! This is a time for deep and reflective prayer. For tomorrow, the Godly Republican Cardinals will gather in the House to provide eternal life for the blessed sacrament of the GOP - the permanent elimination of the estate tax for the ultra-wealthy.
The Wedding of Roy Cohn's spiritual heir (or one of them anyway) was celebrated in Massachusetts in December, and revealed yesterday. The groom, an influential political consultant who has made a practice of defeating Democrats by trying to demonize them as liberal did not invite any of the people he helped bring to power, often on an anti-gay platform. In fact, he didn't even tell any of them (the list includes Jesse Helms and many many more). The happy couple, together for 40 years (since the groom was 19), live in Ipswich, MA with their 2 children. No information on the other groom was provided, nor on honeymoon arrangements.
(More on Finkelstein, "The Godfather of dirty politics", here.)
(More on Finkelstein, "The Godfather of dirty politics", here.)
Yet where God sees life, Republicans see black profit by adding Alaskan drilling to upcoming legislation.