Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Tide is Shifting

Hullabaloo: "The tide is shifting. "

One of the factors, which can amplify the destructive power of a Storm, is a rising or high tide. If the tide is coming in, as the Storm is coming in, the combination is very high water, capable of washing away all in front of it.

Digby makes the case that the failed filibuster may be a sign of a change in the tide, as 25 Democratic Senators responded to the pressure coming from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.

The Corporate Right-Wing Media -- meaning all of Big Media -- still frightens the Democrats. Most important Democrats spend a lot of time calculating on how they will be portrayed by the Corporate Right-Wing Media. And, we are far, far away from the point at which Democrats start calculating on how to destroy the Corporate Right-Wing Media. But, as Digby points out, for once, the major Democrats responded to the desires of the Party base, rather than the punditocrisy.

In that, there may be hope.

the beginning of the end?

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall January 31, 2006 10:37 AM: "last year's State of the Union address was the kick-off, the beginning of the downhill slide that the president continued on for the rest of the year. He set his legislative sights on privatizing Social Security and then proceeded to lose that battle after a multi-month barnstorming tour around the country.

"From there it was into the Fitzgerald investigation, into Katrina and then Abramoff. "

We await the Storm, still.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

the American people have been conditioned to filter out the truth

Daily Kos: Shifting Focus On Domestic Spying: "the magnitude of Bush's errors have been so egregious, that Democrats take the position that they will inevitably reach fruition and explode all by themselves. It's the whole 'the truth will set you free' approach. Democrats think if they just state the truth--that Bush broke the law, that FISA controls, that this is a constitutional crisis--that's all the strategy they need. That strategy, I assure you, will lead to failure."

Triumph of the redistributionist left | csmonitor.com

Triumph of the redistributionist left | csmonitor.com: "The political left in America is emerging victorious.

"No, this isn't about the damage that Jack Abramoff's mischief has done to the political right. Nor is it about President Bush's lousy poll numbers. And it doesn't refer to Democrats' recent win of two governorships.

"It's about something much deeper; namely, that the era of big government is far from over. Trends are decidedly in favor of that quintessential leftist goal: massive redistribution of wealth.

"Republicans' capture of both Congress and the White House was, understandably, a demoralizing blow to the left. But the latter can take solace that 'Republican' is no longer synonymous with spending restraint, free markets, and other ideals of the political right."

Once in a while, it is useful to take a look at just how completely delusional right-wing Republicans are. In absolute control of the Federal government, they have proven to be incompetent, corrupt liars; their only apparent goal is to redistribute wealth and income in favor of the wealthiest 1% of the population -- the one thing they have succeeded in doing, and doing spectacularly well. But, this is a triumph of the Left???

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Angry Bear

Angry Bear: "The BEA has just released its first estimate of economic growth for the fourth quarter of 2005. It was dramatically lower than most people were predicting. The consensus estimate was for about 3.5% growth. Some pessimists guessed that it would be as low as 2.5%. The actual figured turned out to be just 1.1%. "

No political storm is complete without economic reverses.

Prosecutor Will Step Down From Lobbyist Case - New York Times

Prosecutor Will Step Down From Lobbyist Case - New York Times: "The investigation of Jack Abramoff, the disgraced Republican lobbyist, took a surprising new turn on Thursday when the Justice Department said the chief prosecutor in the inquiry would step down next week because he had been nominated to a federal judgeship by President Bush."

How very surprising!

MyDD :: Some Real Questions

MyDD :: Some Real Questions: "It is much harder to discuss, but ultimately much more fruitful, to talk about why there is so much corruption and dishonesty within the party, within the media, within corporate America, and within our government. Why won't Jim Brady reveal those missing comments? Why does failure get promoted in the Democratic Party? Why is Chris Matthews constantly lying about the left, and why isn't there a revolt among journalists at his pollution of this craft?

"These are the real questions to answer, but they aren't easy, because they demand that the people in power question themselves."

This is why we need a political storm. The corruption and dishonesty.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Corporate Right-wing Media

Salon.com - Daou Report: "What's the common thread running through the past half-decade of Bush's presidency? What's the nexus between the Swift-boating of Kerry, the Swift-boating of Murtha, and the guilt-by-association between Democrats and terrorists? Why has a seemingly endless string of administration scandals faded into oblivion? Why do Democrats keep losing elections? It's this: the traditional media, the trusted media, the 'neutral' media, have become the chief delivery mechanism of potent anti-Democratic and pro-Bush storylines. And the Democratic establishment appears to be either ignorant of this political quandary or unwilling to fight it."

As we wait thru scandal after scandal, disaster after catastrophe, for the political storm to sweep the Republicans away, either the nation is apathetic or the Media is totally right-wing. The people, who brought us 7 years of the totally bogus Whitewater scandal, cannot seem to get it up for corruption in the Iraq reconstruction, lobbying in Congress, Kartrina, whatever.

Monday, January 23, 2006


The National Economy: "George W. Bush's overall job approval rating has returned to its lowest point in Bush's presidency as Americans again turn less optimistic about the national economy according to the latest survey from the American Research Group."

The bad news is not quite finished . . .

HaloScan.com - Comments: "I don't think the bad news is quite finished yet with regards to Rove, Abramoff, and other scandals. Depending on the timing of when more indictments come down this could be fresh in the minds of voters as they go to the polls later this year. Also, there is the Iraq factor. The last election was the last hope of a positive outcome in the near term. If they fail to form a government and if additional violence ratchets up, voters will be more likely to give someone else a chance to fix the mess over there. To top it off the more we sabre rattle with Iran, the more likely oil prices are to rise, leaving the little guy fuming at the pump. Lastly, as we head into the November elections we will be at the tail end of another hurricane season. I don't know how that plays out, but if the Katrina situation is still lingering down in the bayou, you can bet people will take notice."

t r u t h o u t - Destruction Easier Than Reconstruction

t r u t h o u t - Destruction Easier Than Reconstruction: "While politicians deliberate over Iraq's future, Iraqis are dealing with the reality of the present. They are looking at the debris of a country where reconstruction has come to a standstill.

They are also looking at a situation in which the capital of the oil-rich country has been stricken recently by a dire shortage of gas and kerosene.

Iraqis in Baghdad had been receiving 12 to 13 hours of electricity a day on average over recent months. Over the past few weeks they say supply has fallen to just a few hours a day.

'We have no services at all,' Usama Asa'ad, a 31 year-old mechanic told IPS. 'Our electricity is on only one or two hours a day.'"

Bush has lost Iraq.

Professionals Fleeing Iraq As Violence, Threats Persist

Professionals Fleeing Iraq As Violence, Threats Persist: "Iraq's top professionals -- doctors, lawyers, professors -- and businessmen have been targeted by shadowy political groups for kidnapping and ransom, as well as murder, some of them say. So many have fled the country that Iraq is in danger of losing the core of skilled people it needs most just as it is trying to build a newly independent society."

I've written it before, and I will write again. Iraq is lost. Bush lost Iraq. It is over. Done. Bush has failed in Iraq. And that is left to reckon with are the consequences.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

My opinion Molly Ivins : Demos need to grow spine | www.azstarnet.com ®

My opinion Molly Ivins : Demos need to grow spine | www.azstarnet.com ®: "Do not sit there cowering and pretending the only way to win is as Republican-lite. If the Washington-based party can't get up and fight, we'll find someone who can."

Calculated Risk: Iran

Calculated Risk: Iran: "In my economic predictions for 2006, I included this caveat:

So, without trying to predict natural disasters, a pandemic or human stupidity (terrorism, bombing Iran, etc.), ...

And for some reason I'm reminded of the fictional character Forrest Gump's quip: 'Stupid is as stupid does.' Lets hope the US is not stupid this time, otherwise $68/barrel WTI oil might look cheap, and my 2006 economic predictions wildly wrong."

Fear of liberal bias

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall: "So much of the imbalance and shallowness of press coverage today stems from a simple fact: reporters know they'll catch hell from the right if they say or write anything that can even remotely be construed as representing 'liberal bias'. "

Is fear of the appearance of liberal bias driving press coverage?

Or, is it simply that most pundits and editors and publishers are Right-Wing Repubicans?

I tend to think the latter.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

If You Give a Congressman a Cookie - New York Times

If You Give a Congressman a Cookie - New York Times: "The two of us have been immersed in Washington politics for more than 36 years. We have never seen the culture so sick or the legislative process so dysfunctional. "

Norman Ornstein and Thomas E. Mann have co-authored a NY Times op-ed, and in it, they have focused on the essential problem, which is not that lobbyists have influence, but that the breakdown of the rules in the House of Representatives has made it so easy to achieve results by nefarious means.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Arrogance and Hubris in Iraq

NO QUARTER: The Arrogance and Hubris of Jerry Bremer: "Jerry and others can try to rewrite history to rehab their reputations, but the facts on the ground in Iraq will not and should not permit that kind of delusional revisionism. We are not in the position we are today by accident. It was a deliberate choice. From George Bush to Medal of Freedom winners Jerry Bremer and George Tenet, choices were made where alternative information and expertise were ignored. This deadly combination of arrogance and hubris has produced a policy in Iraq that is killing American soldiers and Iraqi civilians and is weakening U.S. influence and prestige in the Middle East. I think it is a time for humility, a virtue sadly lacking in Jerry Bremer’s new book."

That Bush et alia do not yet understand how big a mistake they made in Iraq is a measure of just how stupid they are. Iraq is lost. "is"! The consequences are not completely realized, but that will come in time, and it is all bad.

Deborah Howell at the Wash Post

Poynter Online - Forums: "If a newspaper prints something that is wrong, there should be a correction, and if something is unclear to the point where it suggests something that is not true, then there should be a clarification. And yet so far the Post has offered neither.

"Why not?"

Deborah Howell, the Republican, who is now, nominally, the ombudsman at the Washington Post, used her column recently to smear two Democratic Senators, implying that they are implicated in the Abramoff scandal.

One reason why scandal piles upon scandal, without a political storm raging is that the corporate right-wing media IS the corporate right-wing media, the once great, once liberal Washington Post included. The Post's conservative Republican publisher hired a Republican as ombudsman, and she has done her job. Don't expect either a clarification or correction.

The only sensible course for Democrats and patriots is to advocate the total destruction of the Media.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Corruption and the Republican Machine

Hullabaloo: "It is hard to overemphasize how important this Abramoff scandal is. It's not just 'gotcha' politics. This Republican political machine is one of the most corrosive forces this country has ever seen. They are literally stealing huge sums of money from the taxpayers, sometimes blatantly for personal financial gain, as with the Dukestir. But in a larger sense they are blatently using our money, the people's money, as the primary way to fund their party and keep it in power. The exposure of this scam has shaken the foundation of their long term strategy.

"The combination of their proven undemocratic impulses with their propensity for thuggishness and corruption has made the modern GOP one of the most pernicious political factions in our history. Putting an end to their shakedown racket is a necessary first step to breaking up their coalition and restoring some sanity to our two party system. "

A Power Outage on Capitol Hill - Newsweek National News - MSNBC.com

A Power Outage on Capitol Hill - Newsweek National News - MSNBC.com: "What if we faced a constitutional crisis and hardly anyone noticed?"

Indeed. The Alito hearings have disappointed. The Democrats in the Senate are, mostly, a long-winded, useless bunch of blow-hards. All they had to do was shut their cakeholes, ask simple, straightforward questions, and let Alito talk until he said something.

The Senators did not have to ask about hypotheticals; they could ask detailed questions about his controversial cases. Just get him to talk, and talk and talk, until he made some mistakes.

How hard could that be? Too hard, apparently for the deluded Joe Biden. What a tool!

There will be no Storm, with this bunch.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

James Wolcott on why we have no storm

James Wolcott: Lanny Davis: Looks Liberal, Tastes like Chicken: "Everyone knows the Abramoff scandal has 'Republican' stencilled on every side of it and if you won't/can't use it to jump all over the Republican Party and the DeLay machine, what the hell are you even doing in the Democratic Party? As more details surface, the Abramoff cesspool is going to make the K-Street crowd and their Republicans on retainer look even worse than they do now, and here's Davis waving the white cocktail napkin of surrender and urging preemptive pullback. Beltway Dems like Davis and the DLC crowd don't want to politicize the Iraq war, or the Alito hearings, or the Katrina clusterfuck, or the NSA spying scandal; they shy away from every prospective fight and prevent any ongoing debate or controversy from gaining traction. Just as Jack Murtha's bombshell was gaining momentum, in droops Joe Lieberman to back up the president with a gift-wrapped testimonial. "

Daou: This, then, is the reality:

The Blog | Peter Daou: THE (Broken) TRIANGLE: Progressive Bloggers in the Wilderness | The Huffington Post: "This, then, is the reality: progressive bloggers and online activists -- positioned on the front lines of a cold civil war -- face a thankless and daunting task: battle the Bush administration and its legions of online and offline apologists, battle the so-called “liberal” media and its tireless weaving of pro-GOP narratives, battle the ineffectual Democratic leadership, and battle the demoralization and frustration that comes with a long, steep uphill struggle."

If there is no storm, it because the Democratic narrative generator is broken. As I have written, the essence of a political storm is a morally-instructive narrative to the voters, connecting political actions and the consequences, manifest in events.

Bush invades Iraq for no good reason; Bush screws up reconstruction in Iraq; Bush fails in Iraq and America suffers as a result of Bush policies. It is as simple as that.

But, as Daou points out, the Democrat story-telling machine is badly broken. The events are there: the U.S. has failed in the "GWOT", failed in Iraq; the economy is growing only for the corporations and the very rich; the President has broken the law, deceived the American people about the most serious matters, failed to respond to the devastation of Katrina; the Republicans have corrupted the government . . . . Events are there. But, the Storm seems to have receded, because the Democrats cannot muster a compelling narrative.

don't confuse me with facts!

Michael Bérubé Online: Anne D. Neal, of the conservative American Council of Trustees and Alumni, on the conservative campaign against liberal bias and discrimination against conservatives on college campuses: “if there are only a tiny handful of complaints from students, then colleges should bear the burden of explaining why more students aren’t coming forward to say what we all know is true. That’s the way the system should work."

Perhaps there is hope that the long rise of conservativism has, at last, reached its high point and is receding.

Saturday, January 7, 2006

Daily Kos: Cook's early 2006 outlook

Daily Kos: Cook's early 2006 outlook: "While a huge wave could bring us control of at least one chamber in 2006, the odds are against it. "

Charlie Cook is a nominally "non-partisan" Republican, who handicaps the Congressional races. He is feeding the conventional wisdom, which says that the Democrats will not win control of either house in Congress. He predicts Democratic gains of two to four seats in the Senate, and a gain of four to nine seats in the House, just short of a majority in both chambers.

It is a discouraging meme, which Cook is creating, and kos is re-inforcing. The mid-terms will be the last time the Democrats can run "against" the Worst President Ever(tm), and they are projected by experts to remain impotent!

It would be a sad storm, indeed, which could not affect the election results!

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Nothing but blue skies . . .

Waiting for a Soft Landing: "according to most forecasts, we're headed for a swell year -- though a boring one," writes Robert J. Samuelson in the Washington Post.

Then, he goes on to cover his ass, with this list:
Housing goes bust.
The dollar "crashes."
General Motors files for bankruptcy.
Oil jumps to $85 a barrel.
The "yield curve" of interest rates "inverts."
I tend to think Bush's economic policies are really bad for the country. A zero savings rate cannot be good. But, it is hard to foresee an economic crack-up any time soon. Still, there will be another Hurricane season, won't there?

4 Reasons to Be Glad Bush Is Still President

LA Weekly: Features: Zeitlist: Politics: 4 Reasons to Be Glad Bush Is Still President: "Another silver lining in the dark clouds over Washington is that it might be a swiftly breaking storm. "

Ezra Klein and Joshuah Bearman claim to list four reasons, but, really, they are all the same reason: Bush's re-election means that Bush will be around to reap what he has sown, that, since Bush is still President, Bush will be properly blamed for his own failures, in Iraq, on the Economy and generally.

The essence of a political storm is that events form an morally instructive narrative, by which the electorate learns the errors of its ways. Ezra and Joshuah are young enough to hope that the electorate learns something from the debacle which is Bush.

I have expressed the fear that the Democrats might get blamed for the costs of cleaning up after Bush -- for withdrawing from Iraq or raising taxes to restore fiscal sanity. We'll see.

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Calculated Risk: Two Views: Debt, Deficit and Social Security

Calculated Risk: Two Views: Debt, Deficit and Social Security: "So its a question of who pays: high income earners or low and middle income earners."

And, that my friends is the difference between the political parties.

You can't prosecute him, because it would undermine the permanent Republican majority

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall January 3, 2006 12:21 AM: TPM presents a reader's pious e-mail, which begins the inevitable attempt to calm the political storm on the basis of high principle: "At some point [the Abramoff Matter] will become a potent enough matter to be profoundly political in nature and those involved in the legal system will have to withdraw. To do otherwise would be to improperly engage the legal system in a political contest and undermine the foundational premise of an independent judiciary. This is the tightrope that Fitzgerald is walking in the Plame matter. So long as he is pursuing the violation of a particular Federal statute he is on solid ground. But were he to find himself standing on the threshold of something that, if pursued, could alter the political balance of power then he would have to retreat. Otherwise he would fall into that political contest and improperly involve DOJ in the public arena of political combat."

This is just great. First, the Republicans remove the Independent Prosecutor option, now they want to take the career prosecutors out of the equation as well. Elections are all there is. If crooked, incompetent authoritarian Republicans can win election, then we have to surrender the government to them. A Republican President can void the law. A Republican judiciary can void the Bill of Rights. Why? Because elections matter, and the American people are misinformed by the corporate, right-wing media.

No storm here. Just a little rain. Move along. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Monday, January 2, 2006

Reconstruction Taper By Jay Dixit

Reconstruction Taper By Jay Dixit: "The Bush administration's decision not to seek new funds in its congressional budget request next month signals the winding down of the rebuilding effort in Iraq, says the WP. Less than 20 percent remains of an $18.4 billion rebuilding effort. Half was spent on the insurgency, the criminal-justice system, and the trial of Saddam Hussein. Billions that were initially supposed to go to rebuilding Iraq's decrepit infrastructure went to new security forces and maximum-security prisons and detention centers. Bringing reliable electrical, water, sewage, and sanitation services to Iraq will require tens of billions yet, but, as one brigadier general put it, 'The U.S. never intended to completely rebuild Iraq.' "

No, what we "intended," evidently, was to enrich Halliburton and Bechtel, and screw the Iraqis. It is absolutely shameful, and, failing in the reconstruction is the major reason Bush has lost Iraq.

Sunday, January 1, 2006


TPMCafe || OFF-MESSAGE: RISE OF THE DINOs?: "A successful jihad against corrupt Republicans does not position the political system to move us forward in public policy."

In other words, the coming perfect storm is not going to erase the social trends and ideologies, which have been corrupting America. Duh.

The Washington Monthly

The Washington Monthly: "When the Justice Department starts leaking like a sieve, and all the news embarrasses the White House, you know Bush has a problem."

That, of course, would be the "optimistic" interpretation. The other interpretation is that Bush is systematically undermining the independence and professionalism of various units in the Justice Department.