Monthly Archives: October 2006

Your Tuesday Morning Republican Juggernaut Update

FromHolden:

Oh my. It sounds like theend of Katherine Harris’ political career will be anything but graceful.

Katherine Harris, who is trying to become a U.S. senator, says she is writing a tell-all about the many people who have wronged her. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to: the Republican leaders who didn’t want her to run, the press that has covered her troubled campaign, and the many staffers who have quit her employ, whom she accuses of colluding with her opponent.

She is vague about what, precisely, makes her a victim, but she says she has it all documented.

“I’ve been writing it all year,” she says in that kittenish voice. She often smiles and cocks her head as if she’s letting you in on a secret. “It’s going to be a great book.”

The Melt-Down Continues…

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Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

Pony Blow is back, andHelen Thomas is all over him.

Q Does the President owe the Democrats an apology for saying that the terrorists — that they will appease the terrorists?

MR. SNOW: No. Let’s take — you know what’s interesting, Helen, and I’ve said this before —

Q How bellicose was Holden?

MR. SNOW: I don’t think it’s bellicose. Look, let’s listen to what the Democrats — or let’s think about what Democrats are doing in this election campaign. When it comes to winning the war on terror, what is their plan? They’ve not said. They have talked about withdrawal —

Q — 101 in Iraq —

MR. SNOW: — they’ve talked about a whole series of things, in terms of complaining — looking back over their shoulders and complaining about past decisions. But when it comes to the key issue, how do you achieve victory — they say they want to achieve it, but they won’t tell you how. They will tell you what they oppose what the President is doing. They oppose the Patriot Act; they have opposed the Terrorist Surveillance Program; they oppose the program by which we detain, question and bring to justice the worst of the terrorists. So they have opposed all of those things, so we know what they oppose, but we don’t know what they’re going to do.

Q How does the President propose to win? How does the President — 101 in October dying —

MR. SNOW: The President understands that it is difficult. This is a man who signs each and every condolence note. He is absolutely aware of the human cost. And he grieves for every family and every person that we’ve lost. But on the other hand, he also knows two things. First, as General Casey said last week, there is not a single military engagement that we have not won, and we don’t give our soldiers credit for that.

[snip]

Helen, you and I have been students of the region long enough to know that everybody is watching — everybody is watching. And the way they see it in the region is either terrorists win or democracy wins. And the President is absolutely determined that democracy wins.

Obsession continues…

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Worst. Ever. Period.

Military reporter Joe Galloway hits hard in his column“George, Dick, Don, Congress: You’re doing a heckuva job … ruining America”

The president says that there’ll be tough fighting to come, which is hardly news to a military that’s already suffered more than 2,800 killed and 22,000 wounded; a military so ground down that it won’t be able to man the next annual deployments without once again reaching out and activating thousands of Army National Guard and Reserve troops that have maxed out their active duty availability…

The White House Office of Management and Budget rejected Army chief Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker’s extraordinary plea for the additional funds to pay for repairing and replacing thousands of worn out and blown up tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles and Humvees.

Instead of the $25 billion that Schoomaker says the Army needs just to keep doing what it’s been doing with spit, adhesive tape and baling wire for the last five years, the Pentagon says the Army can have $7 billion.

SNIP

This unseemly circus and its clowns in Congress can’t go away fast enough and with enough dishonor and disgrace to suit the circumstances. Their place in America’s history is secure: They will go down as the worst administration and the worst Congress we’ve ever had. Period.

They deserve to lose both the House and the Senate on Nov. 7, and the White House in 2008. They bullied their way into a war that they thought would be a slam-dunk and then so bungled things that the only superpower left in the world has been humbled and hobbled in a world that they’ve made more dangerous for us.

Thanks, guys. You’ve done a heckuva job. We won’t forget it.

(viaE&P)

Rush helps himself to elderly’s tax breaks

TheOrlando Sentinel reports Florida’s Save Our Homes tax “measure meant to protect the elderly from being taxed out of their homes also has let Florida’s wealthiest reap big tax breaks.” One of the fat cats cited who benefited was Rush Limbaugh who got a “tax break of about $224,000.”

“It’s just the opposite of what it should be: take from the poor to give to the rich,” said longtime Orange County Chief Deputy Comptroller Jim Moye. “You’ve just got winners and losers.

SNIP

The real effect of Save Our Homes has not been so much to cut taxes as to change who pays them, said Dominic M. Calabro, president of Florida TaxWatch, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and taxpayer-advocacy group.

“Save Our Homes is not a tax limitation. It is a tax shift,” Calabro said. “And when you shift taxes from one group of people, you shaft another group.”

SNIP

As for the widows, who were the poster girls for the original Save Our Homes campaign, they save slightly less than the average homeowner. In Central Florida, surviving spouses saved an average of $957 last year, while overall homeowners saved an average of $1,010, Sentinel research showed.

Mocking the disabled…taking elderly widows’ tax breaks…if Rush can find a way to screw over some orphans he’ll have hit the worst person in the world trifecta.

Your President Speaks!

Chimpy sat down for a chat withSean Hannity yesterday.

Values Matters Well

Well, I suspect people are going to vote for [Georgia Republikkkan] Max [Burns] because they know him as local boy who’s got — share their values. Now, values matters well in a race.

Deep Thinker

Well, I think this: I think that if you don’t think we’re in a war that you can’t win the war.

A Trip to the Concession Stand

Now, you can imagine these radicals getting a hold of a country where they’re able to pull oil off the market to run the price of oil up to extract concession. What concession would they like? Well, one concession would be to retreat. In other words, you don’t retreat, we’ll raise the price of oil.

Brain Fart

They have a different view of the world that then makes — that — and, therefore, their policies would weaken us.

What Your Politics Is?

No matter what your politics is, we ought to be thanking these people for volunteering.

“Stay the Course” Twisted By Democrats

Well, what I meant was, “Don’t leave before the job is done.” But in my line of work, words always get, you know, kind of put in different contexts and, you know, I guess they use words to suit their purposes. Stay the course, when I said that, was we will get the job done, because I understand that if we leave Iraq before the job is done, it will make the world a very dangerous place and make this country more vulnerable to attack.

Negative Trouble

Well, listen, there’s a lot of pessimists who don’t believe, one, we should have been there and, two, that we can’t succeed. And that is just plain wrong that people can’t — believe we can’t succeed.

Remember All Those Pessimists At The End OF WWII

There were people who said we couldn’t succeed after World War II, couldn’t succeed during the Cold War. And, fortunately, the leaders then didn’t listen to the pessimists.

Desperate For… Something

In the meantime, there are societies where people are so hopeless that they’re desperate for, you know, something. In other words, imagine the type of society in which a 16-year-old kid agrees that maybe the best thing for him is to listen to an elder and strap a suicide — you know, conduct a suicide operation.

Bin Laden — Not The Suicider

You’ll notice, by the way, that Usama bin Laden doesn’t actually — is not the suicider. He finds desperate people who are the suiciders or propagandize people.

Freedom Will End Up Doing

Right now, there’s an ideological conflict going on and — but freedom will end up doing is preventing the totalitarian point of view from gaining even more traction than it has.

Britain Detains People Trying To Protect Us

Witnessed some of those bombers in Great Britain that we helped Great Britain detain. And, by the way, the British did a wonderful job of finding those people before they got on airplanes to protect us.

The Ubiquitous Number 3

Well, [capturing bin Laden is] important, and that’s why we’re after him every single day. But so is getting Zawahiri important, and so is getting the number-three guy, whoever he is when they pop up. You know, we’ve got this guy, Zarqawi.

George Allen’s thugs attack blogger

Blogger Mike Stark ofCalling all Wingnuts was attacked today by Sen. Allen’s supporters or perhaps staff. FromAlternet viaAtrios

Former Marine and first year law student, Mike Stark was asking Republican senator George Allen some questions about the arrest records he refuses to make public and whether he had ever spit on his first wife. (Rumors that the Republican had done so have been circulating). Men wearing “Allen” buttons then assaulted Stark, wrestling him to the ground and forcibly removing him from the premises.

Alternet has Video of the attack

Cut-n-Run

The Brits abandon their consulate inBasra, chased out by insurgent mortar fire.

The British consulate in Basra will evacuate its heavily defended building in the next 24 hours over concerns for the safety of its staff.

Despite a large British military presence at the headquarters in Basra Palace, a private security assessment has advised the consul general and her staff to leave the building after experiencing regular mortar attacks in the last two months.

The move will be seen as a huge blow to progress in Iraq and has infuriated senior military commanders. They say it sends a message to the insurgents that they are winning the battle in pushing the British out of the southern Iraqi capital, where several British soldiers have died and dozens have been injured.

[snip]

A handful have already left by helicopter and the rest are expected to go this week, some of them to Basra air station eight miles outside the city and the rest back to Britain. A skeleton staff will continue to man the building until it is deemed safe enough for the rest to return. A Foreign Office spokesman insisted last night that its officials were “not bailing out”.

Let’s Talk About The Economy

Consumer confidence takes a hit.

The market was uneasy after the Conference Board said its index of consumer confidence fell to 105.4 from 105.9 in September. The reading was well below the 107.8 analysts expected and raised concerns on Wall Street about the strength of consumer spending, and in turn, the economy, in the coming months.

Karl E. Rove:Super Genius.

Whatever Nouri Wants, Nouri Gets

US forces in Iraqmeekly comply with the orders of the Iraqi Prime Minister.

U.S. troops on Tuesday abandoned checkpoints around the Shiite militia stronghold of Sadr City on orders from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the latest in a series of moves by the Iraqi leader to assert his authority with the U.S. administration.

[snip]

U.S. forces disappeared from the checkpoints within hours of the order to remove the around-the-clock barriers by 5 p.m., setting off celebrations among civilians and armed men gathered on the edge of the sprawling slum that is under the control of the Mahdi Army militia run by radical anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Iraqi troops loaded coils of barbed wire and red traffic cones onto pickup trucks, while small groups of men and children danced in circles chanting slogans praising al-Sadr, who earlier Tuesday had ordered the area closed to the Iraqi government until U.S. troops lifted what he called their “siege” of the neighborhood.

Extra checkpoints were set up last week as U.S. troops launched an intensive search for a missing soldier, who has yet to be found.

Shortly after leaving Sadr city, U.S. troops dismantled other checkpoints in the downtown Karradah neighborhood where the soldier had been abducted, loading barbed wire coils onto their Stryker armored vehicles.

191 of me

Here’s something for a break. I’d not seen this before. Viaslim at no fish, no nuts is a website to find out how many other people share your name…How Many of Me

How many of you are there?

A Majority At Stake

Bowers:


I am a progressive, and I joined the Democratic coalition because that is where progressives belong. Just one look at the opposing coalition should make that clear. Fighting for progressives and fighting for Democrats does not in any way seem like a conflict to me. That goes for every time I support a conservative Democrat in a general election. As long as we all follow the guidelines I laid out above, it shouldn’t be a problem for centrists and conservatives in our coalition to see no conflict here either. I desperately wish that lack of conflict is something more non-progressives in our coalition would come to understand, because as long as we are selling each other down the river for personal gain, our coalition stands no chance of governing to the benefit of the American people, winning elections, or even functioning as an effective opposition to Republican rule.

The actions of the progressive movement over the past several years have made it clear that we know it is our party. I hope those New Democrats and LieberDems who denigrate the progressive movement and the party’s left wing at every turn will come to realize that it is their party too. It has been a long time since many of them they acted like they knew that, but we would all be a lot better off if they knew and acted like they did.


What Chris is talking about here, the fear of the established Democratic coalitions versus what’s called the “netroots” but what I like to call ordinary Democratic voters, is all just one more symptom of the disease of entrenched party activists who really, deep down, don’t want all that much to change.

We’ve got a week, and that’s it. And I don’t know about you, but I want a hell of a lot to change. I want my party to oppose that which its platform dictates it oppose. I want my party to speak for those of us who voted to put it in power. I want my party to make good on every fevered nightmare of the radical right, becauseI want them to know what it feels like already, and most of all, I want my party to give me an accounting of what has happened to my country.


I want to know who we’ve detained, and why. I want to know who we’ve sent away, and to where. I want to know who we’ve killed, and what we plan to do about it. I want to know who wants to hurt us, and how we’re going to stop them. I want to know who doesn’t have enough to eat, and how we’re going to feed them. I want to know who isn’t safe, and how we make them so. And most of all, I want to know that what has happened in the past six years will never, ever, ever happen again.


I want the fear of God put into those responsible for the neverending stream of hatred that comes out of our radios, and I want a government that stops pandering to the most bloody-minded among us and starts doing its job. I want leadership that sees people wading through chest-high water dragging their possessions in garbage bags and does not shrink, does not shrug, does not go back to its breakfast. I want a country that can turn as much of its attention to its fellow citizens as to its video games and I want politicians who I pay and who I elect to stand up and start shouting about that kind of country until somebody fucking hears it and starts paying attention.

I want a Democratic majority. I’m under no delusions that this will accomplish all of the above, but it will, at the very least, stop me from adding to the list of dissatisfactions, crimes against democracy, egregious stupidity and financial gluttony.

And so I can see where some of the people Bowers describes in his post don’t want me to feel like I have any voice whatsoever. It’s going to be a lot of work. I’m not going to be satisfied with more of the same. I’m going to be the boss from hell, in fact, so I can see where they’d wish I’d stop telling them my vote counts same as theirs, and I have one word for them.

Tough.


A.

Giving Your Money Away

The Bush Assministration certainly loves theoil industry.

The Interior Department has dropped claims that the Chevron Corporation systematically underpaid the government for natural gas produced in the Gulf of Mexico, a decision that could allow energy companies to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties.

The agency had ordered Chevron to pay $6 million in additional royalties but could have sought tens of millions more had it prevailed. The decision also sets a precedent that could make it easier for oil and gas companies to lower the value of what they pump each year from federal property and thus their payments to the government.

Interior officials said on Friday that they had no choice but to drop their order to Chevron because a department appeals board had ruled against auditors in a separate case.

But state governments and private landowners have challenged the company over essentially the same practices and reached settlements in which the company has paid $70 million in additional royalties.

[snip]

“The government is giving up without a fight,” said Richard T. Dorman, a lawyer representing private citizens suing Chevron over its federal royalty payments. “If this decision is left standing, it would result in the loss of tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, of dollars in royalties owed by other companies.”

In return for the right to drill on federal lands and in federal waters, energy companies are required to pay the government a share of their proceeds. Last year, businesses producing natural gas paid $5.15 billion in government royalties.

But the Bush administration has come under fire on Capitol Hill for its record on collecting payments. While the Interior Department has sweetened incentives for exploration and pushed to open wilderness areas for drilling, it has also cut back on full-scale audits of companies intended to make sure they are paying their full share.

Administration officials knew that dozens of companies had incorrectly claimed exemptions from royalties since 2003, but they waited until December 2005 to send letters demanding about $500 million in repayments.

In February, the Interior Department acknowledged that oil companies could escape more than $7 billion in payments because of mistakes in leases signed in the 1990s. Top officials are trying to renegotiate those deals, but some Republicans and Democrats have complained that the administration is dragging its feet.

In addition, four government auditors last month publicly accused the Interior Department of blocking their efforts to recover more than $30 million from the Shell Oil Corporation, the Kerr-McGee Corporation and other major companies.

Your Monday Afternoon Republican Juggernaut Update

I think Katherine Harris shoulddemand a recount.

There are 22 daily newspapers in Florida.

All 22 have endorsed Bill Nelson for re-election to the U.S. Senate.

The first was The Palm Beach Post, the latest two on Sunday were The Orlando Sentinel and the Jacksonville-based Florida Times-Union.

The only newspaper that has endorsed Republican candidate Harris is ironically named the Polk County Democrat, published four days a week in Harris’ girlhood hometown, Bartow.

The Puppet Becomes A Real Boy

Maliki is calling the shots in Iraq now.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered the removal of U.S. and Iraqi military checkpoints from Sadr City Tuesday, according to his office.

The order came after a general strike ordered by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadral-Sadr shut down the sprawling Shiite slum.

Most shops, schools and government buildings there were closed for the day.

The order pertains to all entrances of Sadr City and says they must be reopened by 5 p.m. (9 a.m. ET), according to al Maliki’s office.

For the last week, U.S. and Iraqi troops have imposed checkpoints at the main entrance to Sadr City, while conducting raids in their search for an American soldier kidnapped in central Baghdad on October 23.

Al-Maliki’s orders were being assessed, a U.S. military spokesman said. They came just days after al-Maliki told U.S. officials he answers first to the Iraqi people and that he was not “America’s man in Iraq.”

“If the prime minister has concerns about checkpoints we will respond to those wishes appropriately,” he said, but added checkpoints are part of the Baghdad security plan and will continue to be part of the Baghdad security plan.

Your Tuesday Morning Republican Juggernaut Update, Part II

More about thesofter side of Katherine Harris.

She’s a Thesbian!

An arts lover, [Katherine Harris] reveled in Sarasota’s galleries, theaters and diamond-studded social scene. She volunteered, raised money and planted the seeds of her political future.

Robert Plunket, a Sarasota writer, said no one worked harder.

“I adored Katherine; I loved her,” he said. “She was a force for good.”

Plunket, who has since soured on Harris’ politics, arranged her Sarasota stage debut. In 1991, he cast her in a late-night revue that he produced. Harris had a one-night role as a “Vanna White character” who escorted guests onstage.

At the end of the show, Harris led the crowd in the “chicken dance.”

Sounds Like A Troll

She obsesses on the smallest details — counting bursts of applause during speeches — and sends overwrought e-mails awash in exclamation points and capital letters.

She’s aRegan Republican

The drama was too much for former campaign manager Jim Dornan. He left late last year, driven away, he said, by Harris’ micromanaging and her outbursts. Dornan said Harris once “screamed bloody murder” because she was unhappy with a fundraiser.

“I’ve never been yelled at like that,” said Dornan, one of three campaign chiefs who quit. People, he said, could hear her on his cell phone.

After that, Dornan customized the ringtone on his phone. When Harris called, it played “Tubular Bells,” the theme from The Exorcist.

“I’d hear that,” he said, “and it would send shivers up my spine.”

October New Jobs Report Due Friday

New numbers just in time for the mid-terms.

Traders are betting on Tuesday that U.S. employers added about a median 113,450 jobs in October in the first of five derivatives auctions, according to preliminary data from the firms holding the auction.

The latest median forecast of economists polled by Reuters predicted a 125,000 job increase in nonfarm payrolls against a 51,000 gain in September.

The U.S. Labor Department will issue the October payroll report on Friday at 8:30 a.m. (1330 GMT).

So, last month derivitives traders bet that the US economy had created 125k jobs when in actuality only 51k were created, and this month they’re betting on 113k additional jobs?

Atrios should take the under again.

Dead Man Talking Hangs At Red State

Fat Dennyhones his message of pitiful co-option of sci-fi movie clichs before the slavering hordes of orcs (hey, if he’s gonna take it there):


They want, quite simply, to terror-bomb us and our values back to the Dark Ages. As far as we are concerned, our enemies present to us a choice not between war and peace but between war and chaos. They will fight us whether we choose to fight back or not. As far as Republicans are concerned we are in a fight for our freedom and even our lives.


But the reception is less than kind:

You say you can keep us safe, and I believe in the long run the GOP can keep us safer than the defeatocrats, but honestly, your own office blocking an investigation into corruption to keep Capital Hill safe? An a No-Bid Contract, claimed to be completely ineffective from the planning stage, and nothing more than a cash cow. Is this the sort of leadership our votes/hard work/dollars deserve? Myself, I’m looking for a new brand of Republican leadership.


With all due respect to the Speaker, under his watch, Republicans have presided over vast increases in spending, enlarging the size and scope of the federal government to record levels.

It’s a real problem. Just using myself as an example. I am a former Executive Director of the California Republican Party, have worked on GOP campaigns and causes for two decades, and when I see a post from the Speaker, I get irate.

The War on Terror is very important. But to me, the House GOP Leadership right now stands for growth in government.


If Speaker Hastert’s intention is to argue that the only reason we should not stay home this time around is that terrorists will attack us if the Dems seize power, then I’m sorry, but I you’re going to have to do better than that.



If you look up “pwned” in the dictionary, it says, “When the Republican Speaker of the House can’t get a table at a right-wing blog.” So sad.


A.

Right track, Wrong track, No track

Given that the federal government is unable totrack the spending of $88 billion in Katrina funds I’m not surprised that a new federal report found, according to the NYT, that “the American military has not properly tracked hundreds of thousands of weapons intended for Iraqi security forces.”


In its assessment of Iraqi weaponry, the inspector general concluded that of the 505,093 weapons that have been given to the Ministries of Interior and Defense over the last several years, serial numbers for only 12,128 were properly recorded. The weapons include rocket-propelled grenade launchers, assault rifles, machine guns, shotguns, semiautomatic pistols and sniper rifles.

Of those weapons, 370,000 were purchased with American taxpayer money under what is called the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund, or I.R.R.F., and therefore fell within the inspector general’s mandate.

Despite the potential risks from losing track of those weapons — involving 19 different contracts and 142 delivery orders — the United States recorded serial numbers for no more than a few thousand, the inspector general said.

There are standard regulations for registering military weaponry in that way, governed by the Department of Defense small-arms serialization program. The inspector general’s report said that when asked why so many weapons went to Iraq with no record of serial numbers, American military officials in Baghdad replied thatthey did not believe the regulations applied to them.

Oh my the rules don’t apply. Another report on the logistic capability of the Iraqi Army, released at the same time, is perhaps more troubling for our “standing down” though no surprise…

…concluding that Iraqi security forces still depended heavily on the Americans for the operations that sustain a modern army: deliveries of fuel and ammunition, troop transport, health care and maintenance.

Mr. Bowen found that the American military was not able to say how many Iraqi logistics personnel it had trained —in this case because, the military told the inspector general, a computer network crash erased records. Those problems have occurred even though the United States has spent $133 million on the weapons program and $666 million on Iraqi logistics capabilities. (all emphasis mine)

—–

It’s Macacawitz By A Nose

Worst Senate Campaign (Ever?)

Sen. George Allen of Virginia is running the worst campaign in the country, political insiders said in a poll released Saturday by the National Journal.

Fifty-three percent of Republican and 66 percent of Democratic “insiders” think George Allen’s campaign is the sloppiest of the 2006 season, according to the survey of 138 political experts with campaign experience, insider knowledge and ties to key voting blocs.

[snip]

The National Journal survey also listed Rep. Katherine Harris of Florida, Sen. Conrad Burns of Montana, and Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, all Republicans, among this year’s bad campaigners.

But on the flip side, the insiders (22 percent of Republicans and 62 percent of Democrats) named Tennessee Democrat Harold Ford as the year’s best campaigner. Rep. Ford, the son of a former U.S. representative, is running against Republican Bob Corker for the Senate seat of Majority Leader Bill Frist, who is not seeking re-election.