Thursday, November 30, 2006

Go Stephane

I'm supporting him, absolutely.
“People will come to me because I have the clearest vision, a better action plan, a better capacity to communicate it with passion and to keep the country strong and united,” Mr. Dion said. “I don't believe in machinations. I believe in convictions.”
Best of luck to all the Dion people this weekend.

Listen to this interview to get a sense of his eloquence and political wisdom:

Video of people getting killed in Iraq

This site, 10zenmonkeys.com has a slew of clips showing death and destruction in Iraq, if you want to see some things you won't see elsewhere:
This roundup of YouTube clips is meant to give a small sense of what it’s like for the people who are killing and getting killed in Iraq — a view that, limited as it is, one can’t possibly get from the mainstream newsmedia.
Thanks to disco for the link...:)

Speaking of Iraq, I saw some of Bush's news conference with Maliki earlier. Talk about your stage managed events. One highlight for me...I think Bush actually said at one point that he thought that murder was a criminal act. Continuing to show his knack for the obvious. I sense a Jon Stewart bit coming on.

And continuing to play up the Al Qaeda link to Iraq and forcefully linking September 11th to Iraq, once again.

Same old.

An indictment of Bush


Elizabeth de la Vega, a former federal prosecutor, has a new book out, United States v. George W. Bush et al., in which she offers her case to indict Bush and his top advisers. She does it in exactly the same manner she would were she doing it before a live grand jury. The charge? Conspiracy to defraud the United States. Check it out, here, where excerpts are being posted. Here's an excerpt from her indictment:
16. Beginning on or about a date unknown, but no later than August of 2002, and continuing to the present, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, the defendants,

GEORGE W. BUSH,
RICHARD B. CHENEY,
CONDOLEEZZA RICE,
DONALD M. RUMSFELD, and
COLIN M. POWELL,

and others known and unknown, did knowingly and intentionally conspire to defraud the United States by using deceit, craft, trickery, dishonest means, false and fraudulent representations, including ones made without a reasonable basis and with reckless indifference to their truth or falsity, and omitting to state material facts necessary to make their representations truthful, fair and accurate, while knowing and intending that their false and fraudulent representations would influence the public and the deliberations of Congress with regard to authorization of a preventive war against Iraq, thereby defeating, obstructing, impairing, and interfering with Congress' lawful functions of overseeing foreign affairs and making appropriations.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Turning on the puppet

A convenient leak to the NYTimes by the Bush administration today. Today Michael Gordon has a classified memo from the National Security Adviser to Bush which expresses doubts about the Iraqi PM, on the eve of Bush's meeting with Maliki. Here's Maureen Dowd, "Turning on the Puppet," on this fascinating development:
As Mr. Bush and Mr. Hadley head to Jordan to try to tell Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki not to go all wobbly, a stunning secret memo from Mr. Hadley has surfaced, expressing severe skepticism about whether our latest puppet can cut it.

Michael Gordon reveals in today’s Times that in a classified assessment, Mr. Hadley wrote that the Iraqi leader, who is getting pushed around by Moktada al-Sadr, was having trouble figuring out how to be strong.

“The memo suggests that if Mr. Maliki fails to carry out a series of specified steps,” he writes, “it may ultimately be necessary to press him to reconfigure his parliamentary bloc, a step the United States could support by providing ‘monetary support to moderate groups,’ and by sending thousands of additional American troops into Baghdad to make up for what the document suggests is current shortage of Iraqi forces.”

Just what the election said Americans want: More kids at risk in Baghdad. (W.’s kids, of course, are running their own risks, partying their way through Argentina.)

Mr. Hadley bluntly mused about Mr. Malaki: “His intentions seem good when he talks with Americans, and sensitive reporting suggests he is trying to stand up to the Shi’a hierarchy and force positive change. But the reality on the streets of Baghdad suggests Maliki is either ignorant of what is going on, misrepresenting his intentions, or that his capabilities are not yet sufficient to turn his good intentions into action.”

It’s bad enough to say that about the Iraqi puppet. But what about when the same is true of the American president?
Yes, that's certainly one way of looking at it.

The leak of this memo also suggests that the Bush administration is turning up the heat on Maliki now that the "Civil War" talk has started. Can you say "fall guy?"

We heart Jim Webb at the Impolitical blog

TPM has the goods:
At a private reception held at the White House with newly elected lawmakers shortly after the election, Bush asked Webb how his son, a Marine lance corporal serving in Iraq, was doing.

Webb responded that he really wanted to see his son brought back home, said a person who heard about the exchange from Webb.

“I didn’t ask you that, I asked how he’s doing,” Bush retorted, according to the source.

Webb confessed that he was so angered by this that he was tempted to slug the commander-in-chief, reported the source, but of course didn’t. It’s safe to say, however, that Bush and Webb won’t be taking any overseas trips together anytime soon.
More in the Hill.

Jim Webb off to an auspicious start...:)

Mini Bush's "nation" blunder is bigger than imagined

Here's a surprise for the clueless political leaders representing us:
Canadians overwhelmingly rejected the concept of Quebec nationhood in a new poll released Tuesday, one day after all parties in Parliament declared the Quebecois a nation within Canada.

Outside Quebec, 77 per cent of Canadians rejected the idea the province forms a nation, suggested the Leger Marketing survey conducted for the TVA television network and distributed to The Canadian Press.
Oops...that goes for you too, Michael Ignatieff...

Backwards Reform guy bearing down on Alberta Tory leadership

There's a real fight going on in Alberta's Conservative leadership race where Ted Morton is actually making a go of it and scaring the living daylights out of the moderate wing of the party. Sigh. Don't you just hate when stuff like this happens...:) But seriously, Morton would be a disastrous Premier to have on the Canadian federal scene at this moment where talk of recognizing "nations" is so cavalierly undertaken. Hopefully reasonable heads will prevail in this race...

Another reason to support Stephane Dion

The Green Party's strong showing in the London by-election race.

Dion's a former Environment Minister who can speak to the issue with strength and has an international profile on it.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Good news for Stephane Dion supporters



This is big. If Ignatieff doesn't win on the first ballot, a consensus view, then people will be looking for their next choice. And there's this nifty little poll out that says Dion's that guy...:) More from the story:
As the top second choice, it's former cabinet minister Dion who is showing the most momentum going into this week's convention.

Dion, a Quebec MP, has a substantial lead in that area over the other candidates, finds the poll of 1,622 delegates.

Here are the rankings of the four top candidates on the second choice question (the percentage point change from a September poll of 1,000 Liberal party members is in brackets):

* Dion: 23 per cent (+10)
* Gerard Kennedy: 13 per cent (+5)
* Bob Rae: 10 per cent (-13)
* Michael Ignatieff: 6 per cent (-6)
Go Stephane, run with that tortoise and hare thing you've got going on...!

Monday, November 27, 2006

The wheels are off the "nation" bus

When your Intergovernmental Affairs Minister resigns, it's serious. Recall that Stephane Dion occupied this position in Martin's government. That's the guy who deals with these issues. And in Mini Bush's world, apparently such Ministers are not consulted on major policy decisions. Hello? PMO?
Intergovernmental affairs minister Michael Chong has quit the Conservative cabinet to protest Prime Minister Stephen Harper's move to recognize Quebeckers as a nation.

In a surprise shakeup leading into Monday night's vote on the matter, Mr. Chong resigned his seat and announced he will abstain from the vote.

Liberal leadership contender Ken Dryden will also vote against the motion, which he said was purely a mechanism through which the Bloc Québécois could spur separation.

And outside the house, Liberal leadership front-runner Gerrard Kennedy -- who is not a member of parliament, so cannot cast a vote -- insists the expected approval of the motion does not tie Canada to recognizing a Québécois nation.
And thankfully, there are major Liberals now coming out against it:
“My country is more than this,” Mr. Dryden said. “Quebeckers know who they are. They've had to. They couldn't have made it if they didn't. They don't need any official definers to tell them.”
Dryden voting against it signifies that the Liberal leadership convention which appeared to be looking like a momentum toward Ignatieff - with Harper's assist - is not at all a done deal. While Dryden has limited delegates, later ballot results will be a function of where leadership candidates move. Rae and Dion are quietly backing away from this resolution as well. And so, it looks like a bunch won't be moving to Ignatieff. If that's the case, he's over. And he deserves to be for his naievete in pursuing this policy for short term political gain.

"It's never been 'stay the course'"

Remember that gem from the week before the U.S. midterms? Now read this:
Mr. Bush spent 90 minutes with commission members in a closed session at the White House two weeks ago “essentially arguing why we should embrace what amounts to a ‘stay the course’ strategy,” said one commission official who was present.
That was Bush's argument to the Iraq Study Group, the body whose advice he apparently fears. Because it is looking like it will signal a departure from Bush's approach - whatever the heck that may be at this point in time - and that will look like failure to him. Because failure to him is having to take other people's advice. Even when he's f*#@ed it up so royally.

Of course he is

"Miller eyes parking lot tax."

Never met a tax increase he didn't like...David Miller is going to tax this city into oblivion...

Kennedy gets a clue on the nation thing

Too bad it's the wrong guy. Took him about a week to hold his finger up to the wind.

Stephane, Stephane, did you miss your chance? How could you let this guy grab your mantle? Is this wannabe now the choice for delegates who oppose Ignatieff's folly? I dearly hope not.

Kennedy is the Liberal's Stockwell Day I fear...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Kerosene in Iraq

Maureen Dowd today, "No One to Lose To," suggests it's a civil war indeed and Bush and company are skating around the issue:
After the Thanksgiving Day Massacre of Shiites by Sunnis, President Bush should go on Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News and give an interview headlined: “If I did it, here’s how the civil war in Iraq happened.”

He could describe, hypothetically, a series of naïve, arrogant and self-defeating blunders, including his team’s failure to comprehend that in the Arab world, revenge and religious zealotry can be stronger compulsions than democracy and prosperity.

But W. is not yet able to view his actions in subjunctive terms, much less objective ones. Bush family retainers are working to deprogram him, but the president is loath to strip off his delusions of adequacy.

W. declined to tear himself away from his free-range turkey and pumpkin mousse trifle at Camp David and reassure Americans about the deadliest sectarian attack in Baghdad since the U.S. invaded. More than 200 Shiites were killed and hundreds more wounded by car bombs and a mortar attack in Sadr City. October was the bloodiest month yet for civilians, and in the last four months, some 13,000 men, women and children have died.
It's a civil war, stupid...

The Quebecois nation

More blowback from the nation thing:
Since Wednesday afternoon I find myself hankering for a hyphen. We used to talk about French-Canadians and English-Canadians in this country until John Diefenbaker railed against hyphenated Canadians. But hyphens surely are better than official separateness: the Quebecois and the Canadians. If we have separateness, why not separation? We were two nations, two heritages, "French" and "English," that came together to be one nation made up of two and then more peoples. Now it seems we are two nations again. Having two peoples attached by hyphens to the same nation was better, I think.
I agree.

From here on in, now that Duceppe's tweaked to the usefulness of Harper's move, what do you want to bet that the Bloc touts the Quebecois nation every chance he gets? Legally questionable yes. But very politically useful to the separatists:
Mr. Duceppe acknowledged Friday that his party's motion wouldn't be approved in the Commons, so the Bloc would opt for the next best thing.

“It won't be adopted,” Mr. Duceppe said.

And its important that Quebec is being recognized as a nation. So we won't oppose to the recognition of Quebec as a nation.” (emphasis added)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Liberal leadership hijinks

Ignatieff playing rough with Dion, poaching delegates. Guess he thinks he doesn't need him. Read this article and we'll see how Ignatieff's bravado pays off...Dion's suggesting Ignatieff's going to lose second ballot support due to his nation instigation...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Calling Stephane Dion

Stand up against this nation crap. There is a growing furor over the direction this is taking.

People just may rally to you for this and make a break in your direction. In this humble blogger's opinion, it's just not on to go along with this. Team up with Rae or whoever else might be interested. Ken Dryden as Kinsella suggests?

Discussion on Bush impeachment

Interesting one at Daily Kos today.

Mini Bush garnering U.S. attention for his blunder

NYTimes today:
Critics say that the concept of recognizing Quebec as a nation — in one sense, a separate people though not an independent state — may have short-term benefits for federalist politicians but that separatists in Quebec will use the distinction to push for increased recognition of Quebec as a state that is separate from the rest of Canada.

“Harper will rue the day he went down this road,” said Michael Behiels, a historian at the University of Ottawa. “The Bloc Québécois will exploit this to no end.”
Rue the day indeed...

100,000 Iraqis fleeing a month

Must read on Iraq today, "Civilian Death Toll Reaches New High in Iraq, U.N. Says."

Mini Bush playing politics with national unity

So Mini Bush has decided to take short term political advantage of a clusterf*#@ that has been created by Michael Ignatieff:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper took the historic step Wednesday of recognizing Quebeckers as a nation within Canada, a move that won immediate support from the other federalist parties and thrust the country back into the divisive national unity debate.

Mr. Harper's dramatic intervention was explicitly addressed at a Bloc Québécois motion that was intended to underline rifts within the Liberal Party over Quebec's status in the week before its leadership convention.
A folly of a debate opened up by Ignatieff for his own short term political advantage to woo the Quebec delegates...and now Harper has moved in for his own short term political kick at the Quebec can, egged on by Duceppe's manoeuvring. Since when does the PM of Canada go farther than any PM in history has in declaring Quebec to be a nation - albeit within Canada - in response to a vote in the House of Commons that would possibly cause but a short term bump in support for separatism in Quebec? I guess a PM goes so far as to declare Quebec a nation when it is PM Harper and he sees the possibility of a majority government with additional Quebec seats. Declaring Quebec a nation for his own political fortune. And to be acclaimed as the high roader, putting up a unified front for the federalist parties in response to the Bloc which had been weakened in the last federal election and whose growth in recent years, but for the Liberal adscam scandal, had been static and on the decline. Duceppe had even been rumoured to have been returning to Quebec to take on the PQ leadership not so long ago due to the view that the Bloc had run its course. Yet they somehow have the power, by launching a motion on Quebec's nationhood in the House, to evoke a statement such as Harper's! And when the PM makes a statement like this on Quebec's nationhood, even as it was couched, it carries constitutional significance. I just can't believe what I witnessed today.

Quebec is a nation within Canada? WTF does this mean anyway? Who voted for this major change in the way we view ourselves?

What a sad day indeed. We're in for it now. The cries to have this enshrined in the Constitution, the backlash from the West...the power play now for Quebec votes...because you just know, someone will be stupid enough to promise the constitutional recognition. My bet, Ignatieff in a heated election.

Don't even get me started on the news that Stephane Dion will vote for this. He feels he's been boxed in so close to the leadership and his party's all on board, what can he do? He could stand up and distinguish himself, that's what he could do and fight this foolishness. Stephane...can't you just envision a future referendum question in Quebec asking whether Quebecers recognize themselves as a nation? Well, the federal government's done it, so sure! For the love of God, man...

I can't believe I agree with this guy on this one.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Video of Bush screwing the U.S.



Courtesy of disco my eccentric contributor...:)

Happy Thanksgiving...:)

A return to normalcy

Why does it feel like the sun is shining after a long dark winter? Maybe because people can actually witness a return to reality, where problems are actually discussed in public in such congressional forums as that announced by Nancy Pelosi yesterday:
Ahead of taking control of the House in January, Congressional Democrats plan to hold a forum next month on Iraq's future featuring former administration and military officials.

"We know that 'stay the course' is not working, has not made our country safer, has not honored the commitment to our troops, and has not brought stability to the region," House Speaker Designate Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said in a statement. "I look forward to hearing from our distinguished group of experts as House Democrats discuss the deteriorating situation in Iraq."

Former National Security Advisor State Zbigniew Brzezinski, former Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste will appear at the Dec. 5th forum.
What a sense of relief such news brings. Like the bizarro world has been righted.

Iraq...where there is no mercy

Maureen Dowd in "Lost in the Desert" with a great line today on Cheney. Her column is on the lack of leadership from any quarter on what to do about it. All seem lost, except the Veep:
(Dick Cheney and his wormy aides, of course, are still babbling about total victory and completing the mission by raising the stakes and knocking off the mullahs in Tehran. His tombstone will probably say, “Here lies Dick Cheney, still winning.”)
Have a great day...:)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Olbermann comment on Vietnam and Iraq



One of his best comments of late offering a reminder of the lessons of Vietnam, unknown to Bush judging by his recent remarks to the media while travelling in Vietnam.

Olbermann's doing his special comment at the bottom of the hour now, FYI.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Giuliani foes lining up

Yeah, he's got quite the record. As readers know, my personal fave is his marrying his cousin. But there's lots more.

More fun with Newt

I don't know how his body manages to support that giant swollen head of his.

Repealing the Military Commissions Act



Olbermann from Friday on the Democrats' burgeoning efforts to throttle the Military Commissions Act. Good for them, it's a disgrace.

How about "Go to Afghanistan" instead?

Hey! New labels for the talking heads! Go Big. Go Long. Or Go Home. Military presenting options for Bush according to Ricks in the Post today. Nice to see they made them so media-friendly.

So we can all figure out what "Go Big" means. More troops.

"Go Home" of course means what it says.

"Go Long"? Now that's a whole other story. Apparently it's get a little bigger. Then go home. The clusterf*#@ option, as I call it. And guess which one's gaining favour, kids? Yes, the clusterf*#@.

Me? I say "Go to Afghanistan" and get Osama.

Uh, what took you so long?

Gingrich, on Bush:
"People expect a level of performance they are not getting," former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said in a speech.
Understatement of the decade, perhaps...

ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME??????? Sigh. And you want to be President, Newt?

Put aside your frustration and read the article. It's a highly entertaining view of the disintegration of the Bush administration as judged by all of his old friends.

Romney burnishing conservative credentials at gays expense

Another GOP homophobe revs up a personal political campaign at gay people's expense...there really oughta be a law against this kind of thing.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Rove departure?

Interesting item this, "REPORT: Karl Rove May Be Leaving The White House In ‘Weeks, Not Months.’" Suggests that Harriet Miers, yes, that's right, Harriet Miers, orchestrated the outster of Rove's aide, Susan Ralston in the summer to send Karl a message. That she wasn't too happy Karl didn't do more to support her Supreme Court nomination. And now that Karl so egregiously missed with his electoral confidence, well, the suggestion is that he's on his way out. The mouse that roared, indeed.

Also a suggestion in the report that Bushie now has to make nice nice with the Dems and with Uncle Karl around, not much chance that'll be happening. Or so the logic goes.

I'll believe it when I see it. They call him Bush's "Brain" for a reason. I don't think Bush can function without him.

Unless Bush has calculated he has nothing left to lose. Record lows in job approval, a stinging electoral thumping and a chaotic civil war in Iraq that was sold to you as a cakewalk might do that to a Pres.

Or it's possible there's something coming down the pike that's Abramoff related that would warrant Karl being jettisoned at this point.

Idle yet enjoyable speculation all.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Iraq, Iraq, Iraq

Mahmoud Raouf Mahmoud/Reuters)

It just seems to be getting worse every day...the horror stories from Baghdad are particularly random and violent. People gunned down in a bakery yesterday, the remainder of the scene is shown in the above photograph. Mass kidnappings, more talk of civil war...it's just spiralling out of control.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ann Coulter might want to re-think her poisoning jokes

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor described a disturbing incident at a recent law conference:
A discussion of recent threats to judges’ safety, at a bar association conference in suburban Dallas last week, became startlingly specific when Sandra Day O’Connor, the retired Supreme Court justice, recounted that each justice had received in the mail “a wonderful package of home-baked cookies” that contained “enough poison to kill the entire membership of the court.”
...
The sender, Barbara Joan March of Bridgeport, Conn., pleaded guilty to 14 counts of “mailing injurious articles.” The 14 recipients included the nine justices; the chiefs of staff of the Army, Navy, and Air Force; and the director and deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The packages, containing either candy or baked goods, were laced with rat poison. (emphasis added)
Now let's recall Ann Coulter's words from January this year:
"We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee," Coulter said. "That's just a joke, for you in the media."
This incident happened a few years ago, so we can't say that Ann influenced the sender at all. It's just quite the interesting coincidence, isn't it?

I vote for her to reconsider making such inane and irresponsible "jokes" given that loonies out there need no further encouragement...

Silly Democrats

So they chose Hoyer after all when their leader didn't want him. At least they seem to be playing nice about it.

Clearly a different breed from the Republicans.

UCLA student tasered



LA Times article here on the incident. Excessive tasering to say the least of a UCLA student named Mostafa Tabatabainejad.

Thanks to disco for the link...disco says, "God bless America."

UPDATE: By the way, WTF are the UCLA campus police doing with tasers anyway?

The real reason Clooney won his prestigious award today...


He's got the Obama mojo working for him! Impolitical's faves are on a roll...:)

Best of Olbermann last night



Target: Faux "News."

David Brooks office park watch

Nope, no mention of the office park crowd today. What gives Dave? Instead, an homage to "The Heyday of Snobbery" which apparently is the issue of the day to Brooks. Borat and other great cultural linchpins such as American Idol are his preoccupations as emblems of the era's snobbish cultural tone. And Brooks manages to play his part, getting a dig in at "Blue State" snobbery:
Finally, there’s blue America snobbery, as people on the coasts try to fathom those who would vote for George W. Bush. The only logical explanation is that they are racist, anti-Semitic idiots who can be blamelessly ridiculed.
Gratuitously mocking Blue Staters and, last week, demonizing bloggers as dangers to the political center makes me think that Mr. Brooks can partake in the snobbery with the best of them...:)

P.S. It's not "snobbery" if you didn't vote for Bush. It's called being proven right.

Joe Lieberman, manchild

Read all about it, here.

Leaderless Liberals beating Mini Bush

"New poll put Liberals ahead of Tories for first time in a year."

That's a shame...:)

Calling all you crazy House Democrats

For the love of God, are you really going to stick your leader with a Majority Leader, Hoyer, that she clearly doesn't want?

Are you that dense? Why would you signal your weakness and disarray so publicly like this after such an historic victory?

Get your freaking act together, puh-leez. In fact, listen to this guy:
Representative Dennis J. Kucinich, a liberal Democrat from Ohio who disagrees with Mr. Murtha on major social issues like abortion and gun control, said in a letter distributed to his colleagues that Mr. Murtha’s leadership on the war outweighed other considerations.

“We need Jack Murtha for majority leader,” Mr. Kucinich wrote, “because at a critical moment on the major international policy issue facing America and the world, he showed an openness, a readiness to listen and a willingness to set a new direction, based on new information. This is the mark of someone who moves forward with courage.”

I read the news today, oh boy...



Strikingly grim lead stories in the Washington Post today reinforce the massive bungling of world affairs by the Bush administration...yet what do we see in the Guardian today? "US plans last big push in Iraq:"
President George Bush has told senior advisers that the US and its allies must make "a last big push" to win the war in Iraq and that instead of beginning a troop withdrawal next year, he may increase US forces by up to 20,000 soldiers, according to sources familiar with the administration's internal deliberations.
...
"You've got to remember, whatever the Democrats say, it's Bush still calling the shots. He believes it's a matter of political will. That's what [Henry] Kissinger told him. And he's going to stick with it," a former senior administration official said. "He [Bush] is in a state of denial about Iraq. Nobody else is any more. But he is. But he knows he's got less than a year, maybe six months, to make it work. If it fails, I expect the withdrawal process to begin next fall."

The "last push" strategy is also intended to give Mr Bush and the Republicans "political time and space" to recover from their election drubbing and prepare for the 2008 presidential campaign, the official said. "The Iraq Study Group buys time for the president to have one last go. If the Democrats are smart, they'll play along, and I think they will. But forget about bipartisanship. It's all about who's going to be in best shape to win the White House.
Can you say escalating commitment to a losing course of action for politics' sake? Gotta love those Republicans, putting their interests ahead of their nation's every time...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Faux News' Republican talking points exposed

An internal Faux memo from their own Vice President of news directing the slant of coverage for the day after the Dems won.

They really are the information wing of the Republican party...

Jim Webb still making sense

Jim Webb, the newly elected Senator for Virginia has a great commentary in the WSJ today, "American Workers Have a Chance To Be Heard." Here are some excerpts to give you a sense of the value that Webb will bring to the Senate and how he clearly sees a role for himself in leading on the issue of economic inequality in the U.S.:
The most important -- and unfortunately the least debated -- issue in politics today is our society's steady drift toward a class-based system, the likes of which we have not seen since the 19th century. America's top tier has grown infinitely richer and more removed over the past 25 years. It is not unfair to say that they are literally living in a different country. Few among them send their children to public schools; fewer still send their loved ones to fight our wars. They own most of our stocks, making the stock market an unreliable indicator of the economic health of working people. The top 1% now takes in an astounding 16% of national income, up from 8% in 1980. The tax codes protect them, just as they protect corporate America, through a vast system of loopholes.
...
More troubling is this: If it remains unchecked, this bifurcation of opportunities and advantages along class lines has the potential to bring a period of political unrest. Up to now, most American workers have simply been worried about their job prospects. Once they understand that there are (and were) clear alternatives to the policies that have dislocated careers and altered futures, they will demand more accountability from the leaders who have failed to protect their interests. The "Wal-Marting" of cheap consumer products brought in from places like China, and the easy money from low-interest home mortgage refinancing, have softened the blows in recent years. But the balance point is tipping in both cases, away from the consumer and away from our national interest.

The politics of the Karl Rove era were designed to distract and divide the very people who would ordinarily be rebelling against the deterioration of their way of life. Working Americans have been repeatedly seduced at the polls by emotional issues such as the predictable mantra of "God, guns, gays, abortion and the flag" while their way of life shifted ineluctably beneath their feet. But this election cycle showed an electorate that intends to hold government leaders accountable for allowing every American a fair opportunity to succeed.

With this new Congress, and heading into an important presidential election in 2008, American workers have a chance to be heard in ways that have eluded them for more than a decade. Nothing is more important for the health of our society than to grant them the validity of their concerns. And our government leaders have no greater duty than to confront the growing unfairness in this age of globalization.

Cable idiot

Tucker Carlson today seems to be revelling in replaying, over and over, twenty year old black and white footage of John Murtha in what his opponents are peddling as evidence of ethical wrongdoing on his part. Tucker, of course, protests that he likes John Murtha, thinks he's great.

Nice.

Bush linked to torture

This is a development that needs attention: "CIA Acknowledges 2 Interrogation Memos." What's in them?
After years of denials, the CIA has formally acknowledged the existence of two classified documents governing aggressive interrogation and detention policies for terrorism suspects, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

But CIA lawyers say the documents -- memos from President Bush and the Justice Department -- are still so sensitive that no portion can be released to the public.
Note that description, "memos from President Bush." And further information:
The ACLU describes the first as a "directive" signed by Bush governing CIA interrogation methods or allowing the agency to set up detention facilities outside the United States. McPherson describes it as a "memorandum." In September, Bush confirmed the existence of secret CIA prisons and transferred 14 remaining terrorism suspects from them to Guantanamo Bay.

The second document is an August 2002 legal memo from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel to the CIA general counsel. The ACLU describes it as "specifying interrogation methods that the CIA may use against top al-Qaeda members." (This document is separate from another widely publicized Justice memo, also issued in August 2002, that narrowed the definition of torture. The Justice Department has since rescinded the latter.)
Somebody's in big trouble...

Pelosi damned if she does, damned if she doesn't

You know, if Nancy Pelosi had remained neutral in the Majority leader race among Democrats, the media would be labelling her as indecisive. As in, what kind of Speaker would she be if she can't even weigh in on her own Majority Leader preference?

So she took a stand, said this is my guy, please vote for him. The backlash has been tremendous, so if her move pays off, it'll be huge. If it doesn't, she stood up in loyalty for the guy who played a huge role in winning the Dems the election and who has been a leading voice on Iraq. He's well-placed to be in the leadership because of it. That's what the American people likely perceive and all this ethics crap is just Washington backroom-itis. If he's such an ethically challenged guy, why does he have so much credibility to speak as a national voice on Iraq?

In my humble opinion...:)

Bush worried about Iraq Study Group recommendations

A pretty fair bet, based on this article in the WPost today, "Bush Initiates Iraq Policy Review Separate From Baker Group's." Given that he just met with them, was questioned, etc., it's fair to say the White House may have been spooked. Consider what they're doing and the timing:
President Bush formally launched a sweeping internal review of Iraq policy yesterday, pulling together studies underway by various government agencies, according to U.S. officials.

The initiative, begun after Bush met at the White House with his foreign policy team, parallels the effort by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group to salvage U.S. policy in Iraq, develop an exit strategy and protect long-term U.S. interests in the region. The two reviews are not competitive, administration officials said, although the White House wants to complete the process before mid-December, about the time the Iraq Study Group's final report is expected.

The White House's decision changes the dynamics of what happens next to U.S. policy deliberations. The administration will have its own working document as well as recommendations from an independent bipartisan commission to consider as it struggles to prevent further deterioration in Iraq.
Maureen Dowd has a line in her column today, "Pouring Chardonnay Diplomacy," that gives weight to the notion that the White House is not liking what they've been hearing thus far from the ISG:
By contrast, the neocons fear, Mr. Gates and Mr. Baker are back winking at dictators. Already they’re talking about cozying up to the evil leaders of Iran and Syria and perhaps dreaming of more concessions to the Palestinians. (Israel and its supporters among Christian evangelicals are having conniptions.)
And Tony Blair, Bush's pal (until today), is talking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as part of the dynamic as well:
Appearing by video link before the Iraq Study Group, set up by President Bush to chart a new course for the country, the Prime Minister said repeatedly that the biggest factor in getting moderate Muslim countries to support the new Iraq would be progress on the Palestinian issue.
And he's also talking up a solution involving Syria and Iran:
Asked whether the west should draw Syria and Iran into forging a solution, the spokesman added: "You don't wait, you move forward and you put it up to Iran and Syria. Are they going to be part of the positive drive forward or are they not?"
Bush has got to be steaming at the loss of control of the situation. But he's been pretty fairly discredited now given the increasing chaos in Iraq and his shellacking in the midterms. So the elder statesmen of the ISG and now Blair are openly challenging his predominance by talking creatively about solutions.

How does Jr. react? He gets a competing study group going, sending his signal that he's still relevant and doesn't intend to go quietly along on the issue. Might not be what James Baker, the Velvet Hammer, expected when he agreed to come on board, hey? Think he bargained for a competing White House document to come out at the same time as his ISG recommendations? As they say across the pond, not bloody likely.

Oh how the 41/43 power struggle continues to fascinate...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Come on in, the water's warm

"S. Africa parliament OKs gay marriages:"
"When we attained our democracy, we sought to distinguish ourselves from an unjust painful past, by declaring that never again shall it be that any South African will be discriminated against on the basis of color, creed culture and sex," Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula told the National Assembly.
Equality.

Deal with it.

Pelosi's power play

More here, "Pelosi 'will ensure' Murtha win, Murtha ally says," in the Hill today. I have to agree with this...as I said the other day, she didn't do this to lose. It's a gambit that is going to solidify her power and get her the leadership team she wants. Democrats can hardly say no, we think you'll work better with the other guy, thank you very much. They'll look like amateurs.

Michael Steele the wannabe Democrat

Yes, I'm stuck on this story. The midterm elections were last week, I know. But Michael Steele, the Republican candidate in Maryland, really deserves some extra attention. Here at TPM you will find some links to pictures of Steele's campaign signs, and you'll get a full sense of the deception he tried to deploy to make people think he was a Democrat. And you definitely need to see a picture of this to get an even better sense of it:



Yes, that's the inspiration himself with his campaign sign. Really ingenious ploy, Mike. Next time, try running in the Democratic primary.

Karl Rove the misguided loser

You'll never see a headline like that anywhere...Rove f*%#ed up this election, bigtime. Yet the media willingly and gullibly spun his every fantasy about the Republican chances to hang on to the House and Senate, throughout the fall.

Why?

Phased redeployment?



Olbermann's always worth watching for clips you won't see much elsewhere, but this video's extra special for the Republican sound effects. Watch, you'll see what I mean...:)

Run Rudy run

Around here at the Impolitical blog, we love Rudy Giuliani. (Almost as much as we recently loved ex-Senator George Allen). We could spend countless hours coming up with interesting Rudy stories about which to blog. So when the news of the day is this: "Giuliani Moves to Explore Bid" as in, Rudy is contemplating a run for President, well, let's just say we're pretty happy with that news. Rudy inspires many a great posting with his flashing weird-eye thing going on and his rampant foot-in-mouth disease. Recall for example, this gem from May of this year when he said Bush would go down in history as a "great president." Care to take that one back? Or recall such strange personal oddities of Rudy's, such as the time when he, you know, married his cousin?

So all I have to say about this news is, run, Rudy, run!

Attention "Internet Addicts"

Otherwise known as bloggers? You're spending too much time on the internets.

Fuddle duddle.

We're no. 51!

Woo hoo!

Thanks Rona Ambrose for all that you do. Now we know you're new in the job, and frankly, Canada's poor environmental record is not all at your feet. But you have adopted an unacceptable policy. And you say stupid things. Including this gem:
"We're on track to meet all of our obligations under the Kyoto Protocol but not the target," Ambrose said.
This is why you're in for an uncomfortable time at the UN conference.

Such a shame, with such a promising future too...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Michael Steele's election day deception

More on what this guy is really made of, here. Yeah, he would have been a great choice to be head of the RNC. Wonder why they went with Mel Martinez instead?

Rove still spinning the loss

Says if only 77,000 votes or so had gone the other way, the Republicans would still have the House. Well here's a clever DailyKos diarist who looked at a number of the close races that Republicans won, and finds that if 70,000 votes had gone the Democrats way in those races, the Democrats would have picked up 48 seats instead of 28. The point? Rove's lucky it was only 28 seats the Democrats picked up. Could'a been much worse.

Don't mess with Olbermann

Anthrax coward arrested.

That's a shame

So sad:
President Bush’s job approval rating has fallen to just 31 percent, according to the new NEWSWEEK Poll.
...
Worst of all, most Americans are writing off the rest of Bush’s presidency; two thirds (66 percent) believe he will be unable to get much done, up from 56 percent in a mid-October poll; only 32 percent believe he can be effective.
Worst president, ever...the Democrats have a real chance to shine in relation to this ineffectual, small man. The contrast could not be better.

YouTube meets copyright

Interesting piece here on the YouTube revolution and a hope that copyright infringement does not spell its death knell:
Maybe a little coercion is what's needed -- particularly when the balance between content owners' rights and the public good seems increasingly out of whack. Lawrence Lessig opens "Free Culture," his superb book on copyright and creative control in the Internet age (see more here), with the Supreme Court's 1945 decision ruling that aircraft weren't trespassing on the property of the Causbys, a North Carolina farm family, despite long-established law declaring that property rights extended to "an indefinite extent, upwards." Such a doctrine "has no place in the modern world," wrote Justice William Douglas, who imagined near-infinite trespass suits against airline operators and concluded that "common sense revolts at the idea."

So it is here. Digital technology has exploded the old paradigm of content being handed to us at a set time in a set format. We now increasingly repackage media to suit ourselves – time-shifting it with TiVo, clipping it with video-editing software or remixing it for other purposes, and posting it with YouTube. That transition is a wrenching one for content creators, and we shouldn't expect them to surrender how that content is used without compensation or discussion. But it certainly suggests that the old doctrines have less and less place in the modern world, and shouldn't be kept alive solely through the brute force of lobbying and litigation.

Pelosi endorses Murtha for House Majority Leader

Pelosi wants Murtha as the Democratic Majority Leader in the House:
But in her first real decision as the incoming speaker, Pelosi said she was swayed by Murtha's early stance for a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. Her letter of endorsement yesterday made clear that she sees Iraq as the central issue of the next Congress and that she believes a decorated Marine combat veteran at the helm of the House caucus would provide Democrats ammunition in their fight against congressional Republicans and President Bush on the issue.

"I salute your courageous leadership that changed the national debate and helped make Iraq the central issue of this historic election. It was surely a dark day for the Bush Administration when you spoke truth to power," she wrote. "Your strong voice for national security, the war on terror and Iraq provides genuine leadership for our party, and I count on you to lead on these vital issues."

Murtha responded, "I am deeply gratified to receive the support of Speaker Pelosi, a tireless advocate for change and a true leader for our Party and our country."
Payback for his leadership role on Iraq leading up to and throughout the election campaign. I don't see how Democrats would not follow this endorsement. If they don't, they undermine their Speaker-elect at the outset of their embarking upon majority status. That would be silly.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

File under, yes, Bush actually said this

Americans should be proud that they have elections during a time of war.

Yes, W, you sure have shown the world what American democracy is made of! Resilient enough to conduct an election, despite the warring in American streets...you've pulled it off despite wartime in America. Bravo, lead your country in celebrating the ridiculously low threshold of not being a banana republic...!

And here's another little victory lap...



This is fun...:)

Olbermann sums up the election



And it's funny...:)

Insight from Lincoln Chafee

Here in an op-ed in the NYTimes today. Chafee essentially validates the voters of Rhode Island who decided this past week to elect a Democratic senator instead of the moderate Republican Chafee. Chafee provides an excerpt from a letter he wrote to the Veep after a lunch in December 2000 among the moderate northeastern Republican senators and Cheney. Chafee writes of his shock at the partisan agenda Cheney laid out to these senators and Chafee's subsequent attempt to get the White House to listen. Guess what? They never did. So the voters of Rhode Island wised up and now, well, the White House has to listen.

The Year of the 'Macaca'

Frank Rich weighs in with his take on the election, "2006: The Year of the 'Macaca.'" As the title suggests, his column deals with one of the most satisfying aspects of the 2006 midterms, the defeat of George Allen. Rich deftly explains why this was so satisfying for opponents of the Bush administration:
But for those who’ve been sickened by the Bush-Rove brand of politics, surely the happiest result of 2006 was saved for last: Jim Webb’s ousting of Senator George Allen in Virginia. It is all too fitting that this race would be the one that put the Democrats over the top in the Senate. Mr. Allen was the slickest form of Bush-Rove conservative, complete with a strategist who’d helped orchestrate the Swift Boating of John Kerry. Mr. Allen was on a fast track to carry that banner into the White House once Mr. Bush was gone. His demise was so sudden and so unlikely that it seems like a fairy tale come true.
...
The macaca incident had resonance beyond Virginia not just because it was a hit on YouTube. It came to stand for 2006 as a whole because it was synergistic with a national Republican campaign that made a fetish of warning that a Congress run by Democrats would have committee chairmen who are black (Charles Rangel) or gay (Barney Frank), and a middle-aged woman not in the Stepford mold of Laura Bush as speaker. In this context, Mr. Allen’s defeat was poetic justice: the perfect epitaph for an era in which Mr. Rove systematically exploited the narrowest prejudices of the Republican base, pitting Americans of differing identities in cockfights for power and profit, all in the name of “faith.”

Perhaps the most interesting finding in the exit polls Tuesday was that the base did turn out for Mr. Rove: white evangelicals voted in roughly the same numbers as in 2004, and 71 percent of them voted Republican, hardly a mass desertion from the 78 percent of last time. But his party was routed anyway. It was the end of the road for the boy genius and his can’t-miss strategy that Washington sycophants predicted could lead to a permanent Republican majority.

What a week this was! Here’s to the voters of both parties who drove a stake into the heart of our political darkness. If you’ll forgive me for paraphrasing George Allen: Welcome back, everyone, to the world of real America.

War profiteers beware

Party's almost over:
Congressional Democrats say they will press new legislation next week to restore the power of a federal agency in charge of ferreting out waste and corruption in Iraq and greatly increase its investigative reach.

The bills, the first of what are likely to be dozens of Democratic efforts to resurrect investigations of war profiteering and financial fraud in government contracting, could be introduced as early as Monday morning.

The move would nullify a Republican-backed provision, slipped into a huge military authorization bill, that set a termination date for the agency, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. The agency’s findings have consistently undermined Bush administration claims of widespread success in the reconstruction of Iraq.
The likes of Halliburton are about to be introduced to a concept they have been unfamiliar with to date...congressional oversight.

What a great week

Here's a nifty little recap. And there are pictures too.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Maureen Dowd on the election today

Check out Maureen Dowd today, with a killer column title, "Drapes of Wrath":
This will be known as the year macho politics failed — mainly because it was macho politics by marshmallow men. Voters were sick of phony swaggering, blustering and bellicosity, absent competency and accountability. They were ready to trade in the deadbeat Daddy party for the sheltering Mommy party.

All the conservative sneering about a fem-lib from San Francisco who was measuring the drapes for the speaker’s office didn’t work. Americans wanted new drapes, and an Armani granny with a whip in charge.

Video footage of people voting in Nashville

You really need to see this video, it's unbelievable. People waiting hours upon hours in line to vote in Nashville. Here's the description of the video:
We found very long lines at the Cleveland Community Center, which was apparently due to having only 5 machines for what is a large, predominantly African-American residential community in East Nashville, just across the river from downtown. The news was there, probably covering the same story and there were official election observers affiliated with both parties. We were told that originally, there were only 3 machines and 2 were added later. We also heard 3rd person accounts of people being turned away or sent to other precincts for various reasons which are mentioned in the film. There may not be enough information, though, to determine whether or not circumstances for this were valid.



You know, I live in a bigger city than Nashville and I waltz in and out of my polling place within usually 5-10 minutes here in Toronto. For every election in the past 3 years, provincial or federal, that's the average time I've spent inside my polling place. It's amazing to see people having to wait like this.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Rumsfeld to be prosecuted for war crimes?

My exclusive correspondent, disco, feels strongly this Friday afternoon that this story, "Exclusive: Charges Sought Against Rumsfeld Over Prison Abuse," needs to be publicized. I heartily agree. The report:
Just days after his resignation, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is about to face more repercussions for his involvement in the troubled wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. New legal documents, to be filed next week with Germany's top prosecutor, will seek a criminal investigation and prosecution of Rumsfeld, along with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA director George Tenet and other senior U.S. civilian and military officers, for their alleged roles in abuses committed at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The plaintiffs in the case include 11 Iraqis who were prisoners at Abu Ghraib, as well as Mohammad al-Qahtani, a Saudi held at Guantanamo, whom the U.S. has identified as the so-called "20th hijacker" and a would-be participant in the 9/11 hijackings. As TIME first reported in June 2005, Qahtani underwent a "special interrogation plan," personally approved by Rumsfeld, which the U.S. says produced valuable intelligence. But to obtain it, according to the log of his interrogation and government reports, Qahtani was subjected to forced nudity, sexual humiliation, religious humiliation, prolonged stress positions, sleep deprivation and other controversial interrogation techniques.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs say that one of the witnesses who will testify on their behalf is former Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the one-time commander of all U.S. military prisons in Iraq. Karpinski — who the lawyers say will be in Germany next week to publicly address her accusations in the case — has issued a written statement to accompany the legal filing, which says, in part: "It was clear the knowledge and responsibility [for what happened at Abu Ghraib] goes all the way to the top of the chain of command to the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ."
Such cases are likely one of the rationales for the passage of the Military Commissions legislation passed just prior to the election that notably gave immunity to administration officials for acts of torture committed over the past number of years since 9/11. Not clear on how Rumsfeld's status changes given his resignation and whether the immunity in that Act would help him going forward in relation to this developing case.

McCain on Mehlman

Get a load of this:
"As chairman, he brought a badly needed civil tone to our political debate- one I hope our next chairman emulates," McCain said in a statement "Taking the GOP to new heights, Ken dramatically improved the 'get out the vote' machine and created the most efficient system we've seen for spreading a cohesive Republican message." (emphasis added)
Ken Mehlman being praised for bringing a "civil tone" to politics? It's like Ted Haggard being priased for bringing family values to the evangelical movement. McCain speaks as if he's been absent the past six years. Ken Mehlman and the RNC have done more to drag gutter politics into the mainstream than any political operation of recent memory. Let's just recall a few highlights of Mehlman's career, shall we? The RNC ad universally condemned as racist in Tennessee against Harold Ford which Mehlman claims he didn't view as racist? The millions spent on robo-calls defaming political opponents? The RNC footing the bill for a convicted New Hampshire phone jammer who suppressed the Democratic vote in a Senate race the Republicans won? The demonization of Democrats as anti-patriotic - ask Max Cleland and countless others. Yes, it's quite a record of civility that Mehlman has left in his wake.

Sounds like McCain is either wooing Mehlman for his 2008 campaign or....well, that's about all I can come up with to explain this wilful blindness to reality.

At last

(AFP/Tim Sloan)

Most excellent quote of the day

Indeed, could be one of the quotes of the year, from Tom Friedman today:
As I was saying, Mr. Rove, Americans aren’t as stupid as you think.
For anyone who missed last week's column, Friedman had challenged Americans to prove Karl Rove wrong and show that they weren't as stupid as Rove's divisive strategies assume- recall that he assumed he could overhype John Kerry's silly botched joke incident and make the 2006 midterms feel like 2004 all over again.

Proving Karl Rove wrong? Priceless!!!!!!!!!

Krugman celebrates

He's entitled. From "The Great Revulsion" today:
Here’s what I wrote more than three years ago, in the introduction to my column collection “The Great Unraveling”: “I have a vision — maybe just a hope — of a great revulsion: a moment in which the American people look at what is happening, realize how their good will and patriotism have been abused, and put a stop to this drive to destroy much of what is best in our country.”

At the time, the right was still celebrating the illusion of victory in Iraq, and the bizarre Bush personality cult was still in full flower. But now the great revulsion has arrived.
...
Two years ago, people were talking about permanent right-wing dominance of American politics. But since then the American people have gotten a clearer sense of what rule by movement conservatives means. They’ve seen the movement take us into an unnecessary war, and botch every aspect of that war. They’ve seen a great American city left to drown; they’ve seen corruption reach deep into our political process; they’ve seen the hypocrisy of those who lecture us on morality.

And they just said no.
That last sentence is written, no doubt, with a sly hat tip to Bush, who ran around the country the week prior to the election with his vile anti-Democratic party "just say no" shtick...:)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

There are still a number of unpopular Republican Senators hanging around

If you check out these approval ratings for U.S. Senators, you'll notice that the majority of vulnerable incumbents appear to be red-state Republicans. Look at DeMint (SC), Cornyn (TX), Bunning (KY), Allard (CO), Inhofe (OK) for example. What gives? Some of these guys are approaching Santorum-DeWine numbers. There's something going on here, could be Iraq.

Something to think about in advance of the next election. Don't know how many of them are up for re-election in 2008, there's got to be a few. My point is that there very well could be Jim Webb-type candidates out there who could knock off these Republicans and make for a more substantial Democratic majority in the Senate...

I'm sure David Brooks is OK with this?

"Conservative bloggers want say in GOP House leadership positions." Bloggers are bad for the Democratic party, according to Brooks' column today, so this must be equally bad for the Republicans...? Just wondering...

Allen concedes, Webb's in...a Democratic Senate!

Good for Webb:
Less than an hour after Virginia Republican Sen. George Allen conceded and the U.S. Senate was handed to the Democrats, Jim Webb addressed a cheering crowd.

Before he spoke, Webb waved a pair of combat boots in the air - a campaign trademark for the former Navy secretary whose Marine son is fighting in Iraq.

"We have a much stronger Democratic party...We're going to work hard to bring a sense of responsibility in our foreign policy that will, in my view, result in a diplomatic solution in Iraq," he said.
What a well-deserved win...:)

The pit bull Mehlman exiting

Rumsfeld...now Ken Mehlman, subject of much rumour and more importantly, a prime source of much divisiveness in American politics. It just keeps getting better and better.

Gotta love Americablog's take:
CNN's John King just reported that Ken Mehlman will be leaving as chair of the Republican National Committee (i.e., head of the Republican party) by the end of the year. Apparently Kenny's just tuckered out. According to King, "He's been on the gerbil wheel, as one of his close friends put it, for well in excess of six years now and he's tired."

Uh, okay.

Allen to concede today?

Webb's lead holding up:
But Webb continued to lead by approximately 7,300 votes with virtually all of Virginia's 2.3 million ballots counted Wednesday evening, and Republicans said there appeared to be little hope that glitches or math errors might uncover new GOP votes. Gillespie said Allen was "realistic," and an e-mail sent late Wednesday said the senator would make a statement "at the conclusion" of the statewide canvass of votes. The e-mail said "more details will follow from the campaign" early Thursday.

Nice

Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi...

...is not so scary. Deal with it.

After all the demonization of the "San Francisco liberal" in the campaign - and for years - she didn't seem so scary yesterday, did she? In fact, she looked, and sounds, like a natural. The caricature-like portrayals of Pelosi as a raving liberal loony have set expectations ridiculously low for her. The new Speaker, instead, could be one of the most unexpected and pleasant success stories to emerge from the new congress.

The Velvet Hammer

Maureen Dowd continues her Freudian narrative on the Bush presidency today, "A Come-to-Daddy Moment," with her take on W's Rummy shake-up yesterday and who's likely behind it:
Poppy Bush and James Baker gave Sonny the presidency to play with and he broke it. So now they’re taking it back.

They are dragging W. away from those reckless older guys who have been such a bad influence and getting him some new minders who are a lot more practical.

In a scene that might be called “Murder on the Oval Express,” Rummy turned up dead with so many knives in him that it’s impossible to say who actually finished off the man billed as Washington’s most skilled infighter. (Poppy? Scowcroft? Baker? Laura? Condi? The Silver Fox? Retired generals? Serving generals? Future generals? Troops returning to Iraq for the umpteenth time without a decent strategy? Democrats? Republicans? Joe Lieberman?)

The defense chief got hung out to dry before Saddam got hung. The president and Karl Rove, underestimating the public’s hunger for change or overestimating the loyalty of a fed-up base, did not ice Rummy in time to save the Senate from teetering Democratic. But once Sonny managed to heedlessly dynamite the Republican majority — as well as the Middle East, the Atlantic alliance and the U.S. Army — then Bush Inc., the family firm that snatched the presidency for W. in 2000, had to step in. Two trusted members of the Bush 41 war council, Mr. Baker and Robert Gates, have been dispatched to discipline the delinquent juvenile and extricate him from the mother of all messes.
And it's about freaking time. Love this latest development in the ongoing saga of the 41's vs. the 43's. I say, bring on the 41's, this crowd has demonstrated it's not up to it. I love these columns of hers with the insider quotes from the disgruntled 41's. The 43's who are living through these machinations just have to be feeling oh so small and chastened right now. Gotta love it. The psychic payback for these reckless amateurs has got to be a bitch.

And with a Democratic Congress having all the powers to conduct hearings, investigate and exercise proper oversight, one can't help but feel that there are more able forces of competence converging quickly on the heels of this election to deal with issues like Iraq and others that are so vexing for the world.

Brooks office park watch

David Brooks also has a column worth a look today, "The Middle Muscles In," providing his view on what the election means.

I disagree with one of his digs - at bloggers, for example, he offers a careless generalization and really, what gives with the continued put downs? He says bloggers could "alienate [Democrats] from the suburban office park moms." Hello? Lots of suburban office park moms are likely bloggers themselves or read blogs on a daily basis! Or they're YouTubing! Again with the stereotyping of bloggers as radical lefties. Come on. That's so old by now.

But beyond that unfortunate slag, he's pushing on with his "office park" theory of the great new "moderate" source of political power in the U.S. which he believes caused this tide for Democrats and represents quite an opportunity for growth. And saying goodbye to "the era of Rovian base mobilization." That's notable and we'll see. I'd have to agree with his final prescription:
The country is hungering for leaders like him: open-minded, unassuming centrists who are interested in government more than politics.
He's speaking of Lee Hamilton, the former Indiana congressman who's been a member of a number of high profile commissions now. I agree with the point on qualities that are desired, but this could be a real recipe for boredom. But it does sound peaceful...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Pressure on Allen to concede

Yay.

Bush throws Rove under the bus



Yeah, he was joking in his press conference, but why put it this way?
Q Thank you, sir. During this campaign season some religious conservatives expressed support and appreciation for the work you've done. But some also expressed that they felt like they expended a lot of effort on your behalf without a lot of results. I wonder if you could tell us what parts of their agenda are still on your radar screen, and if you think they're right to be frustrated? And also, Mr. President, may I ask you if you have any metrics you'd be willing to share about your reading contest with Mr. Rove.

THE PRESIDENT: I'm losing. I obviously was working harder in the campaign than he was. (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE: Oooooh!

THE PRESIDENT: He's a faster reader.
You know, Michael, I must confess I cannot catalogue for you in detail the different criticisms. In this line of work you get criticized from all sides. And that's okay, it's just part of the job. And so I'm not exactly sure what you're talking about, but I can tell you that I believe the faith-based and community-based -- the faith- and community-based initiative is a vital part of helping solve intractable problems here in America. And I would hope that I could work with Congress to make sure this program, which has been invigorated, remains invigorated.
Ouch...

Rumsfeld gone, Bush tone defiant

Rumsfeld characteristically defiant to the end:
Rumsfeld, quoting Winston Churchill, said, "I have benefited greatly from criticism, and at no time have I suffered a lack thereof." He called the war "little understood" and "complex for people to understand" but said that over time, Bush's contributions "will be recorded by history."
You're not Winston Churchill. You're a failed Secretary of Defense in a failed presidency. You've helped destabilize the Middle East and now your mess is going to have to be cleaned up. And the people understood, just fine.

Bush's tone in his press conference? Petulant, argumentative, condescending...hardly displays an understanding of the rebuke he's received. Expressing some surprise at the result given the strength of the economy? Hello? It wasn't about that.

He speaks as if no one else in the room gets it but him. Try adding "you f%#ing idiots" at the end of each sentence he utters and you'll get what I mean.

Outstanding

Webb the victor:
Virginia Democratic Senate candidate James Webb claimed the title of "Senator-elect" today even as Republican incumbent Sen. George Allen declined to concede a race he was losing by 7,146 votes.

Webb advisers said he will announce members of his transition team later this afternoon. Webb leads Allen by less than three tenths of a percent out of 2.3 million votes that were cast Tuesday.

"There's never been a Senate election where a candidate with the margin of this size, or for that matter even smaller . . . has not emerged as the next Senator," said former Gov. Mark R. Warner (D), who is advising Webb.
And Allen's described as being "realistic" by one of his key advisers today. Sounds like he could be ready to concede if the count is confirmed by Virginia's process.

Here's a great moment:



He deserves it...

Montana, come on!

Results slow as molasses out there. Tester has a 1507 vote lead with 96% of the vote in. Is that enough to hold off Mr. Burns? "Smithers, I'm losing"...:)

That's it for me, congratulations to all the Dems and voters out there who made this change. Good for you and good for the world!

A bit of reflection

Billmon has a few great thoughts in the wake of the Democratic takeover that sum up a few thing very well. Here's a clever retort to one of Bush's most despicable applause lines over the last week or so:
Since it was Bush who said that if the Democrats win America loses, I suppose the only remaining question is whether he'll fly to Pakistan to offer our surrender to Bin Ladin or invite Bin Ladin to come to Washington.

Maybe they could do it on the deck of the battleship Missouri -- just for old time's sake.
And some choice words here on the Rethugs and what they have become that are well-deserved:
The modern GOP -- or, more specifically, the axis of '70s campus Republicans now running it -- really is just a criminal enterprise disguised as a political party.

Dirty tricks, large and small, are a sorry fact of life in American politics, but what the Republicans have done over the past few weeks -- the surrealist attack ads, the forged endorsements, the midnight robo calls, the arrest threats, the voter misinformation (did you know your polling station has been moved?) -- is sui generis, at least at the national level.
You'd like to think that people recognized this for what it was and that these shenanigans were indeed a factor.

Virginia - Allen hijinks & a possible recount



A reminder of what the Republicans did in Virgina in the way of dirty tricks...does Allen really want a recount when evidence like this is bound to pile up? If he goes down this road, it'll all be on the table. As I have read elsewhere, Virginia is not Florida, it's not Ohio. Webb's got almost an 8,000 vote lead now. Will Allen have the stomach to do this...will the RNC if their dirty tricks are brought out into the open?

As good as Edward R. Murrow

So says Chris Matthews of Keith Olbermann, at the end of their coverage tonight. Watches Keith's comments and appreciates his "provocation" in this media world in which they operate. I must say, Olbermann and Matthews together were a significant improvement from the regular coverage teams on the networks, an inspired pairing.

A new breed of Democrats

I like these people. Declaring victory, being aggressive. Isn't this what Republicans typically do?

Webb's lead growing

Latest numbers from Virginia with 99.59% reporting:
J H Webb Jr Democratic 1,167,037 49.56%
G F Allen Republican 1,159,226 49.23%

Webb's lead is now growing and it's looking good. 7000 plus vote difference. Wow, I am amazed at this. This is the Senate race I've blogged on the most through this electoral cycle and to see it end in what looks to be the best possible way is just fantastic. Hope it keeps up through to the official end and that Allen sees the writing on the wall.

And by the way, Claire McCaskill is basically declaring victory at her party right now, there's some gumption for you. With 85% of the vote in, she's got a 25,000 vote lead. Looks like they're pretty confident given that she's giving a victory speech!

It's looking like a Democratic Senate

Virginia, Missouri and Montana. The last 3 combined with the Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island pickups. That's the ticket.

Virginia numbers, again

Now here's the front page of the Washington Post, reporting from AP, that Webb's ahead:


Va. U.S. Senate (KEY RACE)
Candidate Votes %
Jim Webb (D) 1,143,144 50
George Allen * (R) 1,140,879 49
Glenda Parker (IG) 25,549 1
Key: * Incumbent | Red Checkmark Winner
Precincts: 100% | Updated: 12:12 AM ET | Source: AP

Virginia - WTF?

I don't get it, I'm seeing MSNBC and now blogs calling Webb as leading in Virginia. Yet here's what's on the Virginia website:

G F Allen Republican 1,141,753 49.44%
J H Webb Jr Democratic 1,139,885 49.36%

Latest Virginia Senate

From the Washington Post at 11:50 pm tonight:
The race appeared likely to be decided by absentee ballots. More than 130,000 absentee ballots were requested in the state, and those votes have not yet been counted in Fairfax, Arlington and Loudon counties, as well as in the city of Alexandria.

Webb, who addressed his supporters in a Tysons Corner Hotel tonight, predicted that he would be declared the winner when all the votes are counted. "We've been following this in great detail," Webb said, "It looks very, very good for our side." He said he expected to pick up votes in the 11th Congressional District in Northern Virginia and that his campaign was confident that he'd do very well when the absentee ballots were counted.

"It's going to take a while, but at some point soon I think we are going to be on top," Webb said.
Not quite clear on this, but it could be that the absentee ballots have not been factored in yet. And those counties seem to have been going to Webb tonight.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Webb down by 5000 votes

State of Virginia:

G F Allen Republican 1,113,013 49.50%
J H Webb Jr Democratic 1,108,291 49.29%

Oversight, investigation

There are two big words for you that can now be said out loud, and proud! Good for you Democrats in America and voters who've supported change.

Congratulations!

Jim Webb is closing in

Check out the state of Virginia reporting...the difference is now down to 12,000 votes. It's been in the range of 30,000 for Allen all night but Webb's picking up votes. With @95% in:

G F Allen Republican 1,098,659 49.67%
J H Webb Jr Democratic 1,086,778 49.13%

A re-count looks like it's in the cards?

MSNBC projecting Democratic House

What a great outcome. Can't wait to see Speaker Nancy Pelosi sitting behind W at the next State of the Union and next to Darth Cheney...:) Expectations have been set so ridiculously for her actions...that she's the uber-liberal, she can't help but beat those expectations.

By the way, this is a mark of how committed Republicans are to voting Republican:

Don Sherwood, the Pennsylvania Republican who had an extra-marital affair and has been sued by his ex-mistress for allegations of abuse against her...still gets 46% of the vote.

There you have it. There are people who would rather vote for a guy like this than vote Democrat.

And the Republicans are still winning by comfortable margins in the "deep red" parts of the U.S.

There's clearly a branding problem that Democrats have that needs significant work, despite their picking up the House.

Has good finally triumphed over evil?

Having a good night everyone? It's looking pretty good so far, I will not count any chickens before they're hatched, however.

Keith Olbermann is kicking ass tonight. Maybe it's the sports background but he's great at calling this stuff and is razor sharp. He's right there with Matthews. What a great decision to elevate this guy.

So what's going on in the Senate thus far?

Chafee's been knocked off. Nice guy, but he's been a Bush enabler. As for Ricky Santorum, it's been nice knowing you.

Michael Steele? Try running in the Democratic primary next time since that's where you appear to enjoy publicly promoting yourself. Then you can say you're a real "Steele Democrat."

Sherrod Brown's picked up Ohio for the Democrats...he's a guy who may have a national future.

Virginia's looking tough for Jim Webb right now, crossing my fingers.

Olbermann on the MSNBC desk tonight

Olbermann's paired up with Chris Matthews tonight so that's where I'm going to be for the most part...:) Later that is, can't take the early stuff which is way too eager to seek out trends.

Last look at polls

Electioncentral at TPM Cafe, the best. Looks good for the Dems in the Senate. A poll shows late life for Harold Ford in Tennessee.

Good luck!

Virginia - voter suppresion effort by George Allen's campaign



The voter called, Tim Daly, has been registered in Virginia since 1998 and has filed a criminal complaint.

Un-f*#%ing believable.

Michael Steele masquerading as a Democrat

Sometimes there's so much bs running down the pike it's hard to know where to start. But here's a flyer containing a "Democratic Sample Ballot" that's being handed out to some Maryland voters today that clearly is trying to suggest that both Robert Ehrlich and Michael Steele - both Republicans - are Democrats.

Can't get elected as a Republican? Pretend you're a Democrat...

Good

Shameful and illegal:
The F.B.I. was investigating claims in Virginia of voter intimidation and polling place misdirection, according to several reports. ABC News said it had obtained an audio file of a phone message left for one registered voter in which a caller, claiming to be from the State Board of Elections, told the voter that he was not registered in Virginia and that he would be criminally prosecuted if he attempted to vote.

The Webb campaign said it believed Republicans were behind the calls; Republican officials denied this.

Candidate for quote of the day

From Jeanine Pirro:
Mr. Cuomo’s Republican opponent, Jeanine F. Pirro, cast her ballot this morning at her polling place in Harrison, N.Y. Her daughter accompanied her to the voting station at the Harrison Avenue School.

When asked where her husband was, Ms. Pirro said, “I just hope he votes.”

Ms. Pirro’s marriage came under scrutiny in the campaign when she held a news conference to acknowledge that she was under federal investigation because she had been heard on a wiretap inquiring about the possibility of secretly recording her husband. She believed her husband was carrying on an affair.
Yes, let's hope he votes and that's all he does...:)

Election 2006 - some humble predictions and observations


Final predictions from two non-partisan sources (ignore Novak's) say Dems take the House, still a shot at the Senate. And they're de-bunking the spin that Republicans are desperately peddling, that they've got the momentum. If the Republicans have momentum, then Ted Haggard is husband of the year.

Me, I have a hard time believing that New Jersey is going to vote Republican. Same goes for Maryland. While the two Democratic candidates there aren't stars by any stretch of the imagination, they're better than supporting a Bush candidate in a blue state. How Democratic states go for Bush candidates, in this political climate when faced with that choice in the voting booth, is beyond me.

Virginia and Missouri are now trending towards the Democrats. Apparently Webb's rally last night got in the neighbourhood of 5000 supporters out while Allen only managed 250. So those races will be fun to watch. If those two go Democrat, along with Montana, plus Ohio and Pennsylvania...that's five pick-ups. So how about it Rhode Island? Why are you sticking with that effete, polo-playing heir? Make a change!

Lots of coverage of the GOP's "robo-calling" efforts to suppress the vote. What an embarrassment. The Republican National Committee has spent $2 million on negative robo-calls in the past week. So the much vaunted Republican get out the vote program is, it iturns out, a suppress the vote program. It's just getting a little too much sunshine this time around.

And once again, it's likely too late to stop it now, it'll have to wait until the next election. Rather depressing that what is supposed to be the world's leading democracy permits such destructive practices to occur. Yet just maybe this tactic will backfire. From the Times story:
David Kaplan, a registered Republican in Connecticut who has received more than two dozen of the calls, said he was so annoyed that the Republicans might “have shot themselves in the leg” in terms of winning his vote.
Good for him, hope the sentiment is wide-spread.

Happy election day, American friends, and good luck to the Dems!