Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Kerry Fires Back

What Kerry's speech said: "Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush."

Man, there are times when this stuff is more ridiculous than anything a fiction writer or satirist could ever dream up.

So John Kerry mangles a sentence in a public appearance, and the right-wing smear machine and its traditional media enablers are apoplectic. I mean, John Kerry is a, um, junior senator not running for reelection! And he's, um, a war hero who hates the troops! And um, we hate him because he's John Kerry!

Trust me, I haven't been the first to pile on Kerry when warranted, and I won't be the last, but what a load of bullshit this is. And showing that he has learned from his Swiftboating days, Kerry hit back hard:
"If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they're crazy. This is the classic G.O.P. playbook. I'm sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did.

I'm not going to be lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq . It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have.
It is time for the Republican desperation lies. I even got that circulating email today about all of those people who "mysteriously" died around the Clintons, except there isn't anything mysterious about any of their deaths. A bunch of sick nasty desperate people trying to hold onto power. Fabuloso.

PS - Joe Pagliarulo, the blotto San Antonio radio Republican spinner squatting in Houston, had the GOP talking points on Kerry's remarks as his radio 740 topic today. Tell KTRH if you want them becoming another Right-Wing Nut Noise Machine or not.

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Congressional Democratic 26% Tidal Wave?

Independent pollster Cook has been predicting a big pickup for Democrats. His latest likely voter reading is approaching tidal wave proportions - possibly a pickup of 60 House seats. Has something made his years of experience and methodology wrong? Has the wave crested yet?

Democracy Now! | Hacking Democracy: New Documentary Exposes Vulnerability of Electronic Voting Machines


A link from Jim.

Karl Rove's 51% Solution

Just more hanging out at the cynical Whiskey Bar, which is receiving its share of brickbats over its rendition of Wolf Blitzer in blackface. Hey, I post links to fart jokes from Mark Twain and masturbation articles about MP3 playing vibrators so I can understand a bit of controversy.

Pierce Bush at UT Austin

Future presidential material.

Bush tells voters to bring a pencil into that voting booth

Hell, I'll even give them one just to see what they do with it.

Reduce Global Warming Now or Face a Great Depression Says UK Government

Monday, October 30, 2006

Poll: Write-in vote tightens Lampson race in District 22

How much of a bias is displayed in this Chronicle story? The poll shows Lampson (D) 36%, Sekula-Gibbs (R) 28%. Is it just for dramatic story purposes they never disclose that fact in the article and you have to look at the details of the poll?

In other poll news, a new Wall Street Journal Zogby has Chris Bell gaining and he is now at 29%. I predicted he could win it at 34%. Strayhorn is back down to 15% and Kinky less.

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Bush Prepares for Federal Martial Law

This link is from my brother Jim.

(1) IN GENERAL.--Section 333 of title 10, United States
Code, is amended to read as follows:
" 333. Major public emergencies; interference with State and
Federal law
(1) The President may employ the armed forces, including the
National Guard in Federal service, to--
"(A) restore public order and enforce the laws of the United
States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or
other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or
incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the
United States, the President determines that--
"(i) domestic violence has occurred to such an extent
that the constituted authorities of the State or possession
are incapable of maintaining public order; and
"(ii) such violence results in a condition described in
paragraph (2); or
"(B) suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic
violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy if such insurrec-
tion, violation, combination, or conspiracy results in a condition
described in paragraph (2).
"(2) A condition described in this paragraph is a condition
that-- "(A) so hinders the execution of the laws of a State or
possession, as applicable, and of the United States within that
State or possession, that any part or class of its people is
deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named
in the Constitution and secured by law, and the constituted
authorities of that State or possession are unable, fail, or refuse
to protect that right, privilege, or immunity, or to give that
protection; or
"(B) opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the
United States or impedes the course of justice under those
"(3) In any situation covered by paragraph (1)(B), the State
shall be considered to have denied the equal protection of the
laws secured by the Constitution.
"(b) NOTICE TO CONGRESS.--The President shall notify Congress
of the determination to exercise the authority in subsection (a)(1)(A)
as soon as practicable after the determination and every 14 days
thereafter during the duration of the exercise of that authority.".

This is a license for dictatorship.

In a stealth maneuver, President Bush has signed into law a provision which, according to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), will actually encourage the President to declare federal martial law (1). It does so by revising the Insurrection Act, a set of laws that limits the President's ability to deploy troops within the United States. The Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C.331 -335) has historically, along with the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C.1385), helped to enforce strict prohibitions on military involvement in domestic law enforcement. With one cloaked swipe of his pen, Bush is seeking to undo those prohibitions.

Public Law 109-364, or the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" (H.R.5122) (2), which was signed by the commander in chief on October 17th, 2006, in a private Oval Office ceremony, allows the President to declare a "public emergency" and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to "suppress public disorder."
Remarks Of Sen. Patrick Leahy:
...It seems the changes to the Insurrection Act have survived the Conference because the Pentagon and the White House want it. It is easy to see the attempts of the President and his advisors to avoid the debacle involving the National Guard after Hurricane Katrina, when Governor Blanco of Louisiana would not give control of the National Guard over to President and the federal chain of command. Governor Blanco rightfully insisted that she be closely consulted and remain largely in control of the military forces operating in the State during that emergency. This infuriated the White House, and now they are looking for some automatic triggers — natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or a disease epidemic — to avoid having to consult with the governors.

Debka Files Note The Huge American Navy Buildup Against Iran

The four carriers, although two of them small, the cruise missile ships, the Marines trained to seize oil platforms, they would not all be there unless action was expected soon. Debka throws in an al Qaeda threat that seems no more likely than normal.

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Election Machine Woes

I early voted. I hit the straight Democratic ticket button and then went through race by race and made some other choices but never removed a vote for a Democratic candidate. Libertarian opponents to GOP judges got some of my votes, a write-in candidate for Supreme Court Judge got a vote, two Republicans got my vote. (Gasp! but one was an unopposed judge and one was for a Sekula spoiler.) In looking at the ballot summary, I noticed that it had not recorded a vote for governor despite my hitting the straight Democratic Ticket button. All of my dozens of other votes were correct. I quickly went back and corrected the Bell vote but why was it blank? There is a glitch in the machines we use that while the screen is moving to a new page and if you hit enter they may remove a vote for a candidate. Except I didn't hit enter and didn't do that. But what do I know, I must have made a mistake and removed my vote for Chris Bell. I have only been an election judge for years and have taken a half dozen or so e-slate training classes. The lesson is to triple check the summary pages of your votes before hitting cast ballot. If you vote in my precinct and something like this happens I will call it in and will try to take the machine out of service.

Florida voting machines giving wrong results - vote Dem get GOP

There are no reports of voters hitting the GOP candidate and getting the Democratic candidate. These reports follow reports from Dallas and Baytown, Texas as well as similar reports from Missouri and Arkansas. In the Texas primary, some electronic ballots were counted six times. The Texas Democratic Party has filed a lawsuit to replace our current system - if the GOP remains in power in Texas that won't happen.

The Florida excuse is that following complaints the poll workers should realign these touch-screen machines - a 15-step process. Except to me this is similar to the optical scan voting machines that reject bad ballots, but only if election workers flip a switch which they didn't do in high Democratic areas. Voting cards from optical scan machines can also be preloaded to subtract votes from one candidate and add them to another.

The former Bush appointed Head of the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) Rev. DeForest Soaries says he resigned because neither the White House nor the Congress was really serious about election reform, the commission produced no standards for voting machines, and the system and machines now are "ripe for stealing elections and for fraud."

In yet more bad news for voters, a glitch in the Chicago online voter database exposed all the information to anyone somewhat knowledgeable about databases. Typing in one character through an Internet connection brought access to all the data including Social Security numbers, birthdays and voting eligibility and the ability to make at least temporary changes.

An Ohio investigation with no support from the Democratic Party or the mass media has been uncovering massive evidence of voter fraud. Is the Democratic Party ready for another Holy Ghost election? The Free Press also reports:
This year Blackwell will count the votes in his own race for governor, in the crucial U.S. Senate race between GOP incumbent Mike DeWine versus Congressman Sherrod Brown, and in a number of critical House races hotly contested for the first time in years.

As he does so, Blackwell is conducting the largest purge of voter rolls since the apartheid nightmare of the post-Reconstruction Jim Crow south.

The Free Press has further learned that even at this early date, some ten percent of absentee votes are being trashed by Blackwell's BOEs. Ohio's new "no-fault" rule allows anyone to vote absentee for this election, so absentee voting is estimated to increase 20-30%. Many Ohioans are opting for the absentee ballots to avoid electronic voting machines, which are notoriously vulnerable to tampering.
Severe election problems seen in ten states
"This was supposed to be the year - and the election - when the voting process nationwide was more secure, more technologically advanced and more trusted by the citizens and candidates participating," Electionline.org said in a summary of its report. "Yet as the mid-term elections approach, machine failures, database delays and foul-ups, inconsistent procedures, new rules and new equipment have some predicting chaos at the polls at worst and widespread polling place snafus at best."
Direct Material Proof of Massive Election Fraud in Ohio in 2004 - Dr. Ron Bainman - Large PDF report.

A talk with Mark Crispin Miller about what voters can do to prevent another stolen election
1-Vote, vote, vote...and get everyone you know to vote as well
2-Write your congressmen and senators and demand uniformity and federal standards for the election process. Demand an end to electronic voting machines unless there's a viable paper trail. Demand paper ballots instead. Ask that election day be declared a national holiday
3-Bombard the media with letters and calls that demand coverage of election fraud
4-Organize demonstrations
5-Go armed to the polls next month with 1-866-OUR-VOTE and call it immediately to report any fraudulent and/or suspicious activity
Appeal filed to prevent Congress from bypassing state laws to seat candidates. Hastert this summer seated a congressional candidate while the election was still under review in California. A court then held that the election could not be reviewed.

Election Fraud 2006 – Quantifying The Risk

Whatever you do, don't get mad and storm out of the voting booth.

Time Cover Story - Can These Machines Be Trusted?

Texas Democrats preparing to go to court over unconstitutional voting system.

The shortest route to America's salvation is a straight ticket

Electronic Voting Malfunctions and Miscounts, Sorted by Vendor

The Daily Voting News has a long list of links to news articles for one day. Here is one - Only 1 in 4 Americans Very Confident Votes Will Be Counted Accurately.

THE problem with Texas politics (warning - graphic)

from Texas Politics at UT Austin.

SNL Predicts Final Week Of RNC Ads

On Eve of Election, New Democrats Launch a Salvo for Intraparty War

In some ways this was simply shoddy NYT reporting, many Dean people support gun ownership, Dean was the most conservative Democratic candidate running except about the war, there is a range of views on abortion; in other ways it shows yet again that the DLC and New Democrats have big mouths and can't shut up and they are always eager to bash fellow Democrats as peace-loving hippies.

Bob Perry's Dirty Robo-Callers, Dirty Ads

Even in states where they are illegal, Bob Perry is funding push-poll robo-calls with a loose grasp of the truth but a keen eye for what smears. This is part of his strategic massive effort using several techniques aimed at helping the GOP retain power in Washington. Media Transparency notes:
This electoral season Perry has already contributed at least $8 million to a host of Republican congressional candidates around the country. According to Congressional Quarterly's PoliticalMoneyLine, which tracks how money is spent in politics, Perry is ranked the No. 1 donor this year. (For more on Perry's donations, see CampaignMoney.com, which describes itself as "a unique website that lets you see for yourself the hidden world of American political campaigns.")

In mid-October, the Houston Chronicle reported that Perry had given $2 million to Americans for Honesty on Issues, "a new group that is buying television ads aimed at helping Republicans facing tight House races in Iowa, Colorado, Indiana, Arizona, North Carolina, Kentucky and New Mexico, according to the group's latest report to the Federal Election Commission."

Americans for Honesty on Issues "is spending more than $1 million on...ads, which accuse Democratic candidates of carpetbagging, coddling illegal immigrants, being soft on crime and advocating cutting off money for troops in Iraq," the New York Times' John Broder reported earlier this month.

The groups that Perry is funding are -- like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth -- "527s", "named after a provision in the federal tax code," the Chronicle's Kristen Mack pointed out. "Donations Perry and others make to those groups are not subject to the same limits as donations directly benefiting federal candidates or political parties."
Bob Perry has been a powerful force in Texas politics and has become one nationally using tactics straight out of his friend Karl Rove's dirty politics course. Perry has given over $1 million to partisan Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. I have complained before about the fake 527 charities that aren't bound by campaign contribution laws, many campaign laws at all, and provide their contributors a tax break for their expenditures.

“It will be hard enough to restore decorum, calm and logic to our elective process without people like Bob Perry throwing a match in the ammo room of politics...." - Charleston Gazette, WV

Perry's FreeEats.com has just been found guilty of violating anti-robo calling laws in Indiana.
According to a press release from the Indiana Attorney General, the robocalling group "acknowledged to the court that it maintains a database of 1.7 million Indiana phone numbers and that its calling system may dial each number as many as three times." Using a real live person to make those calls would cost them $2 million more, they complained. A recent IRS disclosure by the Economic Freedom Fund shows that the Indiana calls didn't cost them much at all -- there's a single expenditure for $29,000 on surveys for both Indiana and Georgia.

Digging Through a Stupid War with Seymour Hersh

Seymour Hersh was interviewed by a Canadian journalist producing a fair number of disagreements and cuss words. From a less odd part of the interview:
M: Now the debate over the war has come down to how best to pull out of Iraq. What do you think the way out of Iraq is?

SH: There are two options. One is everybody out by midnight tonight, and the second option is everybody out by midnight tomorrow. I don’t think it’s cutting and running, I think it’s getting out. Two years ago, I was pretty sure that the 200-octane fuel that was driving the “insurgency” was us, and the faster we get out, the better. The country was not terribly sectarian before we got on the premises. The Sunnis and the Shi’ites intermarried, many tribes are 50-50. We’ve fostered a great deal of sectarian work. Even the awful, evil Saddam, by the mid-1990s, began to put all kind of Shia into the senior officer corps, in an effort to make it less dominated by the Sunnis. I’m no longer sure who the insurgency is. It’s all so screwed up. If I lived in a country and a bunch of people came in and started raiding my house, and capturing people and killing willy-nilly, I think I would take up arms against those people. Am I an insurgent then? Are the insurgents insurgents or are the Americans insurgents? I think the whole nomenclature is bizarre. We’re the insurgents. It’s their country. It’s a disaster. It’s been a civil war for a year.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


For years Democrats have called for investigations about the black box voting machines produced by companies owned my Republicans hiring felon experts in computer fraud and were told we were paranoid. Today the Drudge Report is fanning the paranoia flames and calling for investigations because one company is now owned by Venezuela.

Salon: How Would Jesus Vote?
How a Black Democratic may win in the South.

Push-polling is alive and sick: "Just got off the phone from a push poll for Michael Steele. My favorite question was (paraphrasing) "Do you favor carrying out medical experiments on unborn babies?" A close second was "Do you want to have your taxes raised?"" That is how a black Republican campaigns in a border state.

RNC Chief Ken Mehlman accepted political contributions from gay porn king. This after he ran ads against Ford for accepting money from porn movie producers.

BREAKING: Hastert Office Blocked Corruption Probe

Nevada GOP Rep. covering up assault on waitress.

Comptroller General of the United States warns of the coming economic disaster.

The World Turned 180 degrees and its from ABC's Political Director. "The only way to get a fair message out is through (friendly) New Media, because the Old Media is incompetent, weak, and biased.... You can't refresh Drudge too often."

Lynne Cheney attacks CNN as unpatriotic after their years of uncritical Bush-Cheney support.

Von Hayek was wrong

Scientific America: In strong and vibrant democracies, a generous social-welfare state is not a road to serfdom but rather a road to fairness, economic equality and international competitiveness.
"Colbert: Do they give a Nobel Prize for throwing your own feces?
Professor Stephen Agre (2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry): That's the economics prize, I think . . . " -- The Colbert Report

Friday, October 27, 2006

Voting Info for Harris County

Amy requested this and I thought I would post it for everyone.

All of the races are partisan this time and there are no silly or stealth candidates so you could just look for the D.

Some photos and links from the Harris County Democratic Party HQ for many races.

Harris County Young Democrats endorsements are here but they overstate what the candidates agreed to for their endorsement - most may not be for a death penalty moratorium for example.

Most of the ballot is taking up by judge races. That is hard to provide information on as the Chronicle has some pretty lame endorsements and reasons this year while some are OK. The PDF of Houston Bar poll results is here but should really be taken with some skepticism as they are a pretty partisan GOP bunch. For example - Bill Moody for the Texas Supreme Court is favored by the Texas Bar and most major newspapers over the GOP incumbent and even picked up the very Republican Dallas Morning News endorsement. The mainly Republican Houston Bar had a majority not supporting him. As 60 Minutes reported twice, the Texas (all Republican, all corporate lawyer) Supreme Court members actively solicit campaign funds from big law firms and corporate businesses with cases before them.

I would normally refer you to the Houston League of Women Voters but they have blotched it this election. Their Voting Guide is not out yet despite not giving many candidates enough time to respond. UPDATE: The Voting Guide came out Tuesday or Wednesday after early voting starting but they did not change the notice on their website that it was still being prepared. They did manage to get responses from a number of pretty stupid candidates according to Pat and Clear Lake Amy - PDF of LWV Voter's Guide here.

Here are the 33 Early voting locations for Harris County on an interactive map.

To find all of your voting ballot choices go here then go down and enter your name or address. That location will also give you your voting location for election day.

A Warning on Ads

Most of the Republican political ads you see will be negative - ask me for fact checks on any claims you see. Perry's 60% decline in border crime is almost pure fiction, for example. It compared crime in rural unpopulated counties for times when they had special border crossing forces operating there compared to crime in those counties a year ago without the border sweep operations. The result was a reduction of a couple hundred crimes at most at a cost of millions of dollars only in very rural areas, not in any border cities. Crime could even have gone up in areas the smugglers diverted to. There is a reason his ad uses percentages and not numbers and doesn't describe this claim in any detail.

This year I have had enough, when in doubt throw the bum out. I recommend early voting for a shorter, easier time casting your ballot.

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Three Individuals have funded a majority of Texas party operations this year

For both the Democratic and Republican parties some rich friends have provided the financial resources. Retired Dallas trial lawyer Fred Baron indirectly provided $317,000 of the $470,000 taken in by the Texas Democratic Party. Wealthy Christian school voucher proponent James Leininger and Houston homebuilder Bob Perry together gave $680,000 of the GOP's $1.2 million in contributions.

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Perry's Ad Claiming Border Crime Down 60% Is Campaign Fiction

Overall crime is down about 1 percent in El Paso, Wiles said, but the department is struggling with increases in auto thefts, burglaries, robberies and assaults.

In Laredo, where some of the most violent crimes related to drug gangs have been reported just across the border, police department spokesman Juan Rivera said that department was not asked to participate in state efforts.

"We're having an average year" for local crime rates, he said. "We're not seeing anything out of the ordinary."

West Point national security and terrorism professor Margaret Stock said she was skeptical of any claims about programs reducing terrorist threats on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Sekula-Gibbs Accused Of Campaigning In Polling Place

I would have called the police on her, but of course she choose a Republican precinct.
Democratic poll watcher Jane Borden Matcha watched Thursday as Sekula-Gibbs wandered through the early-voting location at First Colony Conference Center and introduced herself to voters.

"She committed a crime yesterday by campaigning within a polling location," Dunn said. "It's a play out of the (former House Majority Leader) Tom DeLay playbook of winning at any cost."

Liberals - Taking Back the Country

This government's failures to respect the process of public reason have generated predictable consequences -- none of them good. The Bush administration has failed to protect its citizens from disaster -- from foreign enemies on September 11, 2001, and from the hurricane and flood that afflicted the Gulf Coast in 2005. It has driven the war in Iraq to an impasse. It is incapable of presenting a plausible strategy to bring our military intervention to a tenable conclusion.

We insist that America be defended vigorously against its real enemies -- the radical Islamists who organize to attack us. But security does not require torture or the rejection of basic guarantees of due process. To the contrary, this administration's lawless conduct and its violations of the Geneva Conventions only damage our moral standing and our ability to combat the appeals of violent ideologues. By defending torture, the Bush administration engages in precisely the kind of ethical relativism that it purports to condemn. Meanwhile, it refuses to confront its responsibility for the human-rights violations at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and elsewhere. Having failed to plan for obvious contingencies, it has scapegoated low-level military personnel when it should be identifying and punishing broader command failures.

We refuse to confine our criticisms to personalities. We believe that the abuses of power that have been commonplace under Bush's rule must be laid not only at his door -- and the vice president's -- but at the doors of a conservative movement that has, for decades, undermined government's ability to act reasonably and effectively for the common good.

We love this country. But true patriotism does not consist of bravado or calumny. It resides in faithfulness to our great constitutional ideals. We are a republic, not a monarchy. We believe in the rule of law, not secret prisons. We insist on justice for all, not privilege for the few. In repudiating these American ideals, the Bush administration disgraces America and damages our claim to democratic leadership in the larger world.

It will take hard work to undo this damage. It will take more than defeating the hard-line right at the polls. We must engage in large acts of political imagination and inspire a new generation to take up liberal principles and adapt them inventively in a new century.

The Year Of Playing Dirtier

The GOP is spending millions on attack ads and the candidates are following suit.
"When the news is bad, the ads tend to be negative," said Shanto Iyengar, a Stanford professor who studies political advertising. "And the more negative the ad, the more likely it is to get free media coverage. So there's a big incentive to go to the extremes."

The result has been a carnival of ugly, especially on the GOP side, where operatives are trying to counter what polls show is a hostile political environment by casting opponents as fatally flawed characters. The National Republican Campaign Committee is spending more than 90 percent of its advertising budget on negative ads, according to GOP operatives, and the rest of the party seems to be following suit....

Experts say that in the past, negative ads were usually more accurate, better documented and more informative than positive ads; there was a higher burden of proof. Stanford's Iyengar thinks that is still true for candidate-funded messages, which now require candidates to say they approved them. But it is not true when the messages are produced by political parties, shadowy independent groups or partisans posting on YouTube.

"You're going to see more of this sensational, off-the-wall stuff," Iyengar said. "If you get people disgusted, they might withdraw from politics, and that's the real goal these days."


NBC refuses to run Dixie Chicks Movie ad - includes link to ad.

IRS not going after Katrina victims, until after the election

The new centrist Democrat blueprint from the DLC

Conservative GOP leader mass blasts an email urging a Democratic House

Fortune Magazine: Revolt of the lower upper-class against the truly wealthy

How Abramoff's cronies sold the Medicare drug bill with corporate giveaways and phony charities

Another Texas DINO needs suspension. Parties require office holders not to work for the other side.

Ann Coulter, does she get stoned before FOX TV appearances now?

Reving up for War on Christmas revisited.

Reason: I Just Blogged To Say I Hate You - the failure of conservative bloggers.

Talton - Hates Gays, Loves Trial Lawyers.

Texas Rep. Hall getting bad press for attacking sex slave minor.

Income trumps religion in predicting voting - with graph.

White House denies Cheney was supporting water boarding in interview where he supported water boarding.

G.O.P. Moves Fast to Reignite Issue of Gay Marriage

Memory expert in Libby's CIA leak trial forgets that she met prosecutor before

Molly Ivins: Conservative's Campaign of Sleaze

"It's one thing to believe in an imaginary liberal bias. It's another to deceive yourself into thinking that everyone else agrees with you."


Housing Bubble Burst

The Cowards in Congress - Crossing the Rubicon

Video about the evils of file sharing

How to leave the country - practical advice

Tillman's brother calls Iraq war illegal

Oct 23 1983

An Islamic Jihad suicide bomber drives a truck loaded with 2.5 tons of TNT into the US Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. The explosion kills 241 American servicemen. Simultaneously, a smaller truck bomb strikes another base in Beirut, killing 58 French soldiers. Even though the NSA has proof that the Iranians are behind the attacks, President Ronald Reagan begins delivering them weapons for hostages only 39 days later.
WE OWE WHAT?!?!? Our cost of the Iraq War

Fly the dangerous skies, Jet Blue experimenting with passengers.

High Debt holds thousands of troops back from overseas duty - Predatory lenders cluster around military bases.

The strange repressed movie reviews at American Family

The average American at 300 million. Jim had a lot of comments disliking the tone of the article and some comparisons used. His gist is that rising corporate profits are bypassing the typical worker and going to the very top management and owners. "As the pie grows bigger the superrich grab a larger proportional piece hoping that because of the small gains the medians receive their greed will go unnoticed." (This concentration of conpensation has an interesting side effect of keeping inflation lower.)

Jim recommends The Ghost Map, a historical book.

A Progressive Governing Philosophy: Securing The Common Good

The New American Ghost Towns. Las Vegas and other cities have sections starting to resemble Houston during our great housing crash.

Bush energy plan whacked conservation efforts

Evangelical Christians are "disgusted" by Condi Rice

Antarctic Ice Shelf Collapse Clearly Tied to Global Warming

China tries to gag climbers who saw Tibet killings

AMY Adds

Who's making a killing in Iraq? Demand Congressional inquiries.

Amy recommended Stirring The Pot - getting more women involved in politics.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Update - Rumors of poll showing Bell 5 points behind debunked

No poll found, two just released polls show Bell second but further behind.

Is your vote worth some discount coupons?

Talmadge Heflin is protesting that a Vietnamese community organization is giving discount coupons to people who vote at an early voting location. State law prohibits selling your vote but is silent on merchants or others who offer rewards to people who vote but don't specify a candidate or issue.

In the last election in Pasadena as a member of a campaign organization we gave water and drinks and cookies to people coming out of the polling location just for voting. Arizona is considering a Voter Lotto where some voter could win a million dollars for voting.

A complication in the Vo - Heflin coupon scandal is that the Vietnamese organization offering the coupons had previously endorsed Vo.

Developing story....

Epistemic Ingemination

A Kinky strong supporter turns against him and reports other Kinky supporters leaving in droves. Kinky's announcement of his votes for Kay Baily Hutchinson and Lamar Smith amounts to "an endorsement of the one-party system." He writes:
Listen folks, I was a true believer. I've played benefits for Kinky. I knew about the campaign months before it was publicly announced. I (among others) suggested him for the keynote addresses at more than one music festival. I've blogged about him. I talked him up. I made phone calls on his behalf. I "saved myself" for the campaign and signed the petition.

He had two years to get his act together and study the issues and formulate policy. He didn't. And he does not deserve my vote.

'How hard can it be?' indeed. Apparently too hard for the Kinkster.

If the Kinky campaign wants to make a difference and be more than a laughingstock, it can pull out of the race now and endorse Chris Bell -- and the then-former candidate can spend the last two weeks of the season campaigning his ass off for Chris Bell.

Because that is where your support is going now, as it evaporates from your campaign. I know; I'm actively helping that to happen; I am watching the polls and listening to people, and I am seeing an enormous number of your once-supporters doing the same thing -- including your core constituency: virtually every musician that I know.

I'd say "better luck next time", but "next time" ain't gonna happen.

You let us down.

Taxpayer Money Down the Drain in Iraq - New York Times

Florida GOP Guv Candidate: "I never had sex with that man"

Charlie Crist's affair with a rising young Christian GOP star and his long time relationship with a convicted thief detailed. No word on the sex parties with Foley in this article. Stories moving off of the internet and into Florida papers.

Another candidate claims the candidate to be Jeb Bush's replacement came out of the closet but then went back in.
Florida investigative journalist John Caylor of www.insider-magazine.com, has uncovered evidence that GOP gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist maintained a gay relationship with a 16-year old male ten years ago. Crist, born on July 24, 1956, is 50 years old. His young one-time partner, born in 1979, is now 26. Crist, who, as Florida Attorney General, was able to hide his personal details under Patriot Act-inspired shield laws designed to "protect" law enforcement officers, allegedly lived with his young partner in a condominium at 1 Beach Drive, St. Petersburg Beach, Florida.

WMR has also learned that a number of gay Republican kingpins in Florida's media, have, on behalf of the Crist campaign, interceded with editors and publishers to prevent any news coverage or investigation of Crist's alternate life style. In fact, many of Florida's leading newspapers have endorsed Crist.
Crist is not Gay and other Florida Republican Lies.
October 3, 2006 -- Informed sources in Tallahassee, Florida have told WMR that Governor Jeb Bush was fully aware of ex-Rep. Mark Foley's conduct with underage male pages but sat on the information to protect Foley and another top GOP Florida official, Attorney General Charlie Crist, who is currently running for governor to replace Bush. Today, Jeb Bush said he had not previously known about Foley's behavior with the pages before being informed by House Speaker Dennis Hastert in a letter dated October 1, 2006. Bush said he was "dismayed and shocked to learn about Congressman Foley's unacceptable behavior."
However, according to our Florida sources, the FBI and Justice Department informed the Florida Governor's office, Attorney General Crist, and the Florida AG's Child Protection Cybercrime Unit at least a year ago about Foley's predatory emails and instant messages. WMR was told that Crist's conflict-of-interest in the case stems from Crist's and Foley's involvement in gay sex parties, some of which took place during 2003 in trendy Coconut Grove, Florida.

Informed Florida sources claim that up until now, Crist and Jeb Bush have been able to keep a lid on the once-divorced Crist's life style, touting his conservative Christian credentials, but that the Foley revelations will severely impact the Crist gubernatorial campaign. The links between Foley and Crist are certain to harm Crist with his conservative backers who admire Crist for his anti-gay rights stance. Floridians begin early voting on October 23."
Andy Eddy, communications director for the Broward Log Cabin Republicans, questioned just how "closeted" Foley was, noting that the former congressman was known to attend gay events with his boyfriend.

Eddy thinks Crist may be telling the truth when he says he’s not gay.

"He could be bisexual," Eddy said.

In a written statement, Patrick Sammon, executive vice president of the national Log Cabin Republicans, said the group is opposed to outing
So this is a variation of the Clinton defense "I am not gay, I am bisexual."

Air America had an interview with someone at a gay sex party Foley and Crist attended. Being gay should not bar anyone from public office, I think we should have more gays in office, but we need fewer liars in public office more.

Deep in DeLay Country, a Backlash Takes Shape

DeLay's hard right political opportunism is out of style this election as voter's who thought they were electing an urban moderate turn against Wong who wrongly turned right in Austin.

Democrat Ellen Cohen has name recognition, intelligence, money, and moderate Republicans who feel betrayed by Wong.

Texas Democrats also look likely to pick up a few state government seats in Austin.

Election 2006: Senate and House Races Updated Daily

A good site.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

ABC will "prove to conservatives that we understand their grievances," and "explain to people what Nancy Pelosi's liberal views are like"

This is came after ABC's bash of the "liberal media" in The Note Monday.

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NJ Supreme Court: Gay Couples Deserve Equal Rights

The New GOP - racism is now only implied in ads

Jungle drums when you mention your black opponent's name, an alluring blonde tempting the candidate, black people saying I'll vote for him because he looks good.... Direct racism loses more votes than it gains now so the message has to be more subtle than just coming out and saying don't vote for that uppity n-word. There has been racial progress, the Republican'ts are just bringing up the rear.

Meanwhile, will the Republican smear campaign against Ford for attending a Playboy party at a Superbowl game backfire? "I was there. I like football and I like girls. I don't have no apologies for that." I am not a huge fan of Ford but we need more plain speaking Democrats.

Responding to emails

Some have questioned my brief comment of the Reagan-Bush secret deal with Iran. They wrote: if true would not that story be better known? Isn't this just a wild leftist conspiracy theory?

Consortium News goes into some detail on how in 1992 Democrats in Washington helped cover up the scandal in a misguided effort of bipartisanship and to preserve the reputation of a senior Democrat repeatedly hoodwinked by Bush I. A fascinating account that ends in documents stashed in a ladies room in Congress.

In other emails, my brother keeps adding to his links of things I haven't gotten around to posting. Either tonight or tomorrow I guess since I am now back at my PC.

Bell Within 5 points of Perry!

According to sources, The Dallas Morning News has a new poll that suggests Kinky's supporters have mostly jumped the sinking ship and they have nearly all gone to Chris Bell. From Houtopia:
Word is, the Dallas Morning News will report tomorrow on a statewide poll conducted by Brian Epstein for Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. The poll will show Rick Perry is in deep trouble -- garnering just 32% support of those sampled -- with Chris Bell nipping at his heels at 27%, Carole Strayhorn trailing with 20%, and Kinky Friedman cratering in single digits. This is huge news, folks.

The most important number in the Governor's race (to us) has always been Rick Perry's. We figured that if Perry looked vulnerable down the stretch, the anti-guv vote would begin to coalesce around a single candidate. We also figured that candidate was likely to be Bell, considering he has a solid base of about one-third of the electorate. Well, Perry's in deep doo-doo. If he runs at 32% on Election Day he will likely be retired from his current position.

Not unrelated, there was also word flying around late this afternoon that uber-trial lawyer John O'Quinn has pumped another $2 million into the Bell campaign. This flamboyant, successful attorney is serving as a one-man IV for Team Bell. Can you imagine the kingmaker's bragging rights if his bet pays off?

Finally, Governor Perry has apparently bought a staggering $6 million worth of television for the final two weeks. Question: since apparently no one has been buying his message these last few months, why will things be any different now? Perry obviously senses he is in danger of losing this election. Look for him to go savagely negative against Bell.

What Happened at Forward Base Falcon?

Reports are circulating in the Arab press and alternative media around the world that on the 11th,there was an attack on a large American base and supply depot in Baghdad that destroyed the base. The official Western media reports downplayed the incident and initially reported no casualties. This has been updated to a series of explosions and two minor casaulties. The unofficial sources have over 300 dead and wounded, thirty or more explosions, the base completely destroyed, tens of tanks and armored vehicles destroyed, and damage estimates of hundreds of millions of dollars or more. There is even a long list of the names of the American casualties.

Before this important election, would it be possible for the military and official sources to cover-up a big U.S. military disaster in Baghdad? Yes. Would they? Yes, if they thought they could keep it covered up at least until after the election. Did they? Unknown, but the exaggerations appear to be more from the underground media crowd. The base was not destroyed but did take heavy damage. The biggest question is the unknown number of casualties, the list could be just of the men stationed there.

Looking at the photos both sides appear to be exaggerating - the Americans minimizing the attack, underground sources equating a number of trailers and bunkers being destroyed with the entire base.

A list of Arab and other media reports. Video of explosions with a very large blast at the 4 minute mark.

ABC's The Note: GOP Propaganda Machine

Any doubt that the most popular morning read for the Washington media is by Republicans, for Republicans can be dispelled by reading Monday's roundup. It opens with something that could have come from Rush Limbaugh - a long lament of how that old nasty liberal media is going to cover the next two weeks. After bashing themselves, this is produced by that so-called liberal media, it proceeds to its function of laying out the upcoming events worth covering and what noteworthy items were written or said in the last newscycle. For more on The Note being a sophomoric look into what the Republican Washington leadership is discussing see this article by Eric Boehlert.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Why God as your religious fellow citizen understands it doesn't exist

An excellent essay that could only be improved if it mentioned how evolution is like the most massive parallel computer imaginable continuously trying out improvements to survival. Trillion-to-one odds are a piece of cake for evolution. Explaining the origin of life by postulating a vastly more complex and complicated creator with no explanation for her origin is illogical.

Ignorance Equals Strength

Orwell Rolls In His Grave - A documentary video of Republican lies and the consolidation of corporate media and how they help each other. Seems more like very good but long college video lectures especially if you include the supplemental materials.

Things you may not know.

1. - Here is one explanation for the very strong correlation of percentage of minority voters and rejected ballots. Optical scan ballots after being filled out can be feed by the voter into the optical scan reader. In very white precincts they had a ballot error rate as low as 0.5%, in high minority precincts it could be higher than 8%. Is this evidence of stupid minority voters? Consider that in white precincts a switch was turned on in back of the scanner to reject incorrect ballots, spit them back to the voter. Errors include stray marks or voting twice in one race which is not immediately obvious on the paper forms. The scanner rejects those bad ballots and pushes them back to the voter to correct - in white precincts. In strong minority precincts this feature was turned off.

2. - Reagan's Iranian campaign ploy was well documented. At least five witnesses reported seeing Reagan campaign officials in Paris meeting with Iranian government officials before the election. All described the Reagan campaign team, including Casey and Bush, promising military spare parts from Israel to Iran if Iran dragged out the negotiations with the Carter White House and only released the American hostages after Reagan took office. Israel sent the first of the shipments to Iran before the election and without the required notification to the Carter administration. Iran released the hostages minutes after Reagan took office. Two major US news-magazines had cover stories supposedly refuting these events but solely relied on Reagan and CIA officials after this came out during his administration.

Once Upon a Time: Lies in the Service of Evil

Arthur explains why the ticking bomb scenario is a fake, why torture is never justified, and why Chris Baker on KTRH, every conservative radio talk show host, Charles Krauthammer, most right-winger's, and nearly all Republican politicians you hear are dishonest, anti-Christian, nihilist, scared sadists with no moral values no matter what else they say.

Riverbend is back - offering a counter to CIA's man in the green zone

She's back. Hurrah! Only depressed at the hopelessness of Iraq now.


Israel admits using phosphorus bombs during war in Lebanon

Somewhat related, I read an incredibly biased and bad commentary about a vote for Democrats being a vote against America this election and looked up who could write such an opinion. I discovered that he was an ex-military sergeant who had been previously quoted as an expert on right wing news sites denoucing photographic evidence on dead bodies that the United States had used phosphorus weapons in Iraq. He assured the readers that the photos showed no such thing but simply corpses a few days or weeks old. He assured credulous conservative readers that black shriveled skin and black burn like wounds were not a sign of phosphorus. If I might draw your attention to these words in this story:
Dr. Hussein Hamud al-Shel, who works at Dar al-Amal hospital in Ba'albek, said that he had received three corpses "entirely shriveled with black-green skin," a phenomenon characteristic of phosphorus injuries....

In November 2004 the U.S. Army used phosphorus munitions during an offensive in Faluja, Iraq. Burned bodies of civilians hit by the phosphorus munitions were shown by the press, and an international outcry against the practice followed.

Initially the U.S. denied that it had used phosphorus bombs against humans, but then acknowledged that during the assault targets that were neither civilian nor population concentrations were hit with such munitions.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Truth about the Trust Fund-- Destroying Social Security to Destroy the Two Party System

Thom Hartmann is one of America's best writers and liberal talk radio hosts.

The Least Worst Bad Option - Withdrawal

Citizens of the UK and Australia and America argue about what to do as America withdraws and Road to Surfdom explains why withdrawal is the least worst bad option. In Washington at the WP, conservative Hoagland explains that it has finally sunk in to American military planners and neocon strategists that occupation is the real war and Iraq has shown they don't know how to fight it.

National security and military analyst William Arkin also writes that both Republicans and Democrats in Washington have conceded defeat in Bush's Iraq war and look for the least bad options out: Taking Advantage of Our Defeat in Iraq.
We are not just fighting and dying in Iraq. Everyday that we are there, we are inspiring our enemies. Those enemies are not just in Iraq, they are in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in Lebanon and the Gaza, in "friendly" countries throughout the Muslim world, and even in our backyards.

The enemy sees Americans getting killed and injured; they see Americans seemingly unable to stand-up to or defeat Islamic warriors. The seeming weakness, created as much by our tactical errors and our abundant presence in their lands, attracts a swarm of attackers. Their "success" attracts more.
No tag.

Loony Noonan

Link from Atrios.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Liberal Chronicle?

There have been brief stories in the Houston Chronicle about an inmate on Texas death row for murder, Michael Dewayne Johnson, committing suicide before he could be executed. The quotes are from the victim's relatives lamenting they won't get to see him fry. In the middle of the stories is the detail that after cutting himself the prisoner used the blood from his dying body to scrawl "I am innocent." Omitted from the stories is that the prosecutors had a statement sworn in front of a judge of another man confessing to the murder and withheld this from the defense attorney and from the jury when this man testified that Johnson committed the murder.

What brought about this post, despite my desire to avoid posting today, was the several comments from readers in the Houston Chronicle ombudsman blog I just read about the strong and beyond dispute liberal bias of the Chronicle.

No tags.

Weekend Before Early Voting Election Thoughts

Early Voting starts Monday and I figured I would do one post from this slow PC and very slow connection. Jim and Amy (Happy Birthday) have sent me a bunch of links I won't get to in this one.

Let me start with something personal. I spent some hours yesterday picking up signs from the printer and helping to put them together. The one good thing was that not many signs were ordered as I feel they are of limited effectiveness, only being truly useful in a good block walking campaign and asking supporters if they want one for their yard. In general, how many people base who they vote for on the little signs? If they saw it in the yard of someone they know maybe, other than that - no. In fact, my thoughts on that are so strong I fired off an email to the Harris County Democratic Party pointing out some things they should be doing instead of asking all Democratic candidates to contribute 5 signs for each early voting location in Harris County and asking for volunteers to put them up between 3 and 6 AM Monday. Will over 330 signs at each location from Democrats but not advertising their Democratic status really have much sway over voters? Should someone running in far west Harris County blanket every Harris County early voting location with five signs costing $4 each or more? It is nice to see them brainstorming something and if a candidate has an extra $600 or more in their local race campaign coffers go ahead. There are probably some arguments for this but I would be more in favor of it if they attached a big Democratic sticker to each sign and helped the candidates with financing.

In local races, Bell moves into the clear second spot with 26% compared to Kinky and Strayhorn with 13% in a Wall Street Journal poll. Democratic support for Kinky has plummeted from 19% to 7% in the poll. Kinky is now calling for a Texas health care plan when the Texas politicians won't adequately fund children's health care which the feds would contribute more money to if Texas provided matching funds. Bell only needs one vote more than Perry to win in a race where there will not be a run-off. If you want Perry out vote for Bell, 35% could win this race. I will probably vote Monday to get it out of the way even though I am at my polling place election day. Other people I know always wait for the last minute in case something comes out to change their vote. Bush may show up to campaign for Shakira Something - she is so far down any publicity, even being connected to Bush, is good. Let's get DeLay and Cheney and Rumsfeld here for her as well.

In national election news, some more media reports from Newsweek, the WSJ and the AP on angry energized voters not happy with the GOP control of Congress, GOP corruption, GOP scandals, and Bush's war. The faithful particularly are losing faith in the Grand Oh-Oh Party.

No tags yet.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Outrageous Links

All Your Beavers Are Belong To Us.

ABC's The Note furiously trying to bury story on the real White House attitudes toward their faith-based base.

PNAC Democrats, DINOS working for the Empire.

US Internet gambling firms leaving the US for $2.

Another GOP Congressional payoff scandal. Earlier Weldon's office angrily denied the investigation was occurring.

GOP Rep. Ney Pleads Guilty

Who buys O'Reilly's books?

National GOP giving up on many races including Senate incumbents and DeLay's seat.

Pentagon to investigate brags of abuse at Gitmo.

29 Congressional races shift in favor of Dems since Foley reports.

Free Speech TV

I am still away from my computer and internet and on a very slow system. This sucks. But one advantage of being here a few days is DISH network and the excellent Freespeech TV channel.

Right now they are in a fundraising campaign, which would suck for PBS stations but not here. They are running all these documentaries like Hijacking Catastrophe and Bush Family Fortune: The best democracy money can buy. Even with the fundraising it seems like fewer interruptions than commercial stations.

Freespeech TV schedule

If you have a chance to try DISH satellite TV look at all the educational channels at the top of the numbers and try LINK TV and Freespeech TV and check out the university networks programming. TV for smarties has the high numbers.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear and the Selling of American Empire

What is much better than trying to read all of my archives?

Watching a short movie that clearly lays out how a small group of men hijacked America to pursue their dream of Empire.
Hijacking Catastrophe is powerful, understated, straightforward and educational. In a single meticulously organized hour of evidence and analysis, viewers are treated to a thoughtful explanation of modern American empire, neo-conservatism as a driving force for the current Bush administration. - Karen Kwiatkowski (Lt. Col. USAF retired) Pentagon Near East and South Asia military analyst
Narrated by Julian Bond, Hijacking Catastrophe features interviews with more than twenty prominent political observers and extensive film clips and photos of administration officials. Just the beginning with a video montage of all the administration's alarming speeches playing on fear to convince the public to go to war is a must have.

To purchase the DVD.

Reviews - many. Users - 100% recommended, critics - 82%.

Google Video Clip.

Related links.

Some sedition quotes:
"If you join the United States military now, you are not defending the United States of America; you are helping certain policy-makers pursue an imperial agenda."

"At the end of the summer of 2002, new space had been found upstairs on the fifth floor for an "expanded Iraq desk." It would be called the Office of Special Plans. We were instructed at a staff meeting that this office was not to be discussed or explained, and if people in the Joint Staff, among others, asked, we were to offer no comment. We were also told that one of the products of this office would be talking points that all desk officers would use verbatim in the preparation of their background documents."

"By August, only the Pollyannas at the Pentagon felt that the decision to invade Iraq, storm Baghdad, and take over the place (or give it to Ahmad Chalabi) was reversible."
Tag later (not at my PC): Hijacking+Catastrophe Iraq war lies PNAC Empire video

Bill Clinton says right wing has hurt U.S., predicts win by Democrats

Baker's Iraq Study Group Will Rule Out Victory In Iraq, Propose Redeployment

The John Murtha Plan still being blasted as "cut-and-run" looks to become the Bush plan.

Unwilling To Investigate Bush Administration, Congress Returns To Clinton

With dozens of investigations that should be opened, the GOP Congress wants to return to score more talk radio points off of an ex-official who has already been investigated in a politically motivated dead-end waste of time. Link from Jim - happy belated birthday and avoid accidents.

Edwards Gains, Now Co-Front-Runner

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300 million and counting ... US reaches population milestone

Pop Clock

British Army head calls for withdrawal from Iraq

BBC shows Israeli propaganda on why Iran must be attacked

No opposing viewpoints as the propaganda creates an implied imprimatur for the attack. The questions are - an Israel or American attack and is it within three weeks or several months?

Israeli paper - IDF: Military Attack on Iran Only Option.

Former Weapons Inspector, Experts Warn Against Military Action Toward Iran. This was at a DC press panel discussion organized by Dennis Kucinich, apparently to head off the attack.

Wow, those Christian conservatives really might be mad

From a leading online news source for the Christian conservatives:

Laura Bush Attends Sodomite Swearing-In Ceremony.

Exclusive: How the Bush Administration Plays Christians for Fools.

Republican Denials Are Looking Desperate.

In between advocating killing all the gays as God commands, their editorials are calling out the neocon plan to rule the world as the "ultimate blasphemy."

Wow, I'm getting confused - they now hate Bush and the neocons but also want to kill the gays. I have heard recently that many Christian conservatives had turned against Bush for agreeing with Sharon and Olmert about pulling out of the Gaza strip. Why? Because that would stop the Rapture. Now gays in the Republican Party, imagine that, have pushed them openly over the edge.

The Christian conservatives and Fox News and other prominent GOP sources, are also all over Soros, making pretty blatent attempts to portray him as a Jewish communist international banker conspiring to subvert America.

I am hopeful for this election as it appears the hard Christian Right will stay home or turn against the GOP but....

Kill the gays, liberal appeasers, international Jewish banker conspiracies, preserving family values, pre-emptive wars, patriot acts, detentions without trials, extreme reactions against a terrorist attack on symbols of power, rants against internal traitors.... haven't we seen this play before?

Will they just purge their party of people like Bush as, unbelievably, being too moderate?

Mad in both senses.

Second Baptist Church of Houston and the Domionist takeover

Houston claims the distinction of having the largest church involved in the Right-Christian GOP alliance to institute Christ-centered, Christ-favored government. Christian reconstructionists at Second Baptist founded the Nehemiah Project to endorse and oppose candidates and political measures and take over the Harris County Republican Party, acts prohibited to churchs and other tax-exempt organizations. The headline link article describes Second Baptist as the center of the Harris county GOP takeover by religious activists and its role in the takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention and the state and national GOP parties. The Christian reconstructionists are intent on restoring an American Christian nation that never was.

Their is a long list of questionable associations of Second Baptist and the SBC, including ties to the John Birch Society. Second Baptist members are on the secretive Council for National Policy, a religious group that meets with conservative political leaders three times a year to lobby and coordinate agendas.

After a four-year IRS investigation Second Baptist managed to keep its tax-exemption status. It seems to be that only churchs that clearly use church money for political advertisements have lost their tax-free status. Recently under Bush, liberal churches are now being targeted by the IRS even when they have carefully obeyed the guidelines not to make endorsements. Many conservative churches seem to hand out voting endorsements that violate the guidelines. Before the 90's, American major churchs and religious organizations generally stayed out of politics. That changed.

Houston's, and the nation's, largest Church is not as politically connected as Second Baptist. Lakewood Church, while promoting a lite version of the prosperity gospel which appeals to Republicans, doesn't seem to have the same political connections or involvement in politics possibly due to its youth and origins in the racially diverse lower economic strata. Centrist Democrat and blogger Greg Wythe is a member.

The Anatomy of Power: Texas and the Religious Right in 2006 - PDF, is a free publication by the Texas Freedom Network that documents the takeover by the conservative churches of the Republican party in Texas.
Among the report’s findings:

• The religious right has tightened its grip on the Republican Party of Texas and now completely controls the party leadership. In fact, it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish between the movement and the party in leadership, political goals and tactics. (Chapter 1)

• Having spent $10 million since 1997 to help the Texas GOP take control of state government, wealthy San Antonio businessman James Leininger is now working to purge from office those Republicans who fail to support fully the religious right’s public policy agenda. In fact, with Leininger’s financial support, the religious right is on the verge of finally winning a majority of seats on the State Board of Education. (Chapter 2)

• The new model in the religious right’s political strategy relies on recruiting conservative evangelical pastors who will use their positions as church leaders to advance the movement’s policy agenda. In fact, the state’s newest far-right pressure group, the Texas Restoration Project, has been recruiting thousands of pastors to support (successfully) a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and to back conservative candidates for office, including Gov. Rick Perry. (Chapter 3)

• David Barton, vice chair of the state GOP and president of the Christian advocacy group WallBuilders, has become a key part of efforts to recruit conservative evangelicals into the Republican Party. Using questionable research, Barton appeals to Christian conservatives with the dubious argument that the separation of church and state is a myth created by activist judges. (Chapter 4)

Democrats more enthused, more liberal for 2006

Pew Research finds for the first time in years Republicans are more discouraged about going to the polls than Democrats. Overall Democrats are angry but optimistic this year and Pew suggests that voter turnout will be up, always a good sign for Democrats.

What's in a name? Liberal is not a dirty word among Democrats this year with it starting to challenge moderate as how Democrats label themselves.

An interesting finding, 5% of Republicans define themselves as liberal. That may be due to a radical Republican tradition of putting a different definition on the word where liberal means free enterprise.

Other election related news -

Hastert won't resign, according to Novak, so Democrats should play up his Republican supporters on the Hill who put politics over family values.

You need a very large scorecard to keep up with the Republican myths about the Foley sex scandal and their inaction.

Foley was inappropriately touching pages on House floor in 2001 - link from The Raw Story.

Will the courts set free an American citizen because of Bush torture?

The Right can't accept the 655,000 extra dead Iraqis claim and the increasing violence because it contradicts one of their last stated reasons for staying - protecting the Iraqis.

A WP photographer provided extensive blog publicity for Wal-Mart.

Bush and the simple clear failure of his policy on North Korea with an example of his ignorance on the topic.
"Failure" =1994-2002 -- Era of Clinton 'Agreed Framework': No plutonium production. All existing plutonium under international inspection. No bomb.

"Success" = 2002-2006 -- Bush Policy Era: Active plutonium production. No international inspections of plutonium stocks. Nuclear warhead detonated.

Face it. They ditched an imperfect but working policy. They replaced it with nothing. Now North Korea is a nuclear state.

Facts hurt. So do nukes.

'The Coming Gay Republican Purge'

The social conservatives are demanding that the gays who have been working for the GOP be purged. They have the clout to get it done. You could say those Log Cabin Republicans are being smoked out and will go down in flames. Link to The Nation which has the quotes from organizers in the GOP culture civil war for control taking place now.

Do you think The Nation is exaggerating this? Then read the latest bigoted hate speech against Gays in the GOP and how they are a secret cabal of hidden Democrats because they are like so gay. That is from Accuracy in Media, an influential GOP group that is the more biased, less fact-checked Media Matters of the Right. This is yet more evidence that the John Birch Society took over the GOP in the 90's without the media noticing. You cannot find any difference between current core GOP leadership beliefs and the beliefs of the Birchers. Before the 90's everyone knew the John Birch Society were far right nuts, now they are conventional Republican wisdom.

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Planing for independent exit polls valuable tool for compromised elections to come

Exit polls are used as proof of stolen elections everywhere around the world but here in the USA. Independents are now organizing for new exit polls for races in the US after 2004 amid concerns about vote hacks.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Two Can Play That Game

DeLay may regret opening the doors to congressional redistricting when state government changes hands. Democratic organizations are pouring money and resources into efforts to capture state houses to change the congressional maps. In places like Michigan it looks like it may work. Other Democrats want to seize the moral high ground and avoid mid-decade fights. Rachel Morris on The Race to Gerrymander.

Innumerate cowards recoil from the facts: 655,000 dead Iraqis

My take: my little finger, which went to all my stat courses with me, knows more statistics than the blithering elephant asses who are saying I don't believe this study. Of course they don't, it blows their latest rationale for the war and for staying. Link from Atrios.

Why does talk radio all sound the same?

Because both listeners and callers are getting tips and their talking points of the day spelled out to them by the Republican party.

The Republican Right Wing Noise Machine in action.


Study Finds Lack of Balance, Diversity, Public at PBS NewsHour

2 - 1 Republicans over Democrats
50% goverment officials - 4% public interest
85% White
82% Male

Maybe we need real "Public" television stations and not another Corporate Mouthpiece.

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Looming Democratic Landslide? Now work for veto-proof control

Minuteman Founder Proves To Be A Coward On Democracy Now

I happened to be in the car and actually caught this yesterday.

Talking to the Shrub

Tempting Faith - The White House is scornful of and lies to Christian leaders

Karl Rove's office referred to evangelical leaders as 'the nuts.'

The White House should have realized that a Christian scorned who realizes he has been played will reveal all the insider poop they have kept from their base. The entire religious program initiative was run strictly to get control of Congress. This is from Olbermann's show and has video.

Now wait and watch the attacks on author David Kuo begin because when something hits Republicans never discuss issues, only engage in character assassination.

Mark Warner Bows Out of 2008 Presidential Race

Too bad, very electable, was raising lots of money for Democrats while exploring the possiblity.

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Ezra Klein: Christopher Hitchens Has Gone Mad

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

'Hey Rube'

American Spectator tries to play the conservatives the way Tucker Carlson revealed the GOP plays the right Christians - keep them in the dark and feed them manure.

Here they say the Foley scandal was carefully nurtured to be released right before the election! So are they being lied to by a "Democratic political operative" when they say the Foley schedule was released weeks earlier than planned or doing the lying?

The Foley scandal had been shopped for a year, most recently extensively over the summer, before making it into public notice. So if this was a plan for the elections to be timed right before the elections, why were they trying to get all the media on it a year ago? The answer is this is just more of the lying spins of the right.

The American Spectator became known for juicy fake sex scandals funded and seeded by a billionaire Republican - see Scaife and Blinded by the Right.

"Hey Rube" is the old carney call for when those fleecing the public need the other barkers to come to their aid.