Friday, April 29, 2005

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Bush has a new Social Security Plan
that screws working people worse than the other one would

Unable to get enough suckers to endorse his original plan for gutting Social Security, Bush is coming out with a new one.

I suspect this is just a subtle ploy to make his first one look palatable. But read for yourself. Try not to throw up on the keyboard -- they're so hard to clean.

Atrios critiques The Plan. The working and middle classes should prepare to bend over and smile. He adds more details here.

Armando at DailyKos sums it up for you:
Yes, give the wealthiest a huge tax cut by repealing the estate tax. Screw the middle class by cutting their future social security benefits. Typical BushCo approach.
Lewis Black says a plant would be an improvement over what passes for leadership these days. At least a plant would clean the air. That would be way better than what we've got now.


Thursday, April 28, 2005

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Neocon Thinking
or what passes for thinking

Ever wonder about the baseline assumptions that drive current political thought on the right, and by extension the Bushista administration.
Read Billmon.

What strikes me most about the Straussians – and by extension, the neocons – is that they’ve pushed the traditional liberal/conservative dichotomy of American politics back about 150 years, and moved it roughly 4,000 miles to the east, to the far side of the Rhine River. Their grand existential struggle isn’t with the likes of Teddy Kennedy or even Franklin D. Roosevelt, it’s with the liberalism of Voltaire, John Locke and John Stuart Mill – not to mention the author of the Declaration of the Independence.

Strauss, in other words, wasn’t a neo anything. He was a conservative in the original European sense – fond of hierarchy, tradition and religious orthodoxy; deeply suspicious of newfangled ideas like egalitarianism, rationalism and a political theory based on enlightened self interest and the social contract. Nor was he impressed by Mill’s utilitarian adding machine – constantly calculating the greatest good for the greatest number.

To the Straussians, rationality does not provide an adequate basis for a stable social order. To the contrary, the Age of Enlightenment has ushered in the crisis of modernity, in which nihilism – the moral vacuum left behind by the death of God – inevitably leads to decadence, decline and, ultimately, genocide.

That logical leap from Jefferson to Hitler might seem like the intellectual equivalent of Evel Knieval’s outlandish attempt to jump the Snake River canyon on a rocket-powered motorcycle. But it’s essential to the Straussian world view – just as it provides the crucial angst that gives neo-conservatism such sharp political edges.

When Newt Gingrich equated feminism with the destruction of Western civ, he was echoing (in his dumbed-down way) Strauss’s lurking fear that the liberal American state would steer the same course as the Weimar Republic – a political Titanic on a collision course with a totalitarian iceberg. Deprived of the moral certainty provided by religion and tradition, the masses are vulnerable to crazed political adventurers who would fill the nihilistic void with their own crackpot ideas – like, say, the international conspiracy of Communists and Freemasons. They might even be worse than Tom DeLay. Or, as Drury laconically puts it:

Strauss . . . does not disagree with Marx that religion is the opium of the masses, he just thinks that people need their opium.
What gives Straussian thought its special flavor – a bitter blend of hypocrisy and cynicism – is the fact that Strauss himself didn’t believe in the eternal “truths” he championed. He was a nihilist, in other words – but one who believed only the philosophical elite could be trusted to indulge in such a dangerous vice. In exchange for this privilege, this elite has a special obligation to uphold the “noble lies” the ignorant masses must live by if society is to survive.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

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Absolute Scumbags!
in case you ever doubted that

Raw Story catches Repulsive House staffers doing some viscious re-writes of Democrat amendments. Read it for yourself and erase all doubt.

Thanks to Duncan for the link.

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Microsoft and the Christian Wrong
Bill gets cozy with the fundie fascists

Susie confirms that Microsoft is Evil. AmericaBlog and Raw Story tell you why. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is all over it. Meanwhile, the Times says Gates may reconsider his decision to not support gay rights legislation in Washington.

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When Republicans Flip-Flop
they call it a "pivot"

Via AP:

WASHINGTON - House Speaker Dennis Hastert, leading a Republican retreat, said Wednesday he stands ready to scrap controversial new ethics rules, possibly by day's end.

[ . . . ]

Democrats charge that rules changes pushed through the House by Republicans earlier this year were designed to shelter Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and have stopped the ethics committee from conducting business in retaliation. The powerful Texan was admonished by the panel three times last year and faces scrutiny this year over overseas travel.

Hastert drew little dissent from members of his rank and file at the closed-door meeting.

Rep. Ray LaHood (
news, bio, voting record), R-Ill., said the speaker told fellow Republicans it was important to resolve the ethics committee deadlock because it was becoming a distraction for the party at a time when it is attempting to accomplish its legislative goals.

He praised Hastert for being willing to "pivot" on the issue.

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Working for a Living
It's who we are. It's what we do.

I've been to a few Democratic events in the past few weeks. A common theme in the discussion is how we, as Democrats, can explain what we stand for in those short, emotionally charged bullshit sound bites that the radical wrong is so good at mass producing (only ours would have to be true).

Kos has offered one up that is as good as anything I've heard:
Democrats are the party for people who work for a living.

This includes our core labor constituency, obviously, but also small businessmen and women who have been shamefully ignored by our party. It includes our men and women in uniform. It includes anyone who depends on their paycheck to make ends meet.
Fuckin' A, Bubba.

UPDATE -- Wednesday Morning: Ezra and Digby weigh in. That's how it is on the Left. We discuss things -- while we're working for a living, of course.


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

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Call Your Senators

Tell them No Nukes in the Senate

Via Atrios, the majority of Americans say they don't want the Senate to change its rules so Bush-Cheney, Inc. can push through fundie-fascist federal judge appointments.

If this previously mentioned WaPo poll is not a serious statistical outlier it's really stunning. Only 26% of the country support "changing the Senate rules to make it easier for the Republicans to confirm Bush's judicial nominees?"

I'm one who pegs Bush's base support at about 35%. By base, I mean "would rather eat shit and die than oppose dear leader." So, to get anything falling below that is truly stunning.

Call the Senate switchboard TODAY. Let your senator know you're in the majority. Tell her/him not to go nuclear: 202-224-3121. Democracy works when we work our butts off.


Monday, April 25, 2005

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Bulldog Guckert Still in the News
White House logs & mystery life

Duncan links to a Raw Story piece on what the White House in-and-out logs say about JD (Bulldog) Guckert's (aka Jeff Gannon's) access to the White House. Either the Secret Service has become dangerously lax in tracking who goes in and out on a day pass, or Bulldog was spending the night. Imagine that.

Meanwhile, Digby found a good piece on Alternet that examines the rather mysterious creation of Jeff Gannon in the months before he appeared at his first White House press conference. Digby asks the fascinating question, "Who created Jeff Gannon?"

Jeff Wells at Rigorous Intuition, doesn't stop there. He picks up on a disturbing theme from a couple of months ago and asks, "Who created James Guckert?"

Feel free to tighten up your tin foil crash helmets and speculate away. As Hunter Thompson said, when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.


Sunday, April 24, 2005

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Meth, Prostitution, and Exploitation in Montana
Disturbing story, great writing

Your Sunday reading. Take a little time. It's worth it.

Thanks to Mark Kleiman for the link.

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Nothing Like the Truth
to reveal the fundie-fascists for what they really are

Publius lays it out there in classic Billmon style. Go read.

And by the way, somebody stop me before I blog again. I'm going to have to go find a 12-step meeting now.


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