Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Funny flash animation

Stay the course man
Stay the course man

And a couple of classics: dubya and his words...

Kathy H: in or out of favor with the party?

a friend wrote to me


I like this: "Her comments drew criticism, including some from fellow Republicans who called them offensive and not representative of the party."

It should really draw criticism from ALL her fellow Republicans. But we have a President that was hand picked by God himself and Senators that do telepathic diagnosis... I think she is right in line with the party. She is good.

It got me so flabbergasted that I had to write to you right away...


We are all going to hell.

My response
Kathy got her reward for a job "well" done by being given the means to easily win a House seat. When she overstepped the scope of her reward, she went against the wishes of the party high leadership, and therefore should have expected to be crushed. The fact that they just simply abandoned her instead of attacking her was probably a nod to her past service. While I'm sure she truly believed that helping to nudge a presidential election is worth more than a House seat, the deed had been done, so she became useless (what can you do for me now) and really should not expect more. Follow the money or political capital - hers is spent. Don't let the door smack your ass on the way out.

As far as what she said, I think you're wrong on both of those possible outcomes:
1) Draw criticism from ALL fellow GOPers. Not on your life. She's speaking to "the base". This is her being useful to the party. Her political career ain't going anywhere, so she's actually being very useful right now, and will probably receive some rewards for this. The base is getting spoken to, but real politicians don't have to go on record as having said such drivel.
2) Right in line with the party - no, similar to above. Some believe this, but I'm sure most aren't that extreme, and would most certainly not want such extremist views as an official party line. Let the extremists talk to that part of your base so you don't have to.

so, she'll have to be publicly distanced from, but her service with such speeches is so useful that I'm sure she's going to be getting an extremely high paying contracting or lobbying job soon.

the Frist reference doesn't really go with this context, though. Kathy's action was a flame-out. Frist's was an exercise in "prove your loyalty by violating your oath on our political whim". Much like when Giuliani blamed the troops for orders they were given. Despicable, but a clear indication that you're willing to put the party above all else, including the truth and your own morality.

Not all Congressmen roll over

Sometimes folk overgeneralize Congressional representatives, claiming that they're all the same and all just roll over and obey what comes out of the political branch of the White House. With all of the misinformation about dubya's war for oil, the tax breaks for the oil companies and the rich, the assault on education and science, the erosion of civil liberties and the principles this country was founded on, it's easy to fall into that trap and I've done so as well.

So, as a reminder, here's a refreshing response to White House propaganda trying to push a political agenda rather than what's best for the country:

Here's a little background on Tim Ryan and the way the Republican party lead an all-out assault on his character in a smear campaign, completely disregarding facts and avoiding real campaign issues to focus on this Rovian personal attack.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Stem cell fact

There is a right-wing extremist talking point going around concerning stem cells. If you listen to Rush, you're familiar with the statement that stem cell research is funded by pro-abortion people because it takes abortion to create stem cells for research. Rush flatly states this with no hesitation or conscience. This right-wing talking point is, in no uncertain terms, a lie. It is meant to create outrage so the gullible parts of "the base" will join extremist conservative positions.

The simple fact is that all people, from newborns to the elderly, have stem cells in their body. These are very long-lived cells, but they can die from normal causes, and there is no abortion being performed.

Now, the real center of the stem cell debate is really embryonic stem cells. The current method for getting ES cells is to use frozen, unwanted and unused fertilized blastocysts that are slated for destruction. These blastocysts are a byproduct of invitro fertilization, the process that brings children to scores of happy parents. Those opposed to ES cell research claim a moral high ground by claiming they're "pro life". However, their solution is to incinerate the excess blastocysts, instead of using them for scientific research.

Another simple fact - there is no such thing as this mystical pro-abortion position that the extreme right keeps claiming that anyone not fully in agreement with their position supports. People who support a woman's right to choose do not want abortions to occur. When necessary, however, they should safe and they should always be rare. Studies have shown that industrialized countries that outlaw abortions do not see a decline in the number of abortions performed - however they become unsafe and result in the injuries and deaths of women.

Know the facts. Know the players and their motivations. Follow the money trail when talking points claim to be purely moral. Never accept extremist talking points blindly - from either side. Be in the know.

Business as Usual

By now you've probably heard about the unashamedly racist comments of Senator George Allen of Virginia. When a politician takes such pleasure in publicly mocking someone with false statements and racial slurs, you'd expect other politicians to distance themselves from those comments. Indeed, many have. However, if racist comments speak to your base, and your name is George W. Bush, what do you do?
Decide to hold an urgent fundraiser to raise more money for the bastard, because money is all you know. Not only that, you try to have the Secret Service close down the carpool lanes leading from D.C. to Virginia, which would have gridlocked a major highway, just to show that your fundraising efforts are far more important than working folk. Somehow, somebody was able to convince dubya not to needlessly screw over real people that work for a living, and he used a helicopter to raise money for his friend Allen. Seriously, you don't have to even try to make this guy look bad - all you have to do is report the facts. Like, for instance, Allen mocked his political opponent for being in California that day, said as if it's a bad thing. For reference, Allen is from California, not Virginia. Remniscent of dubya mocking that "east coast mentality", since he's a good-ol-boy Texan. Unfortunately for dubya, the fact is that he's from Connecticut and only bought land in Texas. Truth trumps reality.

Meanwhile, as we approach the first anniversary of the Katrina disaster, we find out that the federal government's plans to rebuild the levee system to pre-Katrina strength once again leaves New Orleans in danger of being re-flooded if another category 3 hurricane comes. This is consistent with the Bush administration's plans of the past six years. His is the only administration EVER to CUT funding for the protection of New Orleans, and we all saw the results a year ago as the people of New Orleans paid the price for his plan. His response to repeating his horrible failures in preparedness? Today Bush said: "Last year I made a simple pledge: The federal government would learn the lessons of Katrina, we would do what it takes, and we would stay as long as it takes, to help our brothers and sisters build a new Gulf Coast where every citizen feels part of the great promise of America". Again, you don't have to try to make this guy look bad - just report the facts, and try to match his statements to reality. That alone is enough to show what a miserable failure dubya is. Alternatively, just go along with dubya.

Lastly, a direct and poignant political cartoon on global warming. We know that the Bush administration simply denies the existence of science and fact when there's a buck to be made for their friends. While the toon is overgeneralizing the GOP for sure, it's only because of history and how party members are so willing to blindly follow every mandate that comes from the White House.

(political cartoon credit to Tom Toles and Steve Sack)

Friday, August 04, 2006

Stating facts can still be treason

The Pentagon announced the completion of its primary investigation into Haditha, which found that Marines deliberately shot civilians, including unarmed women and children.

This is indeed a horrible crime, and not indicative of the conduct of the US military. Now that the coverup of this incident has been blown, it turns out that Representative Jack Murtha was right. That isn't stopping the right from attacking him, though. In addition to the continued assault on his character, there's now a slander lawsuit against Murtha - even though his statements have been proven to be true.

Even when they're proven to be completely wrong, that does not stop the far right from yelling just how "right" they are. Aren't you glad people like that are running all three branches of our government, with no accountability?

(political cartoon credit to Tony Auth)

Mini victory for science

Yea, the creationists no longer have a state school board majority in Kansas. There's a chance that religious dogma can be removed from taking up space reserved for teaching science. Remember, this same extremist dogma mentality once preached that it was the work of the devil to receive a blood transfusion, organ transplant, administer pain relieve to women giving birth, or saying that the Earth was not the stationary center of the entire universe.

While this is a minor victory for liberalism over fundamentalist conservatism, it's a step in the right direction - that of knowledge and education. Long live scientific knowledge and advancement!

As reported on CNN. Background on the BBC.

(political cartoon credit to Tom Toles)

All the President's Words

It may be meant as comedy, but it's so true that it's sad.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Freedom's not on the march any more


In the hype build-up to the US war against Iraq, GOP big-wigs openly criticized allies like France because they didn't believe the propaganda and accept known forgeries as fact - even though dubya's administration insisted they were good enough to start a war. The neocon leadership went so far as to have Congress' cafeteria change the names of "French fries" and "French toast" to "freedom fries" and "freedom toast". It's hard to imagine a more childish gesture, but apparently it was very important to the republican party to do so. Never mind they could have been paying attention to things like the economy, healthcare, or even the actual facts about the pre-war propaganda.

Well, here we are a few years into this war, and the first several reasons given to punish Iraq have either been debunked (behind 9/11, nuclear weapons, other WMD, backing al Qaeda) or achieved (toppling government, capturing Saddam, holding elections), yet we keep our troops in the crosshairs of a civil war. The "coalition of the willing" consists of the US and Britain (both against the popular will of their people) and a smattering of trivial support, most in name only.

At least Congress sheepishly changed the names of the fries and toast back. Funny, the GOP was so proud of their renaming achievement a few years ago, and spread that news heavily through all their mainstream media outlets and talking point channels. Now that they've backed off from that juvenile stunt, there's barely a mention of it in that very same US media. At least some press in the world is still more concerned about events than perception.