Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Monday, March 30, 2009


I can hardly believe it! I really DO love you, New York.

(Um, except, for the, uh, baseball team. Uh, you know...)

Anyway I've just read that Rush Limbaugh is talking about selling his New York condo and promising to never set foot there if he can help it. He uses the office in NY during hurricane season in Florida, so he doesn't miss a beat in his broadcasting. But he's ticked off at New York Governor Patterson and taxes and oh, it is so, so great!

Thank you, New York, for having the class and the smarts to make Limbaugh want to never sully your awesomeness with his large, sweaty, overbearing porcine gruntliness.

Some people who are very special to me live in New York. I visit there quite often. How perfectly grand not to have to think of the Pigness of Pusillanimous Pomposity darkening the beautiful state of New York!

Except for the Yankees, I love you, New York.

Limbaugh, who claims that he pays per-diem city and state New York taxes, said that he would sell his New York condominium and visit the state as little as possible.
Good-bye, Rush, and thanks for all the fish.


This story is outrageous. Several blogs, conservative and liberal, have been discussing racism over the past few weeks. Some bloggers believe it's over. After you read this story, please ask yourselves, would this have happened if the people involved had blond hair and blue eyes? Especially ask yourselves this after you learn that a nurse confirmed Moats' story and another officer tried to intervene on Moats behalf.

We are most definitely NOT a post-racial society.

Ryan Moats feared for wife's life during ordeal with Dallas officer

11:48 AM CDT on Monday, March 30, 2009
By DAN X. McGRAW / The Dallas Morning News

The pro running back who was detained by a Dallas officer as his mother-in-law was dying said he feared for his wife’s life during the ordeal.

"I was afraid for her because he was pointing a gun at her," Ryan Moats told ABC-TV's Good Morning America. The interview was broadcast locally this morning on WFAA-TV (Channel 8).

When Officer Robert Powell first pulled him over outside a Plano hospital, "I didn’t realize what was going on at the time," Moats said. "Once I got out, I realized it was pretty serious.

Despite Moats' pleas that he needed to get into the hospital because his wife's mother was dying of cancer, Powell detained him for 13 minutes, threatening him with arrest. The officer stopped Moats because his SUV rolled through a red light en route to the hospital.

The stop took place on March 17.

Moats, a graduate of Bishop Lynch High School, lives in Frisco. He plays for the Houston Texans of the National Football League.

Moats, his wife Tamishia and two other family members were headed to Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano when Powell pulled them over.

With his hazard lights on, Moats stopped at a red light near the hospital and then drove through it after the motorist with the right-of-way signaled for him to go ahead, he told police.

“I got there as safely as I could,” he said in the television interview. “I wasn’t reckless at all.”
Powell, watching traffic from a hidden spot, turned on his lights and sirens, caught up with Moats' vehicle and followed it into a hospital parking lot, just outside the emergency room.
There, the police officer - who has since been placed on leave - detained Moats, threatening and berating him.

Moats' mother-in-law died before he could get in to see her.




I've said this before but didn't have someone as prestigious as Simon Johnson to back it up. I don't believe the US President or Congress is running the country, but rather it is an oligarchy of high-powered bankers and corporatists who call the shots for all of us. Johnson writes about this in The Atlantic:

"The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time." --Simon Johnson

Sunday, March 29, 2009

General Petraeus: America is NOT less safe under President Obama

On CNN Sunday, General David Petraeus countered former Vice President Dick Cheney's recent claim that Obama's administration had made America less safe.

"I wouldn't necessarily agree with that," said the general, who has served under both administrations. "I think that there is in fact a good debate going on about the importance of values in everything we do. If one violates the values we hold so dear, we jeopardize [our troops]."



UH-oh. I guess Abu Gonzales won't be going to the running of the bulls in Pamplona anymore...

A Spanish court “has agreed to consider opening a criminal case against six former Bush administration officials…over allegations they gave legal cover for torture at Guantanamo Bay.” The officials include former attorney general Alberto Gonzales, former undersecretary of defense for policy Douglas Feith, former Cheney chief of staff David Addington, Justice Department officials John Yoo and Jay S. Bybee, and Pentagon lawyer William Haynes. The AP has more details on the case:

Spanish law allows courts to reach beyond national borders in cases of torture or war crimes under a doctrine of universal justice, though the government has recently said it hopes to limit the scope of the legal process. […]

Human rights lawyers brought the case before leading anti-terror judge Baltasar Garzon, who agreed to send it on to prosecutors to decide whether it had merit, Gonzalo Boye, one of the lawyers who brought the charges, told The Associated Press. […]

The judge’s decision to send the case against the American officials to prosecutors means it will proceed, at least for now. Prosecutors must now decide whether to recommend a full-blown investigation, though Garzon is not bound by their decision.
Old Spanish saying: "Si quieres el perro, acepta las pulgas."
(CNN) -- A senior Spanish judge has ordered prosecutors to investigate whether key Bush aides should be charged with crimes over the Guantanamo Bay detention center, a lawyer said Sunday.

Garzon says the case can be brought under Spanish law because several Spaniards were held at Guantanamo.

Investigating magistrate Baltasar Garzon has passed a 98-page complaint to prosecutors that accuses former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and five others of being the legal architects of system that allowed torture in violation of international law, human rights lawyer Gonzalo Boye told CNN.
Prosecutors will review the document to determine if a crime has been committed.
The prosecutor's office will make a decision within five days, said Boye, one of the report's authors. Garzon accepted the complaint under Spanish law because there were several Spaniards at Guantanamo who allegedly suffered torture.
The complaint was filed in March 2008 by Boye and the Association for the Rights of Prisoners.
It names Gonzales -- who was President George W. Bush's counsel when the
Guantanamo Bay detention center was established -- and other top Bush administration officials John C. Yoo,
Douglas J. Feith, William J. Hayes II, Jay S. Bybee and David S. Addington.
A former top aide to Colin Powell, who was secretary of state in the early days of the Bush administration's "war on terror," testified before Congress last summer that the six officials "colluded" to develop a legal rationale for allowing detainees to be subjected to harsh treatment.
Lawrence Wilkerson was Powell's chief of staff in President Bush's first term.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Earth Hour 2009: Cities Around The World Turning Off The Lights

SYDNEY — The floodlit cream shells of the famed Opera House dimmed Saturday as Sydney became the world's first major city to plunge itself into darkness for the second worldwide Earth Hour, a global campaign to highlight the threat of climate change.
From the Great Pyramids to the Acropolis, the London Eye to the Las Vegas strip, nearly 4,000 cities and towns in 88 countries planned to join in the World Wildlife Fund-sponsored event, a time zone-by-time zone plan to dim nonessential lights between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Involvement in the effort has exploded since last year's Earth Hour, which drew participation from 400 cities after Sydney held a solo event in 2007. Interest has spiked ahead of planned negotiations on a new global warming treaty in Copenhagen, Denmark, this December. The last global accord, the Kyoto Protocol, is set to expire in 2012.

OFF TOPIC: I occasionally check in at Right is Right's blog and did so today. Holy Wingnut, Batman! she's at it again. Read her newest post on race. As we say in Boston, it's a pissah! A wicked pissah!

Friday, March 27, 2009



In their eagerness to answer President Obama's challenge to come up with an alternative budget, the Republican leadership unveiled their budget yesterday to a skeptical public. John Boehner tried to explain how giving more tax cuts to the top 1 percent wealthiest Americans would increase revenues, but was unable to complete his explanation due to the ear-splitting derisive laughter coming from reporters--mainstream, liberal, and conservative.

DISCLAIMER: No teleprompters were used in the reporting of this story.

UPDATE: The GOP will deliver their detailed budgetWednesday.
Wednesday, April 1.
April Fool's Day.
The GOP is now promising to deliver its budget on April Fool's Day.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


John Hope Franklin, a towering scholar and pioneer of African-American studies who wrote the seminal text on the black experience in the U.S. and worked on the landmark Supreme Court case that outlawed public school segregation, died Wednesday. He was 94.
He was a United States historian and past president of Phi Beta Kappa, the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, and the Southern Historical Association. Professor Emeritus of History at Duke University, he is best known for his work From Slavery to Freedom, first published in 1947, and continuously updated. More than three million copies have been sold.
In 1995, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Big Takeover by Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone Magazine

Matt Taibbi is a gifted writer. He explains it all for me and you in this Rolling Stone article, and boy is he pissed!


People are pissed off about this financial crisis, and about this bailout, but they're not pissed off enough. The reality is that the worldwide economic meltdown and the bailout that followed were together a kind of revolution, a coup d'état. They cemented and formalized a political trend that has been snowballing for decades: the gradual takeover of the government by a small class of connected insiders, who used money to control elections, buy influence and systematically weaken financial regulations.

The crisis was the coup de grâce: Given virtually free rein over the economy, these same insiders first wrecked the financial world, then cunningly granted themselves nearly unlimited emergency powers to clean up their own mess. And so the gambling-addict leaders of companies like AIG end up not penniless and in jail, but with an Alien-style death grip on the Treasury and the Federal Reserve — "our partners in the government," as Liddy put it with a shockingly casual matter-of-factness after the most recent bailout.

The mistake most people make in looking at the financial crisis is thinking of it in terms of money, a habit that might lead you to look at the unfolding mess as a huge bonus-killing downer for the Wall Street class. But if you look at it in purely Machiavellian terms, what you see is a colossal power grab that threatens to turn the federal government into a kind of giant Enron — a huge, impenetrable black box filled with self-dealing insiders whose scheme is the securing of individual profits at the expense of an ocean of unwitting involuntary shareholders, previously known as taxpayers.

The best way to understand the financial crisis is to understand the meltdown at AIG. AIG is what happens when short, bald managers of otherwise boring financial bureaucracies start seeing Brad Pitt in the mirror. This is a company that built a giant fortune across more than a century by betting on safety-conscious policyholders — people who wear seat belts and build houses on high ground — and then blew it all in a year or two by turning their entire balance sheet over to a guy who acted like making huge bets with other people's money would make his dick bigger.

That guy — the Patient Zero of the global economic meltdown — was one Joseph Cassano, the head of a tiny, 400-person unit within the company called AIG Financial Products, or AIGFP. Cassano, a pudgy, balding Brooklyn College grad with beady eyes and way too much forehead, cut his teeth in the Eighties working for Mike Milken, the granddaddy of modern Wall Street debt alchemists. Milken, who pioneered the creative use of junk bonds, relied on messianic genius and a whole array of insider schemes to evade detection while wreaking financial disaster. Cassano, by contrast, was just a greedy little turd with a knack for selective accounting who ran his scam right out in the open, thanks to Washington's deregulation of the Wall Street casino. "It's all about the regulatory environment," says a government source involved with the AIG bailout. "These guys look for holes in the system, for ways they can do trades without government interference. Whatever is unregulated, all the action is going to pile into that."

As complex as all the finances are, the politics aren't hard to follow. By creating an urgent crisis that can only be solved by those fluent in a language too complex for ordinary people to understand, the Wall Street crowd has turned the vast majority of Americans into non-participants in their own political future. There is a reason it used to be a crime in the Confederate states to teach a slave to read: Literacy is power. In the age of the CDS and CDO, most of us are financial illiterates. By making an already too-complex economy even more complex, Wall Street has used the crisis to effect a historic, revolutionary change in our political system — transforming a democracy into a two-tiered state, one with plugged-in financial bureaucrats above and clueless customers below.


The most galling thing about this financial crisis is that so many Wall Street types think they actually deserve not only their huge bonuses and lavish lifestyles but the awesome political power their own mistakes have left them in possession of. When challenged, they talk about how hard they work, the 90-hour weeks, the stress, the failed marriages, the hemorrhoids and gallstones they all get before they hit 40.

"But wait a minute," you say to them. "No one ever asked you to stay up all night eight days a week trying to get filthy rich shorting what's left of the American auto industry or selling $600 billion in toxic, irredeemable mortgages to ex-strippers on work release and Taco Bell clerks. Actually, come to think of it, why are we even giving taxpayer money to you people? Why are we not throwing your ass in jail instead?"

But before you even finish saying that, they're rolling their eyes, because You Don't Get It. These people were never about anything except turning money into money, in order to get more money; valueswise they're on par with crack addicts, or obsessive sexual deviants who burgle homes to steal panties. Yet these are the people in whose hands our entire political future now rests.


Rush Limbaugh was at it again on Tuesday, "confusing" Barack Obama with Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, and referring to the president as "one angry guy -- his wife is angry as well."

Limbaugh went on to "accidentally" refer to Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe, as "Barack Ogabe."

"The standard of living has increased in places where there are basic free markets," Limbaugh said. "Where there aren't, of course the standard of living has declined, such as Zimbabwe... now run by Robert Ogabe. Ah -- it's Mugabe.

I was confusing him with a well-known Kenyan named Barack Ogabe. This is Robert Mugabe."

LOL! I guess that bit of what he thinks passes as incisive commentary helps Limbaugh deal with Mr. Obama's high approval ratings. He apparently gets some sort of thrill running through his chubby pink loins when he makes up stories about Mr. and Mrs. Obama. The reality is that Mrs. Obama is admired and quite popular, and President Obama is well regarded as a cool and even-tempered man, with a nimble intellect and a stable personality.

In short, Mr. Obama is everything Limbaugh could never be.

It takes a really sharp mind to be able to draw comparisons between people as different from each other as Mugabe and President Obama--so, of course, Limbaugh couldn't do it. Instead he makes a "mistake" involving their names; and while chuckling to himself over his junior-high school level wit, continues to feed his Dittoheads more third-rate slop, in which they so eagerly wallow.

Even if a swine gets its own radio show and maintains a large audience, it’s still, afterall, a swine.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009



Bobby Jindal, in his rebuttal to President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress had this to say about what he considered foolish government spending:

"But Democratic leaders in Congress rejected this approach. Instead of trusting us to make wise decisions with our own money, they passed the largest government spending bill in history -- with a price tag of more than $1 trillion with interest.

While some of the projects in the bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes $300 million to buy new cars for the government, $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, such as a "magnetic levitation" line from Las Vegas to Disneyland, and $140 million for something called "volcano monitoring." Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C."

The high-speed railroad project turned out to be non-existent and the "something called "volcano monitoring?"

Alaska volcano Mount Redoubt erupts 5 times

Associated Press Writer –
Mon Mar 23, 7:28 pm ET

The 10,200-foot Redoubt Volcano, roughly 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, last erupted during a four-month period from 1989-90.

In its last eruption, Redoubt sent ash 150 miles away into the path of a KLM jet and its four engines flamed out. The jet dropped more than 2 miles before the crew was able to restart all engines and land safely. The plane required $80 million in repairs.

The volcano became restless earlier this year. The observatory had warned in late January that an eruption could occur at any time.

Increased earthquake activity over the past 48 hours prompted scientists to raise the alert level for Mount Redoubt on Sunday.

The "something called volcano monitoring" probably saved lives.

And more foolishness from the Conservatives:

Obama writes letter to Chirac - [rightwing] blogosphere goes crazy
By Jimmy Orr 03.23.09

Want to know how quickly rumors get spread on the Internet? Here’s a prime example.

The right side of the web is apoplectic this morning claiming that President Obama doesn’t know who the French president is.

They point to an article in the French newspaper Le Figaro reporting that President Obama last week wrote a letter to former French President Jacques Chirac.

“I am certain that we will be able to work together, in the coming four years, in a spirit of peace and friendship to build a safer world,” Obama is purported to have written.

Wrong guy

This has electrified the Internet. Why would President Obama initiate correspondence with Mr. Chirac instead of President Nicolas Sarkozy?

One excited blogger writes, “Doesn’t Obama ever consult his staff before acting? Sarkozy is the President there! It’s like Sarko writing to George Bush and saying he looks forward to working with him. Chirac is the FORMER president.”

That’s a good heads up. But let’s dig a little deeper.

French-speaking pal

Our handy colleague, Laurent Belsie, who writes the New Economy blog here at the Monitor, speaks French. (We don’t hold that against him.)

With his help we found out that another French newspaper, the New Observer, explained that Obama was merely replying to a Chirac letter who was writing him as the head of his foundation — the Jacques Chirac Foundation for sustainable development and cultural dialogue.

The foundation is promoting access to water and medicines in west Africa, combating deforestation in the Congo Basin, and trying to save dying languages in Polynesia, according to a spokesman who helped set up the foundation.


In their eagerness to discredit the less than 100 days of Mr. Obama's presidency and declare it a total failure, the GOP and its hysterical followers are making themselves look sadly foolish.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


After registering her outrage over Mr. Obama's comment on his bowling and Special Olympics, we note what the Anchorage Daily News reported:

Palin rejects over 30% of stimulus money

JUNEAU -- Gov. Sarah Palin is refusing to accept over 30 percent of the federal economic stimulus money being offered to Alaska, including dollars for schools, energy assistance and social services.

The news Thursday drew anger from those who accused Palin of putting her national political aspirations ahead of the state's interests, and admiration from others who say she has courage to turn down money that would expand government. The state Legislature will have an opportunity to override her decision.

Palin is not taking about $288 million of the $930.7 million that Alaska is due in the federal stimulus. Palin said she is accepting the federal stimulus money that would go for construction projects, but not funding directed at government operations.

"We are not requesting funds intended to just grow government," Palin said. "In essence we say no to operating funds for more positions in government."

Palin first told the news media that she's turning down nearly half the federal stimulus money -- but later conceded that does not count the Medicaid money she is accepting. That brings down what she's refusing to 31 percent of what the state government could get. Local governments and nonprofits could still compete for stimulus grants.

The biggest single chunk of money that Palin is turning down is about $170 million for education, including money that would go for programs to help economically disadvantaged and special needs students. Anchorage School Superintendent Carol Comeau said she is "shocked and very disappointed" that Palin would reject the schools money. She said it could be used for job preservation, teacher training, and helping kids who need it."

Gov. Palin has to do what she thinks is best for her political career and her state. But after pouncing on President Obama over his unfortunate comment, it appears a bit hypocritical for her to withhold money that would actually help and improve the lives of the children she felt she needed to defend.

Mr. Obama's remarks won't affect Alaska's special needs children as much as Gov. Palin's withholding of funds for the special needs kids in her state.


By David Sirota:

United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard likes to say that Washington policymakers "treat the people who take a shower after work much differently than they treat the people who shower before they go to work." In the 21st century Gilded Age, the blue-collar shower-after-work crowd is given the tough, while the white-collar shower-before-work gang gets the love, and never before this week was that doctrine made so clear.

Following news that government-owned American International Group (AIG) devoted $165 million of its $170 billion taxpayer bailout to employee bonuses, the White House insisted nothing could be done to halt the robbery. On ABC's Sunday chat show, Obama adviser Larry Summers couched his passive-aggressive defense of AIG's thieves in the saccharine argot of jurisprudence. "We are a country of law - there are contracts (and) the government cannot just abrogate contracts," he said.

The rhetoric echoed John Adams' two-century-old fairy tale about an impartial "government of laws, and not of men." Only now, the reassuring platitudes can't hide the uncomfortable truth.
Last month, the same government that says it "cannot just abrogate" executives' bonus contracts used its leverage to cancel unions' wage contracts. As the Wall Street Journal reported, federal loans to GM and Chrysler were made contingent on those manufacturers shredding their existing labor pacts and "extract(ing) financial concessions from workers." In other words, our government asks us to believe that it possesses total authority to adjust contracts at car companies it lends to, and yet has zero power to modify contracts at financial firms it owns. This, even though the latter set of covenants might be easily abolished.

According to New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, these allegedly inviolate AIG agreements promised bonus money the company didn't have and were crafted by executives who knew the firm was collapsing, meaning there is a decent chance these pacts could be invalidated under "fraudulent conveyance" statutes. They also might be canceled via force majeure clauses allowing one party to rescind a pact in the event of extraordinary circumstances - like, perhaps, the collapse of the world economy. (Note: BusinessWeek reports that corporations are already citing the recession as reason to invoke such clauses and nix their business-to-business contracts.)


Mind you, this double standard works the other way, too. Congressional Republicans have long supported the laws letting bankruptcy courts annul mortgage contracts for vacation homes. Those statutes help the shower-before-work clique at least retain their beachside villas, no matter how many of their speculative Ponzi schemes go bad. But for those who shower after work, it's Adams-esque bromides against "absolving borrowers of their personal responsibility," as the GOP announced it will oppose legislation permitting bankruptcy judges to revise mortgage contracts for primary residences.

Certainly, for all the connotations of fairness inherent in American politics' "country of law" catchphrases, most of us know that the selective application of legal principles is as old as the Republic. However, lots of us are only now discovering that inequality is so pronounced that the time of day we bathe determines the enforcement and reliability (or lack thereof) of even the most basic contracts. We are just realizing that for all the parroting of America's second president, we are ruled by a government of men, and not of laws.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


My friend, Patrick over at Sane Political Discourse, doesn't understand why, while we're in a financial meltdown, I, or any other blogger, would waste our time talking about Bush and his administration. He labels my blogging on the Bush Administration and torture a "distraction," which implies that it is unimportant.

As he pointed out, Bush has been out of office for two months, and he was a lame duck for months before that. Why dwell on what happened in the past?

Because, Patrick, what was done was immoral and illegal. And it was done in our name--the American people.

Bush told the world that America doesn't torture, and then he tortured.

What I don't understand is how people are willing to dismiss this as not important, or even worse, that torturing is necessary to fight terrorism. What I don't understand is the number of Americans willing to overlook and excuse the debasement of this country, its Constitution and ideals. For what? How does torturing people protect us? Why would Americans believe that we should become as evil, base, and inhumane as our enemies in order to protect ourselves? What do we protect in doing so? What do we diminsh in the process?

Here is a recent AP story on the consequences of this reckless policy that punishes the innocent and encourages more people to hate us and wish us further harm.

We gained little and lost much.

Associated Press

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Many detainees locked up at Guantanamo were innocent men swept up by U.S. forces unable to distinguish enemies from noncombatants, a former Bush administration official said Thursday. "There are still innocent people there," Lawrence B. Wilkerson, a Republican who was chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, told The Associated Press. "Some have been there six or seven years."

Wilkerson, who first made the assertions in an Internet posting on Tuesday, told the AP he learned from briefings and by communicating with military commanders that the U.S. soon realized many Guantanamo detainees were innocent but nevertheless held them in hopes they could provide information for a "mosaic" of intelligence.

"It did not matter if a detainee were innocent. Indeed, because he lived in Afghanistan and was captured on or near the battle area, he must know something of importance," Wilkerson wrote in the blog. He said intelligence analysts hoped to gather "sufficient information about a village, a region, or a group of individuals, that dots could be connected and terrorists or their plots could be identified."

Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel, said vetting on the battlefield during the early stages of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan was incompetent with no meaningful attempt to discriminate "who we were transporting to Cuba for detention and interrogation."

Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman, declined to comment on Wilkerson's specific allegations but noted that the military has consistently said that dealing with foreign fighters from a wide variety of countries in a wartime setting was a complex process. The military has insisted that those held at Guantanamo were enemy combatants and posed a threat to the United States.

In his posting for The Washington Note blog, Wilkerson wrote that "U.S. leadership became aware of this lack of proper vetting very early on and, thus, of the reality that many of the detainees were innocent of any substantial wrongdoing, had little intelligence value, and should be immediately released."

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney fought efforts to address the situation, Wilkerson said, because "to have admitted this reality would have been a black mark on their leadership."

Wilkerson told the AP in a telephone interview that many detainees "clearly had no connection to al-Qaida and the Taliban and were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Pakistanis turned many over for $5,000 a head."

Some 800 men have been held at Guantanamo since the prison opened in January 2002, and 240 remain. Wilkerson said two dozen are terrorists, including confessed Sept. 11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was transferred to Guantanamo from CIA custody in September 2006.

"We need to put those people in a high-security prison like the one in Colorado, forget them and throw away the key," Wilkerson said. "We can't try them because we tortured them and didn't keep an evidence trail."

But the rest of the detainees need to be released, he said.

Wilkerson, who flew combat missions as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam and left the government in January 2005, said he did not speak out while in government because some of the information was classified. He said he feels compelled to do so now because Cheney has claimed in recent press interviews that President Barack Obama is making the U.S. less safe by reversing Bush administration policies toward terror suspects, including ordering Guantanamo closed.

The administration is now evaluating what to do with the prisoners who remain at the U.S. military base in Cuba.

"I'm very concerned about the kinds of things Cheney is saying to make it seem Obama is a danger to this republic," Wilkerson said. "To have a former vice president fearmongering like this is really, really dangerous."


From the president’s Costa Mesa town hall: “[T]hese bonuses, outrageous as they are, are a symptom of a much larger problem. And that's the system and culture that made them possible. A culture where people made enormous sums of money taking irresponsible risks that have now put the entire economy at risk. So we're going to do everything we can to deal with these specific bonuses. And I know Washington's all in a tizzy and everybody's pointing fingers at each other and saying it's their fault, the Democrats fault, the Republicans fault. “Listen, I'll take responsibility. I'm the president. (APPLAUSE)
So -- we didn't draft these contracts. And we've got a lot on our plate. But it is appropriate when you're in charge to make sure that stuff doesn't happen like this. So we're going to do everything we can to fix it. So for everybody in Washington who's busy scrambling trying to figure out how to blame somebody else, just go ahead and talk to me. Because it's my job to make sure that we fix these messes, even if I don't make them. (APPLAUSE)”

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


UPDATE: Listen to Mark Danner describe how George Bush lied about torture and the reasons for it. Begin at 5:05:

I've visited some conservative blogs and was amused to read on one of them that Mr. Obama should be impeached because he has proposed offloading veterans to private insurance. Impeachment because of a "proposal?"

But the lack of coverage on conservative blogs [to be fair, I have not read all of them, but the ones I do read have not covered this topic] over Bush's torture policies and the absolute REAL criminality of them is what truly astounds me.

Just a day after former vice-president Dick Cheney appeared on CNN to say President Barack Obama's reversal of the Bush policies was putting the United States in danger, The New York Review of Books published an article by Mark Danner. The macabre accounts of torture in the report aren't emerging from totalitarian dictatorships or Dark Ages gallows - this was the 21st century CIA, with the full knowledge of senior officials in George W. Bush's administration, according to a secret Red Cross 43-page report from February 2007, and based on interviews with detainees at the American military prison at Guantanamo Bay, .

In the report, the Red Cross says the prisoner accounts constitute repeated violations of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions. The organization is the appointed legal guardian of the Geneva Conventions and oversees the treatment of prisoners of war.

"The ill-treatment to which they were subjected while held in the CIA program, either singly or in combination, constituted torture," Danner quoted the report as saying.Many of the details of alleged mistreatment at CIA prisons had been reported previously, but the ICRC report is the most authoritative account and the first to use the word "torture" in a legal context.
The leaked report has prompted renewed calls for Cheney and Bush to be charged with war crimes.


"Bush and Cheney were, in fact, more brutal in their 'enhanced interrogation' than the Gestapo was," Andrew Sullivan wrote Monday on The Atlantic website.

"When the U.S. captured officials who had done to prisoners exactly what the last president did, the U.S. prosecuted them, found them guilty and executed them. The price Cheney pays is a fawning interview on CNN."

In the early months of 2008, the American public learned that the highest officials in the US government actually plotted, in the White House, ingenious ways to break US and international laws and torture al Qaeda detainees in order to get information from them.

I didn't hear 24/7 coverage of this scandal as I did during the Clinton/Lewinsky debacle. Maybe if some of the principals were having sex at the same time that they were discussing torture methods, America would have been fascinated by this astounding piece of news.

The national chest-thumpers who bellow 24/7 that this is "The Greatest Country In The World" have no right to their bellowing. During the Bush years, we sank to the level of our most execrable enemies and dishonored the men and women who died protecting what this country stood for. Under the Bush administration, we betrayed our highest principles.

In a time of extreme danger and threat, this country gave up its moral authority.

Monday, March 16, 2009


David Frum, who should actually be the face of the Republican Party is troubled by the way the radical wing of the GOP has reacted to Michael Steele:

"During an appearance on "Meet the Press" Sunday, Frum, who served as an adviser to President Bush, was asked whether Steele's view on abortion -- as exhibited during a GQ interview published this week -- was acceptable under the tent of the GOP.

"It should represent a view within the Republican Party," he replied. "It should be permissible to say such a thing. I speak as a Republican: we need Michael Steele. He's exciting. He's warm. He has a marvelous TV presence. That's the face that our party should be presenting to the country and we need to support him. And the very fact that he is opening up, talking to constituencies that need to be reached -- these are valuable and fresh things. And I'm sick about the kind of level of attack he's taking. Because we need him."

Later in the program, Frum argued that Steele's appeal was far more than just racial or political superficiality."

The radical wing of the Republican Party continues to believe in their own myth--that Limbaugh represents mainstream America. He clearly does not. He has VERY HIGH disapproval ratings and is demonstrably unpopular with a majority of Americans. This majority is tired of his bigoted rants and has turned away from his extremism.

The other darling of the radical GOPers is A. Coulter, whose popularity is strong with the base, but who has little support for her clownish blatherings elsewhere. Her book sales have tanked. The trash that she tries to pass off as reading material just isn't selling like it used to.

"According to Portfolio Magazine, just over 100,000 copies of the book ["Guilty"] have sold during its two months on the market. While that number far surpasses most politically themed books, its sales to date rank far below those of other Coulter polemics.

Portfolio reports 2006's "Godless: The Church of Liberalism," sold 279,100 copies in hardcover, 2003's "Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terror," sold 396,600 hardcover copies, and 2002's "Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right," sold 333,100 copies and an additional 108,300 in paperback."

America has reached its saturation point with radical demagogues and is saying NO! to their divisive, cranky vitriol.

That the radical right of the GOP continues to ignore this fact only ensures that they will continue to be seen as a regional party of mostly old white guys--Rush's core constituents.

The GOP will never win an election with only 26% of the American people voting for them.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


This statement in GQ by RNC Chairman, Michael Steele, couldn't be any clearer:

GQ: Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?

STEELE: Yeah. I mean, again, I think that’s an individual choice. […]

GQ: Are you saying you don’t want to overturn Roe v. Wade?

STEELE: I think Roe v. Wade—as a legal matter, Roe v. Wade was a wrongly decided matter.

GQ: Okay, but if you overturn Roe v. Wade, how do women have the choice you just said they should have?

STEELE: The states should make that choice. That’s what the choice is. The individual choice rests in the states. Let them decide.

And yet, less than 24 hours after Steele's answer became public, he backtracked on it after being pressured by the radical wing of the Republican Party. A majority of Americans are in agreement with Steele on his assertion that woman have a right to choose, but the radical wing will have no part of that centrist idea.

Steele issued a new statement, completely backing down from his comments. Not only does he say now that abortion isn’t an individual or state choice, he says that he supports a constitutional ban on abortion:


I am pro-life, always have been, always will be. I tried to present why I am pro life while recognizing that my mother had a ‘choice’ before deciding to put me up for adoption. I thank her every day for supporting life. The strength of the pro life movement lies in choosing life and sharing the wisdom of that choice with those who face difficult circumstances. They did that for my mother and I am here today because they did. In my view Roe vs. Wade was wrongly decided and should be repealed.

I realize that there are good people in our party who disagree with me on this issue. But the Republican Party is and will continue to be the party of life. I support our platform and its call for a Human Life Amendment. It is important that we stand up for the defenseless and that we continue to work to change the hearts and minds of our fellow countrymen so that we can welcome all children and protect them under the law.

Faiz Shakir of Think Progress:

SHAKIR: Looking at Michael Steele’s accomplishments here: He’s deceived the party on his views on choice; he’s shut down the GOP’s in-house think tank; he’s thrown out “slum love” to Bobby Jindal and one-armed midgets; he’s said it’s crazy for gay couples to join in civil unions; and then he lost the battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party to Rush Limbaugh. And this is the guy who the Republicans tell us is going to lead them out of the wilderness.

Monday, March 9, 2009


It's not the late President Reagan speaking, but almost. I can't think of two people closer and more loving than the Reagans (oh wait...I can, and one of them wears sleeveless dresses that show off her boffo arms!). But I can't imagine that Mrs. Reagan and her husband would not agree on something like this, since they were so close and in sync with each other. I wonder how long it will be before the long knives come out for her.

Under fire from congressional Republicans for lifting restrictions on stem cell research, President Barack Obama got a powerful endorsement for his move Monday from Nancy Reagan, the former president’s wife.

“I’m very grateful that President Obama has lifted the restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research,” she wrote in a statement released shortly after Obama reversed the Bush administration limits. “These new rules will now make it possible for scientists to move forward. I urge researchers to make use of the opportunities that are available to them and to do all they can to fulfill the promise that stem cell research offers."

Nancy Reagan has been an outspoken advocate of stem cell research — and scientists hope that the research could someday lead to a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, which afflicted her late husband, Ronald Reagan.

Her statement also illustrates how support for the research crosses party lines, even though many in the anti-abortion movement strongly oppose the research on moral and ethical grounds.
Reagan continued, “Countless people, suffering from many different diseases, stand to benefit from the answers stem cell research can provide. We owe it to ourselves and to our children to do everything in our power to find cures for these diseases — and soon. As I’ve said before, time is short, and life is precious.”

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Obama To Reverse Funding Ban On Stem Cell Work
by The Associated Press

March 6, 2009 · President Barack Obama is expected to sign an executive order on Monday reversing restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

The long-expected move is likely to stir up not only the promise of scientific breakthrough, but also the controversy over where government crosses a moral line.

Obama will hold an event at the White House to announce the move, a senior administration official said Friday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the policy had not yet been publicly announced.

Many people believe that using embryonic cells even from placentas is morally wrong, and use the highly emotional but inapt argument that it's "killing a baby." An embryonic cell is potential life, no one argues that, but it is not a "baby." A stem cell is not a fetus. It does not have a neurological system, a brain, any organs, or a cirulatory system. The stem cell is composed of approximately 100 cells, a blastocyst. Does that make it a "baby?" No. Does it make it a potential life? Yes. It is a potential life. An apple seed is not an apple, but a potential apple.

Some religions teach that at the moment of conception there is a soul present. But that is a religious idea, not a scientific one. And few religions agree on exactly when this soul is manifest in the blastocyst.

The question is can we really deprive thousands of people from a cure to their devastating ailments because we want to play a game with semantics?

A collection of cells without a brain or any other organs is really not a fetus, afterall. And, it is unreasonable to sit by and let a war of words hinder the health of living, breathing human beings whose only hope for a normal life is in the hands of stem cell research.

Here is a site that gives the pros and cons of this issue.

UPDATE: ABC News' Karen Travers reports that Rep. Michael Castle, R-Del, co-author of the stem cell legislation that President Bush vetoed twice, welcomed the White House decision.

"I could not be more excited to hear that President Obama will finally lift the stifling restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research -- something I have actively fought for over the last five years," Castle said in a statement. "This single action symbolizes a new day for scientific research and highlights the importance of a strong federal role in promoting potentially life-saving science. I look forward to learning the details of the executive order, and immediately working with the President and colleagues in Congress to codify the policy to ensure that scientists are deciding what research to pursue from here."


The Vatican has defended the excommunication of the mother and doctors of a nine-year old girl who had an abortion (the child was pregnant with twins) in Brazil after being raped by her step-father (who had been abusing her, it was reported, for 3 years).

The step-father and rapist was not excommunicated.

Well at least they are consistent in not excommunicating child rapists.

"God's law is above any human law. So when a human law ... is contrary to God's law, this human law has no value," Cardoso had said.

BTW, One of the 10 Commandments warns that "Thou shalt keep holy the Lord's day." And in the OT, God commands that if you see your neighbor working on the Sabbath, you have the right to kill him/her.

It appears that human law in this case has superseded God's.

But we never look for rationality in irrational places.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Wingnuts take notice.

President Obama is a natural born citizen. Discussion over. It's time to turn your attention to his sneaky plan to conscript your sons and daughters into his private police force, take away your assault weapons, and force you to make pesto sauce out of kittens.

Another lawsuit challenging President Obama's eligibility to be president has been thrown out of court:

WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Thursday threw out a lawsuit questioning President Barack Obama's citizenship, lambasting the case as a waste of the court's time and suggesting the plaintiff's attorney may have to compensate the president's lawyer.

"In an argument popular on the Internet and taken seriously practically nowhere else, Obama's critics argue he is ineligible to be president because he is not a "natural-born citizen" as the Constitution requires.

In response last summer, Obama's campaign posted his Hawaiian birth certificate on its Web site. But the lawsuit argues it is a fake and that Obama was actually born in his father's homeland of Kenya, even though Hawaiian officials have said the document is authentic.

"This case, if it were allowed to proceed, would deserve mention in one of those books that seek to prove that the law is foolish or that America has too many lawyers with not enough to do," U.S. District Judge James Robertson said in his written opinion.

The lawsuit didn't even use Obama's legal name but called him "Barry Soetoro," the name he went by while attending elementary school in Indonesia. It's one of many that has been filed claiming Obama is ineligible to serve as president.

Robertson ordered plaintiff's attorney John Hemenway of Colorado Springs, Colo., to show why he hasn't violated court rules barring frivolous and harassing cases and shouldn't have to pay Obama's attorney, Bob Bauer, for his time arguing that the case should be thrown out."

h/t to Gordon for posting this link:

But some people just won't let go of this bone. Here are some choice comments from the above link on Judge Robinson's decision:

"Of course, if being raised and "mentored" (buggered, I'd guess, in Ayers' case, based on his literature) by Muslims and Communists and rising to power in the Chicago machine isn't a bad thing, why should anyone even research some stupid Constitutional issue?"

"Bullshit. I call shenanigans."

But this one's my favorite:

"I think he's hiding the birth certificate because it lists Frank Marshall Davis as the father. That's based on the fact that he looks like Davis, Davis took an interest in him while he was growing up, Davis wrote a semi-autobiographical book where he talks about nailing young white chicks in Hawaii, he looks nothing like Obama Sr, and he shows no signs of being bright enough to be the kid of a black guy smart enough to get into a Harvard grad program in the early 60s.But he could just be a coke snorting communist who cheated his way into the presidency and is now busily destroying America."


Friday night with Dylan.


I think it all started with this harmless suggestion by the President of the United States:

President Obama DARED to tell politicians to do their jobs and not to take their marching orders from a rightwing, bigoted radio talk show comedian. Wow! What incendiary talk from a man who promised to tone down the rhetoric in Washington DC!

And what was the Hindenburg of Gasbag's response? "I HOPE OBAMA FAILS." Notice he didn't say I hope Obama's POLICIES fail. Nope. He didn't say that at all. He wants President Obama to fail. Got that America?

And now the GOP wails that the Democrats are trying to elevate Limbaugh as the Go-to Guy of the GOP? The bastids! How dare they say that about a man who holds no political office, but who has spineless GOP politicians scrapping and bowing at his feet begging for absolution whenever they say anything that may injure Boss Limbaugh's delicate, oversized sensibilities.


One of my fav writers, James Wolcott of Vanity Fair posts this little gem over at his blog:

"During its Rovian/Fox News heyday, the right tried to make Michael Moore's mug the face of the Democratic Party, hold Democrats responsible for every egregious thing Moore said or did. It only partially succeeded because Moore was too independent an operator to be seamlessly morphed with Al Gore and John Kerry. But Limbaugh bleeds Republican red. He has been glorified and embraced as the perfect Ganesh by Newt Gingrich, CPAC, and the Bush family. He is the face and mouth of the conservative movement. A mouth that has swallowed Michael Steele whole, and has room for plenty more."

Al Giordano posting on Limbaugh adds:

"This narrative is going to go on for a while, in large part because in public life you get back what you put in: Limbaugh has, for decades, sought to stigmatize and demonize those with less power than he: single moms, "ugly women" (what Limbaugh says "feminism" is for), African-American political leaders, gays, undocumented immigrants... add up who he has picked on from his microphone demographically and you've got a majority of the American people.

And for years while Limbaugh had the tacit and also overt support from the Republican political machine (right down to Dick Cheney and Karl Rove being in constant back-channel contact with him) the Democrats tried to ignore and wish him away. Even worse, as we saw with Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" during last year's Democratic presidential primaries (in which he got millions of his Republican-leaning minions to vote in the Democratic primaries to prolong Senator Clinton's candidacy), you had elements of the Democratic Party playing footsie with him (remember Bill Clinton, in 2008, going on his show one day when a co-host was substituting?). "

But wait, it's not just us America-hating, commie-loving, socialist, godless Libruls who think Limbaugh is a disaster, Republicans with brains chime in:

"With his private plane and his cigars, his history of drug dependency and his personal bulk, not to mention his tangled marital history, Rush is a walking stereotype of self-indulgence - exactly the image that Barack Obama most wants to affix to our philosophy and our party. And we’re cooperating! Those images of crowds of CPACers cheering Rush’s every rancorous word - we’ll be seeing them rebroadcast for a long time."

And even friendly conservative bloggers are whining "NO FAIR," claiming President Obama is sliming Limbaugh by suggesting he's the head of the GOP! Ooooh that must cut to the bone!

"The Obama slime machine, led by the Slimer-in-Chief President Obama, have been running a coordinated campaign from the Oval Office to demonize conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh. The purpose of the campaign was to distract the press and the American people from the exploding deficit spending and administration power grab currently unfolding. The campaign to hide the economic chaos and stock market meltdown has been funded in part by billionaire currency manipulator George Soros."
"The attacks, coordinated with key progressive websites like MediaMatters and ThinkProgress, have spread across the partisan left side of the internet. Liberal bloggers repeated the attacks verbatim and cribbed out-of-context quotations for prominent placement on their sites. [I do believe Gordon is referring to moi.] The program has ominous implications of an attempt to control the media, as many liberal websites are funded by shadowy currency speculator Soros. [Yes. Just yesterday I got my check in the mail from Georgie, and in addition to posting my "out-of-context" quotations on Rush's bigotry, I get to call in pizza from Regina's tonight! Woo Hoo!]"

Meanwhile, the country continues to support its very popular president.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Jon Stewart Takes Down the Clowns over at CNBC

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


"After Barack Obama's first six weeks as president, the American public's attitudes about the two political parties couldn't be more different, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds. Despite the country's struggling economy and vocal opposition to some of his policies, President Obama's favorability rating is at an all-time high. Two-thirds feel hopeful about his leadership and six in 10 approve of the job he's doing in the White House."

"What is amazing here is how much political capital Obama has spent in the first six weeks," said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. "And against that, he stands at the end of this six weeks with as much or more capital in the bank."

"By comparison, the Republican Party — which resisted Obama's recently passed stimulus plan and has criticized the spending in his budget — finds its favorability at an all-time low. It also receives most of the blame for the current partisanship in Washington and trails the Democrats by nearly 30 percentage points on the question of which party could best lead the nation out of recession."

Last week's Post-ABC News poll shows that voters trust President Obama on the economy by a remarkable 35 percentage points more than they trust Republicans in Congress -- the biggest advantage for a president on this question since George H.W. Bush basked in public approval of his handling of the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

The source of Obama's advantage is critical: independent voters, who give the president high marks on his handling of the economy and his job overall.

Obama won these voters, who famously recoil from what they see as overly partisan and shortsighted politics, by eight points in 2008 -- a dramatic improvement for the Democrats from 2004, when George Bush and John Kerry tied.

There are other groups of voters worth watching. Among those with a history of voting in presidential elections, Obama and Sen. John McCain essentially ran even. Obama won first-time voters by a convincing 39 points -- owing largely to a combination of younger voters, Hispanic voters and disaffected voters.

The sentiment seems alive and well today. Seventy-three percent of all voters, The Post found, believe that the president is trying to cooperate with Republicans. Only 36 percent believe the same to be true of the GOP.

It would surprise no one to learn where new voters and independents came down on that question.

Do you think Boss Limbaugh is paying any attention to this?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009



I knew it was just a matter of time before Michael Steele would have to crawl on his hands and knees and grovel at the ungulated feet of the Hindenburg of Gasbags to beg for forgiveness.

For a moment, when he honestly said what he thought (that Limbaugh was an "entertainer" and "incendiary") I believed that Steele would replace el Rushbo as the head of the GOP, and that he would be a forceful, forward-looking head of the RNC.

Whew! Thank Darwin that didn't happen!

Rush Rulz!

He will remain the undisputed Head of the Dittoheads and of a party that refuses to face what Rush actually represents: Old ideas, anger, racism, sexism, and irrelevancy. He will continue to lead his clueless minority back to the past.

And we all thank him for his efforts to keep his followers there.

El Rushbo: He's bigger now than ever!


Gov. Jindal joins Mr. Steele in ass-kissing:

Rush Limbaugh may insist that he is not, as others have suggested, the head of the Republican Party. But all of the GOP's key players are kissing his proverbial ring in the aftermath of his latest anti-Obama episode and intra-party squabble.

The most recent offering of support came from Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal who on Monday night said that he was glad to see RNC Chairman Michael Steele apologize to Limbaugh after Steele had called the conservative talk show host's program "incendiary" and "ugly."

"I'm glad he apologized," said Jindal, appearing on CNN's Larry King Live. "I think the chairman is a breath of fresh air for the party. As I said before I think Rush is a leader for many conservatives and says things that people are concerned about."

Ross Douthat: Not only do I think this is true, I've actually said it myself! (Though Reihan said it first.) But if you accept the parallel with Oprah, then you also need to recognize that if American liberals treated someone like Ms. Winfrey the way the adoring CPAC-goers treated Rush - not just as a great communicator and entertainer, but as an arbiter of what their movement is and ought to be, and what their party should be standing for - they'd look like starstruck fools. And rightly so. So I'm glad to hear Hewitt say that he thinks of Limbaugh as "communicator, a pundit and an entertainer," rather than a "leader." But I wish that more conservatives understood the distinction.


Limbaugh is first and foremost an entertainer, and to mistake him for a strategist or policy wonk or political philosopher is to make a category error of epic proportions. Letting Rush define who is and is not a conservative, or what the national GOP can and cannot stand for, is the equivalent of the Democratic Party inviting the writers of the Daily Show to hammer out their party's platform - or the Roman Catholic Church turning the next edition of the Catechism over to Oprah.

Monday, March 2, 2009


Barnes and Noble states they're innocent of this "joke" that was displayed in their store window, and that it was probably the work of an unknown visitor to their store.

I'll let my friends over at From the Left describe what I, too, felt, when I saw this:

"This episode is just the latest in a string of vicious, racist attacks on Mr. Obama and his wife. The Rupert Murdock owned NY Post got in hot water over a cartoon featuring a chimp being shot by police under the headline “stimulus package.” This was followed by the disclosure the mayor of Los Alamitos, CA had distributed a cartoon showing the White House lawn covered in brilliant green watermelons.

Sorry folks, but I’m just not feeling this post-racial America thing now that we have an African American president. If anything, the signs and images of racism have increased. It’s as if the election of Barack Obama has given every racist clown Carte Blanche to crawl out from under their rocks and don their Klan robes. Racism in America is alive and well, and sadly, even the election of our first Black president has failed to tamp it down."

Do I need to do anymore explaining (as I have over at Gordon's blog, A Political Glimpse from Ireland) on why ape images are racially loaded images and that sort of racism still infects our country.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Limbaugh in the Lead: A Gift for Obama

Looking for all the world like the sweating floor manager on the late afternoon shift at Larry Flynt's Hustler Club in an unbuttoned shiny black shirt and undersized sport coat, Rush Limbaugh leaned his meaty hands on the lectern at the CPAC conference and slipped a greasy dollar bill into the G-string of the writhing conservative dead-enders packed into the garishly lit Omni Shoreham in Washington DC.
If there's any doubt that the GOP's own Paulie Walnuts is now firmly in command of the Party of Lincoln, the "breaking news" style coverage of Limbaugh's bellow-cose rant dispelled the notion. CNN, for one, went wide - with the kind of uninterrupted live footage usually reserved for Presidents and Popes, followed by a panel of analysts to weigh and consider the import of the speech to this republic of ours. There were other dancers on the stage, to be sure - including Ward Connerly, Ann Coulter, Phyllis Schlafly and Karl Rove - but only Limbaugh's hour-long ramble (he went over by 30 minutes) garnered opposition leader status. "As the movement searches for a front-and-center spokesman to provide inspiration and direction, Limbaugh's refusal to tilt toward the center may place him out front in a Republican Party already suffering from a disappearing moderate wing," wrote Tom Schaller in Salon.
Leading gullible Republicans into the hills of guerrilla ideological resistance during the nation's toughest economic crisis in 80 years constitutes a gift of incredible political proportions for the Obama Administration. Instead of principled point-by-point opposition by a chastened party of experienced professionals ready for tough dealings at the bargaining table, President Obama is blessed with clownish truculence and pure rejectionism - embodied in the Republican response to the President's forceful Congressional address by Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, a moment of excruciatingly tone-deaf ideology rescued only by the attention lavished on its shockingly poor delivery.

President Obama, of course, is aware of this lumbering and clumsy gift from the right - so much so that he sent chief of staff Rahm Emanuel to Bob Schieffer's CBS studio this morning to declare Limbaugh "the voice and the intellectual force and energy behind the Republican Party."

Tom Watson