Saturday, January 31, 2009

Memo to Conservative Republican Ditto-heads

by David Neiwert

Memo to Conservatives: You failed and are now irrelevant.

OK, I expect you'll ignore this memo like our previous ones. Nate Silver is right: Republicans are caught in a death spiral, and it's going to be awhile yet before they hit bottom.

Nowhere is it more self-evident than in the broad acknowledgment this week that the GOP is being led by a bilious radio talk-show host, and the ongoing fact that its most popular politician is a wingnutty, malinformed Alaska governor.

The unanimous refusal of House Republicans to vote in favor of Obama's stimulus plan may raised a cheer from the Dittoheads, but all it really demonstrated was the utter impotence of Conservatives to have any say in how we proceed with fixing the economy.

And there's one real reason for that: They broke it. Their philosophy of governance, especially their feverish laissez-faire demolition of regulatory oversight, and their obscene enrich-the-rich approach to taxation, were the two overarching reasons for our current economic debacle. Of course they still want to blame minority lending for the plunge, but no one with serious money is bothering to listen any longer, because they know what the story is. And so do most Americans.

So Rush Limbaugh can pen all the worthless split-the-baby-in-two proposals for economic stimulus he likes, and House Republicans can toss out all the tax-cut-heavy alternatives they like. And no one will take them seriously, because we've heard these proposals before -- for the past eight years, in fact. They've been nothing but a recipe for failure and disaster. Why would anyone want to take that course now?

What's worse for Republicans is that not only have they not yet figured out how irrelevant they've become, they are even further from understanding the reasons for their irrelevance. They're in deep denial about the direct relationship between their philosophy and the current economic debacle, and even more so the extent to which the public is finding their pugnacious, vicious, attacking style of politics increasingly repellent. (AMEN!)

So Neil Cavuto is right when he defends Limbaugh by saying that of course, ideologically speaking, conservatives will naturally as a matter of principle oppose Obama's policies. We understand that Limbaugh and other conservatives believes that Obama's policies will fail and will vote and speak accordingly.

But he completely overlooks the problem with Limbaugh when he openly hopes Obama will fail: It's one thing to believe a policy will fail and oppose it accordingly. It's quite another to openly hope for it.

Most liberals, by way of contrast, believed George W. Bush would fail, and many predicted it; but it's hard to find any of them, particularly leading Democrats, who were out there saying that they hoped he -- and by extension, the nation -- would fail after 9/11 because his policies were "fascist." They opposed these policies in principle. Anyone who openly hoped for our military failure in Iraq, for instance, was in a tiny minority; but there were millions of us who opposed the war because we believed it was not only wrongheaded but doomed to fail. And we were proved right.

In fact, all this shouting is just cover for Republicans' greatest and deepest fear: That Obama in fact will succeed. That progressive "socialism" (as they call it) actually will make people's lives better, heal the economy, and get the nation back on its feet. That the nation's working people will finally get a clear view of which side is on their side. That the public will finally see that not only is Conservatism an abject failure, it's a fraud.

In the end, they are such deeply invested ideologues that they would rather see the nation fail than see that reality reach fruition.


The Bush Library

The George W Bush Presidential Library is now in the planning stages and accepting donations.

The Library will include:

*         The Hurricane Katrina Room , which is still under construction.

*         The Alberto Gonzales Room, where you won't be able to remember anything.

*         The Texas Air National Guard Room, where you don't even have to show up.

*         The Walter Reed Hospital Room, where they don't let you in.

*         The Guantanamo Bay Room, where they don't let you out.

*         The Weapons of Mass Destruction Room, which no one has been able to find.

*         The National Debt Room, which is huge and has no ceiling.

*         The Tax Cut Room, with entry only to the wealthy.

*         The Iraq War Room. (After you complete your first visit, they make you to go back for a second, third, fourth, and sometimes fifth visit.)

*         The Economy Room, which is in the toilet.

*         The Dick Cheney Room, in the famous undisclosed location, complete with shotgun gallery.

*         The Environmental Conservation Room, still empty.

*         The Supreme Gift Shop, where you can buy an election.

*         The Airport Men's Room, where you can meet some of your favorite Republican Senators.

*         The Decider Room, complete with dart board, magic 8-ball, Ouija board, dice, coins, and straws.

Note: The library will feature an electron microscope to help you locate and view the President's accomplishments.

The library will also include many famous Quotes by George W. Bush:

' The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country. '

' If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure. '

' Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and
child. '

' No senior citizen should ever have to choose between prescription drugs and medicine. '

' I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy - but that could change. '

' One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor, and that one word is ' to be prepared ' . '

' Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things. '

' I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future. '

' The future will be better tomorrow

' We're going to have the best educated American people in the world. '

' One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures.' (during an education photo-op)

' Illegitimacy is something we should talk about in terms of not having it. '

' We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur. '

' It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it. '

' I stand by all the misstatements that I've made. '
George W. Bush to Sam Donaldson


Jack Abramoff, Co-Chair
G.W. Bush Library Board of Directors

Friday, January 30, 2009

Obama -- we finally have a Democrat in the White House!!!

by Greg Palast (Cynic Extraordinaire!)

Republicans are right. President Barack Obama treated them like dirt, didn't give a damn what they thought about his stimulus package, loaded it with a bunch of programs that will last for years and will never leave the budget, is giving away money disguised as "tax refunds," and is sneaking in huge changes in policy, from schools to health care, using the pretext of an economic emergency.

Way to go, Mr. O! Mr. Down-and-Dirty Chicago pol. Street-fightin' man. Covering over his break-your-face power play with a "we're all post-partisan friends" BS.

And it's about time.

Frankly, I was worried about this guy. Obama's appointing Clinton-droids to the Cabinet, bloated incompetents like Larry Summers as "Economics Czar," made me fear for my country, that we'd gotten another Democrat who wished he were a Republican.

Then came Obama's money bomb. The House bill included $125 billion for schools (TRIPLING federal spending on education), expanding insurance coverage to the unemployed, making the most progressive change in the tax code in four decades by creating a $500 credit against social security payroll deductions, and so on.

It's as if Obama dug up Ronald Reagan's carcass and put a stake through The Gipper's anti-government heart. Aw-RIGHT!

About the only concession Obama threw to the right-wing trogs was to remove the subsidy for condoms, leaving hooker-happy GOP Senators, like David Vitter, to pay for their own protection. S'OK with me.

And here's the proof that Bam is The Man: Not one single Republican congressman voted for the bill. And that means that Obama didn't compromise, the way Clinton and Carter would have, to win the love of these condom-less jerks.

And we didn't need'm. Nyah! Nyah! Nyah!

Now I understand Obama's weird moves: dinner with those creepy conservative columnists, earnest meetings at the White House with the Republican leaders, a dramatic begging foray into Senate offices. Just as the Republicans say, it was all a fraud. Obama was pure Chicago, Boss Daley in a slim skin, putting his arms around his enemies, pretending to listen and care and compromise, then slowly, quietly, slipping in the knife. All while the media praises Obama's "post-partisanship." Heh heh heh.

Love it. Now we know why Obama picked that vindictive little viper Rahm Emanuel as staff chief: everyone visiting the Oval office will be greeted by the Windy City hit man who would hack up your grandma if you mess with the Godfather-in-Chief.

I don't know about you, but THIS is the change I've been waiting for.

Will it last? We'll see if Obama caves in to more tax cuts to investment bankers. We'll see if he stops the sub-prime scum-bags from foreclosing on frightened families. We'll see if he stands up to the whining, gormless generals who don't know how to get our troops out of Iraq. (In SHIPS, you doofusses!)

Look, don't get your hopes up. But it may turn out the new President's ... a Democrat!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Self-reflection can be valuable -- Republicans ought to try it

A Hole Worth Digging?
by Dylan Loewe

After the 2006 midterm election, the Republican Party showed such a dramatic inability to engage in self-reflection - and self-correction - that in 2008, they ushered in a beating without precedent at all levels of government. Now, as the GOP prepares to oppose President Obama's economic stimulus plan, to oppose a president with overwhelming approval ratings and a mandate for change, to oppose a piece of legislation with broad support from a desperate public, it is becoming ever more clear that, from the perspective of the Republican leadership, a hole worth digging is a hole worth digging deep.

Since Election Day, the post-mortem analysis of the Republican Party, by the Republican Party, has been exceptionally superficial. Most GOP officials and conservative opinion makers argued that the party was led astray because of an abandonment of conservative principles. Republicans failed and a liberal Democrat was elected, Republicans concluded, because Republicans weren't Republican enough. It's with that brand of logic that they've begun moving forward.

Having presided over an economic crisis not seen since Hoover, their squabbles with pork and excessive spending in the economic stimulus plan will be perceived as ranging from blindingly disingenuous to outright hypocritical. When the public lost the benefit of a government it could trust, the Republican party lost the benefit of the doubt.

What the party has yet to fully accept is that there are long-term consequences to losing credibility. Long after public opinion had cratered around Republican ideas and officials, long after the scandals, and the crises, no matter the facts, no matter the consequences, the leaders of the Republican Party defended their debunked philosophies and tainted colleagues.

Now, injured and wayward, the Republican leadership has geared up for a fight it cannot win, against a president who, both in mandate and in institutional advantage, enjoys unmatched power. That they cannot see the strategic error they are engaging in, that they are unable to regroup and reformulate, self-assess and readjust, is perhaps the answer to the most dumb-founding of questions. How could the Republicans, who only four years ago spoke of a permanent majority, have allowed themselves to become almost entirely irrelevant?

They have only one playbook, and it doesn't apply.

You don't win a post-partisan argument by being partisan. You win it by being right. If the Republican Party hopes to survive, they need to get on board, the sooner the better. They should stand with President Obama, support his policies and his mission, take credit for some of his accomplishments, and hope, hope, that he one day makes a mistake. Unless and until that happens, the public will continue to treat them like the obstacle they've become - unreasonable and irrational, unqualified and ill-equipped for government.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bailout recipients doing all they can to keep the middle class workers down forever

The Republican Way.... Make the rich guys richer and don't ever let the little guys have a buy into the "American Dream."

Dead athletes' brains show extensive damage from concussions

I have never been a fan of violent sports. It really shouldn't be too surprising to discover that the sum total of several concussions is often extensive brain damage. I hope today's parents take note of this research and keep their children from participating in violent-type (with deliberate slamming, butting, hitting, etc.) sports like football and wrestling--and boxing. Competitive sports don't need to be violent to be fun. There are so many sports that lend themselves to competition without violence: basketball, baseball, tennis, archery, skating, swimming, diving, etc., etc. Choosing those types of sports could keep our children safer from brain injury.


Boy who saw with sound has died -- 2,000 celebrate his life

A very touching story of a remarkable human being who is now in the angelic realms. Ben Underwood's courage and determination for 17 years has inspired the millions who have heard about him.

The Same Old Song

I wonder, too, what is in the heads of Republicans who are still singing "Tax cuts, tax cuts." It's certainly not brains. Look at the wasteland in which their choices of Cheney and Bush have left us. Yet they continue to revere the Glenn Becks and Rush Limbaughs who tell them they hope Obama fails in his mission to stop the hemorrhaging and save the patient (US!!!, our country!!!). Never, ever do Republicans want to be told they must sacrifice and tighten their belts. No, they'd rather vote for fools who cut the taxes of the rich, wipe out the middle class, reduce a huge budget surplus to an unimaginable deficit, start an unnecessary war on lies, and tell the people to "go shopping" at the direst times when sacrifice is called for! INSANITY!!! Bob Herbert, columnist in the NY Times, has it right in the following essay when he speaks of the Republicans' delusionary state and their latest attempt to undermine Obama's efforts. Herbert asks an excellent question that I have been wondering myself: Given the Republicans' egregious errors over the past eight years and the disasters their choices have caused, WHY IS ANYONE STILL LISTENING TO THEM?

The Same Old Song

Published: January 26, 2009

What’'s up with the Republicans? Have they no sense that their policies have sent the country hurtling down the road to ruin? Are they so divorced from reality that in their delusionary state they honestly believe we need more of their tax cuts for the rich and their other forms of plutocratic irresponsibility, the very things that got us to this deplorable state?

Readers' Comments

The G.O.P.’s latest campaign is aimed at undermining President Obama’'s effort to cope with the national economic emergency by attacking the spending in his stimulus package and repeating ad nauseam the Republican mantra for ever more tax cuts.

“Right now, given the concerns that we have over the size of this package and all the spending in this package, we don’t think it’s going to work,” said Representative John Boehner, an Ohio Republican who is House minority leader. Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Mr. Boehner said of the plan: “Put me down in the ‘no’ column.”

If anything, the stimulus package is not large enough. Less than 24 hours after Mr. Boehner’s televised exercise in obstructionism, the heavy-equipment company Caterpillar announced that it was cutting 20,000 jobs, Sprint Nextel said it was eliminating 8,000, and Home Depot 7,000.

Maybe the Republicans don’t think there is an emergency. After all, it was Phil Gramm, John McCain’s economic guru, who told us last summer that the pain was all in our heads, that this was a “mental recession.”

The truth, of course, is that the country is hemorrhaging jobs and Americans are heading to the poorhouse by the millions. The stock markets and the value of the family home have collapsed, and there is virtual across-the-board agreement that the country is caught up in the worst economic disaster since at least World War II.

The Republican answer to this turmoil?

Tax cuts.

They need to go into rehab.

The question that I would like answered is why anyone listens to this crowd anymore. G.O.P. policies have been an absolute backbreaker for the middle class. (Forget the poor. Nobody talks about them anymore, not even the Democrats.) The G.O.P. has successfully engineered a wholesale redistribution of wealth to those already at the top of the income ladder and then, in a remarkable display of chutzpah, dared anyone to talk about class warfare.

A stark example of this unholy collaboration between the G.O.P. and the very wealthy was on display in the pages of this newspaper on Jan. 18. The Times’s Mike McIntire wrote an article about the first wave of federal bailout money for the financial industry, which was handed over by the Bush administration with hardly any strings attached. (Congress, under the control of the Democrats, should never have allowed this to happen, but the Democrats are as committed to fecklessness as the Republicans are to tax cuts.)

The public was told that the money would be used to loosen the frozen credit markets and thus help revive the economy. But as the article pointed out, there were bankers with other ideas. John C. Hope III, the chairman of the Whitney National Bank in New Orleans, in an address to Wall Street fat cats gathered at the Palm Beach Ritz-Carlton, said:

“Make more loans? We’re not going to change our business model or our credit policies to accommodate the needs of the public sector as they see it to have us make more loans.”

How’s that for arrogance and contempt for the public interest? Mr. Hope’s bank received $300 million in taxpayer bailout money.

The same article quoted Walter M. Pressey, president of Boston Private Wealth Management, which Mr. McIntire described as a healthy bank with a mostly affluent clientele. It received $154 million in taxpayer money.

“With that capital in hand,” said Mr. Pressey, “not only do we feel comfortable that we can ride out the recession, but we also feel that we’ll be in a position to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves once this recession is sorted out.”

Take advantage, indeed. That, in a nutshell, is what the plutocracy is all about: taking unfair advantage.

When the G.O.P. talks, nobody should listen. Republicans have argued, with the collaboration of much of the media, that they could radically cut taxes while simultaneously balancing the federal budget, when, in fact, big income-tax cuts inevitably lead to big budget deficits. We listened to the G.O.P. and what do we have now? A trillion-dollar-plus deficit and an economy in shambles.

This is the party that preached fiscal discipline and then cut taxes in time of war. This is the party that still wants to put the torch to Social Security and Medicare. This is a party that, given a choice between Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, would choose Ronald Reagan in a heartbeat.

Why is anyone still listening?


Monday, January 26, 2009

Have you ever asked yourself, "Who am I, anyway?"

Looking up at the stars at night and contemplating the vastness of the universe, I think many of us have asked ourselves that question. It has been a burning one for me ever since childhood. Recently, I heard an answer that rings as truth in my very being -- I heard it from an old friend, John Wheeler, and I'd like to share it with readers of this blog. If it also "rings" within you, you can go into John's site to learn more:

Pointers from John Wheeler,


All other knowledge depends on your own presence. The essence of this is just to look directly into that presence, your own self-evident being, and see it for what it is. With this, the belief in any contradictory self-definitions is abandoned and what you are and always have been stands self-revealed and unadorned — the natural state. Whether or not such a looking happens or not makes no difference to what you ultimately are. There is no need of becoming oneself, or what one already is.

Who or what is aware of a feeling or any other object? Thoughts come and go. Where are you in the equation? If you are looking for yourself objectively, you are overlooking the point that the answer is not in the mind. Go back to the basic point: What are you? Yes, thoughts arise. But what are you? Obviously, you are not an object. But that does not deny your presence. You are still there to know or not know the objects.

"Me" is obviously a word. But where/what is this "thing" that the word supposedly points to? If we take that to refer to the unconditioned, absolute, presence/awareness, then where is the problem? There isn't one. If this "me" is taken to be something separate from that (a separate isolated self standing apart from that reality) — just where is this seeming person, in fact? If there is no such thing, then who or what has any problem? The trouble comes from granting the existence of such a limited self and tacitly assuming that is what I am. All seeking, suffering and doubt hangs on the presumed presence of that separate self and one's identity as that. Questioning it, the house of cards falls straight away, and along with it all the problems.

In seeking, we are trying find who we are, what is real, or where happiness might be by following concepts in the mind. In doing so, we are looking away from what we truly are.

If you are going to do anything, have a straight look into the doubtless fact of your being and see it for what it is. It is a marvelous and extraordinary revelation. All the scriptures and sages have been saying wonderful things about the reality. By a wonderful stroke of fate, you are that.

Being is not a doing. It is a present fact. You already are what you are. You do not need to go looking anywhere for anything other than being what you are. We overlook the extraordinary miracle of our own presence and feel in poverty. Because of this, we go looking for things, states and information from "experts", instead of discovering for ourselves this amazing thing we already are. How can you find yourself in a book, on the web, or in a YouTube video? Such may point to your real nature, but still it is your real nature we are interested in, not even the pointing! Seeing all this, you can settle down with what you really are. You do not need to go looking elsewhere for something that you already are.

Without chasing concepts, who can deny their own being and aware nature? Without needless conceptual activity, what is wrong with your own natural state here and now? This is the peace or fullness. This means there is nothing wrong with you anymore, nothing to get, nothing to fix, nothing to improve. This is your natural state. It is "obtained" simply by being what you are.

Do not over-complicate things with needless concepts. Before the mind appears or moves, what you are is already present. Get familiar with this already-present nature that you are.

Thinking about your own presence and trying to grasp it via conceptual thought or logical proof is not necessary. Is your very being in need of proof? Is it a result of logical analysis? See the point that before any other experience, even the thought "I am", you must be there, both present and aware.

Before any question or concept appears, you ARE. That is all this is pointing to. It is self-evident and beyond doubt at all times. All the words are only attempts to point to this in different ways. A lot of the language is based on the perspective the questioner starts with. In fact, what you are is not any "thing" or label at all, not even "being", "consciousness" or any thing else. If you are cogitating about this stuff and trying to analyze too much, you would be overlooking the utter simplicity of it. It is only your own natural presence itself, just this and nothing else. So it is best just to drop all concepts and be what you are. What you are has no problems, worries or doubts at all. That is why they call it perfect fullness and peace. Problems only arise in the concepts. Spirituality as some special undertaking also only arises in the concepts. What you are is not a concept.

All the problems come in with the notion of "I". "I" am stuck. "I" don't see. "I" am separate from awareness. Or whatever the case may be. But that "I" is a mere concept that only comes and goes in the doubtless space of being-knowing. Even the concepts or notions of waking, dreaming and sleep are still appearing and subsiding in aware-presence. Even the experience of consciousness as a state or experience is coming and going in your ultimate presence. There is some presence in you, your very being itself, which even recognizes the coming and going of consciousness and all other states and experiences. This is nothing mystical, but simply what you are, your natural state right now.

You don't need to think or guess in order to BE. Just have a look straight at this being that you are. The only problem was that we overlaid it with concepts. Now it is time to toss aside the concepts and see this (your real being) directly and nakedly — as it is.

There is no separate self with any substance or independent nature. So that construct is empty. The seeming separate self is nothing, an absence, a mere fiction. But look into that seeming "nothing" that remains when the notion of the "I" is seen through. It is not a vacuum or a void. Yes, it is "no thing" to the mind, but it is certainly not nothing. It is you! That seeming emptiness is full to the brim. It is utterly full and complete, rich and sublime beyond words. It is the space in which the content appears. It is the consciousness in which the space appears. Ultimately, it is the unnameable source from which all these emerge. Do not sell yourself short and miss the utter richness and beauty of your real being beyond concepts.

Immediate and present awareness is all this gets down to, nothing more. You are that. It does not need to be focused on or cultivated, any more than you need to go around all day thinking, "I am breathing". The true nature and its so-called realization has in fact already happened. In truth, it never needed to "happen" because it is an ever-present fact. That leaves the suffering and doubts to consider. These are conceptual in nature. They come from looking for who and what we are (our reality, identity and happiness) in the unexamined concepts of the mind. These self-centered concepts are all rooted in the primary notion that I am a separate "I" apart from reality. We always assumed this concept as true, and this became the basis of all other self-centered thoughts. Believing in those thoughts was itself the suffering. That is why a clear and direct clarification of our natural state undermines the basis of the concepts (the wrong notions of what I am) and conclusively ends the seeking, suffering and doubts. When this is understood, any lingering problems are resolved. There is no "moral imperative" to resolve needless psychological suffering. But given that it is quite available to do so, why not? And where does that leave you? Present and aware as the doubtless natural self you have always been. Nothing is attained and there is no maintenance or post-processing involved. All such things would only be due to continued belief in the self-centered notion.



The following essay gives a thoughtful comparison of Nixon and Bush. Both are deeply flawed men -- but Nixon realized his flaws and finally, though grudgingly (very grudgingly), admitted his guilt. Bush doesn't have the mental, emotional, or psychological depth to even contemplate that he might have flaws. Though describing himself as a "compassionate conservative," Bush has demonstrated by his actions and vacuousness that he hasn't an ounce of compassion for anyone but himself. I often wonder how such a low-level consciousness was thought by so many to be the ideal man to run our government (which he did - right into the ground). And then, in this past election, those same people enthusiastically supported Sarah Palin as the perfect person to be a breath away from the presidency. They also think Joe the Plumber would be great in the political field. I believe there is very little hope that these people will ever develop any discrimination or discernment. I fully expect them to be cheering for Sarah Palin in 2012--once again insisting she would make a fabulous president (and her husband a great "first dude" (beyond belief!) Some just never learn.


by Steve Young

January 26, 2009

Having one popularity-challenged president exit last week, seeing Ron Howard’s Academy Award nominated film, Frost/Nixon, seemed apropos. As I watched an outstanding perfomance by Frank Langella as Richard Nixon. I remembered just how much I hated Nixon; how important it was to me when the press stood up to him (thank you, Dan). He had stretched the Vietnam war over far more American bodies than needed to die. It hit me that as much as I despised Bush 43, I did not despise him anywhere near as I did Nixon. But the film brought up another perspective for me.

Langellla’s dower and thoughtful dramatics actually made me feel sad for Nixon, something I thought I was incapable of.

He was a deeply flawed and lamentable man. But he wasn’t an idiot. Paranoid, but not an idiot. He was intelligent enough to grasp just how alone he was. He was coherent enough to understand that he was full of self-hate and unhappy that he was who he was.

Plot point alert. During the final day of the Frost interview, Nixon broke, accepting for all the world to see and hear; that he was corrupt and let down the American people.

Langella’s depiction of that moment of self-realization was stunning. As another deep line etched in his already hanging face, it all became clear. The jig was up. Nixon sat here digesting what he had held tight to the chest for years. In Watergate he was the guilty party. He had not properly represented the office of president and he had let down the American people. His admission was an indication of a trace of humanity in the man.

On the other hand, Bush is incapable of admitting guilt or responsibility. To do so he would need to harbor a sense of real emotion. There is no self-awareness - Bush has affability but no humanity, no matter how deep you scratch through the layers of grime.

In his Jan. 15 “Farewell,” Bush said: “As the years passed, most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before 9/11. But I never did. Every morning, I received a briefing on the threats to our nation.”

How revealing, particularly because it came in a prepared speech where he had many chances to edit it out. The insensitivity is staggering - no regard for the 9/11 families or war casualty families or ANYONE else. It’s the plaintive whine of a privileged man-child who has skated through a self-centered life.

Put another way: “It’s not fair that I got hurt,” cries the drunk who crashed his car after his driving forced a school bus off a cliff. Given his unfathomable attempt at empathy, rationalizing that giving up golf is commiserate with losing a loved one to war (a month later he was photographed playing again), my guess is that he doesn’t even understand what taking responsibility means. Nixon could take a question and, after a momentary frank answer, veer off deftly into anecdotes that left the original question difficult to recall. But he knew what he was doing.

Bush did nothing deftly. He just didn’t answer the questions.

A late-awakening 70’s press corp pushed the Nixonian truth to the surface. Talk radio was loud, but in its infancy. The right wing likes of NY’s Bob Grant, LA’s Wally George and George Putnam were still considered jokes so Nixon didn’t have the 24/7 distortion defense of today’s Lords of Loud to obliterate the truth. Without the capacity to truly contemplate right and wrong, Bush made it through the last eight years- certainly a lot better than the rest of us - helped mightily by Limbaugh and da gang.

My guess is that if talk radio were running the air waves back then like they do today, Nixon would have made it though to the end of his second term, a few bumps and bruises, but still considered an honored statesman with no need to spill his guts on international TV. Bush got away with murder, but while Nixon did too, David Frost

provided us our day in court and Nixon cornered, took responsibility.

Bush would never admit guilt. And why should he? Not when he has the insanity plea.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bush's signing statements worse than I had thought

He made more than 1,100 of them, double those of all presidents before him--combined!!! And Obama will have to go through them all in order to nullify or override them!

A signing statement is a president's written interpretation of legislation passed by congress which accompanies his signature when he signs a bill into law.

For example, in 2005 congress voted overwhelmingly to ban torture which Bush signed into law. However, Bush also included a signing statement which basically allowed him to ignore the new law.

To date, Bush has issued 1,100 signing statements which is nearly double that of all 42 presidents that preceded him combined.

Question: What happens to Bush's signing statements when he leaves office? Do they cease to apply? Can a better President write additional ones that override or discontinue the existing ones?

Answer: Executive Orders become law unless challenged or changed by Congress. They CAN be nullified or over-ridden by a new President's Executive Orders. Even after the issuing Exec leaves office the law stands unless Congress or a "better" Exec takes action.


Monday, January 19, 2009

On-air call in Israel touches public conscience

I challenge anyone to watch this Israeli news video without crying: The pain of this Palestinian doctor who has just lost his three daughters and his terrible anguish is captured on the air as it is happening--and is reported on at the same time by his friend, the Israeli news anchor.

What are we DOING in this world??? When will our consciousness be raised beyond fighting and killing as a way of settling things (which it NEVER does!)??? God help us...we earth humans never seem to learn!!!!

The Long, Lame Goodbye

A good column by Maureen Dowd on the Bush exit and the Obama entry!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Obama has four years to halt climate change that threatens Earth

"We cannot put off change any longer"

US must take the lead to avert eco-disaster

Read the full interview with James Hansen here

Barack Obama has only four years to save the world. That is the stark assessment of NASA scientist and leading climate expert Jim Hansen who last week warned only urgent action by the new president could halt the devastating climate change that now threatens Earth. Crucially, that action will have to be taken within Obama's first administration, he added.

Soaring carbon emissions are already causing ice-cap melting and threaten to trigger global flooding, widespread species loss and major disruptions of weather patterns in the near future. "We cannot afford to put off change any longer," said Hansen. "We have to get on a new path within this new administration. We have only four years left for Obama to set an example to the rest of the world. America must take the lead."

Hansen said current carbon levels in the atmosphere were already too high to prevent runaway greenhouse warming. Yet the levels are still rising despite all the efforts of politicians and scientists.

Only the US now had the political muscle to lead the world and halt the rise, Hansen said. Having refused to recognise that global warming posed any risk at all over the past eight years, the US now had to take a lead as the world's greatest carbon emitter and the planet's largest economy. Cap-and-trade schemes, in which emission permits are bought and sold, have failed, he said, and must now be replaced by a carbon tax that will imposed on all producers of fossil fuels. At the same time, there must be a moratorium on new power plants that burn coal - the world's worst carbon emitter.

Hansen - head of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies and winner of the WWF's top conservation award - first warned Earth was in danger from climate change in 1988 and has been the victim of several unsuccessful attempts by the White House administration of George Bush to silence his views.

Hansen's institute monitors temperature fluctuations at thousands of sites round the world, data that has led him to conclude that most estimates of sea level rises triggered by rising atmospheric temperatures are too low and too conservative. For example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says a rise of between 20cm and 60cm can be expected by the end of the century.

However, Hansen said feedbacks in the climate system are already accelerating ice melt and are threatening to lead to the collapse of ice sheets. Sea-level rises will therefore be far greater - a claim backed last week by a group of British, Danish and Finnish scientists who said studies of past variations in climate indicate that a far more likely figure for sea-level rise will be about 1.4 metres, enough to cause devastating flooding of many of the world's major cities and of low-lying areas of Holland, Bangladesh and other nations.

As a result of his fears about sea-level rise, Hansen said he had pressed both Britain's Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences to carry out an urgent investigation of the state of the planet's ice-caps. However, nothing had come of his proposals. The first task of Obama's new climate office should therefore be to order such a probe "as a matter of urgency", Hansen added.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Terrible Bush legacy to our veterans

The lies told by Bush/Cheney will haunt us for decades -- but their neglect of the soldiers they sent into an unnecessary war ranks with the worst of the horrors they unleashed on us and the world. I have often wondered about military veterans who continued (and many still continue) to support Bush/Cheney, in the face of their utter disregard for the troops. What can these veterans be THINKING? Apparently, they are willing to gloss over the Bush administration's neglect of them and their families. But do they not support their fellow soldiers?


By Dorian DeWind

During his numerous recent legacy-building interviews culminating in his farewell address to the nation tonight, President Bush has repeatedly touted that his actions have kept the country safe since 9-11. This might well be one of the few accomplishments of which Bush could be rightly proud.

It is thus especially regrettable that his administration has failed to take better care of those who have sacrificed so much to make such an accomplishment possible: our troops who are serving and have served so bravely and honorably in Iraq, Afghanistan and possibly elsewhere in the war on terrorism.

Several news sources have, in the last few days, reported that suicides among Marines climbed to a new yearly high in 2008, since the Iraq invasion. Not only does the suicide rate among Marines remain alarmingly high, but it is expected that both the rate and number of suicides in the Army will have risen in 2008.

This is but one more example of a trend of disturbing statistics and phenomena affecting our active duty troops and especially our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

A trend that already started at the beginning of the Iraq war with revelations of lacking or deficient body armor for our troops in harm’s way and inadequate and slow-to-be-provided protective armor for their vehicles.

A trend of neglect and indifference towards both the physical and the mental health care of our troops, and one that peaked with the Walter Reed Army Medical Center scandal, and which has not significantly abated since.

A trend that continued to rear its shameful head in periodic headlines decrying increases in the rates and number of cases of PTSD, alcoholism, drug abuse, crime, homelessness, divorces and, yes, suicides among our veterans. Headlines that also cried out for a more adequate response by our government.

The treatment our troops have received in the areas of benefits and care for their families has not been much better. The denial of just disability ratings and consequent painfully and rightfully earned disability pay became shamefully well-known. But perhaps the highlight of such disregard for our troops was the fierce fight the Bush administration put up against the “Improved GI Bill of Rights” as proposed by Senator Webb. A bill that finally passed after the Bush administration and others, such as John McCain, had to be cajoled into supporting it.

Even when it came to recognizing the heroism of and the sacrifices made by our brave troops, the Bush administration has been less than generous. After nearly seven years of combat, this president has seen fit to award only five Medals of Honor, our nation’s highest military award for valor, to our Iraq and Afghanistan heroes. In contrast, there were 245 Medals of Honor recipients during the Vietnam War, and 27 Medals of Honor were awarded for the single World War II battle of Iwo Jima.

But Change is about to happen and help is on the way.

President-elect Obama recently selected retired Gen. Eric K. Shinseki to head the Veterans Affairs Department, a department that—while the war on terrorism was raging—often failed to adequately protect and support those entrusted to it.

In accepting the nomination, General Shinseki said, in part:

Veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan in particular are confronting serious severe wounds — some seen, some unseen — making it difficult for them to get on with their lives in this struggling economy. They deserve a smooth, error-free, no-fail, benefits-assured transition into our ranks as veterans. And that is our responsibility, not theirs.

A word to my fellow veterans: If confirmed, I will work each and every day to ensure that we are serving you as well as you have served us. We will pursue a 21st-century V.A. that serves your needs.

I have no doubt that better days are ahead for our military and our veterans.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Paul Krugman says we MUST have an inquest into the Bush years

And I agree wholeheartedly with him!!!

Paul Krugman:

Last Sunday President-elect Barack Obama was asked whether he would seek an investigation of possible crimes by the Bush administration. “I don’t believe that anybody is above the law,” he responded, but “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.”

I’m sorry, but if we don’t have an inquest into what happened during the Bush years — and nearly everyone has taken Mr. Obama’s remarks to mean that we won’t — this means that those who hold power are indeed above the law because they don’t face any consequences if they abuse their power.

Let’s be clear what we’re talking about here. It’s not just torture and illegal wiretapping, whose perpetrators claim, however implausibly, that they were patriots acting to defend the nation’s security. The fact is that the Bush administration’s abuses extended from environmental policy to voting rights. And most of the abuses involved using the power of government to reward political friends and punish political enemies.

At the Justice Department, for example, political appointees illegally reserved nonpolitical positions for “right-thinking Americans” — their term, not mine — and there’s strong evidence that officials used their positions both to undermine the protection of minority voting rights and to persecute Democratic politicians.

[...] Why, then, shouldn’t we have an official inquiry into abuses during the Bush years?

One answer you hear is that pursuing the truth would be divisive, that it would exacerbate partisanship. But if partisanship is so terrible, shouldn’t there be some penalty for the Bush administration’s politicization of every aspect of government?

Alternatively, we’re told that we don’t have to dwell on past abuses, because we won’t repeat them. But no important figure in the Bush administration, or among that administration’s political allies, has expressed remorse for breaking the law. What makes anyone think that they or their political heirs won’t do it all over again, given the chance?

In fact, we’ve already seen this movie. During the Reagan years, the Iran-contra conspirators violated the Constitution in the name of national security. But the first President Bush pardoned the major malefactors, and when the White House finally changed hands the political and media establishment gave Bill Clinton the same advice it’s giving Mr. Obama: let sleeping scandals lie. Sure enough, the second Bush administration picked up right where the Iran-contra conspirators left off — which isn’t too surprising when you bear in mind that Mr. Bush actually hired some of those conspirators.

Now, it’s true that a serious investigation of Bush-era abuses would make Washington an uncomfortable place, both for those who abused power and those who acted as their enablers or apologists. And these people have a lot of friends. But the price of protecting their comfort would be high: If we whitewash the abuses of the past eight years, we’ll guarantee that they will happen again.

Meanwhile, about Mr. Obama: while it’s probably in his short-term political interests to forgive and forget, next week he’s going to swear to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” That’s not a conditional oath to be honored only when it’s convenient.

And to protect and defend the Constitution, a president must do more than obey the Constitution himself; he must hold those who violate the Constitution accountable. So Mr. Obama should reconsider his apparent decision to let the previous administration get away with crime. Consequences aside, that’s not a decision he has the right to make. (ABSOLUTELY TRUE!)


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Getting just what he deserves! To be Totally Ignored!

I can't imagine why ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS are even giving Bush time on their networks for a farewell speech to the nation. I predict it will be the least watched show in their schedules. Who wants to see the Idiot give yet another diatribe about how he is totally innocent of everything he is accused of? He has never taken one iota of responsibility for any of the horrors he and Cheney forced on our nation and the world. He is a man without compassion, empathy, intelligence, or introspection. Never looking into himself, always blaming others, he is the poster boy for the waste of a human life.

The White House has been in full "re-write history" mode the past few months, but even the brilliant Bush spinmeisters couldn't spin the fact that no one really cares about what Bush has to say anymore.

Washington Post:

With seven days left until he surrenders power, Bush will have to do a heck of a sales job to convince the nation of this. Further complicating his last-minute legacy rehabilitation: Nobody seems to be paying attention. The White House had high expectations for yesterday's final, historic news conference. "ONE CORRESPONDENT PER ORGANIZATION," proclaimed the bulletin sent to reporters. "STANDING ROOM ONLY FOR NON-SEAT HOLDERS." But when the appointed hour of 9:15 a.m. arrived, the last two rows in the seven-row briefing room were empty, and a press aide told White House interns to fill those seats.


Bush snubs Helen Thomas in his last press conference


In a classless move, President Bush snubbed Helen Thomas, the longtime Press Pool reporter covering the White House, and refused to take a question from her as she sat in the front row, waving her hand to him as he asked his final question from his last presser.

She's covered more presidents than Bush has verbs in his vocabulary. The snub ran directly counter to the sentiments expressed in his opening remarks regarding the press:

Through it all, it's been -- I have respected you. Sometimes didn't like the stories that you wrote or reported on. Sometimes you misunderestimated me. But always the relationship I have felt has been professional. And I appreciate it.

I appreciate -- I do appreciate working with you. My friends say, what is it like to deal with the press corps? I said, these are just people trying to do the best they possibly can.

I guess he didn't appreciate working with her since she called him out for many of his policies. Maybe he just misunderestimated her too...


Monday, January 12, 2009

Thanks to Bob, for passing this one along!

This is a wonderful piece by Michael Gartner, editor of newspapers large and small and president of NBC News. In 1997, he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. It is well worth reading, and a few good chuckles are guaranteed.

My father never drove a car. Well, that's not quite right. I should say I never saw him drive a car.

He quit driving in 1927, when he was 25 years old, and the last car he drove was a 1926 Whippet.

"In those days," he told me when he was in his 90s, "to drive a car you had to do things with your hands, and do things with your feet, and look every which way, and I decided you could walk through life and enjoy it or drive through life and miss it."

At which point my mother, a sometimes salty Irishwoman, chimed in:
"Oh, bull----!" she said. "He hit a horse."

"Well," my father said, "there was that, too."

So my brother and I grew up in a household without a car. The neighbors all had cars -- the Kollingses next door had a green 1941 Dodge, the VanLaninghams across the street a gray 1936 Plymouth, the Hopsons two doors down a black 1941 Ford -- but we had none.

My father, a newspaperman in Des Moines , would take the streetcar to work and, often as not, walk the 3 miles home. If he took the streetcar home, my mother and brother and I would walk the three blocks to the streetcar stop, meet him and walk home together.

My brother, David, was born in 1935, and I was born in 1938, and sometimes, at dinner, we'd ask how come all the neighbors had cars but we had none. "No one in the family drives," my mother would explain, and that was that.

But, sometimes, my father would say, "But as soon as one of you boys turns 16, we'll get one." It was as if he wasn't sure which one of us would turn 16 first.

But, sure enough , my brother turned 16 before I did, so in 1951 my parents bought a used 1950 Chevrolet from a friend who ran the parts department at a Chevy dealership downtown.

It was a four-door, white model, stick shift, fender skirts, loaded with everything, and, since my parents didn't drive, it more or less became my brother's car.

Having a car but not being able to drive didn't bother my father, but it didn't make sense to my mother.

So in 1952, when she was 43 years old, she asked a friend to teach her to drive. She learned in a nearby cemetery, the place where I learned to drive the following year and where, a generation later, I took my two sons to practice driving. The cemetery probably was my father's idea. "Who can your mother hurt in the cemetery?" I remember him saying more than once.

For the next 45 years or so, until she was 90, my mother was the driver in the family. Neither she nor my father had any sense of direction, but he loaded up on maps -- though they seldom left the city limits -- and appointed himself navigator. It seemed to work.

Still, they both continued to walk a lot. My mother was a devout Catholic, and my father an equally devout agnostic, an arrangement that didn't seem to bother either of them through their 75 years of marriage.

(Yes, 75 years, and they were deeply in love the entire time.)

He retired when he was 70, and nearly every morning for the next 20 years or so, he would walk with her the mile to St. Augustin's Church. She would walk down and sit in the front pew, and he would wait in the back until he saw which of the parish's two priests was on duty that morning. If it was the pastor, my father then would go out and take a 2-mile walk, meeting my mother at the end of the service and walking her home.

If it was the assistant pastor, he'd take just a 1-mile walk and then head back to the church. He called the priests "Father Fast" and "Father Slow."

After he retired, my father almost always accompanied my mother whenever she drove anywhere, even if he had no reason to go along. If she were going to the beauty parlor, he'd sit in the car and read, or go take a stroll or, if it was summer, have her keep the engine running so he could listen to the Cubs game on the radio. In the evening, then, when I'd stop by, he'd explain: "The Cubs lost again. The millionaire on second base made a bad throw to the millionaire on first base, so the multimillionaire on third base scored."

If she were going to the grocery store, he would go along to carry the bags out -- and to make sure she loaded up on ice cream. As I said, he was always the navigator, and once, when he was 95 and she was 88 and still driving, he said to me, "Do you want to know the secret of a long life?"

"I guess so," I said, knowing it probably would be something bizarre.

"No left turns," he said

"What?" I asked.

"No left turns," he repeated. "Several years ago, your mother and I read an article that said most accidents that old people are in happen when they turn left in front of oncoming traffic.

As you get older, your eyesight worsens, and you can lose your depth perception, it said. So your mother and I decided never again to make a left turn."

"What?" I said again.

"No left turns," he said. "Think about it. Three rights are the same as a left, and that's a lot safer. So we always make three rights."

"You're kidding!" I said, and I turned to my mother for support"No," she said, "your father is right. We make three rights. It works."But then she added: "Except when your father loses count."

I was driving at the time, and I almost drove off the road as I started laughing.

"Loses count?" I asked.

"Yes," my father admitted, "that sometimes happens. But it's not a problem. You just make seven rights, and you're okay again."

I couldn't resist. "Do you ever go for 11?" I asked.
"No," he said " If we miss it at seven, we just come home and call it a bad day. Besides, nothing in life is so important it can't be put off another day or another week."

My mother was never in an accident, but one evening she handed me her car keys and said she had decided to quit driving. That was in 1999, when she was 90.

She lived four more years, until 2003. My father died the next year, at 102.

They both died in the bungalow they had moved into in 1937 and bought a few years later for $3,000. (Sixty years later, my brother and I paid $8,000 to have a shower put in the tiny bathroom -- the house had never had one. My father would have died then and there if he knew the shower cost nearly three times what he paid for the house.)

He continued to walk daily -- he had me get him a treadmill when he was 101 because he was afraid he'd fall on the icy sidewalks but wanted to keep exercising -- and he was of sound mind and sound body until the moment he died.

One September afternoon in 2004, he and my son went with me when I had to give a talk in a neighboring town, and it was clear to all three of us that he was wearing out, though we had the usual wide-ranging conversation about politics and newspapers and things in the news.

A few weeks earlier, he had told my son, "You know, Mike, the first hundred years are a lot easier than the second hundred." At one point in our drive that Saturday, he said, "You know, I'm probably not going to live much longer."

"You're probably right," I said.

"Why would you say that?" He countered, somewhat irritated.

"Because you're 102 years old," I said.

"Yes," he said, "you're right." He stayed in bed all the next day.

That night, I suggested to my son and daughter that we sit up with him through the night.

He appreciated it, he said, though at one point, apparently seeing us look gloomy, he said:

"I would like to make an announcement. No one in this room is dead yet"

An hour or so later, he spoke his last words:

"I want you to know," he said, clearly and lucidly, "that I am in no pain. I am very comfortable. And I have had as happy a life as anyone on this earth could ever have."

A short time later, he died.

I miss him a lot, and I think about him a lot. I've wondered now and then how it was that my family and I were so lucky that he lived so long.

I can't figure out if it was because he walked through life, Or because he quit taking left turns. "

Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about those who don't. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would most likely be worth it."



The Idiot Speaks! Nothing more need be said to give you the overall picture of the man...

Bush’s Most Anxious Moment

Politics Buzz As the President prepares to move out of the White House, he reveals his most difficult moment as Commander-In-Chief. His most nerve-wracking moment? First learning about the attacks on 9/11? The realization there were no weapons of mass destruction? Realizing troops and Iraqis were dying and being maimed because of his decision based on lies? The colonoscopy? The shoes? Nope. Throwing out a pitch at the 2001 World Series: “I never felt that anxious any other time during my presidency, curiously enough.” (Curiously enough!!! You got THAT right!!!)


TRANSITIONING by Hendrik Hertzberg


The President-elect’s performance can’t fully explain the public’s welcoming view of him. Part of it, surely, reflects an eagerness to be rid of the incumbent. A gangly Illinois politician whom “the base” would today label a RINo—a Republican in Name Only—once pointed out that you can fool some of the people all of the time. We now know how many “some” is: twenty-seven per cent. That’s the proportion of Americans who, according to CNN, cling to the belief that George W. Bush has done a good job. The wonder is that this number is still in the double digits, given his comprehensively disastrous record. During the eight years of the second President Bush, the unemployment rate went from 4.2 per cent to 7.2 per cent and climbing; consumer confidence dropped to an all-time low; a budget surplus of two hundred billion dollars became a deficit of that plus a trillion; more than a million families fell into poverty; the ranks of those without health insurance rose by six million; and the fruits of the nation’s economic growth went almost entirely to the rich, while family incomes in the middle and below declined. What role the Bush Administration’s downgrading of terrorism as a foreign-policy priority played in the success of the 9/11 attacks cannot be known, but there is no doubting its responsibility for the launching and mismanagement of the unprovoked war in Iraq, with all its attendant suffering; for allowing the justified war in Afghanistan to slide to the edge of defeat; and for the vertiginous worldwide decline of America’s influence, prestige, power, and moral standing.

The televised “legacy interviews” that Bush has granted have been notable for the interviewee’s shruggings-off of responsibility for what he has wrought, abroad and at home. He’s sorry about the inartfulness of “dead or alive” and “bring ’em on” and “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED,” but not about the war or its conduct. And in a discussion of the economic catastrophe he is about to bequeath to his successor, there is this exchange, with ABC’s Charles Gibson:

GIBSOn: Do you feel in any way responsible for what’s happening?
BUSh: You know, I’ve been the President during this period of time. But I think when the history of this period is written people will realize a lot of the decisions that were made on Wall Street took place over, you know, a decade or so before I arrived as President, during I arrived as President. I’m sorry it’s happening, of course. Obviously, I don’t like the idea of people losing jobs or being worried about their 401(k)s.

A nice epitaph for “compassionate conservatism”—feckless to the end. And the end, at long last, is nigh.


Celebrations on Jan. 20th!!!

Read the following article to see how folks in the central California area will be celebrating the end of the Duhmbya Bush era!

Bush had his last press conference today, trying to rewrite history. He doesn't believe people all over the world despise him and our country. Man, is
ever deluded! And he thinks his administration did a GREAT job in New Orleans when Katrina hit! He says he's proud of what he's done when he looks in the mirror. This is a man with no introspection or self-assessment abilities whatsoever! He will continue to delude himself to his dying day. And so will those who still continue to support him. A blind man -- leading his blind followers. Off a cliff. Bush's assessment in history will be as the WORST! PRESIDENT. EVER!

For myself, I bought a dart board, with plenty of sharp darts--and have photos of Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and Rice and Perle and Wolfowitz and all the other criminals of this diseased administration to hang on the board. I am going to have a wonderful time throwing darts on the glorious day of January 20th when the neocon bums are finally thrown out of office! Knowing that the incoming administration and Congress intend to do nothing about the criminal acts of Cheney and Bush, I can only hope to see them frog-marched in the Hague one day soon. They have been the most evil of men, sending millions to their deaths while they and their greedy pals profited from those deaths. The sneer-lipped Cheney ran the Bush administration and our country (into the ground), all the while allowing the dumbkopf in the Oval Office to think he was running the show. There are no words harsh enough to throw at these two blackguards who ravaged our Constitution, sent our soldiers into harm's way on LIES, caused the deaths and mutilations of millions, and who are now trying to rewrite their "contribution" to the world. Thankfully, over 3/4 of the people in this country and 99.9% of the people in the world see them for what they are--criminals of the worst kind. As for the 1/4 in our country who still support these worse-than-evil men, we can only pray that they awaken to reality one day. I haven't much hope, though, for those who think Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber are great Americans, worthy of public office. They voted for Bush and they voted for Palin. Some people just never get it.

Huckabee interviews Coulter (Ugh!)

Huckabee puts Coulter on the spot, but still kisses her spiked heel

By David Neiwert Monday Jan 12, 2009

icon Download | Play icon Download | Play [Clip fixed now. Sorry for the delay. -- Ed]

Have you seen Mike Huckabee's weekly show on Fox yet? If you haven't, you needn't bother; it's mostly a painful exercise in talk-show amateurism. It has the feel of a local-studio talk show minus the clown used-car salesman.

Last night we instead got the clown wingnut, Ann Coulter. It actually was a highly amusing exchange, in large part because Coulter had said so many cruel things about Huckabee during the campaign and he replayed several of them. It was worth it just to see Coulter squirm at having her phoniness on such brilliant display.

In particular it was worth it to see a conservative finally notice that Coulter has a problem with keeping her facts straight. In truth, this is something that other people have noticed before. Unfortunately, the extent of Huckabee's awareness of Coulter's afactuality reached only to her reportage on him; otherwise, he thoroughly commended her new book as a fine piece of research, even though it too is so error-riddled that it would be an embarrassment to anyone besides a peroxidized right-wing hustler.

But there was also a revealing exchange midway through it all that made clear that Huckabee was actually trying desperately to earn Coulter's approval:

Huckabee: But let me mention a couple of the -- You said that I am against school choice. I am not. You said I was bad on immigration, and yet it was Jim Gilchrist of the Minutemen who endorsed me and traveled with me.

Coulter: You did say that you think illegal immigration is our chance to make up for slavery in America.

Huckabee: Not illegal immigration. I did not say that. What I said was that the manner in which we treat people is a way in which we can show our civility and a compassion in a way that we did not show --

Coulter: And I think you wanted in-state tuition for illegals.

Huckabee: No, here's what I wanted. I wanted for kids in my state who have met --

Coulter: [Giggles] Are you running again? Because you're clarifying a lot of points for me.

Huckabee: Well, I want to clarify, because -- here's the deal. If I ever do run again, I want, Ann --

Coulter: You'll run more as a conservative.

Huckabee: No, I'll run as I am, which is a conservative, because that's what I've always been. But I want to make sure that the next time you write about me, we get all this stuff straight.

Coulter: Ye-e-e-e-s, well, a little more conservative and you would've had my vote.

Of course. Because the essence of being a right-wing politician these days is to earn the Blessing of the Brownshirt Barbie. One can't expect to win as a Republican, evidently, unless you pass the Ann Coulter Wingnut Ideological Purity Examination (which indeed has a family resemblance to a colonoscopy).

But notice the issues she's making him scramble to curry her favor on -- especially immigration. Huckabee even touts his endorsement by Jim Gilchrist of the Minutemen -- who has since then been largely exposed as a scam artist -- as evidence of his tough stance on illegal immigration.

Indeed, I think we can count on a hard nativist-style stance on immigration to be one of the signature positions of the brand of conservatism that will emerge from the ashes of 2008. We keep hearing conservatives tell themselves that the reason they lost last year was that they weren't "true to conservative values," and this will be one of the issues that they will use to define "true conservatives" (as Coulter does here).

We can only say: Please. Make our day. Far be it from us to stop you, O denizens of wingnuttia.

Crooks and Liars