Saturday, April 29, 2006

The United States of Three New Scandals a Day UPDATED WITH MORE SCANDALS

Words are starting to fail me.  We are literally living in a THREE NEW SCANDAL A DAY AMERICA.

And I fear that it won't even help Democrats at the ballot box at this point.  The wave of scandals is so fast, so furious, so mindblowing, that I fear the effect on the average voter after reading the news will be like the effect of a Hollywood blockbuster on them as they stumble out of the theater: dazed, confused, overwhelmed, tired and apathetic.

And why shouldn't they? At some point, the scandals have to stop coming long enough for a thinking person to catch their breath and take it all in.

I had thought of starting to write a book detailing all of the scandals to beset the GOP during Bush's time in office, but the project at this point is unthinkable: the tome would be longer than the Oxford English Dictionary, and you would need the full efforts of Wikipedia's entire crew to keep updating the book as each new scandal filed in hour by hour.

After all, just look at a partial list:

Cocaine Use

Drunk Driving

Texas Air National Guard

Don't Take This as a Precedent: Bush v. Gore

Laura's Past (drug dealing?  Manslaughter/murder?)

Arbusto stock sale, Saudi bailout, lack of SEC followup

"Please don't kill me!  Heh heh heh!"  Bush and the Texas Death Row

Kenny-Boy Lay of Enron

Cheney's a resident of Wyoming???  He is?  Our impeachable Vice-President

Cheney Shoots a Man in the Face

Refusal of Recusal: Cheney, Scalia, Duck Hunting

Smear on John McCain

Florida vote scandal, voter suppression

Cheney/GAO.  Are those meetings STILL secret??

Bush Chokes on a pretzel

Happy-Fingers Claude Allen

Longest vacation time of any president

Ashcroft the Boob: Eagles Soaring over Prayer Circles, and Venus de Milo porn

No Vetoes--ever.  For the first time in history.

Missile Defense Shield: The Indispensable Program (you don't hear about anymore)

Enormous Deficits

Out of Print: Stopping the publication of basic economic data

"Is This a Bad Time?" Manipulation of Economic Data

Left Behind: The failure to fund your signature education act

Zarqawi the Boogeyman: Pentagon Psy-Ops on the American Public

Abstinence Education: Promoting Morality in the Name of Ignorance--er...vice versa...

Stem Cells: The Compromise that Wasn't

The "Plan A" for Plan B? Theocracy.

"Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S."  Now what could that possibly mean...

My Pet Goat

Extrication of the Saudis after 9/11

"Find Out What Saddam Had to Do with This"

9/11 Commission??  No way!  Or, I dunno...why not?   Sure.  My idea all along!

You want to see my...library records???  Excesses of the Patriot Act

Failure to Catch Bin Laden (or Omar) in Afghanistan--Wanted Dead or Alive

Yellowcake from Niger


Ahmad Chalabi

Downing Street Memo

You Go to War with Body Armor & Sandbags you Have...

PLAMEGATE: Intrigue followed by intrigue

"God Told Me to Invade Iraq"

Humor Dinner "Are the WMDs under my Desk?"

No-Bid Halliburton Contracts

Vast Monies unaccounted for in Iraq

700 TONS of the explosives Unguarded?  Are you freaking kidding me?

ABU GHRAIB (and where are the rest of the photos, Mr. President?)

Gonzales and the Torture Memo, or "What could possibly hurt worse than organ failure?"

"But they said they wouldn't!": extraordinary rendition, and boiling people in our name.

Bunnatine Greenhouse

Giulia Sgrena: or, What the Hell is Negroponte doing in Iraq, anyway?

Judith Miller, Embedded Reporting

Targeting Al-Jazeera (and other reporters)


Sacked By His Own Team: The Tragedy of Pat Tillman

Missing White Girl, Embedded Edition: Jessica Lynch

Flying UN colors to goad Saddam into war

Paying of Journalists and Planting of Stories in the U.S.

Paying of Jouranlists and Planting of Stories in Iraq

JeffJim Gannon/Guckert

Stunning Incompetence: De-Baathification and the Breakup of the Iraqi Army

Swift Boat Vets

You Have a Call on lines #1 through #3,258: The NH GOTV scandal

The Wrath of Khan: Gushing National Security Secrets for Electoral Politics, & the London Tube.

Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil: The Sibel Edmonds Coverup

Terror Alerts: What happened to them all, and Olberman's 19 "total coincidences"

The Bush Debates: Is that a Hump on your Back or are you just happy to see me?

Diebold--hackable voting systems and their corrupt CEO

Ohio Voter Suppression, Ken Blackwell

Terri Schiavo

The Medicare Bill: what's a couple hundred billion dollars, between friends?

On Bribing Senators for Medicare

Cloture?  What Cloture?  Creativity in Parliamentary rule-bending.   Or breaking.


Hurricane Katrina response: Indifference.  

Nero Strummed while Rome Flooded, and his (Wife) bought shoes

Barbara Bush at the Superdome

The Brownie scapegoating

The whitewashed reconstruction of New Orleans and wage freezing

"No One Could have Predicted the Levees Would Fail"

CRONY-GATE: Doin' a Heckuva Job, Brownie

(More CronyGate)

Bill Frist & and the FEC

Bob Ney of Ohio

Duke Cunningham of San Diego--now with Watergate prostitutes!

2005: A Faith-Based Odyssey, or what in outer space is an undergrad doing telling NASA scientists what to think?

SOTU: Why we're going to Mars to win the war on humanimals

Tom Delay Redistricting

Tom Delay Ethics Violations

JACK ABRAMOFF--Saipan to Indian Tribues

Ports, Inc: Bye-Bye, Dubai!

The Loofah Factor in the No-Falafel Zone

"It Depends on Why the President Would Need to Do That," or What does John Yoo have against little boys' testicles?

The Executive Writes the Laws, Enforces the Laws, and Interprets the Laws: The dictatorial beauty of the Signing Statement

Forget Your Civics Class: When the Senate and the House don't agree, who cares? Sign it anyway--with a statement...

Able Danger

Zoned Out: Town Halls and the Curtailment of Free Speech

Record Prices, Record Profits: Government of the Oil, By the Oil, For the Oil

NSA Wiretaps without Warrants--Domestic-International division

NSA Wiretaps without Warrants--Domestic-Domestic Division

"How Quaint Thou Art": Gonzales and the Geneva Conventions


And this doesn't even BEGIN to cover it.  It goes on.  And on.  And on.  And on.

And now THREE MORE TODAY.  Add Principi, Crawford and Parsons to the list.

And STILL the wingnuts apologize for this--the most corrupt administration in U.S. history.  Still they support the most vile stain on this nation's character since its inception.  They still attack us as UnAmerican, unpatriotic mouthbreathers unfit to live in their America.


How history will judge this period is certain.  The truth is already coming out.  And my suspicion is that we are only seeing the first tip of the iceberg, and that 95% of the sordid shenanigans taking place still have not been uncovered.

What I am less certain about is what we will tell our children--and our grandchildren.  How will we explain to them that these things happened on our watch?  How will we explain to them the actions of the government elected by their parents and grandparents?  How will we explain the utter depravity that has been allowed to take place?

Ultimately, this is the greatest price that this Administration's current apologists will have to bear: the scorn of generations to come.

While those of us who post here will still have to answer for the crimes that occurred on our watch--while we will still have to pay down the debt these criminals have racked up, and attempt to undo the damage to our national character and prestige that these criminals have wrought--we have an alibi.  Not as strong an alibi as we might like (few of us have been arrested, or taken truly dramatic action as of yet), but an alibi nonetheless.  We have been screaming into the wind--and the wind is starting to change, whip at our backs, and hurl our righteous anger across this land.

But these assholes have NO alibi.  They will have to answer--to their children, to their grandchildren, and to the pages of history--for their misdeeds and willful complacency.

Because this dark period in American history, once brought into the light of history, will be remembered by those who stumble forth from it as the period of the THREE SCANDAL A DAY AMERICA.


WE MUST KEEP FIGHTING.  Because those who fought hardest--those who fought strongest--will not only have done right by their country and by their children--they will be glorified in the annals of history, just as those who fought Joseph McCarthy are today.

And there will be hell to pay for those who imposed this nightmare upon us, and for all of their followers.

these are amazing--watch them

THIS is power.

Watch the whole series. They're all worth it. Extraordinary work.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Uproar over Fox News in the Press Corps--I wonder why...

Looks like the Snow Job is already paying dividends for the White House--in the form of press ire.

All of a sudden, attacking Fox News outright isn't taboo among other members of the traditional media--and it couldn't come too soon.

According to an article on CNN's main page:

It wasn't the price of gasoline, Darfur or the rebuilding effort in New Orleans that preoccupied the White House press corps Thursday aboard a flight on Air Force One.

It was what channel they could watch on the White House televisions, Fox or CNN.

During a briefing led by White House spokesman Scott McClellan as President Bush was traveling to New Orleans, Louisiana, the Washington Post's Jim VandeHei asked why the White House televisions always seemed to be tuned to Fox News and if it was possible to have them tuned instead to CNN.

"It's come to my attention that there's been requests -- this is a serious question -- to turn these TVs onto a station other than Fox, and that those have been denied," VandeHei told McClellan, who is soon to be replaced by former Fox anchor and self-described conservative Tony Snow.

Then Mr. Vandehei--bless him--asked the unthinkable question:

"My question would be, is there a White House policy that all government TVs have to be tuned to Fox?" VandeHei asked.


"They're always turned to Fox, which a lot of people consider a Republican-leaning network."

Is it just me, or did the earth stop moving?  Does this mean that Faux News is officially starting to be fair game?

At any rate, Scott McClellan's response was as incredible as it was incredulous--essentially, "Reeaaally?  Lordy lordy, gosh no, I've never heard of such a thing.  Why would you think that?"

But Vandehei persisted:

"Well, the magic people at the other end off the phone ... I was told, 'We don't watch CNN here, you can only watch Fox,' " VandeHei said.

McClellan then said something really fascinating:

McClellan said he found the question "quite amusing," and left to see about making the change.

Eighteen minutes after VandeHei raised the issue, McClellan had resolved it.

"We just called up. They're going to be changing it, at your all's request, to the channel that you requested, which is CNN -- from the press corps."

Ah, state-sponsored and state-controlled fascism is really SO amusing, isn't it?  I'm sure he finds ongoing investigations equally amusing.


But why, oh why, would the press corps believe such a thing?  After all, Fox News is totally Fair and Balanced!  Just look at their opinion line-up tonight to get a sampling of these serious discussion pieces (real stories in bold, satire in italics, for the satire challenged):

On Hannity and Colmes: "Is Illegal Immigration as Dangerous for African-Americans as Slavery Was?" (I shit you not, this is for real...)

(Hypothetical Answer: "Oh yes, massa!  Them's wetbacks a danjrous!"  Meanwhile...Next on Hannity and Colmes: Was James K. Polk a greater war president than Abhraham Lincoln?"

On Bill O'Reilly: "Why is Sen. Kennedy blocking a bill that would protect kids?"  (Again, I shit you not...)

Next on Bill O'Reilly: "Why Do Democrats Support Ritual Human Sacrifice", and "How the President is Protecting you from Islamofascist Vampire Mummies, and why Liberals Want to Stop Him".

On Neil Cavuto: "While we bicker over gas prices, China bites." (yes, this is really true...he really said this)

"Next Week on Neil Cavuto: "While New Orleans Complains of Flooding, Sub-Saharan Islamofascist Aids-Infected Africans are Asking for MORE water.  Shouldn't New Orleans be happy with the water it has??"

On Brit Hume: "Senators hit the road to talk gas prices, but guess how they got there."  (Oh yes, it's true...)

Next up on Brit Hume: "Liberal Hypocrisy: If Al Gore REALLY wanted to stop global warming, he would block his intestines from passing gas."

And, to top it off, on John Gibson: "Would I be right to conclude Wash. Post and NYT are on Zarqawi and bin Laden's side?"  (I can't make these up myself)

Next up on John Gibson: "Would I go wrong in saying that the Daily Kos wants to saw off your grandmother's head with a scimitar?"


They're parodies of themselves.  And the worm has turned on them.

The hubris has come.  And the downfall is here.  Sit back and enjoy the ride, folks.

[Cross-posted on my blog There Is No Blog: Bending Left]

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Wherein I rip The Economist a new one

So the Economist comes out with this article, basically stating that oil won't run out anytime soon, and that everything is just hunky-dory. It's one of the most fantasy-fueled pieces I've seen in a while--just read the whole howler for yourselves; it's not worth quoting.

My response is detailed below (and I'll just love seeing Jerome a Paris rip it to shreds as well, for the benefit of humanity):

The article leaves out five critically important points:

1) Global demand for oil is rising exponentially, especially as the economies of China and India develop. The exponential increases in demand that are projected over the next 30 years are the biggest story, and they are almost ignored in this article. This demand will also create geo-political conflicts as nuclear powers fight for the shrinking percentages of the oil pie.

2) Heavy oil and shale oil is always there. So is the ability (unmentioned in the article) to process coal--of which there is absolutely no shortage at all--into oil through a complex process that would cost $50 per barrel of oil. The big question, of course, is "at what cost, and is it worth it?" The price of airline fuel is already making running an airline business prohibitive, and gasoline is already preposterously subsidized. The writers of the article blow this off, claiming that price controls and global market dynamics will fix the problem by prioritizing the ability to trade oil. It will not be that easy, by a long shot. There will be major economic convulsions, leading to the nationalization of airlines and oil industries worldwide. Shale oil, for instance, costs much more to produce than any company would ever gain by making it; it will take even heavier subsidies to make it happen--and nationalization in other cases. The writers of the article claim that better technology will simply save the day to make it easier, but that too is unlikely to take place in time for it to matter.

3) Estimates of the amount of oil remaining in Middle-Eastern oil fields are routinely heavily exaggerated by the nations themselves in their reporting, and by the oil companies themselves looking to receive government subsidies for exploration in these areas. Most credible articles mention this fact in any discussion of, say, the Bhawar fields, where the writers of the article cheerily repeat the estimates provided the Saudi and other governments, which are highly unreliable.

4) Ignored is what is called by many in the industry "Protection Subsidies": the amount of money the U.S. spends on military to secure the oil fields. Most of the oil--even the "dirty" oil--is still in the Middle East. Bin Laden is the direct result of our attempts to keep Saudi Arabian oil cheap. The Iraq War is another example of the loss of blood and treasure to secure regional oil resources. The coming war with Iran is yet another. Then there are the dictators of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan we have to deal with to get the Caspian oil, eventually. Then there are the dictatorships and sectarian conflicts of sub-saharan africa, where a lot of the oil is. Most of the oil is South America is already galvanized, through Chavez in Venezuela (whom we assassinate, no doubt, in addition to our other massive crimes against goodness and humanity) and the FARC in Colombia, against the U.S. and rightfully so, given the travesty of our actions there. How much further price in the loss of blood and treasure and world status shall we pay the keep the oil flowing? This goes utterly unmentioned in the article.

5) Global warming or climate change, and environmental impacts are unmentioned. Extracting "dirty" oil like shale oil is extraordinarily detrimental to the surrounding environment, as well as expensive. Meanwhile, global warming IS a HUGE issue, and will certainly have more impact on world civilizations that terrorism ever did or ever will. The cost of continuing to burn fossil fuels due to increased climate change in the form of hurricanes, floods, droughts, tornadoes, rising sea levels, crop damage, glacier disappearance, and biomass loss (plankton death, for instance, which is already a concern would be a MAJOR problem), will be in the trillions and trillions of dollars worldwide. And if the Atlantic conveyor belt shuts down, all hell will literally break loose.


So, the article underestimates demand, overestimates supply, underestimates the pain of extracting dirty oil, overestimates the promise of new extraction technologies, underestimates the cost of keeping the supplies secure, and drastically underestimates the cost of continuing to burn fossil fuels.

I'm a freaking genius

Well, kind of. But the timing is fascinating.

So--last night I blogged that the if the Republicans really cared about lowering gas prices for Americans and keeping the suburban-Hummer-gated community lifestyle viable, they should put their money where their mouth is and simply raise the subsidies for gasoline, rather than namby-pamby around with the Strategic Reserve and other useless measures. Especially since subsidies are already the biggest factor in any discussion of oil and oil price, and already one of the most manipulated markets in the world. I also posted this on the DailyKos, where it made the recommended list, but unfortunately dKos has been down for the last few hours, in the longest outage on the site that I can remember.

I argued that this would put the GOP in the uncomfortable position of admitting that the toxic lifestyle they cherish is just another welfare-state ponzi scheme. And it would leave them vulnerable to critiques that, if we can afford to subsidize gasoline, then why not subsidize healthcare, for instance? After all, in a $2.5 trillion budget, we can afford to pay for what we think is worth it, right?

Well, what do we get this morning but the GOP Senate calling for a national welfare dole of $100 to every taxpayer for gasoline over this summer. See the story here: And in a disgustingly evil but brilliant move, they've added in the poison pill of drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, so that our Senators are left in a great quandary, and their votes used against them in the upcoming election. I can see it now: "the Democrats were too beholden to treehuggers to support gasoline price relief for all Americans." Totally appalling, but very cunning. It'll be interesting to see how out side responds--though in the long run it won't matter, as Republicans who were principled enough to stand against ANWR drilling before, will find making a stand of conscience completely politically unfeasible now--and the vote will pass by majority partisan consent, if nothing else.

Let's see how Democrats respond. If it were me, I'd be saying this:

"This bill is an unaffordable welfare check to all Americans that does nothing to address the REAL source of the problem: record profits by the oil companies who grease the palms of this Republican Party and don't pay their fair share of the tax pie. Furthermore, this bill also contains legislation to allow for drilling in our most precious environmental sanctuaries. I call on Republicans to do something drastic about the REAL source of the problem so that prices will actually come down at the pumps, rather than hand out welfare checks all across America. I further demand that if they are really serious about providing relief at the pumps in the manner they have chosen, that they remove the completely unacceptable provisions to drill in a protected wildlife refuge."

It should be interesting.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

This Just Isn't That Complicated

Stop It Stop It Stop Stop It Stop It Stop It!!!!!  EVERYONE STOP IT!  That means you, Jerome, desolee de vous dire (sorry to tell you).  You too, mateosf.  ALL OF YOU.

This whole oil business just isn't that complicated.  And in fact, the more you try to make it complicated, the more we all run into Republican traps.  

The code phrase when it comes to oil is: Keep It Simple, Stupid.

And in the case of oil, there's only really one word you need to remember: SUBSIDIES.

That's right: we can talk all day and all night about the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.  We can bluster on about Caspian pipelines, Menendez amendments, Nigerian Crude, refinery capacities, and every other oil-related buzzword du jour under the sun.

And it won't make a hill of beans' worth of difference.

The reason for this is that all of our oil use is heavily, heavily subsidized--and that very little else matters beyond the subsidies.  Subsidies that could be increased or decreased far easier than any of the proposed measures could be enacted.  It's just that no one will ever talk about it publicly.

In truth, the real price of gasoline on the actual free market would come close to $15.14 per gallon.  The subsidies on gasoline production and distribution are multiple--as WalkSacramento points out, these come in the form of Tax Subsidies, first and foremost:


The federal government provides the oil industry with numerous tax breaks designed to ensure that domestic companies can compete with international producers and that gasoline remains cheap for American consumers. Federal tax breaks that directly benefit oil companies include: the Percentage Depletion Allowance (a subsidy of $784 million to $1 billion per year), the Nonconventional Fuel Production Credit ($769 to $900 million), immediate expensing of exploration and development costs ($200 to $255 million), the Enhanced Oil Recovery Credit ($26.3 to $100 million), foreign tax credits ($1.11 to $3.4 billion), foreign income deferrals ($183 to $318 million), and accelerated depreciation allowances ($1.0 to $4.5 billion).

Tax subsidies do not end at the federal level. The fact that most state income taxes are based on oil firms' deflated federal tax bill results in undertaxation of $125 to $323 million per year. Many states also impose fuel

taxes that are lower than regular sales taxes, amounting to a subsidy of $4.8 billion per year to gasoline retailers and users. New rules under the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 are likely to provide the petroleum industry with additional tax subsidies of $2.07 billion per year. In total, annual tax breaks that support gasoline production and use amount to $9.1 to $17.8 billion.

And then there are the Program Subsidies...:


Government support of US petroleum producers does not end with tax breaks. Program subsidies that support the extraction, production, and use of petroleum and petroleum fuel products total $38 to $114.6 billion each year..

The largest portion of this total is federal, state, and local governments' $36 to $112 billion worth of spending on the transportation infrastructure, such as the construction, maintenance, and repair of roads and bridges.

Other program subsidies include funding of research and development ($200 to $220 million), export financing subsidies ($308.5 to $311.9 million), support from the Army Corps of Engineers ($253.2 to $270 million), the

Department of Interior's Oil Resources Management Programs ($97 to $227 million), and government expenditures on regulatory oversight, pollution cleanup, and liability costs ($1.1 to $1.6 billion).

And the Protection Subsidies:


Beyond program subsidies, governments, and thus taxpayers, subsidize a large portion of the protection services required by petroleum producers and users. Foremost among these is the cost of military protection for oil-rich regions of the world. US Defense Department spending allocated to safeguard the world's petroleum resources total some $55 to $96.3 billion per year.  The Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a federal government entity designed to

supplement regular oil supplies in the event of disruptions due to military conflict or natural disaster, costs taxpayers an additional $5.7 billion per year. The Coast Guard and the Department of Transportation's Maritime

Administration provide other protection services totaling $566.3 million per year. Of course, local and state governments also provide protection services for oil industry companies and gasoline users. These externalized

police, fire, and emergency response expenditures add up to $27.2 to $38.2 billion annually.

And that doesn't begin to mention the social and environmental costs.


These subsidies have been mentioned here many times, but usually in the context of demanding--for reasons of environment and energy policy--a raise in the price of gasoline to what it would cost on the free market.

But I bring it up to highlight something more out of the box: we ALREADY subsidize gasoline--why not subsidize it MORE?

I know that at first this may sound insane (and in some ways it is), but hear me out.

A nation is what its budget chooses to prioritize.

In our case, we are a nation that spends 60% of its budget on military, and only 6% on education.  But our government DOES pay for education.

We are a nation that pays massive amounts of money for farmers NOT TO GROW FOOD.

Every single tax incentive or abatement we have is essentially a subsidy--a reward for doing something that we deem to be valuable or necessary for our way of life.


The truth that we must never forget is that THIS COUNTRY CAN AFFORD WHAT WE CHOOSE FOR IT TO AFFORD.

Our annual budget for FY'07 is $2.57 TRILLION DOLLARS.

That's $2,570,000,000,000.

That means that if we want to pay oil companies and producers a shitload of money to reduce prices, we can do it.  All we have to do is clip the hogtoes of the massive pork going to big ag or to Lockheed Martin.

If we, as a nation, want to maintain the incredibly inefficient and gas-guzzling suburban mentality and open-range "freedom" so deeply ingrained in the American psyche, all we have to do is pay for it--with our taxes.  And CHOOSE NOT TO PAY FOR SOMETHING ELSE.  Like, say, wars in Iraq.  Or Missile Defense Shields.  Or subsidies for not growing food.

As for me, I believe that we should be subsidizing LESS, not more.  I believe that we need to pull ourselves from the brink and invest heavily in alternative fuel technologies.

But if we REALLY BELIEVE that the ability to live 90 minutes from work in a suburban gated community is terribly important, we CAN afford it.  And we CAN do something about it.

But we would have to remind the nation that we are living a welfare lifestyle, dependent on tax subsidies.  And that just wouldn't be popular--for either party.   BUT ESPECIALLY FOR THE PARTY IN POWER.

It would require reminding Americans that our Ayn Rand libertarianism is nothing but another welfare ponzi scheme that we can choose to maintain or not as we like. But it's either that or higher prices at the pump. As the party in power, it's up to the Republicans to make that tough, rock-and-a-hard-place decision. As the party out of power, it's up to us Democrats to make sure that the GOP is forced to make that ugly decision, and doesn't get a free pass.


And that's all there really is to it.

Keep it simple, people.  We are a rich nation.  We can afford to do what we need to do--we have the money.  The President is not powerless to make an effect on oil prices.

The Republicans act like the oil market is like a bull on steroids in a rodeo: free, untameable and out of their control. The truth is that few markets in the world are as deliberately and artificially subsidized by big government (and not just ours) as the oil market. It's manipulated already--and it can be manipulated some more.

And as the party out of power, the Democrats are in a position to remind America that the GOP COULD do something about it--if they wanted to.  They COULD increase the subsidies, and leave the pork behind.

There's so many things they could do--but they won't.

And that's how to win by making it simple.  Let's try to keep it that way.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Reframing the Debate on Government Itself

We Kossacks all been involved in the rebranding and reframing process for our previously hapless Democratic party.  

We've talked about reframing the war on terror.  We've talked about turning environmentalism into conservationsim.  We've talked about turning rage against "liberal elite" into rage against "economic elite".

But I haven't heard anyone talk about reframing the role of Government.  The GOP has succeeded in making "government" itself into a bad word,in a way that would make their conservative forbears in Madison and Hamilton roll in their graves.We need to make Government itself a good word again--not the jackboot fascism of BushCo, but the benevolent government that provides our roads, our schools, our water, our lights, and all the other goodies we take for granted while cutting taxes.

The problem is that the "Free Market" has been elevated to almost God-like status in this country.  The Free Market is now associated with Mom, apple pie, and Jesus Christ himself--and those associations are pretty hard to fight back against without sounding like, well, a pinko commie liberal.  As obviously flawed as the corporatized, monopoly-ridden "free market" is, the halo that the Repugs have managed to attach to it is going to be extremely difficult to remove.

Thomas Frank does his best to do exactly that in "What's the Matter with Kansas?", but in the end it will be a losing battle.

But there's hope--a perfect way to reframe the debate on government itself:


I have never seen this idea put better than by Lawrence Lessig at Wired magazine, in an article well over a year ago:

You'll be pleased to know that communism was defeated in Pennsylvania last year. Governor Ed Rendell signed into law a bill prohibiting the Reds in local government from offering free Wi-Fi throughout their municipalities. The action came after Philadelphia, where more than 50 percent of neighborhoods don't have access to broadband, embarked on a $10 million wireless Internet project. City leaders had stepped in where the free market had failed. Of course, it's a slippery slope from free Internet access to Karl Marx. So Rendell, the telecom industry's latest toady, even while exempting the City of Brotherly Love, acted to spare Pennsylvania from this grave threat to its economic freedom.

Let's hope this is just the first step. For if you look closely, you'll see the communist menace has infiltrated governments everywhere. Ever notice those free photons as you walk the city at night? Ever think about the poor streetlamp companies, run out of business because municipalities deigned to do completely what private industry would do only incompletely? Or think about the scandal of public roads: How many tollbooth workers have lost their jobs because we no longer (since about the 18th century) fund all roads through private enterprise? Municipal buses compete with private taxis. City police departments hamper the growth at Pinkerton's (now Securitas). It's a national scandal. So let the principle that guided Rendell guide governments everywhere: If private industry can provide a service, however poorly or incompletely, then ban the government from competing. What's true for Wi-Fi should be true for water.

No, I haven't lost my mind. But this sort of insanity is raging across the US today. Pushed by lobbyists, at least 14 states have passed legislation similar to Pennsylvania's. I've always wondered what almost $1 billion spent on lobbying state lawmakers gets you. Now I'm beginning to see.

He goes on to talk about how poorly the free market has served communities across America in the broadband sector, where economic interests are lacking (in poor communities) or where there are only monopolies in the markets.

He concludes with:

The solution is not to fire private enterprise; it is instead to encourage more competition. Communities across the country are experimenting with ways to supplement private service. And these experiments are producing unexpected economic returns. Some are discovering that free wireless access increases the value of public spaces just as, well, streetlamps do....

City and state politicians should have the backbone to stand up to self-serving lobbyists. Citizens everywhere should punish telecom toadies who don't. Backwater broad­band has been our fate long enough. Let the markets, BOTH PRIVATE AND PUBLIC, compete to provide the service that telecom and cable has not.

This man is brilliant, and has provided us with a template to reframe the debate on government.  Now, how to get our Dems in congress to start using this language...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

more housing problems

Looks like people are scurrying away from big cities, as Matt Drudge breathlessly reports. Drudge reports this, of course, in order to imply that people want to leave their liberal, urban "nightmares" for for red-state, suburban areas.

But as the article points out, this is no white flight. This is a housing shortage problem.

People cannot afford homes in the cities. It's not that they don't want to be there; it's that they can't afford to be there. Most people don't want to live in San Bernardino County instead of Los Angeles County if they can help it.

And if my hunch is correct, the political retribution against the SOBs who put them in the position of having to move out to these areas will be large.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A White House Concession of Wrongdoing! Amazing...

Something incredible has happened, folks.

Lost in all the hubbub over the very public resignation and dismissal of Scott McClellan--and good riddance--and his possible replacement by Fox News hack Tony Snow, is the much bigger story of Josh Bolten's Big Shakeup: the demotion of Karl Rove.

As we all know, Karl Rove is a cunning and conniving sociopath who knows how to play politics to win elections.  He fights dirty, even illegally; he spreads rumors; he plays against his opponents' greatest strengths.

But, like most Republicans, he can't govern.  As a policy-maker, he's a walking disaster--and even Republicans know that, and have known it for a while.  But no one has had the guts to cross Karl Rove--until now.

As the New York Times piece says,

But some Republicans in Washington also saw the change in Mr. Rove's responsibilities as a step down in stature for him and an acknowledgment by the president of the White House policy failures in the second term. Mr. Rove, who was Mr. Bush's chief political adviser in the first term, always saw himself as more substantive than a mere political operator, and after his role in re-electing Mr. Bush in 2004, he was rewarded with the additional policy position.

This is an extraordinary development.  It marks the FIRST TIME that I can recall that the GOP has actually made ANY move, for the last 5 years, that has anything to do with attempting to improve policy rather than politics as a means of courting public opinion.

It means, in short, that the GOP is aware of their own image in the eyes of the American public as utterly incompetent.  And that these rubber-stamp Republicans have finally had the cojones to stand up their chief executive and say: ENOUGH.  And that the executive finally listened and buckled under.

Chuck Schumer said it perfectly:

"The White House has never separated politics from policy and that's been one of the reasons for its undoing," Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said in a statement. "Late is better than never, but the key for the White House will be getting a new person in charge of policy independent from Karl Rove who understands that policy is not simply politics."

Amen.  And that's a very, very big deal--one that we haven't emphasized enough.


But what of his replacement, Joel Kaplan?

Well, according to the White House website, Kaplan is a scary figure:

Joel D. Kaplan was sworn in as the Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget on August 12, 2003.

From January 2001 through July of 2003, Mr. Kaplan served as Special Assistant to the President in the Office of the Chief of Staff, where he assisted in the coordination, development, and implementation of Administration policy. In this role, Mr. Kaplan focused on a wide range of issues including international economic affairs, homeland security, energy, and transportation.

Prior to joining the White House in January 2001, Mr. Kaplan worked as a policy advisor to the Bush-Cheney Presidential campaign in Austin, Texas. Earlier, he served as a law clerk for the Honorable Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court of the United States, and for the Honorable J. Michael Luttig, United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.

A native of Massachusetts, Mr. Kaplan received his bachelor's degree from Harvard College and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. Following his education, Mr. Kaplan served for four years as an Artillery Officer in the United States Marine Corps.

Supposedly, Kaplan's promotion is the sign of "stability amidst change".

As a further sign of stability amidst change, White House insiders predicted that Bolten’s successor will be his deputy, Joel Kaplan — a veteran of both the Marine Corps and Bolten’s policy shops in Austin and the West Wing.

But I don't believe it.  Kaplan is a devotee of Luttig and Scalia; his policy positions are going to come from the farthest right, and be for the farthest right.  So look out below.

But that, too, is good for us.  If anything, Kaplan's influence will be to come out in the open with conservative policies, absent the political calculations of Karl Rove.

And since conservative policies are inherently unpopular, the more honest they are about them, the better off we are.


In short, there is great reason to rejoice for Democrats today:

a) The GOP basically admitted that they have been too interested in politics and not enough in policy;

b) They had enough of a revolt to get Karl Rove demoted; and

c) It's likely that their new director will be more honest and upfront about promoting their unpopular policies.

And that's a trifecta to cheer about.

Another must-read

This is incredible.

The corporate tax rate used to be 27.5% in 1950. Now it's 7.4%.

You want to look at a way to fix the economy? Well, there's a start...

desperation of the right-wing--a cartoon roundup

Rumsfeld is just the catcher, you see. He doesn't actually run things.

The fact that the military is failing in Iraq, and failing in recruitment--it's the fault of the TROOPS. They're the ones throwing the pitches.

How low can they go? How low can they go?


Yes--Saddam Hussein is the root of all terror throughout the Middle East. Sure he is...

And here's a beauty--apparently the United States IS the new Rome. If only we didn't have traitors in our midst:

They're coming completely unhinged...

Monday, April 17, 2006

they've officially gone off the deep end

Normally, I don't argue with and post the fantasy-fueled rambling of the denizens of But this was just too good to pass up.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen--in order to defend the clusterfuck that is Iraq right now, these fools have to try to claim that the entire Iraqi insurgency is being run by Al-Qaeda terrorists headed by Zarqawi. That the War in Iraq is really a chess game with set numbers of forces, where Zarqawi is King.

This already silly proposition is maintained even in the face of continued evidence that U.S. has been overestimating Zarqawi's influence through a psychological operations aimed not only at Iraqis but at U.S. citizens.

The lengths to which these people have to go to continue to defend what their party has done is turly, literally unbelievable at this point.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Idiocy at the WaPo

So, the Washington Post's horrible, hit-piece article on Maryscott O'Connor, My Left Wing, and by extension the entire liberal blogosphere, is the most widely discussed and most talked about issue on in the community of liberal bloggers since some scantily clad women threw pies at each other on behalf of TBS.

While a few have welcomed and accepted the harsh and cartoonish portrayal in the article as positive press, by far the most common reaction to the article has been to proclaim that it was, well, bullshit, and that the example of Maryscott O'Connor (MSOC) portrayed in the article didn't even adequately HER, much less the far less caustic liberal blogosphere. The best examples of such a reaction are this beautiful piece by fellow Kossack wmtriallawyer, this intelligent response by fellow Kossack BarbinMD, and this disarming welcome by fellow Kossack MissInformation.

But I think all of these responses--while valuable--miss the larger point. The biggest point to be gleaned from all this that is that the Washington Post is scared--and in its fear has made a gigantic tactical error. They may have caught us unawares and fired the opening salvo of a battle, knocking us off our feet temporarily, but they've already lost significant ground. And they can't fight us further without losing even more ground.

First they ignore you...Then they laugh at you...Then they fight you... Then you WIN.
-- Mahatma Ghandi

Trust me: they're laughing. The mean-spirited language in the article, and the entirely negative choice of photograph, are meant to do one thing: depict the liberal blogosphere as an out-of-control, empty headed, out of touch, mindless echo chamber of mass hysteria that would embarrass the denizens of Free Republic. And it did remarkably well in this attempt. It accomplished its job remarkably effectively, and Maryscott herself had her hospitality horribly abused by the reporter who smeared her.

But why would the WaPo do this? The answer is simple: competition. The newspaper business is dying, and the newspapers know it. More and more people are getting their news online. And more and more people--on the left and the right--distrust the bland corporate filter that the traditional media covers all the news with. Both sides know that they are being lied to--but especially, obviously, the denizens of the reality-based community, who don't have Fox News or the Washington Times and are almost entirely voiceless in the traditional media--and are seeking alternative sources of information.

The newspapers are scared to death of the blogosphere--and the liberal blogosphere above all. So they're trying to marginalize us and depict us as unhinged. Well, MSOC took the bait that she has so marvelously resisted in her appearances on Fox News, and they succeeded.

But they also failed. The article was the height of idiocy.

After all, how many of the WaPo's regular readers even KNEW about the Daily Kos--much less My Left Wing--before they read the article? The ones who were inclined to believe that partisan blogs are crap will have been reinforced in that belief. But thousands of others will follow the link to the site--and to the Daily Kos, the Booman Tribune, and the other blogs mentioned.

And, in the Neo's immortal words at the end of the Matrix, "we're going to show these people what You [the Traditional Media] don't want them to see. We're going to show them a world without rules, without boundaries, and without You. And where we go from there is up to You."

Because they are going to see some of the superb, rational, and outstanding writing, reporting, and editorial content on our blogs. They are going to see some anger, yes, but they are also going to see some truly quality content. And most importantly, they're going to see stories covered that the Traditional Media refuses to cover in any depth.

And they're going to be hooked.

They're going to be hooked because--for perhaps the first time--instead of ignoring us, they've started laughing at us.

Well, we've got their attention. STEP TWO IS COMPLETE. And we're attracting converts like never before.

Now, get ready for the fight...because while this was one of the traditional media's first major salvos, it certainly won't be the last.


GOP Leaders Pledge Allegiance to the Elephant--Literally!

Remember when snark was, well, just snark?  Remember when preposterous pieces from The Onion were just jokes, instead of oracular prophecy?  Remember when jibes about taking our glorious carnival of an Iraq war to Iran were just, well, morbid humor?  Remember when jokes about Cheney being Darth Vader didn't have to take into account Dick Cheney's penchant for shooting old men in the face while intoxicated?

Well, today is just another day--and it brings yet another example of what was once unthinkable snark changing from fantasy to reality faster than a Velveteen Rabbit.

Markos has introduced the meme of Republicans flying the Elephant above the Stars and Stripes.  It is a highly effective visual image, and gut-wrenching to any true American, Republican or Democrat.  To paraphrase the immortal (and immoral) words of Condi Rice, no one could have predicted anything resembling such an act of anti-American depravity would actually take place in the real world.

Well, what happened Thursday in San Diego wasn't quite that bad.  It was worse.  They actually, literally, pledged allegiance to the banner of the Republican Party.  I shit you not.

Worst of all, however, was the perky Greta Van Susteren, Fox News bimbo style of cutesy smiles "journalism" with which it was reported.

From Diane Bell's column in the San Diego Union Tribune, cheerily entitled "A GOP heavyweight stands in for Old Glory".

As someone stood up to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at a GOP dinner here Thursday, it was suddenly realized there was no flag in the room.

Hmmmm...okay.  Well, one could always agree to face east towards Washington, D.C.  That would be a strong symbolic gesture, widely used.  Or perhaps one could face the podium or center of attention at this Republican dinner.  Or any piece of American paraphernalia.  But no...

"Pledge to the elephant!" shouted Bob Watkins of the county Board of Education.

Now, hold on a sec.  I have to let something out goes...OHMIFUCKINGGODYOUIMMORALUNPATRIOTICFUCKINGPIECESOFPUTRIDPONDSCUM!!!!  Ahhh...that felt better.  I now fully qualify to be a member of the Angry Left.  All venting aside, however, there are really two salient points that bear consideration here:

a) You mean to tell me that there was an official political dinner, replete with congress critters (as we shall see below) and big GOP banners, with no American flag--or even a modest representation of one?  Apparently, there was nothing authentically American at this GOP dinner party.  But then again, why does that not entirely surprise me...

b) Even if you have no morals or real patriotism, isn't it very simply in pathetically poor taste?  I mean, as any psychiatrist or psychotherapist knows, even the most jaded and unnervingly amoral sociopath does their very best to maintain an exterior of evenhandedness, charm, and basic fairness.  Don't they know any better?  Do they, at long last, have no shame?  No shame at all?

But we're not remotely finished...

So the audience, which included Rep. Darrell Issa, sate Senate Minority Leader Dick Ackerman, Assembly Republican Leader-Elect George Plescia and Mayor Jerry Sanders, turned toward the GOP banner and recited the pledge while facing the party's symbolic pachyderm.

Yes, that's right, boys and girls.  This was no small time dinner.  These were some of the most prominent GOP leaders in all of Southern California, gathered together en masse.  Darrell Issa is the same scumbag who initiated the recall election campaign against Gray Davis because he thought he would become governor--only to become a mess of blubber and tears appropriate to a hubristic scumbag once Arnold ran over all other GOP contenders with his Hummer-sized campaign.

And they all agreed to what essentially qualifies as sacrilege, as surely as if a Christian minister or Jewish rabbi bowed down to a golden calf in a church or temple.

 Think about it--facing the Republican elephant, place your hand over your heart and...I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United nation, indivisible...under God...  NO WAIT.  Stop.  I don't want to cause anyone convulsions and sudden apoplectic shock.

No...imagine facing the Democratic Donkey.  Try to face the Donkey and recite the pledge, and see whether or not you taste a little vomit in your mouth.  It's disgusting, no matter which side of the aisle you are on.  It's repulsive, and I can smell the stench of it from here.


Fortunately, it was a patriotic red, white and blue--with stars.

Oh, isn't that nice?  How cute!  Golly gee, boys and girls, aren't our sweet little GOP leaders so cute?  Darned kids do such silly things, but don't they mean well and don't we love them?  I mean, imagine that--pledging allegiance to the elephant!  But by golly, at least it was red, white and blue with stars.  I say we give them an A+ for effort!

Fucking repulsive.

I just want to close with a few questions for the American public:

a) Have you had enough yet?

b) Do you still think you have an excuse for voting Republican?

c) Is this really the example you want to be setting for your children?

d) Where is the outrage?

Or are you all waiting for the next sick joke to make its way into your newspaper's headlines, announced with cheery vapidity of the latest corporate media shill?


The New Ozymandias by fellow Kossack Occam's Hatchet. Brilliant work--the perfect photo-diary on hubris, accompanying the perfect poem on hubris.

I know it's cliche to say it, but it's a deeply, terribly moving piece, and I highly recommend it.

Just a little under three years left in this asinine can't end soon enough.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A Memorial for what we have Lost

As we engross ourselves with scandal after scandal after mind-numbing outrage, and as multitudinous evils are effected around in the world in our name, I think we often lose sight of something terribly important: This United States of America is a truly great country.

We lose sight of the fact that the true ideals of this nation are progressive, timeless and eminently noble.

And that this above all--the perversion of everything truly great and noble about America itself--is the greatest crime of all that these corrupt traitors have perpetrated on our nation.

Indeed, our ideals are set forth in stone all over our nation's capital.

There is something about engraving words in stone that gives them a timeless authority.  To engrave words in stone in a public place in the heart of a nation's government speaks, in many ways, to values that run even deeper than its temporary codes of law, dress, behavior.  Examining what our people have, over time, decided is worthy of engraving in stone in our nation's monuments speaks volumes about our values.  It is an uneffacable tattoo of our deepest desires, hopes and dreams.

Tonight, I want to remind my fellow Americans--Americans who I know today are ashamed to be Americans--of what some of those ideals are.  Because no matter how badly these assholes have sullied them, they were, are and remain OUR VALUES.

My first selections will be from the Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorial.  The following quotes are engraved in large letters on the stone for all to see, free of charge.

On distribution of wealth:

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.

Yes, that's right.  Right on the stone, in plain view.  But in the world according to one George W. Bush, we get the unforgettable: "This is an interesting crowd: The haves, and the have mores.  Some might call you the elite; I call you my base."  Could there be any greater contrast between two heads of state?

On civil liberties:

We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all citizens whatever their background.  We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization.

He's talking about YOU, Mr. Brownback; YOU, Mr. Frist; YOU, Mr. Rove.  REAL AMERICAN VALUES dictate that we guard the rights of our Muslims; our immigrants; our gays and lesbians; and all others whom you choose to victimize as WEDGE ISSUES to divide and destroy our democracy.

He's talking about YOU, Mr. Bush; and when we excoriate these villains, we do nothing less than stand with Mr. Roosevelt, pointing at the engraved tattoo on our national character--a character that this administration's crimes can NEVER wash away.

On war:

I have seen war on land and sea; I seen blood running from the wounded; I have seen the dead in the mud; I have seen cities destroyed; I have seen children starving; I have seen the agonies of mothers and wives.  I hate war.

This is how REAL Americans think of war--even the ones who reluctantly take us there.  Traitors to the American way say things like "I'm a War President, heh heh" as if it were all a parlor game.

On the post-war economics of other nations:

Unless the peace that follows recognizes that the world is one neighborhood and does justice to the whole human race, the germs of world war will remain as a constant threat to mankind.

TRUE Americans understand that one does not profit oneself by profiteering from war and exploiting the economies of the conquered or subjugated.  TRUE Americans understand that unless we are just and righteous in our dealings around the globe, that resentment will flourish, leading to terrorism and future catastrophic war.

Only traitors to our nation's ideals believe that the globe is our war profiteering and global corporate playground to exploit, and that anyone who gets upset about that should be nuked.  They are traitors to the American way.

On multlateralism (from Eleanore Roosevelt):

The structure of world peace cannot be the work of one man or one party or one nation; it must be a peace which rests on the cooperative effort of the whole world.

You know, that multilateralism thing that respects the U.N.?  Only mutachioed traitors want to see the U.N. building destroyed, and only those who have defected entirely from the American Way think that unilateral pre-emptive war is anything but corrupt and evil to its core.


Let use travel now around the Tidal Basin to the impressive Jefferson Memorial, which stands straight to the south of the White House, in full view of its windows.  Location-wise, the President cannot look out his front window without gazing onto the beautiful and timeless Jefferson Memorial.

And any decent person, looking on it, would be reminded of the words etched in stone--yet more embodiments of our nation's guiding principles.  More tattoos on our nation's soul, never to be forgotten.  Let us examine a couple:

On strict constructionism:

I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.

As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners of opinions change, with the change in circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times.  We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as a civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

Of course, such brilliant words are wasted on the likes of Scalia, Scalito, Thomas (also known as Scalia's manservant), and good ol' boy Roberts.  And wasted on the assholes who put such people on the highest bench in the land.  If it were up to the people who have hijacked our government, our laws would be founded on the principles of the same church that condemned Galileo and Darwin.  For these UnAmerican bastards, the "regimen of barbarous ancestors" is the "good old days" devoutly to be restored.

For us REAL Americans, the good old days means returning to a time when these ratfuckers are out of office--permanently--and unable to stain our nation's good character further.

On education:

Establish the law for educating the common people: this it is the business of the state to effect, and on a common plan.

You hear that, my voucher-loving and religious homeschooling friends?  You hear that, you misleading cowards at Fox News?  Education of the common man and woman is the duty of all Americans ON A COMMON PLAN.  And REAL Americans understand that.


Finally, let us end our tour at the gravesite of John F. Kennedy, where the eternal flame above his body is matched across the memorial square by some of the eternal words, etched in stone, of his magnificent presidency.  Two of these quotes follow here:

On America as world's policeman:

What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by an American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living...not merely peace for Americans, but peace for all men and women; not merely peace in our time, but peace for all time.

That's right: the fuckers at PNAC are UNAMERICAN.  They want unending and perpetual war, financed on the backs of America's disappearing middle class, and funneling money to the producers of every bigger and more brutal American weapons of war.

They are UnAmerican scum of the highest order, and I for one refuse to be sullied by their taint.  What about you?

On Social Justice:

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

No comment is really necessary here; just listen for that slow, slow drip of filth and sewage that is "trickle-down" or supply side economics, and feel it dripping down onto the heads of us REAL Americans in a form of water torture not yet outsourced in extraordinary rendition to our rich Saudi friends.



Never forget it.  Never forget.

Never forget that these criminals are not America; they are a CANCER on America.

And our only task now is to decide on the speed of the removal of those who betray our essential goodness and our deep-seated values.

[Cross-posted at The Daily Kos]

Monday, April 10, 2006

Lettuce--Your Latest Taste of GOP Hypocrisy

It seems that every day, in every way, it gets harder and harder to top the mindboggling examples of Republican hypocrisy.  Our "National Security President" is now directly involved in selectively leaking classified information; our "smaller government" party is now ballooning the deficit and wiretapping domestic-to-domestic calls; and our "moral values" leaders are nothing more than shoplifters and pedophiles.

All this, of course, falls into the well-established realm of IOKIYAR hypocrisy (It's OK If You're a Republican).  But what is even more compelling to me is the way not just these people themselves are absolved by their supporters of stunning levels of hypocritical guilt, but the way that their very ideologies themselves run into conflict with one another--in ways that would make any otherwise honest person's head explode.

One such case came up recently in Dubai Ports Deal, and I explained it in my diary Ports, Inc.: Welcome to Flatworld.  In short, the ship of neo-liberal free market global corporate ideology was dashed squarely on the rocks of national security when it came time for an Arab national company to control our port security.  Although a few big-business Republicans claimed that handing over our ports to Dubai was just peachy in our brave new world of corporatocracy, most couldn't support it and still maintain the façade of being strong on national security.  In other words, just sheer hypocrisy.

Well, today's example involves lettuce.  Yes, lettuce.  I've been noticing a distinctly lettuce-flavored meme running around right-wing politics lately, and I figured it was worth checking out--and it is.  It's amazing what can happen when you do a google search for "pay more for lettuce"...


You see, free market Republicans claim that everything can be solved by an unbridled free market--especially to provide lower prices.  A short list:

the corrupt and evil community-destroying practices of Wal-Mart are okay because, well, they offer lower prices in the free market.

The trade deficit with China is okay because, well, they sell us cheap crap at low prices.

NAFTA and CAFTA are great ideas even though they depress American wages because we get lower prices at our stores.

Unions are evil because union labor increases prices.

Exploitation of third-world children by the globalized labor market is okay because it leads to lower prices.

Propping up corrupt Saudis and evil regimes in the Middle East is okay because it lowers oil prices.

And God Forbid ANYONE should ever consider RAISING TAXES--that's the people's money.  When we liberals say they would rather pay higher taxes to get better services, a Republican says that we're suckers at best, and evil at worst.

But apparently not when it comes to lettuce.  Not these days, anyway.

crank, one of the editors of RedState, said this today in RedHot:

Most Americans will pay an extra $.25 for a head of lettuce so that bands of illegals don't loiter in a Home Depot parking lot, and so that their fundamental sense of justice isn't violated every time they drive by a construction project.

Really, crank?  What about paying an extra $.25 for a head of lettuce so that grocery store workers can keep their unions???  No, I'm sorry--that would be a commie moonbat plot...

From an online glowing GOP review of the anti-immigration book Whatever It Takes, Craig Matteson says:

If we have to pay more for lettuce and other produce to be honest in our employment practices, I am all for it.

Really, now? would this honesty in employment practices include, say, not making children work 12 hours a day in Indonesian sweatshops? Or is that just my bleeding-heart liberalism talking?

Or try this: from a comment by Amethyst on a blog post titled Illegal immigrants keep food cost down:

And that money you save on a head of lettuce just goes for taxes to support these freeloaders.

I'd rather pay more for lettuce. you would also be happy to pay more for hardware supplies to keep Wal-Mart out of your community, right?  No, I didn't think so.  You'll just pay more to keep them wetbacks out of your America.

From Richmond City Watch, ym gives us:

I'll happily pay more for lettuce and Big Macs in exchange for this country

to get SERIOUS about border security and immigration law enforcement. It will be offset by my paying less for health care, incarceration and education benefits for illegals.

So you would also be happy to pay higher taxes for HillaryCare in order to save the boatloads of money you spend on prescriptions and insurance premiums, right?  No wait, that would make your head explode...


It's all hypocrisy, you see.

Killing grocery store unions is good because it lowers prices--unless there's an illegal immigrant involved, in which case we should raise the prices.

Globalization with NAFTA and CAFTA is good--even though it depresses American wages and takes American jobs--because it decreases prices.  But if there's an Mexican involved in depressing wages and taking American jobs, well batten down the hatches and raise the prices!

Propping up Saudi Royals is great because it keeps prices down on gas--but God Forbid there should be an illegal working at the station; in that case, we'll be happy to pay an extra $.25 on that Twinkie.


So welcome to your new GOP overlords: a grand intersection of corporate feudalism, xenophobia, racism, and SHEER MIND-NUMBING JAW-DROPPING HYPOCRISY.