Farewell to the Sleaze King

August 16, 2007

August 16, 2007

So Long, Turd Blossom -- Keith Olbermann and James Moore on Bush's Brainectomy. And more from Olbermann on Rove here. See also Olbermann Interviews John Dean on authoritarianism.
  • Tainted Goods -- You have to be really on your toes these days. According to SearchEngineJournal.com, some tampering with Wikipedia entries can be traced back to a Fox News IP address. According to the editor of Search Engine Journal, "Arthur Bergman at O’Reilly Radar has the lowdown on some changes Fox News has been making to the Wikipedia entries of their critics and competition (like Al Franken) which were traced back to a Fox News IP address. Here is an example of an entry which was changed from: The lawsuit focused a great deal of media attention upon Franken’s book and greatly enhanced its sales. Reflecting later on the lawsuit during an interview on the [[National Public Radio]] program ”[[Fresh Air]]” on [[September 3]], [[2003]], Franken said that Fox’s case against him was “literally laughed out of court” and that “wholly (holy) without merit” is a good characterization of Fox News itself. into The lawsuit focused a great deal of media attention upon Franken’s book and greatly enhanced its sales. Reflecting later on the lawsuit during an interview on the liberal [[National Public Radio]] program ”[[Fresh Air]]” on [[September 3]], [[2003]], Franken said that Fox’s case against him was the best thing to happen to his book sales.
  • Not a Question -- PBS' Now is planning a show on August 17 that poses the question: "Are Some Insurance Companies Putting Profits Before People?" Now is a great program, one of the best TV resources left -- but this question. All these smartass expressions come to mind like, "Duh!" or "Hellooo!?" Does any insurance company ever put people over profits? It's just not the way they are built. Their mission is, as with any other corporation, to maximize shareholder value. If serving customers serves that mission, then it will happen. They play the numbers. But if it is demonstrable that they can beef up their bottom line by refusing to pay claims, and it won't cost them in customer dissatisfaction or bad PR, they are going to do it. truthout.org

    August 18, 2007

    Goodbye to the Sleaze King -- Bill Moyers bids Karl Rove a bitter farewell. "Karl Rove figured out a long time ago that the way to take an intellectually incurious draft-averse naughty playboy in a flight jacket with chewing tobacco in his back pocket and make him governor of Texas, was to sell him as God's anointed in a state where preachers and televangelists outnumber even oil derricks and jack rabbits. Using church pews as precincts Rove turned religion into a weapon of political combat - a battering ram, aimed at the devil's minions, especially at gay people. It's so easy, as Karl knew, to scapegoat people you outnumber, and if God is love, as rumor has it, Rove knew that, in politics, you better bet on fear and loathing. Never mind that in stroking the basest bigotry of true believers you coarsen both politics and religion." Truthout
  • Crimes of the New Gilded Age -- Brent Budowsky: "Is it right that American troops are told we can’t afford to give them body armor and protected vehicles, so they die preventable deaths, while the highest-income 1 percent receive huge tax cuts? Is it right that the new racket on Wall Street is that banks make bad loans, sell them to hedge funds and private equity firms, many of whom are virtually unregulated and untaxed, who then complain about their pain after they foreclose on average Americans for falling a little behind their payments? It is good that today the Fed cut the prime by 50 points, but it is bad, and terribly wrong and unjust, that in the last week the Fed has essentially used Americans’ money to bail out the wealthy who made the profits, while doing zero for the foreclosed and homeless. When the banks, hedge funds and private equity firms make bad deals, they keep the personal profits, while the corporate profits are protected by bailouts. Meanwhile, when the average Americans in the middle class, or the poor, fall a little behind, they get the boot, they lose their jobs, they are thrown into the street without homes and often without food." The Hill's Pundits
  • Giuliani's Family Values -- Giuliani, whose personal life is an embarrassment, is now telling people to judge him only by his "public things" and not the ugly way he dumped his previous wife and let her know by announcing it in a public press conference, then tried to kick her out of the mayor's mansion, and now his own children don't support his candidacy or won't even speak to him. Judge me only on what looks good, he urges. yahoo

    August 19, 2007

    World Without Humans, Amen -- Extrapolating the reasoning of several lines of scientific research, Alan Weisman in The World Without Us postulates the end of the human species on earth and then goes on to theorize what the post-human earth would look like. Nature would quickly overtake the works of man and turn them to ruins, and the damage created by our wonderful industrial civilization would take thousands of years to repair itself, but eventually some other species would recover. Oh happy day! Read all about it: here. And do check out the picture gallery . Whew!
  • Reading List -- Paul Craig Roberts, former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, former contributing editor for National Review, and a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury under Reagan, on "Why Bush Will Nuke Iran", "The Police State Is Closer Than You Think", "Unfathomed Dangers in PATRIOT Act Reauthorization", "How the World Can Stop Bush", "The Five Morons Revisited".

    August 20, 2007

    Suspended Animation -- Though the public is squarely set against the Bush administration, its catastrophic war and total failure to manage the government for anything more than a spoils system for its friends and collaborators, the congressional leaders seem paralyzed and unable to face the challenge. Nancy Pelosi was happy to have her party take leadership of congress, but now seems unwilling to take the responsibility of that mandate. Typically timid as we have come to expect our "liberal" leaders to be, she seems afraid to go back on her earlier statement that impeachment was "off the table". But does she think that her statement must be taken as a commitment that must stand no matter what the Bush administration does? Does that mean they have a blank check to do whatever they want to do? It really seems that way. They have broken countless laws, and Congress has made some noise, God bless 'em, but ultimately they have not stopped the Bush administration in almost anything major that it has tried to do. And this last stroke, giving the bastards more unconstitutional Big Brother spying power while all these horrible scandals over abuses of power are ongoing just really boggles the mind. Being subjected to such bizarre contradictions would make anyone shake his head in wonder. Having the whole country subjected to an ongoing flood of such absurdities makes the population numb. The pattern seems to be: the Bush administration flagrantly violates the law in its relentless ongoing power grab; and Congress, instead of exercising its responsibility to check abuses by the executive branch, just changes the law to legalize the Bush administration's illegal activity. The new spying powers Congress just granted to the administration may contradict the Constitution, as so many other laws have. But if it does, Constitution be damned. Damned if a majority of Congress will stand up for the Constitution, or for the rights of the people. It ain't happening. Nancy Pelosi: Saying something is off the table is not a promise to never put it on the table. It is the ongoing criminal activity of the Bush administration that has put impeachment on the table, not Nancy Pelosi changing her mind.

  • Time to Put it on the Table -- As Adam Cohen puts it, "The founders had an idea..." And now is the time to exercise it.
  • High Crimes, Low Crimes -- The Washington Post describes the extent to which Rove went to direct public funds toward the consolidation of power of the Republican party. These people observe no limits. And Congress empowers them by doing nothing, making it clear they can get away with anything.
  • The Broken Election System -- Dan Rather Reports: "The Trouble with Touchscreens". The real experts may disagree with some of this, but even they say there is a lot of important information in the documentary, including revelations about Florida 2000 and the seven whistleblowers from Sequoia who reveal, for the first time, that "somebody" at Sequoia purposely used lower grade paper and misaligned the chads (for Palm Beach County, FL specifically) on the paper ballots used in that Presidential Election (see additional comments from John Gideon and Brad Friedman on this section below).. You can watch it online here. Here is a report on the Rather documentary on BradBlog. Brad says, "Holy cow! If you haven't seen this thing, you must. The second half of the program, after the stunning revelations of the ES&S sweatshop in Manila, followed by a mostly useless interview with voting machine apologist Michael Shamos, breaks some enormous news concerning Sequoia's apparent effort to create havoc with Florida's punch-cards in 2000. With seven company whistleblowers, all interviewed on camera, and by name, objecting to the company's use of faulty paper and then misalignment of chads, specifically for Democratic Palm Beach County only, this thing could lead to huge fallout."
  • Rove's legacy -- According to Gary Younge in The Guardian, "Rove is leaving because there is nothing more for him to do; Bush is letting him go because he no longer has any use for him. His departure effectively marks the end of the Bush presidency - from hereon in Bush's tenure is about keeping the troops in Iraq and as many of his administration out of handcuffs as possible. Last week Fox News asked the neocon commentator Charles Krauthammer how much time Bush had to promote his agenda. 'None,' said Krauthammer. 'It's over. There is no agenda.'... A sense of doom among Republicans is palpable. A growing number of Republican congressmen - most recently the former house speaker Dennis Hastert - have announced they are to retire, or are considering it. "Democrats will win the White House [and] hold their majority in the house and in the Senate in 2008," the retiring congressman Ray Lahood told the New York Times.
  • Iraq Vets Speak Out -- Seven Iraq war veterans have banded together to write a piece that appeared in the New York Times. "Viewed from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month deployment," they write, "the political debate in Washington is indeed surreal. Counterinsurgency is, by definition, a competition between insurgents and counterinsurgents for the control and support of a population. To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day." In this article you can read a close up and palpable report of a hell created by arrogant, greedy men for their own enrichment, with little insight into the consequences of their actions.
  • End of the Rove Era -- According to New York Times columnist Frank Rich, Rove "got out while the getting was good." See it at truthout.org.

    August 21, 2007

    Rove Genius: What a Laugh -- So typical of the disgusting, ass-kissing corporate media that they would gush with praise for Karl Rove, a human incarnation of a pig-rodent soul. Rove was an expert in the smear, in the elaborate fraud. He made a career out of winning elections by destroying people with lies. There was nothing genius about him. The common conman has a genius, the panhandler, the bottle gatherer, each in his own area of expertise. Rove was a smear artist. He was smart in his way, but "genius" is a bit high falootin for a hitman who used cowardly lies instead of bullets. Here's a sampling of extravagant praise gathered from the corporate media massage machine by Bill Moyers:

    CNN Correspondent: We should be congratulating Karl Rove for a long successful run - this is a guy who elected a president twice- who's known as one of the most brilliant political activists of our time...

    Chris Matthews: If you've ever talked to him he's almost got, almost like a blinder's on his eyes- he looks you right in the eye - and he talks fast- faster than I do - really fast right in your face totally intent on you - and it's really like talking to a fire hydrant...

    Bill Plante: He's not only the mastermind behind everything - he's the president's senior advisor...

    MSNBC Correspondent: Boy genius, Bush's brain, the architect...

    Karen Hughes: Karl is brilliant - he is funny - and he's a passionate advocate...

    Andrew Card: Karl Rove is a superstar- he's very insightful - he's a great friend to the president- he's also a very broad thinker - he is one of the more intelligent people that I know - he's very quick witted- he's got a great sense of humor and the president will miss him...

    Chris Matthews: Well generally where there's brains, there's Rove...

    Chris Matthews really takes the cake. A man who really should know better but sold his soul so long ago -- he apparently can no longer even utter a sentence that is a logical, coherent thought as a comment on the situation. "Where there's brains, there's Rove"? Are you saying everywhere there (is) brains, Rove is there? I don't think so. What are you talking about? Maybe Matthews has lied so much in service of these crooks his cerebral cortex rebels and turns his language into gibberish. Where there's brains there's Rove! This is what they pass over on us as news commentary? The public needs to reclaim the public airways. Not just network television, but cable TV, which is chartered by municipalities, given a sanctioned monopoly. We need to exercise control over these public resources again. We need to take them back from the corporate idiots who have been granted control over them by political idiots who are being bribed by the corporations, in one form or another. Enough of this! What crap!

    It's so strange to have the lowlife criminals holding positions of great power and authority. George Bush, Karl Rove. These are the lowest of the low. They rarely utter a word that is relevant to reality, if it can even be deciphered.

    An intriguing article I saw in the Washington Post today: "As Democracy Push Falters, Bush Feels Like a 'Dissident'". It was a fascinating glimpse of Bush, but I couldn't tell how much irony there was in the prose of the author Peter Baker. He talked about Bush "commit[ing] his presidency to working toward the goal of 'ending tyranny in our world,'" and he referred to how Bush "pledged in his second inaugural address to spread democracy around the world". The Bush machine's elaborate and ruthless activities to thwart the democratic processes in what was once the world's model democracy have done more to set back democracy than anything anyone has done in the last half century. And Bush has absolutely no authority as an enemy of tyrants, except a few he has particular gripes with. He is more of a tyrant than any American president you can name, and given the extent of his power as the president of the US in the 21st century, he can arguably vie with the great tyrants of history in terms of the damage he has caused to human life. And remember when you compare him to the rogues of past history, Bush is not done yet.

    Any piece of reporting that talks about Bush's strivings for "democracy" and the "end of tyranny" and does not qualify the meaning of the words as used by Bush is not even a serious piece of reporting. Of course the major media is so far from that standard it's a withering laugh to even suggest it. They are climbing all over themselves to praise Karl Rove! That's a stretch. You really have to have drunk the kool aid to find reasons to praise Karl Rove and ignore his crimes, his outrages against the sense of decency.

    Elsewhere in the media, reporters are leaking their outrage. Matt Cooper, the Time magazine reporter, on Meet the Press, openly said that Rove leaked the name of Valerie Plame to him and then lied about it publicly and to the federal prosecutor. That's called perjury, by the way, and it's a much more substantive lie than lying to a conniving committee about whether you had sex with an intern. The Meet the Press clip is posted at Crooks & Liars. Cooper is courageously candid. David Gregory says, "Matt Cooper, let’s pick up on an aspect of the interview with, with Karl Rove having to do with the leak case, the CIA leak case, that you were part of as well. And something’s that’s very interesting, he, he went out of his way to say, 'I would not have been a confirming source on this kind of information' and taking issue with, with Novak’s testimony in his column that he knew who Valerie Plame was. He said he would never confirm that information. That’s different from your experience with him." Cooper: "Yeah, I, I think he was dissembling, to put it charitably. Look, Karl Rove told me about Valerie Plame’s identity on July 11th, 2003. I called him because Ambassador Wilson was in the news that week. I didn’t know Ambassador Wilson even had a wife until I talked to Karl Rove and he said that she worked at the agency and she worked on WMD. I mean, to imply that he didn’t know about it or that this was all the leak… by someone else, or he heard it as some rumor out in the hallway is, is nonsense." Cooper says in no uncertain terms that Rove lied, that he did leak the name of Valerie Plame, though he perjured himself and denied it. That's a felony, and for good reason. He's a criminal. He destroyed her career, put her life in danger and put others who were her sources in mortal danger. Did he show any contrition? Did it ever concern him? Cooper: "Karl Rove never apologizes. That’s not what he does.." Check out Bush's Brain, a documentary you can watch in 90 minutes or so that will tell you more than you need to know about scum, and how low Rove has been willing to go to gain power through his career. Or better, watch the movie and read the book Bush's Brain by James Moore and Wayne Slater. Biographer Paul Alexander, who wrote the 1999 Rolling Stone exposé about Bush, All Hat and No Cattle, is working on a biography of Rove called Machiavelli’s Shadow, and in his opinion, the book Bush's Brain, "holds back".

  • Giuliani Versus YouTube -- Can't a sleazy politician escape his past anymore? washingtonpost.com
  • Alternate Realities -- Wow! A new high-tech museum that portrays the prehistoric earth, dinosaurs included, from a creationist perspective. The Creation Museum in Northwest Kentucky, which teaches that, according to the Independent, "Adam and Eve really did beget us and that before they sinned, all creatures were vegetarian, meaning dinosaurs were no more likely to eat them than butterflies ... man and dinosaurs lived at the same time. As you proceed on your walk, a few more surprises await. We are told how the world is no more than 6,000 years old and Noah's Flood created all the world's fossils as well as its topography as we know it (including the Grand Canyon, gouged by its ebbing waters). And yes, the Earth and the entire universe were indeed created in six momentous days." What a week that must have been!
  • The Life and Mind of Rove -- If you ever read Karl Rove's description of the first time he met George Bush, it's hard to escape the feeling that Rove's attraction for Bush was more than cerebral. In fact, the description has been referred to as homoerotic. According to a profile in The Guardian, "Rove's description sounds like the start of a love affair. 'I can literally remember what he was wearing,' he said of an occasion in 1973, 'an Air National Guard flight jacket, cowboy boots, blue jeans. He was exuding more charisma than any one individual should be allowed to have.'" Rove has, for political purposes, exploited fear of gays, but just as he, a self-proclaimed agnostic, has engineered the incorporation of evangelical Christians into the Republican party, his campaigns against gays are not a reflection of his personal inclinations. According to the Guardian, Rove "discovered at age 19 that the man who raised him was not his father." Boingboing.net refers to an essay allegedly by one Yard[D]og, who claims to have been a close personal friend of the now-deceased adoptive father of Karl Rove. Shannon Larratt, founder of the body modification online publication BMEzine, said: "Karl Rove's father was not only gay, but a part of the early body piercing scene and a regular at 70s piercing parties... There are pictures of him on BME." The Guardian says, "Alongside his ambition and fixation on politics he appears to have believed that the end always justified the means... He seems to have been a natural at what he called 'pranks'. Working on one of his first proper campaigns, aged 19, in Illinois, he infiltrated the Democratic campaign and stole its headed notepaper, which he used on the streets to distribute invitations to their HQ promising 'free beer, free food, girls and a good time for nothing'."
  • Conservative Defection -- According to conservative Dick Morris, "Bush will have to pull out of Iraq, or face historical obliteration." According to Morris, "The Republican senators are coming to realize that Bush needs to begin to pull out to save his party, even if it puts Iraq at risk. With the president’s favorability down to 29 percent in the USA Today poll, and 26 percent in Newsweek, the party leaders are coming to realize that they are not planning to join Bush in retirement — at least not yet — and that unless he begins the pullout, the GOP cannot hold on to the White House." thehill.com David Cay Johnston of the New York Times reports that although corporate profits are raging in a joyous ecstasy of greed, the income of mainstream Americans has fallen for the last five years. (see Houston Chronicle) "Americans earned a smaller average income in 2005 than in 2000, the fifth consecutive year that they had to make ends meet with less money than at the peak of the last economic expansion, new government data shows," says the article. The White House, typically complacent and unmotivated to consider it a problem that The War President should be concerned with, wrote it off by saying that the fact that average incomes were smaller five years after the Internet bubble burst "should not surprise anyone." Under neofascist Bush, I guess it really shouldn't surprise anyone who is paying attention.

    August 22, 2007

    Life is a Jungle -- Bush and Rove are the predators of our realm. For a great glimpse of the battle for survival in the wilds in Kruger National Park in South Africa, check this out: Battle at Kruger. This is an incredible piece of footage. Enough said, you have to see it. Remember, there is always hope. There are more of us than them.
  • More Struggle in the Wilds -- Things aren't always as simple as they seem.
  • Bush's Bizarro Legal Universe -- According to a Toledo Blade editorial, "A court challenge to the Bush Administration's warrantless wiretapping program has run squarely into a comic-book caricature of a monolithic government slapping aside all challenges to its power by invoking the Kafkaesque distortion of the legal system inherent in the concept of 'state secrets.' This Bizarro World tableau, playing out for real in a federal appeals court in San Francisco, is far more menacing than it is entertaining, however. Indeed, it threatens the very foundation of the American system of justice. When the defendants in a criminal action cannot see the evidence against them on the grounds that the evidence itself is a secret, the Constitution is being subverted. And that goes double for the administration's increasingly frequent - and dubious - claims of 'national security' involving electronic eavesdropping."
  • (The Wrong) Lessons of Vietnam -- Now this is kind of interesting. Bush's latest desperate ploy is to actually justify his endless waiting for some kind of "progress" in Iraq by invoking comparisons to Vietnam. In other words, Bush, who flew bravely over Texas during the Vietnam until he got too coked up to pass his physical, is going to argue that it was pulling out of Vietnam was a mistake. Of course its much easier for those born to rule, who can sit back and give orders and let others do the dying. But yes, Bush is now going to try to move his base -- the 20-some percent who still support him -- that we should have stayed in Vietnam longer. I guess it's the only logical position he has left, or so he thinks. This is quite astonishing really. Bush is going to try to overturn the logic of the age, of history, and to reinvoke the necessity for the war in Vietnam: the ancient Domino Theory. If Vietnam "falls to Communism" then the whole world will become communist. It's just a matter of time. We have to fight them their or we'll have to fight them here..." Communists, like terrorists, are whatever we say they are, whatever gets in our way. Bush will reportedly say, "Whatever your position in that debate, one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens, whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like 'boat people,' 're-education camps' and 'killing fields,' " According to CNN, "The president will also make the argument that withdrawing from Vietnam emboldened today's terrorists by compromising U.S. credibility, citing a quote from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden that the American people would rise against the Iraq war the same way they rose against the war in Vietnam, according to the excerpts." Bush really wants to turn history around. Withdrawing from Vietnam caused terrorism, says Bush. An interesting new sort of unified field theory.
  • Compassionate Conservative -- Or why is this man laughing? Rove made up the concept Compassionate Conservative, a new brand name with little actual meaning. Now these compassionate souls of the Bush administration, fighting efforts by states and Congress to expand a popular U.S. health program for children in low-income families, is making it more difficult for families to sign up. bloomberg.com

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