So grandoise is The Decider's opinion of himself, and his influence on other world leaders, that he has based much of our foreign policy on his so-called personal relationships with those leaders, leaving the good of the people of those nations, and ours, to choke on the effluvia of his egomaniacal "spreading of Democracy" agenda.
The Decider's "good friends" like.... Mexico's former president Vincente Fox who described The Decider as the cockiest man he ever met and speaks Spanish like a fourth grader; Russia's president Vladimir Putin who is grabbing Soviet-style power while Bush is gazing into Putin's soul; and Iraq's prime minister Nouri al-Maliki who is firmly lodged in Iran's back pocket while pimping American lives and treasure.
Or, nuclear-armed Pakistan's president Gen. Peverez Musharraf who is ignoring the admonishments of the White House to stop his martial-law-enforced grip on power. These leaders are at the ready for Bush photo-ops, but their actions scream their disdain.
Bush gets no respect, because he's earned no respect.
The dangerous oligarchs lying in wait just beneath the surface of nations.... usually restrained by a commanding president of a strong U.S.... have taken arrogant Bush's measure and judged that as long as they give lip service to The Decider's neoconist worldview crusades they can unleash their dictatorial ambitions without retribution.
The perfect example is Pakistan. Musharraf seized power in a military coup in 1999 with promises of a civilian government. Because The Decider wanted Musharraf's support for his "war on terror," he looked the other way... and slipped Musarraf a mostly unaccounted for nearly $11 billion. Musharraf tested him by repeatedly breaking promises to move toward democracy, forcing his rivals into exile, being vindictive, and intimidating anyone who tried to stand up to him.
Now Bush's dependence on his perceived "relationship" with this man has blown up in his face.... Musharraf has suspended the constitution, is rounding up judges, beating and jailing lawyers and journalists, arresting members of his opposition, and has silenced the media.
Moves that will embolden extremists in The Decider's war on terror like Al Qaeda and the Taliban who are resurgent on Musharraf's northern borders, while fueling anger and mistrust among Pakistani moderates.
Musharraf said his actions were necessary to preserve Pakistan, and compared himself to Abraham Lincoln during our civil war. Please.
The truth of the matter is that after "winning a sham ballot last month, General Musharraf was awaiting a Supreme Court decision on whether his election, while still serving as army chief of staff, was legal.... he asserted military powers after getting word that the court would rule against him." (New York Times)
It's plain....Musharraf is preserving his power.... although he did throw the bone of a "promised" election in January. Will there be another "emergency" to stay that election? Elections held by a tyrannical government have but one outcome.... either no election, or the "election" of the tyrant.
Just as we have watched world leaders gutting their sham democracies while seizing unlimited state powers, we have also watched The Decider, by virtue of presidential directives and an acquiescent attorney general and lawmakers, vastly expanding the powers of his office.
Is Pakistan's perilous state just a chilling preview of November 2009?
The answer may lie in whether or not The Decider takes strong measures to restrain Musharraf by plugging his U.S. piggy bank, protecting the popular former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and insisting on open elections.... a real foreign policy effort, not a nod-and-a-wink accommodation for his "friend."
Could it be that the most dangerous leader is the one elected to office for the common good, who instead is undermining individual rights....
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I haven't been following this race closely but this latest fraudulent robo-call campaign seems to be a new low, even for the GOP. If the calls are really being faked, I don't understand how it can be legal. But maybe they don't care as long as the damage is done before they're shut down and the RNC will pay their legal bills, as we saw in New Hampshire in 04.
I'm generally against new criminal laws but telephone fraud seems to be becoming a favored tactic of the GOP. Maybe it's time to increase the penalities. Clearly whatever present laws exist are not a deterrent. [via]
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A couple weeks ago we looked at the hush-hush training session the Democratic Insiders Club did in Chicago for some of their anointed candidates. As I wrote at the time, when the Insiders Club and it's puppet organizations (the DCCC and AFSCME, for example) picked candidates who are in contested or virtually uncontested primaries-- like Charlie Brown (CA), Darcy Burner (WA), Steve Dreihaus (OH), Jim Himes (CT), Mary Jo Kilroy (OH), John Boccieri (OH), Ron Shepston (CA), Eric Massa (NY), Dan Maffei (NY), Gary Peters (MI)-- they are doing exactly what they should be doing: helping Democrats beat Republicans. Each of these candidates is fighting a rubber stamp Republican. My beef with the DCCC is when they go back on their pledge not to interfere in primaries between two viable candidates.
Normally, although not always, they come down on the wrong side in these races. They come down on the side of tepid, overly careful, Republican-lite candidates who have lots of personal wealth but little in the way of grassroots support of activist passion. I was especially incensed that they invited millionaire Blue Dog Bill Foster instead of widely backed grassroots progressive John Laesch in IL-14. And Jared Polis spoke out loudly and strongly about the Insiders' Club favoritism towards Joan Fitz-Gerald, a race Blue America hasn't taken a stand on yet, mostly because both candidates seem equally progressive and equally viable and either would probably make a good member of Congress. Seeing the DCCC and it's allies trying to tilt the process against Polis, makes us want to reconsider our own neutrality.
Today a story in Roll Call shows the DCCC up to their old Rahmish tricks again in Michigan, subtly attempting to tilt a hotly contested local race in favor of their Insider candidate. Blue America members in Michigan have asked us to stay out of the primary between Nancy Skinner and Gary Peters. One of them is likely to beat rubber stamp Republican incumbent Joe Knollenberg next year. But first the residents of this suburban Detroit district have to choose their candidate. They have two good choices. Last year, in the best a Democrat has ever done against Knollenberg-- and with no help from the DCCC-- Nancy Skinner held him down to 52%. Nancy spent $400,000 and Knollenberg spent $3,105,161. Imagine if Rahm Emanuel would have directed some of the millions he wasted on reactionary Blue Dogs like Tammy Duckworth (IL), Christine Jennings (FL), John Cranley (OH) and Ken Lucas (KY) and used just a fraction of it to help Skinner! We would have had another vote for SCHIP and for ending the war, one of them a policy Emanuel even supports.
So how are they meddling? According to Roll Call DCCC Chair Van Hollen is touting an internal poll that shows "Democratic challengers gaining ground because of the battle over the State Children's Health Insurance Program. Van Hollen contended that Republicans who refuse to back the Democratic proposal to extend SCHIP could face a voter revolt in their home districts." So far so good. So far so good; Van Hollen is making a good point to the press. But then he veered off course, citing 3 districts, one in Virginia, one in Missouri and the one we're talking about today in Michigan. The only district-- at this moment at least-- Van Hollen cares about of the 3 is the one in Michigan. "Knollenberg is a major Democratic target this cycle... Van Hollen said it was proof positive that Knollenberg is vulnerable because of his position on the current SCHIP bill. The poll memo prepared by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research noted radio ads by the DCCC and television spots by the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees-- both hitting Knollenberg on SCHIP-- and credited them for softening up support for the Congressman among voters. Still good.
But here's where it got hairy; here's where the DCCC monkeys around.
According to this survey, portions of which were obtained by Roll Call, Knollenberg's lead over his likely challenger, state Lottery Commissioner Gary Peters (D), was at 7 points-- 42 percent to 35 percent-- a 5-point drop from the advantage the incumbent held in April.
Knollenberg's 7-point lead turned into a 7-point deficit after respondents were read both a push question characterizing his position on SCHIP, and the Democratic and Republican arguments for and against the program.
Required reading: Slate's Fred Kaplan on Bush and the fizzling of the freedom agenda:
The state of emergency in Pakistan signals yet another low point inPresident George W. Bush's foreign policy?a stark demonstration of hispaltry influence and his bankrupt principles. More than that, thecrackdown locks us in a crisis?a potentially dangerous dynamic?fromwhich there appears to be no escape route. ...
Musharraf is portraying his suspension of the constitution as anecessary step to stabilize Pakistan and fend off Islamist terrorists.Yet the timing suggests it was, for the most part, a power grab.Pakistan's Supreme Court was about to rule that Musharraf's reign asboth president and army chief of staff was unconstitutional. That meantthe coming elections (which may or may not now be called off) wouldhave ended his reign. And so he dissolved the court. He also arrestedmany democratic activists and shut down the nation's independent media.
It should now be clear, if it wasn't already, that Musharraf has been diddling Bush & Co. the past three years or longer.
Inexchange for his promises to root out Taliban terrorists on the Afghanborder and within Pakistan's own intelligence service, Bush hassupplied Musharraf with at least $10 billion in aid. Yet whileMusharraf has rendered considerable assistance in the war on terrorism,the Taliban?and possibly Osama Bin Laden himself?retain their sanctuaryin Pakistan's northwest territories.
In exchange for Musharraf'spromises to be a good democrat someday, Bush has declared Pakistan tobe a "major non-NATO ally." Yet, with his strategically timed state ofemergency, Musharraf has revealed he's not at all interested indemocratic transitions. ...
Who is Musharraf rousting and throwing into jail? Not the militants. He's rousting lawyers, judges, and others among the educated and moderate elite. In other words, he's busting the precious brick and mortar needed to build that most elusive and fragile of things: a Democratic Middle East.
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They must be laughing their butts off over at the White House. Bush rolled the Democrats again:
The Senate Judiciary Committee today narrowly voted in favor of attorney general nominee Michael B. Mukasey, who was opposed by most of the panel's Democrats over his refusal to say whether an aggressive interrogation tactic constitutes illegal torture.Heckuva job Chuck and Dianne. We really, really appreciate it. Really.
The committee's 11-8 vote sends Mukasey nomination to the full Senate, which is expected to confirm the appointment in a floor vote to be held by next week.
The approval was clinched by two committee Democrats, Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) and Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), who parted ways with their colleagues by voting in favor of the nomination along with the panel's nine Republicans.
Under the heading little known facts about well known people, I certainly had no idea that Einstein was a vigorous civil rights activist.
In 1946, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist traveled to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, the alma mater of Langston Hughes and Thurgood Marshall and the first school in America to grant college degrees to blacks. At Lincoln, Einstein gave a speech in which he called racism ?a disease of white people,? and added, ?I do not intend to be quiet about it.? He also received an honorary degree and gave a lecture on relativity to Lincoln students.He worried then as we do now, about fascism as well and there's a movie in the works about his long time friendship with Paul Robeson. Short but fascinating article. [h/t David D]
The reason Einstein?s visit to Lincoln is not better known is that it was virtually ignored by the mainstream press, which regularly covered Einstein?s speeches and activities. (Only the black press gave extensive coverage to the event.) Nor is there mention of the Lincoln visit in any of the major Einstein biographies or archives.
In fact, many significant details are missing from the numerous studies of Einstein?s life and work, most of them having to do with Einstein?s opposition to racism and his relationships with African Americans.
video details and more
Hat tip to Crooks and Liars.
Tags: Olbermann, Torture, Mukasey, Levin, Bush, Cheney
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Bush has nominated his new ambassador to the Vatican - Harvard University law professor Mary Ann Glendon.
She is, needless to say, an anti-abortion crusader who is against same-sex marriage (and for you conspiracy fans out there, a member of Opus Dei). One of those occasions where administration, nominee and hosts can be in perfect medievalist harmony, all cleaving to bigotry and the continuation of miserable poverty in the Third World.
I'm sure some Congressional Dems will be as quick to defend her as they have Mukasky. Shaun Mullen shines a glaring logical light on Schumer's panderings.
And yes, Schumer and Feinstein have joined Republicans to pass Mukasky's nomination to the full Senate by an 11-8 vote.
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If you live in King County and you still have not made up your mind on some of the issues, a good last-minute resource is the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. They will tell you what is at stake, what they recommend, and why you may or may not agree.
It's a lot better than scanning the photos of candy dates from the busload of printed material you've received in the past two weeks, trying to decide who looks like a really nice person.
Among other things, in Seattle we have some huge transportation problems to resolve. So please do a little research, then vote as your conscience demands.
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