Monday, August 1, 2005

Rather be at recess

why a recess appointment for Bolton, but the threat of the nuclear option for judges?

War-gaming: Dems say, "Fine, we're happy to give Bolton a vote. Just come across with the documents first." Reasonable, plays well on TV. Uh-oh, what's in those documents? My guess: wickedly smoking gun, no, actually smoking arsenal. Worse for Duhbya than anything would be to get a vote and lose, but winning narrowly with an obvious power-mad perjuring jerk who used the internal security apparatus for political purposes would have been bad enough.

(Originally a comment on Next Hurrah.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Fear and conservatism

Brennan Hawkins, the 11-year-old scout lost in Utah, nearly died because his parents inculcated in him the fear of strangers.

As reported on CNN, his mother said:

We've ... told him don't talk to strangers ... when an ATV or horse came by, he got off the trail ... when they left, he got back on the trail.
Conservatives have no monopoly on fearmongering, but they seem to me to be much more likely to feel personally unsafe. My mother's Republican husband constantly sends out warnings about this or that danger, particularly if women are ostensibly threatened. These warnings almost always turn out to be urban legends, but I've given up trying to get him to check first. He just can't help himself.

This fear factor is why local Fox News affiliates, who all lead with what bleeds, are almost as bad for America as the national cable propaganda outlet.

Fear is the mindkiller!

Originally posted on DailyKos.

Sunday, June 5, 2005

Defining Platinum down

More oppo on Republican fund-raising, in this case the National Republican Senatorial Committee...

If it works, the GOPers use it, no matter how cheesy.

Be it known to all who bear witness, that the Chair, by virtue of authority invested in the Executive Director of the Republican Presidential Task Force, confers this warrant of Platinum membership ...
There's more pseudo-official drivel filled with whereases and grand seals and facsimile signatures. In it, I am libeled as a steadfast supporter of President George W. Bush! They wish. Come the great fascist triumph of the homeland, though, I don't think a form letter will help me escape the gulag or dodge the reality of my liberalism.

Faux exclusivity works for Providian, why not for other predatory organizations!

But wait, this is not about me. Chair Liddy Dole is offering me Platinum status for the pittance of $120! She and Executive Director Mark Stephens would even let me pay in $10 installments. The Republicans are still eating our lunch by mining the small-dollar contributions and turning them into something more.

You know, though, my great aunt used to send her small contributions to liberal organizations even if she could only spare $10 a year. We need to be sure to tap our real constituencies, not just the corporate interests that want to buy our support.

So, where is the corresponding Democratic direct mail piece? I get email from my party all the time, and here's what I hope: The good people of the DNC, the DSCC, the DCCC, and every other organization starting with 'D' have identified me as an Internet donor and are saving their paper and stamps for less techie targets. Why do I doubt this pollyannish thought?

The fundraising letter itself is filled with the kind of right-wing bullshit that has me drinking my second dose of Bombay Sapphire straight from the freezer. Here's a fun example of their complete divorce from reality:
Step-by-step [Duhbya] is cleaning up the economic mess that Bill Clinton left behind and the good economic news continues to mount. Key growth rates are setting records, home ownership is at an all time high, the stock market is up and we are making progress on creating new jobs. Experts credit his tax cuts and low interest rates for this improving picture.
In this tissue of lies is one truth: Low interest rates are instrumental in the rise in home ownership. Thanks, Alan Greenspan. Of course, cautions from Paul Krugman apply, as usual.

The letter also calls Duhbya a respected Commander-in-Chief! Respected? In his own feeble mind!

Still, the GOPers know that even if their bullshit walks, money talks. And they're reloading where it matters - the bank.

(Note: Business reply mail. Yes, another Republican dollar sucked dry!)

Originally posted on DailyKos.

Saturday, May 7, 2005

The quiet wingnut raises money

Through no fault of my own, I have found myself on a number of GOP mailing lists lately. Since they generally have business reply envelopes, I send 'em back, minus identifying information. I'll keep costing them money as long as they cooperate.

What the fascist right says when it's raising money is instructive. Here are some excerpts from Dennis Hastert's spiel in favor of KOMPAC, which is already raising money for the 2006 election cycle (emphasis mine here and below):

[W]e must ensure that the liberals cannot seize power in Congress since it is clear they would radically change America's direction.
They are going to attack us as liberals, no matter what. They will call a Democrat who opposes even civil unions but favors hospital visitation rights for domestic partners a heinous liberal. We must redeem the word. A start: "I believe in justice for all. If that makes me a liberal, so be it." Voters take our failure to join this fight as symbolic of our wishy-washiness.

The Goobers Of Projection also charge us with their own ugliness. They have seized power and intend to radically change America, but they want to make us sound like radicals.

Hastert's fundraising also exposes his assumptions and tactics. For example:
Question #11 - The Social Security Administration estimates that by 2018 Social Security will begin paying out more than it takes in from payroll taxes. In theory, at that time the Trust Fund will begin drawing on the surpluses that accumulated from previous years. However, for decades Congress has taken the Social Security surpluses and used them to make the deficit look smaller. Some leading Democrats are content to ignore the serious problems facing Social Security to scare senior citizens into supporting their Party and the do nothing approach. Do you think the Republicans should try to explain to the American people the dangers facing Social Security and expose the intellectual dishonesty of those who say everything is just fine?
It's pretty obvious that the Republicans want to break their promise to the American people. What they really mean is that the full faith and credit of America is null and void, that they stole the Trust Fund fair and square and gave it to their rich buddies.

The surpluses are the Trust Fund. The Republicans are going to take both `trust' and `fund' out of Trust Fund, just as they want to take `social' and `security' out of Social Security.

They use the same approach in public, accusing us of:

  • scare tactics
  • a do-nothing approach
  • intellectual dishonesty
Two of these - fear and dishonesty - are, in fact, their tactics. More from the letter:
[W]e can build an America ... where our commitment to family is demonstrated by having the faith and values that guided our grandparents ... instead of the pervasive sex, drugs and violence that pollute our television, movies and music.
The crusade to keep social conservatives in the middle class distracted is censorship, but the unprincipled GOP doesn't care.

[W]e can build an America where the federal government gets out of our state and local affairs and out of our pockets
Classic Republican appeals to the cryptoracists and homophobes, plus the ever-present tax-cutting, for the rich, of course. More:
They opposed the President on the war, even when our troops were in harm's way. They would have given the United Nations a deciding role in deciding whether, when, where, and how to defend America.
This is just a crazy lie. But it goes on:
They are critical of how we have waged our war on terrorism.
Poor babies. Can't take a little awful criticism. And, of course, they want all the credit for every drop of American blood.
They opposed [Duhbya's] efforts for the Department of Homeland Security.
Another bald-faced lie. They have a lot of experience telling this one. Here's a possible rejoinder: "The Republicans thought it was more important to lavish port security funds on Wyoming than to ensure the government has to treat its employees fairly." Then:
[T]hese liberal Democrats have even announced their opposition to some of the President's programs even before he has announced the program and outlined the details.
Who writes this crap? It's Duhbya's fault he hasn't "outlined the details". Of course, Hastert knows that the White House never discloses details until Karl Rove has found out the limit of what he can get away and he thinks it's too late to stop him. (This is why we must make only political proposals and not careful policy-wonk proposals that contain compromises.)

So... What do we say in response?

Originally posted at DailyKos, where this poll was attached:

Hearing about wingnut fundraising rhetoric makes me:

o Fire-breathing mad

o Jealous of their money machine

o Feel like my head is filled with C4

o Bored beyond belief

o Confused about why this matters

Selling the President

RNC chair Ken Mehlman is selling debit cards:

What makes the Platinum Card so prestigious is that only a very limited number were commissioned and only a select few chosen to receive it: you and other distinguished Americans who helped reelect President Bush ...
Only 300,000,000 made! The same basic con as Who's Who. Asok the intern also recently received the "Intern of the Year Award".

Then there's all this crap about being sure the card arrived undamaged. After that, the GOP's three issues are:
  • tax reform - Believe it or not, they're campaigning against special interest loopholes! And they claim that they want a "bipartisan effort to reform and simplify the tax code."
  • social security - "Doing nothing ... will cost us ... an estimated $10 trillion...." Actually, that's the cost of Duhbya's private accounts, but it's so Republican to use the bad points of their plan to argue against a plan that doesn't have the same feature.
  • national security - Of course, they're making the world more peaceful through war again.
Here's the money quote, which the GOPers helpfully indent and bold:
As President Bush leads our nation in this time of great challenge, his political opponents are determined to divide America with petty partisanship. Our nation deserves better. That's why your loyalty to President Bush is so important.
The Repubs almost always accuse us of doing exactly what they are doing. It happens way too often to be accidental. They do it to hurt us and, just as important, to immunize themselves. They know that "you did it first/worse" is something the media won't attempt to arbitrate. (Oh, I forgot, the media won't arbitrate the most basic fact any more.)

Democrats bitter over John Kerry's defeat are now mobilizing a vengeful campaign to sabotage President Bush's agenda. If we don't stand tall against the Democrats, partisan politics will overwhelm President Bush's ...
Compared to Tom DeLay?

I hope they'll write again!

Originally posted on DailyKos.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Who is Gary Jarmin?

Yesterday, I got a weird fund-raising letter from Mr. Jarmin. He knows me so well that he has sent me one of a small number of "Personalized Reply Forms", but he's so respectful he addresses me formally anyway. He knows me so well that he gets my gender wrong. He was praying [I]'d open this letter, but he must've used Microsoft prayer merge...

The letter is weird because it's so vague. Unspecified Washington Insiders are stealing our Social Security Trust Fund. It's weird because it spends more than a whole page flogging its "Personalized Reply Forms". It's weird because its use of capital letters and quotation marks is semi-literate.

So, who is Gary Jarmin?

He's a long-time Moonie! The letter is basically a con. He's seeking money from the credulous and uninformed to do just the opposite from what they are likely to want.

Jarmin's deceptive spin points:

The Seniors Center has become a powerful voice in Washington. But lately, we've been fighting just to tread water.

And the Washington Insiders never stop figuring out new ways to spend our Social Security Trust Fund.

Please don't let the Washington Insiders get away with stealing the money you and I worked all our lives to earn.

If you and I don't stop them, the Washington Insiders will waste every penny of our Social Security Money on their pork-barrel programs.

My friend, if you and I stop fighting them, the Washington Insiders will bankrupt our Social Security Trust Fund.

And that's a terrifying thought.

We know that it's Jarmin's cronies in the Bush White House who are actively stealing the trust fund, but wingnut cultists never let a fact get in the way of a scare story.

On the last page, he's back to his "Personalized Reply Forms" fetish four more times for a total of 21! But then, there's the good news:
[W]ith the number of people who've left us here to fend for ourselves, donations to the Seniors Center have all but dried up.
Please don't water the astroturf!

Originally posted on DailyKos.

Even techies are noticing IOKIYAR

Ed Foster writes:

In medieval days, a peasant could be executed for stealing a crust of bread, while the lord of the manor could abuse every peasant in sight without fear of legal retribution. Does it strike you that we seem to be reverting more and more to a similar society, one in which the punishments no longer fit the crimes?
The wingnuts love zero tolerance. It matches their angry and vengeful God.

But, to serve the limitless greed of Republican crony capitalists, it gets worse.
Even if we were to believe the exaggerated estimates the various copyright industries put forth for how much they lose to piracy each year, is it as much as the Enrons, Worldcoms, Adelphias, etc. cost us the economy? Notice also that while Congress is mandating increasingly severe punishments for the copyright equivalent of petty theft, it can't be bothered to do anything serious about crimes like identity theft that are costing millions of citizens billions of dollars. With powerful lobbying from the RIAA and MPAA, federal law enforcement agencies have no problem getting funding for enforcement of copyright crimes, but individuals who've had their bank accounts cleared out by a clever phishing scam have nowhere to turn.
There are many other examples: the bankruptcy bill, the way drug enforcement imprisons the little fish while it catches and releases those with something to trade, attempts to end overtime, the end of the billionaire playboy tax, tax reductions that prefer investment to labor, the effort to end Social Security, media emphasis on sensational crime over much greedier financial misbehavior, the continued destruction of unions, and on and on.

So, fellow peasants, had enough of droit du seigneur?

Originally posted on DailyKos.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Class warfare

Class warfare is a weapon we never should have surrendered. We won't win again until we're willing to use it.

(Originally here.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

MAD, mad world

When the Bushist Republicans go nuclear, what would be the negative consequences for Democrats if they simply refuse to accept the order of the chair? Why should they sit down and shut up? Why not continue to filibuster while the Republicans make their charade "legal"? It would be easy to bring in a portable PA. "The minority no longer recognizes the authority of the chair."

The objective here would be to provoke the Republicans to their natural thuggery, captured on video (and don't rely on C-SPAN; bring your own cameras). The Republicans long ago began their revolution against Constitutional government. It's time we joined the battle in its defense. For best effect, it means that we will have to bleed. I'm willing, but I don't have access to the Senate floor.

(Originally a comment on NextHurrah.)

Monday, February 7, 2005

Pundit payola

My gut tells me that the public sector media payola scandal is only the tip of the iceberg. The Bushists paid Armstrong Williams, Maggie Gallagher, and Michael McManus to shill for their programs. They continue to use outreach money to sell their programs to unwary recipients.

Where did they get the model for pundit payola? The kleptocrats in charge of the government think they own it and can do what they want with it, but their mantra of many generations is that government should be run like a business. How about Richard Mellon Scaife's Arkansas Project? He gave the American Expectorator piles of money to dig up or make up dirt about Bill Clinton. Is there any reason whatsoever to think the subsidy of wingnuts stopped there?

Are there a thousand right-wing pundits and reporters who matter? Subsidizing all of them to the tune of $1000 a month would cost only $12,000,000 a year - chump change for the ultraconservative foundation mafia.

Originally posted on DailyKos.