Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Intellectual Dishonesty

Yesterday, George "Stay the Course" Bush, came out swinging against the recent decision in the New Jersey State Supreme court saying that homosexual couples must be given the same state rights as heterosexual couples.

"For decades, activist judges have tried to redefine America by court order," Bush said Monday. "Just this last week in New Jersey, another activist court issued a ruling that raises doubt about the institution of marriage. We believe marriage is a union between a man and a woman, and should be defended."
- Bush hits hard at gay marriage

Right off the bat, Bush decides to leave intellectual honesty at the door.

First, the state of New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that everyone must be treated equally. How does any president who is sworn to uphold the constitution stand behind a podium and claim that it is their political platform to make one class of Americans inferior to others. It is not hard to understand the words "equal protection of the law." It is an easy concept... seriously... it just means if you give certain legal rights to one group of people, you have to afford that same rights to similar other groups. How is this not a fundamental principal that Bush is 100% behind.

HELD: Denying committed same-sex couples the financial and social benefits and privileges given to their married
heterosexual counterparts bears no substantial relationship to a legitimate governmental purpose. The Court holds
that under the equal protection guarantee of Article I, Paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution, committed samesex
couples must be afforded on equal terms the same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples under the
civil marriage statutes. The name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to samesex
couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process.

Second, the State of New Jersey Supreme Court did not rule that homosexuals must be given the right to marry. The one and only thing they said was that homosexual couples must be afforded the same rights as heterosexual couples. That means they must be given the same rights to survivorship and state benefits. This can be done as a civil union or marriage. The Court left that decision up to the legislature to decide.

"I believe I should continue to appoint judges who strictly interpret the law and not legislate from the bench," the president said, earning more applause in the sweltering basketball arena at Georgia Southern University.

This ruling was anything but an activist decision. The court did exactly what the president wanted. They strictly interpreted the law. In fact, if the court ruled the opposite way, that same-sex couples do not deserve the same rights, that would be an activist court because the court is ignoring the law. You can't expect the court to ignore the law just because the thought of two men sleeping together gives you the willies.

Ironically, the religious people that Bush panders to on this issue are shooting themselves in the foot in the long run. For a government to legislate that marriage is between only a man and a women are infringing upon religious freedoms. They are encouraging the state to define religion and how you can practice your personal faith.

Bush can do nothing other than to play to the base fears of conservatives. He is being intellectually dishonest and in in no form or manner a leader upholding the Constitution of the United States.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

New Jersay Rules On Gay Marriage

The New Jersey supreme court today ruled that the state must either allow gay marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples. The court ruled that the inequity in marriage laws is intolerable under the New Jersey State Constitution. The state legislature now has 180 days to either allow gay marriage, or offer some sort of civil union. Since it is still my firm belief that banning gay marraige is a violation of the 1st Amendments freedom of religion clause, I am hoping that the NJ legislature will go with marriage and not a civli union. If the state is going to recognize marriages done by churches, it should recognize marriages done by all churches, not just the ones who believe marriage is between a man and a woman.

The holding was perfect in its constitutional analysis:

HELD: Denying committed same-sex couples the financial and social benefits and privileges given to their married
heterosexual counterparts bears no substantial relationship to a legitimate governmental purpose. The Court holds
that under the equal protection guarantee of Article I, Paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution, committed samesex
couples must be afforded on equal terms the same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples under the
civil marriage statutes. The name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to samesex
couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process.

Holding via Atrios

This is just one of four states now that has decided "equal protection under the laws" actually means equal protection.

Religious conservatives can hold out for a long time, but eventually, equal protection will be equal protection in all 50 states.

NJ court stops short of gay marriage OK
By GEOFF MULVIHILL, Associated Press Writer

TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey's Supreme Court opened the door to gay marriage Wednesday, ruling that homosexuals are entitled to the same rights as heterosexuals, but leaving it to lawmakers to legalize same-sex unions.

The high court gave lawmakers 180 days to rewrite marriage laws to either include same-sex couples or create a new system of civil unions for them.

The ruling is similar to the 1999 decision in Vermont that led to civil unions there, which offer the benefits of marriage, but not the name.

"Although we cannot find that a fundamental right to same-sex marriage exists in this state, the unequal dispensation of rights and benefits to committed same-sex partners can no longer be tolerated under our state Constitution," Justice Barry T. Albin wrote for the 4-3 majority's decision.

Outside the Supreme Court, news of the ruling caused confusion, with many of the roughly 100 gay marriage supporters outside asking each other what it meant. Many started to agree that they needed to push for a state constitutional amendment to institute gay marriage.

(Full Story)

Rush Limbaugh - Still a Slime Ball

Michael J. Fox recently did a couple of TV ads for candidates who support stem cell research. This is not surprising since Fox suffers from Parkinson's disease and there is hope that a cure to the disease can be found using stem cell research.

We all know that stem cell research is a very divisive topic. I happen to think that the life of a human who is suffering from disease now is more valuable than some blastocytes that are going to be flushed down a toilet anyway. But that is just my view. Not everyone sees it the same way and I will respectfully disagree with whose who find this process of research immoral.

But Rush has to go one step further and claim that Michael J. Fox was faking his condition when he appeared in the TV ads.

"He is exaggerating the effects of the disease," Limbaugh told listeners. "He's moving all around and shaking and it's purely an act. . . . This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting."

I am sure that Rush is a medical expert who can diagnose the true affects of Parkinson's disease from a TV ad. After all, we all know that Rush is fully aware of the effects of drugs on the human system. So, Rush, like usual is right. Michael J. Fox was shamelessly acting and duping us all. I am sure the effects of Parkinson's disease had nothing to do with Fox quitting his acting career in his prime. In fact, Fox probably doesn't even have Parkinson's. This is just another liberal conspiracy to kill more babies.

Or Rush is just a big fat rat bastard...

Take your pick.

Rush Limbaugh On the Offensive Against Ad With Michael J. Fox

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Cutting and Staying... Errr... Running the Course... Errr

So, Bush is cutting and running... from staying the course... kind of.

Bush has decided to no longer use the term "stay the course." But that doesn't mean that we are not staying the course. No, we are in fact staying the course, just no longer using that term. (Bush's New Tack Steers Clear of 'Stay the Course', Bush officials: No big move in Iraq plan).

Since the course we are staying on is going right over a waterfall, the White house has decided to change the terminology used to explain his failed policies. After all, failure is fine as long as there is a nifty new catch phrase to accompany it. I think they are going to use something like "adapt and change." And by "adapt and change" they mean "stay the course." I hear that adapt and change just elbowed out "don't look at me" and "its hard being the president" for Bush's new slogans. Thankfully, Bush's favorite, "slap me in the ass and call me Judy," was nixed outright.

Additionally, the White House still refuses to set a time line for the take over of Iraq security forces and the withdrawal of American troops... except that we are now setting a time line for the withdrawal of American troops and the take over of American troops (Iraq agrees to develop security time line)

So we are no longer staying the course... only that we are not changing course. And we are not setting time lines... except for the time lines now being set... kind of... but not really.

Does he really wonder why no one believes that he has a plan to win in Iraq? They can't even articulate the basics. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people out there who will buy the shiny new box with the same old product inside.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Much has been made in regards to the immigration of Latinos to the United States. The xenophobes among us cry out, "they are coming to steal our jobs and invade our lands." Ironically, most of these people arguing the loudest are descendants of immigrants. Of course the immigrants are coming for the jobs and the American dream. It is the same reason that our ancestors came!

Imagine if the English in the 1600's and 1700's said, "Winthrop... there is this great land across the sea that holds opportunity for us all. Lets pack up our things and move there."

"Na," replies Winthrop, "there are already Indians living there. It wouldn't be fair for us to move there and take their deer and land. Lets just stay here instead and drink our earl grey tea."

Imagine if the Irish of the 1800's said, "O'Reilly, we are starving to death from the potato famine. There is this land across the sea where we can start a new and make a better life for out children."

"Na," O'Reilly replies, "the English are already there. It would be unfair for us to move there and take their jobs. Lets just stay here and eat mud."

What if the Germans and Italians did the same. This is a nation of immigrants and every immigrant group came here and took jobs from those already here. But, we grew stronger with each group.

Those who oppose immigration now say, "but the Latinos are different than us and they don't intergrate into our communities. Worst of all, they don't speak our language."

The same thing has been said about every group that have immigrated to our country. For the Germans, most of their community schools were bi-lingual until World War I. The first German language newspaper started in 1732. By 1860, there were over 1.3 million German born immigrants in the United Sates, with seven German language newspapers in St. Louis alone. By 1894, there were over 800 German language journals in the U.S. The anti-German sentiment in the U.S. was also at its peak. It was said that they will never integrate into the "American way of life."

With all of the anit-German sentiment in the U.S. did the Germans capitulate and adopt all of the native customs? No. Instead they created social groups to build understanding between the cultures.

“the case for our German culture will be better served if we attract Americans to our side. On the gymnastics field, we can acquaint them with our German customs and traditions and of course, also with our language more successfully than if we hold them at bay because of our nationalistic tendency to live in our own enclaves.” Der Vorbote, July 7, 1886.

This obscene reluctance to void themselves of native customs forced horrible things on the U.S. such as the Christmas Tree and the Easter Bunny. It took over 100 years for the German immigrant population to fully become part of Americana.

The same happened with the Italians. They were thought to be dirty and uneducated. They were blamed for taking American jobs and dragging the entire country down. One native claimed in a 1891 cartoon that “If immigration was properly restricted, you would never be troubled with anarchism, socialism, the Mafia and such kindred evils!” The Klu Klux Klan became an active organization against Italian immigrants. In 1890, there were 20 lynching of Italians alone, and Catholic churches were vandalized. The largest mass lynching in U.S. history was of Italians in New Orleans in 1891. The mass media was generally approving of the actions.

The Irish came to the U.S. and were forced to work the jobs that even slaves were not allowed to work because a slave was more valuable that an Irish man. By 1855, nearly a third of Boston's population were Irish born immigrants. The anti-Irish sentiment was so strong that a national party, the "Know Nothings," was formed to stop the flow of Irish immigrants. Their claim was that “Americans must rule America.” Once elected, the Know Nothings passed laws aimed specifically at Irish immigrants. They passed laws making the King James Bible (protestant version) compulsory and taking away arms from the Irish in violation of their 1st and 2nd amendment rights. In the south, the Irish were compared to slaves and were referred to as “niggers turned inside out," and black slaves were called "smoked Irish."

Every immigrant group has been considered to be a direct threat to the welfare of the United States. Every immigrant groups was said to be insular and unwilling to integrate into the native culture. But, in the end, every immigrant group has made the United States a better place. Every immigrant group has added a new fiber to the fabric of our nation. Were would we be without those O'Sullivans and Cervinos, the Schmidts and the Chans. What if the anti-immigration voices in the 1800's had been sucessful in blocking the flow of Italians, Jews, Irish, Germans, and Chinese. Adding the Sanchezs to the list will make this a better place, not worse. Those who come to the U.S. desire to live the American dream, not subvert it. They come for the same dreams that brought our grandparents and great grandparents. There was room for our ancestors in this country and there is room for more. Latinos will integrate in time, just as the Italians, the Irish, and the Germans did. They will, and already have, made great contributions to our economy and society. The current waive of Latino immigration means that we are doing something right here. The only way that we will ever really stop immigration is if we throw our economy and freedoms down the toilet. I would prefer to keep those, and welcome some new neighbors.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Call For Darfur

Liberal and conservative evangelicals have put aside their difference in order to call for President Bush to do more to help stop the genocide in Darfur. Christians have been at the call for action, standing side by side with secular humanist.

So far, the congress has been a lot of talk with no action. Four bills written to help the victims in Darfur and to punish the Sudan government have languished in committees. Bush has not only done nothing to stop the genocide, he has actually lifted some sanctions against the government of Sudan placed on them during the Clinton administration. He even made it legal for Sudan to hire lobbyists in Washington.

Enough is enough. The time to act is now.

Evangelicals lobby Bush on Sudan crisis
By RACHEL ZOLL, AP Religion Writer
Wed Oct 18, 5:06 PM ET

Liberal and conservative evangelicals set aside their political differences Wednesday to urge that President Bush do more to end the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan.

The Rev. Jim Wallis, head of the liberal Sojourners/Call to Renewal, an evangelical social justice movement, and the Rev. Richard Land, head of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, are among the leaders of the Evangelicals for Darfur campaign.

"I believe the president does care deeply about this," said Land, a longtime Bush family supporter. "I see this as helping strengthen the president's hand and enable the president to do what's in his heart to do."

The White House press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Religious groups from many faiths have been lobbying world leaders to help the Sudanese since rebel groups rose up against the Khartoum government in early 2003. More than 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been displaced since then, escalating the situation into one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.

But Wallis said world attention to the region has been sporadic, and evangelical leaders think time is running out to prevent what many consider government-backed genocide. The Sudanese government is accused of letting the Janjaweed militia of Arab nomads commit atrocities against villagers.

"Until we resolve this, we can't stop talking about it," Wallis said.

(Full story)

Election Round Up

We are in the home stretch now, and it looks good from my point of view. The Republicans that I want to see out most in this coming election are either trailing their Democratic contender or tied.

Rick Santorum is trailing Bob Casey 54% - 41% (Link)

Conrad Burns of Montana is way behind Jon Tester 46% - 35% (Link)

And Senator George "I like the darkies... I really really do!" Allen is tied with Jim Webb in Virginia. (Link)

Even if the Dems don't take back the Senate, I will be happy with these three getting tossed out. Now, only if we could get Stevens of Alaska out in the next round, I would be ecstatic.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Iraq Is On Double Secret Probation

According to the nutty GOP Senator our of Montana, Conrad Burns, president Bush has a double secret plan to win the war in Iraq... he is just not telling anyone about it. Because... you know... when support for the war is at an all time low and you are risking losing the House of Representatives and the Senate... that is the time to keep the winning plan a secret.

Burns, at a debate Tuesday night with Democratic challenger Jon Tester, said he believes Bush has a plan to win — but added: "we're not going to tell you what our plan is."

I am so sure that Bush called Burns up a couple of weeks ago and they sat down for a late night warm milk where the two brain children came up with the winning strategy in Iraq. They just are way to humble to announce that they have found the solution to not only the war in Iraq, but the national debt, social security, global warming, and crab grass in addition.

Burns: President keeping war plan quiet

Friday, October 13, 2006

Bush on Taxes... Or Crack... Take Your Pick

Recently, Bush praised his tax cuts as the main source for the yearly federal deficit being cut from $500 billion to $260 billion.

Hello! Earth to numb skull. It is the tax cuts that created the deficit in the first place. He is praising the cutting in half of something that he was the cause of. Big freaking deal.

In addition, why is he praising that we are still $260 billion in the hole for this fiscal year? We are still in the hole $260 billion. This only adds to the $8.5 trillion dollar deficit. To be precise - $8,532,458,400,732... no, wait... make that $8,532,458,428,654... $8,532,458,442,346. Oh, forget it...

We are still spending more than we take in. So much for GOP "fiscal conservatism." It is like already having $10,000 credit card debt and then seeing a fancy new pair of shoes on sale, marked down from $300 to $175. Republicans like to think that by buying the shoes on sale, they have saved $125. But, you don't save $125, you are just now $10,175 in debt.

Just to prove how stupid the man is, he said yesterday regarding bilateral vs. multilateral talks with North Korea:

"One has a stronger hand when there's more people playing your same cards."—Washington, D.C., Oct. 11, 2006

Now, I am anything but a card shark, but even I know that is a stupid analogy.

H/T Linnet

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

State of Denial is an Understatement for Bush

In a press conference today, Bush was asked about the report that there have been over 350,000 deaths in Iraq since our invasion. He said that he did not agree with the report and went on to say:

And I applaud the Iraqis for their courage in the face of violence. I am, you know, amazed that this is a society which so wants to be free that they’re willing to — you know, that there’s a level of violence that they tolerate.

A level of violence that they are willing to tolerate!!! Are you kidding me? What choice to they have? Or is Bush saying that they are willing to tolerate the violence because they hope America will finally leave?

Get real Bush. They aren't "tolerating" violence in order to be free. They are subjugated to violence because they have no choice. Either they endure the death squads and suicide bombers because they can't leave, or, like the over 800,000 who can, have already left the country.

Can he get anymore out of touch than he already is?

H/T Thinkprogress

Plane Crashes Into Building on Upper East Side of New York

A small plane or helicopter has hit an apartment building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan very close to my own apartment. No word as yet as to the cause of the hit (accident or terrorism). CNN was reporting that it is near Rockefeller Center. It is in fact near Rockefeller University, not Rockefeller Center.

Lets pray that no one was in the apartment building.


Update: It is now being reported that this is so far considered to be an accident and not a terrorist attack. Once person is confirmed dead.

Update: Yankees manager Joe Torresays the plane that crashed into a building in Manhattan is registered to team pitcher Cory Lidle.

Bush's Safe Schools

I could understand how Bush would want to try to draw some positive light on himself with his poll numbers back in the mid 30's and with Iraq and North Korea all Bushed up. So, in the wake of multiple school shootings, he decided to hold a school safety summit.

I watched a little bit of the summit on TV. You could tell how contrived it was... but that is besides the point.

In the entire program, none of the panelist, including Bush himself, ever mentioned guns a single time.

Hello!!! School shootings!!! How can you have a summit about safety without mentioning guns a single time? We didn't have a rash of school knifings. Not a single episode included a bomb. No one claimed they were going to put someone's eye out with a stapler.

It was guns! So, guns are relevant. Lets face the facts here. If it were not for guns, we would not be having this summit at all. You cannot have an honest discussion on the subject without bringing up the subject of guns.

When we talk about stopping terrorism, do we leave out planes, chemical/biological weapons, nuclear material? No! So, why can't we have a discussion about the weapon of choice for school shootings? They didn't have to call for a ban on guns, but they have to at least acknowledge the problem in order to have an honest discussion.

I think we all know the answer to that one.

Guns Are in Schools but Not in the President's Vocabulary
By Dana Milbank
Wednesday, October 11, 2006; Page A02

President Bush has always been a disciplined man, but yesterday he set a new standard for self-control: He moderated an hour-long discussion about the rash of school shootings in the past week without once mentioning the word "guns."

First lady Laura Bush was nearly as good, giving a seven-minute speech at yesterday's White House Conference on School Safety without mentioning guns. Two longtime aides, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, deftly led hours of panels at the National 4-H building in Chevy Chase with only a few glancing references to weapons.

(Full Story)

John McCain, North Korea, and a Big Pile of Something

Today, John McCain came forward and placed all blame of the current crisis with North Korea squarely on Bill Clinton. Whatever respect McCain had won back from me is now gone again. George Bush's policy towards North Korea has been a complete and utter failure. Bush has had six years to stop North Korea from progressing on a nuclear program and has failed.

Until Bush took over, there were International Atomic Energy Inspectors in the country. The plutonium that they had prior to 1994 was sealed and stored and regularly inspected. In 2002, Bush claims that North Korea started a secret uranium enrichment program. To this day, there is still no proof that this program ever existed. But once we pulled out of the 1994 framework, we do know that the plutonium was unsealed, the inspectors were kicked out, the nuclear power plants were restarted, and North Korea used that plutonium in an attempt to become a nuclear state.

The North Koreans had to deal with John Bolton for the next 4 years. Talks went nowhere, and even career U.S. diplomats claimed that half of the problem was Bolton himself. Negotiations were predicated on North Korea stopping the enrichment of uranium, which the North Koreans denied doing, and we had no proof of them doing it. It is like saying, "I am going to keep you in jail until you stop trying to kill your wife," when there is no proof that you ever did try to kill your wife. We based our claims that North Korea was enriching uranium on our "intelligence" reports. Well, after Iraq, we see how good our intelligence was.

Unbeknownst to most Americans is that North Korea is toying with capitalism. Its Stalinist system has failed. It sees its neighbor to the north, China, who has retained authoritarian control over its masses while still engaging in an economic renaissance. North Korea wants to be seen as an adult and respected as one, even though, in actuality, it is just a bratty little kid because it has no experience with dealing on a global scale. It wants attention and is seeking it in the only way it knows how. It is unfortunate that we have to deal with a bratty little kid, but we do!

Do people not realize that we are still technically at war with North Korea? We signed an armistice but we have never signed a peace treaty. If you were them and saw what happened to Iraq, wouldn't you want a nuclear weapon too if Bush was in power, calling you the axis of evil?

I am not about to say that North Korea is a "misunderstood" nation and that it is really "good a heart" or all will be better if we just hugged. But for the love of all that is good and holy in the world, the hard line approach is not working!!! For the past six years, the Bush administration has "misundersetimated" North Korea, just like it "misunderestimated" the aftermath of an Iraq invasion or the results of ignoring Afghanistan.

The notion that this is Clinton's fault, six years after he left office is full of crap and McCain is too.

McCain blames Clinton policies for N. Korea woes

Update: McCain Targets Both Clintons

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Darfur Still Burning

As much as the Republican cover-up and spin attempt on Foley has amused me for the last week. The world is still spinning, the Yankees are still out, Bush foreign policy still sucks, and the genocide in Darfur is continuing.

The government of Sudan is rumored to be planning a new offensive to crush the remains of any resistance before the UN, NATO, or the US decide to get off their asses and actually do something about it.

Obasanjo warns of Darfur genocide, aid staff attacked

Fighting cuts off 224,000 in Darfur from WFP food


There was a discussion about sex over at the wingnut Free Republic website.

One of the responses to the deiscussion was this:

The West is disappearing because of people who have disconnected sex from its God-given purpose.

There is no practical difference between using contraception and converting to Islam.

That is the full quote. 200 bonus points to anyone who can tell me what this wingnut was talking about?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Nuclear North Korea

North Korea claims to have conducted its first nuclear test after restarting its nuclear program after Bush withdrew from the 1994 treaty freezing North Korea's program. (N. Korea Claims Nuclear Test). President Bush calls this a "great threat."

Well, duh! Of course it is a grave threat that further proves that the Bush administration foreign policy is a complete failure. The one-size-fits-all "do what we say or else" foreign policy is a direct cause of North Korea's nuclear ambition.

Almost immediately after taking office, Bush completely backtracked on Clinton's accomplishments in stemming NK's nuclear ambitions. While Clinton's plan was far from optimal, it sure is a hell of a lot better than the current situation we are in now. In 6 years of the Bush White House, we have gone from a less than perfect solution to a utter break down in the situation.

The hard line approach to NK has not worked over the past 6 years. The only thing that a continued hard line approach will continue to do is make NK more and more desperate. A destabilized NK is the last thing that we could possibly want.

The U.S. is proposing additional sanctions against NK (U.S. Proposes Embargo, Sanctions on N. Korea). Well, let me get this straight - We had to invade Iraq because sanctions were not working and there were too many ways around it... But it will work for NK?

The U.S. wants to cut off all oil shipments from China to NK. So, when there is no oil, what other way is there for NK to produce power other than to ramp up its nuclear reactors?

The U.S. is demanding that it suspend all plutonium enrichment, but Bush refused to build the two heavy water nuclear reactors promised under Clinton, which materials could not be used for the production of a nuclear weapon. (Reported Test 'Fundamentally Changes the Landscape' for U.S. Officials)

NK wants assurances that the U.S. will not invade it the same way that it invaded Iraq... after all, it is in the axis of evil. But Bush refuses to deal with NK unless it stops all of its nuclear programs. But the only guarantee that NK has that the U.S. won't invade at this point is to increase its nuclear capacity. We know that Bush's goal is regime change. Obviously, this regime wants to stay in power. If you were NK, what would you do?

This foreign policy is a failure on so many levels. We need someone who can think logically in the White House. This is way too out of hand.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Busk Stops... Over there

This is just getting too screwed up to even follow. The conspiracy theories are all over the place, but the Republicans still can't even get their own story straight.

You have Dennis Hastert who claims, "the buck stops here." And by here, he means anywhere but himself. Yesterday, Hastert placed the blame on Bill Clinton and George Soros, claiming this was all their doing. Once again, the fact that he is the House majority leader who is ultimately responsible for this is completely lost on him. (Hastert takes responsibility, but won't step down) This says nothing about the fact that ABC confirms that they received the e-mails from a republican. (Longtime Republican was source of e-mails)

You have fake news stories on the Drudge report claiming that the former page who's IMs shocked the world were just a prank. Conservatives are actually claiming that the former page "goaded" him into typing the sexual IMs as a prank. Yeah, because a man will check into rehab and then claim he was molested by a priest over a prank. You also have the three additional republican former pages who have come forward. (Three More Former Pages Accuse Foley of Online Sexual Approaches). And, lets say for just the sake of arguement that Foley was "duped" into the online sex conversation. You are trying to tell me that he, an elected official supposedly competent enough to be trusted with the running of this country didn't know better than to engage in an online sexual encounter with a minor?

You have the conservatives claiming it was a "network of gay staffers" who knew about Foleys online activities and were covering it up, even though it was the "network" of gay republican staffers who first notified Hastert of Foley's actions. (CBS Evening News Uncritically Reports ‘Gay Cabal’ Conspiracy Theory)

You have the same conservatives saying that the Foley scandal is a complete fabrication... but then claiming that the boys were of age, so Foley did nothing wrong. So, what is it? Were the IM's forged or were the boys of age? Don't try to make both arguments. (Ex-Page's Lawyer: Drudge's "Prank" Story "A Piece of Fiction")

Conservatives are also going on a homophobe witch hunt now. Lists of top republican staffers who are gay is being circulated in the GOP circles so as to purge the "open tent" party of undesirables.

The GOP would try to get their stories straight before trying to push the blame on others. It just shows how incompetent they are all around.

Update: This is so sad. Conservatives are now out there with a story that Democrats are refusing to take a polygraph test to prove that they didn't know anything about the Foley IMs. Oh, puuuhleeees. And who are the GOPers who are lining up for polygraphs? When Hastert takes a polygraph, then you can come talk to me.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Hastert's Unhappy Little Ho' Down

Things are getting bad on Capital hill to the embattled speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert.

Kirk Fordham, Foley's former Chief of Staff, and long time Republican staffer, came forward to state that he told Hastert about concerns he had about Foley's flirtations with congressional pages all the way back in 2003 (Ex-Aide To Foley Cites '03 Warnings).

Hastert can't remember this ever happening.

Fordham was the fourth Republican to come forward and claim they warned Hastert.

Rodney Alexander, Republican congressman of Louisiana claims to have told Hastert.

Hastert can't remember this ever happening.

House Majority Leader John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio claims to have warned Hastert.

Hastert can't remember this ever happening.

Originally, Hastert claimed that Foley resigned so quickly that Hastert didn't even have a chance to ask Foley to resign.

Hastert apparently didn't remember that either and then claimed that he told Foley to take a hike.

Hastert said he was going to do something about Washington corruption after the Abramoff scandal. He forgot to do something about that also.

Currently, even FOX News is saying that Hastert is going to cost the GOP the House. But Hastert is refusing to go on his own (Hastert Rejects Calls To Give Up Leadership)

I wonder if Hastert will remember not to let the door hit him in the ass on the way out.

Bush Never Has And Never Will

Key congressional lawmakers thought they have made waterboarding forbidden. Waterboarding, a form of interrogation used by the CIA to extract information from suspected terrorist, is considered to be torture by most, including many former military leaders and politicians. While McCain, Warner and Graham held out against the presidents plan to make torture legal under his interpretation of the Geneva convention, they later sold out our military and American moral standards by allowing the president to interpret Article 3 of the Geneva convention. The one thing that they all had done though, was to ban waterboarding.

Apparently the president doesn't think so. He has not ruled out the use of waterboarding and says, "it would be wrong to tell terrorists which practices they might face."

How can so many people assigned the task of running this country be so freaking stupid. The goal was not to tell the terrorist what practices we will and will not use!

It is to tell the rest of the world who we are asking to back us in our fight against terrorism what practices we will and will not use!

The world views us as having lost our moral compass. We used to be the guy everyone looked up to. Now we are the guy everyone looks down upon.

The president had an opportunity to tell the world, "We are better than the terrorist. We hold firm to the belief that torture is wrong. We hold firm to the commitment to uphold international law."

At this point, Bush keeps trying to frame the conflict as one between good and evil. The rest of the world is sitting around, scratching their heads saying, "Ok, on this side, we have a bunch of guys who fly planes into buildings and kill innocent people... On the other side you have a bunch of guys who attach electrodes to people's genitalia, operate KGB style prisons, and invade countries that had nothing to do with the people who flew airplanes into buildings... Who are the good guys supposed to be? This looks like a battle between evil and evil."

What the president thought he said was, "we want the terrorist to be uncertain of what techniques we will use to extract questionable information."

Instead, the rest of world hears is, "Well, is being the moral superior really all that important? Rummy Dick and I don't think so. Now excuse me while I take a short trip down to Gitmo to kick around some towel heads while they are chained to a fence."

Waterboarding Historically Controversial
By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 5, 2006; Page A17

Key senators say Congress has outlawed one of the most notorious detainee interrogation techniques -- "waterboarding," in which a prisoner feels near drowning. But the White House will not go that far, saying it would be wrong to tell terrorists which practices they might face.

Inside the CIA, waterboarding is cited as the technique that got Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the prime plotter of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, to begin to talk and provide information -- though "not all of it reliable," a former senior intelligence official said.

Waterboarding is variously characterized as a powerful tool and a symbol of excess in the nation's fight against terrorists. But just what is waterboarding, and where does it fit in the arsenal of coercive interrogation techniques?

On Jan. 21, 1968, The Washington Post published a front-page photograph of a U.S. soldier supervising the questioning of a captured North Vietnamese soldier who is being held down as water was poured on his face while his nose and mouth were covered by a cloth. The picture, taken four days earlier near Da Nang, had a caption that said the technique induced "a flooding sense of suffocation and drowning, meant to make him talk."

The article said the practice was "fairly common" in part because "those who practice it say it combines the advantages of being unpleasant enough to make people talk while still not causing permanent injury."

The picture reportedly led to an Army investigation.

Twenty-one years earlier, in 1947, the United States charged a Japanese officer, Yukio Asano, with war crimes for carrying out another form of waterboarding on a U.S. civilian. The subject was strapped on a stretcher that was tilted so that his feet were in the air and head near the floor, and small amounts of water were poured over his face, leaving him gasping for air until he agreed to talk.

"Asano was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor," Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) told his colleagues last Thursday during the debate on military commissions legislation. "We punished people with 15 years of hard labor when waterboarding was used against Americans in World War II," he said.

(Full Story)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Gingrich Tries His Hand At Stand Up Comedy

Newt Gingrich tried his had at stand up comedy Sunday on Fox News by saying that the reason that Hastert didn't investigate the Foley e-mails earlier was because he was afraid of being called a gay basher.

Com'on... Republicans make a sport out of gay bashing. Half of their agenda is about gay bashing. Republican politicians compare homosexuals to Satanists and bestialitist. This is the party that believes homosexuality is a disease and that it is curable. the only thing that Republicans fear more than terrorist is being touched by a gay person.

Maybe if Foley was not so hemmed in by his own party and forced to live a lie, maybe he could have formed mature adult relationships with someone of his own age. Repression can screw with your mind and cause you to do things you would not normally do. If Foley is indeed an alcoholic, it most likely stemmed from his repressed sexuality as a form of self medication. He knew that he could never be honest with himself and others and still receive support from the GOP and its base.

So, Newt, lets be intellectually honest about this. Hastert didn't sweep this under the rug because he was afraid of being called a gay basher. He wept this under the rug because he wanted to remain the speaker and because it would anger the base that feeds on gay bashing.

GINGRICH: Well, you could have second thoughts about it, but I think had they overly aggressively reacted to the initial round, they would also have been accused of gay bashing. I mean, the original notes had no sexual innuendo and the parents did not want any action taken.

WALLACE: How would it have been gay bashing?

GINGRICH: Because it was a male-male relationship. And they had no -- there was no proof, there was nothing that I know of in that initial round that would have led you to say in a normal circumstance that this is a predatory person.


In related news, many of the conservatives are coming out to call for Hastert's resignation over the handeling of the matter. (Hastert Dismisses Call for Resignation Amid Foley Scandal & Pressure Grows for Republicans Over Foley Scandal). As well as adding more fear that the "permanent majority" that the GOP thought they had may not be so permanent. (After Foley, New Fears For the GOP).

Update: Even better than Gingrich's comedy routine is Katherine Harris's, Republican Candidate for senate in Florida. According to her, the Republicans knew nothing and it was in fact the Democrats and the media that knew about Foley and did nothing and it is all their fault. Crazy is as crazy does. The more I hear Harris speak, the more I think that there really was something was screwy in Florida's 2000 election. See the video clip at Wonkette.

Monday, October 02, 2006

GOP Knew Bout Foley As Far Back As 2001

It is kind of fun watching the fallout over this Foley thing. It is a sad situation for the pages, but the wingnuts are clamoring to shift blame. It is tough to spin something that is already out of control, and it is tough to claim that Democrats are politicizing that was being covered up for political reasons. The right wingers are all coming out of the wood works now to defend the situation. Over at the right wing blogs like Gateway Pundit, they are claiming that the age of consent is 16 in D.C. therefore there was nothing wrong with Foley's actions. They are also claiming that the e-mails were doctored and that this is just a conspiracy.

Over at the Right Wing Nuthouse, they are also talking about the conspiracies. Apparently, since ABC news and other organizations had these documents earlier and didn't report them, they are the bad guys because they were allowing a sexual predator to run free. I guess the fact that GOP leadership knew about these problems as far back as 2001 and did nothing to investigate the issue escapes them.

If all elese fails, attack the "liberal media." Its so sad... so sad...

GOP Staff Warned Pages About Foley in 2001
October 01, 2006 4:00 PM
Maddy Sauer and Anna Schecter Report:

A Republican staff member warned congressional pages five years ago to watch out for Congressman Mark Foley, according to a former page.

Matthew Loraditch, a page in the 2001-2002 class, told ABC News he and other pages were warned about Foley by a supervisor in the House Clerk's office.

Loraditch, the president of the Page Alumni Association, said the pages were told "don't get too wrapped up in him being too nice to you and all that kind of stuff."


Pages report to either Republican or Democratic supervisors, depending on the political party of the member of Congress who nominate them for the page program.

Several Democratic pages tell ABC News they received no such warnings about Foley.

Loraditch says that some of the pages who "interacted" with Foley were hesitant to report his behavior because "members of Congress, they've got the power." Many of the pages were hoping for careers in politics and feared Foley might seek retribution.

(Full Story)

H/T Smokey

Update: Ex-Rep. Foley Checks Into Rehab