I don't know about you, but the Hick needs some good news right now.
After all, you and I know that Karl Rove owns so much dirt on people in Washington, it's unlikely he will ever have to pay for the damage he's done to our country. In fact, he'll probably just switch offices and start working on another GOP campaign. Cheney and Rove are misanthropic little boys who will do whatever it takes to retain power, and it appears that no one in our government has the will or the ability to stop them.
So let's turn to someone who appears to be doing something worthwhile for someone besides himself, shall we?
WA State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler cracks down on violations of state law prohibiting cash and gifts over $25 used to gain business from real estate agents.And today on Seattle radio station KUOW:
Swedish Medical Center just announced it will no longer accept United HealthCare plans because the reimbursement the company pays for treating patients is just too low. Fourteen thousand households in the region could be affected. The Washington State insurance commissioner joins us to provide some perspective.
Crossposted from Town Called Dobson
click to enlarge
A great many of us have looked forward to the day when Rove left the White House for good, but have we really thought about a post-Rovian BushCo White House?
I have sometimes thought Cheney chaffed a bit at Rove's apparent closeness to Bush Junior - there were some places where the VP couldn't tread due to Rove's position. Cause God knows, anything that would disrupt Cheney's Fourth Branch Of Government is a bad thing.
We have all seen how far Cheney is willing to push his power WITH Rove firmly planted in the Oval Office, but will Cheney now see ANY limits? How much of a impediment was Rove to Cheney?
Don't get me wrong, I am glad Rove is gone, but I don't think the Democrats have a strategy in place to handle "All Cheney, All The Time."
SPECIAL FAVOR SECTION
Never let it be said liberals don't support the troops.
During the first Gulf War, I began collecting books to send to my college friends serving in Saudi Arabia. I must have sent hundreds of books. When US troops got deployed to Iraq, I started doing it again but I knew the job was too big for one person to do it, so I set up Books For Soldiers, a 501 (c)(3) charity to send free books, dvds and video games to deployed US soldiers.
But I wasn't that smart since I only thought the war would last 6 weeks tops in Iraq. What was I thinking? Now, FOUR years later, we are still shipping books.
But today I need your help. There is a contest sponsored by VAJoe.com, they will contribute $2,000 to charitable military organizations next month in its Charity for Charities event. You can vote on your favorite charitable military organizations. The top four charitable organizations and a randomly selected organization will share $2,000 in donations from VAJoe. Books for Soldiers has been included in the event.
The Alexa Traffic Rank for BooksForSoldiers.com is 242,975 and you would not believe our bandwidth bills!
So these next few days, I am asking (begging actually) for your vote for Books For Soldiers. It won't take you 30 seconds to help a liberal out!
A short, fast and easy site registration is required.
P.S. Thank-you Michael Moore for supporting BFS.
P.P.S. if you just want to donate, click here.
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It appears TNH has figured out how to get rid of the Bush/Cheney regime: just ignore them. After spending two years digging through every document she could find (e.g., like this) to detail all the ways in which Karl Rove helped reveal Valerie[...]
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The Wall Street Journal reports that Bush’s deputy chief of staff and senior adviser Karl Rove will be resigning at the end of the month and will return to Texas. “I just think it’s time,” Rove said in the interview. “There’s always something that can keep you here, and as much as I’d like to be here, I’ve got to do this for the sake of my family.” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said, “Obviously it’s a big loss to us. He’s a great colleague, a good friend, and a brilliant mind. He will be greatly missed.”
UPDATE: Bush was expected to make a statement Monday with Rove around 11:35 am ET. Later Monday, Rove, his wife and their son were to accompany Bush on Air Force One when the president flies to Texas for his vacation.
UPDATE II: “Even as he discussed his departure, Rove remained characteristically sunny. … In the interview, Rove predicted Bush will regain his popularity, which has sunk to record lows because of the war in Iraq.”
UPDATE III: Even while Rove has been talking about finding the right time to depart for a year, Bill Kristol never saw it coming. On Fox News this morning, Kristol said:
Karl’s departure is pretty sudden and for me, pretty surprising. … Karl Rove loves politics. He’s awfully smart. And September’s going to be an awfully big month for the presidency. It’s odd that he’s not going to be there.
UPDATE IV: Rove plans to write a book on the Bush presidency, a move which President Bush is encouraging:
He’d like to teach eventually, but he has no specific job plans, save to write a book on the Bush years, which “the boss,” as in Mr. Bush, “has encouraged me to do.”
Christian Versions: 1 :: 2
Seditious Versions: 1 :: 2
I realized as I woke up that I had been dreaming about how my husband and I had met. But in the dream, yes in the dream, the love making had been not my husband, but my doctor. Alright say the name, the name of the man who I love now: Captain Doctor Mercury West. I Chryssie Rutenberg love Merc West. I love him.
There is brute pounding on the heavy metal door of his motel room. A Spartan and orderly affair, with a bright glowing from outside, it is still something called night.
The pounding continues. It is too brute and blunt for it to be flesh or bone.
I can hear his voice explode out.
"What do you want fuck up?"
There is a clean click of the keys turning and the door opens with cold phosphorescent light pouring in.
"That's Colonel Fuck Up to you," and then there is an emphasis on the next word, "Capitan."
It is a voice I know fairly well, It has a flat "military officer with the edges filed down by being groomed for the fast track," sound to it. And yet you can hear the drawl of north Texas inserted in every possible pause. Col. Beck. Yes, that's him.
I pull my head, and I am blushing like I am sixteen and caught by my parents. I instinctively draw the sheets up over my chest, over my large breasts, of which I have been increasingly self conscious of as I have grown rounder and softer with being older.
I am looking at a very broad shouldered outline, I appreciate the contours of power, from the bulge of his shoulders and biceps. Down the sides of his barrel chest, down around his holstered pistol. He's armed, that means he's here on business. At, glance at the clock has read numbers burn themselves into my eyes, 3:52 AM.
"Captain, I'm here to tell you something that you and Mrs." he pauses at the irony of that particular word, and continues, "that you and Chryssie have a more than passing interest in. Something she'd already know if you two hadn't been out here swapping spit."
Merc was suddenly all business.
"What's that Colonel?" He was already rolling to a sitting position and pulling on pants.
"You don't really need to do that." Pause. Pause. Pause. "You see, her husband had his hand taken off in country." A smirk is audible even though not really visible. "He stuck it someplace it shouldn't go. They are lifting back to Ram already." That's Ramstein AFB in Germany.
"He's going to be here?"
"That's right Captain."
Merc scratches behind his ear, he has put on his shirt and starts buttoning it up methodically.
The Colonel lifts a hand to his lapel.
"See this bird? I got it by not caring about how subordinates got the job done. You and Ms. Chryssie here are going to have to make some decisions. I don't care what they are, so long as this thing doesn't show up as an incident on my personnel report. The last thing I need is some perfumed prince wannabe crawling all over me for not taking care of these things."
"Well it isn't exactly as if we've been secretive."
"That's not my problem. So long as this stays not my problem, I don't care what y'all decide."
I pipe up.
"At least a week there, then back to Walter Reed. But I imagine he's going to request, and going to have granted, the request, to be back here as soon as possible, or have you offered a civilian position close to where he is in PT and recuperation."
There is a general silence.
The Colonel picks it up.
"I can get you back in country. There is a plane leaving Friday, and it isn't as if I can't fill a seat with a top notch medivac surgeon. You'll be safer in the wastes of Al-Anbar at a FOB than you will be here." FOB is "Forward Operating Base," meaning out deep in country.
I reply. "That can't be true."
The Colonel steps in, slams the door closed with the back of his boot and turns on the light, figuring correctly that everyone is as decent as they are going to get. The three of us form a triangle, with Merc already unconsciously standing at attention, the Colonel at an easy stance by the green fabric upholstered chair by the door, and me my knees drawn and covered by a film of blankets and sheets.
"Look." The Colonel begins. "In uniform Hampton is a good man. The kind of man who can always be counted on to put himself in harm's way and never complain. He's drawn soft duty, but not for want of trying to get himself in trouble. Out of uniform, pardon to Ms. Chryssie about this, he's a dick a mile wide and ten miles long."
Merc nods without humor, but lets the Colonel finish.
"He's going to want to do one thing when he can, and that is put a shotgun on your underbelly and plaster your balls through your palate."
"I'd say that's about right. Yes." This is a flat agreement from Merc.
"In country is the safest place for you. Unless you want to suddenly declare that you are queer and get booted sky high from the service." There's no chuckle, no irony. Yeah, the Colonel could arrange that.
Pause. Pause. Pause.
I stare down at my exposed toes, the red nail polish staring back at me. My head is resting on my knees by this point. Who needs me more? My baby, my love, or my husband? I don't doubt I can't do anything for my poor lost country by now.
Or me? What do I need? It's a question that makes me feel a blank black hit on my forehead.
I don't know.
"I'm going to leave you two to talk about things. But I'm will tell you that if you go to Walter Reed, Chryssie, there isn't anything I can do to protect you."
Merc supplies the punch line.
"From your husband. Hampton is going to break whatever is in reach."
The light stays on, but the Colonel turns and opens the door, looks back over his shoulder. "I wasn't here. You didn't here this Captain. And Chryssie, check by home every day from now on. Hampton is going to feel very funny if he gets to Ram and there isn't a message waiting for him as soon as the morphine clears his brain."
I whistle out.
"Yeah. OK. That would be bad."
Sudden my husband is a patient that I have to puff the pillows for, regardless of exactly how I am doing it.
Two days are eaten away in preparation. He leaves in the morning. I avoid thinking about it. I draw extra duty one day, and stay late the next. Every moment in uniform. The show must go on. Even though I am all empty places, my head pounds, even though I know there is nothing wrong.
I can feel the second hand with each weighty tick on the old analog clocks. The bang and stop, I keep looking up, wishing that they would pass faster, but that there would be more of them. Through all of this, drawing syringes, distributing meds, the host of small actions that make up a shift of someone who is well underutilized.
But even with this, my smile stays plastered in. It is a trick I learned from a Georgia girl, she told me that it was expected of women there. "Just dig your dimples, hun." If you can feel those two points just beyond your lips, and dig them in, you stay smiling. No matter what.
I look at the clock. It giggles back at me blankly. At the last moment late at night, I leave and trail out to the parking lot, my head hanging down. There are a scattering of other vehicles, mostly the SUVs and trucks that are polished and painted. The kind that have never see the grooves by the side of the road, much less actual dirt.
There is a car with an engine running. I don't recognize it, but it swoops out of its waiting spot. My heart jumps and I am frozen, but with a smooth swerve the passenger's side arrives at the exact distance. I can see my doctor through the window, and I calm down. He's rented a car. It takes me only a moment to settle into the grey cloth interior. The seat belt is across me almost before we are moving again, my bag down between my knees.
"Our time is running out." His voice is flat and yet emphatic in the way he punches his words.
"It has gotten away from us. He is going to need me."
"Don't lie to yourself."
There is an uncomfortable pause. I want to talk about it. I want to explain why I have to go back to Hampton. If only I can repeat it enough times, maybe it will start to feel more true. But this must be what he means about how he is quiet. No, he is Quiet. I feel the quiet stifle my ability to talk, chatter or even do more than pant out shallow breaths.
His finger on my cheek as he drives with one hand along the interstate. We pass the exit where his motel was. We are going deeper into the night. Our love must die.
The lights flicker on the yellow stripes that form a heartbeat of travel. I want to just stare out the window with fatigue and boredom, as I am being driven home. But the dryness behind my eyes eats at me, too much coffee and too many cans of coke have left my mouth sticky, and my head? I stop focusing on my aches and pains and try to rekindle the conversation.
"Where are we going?"
For a moment I drop into the land of fear again, as if he might be taking us nowhere. He'd once said something about not wanting to live any more with out the love of his life. He'd had a very dark countenance that day. I'd never seen him like it, drunk or sober, since.
I looked over at him next to me, seeking that same face. Instead his jaw was clenched in the same tight determined look I had seen him in when sewing someone's thumb back on to his hand. It was not Merc the dessicated, but Merc the man on a mission. I didn't know if I wanted that one, some vulnerability might have been more comforting.
"I love you."
He turned towards me, and that hard face melted.
"I know. But I know that doesn't mean anything."
I feel a punch in my stomach, and I feel like I am going to throw up. It's not the pregnant wretch, and it isn't the losing the baby wretch. I know both of them.
I need to cry, my eyes bunch, but no tears come. My throat opens, but I can't force any air out. I double forward, but not because I am in pain. Finally sobbing comes, and with it a few brief words from closed eyes and mouth.
"But I love you."
The car drives on, oblivious to the heaves coming up from my diaphragm.
Signed -- Liberty
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I'm a little puzzled by something - why are so few people talking about Bill Richardson's recent article in Harvard International Review setting out his vision for American foreign policy? The media majors and even progressive bloggers haven't even noticed the article's existence and comment on the blogs so far has been limited to a very few hawkish center-right and center-left blogs linking to each other.
Kevin Drum, in an email, thinks that Richardson's being ignored because he simply isn't one of the Big Three frontrunners for the Dem nomination. That's probably true but it seems Richardson's campaign could work harder too. The article contains some very interesting and very progressive ideas that deserve to be discussed and could perhaps inform and influence the Big Three's platforms if they were more widely acknowledged by the netroots.
James Joyner helpfully lays out the highlights in sound-bite sized chunks.
*?First and foremost, the United States must repair its alliances.?There's a lot there to like and some to quibble about for every Democrat and progressive, I expect. Newshoggers' hawkish Dem pal Dave Schuler has some quibbles, for instance.
*?US leaders also must restore their commitment to international law and multilateral cooperation . . .?
*?[P]romoting expansion of the UN Security Council?s permanent membership to include Japan, India, Germany, and one country each from Africa and Latin America.?
*?[E]thical reform at the United Nations so that this vital institution can help its many underdeveloped and destitute member states meet the challenges of the 21st century.?
*?[E]xpanding the G8 to include new economic giants like India and China.?
*?The US government must join the International Criminal Court and respect all international treaties, including the Geneva Conventions.?
*?On environmental issues, the United States must be the leader, not the laggard, in global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by embracing the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, and then, going well beyond it, leading the world with a man-on-the-moon effort to improve energy efficiency and to commercialize clean, alternative technologies.?
*?[S]top considering diplomatic engagement with others as a reward for good behavior.?
*Various efforts to contain nuclear proliferation, including ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
*?The United States needs to start showing, both through its words and through its actions, that this is not, as the Jihadists [and Conservative Islamophobes - C] claim, a clash of civilizations. Rather, it is a clash between civilization and barbarity.?
*?The United States also needs to pressure Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and other friends in the Arab world to reform their education systems, which are incubators of anti-US sentiment.?
*?[S]pend more to recruit, equip, and train more first responders and to drastically improve public health facilities, which, five years after 9/11, are not ready for a biological attack.?
*?The United States needs to lead the global fight against poverty, which is the basis of so much violence.?
*?Encourage all rich countries to honor their UN Millennium goal commitments.? ?Lead donors on debt relief, shifting aid from loans to grants, and focus on primary health care and affordable vaccines.?
*?[P]romote trade agreements which create more jobs in all countries and which seriously address wage disparities, worker rights, and the environment.?
*?[P]ressure pharmaceutical companies to allow expanded use of generic drugs, and it should encourage public-private partnerships to reduce costs and enhance access to anti-malarial drugs and bed nets.?
*[P]romote a multilateral Marshall Plan for the Middle East and North Africa.
Most urgently, the United States must focus on the real security threats, from which Iraq has so dangerously diverted its attention. This means doing the hard work to build strong coalitions to fight terrorists and to stop nuclear proliferation. There is a pronounced need for better human intelligence and better international intelligence and law enforcement coordination to prevent nuclear trafficking. US diplomatic leadership is needed to unite the world, including Russia and China, to sanction the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea, and to provide these nations with positive incentives and face-saving ways to renounce nuclear weapons.While others will be more interested in Richardson's views on the "war" on (some) terror.
The global community needs to intensify its efforts to lock down all fissionable material. The United States, specifically, must increase funding for the Nunn-Lugar program and for US Energy Department programs to secure former Soviet plutonium stocks and nuclear weapons. The United States must also work with Pakistan to make sure that their nuclear arsenal does not fall into the hands of Jihadists. The Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) needs to be upgraded and tightened in an effort to prevent states from legally developing their nuclear capabilities and then opting out of the treaty as they rush to build bombs.
If the United States wants other countries to take the NPT seriously, it must show that it takes it seriously itself. The United States should re-affirm its NPT commitment to the long-term goal of global nuclear disarmament, and it should invite the Russians to join in a moratorium on new weapons and further staged reductions in arsenals, beyond what has already been agreed, over the course of the next decade. US diplomacy should also seek to get the other nuclear powers to reduce their arsenals, to get the non-nuclear powers to forego nuclear fuel enrichment, and to agree to rigorous global safeguards and verification procedures. The United States also should ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, not only because it is good policy, but also to send a signal to the world that it has turned a corner and once again will be a global leader, not a unilateralist loner.
There is a civil war within Islam between extremists and moderates, and the United States and its allies need to stop helping their enemies in that civil war. The United States needs to start showing, both through its words and through its actions, that this is not, as the Jihadists claim, a clash of civilizations. Rather, it is a clash between civilization and barbarity. The international community needs to present Arab and Muslim populations with a better vision than the apocalyptic fantasy of the Jihadists: a vision of peace, prosperity, tolerance, and respect for human dignity. There are a number of steps the United States can take to help accomplish this.I find his views on both those sectors of foreign policy - and several others - eminently sensible.
First and foremost, the United States must live up to its own ideals. Prisoner abuse, torture, secret prisons, and evasion of the Geneva Conventions must have no place in US policy. If the United States wants Muslims to be open to it, it should start by closing Guantanamo.
The United States also needs to pressure Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and other friends in the Arab world to reform their education systems, which are incubators of anti-US sentiment. Moderate US Muslims must be given a louder, more systematic voice in US policy toward the Middle East so that they can speak the truth about the West and be heard by their fellow Muslims. The United States also must re-engage the Middle East peace process, as peace would deprive the Jihadists of their most effective propaganda tool. The sole superpower must use all its sticks and carrots to strengthen Palestinian moderates and to achieve a two-state solution which guarantees Israel?s security.
The United States spends more than US$2 billion per week on Iraq, but it has left its own cities, nuclear power plants, and shipping ports vulnerable to terrorist attack. Resilience, or the ability to recover from an attack, is an essential component of national defense, and it lowers the utility to the terrorists of attacking. The United States must spend more to recruit, equip, and train more first responders and to drastically improve public health facilities, which, five years after 9/11, are not ready for a biological attack. Homeland Security dollars should be allocated to where they are needed most?to the population centers and facilities that Al Qaeda targets.
...Most importantly, the United States should promote a multilateral Marshall Plan for the Middle East and North Africa. For a small fraction of the cost of the Iraq war, which has created so many enemies for the United States, the nation could make many friends. A crucial effort in fighting terrorism must be support for public education in the Muslim world. Many Muslim students have no educational opportunities except for madrassas, some of which teach Jihad. It must be a major component of US aid policies to poorer Muslim countries, as well as of US diplomacy with all Muslim countries, to take education out of the hands of those who preach violence. Development alleviates the injustice and lack of opportunity that proponents of violence and terrorism exploit. To those who say the United States cannot afford an aid program to build pro-American sentiment in the developing world, I say the United States cannot afford not to.
James Moore is co-author of Bush's Brain. In the Huffington Post, Moore recounts a few of the things Karl Rove has lied about besides having a family he likes.
Here's an excerpt:
The fact that Karl Rove has not been tried for sedition and treason ought to trouble every American who still believes in those things that have long been held to be good and right and true about our country.Read on.
Download (17) | Play (18) Download (6) | Play (10)More from MSNBC:Karl Rove, President Bush?s close friend and chief political strategist, plans to leave the White House at the end of August, joining a lengthening line of senior officials heading for the exits in the final 1 1/2 years of the administration.A longtime member of Bush?s inner circle, [...]
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The Bush administration seems to hate admitting mistakes. I think I understand why - every time they do they can't help but reveal the nonsensical ideology-driven alternate reality that drives their decision making. Take this for example:
Years of economic policy mistakes after the fall of Saddam Hussein left unemployed young Iraqis easy targets for recruitment by al Qaeda and other insurgents, a U.S. Defense Department official said on Sunday.Why was such a mistake "understandable"? The infrastructure that makes any real free market possible, and which is predominantly originally paid for and run by government, had just been bombed back into the Stone Age.
Paul Brinkley, deputy under-secretary of defense for business transformation in Iraq, said Iraq's shattered industrial base had to be revitalised to bring down unemployment levels of about 60 percent and help reconciliation.
He said political, social and economic stability would be much easier if factories, many left idle since the 2003 invasion to topple Saddam, could win even a small fraction of the trade the United States conducts every year with economies like China, India, Indonesia and Thailand.
"If we could just get some of that factored into Iraq we'd uplift the lives of every Iraqi and al Qaeda wouldn't have any people to recruit," Brinkley told Reuters in an interview.
Brinkley said early economic planners had made the understandable mistake of assuming that a free market would rapidly emerge to replace what he described as Saddam's "kleptocracy", and create full employment.
This mistaken assumption led to a series of decisions which "sowed the seeds of economic malaise and fuelled insurgent sympathies" after industrial production collapsed and imports flooded in to replace locally made goods.
Fox faux Democrat Harold Ford, doesn't qualify as a Republican per se-- although he has always voted like one and his stands on all the important issues of the same are the same as Bush's-- but as Chair of the DLC he's pretty much owned by the same interests that own the GOP. DailyKos founder Markos Moulitsas made mincemeat out of a defensive but pathetically exposed Ford on Meet the Press yesterday. Poor Ford is not used to rejection and he was just getting over the fact that he was virtually the only high profile Democrat to lose a Senate race in 2006 when Markos treated his bogus charm offensive with the scorn it merited. Forlorn and depressed over his public humiliation, Ford's press shop is trying to blame his miserable performance on his drunken escapade a few nights before at NYC's most expensive-- and fanciest-- sushi restaurant. Three blondes! Oh my-- but not really and truly a flip flop for Harold, who is a well-known serial philanderer. The flip flop is his claim that he wants to make nice with the grassroots Democrats the DLC has always betrayed and demonized. Not likely to work while he leads a campaign to undermine the Democratic incumbent, Steve Cohen, who won Ford's old Senate in Memphis. It's especially repulsive to real Democrats since the Ford Machine is trying to play on Cohen's support of the Hate Crimes Bill (which all Democrats-- with the exception of the 14 worst reactionary bigots in Congress-- voted for). Ford's allies are pushing a shill, Nikki Tinker, on a platform of reactionary policies and homophobia.
As for the more traditional Republicans, the newly appointed Wyoming Senator, John Barrasso, long rumored to be more than a little light in the loafers, did the ultimate flip flop as he prepares to run for the seat he now holds by appointment: he's announced his engagement... to a woman. That's special-- and it seems to have worked for Congressman McCrery (R-LA).
And speaking of gay Republicans, I mentioned earlier that their hero, Rudy Giuliani, has pulled the rug out from under them. Today's Boston Globe is reporting that Mr. Civil Unions is now in favor of a "much more modest set of rights for gay partners than civil union laws," including the ones he's always favored. Must be getting close to the South Carolina primary. Giuliani also claims he "misspoke when he said he spent as much time, if not more, at Ground Zero" than 9/11 workers. The 9/11 workers didn't appreciate that-- which is why he decided he misspoke. And speaking of misspokes and flip flops, you can't do a story on flip floppin' Republicans without looking into Flip Flop Mitt's latest flip flops.
Yesterday on friendly territory (Fox News Sunday) Romney said he too misspoke. Remember that mornonic remark he made about his sons' doing their duty for America by working for their dad's campaign? And how he equating driving around a $50,000 RV is the wilds of Iowa was roughly equivalent to driving a tank in Al Anbar province? Oops. First he tried the "out of context" defense. But the video showing the context only made it worse-- much worse-- so he switched to the "misspoke" defense. Do you think Fox let him get away with it?
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